|← From Fisherman to Prime Minister||Investiture of the Gods
Banquet for Specters in the Palace
|Daji Plots Revenge →|
|Xu Zhonglin or Lu Xixing|
This chapter is titled "Banquet for Specters in the Palace". Once Han Rong, commander of Sishui Pass, obtained word on Jiang Ziya's appointment, he sent an urgent report to Morning Song. As Bi Gan attained such a report, he immediately presented himself before King Zhou and stated that since Jiang Ziya has effectively joined the West Grand Duke, there is a great possibility that the former could dwindle with Ji Chang's loyalty and thus convince him to assist the southern and eastern dukes in their campaign against the capital. Once King Zhou told the prime minister that he will hold court as soon as possible less any furthered threat may evolve, Chong Houhu, the Black Tiger, kneeled in presence before the king while stating the nearing finish of the Happy Terrace after two years and four months of determined work. As King Zhou quickly asked Chong Houhu's additional take on the appointment of Jiang Ziya, the latter stated that Ji Chang is very peace loving and would never attack the capital unless it was forced upon him by his people; Jiang Ziya is also exceedingly old and isn't a large enough threat to waste an entire army upon due to the scarceness already experienced amongst the populace. King Zhou thus dismissed both Bi Gan and Chong Houhu shortly while taking hold of his beloved Daji and heading out to see the Happy Terrace's progress. Arriving before the Happy Terrace and realizing its current completion, King Zhou happily walked through the terrace with immense joy and satisfaction at the glittering jade and gold spread before him so vividly. As a grand celebration took place inside the terrace, Bi Gan could not help but sigh in great distress at the peoples' suffering simply through the deluded selfishness of a single person. Asking Daji when the immortals and fairies will show themselves before the terrace as she originally stated, Daji had little time to react and immediately stated that a full moon before a cloudless sky would be the only signal for their essential coming. Knowing that the full moon will not show itself until five more days, Daji resumed her specter form three days later and headed immediately to the grave mound of Emperor Xuanyuan while King Zhou was fast asleep. Being welcomed by Splendor, the nine-headed pheasent, Daji elaborated her reasoning before stating that all other specters present at the mound must transform themselves into immortals and come with her to the Happy Terrace within two days of time if they possess such an ability; if not, they are to remain at their original position. After this detailed discussion, Daji immediately returned to the palace on a gust of wind. As King Zhou asked the following morning about the immortals, Daji suggested to the king that thirty-nine seats should be arranged while a minister—Bi Gan in this case—is chosen to serve them wine at their will. Upon the quick approach of evening the following day, the seats were set forth while King Zhou gazed in great anticipation for the arrival of his immortal guests. Following the king's temporary leave of the terrace while Daji invited forth her honored specter allies, Bi Gan was called shortly to serve the latter.
Poaring them wine at every call, Bi Gan became rather confused as to why they looked like fairy spirits but possessed the most disgusting of odors; indeed, he thought, this was truly a very ill omen for the Shang Dynasty. As everyone present began to drink wildly, Bi Gan noticed that some of the guests had tails sprouting forth upon further intoxication—and was thus dismissed immediately by Daji less he realized that they were specters, not immortals. Charging from the palace gates with great shame and rage as to lower himself to serve vile beasts, he soon approached Yellow Flying Tiger, who was on night patrol, and reported the incident at the Happy Terrace in full details. After ensuring to Bi Gan that he will deal with the issue, Yellow Flying Tiger ordered his four generals--Huang Ming, Zhou Ji, Long Huan, and Wu Qian—to each take twenty-four soldiers and patrol the districts around the east, north, west, and south; when these "immortals" are to leave the palace, they are to be persued closely and stealthily back to their respective lairs. As each immortal specter took their leave from the palace on foot due to great intoxication preventing any form of natural flight, all thirty-nine that were present immediately returned to the grave mound of Emperor Xuanyuan while being closely followed by General Zhou Ji along the way. Informing Yellow Flying Tiger the following morning, the latter ordered his general to take 300 soldiers individually equipped with firewood and light them on fire while inside the mound hole to ensure destruction and no lack of possible escape for the specters. With Yellow Flying Tiger and Bi Gan calmly sitting by each other's side while drinking tea, Zhou Ji soon reported his success and thus called for them both to inspect the results. Arriving shortly before the grave mound and finding corpses laying about that stinked with burnt fur and flesh, Bi Gan ordered all corpses that possessed unscorched fur to be skinned so that he could present His Majesty with a specialized fur coat as a warning to the evil specter, Queen Daji. The two commanders thus returned to the palace in high spirits with such a grand display of the power and loyalty that they possessed in the name of the Shang Dynasty.
- Han Yong's report - Jiang Baby Tooth as Prime Minister of Phoenix City
- Discussion with Tiger Duke; the ignorant conclusion of Ji Chang
- Arrival at the completed Deer Gallery
- Daji's recruiting of the "Heavenly maidens"; Nine-Headed Pheasent Splendor revealed
- Beginning of the banquet
- The continuous fox specter stench; dismissal of Bi Gan
- Discussion with Yellow Flying Tiger; burning of the specter hideout
- The mysterious fox fur of longevity