Conversation in the Palace at Night
All seven states of Western Regions combined were barely larger than Nanjiang. Alone, none of Beijiang’s two states could compare to Nanjiang’s geographical size. The land of the sun resembled the shape of a soaring bird when viewed from a bird’s-eye view.
When culture first emerged as a concept, Xiacang Anxi created twelve different tribes based on their geography, culture and climate, naming the twelve based on the Divine Bird’s body parts, such as the three states around Nieyao, namely Baimu, Morcher and Wanyu. Hence, in a way, the division of the unified twelve states was a restoration of their original cultures. That was the reason there wasn’t a big issue over the split. If the Central Plain were to split, they’d spend the next century fighting amongst each other.
Morcher was the Divine Bird’s beak, its most fearsome weapon. Likewise, their people’s fighting spirit was always ablaze. If anyone had a good chance of restoring Beussent, it was them.
Baimu might’ve frequently been involved in wars, but they weren’t feared for their military might. To the contrary, they tended to be meek. As the eyes of the Divine Bird, they saw through things, becoming the state that was abreast of the most secrets.
Wanyu was blessed with the most expansive land, the most aesthetic landscape, soil that was conducive to manufacturing of commercial goods in addition to enviable business opportunities. Perhaps as a by-product, the hottest women of Xiacang Anxi and the best alcohol was found in the most resplendent city of Xiacang Anxi. Their royal family dressed in bright red akin to the Divine Bird’s fiery feathers. When the sun went down, the ladies danced around a bonfire, while the men strapped a red bandana to their heads and sang until golden rays split the darkness. At present, Wanyu also had a military that was almost comparable to Morcher’s military, but it wasn’t hard to conceal the military when they had so much land.
Wanyu’s royal palace built on Yuanchu City’s Ling Peak may be humungous; however, it wasn’t as resplendent as Baimu’s royal palace. Nonetheless, they invested exorbitant amounts of gems and money into imitating the former Shiri Palace. Among the twelve states, there was no competition in the aesthetic department if Wanyu’s royal palace was a competitor.
All the way up to the top of mountain, you would be walking along a river flowing down from the top, shrouded in mist.
Wanyu’s King resided on the eighth palace of the ninth floor – Liquan Palace. Wanyu’s ancestors built nine palaces on all nine floors of the royal palace, designating the eightieth palace as the King’s residential palace as it was the place closest to the peak. While Liquan Palace wasn’t decorated lavishly, it provided a view of the entire Yuanchu City, reminding Wanyu’s Kings that they needed to watch over their lands with their own eyes.
There was nothing, absolutely nothing, inside the eighty-first palace. No patrols were even delegated there. As a matter of fact, the black palace looked out of place.
Although everyone knew he was Wanyu’s ultimate warrior, few were aware that the chair he had to guard every night was one of the items that proved the authenticity of Shaman Monarch’s legend. If the story could be trusted, then the ridiculously heavy iron chair was the one that Shaman Monarch sat on. Because he supposedly took it everywhere with him, it was no exception in Shaman Monarch Palace. Though it was treated as a state treasure to pass down since Wanyu’s inception, nobody could explain why it was brought to Ling Peak’s apex.
“I don’t want to hear your explanation.” Wanyu’s thirty-four year old King didn’t need to scowl or shout to strike fear into the heart of the man kneeling before him in Liquan Palace.
The man kneeling in armour, Wanyu, lowered his head in fear of the well-groomed King who couldn’t convince anyone he was a monarch without his robe. “Your subject is deeply sorry. He detected a trace of the intruder before he entered, but he seemingly warped away after he took off with Shaman Monarch’s chair. Only Mount Wanyu can compete with Ling Peak; your subject cannot fathom how he did it.”
Wanyu’s King squinted as he brooded, then shook his head. “You are my greatest warrior. If you are useless, does that not mean my state is useless?”
The King’s piercing, punishing gaze compelled Wanyu to reply, “Your subject begs your pardon.”
By no means was Wanyu’s King undermining the man who downplayed himself as a subject. If a man who had served in the army and served him for twenty years was useless, Xiacang Anxi might as well have abolished the Sacred Beasts system.
“Whoever he is, if he’s so capable, then he must be ambitious.” Wanyu’s King peered to the top of Mount Wanyu, the former tallest mountain of Xiacang Anxi. “Did you just say… Mount Wanyu is the only mountain that can compete with Ling Peak in terms of height?”
Wanyu didn’t need more than a second to discern where his King was going with it. Getting around eighty palace’s strict security? Climbing to the top of Ling Peak without leaving any traces? The only people who’d have any chance of pulling that off would be those residing on the mountain even taller than Ling Peak.
The duo gazed toward Mount Wanyu, musing why anyone from Mount Wanyu would want to steal Shaman Monarch’s throne. Mayhap their worst fear was becoming a reality – and faster than they could imagine.
Suddenly, when a string of blazes lit up, Mount Wanyu resembled the bonfires they were used to seeing in their city every night. Whenever Mount Wanyu gave that signal, Wanyu and Shaman Monarch’s warriors needed to assemble under Great Spirit Shaman to fend off the invaders.
They only just pinched from our palace…
The two could see each other asking, Mount Wanyu has also been looted?