Li Yao narrowed his eyes and said, “So to speak, Wang Xi is truly a rather remarkable man. Not only is he good at politics and has founded ‘Ghost Character’ in secret, he also boasts extraordinary sword arts himself… After hearing what you’ve said, even I feel eager to meet the man!”
“For the emperors of the Great Qian Dynasty, if they are focused on training, they will often handle the national affairs through their trusted eunuchs,” Han Yuantai further explained. “On the other hand, if the emperors dedicate themselves to national affairs, in case they die without a good reason, they will also recruit certain imperial bodyguards. Naturally, the eunuchs who tend to them day and night are the best candidates for the imperial bodyguards!
“Therefore, after a thousand years, many powerful eunuchs who were adept at politics emerged in the Great Qian Dynasty, but many of the eunuchs boasted rather extraordinary personal strength themselves!
“When the Thunderous Qian Hall rose and established the Great Qian Dynasty, almost a thousand sects were demolished. Most of the secret treasures and magical equipment of those sects were accumulated in the royal family’s private treasury. It was not wrong at all for the emperor to take out some of the techniques for the eunuchs around him to practice!
“Since those eunuchs had no sects or offspring, who else could they pass on their experience in training or their self-invented arts to but the younger eunuchs around them?
“Just like that, the older eunuchs taught the younger eunuchs, and the younger eunuchs taught the even younger eunuchs. After dozens of generations, they managed to combine the essence of training of hundreds of sects from previous dynasties and conclude a set of extremely mysterious arts that were particularly suitable for their broken bodies. That arts were known as ‘Apparitional Night’.
“Wang Xi possessed the experience that the imperial bodyguards had left for dozens of generations. He was a peak expert who had Cultivated the ‘Apparitional Night’ technique to the highest level and knew all the relevant techniques!
“Before Wang Xi, most of the eunuchs hid themselves inside the royal palace and hardly showed up in the world of Cultivators. They merely worked as the emperor’s bodyguards and helped the emperor train himself.
“Because of their bodies, they were mostly quite self-loathing. Their lineage was quite clandestine, too. No one from the outside world had ever learned of their existence!
“It was not until Wang Xi rose to power that the many Cultivation sects learned of the existence of ‘Apparitional Night’ and realized how strong the eunuch experts inside the royal palace were!
“Wang Xi had hidden his claws and teeth for decades and behaved obediently toward the Cultivators of the Great Qian Dynasty for a simple purpose, which was to instigate trouble among the Cultivators, diminish the capabilities of the major sects, and even make the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators kill each other or pursue the tantalizing immortality. Eventually, the emperor would be able to be the real master of the world!”
Li Yao laughed. “So, Wang Xi was a loyal man?”
Han Yuantai sniffed. “He might’ve been loyal to Emperor Qiyuan, and part of his purpose was achieved, too! But as a result, the Cultivators of the Great Qian Dynasty were divided, and the conflicts among them were more intense than ever, which created a great opportunity for the White Lotus Cult, the Heaven Battering Army, and Cloud Qin! If we think that way, was Wang Xi a loyal subordinate or a great villain? Heaven only knows!”
Li Yao thought for a moment and realized that it did make sense. If the emperor intended to gather power, he would have to weaken the local sects, but if the local sects were too weak, the entire Great Qian Dynasty would be dying. It was a move that would bring as many losses as gains and should not be employed easily.
“Did the major sects follow Wang Xi’s words so obediently? Did they simply attack each other when Wang Xi asked them to?”
“On one hand,” Han Yuantai said, “it was because Wang Xi’s instigation was too thorough and flawless, but more importantly, it was because the conflict due to ‘wealth, residences, arts, and partners’ among the major sects had already reached an extreme and become utterly unmitigable.
“The relationship among the major sects was like an unstoppable flood. What Wang Xi did was merely give it a push!”
“I’m often told that the Southland of Sorcerers is an uncivilized place and the barbarian Cultivators are primitive savages, while the Cultivators from central plateaus value law and morals. I never know that this is the reality!” Li Yao sneered.
“Law and morals? Hahahaha!” Han Yuantai slapped his thigh and laughed. “Have you ever heard this saying before, Master? When you have a marvelous weapon, you will be tempted to kill someone with it. Even an ordinary farmer will be eager to try his newly-purchased saber after he buys one.
“Besides, every Cultivation sect keeps a huge bunch of disciples who do not have jobs but are fully devoted to training! Those disciples can eat half a bull for a single meal, blow apart a rock with a single punch, and cut off a couple of heads the moment after they launch their flying swords. Yet, other than fighting and killing, they are capable of and interested in nothing! Do you want to release the young, disobedient disciples to fight outsiders or keep them within the sect to fight themselves?
“If law and morals are truly valued, why are they keeping so many disciples who don’t work but only kill? ‘Morals’ cannot feed anyone!
“All in all, it is the Jade Crystal Pellet all over again. The more disciples a Cultivation sect has, the more resources they will demand. In order to secure more resources, they will have to recruit even more ferocious disciples. It is an unending loop!
“All the sects have been caught in such a loop. Whoever jumps out of the loop will be swallowed by others because they are incapable of protecting themselves! Such a vicious cycle leads to the merciless, bloodless, and tearless years we are in. Their so-called morals are just bullsh*t!”
Li Yao was silent for a long time. Then, after a long sigh, he said, “Judging from your tone, Wang Xi lost his power in the end, didn’t he?”
“Exactly.” Han Yuantai nodded. “Everything wanes after it waxes. After Wang Xi fully revealed his sharpness, he was able to suppress the sects in the world, but the divided Cultivators of the Great Qian Dynasty were unified again in secret.
“Also, as his Cultivation and his power increased, and when he was flattered by countless sects, Wang Xi’s own state of mind might’ve gone through subtle changes, too. He was no longer satisfied with being Emperor Qiyuan’s puppet.
“There’s no telling what kind of breathtaking drama happened among the Cultivators of the Great Qian Dynasty, Wang Xi, and Emperor Qiyuan later.
“But eventually, after Wang Xi intimidated the world for almost ten years with his unparalleled power, Emperor Qiyuan, his greatest reliance, died abruptly at the beginning of last year!
“Wang Xi was perhaps really loyal to Emperor Qiyuan and never thought of betraying him, but he was not necessarily so loyal to the new emperor. He was even taking advantage of the new emperor’s young age and regarded the new emperor as his puppet instead.
“This time, he made the same mistake as the Cultivation sects did in the past. He underestimated the new emperor and never realized that the young monarch was as ambitious as him, not a man who was content with being a puppet or below anyone!
“As powerful as Wang Xi was, his position had to be justified by his respect for the emperor.
“When the emperor and the Cultivators of the Great Qian Dynasty both opposed him, there was no way that he could resist it. His ten years of hard work completely collapsed half a year after Emperor Qiyuan died abruptly!
“However, the man was a top-tier swordsman after all. He was also prudent and knew the importance of keeping retreats. After he was forced to resign, he vanished into thin air before the emperor and the Cultivators hunted him!
“Not only did Wang Xi run away, he also stole tremendous magical equipment, secret arts, and medicines from the emperor’s personal treasury, as well as all the wealth that he had accumulated in the past decade. More importantly, the secrets about the major sects that he had collected through the espionage agency ‘Ghost Character’ were still under his control!
“The magical equipment, secret arts, medicines, and wealth might not be important, but the stinky, clandestine secrets in Wang Xi’s hands were like daggers pressed against the backs of the major Cultivators!
“Therefore, Wang Xi is now the public enemy of every Cultivator in the Great Qian Dynasty. No sect does not want him dead! It’s a shame that they do not even know where Wang Xi is hiding!
“Wang Xi, the Lead Eunuch; Wan Mingzhu, Mother White Lotus; Qi Changsheng, the Heaven Battering King; and my brother Han Baling, regent of Cloud Qin. They are the four greatest headaches for the Great Qian Dynasty known as the Four Rapscallions! In fact, if the Cultivators of the Great Qian Dynasty were not divided and asking for their own doom, what could the Four Rapscallions do however brutal they were?”
Li Yao pondered to himself for a long time before he asked, “Are the Purple Pole Sword Sect and the Ling family really Wang Xi’s subordinates?”
Han Yuantai smiled. “Too many things were involved in Wang Xi’s fall. The Cultivators of the Great Qian Dynasty started their internal strife again with the court as their battlefield. They are accusing each other of being the ‘eunuch’s conspirators’, in exactly the same way as they barraged their dissidents before!
“If they are talking about the eunuch’s conspirators, which of the sects were absolutely not connected with him during the ten years that Wang Xi was in power? The sects that were determined to go against him have long been annihilated by the sects that were working with him!
“As for the Purple Pole Sword Sect, they are just not very lucky!
“Wang Xi was an extraordinary swordsman. Naturally, he was interested in the mysteries of the sword. The Purple Pole Sword Sect is the best sword sect in the world. Naturally, there are countless sword art classics and famous sword Cultivators in the sect!
“Therefore, when Wang Xi was in power, he often visited the Purple Pole Sword Sect to discuss sword arts with them. With his power and Cultivation at that time, could the Purple Pole Sword Sect turn him down?
“Therefore, on the surface, the Purple Pole Sword Sect was more intimate with Wang Xi than other sects were.
“But after Wang Xi’s fall, it became the Purple Pole Sword Sect’s greatest sin!”