Wuxiaworld > Nightfall > 458 The Fisherman and the Invitation

458 The Fisherman and the Invitation

Chapter 458: The Fisherman and the Invitation
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn

The blood and heads of their tribesman forced those from the Qinghe County to emerge from their daze. No matter how much they tried to sway the public opinion in this matter, they did not gain any sympathy but only ire. They were shocked by how odd that was.

After some time, they discovered something even more shocking.

Those who were selected to be sent to Chang'an as Empresses were bound to be the most outstanding and intelligent women of Qinghe County's families. They had been educated for many years. However, other than the Empress dowager from the Song family who had been imprisoned during the era of Conghua, the Empresses were all known for their virtuous and demure nature. They did not speak about court matters or on behalf of the families from Qinghe County. That was when the families realized that the intelligent Empresses had long understood who held the power in this world.

There wasn't a country that could escape the laws of historical development, not even the invincible Tang Empire. With peace and stability and a war that could not be continued, the Empire eventually fell into disarray. However, compared with the once glorious empire written about in history books poured over by those from the Qinghe County, the laws of historical development were evidently weaker in the Tang Empire. The rot was slow and whenever a major change was about to occur, a power would right it again. It would repair the Tang Empire like it was a broken horse carriage and lead it back to the right path.

With the rise of Tang's national power, the royal family became increasingly powerful. After many years of suppression, the citizens of Qinghe County had long surrendered. The crux of the matter was that the Academy had replaced the role of the imperial examinations. The families of Qinghe Couty did not have as much glory as they did a thousand years ago, and their strength and power weakened.

However, these families from Qinghe County were after all families with history that spanned millennia. As they changed their attitudes and grew loyal to Chang'an, and with permission from the royals, these families returned to the stage.

These families from Qinghe County were still undeniably powerful in court. They sponsored several scholars as well. Even though their military power was just a fraction of what it once was, no one knew if there was a Grand Cultivator in the Knowing destiny State hidden within these families.

That was why it was every man's dream to win marry a girl from Qinghe County even until today. The wife of the Imperial Library Grand Secretary, Zeng Jing, was from the Cui family of Qinghe.

However, these families from Qinghe County once enjoyed glory and honor and occupied more than half the seats in court. There were several Great Divine Priests of West-Hill who had come from Qinghe County. Would they be satisfied with the present situation?


The dominant families were a cold and cruel. They strove for benefits instinctively, and thus would not stage a rebellion. They were so restrained they were almost forgotten by the world. However, deep in their bones, they yearned to occupy a higher position in the Tang Empire. They wanted more power. Over the past centuries, there were nine Empresses who came from Qinghe County. This was the fruit of their efforts. And in the past decade, they had tried to make it ten.

The Emperor had just ascended the throne then. Her Majesty had taken ill and passed on and several officials from Qinghe County felt that this was an opportunity. And like vultures eyeing carrion, they gathered all their power in and outside court, sending seven of the most outstanding and beautiful girls from the seven families into the palace. After some planning, gold exchanged hands and the Emperor had an accidental encounter with the girl. This was the beginning of a heart-wrenching story.

However, as the officials from Qinghe County tried their best to create a seemingly beautiful scenario, they did not know that a bigwig called Lotus had already hatched a similar ploy.

Lotus had won. The Saintess of Diabolism became the current Empress.

Lotus had lost, because the Empress fell into the trappings of love. She had long forgotten the Devil's Doctrine's mission.

The various officials from Qinghe County were even worse off. Not only were they disappointed, they had also offended the Empress. This meant that they had offended the Prince and General Xia Hou.

The Emperor was the only true victor.

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...

Even though the officials from Qinghe County had lost, their daring to hatch such a plot was proof of power and confidence that their families had. The impressive Zhong family of Yangguan City was but just the weakest branch family of the seven families of Qinghe County.

For more than a decade, the Qinghe families went about quietly without attracting attention to themselves since they had offended the Empress as well as several bigwigs in Chang'an. This was especially so for the elders who did not dare to enter the capital. It wasn't until the Imperial Astronomer had made a prophecy about night skies blanketing stars when the situation changed.

Everyone knew that the Emperor and Empress were close. Furthermore, the Empress looked as if she had not aged, and did not seem like she would die early. The Qinghe County would not have a chance to replace her again. Fortunately, there was still the princess who the Emperor doted on.

The families of Qinghe County would never be well-treated by the Empress. That was why they did not hesitate to throw their support behind the princess. To be exact, they supported the princess who supported Prince Li Huiyuan.

In a mansion in the Southern City of Chang'an, was a study at the back courtyard. There was an old man sitting in it calmly. This man was from the Song clan, and was sponsored by them. He even held a position in the imperial court.

This man had been a visiting professor of the Imperial Center Administration 20 years ago. However, he knew that his identity as a visiting professor was a reward for the Song clan of Qinghe County from the imperial court. That was why he had never bothered with matters in the Imperial Center Administration. In fact, he had never been to Chang'an, but he had finally come today.

General Xia Hou was about to retire. Her Majesty's power appeared to have weakened. However, to those from Qinghe County, Xia Hou's retirement had successfully resolved the estrangement between both parties. They did not wish to see Xia Hou leaving Chang'an with a smile.

Censor Song Ke stood before the old man respectfully with a bitter expression. He said, "Third Master, the imperial court has long decided and everyone knows what His Majesty is thinking. There aren't many who are willing to submit a letter. Even though it is not a crime to report an official based on rumors, this involves the general. So we have to be very careful."

The Minister of Offerings frowned and thought about his clan in its heyday. He said in a slightly hoarse voice, "To think that the chief magistrate used to be from our clan. Contacting a few censors and having them submit letters was just a simple task. It wasn't as difficult as it is now. Do not be troubled though, forget it if it doesn't work."

The censor did not dare to say anything else, however, he was visibly more relaxed.

"It seems that we can only place our hopes on Mr. Thirteen now."

The old Minister of Offerings said expressionlessly, "If this incident were to really happen, the Academy would definitely be at odds with General Xia Hou. How would the Empress' son ascend the dragon throne then?"

The censor was not a cultivator. Even though he knew that there were many officials in court who came from the Academy, he did not understand the old man's reasoning. He wondered what right the Academy had to decide on who would inherit the throne.

The old Minister of Offerings sighed and said, "That Mr. Thirteen is not afraid of the laws of the Tang Empire. He killed Huang Xing and Yu Shuizhu on the rainy streets because he was strong enough and was confident that nobody would get the goods on him. However, he is not as strong as Xia Hou. If I were him, I wouldn't know where to begin either. No matter how fast his state raised over the past two years, he is no match for Xia Hou. Xia Hou can kill him with just a finger."

The censor was confused and asked subconsciously, "Are we going to help Mr. Thirteen secretly?"

The old Minister of Offerings glanced at him and his white brows furrowed. He lectured, "Xia Hou's retirement was engineered by the Academy. If Ning Que insists on breaking the rules, the Academy would neither help nor stop him. It is highly possible that they will just watch from the sidelines. However, he is the Headmaster's student and is from the Academy. If we interfere in the matter, do you think that the Academy would not dare do anything to Qinghe County?"

The censor smiled awkwardly as he thought to himself, "If the clan does not dare to interfere in the matter, wouldn't the old man be thought to be unreasonable for coming to Chang'an?"

The old Minister of Offerings could guess what this distant nephew of his was thinking but did not explain. Instead, he slowly shut his eyes. He did not need to pretend to have already thought of a ploy because he was still thinking hard. He thought of how Mr. Thirteen of the Academy could defeat Xia Hou.

If Ning Que did not understand how to defeat Xia Hou, the battle would never begin. If the old Minister of Offerings did not understand how to defeat Xia Hou, then the families of Qinghe and the princess would not benefit from this matter.

...

...

The officials from Qinghe County were baffled like many in Chang'an. As rumors about Ning Que's identity spread, the bigwigs in the palace began to think of what Ning Que would do without the support of the Academy.

Those bigwigs who could vaguely guess between the lines, like the prince, had never been fooled by Ning Que's flippant and shameless pretense. They knew that he was a person who had strong self-control and was extremely rational. He was a man who was cold and cruel because of this.

Ning Que would not take action at the moment that was seemingly hopeless. The bigwigs thought long and hard on behalf of Ning Que but could not find any semblance of hope. Thus, they began to relax and felt that Chang'an would be peaceful this autumn and that there would not be any problems between the Academy and the military.

It was then when news reached the palace, the princess and the court officials from the General's Mansion. The bigwigs thus grew restless and uneasy.

General Xia Hou had invited Ning Que, Mr. Thirteen of the Academy to a banquet held at his mansion tonight.

In the estate by the Yanming Lake.

Ye Hongyu looked at Ning Que, who was shrouded in the shadow cast by the eucalyptus tree. She suddenly asked, "I only know now why you need strength."

Ning Que said, "No wonder you were the Grand Master of the Divine Hall's Judicial Department. You have received such intelligence even after you've escaped from the Peach Mountain and retreated into Chang'an."

Ye Hongyu said, "You'd of course have to take revenge on those who killed your father. However, this might not be the best time for it. You can't even beat me now, how can you kill Xia Hou?"

Ning Que said, "When did I say I was going to kill Xia Hou?"

"Instincts."

Ye Hongyu said calmly, "This lake, the house by the lake, Sangsang's cooking, your breathing, and the scent in this garden. They all tell me that you are preparing to kill someone."

Ning Que shook his head and said, "Killing someone is against the law of the Tang Empire. Teacher and Eldest Brother have forbidden me from doing so."

Ye Hongyu said, "Then why are you going to the banquet?"

Ning Que smiled and said, "There's free food, why not? I can't beat him now, neither can I kill him. So I can only eat all the delicacies at his mansion as a form of revenge."

Naturally, Ye Hongyu did not believe him. She said, "If a dispute happens between you and Xia Hou, the Divine Hall would benefit from it. I will not stop you."

Ning Que said, "I have asked Sangsang to prepare supper, so I will come back alive."

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