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Chapter 21: The Lonely One
Of the two figures, one was old, with white hair and beard that dangled like roots. This was the teacher Huang Zhenwei, the chief of the Clan Law Bureau, together with Emperor Yuanwu.
Little was known about this old person. Almost no one even knew his name. The only certain thing was that his cultivation was strong, knew much about cultivation, and was extremely old. He had once been the teacher of the previous emperor.
A person like this, naturally, had extraordinary wisdom.
Sitting respectfully next to him was not Huang Zhenwei who had followed him in Changling to study, but that dignified palace attendant who frequently entered the empress’ study.
In her hand was a bead, the size of a pigeon’s egg with multiple facets. While they were extremely far from Forefather Zhou, Ding Ning, Fu Su and the others, yet she seemed to be able to clearly see everything happening through the bead.
“Official, this person is so vicious. Should he be killed?”
The sight of Fu Su and Ding Ning being controlled by Forefather Zhou, turned this dignified palace attendant’s expression cold, thus she queried gravely.
Her words were not “Official, should you kill him”, but “Should he be killed.” This meant that even without this old man acting, she had the ability to kill Forefather Zhou at this moment.
“If he was to be killed, we could have done it when he left Changling. An old worm like Forefather Zhou will not have good intentions. But despite everything, he is a grandmaster of the Qin Dynasty. There may be some use in keeping him on this trip to Deer Mountain.”
Hearing the palace attendant’s murderous words, the old man smiled slightly and said, “Also, I want to see what he is going to do.”
The palace attendant reined in her anger and said slowly, “That wine shop youth is pretty good.”
The old man nodded gently and said, “But we have to see if he can overcome this obstacle and the Min Mountain Sword Trials.”
The palace attendant turned silent. A long while later, she asked respectfully, “Even you do not have absolute confidence in the conference this time?”
“Our dynasty once killed four hundred thousand of the Zhao Dynasty. Everybody felt that within the next month, the Zhao Dynasty would be destroyed.” The old man looked down and said slowly, “But the sudden appearance of a Zhao Sword Furnace stopped our army from advancing. A major reason behind the loss of our dynasty in fighting the Chu Dynasty was because our dynasty lost too many good cultivators to the war with the Zhao.”
“That was just the Zhao. There are too many capable and skilled people in the world.” The old man looked at the wrinkles on his hands and continued. “The rise and fall of a dynasty is never something that one cultivator could decide. No one can guarantee what kind of grandmasters will appear at the Deer Mountain Conference this time. The grandmaster of the Zhao Sword Furnace of the past is the best example. So, I say that the Min Mountain Sword Trials is an obstacle he has to overcome because, according to my knowledge, only some of Min Mountain Sword Sect’s methods will allow him to continue living. As to saying Deer Mountain Conference is also an obstacle he has to overcome, it is because the Deer Mountain Conference is closely related to all Qin cultivators. In times of chaos, cultivators like him cannot cultivate in peace.”
The palace attendant took a deep breath, and did not continue the conversation.She felt that she was just worrying on her own. She hadn’t expected that even the teacher of the Holy One was deeply worried.
But unbeknownst to her, what the old man was truly worried about was the sudden appearance of the Nine Death Silkworm.
“The emperor is at Deer Mountain. It could be said that more than half of the Qin Dynasty’s power has left Changling. If it really is your heir, what would they do at this time?”
The old man was undoubtedly one of the people who knew that person’s abilities the best. So in his view, if there was one person who could fatally influence the Qin Dynasty, it would be the heir to that person.
Even so, never had this wise old man thought that the Nine Death Silkworm he was worried about, would appear right before his eyes.
The water between the Wu Mountains was turbulent. The water raged through the mountains with hardly any merchant and fishing boats. The shores had not many inhabitants either.
Yet, at this time, there were more than a dozen armored ships passing through one of the rivers.
A man dressed in light yellow dragon robes was standing on the first ship. While he just looked calmly at the floating clouds in the sky and the waves in the water, his presence seemingly suppressed this raging river, even the current slowed.
Behind him stood several generals in black combat robes and important people of Changling.
He was naturally the most important person of the Deer Mountain Conference this time, Emperor Yuanwu of the Qin.
While even his teacher lacked absolute confidence that the Qin Dynasty could regain face in the Deer Mountain Conference this time, everybody knew that the reason for this was that he was the common enemy of the other three dynasties.
Cries of monkeys seemingly rang throughout the two sides of the mountains, and then disappeared as if the monkeys had fled. But this cry caused Emperor Yuanwu’s eyebrows to move slightly and brought him out of his musings.
He beckoned behind him and said, “Bureau Chief Huang, come up.”
Huang Zhenwei, who had been standing respectfully on the deck and observing the mountains on the two shores, immediately walked behind Emperor Yuanwu, stopping two body-widths away.
“Stand next to me.” Emperor Yuanwu put his hand behind his back and said without looking back.
Huang Zhenwei took a deep breath. He was shocked, but he did not say anything. He walked forward and stood together with the emperor on his right to watch the waves splash on the rocks ahead.
“You are the person I chose. I had my teacher teach you. Strictly speaking, you are my junior sect brother,” Emperor Yuanwu said slowly. “The reason I chose you is because you are a true nationalist. You know and understand that everything I do is to make the dynasty stronger and more prosperous, so the people of the world can live better in the future. You are the most purely loyal person to me in Changling.”
Huang Zhenwei nodded slightly in gratitude to Emperor Yuanwu for his praise, but he couldn’t help but think, if he was the most loyal in the emperor’s view, were the two prime ministers, the empress, and his teacher not loyal to him?
“You must be wondering why I called up to stand with me.”
Emperor Yuanwu looked at the nearing Deer Mountain and said to Huang Zhenwei, “Because even the strongest emperor is first a person and has their own emotions.”
Huang Zhenwei couldn’t help but glance at the other and say softly, “This subject doesn’t understand.”
“In the three years before my ascension, no one in the Qin Dynasty dared to stand side by side with me,” Emperor Yuanwu said slowly. “In a situation like this, at a conference like this, I should have many people standing with me. But because they were too stubborn, I am the only one left to stand on the ship and lead the Qin Dynasty forward. Since three years before my ascension, I have become a lonely being.”
Huang Zhenwei’s breathing paused slightly. His gentle and scholarly expression did not change, but his heart contracted slightly.
He knew the emperor’s emotions at this time were due to nostalgia of past events, but he didn’t know what true emotions were contained within this nostalgia.
“This lonely one has you come forward in order to fight side by side with me at Deer Mountain Conference.”
Emperor Yuanwu did not look at him. He seemed to sigh softly. “After this conference, this lonely one will become a true lonely one.”
Huang Zhenwei’s eyes were filled with unprecedented shock.
The lonely one would become a true lonely one. The phrase was awkward, but when he heard the words, and how Emperor Yuanwu had changed how he referred to himself as ‘the lonely one’, he clearly sensed the true meaning.
The Holy One had such strong confidence towards the Deer Mountain Conference.
A black shadow came down from the sky. It neared, it was a black goshawk.
This goshawk landed on the arm of a black-armored general. The general took out a secret missive from the small metal tube tied to its claw and handed it to an unusually fat man next to him.
This unusually fat man gave off a dominant presence. He was another important existence of Changling, Marquis Xu of Mountain Heng.
Marquis Xu took a few steps forward, his footsteps sent tremors down the entire ship to trembl.
“The first one to ascend Deer Mountain is the Chu King. He held a ceremony to the heavens at Deer Mountain and has established Li Lingjun as the crown prince,” Marquis Xu said softly, as he stood behind Emperor Yuanwu after reading the missive.
“The first to ascend the mountain is Chu, the first to die must be Chu.”
Emperor Yuanwu smiled proudly, not surprised. He said slowly, “This has nothing to do with the old age of the Chu King and who will take over the throne. When a dynasty over-relies on material items, their cultivators will naturally lose their spirits. The Chu can produce true craftsmen at making weapons, but not true cultivation grandmasters.”
Marquis Xu smiled arrogantly.
Among the dynasties at present, the Chu Dynasty was still the strongest, but in their eyes, the Chu Dynasty was their weakest opponent.
Translator Ramblings: I’m not sure how common water travel was in the Qin for long distances. I know that southern China has “water-towns” but the Qin is more in the North. River travel probably is best if the roads aren’t good and I guess cultivators can easily make canals … just have a realm seven walk around dragging his sword …
寡人 (guaren) meaning the lonely person was one of the ways monarchs used to refer to themselves, equivalent to the royal We. This showed how the monarch was unrivaled in status (but humble).