A Hard Search for Countermeasures
The sun high in the sky was enthusiastic about driving out the remnants of darkness today.
The capital enjoyed peace again following Yi Ya stamping out the troublemakers. The unorthodox faction members who couldn’t escape in time were locked up, and there were enough of them to turn the prison the busiest place in the capital. Alas, Yi Ya’s efforts didn’t usher in peace but tension – an unsettling gut feeling that a storm was imminent.
The citizens were at a loss for how to react to the abnormally fast changes. Unlike the imperial court, they were barely privy to the details. Nevertheless, they couldn’t shake off their suspicions that something big was looming.
To the contrary, the imperial court’s officials were confident there wouldn’t be any problem. Yi Ya had swept out the criminals and made arrangements to safeguard the city. Emperor’s Entourage had uprooted informants and spies of unorthodox factions. Not even the troublesome Bronze Mask had resurfaced again. Meanwhile, Ye Yun and Tianhu were working behind the scenes to ensure safety within the imperial city.
Yi Ya being Yi Ya, didn’t concern himself with any of the rumours. On the other hand, Emperor Yuansheng’s apprehension plagued him all the same as since the start of the debacle.
Li Dynasty’s second Emperor constructed Wutui Palace, and its furniture arrangement had been kept simple for as long as it had stood. As they were a family who started in the martial world and claimed the land with their swords, they never hid or tried to hide their roots. Despite the name of the palace literally meaning “to retire from martial arts”, it was the palace most often used to host visitors from the martial world. The second Emperor didn’t excel at martial arts, but he loved interacting with people from the pugilistic world, which motivated him to build a meeting spot for him and them. Unsurprisingly, Wutui Palace was the one palace with the fewest academic-based officials.
Even though Her Majesty was accompanying Emperor Yuansheng in Wutui Palace, neither of them said a word. They weren’t in a cold war; Brilliant Consort had been mediating for them, so His Majesty had been spending more time with Her Majesty as of late. Sadly, Her Majesty was aware that national affairs bogged down His Majesty, so she didn’t want to bother him.
His Majesty slouched to the side, crossed his arms and spaced out. Yi Ya did an outstanding job, but His Majesty’s problems only increased. Shen Yiren had departed. Ming Feizhen went missing. Song Ou was too incapable to give Liu Shan Men a chance at growth. In other words, one of the three offices had just been removed from the picture. With the balance no longer in place, the Qilin Guards wielded the most power.
Meanwhile, His Majesty couldn’t cover the news that Huang Yuzao had gone missing. Clearly, somebody privy was purposely spreading unease. Eastern China Sea had most likely caught wind of it.
Although Fiends’ Genesis started a revolt, their attempt was quelled in time. That said, they had yet to be exterminated.
Northern Wondrous Warrior Manor’s group hadn’t shown up again, which could only mean they were hiding and waiting for a chance to make their move.
Based on all the events thus far, there was no specific aim, and the imperial court had yet to suffer any damage. At a surface level, there was nobody was being “clever”. However, if the situation spiralled out of control… His Majesty didn’t even want to think of one matter going out of control.
No matter which problem it was, the imperial court managed to address them before they snowballed into more serious problems. The impeccable timings were too impeccable for comfort. It was almost as if somebody was behind them all. The most unnerving part about it was that, although the problems were prevented before damage was sustained and they were all stopped before the imperial court needed to unite, none of the problems were actually resolved entirely. There, in fact, was no perceivable solution to any of the problems.
Emperor’s Entourage couldn’t find a single lead on Ming Feizhen and Huang Yuzao.
Fiends’ Genesis sustained heavy casualties, but not a single authoritative figure was captured. They were continuing to run amok with their remaining forces. They took routes nobody predicted or routes that had been overlooked.
Northern Wondrous Warrior Manor’s wouldn’t be easy to find if they were trying to hide. His Majesty sympathised with their powerless state, so he couldn’t find it in his heart to crush them. If the mastermind had accounted for even His Majesty’s softheartedness, then they were very dangerous.
Think and think, His Majesty couldn’t work out what the motive(s) behind the actions were or who was behind them. All he was confident about was that there was only one mastermind, and they were hiding just outside of the imperial court’s reach.
As if that wasn’t enough, there was also the need to question if the Seven Champion White Princes were now allies or enemies. Given they were desperate enough to warrant sending their descendants to the capital to reap whatever benefits they could, they couldn’t surprise His Majesty. He had read the report about Fiends’ genesis declaring vengeance and kidnapping members of the seven, but he couldn’t piece together anything no matter how many times he read the report.
Fiends’ Genesis irrefutably had a supporter for their return. His Majesty never believed Northern Wondrous Warrior Manor was behind them. Since Li Muye was just a fool who was led by the nose, the person behind it had to be one of the Seven Champion White Princes.
After a eunuch called out to His Majesty multiple times with no result, Her Majesty gently called, “Your Majesty, your guests have arrived.”
His Majesty exited his internal plane to see five people kneeling.
The five politely, and collectively, voiced, “Our respects, Your Majesty.”
His Majesty responded, “Excuse me for not noticing. Rise now.”
Song Chi, Xun Feng, Bai Yumo, Jin Zhaoying and Ling Shaoxuan rose to their feet.
Though they were supposed to visit His Majesty at set intervals during their stay in the capital, they hadn’t visited in a long time due to the chaos outside. That was the reason His Majesty requested their presence, as well as Her Majesty’s, at Wutui Palace.
“Take your seats.”