Of late, it’d just been one major incident after another in the God Realm. Just a few days ago, Spirit City’s Bai Family was obliterated, taking most of the city with them. Then, only a few days later, someone in the Sea of Innocence opened the Emperor Star’s celestial eye.
The people of the God Realm could no longer live in peace. The yao and demons also started taking action.
Because of all this uproar, Zhou Wu could no longer immerse himself in contemplating the dao. As such, he took up residence in his estate in Heavenly God City, a rare sight.
Currently, he sat before a roaring fireplace, an ancient tome in his hand. The flames before him remained consistent, regardless of the changes in the wind, providing steady, unwavering light by which to read.
After sending the Divine Arbiter out, he’d sent someone else to fetch this tome for him. He’d already read more than half of it.
Suddenly, he closed the book, then looked through the flames and up into the sky.
The space around him distorted, and ripple after ripple spread out. Then, the Divine Arbiter stepped out of a rift.
When she saw that the God Emperor was resting here, she was visibly stunned. “Your Excellency.”
Zhou Wu waved at her, then rose to his feet. His skeleton creaked as he moved; he’d obviously spent the whole day there without so much as taking a single step from his chair.
“Thank you for your hard work.”
When she heard that, the Divine Arbiter lowered her head, and her hands hung limp at her sides. “I’ve kept you waiting for far too long. Please, punish me as you see it.”
Her tone was utterly earnest. The God Emperor smiled calmly, then walked up to her. He put his hand on her chin and raised her head. “How many times have I told you? When we’re alone together, we’re no longer ruler and subject. Why do you always forget?”
“Hmm?” Zhou Wu arched his brows.
The Divine Arbiter covered her mouth, swallowed her words, then tried again. “I know.”
Only then did Zhou Wu smile in satisfaction. He brushed his fingers against her cheeks, which reddened at his touch.
The Divine Arbiter was actually a rare beauty, comparable even to members of the fox clan. However, she ordinarily wore stern, joyless robes, and she was scrupulous and unsmiling, stern and unyielding. This masked her beauty from most.
“How about you rest for a first? After your journey to the Sea of Innocence, you must be tired,” said Zhou Wu with a gentle smile.
“I’m happy to do it for you. How could I be tired?” she said, her eyes as soft as water. “I’ve already completed my investigations.”
“It really is Ye Zichen, isn’t it?” said Zhou Wu.
She shook her head.
His brows knit together. Before sending her on this mission, he was at least eighty or ninety percent sure. Xue Yang and the others placed such emphasis on him, and the Emperor Star’s celestial eye only opened after he went to the Sea of Innocence.
All this, combined with his past interactions with Ye Zichen, only increased Zhou Wu’s certainty. But now she said it wasn’t him…?
He had trouble believing it.
Still, he wanted to hear what she’d seen, so he asked, “What did you see in the Sea of Innocence? Tell me in detail.”
He pointed to a chair beside the fire. He’d already sat back down. The Divine Arbiter nodded, then sat across for him and told him everything she’d seen on her trip to the Sea of Innocence.
She held nothing back, but she finished her explanation in just a hundred breaths of time. By the time she finished, Zhou Wu’s brows were tightly knit together, and his right hand was drumming against his thigh.
“Based on your account, that youth you investigated and found was named Xue Tie really has a higher chance of being the Emperor Star than Ye Zichen.”
“Yes, all the great emperors there seemed to attach great importance to him. After we arrived at their estate, they kept a close eye on him, seemingly subconsciously, and they didn’t seem all that concerned about Ye Zichen. If I think about it, it’s possible that they only paid attention to him before out of respect for Ye Rong and Xuan Ji. They treat him like…. Like a nephew, or a talented junior. Their concern for Xue Tie far exceeded that,” said the Divine Arbiter gravely.
Zhou Wu sat in silence for a long time, stroking his beard and drumming against his leg.
“Have you thoroughly investigated this Xue Tie yet?”
“He’s Xue Yang’s third brother, Xue Ning’s heir. He can be considered a proud chosen of heaven. He was born less than a hundred years ago, but he’s already at the Divine General level. It’s just that the Xue Family has hidden him well. Otherwise, we would have known long ago that, in addition to its three princesses, the Xue Family had a monstrous young genius,” said the Divine Arbiter.
“No wonder the heads of the other Divine Mountains are gathering under the Sea of Innocence’s banner. Never mind the others; Bi’an is the type to never bow his head to anyone. Could it be that he’s long since known that Xue Tie was the Master of the Stars?”
Zhou Wu was muttering to himself. The Divine Arbiter knew that his words weren’t directed at her, so she obediently kept silent and didn’t interrupt.
He went on like this for almost an hour. Only when the wind outside cooled down did he narrow his eyes and speak, “You said that Zhao QIanling deliberately invited you into the Xue Family Estate. Don’t you think they planned this?”
“I considered the possibility, which is why I lingered in the air above their estate for half a day. However, I discovered nothing out of the ordinary. They seemed concerned about Xue Tie even after I ‘left’, while they ignored Ye Zichen. None of the great emperors visited him.”
Her expression was utterly solemn as she continued, “The way I see it, the Emperor Star is almost certainly Xue Tie, not Ye Zichen. I know what you’re worried about, but my judgment of the situation is that Zhao Qianling really was just worried about the unimaginable consequences of Xue Yang hurting those people and simultaneously offending so many major powers.”
“Also, it’s possible that they’re trying reverse psychology. They know we’ll think they’re trying to trick us, but they really are just using Ye Zichen to divert our attention.”
As she explained her thought process, Zhou Wu carefully analyzed it, as well as its implications. After a lengthy silence, he nodded. “That sounds reasonable.”
“That’s just my personal take on things, but my thoughts aren’t as profound as yours. Don’t accept them at face value. Who exactly is the Emperor star? Ye Zichen and Xue Tie are our only suspects; it has to be one of them. As for which of them it is, we’ll keep investigating, and time will tell,” said the Divine Arbiter with a smile.
“That’s only natural, but it seems the odds of it being Xue Tie are relatively higher. In a bit…. No, tomorrow morning. After you’ve rested, insert our people into the Xue Family. Have them keep a close eye on Xue Tie,” said Zhou Wu solemnly.
“And Ye Zichen?”
Zhou Wu mulled it over, then said, “Have someone keep an eye on him too, but he’s a lower priority. You were right earlier; it’s entirely possible that Xue Yang was pretending to care about Ye Zichen earlier just to pull the wool over my eyes and disguise the true Master of the Stars. Odds are, Ye Zichen is at most an Auxiliary Star. If we can control the Emperor Star, he can’t stir up any major waves.”
“Alright, I understand.” The Divine Arbiter nodded.
“Go back and get some rest. This has really been hard on her.” Zhou Wu smiled at her, then summoned a gourd of alcohol. “This is a bottle of Dew of a Hundred Flowers. I brewed it for you myself. Please, take it with you and sample it at your leisure.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter