Nightfall - Chapter 191

Published at 16th of May 2018 12:25:07 AM

Chapter 191: The Little Things That Happened Now and Those Year

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Tang Xiaotang rubbed the tummy of the little snow wolf. She thought of what she had seen and asked towards the back of her brother curiously, "What's up with the wolf?"

"Perhaps the Headmaster met the pack before when he traveled to the desolate north. The wolves were probably able to sense things due to their meeting today. How else would an ordinary wolf be able to sense the power of Heaven and Earth?"

Tang Xiaotang exclaimed, " The Headmaster can even teach wolves? That's amazing... Brother, who do you think is stronger? The Headmaster or the Overlord?"

Tang's footsteps slowed down. He spoke after a moment of silence. "Teacher was not as good as the Headmaster then. But he has cultivated for twenty-three years... I think he's still not as good as the Headmaster."

"Brother, you've told me previously that most of the officials of Tang have studied in the Academy. Those from the Second floor are not to be provoked. The Headmaster has been the headmaster of the Academy for over a hundred years. Does that mean that the Headmaster has much power over the country? Isn't the emperor worried?"

"What would he be worried about?"

"His throne."

"The throne holds no importance to the Headmaster."

"Isn't the emperor worried about how the Headmaster would affect the court? Which emperor would want to be second to someone else?"

"It doesn't matter whether he is willing or not. The Headmaster has been second to none for many years since before he was born. The Headmaster will not concern himself with a small matter such as the court."

"Is the court a small matter? If we fight with the Tangs, will the Headmaster interfere? If he is really as powerful as you say, how can we fight against him?"

"I've said, the Headmaster will not concern himself with small matters such as this."

Tang Xiaotang held the small snow wolf and hastened to walk beside her brother. Her eyes were widened in surprise as she asked, "This is a small matter? What's a big matter then?"

"All matters are small to someone like the Headmaster. As for what's a big matter, people like us will never know. Why would we waste our effort trying to guess?"



Where there are people, things will happen. And where things happen, trouble follows. The means to solve these issues were limited. Other than war and violence, the only other way out would be to hold meetings. When the Desolate Men held a meeting in the grasslands to discuss their next steps, the Tang Empire in the south held their own meeting as well.

The Daming Palace outside of Chang'an was where the Emperor stayed in summer. Since the officials find it rather troublesome to leave the city, the matters discussed in court reduced. There was only one official court meeting held every three days.

"Even though it is much cooler in the Daming Palace outside of the city, it is still very hot. This soup has been chilled with ice. Drink it before returning to the city. I will worry if you fall from the horse."

Li Zhongyi, the Emperor of the Tang empire said to the officials. He took his own bowl from Eunuch Lin and drank it in a few gulps.

The court matters that have been piling up for the past three days have finally been cleared. while the Daming Palace was cooling, there was nowhere as comfortable as one's own home. While the soup was icy cold, it will never be as delicious as the one at home. The officials thanked His Majesty and drank the soup quickly as they prepared to leave the palace.

Right before the officials prepared to leave, the emperor thought of something. He waved for them to return and said, "There is another small matter. The Military Ministry reported that the Left Tent riders have entered the Yan Kingdom three days ago and robbed the village. I thought that it was a matter of the Yan Kingdom and did not do anything about it. However, it did not feel right to ignore it completely. This involves the Desolate Man moving southwards as well. We still have to think of a way to speak with the West-Hill and other countries. Quick, discuss it."

The officials from the Military Ministry hurriedly replied, "The Left and Gold tent did not do anything out of the ordinary. Our reports say that they did not cause significant damages."

"What has the people of Yan to do with me? This has nothing to do with the damage caused."

The emperor raised his brows and the gentleness on his face hardened. He said, "When the Tang insisted on splitting the country lines those years ago, the Chanyus of the three kingdoms have all signed an agreement. Now that they have crossed the line, I care more about what right they have to dare cross it."

To the officials of the Tang Empire, the barbarians of the grassland were unable to cause much trouble even though they were an annoyance. They did not think that this was a grave matter of any sort. The minister of the Ministry of Rites ran his hand on his beard and thought about it from the barbarian royal court's point of view and said with a smile, "The Desolate Man have moved southwards. Since the barbarians could not defeat them and had their most bountiful land taken, they could only rely on plundering for a living. It is indeed difficult for them."

The emperor shook his head and said, "Even if they have difficulties, they must tell the imperial court in advance to have the imperial court arrange for them since they were awarded by the empire. Now, they did not inform anyone and secretly started. Of course, it is not allowed. We must make them go back and then I'll listen to their difficulties."

"Your Majesty is wise. Even though the Left-Tent Palace has been harassing the Yan Kingdom, they have crossed the line we drew back then. They are challenging the Central Plains. As the leader of the Central Plains, we should do something about it."

The prime minister nodded thoughtfully. He turned around to look at the minister of the Military Ministry and said unhappily, "The general is not far from the Yan Kingdom. He can arrange for some soldiers to chase the Left-Tent Palace back. Why would you worry His Majesty about such small matters?"

"Even though it is a small matter, we still need to send soldiers and arrange for generals. We also need to inform the court before entering the north of Yan for war. Otherwise, wouldn't the King of Yan be frightened to death?'

The officials of the Military Minister turned towards the dragon throne and said to the emperor seriously. "Your Majesty, I think that the empire needs to consider the Desolate Man who have moved south seriously. They have gone against a thousand-year-old agreement and moved southwards. How should our empire react?"

"Do not think that I do not understand what you mean. Which old general got bored and wanted to lead some soldiers into battle? Do you think that battles cost no money?"

The emperor smiled all the while scolding, "The reports said that the Desolate Man have taken over the north of the wilderness and stopped their people from moving anymore south... The distance between us is wide. If they do not bring trouble to me, I shall not bother with them. If we want to bring up the agreement from a thousand years ago, the Desolate Man have been defeated terribly by us then. There were only a few hundred thousand of them left. There is no point in us continuing to hold this against them."



The imperial court meeting ended. Master of Nation, Li Qingshan looked slightly troubled and said to the emperor softly, "The divine hall's reaction to this is rather suspicious. They sent out an edict for such a small matter. South Jin and the Yuelun Kingdom should be preparing to head north. It probably has nothing to do with the Left-Tent Palace making trouble at the border. Since the Desolate Man have returned, the old ones probably sensed the Devil's Doctrine."

The emperor who had remained calm and collected during the court meeting furrowed his brows when he heard mention of the Divine hall. He said, "Taizu (Founder of the Tang Dynasty) worked with the West-Hill Divine Kingdom when he started the empire. They chased the Desolate Man out of the Wilderness. A few years ago, youngest uncle entered the Devil's Doctrine and killed all the strong ones there left behind by the Desolate Man. Now that they have fallen, what has the West-Hill Divine Kingdom to worry about?"

Li Qingshan said, "The Devil's Doctrine and the Desolate Man have an irreplaceable relationship. That is why the Divine Hall is a little wary. This edict has spurred many countries towards the north. The West-Hill has even sent a regiment of cavalry. From what I see, other than being wary of the Devil's Doctrine and helping the Yan Kingdom stabilize the frontiers, it is also for them to show off their prowess to the rest of the world."

The emperor looked at his left arm and said, "They want to show off their muscle? Who was sent from the Yue Lun Kingdom and South Jin?"

"It was reported that the Buddhist Sect of Yuelun Kingdom sent a few younger strong cultivators. The sword sect of South Jin has also sent people out. But what we really need to keep a look out for other than the cavalry is the Judicial Department of the Divine Hall."

The emperor's eyebrows rose slightly as he smiled. "It seems that they are training their troops while also spreading influence. It is not suitable for us to send our own people there. It is just that it isn't convenient for us to interfere. If we do, we can control the whole situation. Since this is so, let Xia Hou go personally."

Li Qingshan furrowed his brows. He said, "Doesn't it show that we take the barbarians too seriously if we send out General to settle these small issues?"

"I know what you're worried about."

The emperor looked at him and said, "I'm sending Xia Hou there personally not because I think highly of the soldiers or the edict from the Divine Hall, or even the youngsters from the various countries. It is because… I want to see Xia Hou in person."

Li Qingshan understood what the emperor meant. He shook his head and sighed. "General Xia Hou is world renowned. If he were to visit northern Yan personally, he would be placed as the general of the Union army. Your Majesty is wise indeed."

The emperor thought of something suddenly. He raised his head and asked Li Qingshan, "The students who entered the Academy last year. Is it time for them to cultivate at the frontier?"

Li Qingshan replied, "They have always left in autumn."

"It is now the end of summer. It wouldn't hurt to go a little early. Where were they supposed to go originally?"

"To the south under General Xu Shi, to fight with the Southern Zhaoshan tribe."

The emperor shook his head. "They have already surrendered in spring. I did not allow Xu to return because I thought the humid air there would be beneficial to his lung ailment. It is peaceful there, what would the students learn there? Send my imperial edict to the Academy tomorrow, and have the students cultivate somewhere else."

Li Qingshan could guess what the emperor had in mind. He asked, "To North Yan? In the Wilderness?"

"That's right."

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The emperor said, "Since the West-Hill Divine Kingdom had already sent an edict and all the young ones from various countries are headed there to show off their powers, why should we stop our young ones from going? We have had rumors saying that we don't have any talented young ones from the Tang Empire recently and are not as strong as before. I want to show the world our great talents."

Li Qingshan hesitated before saying seriously, "Your Majesty, there's indeed no exceptional talent from this batch of students, especially not one from the Tang Empire. Wang Ying is decent, but he is too young."

"Isn't there Ning Que?"

The Emperor said it as if it was a matter of fact.

Li Qingshan replied, "Your Majesty, Ning Que has entered the Second floor and no longer needs to go to the frontier to cultivate."

"He is still a student from this batch even though he has entered the Second floor. Let him lead the team." His Majesty said.

Li Qingshan saw that the emperor was determined and tried to counsel him. "Let's not talk about how we are taking this too seriously if we send someone from the Second floor. Ning Que's talisman skills are ordinary and his talent for cultivation is ordinary as well. He is the weakest student in all history of the Second floor. How can a student in the No Doubts state beat all the young talents from all over the world? What will we tell the Headmaster if something were to happen in the Wilderness?"

The emperor smiled, "Only polished jade will shine. You've seen Ning Que's military records and you know what he is like. If he can't survive on the battlefield, who else will?"



The Daming Palace was enshrouded in starlight and enveloped in wind from the north. The emperor leaned against the railings, a serious expression on his face. All previous trace of carefreeness present during the discussion earlier had disappeared.

The palace maids and eunuchs have long left and it was silent. Only the empress stood by him silently, her brows furrowed with worry.

"Do you mean there's really an underworld? If so, where is it? Is the Headmaster traveling around the world to find it? It is rumored that the Desolate Man returned to the south because the darkness in the extreme north has become longer. Will there be a day when darkness stays forever?"

Should the darkness stay, the country will fall. This statement was made by an astrologer years ago. Many inferred from the statement that women in the palace will bring the fall of the country and thought that the empress was the woman in the prediction. Some thought it was the much beloved Fourth Princess, leading to several tumults.

After the incident, the empress secluded herself in the depth of the palace and no longer said anything about matters of the country. Princess Lee Yu married herself off to the grasslands because of the matter. It was no small issue indeed. The empress's expression changed slightly when she heard the emperor mentioning the prediction.

After a long silence, she said in a low voice. "Who would have thought that Mr. Ke would enter the mountains with just a sword? Master's death on the battlefield was too sudden and there were many secret manuals that were not passed on in time. However, we have never heard of a place like the Underworld in our sect."

The emperor turned around and looked at her tenderly, "Your people have returned South. Do you not wish to visit?"

The empress shook her head. She said, "A thousand years ago, the Divine Hall had sent someone to spread their teachings to the Desolate Man, leading to the birth of a different branch of cultivation. However, it was thought to be of the devil by those from the Divine Hall and from then on, the Devil's Doctrine was inseparable from the Desolate Man. Since we have left them so many years ago, they are no longer my people."

She stopped there suddenly and looked at the emperor calmly. "You've decided to have Xia Hou lead the army of North Yan. Are you suspicious of him?"

The Emperor looked at the mountain shrouded in the darkness of the night and said after a long moment of silence. "Indeed."

The empress looked at his side profile and suppressed the sadness in her heart. Her voice wavered as she said, "Many years ago, I took on the orders of my master from the Devil's Doctrine to head south. I used all my powers to seduce you in order to kill you. I failed in my task, and yet, you did not kill me, but married me instead and made me empress."

The emperor thought of the incident that happened many years ago. He said, "Only my parents and Qing Shan knew of your identity then. If not for the Headmaster, it would have been hard for us to be together. However, even if the Headmaster didn't say anything, I would still marry you despite my parents' objections because you are the woman I want to marry."

The empress said sadly, "That's why I do not understand. You are so gracious and loving towards me. Why are you so suspicious of Xia Hou? He has battled for our empire for years. Has that not won your trust? Do you think he will return to the Devil's Doctrine once more and bring soldiers back with him to the Desolate Man settlement?"

The emperor turned and looked into her eyes. "You're wrong. I have never worried that Xia Hou would return to the Devil's Doctrine or bring our soldiers to the Desolate Man settlement. He knows very well that any General who tries to rebel will be met with death. He lost the chance to return to the Devil's Doctrine the moment he killed Murong Linshuang to prove his dedication to West-Hill. No matter the person who cultivated for twenty-three years or others from the Doctrine. The first thing one has to do is to kill them should they appear on the Central Plains. Do not forget that Murong Linshuang was the favorite disciple of that person."

The empress asked, her voice shaking. "Why else are you suspicious of him then?"

The emperor replied with a straight face. "I am suspicious of his relationship with the West-Hill"

The empress smiled bitterly and self mockingly. "You know why this is so."

"Why? Because he knew that the West-Hill Divine Kingdom had always been suspicious of him? Because he knew that they have always been suspicious of his relationship with you? Will they find any evidence linking you with the previous saintess of the Devil's Doctrine?

The emperor shook his head. "The Emperors of the Tang Empire would study with the Headmaster in the Academy for some time. The duration of their study depends on the speed of their improvement. I do not know if I should praise myself or feel regret. My time with the Headmaster was not long. But I remember something he said very clearly. "

"There are many strong and brave people in this world. They will come to many compromises after the first and in the end, it will become a distorted emotional state. It will turn from compromises to active cooperation. They will turn from victims to the people executing punishment. And they will not even understand why this is so."

"The West-Hill have been trying to guess your true identity over the years. They've tried hard and Xia Hou has tried even harder to hide it. He's tried his best to curry favor with them and arranged for incidents to happen in the city while I was away. He had allowed for the villages on the Yan border to be sacrificed along with those searching for clues. He even killed his most beloved woman. In my opinion, these actions are one too many. So what if the West-Hill Divine Palace knew that you were the previous saintess of the Devil's Doctrine?

The emperor patted the bar before him lightly while staring at the sky littered with stars. He sighed, "If Xia Hou didn't do all those things for you, I would have killed him years ago. I thought that he would understand that as the years went by, but it seemed that nothing has changed."

"He has separated himself from the Devil's Doctrine years ago, but it is a pity that there are still demons in his heart. This demon is the lover he killed. It is the identity he received after betraying his sect. And you… the sister he thinks is many times more important than his own life. "

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