Looking throughout the region surrounding the volcano, the Divine Arbiter was the only one present.
Anyone who watched period dramas knew that when ancient emperors mingled with the populace in secret or when high-ranking officials went out on business, they always, no matter what, took some of their trusted confidantes with them.
From this, it was clear how highly the God Emperor thought of the Divine Arbiter and how much he trusted her.
It was normal for such trusted figures to be loyal even in death. Furthermore, this Divine Arbiter’s cultivation was so strong, not even Pu Jingwan could see through her.
Now consider how Xuan Ji described her juniors.
Her youngest niece was a divine general, while her eldest nephew could go toe-to-toe with Xue Yang.
Just what kind of person was Xue Yang?
He was the Emperor of the Northern Divine Mountain’s Sea of Innocence, the ruler of an entire divine mountain.
They hadn’t even brought up how many smaller family clans had subordinated themselves to the God Emperor’s Estate, but the Divine Arbiter’s juniors alone displayed enough power to terrify and intimidate others.
Ye Zichen tried to control his emotions, but hearing this still sent his heart racing.
He’d challenge the God Emperor one day, yet he knew that his future adversary was terrifyingly strong, and that he’d only seen the tip of the iceberg. Yet even that was so terrifying!
He had to calm himself down.
Ye Zichen lowered his head and forcibly settled his pounding heart. The Divine Arbiter was God Emperor Zhou Wu’s subordinate.
For the God Emperor to call him here meant that Ye Zichen had already attracted the emperor’s attention. If his performance was overly unnatural, the God Emperor would only keep him under closer watch.
What should he do now?
If he were just an ordinary cultivator, someone with no enmity with the God Emperor whatsoever, how would he present himself?
Ye Zichen stood there in silence, his thoughts racing as he considered how to carry himself.
His conclusion: he ought to feel a bit awkward and aggrieved.
“Auntie.” Ye Zichen softly called out to her. He’d already comported himself the way he felt he ought to.
From the start, the Divine Arbiter’s warm, amiable smile had never waved.
However, although no one had noticed, she’d stolen several covert glasses at Ye Zichen. From the way his heart raced when Xuan Ji mentioned her juniors’ abilities to how he’d gradually calmed himself down, then feigned indignation at how Xuan Ji had described him, to acting like an aggrieved junior, she saw it all.
Even though Ye Zichen’s shock had only lasted an instant, she’d still seen it.
She retracted her gaze. There was no need to keep watching Ye Zichen. He’d already thoroughly hidden his true emotions, and there was no way he’d let anything else slip.
Besides, she’d already learned what she wanted to learn.
“You don’t want me to tell the truth? All you know how to do is make trouble for your aunt. Tell me, what should I do with a bothersome nephew like you? Look at the Divine Arbiters’ juniors. Even children born two generations later have already become divine generals. Now look at you….”
Xuan Ji sighed, fully playing the role of a senior dissatisfied with her junior.
Ye Zichen scratched his head, then averted his gaze, as if he were too embarrassed to face Xuan Ji’s criticisms. However, inwardly, his thoughts raced as he tried to figure out just how to trick that Divine Arbiter.
“Alright, Xuan Ji, my nieces and nephews have all lived for hundreds of years already. Cultivation depends on age, not which generation you belong to. I trust that given your nephew’s talent, when he reaches my nephew’s age, he’ll be even more accomplished,” laughed the Divine Arbiter.
“Hmph. I have no hope that he can outdo your Jing Hua. I’ll thank the heavens if he manages to become a ruler at all,” sighed Xuan Ji.
Xuan Ji said the name casually, seemingly unintentionally, but Ye Zichen carved it deep into his heart.
If this Jing Hua was strong enough to contend with Xue Yang, he’d be a major obstacle when Ye Zichen took on Zhou Wu.
The Divine Arbiter smiled as if to signal the end of that particular topic.
A few breaths of time passed before Xuan Ji asked, “Why hasn’t His Excellency, the God Emperor, arrived yet?”
“Ha ha ha ha!” A peal of hearty laughter emanated from above. Ye Zichen glanced towards it and saw a man covered in flowing lava appeal at the mouth of the volcano.
The volcano dripped from his body, landing on the ground. The instant the lava landed, it burned a hole in the earth. It was immediately obvious just how hot the lava was, and yet, the man seemed entirely unharmed.
“The God Emperor?” Ye Zichen stared at the lava dripping from the new arrival. Gradually, as more lava fell, the man’s appearance became clear.
He looked forthright and unyielding, with a dignified air and an all-encompassing heroic spirit. Ye Zichen had seen this person before: this was one of the Three Great Emperors, the leader of the god race: Zhou Wu.
“Greetings, your Majesty.” Xuan Ji bowed at the waist, and Ye Zichen followed suit. Only Pu Jingwan remained upright, taking everything in calmly.
Pu Jingwan’s lack of a reaction naturally attracted the God Emperor’s attention, but he merely glanced at her, then looked away. He then laughed and pulled Xuan Ji and Ye Zichen upright. “There are no outsiders here, so there’s no need for such old-fashioned courtesies.”
He smiled calmly, then turned to Xuan Ji and laughed, “It seems I just heard you wondering why I hadn’t arrived yet? What, have I kept you waiting long? Are you already out of patience, Lady Providence?”
“God Emperor, you know I…” Xuan Ji earnestly tried to explain, only for the God Emperor to interrupt her.
He shook his head. “I’m joking. Why do you always make so much of every little thing? You’re one of the few people I can trust even under our current circumstances. How could I not know what you’re thinking?”
“Yes, sir.” Xuan Ji nodded.
The God Emperor laughed and chattered with her briefly. They discussed nothing but Heavenly God City’s current affairs. Xuan Ji gave him a brief report. Once he was sure there was no news worth concerning himself over, the God Emperor smiled, walked past her, and stopped before Ye Zichen.
“Your Majesty,” said Ye Zichen.
The God Emperor didn’t say anything to him right away. Instead, he looked Ye Zichen over, smiled, and nodded in approval. “It’s true; heroes arise from the youth. I first saw you back at the Divine Martial Academy that day, but things were rather than chaotic, so we didn’t get the chance to chat. I wanted to meet you afterward, but you’d already gone to the Outside. At the time, I thought it a real pity. After a while, I decided to contact Xuan Ji and have her let me know when you got back; you’re her nephew, after all. But what a coincidence! You returned just as I sent her my message.”
“I’m afraid,” said Ye Zichen, taking a step back. “I’m but an ordinary person, not yet a diviner. I’m shocked that my humble self drew your attention, Your Majesty.”
“That you’ve yet to reach the diviner level is simply because you’re too young. Given your talent, you’re destined to be extraordinary. Becoming a diviner, and even a ruler, will be simple for you.” The God Emperor praised Ye Zichen without reservation, then let out a hearty laugh. “You call yourself an ordinary person? You’re too modest, my little friend. How could someone capable of befriending Outsiders, and even being invited to their home, be a mere ‘ordinary person’?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter