Just as everyone was thinking he would agree, Qianye shook his head and said, “I can’t right now.”
Zhao Xuanji didn’t seem all too surprised, but all the other generals were anxious.
A middle-aged general stepped forward and said earnestly, “Sire Qianye, this matter is related to the Empire’s fate. Please do not let your emotions affect your decisions. Let us know whatever you need, and the military will provide everything at its disposal. As I see it you’ll need processing resources, technology, and equipment to really expand on Fort Continent. I’m currently in charge of the military’s supplies production, as untalented as I am. I promise you, you can designate any five resources, and I’ll have all the necessary equipment and tech ready tomorrow.”
Seeing that Qianye was unmoved, an elderly general said, “This old man is in charge of troop structures and assignments. You’ll need men when you expand, and for that, you’ll need fame, status, and a base. If you’re willing to take on this task, Sire, it’s only natural for someone of your position to lead an army corps of your own. If you don’t like any of the Empire’s army corps, you can form one of your own.”
Many generals were visibly shaken, their gazes landing on the old general. The man, however, remained entirely calm. Apparently, he had already gained permission from his superiors.
If Qianye could recruit yet another regular army corps from the Empire, he would have a hundred thousand more soldiers. This kind of power was superior to most high-ranking aristocratic families. This unit would come with the army’s standard outfit and, considering Qianye’s foundations were not in the Empire, wouldn’t be bound by the Empire’s control. This was no different from making him a feudal lord.
Such a term could be considered extremely handsome and much more practical than contribution rewards.
However, this was after the war was over.
And this was a war Qianye did not want to fight.
“I want to see Jundu and Zining first,” Qianye suggested his own demands first.
Zhao Xuanji sighed. “Of course that is fine, you’ll know once you see them.”
Song Zining and Zhao Jundu were both recovering at the Imperial capital. The latter was closer and hence his place was the first stop.
Zhao Jundu’s residence was a quiet and secluded courtyard with fixed medical staff assigned to it. Every day, the most brilliant doctors of the Empire would come to check up on him. Zhao Jundu was in the courtyard when Qianye entered.
He sighed after seeing Qianye. “Lil’ Five, you ended up coming.”
Qianye hadn’t heard this address in a good while.
Zhao Xuanji said, “You youngsters chat first, I’m going out for some fresh air.”
Once Zhao Xuanji and the generals were gone, Zhao Jundu dismissed the attendants as well. “I knew they’d seek you out, and I knew you’d come.”
Qianye didn’t respond directly. “How are your injuries?”
“I was stabbed through the chest and entirely powerless to retaliate. Prince Greensun had to take a slash in order to save me, and his injury was much more serious.”
“Let me see your wound.”
“No need, it’s no big deal. The attack was well-controlled, hitting neither the heart nor origin crystal. In the end, it’s just a flesh wound.”
Zhao Jundu said after a moment of hesitation, “She said that the strike was to sever all karmas of the past. Many people thought she was referring to Prince Greensun, but actually, I think she was talking to me. She showed mercy with that attack because I helped you guys leave Indomitable back in the year. She will fight to the death next time we meet in battle.”
“Why go so far?”
Zhao Jundu shook his head. “I don’t know, either.” In truth, there were countless possibilities as to why this problem had grown so big, but no one could say for sure which one it was.
Qianye didn’t ask further. He accompanied Zhao Jundu for a while before leaving to see Song Zining. The latter was at the central hospital, in his own independent building under heavy security.
Despite being accompanied by people from the military, Qianye was inspected thrice before being let in.
Countless doctors were rushing about in the small building, all of them looking grave.
An elderly doctor came to greet them. The accompanying general said, “This is Divine Doctor Lu, one of the top three doctors in the Empire. He’s most proficient in treating difficult cases and is in charge of Commander Song’s case.”
Qianye followed them upstairs and asked on the way, “How’s Zining doing?”
Divine Doctor Lu said, “Commander Song suffered a divination backlash, trying to touch someone he shouldn’t. This kind of injury is the most difficult to treat. It’s only because of his extraordinary talents that we still have a thread of hope. He is awake for a short while every day, but he must not be overly fatigued. Keep the conversation short, or do not talk to him at all if possible.”
The group ascended to the third floor and entered a sealed area, finally arriving at Song Zining’s room.
Song Zining was lying quietly on the bed, almost as though he were asleep. He was so pale that he seemed translucent, his long lashes trembling slightly. Who knows what he was dreaming of?
Qianye couldn’t help but take a step forward, only to be pulled back by Doctor Lu.
“You must not agitate Commander Song for any reason, let him wake up on his own.”
Qianye nodded, impressed with the Divine Doctor. Pulling him back required a certain level of cultivation.
The doctor arrived near the bed and observed for a while. “Commander Song might need to sleep a bit longer…”
“I’ll wait for him here,” Qianye replied.
Divine Doctor Lu wanted to object but refrained from it when the generals pulled him back. In the end, he simply left with the group.
Only Qianye and Song Zining remained in the room.
Qianye sat down near the bed, quietly holding Song Zining’s hand as he observed the patient.
At this moment, the seventh young master was like a crystalline doll. He was translucent and delicate, as though the slightest touch would shatter him. This was also true of his vitality—it seemed limpid and resplendent, but it could shatter any moment.
Song Zining’s hand felt cold in Qianye’s palm, and his body felt empty, as though only a shell remained.
Qianye had learned a tiny bit of divination basics, enough to know that this was a realm that belonged to divination experts. Even with his current power, he was in no position to help. To heavenly monarchs and great dark monarchs, wherever their will went was where their power would go; there was no blind spot to speak of.
Just as Divine Doctor Lu said, Song Zining had tried to scry someone he shouldn’t. The power shrouding Song Zining and trying to extinguish his life came from this person.
Qianye, of course, knew who that person was.
Qianye’s hand trembled slightly. He had noticed that Song Zining’s life was hanging by a thread, that he could pass away at any moment. Forcing Song Zining into this state when she wasn’t even a great dark monarch meant only one thing—she had attacked deliberately and with ample preparation, going all out without leaving any leeway.
Just like a desperate person committing suicide, was it the hand holding the blade that hurt the most? Or was it the heart that had been pierced through?
Qianye’s breathing grew faster, and it took quite a bit of effort to calm himself down. This kind of pain was akin to countless snakes gnawing at his heart.
The sun gradually began to set, and gentle lamplight lit up the room. Wave after wave of doctors and nurses came and went. All of them quietly held their breath as they recorded the patient’s data, not daring to disturb the two.
Soon, it was midnight.
Song Zining heaved a long sigh as he slowly opened his eyes. “I feel so tired.”
“You’re awake,” Qianye said.
Song Zining was dazed for a while. “You came after all.”
“How could I not when you’re in such a state?”
Song Zining was calmer than expected. “Since you’ve come, I’m thinking you’ve made a decision already.”
Qianye nodded slowly.
Song Zining sighed. “I know you’re in a difficult position, but you must be very careful. I suspect that she’s already a different person. She will not show mercy when you meet her on the battlefield. Don’t go if you cannot get yourself together.”
Song Zining’s voice grew softer and softer. The consciousness that had just returned to his body had left once again for the battlefield of fate, life, and death.
Gazing at his empty body, Qianye stood up and slowly walked out, locking the door gently behind him.
“To the military,” Qianye said to the generals.
Moments later, the small Heavenly Merit Hall was fully occupied by generals. All high-ranking officers from the military department had arrived to witness this historical moment.
Zhao Xuanji sat in the first row, solemn and emotional. His lips moved slightly but no sound came out. One could see from the movement of his lips that he had said, “How great would it be if Weihuang was here as well?”
All discussions died down as the appointed time drew near. Everyone’s eyes were on the side door, which opened at the exact time, and out walked a heroic-looking young man.
He was unimaginably handsome but also full of might and austerity. The grandeur rushing at everyone’s face made it difficult to breathe, but no one from the army was dissatisfied. On the contrary, their eyes lit up.
Only this kind of peerless aura could match the marshal’s uniform on him.
An old general walked up to the stage and announced in a clear voice, “Receive the Imperial edict!"
Qianye stepped forward and bowed, waiting quietly for the continuation.
Imperial citizens had to kneel while accepting an edict; on the other hand, clan lords, grand elders, dukes, and marshals could go down on one knee. Qianye’s display of etiquette was only allowed for heavenly monarchs. Heavenly monarchs formed the pillars of the Empire, so there was no need for them to kneel to anyone.
Qianye wasn’t being viewed as a heavenly monarch, but rather, it was a recognition for his independent status on Fort Continent.
The old general sighed secretly as he glanced at Qianye’s young countenance. He quickly collected himself and announced in a sonorous voice, “The Empire confers upon Zhao Qianye the titles of Duke Weiyuan and Sceptered Grand Marshal. He shall lead the Empire’s armies and command all military affairs in the new world, every department must cooperate. Thus mandates the Emperor.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie