Return to the Capital
“Di Du” was built in Imperial Calendar, Year 335 by the eleventh Emperor of the Empire of Light. It was originally intended to be a heavily fortified town for the purpose of denying the demons’ advance into the South Western Regions of the Empire. (Fort Warren wasn’t built yet at the time.) It was originally called Jia Shan Stronghold.
In Imperial Calendar, Year 553, The empire of Light’s most powerful royal army suffered a decisive defeat at the hand of the invading demon army on the battlefield of the Blue River. With the death of the last Field Marshal and Emperor, Empire of Light and its five hundred years of history was brought to an end. Factions were formed and endless conflicts ensued, military might became the only currency of survival. The military induced chaos continued on for roughly two decades, during which most of the smaller factions were quickly assimilated by the more powerful ones. Only a few managed to surviv till this day.
The most famous one during the times of turmoil was Liu Feng Jun, the guardian of the old Capital of the Empire of Light. He proclaimed himself as the only legitimate heir to the throne of the Empire. (He even managed to produce the dying will of the former Emperor). Renaming the old capital to Yuan Jing, he founded the House of Liu Feng.
Another famous figure at the time, the Garrison Commander of the South Western Regions of the Empire, ZiChuan Yun, declared independance. He seized the opportunity and took control of Jia Shan Stronghold, renaming it to “Di Du”. Using it as his base of operations, he rapidly expanded his dominion over the surrounding regions and founded House ZiChuan. ZiChuan Yun became the first Headmaster of the House.
The rapid expansion of the Garrison Commander ZiChuan Yun had incurred the wrath from the self-proclaimed Protector of the Realm, Liu Feng Jun. He condemned his action as: “A traitorous act!”
In Imperial Calendar, Year 558, the year of House ZiChuan’s founding. House Liu Feng sent three hundred thousand light calvary eastward and vowed: “Vanquish the betrayer!” House ZiChuan brought forth two hundred thousand soldiers of its own to face the invaders. The two armies clashed on the plains of Luo Ke, ; the bloody battle lasted for seven days and nights. Eventually House Liu Feng’s army was forced into retreating due to lack of supply. The army of House ZiChuan quickly gave chase, and inflicted heavy casualties to the side of House Liu Feng. Liu Feng Jun himself suffered grave injuries from the battle and died soon after he returned to Yuan Jing.
Ever since that day, the two factions had been at each other’s throat. Both factions were equally powerful, and both had the ambition to rule the world. For the last three hundred years, time and time again, they had tried to wipe out the other, leaving chaos in their wake.
Besides House ZiChuan and House Liu Feng, there was a third major Human Faction in the world. It belonged to the House of Lin situated in the south of the continent.
With the support of the Royal Advisor, Duke Zuo Jia, House Lin was founded by the daughter of the last Emperor of the Empire of light, Princess Lin Feng Xi. Even though it did not possess the same kind of military might of House ZiChuan and House Liu Feng, it was not under the immediate threat of either of the factions. The reason being both Liu Feng Jun and ZiChuan Yun began their rule by proclaiming themselves as “the Protector of the Empire of Light.” Since Hosue Lin did not have the ambition or necessary military strength to fight for the supremacy of the world, neither faction felt the need to act against the royal bloodline of the Empire of Light. Besides, House Lin had the support of the most powerful fighter in the entire human history, Duke Zuo Jia. It would be foolish to make someone, who could crush an entire demon army all by himself, their enemy.
Ever since Imperial Calandar, Year 558, the year of House ZiChuan’s founding, Di Du had always been in the firm grasp of House ZiChuan. It didn’t matter whether it was the army of House Liu Feng or the furious demon horde, against the sturdy fortifications of the Imperial City and seven generations of ZiChuan soldiers’ sublime heroism and fierce resistance, none could bring the city to its knees. A string of glorious names were entwined with the history of this city: ZiChuan Yun, Sha Jia, ZiChuan Xing, Yun Shan He, Ka Miao… and later, ZiChuan Xiu. The Imperial Capital endured three hundred years of war, and is still standing.
After hundreds of years of war, House ZiChuan’s territory had vastly expanded and the Imperial Capital was no longer the frontline. It is now the biggest of the three capital city in the world of Western River, ahead of “Yuan Jing” of House Liu Feng and “He Qiu” of House Lin. As the center of the world’s politics, economy, and culture, this prosperous city is the pride and crown jewel of House ZiChuan.
Someday in Imperial Calendar, Year 778 August, a group of riders arrived in Di Du after returning from the Far Eastern frontline. Its members included the recently promoted Deputy Commander – ZiChuan Xiu, Captain of the Guard – Gu Lei, the forty personal guards under his command, and another three “unlucky bastards”.
Bai Chuan: “Sir, when will you grace us with your benevolence and let us return to the Far East?”
Luo Jie: “Yes, come on. We have known each other for so long. You can just pretend doing us a favour. Serving under you… I mean I’m still a virgin; I’m not ready to die yet!”
Chang Chuan scolded Luo Jie: “Idiot! What are you saying, is that how you speak to your superior officer? Don’t you have manners?! You have to be polite and respectful when asking for favours!”
Chang Chuan turned towards ZiChuan Xiu, face in tears and snot: “Please Sir, in the name of my eighty year old mother and three year old child, please show us mercy!”
ZiChuan Xiu pled for his innocence: “Come now, you guys have been complaining the whole way, aren’t you tired? There is nothing I can do; the order for your redeployment is given by the Chief of the General Staff, Luo Bo.”
“Your eyes are betraying you… and that evil laughter… we know you are lying!”
“That is right. Luo Bo is clearly your accomplice!”
“I heard that you bought us from Luo Bo with mere two bottles of wine, such humiliation! At the very least, we are worth one bottle each!”
“The two bottles of wine was to cover the cost for your equipment… as for you, Luo Jie, you are worth the bottle cap at most!”
The party arrived at the Wagon Depot in Di Du.
“Yo, I’m back! Di Du, you’re as magnificent as I remembered!”
ZiChuan Xiu reminisced; six years ago, in order to protect the city, his younger self led an army for the first time, battling against the powerful army of House Liu Feng… A long time had passed since then. He couldn’t help but wonder how many citizens of Di Du still remember him?
“The past is like a dream!” ZiChuan Xiu bewailed passionately…
“Stop daydreaming! We are starving!”
“If you don’t provide us with food, we are going back to the Far East!”
“And we want an inn of the highest class!”
He didn’t need to look to know who it was.
After making accommodations for Gu Lei and the personal guards, ZiChuan Xiu and the three went out shopping. Coming from a place devastated by war to a bustling city like this, it didn’t matter where they looked, everything seemed interesting. Luo Jie grabbed hold of a young man on the street, asking: “Where can I find a restaurant?”
The young man eyed him up and down, considering his worn-out uncivilized look and his heavily accented Far Eastern speech. Then replied harshly in local slang: “Hicks!”, and ignored him.
Luo Jie didn’t understand, turning to ZiChuan Xiu: “Sir, what does Hicks mean?”
ZiChuan Xiu acted as if nothing out of the ordinary: “It is a word the town folk use to describe someone from the countryside, and usually not in a positive way.”
Luo Jie: “…I still don’t understand.”
ZiChuan Xiu sighed: “Do you at least remember what we used to call those barbarians in the villages near the frontline, the ones wearing only animal skins who never washed their faces and had only taken three showers in their entire lives?”…
Luo Jie eyes flared with anger: “I’m a bloody Banner Master, how dare he look down on me? I will teach him a lesson!”
Not even five minutes, Luo Jie came back looking down in defeat.
ZiChuan Xiu asked casually: “Well? Did you teach him a lesson?”
Luo Jie: “He taught me a lesson… He was a Red Banner Master.”
Chang Chuan strolled along looking around curiously: “People say that the girls in Di Du are all very bold and modern. Just look at what they are wearing, it has to be true. Wow! That one is hot!”
He approached a girl passing by, using his most charming gesture and most gentle voice: “Miss, do you believe in love at first sight? The moment I saw you, it was like an arrow through my heart…”
“Rapist! Help!” The young lady didn’t hear a word he said and ran away!
Chang Chuan dared not to meet the gaze of his comrades.
“I’m certain that every girl in this city has androphobia… there is simply no other plausible explanation!” Chang Chuan stated vehemently.
Bai Chuan: “We know, we know… they are all lesbians ok? The handsome, gentlemanly and extraordinary Lord Chang Chuan, can you please spare us? You said the same thing forty times already; even my ears are bleeding!”
Luo Jie: “Yo, another hottie over there… Unparalleled beauty and an aura of elegance… I give her a 9.8!”
Chang Chuan: “I give her a 9.9. An absolute goddess! Just a little bit too young.”
Frowning at the two jerks, Bai Chuan sniffed with disdain: “Look at yourselves; you are acting like you just came out of prison or something, complete lack of manners! Now take a good look at Commander Xiu, do you see how composed he is? He never even so much as mentioned…”
Without saying a word, ZiChuan Xiu rushed forward.
“Wow, he is in even more of a hurry than I expected… He couldn’t help it I guess, holding back for six long years in the Far East. He is a bloody man after all!”
“Ha, look at him go! Suddenly approaching the young lady like that saying nothing at all except staring at her like a hawk… I foresee a slap coming!”
“Look, he is scaring the girl… even her face turned pale.”
“Indeed, she even dropped her bag in shock… Such a pitiful fellow, no woman in his life at all; no wonder he is always so eccentric! Bai Chuan, you should take better care of him in the future!”
“Why are they still staring at each other? It is time to cry for help!”
Whatever happened next made them doubt their eyes: The gorgeous noble lady leapt into ZiChuan Xiu’s arms in tears!
ZiChuan Xiu gently but firmly, held on to her shoulders and gazed into her watery eyes. He slowly dropped down to one knee and kissed her on the back of her hand.
Luo Jie watched in bewilderment: “He is proposing to her already?!”
Chang Chuan uttered regretfully: “If only I knew… I totally would have hit that… I see, so the girls in Di Du are indeed very open-minded!”
“Stop your rubbish!” The three was taken by surprise: He somehow overheard their whispers from dozen of meters away? Even though he barely raised his voice, they could hear him clearly as if he was right next to them.
ZiChuan Xiu’s voice was filled with the kind of sternness he had never shown before: “She is the only daughter of former Headmaster of the House – ZiChuan Yuan Xing, the niece of current Headmaster of the House – ZiChuan Shen Xing, and the first heir to the seat of the House – Lady ZiChuan Ning! Show your respect now!”
Luo Jie, Bai Chuan, Chang Chuan instantly dropped to their knees, bowing their head in respect.