In the royal palace. Zhou Qing’s face was white with rage, his fists hammering the table thunderously, while his eyes overflowed with chilling murder. It was obvious that the message from Qi Manor had already spread to his ears.
There were also numerous military leaders and ministers in the large hall whose expressions were currently fluctuating indeterminately. Practically everyone knew that king Qi had harboured thoughts of rebelling for the past few years, but no one had expected him to go all the way today.
“King Qi has already revolted, what do all of you think we should do?” Zhou Qing’s gaze swept downwards, his penetrating eyes locking onto the group of ministers below.
He knew that due to the decline of the royal clan over the years, it was inevitable that some of these ministers and military leaders would be swayed by Qi Manor, their stances shaken. After all, everyone knew that the Great Wu Empire was backing Qi Manor.
Qi Manor’s decision to become independent may even have happened due to the support from the Great Wu Empire. If the royal clan was overthrown by Qi Manor, the fates of those who went against Qi Manor now would not be pleasant.
Thus, the great hall became somewhat silent for a time.
A voice suddenly rang out at this moment, “Your majesty, Qi Manor has already grown too powerful and is a difficult force to match. I suggest we allow Qi County to separate themselves from the empire and try our best to negotiate peace with them such as to prevent any conflicts.”
Everyone looked over, only to find that the one who had spoken was Liu Hou.
Liu Hou was Liu Xi’s father, and had grown very close to Qi Manor over the past few years.
Zhou Qing’s expression turned extremely dark when he heard this. The corners of his mouth raised to form a mocking smile as he stared at Liu Hou and said, “So Liu Hou means that not only should I restrain from sending any military force to curb this rebellion, but also give them control of their land and beg for peace?”
Liu Hou had a fair complexion and no beard. He expression remained unchanged as he faced Zhou Qing’s man-eating gaze and said, “Then may I ask if his majesty has any confidence in eliminating king Qi?”
Zhou Qing’s five fingers clenched tightly as cracking noises were emitted. Qi Manor had already grown strong, and had the support of the Great Wu Empire. Hence, this rebellion was definitely not on a whim. Even Zhou Qing himself did not dare to affirm that he would be able to suppress king Qi.
Zhou Qing’s shut his eyes and took in several deep breaths, controlling the emotions in his heart. When he gradually opened his eyes again, they were filled a chilling coldness. “I will no longer compromise even if it means battling to the death.”
The hearts of everyone present shivered when they heard the icy killing intent in Zhou Qing’s voice. It seemed that a life and death battle between the royal clan and Qi Manor was unavoidable.
Liu Hou indifferently said, “Your majesty’s decision will put the Great Zhou Empire in huge danger.”
“Does your majesty still not understand how much power the current Great Zhou Empire has? The empire’s strength is at most only equal to Qi Manor’s. In addition, the great general, Wei Canglan, does not follow any of the royal commands and instead holes himself up in Canglan County, refusing to leave. It is likely that he will ignore Qi Manor’s rebellion.”
“Therefore, a forceful approach will instead cause the Great Zhou Empire to fall into a state of near destruction.”
Liu Hou’s words resounded in the hall, causing the faces of the many ministers and military leaders to turn gloomy. Some of the originally somewhat spirited military officers had lost their morale due to having truly understood the crisis they potentially faced.
Zhou Qing’s complexion turned ashen when he saw the fallen morale in the hall.
“Liu Hou’s words are laughable. If we give in and seek peace, Qi Yuan will definitely press us harder and harder until the day our Great Zhou Empire ends up fully devoured. From what I can see, Liu Hou’s advise will only lead to death!”
While the hall was silent, an icy laugh suddenly rang out.
The sudden voice caused the numerous ministers and military leaders in the hall to be taken aback. They quickly turn their heads and found a slim youth walking in from the entrance.
“Prince Zhou Yuan?”
Upon seeing who it was, everyone was stunned.
Liu Hou merely glanced at Zhou Yuan and sneered, “Your highness is still too young and naturally will not consider the consequences. Given the Great Zhou Empire’s current strength, what confidence do we have in a direct clash against Qi Manor?”
“I feel that your highness should go wait in the rear hall. This is a place to discuss official matters, not a place for you to say whatever you want.”
Zhou Yuan’s expression was indifferent as he replied, “Liu Hou, looks like Qi Yuan did not tell you everything.”
Liu Hou’s eyes narrowed. “What are you trying to say?!”
Zhou Yuan’s frosty gaze locked onto the former as a mocking smile rose on his lips, “Aren’t you interested to know why Qi Yuan was in such a rush to escape from Great Zhou City, not daring to stay even a moment longer in is his own Qi manor?”
Liu Hou sneered. “Oh? Might it have something to do with your highness?”
His tone was filled with mockery but who could have expected that Zhou Yuan would actually nod in response. “Looks like your brain is still functional. Qi Yuan was indeed afraid that I would come back ahead of time, giving him no chance to even escape from Great Zhou City.”
The moment these words were said, the numerous ministers and military officers in the great hall looked to each other in disbelief, evidently unable to take his highness words seriously. How could a mere Qi Nourishing stage kid like you possibly scare Qi Yuan so much that he did not even dare to stay a moment longer in Great Zhou City? This was practically the biggest joke of the century.
“Nonsense.” Liu Hou sneered.
Zhou Qing frowned. Zhou Yuan’s words were indeed rather arrogant, but they did confuse the former. After all, given Zhou Yuan’s character, it was very unlikely that he would brag in such a senseless manner.
If so, why had Zhou Yuan said such things?
Zhou Yuan ignored everyone’s gazes and merely turned his body to the side as his gaze looked outside of the hall.
Upon seeing his actions, everyone in the hall, including Zhou Qing, also cast their puzzled gazes at the entrance.
As everyone watched with rapt attention, the sound of heavy armor clinking was suddenly heard, and everyone soon saw a well-built figure wearing heavy armor walk into hall. The figure came to a stop at the center of the hall and knelt on one knee.
He slowly removed his helmet as a low voice resounded across the hall.
“General Wei Canglan greets his majesty!”
Every person in the hall stared at the figure in shock, and even Zhou Qing abruptly stood up as he gazed at Wei Canglan’s figure in disbelief.
Ever since the Black Venom King attacked Canglan County many years ago, great general Wei Canglan had never taken a single step into Great Zhou City and not responded to a single one of the imperial edicts.
Hence, everyone believed that he would continue to be independent. No one would have even dreamt that on the same day Qi Manor announced its rebellion, he would once again come to Great Zhou City and display a posture of servitude.
Liu Hou’s expression changed. Wei Canglan would undoubtedly be a huge aid if he chose to side with the Great Zhou royal clan.
However, he could not fathom why Wei Canglan would make such a decision after ignoring the royal command for so many years.
Wei Canglan said in a low voice, “I’ve stubbornly persisted in my wrong doings for far too long, and it was only thanks to his highness that I was recently enlightened. I am deeply ashamed of my past actions and hope that your majesty can send me to deal with the rebels!”
Everyone had a strange look in their eyes as they turned towards Zhou Yuan, even Zhou Qing was rather bewildered. They did not understand what Zhou Yuan had done to bring about such a change in Wei Canglan’s attitude.
Zhou Yuan merely smiled in response to the puzzled gazes before he looked towards Zhou Qing and said, “Father need not worry about those Qi Manor rebels.”
Next, he extended both hands and clapped softly.
Under everyone’s watching eyes, a black robed figure walked in from outside the hall. The figure also stopped at the center of the hall and knelt on one knee as his raspy voice sounded out, “I am the lord of Black Venom City and have long heard of the mighty Great Zhou Empire. I have specially made a visit today to submit to the empire and am willing to do all I can for the empire!”
The lord of Black Venom City? The Black Venom King?!
The moment these words were said, an uproar arose in the hall as a portion of the crowd pulled back in fear. Everyone was dumbstruck as they stared at the Black Venom King, evidently no stranger to his name.
However, after fright came utter confusion. The situation was now a little beyond their comprehension.
The Black Venom King was a tyrant in Blackwater and had the strength of the Alpha-Origin stage. No one would believe that such a ferocious individual would submit to the empire after hearing of its might.
Thus, the corners of Zhou Qing’s lips twitched slightly. Who better knew the Great Zhou Empire’s might than himself? Wanting an Alpha-Origin experts to join them after hearing of their might was practically a pipe dream.
Hence, after a long silence, everyone in the hall turned towards Zhou Yuan.
He was clearly the one behind this.
However, Zhou Yuan ignored these gazes and looked towards the now pale faced Liu Hou as an indifferent voice echoed in the hall.
This time however, no one dared to look down on the young man’s words.
“Does Liu Hou still feel that the Great Zhou Empire needs to give in and beg for peace?”