The winter snow made the air cold. Here was an extravagant and towering palace - Divine King’s mansion.
An imperial carriage pulled by four half-dragons came about with a large group of eunuchs and maids in company, dressed in their green uniforms. They seemed to be in a hurry.
It wasn’t the Jin Emperor but rather, the world-renowned princess and third-ranked beauty - Luofu.
Feiyun sent away all the servants and met her alone in his study room.
This study room presided in a large courtyard with numerous pavilions in the vicinity. The garden and ponds were full of spirit energy emitted from the strange flowers and grass. Meanwhile, green-tiled buildings were filled with ancient scrolls made from bamboo, iron, paper, turtle shells…
More than one thousand formations surrounded the area for protection, created by the old Divine Kings. Even a Giant would find it impossible to infiltrate.
Feiyun was sitting on a five-story-high platform in front of a lake. Looking over yonder, one could see the mansion and walls.
He wore a simple and elegant white robe today, taking one book off the shelf after another before walking to the wooden railing to read until the sound of footsteps.
The princess has arrived.
He didn’t turn around and continued to read. The words on this particular book made out of iron pages were actually changing to his amusement. His shapely brows slightly furrowed as he said: “Princess, please have a seat.”
She was the only one who climbed up the platform; her eunuchs and maids waited outside.
She leaned on the railing, graceful like a willow tree while her starry eyes were strangely calm contrary to Feiyun’s expectation.
“Tomorrow is the groom competition.” It took a while before she spoke in a soft and noble tone.
Her prior twelve visits were about this competition. Even someone as proud as she was anxious about this important matter.
Feiyun didn’t turn around and leisurely said: “Oh? Time flew by so fast, well congratulation, Princess. I hope you find the right groom.”
Her apricot eyes were unreadable; a sharp golden energy was floating around her. She stared coldly at Feiyun; who knows what she was thinking?
“Alright, done.” He closed the iron book, issuing a metallic clanking.
He finally looked over at her for the first time and was quite surprised to see her without a veil. Her wondrous features were out in the open - long and thin brows like willow leaves. A pair of clear yet profound eyes, exquisite and long neck like a white swan.
Her dress draped on the ground with a flying-phoenix embroidery. The bottom had stitching of floating clouds. Though she was quietly sitting on the railing, it looked as if she was an empress standing above all.
It looked like that night in the imperial carriage didn’t crush her pride and nobility. She wasn’t like the other princesses, seeking death after being played with.
“What are you reading?” She suppressed her emotions, remaining calm though her continuous past visits certainly implied otherwise.
The more she acted in this manner, the more Feiyun was afraid of her. He had an ominous feeling.
Nevertheless, he smiled and said: “I’m looking at the Empress’ Tales, just reading up about her life.”
There was only one empress in the long history of Jin - Long Jiangling. She had supreme talents and dominated her era.
The princess replied: “The empress has many legendary stories. Abolished the old crown-prince, seized the throne, suppressed that chaotic era. All prodigies bowed to her then. But ultimately, she still died a sudden death after 250 years of reign. Her blood stained the ground; the sorrow bells echoed across the entire dynasty.”
The princess became quiet after stating this.
Feiyun responded: “No one should be able to kill her due to her cultivation, why the sudden death?”
“Everyone will die, not surprising at all.” The princess was a fan of the empress.
Feiyun shook his head: “Because of this question, I’ve been reading about the ancient tales and rumors to finally come up with a conjecture - she might not be dead.”
The princess didn’t know why he was talking about Long Jiangling but was still interested: “Do you have any evidence?”
Feiyun said: “None, but we can speculate a few things. We know that before reaching Enlightened Being, no one can live past one thousand years. However, after reaching it, it’s possible to go up to even two or three thousand years. She lived two thousand years ago, and given her supreme cultivation, she might still be alive right now.”
The princess had familiarized the story: “Impossible. She definitely died back then. A rain of blood sent her off, covering the entire capital. The fifth-generation Divine King personally put her into a Regal Peace Coffin and buried it in the royal sacred ground. Many ancestors saw that with their own eyes. The grave is under numerous layers now, deep underground. It can’t be opened.”
Long Chuanfeng was the seventh-generation Divine King and Feiyun the eighth. It has been several generations since then.
“Of course, this is clearly written down in Empress’ Tales. But you don’t think it’s strange?”
“Nothing’s strange about it.” The princess asserted.
There was more information about the empress’ death but only the ancestors in the royal clan were privy to it. Nevertheless, everyone kept their mouth shut since it could affect her reputation.
Feiyun continued: “After her death, many more crises have happened here every several centuries. However, they were all solved as if there was an invisible hand helping the dynasty.”
“For example, the current chaos should be unprecedented. However, the Divine King and Jin Emperor are both abdicating, one wants to break through to the next realm while the other is getting ready for the Rex Competition. They are reasonable explanations, but a bit too forced. The Divine King’s cultivation on top of medicines are enough to last another hundred years; he could help end the chaos before abdicating. As for the emperor, I’ve sent people to gather information about the emperors of the other four dynasties. The Jin Emperor might not be the strongest, but he’s definitely not the weakest either.”
The princess only worried about the throne so she didn’t think about these other matters. Her eyes flashed with contemplation: “What do you mean?”
Feiyun explained: “The king and emperor can abdicate without any worries, leaving this time of chaos for the young? They must have something or someone to rely on.”
“So this is why you think the empress is still alive?”
Feiyun didn’t reveal everything yet: “You know about Mount Potala, the current number one sacred ground of the heretical faction?”
The princess nodded: “Two thousand years ago, the Beacon King of Senluo Temple disappeared so the sect was divided into ten halls. They fell from grace right away and Mount Potala took advantage of this, taking down the ten halls, Mount Yin Yang, and the three heretical realms to become the strongest.”
The Beacon King was also known as the Heretical King, the only person comparable to the empress during that era. He was born one hundred years after the empress and disappeared eighty years after her death.
“Do you know why then?” He asked again.
The princess answered: “Because Mount Potala has a monstrous character, capable of pressuring the other heretical sects.”
Feiyun stood up and said: “Someone once told me that this monstrous character has deep ties with the previous Divine King and the royal clan.”
Scholar Heaven Calculating was the one who told him this.
The princess was smart and understood what he wanted to say. She sneered: “So you think that person is the empress that had passed away for two thousand years.”
“If the person isn’t the empress, they would still be related to her in some ways.” He believed.
“That’s impossible, not to mention that she had been buried, even if she is the leader of Mount Potala, just think about it, would she had sat idly by to watch you trample Beauty’s Smile with your army? She was already invincible two thousand years ago, so who can be her match in the present?”
He slightly frowned and nodded: “That makes sense, maybe I’m overthinking it.”
“Of course. The royal clan does have many plans and resources, far more than what it seems on the surface. The incoming turmoil alone is not enough to worry the clan, but it’s definitely not because of the empress.”
The princess naturally knew more about the royal clan than him.