Four Monarchs Convene for the First Time in Ages (Part 2)
“Shaman Monarch Palace has been oppressing us for a long time. Prince Gaotang of Feiyi has always been a respected envoy in every state, yet he almost forfeited his life on Mount Wanyu. Is that how you treat your allies?” Maintaining a calm tone, yet piercing eyes, the monarch behind the mask continued, “We expect answers. Every year, Great Spirit Shaman demands infants from our royal families, promising to raise them into excellent individuals. We have yet to see our families sent there from forty-five years ago. Why? If you cannot explain this, then please forgive us, but we cannot consider working with you.”
If it wasn’t inappropriate to applaud her, I would’ve clapped. “Certainly, there is an issue. In saying that, you do realise it is Great Spirit Shaman who is responsible, do you not?”
“That is but a different means to the same end. You are his master. Are you claiming the two matters have nothing to do with you?”
“I see it is true that Qingqiu’s Queen is a valiant strategist as the praise says. If Baimu’s lass was half as sagacious as you, she would not be at risk of being forced to relinquish her rule.”
My words accelerated their heart rates. All eight individuals knew Qingqiu’s monarch was a woman, but none of them ever publicised it as it was Xiacang Anxi’s culture to seldom mention a woman inheriting a throne. Young Shiyi and Boss Shen did their research, then made me read the books of information eight painful times, so I was just pulling information from memory. In the eyes of the eight, nevertheless, they immediately concluded that I had them under surveillance for a prolonged period already.
Qingqiu’s Queen forced a smile. “Now is that not amusing. As far as I am aware, the one trying to usurp power in Baimu is your shaman.”
“Shaman Monarch Palace is not Shaman Faith and not Shaman Monarch. Do you see what I am getting at? Did you not kill your elder brother to become Queen because he became Great Spirit Shaman’s puppet? If you want revenge, I’m not your man.”
Qingqiu’s Queen squeezed the hilt of her short side strapped to her belt, while the other three Kings tensed up.
I snacked on a piece of lamb. “You seem to have a misunderstanding. I didn’t dig up your profiles. Relax.
“Feiyi’s King asked me for permission to conduct business with Western Regions’ seven states, but he already finished discussing business and ordering. In just six months, Feiyi can start exporting goods. Don’t you think that’s worthy of applause?
“Chiyi’s King tells the public their army numbers around twenty thousand whilst privately training a private military in association with minorities in the mountain. If anyone was to challenge them in the mountain terrain, they may as well forfeit while they’re ahead.
“Chehuo’s King, don’t freak out. So what if he has fifteen thousand soldiers looking over your side of the fence? You imported high-quality horses from Western Regions, didn’t you? If we do the maths, you should have enough for your fifteen thousand equestrians after all these years, right? Fret not. His fifteen thousand soldiers probably don’t have any advantage of your forces.
“See? Even though I know all these secrets, have I ever told anyone? They’re just collecting dust in my head.”
All four monarchs jumped to their feet. “What exactly do you want?!”
“Sturdy spines, I like it. Our Emperor probably wouldn’t react the same way.” I continued loudly chewing on my lamb as I swept my gaze over them. For some reason, they all appeared hostile. “I just want you to help me find something.”
Because their faces all read, “This guy is nuts,” I added, “Relax. That’s just the beginning. I want far more than that. I don’t mind spilling blood to achieve my goal,” I communicated I was serious with my eyes, “even if they are at the top of the hierarchy.”
Feiyi’s King raged, “I knew it… You and Great Spirit Shaman are cut from the same cloth. Shaman Faith is colluding with Beussent’s descendants.”
Qingqiu’s Queen slowly unsheathed her short sword. “I told you the centuries of hatred for us couldn’t just vanish into thin air, but you insisted we meet him. Nonetheless, there’s no need to watch him ruin Xiacang Anxi. We can end him here and now.”
Chiyi’s buff and chiselled thirty year old king flexed his arms. “You done? Let’s kill him!”
I picked up another piece of lamb to eat. “You guys know how to play go?”
The eight confounded individuals turned to each other. Qingqiu’s Queen then answered, “A little.”
“Do you like going first or second?”
“Is there a difference? He who starts first will have to go after in the next turn.”
I tugged up the corners of my lips. “In my case, I want first go no matter what. If people are always first, what fun is left for you?”
Understanding what I insinuated, Feiyi’s King commanded, “Get him!”
The four Sacred Beasts behind their respective rulers made their move, moving in with two vanguards and two at the rear formation to box me in. Chiyi led the offence with his solid fists. Qingqiu’s sword in the shadows, who was superior to Chiyi, stayed hidden. Unluckily for them, I already slouched back in my seat and rested my chin on my hand.
“Like right now,” I remarked.
While the four monarchs advanced, those behind them didn’t follow suite regardless of how they urged their men.
“’The idiot didn’t bring any guards or set up any defences. He’s one man, while there are eight of us here and our Sacred Beasts. If he tries anything, we’ll butcher him.”
“Your plan won’t work if you write it on your face, you know? What makes you think that I’d just wait for you to kill me if I wasn’t nice to Beussent’s descendants?”
The four people behind the four monarchs and their four Sacred Beasts went limp on the ground – unless vomiting blood on the ground wasn’t classified as incapacitated on the ground.
The four monarchs could only glare at me, hoping it’d be enough to somehow kill me.
Qingqiu’s Queen brayed, “What in the world do you want?!”
“I told you: fengqi shenmu. Thing is, none of you have it. He who has it won’t tell me where it is. What you four can do for me is convince him to give it to me.”
“Y-you want to take us hostage?”
“Nah, it doesn’t need to be such a drag. I told you.” I took my time tugging up the corners of my lips. “I don’t mind spilling blood.”