Chapter 98: Inferno Kingdom’s Grand Vizier

The great hall was buzzing with chatter from the inn’s guests. In contrast, the clinking of the teacup in Ye Xiuwen’s hands were hardly noticeable. At the very least, not a single person present discovered Ye Xiuwen’s peculiar, wavering emotions.

Ye Xiuwen immediately set the teacup back down onto the table gently to prevent shattering it. As the base of the teacup landed on the wooden surface of the table, it clinked once again.

An imperceptible amount of tea started seeping out from the cracks of the teacup, and a watermark slowly formed under the base of the cup.

Evidently, the teacup would have shattered into pieces if Ye Xiuwen had just held or set down the teacup with a little bit more force.

Apart from Ye Xiuwen, there was another person at the table who found it an absolute eyesore when the second prince verbally teased Yao Mo – and this person was none other than Yu Wanrou.

Yesterday, she had given it her all and employed all possible techniques at the feast just so that she could get into the second prince’s good books. She plied the second prince with spirit wine as she toasted to him in a soft, gentle voice; and she even threw several coquettish glances at the second prince as she donned a bashful look on her face. Having done all these things, she had expected that the second prince would be completely enthralled by her right now. Unexpectedly, the first person that the second prince set his eyes on this morning was still none other than Yao Mo!

Yu Wanrou possessed a different manner of thought from the traditional, straight-thinking mindsets of these ancient people. She had crossed over into this world from a liberal and technologically advanced society. In that world, it was not uncommon to find men associating with men; and women associating with women. Some countries had even legalized gay marriages, allowing persons of the same sex to become legally wedded.

Therefore, she did not find Yao Mo to be any less threatening just because he was a man. In fact, it was well apparent that the second prince was much more interested in Yao Mo than Yu Wanrou. This caused Yu Wanrou’s heart to burn with jealousy, as though it had been tossed into a furnace and roasted over white-hot flames.

If it was considered dissatisfactory to lose out to another woman, then losing to a man was something that was completely unacceptable to Yu Wanrou. In fact, she was so ashamed right now that she didn’t know where she could turn her head to hide her embarrassment – especially when Zhong Ruolan ceaselessly maintained that mocking gaze that was trained on her. She felt as though she were a worthless commodity that was unwanted by anyone. This caused Yu Wanrou’s heart to swell with indignance and anxiety.

However, her thoughts immediately turned to that spirit spring within her spectral demiplane. This was the only consolation that was able to calm her down right now.

She believed that it was practically impossible to find another person in the world who would possess the same spirit spring or a similarly effective dual-cultivation technique in a spectral demiplane.

This was her greatest asset. With this asset, it was only a matter of time that she would be able to subjugate any and every male cultivator whom she had set her eyes on!

At least, this was what Yu Wanrou felt completely convicted about.

Incidentally, she recalled the fact that the king of the Inferno Kingdom was still bedridden from the poison, and a bright gleam flickered across her eyes – Perhaps I should work at it from a different perspective.

As Yu Wanrou made several calculations in her heart in this respect, Qin Lingyu also made several calculations as to the potential rewards that could be gained from completing the task commissioned by the king. In some regards, both of them were truly a “match made in heaven”.

By now, the disciples had already spent half a day in Xingping County. However, apart from partaking a meal together with the Inferno Kingdom’s second prince, there seemed to be hardly any progress on the front of locating that fugitive and completing the task that they were here for to begin with. Were they really going to spend the rest of their time in Xingping County hanging around the second prince as he ogled at and teased “beauties”?

As he thought about these things, Qin Lingyu’s heart started to feel slightly anxious.

Naturally, this anxiety was not something that he would express outwardly. Therefore, he made a polite gesture at the second prince as he courteously broached the topic with a low voice, “Second prince, pardon me for speaking bluntly. Since we have already accepted the king’s task, we will do our utmost to complete the same. However, we don’t have a single lead to follow right now. Apart from the fact that the fugitive was last seen at Xingping County, there is nothing else for us to go on. I’m afraid that without anything more, this task is only going to get harder and harder, and the possibility of succeeding in this task is going to grow smaller and smaller. I wonder if the second prince is able to disclose whether he has any plans in this regard?”

Qin Lingyu is evidently anxious to secure for himself the promised rewards from this task. Yet somehow, he’s able to put on a pretense of “being anxious for others”. He truly lives up to his name as Dawn Sect’s number two hypocrite. Jun Xiaomo thought with squinted eyes. As she tapped her chin thoughtfully, a sardonic smile crept up the corner of her lips.

As to the number one hypocrite of Dawn Sect, this was naturally Qin Lingyu’s master, Dawn Sect’s Sect Leader, He Zhang. That said, the student often surpasses the master. If Qin Lingyu continued in the path he was on right now, there was no doubt that he would soon exceed his master to earn the top spot as the hypocrite of Dawn Sect.

Since Qin Lingyu had broached this topic, the second prince naturally shifted his gaze away from Yao Mo’s body. After all, Yao Mo was nothing more than a prey to him, while securing the title of king was of utmost importance to him.

If he botched things up, not only would he potentially face the ire of his father, the king; he might even present his other siblings with the perfect opportunity for upheaval and to overthrow his title as the crown prince.

That’s right – this was not just a task that had merely been entrusted to Qin Lingyu and the rest; it was also a test for the second prince. Right now, he had been charged with the task of managing the kingdom’s affairs in his father’s stead. Apprehending the most wanted fugitive in Inferno Kingdom naturally constituted one of the second prince’s heaviest responsibilities as well.

The second prince sipped his tea calmly before he addressed the disciples of Dawn Sect, “Brother Qin has poignantly tapped on the crux of the matter. Yesterday, the commander must have shown you the first prince’s portrait and told you that he was last seen in Xingping County, right?”

The disciples all nodded unanimously, eagerly anticipating the second prince’s next words.

“Truth be told, I’m afraid that the commander must have missed out an important detail; and for some reason I’d also overlooked apprising you of the same. The Inferno Kingdom has a Grand Vizier who advises the king as well. This Grand Vizier has always been watching over and protecting the Inferno Kingdom’s royalty ever since the Inferno Kingdom had been founded and established. When my father, the king, had been poisoned, the Grand Vizier was incidentally in his closed-door cultivation. That was one of the main reasons why the first prince was able to give the royal guards the slip.”

“If that’s the case, the first prince must have calculated his moves carefully and acted against the king only when he knew that the Grand Vizier was in closed-door cultivation.” One of the disciples exclaimed when he realized that he had roughly grasped the nub of the matter.

“It’s exactly that. Moreover, the Grand Vizier’s closed-door cultivation is an extremely well-concealed secret. Apart from the royalty, outsiders are completely kept in the dark about these matters. This is to prevent others from invading Inferno Kingdom or inciting civil unrest in the Grand Vizier’s absence. Despite all of that, an incident still occurred – and it was even caused by a member of the royalty.” The second prince fanned himself as he sighed meaningfully.

Jun Xiaomo lowered her head and remained taciturn throughout. Therefore, no one noticed that Jun Xiaomo had tightly clenched her fists under the table right now; while her slightly quivering hands revealed the roiling emotions within her heart.

“Come to think of it, you’ve mentioned that the Grand Vizier had been around and protecting the Inferno Kingdom’s royalty ever since the Inferno Kingdom’s establishment. If that’s the case, then wouldn’t he be extremely old by now?” One of the disciples pointed out curiously.

“That’s right. He must be over one-thousand years-old by now.” Another disciple chimed in after making some quick calculations with his fingers.

The second prince smiled in response as he tacitly agreed with the disciples’ conjectures.

In fact, there was one other thing that the second prince had failed to mention, and that was his relationship with the Grand Vizier – he was the direct apprentice of the Grand Vizier, and everything he knew about cultivation had been imparted to him by the Grand Vizier himself.

However, the Inferno Kingdom’s Grand Vizier was not a normal cultivator. Rather, he was an array master and a talisman master. The Inferno Kingdom’s palace grounds were protected by countless formation arrays set up by the Grand Vizier. With these formation arrays in place, any rioters or assassins would seriously have to think twice before causing any trouble at the palace grounds.

If not for the Grand Vizier, perhaps Jun Xiaomo might not have been apprehended by Yu Wanrou and her lackeys so easily in her previous life. Towards the end of Jun Xiaomo’s final skirmish with Yu Wanrou, Jun Xiaomo discovered to her horror that all of the formation arrays which she had previously set up to aid in her escape had been dismantled and thwarted by that old fogey. Not only that, that old fogey even possessed an extremely mystical, high-grade spirit tool. With the aid of this spirit tool, Yu Wanrou managed to easily uncover and expose Jun Xiaomo’s hiding places on several occasions.

This was one of the main reasons why Jun Xiaomo’s emotions roiled so frenetically when she heard the second prince mention the Inferno Kingdom’s Grand Vizier.

Jun Xiaomo secretly hated the fact that this old fogey had almost slipped her mind entirely. Moreover, Jun Xiaomo was astounded by the fact that she was already encountering all of her archnemeses from her previous life in her first travels outside of the Sect.

Aren’t I just ill-fated? Jun Xiaomo mocked in her heart as she mustered all of her strength and willpower to suppress the hatred within.

“Ah, that’s right. There’s one other thing. I’ve just received a message from the palace a few days ago, informing me that the Grand Vizier had broken through to the Immortal Ascension stage of cultivation, and that he should be out of his closed-door cultivation within the next few days. When that time comes, I could simply request the Grand Vizier to determine the first prince’s location. This would allow us to nab that fugitive much more easily.”

“Immortal Ascension stage!” One of the disciples exclaimed softly, before he asked with perplexity, “Since the Grand Vizier is already in the Immortal Ascension stage, then wouldn’t it be a better idea to ask the Grand Vizier to personally capture the first prince?

The second prince continued to smile and fan himself as he explained to the disciples, “The Grand Vizier’s expertise lay with formation arrays and talismans, and he’s not anywhere near as adept with his offensive spells. Besides, the Inferno Kingdom’s capital cannot do without the Grand Vizier’s protection and overwatch. Therefore, we will still have to depend on the assistance of these formidable guests here.”

“So that’s the case…” The disciples nodded their heads fervently as they were finally enlightened about the entire situation. After the second prince’s explanation, their hearts were once again filled with the confidence to capture the first prince and claim the rewards for themselves.

After all, they felt that they certainly stood a much better chance at success with the help of a Grand Vizier at the Immortal Ascension stage of cultivation.

On the other hand, Jun Xiaomo’s heart was tangled into a knot right now – Ascertaining his location? Wasn’t this exactly the same spirit tool that he used against me in my previous life?!

Despite Jun Xiaomo’s formidable strength at the end of her previous life, she still stumbled at the hands of the Grand Vizier’s mysterious spirit tool time and again. And right now, Jun Xiaomo had a feeling that the first prince’s abilities could hardly hold a candle to Jun Xiaomo back then. Therefore, if the Grand Vizier was truly willing to use that spirit tool against the first prince, then it was going to require more than a miracle if the first prince were to escape this predicament!

This is frustrating. I’ve not even decided whether I’m going to help the first prince yet, and the second prince is already making things more difficult for me.

Jun Xiaomo bit down on her lower lips as a complicated gaze surfaced in her eyes.

All this while, Ye Xiuwen had remained silent on the side as he continued to observe Yao Mo’s reactions to all these things. When he noticed how Yao Mo clenched his fists so tightly, Ye Xiuwen instinctually motioned to put his palms over Yao Mo’s arm to reassure him.

However, Ye Xiuwen hesitated after he lifted his hands.

He couldn’t do it anymore. He could no longer draw closer to Yao Mo without first overcoming these psychological barriers.

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