The blood in Nan Qianqiu’s body froze like ice when Yun Che looked and spoke to him. He subconsciously looked to the Southern Sea God Emperor for support.
The Southern Sea God Emperor did not say anything, but he frowned a little at his son’s reaction.
Realizing that his reaction was unseemingly, Nan Qianqiu quickly acted to regain his composure. When he faced Yun Che again, his gaze was back to calm. “Qianqiu will answer all your questions, Devil Master.”
“Very good.” Yun Che’s eyes and voice darkened a little. “Southern Sea Crown Prince, not long ago I heard that you and your royal father traveled to the Eastern Divine Region before you inherited the Southern Sea divine power.”
“... ?” The Southern Sea God Emperor shot Qianye Ying’er a glance.
“My question is, what was the purpose of you travelling to the Eastern Divine Region?” Yun Che stared at Nan Qianqiu. His gaze was harmless and his tone was inquiring, but it felt like that would change immediately if he tried to avoid answering.
Nan Qianqiu hadn’t forgotten that particular trip, of course. It was the trip to the Eastern Divine Region right before he received his inheritance after all. His expression didn’t change, but his mind was spinning as he pondered over Yun Che’s objective.
His silence caused a change in Yun Che’s eyes, however. Even his voice seemed to soften a bit. “What’s wrong? Was it such an unusual experience that you can’t speak of it?”
Everyone turned to stare at Nan Qianqiu. The Ash Dragon God’s shocking end hadn’t yet faded from their minds, and Yun Che was bringing up something new already. One thing was certain though, it couldn’t possibly be an innocent question.
Nan Qianqiu looked up and smiled. “I, Nan Qianqiu, am the Southern Sea Crown Prince, and there is nothing I can’t say unless the person listening is unworthy to hear my words. Naturally, you are not among these people, Devil Master.”
He turned slightly to face the crowd before declaring loudly, “When Qianqiu became a Divine King, the Sea God’s divine power finally accepted him and acknowledged him as a being worthy of becoming a Sea God. Since then, royal father has thought of making me his Crown Prince.”
Every high level in the Southern Divine Region knew about this, of course.
“But before I inherited the Sea God’s divine power, I traveled with my royal father to the Eastern Divine Region for two reasons.”
“One, we went to visit the four god emperors of the Eastern Divine Region and inform them that I was the Southern Sea God Realm’s future successor.”
“Two, we wanted to gather a large amount of fresh Wood Spirit Orbs to purify my profound energy and vitality. It was to smoothen the process of inheritance and improve my compatibility with the Sea God’s divine power.”
By the time Nan Qianqiu finished, He Ling’s soul shuddered so violently that Yun Che almost thought that she had lost control.
Yun Che was a bit surprised by Nan Qianqiu’s frankness. He put a smile on his face and asked, “Who was the one who hunted the Wood Spirits and gathered the Wood Spirit Orbs then?”
“I did, of course.”
Nan Qianqiu answered immediately and without hesitation. He didn’t even blink despite the question coming from Yun Che himself. “If I couldn’t handle something like this myself, then I would live up to my father’s expectations, would I?”
From the moment Yun Che sprang this question on him out of nowhere, Nan Qianqiu guessed that he must’ve learned everything already. Moreover, the very first king realm they visited when they traveled to the Eastern Divine Region was the Brahma Monarch God Realm, and knowing their ability he wasn’t surprised that his movements were completely found out.
Today, Qianye Ying’er was supporting Yun Che, and the Brahma Monarch God Emperor had succumbed to Yun Che as well… after a brief consideration, Nan Qianqiu decided to do away with deception and answer as honestly as possible.
Not to mention that that trip was completely insignificant to him.
The Southern Sea God Emperor hadn’t spoken up all this time, but he was secretly quite satisfied with Nan Qianqiu’s performance. After all, Yun Che had just tortured and killed the Ash Dragon God a moment ago. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that the Devil Master was exuding as much pressure as any existing god emperor right now.
“A good answer.” It was difficult to read any emotion from Yun Che’s expression or words. “To my knowledge, you obtained quite the bounty from a small star realm close to Eternal Heaven God Realm, am I right?”
Qianye Ying’er was right here, so Nan Qianqiu wasn’t surprised by how in-depth Yun Che’s knowledge of his movements was. He took a moment to recall before answering, “That is correct, Devil Master. I have forgotten the name of that star realm, but you are definitely right in saying that it is close to the Eternal Heaven God Realm.”
Yun Che: “...”
“I know that there are very few Wood Spirits left in the world, so I initially thought that it wouldn’t be an easy task to find them. However, as if the heavenly way was favoring me that day, I was able to find almost a thousand Wood Spirits in that star realm. Naturally, I killed them all. I was able to gather many times over the fresh Wood Spirit Orbs I needed in just a moment.”
Nan Qianqiu continued. “One thing that stood out to me during the hunt was that the auras of the two leaders of the Wood Spirit tribe were stronger and very different from the rest of the Wood Spirits. After inquiring with my father about this, I learned that they were Royal Wood Spirits, a breed of Wood Spirits that were thought to be extinct. Unfortunately, I didn’t know this back then, so I didn’t stop them when they detonated their Wood Spirit Orbs and commited suicide.”
He shook his head slightly before adding, “Even now, the mere thought of the value of the Royal Wood Spirit Orbs fills me with regret.”
Yun Che’s heart was shaking… it came from the depths of He Ling’s soul.
The puzzle fit together so, so perfectly that it was impossible to sow even a bit of doubt in it.
The tragedy that befell the wood spirit race, the nightmare that cost He Ling everything… as it turned out, the culprit wasn’t the Brahma Monarch God Realm after all. It was the Southern Sea God Realm who caused everything, a king realm of the Southern Divine Region so far away that the possibility never even crossed their minds until Qianye Ying’er had completed her investigation!
Still maintaining a faint smile on his face, Yun Che quietly consoled He Ling in his head while asking Nan Qianqiu, “You are surprisingly frank about this. Don’t you know that hunting Wood Spirits is considered a shameful taboo in the entire world?”
“Sure. If the crime was committed by mere mortals, then their sin cannot be understated,” Nan Qianqiu replied. “But neither you nor I are mortals, are we?”
He declared while looking at Yun Che, “When the Devil Master emerged from the Northern Divine Region and ordered the destruction of the Eastern Divine Region, countless innocents were buried in the process. However, it is their bodies that paved your path to unrivaled fame and glory. Today, there is no one in the entire world who hasn’t heard of the Northern Region Devil Master.”
“As for me, the sacrifice of several hundred Wood Spirits made me a better Southern Sea Crown Prince and, in the future, a better Southern Sea God Emperor. With that in mind, doesn’t the result justify the process? Doesn’t the good outweigh the bad?”
“If my act is considered ‘good’, then the Wood Spirits should be honored that they got to die for my sake. If it is ‘bad’ then…” He looked like he wanted to smile. “My sin is still nothing compared to yours, Devil Master.”
Yun Che didn’t say anything.
Everyone was shocked by Nan Qianqiu’s words.
In their opinion, Yun Che brought this up because he wanted to bully Nan Qianqiu. After all, the crime would become a black mark on his record if it was publicized.
Surprisingly, not only did Nan Qianqiu confess to his crime willingly, but he was able to resolve the reputational crisis easily against Yun Che who had scared the hell out of the god emperors just a moment ago!
They all started looking at Nan Qianqiu in a different light.
“Hehe.” The Southern Sea God Emperor finally let out a chuckle and said, “You are a child, Qianqiu. It is rude to compare yourself to the Devil Master.”
Nan Qianqiu quickly gave a bow of apology. “You are right, royal father. Please forgive me, Devil Master.”
Yun Che smiled enigmatically before saying, “Very good. The way you speak, the way you present yourself. You really are the successor of the Southern Sea God Emperor.”
“You praise him too much, Devil Master.” The Southern Sea God Emperor chuckled. “If Qianqiu possessed even ten percent of your ability and bearing, I would’ve surrendered the throne to him already.”
The sonorous sound of a gong came from outside, and the Northern Hell Sea King spoke in a quiet voice, “Your Highness, it is time.”
“Very well!” The Southern Sea God Emperor rose to his feet. “Raise the divine altar!”
His eyes were bright, and his complexion looked healthy. It was as if he was completely unaffected by the shocking death of the Ash Dragon God.
Rumble rumble rumble
A five-kilometer wide golden tower that was bursting with divine light rose from the ground and pierced the clouds in the blink of an eye. It was at least thirty thousand meters tall.
A cloud of golden light was covering the top of the tower. In fact, it was almost as wide as the entire Southern Sea Capital.
It wasn’t just the people of the Southern Sea Capital. Everyone in the farthest corners of the Southern Sea God Realm could see the massive tower that pierced the clouds, and the golden light that brightened the whole sky. Countless Southern Sea profound practitioners dropped to their knees and prayed, bearing witness to the grand event that was tied to the future of the Southern Sea God Realm itself.
“Hahahaha!” The Southern Sea God Emperor barked out a laugh before striding forward. “The divine altar is raised! Honored guests, please follow me to the divine altar and bear witness to the future of the Southern Sea!”
“Heh. An impressive display.” Qianye Ying’er withdrew her gaze before asking in a cool voice, “I remember that the Southern Sea Divine Tower is raised during the coronation of a god emperor. Aren’t you afraid that this is too much for your Crown Prince to bear?”
“Hehe. It is true that no Crown Prince before mine has ever had the honor.” The Southern Sea God Emperor chuckled. “But since he’s my son, there is no glory in the world that he couldn’t bear, hahahaha!”
The declaration made bare his infinite arrogance and a surprising amount of satisfaction. He valued Nan Qianqiu far more than he showed, it seemed.
“Southern Sea Divine Tower?” Yun Che looked up. The tower was at least ten thousand floors high, and at the top of the tower was an altar surrounded by a divine light. It looked incredibly impressive.
“This way, my honored guests!”
The Southern Sea God Emperor raised his hand in invitation before taking to the air himself. Nan Qianqiu, the Sea Kings and the Sea Gods quickly followed behind him.
God Emperor Shitian, God Emperor Xuanyuan and the Purple Micro God Emperor exchanged a glance with each other before rising to the air as well.
Qianye Ying’er was correct. The Southern Sea Divine Tower was only fully erected during a god emperor’s coronation. The purpose of it was to make a prayer to the heavens and announce the new god emperor to the world. To date, this had never been done during the conferring ceremony of a crown prince.
They were puzzled, but they didn’t voice their doubts.
“Let’s go!” Yun Che ordered before soaring to the air smoothly.
Qianye Wugu’s gaze swept across the tower. A moment of silence later, he sent Yun Che a sound transmission. “Your Magnificence, the tower’s aura is slightly different from what I remember. It may be wise to act with caution.”
“...” But Yun Che didn’t react. It was almost as if the advice had fallen on deaf ears.
Qianye Wugu didn’t try a second time.
While the Southern Sea Crown Prince’s conferring ceremony was going on, the Dragon God Realm was also experiencing what might be the biggest shock ever in its history.
All eight Dragon Gods were at different locations, but their souls shuddered violently, and the light in their eyes exploded like a supernova at the same time.
Within the Southern Sea Capital, countless people had witnessed the tragic death of the Ash Dragon God as well. The stunning news was spreading to every corner of the God Realm at an astonishing speed.
When the attendees reached the top of the Southern Sea Divine Tower, everyone was bathed in a golden light. It originated from the purest form of Southern Sea divine power, and every ray contained an unimaginable amount of richness and power.
Plenty of Southern Sea God Realm denizens were looking at the sky and witnessing the birth of the future Southern Sea God Emperor right now, but only a handful of them had the right to step onto the altar.
In fact, the Southern Sea God Emperor, the Sea Kings, and the Sea Gods were the only ones in the Southern Sea God Realm who had the right to ascend the tower. Not even the Divine Master Realm elders, princes and princesses were qualified to enter it.
“Qianqiu,” the Southern Sea God Emperor started, “today’s ceremony is not just a ceremony, and after today my expectations aren’t the only things sitting on your shoulder anymore.”
“I understand.” Nan Qianqiu nodded calmly. It was difficult not to be impressed by him.
“Let us pray to the ancestors before we begin the ceremony. Feihong, Zhengtian, stand guard at the entrance while we’re getting ready.”
“Yes, Your Highness.” The Eastern Hell Sea King and Northern Hell Sea King acknowledged.
They stood guard behind Nan Qianqiu while he was kneeling at the center of the divine altar and praying to the ancestors. If someone was staring at their eyes at this moment, they might just notice the trace of an ulterior motive behind them.
Yun Che was standing on the giant altar and looking below him. He seemed completely unconcerned about the ceremony that was soon to begin.
“It must be a riot in the Dragon God Realm right now.” Qianye Ying’er moved next to Yun Che and said slowly, “Pray tell, what will your next move be? You aren’t planning to fight them head on, are you?”
“This is just the beginning,” Yun Che replied coldly, but didn’t give her a direct answer.
“Knowing your personality I’m not surprised at all, But I do wish you’d listen to the voice of reason and speak with Chi Wuyao from time to time.” She paused for a moment before smiling. “Well, what’s done is done, and the Northern Divine Region is just a tool in the end. Interacting with Chi Wuyao has the interesting effect of diminishing this particular memory.”
Yun Che: “...”
“You can see the entire Southern Sea God Realm from here. What do you think of this view, Devil Master?”
The Southern Sea God Emperor’s voice suddenly rang beside their ears, and a golden flash later the man was standing next to Yun Che and looking at the world beneath his feet.
Instead of looking at him, Yun Che asked coldly, “Is there something you would like to talk about, Southern Sea God Emperor?”
The Southern Sea God Emperor smiled once before asking a question that seemed to have come out of nowhere, “How do you categorize the people of the world, Devil Master?”
“Those who deserve to die, and those who don’t,” Yun Che replied. His voice was even, but there seemed to be something eerie lurking behind it.
Qianye Ying’er: “...”
“That view does fit your title very well.” The Southern Sea God Emperor chuckled. “Would you like to know how I categorize the people of the world, Devil Master?”
“Heh.” Yun Che let out a low chuckle. “I thought that there are only a handful of people whom you really pay attention to, Southern Sea God Emperor. Is it really necessary to categorize them?”
“In my eyes, there are four types of people.” The Southern Sea God Emperor continued unhindered. “There are many who think that I’m egocentric, lecherous, mad, and out of control. They think that I have none of the bearing a true ruler should have, but what they don’t know is that my mask changes depending on the type of person I’m facing.”
“The first type is the weaklings. As you may have gleaned from the name already, they are pathetic people who’ll never dare to rise against me. They can swallow any amount of oppression or indignity as long as their final bottom line remains untouched. Therefore, I am free to act however I like and do whatever I want to regardless of societal norms or taboos.”
He shot a glance at the three Southern Region God Emperors standing some distance away from him after ending his sentence. He didn’t even bother to hide who he was talking about.
“The second type are unscrupulous villains. Their power and authority are equal or better compared to mine, and their minds are even more unpredictable. I would have to be wary around them, but again I don’t need to restrain myself. As a shrewd person, their self-interest comes before everything else, so they won’t turn hostile unless they are given a very good reason to. Of course, if they found the perfect opportunity to eliminate me, they wouldn’t hesitate to carry out the act.”
“Qianye Fantian?” Yun Che threw out the name indifferently.
“That’s right. In this age, he is the only man in the entire world who deserved this category.” The Southern Sea God Emperor said, “Unfortunately, he is no longer with us thanks to you.”
“I never restrain myself around the first two types of people, but the latter two are a completely different story.”
“The first type is the untouchable king. I never act or behave out of line when I’m around the Dragon Monarch.” The Southern Sea God Emperor admitted directly.
“The second type is a madman.” He smiled a little. “A madman knows neither fear nor consequence, and the slightest touch could trigger them completely. They could pay even the price of life if it meant bringing misery to those who woe them.”
“That is why no one is willing to provoke a madman. Even I would take a pacifist approach if I ran into a powerful madman.”
A cold breeze blew past everyone’s skin and cooled the temperature a little.
“Do you happen to be describing me, Southern Sea God Emperor?” Yun Che asked indifferently.
However, the Southern Sea God Emperor shook his head. “No. You don’t belong to either of these types.” He turned slowly and stared at Yun Che with his golden eyes before saying, “Although, I had thought you a madman and have given you the space I thought you needed when I first learned about you.”
Yun Che slowly turned his head and met the Southern Sea God Emperor’s gaze. He asked curiously, “If I’m not a madman, then what am I?”
The god emperor narrowed his eyes, drew what looked like an amiable smile across his face and replied, “A mad dog, is what you are.”
Their conversation wasn’t loud, but absolutely everyone on the divine altar was a powerful person. Naturally, the answer didn’t escape their ears. The air, their breath, their eyes and even their blood, everything seemed to turn to ice in an instant.
The three Southern Region God Emperors who were looking away instantly turned toward the Southern Sea God Emperor and Yun Che. Deep shock was etched on all of their features.
Oddly, not only did Yun Che look perfectly unperturbed, but the expression behind the thin, black fog surrounding his person barely changed at all. If anything, the corners of his lips had turned up slightly. “If I may ask, what is the difference between a madman and a mad dog?”
“It’s simple.” The Southern Sea God Emperor replied with a smile, “A madman is mad, but not even they have lost all their humanity and reason. Therefore, there are still plenty of ways to negotiate and placate such a person.”
“But if a mad dog wants to bite someone…” The Southern Sea God Emperor shook his head. “Who in the world could change their minds?”
“So a madman can be placated and negotiated with…” The Southern Sea God Emperor’s eyes narrowed into long, dangerous slits. “But a mad dog… can only be wiped from the surface of the world!”