The emperor was flabbergasted. “Everyone, what do you think Imperial Prince Huo is trying to accomplish by bringing only twenty people with him?”
“Why should we care, Your Majesty? Twenty people isn’t enough to achieve anything! Even if they’re all advanced empyrean cultivators, it’s impossible for them to fight all of Tritalent. This is our home ground. We can easily eliminate all of them. Besides, we also have help.”
The others nodded. Even Zhao Situ began to doubt himself. If Rejuvenation was here to take revenge, they would’ve sent a proper army. Twenty wasn’t enough to do anything substantial, no matter how powerful they were.
What was more, Tritalent had gathered many allies from the area. They were all in the same boat. If a war broke out with Rejuvenation, the neighboring factions wouldn’t stand by and do nothing, due to their vested interest being at stake.
“Your Majesty, perhaps the imperial prince is here to negotiate?” someone suggested.
“Surely not! If he’s here to negotiate, he would’ve sent word beforehand rather than just break in.”
“But if he’s not here to talk, what else? He can’t be here to kill us, can he? How much damage can those twenty of his possibly do?”
“Is it possible that Rejuvenation has deployed an army, and these twenty are vanguards sent out to forge a path?”
Still, twenty was too little even for an advance party, especially since Tritalent’s imperial family held the territorial advantage and had formations to protect them. There were also a group of powerful experts defending the isles.
Only a fool would force an attack given the circumstances.
Many of Rejuvenation’s top experts had been lost in the wake of Polylore’s harassment. They couldn’t afford to launch an attack now.
“Your Majesty, Imperial Prince Huo from Rejuvenation has reached the outer sky of the imperial city with his people.” A second group of scouts brought back updated news. “He demands for Your Majesty to meet him in person!”
That halted all discussion in the room and resolved their suspicions.
Even the densest mind could tell the imperial prince wasn’t here to negotiate. Otherwise, he would’ve sent an invitation for a civil meeting and resolved the conflict through diplomacy.
Instead, he’d specifically named the emperor; he was plainly here to stir up trouble.
The officials’ faces contorted.
The more hot-headed ones cried out, “Your Majesty, since the imperial prince insists on courting death, we should grant him his wish!”
“That’s right! He dares challenge us on our doorstep? Perfect timing to destroy him! That’ll save us the time and effort to chase him down!”
“Please give the order, Your Majesty! We’re willing to lead the charge against the experts from Rejuvenation.” They plainly hadn’t given up on defeating Rejuvenation.
Zhao Situ hurriedly cut in, “Something isn’t right, Your Majesty. It defies common sense for Imperial Prince Huo to bring so few people with him and boldly demand a meeting. He’s an imperial prince, which is no match for you. He’s clearly taunting us on purpose. Please be cautious, Your Majesty.”
The war hawks naturally wanted to solve the problem by fighting. The enemies had come knocking on their door. It only made sense for them to eliminate the enemies once and for all.
However, Zhao Situ also had a point. It didn’t make sense for someone as cunning as Imperial Prince Huo to come all the way to Tritalent Isles just to get himself killed.
It was something worth considering.
The emperor thought pensively. “There’s no use speculating wildly. Be prepared and follow me to meet the famed Imperial Prince Huo. Let’s see for ourselves if he’s here to wage war, or sue for peace. If it’s the former, we must be ready for a fight. If the latter, we will argue for half of the profits from the islands. That’s our bottom line. Does anyone disagree?”
The emperor had made his final decision. Even the war hawks weren’t going to argue now. They knew Tritalent didn’t have the power or confidence to claim the islands.
Zhao Situ opened his mouth but didn’t say anything. His lips twisted into a wry smile.
He wanted to remind them that Rejuvenation clearly weren’t here to bargain away half of their profits. Besides, Tritalent had lost twelve advanced empyrean cultivators. The emperor was in no place to negotiate a deal with Rejuvenation.
But he knew if he played the devil’s advocate again, he would offend everyone and even the emperor. He couldn’t risk that.
The emperor took his subjects’ silence as confirmation. “Alright, ready yourselves. Come with me to meet the imperial prince!”
Although Gao Kui and the others were dead, Tritalent had recruited more experts over the past few years. Many of them started out as wandering cultivators. They had joined Tritalent to earn more spirit stones.
As a result, Tritalent had been developing rapidly. They wanted to make use of Rejuvenation’s decline to become the ruler of the region. The emperor had a group of elites under his command.
They marched outside the imperial city with ferocious energy. Encircling the city was a powerful defensive formation. With that and the good number of elites on their side, Tritalent’s morale was high, unfazed by Rejuvenation’s actions. What did Imperial Prince Huo really think he could do here, huh?
“Which one of you is Imperial Prince Huo?” rebuked an imperial expert in a booming voice. “His Majesty the Emperor has come to grace you with his presence. You should’ve been prepared to formally greet him!”
Imperial Prince Huo smiled faintly when he heard the voice coming to him in waves. “I am Imperial Prince Huo of Rejuvenation. The only one deserving my respect is the emperor of Rejuvenation.”
“Arrogant bandits! You dare disrespect us in our territory? What a group of barbarians you are!”
“You’re just an imperial prince! Do you think you’re in any place to challenge His Majesty’s authority?!”
Imperial Prince Huo laughed, his voice creating a vortex of air that swept through the sky.
“Stop wasting our time and tell your emperor to show himself! I have some matters to impart to you!”
“How dare you, scum!”
“You better watch your tongue before His Majesty, Imperial Prince Huo!”
Imperial Prince Huo gave them a half smile. “Tritalent has been inferior to Rejuvenation for thousands of years. Do you still not understand where you stand with us?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
You know, it must be terribly convenient for cultivators to be able to hold conversations like this without using a megaphone.