Book One, Chapter 53: Inspection

There was grave silence in the hall. One could have heard a pin drop. As the light in Xiao Chi’ye’s eyes slowly dimmed, he removed his own waist-badge. Li Jianheng’s chest heaved forcefully as he said, “Governor-General of the Imperial Guard, Xiao Chi’ye, has been suspended from duty pending investigation, and is confined to hisContinue reading “Book One, Chapter 53: Inspection”

Book One, Chapter 52: Accusations

Under a glittering blanket of white snow, night settled. Shen Zechuan could not stay any longer. As he was leaving, Xiao Chi’ye also rose. He retrieved his greatcoat from the rack and handed it to him. “I haven’t seen this sword of yours before,” Xiao Chi’ye leant over and picked up Rising Snow, which leaptContinue reading “Book One, Chapter 52: Accusations”

Book One, Chapter 51: The General

In the darkness, Xiao Chi’ye swiped a thumb across the corner of his lips, where a trace of wine remained. He said, “If we take one each, neither of us misses out.” Shen Zechuan looked around at him. Xiao Chi’ye flashed a smile at him. “Every score in its own time. Aren’t you going toContinue reading “Book One, Chapter 51: The General”

Book One, Chapter 50: The Same Boat

“I was only testing the waters.” Xiao Chi’ye’s eyes were steely. “Trust happens like an undressing. We proceed in due order, one layer at a time, to finally arrive at this candid conversation today. You’re right— after the Nanling incident, I had hoped that Hai Liangyi’s cabinet might undergo some changes. Unfortunately, he still appointedContinue reading “Book One, Chapter 50: The Same Boat”

Book One, Chapter 49: Cold Light

As Xiao Chi’ye made his way towards the Palace, Shen Zechuan was already at Mingli Hall, having been presented to Li Jianheng and appointed Adjudicator of the Brocade Guard, a fifth grade office. His waist-badge, correspondingly, was changed to a gilded bronze token, engraved with the motif of a Xiezhi beast frolicking amongst clouds. OneContinue reading “Book One, Chapter 49: Cold Light”

Book One, Chapter 47: Contention

Li Jianheng shook his legs frantically, kicking the head away from himself. He was beyond caring about appearances now, and would have shrunk himself into the throne if he could have managed it. There was a thunderous ringing in his ears, and he watched as fresh blood soaked into his robes, feeling as though aContinue reading “Book One, Chapter 47: Contention”

Book One, Chapter 45: New Blade

Red tide. Even if Shen Zechuan’s heart had held itself still to this point, those two words would have set it aquiver. Xiao Chi’ye’s handkerchief laid quietly in his sleeve pocket, like a fistful of fire. And as if it could somehow obey its owner’s command, the fire had traced an ascending path to theContinue reading “Book One, Chapter 45: New Blade”

Book One, Chapter 44: Night talk

“Maybe so,” Xiao Chi’ye looked down at him, “but the person empowered to directly influence the outcome at the battlefront in Zhongbo was Shen Wei.” With his gaze lowered like that, his eyes were cloaked in an illusion of warmth. The light in them from before had not gone out entirely, and rippled still inContinue reading “Book One, Chapter 44: Night talk”