“What kind of condition?” Evil-eyed cautiously stared at Li Qiye.
Li Qiye promptly replied: “It is very simple, I want your three empires to be the vanguard!”
“So it boils down to you wanting us as cannon fodder.” Evil-eyed snorted: “If we act as your vanguard, only your kingdom will benefit. We will not participate in a matter like this.”
Li Qiye only coldly stared at him and spoke: “Evil-eyed, how many years have you lived for? Your vision is still so short. It seems that you have wasted all of these years living.”
“You!” Evil-eyed became angry right away. He stood up and glared at Li Qiye.
“Gentlemen, harmony is to be prized, harmony is to be prized.” Erudite Emperor quickly interjected: “Can we just sit down and discuss nicely instead of fighting after two or three sentences? This is a rare occasion for us to be together.”
Evil-eyed scowled and still sat down despite being discontent.
Li Qiye stared at the emperors and went on: “After entering the path, all of our kingdoms will be in the same boat. Everyone will work together, so there is no such thing as cannon fodder. Having my Kingdom of Emperors in the rear will only make your kingdoms safer! On this journey, this is the only way for you all to be worry-free. It is not that I’m looking down on you all, but what do you think the chances of your three kingdoms successfully crossing are? Plus, do you have enough Regal Gold?”
“It is not that we can’t work together. We know your kingdom’s strength full well, but if you can’t give us some kind of guarantee, how can we trust you?” Triumphant Emperor added.
Li Qiye smiled and shook his head: “Triumphant, the three of you are still too narrow-minded. Compared to the great emperors before you, there is still a big gap. It is not that you are not powerful enough, it is because of your insight and insufficient knowledge. However, this isn’t your fault. After all, the previous emperors all came under the Imperial Lord. They knew and understood much more than the three of you.”
He stared at them and continued on: “Your eyes are fixated on territory. The thing that you want to do is to protect your throne and maintain your kingdom.”
“You feel that my Kingdom of Emperors might maneuver and seize your resources.” Li Qiye chuckled: “But if I really wanted to do so, why would I wait until now? When my Kingdom of Emperors was on the same level as the emperors from the previous generation, you all only led lesser nations. In that generation, it is not difficult for me to unify the Imperial Border.”
“But why is it that I still haven’t done so? To be frank, it is because this land alone is not enough for me, and I have no interest in this little authority. If I truly desired such power, would it be your three empires’ turn to rise?”
Li Qiye coldly went on while glaring at the three: “In my eyes, your little authorities are not worth mentioning.”
Such words were quite arrogant, but even Evil-eyed Emperor did not retort this time.
“The Kingdom of Emperors working with your three empires is due to my hope that everyone can cross the Expedition Path. It really is that simple.” Li Qiye coldly said: “There would be no need for any scheming if I wanted your empires. My kingdom could just mobilize our troops and not long after, my endless cavalries would be able to wipe out everything!”
In an instant, the three emperors turned quiet. Despite their reluctance, they had to admit that Li Qiye’s kingdom had such power.
After a long silence, the first to speak was Erudite Emperor: “My empire is willing to embark on the Expedition Path with the Kingdom of Emperors.”
“If time doesn’t wait for us, our destination shall be the Expedition Path. My empire is willing to go together as well.” Triumphant Emperor added.
“Then add my empire as well.” Evil-eyed finished it off.
“Very well, this is a wise decision.” Li Qiye nodded: “Hopefully, everyone will be able to tide over any difficulty. Regardless what is waiting for us on the other side, we will at least tread forward with courage!”
Both sides agreed and set up an agreement for the four empires to enter the Expedition Path together.
“I also have another little request.” After the agreement was made, Li Qiye looked at the emperors and spoke: “I want to borrow your imperial swords for a bit to open the imperial cave.”
The emperors glanced at each other for a bit. Erudite Emperor nodded his head: “I have no objections. When we enter the path, these swords will change masters anyway, so why not let War Emperor borrow them?”
Triumphant pondered for a bit before agreeing as well: “If War Emperor needs it, then you can take it.”
“War Emperor, didn’t you say that there is no free lunch in this world?” Evil-eyed more or less had a grudge towards Li Qiye, so he spoke with some annoyance.
Li Qiye smiled and said: “Yes, there is no free lunch in this world, but that depends on the parties. I am asking you to borrow the sword to show my respect. If I didn’t respect you, do you think I would need to ask?”
Evil-eyed scowled and didn’t want to speak further. He threw his imperial sword at Li Qiye and coldly uttered: “Take it then, no need to thank me.”
“Thank you then.” Li Qiye leisurely smiled after catching the sword.
Evil-eyed snorted. He was very annoyed, but there was no point in talking since he couldn’t beat War Emperor.
“War Emperor, will you also be going with us on the Expedition Path?” Erudite was curious.
Li Qiye gently sighed and shook his head: “No, I will not enter the path. At that time, I will pass down my imperial portal and momentum to Zhan Qi. He will be the Kingdom of Emperors’ new ruler!”
“I still have a lot of unfinished business in this vast mundane world.” Li Qiye slowly said: “This is where I envy the three of you. Completely carefree without emotions and restraints, you can leave at a moment’s notice.”
The emperors had no comment about Li Qiye not going because he was going to pass down his imperial momentum to his general, Zhan Qi. With this legacy, Zhan Qi would be as powerful as War Emperor, so it was essentially the same.
After a while, Triumphant spoke: “There is something that I don’t know if I should ask or not.”
“Who knows if we will meet each other again? So there’s no need to be reserved.” Li Qiye nodded.
Triumphant contemplated his wording before speaking: “In the Imperial Border, there is a rumor. It states that back then, you, War Emperor, walked through the Expedition Path by yourself. Is this true?” 1
“Oh? About that.” Li Qiye smiled: “It doesn’t matter if it is true or not. In short, I will not let the children of the Kingdom of Emperors perish in vain. After all, they have followed me from one generation to the next.”
Li Qiye stared at the emperors to stress his point: “However, this does not mean that the path will be flat. Who knows what the result of the expedition will be? In other words, each person might see something different, it might vary depending on the generation as well.”
“One must prepare for the worst before going.” He said: “Whether it is fate or a natural progression, in short, everyone will have to gamble it all. Only by walking forward without fear will you be able to reach the other shore.”
“The other shore…” Erudite suddenly felt a strange sadness: “Who knows what is waiting for us on the other side… What kind of world will it be? The Imperial Lord left along with all the other great emperors, and now it is our turn.”
For millions of years, ever since the Imperial Lord entered the Expedition Path, all of his powerful generals followed right after him. Along the river of time, one empire embarked on this journey after another.
Today, emperors like Triumphant, Erudite, and Evil-eyed were only little characters during the Imperial Lord’s era. Among them, one used to be a foot soldier while another was a captain, and now, they finally became Imperial Kings.
Nevertheless, they still had to face the same choice as their predecessors — embarking on the Expedition Path.
Li Qiye said: “No matter what is waiting for us on the other side, it will be the closing of a curtain, an end.”
If there were other options, he wouldn’t let the Kingdom of Emperors enter the path. There were too many uncertainties in this decision.
However, there was no other way. If he could take imperial soldiers out of the Lesser Imperial Devil World, he would have done so long ago for his millions of troops.
Rather than waiting to become the cannon fodder of the plateau, he would rather let them take a gamble and enter the path. Perhaps there was still hope.
On the other hand, being tied to the war chariot of the Buddhist Funeral Plateau had an easily predictable end. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, cannon fodder would not have a good ending.
“Okay, there is nothing worth remembering here anyway, let us go for it.” In the end, even Evil-eyed Emperor said this.