The ten-odd aides were the first to crumble under the suppressive might and were forced to retreat. These were all veterans of a hundred wars, but they didn’t have the slightest ability to resist at this moment. The foreheads of the two Northern Legion generals were drenched in sweat, but they still managed to stand their ground.
The remaining six champions with golden-cloud-lined uniforms belonged to the Thunder Cavalry of the Imperial Guard. They suddenly moved and assumed their positions around Lin Xitang in a protective formation. It was just that they were well-aware just how futile their actions were. Zhang Boqian wouldn’t even need to make a move himself—his domain alone was enough to take their lives.
A flash of lightning passed through Zhang Boqian’s eyes. It was as though the heaven and earth would be flipped over the very next moment.
Lin Xitang’s calm voice broke the stifling atmosphere, “Your Excellency, what’s the meaning of this?”
“Even my Green Sun Zhang Clan has entered the fray under the Iron Curtain. We should let the juniors let loose and fight their way to fame. There’s no need for you to interfere.”
Lin Xitang stood silently without a single fluctuation in his clear eyes. “What is Your Excellency talking about? I was assigned by His Majesty to take full charge of the bloody battle. Training the youths is only one of the reasons. The resources under the Iron Curtain must not fall into the dark race’s hands.”
Zhang Boqian mocked, “The army has been searching for those void crystals for a long time, hasn’t it? It’s not only under the Iron Curtain that these things can be found. They’ve currently been split between the Empire and the Evernight Council in a three to seven ratio—that’s the extent of it. What results do you hope to gain with people scheming and dragging each other down even before the battle begins?”
He paused for a moment before laughing coldly, “As for the item Sky Demon is looking for, it’ll appear on its own after the Iron Curtain is drawn. What are you planning to do inside?
Lin Xitang sighed lightly as though he didn’t want to argue. “Then what is Your Excellency’s opinion?”
Zhang Boqian sneered, “Since you’re here to oversee the bloody battle, then just sit tight and oversee it. We’ll talk about other things when the Iron Curtain opens.”
Lin Xitang remained silent for a moment before saying, “As you wish then.”
Under the Iron Curtain on Evernight Continent, a human combat squad was resting at the foot of a thousand-meter stone mountain. It seemed the leader wasn’t even thirty—his figure was frail, and his aura was mediocre—likely just a rank seven or eight fighter. But those soldiers with extraordinary strength and imposing killing intent were extremely respectful toward him.
A champion-level scout brought him the latest news as soon as he arrived at the camp. Li Rui’s expression changed as he read the letter and sighed only after pondering for quite a while, “Regarding many matters in this world, man proposes but god disposes. This means that Lin Xitang won’t be able to enter before the Iron Curtain opens up.”
The scout said, “Prince Green Sun suspects that Lin Xitang will deal with the clans himself, so he wants to block the marshal in the frontline camp. Even though His Majesty dispatched the Thunder Cavalry to accompany Lin Xitang, if Prince Green Sun is willful and really starts turning violent…”
Li Rui naturally understood those unspoken words. He thus nodded helplessly.
Zhang Boqian was never one to speak reason. He and Lin Xitang had been political enemies for so many years. In the past, they were restricted by the fact that both were officials of the same palace. But since Zhang Boqian ascended to become a heavenly monarch, even the prestige of the Thunder Cavalry probably wouldn’t be of any use. Li Rui was keenly aware of the situation—he would have also abandoned everything decisively were he in Lin Xitang’s shoes, even if he had a thousand schemes.
Li Rui secretly cried out in regret—he had really wanted to see if the Li family’s “Star Sifter Array” could destroy the “Art of Heaven’s Mystery”! They had been setting this up since the beginning of the bloody battle. They had operated with utmost care and meticulousness to bring the chessboard to this state and were only waiting for Lin Xitang to step within range. Now, however, everything had gone to waste.
“What does my elder brother think?” asked Li Rui.
The champion scout replied, “My Master and Mister Yan both feel that their attempts to recruit Prince Green Sun last time haven’t failed completely. Perhaps it is an issue of methods. As long as we have a common enemy, there’s no need for Prince Green Sun to support us entirely. It’s fine as long as his attitude leans toward us a bit.
Li Rui sighed. “This matter is of great importance and requires gradual planning. The most pressing matter is to find a middle-man capable of talking to Prince Green Sun.”
It was a great development for them that Zhang Boqian was willing to stand out and oppose Lin Xitang in public, but mutual communication was a big problem. Zhang Boqian had always kept to himself and didn’t even bring a single follower during this trip to Evernight Continent. Naturally, there was no way to deliver information into his hands. This accident arising from many factors caused Li Rui’s murderous plot to lose its function entirely.
The champion scout listened and memorized all the things Li Rui had said before excusing himself.
Li Rui himself headed toward the cave where he was resting. In a corner of the cave lay a complicated machine, an origin array flickering upon the opened worktable. A wisp of intertwined blue and black seeped out from his palm and washed over the array like water, causing the flickering lights to go out one after another. Li Rui proceeded to take the machine apart piece by piece after the array had stopped operating completely.
In the depths of the Dark Nation on the other end of the Iron Curtain, there was a majestic castle standing atop a mountain range. There was a wide french window in its top-floor study through which one could see the land thousand miles out as though it were underfoot.
But the most eye-catching was the sky where a clear demarcating line had cut the firmament into two. One side of it was covered in deep darkness akin to an ancient yet magnificent curtain, while the other side was a lofty azure. A small band of stars akin to a gem-studded belt traversed the skies.
A black-haired man stood gazing out of the window. He possessed a pair of sapphire eyes and seemed deathly cold when he wasn’t smiling.
A knock was heard from the door as a count entered and went down to his knees a dozen or so steps near the man. This was a gesture of utmost reverence for the vampire race. The man didn’t reveal a suppressive might as was normal for most of the supreme vampires who held the fate of many others in his hand. However, no matter how gentle his expression, the count didn’t dare raise his head even a little bit. That was because he had come with fairly bad news.
The count said in a hoarse voice, “Your Excellency Lord Habsburg, we received news from the human side that the original operation to ambush and kill Marshal Lin Xitang three days later has been canceled. The plan has failed.”
The current lord of the fifth-ranked Sperger clan, Grand Duke Habsburg, didn’t fly into a rage as the count had expected. This revered excellency had remained on Evernight Continent for over ten days for this operation.
He only raised his brows with an “Oh?”.
“Go tell my beloved human friends that they have slipped up too many times in this bloody battle. The matter regarding the death of Demonkin Viscount Luther from the Jeruson clan has yet to be settled. We should take the time to think carefully about compensation before our next operation!” At this point, Habsburg suddenly recalled something. “How goes the marriage between Faras and the Monroe Princess?”
The count shrunk back even more as he replied in a trembling voice, “Still… negotiating…” But he also knew that this matter had dragged on for a long time. The grand duke wasn’t going to be very happy with this reply.
However, the count was extremely lucky today. Habsburg waved his hand dismissively and said, “No matter, the Monroes have always failed to see the situation clearly. The Evernight council is making preparations to deal with Sky Demon and have thrown in a great number of chips. The Monroe clan will be begging to join us when that supreme existence wakes up. You may go now.”
Supreme existence! Just who could make a grand duke refer to him like so? The astonished count was drenched in cold sweat as he withdrew respectfully.
Habsburg continued gazing out of the window. He muttered to himself while surveying the depths of the Iron Curtain, “Lin, your empress’ family is spending such an enormous price to kill you. Then what difference is there between your race and us descendants of sacred blood?”
Night had fallen on the Western Continent, and there was a chill in the wind.
Those who were still on the road would subconsciously draw their clothes tighter in order to resist the late-winter cold.
The atmosphere within the Lucid Calm Palace was as warm as the radiant spring. The pre-set origin array provided a steady stream of warmth, and faint streams of steam would gush out from the corners and behind the pillars to prevent the hall from drying out.
Princess Gaoyi was resting somewhat languidly on the couch, and there was a violet gold handwarmer in her arms despite the warmth in the hall. The warmer was exquisitely made, and its surface had been brightly polished—apparently, it was a toy she had played with for many years.
Although she lived like a princess every day, it was clear that her face was abnormally pale, and the fingertips rubbing on the hand-warmer were as cold as before. This was an old disease no number of hand-warmers could remedy.
The old man whom Qianye had met before was leaning over beside the couch, recounting in detail the things that had taken place in Fortune Courtyard.
Princess Gaoyi’s brows rose when she heard Duke You’s assessment, “A grand vision, a path to the heavens”, but her expression quickly returned to normal. Such a major development only caused her to be moved slightly.
After listening to everything, Princess Gaoyi said calmly, “My husband has been worried for many years. He should feel reassured now that Qianye possesses such an accomplishment.”
A wisp of worry flashed across the old man’s face. “But it seems the imperial son-in-law hasn’t completely let go of the matters back then, and there’s no telling what Qianye thinks of it, either.”
Princess Gaoyi laughed, “The choice back then was made to save Xi’er’s life and I am her mother. There’s no way I can escape this implication. But so what? It’s enough that Xi’er is finally able to grow up safe and sound.”
The old man’s eyes were somewhat moist. He cast his gaze downward before speaking in a hushed voice, “I fear that the person behind the matter back then won’t leave things like this. Shouldn’t you inform the imperial son-in-law?”
Princes Gaoyi replied indifferently, “If my husband believes me, he’ll naturally be able to see the clues. If he doesn’t…”
The atmosphere in the room became tense, and the old man only looked down in silence. The warmth from the origin array rolled through the hall but that which passed over the skin was a chill from the heart.
Princess Gaoyi spoke only after a short while, “That woman probably never imagined that she would gain nothing at all after all the scheming. In the end, she couldn’t even send the lowest of concubines into the family throughout the years.” Her petal-like lips curled up slightly as a faint trace of delight emerged on her distant expression. “The Swallow Cloud Zhao Clan is a thousand-year clan established together with the empire, not something an upstart family formed from marriage can compete with!”
The old man said after some thought, “Princess, this old servant has something absurd to say.”
Princess Gaoyi’s expression calmed down and sighed. “Elder Attendant, you’re someone who has watched me grow up. You can say anything.”
The old man suppressed his voice and said, “This servant thinks Princess should take Young Noble Qianye under your name.”
Even with her powers of concentration, the princess nearly dropped the handwarmer after hearing these words. She pondered deeply and then gradually collected herself before saying, “A bastard son can’t be added to the ancestral registry. Moreover, the imperial son-in-law happens to be clan lord at the moment, which means that even if his bastard son is added to the Zhao clan family register, the matter would have to be reported to the Imperial Court. The entire process is fairly troublesome.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter