The princess continued with confidence: “The abdication of the Divine King and the emperor is a way to sharpen the young generation, taking advantage of the chaos, a way to select the most excellent successors. Only the descendants up to the task would be qualified to lead Jin. Only someone who could suppress all the other rebellers would win the heart of the people and become a true conqueror.”
“The dynasty has enjoyed peace for too long. The nobles here are extravagant and decadent. The clans are influential, all working for their own interest.”
“Let’s talk about the four great clans. The Beiming has the most authority with deep roots and members all around the dynasties. It has eight prefectures and more than ten thousand cities, countless cantons. Yes, too many to count, so they have relationships everywhere. Some heretical sects have to give them face too before establishing another branch for recruitment.”
“Just this clan alone controls thirty percent of the court, or rather, thirty percent of the dynasty. The Grand Chancellor doesn’t worry too much about the emperor, if they were allowed to grow, the royal clan would be in deep trouble.”
“Now on to the Yin Gou, They rarely participate in the court but remained influential in both the mortal and cultivation worlds, perhaps even above the Beiming Clan. As long as there are people, there are stores belonging to them, so they’re even richer than us. Some even say that their riches are ten times more than the national treasury.”
“The most important things for both mortals and cultivators are wealth and resources, and both are under the Yin Gou’s control. If they ever want to do something, their summoning power might be superior to the Beiming.”
“For the third one, the Nalan, they were the biggest rival against us, the Long. Though they lost, it didn’t actually affect their real foundation. They retreated back to Heavenly Cloud and publicly declared their submission, but the truth is that they’ve never really obeyed any order. The clan masters from there never entered the capital either.”
“They continue to grow in the shadows, so that entire prefecture is pretty much their domain; all ten of the biggest clans there only obey them and do not offer tribute to the court. Six thousand years have passed now, who knows just how strong they are?”’
“As for Xiyue, this is definitely the most reasonable among the four, seemingly the weakest. But of course, how could one of the four be so simple? They are located in Western Realm Prefecture, far from the capital and adjacent to seventy-two minor countries. They, combined, are twice as large as Grand Southern.”
“After several thousand years, they are now the king of the west. The royals from these minor countries have become their puppets and even offer tributes to them, more so than they do for the royal clan.”
“Moreover, they are quite influential in Yu Qian and Tian Long Dynasty too, possessing some military power there. Though they don’t really show themselves in Jin, once something happens here, they will turn into a mighty beast. Yes, this clan is impossible to speculate.”
Her expression became serious as she pointed at the horizon: “How could the emperor not know about these four ambitious clans? How could the royal clan not care? Alas, they are too powerful with deep roots, some are older than the royal clan, there’s no easy way to take care of them. Any attempt would only alert and make them more cautious in the future, so even the emperor is helpless in this, despite his power.”
Feiyun found the princess more intelligent than expected and have thought quite carefully, more aware of the Jin’s precarious situation more than anyone.
He said: “If you are right, then Jin is like a withering tree on the verge of death, sick all around. Half of Grand Southern Prefecture had fallen to the evil corpses; Northern Frontier is divided by the corpse caves and all the government officials are killed; Earthchild is taken by the three immortal sects, declaring its independence; Heavenly Cloud is under the Nalan; Western Realm is under the Xiyue. So five out of the eight are not under Jin, and the remaining three are greatly influenced by the Yin Gou and Beiming. Looks like Jin is quite… sickly.”
To which she responded: “That’s why it’s a chaotic period, but also a good opportunity to break the power of the four great clans using the heretics and other cultivators. Reduce their power and consolidate our power.”
“You’re not afraid of heading towards destruction?” He replied.
“Of course I am! The dynasty can turn to ashes by making the wrong moves, but a long-time illness requires strong medicine. In order to cure this withering tree, we must cut off all the leaves and branches, perhaps even the trunk.” Her eyes flashed brightly, seemingly brimming with incredible power inside her slender body.
He rubbed his palms and said: “Severing the trunk at this last stage is the same as cutting off all the illness, then a new seed can grow from the roots.”
The princess nodded: “Of course, this is the worst case scenario because without the trunk, the roots can die too.”
“This is the real reason for their abdication and not caring about the chaos? They want to use it to cure Jin?” He said.
“This is only a speculation of mine. Who knows what the two of them are actually thinking?”
“Yours is more believable than mine.” He was impressed with her analysis, sounding like a potential empress.
Long Cangyue and Long Shenya might be intelligent, but the two were focused on competing for the throne first then worry about the chaos. Alas, they wouldn't have such a deep analysis of the current situation.
The wind was blowing, strong enough to cause some pages of the ancient books to flip.
Her dress also fluffed around as she sat there, displaying her innocent yet noble beauty - two contrasting auras.
After a while, she said: “Feng Feiyun, I need to tell you something.”
He could see the changes in her eyes and felt something was off: “What’s wrong?”
She was definitely going to bring up the groom selection, her real reason behind visiting.
“I have told the matter between us to… the emperor.” She calmly said.
His heart started beating rapidly but he remained composed and smiled: “Princess, you think you can scare me using the emperor…”
She took out an imperial decree, brimming with the aura of the emperor and a draconic energy floating around it. It was certainly from the emperor.
He swallowed the second half of his sentence. This girl was so evil, actually telling the emperor and coming here with a decree? What the hell did she want?
Raping a princess was a serious crime. Even the Divine King wouldn’t be able to escape death.
Any father would be furious after finding out, let alone an emperor.
He took a deep breath and accepted the decree while telling himself: ‘She definitely didn’t tell him about the rape, there’s nothing good in it for her, not her style. Plus, I would be in prison right now if that was the case, not running free like this.’
He began reading the imperious words with a draconic style. Each stroke was full of power, “I will not pursue this since both were willing parties. However, you can only marry one princess. If you have chosen Luofu, then take responsibility. Deal with this yourself, but if you disappoint her, I will have your head.”
These words didn’t seem like it came from an emperor but rather a father. Simple they might be, there was a thick murderous intent.
After he read it, it automatically turned to ashes.
It looked like the emperor especially loved her. If it was another princess, even if the two were willing, sleeping with a brother-in-law would result in her being banished from the royal clan. Even Feiyun would be beheaded.
‘He’s definitely like Luofu the most, thinking that she’s the best candidate for the throne. It looks like he’s implicating that I should help her.’ Feiyun rubbed his forehead.
This move from Luofu was good indeed and caught him off guard.
Changing from passivity to having the initiative. It was payback time for her.
He sighed and said: ”Princess, not bad at all, were you not afraid of his wrath?”
“You and Long Cangyue have forced my hand so this was necessary. Even if the emperor wants me to die, you’ll be buried with me.” She smirked: “Do you understand the decree? The competition is coming. If you let someone else be the groom, I’m afraid the emperor won’t forgive you.”
He smiled back: “The competition is also a decree from the emperor, no one can change it now since an emperor does not go back on his words. I do want to help you, but it’s too late to find ways to cancel it since it’s tomorrow.”
He sighed again, shrugging as if helpless.