Chapter 1549 - Bow

“Little bastard, who do you think you’re asking to bow?” Yang Jian glared, hefted his lance, and was just about to charge when the Left and Right Special Emissaries appeared before him.

 

“Yang Jian, get back here!” Eyes bloodshot, Ye Zichen shouted at Yang Jian.

 

Yang Jian glanced at him several times, clenched his lance, and grudgingly retreated.

 

Gu Li, meanwhile, left his seat on the dragon elder’s back, then walked gleefully up to Ye Zichen.

 

Ye Zichen’s allies tensed up, but if they made even the slightest movement, dozens of powerful presences would lock onto them.

 

Gu Li slowly raised his arm. Only then did the other great emperors notice: although his long robes obscured it, his right sleeve was empty. He only had his left arm.

 

Suddenly, Yang Jian recalled what Bai Haoyu had told him.

 

He’d taken Ye Zichen’s left arm on purpose!

 

There had to be some sort of connection here, but they had no time to ponder it now, as Gu Li’s only remaining hand was currently patting Ye Zichen’s face.

 

Although it was gentle, it was an enormous affront to Ye Zichen’s dignity. 

 

“You little….”  

“Don’t move!” Ye Zichen roared for Yang Jian to stay put, then allowed Gu Li to pat him as he pleased.

 

Despite the tension in the air, Gu Li grinned, then looked down at Ye Zichen, like a noble before a commoner.

 

“Bow for me.” His tone was light, yet his words were clearly intended to trample on others’ dignity.

 

Ye Zichen tightly clenched his fist, his chest heaving and his breath ragged. Gu Li raised his head with smug pride. 

 

“What, you don’t want to bow?” After a brief pause, Gu Li continued. “You’re the one who asked what it would take for me to let them go. Now, I want you to bow to me. If I’m in a good mood, who knows? I might very well take it upon myself to let them go. Right, not just them, but also your subordinates. Surely you don’t think you can just leave, right?” 

 

Ye Zichen averted his gaze, but his shoulders were already trembling violently.

 

“It seems Brother Ye cares more about his dignity, after all.” Gu Li suddenly turned to face the experts keeping Su Yan and the others captive. “Take off their hoods. When I say a name, kill that person!” 

 

The demon experts showed no sign of hesitation whatsoever. They took off all the hoods. The captives were currently in a semi-conscious state.

 

“Brother Ye, as you know, my patience is rather limited. You’re the one who wanted to know how to convince me to let them go. Honestly, I never wanted it to be like this, but your words piqued my interest. Now, I want you to bow to me. If you don’t….” 

 

He chuckled, then whispered in Ye Zichen’s ear, “How about we start from Su Yan?”

 

“Don’t!” When Ye Zichen saw the dagger aimed at Su Yan, he cried out in alarm, and the dagger clattered back down to the ground. 

 

“They say heroes can’t resist a damsel in distress. It seems you’re not immune to this either, Brother Ye.” Gu Li laughed. “Since you can’t bear to see her die, shouldn’t you obediently do as I say?”  

He waved his left and only arm, clearing the grass before Ye Zichen. The ground was now utterly smooth. Gu Li then glanced at the clearing. “Go on. Bow!”  

“Ye-zi, you can’t!” Eyes wide, Yang Jian glared. The other great emperors were fully focused on this too. 

 

“All I have to do is bow. Then, you’ll let them go, right?” Ye Zichen looked up and stared intently into Gu Li’s eyes.

 

“Bow, and you’ll find out for yourself,” laughed Gu Li.

 

“Ye-zi, you can’t! Worst comes to worst, we’ll risk it all, but you can’t bow to him!” Yang Jian was still roaring, his eyes bulging. Xuan Ji, the Great Sage and the others said nothing; there were those among the hostages they wanted to save, but at the same time, they didn’t want to see Ye Zichen bow to Gu Li either. They were inwardly conflicted, so all they could do was watch. They couldn’t possibly shout without reservation like Yang Jian.

 

“Bow!” Gu Li pushed him on.

 

Ye Zichen gnashed his teeth and clenched his fist, his arm trembling despite himself.

 

He was inwardly conflicted too, but when he looked at Su Yan and Yin Shang… When he looked at the members of the Upheaval Alliance he’d brought with him, when he saw his friends’ conflicted expressions….

 

He set aside every last shred of his dignity. “Alright. I’ll bow!” He spoke through gnashed teeth, then bent at the knee, kneeling in the dirt.

 

“I want you to bow with both legs on the ground. Prostrate yourself before me!” Gu Li stared fixedly at him.

 

“Alright!” Eyes red, Ye Zichen smiled, but there was no mirth in it, only anger. Yang Jian, Xue Yang, Pu Jingwan, Xuan Ji, the Great Sage, all of his friends looked away as Ye Zichen’s other knee thudded against the ground. 

 

He was bowing!

 

The Upheaval Alliance members' eyes went red, while Hu Bazi and the other Divine Generals of the Profound Pavilion froze.

 

Bowing like that was tantamount to throwing away his dignity completely!

 

“Oh oh oh, Brother Ye, how could I possibly accept such courtesy? How utterly ridiculous. The glorious bearer of the Emperor Star, bowing before another? Ye Zichen, I bet you never thought this day would come….”

 

Gu Li let out a burst of wanton laughter. His allied experts, both demon and yao, laughed alongside him.

 

Their laughter pierced Ye Zichen’s ears. He felt a profound sense of shame rise up inside him, yet he forced it back down and spat through clenched teeth, “I bowed. Can you let them go now?”

 

“What’s with your expression? It’s like you want to eat me or something. Smile when you talk to me!” snorted Gu Li.

 

Ye Zichen forced himself to smile. He looked up and met Gu Li’s disdainful gaze. “Can you let them go?”

 

“Let them go?” Gu Li paused mid laugh, then froze.

 

“You said it yourself, didn’t you? If I bowed, you’d let them go.”

 

“Did I say that?” Gu Li scratched his head.

 

“Gu Li, you have to keep your promises! You told me to bow, so I did! Let them go, and don’t make trouble for them again. If you have beef with me, take it out with me directly!” Ye Zichen glared, his expression darkening. 

 

Gu Li scrunched up his brow and pursed his lips. “Brother Ye, I’m afraid you’re remembering incorrectly. What I said was, if you bowed, it’d put me in a good mood, and I might very well let you all go. But I’m afraid that, although you bowed, and although it was rather difficult for you…. I’m not in a good mood at all. You’d best take this chance to remember their faces, as this is the last time you’ll ever see them.”

 

The dagger on the ground suddenly split into dozens of smaller, identical daggers. Then, every last knife flew toward the captives. 

 

“Gu Li, you mustn’t kill!” At that moment, a feminine shout filled the air.

 To everyone’s shock, Gu Li, who’d been so filled with murderous intent and instant before, froze in place. Every last dagger clattered to the ground. He maintained his dagger-wielding posture for a long time, but his vicious, contorted expression had disappeared, as if he’d been cleansed by a gentle spring breeze. 

 

Eventually, he turned and stared, dazed, up at the sky. In a rare show of true emotion, his pupils constricted, and he was trembling. His lips quivered nonstop, and there were even hints of tears at the corners of his eyes.

 

“An….”

 

“Xuan-yuan!” At that moment, Ye Zichen shot back to his feet. A streak of gold cut through the skies, a sacred sword hurtling directly at Gu Li’s chest. 

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