“How’d it go?” Xia Qingyue asked on the profound ark as they returned.
“It’s a success.” Yun Che exhaled slightly before continuing, “The poison will surface completely once six hours have passed. Qianye Fantian wouldn’t dare touch the Evil Infant devilish energy without good reason, so he shouldn’t be able to discover the Sky Poison concealed inside it.”
“Still…” Although everything had gone smoothly, Yun Che couldn’t wipe out the lingering fear inside of him completely. He said, “This is Qianye Fantian we’re talking about. I can’t believe we actually did that.”
“I wouldn’t dare make such a gamble if you didn’t have the Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor’s backing either,” Xia Qingyue said calmly. “We should know the results by tomorrow. If it succeeds, then all is well. If it fails… I will bear the consequences as a matter of course.”
“I’m the one who did the poisoning. I will bear the consequences with you if it turns out to be a failure,” said Yun Che in a seemingly careless manner.
“You should take care of your own business first,” Xia Qingyue ignored his statement completely and said, “Have you figured out a way to deal with the devil gods’ return?”
Yun Che shook his head while replying, “Not even close.”
Xia Qingyue, “...”
Hong’er and You’er were his greatest hope, but...
“The mortals of this world are currently too weak to handle the likes of devil emperors and devil gods.” Xia Qingyue softened her voice and said, “You don’t need to put too much pressure on yourself. You don’t need to force yourself to succeed. You’re not the chosen messiah, and you have no obligation to become one.”
Yun Che smiled at her and replied, “Mn, I know. Thank you.”
Yun Che’s gratitude caused Xia Qingyue to look away. Her eyes were hiding a mix of complex emotions.
“By the way, you haven’t returned to the Dragon God Realm and visited Senior Shen Xi, have you?” Xia Qingyue asked evenly, “She’s the one who saved your life and gave you your light profound energy. Without her, today’s plot would never have come to fruition.”
“That is true,” said Yun Che while leaning against a wall. His expression looked a little odd for some reason, “and I won’t be going anytime soon.”
“Why? Is it because she’s currently in secluded cultivation?” Xia Qingyue turned back towards him.
Yun Che shook his head a little unnaturally and said, “I’m not sure what happened over there, but I can tell you that she’s definitely not in secluded cultivation right now.”
“Oh?” Xia Qingyue sounded like her interest was piqued. “The Dragon Monarch is the one who declared that Dragon Queen Shen Xi is in secluded cultivation. This is no secret at the Dragon God Realm either. Why do you think that?”
“It’s because I know her better than anyone… Ahem. What I’m trying to say is Shen Xi’s profound energy is very special, and normal secluded cultivation is completely unnecessary for her. In addition, the Forbidden Land of Samsara is the biggest forbidden land in the Dragon God Realm, and the only person who can ‘disturb’ her at will is the Dragon Monarch. If she really wanted to be left alone, she would close off the entire Forbidden Land of Samsara without even informing the Dragon Monarch. The Dragon Monarch would learn on his own once he noticed that the entrance was closed anyway. Even if she did inform him beforehand for some reason, she is an incredibly aloof person who doesn’t want to have anything to do with the secular world at all. She wouldn’t have allowed the Dragon Monarch to make her secluded cultivation public to the entire Dragon God Realm, much less the outside world.”
Xia Qingyue, “...”
“Moreover, there exists a special wall between her and the Dragon Monarch, a wall that no outsider would ever believe unless they saw it with their own eyes, and that was before mentioning a certain bigger, more special reason. Unless she had no other choice, she would never borrow anything from the Dragon Monarch or owe him anything. Therefore… Even if she was planning to go into secluded cultivation for a long time, she would never ask the Dragon Monarch to build another sealing barrier for her.”
Xia Qingyue shot Yun Che a deep look.
“That’s why I was confused when the Eternal Heaven God Emperor told me that Shen Xi had gone into secluded cultivation back in the Snow Song Realm. When I ran into the Dragon Monarch later in the Eternal Heaven Realm, the way he looked and spoke to me was also incredibly… Er, well, it’s nothing.” Yun Che suddenly cut himself off forcefully.
“You only stayed in the Forbidden Land of Samsara for a year, and you know Senior Shen Xi this well already?” Xia Qingyue asked in a meaningful tone.
“Don’t be ridiculous, understanding a woman is not nearly so simple,” Yun Che curled his lips while he was saying this. He seemed to be hinting at something. “These are just her basic habits and principles.”
“Right now Senior Jie Yuan requires all my attention, and I cannot afford to split my focus. I need to learn more about this before I head to the Dragon God Realm, or something might… Hmm…”
“You seem unusually careful and hesitant. And why am I sensing a bit of secrecy from you?” Xia Qingyue’s eyes flashed slightly. “Did you do something that is best left unsaid in the Dragon God Realm?”
“No I didn’t!” Yun Che shook his head immediately. “This is my personal matter. I’ll handle it myself.”
What happened between him and Shen Xi was absolutely taboo. Not even Xia Qingyue or Mu Xuanyin could know about this.
So far, Xia Qingyue had displayed a terrifying amount of shrewdness. Worried that he would let something slip if they continued on this topic, Yun Che forcefully changed the subject and said, “I’ve been wanting to ask this for a while now, but… what is that item you’re carrying on your neck?”
“...” Xia Qingyue’s gaze froze for a second. She didn’t give him an answer.
Yun Che’s only motive was to distract Xia Qingyue, but her unusual reaction actually piqued his interest. He leaned forward and asked, “What is it? I’ve never seen you wear anything like this, but you’re wearing this one close to your person, and you hadn’t taken it off even when we were screwing over Qianye Fantian just now… Say, it’s not a gift from another man, is it!?”
“Childish!” Xia Qingyue snorted before taking off the round mirror on her neck. “You may take a look at it if you want to.”
Yun Che accepted it and gave it a look. He then asked in confusion, “This looks like an incredibly average bronze mirror. Why are you wearing this?”
“My mother left this to me,” Xia Qingyue said. “The profound image of my father, Yuanba, and a younger me is kept inside. It’s also the only thing… that my mother took with her when she left my father.”
Yun Che had already heard of Yue Wuya and Yue Wugou’s ending from Mu Xuanyin, so Xia Qingyue’s words caused his expression to stiffen a little. The bronze mirror in his hands suddenly felt a little heavy, and his movements had become a lot more cautious. “I see… May I open it and take a look?”
“Do as you please,” said Xia Qingyue.
Yun Che gently opened the bronze mirror to reveal a profound image about three inches long. Inside the profound image was a man about thirty years old and a pair of children about three to four years old.
Yun Che immediately realized that the man was a younger Xia Hongyi. Unlike his current collected self, the Xia Hongyi in the profound image was smiling and in high spirits.
The girl looked like a jade carving. She was incredibly tiny and young, but the shadows of her beauty were already peeking through at the time.
The young boy was even younger than the girl was, but his body didn’t match up to his age at all. Although he was only three years old, he could almost be described as “fit” already.
“I didn’t know you were this cute when you were young, Qingyue,” Yun Che said with a smile. His childhood memories were of course a blur at this point, and he had rarely met Xia Qingyue until they had gotten married at the age of sixteen. That was why his impression of Xia Qingyue before she was sixteen was vague even though they lived in the same city and were engaged since birth.
“As for Yuanba… I guess it wasn’t just after you grew up. Even when you were younger, the two of you didn’t look like brother and sister at all.”
Xia Qingyue, “...”
Yun Che looked up and said, “If your mother kept this with her in secret all this time, then…”
“Alright, enough.” Xia Qingyue cut him off before he could finish. “I don’t want to hear this.”
Yun Che stopped talking and lowered his gaze. He was just about to fold the bronze mirror together when suddenly, his eyebrows jumped upward.
Inside the bronze mirror, Xia Hongyi looked exactly the same as before. However, the child standing next to him was just a thin and childish-looking boy.
These were the only two people in the profound image. There was no unusually brawny Xia Yuanba, and Xia Qingyue was nowhere to be seen.
His frown abruptly deepened, and he shook his head strongly. When he looked at the profound image once more, everything had returned back to normal: There was Xia Hongyi, a brawny Xia Yuanba, and Xia Qingyue once more.
I must be seeing things just now.
“What’s wrong?” Yun Che’s sudden change in expression and head shaking provoked a response from Xia Qingyue.
“Uh, nothing. My mind went blank for a second. It’s probably because I used up too much profound energy.”
Yun Che folded the bronze mirror carefully before passing it back to Xia Qingyue. “Your mother is my mother-in-law in name, but I never got the chance to meet her in person. This will remain a big mark of regret in my life… I hope her life in the other world will be happy and carefree.”
Xia Qingyue accepted the bronze mirror and put it back on her neck… She hadn’t taken it off once for the past few years until just now.
Brahma Monarch God Realm.
Xia Qingyue’s obviously leading words had left a poisonous thorn in Qianye Fantian’s side. It was simply impossible to ignore or forget everything she had said.
If a person afflicted by the Evil Infant devilish energy was poisoned with the Absolute God Slaying Poison as well… would it create a change drastic enough to kill even a god emperor? No one knew the answer to that because it had never happened before in the current world, and that was exactly why the fear of the unknown was so scary.
Moreover, Myriad Tribulations had been the result of the Sky Poison Pearl's poison and the Evil Infant devilish energy combining into one. It was the two scariest words in the entire Primal Chaos since ancient times.
As a result, even though Qianye Fantian knew that Xia Qingyue was trying to do something to him with her words, he still remembered every single word to the point of distraction… At this point, he still had no idea that a terrifying devil had been planted inside his body.
When the Sky Poison Pearl had regained its poison spirit, it didn’t just mean that its poison energy would regenerate at a quicker rate. The special Sky Poison it produced also gained a life and consciousness of its own as well.
Of course, the controllers of this new life and consciousness were none other than He Ling and Yun Che.
When they had slipped the Sky Poison into Qianye Fantian’s body undetected, they had ordered it to activate six hours later. So six hours later, before Yun Che and Xia Qingyue had even returned to the Moon God Realm, the Sky Poison had executed its orders exactly as promised!
Inside the temple, Qianye Fantian was meditating in silence when suddenly, he opened his eyes and started trembling violently and losing control of his aura.
The ninth Brahma King guarding at the front of the temple felt his heart quicken as he turned around to look at the god emperor. He simply could not remember the last time Qianye Fantian’s aura had reacted this violently. “What’s wrong, god emperor?”
Qianye Fantian shook again and fell forward right after he was done asking the question. Pitch black smoke burst out of the god emperor’s body and turned his complexion black in just the blink of an eye, and a soul rending chill started spreading with impossible speed across the whole temple.
“This is…” The ninth Brahma King’s expression changed drastically. “A devilish energy outbreak? But didn’t Yun Che just purify the god emperor a couple of hours ago? Why is it…”
That wasn’t all. This outbreak actually looked worse than any of the previous outbreaks!
The ninth Brahma King’s pupils abruptly shrank to the size of needles before he could finish… It was because a dark green colored light had burst out of Qianye Fantian’s body right after the black energy.
At this point, Qianye Fantian’s face had become distorted by pain and suffering.
The Sky Poison power awakened in full force like a green devil god, bringing with it the dark devil god that was already inside the god emperor’s body.
“Poison… It’s poison! Uaah!”
At his level, he should be immune to all curses or poison, but Qianye Fantian was suffering from so much pain that his face had become as distorted as a wraith’s. Letting out a scream of immeasurable pain and collapsing on the ground, the god emperor actually couldn’t get back to his feet until after he trembled for a long time.
The ninth Brahma King watched in disbelief as Qianye Fantian’s aura became even more chaotic than before. Not only did the power of his god emperor fail to suppress the rampaging black light inside his body, it did even less against the green, soul chilling light that was racking his body.