Chapter 1 – The Silver Masked King of H*ll Part 1
Ash gray sky.
On the 27th day of winter, at dusk, the sun was hidden in the gray clouds and the black wind that rose added to an already bone-chilling coldness.
The few scattered soldiers guarding this remote pass were also battered by northwest wind mixed with icy shards, the weather continuously diminishing their spirits. One by one, their heads and sleeves curled up, and their shoulders were slanted with frozen weapons hanging on them. They kept stomping their feet and breathing out, wishing to end this shift quickly and go hide in the tent to warm themselves.
Now was the moment when the two armies of the Kingdom of Yan and Bei Rong were to face off. The Bei Rong army had been stationed at this pass for nearly half a month. The reason for this ongoing stalemate was that in addition to the desperate resistance of the Kingdom of Yan, the weather was cold and severe. It could have been done in one fell swoop, but the territory to be conquered was impeded by heavy snowfall. It’s not easy for a horse’s legs to get out of the snow, let alone a person.
Is it possible that even the gods were helping Yan Kingdom’s sons?
The little soldiers gave themselves a headache thinking about the conflict between the two countries. Alas, they were only concerned for themselves. Thinking ahead, about how to keep their lives on the battlefield, was, by far, the most important thing. But for now, worrying about the near future like where to buy some hot shochu was the priority.
The soldiers recalled the taste of shochu, and couldn’t help squinting their eyes at the happy memory.
However, there was no shochu in front of them, only a muddy black dirt road, winding to the end of their line of sight. It was like a thin black snake lying on the ground in the white snow.
Suddenly, the end of the “Black Snake” seemed to be shaking.
The soldiers blinked and wiped off the ice on his eyelashes.
Someone was there.
When the man was pressed down into the floor of the magnificent King’s tent in Beirong, it was already dark outside. He was curled up, shaking like a lamb waiting to be slaughtered in a sheepfold.
The soldier knelt and asked for credit while trying to look humble:
“This afternoon we found three-carriages of army provisions at the opening of Black Wind Pass. Thanks to my quick wit, I managed to apprehend the intruder. It was reported to me that this is a farmer who lives in the surrounding area. He was forced by the Yan soldiers to regularly send supplies to the army. As a result of the awful weather, they went down the wrong path and ended up here. This is a generous treat that the heavens have given us!”
The soldier raised his eyes to look at the commander in chief’s face. He hesitated, then said:
“Our men have checked through everything. There is rice, meat, and knives. They are all good things. But what should we do with the person….”
The camp had a mysterious stranger come in, and he was supposed to have been giving food to Yan Kingdom. This little soldier did not dare to deal with the situation without authorization from his higher ups, the fear of being accused of treason was much too high.
The captured man squinted timidly. A group of bare-skinned dancers were twisting their waists, singing and dancing seductively. The strange thing was that this time sitting in the main seat enjoying the delectable wine was not the commander in chief, the second prince of BeiRong, Zhu Wutu. It was someone else. The man leaned lazily on the exquisitely embroidered cushion of Bei Rong’s specialty. His sturdy, hulking pectoral muscles were looming under the open placket, and his face could not be clearly seen under the bleak and extinguished candles. Several beautiful dancers had already moved forward and flirted openly, but the man didn’t even bother to lift his hand.
It could be presumed that this person was not from Beirong. But who could possibly be the man whom the Bei Rong commander in chief regarded as the guest of honor?
The prisoner squinted his eyes, trying to see the face hidden in the shadows.
As if the conversation had been interrupted, Zhu Wutu turned his head to say something to the second prince of Dongyun Kingdom, Helian Rongchuan, who was sitting in the main seat. The second prince of BeiRong then got up and walked over to their captive in a haste.
A silver light flashed in front of the man’s eyes. A cold and sharp object suddenly pressed against his chin. It was the tip of a knife!
The tip of the knife forced the man to raise his head. His Adam’s apple quivered but he couldn’t make a sound.
Zhu Wutu looked at the filthy man in front of him.
His long hair was tangled in disorder, covering most of his face, and his beard was covered with snow and mud. Melted dirty water kept dripping off of him.
Zhu Wutu frowned in disgust, and the tip of the knife slowly moved down to the man’s neck.
Mm, this man’s neck was pretty good…
The sharp edge of the blade flashed and moved upward again.
The man swallowed nervously. The knife in front of him suddenly flashed. It was Zhu Wutu who used the tip of a knife to lift the messy long hair on his forehead.
“Ouch!” The man screamed, and Zhu Wutu kicked his chest. This kick was strong and full of anger. The captive went down in pain onto his back and his full face was revealed to the room.
What an ugly face. The painful expression made the scrunched-up face look even uglier. The eyes, nose, and mouth, all seemed to be in the wrong place. His huge nose wrinkled tightly, making the lower half of his face seem crowded. His mouth had to abdicate to allow this to happen, so it reluctantly opened towards the ears. The upper half of the man’s face was cold and deserted, with only two triangular eyes of different sizes packed together in one space. At least the bumpy acne marks on his forehead made the upper half of his face appear less lonely.
As soon as the captive’s face was exposed, even the little soldier who was used to seeing the ugliest and the lowest bunch of society stepped back a few steps in disgust.
Helian Rongchuan watching from the side had already seen through Zhu Wutu’s intentions. In his opinion, Zhu Wutu was a complete idiot. He was someone who couldn’t move when he saw a beauty, and would even have to check out a dirty prisoner; he had no idea what the Beirong royal family was thinking when appointing such an idiot as the commander-in-chief of the army. But Helian Rongchuan didn’t say anything. He just chuckled, appearing to make fun of the situation. Inadvertently, he had bent over and stretched out to the poor prisoner who fell to the ground, looking like he was kind enough to help the poor worm get up.
Between the dim lighting and glinting of the blade, no one noticed that Helian Rongchuan had gently clasped the life gate in the middle of the man’s back at the waist.
For a martial artist, being caught by their life gate was equivalent to being held at the throat by a knife.
The captive raised his head and met Helian Rongchuan’s eyes.
The man in front of him was an exceptionally rare kind of handsome. His eyebrows were uninhibited and unrestrained, while his eyes were a shade of dark brown that was unique to the Dongyun royal family. His gaze was deep and crystal clear, even though he was smiling it was obvious he looked at everything sharply like a knife.
For an instant, something flashed in the captive’s eyes. Something that did not match the personality he was showing for now. But almost immediately after, he went back to cowering again, acting like a stupid dog.
Helian Rongchuan released the captive, still smiling mischievously. He didn’t say a word and looked at the man curled up on the ground with a playful gaze as if watching a play.
Zhu Wutu hasn’t noticed the strangeness in the exchange just yet. All he saw was a mundane and unfortunate person in front of him. He waved his hand impatiently, his heart already set on the verdict: “Come here, come, hurry up and get this ugly monster out of here! Interrogate and then kill him.”
It was already the dead of the night.
The atmosphere was tense, and the so-called death row was just a few large cages surrounded by wood with a dirt slope that was open to the sky. If one looked up, one could see the majestic stars. A gloomy wind swept over, and someone in the death row’s cage let out a shiver and wail, like a trapped beast on the verge of death.
Only one person hiding in a corner where the moonlight could not shine, seemingly frozen.
The captive counted to twenty in his heart, then suddenly opened his eyes.
Several black clouds drifted past the sky, blocking the moon. He could hear greetings being exchanged not far away, it was the time when for the guards to change shifts.
He calmly moved his fingers which stiffened from the cold. No one noticed that although his face was ugly, his fingers were long and beautiful. There was a thin callus on the Hukou (web between thumb and forefinger).
With a subtle sound a black figure flashed by the cage and went straight to the camp where the army provisions were, as nimble as a cat.
“His Royal Highness, he is here.” The guard whispered.
Brightly lit in the camp, the bare beauties continued to sing and dance. Helian Rongchuan squinted his eyes to play with the luminous cups filled with grape wine. He looked indifferent to the guard’s report. After one dance, he put on the silver fox signal flag: “Let’s go have a look.”
“Not good! It’s on fire!”
Before they managed to take a few steps, a terrible cry suddenly cut through the cold grim sky.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Following the loud noises, thick smoke and flames arose in the distance. It was coming from the direction of army provisions secured earlier. Soldiers rushed out of the camp to put out the fire. But before they arrived, the raging flames took advantage of the northwest wind and swallowed the army provisions camps, then slowly approached other camps.
The fire illuminated Helian Rongchuan’s handsome profile. His eyes didn’t display any panic. On the contrary he seemed to be enjoying some sort of an inside joke.
“D*mn it, how could this fire spread so fast!” Zhu Wutu ran out of the camp angrily, still carrying his unworn pants in one hand. As soon as he was done speaking, a long, foreboding horn came from the hillside opposite the camp.
Amid the billowing smoke, a dark green flag fluttered on the hillside. The Yan characters danced like dragons and phoenixes, harbingering the most terrifying reminder. Who knows how long it has been since this many people appeared together under this banner. The flash of the blade reflected on the soldiers’ faces, like a ghostly Shura.
The drums of war rang, and their every beat mimicked the heart of each person being attacked. The flag was flying, and the brigade descended down the hillside amidst the thick smoke, like a sharp dagger thrusting into the enemy’s vital point.
“Not good! We’ve been ambushed by the Yan Army!”