How would Tie Butian be able to resist Chu Yang when he was much stronger than her? And so, she was dragged off by him, staggering and her steps unsteady .
After seven to eight steps, Tie Butian suddenly shook off Chu Yang’s grip with tremendous force . She stood there unmoving .
Surprised, Chu Yang turned back and asked, “What’s wrong?”
Tie Butian stood there, her body trembling . Looking at Chu Yang, she asked in a low voice, “Brother Chu, have you… become aware of something?”
A perplexed Chu Yang asked, “What’s there for me to become aware of? Which aspect are you referring to?”
Tie Butian’s sharp gaze fixated on Chu Yang’s expression . After a long while, she replied, “Your sudden arrival this time feels very odd to me . ”
With an almost indiscernible smile, Chu Yang asked, “Odd? Which part of it is odd?”
Tie Butian hesitated . “It’s a kind of intuition that feels inexplicably odd . ”
Chu Yang laughed . “My goodness, a grown man is actually talking about intuition… This is truly… hahaha…”
Tie Butian relaxed at once . As she watched how amused Chu Yang was, she couldn’t help but smile as well .
“Brother Tie, how does ruling over the whole world and standing at the top of the world feel?” Chu Yang narrowed his eyes . “All lands under the skies belong to the empire and all within these lands are the king’s vassals . Doesn’t it feel fantastic?”
Tie Butian smiled at him, fatigue in her eyes . She heaved a heavy sigh .
There was a flash in Chu Yang’s eyes . He asked tentatively, “You’re very tired?”
Tie Butian sighed softly again . At last, she said, “Tired? Fantastic? Hurhur, there are things which Brother Chu isn’t aware of . While being an emperor seems glorious and resplendent, it is in fact the dullest and most boring job . It takes its toll on one’s heart and body yet only leads one to end up all alone in the end . It is truly a long story . ”
Chu Yang’s eyes flashed again . “Is it really that tiring? That dull?”
Tie Butian’s eyes were deep and dark . She said, “When I was still a prince, there were still people joking around with me every day, as well as a few people close to me . When I became the crown prince, there were fewer of these people but I still had a few friends who dared to speak honestly with me and say a few sincere words . But when I became the Emperor…”
She let out a bitter laugh . “Do you know? Every day, I have to face a bunch of the most intelligent liars in the world . Every day, I have to rack my brains in order to differentiate between which of their words are lies, which are the truth and which are said to set others up… How this feels is truly indescribable . ”
Chu Yang was startled . “Liars?”
“Yes . ” Tie Butian nodded and said with a faraway look, “In the golden hall, all of the court officials, no matter which, are definitely first-class liars! I have to face so many liars every day . And every day, these liars would cook up different stories to deceive me . This one tries to hoodwink me, that one tries to curry favor with me; but behind all of them are their motives . Some of them do it for official affairs; this is still understandable, and I can still somewhat accept it . But the majority of them do it because of personal motives . They shamelessly seek personal gains and their behavior is in utter disorder . Every one of them looks upright and honest but when they turn their backs, none of them are clean . ”
“As a subordinate, they need to try to read their superior’s mind at all times . But as the Emperor, I have to try and read the minds of all these subordinates all the time . It is easy for several hundreds of people to try and read the mind of one, but what kind of mammoth task is it for one person to try and see through the thoughts of a hundred people, or even several hundreds of people?”
Tie Butian let out a soft sigh . “Brother Chu is no outsider, so I’ll be honest — If we were to really investigate the several hundreds of court officials in the golden hall… Other than myself, those who can stand tall within the hall without fear of being executed… are definitely no more than five people!”
This time, Chu Yang was really astounded . “That many?”
Tie Butian nodded wearily . With a wry smile, she said, “The Iron Cloud Empire is fighting corruption and punishing corrupt officials every day . Yet I, the Emperor, have to associate with these corrupt officials daily . Every day, I have to discuss state affairs with these corrupt officials and let them administer and execute state policies and laws… Brother Chu, do you find this very ironic?”
Chu Yang was lost for words .
“It is said that leaving home to head to a faraway place to become an official is only for riches! It is also said that even clean officials with integrity are in fact extorting riches from commoners . And that if there ever comes a day where one comes into power, it shall be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth . And even ‘Ten years of studying in times of hardship in exchange for a chance to become the top scholar and enjoy fame and riches’!”
Tie Butian smiled bitterly . “If all scholars harbor such intentions when burying themselves in their studies, what would happen once they become court officials? This is something that I don’t even dare to imagine! But these things that I don’t dare to imagine are things which I have to face every single day!”
“Brother Chu, do you think I’m tired? Or happy?” Tie Butian gave him a slight smile .
Chu Yang sighed lightly . “I am really at a loss for words . ”
Tie Butian chuckled . “If it were just corrupt officials, it’s still not so bad . But all of them are forming groups and cliques to attack and step on each other, inventing stories and grasping at shadows and making veiled accusations . They try to trip each other up and set each other up…”
“And I, the Emperor standing at the top, am the biggest weapon that these court officials can wield!” Tie Butian said with a smile, “To be honest, in the eyes of subordinates, the Emperor is not a person but a sword and a kind of absolute authority . Whoever makes use of it well would be able to rise up the hierarchy and get rich, and even kill off those whom they dislike! As such, everyone spares no effort in making use of their ruler!”
“While keeping up the pretense of absolute patriotism!”
Tie Butian looked at Chu Yang rather mockingly . “I can still manage it somewhat . If it were Minister Chu in this position, considering your temper and how intolerant you are, you would probably kill off all the officials in the golden hall within a few days . ”
Chu Yang burst into laughter and nodded . “That is very possible indeed . ”
Tie Butian said, “There are few wise rulers and many incapable ones in history . But every wise ruler is in so much suffering which they cannot even speak of . An incapable ruler is one because firstly, they were bound too heavily when they were young . However, the biggest reason is undoubtedly these people in the imperial court . Who would be willing to face such a bunch of disgusting liars every day?”
“Every ruler, even if he becomes unbelievably useless and foolish in the future, all aspired to be a wise ruler at their time of ascension . This is something that need not be doubted! Most incapable rulers are emotional people who follow their hearts… And such people cannot be emperors . ”
Tie Butian spoke dispassionately and sighed again .
“Yes . ” Chu Yang agreed . “Take prostitutes as an example; every prostitute was once a chaste and innocent woman…”
Tie Butian’s face became thunderous right away .
She wished she could give him a good vicious kick .
I was discussing state affairs with you in such a serious tone . Such a heavy topic and such a depressing atmosphere and you actually jumped all the way to the topic of prostitutes?
“This period of time outside, Minister Chu must have been fooling around and enjoying a lot of female company?” Tie Butian gave him a wide smile . “Minister Chu certainly speaks like one who is very experienced with such things . ”
Tie Butian’s smile was very warm and kind, and emitted a kind of ‘we are all men here, so we all understand’ feeling . But when her words reached Chu Yang’s ears, he only felt chills running down his spine and an icy wind blowing at the back of his head .
Especially that ‘one who is very experienced with such things’; it practically reeked of murderous intent .
“In front of Brother Tie, I am not afraid of being embarrassed . ” Chu Yang coughed and took on the attitude of one who was speaking heart to heart with another . “To tell the truth, I am ashamed! Other than that time where Little Tian Tian had used that kind of method to purge poison from my body, I am still a virgin even now . ”
At once, Tie Butian’s heart skipped a beat . When she heard ‘Little Tian Tian had used that kind of method to purge poison from my body’, she couldn’t help but feel hot all over .
She let out a couple of awkward coughs, feeling like her mouth was dry and hot and her head dizzy and spinning . She laughed awkwardly and jested, “Does that mean that Minister Chu has actually been keeping his body chaste?”
Chu Yang also let out a few awkward coughs . “Yes… I’ve been celibate this whole time . ”
Tie Butian laughed awkwardly and didn’t speak anymore, not knowing what she should be saying . She couldn’t help but feel a sense of sweetness in her heart for some reason .
“This certainly feels terrible . ”
Chu Yang sighed dramatically again . Tie Butian’s entire face was blushing, even to the tips of her ears .
The two of them spoke as they walked . When they were nearing the bedchamber, Chu Yang said half-intentionally, “Your Majesty, being the Emperor… is not the most desirable either . How can it compare to wandering the universe and traveling around the world without a care in the world?”
Though there was a look of yearning in Tie Butian’s eyes, she instead laughed wryly and shook her head . “Brother Chu, that’s easy to say but how hard is it to actually achieve that? How can I bear to abandon these thousands of millions of people? This family foundation, tens of generations of hard work and thousands of years of aspirations… Hurhur… Which of these isn’t akin to a mountain weighing down upon my heart?”
She fell into silence for a while before she finally heaved a sigh . “I can’t abandon them nor can I bear to… Should I really leave, how can my conscience ever bear this guilt my entire life?”
Chu Yang sighed heavily . This time, he was really speechless .
This was precisely why he didn’t dare to expose her all along . She was the Emperor of a generation and the only successor!
All the lives in the world and the foundation which her ancestors had laid down; the suffering of the world and endless war and conflicts; all of them needed Tie Butian, the wise ruler of a generation!
If he were to take her away and keep her in his bed, then… Putting aside the issue of whether Tie Butian was willing to or not, was this world willing to let him do that? What was he to do?
He certainly possessed absolute martial prowess now; but even if he could kill thousands or ten thousand people, was he to kill several hundreds of millions of people?
The moment there wasn’t a wise ruler to suppress chaos anymore, just how many people with malicious intentions were there in this world? No matter how high his cultivation was, he had no way of curbing ambition and desires from taking root and spreading like wildfire in people’s hearts!
When that happened, incessant wars and endless turmoil would be inevitable . Was he to abandon the people of the world just because of his own selfishness?
Yet if he were to consider all these, then was he to abandon both mother and son in these Lower Three Heavens? While he commanded the Upper Three Heavens in the company of other women and led a carefree life?
Could he even call himself a human if he did that?
As they approached the bedchamber, Tie Butian’s face became increasingly red and her heartbeat started to throb faster and faster . Her emotions also got more and more confused .
How could she stop a friend whom she had not met in years from seeing her child? There was no way she could do that, be it from the standpoint of logic or reason .
But when he saw him, would Chu Yang recognize him? Would he suspect anything?
But they had already come this far; the arrow was already notched on the bow .
Chu Yang was very agitated as well, his heartbeat beating faster and faster and his face turning redder and redder . His eyes were practically gleaming and his breathing rapid .
That was his child!
As the imperial maids bowed in greeting, both of them — one in the front and one at the back — walked in, each harboring extreme agitation of completely different kinds .
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