Hearing the news, all of Qin State was in an overjoyed mood. To conquer and unite all the states, Zhao State was the only obstacle left; to put it more precisely, it was Master Eunuch He that they worried about the most. However, the Qin Emperor didn't believe the news, thinking it must be a scheme. Master Eunuch He had a profound foundation in Zhao State, and his capability was not inferior to himself, not to mention that he had just selected a small child as the new emperor. Master Eunuch He was actually at the height of his power. How could it be possible that he was willing to give up all this power and disappeared?
Innumerable secret agents and highly achieved swordsmen were sent out from Xianyang City to look for the Master Eunuch He in all possible places; but they came up with nothing. Besides the Qin Emperor, many other forces were also looking for Master Eunuch He, or they intended to inherit his political and military resources. At the very least, they wanted to ascertain whether he was dead or alive, but so far nobody had found any clue.
The Master Eunuch He disappeared the same way Jing Jiu did.
The sun would still rise every day, no matter how great the disappeared figures were. Time went on regardless. A few years had passed, and the Dao Competition was in its forty-second year.
Ruled by the Royal Dowager, Zhao State was rather peaceful; but it wasn't as powerful as before. Gradually, Zhao State had lost its strength in competing for the world with Qin State.
One state was weakened and another state was strengthened. Taking over some of the forces controlled by Zhao State, Qin State became much more powerful. Its cavalrymen had no equals in the world.
In one early morning as the morning sun had just risen, the Qin Emperor got out of the bed and walked to the window. As he smelled the burning odor of the paint outside the palace, he furrowed his brows slightly.
To prepare for the wars in the coming days, Qin State had been busy making military equipment and armors; as such, the smell and the dusts were the unavoidable consequences of such efforts.
The Qin Emperor had already gotten used to the smell, and he even began enjoying it. Yet, he had started coughing lately, and it got worse by the day. He was affected negatively by all this.
He was a Cultivation practitioner, and naturally aware that he was not sick; but somehow, he felt ill at ease nonetheless.
The Empress brought a bowl of white fungus and a silver spoon to him and three toffees made from the autumn pears were placed by a small plate. "Your Majesty, should I get a royal doctor to have you checked out?" she asked gingerly.
The Qin Emperor furrowed his brows even more. He shot her a cross glance and said, "You are an ignorant woman; why do you talk so much?"
Having said that, he waved his sleeve dismissively and left.
The Empress stood in the same spot with a pale face. She was first taken aback and then came back to her senses. She hastily put down the bowl and plate and knelt down on the ground to see him off.
She knew that the Emperor was going over to see that princess in the Shu Palace.
Whenever something significant was to happen, the Emperor would go there. Even if there was no significant event, the Emperor still liked going there to drink tea. In fact, the Emperor and the Princess met more often than he met with the Empress; but she didn't dare complain, because she was well aware that the Princess had a much higher status in the eyes of the Emperor.
The Shu Palace was as peaceful and quiet as usual. The remaining lotus flowers in the pond didn't give off a feel of things breaking down. It was perhaps because the lanterns hanging by the corridor still had the residual smell of the fragrant candles from last night.
The Qin Emperor took off the overcoat and tossed it to the palace servant girl approaching him. He sat across from the zither platform and took a deep breath, feeling much more collected.
Bai Zao sat on the other side of the zither platform. Her fingers pressed on the strings lightly, her black hair tied carelessly behind her back, resembling a black ribbon dangling between her arms, looking beautiful.
"It looks like Eunuch He has really gone overseas; at least he won't be back for some time. Even if the Chu Emperor were still alive, he wouldn't be able to make much trouble, as you said before." The Qin Emperor took a sip of the tea and continued, "I would like to push the situation forward a bit."
Bai Zao lifted her head and looked at him, saying, "You appear anxious today."
The Qin Emperor was not pleased with the way she talked to him. He coughed softly twice and said, "We have to do the things we are supposed to do. The sooner, the better."
Bai Zao lowered her head to look at the strings under her fingers, asking, "What about Qi State?"
"Yun Qi's reputation is simply too high. He has many followers in Qi State, Zhao State, the former Chu State, and even in my Xianyang City. Yet, he promotes the ideas against war."
The Qin Emperor set down the teacup and remarked with an icy cold expression in his eyes, "This emperor wants to unite the world; he and his ideas will cause some trouble."
Bai Zao didn't raise her head as she said, "What are you going to do with him? You can't simply kill him; otherwise, the populace would be against you, at least in their hearts. That would make conquering the world quite a bit harder."
"This emperor would try to convince him," the Qin Emperor said.
"It would be difficult to convince the scholar of the One–Cottage House; it's because their ideas are crystal clear and they stand steadfast in their ideas."
Bai Zao played the zither softly as she continued, "Though Xi Yiyun has already forgotten his background, his basic nature probably stays the same."
The Qin Emperor said, "I will convince him with the undeniable fact that the populace of the world would suffer more disaster and pain if they tried to resist my cavalrymen; it's better to surrender."
"If you try to use this method to convince him, do you think he will be willing to come to Xianyang?" asked Bai Zao.
Though the Qin Emperor was a powerful warrior, he had never left the Royal Palace of Xianyang, especially after the assassination attempt by the man in black.
"This emperor will announce to the world that I will guarantee his safety. If under the circumstances he still won't come here, then I have no choice but to give it up," the Qin Emperor said.
Bai Zao lifted her head and looked at his eyes quietly for a long time, and said, "Okay, give it a try then."
In the late autumn, the great scholar of Qi State, Mister Yun Qi, arrived in Xianyang City along with over a hundred students of his.
The gate of Xianyang City opened wide to welcome him and his students. Many residents came out to witness the significant event that was rarely seen in the land. Even many famous scholars of Zhao State and the former Chu State came.
Mister Yun Qi and his students all wore the robes with long sleeves and long swords. Their bearings were extraordinary. As they walked on the street, they drew countless gazes.
The inhabitants of Qin State stood at the sides of the street, looking curiously at these legendary scholars.
Some of them wondered what use the long swords had in the real battles, since they were so long that it would be difficult to pull them out in time.
Some people explained that Mister Yun Qi and his students used the long swords as a decoration, not for the battles, and for the purpose of expressing their attitude.
The resident who asked the question nodded, thinking they were indeed the scholars of the Scholar Palace of Qi State, and they behaved in such a delicate manner, though the long swords were still a cumbersome item nevertheless.
All the students were invited to the Institute of Xianyang, to engage in the discussion with the scholars of Qin State and the famous scholars of Zhao State and the former Chu State.
The discussion turned into debate, and they were heated and exciting. Yet, those scholars from Zhao State and the former Chu State were more interested in another place.
Countless gazes fell on the cluster of the black palace buildings.
All the knowledgeable scholars of the land were anxiously waiting for the news. They wondered if Mister Yun Qi would be able to persuade the Qin Emperor to give up the ambition to conquer the whole land.
If Mister Yun Qi failed in this effort, the whole land would be plunged into the bloody wars in a few years.
The Royal Palace of Xianyang and the Scholar Palace of Qi State were two palaces in the world with most palace buildings and with the most magnificent ones.
Though Mister Yun Qi had lived and taught in the Scholar Palace of Qi State for several decades and was used to the magnificent buildings, he still could feel the pressure when he walked among the buildings of the Royal Palace of Xianyang.
Those black palace buildings looked like countless rocks standing silently in the ocean with violent waves; he could feel a formidable energy exuding from these buildings.
Yun Qi was not certain if he could persuade the other person. In fact, he didn't have a high hope for this trip.
After entering the grand hall, he squinted slightly to get used to the brighter light in the hall, and then he saw the Qin Emperor sitting in the deepest end and on the highest spot.
The Qin Emperor used to like wearing the armor made from the dense silver, as white as the snow, and he called himself the "Emperor Bai," or White Emperor.
However, it was unclear when he began disliking the white items again.
He was wearing a regular black robe today. He sat on the throne in a relaxed posture. It seemed that he had merged into the surrounding of the hall.
"Please sit down, Mister," the Qin Emperor raised his right hand to greet him in the distance.
Yun Qi sat on the empty floor. As he glanced at the tea on the table, he commented, "Your Majesty treats his guests differently indeed."
He didn't refer to the plain tea on the table, or the simple, straightforward style of Qin State, but the distance between the host and the guest.
The spot where the Qin Emperor sat was at least five hundred feet from Yun Qi.
No matter how formidable an assassin was or how powerful a crossbow was, they had no way to make a fatal strike from such a distance.
"Mister is a smart person. This emperor likes to talk in a straightforward manner. So the time used to drink a cup of tea should be enough for the purpose."
The Qin Emperor didn't comment on what Yun Qi had just said.
Looking at him quietly, Yun Qi said, "Your Majesty, please tell me your thought."
The Qin Emperor said, "What this emperor wants is the land and inhabitants, and what you want is the hearts of people. We are all conquering something, so they are basically the same in essence. If you are willing to cooperate with me, it will be much easier to advocate your path toward Dao."
This suggestion sounded simple, but it was in fact very hideous. It was because there were many details hidden in it. The devil is in the details. And the devil is good at alluring humans.
If it were He Zhan in Yun Qi's position, he would probably agree to the suggestion offered by the Qin Emperor.
Yet, Yun Qi didn't accept it. "I'm very sorry," he said. "The path I advocate can be found anywhere in the world, but not in Qin State."
Leaning slightly forward, the Qin Emperor gazed at him in the distance and asked icily, "Why?"
Yun Qi replied, "Because what Your Majesty wants is the path of subjugation, and what I desire is the path of benevolence."
The Qin Emperor said, "This emperor wants to rule the world, I of course have to rely on subjugation to conquer the world. As I have gained the world, I will use the benevolent method to govern the world."
"How can Your Majesty convince me?" Yun Qi asked.
The Qin Emperor demanded, "This is not the Scholar Palace of Qi State, and this emperor is not your student. Do you intend to test me?"
Yun Qi said calmly, "All I want to do is discuss the subject with Your Majesty."
Having said this, he took out a scroll from his sleeve and put it on the table.
A eunuch took the scroll and checked it carefully. After discerning that it was not poisonous and devoid of any hidden weapons, the eunuch handed it to the Qin Emperor.
The Qin Emperor rolled open the scroll and glanced at it for a brief moment. "These are all boring and regularly discussed issues," he said wryly.
Yun Qi said, "If Your Majesty wants to become the ruler of the world, you need to learn what responsibilities you should have."
Though it was not necessarily like cooking a small dish with great care when ruling the state; but the ruler had to be careful when governing. The ruler had better not govern the world like stirring the oil pot carelessly, which could cause a fire easily.
It was important for every inhabitant in the world to know how the ruler would regard his position in the history and what he would desire in the mortal world.
After a moment of silence, the Qin Emperor said, "This emperor can't solve these issues."
Yun Qi sighed and then said, "Let's end here for today."
There was no need to talk about that there would be no more wars and the populace would live a peaceful and enjoyable life after the world was united.
There was no need to talk about that there was no just war in the chaotic world and every common man was responsible for the future of the world.
Different people have different principles.
The people that have different principles can't talk to each other.
Nobody would realize that the negotiation expected highly by the world would end so soon.
The Qin Emperor said suddenly, "Though this emperor can't solve the issues raised by Mister, I can settle it with the person who has raised the issues."
Hearing this, Yun Qi let out a gentle smile, and stood up. "It turns out that Your Majesty invited me to come to Xianyang in an attempt to kill me."
The Qin Emperor laughed out loud, as he said, "Mister Yun Qi misunderstood me. The fact is this emperor would like to give you an opportunity to kill me."
After a long moment of silence, Yun Qi asked, "Why does Your Majesty know me so well?"
The Qin Emperor stopped laughing abruptly, and said, "It's because this emperor knows who you are better than yourself. You are a bunch of people who are steadfast and only believe in your own principles. You only have this one opportunity to get close to me. You can either persuade me or kill me today. If you missed the opportunity today, you wouldn't forgive yourself."
Yun Qi didn't make a response. He grabbed the sword's hilt with his right hand in a slow motion.
The long sword used mostly for decoration could also be used for killing.
It was deathly quiet in the grand hall for a long time, resembling a graveyard. It was not clear who would rest here forever later on.
The faint smell of the burning paints strayed in from outside, ruffling Yun Qi's clothes.
Yun Qi leaped up, like a patch of cloud drifting forward. The long sword was unsheathed, and in his hands.
Standing five hundred feet away, the Qin Emperor looked at the scene emotionlessly.
Whoosh!!! Whoosh!!! Whoosh!!!
The sounds of arrows leaving the crossbows broke out in the grand hall; and countless arrows fell down from the air like the rainstorm, filling all space of the hall.
Somehow, the sharp arrows couldn't pierce through Yun Qi's body, though they cut open his clothes easily. In the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror, Jing Jiu was the fastest, He Zhan had the strangest method, and Yun Qi's movements were most amazing; his body was like a feather, on which no force could exert any effect on, or like a patch of cloud.
However, the raindrops like arrows were too dense; as Yun Qi arrived before the Qin Emperor at a distance of fifty feet, a dozen arrows were inserted in his body, the blood gushing out.
The Qin Emperor was still emotionless. He slammed on the arm of the throne with his right hand, as he intended to leave through the secret tunnel.
Back when Zhuo Rusui punched through the iron shield in the palace hall, he chose this tunnel as the last resort for his protection.
The tunnel was built with the green stones twenty feet thick. Once he entered it, no assassin could hurt him.
It was then that he sensed a slight change of energy in the grand hall.
He smelled a faint burning smell; he was certain that it was not the same burning smell from the outside of the palace.
His countenance changed slightly, as he noticed from the corner of his eyes a tiny flame coming out from the scroll.
Yun Qi raised seven questions in that scroll.
The flame spread out at an exceedingly fast speed; it soon turned into a large fire, and then exploded horribly.
The throne was blown into pieces, and the mechanism for the entrance to the tunnel was destroyed. The Qin Emperor was knocked twenty feet away, the black robe torn in shreds, and he was also injured severely.
Yun Qi landed on top of the Qin Emperor, thrusting the sword toward him.
Pah!!! Pah!!! Pah!!!
The sounds of air waves colliding with each other rang out. The smoke and dusts rose, blocking the sight.
The ruptures were everywhere on the Qin Emperor's face and body, with the blood seeping out like a leaking alcohol bag.
Yun Qi couldn't stand up anymore, falling on his buttock on the floor.
The crossbow arrows the Qin Emperor used to shoot him were specially made. They were soaked in the strong poison, and the sharp point of the arrows after being reinforced with the dense silver was powerful enough to pierce through the armor. Even the Cultivation practitioners couldn't withstand it.
Dozens of the swordsmen of the Qin army rushed into the grand hall. Some of them arrived before the Qin Emperor, and some charged toward Yun Qi, ready to cut him to pieces.
The Qin Emperor shouted sternly. He was extremely furious. He pushed the swordsmen of the Qin army aside and arrived before Yun Qi, looking like a ferocious tiger.
Yun Qi didn't pay any heed to him. He coughed up blood constantly while having his head lowered.
Seeing this, the Qin Emperor suddenly calmed down, waving his hand tiredly to motion for others to retreat.
Yun Qi's chest was pierced through by a dozen arrows; and he had also struck the Qin Emperor once. At the moment, he couldn't even stand up, let alone fight again.
Though the swordsmen of the Qin army were worried for the safety of their emperor, they didn't dare disobey the order of their emperor, retreating slowly out of the hall.
It was deathly quiet in the grand hall, which was felt like a real graveyard.
The Qin Emperor stared at Yun Qi's eyes and asked, "What is in the scroll?"
"It's the amulet," Yun Qi answered.
The Qin Emperor was stunned, as he asked, "You said that you had forgotten everything. But how come you still can write the amulet?"
Yun Qi was taken aback slightly, and then laughed out, saying, "You mean I knew how to do it before."
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