Chapter 588 - The Mastermind
Even though Yun Che called it a “deduction”, if one combined the four reasons that he had established, it was clearly extremely close to the truth!
Regarding three of the points that Yun Che had raised, Yun Qinghong and Mu Feiyan had long ago harbored the same suspicions. All these years, they also could not understand just how eleven of the strongest members of the Yun Family acting in concert were all brought to ruin in the Profound Sky Continent… No matter how strong the Four Sacred Grounds of the Profound Sky Continent were, they might have at most defeated them and forced them to retreat, but it was not plausible for all of them to die in the first place...
It was only today that they found out that when Yun Canghai’s expedition entered the Profound Sky Continent, they were immediately ensnared by the “Heaven’s Might Soul Suppressing Formation” which sealed profound energy!
Yun Che’s words were one hundred percent correct! The Heaven’s Might Soul Suppressing Formation could suppress eleven high-level Sovereigns, but the amount of energy it consumed every second must have been incomparably huge, to the extent that it would be beyond the imagination of common people. So it was definitely not possible that the formation had been there all along… Rather, it was clear that they had been tipped off on when and where Yun Canghai’s group was arriving!
Just this point alone was enough to prove that there was definitely a traitor within Demon Imperial City!
And this “traitor” could only be from Duke Huai Palace!
“So that is to say that the ones who caused the deaths of the previous Demon Emperor and the Little Demon Emperor… the main culprits behind the calamity that struck our Illusory Demon Realm were not those so-called Sacred Grounds of Profound Sky Continent, but… was Duke Huai Palace instead!!” Mu Yubai smashed the ground with his fist, and when he stood up, his entire body was quivering with anger.
“I had originally believed that the ambition of Duke Huai Palace had only been conceived once the Little Demon Emperor died and the line of the Demon Emperors was broken. But I never would have thought that it was actually…” Mu Yuqing gnashed his teeth in anger, “Their entire clan enjoyed the favor of the various Demon Emperors for several thousand years, but in the end they actually perpetrated such a heinous disaster against Illusory Demon Realm. A crime that cannot be tolerated by heaven or earth! If all of this is true, then Duke Huai Palace is… simply unforgivable!”
“Just from the four reasons that Che’er has established, it is already impossible for it to be false!” Mu Feiyan’s chest heaved violently and his tiger eyes flashed with fury, “Even though I had made similar conjectures on occasion in the past, I had always lived in self-denial. Because I was absolutely unwilling to believe that a Duke Palace would perform an act so heinous that it would anger both men and gods, an act so heinous that even the heaven and earth would not tolerate it! But I would never have thought… that they were actually truly such bastards all along! For the sake of their own ambition, they caused the death of the previous Demon Emperor and the Little Demon Emperor, and even caused the death of Yun Canghai… caused the Demon Emperor’s bloodline to be broken… caused the entire Illusory Demon Realm to be plunged into terror for one hundred years…”
Mu Feiyan grew more and more agitated as he spoke, and his breathing grew more and more fraught due to the fury and sorrow in his heart… Once Yun Che had explained why Yun Canghai’s group had fallen, he then knew that those hazy conjectures he had made for the past one hundred years but was unwilling to believe were actually true.
All these years, they had hated the Four Sacred Grounds of the Profound Sky Continent to the bone, and the entire Illusory Demon Realm had viewed Profound Sky Continent as a land of devils… Only to realize today that the devil who had brought calamity to Illusory Demon Realm was actually someone from Demon Imperial City itself! It was actually someone from the Illusory Demon Royal Family!
Just who could have imagined this? Just who?
Even those powers who had aligned themselves with Duke Huai Palace would definitely not have thought that Duke Huai Palace was the main culprit behind that evil deed.
Xiao Yun’s eyes had widened into full moons and he was completely dumbfounded. The words that he had just heard, every single one of them resounded in his ears like heavenly thunder.
Yun Qinghong’s hands had tightened into rigid fists and a low cry came from his lips, “Causing the death of the Demon Emperor, causing the death of my father, causing the Yun Family to fall into such dire straits… This grudge and hatred… has made it so that we cannot live under under the same sky any longer!”
He raised his head and continued in a steady voice, “However, if that is the case, this ambition should not have been born within Duke Huai, but it should have been conceived in another person instead! When Profound Sky Continent had made its initial thrust into Illusory Demon Realm, Duke Huai was only thirty years of age, so it is impossible that he had that level of ambition or shrewdness, and it is even more impossible that using his own strength, he could collude with Profound Sky Continent without anyone noticing. So the one who had colluded with Profound Sky Continent was….”
Mu Feiyan and the others were jolted by those words and Mu Yukong exclaimed in alarm, “Could it be… Duke Huai’s father —— Duke Ming?!”
“But Duke Ming had always treated everyone with incomparable kindness, his behavior was low-key and even if he met commonfolk, he did not put on any airs of royalty. He had always been loyal and devoted to the previous Demon Emperor, and he had always been at the Demon Emperor’s beck and call… and he completely lacked any interest in fame and profit. Over one hundred years ago, when Duke Huai was thirty-seven years of age, he could barely wait to foist his position as the head of the Duke Palace onto his son, so he could travel the world and relax, and from then on, he showed no interest or concern regarding the state of the world… His casual nature and his simple life was well-known throughout the entire city. He kept such a low profile that many people have already forgotten this name… So how could it be him?!” Mu Yuqing said in disbelief.
Mu Feiyan had fallen into a daze but he suddenly spoke up, “Initially, I had always admired the temperament of Duke Ming and we were on extremely good terms with each other. But there was one time that I went drinking with Yun Canghai that he told me solemnly and in no uncertain terms that I should only maintain my friendship with Duke Ming, but I should absolutely never turn my heart towards him. I asked him for an explanation and he said that Duke Ming was simply too placid, that he was placid to the point where he had always made Yun Canghai feel like there was something off with him. He also pointed this out; that if Duke Ming truly did not care about the things of the world, then why did he cultivate his profound strength to such a high level….”
“Was Duke Ming extremely strong?” Yun Che asked hurriedly.
“That’s right!” Mu Yubai nodded his head and his face had turned green, “In that generation, the Demon Emperor was the strongest, Yun Canghai was second, and Duke Ming only lost to these two individuals in terms of profound strength. His current cultivation should already have surpassed the Demon King in his prime.”
“Ah.” Mu Feiyan gave a long sigh, “It was just that I simply could not approve of the warning that Yun Canghai had given me all those years ago… Even when Duke Huai had made his ambitions known, I had never placed any suspicion on him; at most I had only railed to the heavens that Duke Ming had left behind an unfilial son.”
Yun Che’s brows jumped, “Grandfather, do you mean that… all these years, you have never seen Duke Ming at all?”
“That is right.” Mu Feiyan nodded his head, “Before the previous Demon Emperor had met with disaster, Duke Ming had already passed the lordship of his Duke Palace over to Duke Huai. After that, he bid farewell to the previous Demon Emperor, claiming that he wanted to live a life free from care and worry, and that he wanted to travel all over Illusory Demon Realm and enjoy his retirement… He never appeared once since then, whether the line of the Demon Emperor had met misfortune or Duke Huai had shown his ambition. In order to get him to stop Duke Huai, the Little Demon Empress and I spared no efforts in trying to track him down, but it was all for naught… Indeed, with how big Illusory Demon Realm is, give his power, if he did not want anyone to find him, no one would be able to do so.”
“And now the previous Demon Emperor and the Demon King have already departed, and the Little Demon Empress Golden Crow bloodline has yet to be awakened, so given Duke Ming’s strength… He is already fully deserving of being called the strongest in Illusory Demon Realm, and none can compare!” After he said these words, Mu Feiyan’s breathing clearly became sluggish and the faces of everyone present had turned a lot uglier in an instant as a cold suddenly blanketed their entire bodies.
The clearer the truth was, the more terrifying it become.
Duke Huai’s power had already swelled to the extent that the Little Demon Empress was unable to fight him. But now, there was the incomparably shrewd and powerful Duke Ming who was added to the mix, causing the already untenable situation to teeter even closer to the abyss….
This shadow that enshrouded the Demon Emperor’s clan and even enshrouded the entire Illusory Demon Realm… Just what could they do to fight against it?!
The room had fallen into a solemn silence and the only sound left was the sound of breathing. After a long time, Mu Feiyan let out a long sigh and his brows furrowed deeply, “So it looks like the only hope we have left lies in the awakening of the bloodline of the Little Demon Empress!”
“If the bloodline of the Little Demon Empress awakens, what will her power rise to?” Yun Che asked.
Yun Qinghong said unhesitantly and calmly, “Every time a Demon Emperor awakens his bloodline, he would also learn the 《Golden Crow’s Record of the Burning World》, and after that his power would be unrivaled throughout the Illusory Demon Realm! One thousand years ago, the previous Demon Emperor awoke his bloodline when he was at the fourth level of the Sovereign Profound Realm, and his profound strength directly jumped to the ninth level of the Sovereign Profound Realm. The Little Demon Empress’ current strength is at the Sovereign Profound Realm level five, so after her bloodline awakens, at the very least her profound strength should jump to the peak of the ninth level of the Sovereign Profound Realm! Moreover, with the 《Golden Crow’s Record of the Burning World》, she would even be able to take on someone who was at the Sovereign Profound Realm level ten! At the same time, her awakened Golden Crow Flames will also have the property of greatly suppressing the members of the Royal Family who only have traces of the Golden Crow bloodline. At that time, even if it is Duke Ming, he won’t be the Little Demon Empress’ match either.”
“Ah, so that was how it is.” Yun Che showed faint surprise on his face. From his previous understanding, every time a Demon Emperor used the Demon Emperor’s Seal to enter the Golden Crow’s Ancestral Land, their profound power would soar into the heavens and they would become unrivaled under heaven… As it turned out, these words were not the least bit exaggerated after all.
Now that the Little Demon Empress had received the Demon Emperor’s Seal, she could also enter the Golden Crow’s Ancestral Land, and it was just so happened that the Golden Crow Lightning Flame Valley would open in half a month’s time.
“Since the Little Demon Empress will receive such a massive boost in power once her bloodline awakens, then if…” Yun Che said as his brows sank, “If I were Duke Huai, I would think of every and all means to stop the Little Demon Empress from entering the Golden Crow’s Ancestral Land that was within the Golden Crow Lightning Flame Valley!”
“That’s right!” Mu Feiyan nodded his head and his gaze grew dark and severe, “So, half a month from now, on the day that the Golden Crow Lightning Flame Valley opens up, I will gather up all those bunch of old fogeys and personally escort the Little Demon Empress to the Golden Crow’s Ancestral Land!”
Demon Imperial City, Duke Huai Palace.
When Duke Huai had returned to his palace, his expression was as tranquil as water. But once anyone within the palace approached him, they would involuntarily break out into fierce trembling and it caused them to withdraw in fear as their heartbeat soared.
“Your Highness, the old master requested that you see him immediately after you have returned.” The moment Duke Huai stepped past the palace gates, a person, who had the complexion of yellow wax and had a short horn growing out of his head, stepped forward to greet him in a low voice. His appearance was extremely similar to the Venerable Stone Dragon whom Yun Qinghong had heavily wounded.
After hearing the two words “old master”, Duke Huai’s brows jumped and he faintly nodded his head and quickly strode inside. After he had taken a few stops, he suddenly stopped and inclined his head to ask, “How are Ye’er’s injuries like?”
The man with the complexion of yellow wax replied, “His Highness Hui Ye’s injuries were more serious than previously imagined. The energy that had smashed into his body was extremely tyrannical, and even now it has not fully dissipated yet… I am afraid that Duke Hui Ye will have to be in convalescence for a minimum of three months.”
Duke Huai’s brows faintly tightened; he did not say a word and silently worked into the middle of the courtyard.
Duke Huai opened the barrier and entered the secret passage, finally stopping at a wide, pitch-black pearl curtain. Behind the pearl curtain, one could vaguely make out the figure of a black figure.
Duke Huai knelt to the ground and closed his eyes as he said, “Royal father….”
“You do not need to say a single thing. I have already gotten a complete account of today’s events,” said a low and deep voice that came from behind the inky pearl curtain. This voice was of an indeterminate age, it seemed to float down from the heavens, but at the same time it possessed a gloomy coldness that seemed to emerge from the depths of hell.
“Yun Qinghong made a full and sudden recovery two months ago, and he recovered all of his profound strength. I had originally believed that it could only arise from a variable that we had never taken into account of before. But who would have thought that his son actually…” At the mention of Yun Che’s name, given Duke Huai’s temperament, he could barely stop his teeth from gnashing together in fury. Today’s humiliation, today’s disgrace, today’s defeat; they were all something he had never experienced before in his life!
“The outcome of today’s events cannot be blamed on you. Yun Qinghong’s son is incomparably brilliant. He even brought back the Demon Emperor’s Seal and the body of Yun Canghai. So even if I was present at the ceremony today, it would still have been tough to avoid a loss.” The voice behind the pearl curtain continued, “Failing to carry out the plans we had made for today is only a secondary concern. The most serious concern that we have right now is that the hearts of the people have turned towards the Yun Family. Since it has come to this, we will not be able to make any careless movements for the next twenty years at least.”
“....I want to personally take Yun Che and… rip him into a million pieces!” Duke Huai said in a voice filled with hate.
“Such careless words; I believe this is the first time I have ever heard you utter them. It looks like this time you were met with complete and utter defeat.” The voice behind the pearl curtain was as calm and cold as the boundless black night as it said, “He is exceedingly cunning, yet he dares to act in such an unbridled manner, so he definitely has something to back him up! In this world, the most fearsome enemies are the ones you cannot fully grasp. Before you have fully investigated his background, it would be extremely unwise to take any action against him, whether obvious or covert.”
“I fully understand.” Duke Huai said as he ground his teeth together, “I have already sent instruction… to mobilize all our spies and fully dig out all of his secrets! Especially the sect he belongs to… and also how he arrived from the Profound Sky Continent to this place!”
“No! Now is not the time to do such things.” The voice behind the curtain became even colder and sinister, and a cluster of crimson-black flames suddenly lit up the darkness; it seemed like a ghost flame that was gently swaying in the abyss. “I have summoned you for one purpose, and that is to kill someone.”
“The Little Demon Empress.”
“What?” Duke Huai fiercely raised his head.
“Right now is the best opportunity we will have to assassinate the Little Demon Empress.” A horrifyingly cold laugh rang out, “Furthermore, she will even personally deliver the opportunity to us herself. Right now not only is she alone, she is also within the Golden Crow Lightning Flame Valley that no one will approach.”
“She thinks that just because she got the Demon Emperor’s Seal, she can awaken her bloodline… Naive…”
“You are not allowed to alert anyone else to this matter, the fewer people the better… To guarantee that there will be no slip-ups, I will personally accompany you, and I will make sure that she dies without a trace! Hahahahahaha….”
At the sound of that wild laughter, the crimson-black flame flickered frantically and a dark and sinister wind blew, causing the pearl curtain to rattle incessantly….