Portal:Investiture of the Gods/Chapter 62

Investiture of the Gods
The Golden-Winged Celestial Inherits the Will of Shang
Xu Zhonglin or Lu Xixing

This chapter is titled "The Golden-Winged Celestial Inherits the Will of Shang". The elite messenger unit that had been deployed by General Zheng Lun the former night were intercepted by neighboring Shang scouts along the Western Foothills, and were immediately informed of Su Hu's defection over to Rebel Commander Jiang Ziya. Bearing such unfortunate news to Han Rong of Sishui Pass as they continued along the path to the capital, the former, being somewhat surprised over such a resolution, wrote a report on the current circumstances and sent it the capital via the hands of royal messenger. Secretariat Fang Jingchun of Morning Song, upon obtaining official report from Han Rong involving Su Hu's defection, ascended the Star Picking Mansion and informed King Zhou of the letter's contents the following morning. As the king became astonished at such unexpected words, Daji, expressing a false level of filial humility, pressed her hands upon King Zhou's body and declared that her own head should be hung upon the capital's eastern gate as atonement for the treachery that her father has shown in the name of Shang. Naturally being far from content with such a resolution to the woman he loves more than anything, King Zhou declared that he would rather sacrifice the entire dynasty than to see his beloved fall before him in such a cruel manner. As Daji thanked him for his kind generosity and consideration, King Zhou dismissed Fang Jingchun and all other secretariats and returned to his private chambers with Daji by his side, casting aside the circumstances involving Su Hu for the entire afternoon.

The following morning, the king ascended his throne and called forth all head ministers to a meeting, to which they would discuss whether a new commander should be deployed in battle against the Western Foothill cause. Supreme Minister Li Deng, who presently arrived at this meeting, recommended that Commander Zhang Shan of Sanshan Pass should be chosen as expeditionary commander: He is well versed in the art of strategy, and should therefore be able to conquer all potential trickery that Jiang Ziya may unleash upon his opposition. King Zhou, long knowing this Zhang Shan fellow as being a man of great ability, immediately accepted this recommendation over all others, and thus sent decree to Sanshan Pass, appointing Zhang Shan to Expeditionary Commander of Military Renown. Receiving such a decree a mere day following its departure, Zhang Shan handed his seal of commandership over the pass to Hong Jin, and followed by equiping himself with 100,000 soldiers before setting off to the front lines of battle.

With the beauty of summer sprouting about in all directions, the soldiers of Shang soared in morale, knowing that their conviction will surely result in the benefit of their country -- especially under that of Zhang Shan, a man entrusted with the hand of supremacy. As they continuously enjoyed such sights throughout their travel, the Shang forces finally arrived deep within the Western Foothills territory neighboring the northern gate of Phoenix City upon the fifth day. Setting up camp at once, Zhang Shan, knowing his soldiers to be exceedingly exhausted after such a period of travel, ordered the entire army to rest for the night before making any form of attack against the enemy.

Within Phoenix City the day following, Jiang Ziya made the upmost of preparations for his future attack upon King Zhou -- to which he believed to be an ordeal that is very unavoidable under the cirumstances involving his "destiny under Heaven". One such form of preparation involved the bearing of specialized red signal flags: These flags would possess random colors within the background while red remains as the dominant; after the soldiers of Zhou are competent in the logic behind this specific flag, the soldiers of Shang, expectedly being confused upon what action the opposition will take when such a flag is risen for command, should succumb to a loss in morale and suffer potential defeat. With such a plan in mind, and effectively implemented into the minds of his people, two reports had arrived before his desk to which he unhesitatingly received: the first elaborating the 800 marquises having gathered within the east of Western Foothills, prepared to meet Jiang Ziya at Mengjin; the second stated that a man by the name of "Zhang Shan" has arrived, and currently neighbors the capital's northern gates under the Shang flag. Realizing the probability that General Deng Jiugong may be well-versed with such a man, Jiang Ziya approached the former commander of Shang and asked his take on the current situation involving Zhang Shan. Jiugong, who gave the seal of commandership over Sanshan Pass to Zhang Shan, his subordinate general, before departing against the Western Foothills at the prior time, was naturally knowledgable about the man, and declared him as lacking in the fields of strategy and bravery. Just as such a moment in time, report was received that a Shang general rolling on an enormous wheel of fire had arrived. Deng Jiugong departed to the frontlines immediately upon the hearing of such words.

Approaching this general, who he recognized as being none other than the reputed "Qian Bao of The Flaming Wheel", Deng Jiugong, not wishing to deal his former subordinate any harm, told Qian Bao to call out Zhang Shan at once for a discussion. Qian Bao, however, knew that he would unconditionally acquire great benefit under King Zhou and bask in reputation and prestige if he were to end Deng Jiugong's life instead of letting such an opportunity pass itself; and he thus charged at the opposition with immense speed, presently within his flaming wheel. Seeing the danger of the situation as Bao approached him, Deng Jiugong resolutely cleaved his sword through the wheel's flames, cutting apart both Qian Bao and his weapon into two horizontal halves. Taking the head of the fallen warrior in his hands and returning to Phoenix City with a clamor of happiness as resolution to his success, Zhang Shan took ear to such news and, in a state of rage, made immediate preparations to personally meet his former commander on the battlfield the day following.

As Zhang Shan was confronted by both Deng Jiugong and Deng Chanyu at the northern gates of Phoenix City after yelling a volley of abuse the next morning, he had little intention to spare his former commander through the impulsive and demeaning manner he has shown in the name of Shang, and thus charged forward only to be struck several times in the face by Chanyu's stones. Not being able to press onward with such a nuisence, Zhang Shan, spitting blood in his rage, had little choice but to return to the camp of Shang in utter humiliation over such unexpected circumstances. As he was now fully aware of the detriment that will consecutively appear if he is to continue in his attempt to take Deng Jiugong's life, Zhang Shan began to deeply ponder on what move he could make when a Taoist carrying a great-sword requested entry into his residence later that day. Allowing this Taoist--who called himself "Winged Celestial"--entrance into the head camp of Shang, the latter immediately proved his "celestial" characteristics by applying the ordinary magic elixer to Zhang Shan's face, resulting in the original wounds disappearing in mere moments. Obtaining knowledge from the Taoist that he has come from Penglai Island upon request from Shen Gongbao, an agent superiorman of the Shang Dynasty, in order to stay the hands of the evil Rebel Commander Jiang Ziya, Zhang Shan knew that this man could be used as the ultimate weapon to exact revenge upon Deng Jiugong for the benefit of his own reputation, but decided it best to keep neutral such an ambition for the time being less perceived arrogance causes the loss of the former's mutual cooperation.

As Winged Celestial approached the gates of Phoenix City upon Zhang Shan's consention the following morning, Jiang Ziya took ear to such a demand and set forth with five square formations of soldiers along with Nezha, Yang Bliss, and Huang Tianhua. Confronting the opposition momentarily after his departure from the city, Jiang Ziya was astounded at the appearance of this new foe: Winged Celestial possessed two ten-feet long golden wings and wore a bird mask of gleaming jade, making him appear as if being the fiercest of warriors. As the prime minister approached this man and politely declared his name with a low bow, Winged Celestial began to loudly criticize Jiang Ziya, stating that he has, according to rumor, publicly stated the threat that he shall pluck his bones and pull of his feathers when he conquers the dynasty of Shang. Upon hearing such words, the prime minister immediately retorted, stating that the cooperation within his dynasty would fall apart and his reputation would be put into internal shame if such blatant threats were irrationally created. Winged Celestial, who realized that the rebel commander's words were on the side of reason, decided to pardon the opposition for the time being as he investigates the truth; but at such a moment, Nezha, enraged at the former's boastful demeanor, lunged at Winged Celestial with his fire-tipped spear, thrusting at all sides. Seeing that the Zhou forces clearly lack discipline, Winged Celestial made immediate preparations to defend himself with his great-sword, but was suddenly attacked at from all sides by the enemy generals: Yang Bliss using his dog to pierce into the opposition's neck; Huang Tianhua thrusting both of his Heart Penetrating Nails into his arms; and Earth Traveler Sun striking from the ground with his heavy iron cudgel. Roaring with great pain and enraged beyond words at the rebel commander's clear treachery, Winged Celestial spread his great wings and unleashed an enormous torrent of dust, effectively escaping such a crucial situation at once.

Momentarily returning to the camp of Shang that afternoon, Zhang Shan treated his fellow comrade with a cup of wine after hearing the circumstances involving his former defeat and treachery on the part of Rebel Commander Jiang Ziya. Accepting this cup of wine after essentially healing his wounds with the magical renown of his elixers, Winged Celestial resolutely declared that he shall turn the entire city of Western Foothills into a great sea of despair as an act of vengeance that night. As Zhang Shan expressed a level of delight at the confidence of his general, Jiang Ziya had meanwhile experienced an intense gust of wind that encouraged him to perform divination presently following, to which he discovered the pretense of Phoenix City's destruction through Winged Celestial's wrath. Being frightened at such a prospect, Jiang Ziya took the usual preparations and followed by performing many summoning chants, causing the north sea to essentially cover all of Phoenix City as like the former incident with the Diablo Brothers. Heavenly Primogentor, who presently realized such a danger through the same employed means as his disiciple, poured the Divine Water of Three Lights over the north sea barrier and ordered four Divine Chanters of Truth to protect the terrestrial region surrounding the city from any potential earthquake that could disrupt the water's formation. As Winged Celestial thus left the camp of Shang at the second watch that night, he was immensely startled to see an enormous sea covering Phoenix City in the shape of a circular barrier, but was nontheless prepared for even the most unexpected circumstances, and thus fanned his two golden wings with power that uprooted even trees, vying to collapse the barrier so that the enemy city could be drowned. Fanning the wind with even greater strength, the barrier of water--with the ultimate help of the Divine Water of Three Lights--mysteriously expanded to an even greater size at each attempt made -- forcing him to give up the attempt as he was already panting in perspiration. Being ashamed at such a resolution, Winged Celestial believed that he would be humiliated by the soldiers of Shang if he were to return after his consecutive failure, and Zhang Shan will surely lose a high level of trust in his abilities after his former boasting. With such a thought in mind, the immortal took flight from the Western Foothills, vowing to destroy Jiang Ziya with secretion to preserve his pride and reputation as a man of great renown.