The emperor’s impatience only made it harder for the empire’s subjects to retire for the night.
When the first glimmers of dawn rose over the horizon, the rows of honor guards and attendants who couldn’t hide their exhaustion could already vaguely make out the outlines of the massive and distant Heaven Ascension Mountain Range.
These people didn’t know the true intention of the emperor’s visit. The attitudes they carried when looking at Heaven Ascension Mountain Range were that of making a pilgrimage.
Vice Principal Xia, the long black-haired Self Defense Department professor ‘Madman Qin’, and a wealthy merchant-like lecturer who Lin Xi had never met before greeted the emperor at the foot of the mountain.
The emperor’s fleet became more and more clear in their line of sight.
This northern fleet that carried Yunqin’s emperor, now finally approached Yunqin’s holy land, Green Luan Academy.
What all of these Yunqin subjects understood extremely clearly was that the young and vigorous, brilliant and courageous Yunqin Emperor, including this trip, only left Central Continent’s Imperial City three times.
The first was when he was still in swaddling clothes, following the late emperor to Green Luan Academy to meet Principal Zhang, many great governing laws were established during that trip. The second trip was after the late emperor became critically ill. After he was crowned emperor, he made a trip south to investigate the Thousand Sunset Border Army, examine the army’s strength, granting five general titles at the same time.
During those three times, two of them were to Green Luan Academy… even if one of those times was when he was still an infant, this was still enough to prove how important Green Luan Academy was to both the late and current emperor.
However, Green Luan Academy only sent three people to welcome the emperor.
Even so, all of the attendants and officials who knew Vice Principal Xia’s identity didn’t feel any feeling of inappropriateness, shock, or anger.
Just like how in the view of all of Yunqin’s people, the rightful emperor represented the decree of heaven, the highest existence whose divinity couldn’t be blasphemed against, Green Luan Academy was also mysterious and powerful, an existence separate from the secular world.
The emperor and imperial princess’ figures emerged from the large and majestic carriage, walking out from the troops.
Without any instructions, all of the honor guards, soldiers, and attendants knelt down, crying out ‘long live his majesty’.
Yunqin Emperor calmly waved his hand, indicating that they may rise, and then walked towards Vice Principal Xia in an extremely natural manner.
Vice Principal Xia and the other two only gave a calm bow with their hands in front of them.
As early as after the battle of Meteor Lake, the late emperor already established the decree that all of the academy’s lecturers and higher ranked individuals didn’t need to kneel in the emperor’s presence, able to enter within a hundred steps before his majesty in the imperial court. Meanwhile, Green Luan Academy’s students, when facing provincial heads or lower ranked officials, didn’t need to kneel.
In all of Yunqin’s academies, Green Luan Academy was the only exception.
“Vice Principal Xia.”
When Vice Principal Xia returned his greeting in a calm manner, Yunqin Emperor turned around with his hands behind his back, nodding towards his attendants and then saying, “The others do not need to accompany me. Set up camp here and rest.”
When they heard the emperor say this, these subjects who hadn’t slept a wink in the last two days, already sweating when they saw the mountain path ahead of them, finally released breaths of relief, promptly kneeling down to thank the emperor for his kindness. Since they were in Green Luan Academy’s territory, and they all knew that both the imperial princess and the emperor were powerful cultivators, these attendants and subjects didn’t need to worry much for the emperor’s safety.
Yunqin Emperor moved again, starting to ascend the mountain path with Vice Principal Xia and the others.
Several decades ago, when he was still in swaddling clothes, the late emperor also walked up Heaven Ascension Mountain range step by step like this, ultimately establishing this unprecedentedly powerful empire.
He wished to be like the late emperor, leave behind a thick stroke in the annals of history. He wanted to be just as valiant as the late emperor, achieve just as many things.
After half a day of silent climbing, Yunqin Emperor followed Vice Principal Xia to a peak that was still quite a bit of distance from Green Luan Academy’s peaks. When he saw the dark green bricked black tiled small courtyard on the cliff, Yunqin Emperor’s face was incredibly calm, but his mind was filled with self-mockery.
Even if it was the most open-minded and powerful emperor, there was no way he could remember things from when he was still in swaddling clothes. He naturally lacked the slightest impression of this small courtyard he had previously stayed in.
This small courtyard that could accommodate more than ten people had already been properly prepared, food, drinks, and every day goods all complete. The emperor’s attendants began to make some routine arrangements, while the emperor had his hands behind him, walking towards the edge of the cliff.
When they saw that Vice Principal Xia was the only one who followed him, all of the emperor’s attendants trembled inwardly, knowing that the emperor and this great figure who represented the will of the academy were going to discuss some things. As such, they all tactfully decided not to follow them.
The imperial princess Changsun Muyue was like an ordinary woman on this lonely peak. With the emperor here, all of the conflict already had nothing to do with her, so she minded her own business, choosing a quiet cliffside room, preparing to enter meditation cultivation.
However, she saw that on the walls of this quiet small side room, hung a slightly yellow treasured scroll of calligraphy, on it written two rows of characters that weren’t especially elegant. “Honor the elderly as we do our own aged parents, care for the children of others as our own.” The signature, was Changsun Gongru.
In front of the cliff were layers of sheet-like white clouds, as if sheets of ice slowly flowed before the cliff. The sun above them seemed especially close, the rays of sunlight making one’s entire body carry bits of golden color.
“Vice Principal Xia, compared to those of the secular world, we are all people who stand on this mountaintop, our eyes able to see farther.” The emperor calmly looked at the grand mountain range beyond the flowing clouds, and then turned around to look at Vice Principal Xia, slowly saying, “That is why there are some words your respected self naturally understands… I have no intentions of acting against anyone in the academy.”
Before waiting for Vice Principal Xia to reply, the emperor then laughed in self-mockery before saying, “I understand that Principal Zhang has always maintained the belief that the country was the country, the army is the army, and the academy is the academy, even the late emperor, in Principal Zhang’s eyes, was nothing more than the manager of an empire. Towards this, I can understand this to be Principal Zhang and Vice Principal Xia as individuals who have withdrawn yourselves from worldly affairs, just like those Tangcang ascetics, having different ways of looking at this world and secular people. This is something I can accept as well. However, your respected self should also understand… that it is precisely because this academy exists, because the academy’s way of thinking exists, that there are many people in the imperial court who do not understand reverence.”
Vice Principal Xia gave the emperor a calm look, saying, “Since your majesty understands this, then you should understand even more clearly that ever since Principal Zhang took his position, what is most precious to our academy, are precisely our own wings.”
Yunqin Emperor said with an indifferent tone, “It is precisely because the academy overly cherishes its own wings that I can only make progress with great difficulty. The academy’s students belong to Yunqin, most of the academy’s resources are also offered by Yunqin… these students’ lives, naturally have to be offered to Yunqin as well, why does your respected self need to interfere so much? I also understand Principal Zhang and Vice Principal Xia’s way of thinking, to remain outsiders who aren’t concerned with the affairs of the world… but what is laughable is that because of the academy’s power, because the entire world is on guard against you all, you all must also be on guard against the rest of the world acting against you all. Even if, because of this vigilance, you do not wish to let go, there still has to be at least some changes, display some attitudes, make those who dare try to assassinate the imperial princess just because I got involved in some governing affairs understand who exactly Yunqin’s current rivers and mountains belong to! Vice Principal Xia, your respected self also knows what kind of person I am. If this Yunqin operates according to my wishes, how could Tangcang and Great Mang possibly act unbridled?!”
After a slight pause, Yunqin Emperor looked directly at Vice Principal Xia, saying, “If Vice Principal Xia, you all were just like Tangcang Sanskrit Temple’s masters, truly getting involved, why would you need to fear whether or not there will be a land of peace to make one’s home?”
Vice Principal Xia continued to watch the changes in Yunqin Emperor’s expression. While looking at the worked up emperor, he couldn’t help but release a sigh, shaking his head and reminding, “Your majesty, you should not forget that most of the proposals, including helping Yunqin nurture students, were things the late emperor requested Principal Zhang to do. Moreover, the reason why at the time, all experts remained in hiding, rivers and mountains at peace, is because everyone feared the academy, feared the war god like existence that was Principal Zhang… Now, your majesty wishes for these experts to fear your majesty, but in reality, it is to fear a truly powerful empire. To change from fearing one person, to fearing a country’s national power, the process will inevitably be extremely long. That is why your majesty cannot be impatient, and you must have enough faith in us, not carry selfish motives.”
After a pause, Vice Principal Xia looked at Yunqin Emperor, continuing, “In these past few decades, your majesty has established Thunder Academy and Immortal Academy, maintaining a three-way state of balance, the intention of this is clear. However, has your majesty considered this before? If all of these resources were concentrated on Green Luan Academy, the current situation might instead be much better. Perhaps in the various border armies, there will be more existences for enemies to fear. That is why what one pictures and does, might not necessarily achieve the results that are desired.”
The emperor’s face turned cold. “Is Vice Principal Xia criticizing my actions for being too selfish?”
“Your majesty has your own thoughts, while the academy has their own opinions as well. That is why I must ask your majesty to reconsider.” Vice Principal Xia didn’t seem to be affected by the already raging Yunqin Emperor in the slightest, speaking in a calm and meaningful manner, “Your majesty should also understand that my body isn’t actually in the best condition, I might not necessarily be able to last another five or six years.”
Even though Vice Principal Xia’s words were calm and polite, with his status and cultivation, it made Yunqin Emperor’s heart suddenly turn cold. A larger half of the anger filling his body was formlessly scattered by this wave of chilliness.
“That is why in the end, it will still depend on heaven’s will.” Yunqin Emperor remained silent for quite some time, and then said in a deep manner. “Since you have confidence… this competition between Green Luan Academy and Thunder Academy, when should we begin?”
Vice Principal Xia revealed a slight smile, saying, “As long as your majesty establishes the rules, this competition can naturally start at any time.”
“Since there is no way of convincing Vice Principal Xia, this competition more so involving a difference in opinions and in teaching methods, then we’ll go with the most commonly used ‘capture the flag’ among the border army elites.” The emperor completely calmed down. He gave Vice Principal Xia a look, and then said, “Only, for the sake of fairness and realisticness, apart from true fighting, the ‘flags’ will be five prisoners. Vice Principal Xia, your respected self and Green Luan Academy aren’t willing to carry out any classes with prisoners and captives, so your five members will be the defenders. Heaven Ascension Mountain Range is comparatively more familiar to you all, so this can be considered a home court advantage. When the time comes, Vice Principal Xia can choose the area that this competition will be held in, and I will scatter these five prisoners throughout the vast Heaven Ascension Mountain Range. We will see whether Thunder Academy’s students kill more, or if your Green Luan Academy’s students save more.”
Vice Principal Xia’ brows furrowed slightly, but the corners of the emperor’s lips instead produced a bit of an expression of mockery, saying, “These five prisoners, according to the law, can all be killed. However, if they can be saved by your Green Luan Academy, then we will assume them to have contributed great merit to Yunqin’s academics, pardoning them.”
“It is to the extent where I can take another step back. If Green Luan Academy’s students really can win this competition, from today forth, Thunder Academy will temporarily put aside these academic reforms.”
The wrinkles on Vice Principal Xia’s face became even deeper. The emperor’s view of humanity and human emotions would always be different from them, but he also understood clearly himself that there was no way of using words to change the other side’s opinion. As such, he only nodded, giving a simple reply. “Fine.”