Beastmaster of the Ages - Chapter 1600
“Lately, Li Tianming’s performance in the Astraldome has been amazing. He represented our imperium and caused quite a lot of discussion across more than a thousand nova source worlds that witnessed him bringing our home to prominence. His deeds are clear for all to see. We have decided to reward Li Tianming for his achievements,” Sovereign Starfeather said with a smile.
Tianming was all too happy to hear that. If the sovereign had already said all that, then surely the reward would be better than the Goddess Flowerfall, the whip technique he had gotten after clearing the first level of the Tranquil Battlefield.
“Agreed!” many astralkings answered.
“Your Majesty, what would be a fitting reward for Astralking Tianming?” asked the Violetcloud Patriarch, father of Mu Ziyan and the second most powerful person in the imperium. He was seated directly across from the sovereign and his words held a lot of weight.
“The imperium has two eight-star universal manna. We decided to grant one of them to Astralking Tianming,” the sovereign said.
Tianming felt his heart skip a bit, not just his, but the others’ as well. Eight-star universal manna was a big deal. Even among the sovereigns of the divineglorians, their lifebound beasts were mainly eight-star divine beasts. That was why eight-star universal manna were also called manna imperius, that is, the manna of sovereigns! For a youth in his twenties to be given one was something unprecedented in the history of their star. Even Ye Chen, a most impressive beastmaster, hadn’t been given that privilege.
When Tianming had asked Shengui to find eight-star universal manna for him back then, he’d said it would be impossible, and the white-haired youth didn’t think his achievements at the Astraldome would be able to net him one such chance. There were only two in the imperium’s vault, and he would get one of them! It seemed like the sovereign was holding nothing back. This was easily one of the most precious treasures of the imperium, and no number of ore veins could possibly compare to it.
Surprised and delighted, Tianming knelt on one knee and said, “I’m incredibly grateful, Your Majesty, for the kind nurturing the imperium has afforded me. The first level of the Tranquil Battlefield is only the beginning. With an eight-star universal manna, I’ll definitely make millions of other worlds know the glorious name of the Violetglory Star.”
If anyone else had said something so passionate, they would be laughed out of the room. Yet here, they had all accepted it without a single word.
“Isn’t this a little… inappropriate?” As expected, there was a dissenting voice. Everyone turned in the direction of the voice. Tianming saw that the one who said that was seated beside the Violetcloud Patriarch, a middle-aged man with an incredibly imposing figure of four meters in height. He had a head of fiery-red, messy hair. The most eye-catching part of him was the flaming eye in the middle of his face that was ten centimeters wide. He was a cyclops, like Old master Shengui.
Even Tianming could guess his identity. He was the Crimsonmeld Patriarch, the youngest of the five patriarchs. He was from the same generation as Mu Ziyan, the daughter of the Violetcloud Patriarch. While he was young, he was among the top three in strength among the patriarchs and the number one beastmaster in the imperium.
The reason his monoeye was similar to Shengui’s was because Shengui was from the clan of Bluemeld Aquas, whereas the Crimsonmeld Archclan used to be known as the Crimsonmeld Pyros. The two clans used to be part of one greater clan, but many disagreements between the two factions had caused them to split. The Crimsonmeld Pyros eventually gained prominence and formed the Pentarchy with the other four archclans, while the Bluemeld Aquas weren’t even highly ranked enough to be considered one of the twenty-three great families. Now, they were but a small faction in the imperium, with Shengui the most distinguished among them.
As Shengui had expected, the Crimsonmeld Patriarch was against rewarding Tianming with the manna and for an obvious reason. One of the two universal manna was of the fire attribute, which he badly desired. The fire attribute was one of the most common across the astralscape, and Tianming had a fire-attribute lifebound beast. If the sovereign gave that manna away, the Crimsonmeld Archclan would lose out.
“What is the reason?” the sovereign asked. Every time there was a sovereign from the Gong Prime Clan, they would have to push back against the Pentarchy, and this time was no exception.
The Crimsonmeld Patriarch held the sides of his chair as he said, “The so-called glory gained in the Astraldome is but a meaningless victory of morale. Even if our fame spreads across the astralscape, it’s of no real benefit. It might even draw the eyes of potential enemies. That’s why I don’t consider it a merit to the imperium. What would count for a meaningful contribution in my eyes would be the suppression of our neighboring rival, the Divineglory Dynasty. Only by defeating them and making the imperium the dominant power of our star would it truly be meaningful.”
His words were convincing to many. Quite a few others also nodded in agreement. However, Sovereign Starfeather didn’t seem rushed at all. He turned to the other four patriarchs and asked, “What are the thoughts of the four of you?”
The Violetcloud Patriarch pondered for a moment. “The Crimsonmeld Patriarch is a little too strict with his standards. Bringing glory to us in the Astraldome is a huge boost to the morale and faith of our subjects. That definitely counts for something. Astralking Tianming deserves to be rewarded, but I think his contributions are a bit lacking to deserve a manna imperius as a reward. Even so, given his talent, it’s only a matter of time before he renders an actual contribution worthy of such a gift. Right now, he’s still too young and can benefit from some restraint and more development on other fronts.”
It was truly an amazing strategy. Though his words seemed against the Crimsonmeld Patriarch’s on the surface, he still aimed to deny Tianming of that gift as per the will of the five patriarchs. Tianming felt like the delicious cake he had been given had been taken away before he’d even had a chance to taste it.
However, Sovereign Starfeather merely laughed. “I see that all of you have your own thoughts about it. Very well. Let’s vote on it to decide on the matter.” The authority of the imperium’s sovereign had historically been weaker than that of the Divineglory Dynasty’s sovereign unless they came from one of the five archclans, which made up the majority of the imperium’s subjects. Without popular support, the sovereign would merely be a figurehead. That was one of the Gong Prime Clan’s woes.
As such, the Kilostar Assembly’s purpose was for a voting council to be formed. The sovereign himself had a voting power equivalent to thirty people, while each of the five patriarchs had a voting power of five. The astralkings also each had one vote. Right from the beginning, the five patriarchs were unanimously decided on the fact that Tianming’s contributions didn’t merit the manna imperius. Since Sovereign Starfeather was the one who had brought it up, there were thirty votes against the patriarchs’ twenty-five. The rest depended on the astralkings of the twenty-three great families.
Quite a number of people sided with the patriarchs. Eventually, there was only one vote left to be cast, and there was an equal number of votes for and against the motion. The tiebreaker was none other than Astralqueen Ziyan! She smiled; whether or not the eight-star universal manna would be rewarded to Tianming rested on her decision.