The Eternal Heaven God Emperor’s eyes widened so much that they looked like they might tear themselves apart. He looked like he might faint at any moment.
Yun Che’s eyes were glowing with devilish power. His black hair floated behind him, and his aura churned like a violent black flame.
The hatred in his eyes felt like a pair of devilish blades that had been submerged in the blood pools of hell. He looked like he couldn’t wait to tear the Eternal Heaven God Emperor into the smallest, lowliest particles using the most painful and cruelest methods he could think of.
Black energy was rising from the hand Yun Che used to clamp around Zhou Qingchen’s neck. In fact, half of Zhou Qingchen’s neck had already turned to charred flesh.
Lifted into the air, the prince’s eyes were rolling in their sockets, and his body was trembling violently in pain. However, the iron grip around his neck prevented him from making any sound at all.
“Yun Che, you…” Zhou Xuzi took a step forward, but he quickly stopped dead in his tracks. His mouth was agape, and his voice sounded impossibly hoarse.
Chi Wuyao had strolled next to Yun Che and fused her energy into Yun Che’s aura. An invisible, dark forcefield was pressing down on Zhou Xuzi’s chest and keeping him from getting any closer to Yun Che.
The shock and confusion churning in Zhou Xuzi’s heart was like a giant tsunami that threatened to overwhelm the sky itself. However, there was no mistaking Chi Wuyao’s action. He understood what had happened almost immediately.
“You… you…” Zhou Xuzi stuttered. He couldn’t imagine how ugly his expression was right now.
The sound of bones snapping suddenly pierced through everyone’s ear drums like an arrow. Yun Che had tightened his grip around Zhou Qingchen’s neck, breaking it and causing the latter to turn stiff, a disgusting screech forcing itself out of his windpipe like escaped air from a crushed pipe.
“Stop!” Zhou Xuzi felt as if his eyes were being stabbed by a pair of poisoned needles. Whatever he was attempting to say all dissolved into a fearful shout. He extended his arms as if the gesture would somehow save him, but his legs knew better than to take even a single step forward. “Don’t… don’t kill him… don’t kill him!”
People usually said that monarchs were cold-hearted, but Zhou Qingchen was more important to Zhou Xuzi than his own life.
Qianye Ying’er wasn’t kidding when she said that Zhou Qingchen might be Zhou Xuzi’s biggest and only weakness.
He had broken his own principles and beliefs to keep Zhou Qingchen from the world. He had stepped into the Northern Divine Region to make a deal with the Devil Queen. He had offered her a valuable treasure that was second only to the Eternal Heaven Pearl in the Eternal Heaven God Realm.
Zhou Xuzi looked like he would fall apart if anything were to happen to his son. No one would believe that he was a God Emperor if they saw him right now.
Most people would be moved by his deep love for his son.
Unfortunately for him, all Yun Che and Chi Wuyao felt was a deep sense of irony.
“Your love for your son is truly touching, Eternal Heaven God Emperor. Even this queen is almost moved to tears.”
Chi Wuyao said with a smile before shooting a glance to her side… it took a lot of beating around the bush, but things were finally happening as he wanted.
Technically, Chi Wuyao’s plan was a success the moment Zhou Xuzi had brought Zhou Qingchen to her. After that, everything she did—the carrot, the stick, the verbal assaults and so on—was in preparation for this one moment.
The moment where Yun Che kidnapped Zhou Qingchen right before Zhou Xuzi's eyes!
Getting the Untamed Divine Marrow was great, but it was at most a decent bonus.
Zhou Xuzi couldn’t possibly imagine that Chi Wuyao was aiming for his son, the child who had absolutely zero connections to her, and not the Untamed Divine Marrow.
Zhou Xuzi gritted his teeth until they felt like they would break from the sheer amount of force that was being applied to them. He dug his nails into his palm and forced himself to calm down with all his might.
But no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t imagine how or why the Devil Queen had joined forces with Yun Che.
The Devil Queen was a cunning and cruel woman who hated the three divine regions above all else. Yun Che was a devil person born in the Eastern Divine Region and a bag of mysteries and secrets. Finally, he was told that Yun Che had offended both the Soul Stealing Realm and the Yama Realm.
No matter how he looked at it, Yun Che was prey to Chi Wuyao at best. Things should never have turned out like this!
Even more puzzling was how Yun Che had regained himself immediately and snatched Zhou Qingchen from him. His power and his soul should’ve been under the Devil Queen’s complete control...
Zhou Qingchen’s life was at stake here, so he had treated everything with maximum caution. He would’ve spotted an act immediately if that was the case.
But none of this was important anymore. He had given up the Untamed Divine Marrow, but not only was Zhou Qingchen still tainted by darkness, his life was in Yun Che’s hands right now.
“Devil Queen, what… what is the meaning of this!? How… how dare you go back on your word when this old one has surrendered the Untamed Divine Marrow! Do you have no shame at all!?”
Zhou Xuzi’s voice sounded relatively calm, but his eyes betrayed his true emotions. He was deathly afraid that Yun Che would kill Zhou Qingchen on a whim.
“Oh? This queen doesn’t understand what the Eternal Heaven God Emperor is saying at all.”
Chi Wuyao explained herself slowly and lazily, “This queen surrendered Yun Che to you first, and you the Untamed Divine Marrow to me later as agreed upon. This queen then ordered Yun Che to cure Zhou Qingchen of his ‘affliction’ immediately.”
“This queen has followed the agreement to the letter, hasn’t she? So why are you angry? I should be the one who is angry! How dare you accuse me of going against my word! Is this how a God Emperor of the Eastern Divine Region usually conducts himself?”
If the first half of Chi Wuyao’s words were indignant, the latter half were clearly laden with righteous anger. It was almost as if the Eternal Heaven God Emperor had slandered her with the worst crime in the world.
“You!!” Zhou Xuzi’s calm was shattered before it could hold together for three breaths.
“Again, this queen has executed our agreement to the letter. What Yun Che does during this time is none of my business, and frankly, why would I even care in the first place? His limbs are on his body, not mine.”
“~！@#￥%...” The Eternal Heaven God Emperor felt like blacking out again. This time, even his internal organs were shaking with fury.
It had been a long time since he became the great and respected Eternal Heaven God Emperor. He had never been bullied this badly before!
And he just could do nothing about it because Zhou Qingchen’s life was in their hands.
“Good… very good! You truly deserve your title as the Northern Region's Devil Queen!” Zhou Xuzi nodded slowly. “This old one… will admit that he has lost this time!”
“The Untamed Divine Marrow is yours. This old one promises that he will… never take another step into the Northern Divine Region after he returns to the Eastern Divine Region with Qingchen.”
He wasn’t stupid enough to think that he could take back the Untamed Divine Marrow at this point. Knowing how much Yun Che hated him, Zhou Qingchen would most likely be killed the moment he made the request.
Zhou Xuzi had two goals in his mind when he came to the Northern Divine Region. The first was to cure Zhou Qingchen of darkness.
The second, was to kill Yun Che.
In his imagination, the second Yun Che cured Zhou Qingchen of darkness, he would gather all of his power and attack Yun Che… at this range, there was no way Yun Che would be alive.
The prophecy that a “devil god” would bring carnage to the world hadn’t left Zhou Xuzi’s mind since the day he had heard it. Yun Che himself had proven himself to be a great threat when he killed two of his Guardians, Tai Yin and Zhu Liu, and transformed his son into a devil person.
So when he contacted the Devil Queen, he was already planning to kill two birds with one stone!
Once he killed Yun Che, he would pass the cured Zhou Qingchen to the waiting arms of Tai Yu and do his utmost to stop the Devil Queen and her Witches.
He would then make his own retreat after Honorable Tai Yu and his son had left the borders completely.
If he could kill the devil person Yun Che, it didn’t matter even if the news of him visiting the Northern Divine Region was exposed.
The Untamed Divine Marrow was incredibly precious, but if he could kill two birds with one stone, the return was worth as much as an Untamed World Pellet.
When Chi Wuyao had given him a bewitched Yun Che and made the order, he had thought that everything was proceeding as planned. But it took only a second for his imagination to be shattered entirely.
Now he knew that he was the one who was being played from the start… worse, the best case scenario available to him now was him leaving with Zhou Qingchen safely.
What a sorrowful outcome that was.
“Return to the Eastern Divine Region with Qingchen?” Yun Che finally spoke up, and every word was infused with impossible hatred. “You must still be dreaming, old dog Eternal Heaven!”
“Because in my dreams... I spend my time drinking your blood and killing every last member of your filthy family!”
Zhou Xuzi’s fingertips had sunk so deep into his palm that he was literally touching the bones. It was all to remain calm in an impossible situation. Quieting his aura so that he presented himself as no threat at all, he did his best to speak in a collected tone. “Yun Che, I know you hate me, but Qingchen has nothing to do with it—”
“Then what about my daughter!? What about my family!?”
The angry roar of a beast of despair tore the Eternal Heaven God Emperor’s words to shreds. His fingers kept digging deeper and deeper into Zhou Qingchen’s neck, dyeing half the man’s clothes in reddish black blood.
“Old dog Eternal Heaven… do you know how close my daughter came to dying when she was still in her mother’s womb? Did you know that I wasn’t there when she was born? Did you know that I only found her when she was eleven… meaning that I hadn’t performed my duties as a father for eleven years straight?”
He stared at Zhou Xuzi with bottomless anger and pain. “And before I was able to make up even a shred of my failings to her… She gave up her greatest talent for me! A talent that can never be replicated again, all just to save my worthless, useless life!”
“...” Chi Wuyao turned away and closed her eyes.
“Heh… hehehe…” Yun Che was laughing, but it sounded more horrible than a ghost’s wail. “She is… a debt I can never repay in full… she is… far more important to me than my life! But you… you!!”
He started trembling uncontrollably. His aura was so chaotic that it was a miracle that it hadn’t fallen to shambles yet. “It was because of you, my daughter… my family… my home… everything!!”
Several of Zhou Qingchen’s neck bones snapped again. If Yun Che continued to lose control, the man was dead for sure.
“St… stop! Stop!” Zhou Xuzi begged. “I’m not the one who destroyed Blue Pole Star and killed your family and daughter… it was the Moon God Emperor! Nothing that happened afterward was what I wanted to happen!”
“She will die! You all deserve to die as well!” Yun Che shouted at the top of his lungs, his eyes as red as the blood of the abyss.
Suddenly, a soul voice entered everyone’s mind. “I… will… pay… my… father’s… debt…”
Zhou Xuzi’s eyes widened. He shouted, “What nonsense are you spouting, Qingchen!? Your father isn’t dead yet! It’s not your turn to pay any debt I owe!”
“...” Icy, bloody tears flowed down Zhou Qingchen’s cheeks.
“Yun Che, please… please let him go.” Zhou Xuzi begged. He hadn’t begged this pitifully even when he was facing the Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor herself. “The sin is all mine. He didn’t know anything, didn’t do anything. He… he only had admiration and respect for you, and… you were once friends, weren’t you?”
He didn’t say stupid things like offering up his own life in exchange for Zhou Qingchen’s. If he killed himself, Zhou Qingchen’s death was all but certain.
You do not cut the weed and leave the roots intact.
“Ai.” Suddenly, Chi Wuyao sighed quietly and said, “Yun Che, that’s enough. It’s time to return Zhou Qingchen to him. If we stay here any longer, we’ll be noticed by the Burning Moon Realm and Yama Realm.”
Zhou Xuzi was completely caught off guard by the Devil Queen’s words. He felt like he was in a dream.
Chi Wuyao turned toward him and smiled with ridicule. “If Yun Che really wanted to kill your son, he would’ve annihilated him into nothing the moment he got his hands on him. You wouldn’t even have had the time to kneel and beg.”
“He may possess darkness profound energy now, but you should know his character better than most! He doesn’t kill innocent people. It would only pollute his integrity and dirty his hands!”
Tears appeared in Zhou Xuzi’s eyes. He started shaking again, but not out of fear or anger, but because he had suddenly found a faint hope in the depths of the abyss.
That’s right. He did know the old Yun Che. There was no other youngster he admired, valued, and appreciated more than him back then.
Before he fell into darkness, he once bore the holiest light in the world.
He might have joined the Northern Divine Region, he might still hate him to the very bone, but he would never kill an innocent person without good reason.
His eyes might be full of bloodthirst, his aura might have become fully corrupted, and the prophecy of the devil god was still looming over his head… but he needed to ignore all that right now. He needed to remember the boy he crowned the “God Child Messiah” himself before everything went to hell!
He needed to believe… had to believe… that Yun Che wouldn’t kill Zhou Qingchen no matter what.
He wouldn’t! He wouldn’t!
“Right… right.” Zhou Xuzi nodded repeatedly while shivering like a leaf. He gathered all the willpower he could muster into his eyes and begged. “I, Zhou Xuzi, made a terrible mistake… an unforgivable mistake… but Qingchen is innocent. I’m the one you hate, and I’m the one who made all those mistakes. I know you won’t kill him… so please, let him go. If you do, I can promise you anything… anything.”
Chi Wuyao looked at Yun Che and said, “It’s only a matter of time before you grow strong enough to murder Zhou Xuzi with your own hands. You’ll only dirty your hands and humiliate yourself by killing someone who has nothing to do with your grudge. Come on. If we don’t leave now it’ll be too late.”
But Yun Che neither moved nor withdrew the bloodthirst in his eyes in the slightest. “Old dog Eternal Heaven, kneel and kowtow three times to me! I’ll let him go if you do that!”
There were no true gods in this world. Therefore, there was no one in the world who deserved a kowtow from the Eternal Heaven God Emperor himself.
Zhou Xuzi’s mouth opened and closed several times as he watched Yun Che’s aura. The young man looked like he would erupt at any moment. In the end, he said in the most powerless voice he used in his life. “Pro… promise me.”
“Heh.” Yun Che sneered at him. “There’s nothing more I hate in this world than a person who betrays his word. You think… I would break my word like you??”
Zhou Xuzi’s knees hit the floor powerlessly. The proud head that he had never bent once for the Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor herself hit the dark soil beneath his feet loudly.
A cruel, ridiculing glint flashed across Chi Wuyao’s eyes as she watched him.
Drip… drip… drip…
The blood and tears dripping from Zhou Qingchen’s face matched the sound of Zhou Xuzi’s head hitting the ground with ironic synchrony.
Zhou Xuzi’s head hit the ground for the third time, and he looked up dazedly at Zhou Qingchen… he even forgot to get back to his feet.
“Good… very good.”
Yun Che smiled and loosened his grip over Zhou Qingchen’s neck.
Zhou Xuzi’s pupils dilated to their limit. Instead of putting Zhou Qingchen back on the ground, Yun Che had plunged an arm right through his son’s chest.
Dark energy flashed from the bloody arm, and Zhou Qingchen exploded into a million pieces.
The only thing left in his vision beneath the shower of blood was Yun Che’s cruel, devilish smile from hell.