Long Live The Emperor!

Chapter 8

Fox Spirit

One hour later.

Xia Ji had finished carving all 18 prayer beads. As he loosened his right hand, the eighteen prayer beads floated into the air, rotating counterclockwise above his palm.

As the beads connected, they each projected an image of a swastika. The 18 layers overlapped on top of each other, glowing with bright golden color and emanating power. The power that was contained within was restless and begging to be let loose, but Xia Ji suppressed it.

The intensity of the energy may not have been as powerful as directly combining inner vitality and stamina, but just being able to transfer these powers to a block of agarwood was already a pleasant surprise.

However, the energy spent could not be replenished by using inner vitality. After carving 18 prayer beads in succession, Xia Ji could not prevent himself from feeling drained.

He sat motionless for a while before closing his palm. The gold swastika disappeared and the prayer beads fell. The flowing golden plasma also disappeared as he gathered everything into his palm.

Xia Ji turned his head. The light of the dawn was shining through the windows and the footsteps of the servant who was in charge of delivering meals could be heard approaching.

A few moments later, the door opened.

The servant entered with a lunch box in hand.

It was a bowl of plain porridge and a handful of blanched vegetables. Even the flavored side dishes were gone.

Xia Ji knew that this was Imperial Concubine Wan’s way of showing her “care”.

He finished his tasteless breakfast calmly under the admiring eyes of the servant.

After that, Xia Ji requested more agarwood. As an Imperial Prince, no one would prevent him from carving prayer beads from wood. It was the same concept as an admiral going down into the fields; he was showing that he had no interest in the fight for power. Soon, a few large blocks of agarwood were delivered to the archive chamber.

Thus, Xia Ji recited sutras in the day, and when night fell, he used the Zen method to carve prayer beads. Asides from his abilities, these prayer beads were also cards that he could play.

Although he had not previously tested out siphoning his powers and storing them in a prayer bead, Xia Ji could feel the immense power within the prayer beads. The intensity of the power increased along with the number of prayer beads.

Just when he had carved another twenty or so prayer beads, someone knocked at the door.

Knock knock knock.

A smile appeared on Xia Ji’s face. He knew who had come to visit.

“Come in.”


The door opened.

A cute face poked its way in.

The Ninth Imperial Princess joyfully ran to her brother’s side as she called out, “Brother!”

Xia Ji patted the Imperial Princess’s long, silky hair and smiled. “Did something good happen again?”

The Imperial Princess leaned close to him as she whispered, “I went to pray for blessings for you today, and I met the little fox again.

“The little fox’s injured paw is already half-healed, and it ran up to me to tug on the edge of my skirt. It looked like it wanted to bring me somewhere, so I followed it.

The guard was worried for my safety and wanted to come along, but the minute he started following us, the little fox would stop moving, so I ordered the guard to stop following.”

Xia Ji’s expression shifted slightly. Were foxes that clever?

Xia Xiaosu went on, “The little fox brought me to a village in the mountains, and there was a gorgeous young girl there. When the girl saw that the fox brought me there, she came over to chat. Her name’s Hu Ling, and she’s been living in the mountains with the foxes for company for years now. All the foxes already have some form of spiritual enlightenment, but they don’t know how to read. Hu Ling doesn’t know many words herself, so she hoped that I could teach them how to read.

“I was scared, but curious at the same time. But I gave in when I saw how Hu Ling was looking expectantly at me, as well as the other foxes, who seemed to understand what was happening and were staring at me with pleading eyes. I figured that teaching them a few words wouldn’t be too much trouble so I agreed to teach them.

“After teaching a little bit about the Three Character Classics, the foxes were all scratching their heads and ears like they were confused. I was a little happy and a little confused at the same time, I wondered if they could understand what I was talking about at all.

“Ms. Hu Ling was very happy too. She treated me to all sorts of fruits that could only be found in the mountains, and talked about how the foxes could imitate humans and understand mannerisms and honor, as well as the difference between kindness and malevolence, and could even behave courteously. On top of that, they had long stopped eating raw meat—human flesh even more so—and now had a diet mostly of Indian gooseberries.

“Since it was still early, Ms. Hu Ling took me to a cave in the village, which was filled with bookshelves. She said that the books on the shelves were all out-of-print volumes, and as a thank you, she would let me borrow a copy.

“I was just going to quickly leaf through them, but the moment I got a good look, I never wanted to leave. There were books that we only heard of in legends before and even some hidden archives about techniques. I browsed for a long time and I picked out a book. Brother, why don’t you guess what book it is?”

Xia Ji did not respond. Raising a hand, he placed it gently on top of his little sister’s brow. Gentle energy flowed through his fingers into the Imperial Princess’s skin, but he did not detect the presence of any malicious spirits after a short examination.

He was already on the ninth level of two zen methods and had immensely strong spiritual strength. He did not even need to probe deliberately, even if he were lying down and fast asleep, he would still be able to detect the presence of malicious spirits. However, even the brief scan revealed nothing unusual.

Could it be that the fox spirits had no ill intent?

Xia Xiaosu carefully took out an ancient scripture. There were scorch marks at the beginning and end of the text, but the overall content was complete and nothing was missing. There were two words inscribed onto the cover of the scripture: Future Maitreya.

The word “sutra” had been destroyed in the burning.

“Future Maitreya Sutra”!

This scripture was said to be one of three secret collections of the Leiyin Temple from hundreds of years ago and was also the most important scripture, but it had been destroyed during the raid of the Great Leiyin Temple when the rebellion was ongoing. As the Shang Dynasty rose, the smaller Leiyin Temple was built near the Imperial City, which led to the existence of the temple on Mount Meru today.

Xia Ji knew that Leiyin Temple housed the Present Rudraksha Sutra as well as the Past Dipankara Sutra, but he was confident that it did not have the Future Maitreya Sutra. The loss of the Future Maitreya Sutra was something that anyone who had dabbled in Buddhism literature would know about, and it was the collective regret of all Buddhists.

Upon seeing it, Xia Ji rejoiced in his heart. His sister was a lucky charm, to be able to encounter such a mysterious thing. It was nothing less than treasure falling from the sky! The three secret collections of the past, present, and future were clearly connected, and now that he had his hands on this long-lost scripture, he could finally understand their secrets.

Xia Xiaosu felt genuinely happy when she saw Xia Ji break into an unmistakable smile. She was glad that she was able to do a little something for her brother before she left for Tujue.

Flicking through a few pages, Xia Ji felt a mysterious power rush through him. This convinced him that the book was real. Even more curious now, he peeled his eyes away from it and asked, “Xiaosu, you’ve met a fox spirit. The girl, Hu Ling, was probably a shape-shifting fox spirit.”

Shapeshifters were not uncommon in Buddhist scriptures. There were even folk tales of monks and Taoist priests who shapeshifted to defeat monsters.

Xia Xiaosu was not clueless. “I guessed that she was a fox spirit as well.”

Xia Ji flicked his sister on the forehead. “Spirits are different from humans! You knew that and you still went along?”

Xia Xiaosu rubbed her head as she stuck out her tongue. “I treated them kindly, and they treated me with kindness in turn. I taught them about the rituals behind being kind as well as being mean, and they lent me books. We exchanged courtesies, just like how two proper gentlemen would do. I would say that they’re better than many people inside the palace.

“Brother, I’ve only got two months left in the Imperial Capital, so let me roam about and explore a little. There are so many restrictions within the palace already, please let me be.”

Xia Ji looked relieved, and after a moment of thinking, he said softly, “Xiaosu, the next time you meet Hu Ling, ask her, what does she want?”

As he spoke, he took the prayer beads and counted out 14 of them. Stringing them into a bracelet, he passed it to her. “Wear this. If you’re in danger, concentrate, then put these prayer beads to your brow.

Receiving the bracelet, Xia Xiaosu rolled up her sleeve and slid it onto her wrist, not thinking much about it. Her brother was a pious Buddhist, so these prayer beads were probably to soothe him psychologically more than anything.

Whatever her brother said, she would follow without question.


All was silent.

A horse came galloping over from the West, the sounds of its hooves breaking the tranquility as its rider rushed to the West Gate of the Imperial City and shouted, “Urgent report from the front lines, open the city gate immediately!!”

The city guard raised their torches and went over to the edge of the walls. Looking down, they were greeted by the sight of a face full of fear.

Waving the predetermined signal, the communicator troop continued shouting, “Urgent report from the front lines, open the city gate immediately!!”

His voice was trembling and rushed, and his anxiety was evident.

The city guard stared for a moment before hurriedly saying, “Open the gates!”

“Yes, sir!”

The two guards ran down from the castle head in a hurry.

There was a screeching sound.

The gates were opened.

And dreadful news was received.

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