// Prologue : Arrest
27 May 2019

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“According to his Royal Decree, Qiu Tianhao, High General of Tianxuan, chose to remain impartial and not advance his army of soldiers into Yaoguang, causing our country to lose control of the city-state. His Majesty orders Qiu Tianhao and his entire household to be subjected to poison wine until death as punishment. End of Royal Decree.”

“His Majesty, although bright and valiant, is too young and hasty. Seizing Yaoguang will only cause the deaths of innocent civilians!” cried Qiu Tianhao.

The old general knelt in his large courtyard with his head down before the 30 fierce guards standing in front of him. His entire household knelt behind him, not daring to move a muscle. Family members, from the elderly to the young, servants, and anybody with the slightest bit of relations to Qiu Tianhao were present.

“How dare you insult His Majesty! Guards, arrest Qiu Tianhao and everyone in his family and seize all his property immediately!”

Within minutes, the entire estate of the Qiu household was completely ravaged. Half of the guards took turns carrying out crates of valuables, gold taels, and silk clothing to carry back into the palace.

Anything invaluable was destroyed on the spot.

Qiu Tianhao continued to kneel on the ground, unmoved.

Two guards came over and forcefully tried to tie his hands together. He continued to remain as still as a statue, not even giving an eye to the chaos happening behind him.

The once well-respected and highly regarded High General of Tianxuan has committed a crime that even he cannot accept.

Moments later, a sudden, familiar voice finally made his head turn.

A young man, with sharp eyes that appear cold and distant, came running urgently in his direction.

“Father! Father!”

Qiu Tianhao turned around to see his son, Qiu Zhen (裘振, 25), Lieutenant General of Tianxuan, grab his shoulders and kneel down beside him.

“Father, I am sorry. I returned immediately after I received the news of His Majesty’s Royal Decree.”

“Son…,” said Qiu Tianhao. Even at a moment like this, he couldn’t help but let out a smile. Seeing his son always brought warmth to his heart, especially when this is the first time he has seen him in months.

There were many words that he wanted to say, but he only managed to mutter out, “…it is my fault. I have brought this upon everyone.”

“N…no, Father,” cried Qiu Zhen, as he shook his head with tears glimmering in his eyes. “I don’t blame you. You will always be a hero in my eyes and I respect your decision. I know you have your reasons for doing so.”

“…it is my honor to have a son like you.”

One of the guards suddenly walked up and interrupted their conversation, “Hey! No more talking! You arrived just in time. You are under arrest as well!” He gave Qiu Zhen a shove and proceeded to tie his hands together.

“How dare you talk to my son like that! He is a general after all! Do you know who he is to His Majesty? If you dare lay a hand on him again, I will see how His Majesty will punish you!” Qiu Tianhao retorted.

The guard laughed and spoke tauntingly. “We’ll see about that. Right now, both you and he are criminals. That’s all I care about.” He looked up at the other guards. “Take them back along with everyone else!”

Sobs and cries echoed throughout the entire estate as the 70-something innocent members of the Qiu household were being dragged out the front door. Some tripped over each other, others bumped into the many stone decorations laid out in the courtyard, causing them to fall flat on their faces.

It was a disastrous scene.

As Qiu Tianhao was being hauled out, he glanced over his shoulder to spot his son among the crowd and exclaimed, “Son! Remember! You are the only son of Qiu Tianhao! You must bring honor to the Qiu family name! No matter what, do not do anything that is against your conscience! Act with honesty and integrity! Even if you die, you must die a hero! Do you hear me?!!!”

It normally would be difficult for anyone to focus amid the ruckus, but Qiu Zhen heard his father’s words loud and clear.

However, he did not know how to respond.

He stopped in his steps and watched everyone in his family being shoved out the door like pigs on a farm.

No. This is not the way that his loved ones should be treated.

He came from a family of generals, and everyone in his family has made contributions to the state, major or minor.

Qiu Zhen clenched his fist and glanced at the guard next to him. “Take me into the Imperial Palace. I need to speak to His Majesty.”

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