Wayfarer - C.360: Dividing Up the Taiwu Empire


C.360: Dividing Up the Taiwu Empire

One day later, a Xiang Immortal drenched in blood haphazardly made his way toward a forested region where countless crow spirits roosted.

When the crow spirits noticed the Xiang Immortal, they quickly approached him in a cacophony of caws.

"The city of Tianwu has been struck by calamity. Where's your crow king? Why hasn't it shown itself? Bring me to it!" the Xiang Immortal cried out.

The crow spirits were about to lead the Immortal away when another bloody cultivator emerged from the forest.

"Come with me, Second Uncle! The crow spirits have betrayed us!"

"What?!" the Immortal cried out.

The leader of the crow spirits cawed, causing the crows to dart forward to attack the cultivators.

The Immortal blanched. He defended himself with a palm strike, sending the crow spirits flying back, as he pulled the other cultivator into the clouds.

Deep within the forest, a crow Immortal emerged, only to find that the two cultivators were already gone.

The cultivators fled into a secluded valley, each only then realizing that the other was badly hurt.

"Second Uncle, what's with all this blood?!" the cultivator cried out.

"His Majesty perished to Nalan Qiankun, and Xiao Nanfeng took over Tianwu. We've suffered tremendous losses, and I barely escaped," the Immortal said.

"What? Xiao Nanfeng and Nalan Qiankun have formed an alliance?" the cultivator exclaimed.

"No, they haven't! Nalan Qiankun was badly wounded by Xiao Nanfeng as well."


"What happened to the crow spirits? Their cultivation is all thanks to the Xiang clan! How could they have betrayed us?"

"Yesterday, Nalan Qiankun himself showed up here. He and his crane spirits slew countless crow spirits, forcing them to surrender to the Tianshu Empire. Then, they in turn slew the Taiwu forces gathered in the vicinity to prove their allegiance. Everyone else is dead. I'm the only one who managed to survive."

"Nalan Qiankun came here yesterday? That can't be—he was at Tianwu! Could it have been his avatar?"

"That has to be the case," the cultivator agreed.

The Immortal scowled. "Xiao Nanfeng and Nalan Qiankun's main bodies and avatars were all in the vicinity of Taiwu. Were they willing to sacrifice everything in order to take on the Taiwu Empire? How vicious they are. Aren't they worried that their own empires would have been attacked?"

"Perhaps they prepared for it," the cultivator replied.

"Damn it!" the Immortal cursed.

"Second Uncle, what should we do?"

"Wait for King Shaoyin to return. We'll have King Shaoyin take the throne, then rally around him to fight off Xiao Nanfeng and Nalan Qiankun."

"It's been a day. Is King Shaoyin not yet back? What if Xiao Nanfeng and Nalan Qiankun attacked him, too?"

The Immortal's heart sank. He had an uneasy premonition...

Five days later, in Nalan Qiankun's study within the Tianshu capital,

Nalan Qiankun had just finished reviewing a series of documents. He leaned back against his seat as Cui Haitang rubbed his shoulders.

"Don't transform into Cui Haitang any longer. It repulses me," Nalan Qiankun said.

Cui Haitang transformed into another woman. She wasn't Cui Haitang, but rather the paper figure cursed effigy.

"I thought you would still miss her," the paper figure said, smiling.

Nalan Qiankun shook his head. "Cui Haitang is dead, as you wanted. Are you still suspicious of me?"

"How could I be? From now onwards, you'll be my husband. You don't have any children anymore, but I can make you more," the paper figure said.

Nalan Qiankun patted the paper figure's hand. "I was aiming rather high when I married Cui Haitang. I really did like her back then, but she took advantage of the fact that her father was the left division leader to put on airs. My liking for her slowly dissipated. Only after something happened to her father did she slowly rein in her temper, but by then, it was too late. Furthermore, I met you afterwards. That was when I discovered true love. When you said you wanted to supplant her, I went along with your decision."

"Husband, you really are a sweet-talker. No wonder you were able to trick Cui Haitang so completely." The paper figure smiled.

"You don't believe me? Do you want me to pull out my heart and show it to you?" Nalan Qiankun asked.

The paper figure shook its head. "Husband, I'm not a foolish woman like Cui Haitang, and I'm well aware of your intentions. However, I don't care. Monarchs are often heartless, and you're a qualified monarch."


"All I care about is our future. We're together now. I'll help you grow stronger, and you'll do the same for me. We have a vested interest in one another. I care not for your sweet words, but rather how much profit I can derive from you. As long as you're profitable, I won't leave you," the paper figure said.

Nalan Qiankun laughed. "Lass, you really do have an open mind, don't you?"

"Lass? I'm not a little kid. Isn't it time for you to fulfill the promise you made me?" The paper figure smiled.

Nalan Qiankun frowned. "Wait for me to recover from my injuries first before we devour those shadows. I need to fight over territory with Xiao Nanfeng, so I'll be busy for the time being."


"He schemed against me that day. After grievously wounding me and forcing me to leave Tianwu, he immediately took the city for himself. Then, using Xiang Shaoyang's imperial seal, he sent over a hundred edicts all over Xiao territory, causing officials to open their gates and send their forces away. His forces rushed in and rapidly took over hundreds of cities in just a few days," Nalan Qiankun said, frowning in annoyance.

"Xiao Nanfeng's plan was vicious," the paper figure opined. "If the Xiang clan had allied with him, they would have been able to deal us a heavy blow. Even with the Xiang clan backstabbing him, he was able to take advantage of us to claim their lands."

"That said, after these few days, the various Xiang cities have learned of the truth, and Xiao Nanfeng's fake edicts will no longer make a difference. The remnant Xiang Immortals have banded together to fend off Xiao Nanfeng's forces."


"The era of Xiang domination is over, and their resistance is futile. It's just a matter of whether I can claim more land than Xiao Nanfeng or vice versa."

The paper figure frowned. "Xiao Nanfeng is growing too rapidly. Do we need to do something about it?"

"Of course, but that's a matter for after my main body recovers. I don't want to take more risks for the moment."


"There's still the better part of a month before he intends to ascend his kingdom into an empire. Let's give him a surprise before that." Nalan Qiankun smirked.

In the Xiao study at Yongding, Zheng Qian smiled wryly. "Dazheng has claimed too many territories in too short a period of time. I've been tasked to provide countless officials to the new territories, but we're severely short-staffed. There aren't that many trained, loyal, and competent officials about."

"Have those officials dispatched to our new territories been slacking off?" Xiao Nanfeng asked.

"Them? Oh, no. They're incredibly excited. Because of how short-staffed we are, they're getting promotions one after another. They know how rare this sort of opportunity is, and they'd work twice as many hours in the day if they could."

"As long as they're working hard. The soldiers know that this sort of rapid expansion and ability to acquire merit is rare, as do the officials. Furthermore, the Dazheng kingdom is about to ascend into the Dazheng Empire. Who doesn't want a brighter future for themselves? This is how Dazheng should be." Xiao Nanfeng smiled.

Zheng Qian nodded. "It is a good thing, King Xiao, but we are still terribly short-staffed. We can't keep up with your expansion!"

"It's not a problem. Pick some of the more talented officials of Taiwu for the moment. They might not be trustworthy, but they'll do for the time being. Once everything settles down, keep the loyal and discard the rest."

Zheng Qian nodded solemnly.

"Nalan Qiankun has also begun to fight over Taiwu territory. Even if the remaining Xiang Immortals band together, they're done for. We have no time to waste. Mr. Zheng, I'm counting on you for the moment."

"Understood, King Xiao!" Zheng Qian replied seriously.

Zheng Qian took his leave, leaving just Blue Lantern in the room.

"Blue Lantern, what do you think of the current state of the kingdom of Dazheng?" Xiao Nanfeng asked with a smile.

"It is flourishing and full of vitality," Blue Lantern praised.

"I'd like to use this jade compass you granted me to ask you a favor," Xiao Nanfeng said.

Blue Lantern frowned. The jade compass had been meant as a gift of gratitude to Emperor Wei for helping free him from the undying cursed king's control. However, he had died, so Xiao Nanfeng had benefited from the gift as a result.

"You'd like me to support you?" Blue Lantern asked, frowning.

"Not for an extended period of time. I'd like to ask for ten years of your service. I'll treat you as a friend, and you need not bow down to me. Ten years later, you shall be free to do what you will," Xiao Nanfeng said expectantly.

Blue Lantern frowned. He would have refused the offer immediately in the past. After all, Emperor Wei himself had requested Blue Lantern's support for his divine empire. He hadn't even accepted then—and Dazheng was only a kingdom. However, he now considered Xiao Nanfeng's proposal more carefully. For some reason, he had been very unlucky in the short term, but Xiao Nanfeng had somehow turned things around. Should he take advantage of Xiao Nanfeng to counteract his bad luck?

Blue Lantern pondered for a long moment before he spoke. "I will only do what I deem acceptable."

"I accept!" Xiao Nanfeng's eyes brightened.

He hadn't expected the recruitment to go quite so smoothly; he had prepared more extensive arguments and persuasion, but it seemed he wouldn't need to use any of that now.

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