Volume 19, Chapter 170.2: Injury! Death! A Human Heart

Xu Mochen was cursing Wang Shaojie in his heart now. Not only did the arrest attract the attention of the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, it drove the Crown Prince to pay a visit in person! This wasn’t looking likely to be resolved easily.

The door of the interrogation room opened. A gloomy-looking Jing Hongchen walked out, with Lin Jiayi and Huo Yuhao following behind him.

When Ju Zi saw Huo Yuhao covered in blood, her footsteps stiffened slightly and her expression tensed up. However, she tried her best to restrain her emotions. She understood Xu Tianran. If she came off as overly passionate towards Huo Yuhao, then Huo Yuhao was likely to get in trouble. Ju Zi was more than well-aware that in Xu Tianran’s mind, she belonged to him.

“Greetings to Your Highness,” Jing Hongchen called out, but only nodded his head. What was his status? In the Sun Moon Empire, he was equivalent to a Grand Advisor. Even the current emperor treated him with respect, and wouldn’t demand that he stick to formalities.

Xu Tianran bowed slightly seated in his wheelchair, “Greetings, Hallmaster. I’m disabled, and it’s slightly inconvenient for me to fully pay my respects. Please forgive me for this.”

Jing Hongchen didn’t expect Xu Tianran to be so formal. He knew a little about Xu Tianran, and regarded him very highly. Not only was he ambitious, but he had ways to get things done too. If he succeeded the throne, he was bound to bring prosperity to the Sun Moon Empire.

However, a surprise attack left the Crown Prince disabled. This made Jing Hongchen a little hesitant. Even with his prominent position in the Sun Moon Empire, the price to pay for supporting the wrong side was very hefty. That was why he decided to watch from the sidelines. Whoever succeeded the throne in the end would need his support regardless. All he needed to do was wait.

“Crown Prince, you don’t have to be so ceremonious.” Jing Hongchen gestured.

Xu Tianran was concerned as he looked at Huo Yuhao. He said, “Hallmaster, I heard from Ju Zi that her classmate was arrested by the Royal Stewards. Which was why I rushed over. The Royal Stewards have become too brazen. They even dare to arrest a student from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. From your expression, I can tell that they didn’t even inform you before doing so.”

Although Xu Tianran’s words sounded very peaceful, they caused Xu Mochen to curse in his heart. The back of his shirt was drenched in perspiration from stress.

Jing Hongchen had already been provoked once by Huo Yuhao earlier. Now hearing the Crown Prince’s words, his expression turned even gloomier.

He answered coldly, “You’re right. No one seems to respect the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy nowadays. Your Highness, I shouldn’t comment on such matters since I don’t belong in the imperial palace. However, I think that there might be an overdue reorganization of the Royal Stewards in order.”

While he was speaking, Second Brother, Old Four and the rest had walked out from the interrogation room. When they saw Xu Tianran, and listened to how he addressed Jing Hongchen, they realized that they were in big trouble. They didn’t dare to speak out, just from the sheer terror.

Xu Tianran nodded his head slightly. “Hallmaster, I’ve not been strict enough on them. I’ll give you an answer for this now.” As he spoke, he pointed at Second Brother and the rest, then he said, “Kill them.”

Two very simple words, but they carried a strong murderous intent and aura. A figure appeared from behind Xu Tianran. It rushed towards Second Brother and the others like a specter.

Even Jing Hongchen flinched at the strong killing intent being exuded. In the next moment, that figure had already returned behind Xu Tianran.

The figure belonged to a very feeble seeming elder. He only wore the standard attire of a palace attendant. Initially no one had noticed him. His thin figure looked as if he could collapse at any time.

Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. Five groans sounded, starting from Second Brother. One Soul Emperor and four Soul Kings collapsed. A stream of blood flowing from each of their foreheads, like their foreheads had been struck.

“Shadow Douluo, Xue Chen?” Jing Hongchen was stunned as he looked towards the feeble elder in disbelief.

Xu Mochen was stunned as well. He didn’t expect that the Crown Prince was so merciless. Before giving him a chance to explain, his five competent subordinates were killed.

It’s important to know that Soul Kings were crucial to an empire. It wasn’t a small matter to kill five of them in one go, as it was likely to cause a commotion in the imperial court. But this Crown Prince did it like it was nothing. A chill ran down Xu Mochen’s spine. In addition, he only now found out that there was a Titled Douluo under the Crown Prince!

The elder slowly lifted his head and smiled at Jing Hongchen, “Hallmaster, it’s been a while. I didn’t expect that you would remember me.”

Jing Hongchen’s shock had already disappeared by then. He smiled and replied, “How can I not remember you? When you became a Titled Douluo, I was still stagnant at the Soul Douluo level. I didn’t expect that after more than ten years you’d enter the imperial city.”

Xue Chen answered him, “This is not the place to speak. I’ll pay you a visit when we return. We can catch up then.” After he finished speaking, he lowered his head behind Xu Tianran again. He looked just like a loyal servant.

The ground was long since stained red with fresh blood. However, Xu Tianran didn’t even glance at the mess. He smiled at Jing Hongchen. “Hallmaster, are you satisfied with this answer?”

Jing Hongchen furrowed his brow and bowed to him slightly. He said, “This is an internal matter. I don’t dare to comment. My student is gravely injured, so if Your Highness has no other instructions for me, I shall return first.”

Xu Tianran nodded his head slightly and said, “Please do, Hallmaster. In my eyes, you’ll always be a respected elder. You don’t have to be so formal with me.”

Jing Hongchen nodded and walked out. Lin Jiayi followed behind him, supporting Huo Yuhao.

Xu Tianran turned his head to look at Xu Mochen now. He said, “Mochen! At times, you will have to pay the price for standing on the wrong side. Please tell uncle that. Let’s go.” After he finished, he gestured behind him, and Ju Zi immediately pushed his wheelchair to the exit. His servants followed. After what Xue Chen had done earlier, who dared to underestimate the servants of Xu Tianran?

Ju Zi heaved a sigh of relief. Although Huo Yuhao’s grave injuries broke her heart, given Jing Hongchen’s reaction, she reckoned that he should be fine.

Jing Hongchen would’ve gone berserk if Huo Yuhao had died at the hands of the Royal Stewards. No one in the Sun Moon Empire would have been able to stop him, not that anyone was likely to interfere in this matter.

However, Ju Zi was secretly impressed with the Crown Prince. He’d settled the matter decisively, and exploited Jing Hongchen’s presence to get rid of five competent cronies under the Third Prince. He even dealt a harsh blow to Xu Mochen. He sold Jing Hongchen a favor and dragged him into the situation.

It didn’t matter whether Jing Hongchen admitted or denied anything. Things would still sound the same when this matter spread. Everyone would believe that the Crown Prince had killed a few people because he wanted to appease the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall.

Ju Zi was relieved that Xu Tianran didn’t pay too much attention to Huo Yuhao. It might’ve been because of his injuries, but this was what Ju Zi wanted. Otherwise, Huo Yuhao might be at risk in the Sun Moon Empire.

Huo Yuhao was clear-headed throughout the whole ordeal. He had stopped using  Hongchen’s Blessing because he could sense Jing Hongchen coming.

He made a judgment call in that instant, considering his options. Right now, there was no one to prove that he’d done some tampering on his own. What was this level of physical pain to him anyway? With the Life’s Gold protection, he didn’t perish even with those injuries in the Jing Yang Mountain Range. These bodily injuries were nothing to him. They may seem horrible, but they really weren’t that serious. He would only need a day or two to recover.

However, this matter wouldn’t be resolved so easily. Jing Hongchen had to give him an explanation, since he was an exchange student and more importantly, the closed-door disciple of Elder Mu.

Jing Hongchen was in low spirits now. He felt like he’d been set up. Of course, he thought this had nothing to do with Huo Yuhao. It was the Crown Prince’s trap.

If not for the fact that he knew that the Royal Stewards weren’t under the Crown Prince’s management, he might’ve thought that all of this was a scheme set up by Xu Tianran, baiting him into this matter.

He had no choice but to appear given Huo Yuhao’s importance to Shrek Academy. But he immediately ran into a conundrum after acting.

Huo Yuhao was fine. He hadn’t sustained internal injuries even though he was mutilated on the outside. But Jing Hongchen was still dragged down. He was clearly aware of the Crown Prince’s intentions.

The Third Prince was the closest competitor to the Crown Prince, since he had the support of the prince that controlled the imperial clan. After this matter, the Third Prince was likely to have been angered even though he didn’t dare to say anything. What a Xu Tianran! It was no wonder that Jing Hongchen had regarded him highly in the past. Even while he was disabled, he remained a determined person. He didn’t lose his sharpness due to his disability.

Jing Hongchen turned back to look at Huo Yuhao, and he became even more depressed. Huo Yuhao was quite an actor, and Jing Hongchen still had to settle his matter. Even as the Dean of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, Jing Hongchen didn’t think it was wise to use underhanded methods to deal this. However, it wasn’t that easy to give a proper explanation either.

Huo Yuhao was soon sent to the academy’s infirmary, and Jing Hongchen called for Fan Yu.

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Translated by: cthd
Edited by: GNE and George McDuck

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