Chapter 2039: The Curtain Falls! The Sage Emperor Returns!
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The Sage Emperor shook his head, in no mood to argue.
“…Letting you out was very dangerous, and I already knew the various problems that would appear. But since I had made the decision, I had to bear the consequences. With your personality, you should have had no opportunity to inherit the throne, but I still gave you the chance.
“I don’t have much time left. If you inherited my place, even if you acted somewhat improperly, so long as the empire was not greatly affected and the prosperity of the empire was maintained, I would have allowed you to remain as Emperor. Even without the help of that Celestial God Organization, you would not have faced any danger.
“Alas, although you are of the House of Li, you have none of the responsibility of the imperial household!
“It was one thing to construct a Peace Pavilion and select women from across the realm, but another entirely for you to crave success so much that you were ready to move the capital, preparing to summon one million, eight hundred thousand common folk to construct a city ten times the size of the capital. You had even already written the memorial!” the Sage Emperor sternly said.
Everyone in the hall trembled, and even Wang Chong couldn’t help but raise his head in shock.
Moving the capital!
And to a city ten times the size of the current one!
Not even Wang Chong had known about this.
Wang Chong knew that Third Son Xuan craved success, or else he wouldn’t have held the feast of all countries, but he had never imagined that this desire was so great that he intended to construct a new capital!
Moving the capital was no minor affair!
The Great Tang, after experiencing several wars and obtaining the wealth the Arabian Empire had accumulated, had grown extremely rich. While constructing a new capital was an enormous expense, the empire had barely enough wealth to cover it.
But moving the capital was not just a question of paying the money. It also involved an immense expenditure in manpower and resources.
With the cement roads, Wang Chong could borrow the power of the great clans and pay them to build them for him, thus minimizing the effects on the empire.
But moving the capital was on a completely different level of scale and difficulty.
Moving the capital required altering the terrain on a massive scale, which presented an extremely difficult and time-consuming engineering project of its own, and this was only the first phase. Its difficulty was trifling compared to what came afterward.
And Third Son Xuan wanted to construct a city ten times the size of the original capital!
Wang Chong had obtained a gigantic fortune for the empire, but even this would probably be almost entirely consumed in this endeavor. And this wasn’t even considering that Third Son Xuan had already drafted a proposal to draft an enormous number of people and resources from across the realm for this project.
Once this project began, the burden on the people of the empire would be so great that the empire would immediately go from waxing to waning, the wails of the people rising over the land.
Even a rich and powerful empire of the Great Tang would suffer from this, let alone the weaker empires. Thus, in every dynasty, proposals to move the capital would always encounter fierce objections from the old officials.
It wasn’t because they were being stubborn, but because they knew the immense burden this placed on the people!
Moreover, it did not appear as if Third Son Xuan was doing this out of strategic necessity. He was purely doing it because he was hungry for achievement and wanted to show off.
“I, I am the Son of Heaven of the Great Tang! What does it matter if I want to move the capital? It is their duty to perform corvee labor, a natural principle! We are the revered Son of Heaven, the master of all the people of the realm! Can We not even order around some lowly peasants?” Third Son Xuan roared.
All the Dragon Guards and servitors in the hall were shaken.
Third Son Xuan’s words were a blunt admission.
Moving the capital!
This matter was significant enough to alter the entire structure of the empire, dragging in the populace of the entire realm!
“Thus I say that you cannot be an Emperor and that you wasted the chance We gave you.”
The Sage Emperor gave a long sigh, shook his head, and began to walk toward the frozen Third Son Xuan.
Third Son Xuan’s heart trembled as he understood what was happening, his eyes going wide and fear overtaking his eyes.
“What are you doing? Get away! Don’t get close to Us!”
Third Son Xuan’s face reddened, and his body began to fiercely struggle to break free, driven by some immense fear.
But no matter what he did, he could not stop the Sage Emperor from slowly pacing over, and finally…
With one final step, the Sage Emperor finally arrived in front of Third Son Xuan, the two inches from each other.
Third Son Xuan’s eyes went round, almost bursting out of their sockets. But a moment later, as if understanding his fate, Third Son Xuan suddenly dropped his head and began to eerily laugh.
“Haha, fine! Li Taiyi, very good! I lost, lost again to you! No matter what you say, you’re right!
“The strong eat the weak, and so you deserve this body that you seized! But don’t get too cocky! Once I’m dead, you can’t live much longer either! We will wait for you down below!”
When he raised his head again, Third Son Xuan’s eyes burned with hatred and venom.
The Sage Emperor could only sigh in pity.
Sometimes, the situation was so strange and bizarre that not even he could do anything about it.
Third Son Xuan did not understand that imperial authority had always come with great responsibilities and burdens.
Although he had occupied this body, he had never used it for selfish purposes.
“Thirty years ago, it is not that We occupied your body. We saved your life!” the Sage Emperor muttered so softly that only Third Son Xuan could hear.
Third Son Xuan shuddered, his eyes widening as he stared in shock and understanding at the Sage Emperor.
The Sage Emperor said no more. With one firm and resolute step, he entered Third Son Xuan’s body.
The moment the Sage Emperor returned, the world trembled, and a golden beam of energy pierced through the ceiling of Taiji Palace and into the heavens.
This massive pillar of light could be seen from as far away as one hundred li.
Strikingly, within the golden pillar of energy was an enormous, nine-clawed, golden true dragon. This golden dragon let out a resounding roar and then flew into the heavens.
A violent gale swept out from Taiji Palace like a tidal wave.
The tens of thousands of Golden Guards and Imperial Army soldiers cried out in alarm as this massive wave swept past them, their armor clattering as their bodies were forced back by the wind.
“A nine-clawed true dragon!”
“It’s His Majesty!”
When everyone outside saw the true dragon soaring into the sky, they cried out in alarm.
“Paying respects to His Majesty!”
The many circles of soldiers around Taiji Palace prostrated in panic, with even Zhao Fengchen getting on his knees.
None of them knew what had happened, but there was no doubt that the nine-clawed true dragon was the Sage Emperor.
A moment later, that fierce gale dissipated, and all around Taiji Palace fell silent.
Within Taiji Palace, all was quiet as well.
Wang Chong had been watching everything from the raised platform, and when he saw the golden figure enter the body and sensed Third Son Xuan’s energy disappearing, replaced by that familiar and grandiose aura, he let out a long sigh of relief.
“This lowly subject pays respects to His Majesty!”
Wang Chong got down on one knee.
“Paying respects to His Majesty!” all the Dragon Guards and servitors called out, fear and panic in their hearts.
Even now, they still did not understand what was going on!
The Sage Emperor blinked his eyes and fully opened them.
At this moment, the true Sage Emperor had returned!
A few moments later, Wang Chong walked out from Taiji Palace.
When he thought back to what had happened, Wang Chong still felt like he was in the middle of a dream.
The question of the true and false Sage Emperors had finally been resolved. Wang Chong had already obtained a ‘guarantee’ from the Sage Emperor that Third Son Xuan would never appear again.
As for the servitors and Dragon Guards, their memories of the incident in Taiji Palace had been completely wiped. The Sage Emperor had only allowed Wang Chong to keep those memories.
“Your Majesty, are you really…”
Wang Chong recalled the conversation in the hall. After a great deal of hesitation, he had finally voiced that greatest question.
Although he had already glimpsed some of the truth from those damaged records, and Third Son Xuan’s words had revealed even more, Wang Chong still found it hard to believe.
How could one world have… two such people?!
Moreover, the universe contained countless parallel worlds. Had this person come from the same world as him?
If it was the same world, was it the same era?
Wang Chong had far too many questions.
But in response to this question, the Sage Emperor simply smiled, refusing to directly answer.
“If it is or isn’t, is that important?
“As for what is most important, is it not who you are and what you’re trying to do?”
After saying this, the Sage Emperor quickly dismissed Wang Chong, allowing him to leave in a daze. After absentmindedly greeting Zhao Fengchen, Wang Chong went on his way.
As a gentle breeze blew past, Wang Chong came back to his senses.
“Regardless, it’s all over now!”
Chuckling, Wang Chong passed through the palace gates.