Chapter 1553: Convincing People with Virtue

“Absurd! Preposterous!”

Three months later, the leaders of the confucians, the eight hundred God-Lords, and the three top experts Confucian Vicissitude, Confucian Meaning, and Confucian Script, were holding a big meeting. All of them were flustered and exasperated as, in the months that had passed, none of them had recruited a single loyal disciple.

Their effort had resulted in a major defeat. Never could they have guessed that the civilization of the Sage Monarch Empire was so advanced. In fact, because of the debates that had been held, many confucian students had been influenced by the empire, and begun changing their ideals and way of thinking.

After all, everyone wanted to be a part of an advanced and progressive civilization. The civilization of Yang Qi’s empire surpassed anything the confucians could ever have brought to realization. As the students of confucianism learned this, they realized that they were pursuing an incorrect path, and that Yang Qi’s way was the right one.

“Who could have guessed that the people in the Sage Monarch Empire would be so stubborn?” Confucian Vicissitude said, sounding utterly discomfited. “Why? Every single one of us is an amazing confucian scholar, a great sage with vast experience in education. People will claw over each other tooth and nail to get us to teach them, but here they just laugh at us. It seems we’ve underestimated the capabilities of the sage monarch magistrates. They aren’t government officials, they're part of the natural laws of the dao of heaven. And they’re constantly transforming. We need to come up with a new plan. Changing the hearts of the people isn’t going to work.”

“But what do you suggest we do now?” Confucian Meaning said angrily. “In the debates over the past three months, we confucians have been completely trounced over and over again. We've become a complete laughingstock in this empire. Damnation! We should’ve realized that the debate proposition was a trap. I'm honestly shocked that we’ve lost so badly, even though we held back from using force!”

When confucians tried to take over a government, they always faced opposition, and the main way they overcame it was to hold public debates to sway the general public. Generally speaking, they could crush buddhists in debates.

But when debating the sage monarch magistrates, they were completely routed.

There had been some occasions in which the confucian students openly accused the sage monarch magistrates of being unfit to serve as government officials.

The magistrates didn't lose their temper, nor did they resort to force. They just discussed the matter publicly, even asking for suggestions from the confucians, which they would subsequently debunk.

The confucians were crushed completely.

Even Confucian Vicissitude and Confucian Meaning had been defeated in debate, causing a huge loss of face for the confucians in general. They were even thinking of leaving the Sage Monarch Empire.

However, they knew that if they defected, the empire would never forgive them, and they would likely be killed. And they had no doubt that Yang Qi was controlling all of this.

Yang Qi was just waiting for them to try to defect, whereupon he would punish them severely.

“Teachers, if things keep going on like this, we're going to be in extreme danger,” one of the confucian God-Lords said. “Our plan failed. There’s no way we’ll depose or recruit the sage monarch magistrates. In fact, it's going to be difficult to maintain the reputation of confucianism. Of the five quadrillion students we brought with us, one percent have already left confucianism. The sage monarch magistrates are experts at government, and in fact, they seem to understand more about culture and civilization than we do. They’re creating a new path that will be used to transcend everything, and reach the Annulled level. At this rate, it will only take four or five years for us to lose all of our students!”

“Come on, let’s get out of here!” another God-Lord said through gritted teeth. “There’s no benefit to us if we stay here. In fact, we're just giving more destiny to the empire. Let’s go to the alliance of three dynasties. We’ll have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of there. We can use the power of the High Priestess to quickly reach high levels of authority, which just isn’t going to be possible here in the Sage Monarch Empire. Nothing we’ve done in the past three months has helped, and we’ve lost every debate we participated in. This has been an unmitigated disaster.”

“Defect? You think Yang Qi doesn’t know we might try that?” Confucian Vicissitude sighed. “We completely failed. If you ride a tiger, it's hard to get off, and now we’re in the position where we can't go forward, and we can't go back. The only thing we can do now is hunker down and hope that we can slowly make some headway.”

“But if we do nothing, more and more of our people are going to become ordinary citizens of the empire. When we're the only ones left, then what?”

“Don’t worry,” Confucian Meaning said, a vicious smile on his face. “We’ll find a way to get a message to the High Priestess. A coordinated effort from inside and out will definitely result in the destruction of the Sage Monarch Empire.”

“Destroy the Sage Monarch Empire?” Confucian Script said. “I’m afraid that’s not going to happen. Furthermore, destroying it wouldn’t do any good. The High Priestess will treat us like cannon fodder. Besides, we know definitively that the sage monarch magistrates are superior to us in the ways of governing nations. Otherwise, how could we have lost every single debate over the last three months? The only explanation is that we really aren’t as knowledgeable as them. We have to change, that much is obvious. The only option is to acknowledge that we lost, then work on improving ourselves. Bring forth new ideas, and blaze new trails. When our confucian theories have been made more perfect, we can have a new round of debates.”

“Moron!” Confucian Vicissitude barked. “You’re not thinking straight, Script! We came to the Sage Monarch Empire to take control, not the other way around! Don’t tell me you’ve been deluded by the debates, too! If we really can’t take control, our only option is to make a surreptitious escape. We can’t stay here.”

“But how do we leave?” Confucian Script said coldly. “You yourself said we can move neither forward nor backward. And if we stay, we’ll eventually lose ourselves and be homogenized into the empire.”

“Simple,” Confucian Meaning said. “We coordinate both an internal and an external assault. On the one hand, we can pretend that we’ve decided to convert to the Sage Monarch Empire’s way of thinking. But in reality, we’ll secretly make contact with the High Priestess! The Sage Monarch Empire is going to belong to us confucians eventually. Nothing can change that inevitability. And if we can't persuade them with words, we’ll just conquer them.”

“Conquer them?” a voice said. “I thought you confucians were focused on loyalty. I thought you cared about peace and security the most. But here you are, planning a revolt. I gave you many chances. I gave you the debates. You had the chance to win out over the sage monarch magistrates. If you had, you could’ve earned a lot of power and authority. But instead, you’re forsaking your own path. What a pity. Thanks to losing those debates, even the common citizens think of you as trash. In your hearts, you know that we represent the advancement of civilization, yet you still want to defect? That’s simply unforgivable.”

A shadowy figure stepped out into the open, and it was Yang Qi!

“What?!”

The three confucian leaders shot to their feet in astonishment, and the eight hundred God-Lords instantly prepared to start fighting.

“What. Planning on attacking me?” Yang Qi glanced around at them. “This is my empire. Do you people really want to throw yourselves at me like an egg thrown at a boulder?”

He wasn’t afraid of them at all. This was his empire, and here, not even the High Priestess could attack him without getting killed. With destiny at his back and the dao of heaven on his side, he was impervious to attack.

Furthermore, thanks to his effort to repair the Ancient Road to the Gods, and because of what he had learned from the three months of debates, he was just on the verge of the half-Annulled level. At that point, he wouldn’t even need national destiny to defeat the confucians.

“Yang Qi!” Confucian Vicissitude said. He sounded nervous. He knew that even with numbers on their side, they wouldn’t be able to do anything to this opponent.

After all, if it was possible to kill Yang Qi like that, the High Priestess would have already made a move on him.

“What. You confucians really don’t understand proper etiquette? You're supposed to kneel in the presence of the emperor.”

RUMBLE!

As the words left his mouth, waves of vital energy crushed down, causing creaking sounds to echo out as the God-Lords were forced down.

“On your knees!”

Only the three leaders remained standing, although their joints creaked and their backs were bent as they struggled against the force.

“Still not going to kneel?” Yang Qi barked, whereupon destiny suddenly rushed in, and the three experts dropped to the floor.

“This is my empire, and not even the High Priestess, a half-Annulled expert, can defy the destiny here. You three confucians really hid your true motives well, but in the end, you can’t defy me. When you became citizens of the empire, you agreed to my rules. But here you are, holding a secret meeting in which you’re opposing the interests of the empire. How exactly should I react?

“I gave you the chance to prove yourselves through debate, but you lost. And now you’re talking about colluding with outsiders? You’ve violated the mortal integrity of confucianism! But don’t worry. I'm not going to kill you. However, I’m going to tell everyone in existence what you’ve done. All common citizens will see exactly what kind of people you are. And I'm sure you can imagine how they’ll want you punished.”

“No!” Confucian Meaning blurted. “If that happens, confucianism will become infamous for all time!”

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