Even after landing, there were several wisps of leaked origin power drifting around Zhang Boqian. Just like how the smell of blood would attract sharks, the origin array within the palace began to stir once more. An azure fluorescence appeared in the air and shot straight for the stray origin power. Prince Greensun drew an invisible arc, pulling all of the leaked origin power and azure light into his sleeve. His body jolted violently as he took on this impact forcibly.
The Radiant Emperor and Lord Riverglance were stunned, but they knew that Zhang Boqian had to have a reason for resisting the array. They immediately increased the pressure and looked forward.
They were immediately drenched in sweat when the throne came into clear view.
There was a daybreak source where the Longevity Monarch was sitting, but with their powerful eyesight, they were able to recognize that it was just a dead object. The main body was entirely motionless—its eyes and mouth closed, and its chest still.
The Longevity Monarch was planning to deal them a blow before his death!
Just as the rumors stated, the monarch could no longer attack at his full strength. With the entire Hidden Palace suppressed by the Emperor Domain, there was simply no way for the Longevity Monarch to win against the other three just by making use of the array in the hall. It was very likely that the fight would end in the chamber, and no news of it would reach the outside world.
Thus, the Longevity Monarch condensed his daybreak grand origin at the time of his death. At least before its dispersal, this was still the source of a heavenly monarch’s power. If Zhang Boqian were to attack it, the results would be comparable to an all-out exchange between two heavenly monarchs. Not to mention the sealed space and enemy origin arrays in the hall, the impact from the explosion alone could injure the three people here. At the very least, the Radiant Emperor and Lord Riverglance’s domains couldn’t stop the shockwaves from rolling out of the Hidden Palace.
The Imperial Capital had not been peaceful for the past month. Those incidents could still be explained as rebellions and dark race assassinations, but there was simply no way to hide the origin power explosion from the Hidden Palace.
Even so, the threat was now past, and the most optimal outcome had been reached.
The Radiant Emperor heaved a sigh of relief. He was the first to break down and fall to the floor, breathing heavily. He had shouldered the heaviest responsibility along the way, constantly suppressing the Hidden Palace’s domain with his own. Even now, he still had to keep holding on until the core of the Hidden Palace had been completely shut down.
Lord Riverglance didn’t help him up, either. He merely stood guard nearby while recovering his own energy. His own exhaustion wasn’t less than the Emperor’s since he had to oversee the three stacking domains and the fight against the Hidden Palace’s arrays.
There were few instances of top-experts ganging up on one person, mainly because the area and domain attacks were prone to friendly fire. There was a lot more space in the void, but it was also more difficult to surround a person. In a place like the Hidden Palace, on the other hand, they would have to be wary of wanton destruction. Even though their powers shared the same source, the Radiant Emperor and Lord Riverglance had to control their domains carefully in order to stack them together. Zhang Boqian’s existence in and of itself was akin to an ancient divine weapon. He was so sharp and powerful that he could injure both allies and enemies.
The Radiant Emperor was forced to take action earlier because of his unexpected encounter with Zhang Boqian, but then again, without Prince Greensun, their plans here would be fairly strained. Even if they could secure a narrow victory, they might have to pay a steep price in the form of nationwide unrest.
At this moment, Zhang Boqian was standing on the other side of the hall with his hands behind his back. There was no visible emotion on his face, nor could anyone tell how badly he had been injured by the backlash just now.
The great hall was plunged into silence. The body on the throne was emitting an aura of decay, and even that daybreak source couldn’t remove the haze around it.
The doors and windows to the hall weren’t shut very tightly. Sunlight poured down from an odd gap, erupting into a radiance that would dispel the darkness in the chamber.
Lord Riverglance broke the silence. “What do you make of what he said just now?” The Longevity Monarch said a lot of things, each more piercing than the next. He was clearly planting the seeds of discord in their hearts. The emperor, a nonfamilial heavenly monarch, and a border lord were not of the same path, to begin with, and would never be. But what did Lord Riverglance mean?
The Radiant Emperor gave it some thought before answering, “Everyone has their own ambitions.”
With that, the uncle and nephew glanced at Zhang Boqian.
“I have my path and my heart, external objects have no influence on me.” Zhang Boqian left after saying this.
Dazzling light filled their entire vision as the doors opened with a bang.
Lord Riverglance gazed at the sun-washed ground outside the hall, then back at the shadowy throne. An old era had ended, and a new one was about to descend.
He suddenly asked the Radiant Emperor, “Did you ever think about how Marshal Lin will see you after everything is done?”
The Radiant Emperor wasn’t moved. “I managed to fulfill my ancestors’ will, and my teacher is still alive and well. What else do I need to fear?”
Lord Riverglance laughed with a complicated expression. “Teacher? Sigh. Marshal Lin possesses peerless talent, but his heart is empty and his emotions void.” His voice had trailed off to a whisper toward the last part, and there was no telling whether the Emperor heard him clearly. The man merely looked up but didn’t say anything.
After a slight pause, Lord Riverglance said, “It’s fine. As long as he remains, I shall also stay at the border. Your Majesty, let me warn you. I won’t be entering the capital, but I won’t guarantee that the people on my side won't.”
The Radiant Emperor replied, “Imperial Uncle, rest assured. The Empire’s resurgence is now in motion. It’s within reason even for aristocratic families to ascend to major-clan status, so what problem is there with the Imperial family being powerful?”
With the Longevity Monarch gone, there was bound to be a chain reaction in the power balance within the Imperial clan and the distribution of territory. It was well within reason for the nobility factions to see a shift in authority, let alone the biggest Imperial clan. The ripples from this matter would go on for a very long time.
Lord Riverglance nodded. “I’ll be leaving now, don’t tell him I came.” Without waiting for a reply, the man left in leisurely steps and melded away into the sunlight.
The outside world never knew what had happened in the Hidden Palace.
That night, the Imperial clan announced that the Longevity Monarch had passed away and that he would be buried in a national ceremony. This news shook all the subjects of the Empire, but there was no big panic. There had been widespread rumors of the Empire’s resurgence in recent years. The number of people who could cultivate daybreak origin power had increased noticeably, with the younger generation surpassing their ancestors in cultivation progress. Many more experts who had been stuck at major bottlenecks managed to break through, and the Empire had just added a prime-age heavenly monarch to their ranks. Such an exchange between the newer generation and the old was a common occurrence.
The entire upper echelon of the Empire had noticed that something was changing, but the Imperial clan and the major clans would not meddle in each other's affairs. Apart from those who were directly involved, everyone else decided to stay away from the epicenter.
Several government decrees soon departed from the Endless Palace, allowing everyone a peep into a corner of the iceberg.
The cabinet was also reformed. The four great assisting ministers were removed, completely ending the system left behind by the previous reign. At the same time, departmental authorities were returned to the government with all officials now overseen by a new Imperial Steward. The army reforms that had been under discussion all this time were finally settled. The number of great marshals was still the same at ten.
There were personnel changes as well.
Lin Xitang was released from his marshal position and promoted to Imperial Steward. His official rank of Guardian Marquis was promoted to Guardian Duke, along with an additional title of Imperial Tutor. The Northern Legion was granted to the Guardian Duke as his private army.
Zhang Boqian’s territories of Fuhuang, Jishui, and Juxu were assigned under Marquis Fuling Wu Yazi. The latter had been promoted to the marshal rank, and to assist him, Marquis Bowang’s heir Wei Potian was promoted to lieutenant general. Marquis Fuling was one of the rare marshals born of a landowning household and was also brother-in-law to Marquis Bowang’s brother, Song Bainian. In this manner, the Far East Wei Clan had once again regained the marshal position they had lost for many years.
The Western Continent territories under Lin Xitang’s supervision were now under the leadership of Zhao Gongcheng, who had been promoted to the marshal rank. Currently, the Swallowcloud Zhao Clan was the biggest clan on the Western Continent, and its power was now comparable to the Zhang. Lin Xitang’s Riverwest Corridor region had been split into three parts and added to the adjacent military zones.
Numerous such changes occurred throughout the empire.
The shuffling of titles and appointments sent a clear message. The hidden unrest in the Empire was now past, and the current Imperial clan had no intention of centralizing power. The Far East Wei Clan was likely the first high-ranking aristocratic family to open up a path toward becoming a major clan, followed by the second, third, and more.
Subjects both inside and outside the court accepted all the changes in a quiet and respectful manner.
The void continent, at this point, was covered in raging flames.
Looking down from above, one would see three Imperial armies sawing through the dark race formation like sharp blades. The central and eastern routes, especially, were far more incisive than the western one.
These two armies stabbed deep into the void continent like fierce tigers running through the forest. They were surrounded by the dark race wolf-packs who were on the constant lookout for the tiger’s weakness.
The western route marched slowly but with great stability, much like a giant millstone that would crush all enemies in its wake. Comparatively, this route’s foundations were the strongest.
The eastern side of the void continent was filled with complicated landscapes and cliffs. It was naturally easy to defend and difficult to assault. The Imperial forces were marching swiftly forward on the ground, followed by a slow motorcade of trucks and troop transports. There were also several airships hovering forward at low altitude and keeping pace with the army.
On one of the warships, Princess Haimi was clad in a full suit of battle-armor which covered up most of her face. Only those bright, burning eyes and the long flowing hair behind her helmet reminded people of her great beauty.
From time to time, Evernight high-speed airships would pierce through the clouds in an attempt to attack the advancing troops. Every time this happened, the slow-moving Imperial warships would retaliate with shocking accuracy and make quick work of these uninvited guests. Most Evernight warships would retreat after seeing the difficult situation, but a small number of greedy vessels would be shot down by the Imperial fleet.
The Evernight warships would only launch guerilla attacks since the Empire had taken control of the void airspace, but even so, their losses were still significant. At this point, the motorcade slowed down all of a sudden as, following a loud gunshot, the armored vehicle at the front burst into flames.
The warships slowly came to a halt as well.
A brigadier general who was half-soaked in blood ran into the command room and fell on one knee. “Your Highness, we have encountered an enemy ambush.”
Princess Haimai asked after a moment of silence, “What happened?”
The brigadier general replied, “The dark races have set up a well-hidden defensive stronghold to the front. We didn’t realize it until we were near. My guess is that they have a domain-expert among them to perfect their camouflage.”
“Can we fight our way through?”
The brigadier general hesitated for a moment. “Their defenses are airtight. It seems they have been in operation for quite some time…”
“How many soldiers do you need to crush them?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie