Chapter 278: Upheaval in The Imperial City
Translator: E.3.3. Editor: Vermillion
The night has fallen, returning the bustling Imperial City to its most tranquil state. Hanging in the sky are two crescent moons emitting chilling beams of light, as if covering the earth with a gossamer veil.
Under the cold moonlight, the rubbles on the streets only made the Imperial City look more desolate. There was scarcely any people around, only a couple of workers cleaning up the debris and fixing the destroyed pavement.
Fang Fang's Little Store, in the kitchen.
With squinted eyes, Bu Fang twirled the Dragon Bone Kitchen Knife in his hand and diced up a slab of dragon meat. He lit the fire and heated the pot. Then, he summoned a surge of true energy from within and cooked this dragon meat the same way he made his Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs.
Though this was merely the flesh of an eighth grade Flood Dragon, under the nourishment of spirit energy, its meat offered an indescribable texture and a truly intoxicating taste.
Sticking out his tongue, Blacky ogled at the aromatic Sweet 'n' Sour Dragon Meat Ribs that Bu Fang had just scooped out of the pot.
Dragon meat... it must be absolutely delicious!
Bu Fang tasted a piece and became helplessly intoxicated with this gourmet delicacy. The dragon meat had a wonderful texture, very springy and incredibly succulent.
He placed this plate of Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs before Blacky, who had held back the entire night and couldn't wait to dig into the porcelain bowl. He wolfed down the contents inside with pleasure.
The flesh of large reptiles always tasted wonderful, not to mention that they became even more delicious under Bu Fang's magical touch.
Watching as Blacky devoured the ribs, Bu Fang curled his lips. At the same time, he felt it unfortunate that he didn't have the appetizing fruit vinegar to make Dragon Liver Popsicle with an eight grade Flood Dragon's liver. But that is that. This gourmet delicacy demanded an excellent fruit vinegar, without which would simply ruin the dish.
Bu Fang secretly decided that he must find time to brew his own fruit vinegar. However, that was a task for the far future.
After practicing some other dishes, Bu Fang called it a day. He returned to his room and prepared to sleep. He needed to maintain the quality of his rest to ensure he would constantly be in the best conditions. Maintaining a focused mind was certainly conducive to his cooking.
Not after long, a steady stream of snores resounded from Bu Fang's room.
The Imperial City of the Light Wind Empire, main halls.
Lights flickered beside the fluttering shadows inside the main halls.
Numerous ministers of the empire had convened here to discuss state affairs. The Imperial City of the Light Wind Empire had been shaken by a storm, instilling anxiety and fear in each and every minister.
As the powerholders of the Imperial City, they naturally understood the tense situation of the Light Wind Empire. All seven regions have fallen into mayhem-there were spirit beasts attacking cities and rebel forces revolting.
For these folks, it was simply something unimaginable. Nobody had anticipated the empire to break down and fall into chaos in such a short time.
Ji Chengxue, though a new emperor, was certainly no incompetent ruler. Ever since taking the throne, he had been cautious and attentive, tending to state affairs in an orderly manner. Such a degree of bedlam was uncalled for.
The father-son party from the Xiao family sat cross-legged in the halls with their eyes closed, completely impervious to the incessant quarrels nearby.
Ji Chengxue, situated in the upper tiers of the halls, rubbed his brows. He observed the confrontations and deliberations between his ministers down below, and emitted a long, helpless breath.
There was a loud crash that sounded much like a heavy stomp. Afterwards, a eunuch rushed into the halls, looking flurried.
"Your... Your Majesty, there's someone outside... with a coffin, asking for an audience with Your Majesty!" The eunuch, with terror written all over his face, reported in a panic. Carrying a coffin into the palace, now who was this audacious...
Ji Chengxue instantly propped up his body as the Xiao family members fluttered open their eyelids.
The atmosphere outside of the main halls was dreary. The sound of heavy footsteps echoed in the air as numerous figures sauntered into the halls. They came in with a pitch black coffin in their hands.
A chilled wind suddenly began howling within the halls, utterly silencing the chattering ministers, who now almost didn't dare to breathe.
Four shadows, all dressed in black and with bamboo hats covering their faces, strolled into the main halls.
Under the scrutiny of everyone inside, they slowly wandered to the center of the main halls. With a loud thud, they dropped the coffin onto the ground, causing the floor of the halls to rattle.
"Under the orders of King Yu, we have delivered the coffin."
A raspy voice rang from one among the group. Then, the four gestured to Ji Chengxue, who sat high up in the halls, with cupped hands to express their minimal courtesy. Then, they turned around, ready to leave the main halls.
"This is sheer effrontery! How outrageous!"
Xiao Meng glowered with eyes that nearly shot lasers and ferociously smacked down with his palm. With a bellow, he dashed after the four men withdrawing from the main halls. The palace guards immediately followed his steps.
Ji Chengxue paid no attention to Xiao Meng, who was chasing after the intruders. Instead, he walked down from his throne with a blank face and approached the coffin.
Xiao Yue rushed forward to shield Ji Chengxue from any potential danger hidden within the coffin. However, when he pushed open the lid, there were no planted traps. They were delivered a simple coffin.
Yet when everyone caught a glimpse of the body lying inside, they fell into a deep silence.
The figure resting quietly inside was a heavily wounded Lian Fu with bloody gashes tore through his chest. He who was once a majestic seventh grade Battle-Saint was now only an ice-cold corpse.
Xiao Yue held his tongue and sighed softly. He had no idea how to console Ji Chengxue.
As suspected, this was the doing of King Yu. The fall of Chief Eunuch Lian was a crime committed by Ji Chengyu.
It didn't take long for Xiao Meng to return. His somber face was covered with sweat. After a light round with the four men, he realized that none was easy to beat. He couldn't gain the upper hand on such short notice and besides, the other party had no interest in fighting with him. Since they were determined to get away, he had no choice but to come back.
Xiao Meng also caught sight of Lian Fu's corpse and emitted a grave sigh.
"Give Chief Eunuch Lian's body a proper burial." A voice finally broke the prolonged silence within the halls. This was Ji Chengxue ordering for Lian Fu's body to be taken away.
Boom Boom Bang!
A thunderous noise caused the main halls to shake. Everyone inside was seized with terror and charged out of the halls one after another.
Helpless guards completely overwrought bolted in.
"Your Majesty! The national treasury has been robbed!"
The lips of these guards shivered. To have a state's treasury robbed was simply an unthinkable concept. There were more than thousands of guards patrolling the national treasury. Under such circumstances, being raided was a huge blow to the reputation and dignity of the Light Wind Empire.
This news drained the blood from Ji Chengxue's face. At present, the national treasury was the last backbone of the Light Wind Empire. They could not afford to suffer such a huge loss.
The crowd scurried to the national treasury in trepidation only to see a large hole smashed through the heavily guarded, but now completely distorted gates.
They drew in sharp breaths, scared out of their wits in witnessing this sight.
Not after long, Ji Chengxue emerged from the national treasury. He breathed out a sigh of relief.
"Your Majesty, is anything missing from the national treasury?" Xiao Meng asked with scrunched brows.
"The money is all here, but one item is lost." Ji Chengxue was somewhat relieved but still looked toward Xiao Meng with a bitter smile. Then, he uttered slowly: "What has gone missing is the Departed Soul Orb."
"Huhn? The Departed Soul Orb? The one that Zhao Musheng stole but later discarded?" Xiao Meng was taken aback as he asked in confusion.
"Yes, but judging by this, the thieves must have been members of a sect. The Departed Soul Orb is a treasure of the sects anyway. Retrieving it by force... is somewhat understandable."
There was a sour expression on Ji Chengxue's face. The national treasury easily at other people's disposal. This was a complete trample over the Light Wind Empire's dignity. Yet at the same time, one could now be certain that the raiders must have intimidating cultivation levels.
"In any case, the Departed Soul Orb still counts as a semi-divine tool. What do its new bearers... have in mind?" Xiao Meng squinted his eyes and pondered with a heavy heart.
An inn within the Imperial City.
The wrinkle-faced Shura Sect Venerable played with a gray orb the size of a fist. The orb was smooth to the touch, and on its surface were intricate patterns of mystifying lines.
"The Departed Soul Orb... is finally mine." The muscles on the Venerable Master's face shook as he laughed uncontrollably.
Outside, the streets of the Imperial City fell into disorder, with guards treading through the crowds and keeping vigilant watch of the city.
Carefully extracting a talisman from his pocket, the Venerable Master curled his lips and crushed it into pieces. It instantly impelled a howling silhouette spirit with snarling claws to float out.
The Venerable Master flicked a disdainful glance at this spirit while lifting up the Departed Soul Orb in his hand. He focused his mind and prompted a strong force to burst out of the orb, sucking in the spirit of a brawling Xia Yu.
Terror filled the eyes of Xia Yu's spirit, but his entire silhouette disappeared after a split second.
Having absorbed Xia Yu's spirit, the lines of patterns on the Departed Soul Orb began to radiate. As it glimmered, black smoke circulated within.
"I thought I'd have to massacre an entire city as the stimulus for awakening the Departed Soul Orb. Who knew I would come across someone with the body of a Supreme-Being and capture his spirit. Though we're not working with a true Supreme-Being here, he did suffice as a catalyst for reviving the Departed Soul Orb." The Venerable Master squinted his eyes into a smirk.
"The great rejuvenation of my Shura Sect... has finally been initiated..."
For the next two weeks, everyone in the Imperial City remained in a state of anxiety.
However, none of this affected Bu Fang at all. He continued to open for business every day, practice his cutting and carving techniques, train Yu Fu and Xiao Xiaolong's cooking, test their grasp of the dishes, and so on.
Whenever he had a break, he would sprawl over a chair by the entrance, gaze at the sky, and take a comfortable nap.
During this half of the month, the entire Light Wind Empire had sunk into utter chaos. Battles and revolts sprang up everywhere as the armies under Ji Chengyu's command continued to roll in. In reality, they had already conquered much of the empire's territory, already occupying a huge region.
For the emperor himself, this was a painful reality. Xiao Meng was sent off to the battlefields, leading his men to resist and suppress Ji Chengyu's troops. Xiao Yue, on the other hand, stayed behind to safeguard the Imperial City.
During this troubled period of the Light Wind Empire, those from the Godly Temple of the Wildlands also retreated. They weren't in a much better mood than the emperor of the Light Wind Empire, since the Great Elder Xia Yu who had accompanied their trip to the empire... had fallen!
The death of a Great Elder in the Godly Temple of the Wildlands stirred up pandemonium amongst themselves.
Throughout this havoc, Bu Fang lay comfily before the entrance to his restaurant. Suddenly, he opened his sleepy eyes and triggered a new temporary task assigned by the system.
This time, the final reward for the assignment caused Bu Fang's heart to pound with excitement.