Having returned to the Snow Empire, Yu Xiaoxing's status was suddenly elevated. She also knew that if she continued to stand here, her cousin and these subordinates and friends would feel unconformable and be unable to enjoy catching up. Moreover, as a member of the imperial family, as well as the Crown Prince, she should pay her father a visit first. There were still many things waiting to be done.
After greeting and saying a few words to Bai Yuanxing, Gao Diping, and the others, Yu Xiaoxing left under the escort of the Light soldiers.
A number of people left Light City, entered the imperial army base, and after a brief notification, higher levels stationed at the imperial army base came out in a very low-key manner to welcome the Empire's Crown ‘Prince’. Then, under the escort of the elite soldiers, Yu Xiaoxing headed for the Imperial palace.
In the sky of the Snow Empire's eastern market direction, a ball of blood-coloured light sped up, passing over numerous prohibitions before suddenly falling into the Light Palace.
There was only one person inside and outside of Light City who dared to act so arrogantly. Even if Ye Qingyu couldn't see, he already knew who the person was.
“Hey, hey, hey, Brother Ye, you're back!” a familiar voice sounded, before a warm face appeared.
Ye Qingyu chose to selectively release the news of his return to Heaven Wasteland Domain one by one, and Wen Wan, who was furthest away from the Light City, was the last to come. As he landed, in his left hand was a special basin-sized bowl of noodle that was still emitting steam. It was obvious that the noodles were just served up. His right hand was holding a similarly special pair of chopsticks, which obviously could clamp more noodles than an ordinary pair of chopsticks.
His gaze fell on Ye Qingyu, studying him from top to bottom, looking somewhat emotional.
He was about to come over for a hug, when he suddenly realized that his two hands were occupied. After a brief thought, weighing it a bit, he eventually focused back on the noodles. With a few slurps he easily emptied the bowl of noodles, gulped down the soup, and before he put away the chopsticks came over to hug Ye Qingyu.
Ye Qingyu looked a little helpless. “It seems, to you, eating noodles is more important than me.”
Wen Wan chuckled. “Since you have come back, you will always be here, but this bowl of noodles will be cold and soft and won't taste good if I eat it later...”
Ye Qingyu, “...”
The dialogue could not help but draw laughter from everyone.
“You really like noodles, there are so much delicacies in this world, but you only eat noodles. Sigh, were you enemies with noodles in your previous life... I guess in these six months, the noodle shop owners on the streets of Snow capital were supported by you.” Ye Qingyu also laughed.
Ever since Ye Qingyu came to the White Deer Academy, Wen Wan had been by his side. Then later in Youyan Pass, Wen Wan was also always standing in Ye Qingyu’s position and the friendship between the two can be said to be incredibly deep.
As they were speaking, the leader of the Light soldiers——the cowardly and greedy fatty Wang Lijin also came over with a smile on his face, stooping and bowing to Ye Qingyu, and was a little afraid to come closer.
Ye Qingyu with one glimpse knew that he must have lost a lot of money gambling again, and most likely had even gambled his imperial seal for him to be cowering like that. For a moment, he also didn't know what to say to him. But however bad his character was, he was still very reliable at the most critical moment. During the battle of Light City, the chubby man had performed exceptional meritorious service. He and his Light soldiers were a group of weird people that cannot be judged using common sense.
Old Fish had all along been watching at the side. He swept his gaze over Wen Wan, Li Changkong and the other people, quietly studying them. Occasionally he nodded, and when his eyes fell on the dark scholar Ximen Yeshui, there was a trace of strange brilliance flashing in his eyes. Finally, when he saw Wang Lijin, Old Fish's lips were curled with a smile. It was the look of a weasel seeing the same kind or when a child saw an interesting toy.
Of course, among all people, the happiest was of course Mother Wu, who was personally preparing in the kitchen.
The moment Mother Wu knew that the Palace Lord had returned, her eyes brimmed with tears of excitement and she immediately rushed into the kitchen to change all the pre-prepared dishes. She personally tied on the apron to make up new dishes, from cold dishes to soup, they were all foods that Ye Qingyu liked.
After the time of a stick of incense.
In the side hall of the Light Palace.
Mother Wu led more than ten kitchen workers to take turns serving up dishes. A dazzling array of dishes filled a large table that there was almost no space to set down the soup bowl.
“It's been a long time since I've had Mother Wu's cooking, I’ve really missed it a lot.” Ye Qingyu looked at Mother Wu, whose face was entirely covered in a fine sheen of sweat and her eyes and lips were both smiling like a flower.
When Mother Wu heard Ye Qingyu’s words, she excitedly rubbed her hands, and her eyes curved into crescent moon shapes. “Palace Lord, if you like, I will be making different things for you everyday...”
“Haha, Brother Ye, I'm glad you're back, usually we would never have Mother Wu's cooking.” Wen Wan had already fixed his eyes on a big bowl of red oil noodles, drooling.
“Yes, good, good, looks tasty.” Old Fish stared at the dishes and delicacies across the table, his crossed eyes glowing with an excited light. He was the first to find a place to sit, and stuffed his mouth with wine and meat, while complimenting, “I didn't expect you to have so many powerful people following you in Heaven Wasteland Domain, and you get to eat so well every day. I will have lots of good food to eat now! Where's the wine? Why is there no wine, come, come, come, bring the wine!”
The crowd laughed again and was seated one after another.
Previously, Ye Qingyu had already introduced Old Fish. Of course, he could not reveal his true identity, and only briefly introduced him as an elder he met in Clear River Domain.
But the people who appeared here were all elites. They naturally could tell that although Ye Qingyu seemed to dislike Old Fish on the surface, in fact he greatly respected him. They could infer that the cross-eyed old man must have an extraordinary background.
The wine flowed freely, and the aroma of food filled the room; it was a warm and harmonious atmosphere.
From time to time, Old Fish, Little Nine, Ximen Yeshui, and Li Changkong, in order to snatch the duck leg and chicken leg, would get into a fight. The atmosphere made Ye Qingyu feel as though he was wrapped in a gentle breeze, exceptionally comfortable.
An hour later.
In the Light Palace.
“Hic... Little Leaf, I can't believe you hid such a good cook in the palace... hic... This taste, almost matches up to the chef of my Quicksand Sea Palace... hic...” Old Fish said while hiccupping and holding the chicken leg snatched from the silly dog Little Nine's mouth.
“Woof... Smelly old man... give back the chicken leg!” Silly dog Little Nine raged, holding up his belly as he chased after him.
Ye Qingyu was simply speechless. With one hand covering his forehead, he pretended to not see anything.
Only these two ‘different kinds’ could run from the table to the main hall.
In the blink of an eye, Old Fish had completely devoured the chicken leg. He satisfiedly licked his fingers and then moved toward the silly dog swinging about the chicken bone in his hand.
“Old thing, Woof is going to kill you!” Silly dog shot a sidelong glance at the smug looking Old Fish before he sat down to one side in a temper. After a thought, his round eyes circled around, filled with a grim expression. “Hey, old thing don't look so proud. There are delicacies everywhere in the Snow capital. Woof is going to the Snow capital to eat aromatic and spicy food, and have one hundred kinds of delicious chicken legs, drink one thousand different kinds of fragrant aged wines... Of course, I also have to eat one hundred grilled fish every day, haha.”
“Hundreds of kinds of... Thousands of kinds of...” Old Fish’s eyes lit up. He immediately put down his pride and his greasy hands made a grab to hold the silly dog in his arms. “I’m your master's elder, you can not eat and drink by yourself, come, come, quickly lead the way, we will go eat grilled fish together!”
The silly dog was really dumbfounded.
You’re an old fish, yet you’re so excited to eat grilled fish?
Are you a fish or not?
But the next second, the dog really responded.
“Woof... put wolf down... I bet you haven't showered in hundreds of years! It stinks, it stinks!” Silly dog, like a fish out of water, desperately twisted around to try to break free, like a little fish out of water. But how could this ‘little fish out of water’ win against a hundred-thousand-year-old fish. Silly dog, who was tightly clamped, revealed his milky ivory teeth, gnawing fiercely.
“Hey, don't bite, let's discuss things...”
“...Woof don't want! The silly dog gritted his teeth while struggling, and then suddenly his eyes lit up. “Cough... old man... Woof can take you... three drops of thunder liquid.”
At this time, silly dog was no longer trying to break free, and had a trace of anticipation across his face. In his mind, one drop of thunder liquid was better than any wine in the entire Heaven Wasteland Domain. Also, he knew that Old Fish must have thunder liquid on him.
“Well, your request is a bit too much, but because of our relationship... Deal!”
“Woof woof, what a straightforward person, Woof likes. Then what are we waiting for, let's go. Woof haha, I'll first take you to my favorite...”
“Huh, are we finished here? What? You’re treating me to eat supreme grilled fish? Okay, it's decided, let's go.”
The man and dog exchanged words, simply ignoring Ye Qingyu and everyone else. Then transformed into streams of light, disappearing at the end of the stone steps of the Light Palace.
The crowd was speechless.
Looking at the gradually fading light in the distance, Ye Qingyu couldn't help smiling helplessly and shook his head.
Both of them were very strong. The hundreds of thousands of imperial guards outside could not stop them at all. And now these two troublemakers had combined together, the Snow capital would most likely be in chaos again. After all, even a super large sect like the Greater One Sect was turned into a mess by these two.
The feast continued.
Ye Qingyu was glad with the results of Bai Yuanxing and the other people's cultivation. After dinner, he then gave them pointers on their cultivation.
After an incense stick of time—
“Brother Ye! We're here!”
Two eager and excited voices came from mid-air.
The corner of Ye Qingyu's mouth was slightly raised.
“They came so fast!”
The next moment, authorities of the empire, including the Pill God Dugu Quan, Divine Doctor Ouyang Buping, Left Minister Lin Zheng, Right Minister Qu Hanshan, Old Marshal Li Guangbi, and Apex Prince Yu Feiyan were all within a beam of light, descending onto the doorway of the Light Palace.
In a quiet room in Light City.
The interior of the boxy room was extremely simple, with only a few seemingly random splashes of ink that adorned the dark walls.
The borders of the walls were depicted with a number of different forms of ancient gods and beast totems that seemed like it would jump out the next moment and swallow the sky and earth.
“Brother Ye, you have been gone for half a year without any news. We were so worried.” Pill God Dugu Quan carefully looked at Ye Qingyu. Although he did not sense the fluctuation of his yuan qi, but fortunately his aura was stable and did not seem to be wounded. He finally could relax.
“Yes, if I had not stopped old man Dugu and told him to wait for another half a month, he would have rushed through the Domain Gate to come find you.” Ouyang Buping smiled, brushing his long white beard.
“Old man Ouyang, you have the nerve to say that. Weren’t you the one who said that if there is no news of Brother Ye and we won't have much longer to live so we might as well charge into Clear River Domain to bring little brother Ye back?” Dugu Quan shot a glare at Ouyang Buping beside him.
Ouyang Buping very assuredly shook his head, saying, “When did I say that, don’t blame me when you’re too embarrassed to admit it. Do I look like such a rash person?”
“Hey you old man, you have gone to many places out of rashness, eighty years ago you...”
The two old men, whose age added together were close to one thousand years, began to argue like children.
Ye Qingyu sat there not knowing whether to laugh or cry, but he felt this atmosphere was incomparably warm. The two elder brothers’concerned about him filled his heart with a warm burst of current, and he experienced a feeling of returning to home.
He gently stroked his forehead and said with a smile, “Two elder brothers, although I was in Clear River Domain, but I knew two elder brothers were concerned about me. We should still talk about the serious matter first, and don't let the Right Minister and Left Minister wait for too long.”
“Don't worry, we rarely get a chance to witness the quarrel between the Snow empire's important Pill God and the Medicine God. To be able to witness this in person, haha, is also a story, haha,” the Right Minister Lin Zheng gently blew the fluttering hot steam above the tea and said with a rare laugh. Evidently his mood was good.
“Haha, the two elders’ mentality is so young, Right Minister and I are really far behind.” Qu Hanshan's sword-like brows were gently raised, faintly smiling.
“How has Heaven Wasteland Domain been in the past half-year?” Ye Qingyu's complexion was restored, turning to look at Right Minister Lin Zheng.
“Ever since Crown Prince her highness followed Palace Lord Ye into Clear River Domain, the matters of the Snow Ground Demon Court were temporarily given to the Apex Prince, Yu Feiyan, his highness to handle. Since that war, Heaven Wasteland Domain has been peaceful...” Lin Zheng reported back the major forces and situation of Heaven Wasteland Domain one by one. “...From the report of The Whip of the Thunder Deity corps, the Stepping Wave corps, the West Rock corps and Youyan Pass every half a month, the other races were often in conflict. In the recent days, the major foreign races, except the Snow Ground Demon Court, are all getting restless and most likely will act soon.”
“But do not worry too much. Generally speaking, the Hurricane Demon Court had suffered serious damage, the Desert Brute Race Royal Court, White Water Black Mountain Brute Race, and the Snow Ground Demon Court now only have the power to gasp for breath. It will be difficult for them to form an army again.” Qu Hanshan continued, “And the Domain Gate of the four major foreign races have been sealed by the Snow Empire Imperial family. There has been no further news of abnormal fluctuations with the Domain Gate.”
For more than half a year, all the generals and millions of soldiers of the Snow Empire were all situated in a recuperating and defensive state. In particular, the Left and Right Ministers were in full cooperation. The skillful deployment and distribution of the follow-up plan had greatly increased the strength of the entire Snow Empire's military.
“Just...” The old commander Li Yuanbi sighed. “Although the overall situation of Heaven Wasteland Domain has been relatively stable, but sects like the Three Sects and Three Schools are secretly making some unusual moves. After the cleaning up of that war, there are still some stubborn roots hopping about secretly...”
The old Commander's hair and beard were both white, and the wrinkles between his brows were more obvious than half a year ago.
Back before the Crown Prince left, the final order was for the Left Minister and Right Minister to be in charge of all the military arrangements of the Snow Empire, while he was arranged to handle all the matters of the Jiangu of Heaven Wasteland Domain. But even till today, the major sects and forces of Jianghu had not been properly treated, which had troubled the old Commander’s day and night to the point that he was unable to sleep.
“Some sects in Heaven Wasteland Domain, I have dealt with before during my time in Youyan Pass, how about this...” Ye Qingyu looked at the old Commander, whose eyes flowed out an unintentional sadness, then revealed a wide smile. “I can help share your burden.”
Upon hearing this, Li Yuanbi was startled for a moment, then his eyes flashed with a glimmer of joy.
“It's great that Palace Lord Ye is willing to help out!” Li Yuanbi's worry instantly turned to happiness, like a boulder was finally moved away from his heart. He looked much more relaxed.
Given Ye Qingyu's cultivation, if he wanted to suppress some of the sects of Heaven Wasteland Domain, it was definitely possible.
“As for the affairs of the empire, I have to leave it to the Apex Prince and the two ministers to help assist the Crown Prince.” Ye Qingyu turned to the direction of Lin Zheng and Qu Hanshan.
“Of course.” The two ministers nodded.
Afterwards, there was another discussion.
Ye Qingyu did not devise a strategy or plan for all matters. In fact, some military affairs were not what he was good at and he had no interest. However, the Right Minister and the others obviously hoped that the Palace Lord, who was now the pillar of the empire, could sit down to listen, so the discussion was very detailed.
Ye Qingyu occasionally interjected with a few words.
In the blink of an eye, two hours had past.
Ye Qingyu gained a general understanding of the arrangement and all the matters that had taken place in the Snow Empire.
Everyone drank tea and the rhythm slowed down slightly.
“Cough... the discussion of the important business is over, you should talk about your experience in the foreign domain.” Dugu Quan, who seemed to have been waiting for a long time, finally found a chance to interrupt, revealing a hint of impatience.
“Yes, yes, little brother Ye, we're all curious about the interesting things that happened in Clear River Domain.” Ouyang Buping rarely agreed with Dugu Quan, echoing one another.
Ye Qingyu helplessly smiled, then roughly talked about his experience in Clear River Domain. Of course, he hid a lot of key information from them, such as the Underground Moon Immortal Palace, chaotic thunder liquid as well as the identity of Old Fish.
An hour later.
The people could tell that Ye Qingyu really had a lack of interest towards the military and Imperial matters, which was the same as before, and there was nothing that could be done. But they also knew that the Palace Lord had just returned. There may be some personal matters he needed to deal with first, so the Right Minister and the others used the reason that they had paperwork to finish off and had to depart.
Ye Qingyu personally saw them off.
Dugu Quan and Ouyang Buping originally wanted to stay to share their insight and what they had learnt from the 108 ancient characters in the last six months, but with a flash of light, there was suddenly a flying scroll coming from the Snow Empire's main hall. As soon as the two received the letter, they too hurriedly got up to leave.
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