Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Wind blew from afar amid the sound of waves.
Above the endless blue sea, the flag of the Red Dragon hung high on the s.h.i.+p of steel, riding the wind and breaking the waves together with the fleet. The fleet stirred up mighty waves and advanced in a straight path.
"How much further is it?" someone asked.
"We're arriving soon, Your Majesty." Christine replied, "Soon."
So Mary's expression returned to tranquility and calmness once more. Her Majesty the Empress was dignified as usual, and unless one knew her very well, one would be unable to notice that she seemed nervous and restless.
She had asked the same question for many times along the way, and Christine could only repeat the same answer to her. Fortunately, this time round, the outline of the distant city could finally be seen from afar.
"It's only been three months." Christine put down the binoculars and sighed softly. "It has already become completely different from the past."
Geraint, who had returned from inspecting the deck, smiled. "After all, he's the Hand of G.o.d, even if he creates a miracle, it will not be surprising.
"It's a pity that, at such a young age, he has stepped into the 'grave'…"
At the moment, Geraint's 35th birthday had just pa.s.sed. He no longer looked young, but he was still full of handsome male charm. Moreover, his personality was not as stiff as his predecessor, Tristan. As he said so, he couldn't help but say a little somewhat teasingly.
As a result, just as he finished his words, he sensed two displeased gazes landing on his face.
"Sir Geraint!" exclaimed the Empress.
Christine cast an angry look at him. This idiot just had to bring up the wrong topic!
Geraint, who realized his blunder, immediately bowed awkwardly to the Empress and dared not stay any longer. He gave an excuse and intended to go strolling along the deck for another round.
But just as he stepped on the deck, he heard the harsh alarm coming from the observation s.h.i.+p.
In an instant, the entire Royal Fleet which was escorting the Empress immediately entered a state of alert. Firebird even appeared on the flags.h.i.+p, namely the Royal Pride. Violent b.e.s.t.i.a.lity emerged from the reflection in the sea, coldly gazing at the sky.
And just above the sky, a huge shadow suddenly emerged.
It was as if a behemoth had suddenly shattered the sky. In the rumble of the hurricane sweeping across, clouds were torn apart, and a shadow so thick it seemed tangible was cast toward the surface of the sea.
It covered the Royal Fleet.
For a moment, even the navy which had secretly gotten ready to open fire did not react.
What… is that?
In the surprised expression of everyone, above the sky, a grand melody sounded from the huge city, echoing the pulse of the heavens and the earth, and the city moved forward rapidly, despite appearing as if it was moving slowly.
Wherever it pa.s.sed, the sea of aether, which was under the city and flanking it, stirred up layers of silver waves.
A magnificent and grand miracle had descended upon the mortal realm.
"Don't act rashly!" Geraint, who was the first to react, announced to the whole fleet. "They are the winged people, who have been invited to the Cloud Tower, just like us. Stay alert, but it is probably just a misunderstanding.
"Musicians of the school of revelation, first, ask the other party to clarify what they are doing here, then warn them of the risk of accidents happening, and request the other party to quickly withdraw from our naval defense region."
Despite saying so, as a royal guard, Geraint inevitably felt displeased.
The Royal Fleet of Anglo, and even the s.h.i.+p Her Majesty is on, is now being literally ridden on the head by a group of bird-like people with wings. If one takes it seriously, such an incident cannot even be considered a foreign-affairs-related blunder, can it?
In a sensitive period of time, it can almost be considered a declaration of war.
Moreover, it's just a matter of traveling, yet the winged people has gone to the lengths of transporting their entire country here from across hundreds of thousands of kilometers via the realm of aether… How free their empress is!
If you really want to show how much you care about the event, it's alright to bring your family over, but who the heck would bring even their house?
Reacting almost as fast as the Royal Fleet, a team of winged people, circling the sky and guarding the territory, slowly approached and stopped at a safe distance. They bowed and apologized, then quickly turned to leave and catch up.
Millions of birds flanked the city floating above the sky, speeding up and leaving the Royal Fleet's shooting range.
The alert was lifted.
Geraint wiped the cold sweat off his head and started getting a headache over how to report the incident to Her Majesty.
Meanwhile, on the bridge of the s.h.i.+p, a silent Mary suddenly spoke. "Christine?"
"Your Majesty —" The serious female knight leaned over. "How may I help you?"
"Speed up the fleet." Mary said, expressionless. "We must reach before them do."
"Yes, Your Majesty." Christine nodded, turned and gave the order, but from the corner of her eyes, she saw her empress quietly biting her lips, murmuring softly. "In hindsight, I should have brought the islands surrounding Avalon over as well…"
In the end, she is angry because her pageantry has been outcompeted, isn't she?
Christine couldn't help but smile resignedly.
Despite being so dignified at all other times, but when it comes to Prince Ye, Her Majesty becomes very childish…
As the fleet accelerated, the shadows cast by the distant city were gradually enlarged. The huge city seemingly forged by steel revealed its outline.
It was completely different from the original Cloud Tower.
Since the Hand of G.o.d took over the city of the Cloud Tower from House Liu, claiming it to be the fief of House Ye, the old city of the Cloud Tower was bulldozed overnight. No, rather than to say 'bulldozed', 'rooted up' would be a more accurate and literal depiction. The old city was then thrown into the nearby seabed to serve as the foundation of the satellite city.
On the original foundation that was completely empty, new crustal movement was triggered, which caused the seabed to rise. Overnight, the area of the city of the Cloud Tower expanded by several times.
Then, on the new foundation, steel grew out of the ground like trees. The unprecedented musical movements of modifications almost exhausted all the iron ore within a few thousand nautical miles. What was created was the majestic city that was s.h.i.+ning in a cold iron gleam at the moment.
Which the destructive power of the Hand of G.o.d brought fear to the various nations, then his present means of creation had impressed countless.
Since the fall of the G.o.d, the Hand of G.o.d had become the most powerful mortal the world had ever seen in the past 100 generations. As long as he was willing to, he could at any time forcefully subdue all the countries and become the new G.o.d in the mortal realm.
Fortunately for everyone, after his trip to the Caucasus, the Hand of G.o.d left Anglo and settled down in the city of the Cloud Tower, leading a hermit lifestyle. He even provided almost free of charge access of the Net of Aether to the whole world, sharing the power that he could have monopolized with everyone in the world.
Since the destruction of the Holy Cauldron, other than the musicians who had attained the Level of Scepter and converted half of themselves into aetheric form, musicians would find that the difficulty of communicating with aether had increased by tens of times, and the stability of the musical movements became so low that it was frightening. They tend to explode easily, causing unpredictable and unknown outcomes.
In just three days, G.o.d knew how many musicians got bombed into the air together with their own labs.
The rules established by the Three Kings of the first generation were completely abolished along with the destruction of the Holy Cualdron. Meanwhile, the Net of Aether, which had risen, completely dominated the operation of the realm of aether.
Even the scepter musicians who were arrogant in the past must bow to the Net of Aether at the moment.
In order to show that he did not intend to use the power to dictate the world, the Hand of G.o.d even separated the inst.i.tute responsible for running the Net of Aether from the Royal Inst.i.tute of Research.
All the necessary backbones of the inst.i.tute, including Newton, no longer possessed their original nationalities and became international citizens who were not a part of any country.
Meanwhile, recruitment for the operation of the Net of Aether had been opened to the whole world, and any qualified musicians could partic.i.p.ate in it.
All the technology used in the Net of Aether were fully disclosed. In principle, each country could maintain and operate the local Net of Aether.
After taking over all the music theory and channels left in the Holy Cauldron, the Net of Aether had become the only way for humans to use the aether presently.
Musicians also ushered in the biggest change in a few centuries, and they turned from demiG.o.ds of the past to new engineers.
The power would be owned by all mankind and would never be monopolized by individuals and organizations… Well, that was what he claimed, and it was up to each individual to decide whether they believed in it.
Anyone with eyes could see that in the next few decades, most issues in the world, be it war or peace, or even prosperity and the creation or abolition of a country, would probably be decided single-handedly by the Hand of G.o.d.
It was even more alarming because the Hand of G.o.d had already set off a wave of unprecedented bloodshed throughout the various countries before killing the G.o.d.
At the moment, after the various nations had waited nervously for three months, the Hand of G.o.d finally did something.
—The countries received a wedding invitation.
Yeah, the invitation was from the city of the Cloud Tower.
I, Ye Qingxuan, am getting married.
You all can bring some gifts and come take a look, don't expect anything else.
The elegant and graceful content of the invitation more or less meant something like the sentences above when translated.
Get married, it's good to get married!
G.o.d knew how many people exhaled in relieve.
Although definitely no one can profit from it, and the nations cannot be stingy with the gift money, from all perspectives, a married person will definitely act more mature than an unmarried person, and will not act rashly on impulse occasionally.
Moreover, combining the information above with Ye Qingxuan's recent development of the city of the Cloud Tower, it seems that he will stay at home to enjoy life after marriage and will not leave the place without reason.
Moreover, maybe after a while, the Hand of G.o.d will begin a sophisticated, health-conscious middle age life… Many things can be solved with whiskey and wolfberry, isn't it great!
It's simply worth celebrating with the whole world!
Be it the countries that were secretly relieved, or the common folks who were simply grateful to Ye Qingxuan for saving them, everyone gladly offered their blessings for the wedding.
It could be said that other than the Ministry of Ceremonies belonging to the Aurora, no one was unhappy about it.
After all, the problem still lay with the wedding.
Of the two leading roles in the wedding, one was the Hand of G.o.d who could descend upon the mortal realm as a G.o.d as long as he was willing to, and another was the supreme emperor of the Aurora, the head of the Dragon Bloodline, the descendant of the Dragon Bloodline closest to perfection in the past 100 generations.
So, here was the problem —
The empress couldn't marry into another family. Even if all the ministers had been beaten to death for opposing her marriage, she would never be able to marry into another family. Otherwise, the sovereignty of the Aurora would be immediately at risk, yet Her Majesty was unwilling to give up her throne… Surely Lord Ye wasn't going to drape a red cloth over his head  and marry into the royal family?
So, who was the one marrying into the other one's family?
Although everyone knew the answer well, because of the ego of Her Majesty and various other reasons, no person without a death wish would say the answer directly.
Therefore, after spending so much effort to solve the problem to the extent that he almost had a brain hemorrhage, Tai Changqing finally thought of a way.
Everything will be solved if the wedding is held in Western style!
Lord Ye even had a bishop t.i.tle as well! Although the Church now exists in name only, a church-style wedding will still be recognized by both the East and the West.
Although the idea is kinda bad, but isn't the problem solved by letting the foreigners worry about it instead?
By then, the marriage is official, will the question of who marrying into which family still be important?
After all, the empress will still be the empress, as for the other matters, it's best not to care about them.
With the political wisdom of everyone in the imperial court and the approval of Duke Ye, and after several reputable wise men submitted memos jointly, everyone pretentiously went through the required procedure in court and finalized the matter.
The final result was a wedding that seemed to be in the global spotlight for a short period of time.
Although the date was set to two months later, many people had already arrived one month in advance, hoping to 'coincidentally' meet the Hand of G.o.d before the wedding. But more than 20 days had pa.s.sed, and they received no benefit.
Meanwhile, the actual important guests only arrived on the day of the wedding itself.
When the Royal Pride docked, it was just behind the Burgundian delegation.
Mary, whom Christine had somewhat calmed initially, immediately hid back into her cabin after stepping on the deck and seeing the Prince of Avalon talk happily with the first citizen of Burgundy at the harbor. She tried hard to resist the desire to look in the mirror.
"Christine, how do I look like in this dress?" She tugged at her knight, as if she was seeking help. "Is it demure enough?"
Christine sighed helplessly.
"Alright." Mary bit her lip, breathed in deeply twice, and tried her best to calm down.
"Let's go." She coughed twice in a pretentious manner. "Well, after all, it's not good to make people wait for too long."
Just as she descended the ramp, she saw the male lead of the wedding waiting on the pier.
He was all dressed up to welcome the guests. He smiled and bowed to his former empress.
"It's been a long time, Your Majesty, you look just as good as you did."
"You flatter me, Mr. Ye, you are the one who looks great."
Mary tried to make small talk, but for some reason unknown, when she spoke, she couldn't help but tear up. "You know, I…"
But at the very moment, Christine's expression changed abruptly and she rushed over to Mary. The sound of the Knights of the Round Table unsheathing their swords rang out continuously. A group of knights wearing power armor appeared from G.o.d knew which corner, using their own body to s.h.i.+eld Mary, guarding her carefully.
"Hey!" With a cheerful shout, the thing that fell from the sky landed beside Mary, producing a dull echo and causing dust particles to fly around.
As the crowd watched on in shock or in alarm, it seemed that the light from a wisp of flame was emerging from the dust.
As they watched on, the empress of the winged people descended from the sky, as solemn as the fierce fire of the Armageddon. Her red dress fluttered in the wind, not a speck of dust on it.
However, she held snacks in her hand, stuffing her mouth full.
As if she didn't notice the unusual atmosphere around her, she deftly reached out and tugged on the sleeves of the man in front of her. "Ye Qingxuan, Ye Qingxuan, is there anything to eat? I am hungry."
Ye Qingxuan's expression twitched as he looked at the big bag of snacks in her arms, speechless.
Then only did the winged people who had been chasing after their empress and flying down from the sky arrive, albeit late. Once Caligula landed and saw the G.o.dd.a.m.n situation, he couldn't help but feel his vision darken.
He slapped his forehead and reluctantly went over to the Anglo delegation to apologize in a thick-skinned manner.
But his empress still didn't realize anything, and she was asking the host of the wedding about the menu. "Ye Qingxuan, Grandpa said that there's roast penguin for dinner, is it true?"
Ye Qingxuan was stunned and looked back at Watson. "Do we actually have that?"
"…Just a.s.sume that we do."
Watson also felt very complicated. He could only lean closer, lower his voice and say, "I will ask someone to tell the kitchen later, at most, just ask someone to summon one to kill and eat."
"…" Ye Qingxuan's expression was twitching, and he could only hope that no ma.s.s food poisoning would occur at his wedding dinner.
"Marriage ceremonies is so troublesome for you all." Elsa looked at the surroundings, shook her head and sighed. "Our marriage ceremonies all just consist of treating everyone dinner in the evening, then carry the bride away and go straight to sleep. Oh right, Ye Qingxuan, will you carry someone off to sleep as well? Can I go and see? Don't worry, I will only watch and not talk."
"…" Ye Qingxuan didn't know what to say.
Fortunately, after Watson had enough fun watching the show, he still had a conscience after all, and he came to the rescue. "Your Royal Highness, you should go and change."
"Oh, is it?" Ye Qingxuan breathed a sigh of relief, wiped the cold sweat off his head, nodded and bid farewell. "Allow me to take my leave."
Only Mary, who had hesitated for a long time and finally mustered up the courage to speak, was left standing. She stiffened, and her whole person almost turned grayish-white.
Mr. Ye, I still have something to say…
"What's wrong?" Elsa looked at her curiously. "Sister, you look very sad?"
"No, it's nothing." Mary forced out a smile, her feelings complicated and difficult to describe.
"Come on, have some sweets." Elsa winked, as if she had understood something, and comforted Mary. "Don't be sad, you can still be friends with him after he gets married."
"Eh?" Mary was stunned.
It was as if an important switch had been flipped with a snap.
"Right…" She murmured softly, and her eyes lit up. "We can still be friends after he gets married."
Next to her, Christine turned her head away painfully.
No, Your Majesty, the 'friend' she meant, and the 'friend' you meant… are totally different!
Meanwhile, the locker room was also in a spin at the moment.
Ye Qingxuan was changing his c.u.mbersome clothes for the fourth time, but Watson, who was next to him, was constantly causing more trouble by stuffing a stack of doc.u.ments into his hands.
"According to your request, the structure of the first generation of the committee has been set up. Here is a preliminary list. However, you have to consider it carefully — Is it really good to just give away the power to control the world?"
"Surely there's not much disadvantages?" Ye Qingxuan looked up at the list, letting the attendant treat him as a clothes rack and put layers of clothes on him. "I can't stand living on thin ice like how the King of Red did, give me a break.
"Wait, why are some names missing here? "
"Oh, I removed them." Watson shrugged and stuffed another stack of doc.u.ments into his hands. "This is the investigation report that has been sent today. The group of idiots were secretly financing the defeated Asgardian soldiers to establish some G.o.dd.a.m.n Liberation Army, and thought that they were being discreet. You give them an inch and they'll take an ell.
"However, I suspect that someone is behind this group of fools. Do you want to continue investigating? We can definitely sniff out a few more unscrupulous snitches…"
"Forget it." Ye Qingxuan shook his head resignedly. "Just let them have a look at the report, don't be so murderous. It won't be too late for you to take care of them after they stir up trouble anyway."
"You're basically throwing all the dirty work to me right?" Watson suddenly felt complicated. "Sooner or later, I will die from overworking."
"Watson, don't underestimate yourself." Ye Qingxuan patted his shoulder, his tone solemn. "s.h.i.+ Dong lived for more than two hundred years."
"…" Watson didn't want to say anything, and he turned to walk away.
When Ye Qingxuan pushed the door open, walked out, and saw the gloating smile on Watson's face, he suddenly got a slightly bad feeling in his heart. "What's wrong?"
"Her Majesty is gone," came the reply
Ye Qingxuan's was totally stunned. "Which one?"
Watson couldn't help but rolled his eyes. "The one marrying you, of course."
So, Ye Qingxuan faced a strange life problem.
— On the day of my wedding, the bride can't be found, what should I do?
Half an hour later, when Ye Qingxuan leaped onto the roof from the balcony of the bedroom, he finally saw Bai Xi.
She wore a white wedding dress and sat on the tiles, unafraid of the dust staining the wedding dress. She looked at the sea leisurely, a fruit platter in one hand, as if she did not realize how much trouble she caused at all. Seeing Ye Qingxuan, she even waved carefreely. "Cousin, you are here."
As she said so, she was stunned for a moment, pondering over her own words. "No, I can't call you 'cousin' anymore, can I?"
"Stuff like this is up to you." Ye Qingxuan grumpily messed her hair up. "Surely you aren't chickening out at the last minute?"
"Of course not, I'm just feeling irritated because of the sheer number of guests you invited!" Bai Xi glared at him, and immediately, her eyes became somewhat dim. "For some reason, I keep on remembering the things in the past recently."
"Because of the city of the Cloud Tower?" Ye Qingxuan asked.
"Not this place, there is nothing much here to remember anyway." Bai Xi shook her head and looked at him. "I mean the things that happened back when we first met."
"Oh…" Ye Qingxuan gave her a strange look. "You mean the time you framed me when we met for the very first time?"
"Ahaha, did something that mean really happen?" Bai Xi blinked her eyes, an innocent look on her face, as if she really hadn't done anything.
"Yes, and it happened more than once. Remember the time you were at the fruit shop, you and Charles took off running immediately after taking something from the shop, making me and our teacher run after you all feeling very embarra.s.sed.
"Also, remember the time we went to eat buffet! You had so many leftovers, and you threw them all on my plate, causing the restaurant management to stop me and try to fine me…"
Before he finished, Bai Xi kicked him. "Why do you remember all these so clearly?"
"These are the only incidents I remember." Ye Qingxuan shook his head and smiled sadly. "I've forgotten a lot of things."
"Last night, I dreamed of our teacher and Charles. They said that they would attend my wedding." Bai Xi lowered her head and rubbed her red eyes. "I miss them very much."
"Me too." Ye Qingxuan reached out and carried her in his arms, just like holding a large doll. The girl leaned against him and looked down at the wedding dress she was wearing, and her gaze became distant. "Cousin, I'm still living in a dream, am I not?"
"Is it a sweet dream?" Ye Qingxuan asked.
"Yeah." Bai Xi nodded.
Ye Qingxuan couldn't help but smile. "Then let the sweet dream continue."
"Will you be with me?" Bai Xi looked at him seriously. "This is the last reminder I have for you, I can be very difficult."
"No worries." Ye Qingxuan lowered his head and touched her cheeks with his, laughing softly. "No matter what happens, I will be with you."
So, Bai Xi got up, tidied up the wedding dress on her body, and after flicking off the dust, she coughed twice pretentiously, as if she was not feeling shy. "Let's go, the wedding is about to begin."
"Alright." Ye Qingxuan held her hand.
When the bell rang, Lola, who was asked to be the bridesmaid, was finally done helping Bai Xi change into a new wedding dress at the last minute. She felt that she was truly wise to have decided to order two sets of wedding dresses.
The carriage was about to arrive at the venue.
For the last time, she checked the white tulle that was fixed on the bride's silver hair and nodded with satisfaction, then stuffed the bouquet into Bai Xi's hands.
"Okay, let's go… Bai Xi? Bai Xi? Are you listening?"
"Ah? Oh, oh." After a long pause, Bai Xi finally reacted and quickly nodded.
"You aren't listening at all, are you?" Lola couldn't help but shake her head. "Do you still remember the process of the wedding? It's just a few simple steps anyway. Just nod to Father Bann, who is conducting the ceremony. After everything is done, remember to throw the bouquet out… Seriously, as a person who has never gotten married, why do I have to remind you of these?"
Looking Bai Xi who looked somewhat lost and was so walking so stiffly that it seemed that she might sprain her ankle, Lola sighed. Sure enough, despite saying that she isn't afraid, the end, she's still very nervous.
"Let's go, just follow me." She held Bai Xi's hand and pushed the door of the carriage open, stepping on the red carpet.
The band that had been waiting for a long time played a melody. On both sides of the red carpet, the onlooking crowd cheered. The old men from the Court of Inquiry and the musicians from the Royal Academy of Music were excitedly causing a larger commotion by whistling in the crowd. After Bai Xi glared at them, the whistling grew even louder.
So, Bai Xi was even more nervous.
The wedding dress was too tight, and she felt a little breathless from it. In the crowd, so many pairs of eyes were looked at her, making her a little dizzy.
If only the quiet old man was still here, just like how he had promised her, he would have held her hand and walked her into the church.
If he had been here, Bai Xi would not have felt afraid.
Thinking of it, she couldn't help but feel sad.
But in her trance-like state, she seemed to see a familiar face. When she turned back, she saw the blond young man standing outside of the crowd.
He seemed completely different from the past, no longer beautiful, but his eyes were just as gentle.
Sensing Bai Xi's gaze, he smiled and took off his hat, lifting a hand to his chest.
In the distant blaring of the horns, he slowly stepped back, waved goodbye, and finally turned to leave.
The slender figure blended into the afternoon sun.
"Bai Xi, what's wrong?" Lola asked softly. "Do you feel uncomfortable?"
"No, it's nothing." Bai Xi laughed.
As if she had gained courage, she lifted her head and embarked on the future belonging to herself and Ye Qingxuan. "Let's go."
The setting sun cast a golden afterglow, illuminating the quiet and peaceful cemetery.
Before the lonely tombstone, someone unknown had put a bunch of white flowers.
To the beloved Abraham…
The wind brought along the echoes of the waves from afar.
All of the past quietly ended in silence.
 It refers to the traditional Chinese marriage custom where a piece of red cloth covers the bride's head during the entire ceremon