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The Discovery of Thunderquaker
|The Ill-Fortunes of the Grand Dukes→ →|
|Xu Zhonglin or Lu Xixing|
This chapter is titled "The Discovery of Thunderquaker". Seeing this tragedy in full form, Supreme Minister Zhao Qi additionally expressed his inner hate towards the king without a single ounce of fear. Upon being bound before a burning pillar as punishment, Zhao Qi became nothing more than ash to the wind in mere moments. Now returning to the Fairy Longevity Palace in great satisfaction over his barbarity, King Zhou personally approached Daji, explained the past incident with Shang Rong, and discussed with her how to get rid of Jiang Huanchu as a threat to the capital. With no true thought-out resolution to such a problem, Daji called forth Fei Zhong for a suggestion. Fei Zhong stated that the four regional grand dukes should effectively be disposed off less any ministers of Morning Song attempted to rise up in rebellion with any neighboring force. Jiang Huanchu would also be effectively destroyed as a threat to the capital if he were to join the other three grand dukes in execution. Following the king's immediate approval of Fei Zhong's suggestion, four royal messengers were personally sent to each grand duke—Jiang Huanchu, E Chongyu, Ji Chang, and Chong Houhu—in quick pace. As one of four messengers arrived before the Western Foothills—Ji Chang's domain—and presented it before Ji Chang himself, the latter offered fine silver and gold to the messenger before ensuring his depature to the capital at a later time. After appointing San Yisheng as commander of internal affairs, Ji Chang went to his son, Bo Yi Kao, told him of his seven-year-prisoner prophecy, and how he should take care of state affairs following his departure. Explaining the situation to many other ministers in attendance throughout the day, Ji Chang took his leave from the Western Foothills the following morning with fifty attendants by his side. As his party arrived before Mount Yan, a sudden rainstorm appeared with giant waves rolling down from each neighboring mountain top; it was as if an ocean was falling from the very skies. After hearing a collosal thunderbolt shake the very earth, Ji Chang gave the order for his soldiers to find "the star of a warrior"—followed from the saying that a gifted warrior is born after the movement of lightning.
Upon the finding of a small newborn child with eyes like that of stars, Ji Chang told his men to find a local family that could take the child in. However, Master of the Clouds personally presented himself shortly before Ji Chang, stating that he would graciously take the child—newly dubbed as "Thunderquaker"—in as his own, and return him to the former once he had left Morning Song. As Ji Chang thus continued his journey, he arrived at Morning Song one day to be entertained in the company of the other three grand dukes at the Golden Reception House. As the night flew and the four grand dukes enjoyed their wine to the fullest, E Chongyu, the Grand Duke of the East, began to spout words of hatred at Chong Houhu's actions in his drunken state. Being at a lose in judgement due to their state of mind, Chong Houhu and E Chongyu began to physically attack each other before Ji Chang forcefully pulled the two apart and sent them to their respective rooms. At the second watch that night, Ji Chang heard someone present at the reception house mutter that the blood of the grand dukes would stain the market walls the following day. Threatening to put every individual to death if the culprit did not show himself, the accused Yao Fu was thrown before Ji Chang's feet shortly. As Yao Fu, who was a relative of a royal messenger, told Ji Chang and Jiang Huanchu of the unfortunate past within the kingdom, Jiang Huanchu fell to his feet in misery over his daughter's cruel death while Ji Chang offered to create a petition in his behalf. Vowing to personally see King Zhou over the death of his precious daughter, Jiang Huanchu declared to Ji Chang that he should form his own report on the case instead. When Fei Zhong learned of their arrival before the capital, he told King Zhou that he should ignore any report that is to be handed to him the following morning—and the dukes should be publicly executed without condition. As King Zhou arrived within the Grand Hall the following morning, he announced forth the four grand dukes immediately. When Jiang Huanchu handed his report to King Zhou and calmly accused the latter for his barbarity, the former's robes were removed to prepare for his immediate execution. However, the other three grand dukes rushed forth protesting Huanchu's innocence.
- Arrival of the imperial messenger
- The compassionate words of authority
- Ji Chang heads out to the capital
- Thunderstorm unleashed; Thunder Quaker born
- Meeting of the four grand dukes; the drunken stupor
- Execution of the Grand Duke of the South