// Chapter 10 : Presage
01 Jun 2019

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Qi Zhikan tossed and turned on his wooden daybed, unable to fall asleep.

The only source of light came from the bright moon shining through the lattice window of the living room.

Qi Zhikan kicked off the thin blanket wrapped around him and carefully walked to the kitchen to pour himself a cup of water, making sure not to wake up anyone in the cottage, especially the temperamental one in his room.

As he passed by the front window, he saw the back of a lone figure sitting on the bench of the front porch. Upon a closer look, it was his father, Qi Renfan, silently staring at the night sky.

Qi Zhikan stepped outside curiously.

“Father, why are you out here alone at this time of night?”

“Zhikan, come here.” Qi Renfan called his son over then continued to study the stars.

Qi Zhikan puzzledly stood beside his father and glanced at the sky. “Is there something in the sky that caught your attention?” Qi Zhikan tilted his head, “I don’t see anything except stars and the moon.”

Qi Renfan chuckled, “Son, how old are you this year?”

“I’m 20… Father, why are you acting so strange tonight?”

Qi Renfan mumbled, “20 already… In the blink of an eye you’ve already grown up…”

“Father, are you okay? Don’t scare me like that…”

“Silly child. Don’t you always say that you are very gutsy? What are you all worked up about?”

Qi Zhikan replied, “It’s just… you normally don’t believe in astrology. Why did you decide to come out and stargaze in the middle of the night?”

Qi Renfan ignored his son’s rhetorical question. “Tell me, from this position, how many stars do you see in the sky?”

Qi Zhikan carefully counted with his fingers, “One, two, three, four… I see five bright stars and two smaller stars.”

Qi Renfan, “Are you sure? Look again.”

Qi Zhikan waved his finger to recount. “One… two… Eh? There seems to be an eighth star, but why is it so dim?”

“Do you see the one at the center?”

“Yes. One of the big ones, right?” Qi Zhikan noticed a change in the constellation. “Wait… it’s flickering rapidly. It’s becoming almost as faded as the tiny one on the right.”

Qi Renfan stroked his beard. “What is bound to happen is finally going to happen.”

Qi Zhikan turned to his father. “Father, is there something you’re trying to say? Since when were you able to read constellations?”

Qi Renfan slowly spoke, “I have always been able to read constellations. Saying that I don’t believe in astrology is just something I made up to lie to you.”

“You what?!!!”

“When the time is appropriate, I will explain to you everything. I’ve lied to you all these years because I want to protect you.”

Qi Zhikan furrowed his eyebrows. The more his father tried to explain, the more he became confused. “Protect me? From what? Father, look at me. I’ve grown to be so big and strong. Who dares to be my opponent in a brawl?”

“Even though your combat skills are high, you are still inexperienced. There are many clever, scheming people out there, full of malicious intent. It’s hard to see through them. You still have a lot to learn.”

Qi Zhikan mumbled under his breath, low enough for his father’s elderly ears to not catch on. “Then maybe you should let me leave the mountains more…”

Qi Renfan walked to the small table behind him and picked up the sword leaning against its edge. Qi Zhikan was immediately awed by the object glimmering before him.

The sword was long and heavy with metallic white patterns carved on its sheath. Near the handle was an emblem engraved with the symbol ☵ in gold.

Qi Zhikan, “This sword…”

Qi Renfan presented the sword to his son with both hands. “From now on, you are the owner of this Yanzhi (燕支) sword.”

“Yanzhi sword?”

Qi Renfan nodded. “That is the name of the sword that I have specifically created for you. The world is about to become chaotic. When you face danger, this sword will protect you. Remember, this sword is connected to you like your fate.”

In his entire life, Qi Zhikan’s father has never spoken about anything related to superstitions–astrology, sorcery, fate, destiny. All of these topics were belittled in his household. But in one night, his father acknowledged them like they were scriptures set in stone. He could sense the seriousness in his father’s voice. Qi Zhikan couldn’t stop questioning his father’s strange behavior in his mind, but he knew currently he wouldn’t receive any answers, so he simply lowered his head and accepted the gift, “Thank you, Father.”

“Your Majesty! Your Majesty! A calamity has occurred!”

The cries of a servant woke up Emperor Qikun from his nap. He immediately rushed outside his sleeping chambers to see a servant kneeling by the door, face completely pale and hands trembling. “What’s with all the noise?!”

The servant cried, “Grand Commander sent an urgent letter and requests immediate assistance from Your Majesty!”

Qikun grabbed the letter from the servant’s hands. As he read the desperate words of the Grand Commander, his face became increasingly red in anger. “Immediately summon Commander Qiu to my chambers!”

Upon hearing the order, Qiu Zhen rushed to meet with Qikun. “Your Majesty,” he greeted.

“Aiqing, you have heard the news?”

Qiu Zhen nodded.

Qikun, “Tianxuan’s army destroyed 30,000 of our troops outside their borders. Countless city magistrates have surrendered to them. I just found out that more court officials are fleeing as well. Those traitors! I should’ve known they would turn their backs on me during times of hardship!”

Qiu Zhen, “Your Majesty, what is our plan now?”

“Grand Commander can’t hold on any longer.” Qikun grabbed Qiu Zhen’s hand, startling him. “Aiqing, I have to command the army myself. I will lead the remainder of our men to aid Grand Commander at Ling Shui. I want you to come with me and assist me.”

Qiu Zhen retreated his hand from Qikun’s grip. “…I will do as Your Majesty orders.”

— 6 months later. —

Juntian Imperial Camp, near the city of Ling Shui, Tianxuan.

Ever since Qikun left the Imperial Palace and traveled to the campsites, he has been carefully constructing military tactics to assist the Grand Commander. He spent consecutive days in tents and rarely showed his face. Recently, soldiers started to desert the battlefields as many felt like they were fighting a losing war. As the number of runaway soldiers increased, Qikun felt like he was being pushed towards a corner.

Qikun decided it was the time for him to personally join the battlefield and organized a ceremony to do so, in hopes of increasing his military’s morale.

Qikun got down from his horse and sat down on the makeshift throne at the grand military camp.

Qiu Zhen followed closely behind. Knowing he has successfully earned the man’s trust, he has been trying to find the perfect opportunity to slain Qikun, but there were always skilled guards by the ruler’s side. It is not that he is afraid of death, but he does not want to die in vain before completing his mission.

Qiu Zhen purposely avoided Qikun once they left the palace, feigning a cold so he does not have to assist Qikun in fighting his own state. Nonetheless, the concerned ruler was determined to visit him in his tent every night to check up on his fake illness.

Juntian’s soldiers throughout were very excited to know that their ruler would join them in battle. But a united army meant bad news for Tianxuan, and Qiu Zhen could not take that risk.

‘If Qikun successfully leads his army pass the border, and there will be extreme bloodshed in Tianxuan,’ he thought.

Golden Juntian flags waved in the air as soldiers raised their spears to welcome the emperor.

“Greetings, Your Imperial Majesty,” they chanted in unison.

Qikun proudly announced in his gold armor, “Today, I am personally entering the battlegrounds to destroy Tianxuan rebels with one stroke! Our great Juntian will no longer put up with any more defiance from these traitorous states!”

The crowd roared and shouted.

Qikun continued, “In these warring times, I was able to witness those who are true to me and those who are not. All the people here today have chosen not to leave my side, therefore, are all considered my brothers!”

He turned to look at Qiu Zhen. “Commander Qiu has helped me vastly when I was most troubled. Nobody understands me more than he does. After the war is over, I plan to grant Qiu Zhen the title of Consort and everyone here will be invited to our wedding!”

The crowd cheered.

Qiu Zhen looked at Qikun, astonished.

Qikun smiled, “Aiqing, I hope I didn’t startle you, but I’m very serious. I wanted to make that announcement since everyone is here today. After the war is over, I want everyone to peacefully enjoy the remainder of their lives. As for me, I want to spend my future with you. Come, would you mind beating the declaration drums for me?”

Qikun put out the drum sticks and looked at Qiu Zhen.

The young commander slowly retrieved the drum sticks from Qikun’s hands just to drop it on the ground.

He grabbed the blue sword that Ling Guang has given him from his waist and with one swift turn, aimed for Qikun’s heart.

End of Chapter 10


As we enter the pivotal point of the story, I want to make a quick note.

The show has many characters, which naturally means there will be fans of different ships. I have listed the ships that will be featured in this fanfic in the FAQ. If there are characters/ships not written the way you expected, then I apologize. Please don’t KY (kuki yomenai) or flame me. I am writing based on the hints I see in the show and also my personal ships 🙂

And that’s the end of the first ten chapters! Can’t believe I’ve made it up till here.

Thanks for reading this far ^^

We’re finally approaching the main plot! See you in the next one!

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