Zu An traced the source of the voice. He saw a tall and robust man dressed in a dragon robe standing beside a writing desk. The man was looking at him, his face devoid of expression.
This was clearly the Emperor of the Great Zhou Dynasty. His clothes could be easily copied, but the aura he was giving off was definitely not something that could be replicated.
He knew that the emperor’s name was Zhao Han, thanks to Chu Chuyan.
Zu An wanted to see just how exaggerated this number one expert was for himself. When they locked gazes, however, the only things he could process were the emperor’s sharp and penetrating eyes.
He couldn’t begin to describe those eyes. He had met emperors before, even though the first emperor he had met had been reduced to a remnant soul. Furthermore, he had only met him after he had already passed the trial, so the other party had treated Zu An as one of his own, and did not exert his pressure on Zu An.
This was also true for Wu Geng. The burden of the Shang Dynasty’s destruction had weighed down on his shoulders constantly, and he had assumed the identity of an ordinary crown prince during the trial, which meant that his aura had been deliberately masked. That was why Zu An hadn’t been subjected to excessive pressure in that trial.
However, the person in front of him was different. His eyes seemed to stab straight into his soul, penetrating all of his defenses immediately, and laying bare all his secrets.
Zu An knew that this was merely his mind playing tricks on him, but he still subconsciously averted his eyes.
His gaze fell on the dragon robes, and the hand which was holding a brush. It seemed that the emperor had been writing something. Why do these major figures all love to flaunt this calligraphy stuff?
The emperor spoke again, his voice carrying a mysterious combination of dignity and confidence. “You truly are different from other people. Others are immediately scared witless when they see this emperor, but you’re still able to let your idle mind run wild.”
Zu An was stunned. He noticed my random thoughts? Can this guy read minds?
Despite these thoughts, he still replied, “What can I say? When you crawl up from the bottom, where your life is considered utterly worthless, you tend to develop a rather unyielding nature.”
“You continue to act this way, even in my presence! No wonder you behaved the way you did in front of the crown prince.” The emperor lowered his brush. If anyone was standing next to him, they would have observed that he had written the word ‘immortality’, followed by a few dots. His heart had clearly been plagued by hesitation and indecisiveness as he wrote.
Of course, as an emperor, he would never show such a side to anyone else.
Zu An was surprised by the emperor’s statement. “So, Your Majesty already knows about that.”
Barely any time has passed since I left the company of the crown prince, and yet news of it has reached him. How is this possible?
As if seeing through his thoughts, the emperor slowly said, “Of course I know about it. It’s not so easy to hide what goes on in this palace from me.”
Zu An remained silent. He did not know why the emperor was telling him all this. He was still wondering how he was going to get him to wear the Hat of Forgiveness.
One plan was to use his instantaneous movement skill to dash over and place it on his head. Having him wear the hat would make the mess go away.
However, once he met the emperor in the flesh, this plan evaporated.
The other party was standing there casually, and there was only about a zhang between them. However, the distance seemed like an endless abyss to Zu An. He couldn’t even pinpoint his exact position.
Given his cultivation, it was obvious that he wouldn’t have any chance of approaching the emperor unless he allowed him to.
The emperor gave him a long look. “If we had met before, I might have admired your temperament and resolve. I might have even tried to take you under my wing. But now… someone like you will never yield. In the future, the crown prince wouldn’t be able to make you bend your knee either. As emperor, I obviously cannot leave a disaster like you alive. Have him executed, and inform the entire world that this is the consequence of offending the crown prince.”
Zu An couldn’t believe what he’d just heard.
Bro, you’re not playing your cards like how you’re supposed to! You’re going to execute me already? How am I even supposed to respond?
Guards quickly swarmed in. Zu An wanted to dodge them, but his entire body had been restrained by a single, indifferent look from the emperor. He couldn’t move at all.
He was instantly detained by the guards and escorted out.
“I refuse to accept such a baseless accusation!” Zu An yelled out.
“I’m the emperor,” came the cold reply. “Do I need your permission if I want something done?”
Zu An resisted the urge to roll his eyes.
Bro, you won’t make any friends talking like that.
As he was being dragged out, he quickly shouted, “Does this mean that you do not wish to obtain immortality?”
“Immortality?” The emperor looked down at his calligraphy, a faintly mocking smile playing across his lips. With a wave of his hand, the sheet of paper instantly turned to powder, while the table remained unharmed. One could imagine just how great his control over his own power was.
“Immortality is but an illusory ideal. Monarchs have fallen, one generation after the next. Which one of them has obtained true immortality? This emperor does not trust in such an illusory form of immortality. On the contrary, I have led the humans in defeating the fiend races and unified the wilderness. Everyone will remember my glorious achievements! That is true immortality.” A hint of emotion finally showed through the emperor’s expressionless mask. His entire being seemed to have been possessed by a strange zeal.
Zu An immediately began to berate the emperor in his mind. Why the hell are you sending people to find the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra if you don’t even care about immortality? Why did you even bring me here then?
Since this was a matter of life and death, his mind moved at lightspeed. “Even so, after ten thousand years, no one might remember your achievements anymore! They might even forget about you after just a few centuries!”
“Impossible!” The emperor erupted in rage. This was the immortality that he sought, and what he cared about the most. How could he tolerate others doubting him?
You have successfully trolled Zhao Han for 999 Rage points!
An incomparably powerful aura swept out, and the two guards who had detained Zu An immediately knelt down and begged for forgiveness.
Even though the pressure also made Zu An feel awful inside, he still sighed in relief.
He had finally received some Rage points from this person. He was still human, after all, and not a god.
There was no time to waste. He seized this fleeting chance. “What I wish to say, no one else can hear.”
The emperor eyed him coldly. With a wave of his hand, the two guards withdrew. Given his cultivation, there was naturally no need to fear any eavesdroppers.
When the guards had left, the emperor said, “You may speak. However, if you dare play tricks on me, heh…” The threat in his voice was clear.
Zu An had already sorted out his thoughts.“Respected emperor,” Zu An replied, “your concept is sound. Records of your achievements will be passed down for many, many years. Such a form of immortality is much more meaningful than someone who lives an immortal life in seclusion within the mountains. However, your wish will never be completely fulfilled. After all, if you want your achievements to be passed down for an eternity, you must have the scribes record the details as they are. However, as dynasties change, it will be common for new dynasties to defame the previous ones. Even if the dynasty does not change, the throne may pass to someone who does not agree with you, who may then seek to tamper with history. Those of the current age may not be deceived, but those who follow centuries or millennia later will be led astray. At that time, Your Majesty’s achievements will be swept away by the great river of time, and those of later generations will never know the truth. If that happens, you will not obtain the immortality you seek.”
The emperor narrowed his eyes. “What are you implying?”
Zu An smiled. “Your Majesty knows exactly what I’m saying. Why must you ask a question you already know the answer to?”
Sorry, King Qi. I have to use you as my shield. It’s every man for himself.
The emperor fell into deep thought. Ordinarily, if someone had dared to speak to him in this way, he would have already ordered them to be dragged out and beaten to death. However, Zu An’s words had touched on some of his deepest insecurities. This was something that had haunted him for the past few years.
He looked back at Zu An with a thoughtful expression. “What would you suggest, then?”
Zu An was about to say something when he suddenly noticed his expression. “Your Majesty probably already has a plan, so I would only be making a fool of myself. However, if Your Majesty wishes to play a game of chess, I will gladly offer myself to be used as a pawn.”
He had been afraid earlier on, but it did not take him long to realize that the emperor had already exhausted countless resources to have him brought to the capital. There was no way he would do that just to kill him off immediately.
The emperor’s earlier actions were probably a mere show of strength.
The emperor was surprised by his response. “You are indeed rather special. No wonder she interceded for your sake.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter