The Human Emperor is a Webnovel produced by 皇甫奇, Huangfu Qi.
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Chapter 1734: Strange Phenomena in the Heavens!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The feast at the Eastern Palace lasted from the time when the lanterns were lit all the way until midnight. Once everyone was gone, First Prince Li Ying remained behind with the Ghost King and Meng Tu.
The First Prince blinked and then slowly thrust his palms against the air while circulating his energy. A moment later, wisps of steam began to rise from the top of his head, and all the alcohol was expelled from his body. The First Prince opened his eyes, which were bright and clear, free of any intoxication.
“It’s about time. Has he come?”
The First Prince’s face darkened, his expression chilling.
Meng Tu bowed and said, “Your Highness, he is in the side hall and is ready at any time to be summoned.”
“Let him in!”
A few moments later, the door to the side hall opened, and a scrawny man in cloud-patterned silk robes slowly walked in.
“This old slave pays respects to the First Prince!”
The man, a eunuch of the palace, bowed.
There were numerous palace maids and eunuchs in the Imperial Palace, and this sort of old eunuch would draw little attention.
“Rise! Let me ask you: what has the Sage Emperor’s condition been as of late?” the First Prince coldly asked.
The hall immediately became so quiet that one could hear a pin drop, and tension hung invisibly in the air.
All three were focused on the old eunuch, waiting for his reply.
In any dynasty, inquiring about the daily life and condition of a sovereign was a major taboo that, if discovered, would result in the death penalty. This was why the First Prince and Hou Junji had waited until the feast was over and everyone else was gone to hold this audience.
“Your Highness, His Majesty’s condition does not bode well, and it seems like it has even worsened. We have sent several maids to take food to Taiji Palace, but almost none of it has been touched. We even had the Palace Larder prepare some plain porridge, but His Majesty only ate a little. He seems to have gotten even weaker,” the eunuch said in a soft voice.
The First Prince nodded.
“You’re dismissed! Handle this matter properly! This prince does want to see even the smallest error!”
“This old slave understands!”
The old eunuch bowed and quickly departed.
Meng Tu looked in the direction the eunuch had left and suddenly asked, “Your Highness, this matter is of utmost importance. Do you need your subordinate to send someone to eliminate him?”
The First Prince waved his hand and sternly said, “That’s not needed! Someone is already keeping an eye on him!
“This prince has a different matter for you to handle. Pa.s.s on my order! Have Huang Tianzhao increase the number of men guarding Taiji Palace. No one is allowed to approach without this prince’s order!”
Meng Tu seemed to realize something. “Your Highness, are you worried that…”
“It is always wise to be safe. At a moment like this, this prince will not tolerate any flaw!” the First Prince sternly said.
Meng Tu bowed and quickly departed.
Once Meng Tu was gone, the First Prince placed his hands behind his back and slowly turned to Hou Junji.
“What other worries does Your Highness have?”
“Ghost King, this prince has already given you my token and half of the Commander Tally, and all of the Imperial Army and the border armies we have are under your command. What comes next all depends on you!”
“Your Highness, be at ease. Soon, Your Highness will have your wishes fulfilled!” Hou Junji nonchalantly said.
“They’d better be!” the First Prince sternly said.
The hall quickly fell silent, and once Hou Junji left, Li Ying was left alone.
After some time, the First Prince looked around and then headed into his chambers. At the place where the treasured sword of the Crown Prince was displayed, the First Prince reached out and pressed against the wall. With the clunking of gears, a pa.s.sage large enough to accommodate a single man appeared before him.
The pa.s.sage was pitch-black, but the First Prince stepped right in, making his way up to a familiar set of steps that he took downward.
There was a large boom as the pa.s.sage closed, but within the pa.s.sage, lights began to brighten. The First Prince was unperturbed—this was clearly something he had experienced many times.
At the bottom of the steps was a secret chamber, crudely built. There was nothing here except a stone platform, one meter long on each side.
Despite the simplicity, above the stone platform, a large luminescent pearl had been placed, providing the only source of light in this chamber.
But even more dazzling than the pearl was the golden casket on the stone platform, about one foot wide and half a foot long.
The First Prince had just stepped onto the platform when it seemed like his soul was seized, and he stared in rapture at the mysterious golden casket.
The dragon carvings on the casket clearly indicated that it was no ordinary box.
Almost like he was possessed, the First Prince walked onto the platform and took off the lid of the casket, revealing the resplendent golden robe folded up within.
The golden robe was embroidered with glistening sun and moon patterns, and also depictions of mountains, rivers, birds, beasts, and clouds. Most striking of all was the dragon claw in the middle and front, embroidered to appear as though it was reaching out from the earth.
The scales on the dragon claw were so detailed that it seemed like the real thing, but most shocking of all was that this dragon had five claws.
The serpent dragon had four claws, but only the True Dragon had five!
And only the True Dragon, the Son of Heaven, could wear this dragon robe!
There were nine grades to the robes worn by sovereigns, but it was only when they went to court that they would wear the Grade Nine Son of Heaven dragon robe.
There were only three Son of Heaven dragon robes, each one embroidered with gold thread. One was worn by the Sage Emperor, and the second was kept in his chambers, similarly kept in a secret casket and guarded by the Dragon Guards. But the third was kept at the Weaving Department in case it was needed.
The First Prince had obtained this dragon robe from the Weaving Department, and one could even see the symbol of this department on the golden casket.
The First Prince looked uncertainly at the dragon robe, his chest rapidly rising and falling, his breathing turning ragged.
He had stored this Son of Heaven dragon robe in this secret chamber some time ago. This was his greatest secret, and not even Meng Tu, Zhu Tong’en, or the Ghost King knew about it.
When the First Prince found it hard to suppress his desires, he would come here alone and lovingly stroke the robe.
The sparkling golden threads, the intricately detailed scales, and the craftsmanship that exuded resplendence, n.o.bility, and supreme authority gradually enchanted the First Prince.
“One day! One day, I will be able to wear this Son of Heaven dragon robe out in the open! And this day won’t be far!”
The thought of the Imperial Army being entirely under his control made the First Prince’s face suddenly turn savage. Unable to suppress his ambition and desire, he seized the robe, and then with a shake, he put it on.
Not even the First Prince knew that when he put on the dragon robe in his secret chamber, there was a ma.s.sive boom of thunder in the skies of the capital, and an enormous bolt of lightning streaked across the night skies, crossing the entire length of the Imperial Palace and shooting off into the darkness.
As if it had been struck by a fierce blow, the sky over the Great Tang began to shift.
In the northwestern part of the Imperial Palace, in the imperial observatory, the world had begun to sway.
“What’s going on? What’s happening?”
On the observation platform, seven astrologists had been focused on reading heavenly phenomena when they suddenly sensed the world falling into chaos.
The observation platform they were on was also a giant sundial. The sundial embodied the ten heavenly stems and twelve earthly branches, and was one with the stars in the heavens. It was several hundred years old and still unimaginably tough.
But for no reason at all, the ma.s.sive sundial began to fiercely shudder, and bits of stone began to break off from its edges.
Yet this was only the beginning. Pa! A thin crack appeared at the center of the sundial and then rapidly began to spread outward. Ping! A second crack appeared, and then a third. The outer edge of the sundial was unable to bear the power, and almost one-third of it collapsed.
“What’s going on? This is the dragon vein of the Imperial Palace, and this area was selected by ten of the best geomancers in Taizong’s reign. The ground here is exceptionally solid, so what in the world is happening?!”
The astrologers paled in shock. The most unlikely place in the world for an earthquake to take place was the site of the imperial observatory, a site that had been selected after extensive geomancy and astrology. None of them could understand what was going on, but the world was still continuing to shift…
“Look at that!” someone cried in alarm. One of the astrologers on the crumbling sundial suddenly looked up in shock.
The other astrologers looked up as well, and then their bodies trembled in shock.
“This is impossible!”
The same thought pa.s.sed through the minds of all the astrologers, and their eyes were br.i.m.m.i.n.g with disbelief.
Above their heads, the clear and distinct stars had all dimmed, making it impossible to observe them.
At the same time, beneath the Imperial Palace, in an underground cell, an old man with white hair and a body like a decaying tree sat cross-legged on the floor.
Suddenly, dust and gravel began to shower down from the walls.
Ripples of emotion immediately began to travel across the calm lake of the old man’s mind.
The elder looked up in alarm, his fingers forming mysterious gestures in the air, prodding and poking like they were possessed. But after three such gestures, just when the old man was about to close his fingers back, an invisible energy surged in and forced his fingers apart. Such was this power that the elder’s entire right arm trembled several times.
“Two suns in heaven, two masters in court! This is a shift in the Dragon Qi, a sign of changing sovereigns!”
Master Yinshan felt his blood surge before he involuntarily spat out these words, his face paling.
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