Nine Astra Skies

Mad Snail

177 In Matters Of The Country, Morality Should Prevail

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Although Qiu Ying had secret ties to an enemy country, he was ultimately the prime minister of the Xiwu Empire. Even if he had to be dealt with, it should be Great Emperor Mingwu himself. The fact that Qiu Ying was killed in such an inexplicable manner was a slap to Great Emperor Mingwu's face. It was not surprising that he was furious. There had always been a conflict between Ye Chen and Qiu Ying. Moreover, this seemed to be connected to the mysterious Heavenly Venerable fighter who had appeared on the island in the lake. Even if Ye Chen did not kill anyone, it was difficult for him to escape the blame.Ye Chen's heart leaped. Could Great Emperor Mingwu have guessed that it was him?

After some thought, Ye Chen believed that he had not left any evidence behind. Even if Great Emperor Mingwu wanted to target the Ye Clan, the Ye Clan was hiding deep in the hills. They would not be found by Great Emperor Mingwu. Ye Chen steeled his nerves. He would never own up to this even if he was beaten to death. Plus, what could Great Emperor Mingwu do to him? "Your Majesty, you're mistaken. What went on between the prime minister and I was not a conflict at all, much less a feud. Why would I take the risk of a.s.sa.s.sinating him at his residence? Furthermore, with my abilities, I can't possibly kill Prime Minister Qiu Ying."

"Oh? Is that so?" Great Emperor Mingwu swept a mild gaze at Ye Chen without any further comment.

Great Emperor Mingwu's look made Ye Chen's scalp feel somewhat numb.

"We'll drop this matter then. Let's not talk about this anymore." Great Emperor Mingwu picked up a cup of tea from the table and took a sip.

Ye Chen had thought that Great Emperor Mingwu would investigate the matter thoroughly. Unexpectedly, the emperor had brushed it off so breezily. 

Ye Chen somehow felt that Great Emperor Mingwu's words were implying something as if the emperor had determined that Ye Chen was the killer. It was just that Great Emperor Mingwu had magnanimously decided to let it go. Now, for some reason, Ye Chen felt that he had owed Great Emperor Mingwu an enormous favor.

Ye Chen was despondent. These fellows of the imperial court were not to be trifled with! Ye Chen considered the matter. Since Great Emperor Mingwu had hinted that he would like to be on good terms, Ye Chen did not need to provoke a Heavenly Venerable Rank powerhouse like him for no reason.

"I've heard that your fishing skills are wonderful. During your first time, you've caught the Purple-gold Divine Fish. If the opportunity arises, how about you come fishing with me? I'd like to see if your fishing skills are as brilliant as what people say!" Great Emperor Mingwu was more genial and he sounded rather interested.

"It's nothing more than good luck." Ye Chen's mind spun with realization. It turned out that Great Emperor Mingwu had such an intention.

"Good luck? I don't think so." Great Emperor Mingwu laughed and shook his head. "Lake Nekros was discovered by my ancestors and has been pa.s.sed down in the Yin Clan of the Royal Tribe for thousands of years. For generations, the fishes caught at Lake Nekros were aplenty but the largest was three fingers wide at most, and the most precious one was the Rainbow Fish. The Purple-gold Divine Fish had never been caught. Those of the Yin Clan of the Royal Tribe who have managed to catch big fishes each came from a generation of astonishing, dazzling talent. The purer their Celestial Chi was, the easier it was for them to catch a fish."

The Yin Clan of the Royal Tribe had controlled Lake Nekros for thousands of years, so their understanding of the lake far surpa.s.sed outsiders. So much profundity was found in their words. 

"Since you were able to catch the Purple-gold Divine Fish, you'll certainly be able to catch other wondrous species. Lake Nekros is still controlled by my Yin Clan of the Royal Tribe. If we close off Lake Nekros, everyone can forget about going there and they would have no way to fish there. How about if we split fifty-fifty the fishes that we catch at Lake Nekros?" Great Emperor Mingwu asked. It was humbling for an emperor like him to propose something like this. Lake Nekros had always been owned by the Yin Clan of the Royal Tribe but unfortunately, they had never reaped many benefits from it. They possessed a treasure trove, yet they watched their clan decline day by day. Ordinary people would have no way of understanding Great Emperor Mingwu's feelings.

"There's something I don't understand. Lake Nekros is a still body of water, so its volume is fixed. Why don't Your Majesty get someone to drain the lake? Then you'd be able to catch any fish you want. Why the need to fish by the side of the lake?" Ye Chen did not answer Great Emperor Mingwu directly and instead, threw him another question.

"The ancestors of the Yin Clan of the Royal Tribe had tried something similar. Lake Nekros looked like a stationary body of water, but there's an undercurrent below the ground. Even if one drains the water, it'll never run dry. Plus, the fishes in this lake are intelligent. When the water is being drained, they hide far away. So much effort wasted just to catch one or two ordinary, tiny fish. It's not worth it. Rumor has it that ancient treasures are hidden in Lake Nekros. If the lake could be drained, we would've done it long ago," Great Emperor Mingwu replied. Seeing that Ye Chen did not answer, he did not push further either.

Great Emperor Mingwu had suggested a fifty-fifty split which was already a humbling move. As the fishes in Lake Nekros were too wondrous and the temptation was too great, the emperor had made this proposal.

Ancient treasures were hidden deep in Lake Nekros? Ye Chen felt a jolt in his heart. Well, his Astral Body could not penetrate the lake's water. Even if there were treasures in its depths, he could not reach them.

Master Apothecary Xuanyi and Great Emperor Mingwu had an existing agreement that any fish caught from the lake by an apprentice under Master Apothecary Xuanyi would belong completely under Master Apothecary Xuanyi's tutelage. Accordingly, even if Ye Chen caught a fish, he did not have to share half of it with Great Emperor Mingwu at all. Nonetheless, agreeing to Great Emperor Mingwu's suggestion was not too bad either. He could bind his interests to Great Emperor Mingwu's. In the future, if anything happened, he could request the help of Great Emperor Mingwu, a Heavenly Venerable Rank expert!

Ye Chen's powers were still too weak. He would first rely on Great Emperor Mingwu's strength to safely reach the Heavenly Venerable Rank. Otherwise, with formidable enemies all around, he would die first if he did not have sufficient power!

"After Master Apothecary Xuanyi finishes refining and producing pills, I'll go if there's time," Ye Chen finally agreed.

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Great Emperor Mingwu gave a slight nod. After all, he had held such a lofty position for so many years. Now that Ye Chen had agreed, he did not erupt with joy. With Ye Chen agreeing to cooperate, their relationship became much closer at once.

"The Xiwu Empire has many families. The Three Major Sects are threatening the imperial court. Ye Chen, what do you think of the terms 'nation' and 'home'?" Great Emperor Mingwu looked at Ye Chen and asked seriously. 

Ye Chen was silent for a long while before saying, "Without the nation, there's no home. Without the skin, where can the hair be attached to?[1]"

Ye Chen could not help but admit that this line made sense. If the Nanman Kingdom invaded the Xiwu Empire, the Ye Clan, as a member of the Xiwu Empire, would face a catastrophic disaster! When Ye Chen recalled that those from the Nanman Kingdom had tried to a.s.sa.s.sinate his father, he knew that even if he wished not to be embroiled in the conflict between nations, this was already out of his control.

Great Emperor Mingwu's brow smoothed over and he laughed heartily. Then, with a happy look, he said, "Good, good, good. The Xiwu Empire has some hope after all."

"I don't necessarily endorse the Yin Clan but I acknowledge the Xiwu Empire." Ye Chen looked up and stared at Great Emperor Mingwu.

Great Emperor Mingwu was momentarily stunned when he heard Ye Chen's words. If the ministers of the imperial court dared to say something like this to him, he would have furiously ordered them to kill themselves at once. However, when it was Ye Chen who said it, he was not upset. He nodded. "I understand, but that doesn't matter. If my Yin Clan is annihilated by the Nanman Kingdom, I'd rather the Xiwu Empire fall into the hands of a family within the nation. In matters of the country, competence should prevail. If the Xiwu Empire falls into the Nanman Kingdom's hands, our people would be in a miserable state."

Ye Chen had never expected Great Emperor Mingwu to hold such an open-minded vision. Now, he looked at Great Emperor Mingwu in a new light. When Ye Chen said what he had said, he thought that Great Emperor Mingwu would fly into a rage. He had never imagined that Great Emperor Mingwu would respond like this. Since Great Emperor Mingwu was concerned for the people of the Xiwu Empire, he could be considered a good emperor.

"In matters of the country, morality should prevail." Ye Chen gave a mild smile.

"Morality should prevail?" Great Emperor Mingwu shook his head and laughed uncontrollably. Ye Chen was too naïve.

Seeing Great Emperor Mingwu's expression, Ye Chen could guess what he was thinking. He smiled without a word. There was no need for Ye Chen to change Great Emperor Mingwu's mind, so he switched to another topic of conversation.

[1] A Chinese proverb used to describe something whose existence is necessarily dependent on something else.

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