Translator: Zen Translations Editor: Zen Translations
Towards the upcoming talks and negotiations, Zhou Weiqing was not too worried. With the support of the ZhongTian Empire, as well as the benefit that they could bring to the Fei Li Empire, he was confident that this diplomatic visit to the Fei Li Empire could only be successful. The only thing they had to fight for was exactly how much support they could gain from the Fei Li Empire.
The border wars had just ended. Due to the fact that the ZhongTian Northwest Region had taken up a huge amount of this year’s WanShou Empire forces, even the Fei Li Empire borders had far less pressure than normal.
Fei Li Empire.
Cai Cai sat on her seat in the Principal’s office of the Fei Li Royal Family Military Academy, leaning back with a furrowed brow as she was lost in thought. On her desk, there was a file. It was labeled top secret, and only the top echelon of the Fei Li Empire had access to it. If Cai Cai did not have the status of Princess, even her position as the Vice Commander of the armies did not allow her to have access to this file so quickly.
"The Heavenly Bow Empire is coming for a diplomatic visit… Princess Difuya?" Cai Cai muttered to herself. She sensed something off about all this. After all, the Heavenly Bow Empire had been destroyed for quite some time. During this period, the Fei Li Empire had received news of some small pockets of resistances and rebellions, but they were usually quickly quelled by the Kalise Empire with the aid of the Bai Da Empire. Yet, they were sending an envoy from the ZhongTian Empire now, how could the Fei Li Empire not be surprised?
Could it be that the Heavenly Bow Empire had a hidden force in the ZhongTian Empire? But, they had never heard any hint about such news before!
It was no wonder that Cai Cai had such suspicions. After all, the Heavenly Bow Empire was such a tiny Empire, how could they possibly attract the attention of the ZhongTiann Empire? Yet, this was a missive that had been sent from the official channels of the ZhongTian Empire, even going so far to hint that they were fully supporting the Heavenly Bow Empire.
If one were to consider the past relationship between the Heavenly Bow Empire and the Fei Li Empire, it would be like a vassal state. In comparison, though the Fei Li Empire was not a vassal state of the ZhongTian Empire, they were still highly dependent on the ZhongTian Empire for many things. As such, even though the Fei Li Empire was a very powerful Empire, they still had to place much importance on the official missives and conformations of the ZhongTian Empire.
After much discussion of the upper echelons of the Fei Li Empire, the final decision was for Princess Cai Cai, representing the Vice Commander of the Fei Li Military, to be in charge of receiving the diplomatic party. As for the scale of the reception, it would be according to the previous bearing towards the Heavenly Bow Empire. Although they needed to give the ZhongTian Empire face, they still had not decided upon a final verdict regarding this current diplomatic visit. After all, the Fei Li Empire was not too clear what the visit was about. The missive from the ZhongTian Empire only vaguely described that they hoped the Fei Li Empire could help aid and support the Heavenly Bow Empire in restoring their homeland.
After much discussion, the Fei Li Empire had decided that besides sending out troops, Cai Cai would have the final say on how much other aid they gave. As for the actual amount, they would have to wait and see what the diplomatic party was like and how the discussion went.
All of a sudden, a name suddenly sprang out in Cai Cai’s mind. "Zhou Weiqing?" Cai Cai exclaimed abruptly as the name escaped her lips.
Right at that moment, a lazy voice rang out from outside her office. "You have also thought of that brat?"
A tall figure pushed open the door and entered. With Cai Cai’s identity, status and position, it was nearly impossible to find someone who would just walk into her office without knocking on the door. Yet, this youth dressed in black just strolled in casually, as if walking into his own house. Still, Cai Cai did not show any sign of annoyance or anger.
Seeing him, Cai Cai gave a beautiful smile, standing up and walking to the front of her desk, leaning upon it as she said: "It’s good that you’re here, just in time. Come and help me analyse this. Could it be really that brat Zhou Weiqing has stirred something up?"
The youth nodded, a faint smile on his face as he said: "If I have not guessed wrongly, it should be that little rascal. If I were you, then this time you should use the highest reception in receiving the Heavenly Bow Empire…"
"Ohh? Why is that? Just because of a Zhou Weiqing… ?" Cai Cai looked at the black clad youth curiously. "The only reason I thought of him was because that Difuya was brought away by him previous… what about you? How did you guess that this time this diplomatic visit has him in the background?"
The black clad youth smiled and said: "I have actual proof."
"Do you really think a single Zhou Weiqing does not warrant such a welcoming party? If you really think that, then I must tell you that you are very wrong. Even if there was no diplomatic party, and it is only Zhou Weiqing visiting alone, for the sake of the Fei Li Empire, I recommend that you welcome him with the highest possible honours, to mend the torn relations from when he left the Fei Li Empire."
"Ming Yu, this is not like your usual arrogant self! It is truly the first time I have heard you hold anyone in such high esteem. Furthermore, if I do not remember wrongly, you have only met Zhou Weiqing once personally right?" Although Cai Cai was rather surprised, her speech was still elegant and poised.
The man standing in front of her was the famed, or even notorious, Fei Li God General, having just returned from the frontlines on their border wars with the WanShou Empire, leading the Fei Li Empire to victory once again.
All these years, Ming Yu had accumulated many victories and military awards, and by now he had risen to the rank of Major General. In the Fei Li Military, his rank and status was unshakable. Facing such powerful enemies like the WanShou Empire, even if he had always been censured and criticized for the methods he used, such a military genius like him could not remained unused unless the Fei Li Royal Family were fools.
Looking at Cai Cai, Ming Yu gave a soft sigh and said: "If I had not gotten news from reliable sources, I would also be unwilling to believe that Zhou Weiqing would actually grow so powerful in such a short period of these few years. All I can say is one simple line, but that should be sufficient for you to realise why I hold him in such high regard. Zhou Weiqing has a Heavenly Emperor Stage powerhouse backing him up…"
"What?" Cai Cai couldn’t help but exclaim in shock, her usual grace and poise actually disappearing in that moment as she stared at Ming Yu in surprise. Her voice was almost trembling as she said: "Are you certain of what you’re saying? How could Zhou Weiqing possibly have a Heavenly Emperor powerhouse behind him?"
Ming Yu gave a bitter smile and said: "That is not the only thing. Do you still remember that Shangguan Bing’er who entered the academy together with him? That little girl has an extraordinary background after all… she is actually the long lost third daughter of the Heaven’s Expanse Palace Second Master Shangguan Tianyue! You and I know very well her connection with Zhou Weiqing… and it is without question that the support of the ZhongTian Empire, or even the Heaven’s Expanse Palace, to Zhou Weiqing could very well originate from this."
Ming Yu’s news, let alone for Cai Cai, it was truly news of utmost importance to the entire Fei Li Empire. In that moment, Cai Cai’s expression changed several times. She understood that their plans for receiving the Heavenly Bow Empire diplomatic party had to be changed drastically.
"Why didn’t you report it up the command structure?" Cai Cai looked at Ming Yu, a hint of blame in her eyes.
Ming Yu pursed his lips, taking a step forward and holding Cai Cai’s hands, roughly pulling her into his embrace. "Why should I report it up? If not for the fact that you told me about it, would I even know about this diplomatic party? What bullshit Fei Li God General… In the eyes of your Royal Family, I am just a mere dog that is currently useful."
Cai Cai’s face froze, but she allowed him to continue hugging her. An apologetic look appeared in her eyes as she said softly: "I’m sorry Ming Yu… As you know, we are also under a lot of pressure. Your fighting style is just too unique… and not everyone can accept it."
Ming Yu said passively: "Enough, don’t I know enough about what your Royal Family thinks about me? If they truly placed any importance on me, they would have already allowed me to marry you. Would you still have to wait until today, to remain unmarried at the age of forty? We do not need to discuss this any further… As I have once told you… If one day, I have to leave the Fei Li Empire suddenly, don’t be too surprised."
Cai Cai drew a deep breath, suddenly hugging Ming Yu back with all her might. In a low tone, she begged: "No, I won’t let you go. For my sake, can’t you please stay?"
Ming Yu sighed softly and said: "… If not for you, I would have already left a long time ago. I have never hid my background from you… because I trust you. However, you do after all belong to the Royal Family, and there are too many things you cannot put down. You can hide my background, but when you are faced between a choice of the interest of the Royal Family, in the end you will not be standing by my side."
Cai Cai fell silent. She knew what Ming Yu said was true. One side was the man she loved… the other was her family, her homeland, her Empire… It was truly too difficult for her to make any choice.
"I will listen to your suggestion and treat the Heavenly Bow Empire diplomatic party with utmost importance. Do you have any other news about Zhou Weiqing? I will have to report upwards that he has the support of Shangguan Tianyue from the Heaven’s Expanse Palace."
Ming Yu suddenly laughed, pulling away slightly from Cai Cai. "Did you really think that the Heavenly Emperor stage powerhouse I was referring to earlier was Shangguan Tianyue? No, you are wrong. The Heaven’s Expanse Palace and the ZhongTian Empire do indeed support Zhou Weiqing, but the Heavenly Emperor supporting Zhou Weiqing is someone else indeed."
"Someone else?" This time, Cai Cai found it impossible to believe. She recalled that honest looking youth who had been so cunning… how could he be such ‘wanted property’ now?
Ming Yu nodded and said: "I am not trying to scare you. That person backing Zhou Weiqing… even the entire Fei Li Empire cannot afford to offend him. No matter what, do not attempt to ruin the relationship with the Heavenly Bow Empire… otherwise, you cannot guess the possible dire consequences."
Cai Cai’s face turned an interesting sight indeed. "Do… do you know who that person behind him truly is?"
Ming Yu shook his head and said: "Yes, I do know, but I cannot tell you. You should understand the source of the news…"
Cai Cai inclined her head slightly and said: "Thank you for telling me all these. However, why do I feel like your heart is slowly leaving me bit by bit?"
Ming Yu looked at her deeply, a complicated look in his eyes. Finally, he sighed and said: "Perhaps… the Fei Li Empire is not truly suited for me."
Fifteen days later. Dawn.
The East Gate of the Fei Li City was open wide early in the morning, with more than a thousand soldiers gathered there to maintain order. The streets had been washed and cleared up, and currently the Royal Family Cavalry were arrayed in perfect formation, looking impressive indeed as they gathered there.
Under the shelter of silk umbrellas, the Fei Li Royal Princess, Principal of the Fei Li Military Academy, Cai Cai, led a contingent of Fei Li officials standing at the gate, personally waiting to receive the incoming party.
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