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A Sword Hidden in the Fish's Belly

Once upon a time, in the ancient state of Wu during the Spring and Autumn period of China, a tale of courage and conspiracy unfolded that would be remembered through the ages. This is the story of the Banquet of the Brave.

In the heart of Wu, a usurper king named Liao sat on the throne, having deceitfully taken it from his nephew, Prince Guang. Resolute in reclaiming his rightful place, Prince Guang plotted to overturn this injustice. Advised by the wise Wu Zixu, Prince Guang took under his wing a warrior of unmatched bravery and skill, named Zhuan Zhu.

Zhuan Zhu, a man of Yue who had seen his share of struggles, was entrusted with a mission of grave importance. He was to master the art of cooking a great carp, King Liao's favorite dish. The prince intended to use this culinary allure as a means to draw the usurper into a trap.

The fateful day arrived when King Liao was invited to a grand banquet at Prince Guang's residence. Despite his suspicions, the allure of the famed carp dish was too tempting for King Liao to resist. He accepted the invitation, though not without taking extensive security measures. The path from the palace to the prince's residence was heavily guarded, and every attendee, including the servers and chefs, underwent stringent checks.

As the banquet commenced in a hall filled with wary guards, the atmosphere was tense. Prince Guang, under the guise of needing to use the restroom, excused himself, setting the stage for Zhuan Zhu's daring act. Disguised as a chef, Zhuan Zhu approached, carrying the magnificent carp.

At the doorstep, the guards conducted their routine checks and allowed him in, unaware of the deadly secret hidden within the fish. As Zhuan Zhu knelt before King Liao to present the dish, the king, captivated by the sight of his favorite meal, let his guard down. It was then that Zhuan Zhu made his move. In a swift, unexpected motion, he pulled a sharp short sword from the belly of the carp and struck King Liao, piercing through his armor and into his heart.

The guards, stunned by this sudden turn of events, took a moment to react before they descended upon Zhuan Zhu, ending his life in a flurry of blades. But it was too late for King Liao; his reign had come to an abrupt end. Prince Guang emerged with his men, seizing control of the situation. He soon ascended to the throne, known to history as King Helü of Wu.

The Banquet of the Brave became a legend, not just for its dramatic assassination, but as a symbol of cunning strategy and the lengths to which one might go for justice and rightful rule. The story of Zhuan Zhu's bravery and sacrifice lived on, echoed through the annals of history as a testament to loyalty and valor in the face of tyranny.


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