EIF - Book 03 Chapter 094: Luring the Dragons to the East
Ying Capital, Ying Royal Dynasty:
Many baxias, flood dragons, and sin dragons lounged by a large lake outside Ying Capital. This was the resting area of the Ying Royal Dynasty’s dragon army.
Many immortal crane carriages filled with large boxes had landed at the lakeside. When the immortal cranes saw the dragons, they did not even dare to breathe loudly. The person standing in front wore official clothes, waiting quietly.
The dragons in the surroundings cast over suspicious gazes.
Suddenly, a loud sound came from the lake. A large amount of lake water splashed out as a humongous dragon head peeked out from the bottom of the lake.
This was the sin dragon Liao Ya, the first dragon that Gu Hai and Long Wanqing had met when they first arrived at the frontlines and the dragon that commanded the attack on the ritual array outside Love Flower Valley. This was also the uncle of Gui Mian, the leader of the dragons that Gu Hai killed in the Silver Moon Sea.
“Lord Zhang, how are you so free to come and visit my barracks? Did His Majesty send you?” Liao Ya looked at that official in front of him coldly.
Lord Zhang smiled bitterly and shook his head. “No. I came of my own volition.”
“This official is of low rank. Naturally, I am not qualified to speak directly to His Majesty. On my way back from the previous royal assembly, I heard General Liao Ya speaking to others about the dragon bones in the Silver Moon Sea. This humble one thought about this and managed to accomplish something. After putting in some effort, I obtained some items to give to Senior Liao Ya. His Majesty would not think much of this, but it may be somewhat useful to General. This humble one does not ask for much; just if there is a chance, perhaps you could put in a few good words for me before His Majesty.” Lord Zhang smiled.
“What thing?” Liao Ya frowned.
Lord Zhang looked around, clearly indicating that he did not want to show it here.
Liao Ya suddenly took human form—a one-eyed, middle-aged man.
“Come to my residence,” the one-eyed Liao Ya said.
Lord Zhang nodded. The other dragons showed suspicious gazes as the two walked to a nearby residence.
Lord Zhang opened the boxes in the yard of that residence, bringing out instruments made of dragon bones.
Liao Ya’s eyelids twitched wildly.
“This aura…my poor nephew’s? Gui Mian’s bones?” Liao Ya’s expression changed as he gingerly picked up a guqin. As he gently caressed the guqin, he suddenly noticed a line of small words at a corner of the guqin.
“Killed in the Silver Moon Sea by the Han Nation’s Gu Hai. Dragon Tone Guqin.”
When Liao Ya saw this row of tiny characters, his eyelids twitched wildly.
“Gu Hai! Gu Hai! I should have killed you back then! I should have! Hah!” Liao Ya roared furiously.
Although Liao Ya had known that it was Gu Hai, he felt even more frustrated and furious when he saw this bone instrument.
“General Liao Ya, all the dragon bones from the Silver Moon Sea have been forged into instruments. I heard that they made more than one thousand dragon bone instruments, which sold very well. I only managed to buy a portion of them,” Lord Zhang said with a soft sigh.
“Gu Hai! That coward! If I see him again, I will rip him into ten thousand pieces! He killed my nephew?! There is not enough space in this world for both him and me!” Liao Ya said with a ferocious expression.
“I…um…perhaps I should not say this, but, since Gu Hai killed your family, couldn’t you do the same to him?” Lord Zhang suggested softly.
“Huh?” Liao Ya’s pupils suddenly constricted.
Then, Liao Ya lowered his head and looked at the row of tiny characters on the guqin.
“The Han Nation? The Han Royal Dynasty? Indeed. His son is there, and his officials are there. The monk can run, but the temple cannot. The Thousand Islands Sea’s Nine-Five Island?” Liao Ya suddenly showed a ferocious expression.
“However, we are currently preparing for battle. Without His Majesty’s permission, no military forces may leave Ying Capital,” Lord Zhang said worriedly.
Liao Ya scowled.
Lord Zhang seemed to be talking to himself as he said, “However, it should be fine if the crown heir wants to leave since His Majesty spoils him so much. Even so, General should not seek out the crown heir to go together…”
“Young Master An? Lu An? The crown heir?” Liao Ya’s face suddenly lit up in joy.
“Huh? General, what are you thinking?” Lord Zhang’s expression changed.
“Alright, I know already. Haha! That’s right. Crown Prince Ao Shun and His Majesty will not blame me if I bring the crown heir. I am protecting the crown heir!” Liao Ya’s expression turned cold.
“General, don’t do that. If you get discovered, it will put this lowly official in a difficult position. I…I only came to deliver the dragon bones. I did not say—” Lord Zhang turned flustered.
“Alright. I won’t mention you. Just go on your way. I will put in a good word for you before His Majesty when there is a chance,” Liao Ya said.
“Many thanks, General! Many thanks, General!” Lord Zhang said excitedly.
Then, Lord Zhang walked out of Liao Ya’s residence briskly.
Liao Ya showed an expression of disdain as he said, “An insignificant minor official trying to bribe me?”
Lord Zhang left happily on an immortal crane carriage. He maintained his joyful expression until he was out of the dragons’ sight; then, he turned solemn and let out his bated breath.
He turned his head to the south.
“Your Majesty, is my Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty still fine? This official is treading on thin ice in the Ying Royal Dynasty. I hope that my efforts can contribute. I hope that my Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty will be eternally peaceful,” Lord Zhang sighed.
In Emperor Lu Yang’s study in Ying Capital:
Mo Yike and the other advisers stood in two columns lining the sides. They all looked at Ao Shun, who stood in the center.
“The Heptagold Sect got destroyed? Gu Hai laid a ritual array? Dugu Qiubai?” Emperor Lu Yang said.
“That’s right. That Dugu Qiubai is too strong. I can’t defeat him,” Ao Shun said bitterly.
At the side, Mo Yike frowned slightly as he looked at Ao Shun. “Crown Prince Ao Shun, can you describe everything again?”
Ao Shun looked at Mo Yike, feeling confused. However, he repeated everything anyway.
Mo Yike continued frowning. After some silence, he said bitterly, “Crown Prince Ao Shun, you might have been tricked.”
“Huh? Tricked?” Ao Shun frowned.
“Gu Hai was lying to you,” Mo Yike sighed while shaking his head.
“That’s impossible. I could sense Dugu Qiubai’s strength. Furthermore, the Heavenly-Palace-Realm-level sword-toothed tiger died at his hands.” Ao Shun shook his head.
“Think about it carefully. Back then, did you feel fearful because of Dugu Qiubai’s strength or what Gu Hai said?” Mo Yike said.
“It was said by Dugu Qiubai.” Ao Shun frowned.
“Wasn’t Gu Hai controlling Dugu Qiubai? Gu Hai could make Dugu Qiubai say whatever he wanted. If Dugu Qiubai really could chop you down in an instant, why would he waste so much time talking? Why delay when he could kill you with one sword strike?” Mo Yike asked bitterly.
Ao Shun’s expression turned slightly stiff.
“Gu Hai already pressured you mentally, causing you to feel fearful. That’s why you fell for his trick,” Mo Yike sighed while shaking his head.
“I felt fearful? Mister Mo, are you saying that I was afraid? How could I be afraid? I just did not want to fight a pointless battle. That Dugu Qiubai is very incredible!” Ao Shun insisted stubbornly.
“Ha! Alright. You are not afraid. Then, since you already saw Huangfu Chaoge, even if you were avoiding a fight with Dugu Qiubai, then why did you return? Why didn’t you go straight to Huangfu Chaoge’s capital? Without Huangfu Chaoge at Foundation Deity City, couldn’t you have easily broken in? Once you broke in, wouldn’t the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty be finished?” Mo Yike countered indifferently.
“Huh?” Ao Shun’s expression turned stiff.
“Alright. Ao Shun, Mister Mo is right. Fear is fear. Otherwise, why could you not see such simple reasoning? You fled back in fear?” Emperor Lu Yang said sullenly.
Ao Shun’s expression twitched.
“Alright, I was flustered. That Dugu Qiubai is indeed incredible.” Ao Shun remained stubborn.
Mo Yike smiled bitterly, not continuing his explanation.
The advisers did not say anything, either. When Ao Shun looked at everyone, he felt frustrated. He had embarrassed himself this time.
After some silence, Ao Shun said, “Your Majesty, that Gu Hai already caused us severe damage twice, and he seems to have a third step. Gu Hai is too dangerous, but we keep failing to find him. However, he has the Han Royal Dynasty. I’ll go and destroy the Han Royal Dynasty and capture his subordinates and son. Let’s see if he will show himself or not.”
“No!” Mo Yike immediately called out.
“Huh?” Ao Shun frowned as he looked at Mo Yike.
“Crown Prince Ao Shun, right now, Prince Shenwu has already gathered all the soldiers in Yong Province and initiated skirmishes with my army at the borders. Right now, every military force in my Ying Royal Dynasty is extremely important. You are a Heavenly Palace Realm cultivator. You can’t just leave willy-nilly. A big battle might start at any moment.” Mo Yike shook his head.
“However—” Ao Shun frowned.
“Alright. Listen to Mister Mo. Ao Shun, organize your troops. We need you by our side,” Emperor Lu Yang instructed.
Ao Shun frowned and let out a soft sigh.
He returned to his residence, feeling depressed.
Three days later:
The Lord Zhang, who delivered the bone zithers to Liao Ya recently, silently visited Ao Shun at Ao Shun’s residence.
“Huh? Lord Zhang, why are you here?” Ao Shun frowned as he looked at Lord Zhang, who had arrived unannounced.
This Lord Zhang has some capabilities but just some. He does not rank high among the Ying Royal Dynasty officials, an unremarkable official. What is he doing here late at night?
“Crown Prince Ao Shun, I hope you will forgive me for arriving unannounced. This humble official is responsible for making records of the daily activities of the princes and their children. Although this official is not very capable, my records are still of a certain quality. Two days ago, the crown heir left the city with some people. They did not report this to anyone. We are in a sensitive period right now, yet the crown heir has gone missing,” Lord Zhang said bitterly.
“Why did you come to my residence when the crown heir went missing?” Ao Shun asked.
“The ones who left the city with the crown heir were your dragon race’s commanders and a group of sub-dragons. This time…,” Lord Zhang said bitterly.
“How preposterous! There is an impending battle, and His Majesty already ordered that all soldiers above the Golden Core Realm are not to leave the capital. How could my subordinates leave like that?” Ao Shun said coldly.
Lord Zhang showed a bitter smile. After paying his respects, he left Ao Shun’s residence feeling helpless.
Ao Shun immediately headed to the dragons’ resting area while feeling bewildered.
“Ah? Crown Prince, Leader Liao Ya brought ten dragons, one hundred flood dragons, and one hundred baxias away two days ago,” a red dragon reported softly.
“I asked, where did they go?” Ao Shun said with a cold gaze.
“They seemed to have…gone to the Thousand Islands Sea’s Nine-Five Island to capture Gu Hai’s son,” the red dragon answered softly.
“Bastards! Bastards!” Ao Shun’s expression changed.
On a flying ship in the eastern part of Ying Province:
Liao Ya and Lu An stood at the bow, looking coldly into the distance.
“Liao Ya, you are right. Hahaha! When we capture Gu Hai’s son, let’s see whether Gu Hai will show up or not. This can be considered as contributing to Grandfather’s cause. Humph! Gu Hai? You are going to get your just deserts. Hahahaha!” Lu An guffawed excitedly.
Liao Ya turned his head to look behind. Then, he nodded while letting out a long breath.
Ao Shun immediately ordered a lockdown on the information. He could not let the emperor know about Liao Ya bringing away a group of dragons. Otherwise, he would have failed in his job. Liao Ya and the others would also receive the death penalty.
“Liao Ya, you bastards! How dare you disobey me?! I’ll flay your skin when you come back!” Ao Shun felt angry and depressed as he stood alone in his residence.
An official came to report. “Crown Prince Ao Shun, His Majesty is waiting in the upstairs study!”
Ao Shun suppressed his emotions and went to the upstairs study.
Mo Yike and a group of advisers stood quietly in the study. However, there were a few other people—three Heptagold Sect elders in sorry states who managed to flee.
“Huh? What happened to the Heptagold Sect?” Ao Shun felt slightly startled.
The three elders appeared slightly bitter. No one said anything.
The study turned silent as everyone looked at Ao Shun.
“What happened? Speak!” Ao Shun said coldly.
Only then did the three elders start describing again what happened that day.
“You are saying that Gu Hai lied to me? That’s impossible! That Dugu Qiubai…” Ao Shun’s expression changed dramatically.
It had already been very embarrassing that he was frightened away, fleeing like a cowardly rat. However, the information he received today verified that Gu Hai had lied to him, tricking him.
This did not just humiliate his courage but his intelligence as well.
Ao Shun felt a ringing in his mind as if he would explode from anger.
“Just leave it. This Gu Hai is an unusual talent. We have underestimated him too much previously,” Lu Yang sighed.
“Your Majesty, allow me to bring some soldiers to Nine-Five Island. I must uproot the Han Royal Dynasty!” Ao Shun urged with a ferocious expression.
“Never mind. Ao Shun, we can deal with Gu Hai later. Right now, the more important enemy is Prince Shenwu,” Mo Yike said with a sigh.
“No. Your Majesty, I cannot take this lying down. I’ll go at my fastest speed and return at my fastest speed. The battle with Prince Shenwu can do without me for a while. Your Majesty, please let me go!” Ao Shun said with a determined tone.
This was not just to make up for his past embarrassment but also for Liao Ya and the others. Liao Ya and the others committed a grave offense. He could only wipe it out by personally bringing dragons over as well.
Lu Yang frowned as he looked at Ao Shun.
“Your Majesty, Gu Hai may be one person. However, of the two things he did, which did not pose a smaller threat than Prince Shenwu? I am going there to capture his son and all his subordinates to restrain Gu Hai. Although we might not capture Gu Hai, it should deter him from taking action. At the very least, Gu Hai would not cause further problems. Otherwise, if he does that…,” Ao Shun trailed off, his voice sinking.
Mo Yike entered deep thought.
Lu Yang looked at Mo Yike. Upon seeing that Mo Yike had not made up his mind, he nodded after some silence. “Very well, go and return quickly. Deal with everything in one go.”
“Yes!” Battle hunger filled Ao Shun after receiving the order.
Then, Ao Shun left the study and headed for his barracks. He brought his dragons along on a flying ship and rushed towards Nine-Five Island.
Inside the study, Mo Yike frowned in deep thought. However, he could not see anything wrong with this.
Three days later, Lord Zhang disappeared mysteriously.
“Your Majesty, we don’t know where Lord Zhang went. We have searched everywhere for him!” an official reported respectfully.
“Is there a spy in the city? However, what is the point of capturing him?” Lu Yang appeared confused.
That Lord Zhang was disposable.
“Something is not right. Something is not right at all. This Lord Zhang is unimportant and disposable? Men! Investigate Lord Zhang’s recent movements!” Mo Yike’s expression suddenly changed.
Soon, the matter of Lord Zhang meeting with Liao Ya and Ao Shun got exposed.
“Oh no! Oh no! Lord Zhang is the spy! Your Majesty, Crown Prince Ao Shun is in danger! This is Gu Hai’s scheme!” Mo Yike’s expression changed.
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