Chapter 916: The Conflicted Great Qin Empire
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
While Lin Feng made waves in the Barren Expanses, the situation in the Divine Lands was much calmer.
Almost the entire human cultivation realm was involved in the Anti-Celestial Sect War and the Mount Shu Battle. After both had ended, the various participants were still reeling from the impacts of both events. Hence, very few cultivators cared about Lin Feng’s actions in the Barren Expanses.
In the main pavilion of the imperial palace of Xiling City, the capital of the Great Qin Empire, a few people sat and faced each other in silence.
Shi Yu, the Emperor of Great Qin, sat on the dragon throne in the pavilion. In the center of the pavilion, Prince Gunyang and the Prince Nanming sat over there. Behind them sat the entire Imperial Family of the Great Qin Empire.
However, no one, not even Shi Yu, spoke. Everyone was silent.
Normally, with their cultivation mastery and their powerful positions, they would be able to clearly analyze the situation and make choices decisively. However, at this moment, every single powerful cultivator of the Great Qin Empire, including Shi Yu, was unsure of what to do next.
Other than Lin Feng and the Celestial Sect of Wonders, the Anti-Celestial Sect War benefited the Great Qin Empire the most. By facing off against the Great Zhou Empire at the borders, it was able to stop the Imperial Palace and the Great Heavenly Wheels until Lin Feng returned.
The Great Qin Empire played a decisive role here. If the Imperial Palace of Emperor Tai and the Great Heavenly Wheels were able to head towards the Kunlun Mountains, then the Celestial Sect of Wonders may not have lasted till Lin Feng’s return.
Hence, Lin Feng was generous with sharing the spoils of war. A Middle World that the Great Zhou Empire had ceded as reparations was handed straightway to the Great Qin Empire.
However, as the Great Qin Empire and the Great Zhou Empire had never gotten along well, one of the reasons it chose to help the Celestial Sect of Wonders was to prevent the Great Zhou Empire from destroying the Celestial Sect and obtaining its many treasures. Hence, it followed the principle of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. It did not lose much in its stand-off too. From a certain perspective, when Lin Feng gave them the Dongsheng World, it was the equivalent of them getting a resource-rich Middle World for free.
However, to the Great Qin Empire, it was only an immediate benefit. From the wider perspective, there was still much to gain.
The rise of the Great Zhou Empire forced the Great Qin Empire into a tight spot. It had almost surpassed the Great Qin in terms of prowess.
However, ever since the Battle of Xiling City when Lin Feng used the Heaven-Destroying Sword to help cultivate the Immortal Dragon City, coupled with the Great Zhou’s loss of Fangzhang in the Scramble for the Ying Sea and the damaging of the Imperial Palace of Emperor Tai, the Great Qin Empire managed to reverse its decline. Now, the situation of the two empires was reversed.
Along with the Anti-Celestial Sect War, the Great Zhou Empire once again met with defeat. Even though Lin Feng had gone to the Barren Expanses, the Great Zhou Empire had no choice but to take up a defensive position. It could no longer act as aggressively as it once did. On the other hand, the Great Qin Empire slowly took up a more offensive posture and began to roll back the Great Zhou Empire’s influence.
This delighted the sovereign and subjects of the Great Qin Empire.
However, their happiness was tainted.
Looking at the developments in the past year, including the decline of the Great Zhou Empire and the Great Qin Empire’s return to glory, one could not ignore the crucial role the Celestial Sect of Wonders played. It was as if it had been the sole catalyst for the change between the fortunes of the two empires of the Divine Lands.
During this time, the Celestial Sect of Wonders experienced a massive increase in its own power. Its improvement shocked everyone who witnessed it and the Qin Emperor Shi Yu almost could not react to it properly.
Hence, the Great Qin Empire discovered a particularly awkward issue: how should they define their relationship with the Celestial Sect?
At the very beginning, regardless whether it was the Great Zhou Empire or the Great Qin Empire, both adopted a superior position when dealing with the Celestial Sect of Wonders. While they both sought its cooperation, it was primarily to check each other out.
It was like how they competed for the alliance of the Royal House of the Northern Tribes and the former Heaven Lake Sect in the north.
As the Celestial Sect of Wonders and the Mount Shu Sword Sect were enemies, coupled with the astounding potential displayed by the Celestial Sect of Wonders, the Great Qin Empire sought to covertly aid in its rise. Yet, its development afterwards was beyond the Great Qin Empire’s expectations.
Soon, the Celestial Sect of Wonders became an equal to the Great Qin Empire and the two of them became allies on equal terms. However, after the Scramble for the Ying Sea and the Anti-Celestial Sect War, the Celestial Sect of Wonders’ powers improved exponentially once more. Then, the sovereign and the subjects of the Great Qin Empire discovered to their shock that they now had to look up to their former ally.
The same thing had happened to the Sword of Radiance Sect, the Lightning Sword Sect, the Great Barren Sword Sect, the Purple Clouds Sect and the Royal House of the Northern Tribes. All of them had to adjust their mindset and get use to the new situation.
Now, it was the Great Qin Empire’s turn.
To Shi Yu, it was not so easy.
While he thought through things seriously and was normally solemn and serious, unlike the Liang Pan who behaved much more aggressively and flashily, this could not change the fact that he was ultimately still an emperor like Liang Pan.
As an emperor, how could he submit to someone else?
After the Antiquity Age, there were many empires that rose and fell before the Great Zhou and the Great Qin. How many emperors of those empires longed for the days of the Emperors of Man of the Antiquity Age, where one ruler dominated the entire world?
If Shi Yu was willing to submit to someone else, he would not have joined Lin Feng, the Purple Clouds Sect, the Royal House of the Northern Tribes and his archenemy, the Great Zhou Empire , and opposed the Great Void Sect’s attempt to dominate the world.
How many people were willing to be pawns? How many more wanted to be the players?
When someone reached a certain level, his first reaction when he met someone of a higher level than him was not to submit or to fear him. Instead, it was to overcome and defeat him. Only when the power disparity became too wide would he willingly submit. This, however, is not forever. Instead, it is a temporary measure to deal with the harsh reality while he bides his time and power.
Unfortunately, the Great Qin Empire was in an awkward position where it was neither the superior nor the inferior party here.
Shi Yu was rational. He was very clear about the extent of the Great Qin Empire’s powers and he knew that the Celestial Sect of Wonders was firmly above the Great Qin’s level.
It could even be said that the only true rival to the Celestial Sect of Wonders now was the Great Void Sect. Only the two of them belonged to the same level.
It was just like how no one sect could challenge the Great Void Sect alone in the past. Now, other than the Great Void Sect, no one could take the Celestial Sect of Wonders on in a one-on-one fight.
However, Shi Yu’s internal conflict arose exactly because he was aware of the situation.
Quietly, in the main pavilion, Prince Gunyang Shi Zongmao broke the silence and said, “The Great Zhou Empire called us the lackey, servant, follower and retinue of the Celestial Sect of Wonders. They can scold us all they want, but we ourselves must be clear on how should we proceed from now onwards.”
While his words were coarse and unsuitable in the present context, no one on scene minded. They looked quietly at Shi Zongmao and listened to him speak.
Shi Zongmao’s expression was heavy but his tone was calm as he continued, “Initially, we thought that there would not be much change to the present situation after the Celestial Sect of Wonders survived the Anti-Celestial Sect War. However, looking at it now, the power of the Celestial Sect of Wonders is way beyond our expectations.”
“While we may not like to admit it, if the present situation continues unchanged, then the Great Qin Empire will really become a tributary state to the Celestial Sect of Wonders, just like the people who lived in their Celestial Wonders World.”
“We are too close to each other. In the past few years, as we had to resist the Great Void Sect and the Mount Shu Sword Sect, we were okay with the Celestial Sect recruiting manpower and accepting disciples from our land. However, with our help, this sect’s current influence in our territories has exceeded that of Mount Shu and even the Great Void Sect.”
“Essentially, we are tying a rope around our own hands. If the influence of the Celestial Sect of Wonders continues to increase, it will exceed that of the Imperial Family’s one day. By then, we will have no choice but to become its tributary state.”
“Even now, many talented youths of our empire are joining the Celestial Sect of Wonders. As more and more people join the Celestial Sect of Wonders, fewer and fewer of them will be willing to remain loyal to us. In the long run, the result is unimaginably catastrophic.”
Prince Nanming, Shi Zongtang, who sat opposite him, said, “I have the same thoughts. However, the Celestial Sect of Wonders may not view us in the same manner. Migration and accepting disciples benefit both us and them. The people make their own free choices without any coercion too.”
“Even for the Purple Clouds Sect, the Royal House of the Northern Tribes and the Lightning Sword Sect, the Celestial Sect of Wonders has never infringed upon their interests.”
Shi Zongmao nodded and said, “You are right. The leader of the Celestial Sect is magnanimous. This may be because the Great Void Sect is still around. No one knows how he will behave once the Celestial Sect overtakes the Great Void Sect.”
“Secondly, no one knows who will lead the Celestial Sect of Wonders after the leader of the Celestial Sect. The Great Void Holy Man in days of yore refused the position of the Emperors of Man thrice and the Great Void Sect could have been said to an anomaly back then as it focused exclusively on the Barren Expanses. However, after the Great Void Holy Man went to the Death Sea, we all know what happened afterwards.”
Shi Zongtang said quietly, “According to you, we should forgo our excellent ties with the Celestial Sect of Wonders and become enemies with them instead. Isn’t that something that is inimical to us?”
“Ultimately, the Celestial Sect of Wonders is more powerful than us. If we ourselves cannot improve, we will surely be left behind. Furthermore, by destroying our foundation, we will only make the situation worse.”
Shi Zongmao shook his head and said, “If we have no threat from afar, we surely have threats nearby. You are right in one aspect. The crux of the issue is that the Great Qin Empire must improve ourselves. If not, we will be left even further behind. The Celestial Sect of Wonders only achieved its current position because of their improved powers.”
“However, how can we improve the power of the Great Qin Empire? We have limited resources and opportunities. I do not advocate distancing ourselves from the Celestial Sect of Wonders. What I’m advocating is that we maximize every opportunity that we have.”
Everyone on-scene, including Shi Zongtang, looked at him, slightly shocked. “Are you talking about…”
Shi Zongmao nodded his head and said, “The next time the Three Mountains of the Ying Sea appear, we must engage in a fight to the death against the Great Zhou Empire. Even the next War of the Two Worlds may be a good opportunity too.”
“Even…. the likely clash between the Celestial Sect of Wonders and the Great Void Sect!”
“If we can seize these opportunities, we may finally have a chance to truly rise. If we can’t, then we should completely reconsider our subsequent actions.”
Finally, Shi Zongmao said, “Thinking about it, Liang Pan and Zhu Hongwu of the Great Zhou Empire may have the same plans. Perhaps… others may think the same way too.”
No one, not even Shi Zongtang, spoke as they all thought through what he had just said.
Only the true leader of the Great Qin Empire, Shi Yu, who had been silent all this while, stood up suddenly and said a in calm voice, “Today’s discussion shall end here.”