AST 2356 - On The Verge
Though Qing Shui’s words were mostly filled with empty threats, he was undeniably dangerous and the woman did not have a deathwish. Through gritted teeth she said, “You guessed correctly. I’m from the Beiyuan clan.”
Qing Shui frowned, “I’m not satisfied with your answer. Don’t patronize me like a fool!”
“Alright, I can offer you some information, but it’s not a lot,” The woman continued talking.
“I’m here today to kill you because you were a suspicious figure. I did not expect you to be this powerful. The Ghost King guessed that you were the one who got rid of the Water Emperor’s poison,” the woman said while looking at Qing Shui.
This news was very important. The opponent had already known that the Water Emperor’s poison had been cured, but did not know if it was cured by someone or cured by accident.
“Who is this Ghost King?” Qing Shui asked.
“The Ghost King is a powerful poison master who has been with the Beiyuan clan for a long time. Rumor claims that he was from another domain and is a big reason why the Beiyuan Clan enjoys its position today.”
Qing Shui realized this woman knew quite a lot. Seems like there was an advantage to being older. The woman must have been with the Beiyuan clan for quite some time.
“Who are you?” Qing Shui asked the woman with a sharp look.
“I’m just one of the Ghost King’s playthings…”
Qing Shui looked at the woman. She was not great looking, but not ugly either. Though middle-aged, her body still looked good. After all, cultivators’ bodies were always well preserved.
“Tell me about the Ghost King. You should understand him well,” Qing Shui did not want to continue talking about the woman.
The woman sighed, “Understanding him, I think it’s an impossible task. He’s a monstrosity, a pervert, and a devil. He is temperamental and unpredictable, lecherous and likes to test his poison on those around him. He looks just like a ghost. Skinny, a pair of deep sunken eyes, and surrounded by an ominous aura.”
“Is his poison very strong?” Qing Shui was more concerned about this.
“Very powerful, in fact. He was a forsaken disciple from a powerful clan in another domain, but progressed via self-teaching. It could be said that his Poison Technique has reached unfathomable depths and his entire body is poisonous.” The way the woman talked about the Ghost King seemed excessive. She must have been tortured quite a bit.
“Alright. You can decide to either leave on your own, or follow me. Do not regret your decision,” Qing Shui said, laughing.
“I can leave already?” The woman was surprised.
“Yes.” Qing Shui answered again.
The woman gritted her teeth, “I’ll follow you. I’ll die if I leave. I’ve also had enough of their torture.”
Qing Shui nodded his head, “Good. Return to the imperial palace with us. It’s much safer there. Don’t worry. We’ll guarantee your safety. Once everything is over, you’ll have your freedom back. Your life will be in your hands to chase your own happiness.”
The woman felt slightly aggrieved upon hearing Qing Shui. It had been lonely for her for the past few years, alone and miserable.
Qing Shui and company returned just in time to see an angry Water Emperor. The Beiyuan Clan had already seen that the Nalan Clan weren’t soft and weak, but still dared to collaborate with dozens of powers to challenge the Nalan Clan right outside the imperial palace.
They declared war on the Nalan Clan, but not the Water Emperor.
Declaring war on the Water Emperor was treason, but declaring war on the Nalan clan was competition. Every country had competition, which allowed for development.
“Nalan Jian, you stand with the Water Emperor. And yet, you hoard resources, not caring about others’ development, only caring about yourself. Today, the Beiyuan Clan shall compete with you. If we win, we want the resources to be shared. If we lose, we will admit defeat and you’ll be able to do whatever you want to punish me.” Beiyuan Cao shouted towards the palace.
Upon hearing Beiyuan Cao, Qing Shui knew he was a sly fox. It had always been winner takes all since ancient times but it seemed as though Beiyuan Cao would stand to gain too little from winning. And him losing meant being punished by any means; it seemed too magnanimous. If he had really lost to the Nalan Clan, they could not go too far as they would then be seen as petty, considering the Nalan clan now held the position of the Water Emperor.
The Water Emperor should be magnanimous.
If Beiyuan Cao’s side won, whether it would simply be a problem of sharing resources would be difficult to say. The winner rules. What they said and what they did could be different.
The Water Emperor raised an eyebrow, “This Beiyuan Cao... They already knew that the Nalan clan has recovered and yet, they still dare to challenge us. They must have some backers. What could they have behind them?”
However, the Water Emperor still had to accept the challenge because it was the Beiyuan Clan. Typically, only the top three in the country were qualified to challenge the Water Emperor’s capabilities and obtain his position. Those who were not on the top three in terms of capability were not qualified to.
The Nalan clan, led by the Water Emperor, appeared at the front gates of the imperial palace. This was the battlefield. This was where they would compete. It was very vast and had a special protection area in order to prevent severe damage to the place.
The Water Emperor looked at the Beiyuan Clan and the ten plus powerhouses behind them. “Beiyuan Cao, this is between your Beiyuan Clan and my Nalan Clan. You’re conspiring against the state.”
The Water Emperor was very loud, his voice could be heard throughout Crystal City.
“They are here for moral support and to help with formations. Your Nalan Clan is all alone. Obviously, the problem here lies with you,” Beiyuan Cao said, naturally denying that he was trying to get as much help as possible.
“Hahaha, Beiyuan Cao, you really think that no one knew about your clan’s poisoning of our clan. None of the powerful people were spared. If not for an expert’s appearance to help cure the poison, we would all be dead.”
“Nalan Jian, you’re the Water Emperor. Do not make unfounded allegations. What are you trying to do by slandering my Beiyuan Clan?” Beiyuan Cao naturally denied.
“If you dare to do, you should dare to admit. You have done many immoral things these past few years. The massacre of the Chen clan, a clan of three hundred and eighty all poisoned to death. The Zhong clan’s third brother’s lineage, in line to take over the clan, yet disappearing overnight…”
Beiyuan Cao turned pale. There were people from the Zhong Clan behind him. The Zhong clan was now of another lineage, one which had good relations with the Beiyuan Clan. It did not feel good having it revealed.
Members of the aristocracy had nothing if not enemies, but nobody wanted the reputation of an unscrupulous, ruthless schemer who worked with outsiders to ruin brothers.
“Nalan Jian, what do you mean by this? All these crimes pushed onto me, what evidence do you have? Are you trying to sow discord? You’re the Water Emperor and yet, you have not done anything for all these things. What were you doing then? It can’t be that you were hiding these things? Would it harm you or those around you?”
Beiyuan Cao would never admit it.
“Justice lies in one’s heart. The country is vast. Even though I am the Water Emperor, I couldn’t possibly attend to each and every matter. Since this happened amongst you dukes, then let me help the deceased seek justice,” The Water Emperor said coldly.
“Then let’s see what you are capable of.” Beiyuan Cao also said coldly, staring at the Water Emperor with a deathly gaze.