EIF - Book 04 Chapter 180: Soldiers Arriving in Major Metropolitan City
The Han Nation soldiers and the Qian Nation soldiers continued advancing towards Major Metropolitan City.
Various scouts quickly brought information back from their surroundings.
The news that Gu Hai’s letter destroyed Imperial Emperor Xi Yu’s trust in Mo Yike soon arrived.
“Excellent! Hahahahaha! Mo Yike is truly trapped this time. Mister Gu, your stratagem of sowing dissension is excellent!” Long Shenwu guffawed.
Sima Changkong and Gu Hai read the report containing the information.
“Mister Gu is unpredictable. Imperial Emperor Xi Yu is suspicious of Mo Yike now. However, I still don’t understand. Why was Mister Gu so certain that it would work?”
“During this time, I got a lot of information from Prince. I came to know that Imperial Emperor Xi Yu once swore brotherhood with three people, and they had a deep bond with each other,” Gu Hai said as he picked up a cup of tea.
“Mo En, Chang Sheng, and Qin Yun?” Long Shenwu nodded.
This information was from long ago. Perhaps it might be hard to get information on that in other places. However, the Qian Nation had many records of it. Naturally, since the Qian Nation was attacking the Yuan Nation, all the information on Imperial Emperor Xi Yu got dug out.
“Indeed. Xi Yu, Mo En, Chang Sheng, and Qin Yun? Four sworn brothers? Hah! Back then, Imperial Emperor Xi Yu did a lot to obtain the three of them. The three of them were willing to die for him. The day Qin Yun sacrificed himself to protect Xi Yu, I came to understand how deep their bond was. However, these four brothers changed later,” Gu Hai said.
“Although the feelings were still there, Imperial Emperor Xi Yu did not seem to trust his brothers as much as he had. Why? Did the three of them not do well? Mo En worked himself to death. Chang Sheng never fled, even though he knew that the Bat Ancestor would consume him. Qin Yun even sacrificed his life. This proved that the three of them did not change. The one who changed was Imperial Emperor Xi Yu,” Gu Hai said.
“Sovereigns are always merciless,” Long Shenwu said with a frown.
“No. If a person is merciless, he will be merciless, no matter what status he holds. If a person values relations, no status will change that, either. Imperial Emperor Xi Yu? I’ll sum him up. This person is extremely intelligent but also extremely distrustful,” Gu Hai said.
“Distrustful?” Sima Changkong nodded.
“Distrustful. Hah! He doubted even the three younger brothers who were willing to die for him, what more Mo Yike, whose relationship with him is more distant? That’s why I was certain that Imperial Emperor Xi Yu would doubt Mo Yike,” Gu Hai analyzed.
The two nodded.
“Since Imperial Emperor Xi Yu already doubts Mo Yike, can we restore those spies that Mo Yike called out? That is a large number of officials,” Long Shenwu said.
Mo Yike had named the Qian Nation spies while in prison and gotten the Qin Clan’s and the Mo Clan’s factions to capture them all.
In Long Shenwu’s opinion, since Mo Yike was suspected of being a spy, the people he named could be declared innocent.
However, Gu Hai shook his head.
Sima Changkong likewise shook his head. “No. Those people cannot be saved.”
“Imperial Emperor Xi Yu is just distrustful, not stupid. If the spies suddenly proved to be innocent right after he doubted Mo Yike, we would not only fail to save those spies but even prove Mo Yike’s innocence,” Gu Hai said with a bitter smile.
“Oh? Why?” Long Shenwu frowned slightly.
“That is because Imperial Emperor Xi Yu is too distrustful. He only suspects Mo Yike but is not certain. Otherwise, he would have killed Mo Yike long ago,” Sima Changkong sighed.
“Sometimes, it is good for a sovereign to be distrustful. But sometimes…” Gu Hai shook his head.
Great Sigh Palace Hall:
Imperial Emperor Xi Yu sat on his throne, listening to his officials reporting about government affairs. As he did so, he gently tapped on the armrest.
Despite completing all the reports, not a single person pleaded for the Qian Nation spies.
Imperial Emperor Xi Yu narrowed his eyes slightly. “Hah! It looks like we did not wrongly accuse Mo Yike?”
“Your Reverence, perhaps Mister Mo might be…” Qin Zibai wanted to plead for Mo Yike.
“Huh?” Imperial Emperor Xi Yu’s expression turned cold.
“If anyone dares to plead for Mo Yike again, they will be treated as traitors!” Imperial Emperor Xi Yu said coldly.
Qin Zibai’s expression turned stiff, but he did not dare say anything.
After the imperial assembly ended, Qin Zibai looked at the distant imperial prison. The guards there had increased and were much more rigorous than before, no longer letting anyone in.
“Mister Mo, did you conspire with the enemy and betray the nation or not? Hah…,” Qin Zibai sighed and left.
Mo Yike sat in his prison cell, leaning against the wall. He sighed, “Your Reverence, this official does not blame you for doubting this official. However, you must endure the pressure from Gu Hai for the sake of the Yuan Nation.”
Qin Zibai returned to his residence.
The Mo Residence’s steward came to ask Qin Zibai for help, but Qin Zibai could only refuse to meet him, as Qin Zibai could not do anything.
In Qin Yun’s courtyard:
Qin Zibai sat in that courtyard and took out the bamboo cane that Qin Yun passed to him. Then, he looked at the sky.
“Father, what should this child do now? This child always listened to you and trusted Mo Yike. However, can I still trust Mo Yike now? Is he loyal, or is he a spy?” Qin Zibai said bitterly.
Qin Zibai felt frustrated as he looked at the bamboo cane in his hand. Qin Yun had given this to him before he left. As Qin Zibai looked at the bamboo cane, memories of the past flooded his mind.
“Zibai, Father has one final request of you.”
“If His Reverence takes his anger out on Mo Yike, you must save Mo Yike, no matter the price.”
“Save Mo Yike, no matter the price?”
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“If you save Mo Yike now, Mo Yike will save you in the future.”
“Just listen to me!”
As Qin Zibai recalled this memory, his expression turned uncertain. He remained there in silence for a while.
Some time later, determination appeared in Qin Zibai’s eyes. He let out a drawn-out breath and said, “Never mind. I don’t know what is right or wrong, but I will do what I promised Father. I will do it. I will save Mo Yike, no matter the price.”
After making up his mind, Qin Zibai relaxed significantly.
Three days later:
Two columns of officials stood respectfully in the Great Sigh Palace Hall’s plaza in the morning. All of them showed incredibly solemn expressions, not discussing any government affairs. Instead, they stood with Imperial Emperor Xi Yu, facing north.
Imperial Emperor Xi Yu wore a crown and white imperial robes with golden dragon motifs. As he sat on his throne, he looked to the distant north.
No one needed to say anything at this point, as everything was already clear when they looked north.
The Qian Nation’s army and the Han Nation’s army had arrived from afar.
“Roar! Roar! Roar!”
Five hundred colossal dragons flew side by side, rearing their heads and roaring as they headed towards Major Metropolitan City.
Four hundred flying ships flew behind the dragons. Each of these ships brandished a large banner with “Han,” “Qian,” or “Shenwu.”
Soldiers filled every flying ship, letting out loud warcries as their battle hunger flourished.
“The Qian Nation is unrivaled! Destroy the tyrannical regime!” The Qian Nation soldiers’ voices came from afar.
All the citizens in the city stopped what they were doing, flustered by the distant voices.
The citizens already knew about the Qian Nation’s and the Han Nation’s armies. However, they did not think much of it then. Now that the soldiers approached, all of them suddenly felt flustered.
It turned out that war was so close.
Countless citizens looked in the direction of the Great Sigh Palace Hall. Imperial Emperor Xi Yu, the Yuan Imperial Emperor, sat there.
On the Southern Suppression Army’s largest flying ship:
Gu Hai, Sima Changkong, Long Shenwu, and Long Aotian stood in a row, looking coldly at the distant, majestic Major Metropolitan City.
“At last! Major Metropolitan City!” Sima Changkong said after a deep breath.
Long Shenwu nodded. “A majestic Major Metropolitan City? To think that the Yuan Nation still has so much blessings?”
“It is just strong in appearance but weak in reality. Now, Imperial Emperor Xi Yu alone is holding up this Major Metropolitan City,” Gu Hai sneered.
“Indeed. Where are the four major clans now? The Chang Clan is completely destroyed, the Xi Clan is dead, only Qin Zibai remains of the Qin Clan, and only Mo Yike remains of the Mo Clan. However, Imperial Emperor Xi Yu imprisoned Mo Yike,” Sima Changkong sighed.
“What is there to sigh about? That Imperial Emperor Xi Yu? He is just a reckless fool. To think he left us be, allowing us to come here to have the decisive battle. We will just kill him, and the Yuan Nation will fall immediately,” Long Aotian sneered.
Gu Hai looked at Long Aotian and said, “Marquis Aotian? Can you deal with Imperial Emperor Xi Yu?”
Long Aotian was a marquis of the Qian Nation. Hence, Marquis Aotian.
[TL Note: Depending on the dynasty, the number of orders of feudal nobility differs. The fief for each order would vary as well. The Zhou Dynasty’s five orders are some of the commonly known ones. In descending order of nobility, they are duke, marquis, count, viscount, and baron. Of course, these are translated to their English equivalents and do differ from English nobilities in some ways. An archduke would fall under the order of a duke, and an archduke could be either an emperor’s son or the emperor’s brother. The children of nobility would be nobles of the next order of nobility until one inherits their father’s title, if it is hereditary, or gets promoted based on their contributions to the nation. Thus, being the son of a prince, Long Aotian is a marquis. Long Sanqian would be a marquis as well.]
“What’s wrong? Gu Hai, can’t you deal with him?” Long Aotian sneered.
“Oh?” Gu Hai narrowed his eyes and looked at Long Shenwu.
Long Shenwu appeared slightly confused as he looked at Long Aotian.
“Third Uncle, don’t look at me like that. Just because I have not been in the Qian Nation for some time does not mean that I slacked off on my cultivation. I told you long ago. Don’t bother with any schemes and just rush to Major Metropolitan City. Then, we can kill Imperial Emperor Xi Yu as early as we can and go back quickly,” Long Aotian said with a frown.
“Aotian, don’t be boastful,” Long Shenwu chided with a frown.
“Boastful? Third Uncle, are you looking down on me?” Long Aotian immediately retorted, unwilling to give in.
“Imperial Emperor Xi Yu is an Upper Heavenly Palace Realm expert. Can Marquis Aotian deal with him?” Sima Changkong felt slightly startled as well.
Clearly, he had not considered what Long Aotian could do.
“Little Sima, to think that you dare to look down on me as well? Hah! Hahaha! I—Long Aotian—left Heavenly Court City for a few years, and you all think that I am still the same me from back then?” Long Aotian sneered.
Long Shenwu stared at Long Aotian for a while, as though he did not recognize Long Aotian.
“Imperial Emperor Xi Yu? Just leave him to me. I will use his head as a congratulatory gift for His Holy Eminence!” Long Aotian said.
Gu Hai, Long Shenwu, and Sima Changkong: “…”
The three remained silent for a while.
“Alright. You can give it a try later,” Long Shenwu said with some curiosity.
Gu Hai showed a strange expression but did not say anything.
The armies soon arrived outside Major Metropolitan City.
“Stop!” a military commander shouted. Then, the four hundred flying ships fanned out and stopped outside Major Metropolitan City.
The Yuan Nation soldiers let out a loud warcry in Major Metropolitan City. The two sides faced off, neither yielding.
Gu Hai looked towards the Great Sigh Palace Hall in the distance.
Imperial Emperor Xi Yu had long been waiting there, coldly watching Gu Hai’s group.
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