Tie Yihan Chapter 1

In late autumn, a group of people trudged along the deep and muddy ancient mountain trail through the freezing cold and snow. A fog-like snow covered the Goryeo border village at the foot of the mountain and stretched on for dozens of li across Changbai Mountain’s eastern slope. The distant peaks stood upright under the snow cover and the snow-laden clouds hovered right over the white jade peaks. Sometimes they were torn apart into floating cotton wads; at other times, they would sink like brocade quilts squeezed from the sky. It made people suspect that a heavy snow would start falling from the sky at any moment.

The edge of the ancient trail was lined with old but unknown wild trees whose leaves were like long, narrow daggers. The mountains became cold early on, so they were already withered and yellow. They were covered in broken patches of snow, with only some mottled parts of the trees showing through. Occasionally, some flashes of green evergreen trees would appear in the gaps between the yellow and white, but they also seemed particularly lonely and bleak.

The guards in the team were all wearing the same black chainmail. To make it easier to walk, the leather covers that went over their chainmail had all been discarded. Since there weren’t any locks to secure the chainmail as they marched, they all made noises that sounded like the ringing of bells. Through the holes in the chainmail, you could see that this group of people, regardless of their rank, were all wearing brocade silk robes. They definitely weren’t ordinary armored guards.

Even though they were walking on such a muddy mountain road, they moved forward steadily and confidently while holding their swords up. They had obviously received strict training.

At the forefront of this procession was Mao Xiang, the commander of the Brocade Uniform Guards.(1) He was a gloomy, middle-aged man with no stubble on his face. This made his resolute face look like it was full of cunning, which didn’t seem to fit with his uniform. This third-ranked official now had power in his hands, but he was walking in the mountains on the Goryeo border. But he didn’t feel slighted or have any complaints in his heart because he knew that this trip to the mountains was far more important to the emperor than any of the shady business that was going on with the court officials.

As Mao Xiang thought back on it now, he was very grateful that he had made such a wise decision at that time. If on that day, he had hesitated for a moment and didn’t wait until the emperor rose at night, who would be walking here now? Two months ago at Li Shanchang’s residence in Nanjing, the emperor secretly met with someone overnight. If he hadn’t personally gone to guard the emperor, he was afraid this job would have fallen into Li Qi’s hands.

Of course, this matter wasn’t so easy to handle, especially because the only order he received was to “cooperate without asking any additional questions” on the matter. All the way from Nanjing to here, the only thing he learned after listening while they walked and rested was that all of the secrets were in the hands of the white-clothed scholar walking behind the troops.

Thinking about it, Mao Xiang didn’t look back, because he knew what he would see when he did. Just like when he first saw him in Nanjing, the white-clothed scholar leisurely walked behind the troops in his white clothes. He looked neither happy nor worried and didn’t speak except to ask them to take a break from walking. If it weren’t for the tight formation of guards around him, any passers-by would think that this scholar had nothing to do with this group of soldiers.

Mao Xiang was born to one of the Mingghan households.(2) He had walked for thousands of miles and now felt a tiredness in his waist whenever he got up early in the morning. But this white-clothed scholar always looked the same. Not only was he not tired, but he seemed to walk even more easily as they entered the mountains.

“This person is definitely not ordinary.” Mao Xiang wasn’t the kind of reckless man who would make direct or indirect inquiries. After many years with the Brocade Uniform Guard, he had developed the skills to keep silent and move stealthily. Although he had all kinds of doubts in his heart throughout their journey, he didn’t ask any questions. But this route they were taking seemed to give him some food for thought.

Now they had gone deep into the hinterland of the Changbai Mountains. He was afraid it had something to do with the secret letter Beizhen Fusi had sent two months ago, but this secret letter had nothing to do with any of the court officials. Instead, it had something to do with a certain Jurchen border village on Goryeo’s border. This secret letter had been sent directly from Li Shanchang to the emperor’s own hand, and then a secret meeting was held overnight. Whatever it was, this matter was obviously very important.

Although the Li family was fighting Goryeo at this time, that didn’t seem to explain what the emperor was doing. And he didn’t bother explaining anything either. Instead, he simply sent them to protect the young white-clothed man on his journey to this mountain. He also repeatedly reminded Mao Xiang that this trip was secret and that they shouldn’t alert any party to their movements. Mao Xiang was afraid that this had nothing to do with Jurchen-Goryeo relations, and that it was really related to something in this mountain.

But what was it? Why did the emperor want them to come to this mountain? Mao Xiang looked at the falling snow in the distance and once again asked himself these questions, but he knew that there would be no answer until they reached wherever they were going in the mountain.

While he was thinking, a scout ran out of the forest up ahead. After wading through the fallen leaves and shrubs, he rolled all the way to Mao Xiang’s position. This man, Jing Huan, was a trusted junior officer who had followed Mao Xiang ever since he was in the Mingghan. Originally, he had already become a sixth-ranked officer in Nanjing, but because of this errand, Mao Xiang had him transferred back to this division. Jing Huan was also strong and skilled. When he was a child, he used to release the eagles for the Mongols. He was also extremely sensitive in the woods and was adept at using a hook knife. The head of the knife was made in the shape of a hook so that during a fight, you could bypass the opponent’s weapon guard and cut their fingers directly. It was a very ruthless tactic, and he was also considered a ruthless character in the division. 

<NPSS Live Stream Extras><Table of Contents><Tie Yihan Chapter 2>


TN Notes:

(1) Brocade Uniform Guard, imperial bodyguard and secret police force of the Ming emperors. Info here.

(2) Mingghan was a social-military unit of 1,000 households created by Genghis Khan. A Mongol regiment of 1,000 men could be recruited from this group. Info here.


I thought this was about Wang Zhanghai but I think it’s actually about Tie Mian Sheng (from Book 1 Cavern of Zombies, he’s that Iron-masked scholar Wu Xie reads about in the scroll they found in that tomb that came out of the tree—referred to as Mr. Iron-face in the book if that helps).

4 thoughts on “Tie Yihan Chapter 1

  1. is there a relation between this Li family and the Mystic nine’s Li family ? The one that existed before chen pi killed their head and established his name ?


      1. dang I’ve made a mistake! It was not Li but Si family that Chen pi fought. Li family is still going well apparently XD but yeah, if they’re related they really are old rooted LOL


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