AGM 215 – On the Verge
The Qin Rebels caused a chaotic storm to engulf the Royal Capital. In addition, the first Prince made an announcement, stating that he would be contending for the Emperor’s throne. The intensity of the commotion caused, could well be imagined.
The chaos was such that several people within the Royal Capital that had already planned their path of retreat, were ready to leave at any moment.
Those of nobility started to have differing opinions. They had to choose between one of the two brothers. All this year, the first Prince had always been in the shadows, yet those noble clans that belonged to the elite tier, at the peak of power, naturally knew how great the influence of Chu Wuwei was. If he really intended to compete for the throne, it was already known who would win or lose. However, despite Chu Wuwei’s high intelligence, Chu Tianjiao was the legitimate successor, naturally there would be many others supporting him.
But currently, there was an unexpected factor in the mix. The presence of the Qin Rebels caused Chu to be riddled with both internal unrest and external threats. Would there still be anyone in Chu with confidence in Chu Tianjiao?
Thus, there were some noble clans that stood on the middle ground, unwilling to participate in this dispute over the Emperor’s authority. They were afraid of supporting the wrong camp which may result in their clans being completely annihilated.
Soon after, a ‘Proclamation of Crimes’ was issued in the form of a letter, the contents within announced to the whole of Chu, causing yet another huge wave to rock the hearts of the citizens.
This ‘Proclamation of Crimes’ was written by the first Prince, Chu Wuwei, listing out the various crimes the Royal Clan had committed.
Crime no. 1: The Wu King (ancestor of Qin Clan) had countless merits in the form of war achievements for the country, yet the previous Emperor was jealous of a capable subordinate and feared his authority, and therefore plotted for his death.
Crime no. 2: The Qin Clan gave their lives for the country, yet unfairness and injustice was prevalent. They were suppressed, their military authority stolen, forced to relocate and eventually fade into obscurity.
Crime no. 3: Because of the war for Chu, the Royal Clan ignored the lives of soldiers, deploying them to be used as sacrifices, causing countless families to be broken up.
Crime no. 4: To maintain the hold of power, the Royal Clan aided evil practitioners in their requirement of young virgins, fulfilling their evil desires. They slaughtered masses of innocents, using any and all unscrupulous methods, taking unforgivable actions, committing the most heinous of crimes.
Each and every one of the crimes listed pointed to the atrocious behaviour of the Royal Clan, and not even the previous Emperor of Chu was spared. Such daringness was unprecedented in the history of Chu.
Not only that, each and every one of the crimes listed all shared a common factor. They were denouncing the fact that the Royal Clan held no regard for their loyal subjects and citizens. A heartless empire.
Especially for the fourth crime, it caused tsunami-level waves of commotion as towering amounts of enraged voices questioned the Royal Clan. Everyone knew that the imperial power was tyrannical, yet no one could have imagined how vile and depraved it was. To think that the Royal Clan was even willing to sacrifice the lives of young females to aid cultivators in practicing their evil arts. If it were not for the first Prince Chu Wuwei, the citizens of Chu would never even remotely suspect that the source of the abductions was none other than the Royal Clan they had put their trust in.
This incident finally caused many to feel how cold and cruel power and authority can be. Those from the more powerful noble clans should also have known about this, yet no one dared to say anything.
Voices of extreme outrage and hatred erupted everywhere in Chu. The target of their scoldings was naturally none other than Chu Tianjiao. The fury of their anger reached an unprecedented high, and there were many who had decided that they would throw in their support with the Qin Rebels, overthrowing the current Emperor, slaying Chu Tianjiao.
No one had expected that Chu Wuwei would make such a crazy move. Not only did he push Chu Tianjiao to the abyss, he practically pushed the Royal Clan into an exceedingly difficult position.
Undoubtedly, this move of his was immensely beneficial to the Qin Rebels.
After which, Chu Wuwei sent out yet another piece of news saying that he was crippled innately, unable to cultivate since birth. He was willing to devote his remaining lifespan to serve his country and his citizens. He would also erect a statue of Qin Wu (Wu King) outside the Royal Palace, while at the same time announcing that the Qin Troops weren’t rebels, but were rather the administers of justice, here to topple the tyrant emperor.
Also, he promised to give a satisfactory reply to the citizens of Chu regarding the cases of the disappearances of young females.
After this piece of news was circulated around the Royal Capital, many people approved of Chu Wuwei’s character, yet there were several who also thought he was a madman. His actions showed that he was supportive of the Qin troops and wanted to allow the Qin troops to enter the capital, joining forces together with him to deal with Chu Tianjiao. But…would the Qin Clan agree?
Even if they agreed to ally themselves with Chu Wuwei, after Chu Tianjiao was toppled, the Qin Clan would then be in a position where they could start a new dynasty by themselves. Would they even allow Chu Wuwei to be the next king and thereby continue Chu’s legacy?
Power brought with it temptation, especially power to become an Emperor. Considering how the Chu Royal Clan treated the Qin Clan back then, if the Qin Clan really were to assume rulership, even if they massacred the whole of Chu’s bloodline, would there even be anyone to say that their actions were wrong?
Were his actions a smart move as a whole, or that of a mad man? No one understood what Chu Wuwei was thinking, not even Chu Tianjiao.
Sitting on the Emperor’s throne, for the first time ever, Chu Tianjiao felt pressure. Just when he was preparing to deal a fatal strike to the Qin Rebels, Chu Wuwei, his elder brother, not only did he fail to aid him, he blatantly stood on the side of the Qin Rebels. In addition, he somehow managed to deduce what was happening and exposed the secret trump card which Chu Tianjiao had been preparing – proclamation of crime no. 4.
“Elder brother, ah elder brother, if you had stood on the sidelines and watched, so be it. But since you wish to be my enemy, don’t blame me for forsaking our brotherly ties.” An extreme chill flickered in the depths of Chu Tianjiao’s eyes. After which, he inquired in a low voice, “Have all the Shadow Dragon Guards entered the Royal Capital?”
A shadow flashed by, as a figure suddenly appeared beside Chu Tianjiao without warning. That unknown figure bowed as he replied, “Your Majesty, they have all dispersed and are stationed at different points within the Royal Capital. You can command them at any time.”
“Mhm, don’t activate the Shadow Dragon Guards first, wait for my order. Relay my command down that our other hidden forces can execute the plan,” Chu Tianjiao lightly commanded, and like a phantom, that unknown figure disappeared from sight.
After the unknown figure departed, Chu Tianjiao stood up. The coldness in his eyes were incomparably icy, as he walked in the direction of the great hall’s exit.
The climax of the storm was already upon Chu.
Within the Royal Capital, many silent currents were already subtly in motion, hidden from sight. Regarding the dispute for the throne between Chu Wuwei and Chu Tianjiao, the officials and ministers who hold power had to make a decision as to which camp they were in. Even if they didn’t want to do so, Chu Tianjiao forced them to make a choice.
In the Royal Capital of Chu, there was a gigantic mansion emanating an aura of majesty, yet did not lose its feeling of elegance.
In the outer perimeters of this mansion was a vast field. Columns of white-jade pillars could be seen supporting a pavilion, with carved sculptures of nine majestic dragons spitting water surrounding it. Currently at this moment, a scrumptious feast was prepared at the balcony of this pavilion. Chu Wuwei sat there with his gaze turned outwards, as though waiting for someone.
From far within the field, a single silhouette appeared, making his way over.
Qin Wentian moved towards the pavilion, while admiring the beauty of the architecture. Although the atmosphere was currently quiet, Qin Wentian knew that if any incident happened, countless experts would immediately appear, guarding the safety of Chu Wuwei.
Despite remaining in the Bamboo Lodge for the past few days, Qin Wentian was very clear on the current situation the Royal Capital was in. He too, understood that the brewing storm had reached its climax and would soon erupt.
The final confrontation to decide the destiny of Chu would arrive at any moment.
“Brother Qin.” Chu Wuwei stood at the balcony as he glanced down at Qin Wentian with a smile. “Join me and enjoy the feast.”
Qin Wentian smiled, as he soared up to the balcony. He wondered what Chu Wuwei’s plans were, inviting him to partake in a feast at this critical hour.
Yet, Chu Wuwei’s ‘Proclamation of Crimes’ had struck a chord in his heart, causing him to feel awe at the intelligence of this man.
On the balcony, the two of them sat facing each other, with the table full of delicacies in between them.
“Your Highness…” Qin Wentian started saying, only to see Chu Wuwei waving his hands, as he interposed. “If you do not disdain me, how about addressing me as elder brother Chu?”
Qin Wentian took in the gentleness of Chu Wuwei’s eyes that were filled with an indescribable charisma, causing people to feel extremely comfortable in his presence. Nodding with a laugh, Qin Wentian continued, “Elder brother Chu, is there any reason why you sought my presence here today?”
“The skies of Chu are changing, few could remain as calm as you.” Chu Tianjiao smiled. “Everything regarding Chu, be it good or bad, shall draw to a conclusion in the coming days.”
“Elder brother Chu, it seems that you are very confident.” Qin Wentian laughed. Chu Wuwei, Chu Tianjiao and the Qin Clan were the three powers within this dispute. One could say that Chu Wuwei was the weakest among the three. Even if he wanted to ally with the Qin Clan to topple Chu Tianjiao, would the Qin Clan agree?
“You are wrong, I’m not confident at all. The things I have done these past few days were already all that I could do. But ultimately, my fate depends on you.” Chu Wuwei calmly continued, “Hence, I invited you here today.”
“Me?” A lack of comprehension appeared on Qin Wentian’s face.
“Yes, the person who decides the fate of Chu isn’t Chu Tianjiao, nor is it me, Chu Wuwei, nor is it the Qin Clan. Qin Wentian, that choice belongs to you.” Chu Wuwei raised his winecup to Qin Wentian as he smiled.
Qin Wentian said nothing, waiting for Chu Wuwei to continue.
“I’ve never wanted to be part of the dispute for power. But I no longer have a choice. I have to take over the reins of authority as the Emperor of Chu.” Chu Wuwei continued. “As to why I dare to say such words, it is because I believe in you, Qin Wentian. If I become the Emperor Chu, I swear to never touch the Qin Clan again in my entire life. Furthermore, the positions and statuses of those in command of the troops that joined in the Qin Clan in this expedition to conquer the Royal Capital shall remain unchanged and no further punishments will be administered. Not only that, I will bestow a piece of land to the Qin Clan, allowing your grandfather Qin Wu, to inherit the position of his father, the Wu King.
“Let me explain… If I am the emperor, as a cultivation cripple, I wouldn’t waste my time cultivating nor hankering after cultivation resources. My only goal is for Chu to develop, for it to be even more prosperous. The Emperor Star Academy will naturally be rebuilt and will even replace the Royal Academy as the symbol of Chu. These are my plans for Chu.”
“Now put yourself in the perspective of the Qin Clan. If your adoptive grandfather Qin Wu claims the throne for his own, the first thing he would do is to annihilate everyone in my clan, no survivors shall be spared. The Royal Capital would soon be flooded in rivers of blood. Corpses of those from the noble clans would lay strewn about the streets. At the same time, Qin Wu would begin his suppression of the various powers, removing those entrenched and inserting his own people behind the important positions, stabilising his authority, using fresh blood to secure his throne. Tell me, would that be any different from what is going on now?”
Qin Wentian’s brows were knitted as he heard the words of Chu Wuwei. Chu Wuwei laughed as he shook his head, “Those that are too involved are unable to see the situation clearly. You should be aware of many things, but you unconsciously refuse to think about it. Or maybe, you knew but chose to run away. Look at the facts; back then when Chu Tianjiao commanded the Ye Clan to deal with your Qin Clan, Qin Wu willingly threw himself into the trap, all for the sake of the plans he made over the course of ten years. His actions thereby also caused the rest of your Qin Clan members to be in danger, becoming ignorant participants of his schemes. For example, if it were not for your participation and the appearance of the Emperor Star Academy, the battle where your second uncle Qin He, lost one of his arms, would have more devastating results. In reality, all of this could have been avoided.”
Chu Wuwei’s voice was still as calm as before. He gazed at Qin Wentian as he added, “Qin Wu (grandfather) isn’t as simple as you think he is.”
Qin Wentian was struck dumb when he heard Chu Wuwei’s words. In truth, how could he not be aware of it? Just like what Chu Wuwei had said, those that were too involved are unable to see the situation clearly. Perhaps on occasion, he just didn’t wish to look too deeply into it.
“Maybe my grandfather is doing this for the sake of avenging his father (Wu King),” Qin Wentian stated.
Chu Wuwei smiled as he shook his head, “Even though his father passed away, he still has other kin. Would you, for the sake of revenge for a dead man, endanger the lives of all your other still-living loved ones? Do you believe that with the intelligence your grandfather revealed, he would allow emotions to cloud his thinking?”
Qin Wentian was speechless, he could only stare blankly at Chu Wuwei.
Chu Wuwei was silent for a moment before he continued, “Chu Tianjiao will soon send out men to deal with me. I bet that if you personally informed old man Qin of everything I’ve told you; that I’ll allow the Qin Troops to enter the Royal Capital unimpeded; that he has to withdraw immediately after the battle; that I will take over the Emperor’s position; I can guarantee that he will immediately agree.”
“After defeating Chu Tianjiao, if old man Qin follows the original agreement and withdraws his troops, I will publicly make a proclamation and send an invitation for him to enter the Royal Capital in grandeur, bestowing land and kingship to him.”
Qin Wentian paused for a moment before he asked, “What if Grandpa Qin reneged on his promises while I too, stand at the side of the Qin Clan?’
“That is why I said my fate, as well as the fate of Chu, are in your hands.” Chu Wuwei smiled. After which, he shifted his gaze towards the horizon as he murmured, “It’s about time…”