Chapter 1558: Proud Heaven versus the High Priestess
Although the three dynasties had experienced an increase in destiny, it wasn’t anything close to matching the Sage Monarch Empire.
Because the Sage Monarch Empire now had destiny that surpassed the alliance, and thus was stronger, it meant that if the three dynasties initiated another attack, they definitely wouldn’t have the advantage like before.
After everyone was gathered, the High Priestess looked around with a pleased smile and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, as you can all see, the destiny of the Sage Monarch Empire is seething. It’s seeped throughout the multiverse of the god world, and although it hasn’t become all-pervasive, if things go on like this, it’ll eventually swallow us all up. We simply can’t tolerate this.
“Our three dynasties have already established trade routes, secret cultivation exchanges, and other training programs. We’re no longer enemies of each other, and for now, you can all see that working together is the only way to succeed. Trying to keep the old dynasties going independently is only going to lead to death.”
“We already know that, High Priestess,” Yang Chiliocosm said, his eyes glittering. “What we don’t know is how the Sage Monarch Empire is doing this. Did they acquire some new treasure? How have they improved so dramatically in such a short time? We really just don’t get it. You’re a half-Annulled expert, so you’re privy to many more secrets than us. Can’t you explain a bit? If you know yourself and know your enemy, you’ll always be victorious.”
“It relates to an immense secret,” the High Priestess replied. “Although, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to explain.” Although she spoke slowly, her tone was extremely grave, leading everyone to feel as though she was about to talk about something extremely dangerous. That was because the High Priestess was a master of manipulating hearts; in that regard she was vastly superior to even the Inspiring Ones.
As everyone listened with bated breath, she continued, “Yang Qi reopened the Ancient Road to the Gods, and brought almost everyone from the impure lands up to join his empire. Because of that, his population increased by four- or fivefold. Although that still doesn’t equal the population of our alliance, every person he added is an Ascendant. All of those new citizens are praying on a daily basis, growing the destiny of his empire. I’m sure all of you are fully aware of how impressive Ascendants are. With the resources they have in the Sage Monarch Empire, they’re definitely going to rapidly improve their cultivation. That’s why we need to consolidate all of our own resources and strike like lightning to destroy the Sage Monarch Empire. Otherwise, the Ascendants are just going to get stronger and stronger. And even if only a tiny fraction of them become God-Lords, it’s going to be a huge problem for us.”
“Does the Sage Monarch Empire really have enough resources to sustain so many Ascendants?” someone asked.
“We have that problem,” the High Priestess answered. “A huge population requires a huge amount of resources. But it’s not a problem for the Sage Monarch Empire. They’ve never lacked resources, only population. And with their population problem solved, we’re facing a major crisis.”
As her voice grew louder and louder, she seemed like an immense mountain weighing down on everyone. “As all of you know, the main foundation of the Sage Monarch Empire is their Everlasting Aegis, which is a combination of the Myriad Dragons Lair and countless treasures from the Halls of Heaven. As it grows, it does the same thing the god world does: it takes primal-chaos paleo-energy and produces preheaven treasures with it. And those treasures can be used by the people of the empire to improve their cultivation. They have a perfect cycle. As long as they have the Everlasting Aegis, we’ll never be able to break their supply of resources. And they’re only going to continue growing.
“Eventually, the Everlasting Aegis will be able to separate from the god world and go out on its own. It will be like another god world. As all of you know, the god world can take in the energies of primal chaos to expand and create resources. The Sage Monarch Empire is continually growing stronger, and Yang Qi is trying to fully assimilate the Halls of Heaven. If he succeeds, his cultivation base will definitely reach the half-Annulled level. Most people have a hard time with that breakthrough, but he won’t. Because he has his empire and that incredible destiny, it’s only a matter of time before his cultivation base reaches the same level as the Sovereign Lord.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? Is Yang Qi really invincible?”
Many people exchanged awkward glances of fear.
“If he does reach the half-Annulled level, then yes, he’ll be invincible,” the High Priestess replied. “And we’ll be his slaves. But right now, before he makes that breakthrough, and before his Ascendants reach their full potential, he’s weak enough that we might stand a chance of taking him out.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Hailan said, “you can all see what’s going on here. The three dynasties absolutely have to unite. We can’t delay any further. I know that all of you have your own interests and goals. You even have your own emperors, who normally wouldn’t spare a thought about becoming government officials. However, even as government officials, they’ll still be incredibly important. And wouldn’t that be better than being enslaved or assimilated?”
In response, Yang Chiliocosm and the Dugu patriarchs maintained silence. In the end, none of them would ever agree to unite the three dynasties, resulting in them becoming government officials.
“I agree to unification,” Proud Heaven suddenly said.
Everyone looked over at him in shock. It seemed like a bolt out of the blue that he would endorse unifying the three dynasties. He was considered the ruler of the Central Dynasty, which meant that if there was a unification, he would suddenly rank even lower than Hailan. After all, the High Priestess would obviously be the empress of the new empire, and would give Hailan vast power and authority.
How could someone like Proud Heaven possibly accept humiliation like that?
A tremor seemed to pass through the High Priestess as she shifted her piercing gaze onto Proud Heaven. “You’re really endorsing the unification, Proud Heaven?”
“Of course I am,” he replied, chuckling. “It’s a great idea. Why wouldn’t I endorse it? Truly uniting the three dynasties would result in destiny ten times the current amount. There’s no way the Sage Monarch Empire could match that. And with a ruler to manage things effectively, perhaps taking cues from Yang Qi, it’d be a surefire success.”
“What else are you not saying, Proud Heaven?” Hailan asked. “Just spit it out for us to hear. An honest man doesn’t prevaricate. The entire purpose of this meeting is to decide whether or not we truly unite.”
“Oh.” Proud Heaven looked deeply at Hailan, a profoundly merciless and treacherous smile on his face. “Well, it’s simple. First of all, uniting the three dynasties will be the best thing for everyone. Second, you need to select the right ruler. Someone who can rule our empire as well as Yang Qi can rule his. If we pick the wrong ruler, it’s going to lead to disaster.”
“If the three dynasties unite, it’s obvious who the leader will be,” Hailan said. She obviously realized where Proud Heaven was going with his line of reasoning, and she seemed to view it as a big joke. “The High Priestess will be the empress. Wait, did you think you were going to be in charge? If so, you’re dreaming. Whether in terms of position, might, or cultivation base, you can’t even compare to my Master, the High Priestess.”
She didn’t even attempt to be polite. Obviously, she felt that Proud Heaven was being completely unreasonable, and in fact, insulting to the High Priestess. In the past, the High Priestess would have struck dead anyone who acted like this.
“Do you want to be the emperor of the three united dynasties, Proud Heaven?” the High Priestess asked, obviously not wanting to beat around the bush. All of a sudden, everyone felt as if they were under immense pressure. The Dugu elders and Yang Chiliocosm didn’t say anything as they watched Proud Heaven and the High Priestess face off, the hostility ramping up and tensions mounting. Of course, they knew that if the two clashed and hurt each other, they might be able to benefit.
After all, while the High Priestess spoke in a very calm and even tone, everyone could sense that she was furious, and might strike at any moment.
Proud Heaven was obviously provoking her.
“That’s right, High Priestess. I want to be emperor.” Proud Heaven didn’t seem angry, and in fact, the same sinister smile was on his face as before.
“If you’re the emperor, what am I? A government official. By what virtue or ability do you deserve the throne? Are you suddenly a half-Annulled expert now?”
“Do you want to see what cultivation level I’ve reached?” Proud Heaven asked. “You can test me, if you’d like. High Priestess, we have a common enemy here, and that’s Yang Qi. So don’t be so hostile. You might be strong, but you have no ability to govern an empire. In contrast, I’ve put a lot of work into studying the subject. In that regard, I could beat you in any scenario.”
The High Priestess burst out laughing, as though she had just heard the funniest joke in the world. “You’re really trying to vie for the throne with me, Proud Heaven? Since when did you become so gutsy?”
Proud Heaven rose to his feet. “If you want the throne, High Priestess, it’s not going to be a walk in the park. You might be a half-Annulled expert, but I honestly don’t care about that. I want the three dynasties united under my rulership. And it seems to me the only way to make that happen is to fight. So I hereby challenge you, High Priestess! Since we have plenty of witnesses, let’s fight right here and now. I promise ahead of time not to use the destiny of the Central Dynasty. That way it’s a fair fight. If I win, then you’ll be the imperial preceptor, and can also be the High Priestess, with only one superior and many subordinates. If I lose, you can make whatever arrangements you want, and I’ll pass control of the Central Dynasty to you. What do you say?”