Yun Che’s words caused the entire great hall to instantly fall into a deathly silence as the looks on everyone’s face dramatically changed into ones of shock or fear.
Fang Zhou had been the Eastern Frost Nation’s guardian Divine King for nearly a thousand years and his fame and reputation in the Eastern Frost Nation were exceedingly high. In fact, they were nearly equal to that of the Eastern Frost Monarch. At the same time, his personality was also exceedingly arrogant, and nearly all of the sects in the Eastern Frost Nation, whether big or small, and aristocrats had suffered from his temper and att.i.tude.
However, as the only guardian Divine King of the Eastern Frost Nation, he did indeed have the right and qualifications to be arrogant. No one dared to offend him, even the Eastern Frost Monarch would display deep respect and even flattery towards him, even if it was in public, much less the princes and princesses.
This time, when the Eastern Frost Royal City was facing destruction, Fang Zhou managed to hurry back at the last moment and he rescued the Eastern Frost Royal City from the desperate situation it had found itself in. It would not be an exaggeration to call his accomplishment “saving the nation” and after the Heavenly Martial Nation’s troops had retreated, the Eastern Frost Monarch had even bowed towards Fang Zhou… He had bowed so deeply that his body nearly made a right angle.
So one could well imagine that his fame and reputation in the Eastern Frost Nation would be like a blazing sun at noon from today onward.
But at this time, the Nineteenth Princess had actually brought another Divine King back! This Divine King had not only accepted the Nineteenth Princess’ invitation, he had even accepted the Eastern Frost Monarch’s invitation to join the banquet, so he definitely had some intentions to join the Eastern Frost Nation.
To the Eastern Frost Nation, this was undoubtedly an immensely good thing. However, to the guardian Divine King Fang Zhou, the Eastern Frost Imperial Advisor who had just accomplished an immense feat… Given his personality and way of doing things, he would definitely try to knock this newly arrived Divine King, a Divine King who was clearly far weaker than him at that, down a peg. In the eyes of everyone who was present, this was not something that was out of the norm.
But they had definitely never imagined that the person Fang Zhou had addressed as a “first level Divine King” would actually make such an earth-shattering statement.
As powerful Divine Kings, they should indeed possess the pride that belonged to Divine Kings… or perhaps it would be better to call it arrogance. No one would mock the arrogance of a strong person, because they had the qualifications to behave that way. But this was when it was a strong person versus a weak person. When a strong person faced someone who was even stronger, being arrogant would be tantamount to stupidity.
Yun Che’s origins were shrouded in mystery, his aura radiated an uncomfortable gloomy coldness, and he had not said a single word throughout. No one dared to make a comment about those things, but he had not played along with Fang Zhou’s provocation… If he had just remained silent, it would have been fine. But he actually dared to insult him in return!?
Fang Zhou’s expression did not change too much and his eyes merely narrowed a little. But the cold light that shot out of the slits of his eyes instantly caused everyone to feel as if an icy cold blade had swept past their throats.
The expression on Princess Hanwei’s pretty face dramatically changed. She shot to her feet from her seat, which was beside Yun Che, and said hurriedly, “Senior Yun is cold and reserved, and he has never liked to interact with other people. Just now, he was merely politely rejecting the imperial advisor and he definitely did not mean anything else. I hope that the Imperial Advisor can forgive his words.”
The Eastern Frost Crown Prince who was seated in the upper seats shot to his feet as well. He was glaring furiously at Yun Che. Fang Zhou was the Eastern Frost Nation’s guardian Divine King, so he definitely needed Fang Zhou’s support if he wanted to keep his position as crown prince. After he inherited the throne in the future, he would still have to rely on Fang Zhou as well. But today, someone had actually dared to insult Fang Zhou, so how could he simply sit by and watch it happen… This was also an extremely good opportunity to win Fang Zhou over, or perhaps it would be better to call it currying favor with Fang Zhou.
Just as those two words left his mouth, an explosive roar that was several times louder than his own rang out in the palace. “You b.a.s.t.a.r.d! Do you think there is even room for you to talk here!? Sit down and shut up!”
The one who had let out that furious shout was the Eastern Frost Monarch himself. The Eastern Frost Crown Prince’s voice caught in his throat. As he looked at his royal father’s ice-cold eyes, he suddenly realized something and his body was immediately drenched in cold sweat.
He had only been thinking of winning Fang Zhou over so he had actually nearly forgotten that Yun Che was a Divine King himself!
How could someone like him afford to offend an existence like a Divine King, even if that person was inferior to Fang Zhou!?
He hurriedly lowered his head and his voice grew about seventy percent weaker, “Nine… Nineteenth Sister’s words were a little rude, so this son merely wanted… Royal… Royal Father was right to rebuke me.”
As he finished his incoherent babble, the Eastern Frost Crown Prince sat down and did not dare speak another word.
The Eastern Frost Monarch’s eyes changed and his originally cold and severe expression immediately turned calm. He gave a loud and clear laugh as he said, “We can never dare to dream that we could reach the Divine King Realm in our lives, so we only have admiration and respect for your sort. But we also know that once someone reaches the level of Divine King, they will naturally possess an overbearing pride that is instilled deep in their bones. Today, even though you two venerable Divine Kings have only used words, both of you have allowed us to experience the pride and the might of a Divine King from such a close distance. It has truly been eye-opening, and we are all left amazed.”
“We are truly fortunate to be able to sit together with two venerable Divine Kings.” The Eastern Frost Monarch turned around and raised his golden wine cup high in the air. “We use this cup of wine to toast the two venerable Divine Kings!”
The words of the Eastern Frost Monarch relaxed the tension in the air and everyone stood up and raised their wine cups to toast them.
“Hehe.” The dark look on Fang Zhou’s face faded a little as he raised his wine cup and faced everyone at the feast… this included the Eastern Frost Monarch’s standing toast as well. However, he did not stand up and he remained seated in a sloppy fas.h.i.+on. “Fine, this Fang has seen countless arrogant and impolite people in his lifetime, so why would I condescend to lower myself to their level?”
His eyes slanted to the side as he swirled his wine cup in Yun Che’s direction. “Please.”
This time, Yun Che no longer remained unresponsive. The corner of his mouth twitched… as if he was making a bland smile, but one could not detect a hint of any intention to smile. He grabbed his wine cup and finished its contents in one gulp.
“Hahahaha!” Both Fang Zhou and Yun Che had given him a lot of face as a ruler, so the Eastern Frost Monarch’s loud laughter had become a lot more carefree. “Today, the Imperial Advisor displayed his divine might and forced the Heavenly Martial forces back, and we have even received such an honored guest as Venerable Yun, so it can be said that we have been doubly-blessed.”
“As the saying goes, if one survives a great calamity, good fortune will surely follow. Although today’s crisis very nearly shook our foundations, it also greatly stirred our hearts. With the Imperial Advisor watching over us, our Eastern Frost will never be shaken. From today onwards, this king will strive to make this nation prosperous, and with the a.s.sistance of the Imperial Advisor, we will lead the Eastern Frost Nation into a new golden age. These words are definitely not empty!”
After this battle with the Heavenly Martial Nation, the Eastern Frost Monarch had truly come to appreciate just how terrifying a difference in power level was. They had battled many times, each having their fair share of victories and defeats. But this time, when Fang Zhou had not been in the royal city, the Heavenly Martial Nation had been able to easily route their Eastern Frost army with the a.s.sistance of a Divine King from the Great Yin Immortal Palace.
That was right, Divine Kings were so strong that even if there were only one or two of them, they could easily turn the tide of even a huge battle.
The difference in power level was absolutely not something that could be easily made up for with numbers.
Fang Zhou was the central figure of this grand celebratory feast, but the Eastern Frost Monarch’s eyes kept covertly glancing towards Yun Che as well as he racked his brains to come up with a way to make him stay.
Other than that, he was also thinking of the Dark Roc Mountain.
The Dark Roc young master had always l.u.s.ted after the Nineteenth Princess, Dongfang Hanwei, this was something that everyone knew about.
Dongfang Hanwei was his most beloved daughter and not only did she possess beauty that could overturn an era, she was publicly acknowledged as the number one beauty in the Eastern Frost Nation. Her innate talent in the profound way was even unrivaled amongst her siblings. As a result, as long as Dongfang Hanwei was not willing, even if it was the Dark Roc young master making the request, he would still tactfully decline it.
But this time, after facing the Heavenly Martial Nation that had obtained the support of the Great Yin Immortal Palace, he had no choice but to change his way of thinking.
The smog of battle had yet to disperse from over the royal city, but the grand feast being held in the main palace was getting more and more lively. The great n.o.bles and sect masters all vied with each other to talk to Fang Zhou. In front of Fang Zhou… they, who were all hegemons and governors in their own domains, displayed a humble and fawning att.i.tude, and it was as if they hated that they could not simply kneel on the floor to pay their respects to him.
Because Fang Zhou had just “crossed swords” with Yun Che, no one dared to approach Yun Che… Because if they did, would that not be offensive to Fang Zhou?
Both were Divine Kings, but one was the guardian Imperial Advisor while the other came from a completely unknown background. Furthermore, Fang Zhou was clearly stronger than Yun Che, so their choice was obvious.
“Senior Yun.” Dongfang Hanwei stood in front of Yun Che’s seat and bowed to him. She said respectfully, “I was unable to repay you for the great debt of saving my life. But I ask that Senior still stay at the royal city for a little longer. Even though the Eastern Frost isn’t a wealthy nation, if Senior has any requests, this junior and my royal father will definitely do our best to fulfill them.”
Yun Che closed his eyes softly and he did not pick up his wine cup. Instead, he suddenly said in a cold voice, “Mind your words.”
Shock ran through Dongfang Hanwei’s heart as she hurriedly replied, “This ju… This junior knows she is wrong. Please correct me Senior.”
“I’m only a few years older than you.” Yun Che crossed his arms over his chest and no one knew what was going through his mind.
“...” Dongfang Hanwei’s lips parted slightly… Only a few years older than her, which meant that he was around thirty years of age?
Putting aside the matter of a thirty year old Divine King in the first place, even a sixty year old Divine King was completely unheard of. Such a thing definitely did not exist even among the upper star realms. Dongfang Hanwei thought he was cracking a joke, so she could only play along by cracking a somewhat stiff smile. “Senior… you must be joking. How could Hanwei dare to joke about your seniority to Senior.”
Yun Che did not reply, instead he quietly glanced outside of the palace through the corner of his eye.
A panicked roar rang from far outside the palace. Following that, a soldier wearing light armor hurriedly rushed over and knelt in front of the palace.
The Eastern Frost Monarch’s brow furrowed greatly, “What has left you in such a fl.u.s.ter?”
“Reporting to our ruler, the Heavenly Martial… the Heavenly Martial Nation has returned and right now, their army is already within twenty-five kilometers of the city!”
“What!?” Everyone in the grand palace stood up in shock and alarm.
The Eastern Frost Monarch’s eyebrows sank as he said in a deep voice, “How many troops are there?”
“Around five thousand.”
“...Five thousand?” This number caused astonishment to appear on the faces of the Eastern Frost Monarch and all the people present.
“Hehe.” Fang Zhou stood up, both hands behind his back, and he slowly walked down. “A mere five thousand troops. It’s clear that they have not come to do battle, but to make peace. With this imperial advisor watching over this city, I can forgive them for losing their appet.i.te for battle… Is this army being personally led by the Heavenly Martial Monarch?”
“I suspected as much.” A faint smile appeared on Fang Zhou’s face as he said, “Let’s go, this imperial advisor will personally go out to meet them.”
Fang Zhou’s words caused everyone’s taut heartstrings to relax as smiles began to appear on their faces. In an instant, the sound of clapping started to ring out wildly, resounding incessantly in everyone’s ears.
“That’s right! With the Imperial Advisor watching over the royal city, the Heavenly Martial Nation can forget about shaking us.”
“The so-called news about the Great Yin Immortal Palace becoming the Heavenly Martial’s guardian sect is complete rubbish.”
“The Imperial Advisor is not only the immense pillar of the Eastern Frost Nation, his feats and accomplishments will also forever be recorded in the history of the Eastern Frost Nation…”
Fang Zhou had long ago grown accustomed to such flattery and praise. He had walked out of the grand palace with a faint smile on his face, his hands still behind his back. Whether it was unintentional or not, astonis.h.i.+ngly enough, his position when he exited the palace was in front of the Eastern Frost Monarch and he had not even glanced in Yun Che’s direction.
Dongfang Hanwei said to Yun Che, “Does Senior want to rest for a while? If you don’t mind…”
But Yun Che chose to stand up at this time as he said in a bland voice, “Let’s go and watch a show.”
Outside the Eastern Frost Royal City, the Heavenly Martial Nation’s troops had drawn near.
There were really only five thousand troops, but the Heavenly Martial Monarch was really standing at their head. Beside him was the Heavenly Martial’s guardian Divine King, whose fame and prestige was extremely high in the Heavenly Martial Nation… Bai Pengzhou!
The Eastern Frost army was spread out in front of their royal city in a grand array. All of the hegemons and governors of the Eastern Frost Nation were present as well, and the aura of this force greatly suppressed the one coming from the Heavenly Martial Nation’s forces.
Bai Pengzhou was a second level Divine King, so he was weaker than Fang Zhou. But when he saw Fang Zhou appear, the corners of his mouth curled into a strange, bland smile.
“Heavenly Martial Monarch, fellow cultivator Bai, since you have come back in such a hurry, it seems like you have something to say.” Fang Zhou raised his head as he spoke in a bold and haughty manner.
The Eastern Frost Monarch was beside him, but he had actually spoken first… Even though the Eastern Frost Monarch had long ago become accustomed to Fang Zhou’s arrogance, both armies were arrayed against each other at this moment, so his expression still turned ugly for an instant. But, it immediately returned to normal as he stepped forward and said, “Heavenly Martial Monarch, if you want to fight, my Eastern Frost will battle you to the end. If you want to make peace, it will have to depend on your Heavenly Martial’s sincerity.”
Upon hearing the Eastern Frost Monarch’s words, the Heavenly Martial Monarch and Bai Pengzhou started laughing at the same time. The Heavenly Martial Monarch said with a hearty laugh, “The reason why this king has returned is not to battle nor to make peace. Rather… it is to grant your Eastern Frost a chance, a final chance.”
“What do you mean?” The Eastern Frost Monarch’s face darkened. As he looked at the expression on the Heavenly Martial Monarch’s face, his previous confidence was swiftly turning into unease.
“It’s very simple,” the Heavenly Martial Monarch said with a hearty laugh. “From today onward, allow this Eastern Frost Nation to become the Eastern Frost Province of my Heavenly Martial Nation. As such, this king can avoid wanton slaughter and all of you can also keep your lives and protect your fortunes. This king is even willing to grant you the t.i.tle of Eastern Frost Duke…. Dongfang Zhuo, do you choose to kneel down and thank me for my favor, or do you choose to continue this foolish struggle?”
Dongfang Zhou was precisely the Eastern Frost Monarch’s name.
The Heavenly Martial Monarch’s words caused everyone’s face to darken. But Fang Zhou started giving a hearty laugh of his own instead. He slowly sauntered forward, his eyes projecting the oppressive might of a Divine King as he stared straight at the Heavenly Martial Monarch, “Heavenly Martial Monarch, this Fang is really very curious as to who gave you such great confidence, so that you actually dare to utter such arrogant words.”
He stretched out a hand, his palm facing the Heavenly Martial Monarch. “At this distance, if this Fang wants to take your life, it would be as easy as flipping my hand over and even Bai Pengzhou wouldn’t be able to dream of protecting you… At that time, I’m afraid you wouldn’t even be able to have nightmares, much less beautiful dreams.”
“Oh really?” There was no fear or apprehension on the Heavenly Martial Monarch’s face and he did not even try to cower behind Bai Pengzhou’s body. Instead, a strange and bland smile appeared on his face.
“Fang Zhou, you sure are acting high and mighty, huh.”
A cold and low voice suddenly rang out from the rear of the a.s.sembled troops.
It was a woman’s voice, but upon hearing that voice, Fang Zhou’s face suddenly went stiff and when he clearly saw the figure that was slowly stepping through the air toward them, his pupils fiercely shrunk as he could not help but blurt out, “Fairy… Fairy Zixuan!”