Monarch of Evernight - Volume 10 - The Flag of Evernight (1183-) Chapter 1274: Fate and the Heart
The Radiant Emperor’s aspirations only became evident after the Pointer Monarch had been uprooted. Although there was still criticism behind the scenes regarding his over-ambitiousness, he remained true to his path.
After leaving the Fluid Hall, the emperor headed toward Wave Hall where his study was. This was where he usually handled official matters. The emperor would never stay here for long when the Longevity Monarch was still alive; only for specific official discussions and the like. After the monarch’s death, he seemed to be spending all his time here, to the point of neglecting the harem.
After he had taken his seat in the Wave Hall, an attendant brought out a thick stack of documents. The emperor went through them one after the other, delighted at times and gloomy in others. His brows rose sharply in surprise when he arrived at a certain document. He didn’t put it down immediately after reading it and, instead, went through it again. He then asked someone to summon Empress Li.
Once Empress Li entered the hall, the emperor said, “Things look dire on the Transcendent Continent, do you have any good ideas for me?”
Empress Li smiled. “I can’t even use my divination anymore, how can I have any good ideas?”
“Transcendent’s danger has greatly weakened the Empire’s strength. Our progress in the new world is probably far behind Evernight. Humph, those useless people! I must drag them out and sacrifice a few once the situation in the new world is stable!”
“Nothing in the world, big or small, is worthy of you getting angry. Speaking of which, didn’t we dispatch two army corps?”
The Radiant Emperor stood up with a sigh and paced around a bit. “Ignoring the fighting power of these rushed troops, they’re still fighting on their own on Transcendent Continent. The aristocratic families want them to be the frontline cushion, but there’s no way those two commanders will fall for that. They’re giving all kinds of excuses to withhold their forces. In the end, everything is just a loose plate of sand.”
Empress Li said, “Is it the Nangong family leading Transcendent?”
“That sure sounds like their style, but using the Imperial army as cannon fodder is too excessive.”
The Radiant Emperor snorted. “Do they think I have no idea what they’re plotting? The Nangong have lost their land. What do I do if all the other aristocratic families lose their territories as well? I can’t just toss them all into the landowning caste, can I? They’re only one step away from that state.”
Empress Li sighed. “These aristocratic families are all failing, there’s no good solution even after a thousand years. Unless…”
The Radiant Emperor shook his head, stopping the empress from continuing. He brought out a document and passed it to her. “Well, it’s not all bad news. The good news doesn’t disappoint.”
Empress Li opened the document, looking rather surprised as she read the contents. “The Yin and Kong borrowed troops from Qianye and returned to Transcendent Continent. They’ve already annihilated one beast legion and released the Kong family’s territories. Now that’s fast. How many soldiers did Qianye lend them?”
The Radiant Emperor stretched out a finger.
“Ten thousand? Nah, that’s too little. A hundred thousand?”
“Just one, a divine champion.”
“Divine champion!” After the initial surprise, Empress Li sighed. “Now that’s a pretty powerful hand to play. Has he already found his footing on Fort Continent?”
“Not just that, I have a feeling his progress in the new world is even faster than Zhao Jundu and Zining. Just look at this.”
Empress Li received the document, exclaiming in surprise when she opened it. “Five hundred thousand! And werewolves, no less! How is that even possible?”
The Radiant Emperor laughed wryly. “I also thought it was impossible at first, but this is certain. The information comes from an old asset. That person has remained hidden on Fort Continent for many years and only acts on big news. He has never made a mistake before. Besides, multiple other channels have confirmed this fact. Even some of the aristocracy dispatched to Fort Continent have witnessed Qianye’s werewolf army. The part they saw only contained about a hundred thousand soldiers, but those are only new troops undergoing training. His main forces have probably entered the new world already.”
“This Qianye really is…” Empress Li didn’t know how to describe him.
The Radiant Emperor said, “This Qianye is rising to power so rapidly. He was just a young man with potential back then, but now, he’s a capable and powerful leader. As I see it, his ambitions have just started taking shape; his future is limitless. Humph, if only those idiots hadn’t pushed him out of the Empire.”
“At least Qianye’s heart still belongs to the Empire. After all, he possesses a vampire bloodline, so it’s not entirely appropriate for him to occupy a high position in the Empire.”
“You’re right, but whatever the case, it’s time to rope him in with everything we have.”
Empress Li said, “We have Duke Chengen, Zhao Jundu, Zhao Ruoxi, and Song Zining. There’s no worry of him joining Evernight.”
The Radiant Emperor shook his head. “We can’t be complacent. Don’t forget how he killed his way into the military compound and killed Li Fengshui, who was so much more powerful than him back then. He managed to escape with Nighteye in the end, but that’s only because the Zhao clan helped him secretly. He was prepared to die when he walked in. So, we can’t be certain those friends of his are enough when it comes to Nighteye.”
Empress Li said warmly, “Then what should we do, please instruct us.”
The Radiant Emperor said, “This Qianye is sentimental and loyal to his friends, but Ji Tianqing alone might not be enough to make him stay. If you have any other tricks up your sleeve, you’d better use them all.”
“I do have my ways, but there will be a price involved. I wonder how much of a price you’re willing to pay.”
The Radiant Emperor said after a moment of silence, “Any price!”
Empress Li affirmed the order, then left with a bow.
The Radiant Emperor didn’t return to his desk immediately. Instead, he turned toward a display wall covered in drawings and calligraphy. These masterpieces from famous artists would be rotated out every ten days. Every Emperor of Qin shared love for calligraphy, drawing, or both. The work of these masters embodied their experiences and comprehensions, so appreciating their work was one way to boost one’s cultivation.
The Radiant Emperor walked over to the latticework, where a small piece of artwork sat between several mountain and river paintings. He stared at it with a tired smile, then leaned his head lightly on the wall beside the inscription.
“Teacher… one day, you will see the bright sun rising from this world.”
After leaving Wave Hall, Empress Li summoned Eunuch Liu. After the old man had taken his seat and had some tea, she said, “You’ve seen Qianye before in the neutral lands. What do you think of his potential?”
Eunuch Liu said slowly, “Do you even need my evaluation? He has already proven everything at the Frozen Jade Manor and on Fort Continent. He’s already a lord of a land, and his future is still boundless.”
Empress Li asked again, “That’s what I do not understand, why was he able to gain the werewolves’ loyalty?”
It was clear that Eunuch Liu knew all about the situation on Fort Continent. “After some thought, I can only think of one reason: bloodline power.”
“Please tell me more.”
“Qianye isn’t a werewolf, but his darkness origin power is probably at an extremely high level and just as pure as its Venus Dawn counterpart. The dark races’ bloodline power is, at its core, just a measure of how pure one’s origin power is in the system. The closer one is to the darkness origins, the stronger he is. Whether it’s blood energy or demonic energy, that’s just the external appearance.”
Empress Li was surprised. “True. So does that mean Qianye possesses first-rate talent in blood energy as well?”
“That’s my only explanation.”
“Inconceivable.” Empress Li sighed while shaking her head. “How did our Empire lose such a talented person?”
Eunuch Liu didn’t think it was a serious matter. “Talented people will arise in every generation, missing one or two doesn’t affect the big picture. Song Zining is pretty good as well, and as I see it, it’s not the end of the road for Zhao Jundu, either.”
“After his foundations were damaged, he forced a breakthrough and buried himself in secular military affairs. Other people might think he’s being ignorant, but I think this child is tempering his foundations like one would temper true gold in flames. Success is not impossible.”
Empress Li sighed. “This Swallowcloud Zhao Clan sure produces a lot of talents.”
“The Zhao clan is smart, but they don’t have any top talents, so there’s no need to fear them. This clan produces geniuses in every generation, but it’s precisely because they are so talented that they’re lacking in polish; their progress has always been too smooth. Look at them, they have a host of divine champions but so few heavenly monarch candidates. If Zhao Wuji hadn’t moved his entire clan to the Western Continent, they would not be enjoying today’s power and prosperity.”
“You’re right. I think our Li clan is also enjoying too much peace.”
Eunuch Liu made no comment. “All of that is just my opinion.”
“Prince Greensun’s path looks smooth, but after careful observation, it’s actually full of sacrifices. He gave up everything except the martial path and every breakthrough was accompanied by fatal perils. He would’ve fallen if there was any mistake along the way.” Empress Li sighed at this point, almost as though she had thought of something.
“Are you thinking about that engagement, Your Highness?”
“Forgive me for being blunt, but Prince Greensun never agreed.”
Empress Li sighed. “You might not know, but the engagement could’ve happened that day. It’s just that the prince has just ascended to the heavenly monarch realm and is entirely focused on the martial path, he has no wish to be bound by anything. His reply was to discuss in ten years, but Kuanglan can’t wait that long.”
“Since we cannot sacrifice ten years of youth for this engagement, then it was bound not to happen.”
Empress Li nodded. “At that point, I understood that all success involves sacrifices. The more one wants, the more they will have to give. It’s the same for a family or a country, prosperity always involves someone’s sacrifice.”
Eunuch Liu said calmly, “The Li family is bound to become a major clan, it’s only a matter of time. What are you worried about?”
Empress Li shook her head. “People will talk about us if we ascend right now, we don’t have nearly enough accomplishments. On the other hand, it’s only because of the Imperial Steward’s departure that our family has this opportunity. We were utterly inferior to him in the divination field.”
“I wonder if I should say this.”
“Please speak freely.”
“Xitang’s genius is not at all inferior to Prince Greensun. Competing with him is just seeking frustration.”
Empress Li chuckled. “I know that’s the case, but I’m still unresigned. He’s already gone, but he has left behind so many plans in motion. I just want to see if I can defeat him this once.”
“Where do you plan to take action?”
“Of course, it’s Qianye.”
“… Then good luck, Your Highness.”
“You don’t think my chances are good?”
“If the plans were laid down by Xitang, then Qianye will surely be at the heart of it. It’s fine if you want to try, but don’t be depressed if you fail.”
“A scheme is dead if it cannot adapt to the situation. He’s gone now, so even if there’s a plan, it’s a dead plan. Why can’t I win?”
“Fate reflects the human heart. Xitang might be gone, but Qianye remains… and that means the plan is still alive. Your Majesty might be peerless in calculating heaven’s mysteries, but the human heart…”