Imperial Capital, daytime.
Two men of similar age and appearance were standing under a side corridor of the plaza outside the “Hidden Palace.”
“Thank you for the help, Imperial Uncle.” The Radiant Emperor cupped his hands.
Lord Riverglance calmly stepped to the side. “There are no strangers here, there’s really no need to put up appearances.”
The Radiant Emperor wasn’t at all displeased. “We wait for one more person,” without waiting for the lord to ask, he continued, “it’s Prince Greensun.”
Lord Riverglance frowned. “You were able to rope him in? That’s not easy.”
“Prince Greensun is definitely not someone I can rope in. He has never seen eye to eye with Marshal Lin, and his actions have always ignored the rules. It’s just that he’s standing on our side today.”
“Then he’s definitely quite bold. Even the two great-granduncles are only there to help suppress the general situation of the Empire. A different-surnamed heavenly monarch staying in the Empire, not only does he dare to enter the Hidden Palace, but he even dares to stand on our side.” With that, Lord Riverglance thought of some past matters and shook his head. “Zhang Boqian, this man is really… ha… unpredictable.”
The Radiant Emperor said, “I know what you’re thinking, but rest assured, there’s no way I’d bring Marshal Lin into these muddy waters. He can forget about leading troops before his injuries are healed.”
Lord Riverglance nodded after a momentary astonishment. “That’s good as well.”
Before long, a figure landed on the corridor—it was Prince Greensun. The three exchanged glances and nodded in greeting, but no pleasantries were observed.
The doors to the Hidden Palace were slowly opened.
The Radiant Emperor entered at the lead.
The time was close to noon, but the palace interior was abnormally quiet. Be it in terms of vision or perception, there was no one else apart from the three people.
Zhang Boqian discovered, as soon as he had stepped through the door, that they had entered a sealed space that resembled a minor world.
The Radiant Emperor and Lord Riverglance unleashed their own domains. As secret arts of the Imperial clan, the “Emperor Domain” and “Buddha’s Settlement” were fairly similar. The surging origin power derived all kinds of scenery and phenomena as they slowly overlapped with one another.
Entrenched in the hall beyond them was a boundless, cryptic aura. It was extremely powerful and seemed dazzling in this sealed space.
Zhang Boqian’s expression was calm and his gaze profound. He was not as unbridled as he was during normal times, but his aura never fell to a disadvantage during the entire process. It remained as vast and endless as the ocean.
For a moment, the Radiant Emperor couldn’t tell whether Zhang Boqian hadn’t materialized his domain or if he was just standing there entirely unprotected. If it was the latter, it meant that his martial path had advanced yet again during the two days since their last competition.
This question only produced some small ripples in the Emperor’s heart. He quickly cast the thought aside and headed into the palace.
At this point, every alliance he had made was a gamble, and every step he took was on the blade’s edge. One wrong step was all it would take to bring about his demise, and the people he wanted to protect would be completely defeated and die without a corpse.
The Radiant Emperor pushed open the carved doors to the main hall. Light flooded into the dark chamber, but it was eerily stopped halfway across the hall. The other half, along with the throne at its end, was buried in the shadows.
“Daybreak’s resurgence, the Imperial blood no longer suppressed. Who would’ve thought the first to awaken would actually be you, the son of a singer? Are the heavens toying with our Ji family?” A sinister voice echoed through the halls.
As the trio entered the palace hall, the door behind them closed on its own.
The hall didn’t fall into pitch darkness, but the chamber was hazy, grey, and suffused in a worn pallor. It was like the sky after a gloomy shower. The dark inner half of the hall slowly revealed itself, along with that aged figure on the throne.
The Radiant Emperor remained composed in the face of those insulting words and slowly took his place at the center of the hall.
“Our Great Qin Ji Clan bears the fortune of Daybreak and will accompany its rise and fall. Of our thirty-three family branches since the founding ancestor, only seventeen remain today. The predecessors spilled their jade blood onto this land, so that we may enjoy its fruits and prosper today. As the eldest member of the family, someone who has supported our clan for over a hundred years, why would you try to kill your own kin?”
“Little Brat, how dare you lecture this monarch? I did not lose to you, I lost to the will of heaven.”
“If it wasn’t for your arrangement, how would my mother have the honor of waiting upon the previous emperor? Why would Empress Zhao be killed along with her child for some negligible problem?”
The Longevity Monarch’s laughter came to a sudden stop. His gaze shot through the hazy screen to land on the Emperor’s body. “You know quite a lot. It seems the Emperor Domain is now fully in your hands. Even Marquis Riversun and the other families are now playing to a different tune.”
The Radiant Emperor said, “Marquis Riversun is no more.”
The Longevity Monarch broke out in laughter. “Well done, well killed! You don’t hold back when killing family, either!”
“Riversun, Fineglance, and Lord Qi were hiding troops in their residence, seeking to rebel as the dark races eye our mainland. The crime of undermining the Empire is unpardonable, no matter who they are.” The Radiant Emperor’s expression and tone remained calm, but every word he spoke carried with it the smell of blood and fire.
Now that the trio had entered the Hidden Palace, the Longevity Monarch knew that he had lost control of the situation. After this brief conversation, he had also realized that his contingency plans had been uprooted by the Emperor. Even if some managed to escape, they would no longer be a threat.
The Longevity Monarch glared at the Radiant Emperor. “I have underestimated you.”
He had never thought too highly of this man or taken him seriously. Similarly, most Imperial clan members felt that his honored maternal family members and female geniuses were more valuable. Otherwise—the Longevity Monarch and Lord Solemnity’s branch had been fighting each other secretly for almost an entire month—why would he only discover the true mastermind when the Emperor challenged Prince Greensun?
One wrong move was all it took for the entire chessboard to fail.
The Longevity Monarch broke into a gloomy laugh. “Very well, since you want the reason, let me tell you. My Ji family has been shouldering the fate of Daybreak, and the blood we have spilled goes far beyond what you know. Out of the thirty-three founding branches, only two of them have managed to pass down the line consistently, and those two are our ancestors. The other fifteen might exist in name, but the core members are no longer the same. Even people as powerful as the grand ancestor and martial ancestor have lost their line of descent.”
His tone suddenly grew heavier as he said word by word, “Which clan has made more sacrifices than our Ji?
“The marriage between the Zhao and our Ji is laughable. If we test the density of Imperial blood, Gaoyi’s children might be even stronger than you, Riverglance.”
Everyone’s expressions changed drastically when they heard these words.
The Radiant Emperor was just about to say something when the Longevity Monarch ignored him and kept on speaking, “The Zhao’s younger generation took away the Red Spider Lily. What if they activate the Mortal Emperor one day? The Founding Emperor planned the Chronicles of Glory, clipping the wings off of the soaring serpent and having it bear the Wheel of Glory. This left our Ji family’s totem incomplete and the Imperial bloodline suppressed in every generation thereafter, but what was all of that for? For the human race? Did he want experts to lose their own bloodlines and allow those weak ants to survive?”
The Emperor was dazed for a moment, but his expression became solemn. “So you wanted to topple the Wheel of Glory…”
The Longevity Monarch’s shriveled finger stretched out from his sleeve and tapped on the armrest, his eyes full of regret at the lack of time. He leaned forward and stared at the people in the hall. “Look at what’s left of Ji Sulian’s lineage? Riverglance listened to Lin Xitang’s advice, degrading himself by retreating to the borders for thirty years. And you, Ji Jian! How dare a thief squat on the ancestral temple!?”
The old voice echoed through the halls. It was as cold as a snake’s hiss but also sounded like a curse.
“Our Ji clan is dead!”
The Longevity Monarch’s eyes darted toward Zhang Boqian like a snake. “It is human nature to be forgetful and greedy. No one will remember the earlier sacrifices. In the thousand years of our existence, clans and nobility have risen and fallen like the tides. Certain surnames would rise to power, but the Imperial blood would only be worn down year by year. Those outsider heavenly monarchs will only exploit the Imperial family and support their own.”
The atmosphere in the hall was heavy, and everyone felt as though there was a mountain peak on their chests.
It was no longer important whether the Longevity Monarch believed in the demonkin secret art. What he was dissatisfied about was the decline of Imperial bloodlines. Perhaps he believed that destroying the Wheel of Glory would serve to unleash the Imperial blood. Who would’ve thought the Chronicles of Glory, which had been asleep for a thousand years, would wake up and succeed at such a moment. Overthrowing it was no longer possible.
“The Empire our Ji family has established, I shall destroy with my own hands. It’s better than being destroyed by the enemy, at the very least.”
The hall became so silent that one could hear a needle drop.
Zhang Boqian’s expression was dark, while Lord Riverglance looked somewhat distracted. The Radiant Emperor, on the other hand, stood calmly with his eyes looking downward.
The Radiant Emperor’s voice tore through the dullness like a sharp knife. “The predecessors stood at the river’s bank, their wish was not to become slaves again. The grand ancestor used Imperial blood to lay down the foundation, his wish was to sustain the glory of Daybreak. Now everything has been realized. This is the Founding Emperor’s true intention!”
The Longevity Monarch broke into laughter. “Haha, haha, hahaha… Brat Jian, if you’re so devoted to righteousness like you said, why would you not dare to let Lin Xitang die?”
The Radiant Emperor narrowed his eyes. The Longevity Monarch’s hoarse voice was harsh on the ears, yet there was a hypnotizing cadence to it. “Now that the Chronicles of Glory has been completed, there’s no need for him to keep the heavenly mystery in check. This person possesses near-demonic intelligence and is capable of leading two divination lineages on his own. If you crush his soul and feed it to the Empire’s fortune trajectory, it will shorten the time to reach Daybreak resurgence by half. Isn’t it the fate of a divination specialist to be sacrificed?”
He hadn’t even finished speaking when a clap of thunder exploded in the hall, followed by tempestuous rain. The rolling thunder came together in a continuous stretch as Zhang Boqian threw a punch at the Longevity Monarch’s throne.
No one had imagined that Zhang Boqian would be the first to attack.
The Radiant Emperor and Lord Riverglance did their utmost to expand their domains, covering the hall and walls in the blink of an eye.
At the same time, the haze in the room disappeared along with the walls, floor, dust, and every tangible object. Blue lights flickered in every direction, as if they were in a river of stars at the top of the realm. A terrifying pressure also bore down from all directions, almost as though the chamber was in the deepest part of the ocean.
This strange phenomenon only lasted for a moment before it was devoured by the combined forces of the Emperor Domain and Buddha’s Settlement. The hazy hall once again revealed its true appearance. The Radiant Emperor and Lord Riverglance only had the chance to glance up at the throne after suppressing the origin array.
The strange thing was that the earth-shattering punch never happened.
Just before the attack reached the throne, Zhang Boqian suddenly withdrew his attack and came to a stop. His feet sank into the ground upon landing, and his body swayed slightly. Apparently, withdrawing that punch wasn’t easy.
The question was, why did he have to stop despite the backlash?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie