Chapter 319: The Old Emperor’s Scheme

Pei Qingfeng had been busy with the group of mysterious individuals while Pei Rumo was spending time with Bai Luochu. Pei Wuchen wasn’t doing anything because of Feng Wan’er’s matter and the other princes were not worth noticing. Since his outstanding sons were all busy and the others were useless in his eyes, the old emperor’s thoughts started to run wild.

When weird ideas appeared in the head of the most powerful man in a nation, the calm situation would take a drastic turn.

“De Quan... Do you think that our Cloud Water Nation occupies too small of a space on the map?” As the old emperor continued to age, his paranoia intensified. Right now, he held more regard for a castrated man like De Quan. He would even consult with the eunuch before doing anything.

De Quan could react according to the situation and he was great at reading the emperor's expression. However, that only applied to matters that didn’t concern the nation. Now that the old emperor had asked him such a serious question, De Quan didn’t know how to reply.

The throne room fell into silence and apart from the noise of the bugs struggling to survive, nothing else could be heard.

When the old emperor saw how terrified De Quan was, he found it rather funny, “Hahaha, look at you! Why are you getting so nervous? I am merely asking for an opinion, why do you need to be so apprehensive? I will be the one to make the decision in the end. Just speak your mind!”

De Quan immediately let out a sigh of relief upon hearing His Majesty’s explanation. His Majesty definitely wants to hear a firm answer. To His Majesty, I am his pet parrot. While other parrots have to mimic what others say, I need to repeat the words in the old emperor’s mind.q

“This old servant feels that the Cloud Water Nation should occupy a larger space on the map. Now that our Cloud Water Nation is enjoying peace and prosperity, we have adequate resources, and our population is booming, why can’t we seize a piece of territory for ourselves? Our Cloud Water Nation is able to enjoy such prosperity due to Your Majesty’s contribution. The commoners are enjoying their life because of Your Majesty’s grace. All Your Majesty wants is more fertile and spacious land for the nation to grow. The commoners will understand...” De Quan brought up all the achievements of the Cloud Water Nation and praised the old emperor before ending his speech.

“Hahahaha, that’s exactly what I thought. Since that is the case, I shall ask you one more time, whose land shall we conquer?” The old emperor added another question.

This wasn’t a difficult question as De Quan knew that the old emperor already had a choice in mind. He merely wanted to tease the old eunuch and De Quan quickly responded, “Your Majesty, please do not tease this old servant. This old servant can’t possibly think about conquering other countries.”

The old emperor saw through De Quan’s thoughts and made up his mind. “Why don’t we set our sights on the Desolate Region?! It isn’t inhabited by humans and it should be easier for us to conquer. After taking over the lands, we shall send the criminals as slaves to rebuild the area. The desolate region will turn into our territory before long.”

When De Quan heard the old emperor's plan, he immediately agreed. “Your Majesty is wise. However, the weather is getting colder and if we wish to conquer the Desolate Region, we have to do it quickly. Otherwise, the weather might affect our speed when traveling through the region.”

“You don’t need to think about such trivial matters. I have already decided on the general of the expedition. The timing has already been decided as well.” The old emperor’s expression changed and spoke sternly to De Quan.

De Quan knew that serving beside the old emperor was akin to living with a tiger and he quickly dismissed himself. He respectfully said, “This old servant understands.”

The first day of the month rolled around. On the first day of every month, every single official and general of the nation would be present in the morning assembly. Even those who were below the fifth-rank or princes without official roles had to be present. Of course, this was to encourage the freedom of expression as not everyone would be able to speak to the emperor normally. However, as the political group became increasingly corrupted, cover-ups were common occurrences. They were lucky it didn’t get to the point where the country was at risk.

The old emperor arrived late and even Pei Qingfeng felt that the Cloud Water Nation’s emperor was getting muddle-headed. Behind the glorious appearance of the Cloud Water Nation was a pile of filth.

The old emperor cleared his throat and started speaking, “Cough cough. This Emperor has been dreaming of my parents for the past few days. In my dreams, they would always remind me, ‘As the crown prince, you must not be mediocre. The future of the Cloud Water Nation is in your hands. If you fail to accomplish anything great, the commoners will suffer with you.’ Their teachings stayed in my mind and luckily for me, I managed to give them a peaceful life. The more I think about it, the more I feel that I could have done more. However, this Emperor is getting old and I feel ashamed for not achieving anything noteworthy.” The old emperor pretended to be heartbroken and wiped his tears. After all, he was sitting high above the masses and no one could see his actual expression.

Pei Rumo dealt with the old emperor too frequently and he could feel that something was off. The old emperor wasn’t the late emperor’s favorite child… In fact, there were times the late emperor wanted to dispose of him and find another heir. Had it not been an outstanding grandson like Pei Wuchen who allowed the late emperor to see a semblance of hope for the nation, the old emperor wouldn’t be the one sitting on the throne right now. Even if the old emperor dreamt of the late emperor, wouldn’t they be tearing each other’s throat off?

Even though Pei Rumo had differing thoughts in mind, he had to attempt to please the old emperor. “Impossible! Emperor Father is healthy and robust! For the commoners to be able to enjoy peace and prosperity is their greatest blessing, how can they be ungrateful to Emperor Father? This is the best time for Emperor Father to bask in the glory of your achievements!”

Pei Qingfeng couldn’t believe his eyes as he saw a smile appear on the old emperor’s face.

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