Chapter 541 – A Gaze That Could Kill
“Oh…” Yun Che stretched his neck, even he did not expect the Little Demon Empress to suddenly make such an ill-timed action.
The great hall descended into a dead silence for a few breaths, after which, a man slowly stood up from among the seats in the east wing; it was Duke Huai himself. He bowed in salute and said, “Reporting to the Little Demon Empress, it was this humble duke who arranged the seats.”
“Hmph!” The Little Demon Empress raised her eyebrows and coldly said, “It has already been ten thousand years from the time the Twelve Families followed the First Demon Emperor to conquer the realm till today, and in these ten thousand years, the seating arrangement during a Demon Emperor’s grand ceremony has never changed. So why did you change the seats of the Twelve Families? You’d better give this empress a satisfactory explanation!”
This time, he had arranged the seats to give the Little Demon Empress a show of his strength, to let her know that the power that should have belonged solely to the line of the Demon Emperor has now largely shifted towards him. But little did he expect that she would suddenly spring this difficult question on him during the grand ceremony. He replied in an unperturbed manner, “Reporting to the Little Demon Empress, this humble duke participated in the arrangement of this grand ceremony, so I did not dare be careless. I had first asked the various Patriarchs and Dukes on where they would prefer to be seated, but I did not think that the majority of them wanted to sit in the east wing, so this humble duke independently decided to change the seating arrangements of the Twelve Families and the various Duke Palaces. I hope that the Little Demon Empress will forgive me.”
The words that had just been uttered by Duke Huai did not mean much to the people who came from outside the Demon Imperial City. At most, they would only find it strange that Duke Huai would ask the various families where they wanted to sit when he was organizing this grand ceremony. But the powers within the Demon Imperial City naturally understood exactly what he was saying… That the so-called ‘majority that wanted to sit in the east wing was clearly “the majority who were willing to swear their allegiance to Duke Huai”!
“Independently decided?” The Little Demon Empress narrowed her eyes slightly and even this slight change in expression caused the atmosphere within the entire great hall to abruptly turn cold, “And who gave you this power to make such a decision? The Twelve Families and the Duke Palaces are supposed to be placed on equal footing, and the only one who has the power to change the seats of the Twelve Families and the Duke Palaces, is only this empress! When was it up to you to arrange the positions of the Twelve Families?! In the next grand ceremony, do you also want to change the seat of this empress as well?!”
“This humble duke does not dare!” Duke Huai hurriedly bowed and lowered his head, his face was filled with anxiety and panic as he secretly ground his teeth together… With all the heroes of the realm as witness, he naturally could not retort even if he received such a harsh rebuke from the Little Demon Empress; he could only earnestly endure it.
The Little Demon Empress’ gaze swiveled and she looked in the direction of the various Guardian Families and Duke Palaces seated in the east wing. Her tender lips curled up and she slowly punctuated each and every word in an extremely bland voice, “All of you… like… to sit in the east wing?”
The east wing held seven of the great Guardian Families and sixty Duke Palaces, but under the concentrated gaze of the Little Demon Empress, every single one of them felt their hearts tighten up in anxiety as their hands turned cold and clammy. It felt as if an icy-cold blade had been placed at their throats. This feeling was exacerbated by the fact they all had harbored ulterior motives in their heart. Forget about talking, none of them even dared to raise their heads. Every single one of them held their breaths and did not even dare to gasp for air.
And even Yun Che, who was seated in the west wing, could feel an incomparably heavy aura of oppression. He couldn’t help but be silently amazed… This Little Demon Empress’ aura was simply too terrifying, but then again, it was not surprising… One hundred years ago, she first lost her father and then lost the husband she had married not too long ago… who was also her younger brother. As the last person who bore the bloodline of the Demon Emperor, she had no choice but to bear this heavy burden… and despite that, all these years, certain people had been trying to snatch away the ten thousand year legacy of her ancestors…
“To be filled with hatred against both heaven and earth” was not even enough to describe the feelings she held in her heart and soul.
Moreover, she was simply too tiny and delicate, while her features were the crown of the mortal world. So if she did not have a sufficiently imposing aura, how could she then rule over all the heroes of the realm?
The great hall was filled with a deathly stillness as the seven Guardian Families and sixty Duke Palaces didn’t dare to reply. They had only thrown in with Duke Huai because they witnessed his strength growing stronger as the days passed, and if they didn’t make such a choice, when the Little Demon Empress was forced to abdicate, even if they were not destroyed, they would definitely not be well off. So even if they were now inclined towards Duke Huai, it definitely did not mean that they did not fear the Little Demon Empress.
“Patriarch Helian, why don’t you answer this empress’ question? Why did you choose to sit in the east wing?”
As the Patriarch of the Helian Family, Helian Kuang had enough power and status to lord over the entire Illusory Demon Realm and his name fit his disposition as he was famous for being fearlessly domineering and arrogant. But once his name was abruptly spoken by the Little Demon Empress, the entire Helian Family felt their bodies fiercely quiver. He stood up and clasped his hands. But as he was about to speak, his gaze suddenly met with the gloomy and chilly gaze of the Little Demon Empress and his heart immediately froze in his chest as he felt a chill run through his entire body. His mouth flapped open quite a few times, yet he could not utter even a single word.
No one had expected the atmosphere to suddenly become frozen right as the grand ceremony began.
At this time, Yun Qinghong stood up and he spoke in a reverential tone, “I beseech the Little Demon Empress to calm her anger, this Yun has something to say.”
The Little Demon Empress was unfazed and she blandly said, “Speak.”
Yun Qinghong continued, “Yes… Today is the anniversary of the Little Demon Empress’ hundred year reign. This ceremony is witnessed by all under heaven and all the heroes of the realm have come from the length and breadth of the realm to celebrate this day with you. Even though the change in the seating arrangement is a little unseemly, but in the end, seats are merely seats. In the eyes of this Yun, it is not such a big deal. If the Little Demon Empress is not happy that Duke Huai has independently rearranged the seats, you can order him to change it back once the grand ceremony is over. There is simply no need to dampen the atmosphere over such a trivial matter.”
Yun Qinghong’s intention was partly to advise the Little Demon Empress to remain calm, and partly as hidden mockery. The Little Demon Empress faintly arched her brows, and after that, she slowly nodded her head, “Patriarch Yun is indeed correct, this sort of trivial matter is simply not worthy of this empress’ attention. Patriarch Yun, please be seated. Helian Kuang, you may also withdraw!”
One was asked to “please be seated”, the other was ordered to “withdraw”; one was addressed as “Patriarch Yun” while the other was directly addressed as “Helian Kuang”. It was so blindingly obvious who the Little Demon Empress favored more; even a fool could tell with a glance. The Helian Family had been suppressed by the Yun Family for ten thousand years but for the first time in history, they were the chief representatives. So not only were they unusually pleased with themselves, they also kept shooting taunting gazes over at the Yun Family to provoke them and show their dominance. But now, they had been slapped on the mouth by no less than the Little Demon Empress herself… and this was even done in front of all the heroes of the realm, as all their prestige went down the drain.
As for the Duke Huai who still stood there bowing, it was as if the Little Demon Empress had forgotten about his existence. She did not continue to bother with him and Duke Huai could only give a resentful laugh as he retook his seat.
Yun Che silently pondered to himself: The temperament of this Little Demon Empress was simply too unyielding and overbearing. Duke Huai tried to use the seating arrangements to give the Little Demon Empress a show of his strength but she borrowed this little display to slap him across the face… This woman, I definitely cannot afford to provoke her!
As Yun Che was lost in thought, he suddenly saw the Little Demon Empress’ gaze swivel in his direction. His heart was filled with shock and he hurriedly ducked his head as he prattled on inwardly like a broken record… Please do not see me… Please do not see me… Please do not see me…
The Little Demon Empress tacitly nodded at Yun Qinghong, but all of the sudden, her eyes flashed fiercely and they bored in on the person who stood by Yun Qinghong’s side.
The sudden change in the Little Demon Empress’ eyes startled Yun Qinghong, but he immediately realized that the person the Little Demon Empress was scrutinizing was not him, but it was Yun Che instead. Just as he was about to rise and take the initiative to ask, the Little Demon Empress opened her lips and asked, “Patriarch Yun, this Empress has heard that you have just taken in a godson, is it that person who is beside you?”
Yun Che: !@#$… As expected, I was still discovered!
Yun Qinghong stood up and replied, “Reporting to the Little Demon Empress, yes, it is as you say. My godson’s surname is also Yun, with the name Che, and he has a great affinity with this Yun’s family. Three month’s ago, he saved my unworthy son’s life and he even become sworn brothers with my unworthy son. So this Yun simply went with the flow and I took him in as a godson… Che’er, what are you waiting for? Rise and greet the Little Demon Empress.”
Yun Che put on a brave face and rose while plastering an extremely “honest” smile on his face, “Yun Family’s Yun Che… greets the Little Demon Empress.”
Even though Yun Che’s head was bent, he could still clearly feel a killing gaze piercing into his body, as if it wanted to directly pierce all his internal organs… Yun Che had never believed that a gaze could kill, but right now, the gaze of this Little Demon Empress could definitely cause a timid person’s courage to rupture, causing him to die on the spot.
Fortunately, this killing gaze only endured for an instant. Following that, the Little Demon Empress’ cold and lifeless voice rang through the air, and she only said three words, “You may sit.”
Yun Che’s bottom hit the chair and he silently breathed a sigh of relief.
Mu Yurou gently pulled on Yun Qinghong’s sleeve and whispered, “Our son, has he met the Little Demon Empress before?”
“I’m afraid that it’s a lot more than ‘met’ this time.” Yun Qinghong said with a bitter laugh.
“But, in this period of time, Che’er has hardly left the house. Moreover, the Little Demon Empress is also not a figure that normal people can meet, so how is that possible?” Mu Yurou said in a mystified voice.
Yun Qinghong lapsed into a momentary silence but after that, he slowly said, “Three days ago, in the dead of the night, I detected Che’er concealing his own presence. After he had circled around the Yun Family household, he left and headed north… And his presence concealment could be said to be perfect, if not for the fact that I occasionally saw a black shadow flitting about, even I would not be able to detect it. Not long after that, the aura of the Golden Crow’s flames exploded from somewhere north of the city and from the pureness of that aura, it could only be the Little Demon Empress. And it was only a short period after that incident that Che’er returned home… I didn’t think too much of it back then, but now that I think about it, something ‘big’ seems to have happened that night, and those Golden Crow flames might very well have been directly targeted at Che’er.”
“This….” Mu Yurou had a face full of astonishment.
The Little Demon Empress returned to her throne and her towering imperial majesty enveloped the entire Demon Imperial Hall, causing the air to be so stifled that it stopped moving, while each and every one of her words struck directly at everyone’s heart and soul.
After the Little Demon Empress had found out that he was not dead, and it had to be in this particular great hall, even though Yun Che had been through extraordinary experiences, he was still scared witless. Among all the people he had seen in his two lives, whether it was tyrannical power, an astonishing manner, or a cutting gaze, no one could compare with this person… Of course, this excluded the abnormal existence that was Jasmine. But if the Emperor of the Divine Phoenix Nation, Feng Hengkong, was compared with her, one could simply say that he would not even have a single speck of an emperor’s prestige or might in comparison.
The Little Demon Empress’ words reverberated in every corner of this great hall, but Yun Che did not continue to listen to what she said. Instead, he faintly shut his eyes and began to sincerely organize all of the findings regarding the history of the Twelve Families that he had gathered over this one month; and he began to ponder on how he should go about dealing with the coming scenario… Even though this Little Demon Empress had very nearly sent him on his way to the afterlife, he still had to repay this evil with kindness because he was a member of the Yun Family…
To think that there would actually come a day that I, Yun Che, would have to repay evil with kindness. Aghh!!!
“…Since this is so, let us start with the Northern Ocean Domain.” The Little Demon Empress’ gaze fell on someone who was seated in the back of the hall, “Is the ruler of the Northern Ocean Domain here?”
A tall and imposing man who was dressed fully in blue stood up, and he replied in an incomparably reverential and sincere voice, “Reporting to the Little Demon Empress, the Northern Ocean Domain is under this humble Kong Jingcang’s governance. The Northern Ocean Domain currently has a population of seventy three million people, and this population consists of ninety-one different races; humans comprise forty percent, while demons comprise sixty percent… Seventy four years ago, the Wild Wolf Clan rebelled and this rebellion was quelled in four years… Fifty three years ago, a natural disaster suddenly occurred as the Northern Sky Mountain erupted, and this calamity was only averted because the Little Demon Empress had sent enough people to help… Currently, the Northern Ocean Domain is at peace, with no disasters or rebellions…”
“…This humble one is the lord of the Profound Demon City, Feng Daosong. Profound Demon City and its surrounding regions have a total population of fifty-three million. The population consists of two hundred and twenty seven races. The core of our economy is still the professions of crafting profound formations and blacksmithing. Currently, my Profound Demon City has three of the ten greatest profound formation masters in the Illusory Demon Realm…”
“This humble one is the lord of the Five Way Domain, Lan Tengwu… For the past one hundred years, we have defended the border, not even letting down our guards for a single day, and we will definitely not allow the villains of the Profound Sky Continent to even take a step into our realm…”
The various lords began to declare the prominent events that had happened to their territories one after the other. In the center of the east wing, Duke Huai had a leisurely expression on his face, but his eyes betrayed his true unease. He kept looking in the direction of the Yun Family, and finally he crossed gazes with Yun Qinghong. Both of their eyes narrowed at the same time and Duke Huai gave a dull laugh… Yun Qinghong responded with a faint smile, but his smile carried an unmistakable clear disdain.
Duke Huai’s eyebrows furrowed fiercely.
Even though the two of them only had their eyes and expressions cross for that short span of time, they had issued what could be said to be an “ultimatum” to each other. Duke Huai was asking: Have you thought things through yet, and decided to stand with this duke? This is your, and the Yun Family’s, final chance.
But Yun Qinghong’s reply was only a short two words: