Chapter 37: Xiluo and the Four Heavenly Kings
Xiluo Empire consists made up of Xiluo Swamp, Karda Desert and Beyja Highlands. Its complicated terrain makes it an easy territory to defend, but hard to launch an offense from… Actually, to be more precise and blunt, it is a horrendous place where the living are unable to reside in.
The Great Death Swamp, the sparsely populated Great Desert and the Freezing Highlands, these are the 3 great dangerous restricted areas for the living, forming a hell for the living and playground for the dead.
Not a lot of people knows that in this magical world, the harshness of nature isn’t unbeatable. In the depths of the Great Swamp, there is a land where it is spring all year round, the grasses and wood are dense and the scenery just like a painting. That is the capital of Xiluo — Xiluo, the Kelar Administrative District.
Even this seemingly miraculous land was traded for with a high price and a lot of time, the Soul Towers at the areas beside the capital were forever radiating the light of souls and magic. In other times, it would have meant a death flood of white bones but now, it is just countless undead workers who were working.
As long as it is an intelligent being, even if it is a high-tier undead who hates the living, they still retain their sense of aesthetics from when they are living. No on likes it when their home is a pile of wreckage and dirty mud.
The immortal Undead never lacked time and manpower. When the people of the world still thinks it is a sight of hell here, but then somehow, this place has already started to gradually change.
Xiluo Empire’s capital Xiluo, there are nearly a million silver-rank and above intelligent Undead, 20 million living that serve as servants and slaves and the number of low-tier Undead are completely immeasurable. The scenery in the city is breathtaking, it is well-equipped with all the basic infrastructure and transportation network, that consists of underground pipes and floating crafts, were extremely technologically advanced. If we only look at the city’s scale and design, even the Auland Capital which is known for its extravagance can’t even compare to half of Xiluo’s.
The sculptures by the road might just be a certain country’s royalty heirloom that was passed down for thousands of years. This is the accumulation from the Undead Empire which has destroyed numerous kingdoms.
TL: Accumulation -> can’t think of any suitable English word for this word is normally used to refer to a person/country/anything has accumulated quite a bit and has huge resources behind it. For e.g can be used to refer to a multitude of financial resources an old merchant accumulated throughout his lifetime. Can be used for military power etc. too
In one of the luxurious mansions within Xiluo City, the 7th Senator of the Empire, Spider Marquis Lionheart is currently dealing with matters of governance. As one of the strongest Death Knights in the Empire, he is the Commander of the Death Knights in name and their teacher. However, in the eyes of the people of the Empire, he is always dressed in a loose clothings reminiscent of scholars and appearing with the image of a gentle and intelligent general.
TL: The capital of Xiluo Empire is Xiluo.
But those truly understand him will know that once this fellow gets on the battlefield, he would be a ferocious beast that cannot be controlled. There was once he went against the orders of his superior and made an inhuman record by traveling 2000km within 17 days to destroy an entire kingdom. The so-called ‘Keeper of History’ and ‘The Polite Scholarly General’ can only be said to be his hobby and disguise off the battlefield.
But today, this ‘Eternal Royal Guard of the Emperor Yongye’, ‘Goes Mad the Moment He Gets On the War Chariot, the Irrational Undead War Chariot’ was inside his own residence and deeply in thought with 2 intelligence reports in hand. His dignified face hardens, as though he has met with an extremely difficult question.
“Lionheart, why are you looking so bitter? Is those long-ears in the West starting to cause trouble? Or did the barbarians in the South go down their mountains? If it is this kind of interesting stuff, then let big sister share your worries.”
A cold and lazy female voice could be heard from outside the residence. Despite it being a question, a strange sense of happiness and teasing could be felt within her tone, as though as she was getting excited from the thought of fighting.
“Lord Gray.Sin, there is no fighting and please do not try to stir up war. I have told you many times that the wariness the living has towards us has already reached the limit. Towards the Empire, a meaningless war isn’t a good thing.”
“Tsk, then why did you call me here today. You know that I am only interested in war. Or, could it be that the bunch of Liches of the Council is bored and looking for things to do? Or is it the diplomacy problem the last time. You better go look for other Senators, I, the 4th Senator, the Duchess of the Empire, Bone Dragon Queen Gray.Sin is uninterested in those matters.”
Looking at just the outer appearance, she is a cold and tall female Elf, her long silver hair reaches down all the way to her waist, her pale skin which has no trace of redness from blood had a bizarre kind of aesthetics to it and a long skirt that drags all the way to the floor had the color of red and black intertwining on it. The most striking part of her appearance is her eyes, those inverted black-white eyes that seemed to be felt like a black hole that is absorbing light. There seems to be something there, yet nothing there.
TL: Meaning black sclera, white iris
Xiluo Empire’s structure is probably the weirdest one in the entire world. Despite being an Empire, it doesn’t have an Emperor and all of the authority is split among the 12 Senators. There is a Council of Dark Night which takes care of everything in the Empire but towards the 12 Senators, they only have the authority to suggest ideas…
Simply said, there is a bunch of Undead Lords (Senators) that were grasping all of the military might, which the Council of Dark Night isn’t able to interfere with. But, the Senators also can’t do anything towards the authority of the united Liches. So, without the Undead Emperor with the highest authority, both parties can only walk their own way without interfering with each other, resulting in the formation of this weird structure.
Of course, there are Senators that are close to the Council. In fact, the Head of the Council is the 2nd Senator Feyman. There are also quite a few other Senators which walks very closely with the Council and the debate to abolish the council is brought up every year. But, if they don’t want to start an internal war, then this suggestion is destined to never pass through.
Gray.Sin and Lionheart are Senators which aren’t close with the Council of Dark Night. In fact, while most of the Senators has set their eyes on the seat of the Emperor, they were the very few of the Royalty Faction who believes that there will be a day where Lord Yongye would return… This is a very idealistic notion that is welcomed by old soldiers of the time of the Emperor, but as it is unrealistic so it is unable to strike it big in the undead tribe which is getting more and more pragmatic. As time passes, more and more of their companions started to turn to other factions.
Not long ago, the Royalty Faction which had 4 Senators began to fracture again as one of the Four Heavenly Kings under the Emperor, Ghoul King Decars turned to the Council Faction, striking a heavy blow to this small faction.
Wanting to be the Big Boss Faction (Most of the Senators), the Council Faction (The 2nd Senator leading the pack), the Idealistic Royalty Faction and the Living Life Casually Faction, this are probably the biggest factions in Xiluo Empire.
It might sound very complicated but if you were to compare it with the hundreds of factions in a Human Empire, in a country with more than 10 million intelligent beings, the situation with the undeads could be said to be very simple already. Not to mention, most of the undeads has already shouted out their goals directly ‘wait for the Emperor to return’, ‘the Council takes over the governance, I will be the leader’, ‘Ah Dang doesn’t have any opinion on who becomes the leader, Ah Dang only wants to eat’, ‘if I become the leader, I will start another Undead Calamity’, these kinds of words would be considered inconceivable in the human society which likes to beat around the bush.
Right now, 2 of the leaders of the Royalty Faction are meeting directly in the day. Probably, rumors are flying around right now.
But in this instant, under Gray.Sin’s questioning, Lionheart didn’t even raise his head and only threw out a sentence at her.
“There is news on Yongye Scepter.”
Gray.Sin was stunned for a moment before shock covers her face.
“I thought you said the Yongye Scepter definitely doesn’t exist? I thought those famous works of yours is just used to scare others?”
“Yes, going by my judgement then, the Emperor is probably treating it as a joke. In fact, a joke in bad humor. Those things I wrote was just to make those ambitious factions that are intending to enthrone themselves spend their efforts to look for a wooden scepter that would possibly never be found.”
Lionheart raises his head and his sword-shaped eyebrows twisted together and his expression could be said to be flavorful, there is happiness, angry, reminiscence and uneasiness…
“Yesterday, I received 2 news regarding the underground world. One of them was regarding the Yongye Scepter… But, I recommend that you see the other one first.”
Gray.Sin snatches it over, but…
“I thought that it was some important intelligence, but isn’t this a tourism brochure? Lionheart, do you intend to go on a holiday? And inviting me too? I’m sorry, you are a good man, but other than the Emperor, I am not interested in any other Undead."
Already used to his unreliable comrades, but compared to the other 2 of the Heavenly Kings, the Bone Dragon Queen which tends to overthink things is much easier to deal with. He solemnly accepts the good man card and says plainly.
“Please look at it more carefully.”
“The Death Royale Undead Theme Park and Ghost Festival Tourism Week, enjoy a tour full of surprise of darkness and death. There will be 30 free entrance tickets to give away before we open for business? What is this!! Is this some kind of lame plan that an idiot came up with? Boring, I would be interested in a War Theme Park though. But Undead Theme Park and Ghost Festival, don’t we have that everyday here?”
“Please look at it more carefully.”
“Liu Huang Mountain City? Oh, Adam.Han finally went mad? That is something to celebrate about!!”
“Please look at it more carefully…” Even the patient Lionheart was starting to lose it with the Bone Dragon Queen’s eccentric and scattered thoughts. Helplessness and pleading were infused into his tone.
Looking at the steeled face of her little brother, Gray.Sin finally decided to get serious. When she flipped to the second page, she stunned.
That was a very vivid advertisement picture. On it, many different Undead were wearing weird clothes while walking the streets. Some were banging the gong and hitting the drums, some were singing and dancing but if it was just it, how could Gray.Sin be startled?
Right now, she can only open her mouth wide, pointing towards a corner of the picture, her image as a Undead Lords all went down the gutter.
Dressed in many different colors with peacock feathers poking into him, the Skeleton Dog was trying his best to use his lower limb to handstand. Below him, there is a green colored ball. It is a game of a cute pet pushing the ball.
However, its balancing techniques didn’t seem to be outstanding, just a careless mistake and he would fall and the artist managed to capture the silliness in the instant he fell.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH… IT IS BOSS! Bastian, the fierce and strong leader of the Four Heavenly Kings, the Demonic Space Hellhound Bastian!!”
Lionheart has already covered his ears in advance but even so, he was rattled to the bones by the Bone Dragon Queen’s siren-like scream. This ancient Bone Dragon Queen’s voice was long reputed to be the Throat of Death… “Seriously amazing dissonance. I give you all the authority to beat her up the moment she starts to prepare to sing — by some Emperor”
In this instant, Lionheart could also understand the shriek of death by the other party. Back then when he first looked at this painting, he wasn’t much better either.
Demonic Space Hellhound Bastian, the Captain of the Royal Guards of Lord Yongye, the Red Hunting Hounds, the vice-commander of the entire Yongye Army, the leader of the Four Heavenly Kings, there are bunch of these kind of titles but what is known is that he is the strongest Undead Lord. He has destroyed countless armies and kingdoms by himself and only wreckage is left on the land he passes through. He is the most trusted and relied on general by Emperor Yongye.
His subordinates and he should have been killed in that war but his sudden appearance, and furthermore with such a cute look, naturally scared Gray.Sin badly.
“It can’t be wrong, that weird bend of the tail, the scars on the brain and more importantly, the eerie sight of having 2 left legs in the front and 2 right legs at the back, it is impossible for any other skeleton dogs to look like that.”
“Yes, other than Lord Bastian, I can’t think of anyone else who would take out their four limbs when the sleep and reattach them randomly after waking up. Front leg, back leg, left leg, right leg, he reassembles it as he pleases and then when he starts walking, his four limbs moves freely, causing him to instantly walk in circles…”
The sudden appearance of the leader of the Four Heavenly Kings who should have been dead and what it means made Gray.Sin feel like happiness came to quick and happiness, yet at he same time, she felt a little unconfident.
“Could it be that the artist drew it randomly…”
“No, you look at the back.”
Turning to the next page, there is a Skeleton General that has 18 arms. Right now, what is on his arms isn’t swords with fresh blood on it but wooden poles with spinning plates on it.
There was even an explanation below ‘The Jack-of-all-trades Defay will show you tricks that defy human limits, spinning 18 plates at once!”
Squinting her eyes, Gray.Sin stared for a long time but didn’t really get it.
“I don’t think that there is anything there. Only a fellow that knows how to spin plates.”
“When Skeleton Generals go up in rank, they can choose to grow another pair of arm to wield more weapons, but the soul has its limits. Being overly focused with too many weapons would only hurt oneself. A normal Skeleton General is able to control 4 weapons at once, top-class weapon experts can wield 8 at once and Undead Lord-class could wield 12. There is a person that can wield 16 though, the subordinate of Lord Bastian, the Head Instructor of Red Hunting Hounds, Great Sword Saint Fayde. Looks like he has improved.”
“Defay? Fayde? There is totally no effort give for this fake name!”
“There is also this person.”
This is a Dullahan using his own head to play Polo… Note below ‘An exciting race that you have never seen before.’
“Camisia that dumbass!! That stupid bald old man! That cross-eyed idiot, I would recognize him even if he turns to ashes.”
“Yes, the person with strength of a Titan, the terrifying charge of courage, the Vice-captain of the Red Hunting Hounds, Lord Camisia. Also, there is this person…”
It is a Lich with her hands rubbed together. In this instant, her face was full of smiles and she was carrying a bag of green-colored liquid… Note below ‘You have definitely never drank before such delicious drinks. Created specially for you by Master Alchemist Feyfey, the favorite of those who likes to exercise.’
‘That insignia of Alchemy and that queer hat… The Mistress of Plagues Kaka. Even Undead do not dare to drink the medicine she makes. Those living, puu, after drinking it, they would definitely be strengthened but I hope that they still remember what they look like, so that they can try to find back their original appearance.”
“There is still this, this and this.”
“The legendary Bone Dragon who serves as a ride, a female Viper who dances belly dance and a great Witch who does divination… I roughly get it.”
“Yes, my intelligence team disguised as tourists have went in to play for awhile and even received the commemoration badge indicating that they are the 9th tourist. Looks like their business isn’t doing good. Un, they have confirmed that the people in the picture are all real, that is to say…”
Gray.Sin stands up, her eerie eyes full of happiness.
“That is to say that our Emperor is still alive! Yes, only our Emperor can make these top warriors dress in such a look and only our Emperor can make our leader obediently play with his ball!!”
“Un, this is only a primary conjecture. Back then, there were many things amiss with that incident. Why did the Royal Guards Red Hunting Hounds suddenly leave behind our Emperor and head to a land thousand miles away, why did the armies of the other 3 Heavenly Kings suddenly be deployed to the sidelines far away from the core of the battle, allowing them to escape the brunt of the internal conflict… Maybe, the underground world will bring us some answers.”
What that should originally be breaking news about the appearance of Lord Yongye, in the eyes of these two, due to the small tourist brochure, became unimportant.
“I must go to the underground world, Now. Hmph, damned Decars, he was brought up bit by bit from a weak Ghoul by the Emperor. Back then, you were the one most who spoke up the loudest for revenge so we thought that you were the most loyal of us all. In the end, you managed to hold on for a hundred years but still betrayed us in the end. When our Emperor and leader is back, look at how they will deal with you.”
After hesitating for a moment, Lionheart speaks softly.
“Actually, Lord Decars’s betrayal is suspicious as well. 10 years ago, when we received news about Adam.Han but the proposal to exact revenge was blocked and even we didn’t support him to do as his please, didn’t he go to Liu Huang Mountain City by himself to look for Adam for revenge? We thought that he wouldn’t return…”
“Yes, no one would have thought that not only did he return, but he even happily organized a few fighting tournaments. Just when we were happy with how he thought it through, he…
“In a turn of the eye, he abandoned us for the Council Faction… Maybe, this is the most suspicious point of all. Emperor had praised Decars and his most loyal dog many times. This may seem like an insult but you also know, our Emperor has an exceptional affection towards dogs so Decars has always treated this title as the highest honor and the Emperor’s exclusive nickname for him.”
“Yeah, back then he wanted to use ‘Night of Dog Packs’ this weird name to replace the name of the army ‘Night of Winter Wolves’, it was gladdening that you managed to stop it. But, it was a pity that the Royal Guards still went with the name Red Hunting Hounds. Pink Queen Army obviously sounds much better.”
“Cough.” A light cough eventually became an internal slander. “Your taste in names is as eccentric as the Emperor’s, and in addition to your Throat of Death, that is the reason why Emperor chose Lord Bastian and not you as the Head of Royal Guards to accompany him around.”
Of course, he wouldn’t say these words out loud.
“I believe in our Emperor’s judgement. Since he believes Decars to such an extent, then Decars should be worthy of our trust as well… Or maybe, Lord Decars met someone in the underground world, or someone gave him certain instructions…”
Saying these words, the gaze of the two people immediately shot towards the tourism brochure on the table.
“I’m heading out now.”
“I am unable to leave Xiluo so I can only depend on you. The underground world would definitely be chaotic now. If even we ‘ignorant militarists’ (a slander for the Council) can find news about the Yongye Scepter, the fellows who have been looking for it for a century would definitely go all out for it. Lord Gray.Sin, please prioritise looking for that person. If I am not wrong, that scepter is most probably a trap laid by that person!”
Gray.Sin isn’t a person who doesn’t listen to advice. That little brother, despite not being one of the Four Heavenly Kings, but just based on his loyalty towards the Emperor and his wisdom, he managed to climb up step by step to the core of the Royalty faction. His suggestions tend to be useful to an old fellow like herself, so she would naturally try to respect it.
“Right, please bring along Lord Ah Dang. If I didn’t guess wrongly, since the person is causing a storm right now, he should be looking forward to reuniting with Lord Ah Dang.”
“Are you sure? Fine, I get it, I will bring it along.”
The Carnivore Ah Dang, the final head of the Royalty faction, the 12th Senator. In reality, it is a Giant Abomination. It didn’t have high intelligence but if you were to look at individual battle prowess, there probably isn’t a single undead in Xiluo that would dare challenge this ‘dull-witted kid unworthy of being a Undead Lord and Senator’.
TL: Abomination -> Probably looks something like this
Ah Dang doesn’t have a high intelligence but after the departure of the Emperor, he listens obediently to the words of his big brothers and big sisters. As long as Gray.Sin asks for it, he would even tear apart the Council’s building and bash those Lich Councilors who slandered the Emperor.
Looking at the leaving Gray.Sin, Lionheart stands up and looking at the sight of prosperity outside the window, he falls into deep thoughts.
This is the teaching of the Emperor…
“Small Lionheart, just being able to fight isn’t cute. A fighter wouldn’t last long and someone who only knows how to charge straight would be treated like a fool. It is better you study more and get a proper job. Right, do you like history? I have always thought that reading history would make one more intelligent. If you have the time, study more history books.”
Remembering that pair of big warm hands (After being beautified in his memories), the gentle, knowledgeable and caring voice (Also being beautified), the Emperor’s servant Small Lionheart has now become the Keeper of History Lionheart and after trying to study history to understand the present, he used his both eyes to see through the boundaries of time.
“You are always worrying while reading those history books, as though those disastrous catastrophes that destroyed eons and worlds might come again and those weird prediction notebooks that even I am unable to understand? God of Order? God of Death Ayer? Chain reaction? Butterfly effect? Emperor, just what were you looking at, just what made you despair and give up everything to start from scratch… Who!! Come out!”
After a roar, a familiar laughing face appears outside the door. It is Gray.Sin who went and returned.
“Little brother Lionheart, it's better to lower down your volume when you talk to yourself. Otherwise, if it spreads out, other people will treat you like a lunatic.”
“You heard it…”
“No, no, I only came back to inform you of something, I heard nothing at all.”
Facing this Bone Dragon Queen who was trying her best to act ignorant, Lionheart laughs, albeit a little irritated. Ah Dang and her are his most trusted people in this dangerous country.
“Inform me what?”
“Don’t call me Gray.Sin in the future, change it to Gria. Don’t call it wrongly.”
Hearing this, Lionheart felt a little baffled.
“Why? You have been called Gray.Sin for the past thousand years so why change your name suddenly? It can’t be that you have listened to those fortune tellers in alleys, they are con-artists who are unskilled, you know.”
“No, no, it is just that some trouble came up and I must change my name?”
“Inconceivable! Who can make a first-tier Duchess Senator of the Empire change her name?”
“Before that, didn’t the Elders tried to reorganize the nobility system and their inheritors of the whole country? Suddenly, they realized that my name was unable to appear inside the magic website, so it cannot be printed. Thus, they recommended that I change my name.”
“Unable to appear? Why?”
TL: Her name is Ge Lei. Si -> I would have translated it to Grace if it wasn’t for the dot.
“It is that Lei Si that caused the problem. It is said that in a far away mountainous area, Lei.Si is another way to call women who has a unique sexual orientation. Didn’t we undergo a system update and the magical website, for the sake of the creation of society, started to block out these banned words so now, that magical website instantly changes all banned words in XX.”
“So, if you insist on calling me Ge Lei.Si, in the future, my nameplate would show Empire First-Tier Duchess, The 4th Senator Ge XX… Isn’t that too embarrassing? So I had no choice but to change my name to Gria, so don’t call it wrongly.”
“Can there be an even more ridiculous reason for your change? For a Senator of the Empire, you changed your name for such a ridiculous reason? Don’t you hear your pride and dignity crying?”
“Alright, I heard that the main reason is that some will of the universe couldn’t be bothered to put a dot in the middle of my name, so my name had to change…”
The web novel is hosted on qidian and qidian has pretty strict content censor.