1 Prologue: Wu TianLan

The day the crown prince of Wu, Wu TianLan was born, stars littered the sky. As his fortune was sought upon, none of the fortune-tellers could see what his fate was to be. Each star shined as brightly as the other, so they concluded that the beloved prince had his fate in his own hands, a rare occurrence none had ever seen before. He was likely a deity descended from the Heavens to bring prosperity to the empire.

The emperor was most pleased with this and surely, the crown prince grew up pampered beyond anyone's wildest dreams while befriending the two official's sons, Ruan AnChen and Lee SunLiu.

Skilled both in the arts of literature as well as yielding weaponry, he was loved by the officials and expected to be one of the greatest emperors in the history of China. The prince had grown up to be the fairest, his looks gathering attention wherever he went. It was said; he was so beautiful, the cherry trees didn't dare to blossom in his presence.

Marriage offers were thrown at him from all sides, but the prince had no interest in marriage. His parents had no heart to pressure the apple of their eye either, so the prince enjoyed his singlehood undisturbed. As meaningless as it might have been, this very little fact was to change his entire future as the emperor.

The moment TianLan ascended the throne at the age of 18, a war broke out. But people didn't mind. Dear TianLan was a righteous man. Instead of marrying the princess of the neighbouring country, he gracefully declined, appealing to the importance of true love and genuine feelings. The people felt proud. Besides being pretty to gaze at, the prince also had humility and respected woman! The late emperor must have been crying tears of joy in Heaven!

The war broke out simply because the neighbouring country felt their ego was chipped, but even that didn't waver the people's belief in their new emperor. Besides, they won the war soon after, since Wu TianLan had found himself a general, Wang ZhiYi, who alongside Lee SunLiu, won every battle they fought. And by Wu TianLan's side was also the smart and clever advisor and historian, Ruan AnChen.

A year later, the emperor still hadn't married, and the people grew a little worried. Since the two generations of Wu's had been great monarchs until now, adding to the family would only be good for the nation!

One more year and people carried a chip on their shoulders. Wu TianLan had declined every marriage offer possible. Was he a man or not? They were becoming a laughingstock to the neighbouring countries!

Another year rolled by and people were too unnerved to even complain anymore. Wu TianLan was now 22 and just married queen dowager, his mother! And not even one of the other 'mothers' his father had gathered along the years, but his own birthmother! It dawned in the people's heart that maybe the sudden passing of the previous emperor was not due to any ordinary sickness after all.

The worst of all was that word carried over from the neighbouring countries and the rumour was the last of the Wu's enjoyed bringing beautiful men to his sleeping quarters. The shame! How could the people show their faces now?

Soon, people were distracted enough to not care about their emperor's love life. Villages were being burned down, the people slaughtered without reason. Walking corpses, some say, demonic possessions, said others. All turned to Wu TianLan, expecting him to show them his worth as the emperor. Indeed, he assured the citizens that, yes, he will get to the root of the problem and solve it. The people felt relieved, of course, beloved Wu TianLan can solve anything tossed his way!

Few years later, the patience and adoration towards their emperor had worn thin. Instead of lowering the death count, it had now skyrocketed to thousands. And throughout this time, the emperor took horse rides to the villages on the outskirts of the city with Wang ZhiYi. To investigate, was the official announcement. More like leisure rides! Thought the people.

A few years later, the imperial official Jiang, hung himself. People caused a riot. Imperial official Jiang, the man who served the previous emperor Wu with loyalty and clever guidance, was now forced to death by this ratchet Wu TianLan!

Then, after another year, another imperial official family was executed in suspect of treason. One more year, one more imperial official family were nailed into boards and left out in the sun to bleed dry. By the third year, the fourth imperial family was chopped to pieces starting from their toes upwards while they were still alive, and their remains were fed to the dogs.

That was the last straw! Wu TianLan had to go! It was a common consensus, and no one was better to lead them than Lang YangZhou, the fifth and final standing imperial official. 'Standing' was of course a broad remark, as Lang YangZhou had lost his left leg in a dispute with the emperor before.

To everyone's surprise, Wu TianLan, after years of leading the nation to ruin, surrendered himself and was executed in public with general Lee SunLiu and historian Ruan AnChen.

By this time, Wu TianLan was so hated and despised, that as his head was still rolling on the ground, all of his belongings and mentions of his name were being thrown into bonfires, wiping his existence and reign off history.

The moment Wu TianLan's reign ended, so did the mindless bloodbath and slaughter of the people. This cemented in people's hearts, that indeed, it was Wu TianLan's fault after all! From this day onwards, there would be no Wu TianLan, and there never was such a despicable emperor!

As Wu TianLan was executed, lightning struck in the middle of a cloudless day. Everyone agreed that even gods hated Wu TianLan and struck his soul with the lightning, shattering it to dust. Even if he crawled to be reborn again, surely he could become nothing more but a beggar!

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