Wayfarer - C.347: Nalan Qiankuns Anomalous Behavior


C.347: Nalan Qiankuns Anomalous Behavior

A month later, in a pavilion within the Xiang city, Xiang Shaoyin was having tea with a man.

"Mr. Wen, Xiao Nanfeng's growing more and more arrogant. He's trying to take down two parcels of titled lands of the Tianshu Empire simultaneously, land that should belong to the Taiwu Empire! Do we need to focus on suppressing him?" Xiang Shaoyin asked.

The man was none other than Mr. Wen, who consulted for both the Tianshu Empire and Taiwu Empire. Despite working for both empires, the Nalan and Xiang clans nevertheless seemed to trust him fully for some strange reason.

"Did we lose many forces during the battle of Yongding?" Mr. Wen asked, having a sip of tea.

"Of course! Eleven of our Immortals died, whereas only seven of the Tianshu Empire's did. On the other hand, none of Xiao Nanfeng's subordinates perished, and he even gave out a few blood peaches, allowing them to ascend to Immortals. I suspect he must have brought the blood peach tree out of the Spirit Emperor's hidden realm and used the Immortal corpses to make those peaches," Xiang Shaoyin analyzed, frowning.

"What do you seek to do?" Mr. Wen asked with a smile.

Xiang Shaoyin was silent for a moment. "For Xiao Nanfeng to fight Nalan Qiankun to the death, of course. The best-case scenario would be for them both to perish. I want his blood peach tree and that purple seal as well."

"In that case, why ask me that question from before? You already know the answer." Mr. Wen smiled.

"You mean that I should send my subordinates away and allow Xiao Nanfeng to claim both titled lands?" Xiang Shaoyin frowned.

"If you can guess that Xiao Nanfeng possesses the blood peach tree, don't you think Nalan Qiankun can, too? Allowing Xiao Nanfeng to do what he wants is the best way to get them in conflict with each other. Why interfere?"

Xiang Shaoyin hesitated.

"Are you worried that Xiao Nanfeng might be able to win against Nalan Qiankun after you cede your territory without a fight? That you might help him grow stronger instead?"

Xiang Shaoyin smiled wryly. "I can't hide anything from you, Mr. Wen. Xiao Nanfeng's growing far too rapidly. I wanted to take advantage of him to deal with Nalan Qiankun, not to aid in his growth. If he were to take down Nalan Qiankun, wouldn't we gain yet another strong enemy?"

"That's how Nalan Qiankun's trying to deal with you," Mr. Wen replied, sipping at his tea.


"Consider three warring factions, with one dominant in strength. If it pursues the other two factions, what would they do?"

"Ally to take on the strongest faction, of course," King Shaoyin replied.

"And if the strongest faction instead pretends to be weak, to be unable to defeat the other two factions? Without any pressure, those two factions would suspect and be envious of each other, then attempt to steal their treasures. What would happen then?" Mr. Wen continued.

King Shaoyin blanched. "Do you mean to say that Nalan Qiankun has been feigning weakness to make us relax? To try to start a fight between us and Xiao Nanfeng?"

"Very good, King Shaoyin. You didn't need me to explain anything. You know what to do next, don't you?" Mr. Wen smiled.

King Shaoyin frowned, then nodded. "Thank you for the reminder, Mr. Wen. Otherwise, I might have missed the forest for the trees."

Within the imperial palace of Tianshu, a female Immortal bowed and stood before Cui Haitang, waiting for her to peruse a batch of battle reports.

"The Xiang clan has withdrawn its forces from the two parcels of titled lands under their command? Are they crazy? Do they really intend on bolstering Xiao Nanfeng's forces?" Cui Haitang shouted.

"Your Majesty, our plan to spark conflict between the Xiang and Xiao clans has failed. What should we do about those lands?" the female Immortal asked.

"What did His Majesty say?"

"His Majesty said that he was busy recuperating, that he would leave you in charge for the time being, Your Majesty," the female Immortal replied.

"He intends to have me take charge of the front lines?" Cui Haitang frowned.

"Your Majesty, this is a measure of His Majesty's trust. In what other kingdom or empire would you be granted such an opportunity? I am certain His Majesty meant this as a matter of trust and faith in you," the female Immortal hurriedly said.

Cui Haitang's feelings improved upon hearing this rationalization.

"What should we do about those two parcels of land, Your Majesty?" the female Immortal asked again.

"Fight Xiao Nanfeng off! Commit all the forces at our disposal. Since we were unable to provoke a fight between the Xiang clan and Xiao Nanfeng, we'll have to take him on ourselves. We must obliterate Xiao Nanfeng's forces. Have the various marquises command their troops to attack the borders of the kingdom of Dazheng. I want Xiao Nanfeng's kingdom destroyed to avenge my sons!" Cui Haitang gritted out.

"Understood, Your Majesty!" the female Immortal replied.

She left in order to make arrangements for Cui Haitang's commands, leaving her free for the moment. She glanced at her sons' memorial tablets on a nearby table. She walked over and cleaned them all once again.

"Your father said that he would avenge you after he recovered, but it's been a month. Shouldn't he be healed by now? Why hasn't he done anything? He's even left the military affairs for me to handle. Just what is he up to? Has he forgotten about his promise?" Cui Haitang frowned in exasperation.

She strode briskly toward a hall toward the back of the palace, where Nalan Qiankun was wont to cultivate.

"Your Majesty, His Majesty is in secluded cultivation and has forbidden anyone from approaching him," a guard called out from afar.

"And am I just 'anyone'?" Cui Haitang replied coolly.

"Your Majesty, His Majesty gave this order himself. Please wait for a moment. I'll report your arrival immediately!" the guard said.

Suddenly, Cui Haitang heard the sound of lovemaking coming from within the hall. She gaped, thinking that she had to have misheard—Nalan Qiankun wasn't infatuated with women; he didn't even have a single concubine. She was unable to believe that Nalan Qiankun would have found another woman to be with behind her back.

"Scram!" Cui Haitang pushed the guard aside and sent him flying.

"I was wondering why he would leave the military affairs for me to handle. I deal with business all day long, while he sits in the back and fools around, ignoring even his sons' revenge?!" Cui Haitang shouted.

She rushed into the hall, ignoring the guards trying to stop her from behind, and kicked open the doors to the hall.

There, she found Nalan Qiankun seated nude and cross-legged on a praying mat as he cultivated. No one else was present, and certainly not a woman.

"What are you doing here, Haitang?" Nalan Qiankun asked, opening his eyes.

"Where is she? Where's that wench?" Cui Haitang stomped into the hall and searched all around, but there was no one else in sight save Nalan Qiankun himself.

"What are you searching for, Haitang?" Nalan Qiankun asked, more sternly this time.

Cui Haitang continued searching, but it didn't seem as though there was anything to be found. She scowled and cried out, "Husband, where's that wench who was leading you astray? I heard a female voice in the hall!"

"What? Where? You must have misheard."

"I—!" Cui Haitang's face stiffened.

She was certain she hadn't misheard, but she would need proof to move this accusation forward. She had found no shred of evidence at all.

"Haitang, you must have been too tired lately," Nalan Qiankun said, consoling her.

Cui Haitang had no choice but to drop the matter for the moment. She pressed, "Husband, when do you intend to avenge our sons?"

Nalan Qiankun replied, "I've been raising my cultivation lately. My strength has increased by leaps and bounds. We can talk more once I've finished."

"When will you be finished, then?" Cui Haitang pressed.

"Soon," Nalan Qiankun replied perfunctorily.

Cui Haitang wanted to avenge her sons immediately, but Nalan Qiankun didn't seem to be in a hurry at all. It frustrated her to no end.

Nalan Qiankun spent a great deal of effort placating her. Two days later, when she approached the hall once more, she again heard a female voice panting harshly.

"Get out here, wench!" Cui Haitang rushed in once again, infuriated.

She kicked open the doors to the hall. Once more, only Nalan Qiankun could be seen, his clothes rumpled. No other woman could be found within.

"Haitang, have you been feeling too stressed lately? Could you be hallucinating?" Nalan Qiankun asked.

"I would never," Cui Haitang replied, indignant.

"Even if I were to find some other woman, would I need to hide it from you? Don't you know how I am after so many years of being married to me? You've asked if I've wanted concubines many times, and I've never taken a single one. Furthermore, if I really wanted another woman, why wouldn't I set up a barrier around this hall to prevent any noise from leaking out?" Nalan Qiankun frowned.

"I—" Cui Haitang was at a loss for words.

"You've been too stressed. Go rest. Don't worry about affairs of the empire for the time being. My avatar is out of secluded cultivation now, and he can handle things."

"Husband, what about avenging our sons?" Cui Haitang pleaded.

"Wait a little while longer," Nalan Qiankun said.

Cui Haitang grimaced, but what could she do? She was in the wrong for even barging into the hall in the first place. She had no choice but to nod with exasperation.

As she stepped out of the hall, she shook her head. "Could I have misheard? No, surely not. But that doesn't make sense—it's almost like my husband's a different man entirely, one who doesn't care about Changkong and the others."

A month later, in the Xiao manor at Yongding, Xiao Nanfeng stared at Han Bingdie in surprise. "Senior Aunt, what's going on? Have you finally permitted me to speak with Yu'er in private?"

Whenever he wanted to have a private conversation with Yu'er, Han Bingdie had stepped in to accompany her, as though worried that he was going to take advantage of Yu'er without her supervision. Since Han Bingdie was Yu'er's mother, however, there was nothing Xiao Nanfeng could do.

"Have a chat," Han Bingdie said. "You'll only have ten minutes. We'll be leaving then."

"What? Leaving?" Xiao Nanfeng exclaimed.

Yu'er pursed her lips. She pointed up above at the sky. "My father's here."

"Oh?" Xiao Nanfeng was shocked.

He looked up. It was noon, and a bright sun hung in the air. A figure could be seen in the sky, right below the sun. From afar, it looked as though the figure was radiating sunlight. Although his features couldn't be seen clearly, Xiao Nanfeng could sense his tremendous aura.

"My father said that he was unwilling to come down here. My mother had to persuade him earnestly just to allow me to bid you farewell," Yu'er said, reluctant to depart, her voice depressed.

Xiao Nanfeng glanced at the sky in surprise. How haughty did Yu'er's father have to be? Was he unwilling to even show himself and greet Xiao Nanfeng? Did he disdain the Xiao manor?

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