Ye Zichen returned the yao servants to the Yao-Sealing Pagoda. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to let them out; his manor was truly too small, and his servants were truly too many. With them out in the open, the space felt awfully cramped.
Wei Jie and the rest of Upheaval acted according to Ye Zichen’s instructions, and the Outsider rulers went to their own rooms to rest.
Yang Jian planned to stay beside Ye Zichen to protect him, but when he considered how long it had been since his bro had last seen Xiao Yumei, as well as the fact that Ye Zichen wouldn’t be going far, he decided that it was fine to give them space so long as he kept his divine sense active for extra protection.
“It’s finally settled down.” Ye Zichen sat in his specially-reserved room and sighed.
For the past month, he’d been scrambling about non-stop. He’d learned far too much, both things he needed to know, and things he never should have known. The endless pressure weighed endlessly down on him.
Now that things had finally settled down, he couldn’t help but sigh.
“Don’t give yourself too much pressure,” said Xiao Yumei. She walked up behind him and rubbed his shoulders. “You should rest more.”
She didn’t even need to ask what had happened; from his exhausted expression alone, she could tell how many burdens were weighing him down.
Ye Zichen smiled, then patted her hand. “I’m afraid that won’t be easy. Once Xiao Yan and the others are settled in, I’ve got to rush back over to the Central Divine Mountain.”
“For the Battle of Geniuses?” asked Xiao Yumei.
“You know already?” Ye Zichen nodded. “That’s right, for the Battle of Geniuses. But that’s only secondary. What really matters is that the Central Divine Mountain is the center of the incoming whirlpool, the heart of it all.”
“So you’re still going?”
“Even if it’s a big ol’ quagmire, I’ve got to wade my way through. What else can I do?” he let out a helpless laugh. Ye Zichen naturally didn’t want to go, but the Yao and Demon Realms had proposed this activity of their own accord, and even requested that it be held on the Central Divine Mountain. Furthermore, he knew they needed Zhou Wu’s celestial fate too.
If he weren’t mistaken, Gu Li had already started putting his plan into effect. If Zhou Wu’s celestial fate fell into Gu Li’s hands, that would be bad, both for Ye Zichen and for the Outsiders. Furthermore, the Outsiders had agreed to his every request, both big and small. He couldn’t disappoint them.
“That’s right. Just now, Xiao Ting came here to seize Xiao Yan. What’s going on?” After another emotional sigh, Ye Zichen asked Xiao Yumei.
“It’s a long story, but in short, our Xiao Family split in two. Xiao Yan led his trusted subordinates away and broke off from the rest of the family,” responded Xiao Yumei.
“Internal division?” Ye Zichen arched his brows.
It wasn’t actually all that unusual for major families to split up; at least, it wasn’t rare enough to get worked up over. Incidents like this even happened in the God Emperor’s Estate, although the God Emperor always reacted like lightning to oppress them. Any who wanted to break off and start their own factions soon disappeared from God Race territory.
Internal division and groups breaking off into smaller powers had happened in the Holy Lands as well, but the Holy Lands’ approach was gentle, at least, compared to the God Emperor’s. Sometimes, they’d use emotional pleas or reasons to convince defectors to stay. Otherwise, they’d see them off and wish them well. Although the two groups were permanently estranged, they weren’t enemies.
Nevermind the gods; even yao and demons encountered incidents like this sometimes.
Different opinions led to divisions, as did differences in rank or matters of resource allotment. All of these could lead to internal tension and ultimately, division.
But it was extremely unusual for something like this to happen in the Xiao Family.
Everyone knew that the Lightning Emperor’s Xiao Family was more unified and cohesive than any other faction.
The current Lightning Emperor, the Master of Tribulation Lightning, gave orders. Clansmen obeyed absolutely, no matter what. As for resource allotment and hierarchy, the Xiao Family had an absolutely perfect management technique. Clansmen had absolutely nothing to complain about it.
Ever since the start of the Third Era, the Xiao Family had prospered, passing on their heritage without the slightest sign of internal conflict.
Yet now, at this critical moment, just as their era was reaching its end….
“Can you say why?” asked Ye Zichen.
“Political differences led to internal division,” said Xiao Yumei, not holding back in the slightest. “Xiao Ting has committed treason.”
“How so? Against who?” Ye Zichen’s heart sank.
“He’s consorting with yao and demons,” laughed Xiao Yumei. “It’s that simple.”
That was absolutely not simple!
Ye Zichen’s phone buzzed relentlessly on the table, but his thoughts were racing; he paid it no need. His first impulse was to share this news with the public, but after giving it some thought, he turned to Xiao Yumei. “You handled this well.”
It was just one sentence and it seemed like it had come out of nowhere, but Xiao Yumei beamed in response.
Ye Zichen was referring to their choice not to spread word of the Xiao Family’s betrayal.
The Xiao Family had deep roots in the God Realm. Furthermore, Xiao Ting had spent his entire life toiling on behalf of the God Race. Anyone could betray the God Realm… except him. It just didn’t seem possible. If they told others, no one would believe them.
If they tried, they’d just wind up fighting, and Xiao Yan would only wind up sullying his reputation. Others would consider him a traitor instead.
Now that they hadn’t spread word of Xiao Ting’s betrayal, at most, the public would think the clan had split. There was no way Xiao Ting would take the initiative to spread word of this.
As for why Ye Zichen was willing to accept news of Xiao Ting’s betrayal, well, that was because he trusted Xiao Yumei.
“But it’ll be troublesome if we just leave them amongst the gods,” said Xiao Yumei with a frown.
She understood Xiao Yan’s reasoning too. If Xiao Yan kept their father’s betrayal under wraps, the rest of the God Realm would just take it as an internal disagreement.
But just leaving the now-traitorous Xiao Family in the God Race was like leaving a ticking time bomb unattended; it could explode at any moment.
“You’re right, of course, but for now, we have no other choice. If you don’t say anything, they won’t either. Besides, if he’s consorting with demons, he’ll slip up and let the cat out of the bag sooner or later. All we have to do is wait,” said Ye Zichen.
“That’s too much of a gamble,” said Xiao Yumei.
She was right; he was gambling. His plan would work, but only on the precondition that his opponent slipped up. This had far lower odds of success than taking the initiative to act against Xiao Ting.
If Xiao Ting really slipped up and revealed his true nature, but what if he kept up appearances?
What if the Xiao Family maintained appearances, then, once they’d fully prepared, attacked the God Race? Wouldn’t that put the gods at an absolute disadvantage?
They couldn’t just let the Xiao Family relax. They had to put pressure on them.
It was only if they put pressure on the Xiao Family and agitated them that they might let their loyal facade slip and reveal their true intentions.
Ye Zichen stroked his chin, his thoughts racing. He was trying to calculate the best, most direct way to put pressure on the Xiao Family.
He thought of something!
Ye Zichen’s concerned look was instantly replaced with a grin. Xiao Yumei couldn’t help but arch her brows. Ye Zichen went with the flow, inching towards her and whispering a few words in her ear.
“What do you think?” he asked.
“I think it’ll work, but are you sure you can pull it off?” asked Xiao Yumei.
“I can’t say for sure, but I expect I can.” Ye Zichen grinned. At that moment, Wei Jie knocked gently on the door. “Boss, we’ve arranged residences for Xiao Yan and the others. I also asked Bai Xiaosheng about his name.”
“He said his real name is Han Nan!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter