AGM 151 - A Brewing Storm
Chu Tianjiao left the room his father was in. All the citizens in Chu had no idea that the Emperor of Chu was tormented by illnesses and was always in bed. Even top-grade medicinal pills had no effect on curing the illness.
The Emperor of Chu could still remember that this illness began when Qin Wu passed away. It gradually worsened until its current state.
Chu Tianjiao stood outside a grand hall. Standing upright and attentively on both side of the entrance were a few Blooded Imperial bodyguards who resembled unmoving statues.
"The first task, gather 10 Yuanfu-level Dragon Guards. From today onwards, no one is allowed to get near to my lord father. Remember, no one is allowed. No one."
"The second task, relay my command on the front lines, implement the beheading plan."
"The third task, inform the Black Stronghold to strengthen their defenses and send people to monitor Qin Wu. Under no circumstances will he be allowed to break out."
"The fourth task, send people to monitor the clans that hold military authority in the Royal Capital. If their families shows any signs of strange movements, control them immediately, or annihilate all of them."
"The fifth task..." Chu Tianjiao went silent for a moment before he continued. "Forget it, I will head over myself personally to negotiate things with the Nine Mystical Palace."
This time around, the position of the first ranker had been snatched by the Emperor Star Academy, but the Nine Mystical Palace would surely not let their plans die away.
And thus, this should be the time to erode this troublesome academy from Chu. Luo Tianya and Luo Qianqiu would surely be sending people to aid him with this task.
The statue-like guards disappeared without a sound as they left to execute Chu Tianjiao's order. It was as though they were never there in the first place.
Chu Tianjiao turned his head. He gazed at the depths of the great hall, nodding in satisfaction as he stared at that heavily guarded room. He didn't believe that there would be anyone able to infiltrate it.
After an unknown amount of time passed since Chu Tianjiao gave his order, the Chu Country was like a machine that got automated. The biggest transport company, the Sky Transport Network, also got livelier.
During the same time Chu Tianjiao relayed his commands, in the depths of the Dark Forest, that silent and dark prison was still as cold and rigid as before as if it had always been there since ancient times.
A horse carriage arrived outside the Black Stronghold, as a figure within took out an authority medallion. Soon after, the gates of the Black Stronghold opened, and a line of silhouettes walked out slowly and entered the Black Stronghold.
This line of unknown figures stopped outside the cell of a certain someone. The prisoner within the cell was sitting on the ground. This prisoner was none other than Qin Wu.
"Open the door." The person holding the authority medallion coldly stated.
The prison warden stared at the figure, and after some moments of hesitation, he complied and reached for his key, unlocking the door of the cell.
The figure with the authority medallion continued in an icy voice. "Unlock his chains."
"Impossible." The prison warden refuted. There was no one who had that level of authority.
Puchi! Even before the sound of his voice faded, a long spear entered him from behind, piercing right into his heart while a hand from an unknown figure pressed against his mouth, stifling his death cries. The prison warden slumped to the ground before closing his eyes forever.
The figure with the medallion searched the corpse for the key, and he unlocked the chains that bound Qin Wu, as well as removing the torn and tattered robes Qin Wu wore.
Qin Wu still had his eyes closed as he stood up slowly. After which, one of the unknown figures took out a set of new clothings and put it on Qin Wu's body, as if they were doing something that was exceedingly ordinary.
Abruptly, sounds of alarm rang out from the patrolling guards. The group of unknown figures also started to move, with killing intent rolling off in waves from their bodies.
Qin Wu's eyes finally opened. In them, there were no sharp glints of light. On the contrary, extraordinary calmness could be seen within.
"Is everything already prepared?" Qin Wu asked.
"Not yet." That figure replied. However, there was no fluctuations in Qin Wu's countenance. It was as though everything was within his predictions.
"After young master Qin Chuan was rescued and the line of equilibrium broke, Chu Tianjiao already made his move. If we don't take actions fast, Chu Tianjiao may silence esteemed General at any moment. Without a choice, we could only bring forward our plan," that person replied. Even after all these years, he still referred to Qin Wu as 'General'.
"In the end, do we still really have to make an enemy out of Chu?" Qin Wu sighed.
"From the moment the Wu King passed away, everything was already determined. The twelve generals all swore to avenge the Wu King's death, and after the next generations of the generals' bloodlines grew up, they, too, swore the blood oath. It's all because General has always been enduring silently and not giving the final command. My father as well as a few other uncles could only use the guise of retreating as a form of advancement, building up their forces in secret and beginning the long and endless wait.
That figure whispered in a low voice, but the words he uttered were filled with a sense of heaviness.
It was as though there was a great secret behind the death of the Wu King.
Once, the Wu King shook the world, aided the previous Emperor to conquer the world, and subjugated the enemy forces in all directions.
However, when the hares were all killed, the hounds would be stewed and eaten.
This piece of history was only known to the generals who stood in the front lines during the times of war.
And as for the citizens of Chu, the truth was distorted before it reached their ears.
No one knew the truth of what had happened. This piece of history, although seemingly quiet on the surface, actually had a violent storm brewing within.
Outside the Black Stronghold, a typhoon of killing intent erupted. A mysterious group of soldiers entered. These troops were all covered entirely in metal, with helmets obscuring their features. The strength of their might was terrifying to an inconceivable degree. These were all shock troops, the elites among elites.
Back when the Wu King had passed away and the Qin Residence relocated to Sky Harmony City, these elite soldiers no longer reported to the Qin Residence, and instead they scattered to the four winds.
Chu Tianjiao naturally knew of these matters. With how prosperous the Chu Country was, its informant network's ability was also extremely powerful.
And thus, Chu Tianjiao didn't have the intentions to kill Qin Wu and Qin Chuan, because he could almost be certain that if Qin Wu were to die, the Chu Country would be embroiled in the center of a terrifying tornado. The might of the hidden power in darkness was sufficient to overthrow their imperial authority.
Chu Tianjiao didn't make a move, Qin Wu also mirrored his actions, which caused a fragile line of equilibrium to be born.
But after events of the Jun Lin Banquet, a gap was pried open in this fragile line of equilibrium, causing the balance between both parties to tilt. Hence, Chu Tianjiao decided to not wait any longer.
Today, the messengers of the Sky Transport Network secretly delivered intelligence to various places in Chu. Not only that, they even stepped into the boundaries of other countries.
It was as though there was going to be a terrifying storm that would happen in Chu very soon.
And in regards to all that was happening, only a privileged few in Chu had any inkling about it. The majority of the citizens still lived their own lives, with no knowledge of what was going to happen.
Even Qin Chuan didn't know about this.
Qin Wu had never mentioned this to him before.
It was the same for Qin He and Qin Ye, who were fighting at the front lines.
Qin Wentian, was naturally in the dark as well.
In his heart, grandpa Qin was a gentle and mild person who didn't even have any slight hints of resemblance to those generals that had experienced countless wars.
To him, Qin Wu loved peace and solitude and had amicable personality. Other than this, there wasn't any other impressions Qin Wentian could remember about Qin Wu.
Even Qin Chuan didn't disturb Qin Wu a lot. The father and son duo didn't frequently meet.
In Qin Wentian's residence in the grounds of the Emperor Star Academy, Qin Yao prepared a table of food and wine. The three of them ate happily and enjoyed the simple pleasures of dining together as a family.
"It's almost time for the commemoration festival again. Yet another one year has passed. I wonder if your mother is still at Sky Harmony City." As Qin Chuan thought of his wife, sadness flashed in his heart. It had already been one year. She must have been very worried about him.
"Father, Mother should have already moved back to Sky Harmony City. When do you plan to travel back? Let's go see Mother and make her happy."
Qin Yao used her chopsticks and passed some veggies to Qin Chuan, as she happily answered.
"Mhm." Qin Chuan nodded his head, "There's also 2nd and 3rd brother. I don't have any accurate news of them, and of course, your grandpa Qin Wu is still suffering inside the Black Stronghold."
"Grandpa will be fine."
Qin Wentian smiled as though he were consoling Qin Chuan.
"Good child, after you mature, you will be even stronger. At that time, even the Royal Clan of Chu will fear you." Qin Chuan ruffled Qin Wentian's hair. After one year, Qin Wentian's features had lost most of their childishness and matured considerably.
But no matter how old he was, in Qin Chuan's heart, Qin Wentian would forever be a child.
On the way back, Qin Yao told Qin Chuan stories of how powerful Qin Wentian was currently. The smiles of exultation filled Qin Chuan's heart with gratitude. He had never expected that Qin Wentian would actually reach this stage in only a year's time.
"Junior brother Qin."
At this moment, a figure appeared, standing in a far-off pavilion as he called out.
"Senior Martial brother, is there something wrong?" Qin Wentian walked over. This person was one of those who was in charge of investigating the assassination, as well as one of the 'protectors' responsible for his safety.
The Emperor Star Academy regarded yesterday's assassination attempt extremely seriously.
"Based on a detailed investigation, the academy already has a few suspects in mind. The results should be out soon."
Qin Wentian's eyes flickered, as a sharp glint of light could be seen in his eyes. "Thank you for your hard work."
"And one more thing. Xiao Lǜ sent men to demand our Emperor Star Academy to hand over Qin Yao. They want her to return back to Snowcloud with them."
"Tell them to scram." The glint of light in Qin Wentian's eyes grew colder by several degrees. Xiao Lǜ's stance had already been made clear as per the events that happened back then in the Jun Lin Banquet.
"The academy will handle this matter. And one last thing, Elder Ren asked, when do you want to visit the Heavenly Star Pavilion?" That senior smiled as though this was the actual reason why he came over today. Ren Qianxing hoped that Qin Wentian would be able to ascend the 7th level of the Heavenly Star Pavilion as soon as possible.
"Noted, I will be there as soon as I can." Qin Wentian replied. He also wanted to know what were the secrets in the 7th level that would cause even a power such as the Nine Mystical Palace to react so strongly, going all out and even using despicable methods to ensure that Luo Qianqiu would be the champion of the Jun Lin Banquet.
"Okay, continue working hard." The senior patted Qin Wentian on his shoulder and departed. In his heart, he was also extremely curious about the secrets in the 7th level of the Heavenly Star Pavilion, but what a pity; he wasn't the champion of the Jun Lin Banquet and had no qualifications to enter.