Chapter 424 - Inner Demon

A burst of hot summer wind blew towards them when they came out of the imperial study. There was still a moist feeling on her back, which had been drenched in cold sweat. As she stepped on the white marble platform, she looked back at the yellow glazed tiles on the roof of the palace hall and the golden dragon and multicolored paintings on the double-eaved roof. 

Looking at the magnificent palace, Yu Xiaocao had personally experienced the horror of imperial authority! Perhaps, there was actually a moment earlier when the emperor really thought about taking the multicolored stone. However, he just suppressed it with his rationality. As for herself, she had just barely dodged death! 

Stepping on the flat surface of the marble flooring, she walked forward silently. She didn’t have any energy to talk as if she had just exhausted all her courage in the imperial study earlier.

Zhu Junyang quietly accompanied her. Seeing that the little lass didn’t have any intention of speaking, he didn’t disrupt her confused feelings in hope that his silent company could help her calm down. He didn’t know what just happened in the imperial study, but he was certain that the little lass had been greatly frightened. Didn’t the emperor think highly of the little lass? Could it be that he intimidated her in order to make her obedient? Or…did the emperor find out about the lass’s secret and wanted to inquire about it? 

He turned around and saw the young girl’s silky black hair, which was styled into a small flower bud on the top of her head and adorned with green hairpins. The top of the little lass’s head hadn’t even reached his shoulders, yet she seemed to be carrying a big secret on her thin shoulders. He wanted to tell her that he was the only person that she could trust, so she could rest assured and tell him about her worries. He would help her carry the burden. However, he was afraid of scaring her. He should forget about it for today and try again in the future.

Seeing that the lass had stopped next to the terrace in Qianqing Palace and her gaze was fixed on a metallic gold pavilion on the stone step, Zhu Junyang said, “This metallic gold pavilion is called ‘Magnificent Palace of the Country’, which symbolizes that the country is in the hands of the emperor.” 

Yes, the country was in the hands of the emperor. She, on the other hand, was just a little ant that he could easily kill at any time. He had let her go today, but it wasn’t because she was someone very important. Instead, it was because she was still useful to him.  

How astonishing would it be for a woman to become an official? How many officials would have objected? Yet the emperor still bestowed her the position of a sixth-ranked official. What did this mean? In addition to her cheat for farming, he had also displayed the supremacy of imperial authority. As imperial officials, they had the right to voice their opposition, but they couldn’t control the emperor’s decision.   

Yu Xiaocao touched the multicolored stone on her wrist. Today’s conversation in the imperial study seemed like a casual chat but it was actually full of danger. Had it not been for the fact that the little divine stone had already recognized a master who couldn’t be easily replaced, perhaps…

“This prince doesn’t know what you and the emperor talked about before I arrived that made you so scared. You also know about this prince’s ability. When I stepped into the imperial study, I didn’t feel any killing intention from the emperor. Thus, he had no intention of harming you in any way! As long as the emperor isn’t planning on harming you, with this prince here, no one would dare to touch you!” Seeing that Xiaocao was staring at the ‘Magnificent Palace of the Country’ in a daze and didn’t appear as lively as usual, Zhu Junyang couldn’t help but comfort her. He hoped that she could break away from her perplexed feelings. 

Yu Xiaocao still appeared somewhat listless, but she gave him face and replied, “Is it really okay for you to privately speculate the emperor’s intentions? This is the Imperial Palace… There are ears and eyes everywhere, so it’s better to be cautious with your words and actions!” 

The little lass, who usually acted in a reckless and bold manner, had now become timid and overcautious. Seeing this, the darkness within the deepest part of Zhu Junyang’s heart started to become restless and a burst of violence escaped from within. At this time, he wanted to overturn everything in front of him, including the large and thick palace walls.  

Su Ran, who was personally escorting Royal Prince Yang and Yu Xiaocao out of the palace, alertly sensed the change in Zhu Junyang. He had long known that the royal prince would sometimes lose control of himself due to a childhood trauma. There was once an episode that was so serious that even the emperor had been alarmed, and thus sent him to assist Head Steward Liu to suppress the royal prince, who had gone completely out of control.  

At that time, he, Head Steward Liu and several martial arts experts, who served the royal prince, had exerted a lot of efforts to prevent Royal Prince Yang from hurting others. In the past two to three years, the royal prince seemed to have overcome his childhood trauma and had never gone out of control again. Why was the royal prince suddenly on the verge of going on a rampage? What caused his inner demon to come out and lead him to lose control? 

Su Ran realized that this was a bad situation. They had just walked not too far from the imperial study. If Royal Prince Yang lost control in the palace and hurt the emperor, not only would it affect the royal prince, but the entire Imperial Prince Jing’s Household would also be doomed… 

In a flash, Su Ran had quickly turned around and shortened the distance between himself and Royal Prince Yang. He was now two steps away from him, and he was secretly on guard. 

Su Ran’s vigilance might have triggered Zhu Junyang. His charming phoenix eyes gradually turned crimson red and the veins around his eyes became apparent. His slender hands were like the strong talons of an eagle… 

[Oh no! Master, your man is about to go crazy. Quickly stop him!] As soon as Zhu Junyang stepped into the imperial study, the little divine stone had already turned into a golden light and went back into the multicolored stone. When it sensed that something was wrong with Zhu Junyang, it immediately jumped out to stop him. ‘Damn it! There’re so little resources for cultivation here, so why would there be demon possession? With my current power, I won’t be able to beat this demon. What should I do? What should I do!’ 

‘Whose man? Little Glutinous Dumpling is seriously speaking more and more recklessly!’ However, Yu Xiaocao didn’t have time to rebuke it. She immediately grabbed onto Zhu Junyang, who was on the verge of losing control. Her soft and slightly cold hands seemed like sweet spring water that went straight to the heart of a thirsty man and soothed the uncontrollable rage within his heart. 

The little divine stone also hurriedly gathered all its spiritual power and let it flow into the deepest part of Zhu Junyang’s consciousness through his veins. The demon inside was about to break through its shackles. A demon could control one’s heart because it could hold onto the weakness of human nature. It could also hide in the deepest wound in one’s heart and expand infinitely until one loses control of their consciousness. In this way, it could take control of the person’s body and do irreparable things. The process would repeat over and over again until the person collapsed completely and finally became the puppet of the demon. 

This meant that if a person had a strong enough mind, the demon would never be able to do anything and would be suppressed within the deepest part of one’s mind. The moment Yu Xiaocao grabbed onto Zhu Junyang, the pure sense of worry, anxiousness, and concern directly entered his heart. The raging fire within his heart slowly cooled down and extinguished, as if it had encountered a spring rain. 

The spiritual power that the little divine stone had released, with the help of its master’s hands, had also entered the deepest part of Royal Prince Yang’s consciousness and disrupted the demon that was about to emerge. The inner demon’s control on Zhu Junyang had been weakened, and with the anxious calls of Yu Xiaocao, Zhu Junyang gradually recovered his senses. The darkness of the demon was suppressed bit by bit until it reluctantly retracted back into a corner. 

Su Ran was inwardly stunned as he watched the redness in Royal Prince Yang’s eyes gradually fade and he regained his senses. He looked profoundly at Yu Xiaocao, who was holding onto Royal Prince Yang’s hands with an anxious and worried expression. It seemed like this lass was quite important within Royal Prince Yang’s heart ah. She could actually pull him back before he lost control of himself. Could this be the so-called ‘there was always one thing to overcome another’?

Since the emperor ascended the throne, he had been shackled down by the old ministers and had always wanted to nurture his own capable ministers. Royal Prince Yang was the emperor’s younger cousin, and he had both capabilities and ways to get things done. But as the emperor described him, he was like a bomb that could explode at any moment, hurting others and himself. Thus, he would be hard to control.

In recent years, he might have strengthened his self-control as he aged. There had not been another incident when he lost control and hurt others again. Thus, the emperor gradually began to let him handle some matters. Royal Prince Yang also didn’t let people down and successfully completed his tasks. Based on what he had heard from the emperor, it seemed like he was planning on putting the royal prince in an important position in the future. 

Earlier, he almost thought Royal Prince Yang would be possessed by the demon again and lose control of himself. With Royal Prince Yang’s current martial arts skills, it would be quite difficult to suppress him. It was fortunate that the lass of the Yu Family was here! She appeared like such a thin and weak person, but she could actually help the royal prince instantly recover his senses. Perhaps, Royal Prince Yang attached great importance to her deep within his heart. He was afraid of losing her, and thus he desperately tried to suppress his inner demon and control himself before he exploded…

It seemed that as long as Miss Yu was here, all of the emperor’s worries would be unnecessary. In the future, the emperor would have another capable assistant. He had gotten one step closer to his dream… 

When he sent them out of the palace, Royal Prince Yang had already recovered to his usual state. It appeared as if the ferocious demon earlier was only Su Ran’s imagination. When the young girl got on the carriage, the tall physique of Royal Prince Yang, who sat on his horse, appeared even more stalwart. The strong and gentle figures seemed very harmonious. Even the gorgeous sunset dimmed in comparison with them. 

When he returned to the palace hall, the eunuch told him that the emperor was still in the imperial study. After receiving permission, Su Ran entered the imperial study again. He noticed that the emperor, who was usually a diligent worker, had left the imperial memorials aside and sat beside the bookcase in a daze… In a daze? Earlier, the emperor had kicked everyone out of the room, so even he couldn’t stay to serve by him. Could it be that the emperor and Miss Yu had discussed a difficult matter, and thus he was acting abnormally now? 

Fortunately, the emperor soon cleared up his mind. He let out a long sigh as if he had made some sort of decision. He took a look at Su Ran, who stood in front of him, and slowly said, “Junyang…and Miss Yu, have they already left the palace?” 

“In reply to Your Majesty, this servant personally escorted them out. It seems like Royal Prince Yang intends to send Miss Yu back to the General’s Estate.” The latter part of Su Ran’s response seemed to have a deeper meaning.

“Oh? Junyang is already nineteen, right? Most similar aged men in the capital have children who can already help with errands. He, on the other hand, always regarded the noble young misses in the capital as ferocious tigers. He would avoid them as much as possible. If he can’t, then he would pull a long face and scare them off. We thought that the kid would be single for the rest of his life, but we didn’t expect that he would suddenly understand love and fall for Miss Yu. But that lass is only twelve this year, right? That kid will still have to wait for a while!”

Zhu Junfan experienced a struggle within his heart, but he finally made a decision. Since he couldn’t have possession of the treasure, he must ensure that the treasure would stay close to him for his usage!

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Myst's Thoughts

Good thing Xiaocao was able to calm him down...

Translator: Myst