Long Live The Emperor!

Chapter 25

I Did Not Truly Know Your Highness At First Meeting And Only Knew You As A Common Imperial Prince

Six hours later, Xia Ji and the Guifang Queen finished negotiating their secret deal. They next exchanged tokens of trust and a password before taking their leaves.

Xia Ji returned to the Imperial Capital.

As for Tu Luo, she immediately led her army to attack another city, with the exotic tribes and rogue bandits in tow like jackals and wolves following tigers and leopards, seeking a portion of whatever spoils that was left over.

Guifang might have suffered a huge loss battling the Imperial Capital, but they were not hurt anywhere that was of consequence because none of the three thousand Frost Giants had died.

Besides that, the Guifang army had spread out quite widely after sieging the Wolf Restraining Pass. The Imperial Capital had lost three to four thousand men, but there were still more than seventy thousand people remaining at the Pass.

Tu Luo’s attack path had been planned out clearly.

She would bring along the Frost Giants to ‘stand guard over the central army’.

After that, she would send wave after wave of Guifang troops to pillage and kill everywhere they went. If they encountered a strong enemy, she would send out the Frost Giants, who would be able to effectively turn the tides to their favor.

As for the ‘central army’, where would it be located?

Wherever the ‘Guifang Queen’, Tu Luo, was, that would be the central army.

She would continue traveling along with the Frost Giants.

That was why there was no permanent location for the central army.

The Guifang army would pillage and snatch materials and goods while she went looking for something much more important, namely skills and divine weapons.

An army was necessary during a battle and it was a permanent fixture in war. However, when the standards of both armies were not that far apart, the one thing that stood between victory and defeat was superior strength.

That was why during the siege at the border of the mighty pass that was strong enough for ‘wolf restraining’, Tu Luo employed three thousand Frost Giants during a night of snowstorm to attain victory by obliterating the Heir Apparent and his elite army of a hundred thousand.

Even though the Imperial Capital had been weakened and was fragile as an egg, with Xia Ji’s presence and his high-level battle power that snatched victory in the slaughterfest, the Frost Giants sent out by Tu Luo were rendered completely useless. Guifang was left with nothing but the lives of their soldiers to continue with the fight. This was not to Guifang’s advantage, which was why they had retreated.

This did not mean that Guifang was unable to take down the Imperial City, but the price to pay for attacking the Imperial City was too high.

If they had to sacrifice so many battalions just to take over one city, it would not mean a thing.

Preventing losses was a factor that should be considered by any worthy monarch.

Choosing your enemies and allies was another.

That was why the Guifang Queen was willing to forge an alliance with this young Imperial Prince.

After that, Tu Luo developed a deep interest in the Imperial Prince’s background.

It was because she had heard about some stories of the Imperial Prince’s past.

He had studied Buddhist scriptures deep within the palace for more than two years with neither protest nor complaint.

When the Imperial Emperor escaped, he left the Imperial Prince behind to guard the city.

Under such circumstances, the Imperial Prince had displayed extraordinary power and had even defeated Tu Luo’s father and two uncles.

These circumstances could not be explained as a mere fortuitous encounter.

Only one thing was clear—this young Imperial Prince possessed an extraordinary disposition.

He possessed the qualities of absolute forbearing as well as madness.

Calmness and wild passion.

Divine and demonic characteristics.

Such a person was completely worthy of establishing an alliance with Guifang on his own.

At least, that was what Tu Luo thought.

That was the reason she had built the foundation of a long-serving friendship with the Seventh Imperial Prince of the Shang Dynasty with her status as Guifang’s Queen. They would be able to establish a certain level of offensive and defensive alliance in these turbulent times.

This winter, the friendship between both parties would begin to grow.

She would take extra care to cherish it.

Within the palace.

Xia Ji made himself a cup of hot tea as he sat by Lake Huaqing located deep within the palace. He started to focus intently on engraving his prayer beads. He wanted to increase the number of prayer beads and make this secret trump card even stronger.

By his side was Eunuch Mei, who was standing in a slight bow with his head lowered. His hands were holding a jade box. There was an iron hand attached to where his right hand used to be. Although he was not used to it, it was still better with having no hand at all.

Xia Ji had completed engraving seventy-five wooden beads and placed them neatly into a wooden box. He took a sip of tea and looked at the jade box in Eunuch Mei’s hands. He commented, “The steward would rather kill himself after losing the bet than telling me the truth and serving me.”

Eunuch Mei immediately approached him and placed the jade box onto the table. He opened the box to reveal a book, two cans of embroidery needles, and a token of authority. “This was left behind by the steward. There’s the ‘Sacred Sunflower Scroll’, Air Penetrating Embroidery Needles, and a token of authority for eight hundred soldiers of sacrifice.”

Xia Ji glanced at them. “Did he say anything else?”

Eunuch Mei immediately replied, “The steward committed suicide after taking this. All he said before his death was… Beware of Imperial Concubine Wan.”

“Beware of Imperial Concubine Wan?”

Xia Ji mumbled, “Does he think that those words would be enough to compensate for his failure to follow through with the bet?”

The young Imperial Prince looked at the lake’s reflection from the light of dawn and suddenly sighed with emotion. “Forget about it. That old dog has been quite a loyal person after all. Bury him.”

“Should there be a grand funeral?”

“No. Just give him a burial place.”

“Yes, Your Highness. I’ll get it done immediately.”

“Dig deeper. Don’t let the hungry wild dogs dig him up for food.”

“Your Highness is benevolent. I understand what to do.”

When Eunuch Mei was far away, Xia Ji took out the ‘Sacred Sunflower Scroll’. He flipped through it, page after page, and read out in a low voice, “To cultivate this divine skill, one must lead the knife to castrate oneself. Cultivate pills and ingest the medicine, integrate internally and externally. The path to cultivating inner vitality now, is nothing more than the thought of guidance, it’s too indistinct to be true, heaven and earth are distinguished while corruption gives birth to men, the inner vitality cultivation of men, is nothing more than cultivating a non-existent soul and dispelling the turbid, one with inner vitality would master one’s life, one with the form could utilize it with his body…”

He finished reading it after two hours. A purple skill bead appeared within his primal spirit with the notification [Sacred Sunflower Scroll] Ninth Level.

All he did was save it for now. He had no need to use it immediately.

He placed the skill book back where it was and removed the token of authority for the eight hundred soldiers of sacrifice.

These eight hundred soldiers of sacrifice were the same eight hundred blocking every door of the Imperial Palace. It was because of them that no one was able to leave the Imperial Harem within the palace.

These eight hundred people were made up of guards who were much more capable and stronger than the usual guards. The unique thing about them was the way they were trained and nurtured by their house rules. These eight hundred would only obey the token of authority and not the individual. Whoever had the token was their master. The Imperial Emperor must really trust the steward to have been willing to pass the token of authority to him. In fact, the steward did not let him down in terms of trust.

However, these eight hundred people were now the first sign of power Xia Ji had in his hands, that he was able to give orders.

The second would be the tiger tally. However, even though he was the Grand Marshal of the World, that was nothing but an empty title bestowed upon him by the Imperial Emperor. If it was not for the fact that the Imperial Emperor was sure he would die, such a title would never be given to him. The tiger tally could only serve to mobilize the Imperial Capital Army, which were the soldiers serving under Deng Jue. There were originally fifty thousand of them, but the number had been halved after the battle.

Xia Ji was making plans with every card he had in his hand when footsteps could be heard coming from afar.

A palace guard rushed in with his head lowered and stood next to Lake Huaqing before kneeling down to say, “Reporting to Your Highness, General Deng is requesting for an audience with you.”

Xia Ji replied, “Bring Deng Jue here.”

“Yes, Your Highness!”

After a moment.

Deng Jue arrived at the lakeside.

Xia Ji pointed to the other side of the marble table and said, “Sit.”

He picked up the teapot and poured a cup of tea, smiling as he said, “I wasn’t able to invite you for tea before the battle. I’ll make it up to you today.”

Deng Jue was taken aback, but remembered the first time he had met His Highness in the library loft. During that time, His Highness had said that, “I won’t be inviting you to have tea with the situation being so tense right now”, and he had replied gruffly that, “What tea should a man who is about to have his head hung around another’s waist have?”. The thought of it reminded Deng Jue of how he failed to recognize the greatness of this person. He had even believed His Highness would escape, and in the end, His Highness’s achievements were equivalent to giving him a viciously sharp slap on the face.

However, Deng Jue liked being slapped on the face this way, and he was fond of His Highness similarly. So, he smiled as he smoothed down his beard and said openly, “I must be short-sighted from old age. I did not truly know Your Highness at our first meeting and only saw you as a common Imperial Prince. I made you witness an embarrassing scene.”

They stared into the distance as the morning sun began to rise. The clear, sparkling lights lit up a corner of the post-battle Imperial Capital. Even though peace had arrived, a million refugees had come pouring in, causing the Imperial City to be unusually chaotic.

Deng Jue sipped his tea slowly and suddenly said, “Your Highness, I’ve investigated the background of the hundred over soldiers. The results looked normal.”

Xia Ji was not surprised as he nodded.

Deng Jue made a sudden change in topic and asked again, “Your Highness, what is it that you want exactly?”

Xia Ji looked at him.

Deng Jue said, “I’ve said it the other day. If Your Highness returns, the Deng family will serve only you. That is the reason I’m here. I’d like to inquire what are your plans from here onward in order to make early preparations.”

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