The God Emperor let out another hearty laugh. It was difficult to imagine that the Glorious God Emperor was flattering a trivial figure who’d yet to even become a diviner.
But anyone could tell that his compliments were insincere. Just listening gave off an unpleasant sensation.
At the end of his flattery, he brought up the Outside.
Was he afraid of the Outside?
Maybe a little.
But that definitely wasn’t the reason he was complimenting Ye Zichen so much.
Just as Xuan Ji told Ye Zichen earlier, the God Emperor was proud, and he’d occupied a lofty position for countless years. Even if Ye Zichen had the Outsiders backing him, there was no need for the God Emperor to lower himself by resorting to flattery.
“This humble one is afraid I can’t accept such words.” Ye Zichen couldn’t discern the God Emperor’s intent, so he simply repeated himself. He no longer referred to himself as a junior, but rather, as a humble one. This meant he’d taken a further step back, widening the distance between himself and Zhou Wu even further.
“Your nephew is a lot like you.” God Emperor Zhou Wu glanced at Ye Zichen, then turned towards Xuan Ji.
Ye Zichen was behaving scrupulously, without taking a single step past the prescribed limit.
But he knew Xuan Ji’s personality well. Despite thinking of herself as her aunt, she behaved more like an old friend, without any of the airs of a member of the senior generation. She loved to tell jokes, stir up trouble, gossip about others’ secrets. She wasn’t orthodox or rule-abiding at all.
Yet now, at a time like this, Zhou Wu was saying the two of them were similar?
In terms of actual personality, they really were quite similar, but the way he was acting now was nothing like Xuan Ji.
The only explanation was that when Xuan Ji faced the God Emperor, she behaved much like he was now. When he recalled how she’d greeted the God Emperor…
It was strictly according to regulations. Scrupulous, yet distant.
When he thought about it that way, they really were a lot alike.
Xuan Ji smiled in response but said nothing. God Emperor Zhou Wu looked away, then walked straight up to the thatched hut at the foot of the volcano. “Let’s talk inside.”
Ye Zichen instinctively glanced at Xuan Ji, as if trying to learn something from her, only to discover that she wasn’t paying any attention to him at all. In fact, she’d left with the God Emperor. She gave him no hints at all, not even a glance or a transmitted message.
Ye Zichen took a deep breath, then followed them, Pu Jingwan beside him.
When Ye Zichen reached the thatched hut, Pu Jingwan dispersed the divine power protecting him. By then, he too had realized that this space itself had been cut and sewn together.
The blazing heat had vanished, along with the intense smell of an erupting volcano’s smoke and volcanic ash.
It was replaced with the faint fragrance of grass. In the surrounding grass, he could even see snow-white rabbits digging gnawing on carrots.
It’s awfully mysterious, huh? Ye Zichen couldn’t help but exclaim inwardly.
“You can see it too, right?” the God Emperor seemed to sense his emotions. He smiled and explained, “Everything within ten thousand square miles is under the influence of the volcano; no plants grow here. Secluding myself in a place like this for too long will lower my spirits, so I asked the Divine Arbiter to connect this place to a patch of green on the Divine Mountains. During my spare time, I come here to relax.”
Ye Zichen nodded, then retracted his gaze. It seemed that God Emperor Zhou Wu wasn’t paying attention to him, yet he sensed every single one of Ye Zichen’s movements.
Ye Zichen recalled that this place was within range of the God Emperor’s domain. He finally understood why Xuan Ji had followed the God Emperor without so much as uttering a single word to him earlier. She can’t say anything, or do anything out of place either, huh?
“Sit down, all of you. There’s no need to be so rigid. On the outside, I’m the God Emperor of the God Race, but in private, I’m just another ordinary cultivator striving for transcendence. I invited you here, so you’re my honored guests.” Zhou Wu smiled and waved, summoning a stone table laden with fine wines and divine fruits.
Everyone took a seat save for the Divine Arbiter, who stood behind the God Emperor.
“You’re from the outside, aren’t you, miss?” Zhou Wu turned his attention to Pu Jingwan. “If you were a member of my god race, given your cultivation, I’d likely know you already.”
“That’s right.” Pu Jingwan nodded.
“The Outside really is a land of great fortune.” In the face of Pu Jingwan’s cold smile, Zhou Wu maintained his warm demeanor and sighed in admiration.
“You could say that.” Pu Jingwan didn’t deny it.
“Little Friend Ye.” Zhou Wu returned his focus to Ye Zichen. Hearing his name called, Ye Zichen’s nerves instantly went taut. “It seems you’re quite on guard against me, but there’s no need to be nervous. I don’t have anything special to discuss. The Outside summoned you earlier, now I’m summoning you. All I want to know is, what did you discuss with the Outsiders?”
Zhou Wu was so direct, Ye Zichen struggled to believe it. And here he thought Zhou Wu would ask vague or indirect questions and try and piece things together. He hadn’t expected such a straight-up inquiry.
An open scheme?
It seemed that was the case.
At Zhou Wu’s level, he was in no mood to play around with intrigue and hidden plots. If he wanted to know something, he could just go ahead and ask.
“They didn’t say much,” said Ye Zichen.
“That seems unlikely. You’re a person of our Third Era, yet the First Era came looking for you. If they had nothing to say, why would they bother? Could it be that you don’t want to share what they told you with me?”
“....” Ye Zichen remained silent.
Xuan Ji frowned, while God Emperor Zhou Wu arched his brows. “Oh? So it’s not convenient to talk about it?”
Ye Zichen instantly felt the atmosphere tense up.
This is bad!
Ye Zichen fell silent because he wasn’t sure how best to respond, but it seemed his silence had provoked the God Emperor’s suspicions.
Fortunately, Zhou Wu merely laughed. “It seems they discussed something so important, you don’t wish to discuss it with me.”
“I wouldn’t go that far.” Ye Zichen knew he’d slipped up, so he tried to amend the situation. “They mostly said things I didn’t understand. I don’t think there’s any need to waste your time with them, Your Majesty.”
“Say them anyway, just in case.”
“They brought me over to tell me that the First Era’s Master of the Stars had fallen, and that their era was on the brink of destruction,” Ye Zichen said without hesitation.
“They really said that?” Zhou Wu was stunned.
“That’s right. Then they asked me who our era’s Emperor Star had chosen. At the time, I had no idea who they were talking about. I’ve never even heard of the Emperor Star or celestial fate.”
“What did you say to them?”
“I had no idea what they were talking about, so I naturally said I didn’t know,” said Ye Zichen.
“Was that all?”
In response, Ye Zichen put on a thoughtful expression, then said, “They said that transcending the end of our era and avoiding destruction requires someone to truly transcend. They also said something about how to transcend….” Ye Zichen deliberately paused here. By now, God Emperor Zhou Wu was hanging onto every word, eagerly waiting for Ye Zichen to follow up and finish his tale.
“Ah, that’s right.” After a lengthy silence, Ye Zichen thwapped himself on the head as if he’d suddenly recalled something. “They said only the one with the Emperor Star’s celestial fate can transcend. All others are fated never to succeed!”
Zhou Wu, Xuan Ji, the Divine Arbiter, and Pu Jingwan’s pupils immediately constricted.
In his heart, Ye Zichen laughed coldly.
You want to play a game of schemes?
Fine, let’s go ahead and scheme!Previous Chapter Next Chapter