The majority of the Yan Huang Tribe had never laid eyes on a member of the Ghostly Yan Tribe of the Infernal Inferno before.
To them, nothing major had happened in the Yan Huang Ancient Country.
This sensation would very quickly blow over.
People knew that this was because of the Message Talisman that Wu Yu had sent, which had brought advance notice and bought time for the Yan Huang Tribe to prepare. That allowed the Ancient Emperor to know of the changes in the Infernal Inferno.
Therefore, beside the Ancient Emperor's miracle, Wu Yu was considered the next greatest contributor.
Prince Le was right. Not long after Wu Yu's return, he received a summon from the Regent, to a royal banquet as lively and bustling as any. Wu Yu left the Heaven Devouring Avatar in Prince Le's Residence, while his real body followed Prince Le to the banquet. All about the royal city, there was song and dance, and a gay scene of peace and prosperity twinkled under the lights. Many experts and respected people of the Yan Huang Ancient Country were in attendance.
As he looked around, he observed that there were a lot of princes and princesses indeed. Wu Yu stood behind Prince Le, with more than 100 people beside him. Some looked very old, while others were younger than Prince Le. Each had a rune on their brow, marking them as the progeny of the Yan Huang Ancient Emperor.
The celebrations ended.
The Regent was not much different from mortal emperors. He needed to handle the various regions and matters of state, to the point where it interfered with cultivation. And with the Yan Huang Ancient Emperor above him, this was no matter to celebrate.
Of course, at least when he was surrounded by elite experts, he could still occasionally enjoy the feeling of being king.
Wu Yu had been thinking about something else, when he heard someone calling him. Prince Le gave him a shove, and Wu Yu stumbled out into the center. Right before him was the Regent and other highly placed members of the Yan Huang royal family. More than 20 of them lounged on the dragon thrones - either the siblings of the Yan Huang Ancient Emperor, or other important pillars of the nation.
Power and influence enough to rule the world.
It had been the Regent who had called him.
The Regent had called him just as a performance ended, and all eyes fell to him. Many of them were questioning, but some were knowing. Wu Yu himself naturally knew. Before today, Prince Le had already preempted him that the Regent would reward him today.
"Regent." Wu Yu bowed.
The Regent had a small smile for him, and then he addressed everyone in a loud voice, "I need not elaborate on the battle of the Infernal Inferno. Everyone knows that the Ancient Emperor found out about this matter because Wu Yu saw the Ghostly Yan Tribe's movements in the Infernal Inferno and informed us. If not, our tardy response would have seen the Ultimate Spirit Design of Heaven and Earth, Executioner of Demons broken in a trice. We can only imagine how many casualties we would have sustained amongst the Yan Huang Tribe at the eight fortresses and the surrounding castles!"
This was publicly acknowledged, and everyone knew it.
At the start, many had not believed Wu Yu's Message Talisman.
Wu Yu had been in the right place at the right time, and had done great work in saving many lives.
The Regent looked at Wu Yu with a slight smile and said, "Because of Wu Yu's great work and astounding influence, many were blessed by him. I have decided to reward Wu Yu with an Order of Merit, First Class."
Wu Yu did not know what an Order of Merit, First Class entailed, but from the huge grin on Prince Le's face, and the agog expressions on the others, it was, evidently, too much.
An older prince immediately stepped forth. He was already middle-aged, and getting on in years. His cultivation level was also advanced - probably some high tier of the Dao Querying Three Disasters Realm.
He was known as Prince Yan, and one of the oldest siblings of Prince Le. Of course, the princes at their age were the hot favorites for succession, because they held tremendous advantage over those like Prince Le in terms of ability, experience, and influence.
"It was a coincidence that he saw that titan. Anyone would have sent back a Message Talisman immediately. Does a stroke of good fortune warrant an Order of Merit, First Class? Royal Uncle, I am not biased against Kingmaker Le. I simply feel that this is unfair to everyone who fought it back with all their strength, and the Yan Huang experts who risked their own lives. An Order of Merit, First Class is something that many army generals do not even earn in a lifetime of conquest."
Prince Yan reasoned out with equanimity.
He was one of the few princes with the authority to speak out.
The others chorused in their agreement after him, not against Wu Yu in particular, but simply that this was too generous.
"If this is all it takes to get an Order of Merit, First Class, I think even Kingmaker Le himself will feel embarrassed."
In the end, Prince Chen, who had been defeated by Wu Yu before, spoke out.
Actually, Wu Yu's performance had been too exceptional in this period of time, and Prince Le's stock had been rising alongside like a ship on a wave. The hunter will shoot the bird that sticks out, and they, too, had closed ranks to alienate Prince Le and Wu Yu.
To have so much doubt cast on a decision he had already made, the Regent smiled chillingly. "It seems like the eminent princes and princesses do not think the Regent worthy of respect. However, I still wish to let you know that despite all of your struggles, both overt and covert, I still have the authority to confer Wu Yu the Order of Merit, First Class. And this authority has come from your father emperor. Doubting me is the same as doubting the Ancient Emperor. Perhaps I have been too warm of tone for too long, that you would forget the respect that should be accorded to me. Very good indeed. No wonder the one that sent the Message Talisman was not any of you. Given you lot only dare to quibble in the nest, would any of you actually have dared to go so deep into the Infernal Inferno? Keke...."
He was not the real emperor, and so the princes and princesses could challenge him. However, the oldest ginger was the spiciest. In the face of his taunts, they could only keep silent. Actually, they themselves wished for such awards, and were jealous that they could not obtain it.
From this debate, Wu Yu could infer that this Order of Merit was definitely a great boon!
This was excellent news.
One point he could not understand: why would the Regent bulldoze past the other princes and princesses in order to reward him? Merely for the sake of justice?
Wu Yu's Message Talisman had indeed done great work.
But it was as Prince Yan had said - he had just been lucky.
Such an Order of Merit could be either awarded or not. But he had chosen to, a favoring of Wu Yu and justice.
"Of course he accepts it. Our Kingmaker Le deserves it, and he has no qualms about it." From beside him, Prince Le laughed out loud, a reply to Prince Chen's previous statement.
Next came to the real question. An Order of Merit, First Class was merely an honorary title. The Regent asked, "Kingmaker Le, an Order of Merit, First Class comes with much reward. Is there anything that Kingmaker Le wants in particular?"
Being asked like that put Wu Yu on the spot. There was so much that he wanted, but he had not thought this through. And how would he know what he could ask for? If he asked for too much, he would be laughed at. If he asked for too little, that would be a waste of this Order of Merit, First Class.
Just as Wu Yu was racking his brains, the Regent suddenly said, "I heard that you went to the Infernal Inferno this time over a bet regarding the Unbounded Sky Pillar, which Army General Qu Yin offered as prize to the yan dragon generals and you, over who could kill the Ghostly Artificer. Out of so many people, only you dared to go into the base camp of the Ghostly Yan Tribe to face the Ghostly Artificer. Did you succeed?"
Wu Yu had planned to go and look for Qu Yin over this matter, and he did not know why the Regent would ask it here. He replied, "I was very fortunate to succeed in the end. I have with me a portion of the Ghostly Artificer's corpse and his other artifacts. I had intended to go and look for Army General Qu Yin in a couple of days."
Wu Yu's words raised quite the stir, because everyone knew just how difficult it was to kill a Dao Querying Three Disasters Realm cultivator in the midst of the Ghostly Yan Tribe camp. Wu Yu began to show his battle spoils, and the Ghostly Artificer was, without a doubt, dead by his hand.
Qu Yin stood up and said, "Regent, there is indeed the matter of the bet regarding the Unbounded Sky Pillar. A few yan dragon generals agreed to let Wu Yu join the challenge, and so I allowed it."
The Regent said, "This means that the Unbounded Sky Pillar is Wu Yu's, correct?"
Qu Yin nodded.
Seeing Wu Yu gain such a prize did not sit well with the others, but he had won it with his own ability and daring.
Regent laughed. "Kingmaker Le, I wonder if you would give the Unbounded Sky Pillar to the royal house, and make it the property of the royal family?"
These words confused not just Wu Yu, but everyone present was scratching their heads. Was he rewarding Wu Yu or not? Why had he instead taken away Wu Yu's prize? This was robbery. In what world was this a reward?
Many suddenly had a glimmer of understanding: could the Regent be pretending to reward Wu Yu, but actually be bullying him?
Wu Yu himself did not understand it. He looked at Prince Le, who was just as clueless. However, Wu Yu himself could sense that the Regent was not setting a trap for him. He understood the Regent's body language, and his half-smile indicated something big was brewing.
He did not seem like he was about to punish Wu Yu.
Wu Yu was a smooth one. Unexpectedly, he said, "Since the royal family has a need, Wu Yu is naturally willing to gift this Unbounded Sky Pillar to the royal family."
Everyone was very surprised to hear this.
The Regent smiled after hearing this, and nodded. "Kingmaker Le is truly someone destined for greatness. I am not here to make things difficult for Kingmaker Le. Instead, I feel that you might not need the Unbounded Sky Pillar anymore, and so would like it back so that it will not be wasted. After all, I am giving you something even better. Perhaps those here can guess what the dao treasure's name is....”Previous Chapter Next Chapter