The old man laughed. “How is someone of your ability content with helping that trash? I have never heard of anyone as powerful as you appearing in our vicinity. Is there even a need to say who will be the actual one on the throne if that bastard ascends?”
Qianye replied calmly, “Since you realize my power, you should know that Zheng is but a stepping stone. I won’t be staying here long.”
“If that’s the case, the second prince is intelligent, strong, and sees far. Why not submit to him and help him ascend the throne? It should be better than that good-for-nothing.”
Qianye’s expression sank. “Submit? You must be insane.”
The old man gripped his axe and roared, “Ambitious as expected! This old man will eliminate a calamity for Zheng and help my grandson remove an obstacle!”
With that, the old man’s aura rose sharply, his hair flaring up like a lion as he charged at Qianye. Halfway through the sprint, the battle axe emitted arcs of lightning as it whistled toward the target.
Qianye remained motionless, simply activating his Oceanic Vortex domain. The domain that had been modified by Prince Greensun was much easier to control with no change in power. The entire force of the domain bore down upon the old man while the other areas remained quiet and calm.
The old man’s attack was like an eagle soaring in the sky, but he suddenly found himself several times heavier and fell straight down. Shocked out of his wits, he adjusted his posture as best as he could and ended up with his legs sunk in the ground. The change happened so quickly that the old man had to channel all of his origin power in order to withstand the mountainous pressure. When he looked up again, Qianye was nowhere to be seen.
Just as a sense of alarm welled up in his heart, his body went limp and a head flew high up into the air. Up to that last moment, he still had no idea how he had lost so quickly.
Seeing the body fall down, Qianye shook his head with a sigh.
This old man was strong and unyielding. Although his cultivation was only rank fifteen, even rank-sixteen enemies might not be his match considering his experience and combat strength. He was simply lacking insight and too devoted to his grandson, not yielding any ground in this fight for the throne.
This kind of person had to die.
A series of hurried footsteps appeared at the door as Song Lun and the mercenaries rushed into the hall, surging with killing intent. Everyone was startled when they saw Qianye.
The latter pointed at the corpse, saying, “This should be the city lord. Take his head and convince all those you can to surrender.”
Nodding in affirmation, Song Lun went over to pick up the head.
One of the mercenary generals scratched his head, saying, “I was wondering why we didn’t see anyone when we charged in. Turns out your elderly self was already here.”
“I’m not that old!” Laughing, Qianye flicked that general out of the residence with his sword.
Expansive was even better managed than the documents stated, and the resistance was fierce. Even with news of the city lord’s death confirmed and the defenders leaderless, the street battles lasted several days before dying out.
During this period, Nan Ruohuai visited the various clans to negotiate support. Qianye had set his eyes on the factories here, so he naturally couldn’t slaughter everyone. Other than sealing off all information in and out of the city, the convincing and pacification was left to Nan Ruohuai to tackle.
Some of these clans veered with the wind, while others spoke kindly but remained on the fence, waiting to observe future trends. There were also those who were indifferent and half-hearted.
Nan Ruohuai could see all of that. A handful of clans closed their doors and refused to see him. Some went so far as to curse him for inviting bandits into the house and that he would be infamous throughout history, etc.
No matter what kind of snag he encountered, Nan Ruohuai remained gentle and smiling, even when he was being cursed at. Only when he returned to the city lord’s manor did he reveal a bit of a tired expression.
Expansive was the second prince’s territory, so convincing the powerful families here was much more difficult than on the island. The disdain these families had for Nan Ruohuai was deep-rooted. There were so many princes in Zheng, so who knew what kind of trash this thirty-first prince was?
Some of the better-informed families managed to flip through old records and learned that Nan Ruohuai’s mother was just a songstress who wasn’t even conferred an official status, only appointed the lowest position in the harem because she had birthed a boy.
The son of a Songstress wanted the throne?
Just as Nan Ruohuai returned to the residence one day, an attendant said, “Sire Qianye wishes to see you.”
Nan Ruohuai quickly composed himself. By the time he was before Qianye, he was once again that radiant prince.
Qianye sized the man up from head to toe. “You didn’t have a good time these days, did you?”
“No way…” He paused for a bit, then laughed wryly. “It’s true. They feel that the son of a songstress is not fit for the throne. Even if I did get the seat, I would be cursed by every history book.”
“What’s wrong with the son of a songstress? Isn’t His Majesty the Emperor of Great Qin also of similar origins?”
The Radiant Emperor’s humble maternal lineage was no secret. It was just that the previous emperor had passed him the title directly, so he was entitled to the throne and no one in the vassal states dared to criticize him. If word were to get out, the crime wouldn’t be limited to contempt of the Emperor, but also a challenge to the Qin Empire’s prestige. Besides, the Radiant Emperor wasn’t well-known in the past, but now, it was said that he had opened the path despite failing the challenge against a heavenly monarch. Since then, there was no more criticism to speak of.
Qianye dared to say this, but Nan Ruohuai did not. He said respectfully, “I wouldn’t dare discuss the Qin Emperor’s affairs.”
Qianye nodded. “It’s good to be cautious. Do you have any suggestions regarding Expansive?”
“I’ll convince them a bit more.”
Under Qianye’s gaze, Nan Ruohuai felt uneasy and began to sweat all over. He lowered his head somewhat, saying, “I’ll listen to you, Sire.”
“I’m asking for your opinion.”
The calmer Qianye’s voice was, the more nervous the prince became. He finally said after some thought, “Perhaps… perhaps we should kill a couple of them.”
“Now that’s more like it.” Qianye nodded. Nan Ruohuai, who was beginning to sweat again, felt greatly relieved.
Qianye pushed a sheet of paper in front of Nan Ruohuai, who picked it up to find that it was a list of names. They happened to be the families who had cursed at him these days.
“Are they all on the list?”
Qianye said indifferently, “All is good then. As you were coming to me, Song Lun was on his way out with his men. He should be there already. Since they want a heroic name, then let's satisfy them.”
As if to confirm Qianye’s words, a red light flickered outside the window. At a careful glance, that wasn’t the glow of twilight, but rather flames from a part of the city.
Nan Ruohuai was no longer nervous. He simply glanced at the window then looked no more, only saying respectfully, “You are wise!”
Qianye said, “If we don’t kill them now, what will we do if everyone imitates them in the future? We’ll end up killing more.”
Nan Ruohuai sighed. “In truth, our Zheng has a tradition of resorting to violence in the fight for the throne. Every throne fight involves blood flowing into rivers, brothers killing one another, or even fights between fathers and sons. The second, fifth, or eleventh brother, whoever wins will eliminate the maternal families of the other two.”
Qianye stood up and paced about in the room. “I came to Fort Continent to claim land. But since I’m claiming land, I’ll of course take it from the dark races’ hands. The fight for survival and land is between Daybreak and Evernight, not for a single family, nation, clan, or place. I have little interest in Zheng, so I will simply return the place to you if you work well. If you don’t perform or if you’re disloyal…”
Nan Ruohuai said hurriedly, “Absolutely not!”
The man shut up immediately as Qianye raised his hand. “Me having no interest doesn’t mean I'll let you guys stir up trouble. In the context of the bigger picture, if you drag the human race back instead of fighting for its survival, the nation of Zheng itself will cease to exist, let alone a king.”
Nan Ruohuai was entirely drenched in sweat. He wanted to make a statement but stopped himself forcibly.
Qianye sighed. “I once met someone from Zheng, maybe you know her. She’s called Nanhua.”
“I know her, she’s my ninth royal sister.”
Qianye said after reminiscing about the past, “She’s good in every other aspect, but confused when it comes to issues of principle. No, that’s not the right way to put it. I guess you could say she ignores other people’s feelings and only cares about her own? You Zheng people aren’t great at fighting outsiders but quite the professional at infighting.”
This time, Nan Ruohuai could no longer sit still.
Qianye gazed at the flame outside the window. “There are important things and unimportant ones. The fight for the world is also split into minor conflicts and the bigger picture. I came to Fort Continent for myself and my brethren, but that doesn’t stop me from doing something for the human race. It’s the same the other way around.”
Nan Ruohuai listened silently.
Qianye didn’t continue, however, and merely gestured for him to withdraw.
After Nan Ruohuai’s departure, Qianye stood in front of the window, gazing at the raging flames in the distance. The vague sound of cannon fire could be heard in the distance; apparently, there was still some resistance. But how could a handful of clans stand against Qianye’s elite mercenaries? They were suppressed in the blink of an eye, and the sound of gunfire was silenced quicker than everyone had imagined.
Qianye summoned an attendant and ordered, “Inform all the clans and families in the city to attend a meeting at the city lord’s residence tomorrow. Whoever dares to not show up will meet the same fate as these families.”
“Rest assured, Sire.” The attendant left with surging killing intent.
Qianye stood silently for a while longer after the servant had left. Finally, he said, “Come in.”
A young girl entered from the door, clad in a maid’s attire and smiling adorably. Upon seeing her, Qianye said with a smile, “Young Miss Hui, what are you doing here instead of staying at the Song clan?”
This person happened to be Song Hui. The two had the fortune to meet at Duchess An’s funeral but never expected to meet again on the faraway Fort Continent.
Song Hui laughed. “I’m here to serve as your maid!”
“There’s no way I would dare accept.”
“What? You don’t like me?”
“Of course I do, but why are you here instead of staying at the Song clan?” Qianye repeated his question.
“I’m here to serve as your maid!” Song Hui repeated her reply as well.
Helpless, Qianye shrugged. “Zining must’ve called you here? Go back if you’re not going to give me a proper reply.”
“You’re really not tender toward the fairer sex!” Song Hui cried out.
“Those who are have already turned into corpses, haven’t they?” Qianye didn’t hold back.
“That’s not me! It’s more apt to describe Song Ziyan that way.”
“Zining’s evaluation of you is quite different, though.” Qianye remembered that Song Ziyan was simpler and only had the bad habits of a rich young miss.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie