Chapter 37 – Zither Healing Behemoths (III)
“Yin Zhu, tell me—do I still have the opportunity to change disciplines and become a Divine Music mage?”
“I’m afraid that’s not possible as your age is too high. A Divine Music mage needs to cultivate from childhood. Moreover, are you willing to abandon all of your current magic cultivation? My Grandfather Qin once said that any magic discipline, if cultivated properly, can become first-rate without much difference in strength among the different disciplines. It’s still better if you continue to practice your own magic, okay?”
Finally, Milan City could be seen in the distance. Xiang Luan transmitted an order and had the procession temporarily stop to rest. Under the protection of the Milan Empire’s soldiers, Xiang Luan ordered the Milan Institution for Magic and Martial Arts students to gather together.
Xiang Luan glanced at Ye Yin Zhu standing at the very front and then smiled slightly, saying, “Everyone, I have gathered you here for a specific matter. At Konya City, you have all demonstrated very remarkable performances. Through everyone’s collaboration, the beastmen were unable to pass through Brenner Pass. You have saved the Empire’s Puglia Plains. You are all heroes of Milan. We’re heading straight back to Milan City. Everyone, rest assured, Fisichella and I will certainly report to our Imperial Father of your contributions, and he will evaluate your merits and bestow rewards accordingly.”
After she said these words, her audience immediately cheered. These students, for the most part, were twenty-year-old youths. Many of them came from a noble clan. To them, being praised by the Imperial Princess was the highest honor they could receive. Not to mention, their merits would later be evaluated, their rewards allocated. To be able to receive such acclaim while still in school—when they graduate, regardless of whether they joined the army or some other organization, this halo would forever follow them.
Xiang Luan raised her hands, and everyone quieted immediately.
“Everyone’s contributions won’t be small. Right now, however, Xiang Luan has something she requests everyone’s help for. Since Fisichella and I are attending the institution to study, we don’t want any special treatment. We hope that we can be just like any regular student, striving to gain more and more knowledge. Because of the importance of this battle, our identities have been revealed. This secret, however, I hope everyone can guard for us. When we return to the institution later, our identities will be just like it originally was. We will be just like all of you—simply another student of Milan Institution for Magic and Martial Arts.”
“I, Nesta, swear upon my honor as a Heavy Cavalry Knight to guard your secrets and shall in no way divulge them.” Nesta held his dragonspear high, his resoundingly powerful voice amply displaying how serious his promise was to them.
Quite a few students reacted straightaway. Some of them even regretted that they weren’t the ones to speak up first. Who didn’t want to leave behind a good impression upon the future emperor of the Empire?! For a moment, vows resounded out, one after the other. Only Ye Yin Zhu and Sura didn’t utter a word.
Rolande finally saw a chance and grabbed it. “Ye Yin Zhu, you’re not swearing an oath to guard the secret; don’t tell me you plan to divulge the Princess and Prince’s identities upon returning?”
Ye Yin Zhu said, “Swearing an oath is merely a formality. I promised, so I definitely will not divulge their identities; there’s no need to bother with anything more.”
Sura nodded, succinctly stating, “I as well.”
Xiang Luan smiled faintly and said, “I trust everyone here. Well, everyone may go rest now. When we resume our journey later, we will be heading straight home.”
“Yin Zhu.” Ye Yin Zhu had pulled Sura to the side with the intention of resting, only to suddenly sense someone tug at his clothes. He turned his head to take a look and caught sight of Ma Liang, who was signalling him with his eyes. “Let’s go to the side and talk.”
“Okay.” Ye Yin Zhu spoke a few words to Sura before immediately following Ma Liang away from the main road to an area empty of people, sitting down beside him.
“Ma Liang, what did you seek me out for?” Ye Yin Zhu inquisitively asked.
Ma Liang scanned their surroundings, making sure no one was paying attention to him. He lowered his voice and said, “Yin Zhu, you have done a great service for the Milan Empire this time. When we return to Milan City, the Emperor of the Milan Empire will definitely bestow a magnanimous reward upon you. You must remember that if he offers you citizenship to join the Milan Empire, you must agree.”
“Why? I am a citizen of the Kingdom of Arcadia. Why must I join the Milan Empire? In order to receive more rewards?” Ye Yin Zhu’s eyes displayed a slightly dissatisfied light.
An intense light flashed through Ma Liang’s eyes. “Yin Zhu, to our Eight Eastern Dragon Sects, this might be our chance. As a member of the Eight Eastern Dragon Sects, you yourself do not belong to any country on this continent. Any citizenship is meaningless to us. I believe that if you agree to Milan citizenship, you can obtain a fiefdom from all of your established contributions this time.”
Ye Yin Zhu knitted his brows together and said, “I somewhat don’t understand. Why doesn’t our Eight Eastern Dragon Sects belong to any country?”
Ma Liang hesitated slightly, but he still shook his head and said, “Since your teacher hasn’t told you, I still can’t say much. I can only say that our Eight Eastern Dragon Sects need to genuinely be considered its own nation. Although our four magic sects of Zither, Chess, Calligraphy, and Painting are highly skilled, the number of members we have are rather low. Because our magic cultivation requires an extremely high innate skill, only the gifted who have inherited the sect’s secrets and treasures can truly inherit the magic of our four sects. Therefore, over the past several years, although the bloodlines have basically continued, none of the four sect Patriarchs are exceptionally strong. Meanwhile, the four martial arts sects of Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, and Chrysanthemum have numerous cultivators.
“At this moment, our Eight Eastern Dragon Sects are forced to hide and live a life of secrecy. If you can receive a territory from the most powerful country on the continent, then even if it is a small territory, it will allow us to restore ourselves!”
Ye Yin Zhu pensively commented, “So you mean our Eight Eastern Dragon Sects cannot belong to any country.”
Nodding his head, Ma Liang gazed profoundly at Ye Yin Zhu. He suddenly realized that this heir of the Zither Sect apparently wasn’t as simple as he appeared.
Ye Yin Zhu smiled slightly and said, “Alright then.” After he said this, he got up and walked over to Sura.
Ma Liang didn’t realize that Ye Yin Zhu’s countenance became a little more lonely and a little more resolute. Since he had left the Desolate Jade Sea, Ye Yin Zhu hadn’t felt any unease toward anything at first. Upon entering society, however, he had begun to understand more and more about the outside world over the past months. He gradually discovered that his understanding of things was truly too low. It seemed like everyone had their own secrets. The continent also had many strange things that he contrarily didn’t know.
This emptiness in his brain made Ye Yin Zhu’s heart feel uneasy. At the moment, he was brimming with a thirst for knowledge of the entire continent. When he had turned and left, he already secretly decided that upon returning to the institution, he would quickly use his time to blend into society and learn all he needed to know. Although his sixteen-year-old Pure Zither Heart had helped him a lot, it had also equally deprived him of much. It was now time for him to take back those things he had missed.
When everyone set off on the journey once more and were on the verge of reaching Milan City, the decree of Emperor Silvio of the Milan Empire had already been handed down. He ordered for Imperial Princess Xiang Luan and Imperial Prince Fisichella, as well as Oliveira and Ye Yin Zhu, to immediately enter the emperor’s palace. The rest of the students of the Milan Institution for Magic and Martial Arts were to return to the institution as originally planned.
With a squad of Dragon Cavalry Knights guarding them, Ye Yin Zhu and the others entered Milan City and headed straight for the imperial palace at the heart of the city.
Within the carriage.
Fisichella glanced at the tranquil Ye Yin Zhu beside him, asking in bafflement, “Idol, aren’t you a little nervous?”
Ye Yin Zhu puzzledly asked, “Why would I be nervous?”
Fisichella laughed in disbelief before saying, “This time, you have obtained great merit. Imperial Father still doesn’t know what to bestow you, yet you aren’t even slightly expectant. Idol really is Idol and looks at fame and profit as if they are dung!”
Ye Yin Zhu unhappily said, “How many times have I said this? Don’t call me Idol.”
Xiang Luan covered her mouth and lightly laughed. She said, “Our Divine Music division’s young shota isn’t that easy to bribe. I’m guessing that Imperial Father will definitely bestow upon him some official rank or order of feudal nobility. But the reward probably won’t be too big. After all, the loss of five hundred Falcon Dragons will possibly drive Imperial Father mad with rage.”
Oliveira, slightly worried, said, “I don’t know how His Majesty will handle my two older brothers. Your Highness the Princess, your Highness the Prince, when that moment comes, I beseech…”
Fisichella clapped Oliveira’s shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, Senior. Your Violet Clan is the pillar of the Empire. With Imperial Father’s astuteness, he is unlikely to make things very difficult for them.”
The Milan Empire’s Imperial Palace could be described as the most distinctive of all the eight countries on the continent. The main building was constructed from red, black, and white materials. Not only did it have a vast, imposing loftiness, it also had an even greater, one-of-a-kind tyrannical aggressiveness.
The interior of the palace was spacious, its area equivalent to a quarter of the city outside. The Royal Family stationed five thousand Imperial Guards all year round to defend the palace. These Imperial Guards were as strong as the clouds were high. The palace’s interior defensive magical formations had been built upon and maintained by several strong mages, so much so that it could resist a bombardment of Violet Rank Forbidden Incantations. This ensured that the defense of the Milan Inner Palace was like an iron wall. It was said to match the strength of Dragon City.
The Dragon Cavalry Squad escorted Ye Yin Zhu and the other three to the entrance of the Imperial Palace, where their protection duties were immediately transferred to the Imperial Guards. As the Princess and Prince were riding in the carriage, the four of them didn’t need to get off and rode straight to the Imperial Palace’s Inner Court. Their carriage was stopped by a crowd of Imperial Officials who were discussing official business within the main hall of the Imperial Milan Palace.
As soon as they descended the carriage, Ye Yin Zhu couldn’t help but be stunned by the scene in front of him. The Milan Imperial Palace’s main hall was symbolic of the entire Milan Empire. Red and black arrowed flags fluttered in the wind. The main hall’s ceiling surpassed an elevation of thirty meters and had delicately carved, yet thick, solid veranda pillars supporting its weight. At the center of the main hall’s ceiling was the Milan Royal Family’s Ruby Cross Shield Emblem, enlarged an uncountable number of times. It sparkled with light, its luster like a ruby’s.
Standing in the front of this palace hall were twenty Golden Warhammer Warriors. These warriors exceeded two meters in height, and within their hands were long-handled warhammers. The external weight of those hammers seemed astonishing. Fisichella quietly told Ye Yin Zhu that these Golden Warhammer Warriors all had Indigo Rank strength. Even if there weren’t many of them, they were absolutely the elites of elites among the Imperial Palace Guards.
“Come on, let’s go in.” Xiang Luan nodded to Ye Yin Zhu. Fisichella walked in front, leading Oliveira and Ye Yin Zhu into the Supreme Executive Official Residence of the Milan Empire.
The Milan Imperial Palace’s main hall was internally decorated with gold and jade in glorious splendor. These innumerable, dazzling artifacts made Ye Yin Zhu feel as if there was too much for the eyes to take in. The ambiance here was somewhat low, however, which made it difficult for him to adapt to the environment.
On both sides of the main hall were Golden Warhammer Warriors stationed at five meter intervals from one another. Numerous court officials were lined up in front of the Golden Warhammer Warriors. From their attire, he could see that the civil court officials were positioned to the left. Other officials were ranked in accordance to rank, the highest, the generals, to the very right.