Shi Jiuxia’s words left Third Elder speechless. Still, his heart remained discontent. He knitted his brows at Han Yunxi, unable to believe what he’d just heard. How could generations of enmity, rancor, and hatred between clan, royalty, and factions dissipate just like that? They would never believe something they didn’t hear with their own ears.
Third Elder respectfully cupped his hands. “Princess, this whole affair is strange. May princess remain cautious and prudent!”
Third Elder was an intelligent man. He didn’t openly reject Han Yunxi or call her into question, but used coaxing to express his own suspicions. Han Yunxi had already shown her power to Myriad Merchant Hall’s elders, but she’d yet to fully intimidate the Council of Elders from Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. Some among them still dared to refute her claims. Still, she was no fool. She wouldn’t clearly acknowledge Third Elder’s doubts and turn herself into a laughingstock.
Instead, she said, “Third Elder’s words are apt. Many others were on the scene, not just I! There was the East Qin crown prince, Miss Baili from the Baili Army, and the East Qin shadow guards’ head commander Xu Donglin. Moreover, Hundred Poisons Sect’s Elder Shi and many of its disciples as well as this princess’s poison guards and mercenaries were all there. This princess wouldn’t have misjudged from an error in hearing.”
All the examples that Han Yunxi listed came from both factions and could stand as witnesses. With this, everyone except members from the East and West Qin factions bought her words. After all, who wouldn’t want to seek revenge for such a huge grudge? The fact that Long Feiye and Han Yunxi were working so easily together now was standing proof of the truth. Thus, though the heated discussions continued, they were more stunned by the reality and apprehensive of how it would shift things across Cloud Realm Continent instead.
If Han Yunxi and Long Feiye hadn’t been married, then East and West Qin would be forced to fight anyways for the sake of conquering the continent. Peace like the era of the Great Qin Empire would be an impossible dream. But since those two were husband and wife, the situation grew less clear. Unless those two made up, they would be as incompatible as fire and water, and war would break out again. But if they were back to old times, then East and West Qin would unite, right? Once that happened, would dissatisfied elements in the two factions seize the chance to establish their own strongholds?
In short, whether Han Yunxi and Long Feiye decided to unite would determine the future of Cloud Realm Continent for the next few years. It was very possible that they’d change history itself. The outsiders were considering such issues while the faction members were still stuck on today’s events. Actually, their resentment outweighed any of their doubts. But unlike with West Qin, Long Feiye held utter authority over the East Qin faction. For all his doubts, Baili Qiyu didn’t dare to voice a word. He wondered how to question his little sister about all this when he got back. It was too big of a bombshell for him to make a clear decision. He wouldn’t be able to affect His Highness in any way, either, so it was better to discuss things with his father.
The elders of Cloud Realm Trade Consortium traded looks. They didn’t know Han Yunxi had become Long Feiye’s hostage in his barracks for awhile, or the details between the couple’s “alliance” and whether there was any inside information. But in terms of the enmity between the two royal clans, they couldn’t accept things just like that. Third Elder found no definite answers in Han Yunxi’s reply, but he didn’t express his stance either, choosing to remain silent.
The truth had been exposed and the misunderstandings cleared. The grudge of hatred had been melted away, which should be a cause for celebration. Yet besides the gossip of the outsiders, no one from the two factions seemed any happier. It was a rather horrible atmosphere overall.
The commentary of outsiders had limits, as the truth mainly affected members of the two factions. Seeing Baili Qiyu and the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium elders remain silent, everyone felt that something was off and gradually fell silent again. Mu Qingwu stared at the couple onstage and wondered what was there to object to, if the world belonged to them?
The trade consortium elders assumed that Baili Qiyu would step out and say something, but their waiting amounted to nothing. Because Baili Qiyu remained silent, it seemed like he had completely accepted Shi Jiuxia’s words. Silence wasn’t the answer, so the various elders began to grow restless.
“It’d be better if Master Ning was here,” Third Elder sighed with feeling under his breath. “This...this whole matter seems fishy!”
“Just then, it was only the princess on the mountain. Frankly speaking, everyone else was part of East Qin. Could she have been tricked by them?” Fourth Elder fretted.
“Just where in the world is Master Ning? If he was kidnapped, they should be asking for ransom by now!” Third Elder worried.
“But…” Fifth Elder hesitated before he turned serious. “Fellow elders, if there’s really something queer about this, shouldn’t the East Qin crown prince have spotted it too? Moreover, there’s no reason for Bai Yanqing to fake his testimony!”
Third and Fourth Elder grew even quieter after his words. After all, the hatred between East and West Qin was a mutual affair. Each side loathed the other and recognized them as the primary instigator that destroyed the peace. A single woman like Han Yunxi might be fooled, but how could someone like Long Feiye be muddled by such a crucial point? If this wasn’t the truth, then could the East Qin crown prince so easily spare West Qin and the enmity from centuries ago?
Third and Fourth Elder exchanged glances before agreeing with Fifth Elder’s analysis. Still, that wasn’t enough for them to fully accept the “truth.” At a time like this, it wasn’t convenient for the elders to overly doubt Han Yunxi in a public setting or disobey her words. But if they didn’t say anything now, Han Yunxi would be less inclined to hear them later.
“Old Third, shall we express our views? Just say...just say that we’ll discuss this matter another day, and to have the princess return with us?” Fourth Elder suggested quietly.
Third Elder was planning the same thing. As long as they dragged things out and didn’t settle on a stance today, then they could always reject the conclusion later. Actually, if they took 10,000 steps back and looked at the situation in full, they were fully capable of inventing a source of enmity between the two sides even if none existed! Otherwise, if Han Yunxi and Long Feiye picked up their pieces to start anew, how was West Qin supposed to vie with East Qin for the world? Han Yunxi was a rare once-in-a-hundred-year female miracle worker, but her abilities were still short of vying over a man like Long Feiye.
As the elders remained undecided, Long Feiye spoke up. His tall form standing onstage surveyed the crowds around him, those dark pupils showing disdain for the entire world. A single glance from him was enough to intimidate the audience, including Third Elder, who unconsciously shut his mouth.
Long Feiye said frostily, “When Great Qin fell into chaos, the country was ruined and the people starved. For over a hundred years, both dynasties incurred hatred for each other. Now that the truth has been revealed, the origins of the civil war and the enmity between East and West Qin all began with the Wind Clan’s provocations! Today, this crown prince stabbed the Wind Clan descendant Bai Yanqing to death with my own hands. However, the debts remain unpaid! Bai Yanqing’s disciple, the Hundred Poisons Sect leader Jun Yixie, still has troops in Northern Li and covets my fertile lands in the south.”
Long Feiye stopped here. The crowd was absolutely silent, their eyes fixated on his form as they waited for him to continue. After getting rid of Bai Yanqing, Jun Yixie had become the center of public criticism. Everyone was concerned with how to deal with him. However, Long Feiye’s next words sent them all into a frenzy.
He took Han Yunxi’s hand and raised it up high, their fingers entwined together!
What does this mean?!
Actually, there was no need for any more words! Their tightly linked digits meant that Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had made up and were joining hands to deal with Jun Yixie and Northern Li!
Before Long Feiye could speak, Third Elder cried out, “Your Royal Highness…”
But Long Feiye didn’t give him a chance to finish. His icy voice drowned out the old man and made everyone ignore him altogether. Third Elder felt extremely embarrassed as Long Feiye finished his speech.
“This crown prince proclaims that from this day on, East and West Qin will join forces to resist the advancement and plunder from Northern Li’s cavalry. We will protect the safety of our central plains and the south!”
Cries of surprise rose at his declaration. If Long Feiye and Han Yunxi joining hands was already a shock, then his words just now were enough to shake all of Cloud Realm Continent. Never before had he so openly held her hand with such a resounding gesture in front of the people of the world. This was the first time.
However, it would also be the start of countless more beginnings. Han Yunxi’s heart was full of all sorts of feelings that she couldn’t put to words. She didn’t care what the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium elders thought, but said loudly, “I, the West Qin princess and Long Feiye’s wife, declare from this day forward to fight with him hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder! Together we’ll face the enemy of the nation and recreate the prosperity of Great Qin!”
The cries grew louder at her words. There were even cheers and shouts of acclaim for Han Yunxi in the crowds.
What other kind of confession could surpass these words?
What other kind of confession could be so domineering and powerful?
What other kind of confession could leave long-lasting, stirring emotions?
What other kind of woman could be braver or more determined than Han Yunxi?
Han Yunxi looked at the grand crowds with a firm expression. She was a very resolute person who never changed her mind or turned her back once things were set. She knew that this was the bravest choice she’d made in her life. Right now, she was staring straight ahead--not at the people, but at a distance far away: the future.
Somewhere along the line, Long Feiye had turned to look at her with a doting infatuation he’d never shown before. He never expected to have a day where he’d be staring at her profile with such adoration. The impassioned crowds filled the airs with cries. Despite a few doubters, most of them were cheering them on.
Baili Qiyu had long guessed it’d end up like this. He could be considered calm despite the circumstances. Mu Qingwu only wore a bitter smile for reasons only known to himself. The Cloud Realm Trade Consortium elders had turned completely ashen-faced. They would never allow this to happen. They were convinced the Myriad Merchant Hall elders wouldn’t want it, either!
Han Yunxi had acknowledged her married status to Long Feiye. If those two joined hands now, it wasn’t just a simple alliance! It meant that East and West Qin would merge into one entity! If that was the case, wouldn’t the Di Clan end up following Long Feiye’s orders?
Third Elder couldn’t stand it. He rushed in front of the stage and raged, “Princess! You…”
But a collective gasp rose from the crowd instead and thoroughly drowned out his words. Onstage, Long Feiye had…Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Oh my goodness all the drawn-out dramatics in this chapter I swear haha. Gotta lengthen that wordcount somehow, right author? ;)