The Great Yong Empire.
A massive hegemon in the Shattered Star Continent, the empire alone controlling over a third of the overall territory, be it through direct influence or sanctions. Merely the territories directly managed by the ruling family exceeded three thousand square kilometers, the vassals overseeing land of a much greater scale.
In the entire Shattered Star Continent, not a single human being was unaware of the Great Yong Empire’s overwhelming influence and dominance, many quaking in fear at the causal mentioning of the empire’s Imperial Family.
It could be said that whoever ruled Great Yong, would sit at the pinnacle of the continent.
As for how the empire had even flourished and maintained its status for hundreds of years, would be a legend acclaimed by many.
The empire had started as nothing more than a minor kingdom, barely spanning over a few major cities. The founders had slowly manipulated nearby kingdoms and empires to relinquish mining rights of various materials, gradually expanding the kingdom’s influence in the global market and economy.
In just a mere decade, the small kingdom had agglomerated a massive army far greater than its population, even amassing enough wealth to hire the services of the wanderers of the jianghu.
With an army of fifty thousand and ten thousand rogue warriors from the jianghu providing their assistance, the Yong Kingdom had conquered a large area of land equaling a third of their current territory, a region that initially appeared to be far greater than what a minor kingdom could stably handle.
The founders had not minded, continuing to expand their territory over the next decade without ceasing to its current size. As for how the empire had maintained stability, was merely a simple matter, yet hard to accomplish.
The founding families, upon conquering the various surrounding kingdoms, had offered the defeated subjects and rulers to exist as vassal entities, allowing them to accompany the Yong Kingdom in accumulating global prestige and influence in the Shattered Star Continent.
After the Yong Kingdom had expanded to what the founders had deemed was appropriate, the vassals were charged with claiming as much land in any matter they wished.
Allowing the subjects to govern their acquired territories however they wished, merely presenting a five-percent tax of their national income, the Yong Kingdom had established a friendly balance between itself and the various vassal nations.
As for assimilating those deemed future direct citizens, the now-self-proclaimed emperor had then declared: submit and flourish under a different, cohesive name, or become exiled.
Utilizing human psychology to their advantage, the Great Yong Empire had secured its position as an unshakeable hegemon through exploitation of minimalistic taxes and regulations.
Taxing when businesses flourished and providing respite during times of struggle, the Imperial Family had successfully engraved their name onto the subjects of the empire.
Under the simple decree that of the five thousand major mining veins within the empire, the Imperial Family was to possess three hundred, and the rest distributed by merit with only one mining vein provided for an ancestral family, not a single profiteering family had been willing to drop such a golden fish.
Not to mention, with the mining deeds were to be returned every thirty years before a redistribution according to an Imperial Examination, the foundation of the Great Yong Empire could be considered invincible. Just those regulations by the Imperial Family had successfully won the hearts of the people for ages, and yet that still wasn’t their trump card, their greatest hold over their subjects.
In essence, they were a collection of breathing and physiological tempering techniques that enhanced a person’s longevity, strength, and mental abilities.
Some techniques could even retain a youthful appearance, causing them to be eagerly fought over by both female and male aspirants.
Some could provide the user with a heaven-shaking ability, be it to conjure and manipulate natural elements, forge and wield weapons from the surrounding spiritual energy, or employ illusions.
Some methods were said to be developed to be capable of granting immortality upon completion.
The only drawback of these miraculous artefacts was that in the Shattered Star Continent, the Great Yong Empire possessed the largest collection. They were only granted to Yong’s citizens upon accruing contributary merit beyond certain thresholds, which would then permit the family to pursue cultivation and martial arts techniques to a relative level of prominence and difficulty corresponding with their merit.
Not even Imperial Princes or Princesses were exempt from this rule.
If anything was to be the proof of veracity for the Great Yong Empire regarding their collection of cultivation techniques, it first piece of evidence would be that the Emperor of Great Yong had celebrated his five-hundredth birthday a few months ago.
When the hundreds of ministers stationed in the capital gazed at that still middle-aged appearance each day for the convening of the Imperial Court, there could only be acceptance, not doubt.
The capital city of Great Yong, Jiang’an.
The center of all wealth and prominence in the entire empire. Just by walking down any random alleyway, one could find dozens of stores and stalls selling artefacts, commodities, food, and various objects that could not be found anywhere else.
With an estimated population of eleven million, although Jiang’an was not the most populated city in the empire, it was certainly the wealthiest and most influential.
Wei Xuan was a third-ranked minister in the Ministry of Defense, having earned his position through an excellent ranking at the imperial military examinations. Out of grace, the emperor had presented him the Plum Blossom Manor at the inner regions of the western sector.
Spanning over a total area of three square kilometers, the manor was indeed of exceptional quality and feng shui, and Wei Xuan had happily settled in to start his family.
However, his personal residence, the Flowing Winds residence, was currently in the midst of undergoing a minor chaos, the owner himself nearly jumping from his official robes in fear.
They were attempting to teach a fourteen-year-old girl how to walk.
Or rather, the minister and the residence’s servants were losing their sanity attempting to teach, and the other acting to be completely clueless.
“Fourth Young Miss!”
“Fourth Young Miss!”
“Aiyo~! Fei’er, are you alright!? Servants! Hurry and help up the fourth young miss!”
Her body in an intimate embrace with the ground for the umpteenth time today, An Fei released a muffled sigh as the servants rushed forwards to haul her body into a standing position.
Three meters away, Wei Xuan sat confined to a chair, nearly howling himself hoarse from worry as he spectated his daughter fall onto the ground countless of times.
With the aid of several senior nannies, they had endeavored to ‘teach’ An Fei how to walk fourteen years too late. However, everything had taken a turn for worse within the first few moments.
Initially, Wei Xuan had personally held her hand as she attempted to walk, leading to An Fei becoming rather lazy and leveraging his weight to stabilize her position.
Instantly catching onto her tricks, the nannies had wrenched the minister away and stuffed him into a chair, while forcing An Fei to ‘walk’ by herself.
The previously beautiful and stunning teal dress had been completely sullied with dirt, some of it smeared onto An Fei’s limbs, making a spectacular sight. Lifting her right foot, she took a step forward, then two.
By the thirteenth step, her legs were already trembling, and she found herself on the ground by the fourteenth.
An Fei simply wished to sigh herself to sleep at this rate.
This body was far too weak. Having been comatose for fourteen years without a single bout of exercise, though she had expected muscle atrophy to a certain degree, but not to the extent that fourteen steps was near unbearable!
Fourteen steps, with her body height and frame, merely equated to three and a half meters! Amidst the servants’ panic at hoisting her body up only to see it fall to the ground again alongside of Wei Xuan’s near insanity from worry, An Fei couldn’t help but wonder as she stared at the ground.
Compared to her previous days of having to constantly run and move, was this really any better?
…She didn’t know.
She fell again.