Moments later, Qianye was standing on the balcony and looking down quietly at the vast Jade Sea.
Wei Potian stood behind him, his left sleeve fluttering in the wind.
He was no longer speaking by this point for he had already recounted everything he should, including the battles and their current situation.
Truth be told, Wei Potian did not know what he would do, either, if he were in Qianye’s shoes.
After an unknown length of time, Qianye sighed. “Adoptive Father, what would you do if you were faced with such a situation?”
Wei Potian felt his eyes sting a little. He naturally didn’t feel as much of an attachment to the man as Qianye did. It was only before the Great Maelstrom that the Wei family had gotten closer to the Northern Manor, but that gave him the opportunity to learn up close what kind of person the marshal was. All of a sudden, Wei Potian felt as though he could feel Qianye’s hidden pain and sorrow.
After a while, Qianye looked back at him. “Does the Empire… still have troops?”
“Of course, we’re just lacking a general.”
Qianye finally turned around. “Very well, I’ll go back with you!”
Contrary to expectation, Wei Potian didn’t feel glad at all. He sighed. “Qianye, you know I came to you with this shameless request because there’s no other way. Actually she… you can’t blame her for this arm, I was simply asking for it. If you don’t make an appearance, the Empire has no other candidate! We’ll be forfeiting everything in the new world!”
“What’s there in the new world?”
“I don’t know, either, I only heard Zining say that there might be a shocking secret and that we must stop the dark races from obtaining it at all costs. Failing that, we must stop them from obtaining sole ownership or our human race will be doomed.”
“What are the heavenly monarchs doing?”
“What can they do? It seems holding the borders is becoming quite a strenuous task.” Wei Potian wasn’t entirely ignorant of military strategy and could also guess the situation.
The dark races were currently in a rare state of unity to contest over the new world. Although the great dark monarchs couldn’t set foot in there, they could exert their power in different places. If Qianye were in their shoes, he wouldn’t just sit by and watch, either. He would surely launch surprise attacks in different places to keep the enemy busy.
The dark races were doing just that at the moment. The Evernight faction had the greater number of great dark monarchs, to begin with. Now that they were working together to fight the Empire two-to-one, the heavenly monarchs were having a hard time keeping up with the defense.
At a disadvantage in the Evernight World and defeated miserably in the new world, the Empire had never faced such a crisis in recent years.
Wei Potian arrived in a hurry without any luggage, and he was ready to leave again immediately. Since Qianye had made his decision, there was no reason for further delay. He transferred a high-speed corvette to carry the two back to the Empire.
The first stop was the Imperial capital.
The military department was located in the western part of the capital, a city within the city.
This place was the command center of the entire war machine. From the four main continents down to the lower realms and even the void continent, dozens of army corps, the elite corps, and all airship fleets outside of the Imperial Guard answered to this department.
They also had the power to mobilize and conscript aristocratic private armies during times of national war.
Such an important place was naturally well-defended. Outside of the palace, the second-tallest structure in the city was located here. The military department’s unique defense system consisted of an array of high-speed anti-air cannons hidden amidst the buildings and countless anti-ground cannons.
The vast number of turrets were powered by a total of seven kinetic towers. These individually-operated towers were protected in underground locations. On the surface, the military department was nothing more than an old city. There was no way to see through the profundity of its hidden power with the naked eye.
Under the guidance of the Imperial guide-boat, the corvette landed at the military’s dedicated landing pad.
There were dozens of people waiting outside by the time Qianye came down the ramp, and everyone was at the rank of general or above. It was quite the ceremony.
At a glance, Qianye was surprised to see Zhao Xuanji at the lead. He took a few steps forward and bowed in greeting. Qianye had always treated the old man with respect, both in private and in official business. Duke You was a pillar of the Zhao clan who had propped up the family’s prestigious name throughout the years.
Duke Chengen’s later rise to fame was mostly reliant on his three children and Princes Gaoyi. On the contrary, no one really cared about his personal strength, and many people made light of his glorious accomplishments on the Western Continent.
Hence, Zhao Xuanji was better known as the number one character in the clan. The man had given Qianye much assistance both in secret and in public.
Qianye simply couldn’t posture before a true senior.
Zhao Xuanji pulled Qianye up, sighing. “You’ve grown so much in the blink of an eye. We’re definitely getting old.”
“You’re in the prime of your life, the word ‘old’ has nothing to do with you yet.”
Zhao Xuanji laughed wryly. “If I’m not old, why would His Majesty bind me here and not allow me to enter Blacksun Valley?”
Another aged general with mottled white hair said, “The Empire is full of young talents. When we need you to charge at the frontlines, now that’s when the country is in a true crisis. Now that Sire Qianye is back, there’s no need to worry about the battles to come.”
Zhao Xuanji said, “His Majesty is perfect in everything else, but he’s just too soft-hearted. Qianye, come with me, I need to discuss the hand-over with you.”
Qianye followed Zhao Xuanji toward the military department. This journey wasn’t short, but fortunately, the generals were all of extraordinary strength. In what seemed like a leisurely stroll, the group was actually traveling much faster than a car. It was just that seeing a group of generals hurrying along on the ground was a bit odd.
An elderly general said, “This is a rule laid down by the Martial Ancestor. No one apart from the Emperor is to drive or fly here, only walk. The law is still in use to this very day.”
The outer wall of the military department was more decorative than defensive. The doorway leading to the airship port was dozens of meters tall and full of majestic austerity. The gates were half-open at this point, a welcoming gesture for Qianye’s arrival.
The main gates of strategic locations would normally remain closed, opening fully only for the Radiant Emperor. Even the emperor would sometimes take the side door if he was simply dropping in.
Now that the main gates were half-open for Qianye, it was truly a rare honor.
Qianye didn’t really feel anything about it. He did pause briefly at the threshold, gazing up at the gates leading to the Empire’s highest military organization, before taking the next step inside.
The world within the gate seemed entirely different.
Once inside, Qianye was shaken as he noticed countless sharp auras descend upon him. Those were the auras of true experts, including a few that made him feel a sense of danger. One among them was especially old, deep, and decayed, almost like an ocean of putridness.
This aura was extremely powerful, so strong that Qianye could only look up to it. Like a void colossus at the end of its life, it could still level a mountain in a single move despite being shrouded in death.
Qianye came to a sudden halt. He said cautiously, “The Longevity Monarch?”
He already knew of the old monarch’s doings, and that he was the culprit behind Lin Xitang’s demise. The marshal wouldn’t have been forced onto a path of demise if it weren’t for the internal strife, the trap on the void continent, and a political enemy like the Longevity Monarch.
Wasn’t it said that the Longevity Monarch had passed? Why was his aura still here?
Qianye’s gaze turned cold. As the oldest heavenly monarch of the human race, the man could still kill Qianye even if he were at the end of his life. Could this be… a trap?
Zhao Xuanji seemed to know what Qianye was thinking. “The old prince is gone. This is but a portion of his power, a part of the military’s defensive system. Pay it no heed.”
Qianye nodded, his expression clearing up a bit as he followed the group forward.
At the center of the military department was a gigantic structure, made up of a circular main building surrounded by four tall satellite towers.
A young general explained, “This is the military’s main building. The four auxiliary towers represent the four divine beasts, while the main building represents the Empire.”
“The four divine beasts?”
The general said, “Yes, that’s what the records say.”
This was the first time Qianye had heard about the four beasts. So, he asked a bit more out of curiosity.
The young general said, “Actually, these so-called divine beasts only exist in records. They’re… more like legends. One of the four beasts is the Empire’s totem, the soaring snake, there’s also a blazing bird, a tiger, and a giant turtle. I don’t really know where they come from, perhaps they’re void colossi from the depths of the void.”
Qianye followed the entourage inside and climbed up until they were in a small hall.
The hall wasn’t big, but it was ancient and solemn. Once inside, Qianye could feel countless faint but tyrannical auras, each of them unique and different. There were also faint auras among them… Lin Xitang’s, for instance.
Qianye turned around to search for the source of this aura and saw an entire slab of black jade embedded in one of the walls. The black jade was split into two halves, each side engraved with a dense array of names. Lin Xitang’s was also among them but fairly low on the list.
Qianye didn’t recognize most of the preceding names, but the first few in the list were names he had heard countless times. Those were the founding fathers who had followed the Great Emperor in building the Empire, people whose exploits everyone had heard of.
The list on the other side was rather short, and the latest entry was Prince Greensun Zhang Boqian.
Zhao Xuanji said, “This is the Empire’s contribution list, a record of people who had done great service to the Empire since ancient times. I’m getting old, I’ll be able to die without regrets if I can carve my name here.”
A general nearby said, “Duke You’s foresight helped the Empire obtain a great victory on the void continent. Your name will surely have a spot on the stone wall.”
Another name on the wall grabbed Qianye’s attention. “This is the Longevity Monarch?”
The generals dared not reply, but Zhao Xuanji didn’t care. “Indeed.”
The old man paused for a bit before saying, “Although he made a grave mistake in his old age, the Longevity Monarch contributed greatly to the human race throughout his life. Comparing the two, his merits still exceed his crimes by a bit. This wall records historical contributions. As long as you achieve great accomplishments, it will be recorded and cannot be erased so easily.”
Qianye nodded after a moment of silence.
Zhao Xuanji said solemnly, “This Heavenly Merit Hall is most suited to honor people. Qianye, are you willing to take on this responsibility?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie