Chapter 478 - Empress Cang Yue
The ice flames left Yun Che’s palm and latched onto the surface of the stone door. There was no roar of power, nor was there any eruption of Phoenix flames or Frozen End energy; in fact there was not even the slightest bit of sound or light that normally came with the release of power. The ice flames simply slowly extinguished themselves and disappeared, without making a single sound.
However, fist-sized depressions had appeared on the parts of the stone door where the ice flames had landed!
These depressions curved inwardly to form perfectly shaped hemispheres. The surface of these depressions were extremely smooth, comparable to a perfectly crafted mirror; it was as if this surface had been polished using the world's most exquisite craftsmanship.
After observing these depressions closely, Yun Che’s face was filled with joy and surprise. Before, when he had activated Purgatory and used his strongest attack, even after breaking Dragon Fault in the process, he had only been able to cause a crack the size of his pinky nail. It had barely given him the slimmest glimmer of hope that he could one day escape from this place. However, because of the miracle caused by the ice flames, he could clearly envision the day he would walk out of this place!
“Very good!”, Yun Che said excitedly as he clenched both his fists, “If this is the case, I might only need to repeat this process several hundred times until I can create a big enough gap for me to escape!”
Once again, Yun Che spread out both his eyes, ignited his Phoenix flames, and concentrated his Frozen End. But this time, before he could even begin to combine the two, his mind swam, and a deep sense of fatigue seemed to have come forth from his profound veins. The reaction of both his mind and profound strength caused him to hesitate for a moment. He released both the Phoenix flames and the Frozen End energy and began to meditate, focusing fully on recovering both his profound energy and mental strength.
After a while, Yun Che’s profound energy and mental strength had recovered to around their peak condition, and he once again began to fuse together the ice flames. This time, the fusion took slightly less time than it had before. Once again, he smashed the ice flames against the stone door in the exact same spots which he attacked before. After the ice flame had once again done its silent and deadly work, the width and the depth of those fist-sized depressions had noticeably increased, but the surface was still as smooth as a mirror, with no hint of roughness.
Yun Che’s only goal right now was to escape this place where he had been trapped for the last eighteen months. So the rest of his time was spent on two activities; the first was the fusion of ice flame, the second was the recovery of his profound energy and mental strength. Every day was spent repeating this process over and over again… Unknowingly, the time he took to fuse the ice flames became faster and faster. Initially, he could only fuse it twice a day. However, this rose to thrice a day, then four times a day… After five months had passed, when Yun Che was in peak condition, he could even forcibly fuse the ice flames up to five times a day!
Compared to how it was initially, the time required to fuse the ice flames and the profound and mental energy it consumed had all been reduced by several times.
Moreover, after undergoing this process, both his profound and mental strength had been greatly tempered...
Profound Sky Continent, Blue Wind Nation.
Presently, two years had already passed since the news of Yun Che’s death in the Primordial Profound Ark. While Yun Che was undergoing a life-and-death struggle in the Primordial Profound Ark, Blue Wind Nation had long ago descended into chaos and become a land beset by war.
Blue Wind Nation’s capital, Blue Wind Imperial City.
“Your Majesty, it is a disaster. New Moon City has been completely occupied and both Governor Murong and General Zhen Huai have fallen in battle. Some disciples from the New Moon Profound Palace tried to organize further resistance… But they have all been killed in battle as well… Presently, New Moon City, Bluefire Region, Solid Earth Territory… Have all been lost to us……”
The bearing of bad tidings caused the expressions of everyone present to change agitatedly. Blue Wind Palace Chief Dongfang Xiu said in a shocked voice, “How can it be this fast? Didn’t New Moon City have four hundred thousand troops garrisoned there?!”
“Reporting to Palace Chief Dongfang, yesterday the Divine Phoenix Empire’s siege unit was bolstered by the sudden addition of four experts from the Divine Phoenix Sect. They were reportedly all Tyrant Profound level experts… Over half of our four hundred thousand troops were killed under the might of their Phoenix flames… Half of New Moon City has also been burned into cinders!” The heavily wounded soldier shouted as he began to sob loudly.
All of those present were amongst the highest echelons of power within Blue Wind Nation, but once they heard such news, sweat broke out all over their bodies as their faces blanched and their hearts began to birth a feeling of utter despair. All of their gazes began to concentrate on Cang Yue.
Cang Yue was dressed in a set of gold clothing, wearing a purple gold crown on her head. She stood on the tower of the city gate, gazing towards the south; it seemed as if she could see the faraway flames of battle. Her expression still retained its majesty, and her beautiful eyes were filled with calm, as if the loss of New Moon City had not affected her in the least.
She was no longer that gentle and delicate Princess Cang Yue, whose whole existence revolved around Yun Che. She was now the empress of Blue Wind Nation, held the ultimate authority within her country, and was responsible for leading her people in these dark and troubled times.
She turned around, as her Phoenix-like eyes surveyed the people around her, and spoke in a voice as calm as water, “Everyone, now that New Moon has been lost, does anyone have anything to say?”
All the officials gathered looked at each other, but no one stood forth to speak. Divine Phoenix Empire was just too strong. Compared to Blue Wind Nation, the disparity between the power of both of these nations could be said to be akin to heaven and earth. Engaging in war with the Divine Phoenix Empire could not be termed as a battle, it was instead a one-sided massacre and suppression. The Divine Phoenix Empire invasion had not even lasted for two years, yet Blue Wind Nation had lost more than half of its territories, and even more importantly, the five most important major cities had been lost as well. In fact, it was likely they would soon come knocking on the doors of the Blue Wind Imperial City itself… Without even considering the present Blue Wind Nation, even if it was a Blue Wind Nation which was stronger by ten times, it still would not be enough to withstand this assault.
In the face of absolute power, all schemes and fighting spirit were nothing but fleeting shadows.
Under this death-like oppressive silence, one person couldn’t tolerate it any longer and stood up, shouting: “Royal sister! This battle is unwinnable and any further resistance, besides increasing the number of casualties, is utterly meaningless! Divine Phoenix Empire’s army is already pressing upon on our gates, and will reach Blue Wind Imperial City in no time at all. To surrender now and end this war is the most correct decision!”
The one who spoke was precisely Second Prince Cang Ye… No, following Cang Yue’s coronation as Empress, he had already been elevated to that of Grand Prince, no longer remaining a princeling. After those words left his mouth, the faces of several of the generals present darkened with fury… However, these generals were strictly in the minority. The eyes of the large majority present flickered, because what Cang Ye had said was what was buried in the heart for the longest time; it was just that they did not dare to voice it out.
“How presumptuous of you!” Cang Yue shouted in rage, “Our nation is imperiled, New Moon City has fallen, but instead of thinking of your country and hating the Divine Phoenix Empire, you dare to say such shameful things in front of everyone! You have utterly disappointed this empress!”
Cang Ye saw the reactions of the people surrounding him, clenched his teeth, and harshly cried, “Royal Sister! In regards to the strength of Divine Phoenix Empire, and the continued existence of our Blue Wind Nation, we are all well aware of the impending outcome! All of this so-called resistance is simply meaningless! If we surrender and take the initiative to welcome the Divine Phoenix Army, the war will end immediately. Our Blue Wind Nation will be absorbed under the banner of the Divine Phoenix Empire and not only will we be allowed to live, we will even be granted significant status as nobles….”
“Silence!” Empress Cang Yue’s beautiful brows arched and she yelled in fury, “Cang Ye! As a grand prince of the imperial family, how can you utter such outrageous and shameless words? Have you forgotten the atrocities Divine Phoenix Empire has inflicted on our nation? Have you forgotten how many of our citizens died to defend our country? Have you forgotten how our royal father died… In the face of this national grievance and in front of the bones of countless heroes, you dare to show such cowardly behavior and would choose to be a defeated dog…”
Cang Yue’s chest violently heaved, her extreme disappointment and anger clear for all to see, “Because this was your first offence, this empress will, for the time being, forget what you have just said. However, if you dare say anything to besmirch the dignity of our Imperial family again, this empress will definitely not spare you!”
Being fiercely reprimanded by Cang Yue in front of all the high officials caused Cang Ye’s face to darken. He once more clenched his teeth and shouted in a discontented voice, “Royal Sister! I am not cowardly or afraid of death! It is for our Blue Wind Imperial Family, for the lives of all of those present, and even for our entire Blue Wind Nation that I say these things! Divine Phoenix Empire is everywhere, all the large sects have surrendered, and even Xiao Sect took the initiative to welcome them and express their loyalty… We can only continue on if we survive, and to be able to tolerate momentary shame is the hallmark of a real man… Moreover, royal sister, now that you are the empress of Blue Wind, if you take the initiative to surrender, the Divine Phoenix Empire may even let you continue on as the Blue Wind Nation’s ruler. If you do not do this, there is only a dead end awaiting you. The two fates are as different as heaven and earth… Royal sister, please come to your senses!”
“Bastard!” Empress Cang Yue roared in a low voice, her majestic gaze turning cold enough to pierce bone, “Men! Drag Cang Ye out below this tower and behead him for all to see!”
Once the words had come out of Cang Yue’s mouth, all the people present were thrown into a state of shock. Immediately, more than ten senior officials hurriedly stood up, but before they could utter a single word, they were cut off by Cang Yue’s icy voice, “Whoever dares to plead for his sake, will be implicated as well!”
Two golden-clothed imperial guards strode forth and firmly took hold of Cang Ye, preparing to drag him out. Cang Ye had never in his wildest dreams thought that Cang Yue would actually execute him… After all, he was Cang Yue’s blood brother, a prince of the Blue Wind Nation. He cried out as he struggled, “You… You dare to kill me? I am Grand Prince of Blue Wind Nation, your royal brother… All that I have said was for the sake of the survival of the royal bloodline. On what basis do you have to kill me… If you kill me, how can you face our dead royal father?!”
“If this empress does not kill you, then I really would not be able to face our royal father, and will let down all the ancestors of our Blue Wind Imperial Family! The fact that our Blue Wind Imperial Family has birthed such a wretched and cowardly degenerate who would rather be the slave of the enemy, is our true shame… There is no need to drag him outside, behead him immediately!!”
“Royal sister… You… Wait, wait, Royal sister… Ah!!”
As the blade of the imperial guardsman rose and fell neatly, so too did Cang Ye’s head fly from his neck in front of everyone present. Blood flew everywhere as his head landed on the ground and rolled a far distance, leaving a scarlet trail of blood gurgling in its wake.
A heavy gurgling sound issued from the throats of all who were present, and those who originally stood forth to plead on behalf of Cang Ye retreated in profuse fear, both legs going soft immediately. After Cang Yue had ascended to the throne, the Blue Wind Profound Palace that was under the command of Dongfang Xiu became completely loyal to her. Controlling both the power of the Blue Wind Profound Palace and having the status of Empress was equivalent to having the greatest control over who lived or died. Even though Cang Ye was a Grand Prince, if she wanted to kill him, no one would dare to stop her or express discontent.
“Blue Wind can completely collapse, but it can never be allowed to yield and live out an ignoble existence! Blue Wind may be extinguished, this empress may die, but as long as this empress draws a single breath, I will fight Divine Phoenix Empire to the death… Now, who else among you wants to surrender?”
Empress Cang Yue’s gaze swept across all who were present, her voice carrying a heavy threat and a faint killing intent. As her voice fell, over hundred senior officials in the venue fell to their knees hurriedly, and not a single sound could be heard after. No one dared to mention the word ‘surrender’ anymore.
Dongfang Xiu stood at the forefront and he silently watched Empress Cang Yue, his heart letting out a long sigh. He had stayed by Cang Wanhe’s side for the longest time; it could be said that he had watched Cang Yue grow up. In the palace where a silent war was constantly being waged on all sides, her heart had remained as clear as still water, a soft and tender blossom. She loathed conflict and never used her status as a princess to ride roughshod over people of lower status. She was gentle and compassionate, and forget about killing others, as she was growing up, she couldn’t even bear to hurt someone.
After she and Yun Che got married, she cared even less about the affairs of the imperial family, and even forgot her status as a princess, as she committed her entire heart to Yun Che. After Yun Che left for Frozen Cloud Asgard, she spent her days gazing at the window wistfully, and did not hesitate to ask the palace maids for instruction, to learn the things a wife was supposed to know. All her thoughts were focused on becoming Yun Che’s most splendid and perfect taste.
But the present Cang Yue had become a completely different person, killing decisively, towering above all others and at times even becoming cruel and merciless; cold and callous. Her previous softness and grace had completely disappeared.
Two years ago, once they received news that Yun Che had died within the Primordial Profound Ark, Cang Yue had fainted on the spot and fell deeply ill. Three months later, Divine Phoenix Empire dispatched their three million strong army to rush across their border, beginning a large-scale invasion. This threw Blue Wind into chaos as it faced a precarious situation… Another three months later, Cang Wanhe was assassinated, and even on his deathbed, he could not find someone to succeed the throne… The princes had spent their entire lives jostling for position, scheming to win the approval of Cang Wanhe, as they all dreamed of becoming emperor. But once Divine Phoenix Empire invaded, Blue Wind’s only fate was to perish. Who would be willing to be the ruler of a dead nation? All of them would rather hide away.
However at that time, Cang Yue, who was still mired in the pain of Yun Che’s death, appeared at Cang Wanhe’s bedside, and using her weak shoulders, willingly took on the burden of fighting against the doomed fate of her nation. In the history of the Blue Wind Imperial Family, there had never had been a female ruler before. However, when Cang Yue ascended to the throne, there was not even a single objection from the princes. Instead, they all let out a long sigh of relief.
Dongfang Xiu still remembered when Cang Wanhe grabbed Cang Yue’s hand, both his eyes filling with tears, as he said every word softly, “Yue’er, it will be hard on you…” After which, his gaze froze and old tears fell as he died, filled with regret.
Yes, it was indeed hard on her. She had to simultaneously shoulder a widow’s pain and the calamity of a doomed nation… If it was any other regular girl, this task would be impossible. But she was capable of doing so, and after ascending to the throne, she never shed a single tear again as her disposition underwent a huge change… Or it was more apt to say that in the face of this calamity, she had no choice but to change.
All that she had experienced and endured as Empress over the last one and a half years was even more than what Cang Wanhe had endured over his decades of rule. And her present might and disposition of a ruler was not any less than Cang Wanhe at the outset of his rule. Her every word and action was filled with imperial power.
Dongfang Xiu was not sure if he should rejoice or if his heart should grieve.
“General Feng, you will immediately lead all the cavalry under my command towards the south. At the same time, send a sound transmission to Great Desert Lord Geng Wanli and advise him to give up on the northern and the western front. Then, immediately set out towards the south… March through the day and night if you have to, but you must meet at the Ten Thousands Beast Mountain Range, which is to the north of New Moon City! After which you will conceal yourselves on both sides of the Ten Thousand Beast Mountain Range, and once the Divine Phoenix Army arrives, you will ambush them from the left and right!”
“Always bear this in mind! The deeper you journey into the Ten Thousand Beasts Mountain Range, the fiercer the profound beasts will be. Therefore, conceal yourselves on its periphery if you can and never attempt to delve deeper!”
When she mentioned the Ten Thousand Beasts Mountain Range, Cang Yue’s heart began to tremble… Because it was after they had gone through that period of joy and sorrow together in the Ten Thousand Beast Mountain range all those years ago that their hearts had become one.
“This general has received your command!” An awe-inspiring general who was radiating martial power and in full armor gave a salute. After which, he raised his head to ask, “Your Majesty, if Geng Wanli travels south, he will pass by the Heavenly Sword Mountain Range. Should he once again ask Heavenly Sword Villa for help?”
Empress Cang Yue’s slender eyebrows twitched, and her gaze fell in the direction of Heavenly Sword Villa. She spoke in a voice as cold as ice, “One thousand years ago, my Blue Wind ancestor and the ancestor of the Heavenly Sword Villa were sworn brothers for life, both parties mutually supported one another, with one having all political authority, while the other had all the power. They swore a blood oath with each other, that they would live and die as one, and if one party was facing imminent doom, the other would definitely pour out all his power to help… In the past, when our Blue Wind Imperial Family was in a state of upheaval and my royal father was poisoned by scoundrels, for them to not extend any help at all was already tantamount to being unvirtuous and unjust. However, at that time, the imperial family was not truly facing destruction, so they could still be forgiven.”
“But at this present time, on the occasion of our demise, two years ago, when we sought help from them a total of nine times, even to the point where we grovelled and begged, they shut themselves in their villa, ignoring us completely. Since they are empty of righteousness, why should we shame ourselves any further?!”
General Feng slowly nodded his head, “I understand, I will set off immediately.”
“Wait!” Empress Cang Yue turned around and said “Even though we have broken off all relations with them, we should still pay Heavenly Sword Villa a visit.”
As Empress Cang Yue’s voice fell, her hands unraveled a sheet of dull golden silk. She gathered profound energy in her finger and wrote the following words swiftly....
"Your faithlessness hath earned mine contempt, your disregard hath aroused mine spite, this empress shall always remember this! If the Blue Wind doth see the dawn and its gentle breeze chances upon the Heavenly Sword, there will be no reconciliation, for only hate and enmity remains, forevermore!"
Empress Cang Yue did not hide anything while she was writing, and those close to her could all that was written. After she finished writing, she folded the silk and passed it to General Feng. “Dispatch men to Heavenly Sword Villa. You do not need to see anyone, just throw this thing at the foot of the Heavenly Sword Mountain Range! No matter if Blue Wind lives or dies, what I have said today will never be taken back!”
After gazing upon the delicate characters which were saturated with majestic power, General Feng nodded his head heavily, kept the silk sheet carefully, and quickly withdrew.
Empress Cang Yue saw him off and turned around after, gazing into the distance, her thoughts hidden from all who were present.
“...I am a daughter of Blue Wind, wife of Yun Che. Even in death, I will never defile their glorious names!”
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