The Present

'How?! How did she find out our plans?!' Anguo Gong cried. 'Does she have a spy in our home?!' he cried in freakout.

As much as he doesn't want to believe that as all servants are loyal to his family, he still did a thorough check.

His older sister and royal nephew tore Che a new one in Palace Grounds so their anger was in private, but the damage was done.

The problem was there's many who saw Beiyue return his son's pendant, as well as documentations regarding an already-filled out divorce, and a letter why that got Prince Jing and his mother furious.

She found out their plans to financially-use her before dumping her, after neglecting her for so many years as her fiancee!

That, was grounds for divorce.

Not only that, the Xiao Clan saw her do so, as did Princes Xiaoyao and Feng Lianyi and Princess Yingye. They would know the truth in a matter of hours...and if Emperor finds out, they'll be in deep trouble!

They have to keep this quiet. They have no choice now. Better a few in the know, than a whole country.

Damnit all!

They lost access to all those millions in one fell swoop for Che to rapidly rise in rank as a Summoner now!

444 Million! How many stars can Che rise, if he has that money? He could have gotten stronger than Jing! Now it's all lost! Because they have a spy in their home who must have tattled on them!

THEY WILL PAY for causing such a loss! Even worse, the problem is the other Princes and Princess Yingye! Their plan will reach the Emperor! Its only a matter of time now...


Prince Jing begged Yingye's silence to protect his mother from their royal father's wrath as they had no idea what his idiot uncle and cousin have in mind.

Prince Jing was in utter dismay with the letter that got Yingye furious. So Jing told Xue Che 'make it official before the right people find out'. Their crime will cause up to Unto 3rd Generation Punishment and Jing wants to protect his mother and those not-in-the-know, innocent of this level of crime.

Jing had no choice but to tell Yingye the truth BECAUSE Prince Xiaoyao will ask Beiyue...

'Grrrr! I'm glad Beiyue caught onto their schemes in time, she didn't deserve that!' Yingye wailed at her older brother. 'She must have investigated and arrived at the right time! She investigated because she just found out she was engaged and had no idea who her fiancee was who neglected her for years because of her reputation!' she cried. 'She kept her abilities a secret for years so she'll know who to hang out with and not!'

'It was a tough decision she made just to know who her true friends are...and to who she can give her heart to in marriage.' said Zhanye softly at his crying sister. 'Father is in on this scheme as well and its hard for him to bite back in court when people make bad-talk about her.' he sighed wearily. 'She'll show them soon...and make them weep tears of blood as she puts it.' he said darkly. 'Beiyue is strong and you know that better than I do when you ask her help.' he patted Yingye's head.


'Now, stop crying.' Zhanye gently nudged her. 'In the end, its she who wins.'


Next day...

Prince Xiaoyao paid Beiyue a visit out of what they found out last night and he got worried.

'Princess? She's painting, wangye.' said Dongling, letting him in. 'This way.'

As its winter, no school. Too cold to go, so Dongling is at home, the prince thought.

He followed her to the backyard where its a paradise garden of edibles in a gorgeous landscaping. Beiyue believed the only useful flowers are those that bear fruit. To her, ornamental flowers are useless.

And indeed, she's painting. But there's a strong, chemical scent that irritated his nose...maybe that explains why she wore a face mask that covers nose-down?

Painting a picture of what looks like a rather desolate arid wasteland with a dusty-looking sky, and the land is littered of swords. Painting a battlefield now, perhaps?

'Princess, Prince Xiaoyao is here to see you.' Dongling piped out as Beiyue paused in her painting and looked behind her.

'Oh! What a surprise!' she blinked owlishly. 'Dongling, tea and snacks in the parlor room.' Beiyue told Dongling who nodded and dismissed herself. 'Shall we?' Xiaoyao smiled as Beiyue led him to a parlor room tastefully-decorated, emphasizing on elegance. The walls contain paintings of nature. And inside is warm while its cold outside!

'You could have just painted in here where it's warmer.'

'Well, the paint has a very strong smell.' said Beiyue with a wry smile as they sat in chairs across each other and she took off her face mask. 'I'd rather it not stink my house that painting in the cold is a small sacrifice. But when it dries, the smell is gone.' Xiaoyao chuckled as indeed, the smell of the paint hurts his nose.

'It must be a new painting technique...I am not familiar with your style of painting.' he said. Paintings were mostly in black ink, the same ink they use in writing. He had never heard of this style of life-like, colorful painting and she painted her mother as an angel descending from heaven on clouds, a painting Emperor keeps around.

He was curious about Beiyue's painting style. Colorful, and very life-like!

They talked about that rather not-so-public Divorce as very few people saw what he saw.

Naturally, he found out WHY that angered the man on her behalf, but Beiyue could care less about 'the idiot' but she will not allow herself to be exploited either.

'...he's shameless enough that he's willing to be a Kept Man until he used up a girl's money. Despicable, and I pity the fool girl who will fall for him.' said Beiyue derisively. 'Isn't the Anguo Gong clan a 130 million annually?'

'They live life a little too lavishly.' said Xiaoyao. 'You should see their mansion, its full of many expensive decor and furnishings, they even have a treasure vault of powerful, magical items. Granted, the man has side businesses that he has over 200 million in wealth. Its why he's the most respected and feared duke. Yet they intend to get more money by financial exploitation...despicable.' yup, he doesn't approve. 'What do you intend to do, Beiyue?'

'I got a very late-night letter from Zhanye.' Beiyue told him as Dongling put snacks on the table. Hawthorn Honey Tarts, Mandarin Sweets and fruit tea. 'Yingye came crying to him because Jing told her what happened. He said he would make his uncle and cousin do the right thing, by agreeing to the Divorce and make this quiet or he tells royal uncle.' she said with a smirk. 'If uncle finds out, goodness knows what'll happen and he fears the rest of the Xues getting punished for two idiots. Xue-yifei isn't too happy as what they have in mind is a huge crime.'

Financial Exploitation or Abuse was bad enough, but doing that on a royal is even worse!

Xiaoyao knew the Emperor would have both executed, should Jing and Consort Xue appeal for the rest of the maternal family who are not in-the-know and innocent of the crimes.

He then asked how she was faring these past few years as he recently got back from travel since the day Princess Royal's death greatly upset him.

'Beiyue, do you think you can paint a picture of Huiwen for me too?' Xiaoyao asked of her softly. 'She could have been my wife and you could have been my daughter.' that revelation made Beiyue blink owlishly. 'I wasn't her only suitor.' he admitted. 'During days of war, many suitors fought to be worthy of her by gaining War Merits. Even I did many things to gain merits just to have her. But alas, she was bestowed to a man not worth her.' he said bitterly. 'Given to a philanderer who flirted with another woman on his wedding night, no less.' he said derisively. 'What possessed the Grandqueen to give her to a man who hasn't earned the right left us a foul taste of anger.'

'Alright. How would you want mother done and what size of the painting?'

'Well, I fell in love with her when she was sixteen.' Xiaoyao looked nostalgic. 'I was twenty-two then and then that bestowal happened.' he sighed glumly. 'A fairy under a moonlit garden of lotuses. Her beauty reflected her goodness and virtue.' he requested. 'About twenty feet tall and eight feet wide.'

'Alright. I'll paint it for you.' Beiyue smiled. 'Having you for a father, huh? What would it be like?'

'At least regardless of your condition, I would have loved and doted on you.' said Xiaoyao with a sad smile. 'You can come to me for anything other than pills, Yue.' he said. 'You're supporting a lot of people lately.'

'I have to build my own retinue of experts, Prince.' said Beiyue. 'I have heard from my sources that the Beiyao King has fallen ill and hasn't even chosen a Crown Prince.' she told him to his surprise. 'Civil War among princes and their supporters will attract wolves for sure and a World War for territory may occur. If I were being idealistic, I'd rather stay out of it but if uncle decides to enlarge Nanyi's territory, all hands on deck will be called upon. Even I will not be exempted. So I'm using all my money to raise experts who have great talent in my two counties.'

'Oh dear...'


Xiaoyao wasn't the only visitor.

After lunch, was Concubine Fang.

'...they're so spineless to come here that they clearly sent you for information, Aunt Fang.' said Beiyue, starting on Xiaoyao's request painting.

'Well, they all have sinned against you.' said Fang. 'They are in no position to make demands of you hence.' she tut-tutted.

Oh yes, how they wronged Beiyue so and now slowly but surely, she'll make them pay for it! Humph!

'Its about that blatant repudiation Ling'er saw last night.'

'Ara ara...' Beiyue laughed at that. 'Dongling, take-out boxes of sweets for Aunt Fang.' she said as Dongling went to make paper boxes to put sweets into. The two would make snacks for tea time and stash it in their space rings until needed thus its fresh for ages.

'Well, its something juicy indeed. However, this is a royal family thing, something the family isn't allowed to know, but I'll tell you as I know you'll never tell.' Beiyue smiled, making Fang sweatdrop. 'And I'll tell you what to tell those busybodies.'

At least Fang gained something but she can never tell. Because if word leaks, Prince Jing knows who to kill first, as Beiyue will keep Fang out of the crossfire. That means he's perfectly willing to kill the Xiao Clan.

Thus Fang really can't talk, if only for Ling.


Beiyue, upon getting her new stash of 444 million come New Year's Eve, set off to her provinces to check on her Expert Trainees...who are all children around her age.

Chosen by her to become Summoners and Warriors. Using sorcery to detect those with Elemental Dantians, she picks the best kids with a lot of talent with virtue to match to spend money on. She doesn't just grabs what she could. She aims for quality and those who will be loyal to her and knows gratitude.

In Miyang, there are eight, and also eight in Qinghe.

She systematically tames beasts for her trainees who will cultivate to her standards, that come Summer, all of them will go to Lingyang School under her sponsorship.

However, as Summoners, they focused more on Cultivation to reap benefits, while training their bodies hard to be capable of battle in both hand to hand and mastery of their shadow weapons...weapons that are manifested by their beasts for the Summoner to use. And the weapons are as strong as the beasts that only stronger beasts can break these weapons.

Bladed Weapons, Blunt Weapons, and in the case of serpentine-type beasts, Whips or Flails. They train how to be skilled warriors first as to kill a scary beast, its easiest to kill the Summoner than the beast itself.

To raise Summoners, she tames powerful beasts using the Noble Phantasms in her possession to defeat them, and have the chosen make a Life Contract with it. And because she has heard of the Wuling Beasts that there are ranks higher than 12. And considering the kids she takes in are beginners, having them instantly shoots them up to 9-star Master and into Arcane Summoner Levels.

This was an insane cheat code.

She has sixteen Summoners...and 40 Warriors each from two counties. Warriors are far easier to raise! And like the Summoners, they too, are sponsored into Lingyang College just to learn Weapon Arts! And these kids took quests to earn loads of gold for their families to be able to afford Temple School, before going to Lingyang College and live in accommodations Beiyue arranged for them in the city. Try as she may to look for Alchemists, they're too rare and Enchanters are too tough to raise as Enchanters need a studious and very creative mind. As for the County's Militia that comprised of adult men, all of them were physically trained hard and gained expert level of skill in combat and guerilla warfare and know every dirty trick in the book, as the true winners of wars are those who survive. To appeal for application as County Militia, the starting salary, is 400 gold coins a month as opposed to 100 a month. And training is strict as hell, but with delicious balanced diet to match.

If 1 gold coin is 10 silver, 100 copper and 1000 irons, most goods such as food would fall along the lines of coppers and irons for meat, and vegetables as well as very cheap fabrics the poor can afford.

To sum it up in yen equivalent, 1 gold is 10000 yen, 1 silver is 1000, 1 copper 500 and the irons can be loose change. Judging by the prices of goods of food and clothes for commoners, it falls along that range. If for example, 20 gold coins is enough to feed a wealthy family of four for a month, the poor needs 4 copper for that same reason.

However, the prices of goods for the rich...blew her mind off. Silk clothing for the rich is along the price of furisodes back home made with yuzen prints and obis. Even better? The designs are embroidered, not printed! Its naturally more expensive due to all that work put into it!

And lets not get into how much the rich is willing to shell out for martial arts.

Thus in Lingyang School, with Beiyue's sponsorship, they will start at Year 1 in order to learn Summoner Spells by grade in proper order, having spent three years training hard to be Warriors and bonding with their beasts and those who are Warriors will focus more on War Arts. They will come to school with ahem, very fair skin and vibrant hair, and having the beauty their genetics can afford them.

She also creates a new generation every three years just to be easy on her pockets of course.

A new generation of Summoners and Warriors.

Money doesn't fall from the sky after all.

And she has to come up with businesses. Fast. Food Industry was where she shines the most. She planned and built six new restaurants in Bugi'er Bazaar, and two taverns. One that serves meat and the other serves seafood snacks as well as shells out ice, cold alcohol and liquor, and warm sake. One restaurant is like a Cafe that sells pastries and sandwiches. She found the equivalent of Cacao and Coffee beans here, had it mass-produced to make chocolate and coffee for this reason. And found many, many ways to recreate desserts.

Then a restaurant that specializes in seafood dishes, a restaurant that specializes in meat, another in noodles and soups, then the equivalent of a fast food restaurant, and the last one being a diner that serves home-cooking.

She had to hire and train many employees after having the places built...and cast a sorcery spell on everyone as to NOT betray her recipes. She was that paranoid and her hires were surprised to know that she can now cultivate and practice martial arts and no, they can't talk about that either.

She also opened a bakery that sells bread. She made very dense and chewy bread, be it wheat flour, barley, and rye. Its a good thing the buckwheat equivalent does NOT cause allergies here and its very rare to have wheat allergy anyway. She sells mostly wholewheat for health issues. The sandwich bread and pastries made of refined flour is only sold in her cafe.

By training, she made full use of Flowing and Transfer of Power or in this case, Knowledge. Easy-peasy in training as the cooks she hired are muscularly strong.

By end of spring, Beiyue accomplished a lot. Just in time for the Spring Banquet she could care less about, as the Bugi'er Clan is working on building her businesses as well as furnishing and decorating it to her tastes, and gained suppliers to her restaurants.

Her restaurants will be open at the beginning of summer. Ready for business.


By the beginning of Summer, restaurants finally opened as did her bakery.

Cooking began as early as 6 am by food prep. Restaurant opens at 9 am. Then will close at 7 pm to allow the employees to clean up, inventory check, and close up to go home. Curiosity attracted customers because its dishes they've never seen before and when hit hard by deliciousness, word spread by mouth that every day since, its a full house for the next seven days and her businesses began swimming in money.

Then the time came for Lingyang School Admissions Exams.

...and she applied for Enchanter Course of course. Summoning? She can just ask Zhanye for his old notes and books! Why waste time?

'You're asking for my grade one books just to study at have a summon?' was his incredulous question.

'Yup, I do.' Beiyue smiled as she let him feel her full cultivation.

Her cultivation was arcane levels. Not 9-star master, but arcane, just like him.


'Family secret.' Beiyue smiled. 'Buuut only you will know I'm a summoner outside my house, OK?' she asked with a playful wink. 'I'd rather keep it a trump card.'


His former tutor, Principal Cang He let it slip to him, that a lot of twelve year olds, be they boys and girls, have come from Beiyue's counties, sponsored by her to study in Summoner and Warrior Courses. She's sponsoring a lot of people, not just Dongling!

And they will be tested in secret, so they can sneak the commoners in during first day of school as Beiyue had heard of what her ex-fiancee's sister has done to a sponsored commoner with more talent than she on her second year in school and the commoner in question was a first year and it annoyed her that teachers didn't do the right thing, favoring the bully, so she has low opinion of the teachers that Cang He had to scold the Warrior Faculty when he got wind of that story!

So her commoner sponsors were told that they have the right and might to defend themselves against bullying. And if their bullies who may be nobles dared to pull rank, call her and she'll end them to protect her sponsoreds.

Apparently she's gathering her own experts to defend her counties with as out of all counties, hers were the most defenseless. She's also having all militia gather and train hard, and know their territory intimately to make use of war tactics designed to defend Qinghe and Miyang against invaders.

And to convince people to join the militia?

A handsome salary and perks in militia barracks, which was quadruple the pay of a typical militia! Even better? Their pay is in loose change of copper coins as losing a few gold coins is tragically too easy as it's tempting for thieves. So her soldiers are receiving a sack of 40000 copper coins a month, as their work was basically 'train your bodies and combat ability till sundown, and then memorize their part of territory for guerilla warfare during summer and winter and come up with dirty tricks imaginable to keep invaders and troublemakers OUT of their jurisdictions around their village/town/city.'

And she WILL check on their progress by paying a visit in school vacations, and randomly spar with someone. If anyone slacked off, their salary will be cut by 80% for three months and work in the smelly landfills as punishment. That had been a horrifyingly-effective motivator...who wants to work in the landfills with 80% of their paycheck gone?!

While other county lords raised experts since the war ended, Princess Royal didn't bother, wasting time and years of peace as peace was an important time in nurturing experts thinking its all over. That made Beiyue wise up since her mother's death and 'forced herself to grow up'. She cannot rely on royal relatives who already have their hands full with their own fiefs and raising their own armies.

Not only that, she saw in her mother's diaries about war and how Jing'an County only acted 'at the very last minute', ignoring urgent royal summons, until he forced Emperor to marry his daughter Mu Shi and he was crown prince of the time. Only then did he give support but it came quite late, clearly on purpose as Dongli invaded Linhua back then and captured and tortured Crown Prince until Princess Royal rescued him.

So after healing, he very reluctantly married Mu Shi for the sake of Nanyi Country, angry at the Mu Clan all the way, and angry at his mother for being a pushover. How he wished his father didn't die so none of that had happened as Grandqueen was a weak-willed ruler and how had that been exploited so by a conniving power-hungry man who used war as an opportunity! It drove her son to be a powerful emperor nobody can mess with as his and his sister's futures were ruined by Grandqueen because she was weak. The then-married Crown Prince spent a few years hateful, bitter and foul-tempered taking his anger out on anything imaginable, became very spiteful towards his own mother and wife that Grandqueen often calls her married daughter to calm him down.

Being reminded of those days by his tutor pissed off his father and by blackmailing the Grandqueen, that was treason but they can't do a thing about it. How his father hated his Empress and made it clear by ensuring she doesn't enjoy her post and powerless. And it irked him that when Beiyue was born and gave her Qinghe, Marquis Jing'an complained to him about it and it pissed him off as in Emperor's opinion, what's stopping him from gifting his family and why complain about it? What right did he have?!

When he protested more, the angry Emperor banished the marquis to the borders, but in eight years, a week after Princess Royal died, he's now in the Jing'an Mansion in the city.

That really got Cang He and Zhanye wondering what happened in the past.

Those diary notes were what drove Beiyue to gather power, so to supply an army force to Nanyi and to avoid war blackmail. Again! So they'll never have to rely on Jing'an County ever again!

And according to Cang He, all her Summoners have Arcane-Class Cultivation and Skills as Warriors, but lacked Summoner Skill and knowledge which was why she sponsored them all to first year Summoner Course. Her Warriors on the other hand, have War God-level Cultivations like Dongling, but knowing up to Bronze Class level skills as three years wasn't enough to master she did it, was anyone's guess and 444 million gold in ingots can't cover all THAT, especially as she's paying for salaries of millions of men, too! But she still managed and all that's left to her, was enough money to live a year in 'modest income' which was why she built restaurants and a bakery for extra money!

That, was mystery of the year...

But it was a start.

She was also looking for more Alchemist talents, but Earth Element is so...rare. And she was picky in 'who to favor' as she judged many personalities, as she didn't want another Concubine Xue incident. She ensured all she privileged to sponsor, are grateful and loyal to her. She didn't dare to sponsor a whole village with possibilities of betraying her when they got what they wanted. Hell no.

She actually found a lot of talents, but their personalities left little to be desired, and not worth her stress. She would rather waste them, than have snakes ready to bite her behind her back! She only 'blessed' those with desirable personalities, and ordered the kids and their families to never tell anyone, not even friends as jealousy, is an ugly thing.

Beiyue described Concubine Xue to Cang He, and the man was appalled.

So was Zhanye, when he heard that tale from his teacher.

But, it was wise of Beiyue to start building up a power base. Sure they started it, but she also crossed Anguo Gong clan by divorcing their son. But they can't do squat and may retaliate in other means. So its best to have a small army of protectors.

At any rate, her kids are more experts than Anguo Gong's. 8-9 stars they may be, but they cannot compare to Beiyue's Summoners. And their Gold-Class Warriors cannot compare to War Gods.

However, this may also mean that to spite his mother the Empress, Beiyue trains Yingye only physically and improve her combat ability when Yingye asks her to, but doesn't help her cultivation, lest his grandfather might make blackmail demands again if he sees an opportunity.

So the past, was influenced by his grandfather.

He'll have to keep an eye in the future. For now, he'll help Yingye cultivate. Their mother holds Yingye's money with a tight fist she often had to cry to their father when she wants her money. Goodness knows Beiyue was a good trainer Yingye gave him TROUBLE and her cultivation was paltry compared to his!

That rather motivated him to improve his physical abilities more...and maybe visit Beiyue for evasion training...


Lingyang School...

It came as a shock that Beiyue is a cultivator in public, as she applied for the Enchanter Course, and through exams, revealing how strong her cultivation really is.

And considering EVERYONE badmouthed her for years, it effectively showed their true colors to her so she wants nothing to do with anyone when anyone would try to gain influence by befriending the right people.

And she's a girl worth 444 million gold and she turned out to be arcane-level powerful in cultivation! To have an arcane cultivation, she has to be a Summoner but what beast did she have, to be waaaay past 9-star master in strength? It was baffling. She's as strong as Crown Prince all along!

All students, including Beiyue's half siblings were stunned speechless. The waste is now...powerful! They're all left behind in the dirt!

"Oh my god, I lost her as a fiancee!" Xue Che moaned in dismay and despair at losing the biggest catch out of all women in school. Wealthy and powerful! Having her as his wife can make Anguo Clan a powerful Imperial Family, stronger than Jing'an! But all that is lost now!

He neglected her for years and she found out about his and his father's plans! Royal Cousin Jing may have begged the princesses to keep quiet as well as Princes Xiaoyao and Lianyi, but put a toe out of line, they WILL TALK and get the Emperor on the family's case if word spread so fast beyond containment ability.

Other single noble sons(who had no idea she was engaged and divorced) were also moaning at the lost chance to get her attention as after showing how strong she was, she gazed at them all coldly and with contempt as she knew full well what they think of her.

'Wow Beiyue, I have no idea you're that strong~' Yingye was amazed as practical exams, were over. 'And you didn't tell me for years.' she pouted.

'Heh, I was waiting for this day, Yingye.' Beiyue smirked. 'Let them weep about it.' she said coldly despite the smile in her face.

Yingye winced as her younger cousin has a lot of spite.

If its just Dongling and Royal Family, she was more gentle and with warmth. But around public, she has a cold way of talking dripping in bitter contempt.

She seriously worried about Beiyue's errr marital future as considering what happened, she obviously will reject EVERYONE...yikes.