Portal:Investiture of the Gods/Chapter 67

Investiture of the Gods
The Outspoken Warrior is Granted Honors of Lordship; Royalty and Justice Become Twisted to Circumstance
Xu Zhonglin or Lu Xixing

This chapter is titled "The Outspoken Warrior is Granted Honors of Lordship; Royalty and Justice Become Twisted to Circumstance". As Jiang Ziya took the hands of Long Ji and bowed before her in respect and acknowledgement at having captured the enemy commander, he then gazed before the humiliated Hong Jin--who was presently still bound to the Dragon Binding Rope--and stated: "So, this justice of yours seems to have brought about nothing less than failure and defeat at the hands of a superior enemy, while you now stand before me as figure of humiliation that was unable to uphold his bold words. What can you state now, General? I control your life within my very fingertips and possess the complete jurisdiction to end it at this moment if I were to will for it. As your boldness and conviction surpass any other warrior that I have confronted within the past, I indeed express my utmost respect towards your noble cause, even though it is distorted, confused, and all together misled. With this having been stated, I shall allow your life to end honorably, for you have proven to be true to your conviction and dreams -- and that is reason enough to allow for you the death of a hero who believed in his own words, as we both are so little apart in our manner of thought, no matter what another may dare state. Guards, away with him to the grounds of execution!" However, as Hong Jin was brought to the grounds of execution and fully prepared for his life to meet the sword, a Taoist-man by the name of Heavenly Matchmaker arrived in a sweat, ordering the executioner to ready his hand, as Incantations Immortal of Jade Pond has provided written decree stating that Long Ji and Hong Jin are destined by Heaven to join in marriage. With these words having been passed on to Jiang Ziya, he initially went to see Heavenly Matchmaker, forthwith leading him to the residence of Long Ji so as to come to a justified conclusion on how to respond to the mandate involving her marriage.

Upon entry into the princess's residence, Heavenly Matchmaker and Jiang Ziya approached Long Ji, at which the former began: "My lady! I am humiliated at the fact that I could not approach you with this matter at a sooner time, but our respective master Incantion has only just recently received written decree stating you are to be married to Shang Commander Hong Jin so as to secure peace between both respective factions; and I have consequently arrived with the most immediate of speed, intent on employing the command of our lord. However, your words, my lady, shall determine whether such a resolution is to come about, as I am nothing more than a stone in the riverside in comparison to your nobility and reputation, and will willingly meet the sword if you are to express refusal with this demand." As Long Ji was relatively shocked to hear of such a sudden report and the inappropriate time at which it had been produced, she was nonetheless inclined to accept such a proposal, as she not only began to subtly fall in attraction to the young Hong Jin and his great ambition but also came to the realization that he would be more useful alive than not. As both Jiang Ziya and Matchmaker were elated to hear of Long Ji's consention, Hong Jin was freed from his bonds shortly and escorted to the Shang encampment for the sake of rallying his soldiers into a mutual surrender.

Hong Jin, intense with despair and humiliation in effect to having not only been captured by the rebel forces, but left alive simply to attest his own usefulness to a distorted cause, enraged him internally as he approached the Shang encampment and called his generals to an audience. In a loud voice, Hong Jin began: "To my great disfavor and detriment, my entire contingent had been torn asunder by the hands of a single woman, and even the ancestral dragon that has supported me since my very birth failed to bring me an ultimate victory. Thrown before the feet of Jiang Ziya and taken away for beheadment, my life was saved by a single commanding whim held by one of their barbaric celestials, and now I have succumbed to the humiliation of marrying the one woman who caused my defeat or otherwise meet the sword in death. Who could have ever considered that I would be torn apart by petty magic tricks and forced to my very throat to support the arms and legs of a deluded rebel of the common class! My men, you have all stood by me as true heroes alike that fight for a greater good, but alas, the circumstances have been twisted against any means of our success, and we have no other choice than to lend support to this rebel faction and ultimately throw our names from the path of gods to that of peasants. Nonetheless, my comrades, I will find a way in which we can tear these bonds of animal skin from our bodies and ascend to the glory and fame that we deserve. And no matter what sacrifices need to be made, the head of Jiang Ziya shall one day become an ornament for my ambitions after I show to the entire country that I am a man who never abandons his justice!" With this having been stated, Ji Kang and the others vowed to unconditionally follow their leader in service beneath Jiang Ziya. The group then proceeded back to Phoenix City, in which both Hong Jin and Princess Long Ji were accordingly wedded on the third day of the third month in the 35th year of King Zhou's reign -- respectively seen as a lucky date for their marriage.

The Western Foothills had now made the necessary preparations to ensure a full production of provisions and weapons for a prospective incursion into capital city Morning Song; and for this very reason Jiang Ziya presented himself before King Wu the following day with the proposition of attacking King Zhou with the support of other nobles who mutually shared the same intent. This nonetheless came across before King Wu as unthinkable, for his father had commanded him never to consider destroying the king even if being a nuisance to the people's prosperity and integrity: It would be nothing less from fully denoting an unfilial and disloyal nature unfettered from traditional values. San Yisheng, however, convinced King Wu that joining the nobles in a united front and forcing the king into a state of repent without conventional attack would be the best course of action, and forthwith suggested that Jiang Ziya should be appointed commander for the sake of managing political affairs from every side of their campaign. Accordingly granting the prime minister the yellow axe and white scepter as an entitlement to authority in respect to Yisheng's request, the minister then suggested that a high terrace should be constructed in compliment to traditional rites of prayer offering before the rivers, mountains, earth, and heavens. This was also consented to with relatively open arms, and after reassuring the king that he can be relied upon for the arrangements of such an imperative task, Yisheng visited Jiang Ziya in a toast of congratulations and forthwith confided to both Nangong Kuo and Xin Jia the responsibility of constructing their terrace. After the passage of ten days the terrace project was complete, and with this San Yisheng approached King Wu and informed him that the 15th day of the third month had been chosen as a date for announcing the prime minister's appointment to commandership.