The second prince did not have the time to bother with Jun Xiaomo or Ye Xiuwen right now. He continued to stare dreadfully as the ring of guards shuffled closer and closer to him. His eyes quivered with complicated emotions.
The clamoring outside the courtyard had also caught Jun Xiaomo and Ye Xiuwen’s attention. However, they were absolutely unaware that the person who had singlehandedly incited this fracas was the first prince who should have been confined within the domain of Jun Xiaomo’s Confinement Array.
“Brother Ye, this is our chance. Take me away, quickly…” Jun Xiaomo hastily grabbed onto Ye Xiuwen’s clothes as sweat beaded up on her forehead and started to roll down her cheeks. She had bitten down so hard on her lower lips earlier that a deep imprint had been left ton it.
“Little Mo, where are you hurt?” Ye Xiuwen had mistakenly interpreted Jun Xiaomo’s actions to mean that her injuries were still incapacitating her, and he grabbed onto her arm in concern.
“Don’t…don’t touch me!” Jun Xiaomo’s body quivered violently, and she spoke with a tone of voice that was a few notches higher than usual. Right now, she was even heaving and panting as though she were in pain.
Ye Xiuwen’s hand froze in place as it hung in mid-air. He did not know whether to shift his hand away or put his hand down.
Jun Xiaomo lifted her head. Despite the veiled conical hat, she could already guess that her martial brother’s emotions must be filled with immense worry and concern right now.
She loosened her teeth that were clamping down on her lower lips. Jun Xiaomo struggled with all her might to repress the effects of the Euphoria-Stimulating Incense that threatened to consume her rationality and unleash her carnal desires. Gritting her teeth, she stammered to Ye Xiuwen, “Brother Ye…I’m under the effects of…the Euphoria-Stimulating Incense…take me out of here…find a herb called the…Soul Acuity Grass and I’ll be fine…”
The Soul Acuity Grass was the natural antidote to the Euphoria-Stimulating Incense. It was not difficult to find, and most large apothecaries would keep a healthy stock of these herbs.
It was at this moment that Ye Xiuwen discovered that Yao Mo’s condition was not symptomatic of his physical injuries. Yao Mo’s body was boiling hot as though he had just been soaked in a boiling cauldron. Apart from that, his cheeks had been flushed with a pink hue as though brushed with blushers; and his usually clear and alert pupils seemed to have been glossed over by a layer of hazy substance. In particular, his enrapturing eyes seemed to ripple with emotions and tug at a person’s heartstrings.
Ye Xiuwen clenched his fists ferociously as he furiously dispelled the momentarily stirring emotions in his heart. Then, he lifted Yao Mo into his arms and allowed Yao Mo’s face to rest on his strong shoulders.
Now that he could no longer see that impassioned gaze in Yao Mo’s eyes, Ye Xiuwen managed to stabilize the emotions in his heart.
“Don’t worry. Brother Ye is going to bring you away right now.” As he finished speaking, he slapped on each of them the Invisibility Talisman which Jun Xiaomo had earlier stuffed into his hands, causing both their figures to vanish into thin air within the courtyard.
Even though Jun Xiaomo couldn’t see Ye Xiuwen’s figure right now, Ye Xiuwen nevertheless held her tightly and firmly. She could feel herself flying through the air and the billowing of the wind rushing past her ears. Since her face was buried deeply in Ye Xiuwen’s shoulders, she could not see her surroundings very clearly. However, she felt safe and secure with her martial brother by her side. Furthermore, she could sense her martial brother’s aura; and the gentle fragrance of his body gradually stimulated her mind, slowly pulling her back from her subconsciousness.
Instinctively, Jun Xiaomo clung onto Ye Xiuwen tightly, wrapping her hands around his neck. Her light and tense breathing gradually began to stabilize as well.
This was a posture of reliance and trust. And the rare sight of Yao Mo’s vulnerability also etched itself deeply within Ye Xiuwen’s heart.
At the same time, Ye Xiuwen found that his skin where Yao Mo was breathing heavily onto had developed a burning, stinging sensation, as though it had been infected by Yao Mo’s high temperature.
He struggled to ignore this burning sensation as he sped on ahead. However, his eyes quivered with a conflicted, cryptic expression.
The disturbance created by the first prince had created a window of opportunity for Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo to escape from the second prince’s residence within Xingping County without facing any form of resistance. On the other hand, the first prince Rong Ruihan and the second prince Rong Yebin were fully locked in combat at the moment.
No, perhaps this should not be called “locked in combat” – it might be more accurate to describe the present state of affairs as a “one-sided massacre”.
Even though the second prince had numerous guards securing and protecting his residence, and each of these guards possessed reasonable combat abilities, their combined strength stood feebly at best when faced with the wrecking ball that was the first prince right now. The extent of the first prince’s combat abilities had reduced all of the guards surrounding him into a sorry state. There were even some guards who were decapacitated even before they could react to the first prince’s sudden attacks.
When a person’s abilities exceeded his opponent’s by such an insurmountable chasm, the idiom – strength in numbers – becomes completely meaningless.
The second prince stood aghast as he wondered how the first prince’s abilities had soared to such an extent. Once again, the feeling of indignation swelled up in his heart as he found himself experiencing the despondence of being defeated time and again.
The second prince had known the concept of “jealousy” ever since he was a little child.
His mother was the king’s favourite concubine and he was selected as the Grand Vizier’s chosen disciple from young. As such, he had enjoyed immeasurable prestige and glory for as long as he could remember.
However, this prestige and glory had always been something bestowed upon him by others. He had never managed to make a name for himself like the first prince did with his own abilities.
Perhaps the bloodline of the Jiang clan was just that noble and outstanding, but ever since he was young, the first prince Rong Ruihan had displayed incredible talent in both reading and writing that far exceeded his contemporaries.
On the other hand, Rong Yebin was invariably always taken as a comparison with his brother. His talents were not too bad. Yet somehow, he could never exceed Rong Ruihan’s achievements.
The clan of the first prince’s mother had always been a subject of taboo in the Inferno Kingdom. Yet despite the severe punishment it attracted, word of the Jiang clan still somehow got around. From his interactions with the palace staff, Rong Ruihan managed to glean a few pieces of information for himself – he even knew that his father had only managed to secure the throne through his own mother’s efforts.
It was also precisely because of this fact that the Inferno Kingdom’s king, Rong Yebin’s father, always treated Rong Ruihan with a strange disposition –
There were times where he would be extremely concerned about Rong Ruihan’s growth and development, and he would always shower him with gifts and treasures as though he were making up for a deficiency. Yet, on other occasions, he would distance himself from Rong Ruihan – even to the point of ignoring his existence – and let him fend for himself. During these periods of time, he could even turn a blind eye to things when he heard of palace workers bullying Rong Ruihan.
This was the kind of environment that Rong Ruihan had grown up in. In fact, the times when the king had distanced himself from Rong Ruihan far exceeded the times when the king showered him with blessings. Perhaps these extremities were nothing more than a manifestation of the king’s guilty conscience.
Yet despite the harsh environment of his childhood, Rong Ruihan somehow managed to work his way to the top, displaying his outstanding abilities and charms to all who were around.
When he was fifteen, he led an army to war and came back victorious. To put things into perspective, this was a war between the Inferno Kingdom and its neighboring country that had been ongoing for several years, and both sides seemed to have been locked in a stalemate. Neither was able to gain an advantage over the other, and even the king was resigned to the fact that things weren’t going to change overnight.
It was this war that had elevated the first prince’s fame and reputation to unprecedented levels. At the same time, everyone couldn’t help but compare the abilities of the first and second princes.
Before the Grand Vizier accepted the second prince as his sole disciple, he had always praised the second prince for being highly intelligent and incredibly talented. Even then, the second prince’s abilities paled in comparison with the first prince’s countless achievements which spoke volumes about him.
At the very least, the second prince did not possess any abilities to make contributions like the first prince did when he was fifteen. Instead, the second prince made a name for himself as the prince who only indulged himself in his carnal desires, collecting within his residence various types of beauties for his own pleasures.
Even the high officials within the Inferno Kingdom couldn’t help but secretly compare the abilities of these two princes. And it was evident – apart from some officials who were the trusted aides of the second prince, most high officials found the first prince to far exceed the second prince in any respect.
These were not matters that the high officials were prepared to proclaim openly about, but even then, some rumours still managed to find their way to the second prince.
If not for the fact that the second prince had plotted against the first prince and sowed the seed of discord in his father’s heart, perhaps the second prince might not even have been nominated as a crown prince of Inferno Kingdom right now.
Even though Rong Yebin rarely expressed his inferiority complex, his heart was in fact filled with jealousy and hatred for the first prince, and there was no modicum of time where he had not thought about disposing of him.
Therefore, he bought over a trusted aide by Rong Ruihan’s side, and this clandestine agent of his would from time to time report Rong Ruihan’s condition to him. Unless it was absolutely necessary, he would not disclose the existence of this spy of his.
Then one day his spy reported to him that Rong Ruihan had consumed an unknown substance which made him lose his mind and even attack the people around him. This was when Rong Yebin knew that his opportunity to dispose of Rong Ruihan had arrived.
Rong Yebin bided his time and waited a few days. Once he had properly ascertained that Rong Ruihan had indeed lost his rationality, and this was not a mere pretense, he activated the poison within his father’s body.
This poison was something that his mother had painstakingly fed to the king through his food over countless years. Furthermore, this poison was specially crafted with his mother’s blood as a primer. Thus, the king’s life had been completely under the control of this mother-son duo ever since he had been poisoned.
Then, Rong Yebin began to falsify and spread rumours that the first prince had poisoned the king. As the crown prince of Inferno Kingdom, he ordered the first prince’s arrest as soon as he took charge of the nation’s affairs.
Everything had been calculated to near-perfection. However, the one thing that he miscalculated was that the first prince had managed to wrestle control of his body back from the demonic core and regain his rationality on the day that the decree of arrest was made against him. Of course, the first prince was unable to maintain his rationality at all times; and his condition was just like when Jun Xiaomo had encountered him – clear-headed at times, fanatical and irrational at others.
However, despite the short duration of his rationality, the first prince managed to weed out and kill the spy hidden within his numbers. Then, he swiftly made his preparations and escaped from the palace before the palace guards could arrest him. As a result, the second prince’s lackeys returned empty handed.
This was how Inferno Kingdom’s first prince became the most wanted fugitive in his own kingdom.
Rong Yebin knew in his heart that Rong Ruihan was a thorn in his side that had to be eliminated. Rong Yebin could not rest until he had done so because he knew that with Rong Ruihan’s outstanding abilities, it was only a matter of time before his seat as the crown prince would be ousted by Rong Ruihan.
This was not unprecedented after all. Being the Grand Vizier’s sole disciple were not a guarantee of ascension to the throne. The current king, Rong Yebin and Rong Ruihan’s father, was a living example of that. It was precisely with the stoic backing of Jiang Yutong and her entire clan that thwarted the Grand Vizier’s plans to help his then-disciple ascend the throne.
Rong Yebin did not want history to repeat itself. He could not allow that to happen.
At this moment, the number of guards surrounding Rong Ruihan was diminishing gradually. Innumerable dead bodies piled up outside the circle of guards, soaking and staining the ground with a crimson red dye. The bloodbath was an absolutely chilling sight.
Then, the second prince’s eyes darkened as though he had just made a difficult decision.
He dashed over towards the diminishing circle of guards and began to lift the outermost guards up and toss them further from the circle to safety.
“Second prince!” The guards were first shocked, and then awash with joy.
They had thought that the second prince was here to save them.
But in the next moment, the second prince retrieved an ink-black blade from his Interspatial Ring and started walking towards them.
This blade had a complex formation diagram inscribed on it, almost akin to fretwork. At the same time, the blade released an ominous aura around it and instantly enshrouded the surroundings with a bone-chilling breeze.
As they stared at the frigid-looking blade, these few guards immediately grew uncomfortable, “Second prince…” They were just about to ask the second prince what he intended to do when they suddenly felt a sharp pain on their necks! Blood sprayed out from their severed arteries, but their blood did not land on the ground. Instead, they formed an arc in the air as they begun to be absorbed and consumed by the sword in the second prince’s hands.
They no longer possessed the ability to ask anything. The last thing their eyes saw was the sullen and deep gaze in the second prince’s eyes. Yet there was no emotion in his eyes. It was as though he were killing or butchering senseless animals.
Just like that, the second prince repeated the same process with several more guards, until he judged that it was finally sufficient. Then, he wielded that blade and made his way over towards the middle of the courtyard where the stone table originally was.
This stone table had been destroyed by Jun Xiaomo, and all that was left was a stump of stone in the ground.
On the other side, the guards locked in battle with the first prince had been so engrossed in their fight that they hardly noticed anything amiss when over ten guards had left their midst and been killed off by the second prince.
At this moment, Rong Yebin walked over to the stone stump, cut his palm with the blade and dripped a drop of his blood onto the stump.
Then, he half-knelt onto the ground and ferociously stabbed the blade directly through the center of the stone stump.
Immediately, an immense formation array activated out of nowhere, and its complex formation diagram covered the entire floor of the courtyard that they were standing on.
“Haha…Rong Ruihan, since you like fighting so much, knock yourself out with this demon I’m about to summon!”
As he spoke, a dribble of blood seeped out of the corner of his mouth, and he wiped it off nonchalantly.
A demon summoning array required the souls and fresh blood of ten people as its catalyst for activation. It was a formation array that defied the natural orders of the world! Furthermore, just like dangerous demonic cultivation techniques, there were even risks that the user would suffer from potentially irreparable backlashes.
Therefore, the Grand Vizier had previously warned his disciple that he had to be cautious when using such a formation array.
However, Rong Yebin could hardly care less any longer. His jealousy and hatred towards Rong Ruihan had exceeded all other considerations at this moment. Furthermore, given Rong Ruihan’s abilities, not even the collective efforts of the Dawn Sect disciples might pose a threat to him at this moment.
Since this was the case, he resolved to stake it all on this one strike.
“Rong Ruihan, Yao Mo, Ye Xiuwen, this prince wants all of you dead! I’ll let you have a taste of the consequences of defying this prince right now!”
As he finished speaking, a monstrous creature began to rise up out of the stone stump. It possessed an enormous black body, blood-red eyes and gleaming sharp claws. As its body started to take shape, long, enormous tusks started to grow out of its head. Then, its neck grew longer and extended out of its gargantuan body. Finally, scales covered its legs.
The second prince retreated to the side as he sized up the monstrous beast that he had summoned. However, his eyes were not filled with fear or dread at all. Instead, they were filled with a crazed desire for victory.
The second prince looked even more like a madman that had lost all sense of rationality than the first prince right now. He was like a madman that had bottled up all his jealousy and uneasiness in his heart for all his life and finally managed to unleash it at one go.
“Go forth! I command you to kill Rong Ruihan, Yao Mo and Ye Xiuwen! Split open their stomachs and gouge out their bowels. Give them a fate worse than death itself!”
As the second prince yelled out his commands at the monster, an evil smile crept up the corner of his lips.
The monster roared in response, before taking off towards the first prince Rong Ruihan!Previous Chapter Next Chapter