A servant softly walked forward and gently parted the curtain of tassels. After Chu Yang walked in, the servant gently released the curtain and quietly left. From beginning to end, not a sound was made.
Chu Yang was immediately shocked the moment he walked in.
In front of him was a cushioned seat with a person resting on it. To say that it was a person was truly forced. It was, in more blunt terms, a pile of dried bones.
Besides the bones, this person’s other organs did not weigh more than half a pound. It could be said that this was just wrinkly skin glued on top of a skeleton.
On his face, there was not a hint of pink hue. The only light came from the two opaque eyes that still shined with glorious vitality. And it was only when this person opened his eyes that others get the sense that he was still alive.
The gloomy aura belonging to the dead quietly oozed out from this living person’s body.
This person’s body was dressed in a bright yellow robe, but this noble attire was not able to cover up this person’s gloomy aura.
At the moment, his eyes were looking in Chu Yang’s direction with great effort.
Chu Yang could not imagine that a body so emaciated could still sit! Although, he was only reclining.
“You… are Chu Yang?” This person’s voice was so low that it would be inaudible if one did not pay attention. But the one fortunate thing was that each faint word was articulate enough for others to understand.
Tie Bu Tian stood behind his body with one arm on his shoulder. Tears had started to come out at the edge of his eyes looking as if they could fall to the ground at any moment.
This person was none other than Tie Shi Cheng, the leader of Iron Cloud Nation and Tie Bu Tian’s father.
He had been falling into lengthy states of unconscious that lasted more than twenty hours, but after each time, he remained awake for less than fifteen minutes. The most tragic thing was, each time he woke up, his was absolutely lucid!
This was the greatest torment for his family! Insanity would have been easier on them! But when he woke up this time, he heard about Du Shi Qing’s disappearance and immediately demanded that Tie Bu Tian give him a dose of Dragon Spirit Fragrance!
Dragon Spirit Fragrance also had the name Recover Spirit Fragrance. It could help a dying person be more energetic and assist them to say what they needed to say and do what they needed to do!
But this period is also extremely short. Once it was over, the spirit’s fire would be completely extinguished! And the person would die!
“Yes.” Chu Yang replied softly. He truly did not dare to use any force when speaking. Looking at the shape this emperor was in, a person would feel that the slightest of disturbances would be unbearable.
“Ah, no need for ceremony.” Tie Shi Cheng’s eyes slightly twitched, “Come closer, and let me see you. You are standing so far; I can’t see what you look like.”
Chu Yang complied and took a few steps forward.
The distance between him and Tie Shi Cheng earlier was about five or six steps, and yet Tie Shi Cheng could not see him well… It could be said that the eyesight of this ruler was extremely bad.
“Not bad. You are indeed talented and good looking.” Tie Shi Cheng smiled slightly. He was at least a little better looking when he did not laugh. When he laughed, he looked like a horrifying demon.
“Your Majesty is too kind.”
“Bu Tian often praised you in front of me. Haha. He thinks I cannot hear him, but I heard everything clearly.” Tie Shi Cheng smiled with a trace of pride; then he sighed and said, “Today is the most relaxed I’ve been in this whole decade.”
Behind him, Tie Bu Tian’s slightly reddened face suddenly became pale.
“During this past period, I have heard about all the things that you have done.” Tie Shi Cheng’s eyes gradually grew brighter and sharper. A majestic aura slowly emitted outward from within his soul.
This was Dragon Spirit Fragrance gradually having an effect from inside his body.
“You have done very well!” Tie Shi Cheng’s sharp gaze judged Chu Yang as he slowly said, “I have also told Bu Tian many times that to be a ruler, you have to be a little cruel. When killing is necessary, then killing must be done even if it is your own descendants. There is nothing that cannot be done; this is the path a ruler must travel on. The path of a ruler is surely a lonely one filled with ups and downs! He essentially cannot have any certainty.”
“It is much more exhausting to be ruler than to be a commoner. There are some people you know you should not kill, but you still have to kill. There are some people you know you will miss, but you still have to kill them! There are some things that you know are wrong, but you still have to do them! Because when you are a ruler, you take on all of these things to bear on your own!”
Even though Tie Shi Cheng was looking at Chu Yang, his words seemed to be not for Chu Yang but for Tie Bu Tian.
“Being a ruler… what you need to think about is the world, not yourself and especially not your family. It is the pain of a ruler. Who in this world does not have feelings? Rulers have them too, but they are not allowed. Therefore, the heart of each ruler is lonely and pitifully sad. There are countless things that bother their conscience! They torture themselves day and night; that is why, to this day, the life expectancy of a ruler is still not long…”
Tie Shi Cheng let out another sigh; whatever he was thinking about caused an extreme sorrow to appear in his eyes.
Chu Yang did not know what to say to this dying emperor and resorted to remaining silent and not say anything.
“When I was eighteen, I ascended to the throne as emperor. In a few years, I built up a powerful military! We were an unmatched power! South and north, wherever we went they all surrendered! In five years, we expanded Iron Cloud’s territory by a third! At the time, I was ambitious. I felt as if this whole world was in the palm of my hand; this whole world was for me to unify!”
“Iron Cloud was stable when Great Zhao saw Iron Cloud as a threat and attacked! I was in the prime of my life and very ambition; I led the army myself! Iron Cloud’s weapons were sharp and unparalleled! I won one battle after another. Even with Diwu Qing Rou’s leadership, they were no match for my weapons!”
“At the time, five hundred thousand Iron Cloud troops fought with four hundred thousand of Diwu Qing Rou’s Great Zhao soldiers over an area of four hundred mile at Twin Dragons Mountain! I had total faith that I was going to obliterate Diwu Qing Rou’s army and grind them to dust as we directly invade Great Zhao! Using that powerful momentum, we would take over Limitless Nation and rule all of Lower Three Heavens!”
That hoarse voice of Tie Shi Cheng gradually rose with excitement. A pink hue appeared on his face as his gaze became proud and awe-inspiring. It was as if he was reliving the time he led thousands of soldiers to conquer the world.
“However, just as the battle started, a group of assassins appeared! Thirteen Revered Martial Artists snuck into camp and tried to assassinate me without a care for their own lives. But that was not enough, there was a saintly archer who shot one arrow at me from more than one hundred miles away!” Tie Shi Cheng’s eyes showed a great resentment, “It was that arrow that pulled my world from the pinnacle straight into hell!”
“On the arrow was a poison without any antidote. In that battle, our soldiers were like a snake without a head. We suffered a great loss and pulled back to Iron Cloud Citadel like a turtle in hiding. Since then, we have been trying to hang on until this day…” When he got to this point his voice grew soft and trailed off.
“Ten years ago, I should have died, but I did not die until now… I have made them wait too long!” Tie Shi Cheng sighed. His eyes closed slightly, and two streams of tears fell down from his face.
Chu Yang said quietly, “Your Majesty, do you still have some unfinished business?” At this moment, saying something like “Long live the emperor” or some other gibberish about having a restful heart would have been inappropriate and even stupid. Chu Yang knew that if Tie Shi Cheng wanted to see him, he did not want just talk about his feelings.
If he wants to talk about his feelings, there are many courtiers; why would he want to talk about it with someone he just met like me?
“Unfinished business… there are many… many…” Tie Shi Cheng’s body suddenly shook a bit. His voice exposed a distracted tone with a mix of unresolved regrets.
“My unfinished business is Iron Cloud…” Tie Shi Cheng sighed. Then he suddenly asked, “Minister Chu, as a dying person, can I request that you remain at Iron Cloud?”
Chu Yang was stunned; he looked up at Tie Shi Cheng.
“This punk Bu Tian, he has the making of an emperor. He strategizes well enough, but he is not cruel enough!” His eyes seemed almost dried up as he stared at Chu Yang, “Minister Chu can make decisive killings and deal with everything neatly. You perfectly complement Bu Tian’s deficiencies!”
“Both of you together are truly a pair made by the heavens… a partnership!” Tie Shi Cheng’s voice sounded a little weird.
“I am truly sorry. I cannot remain here.” Chu Yang paused then apologetically replied.
“If you stay… I… I can marry my only daughter to you!” Tie Shi Cheng stared at Chu Yang and said, “Don’t be in a rush to turn it down… Once you marry my daughter, you will be the regent emperor of Iron Cloud Nation! You will be sitting at the pinnacle of power with authority in your hand!”
From behind him, Tie Bu Tian dropped his head and bit his lip. He spoke up, “Father…”
“Minister Chu, my daughter is the number one beauty of Iron Cloud Nation.” Tie Shi Cheng did not pay any attention to Tie Bu Tian, and continued to look at Chu Yang, “You will have the pinnacle of power and the wealth of a nation as your wedding dowry! Will you agree to stay?”
“Number one beauty, pinnacle of power, and wealth of a nation.” Chu Yang let out a pained smile, “This is truly a hard to resist temptation, but… I already have someone in my heart. Plus… my life’s aspirations are not in this Lower Three Heavens.”
Chu Yang smiled, “Your Majesty’s kindness, I greatly appreciate it.”
Two potent rays of light suddenly emitted from the depth of Tie Shi Cheng’s eyes. A long time after, he said softly, “Good! Good! You are truly worthy of the name King of Hell Chu!”
He weakly coughed twice and said casually, “Minister Chu, I have a question. You must answer truthfully.”
Chu Yang answered, “Please speak, Your Majesty.”
“Du Shi Qing’s sudden disappearance, does it have anything to do with Minister Chu?” Tie Shi Cheng asked gravely. Behind him, Tie Bu Tian suddenly perked up and looked at Chu Yang with a sharp gaze. (walkthejianghu.com)