A series of loud wails could be heard from the torture pillar at the top of the stone stairs.
After Sheng Lingzhi's dark bloodline had been extracted from him, he was completely useless. Naturally, the process of extracting his blood was a fate worse than death, but this was not yet the end. His sin caused the entire Unmoving City of Darkness to rise in anger and thus, they had subjected him to torture by slicing his body into thousands of pieces, so Shen Lingzhi constantly let out painful howls from the torture pillar.
Guo Yuan, He Yan, and Ran Guangyao knelt on the stone steps, not even daring to raise their heads.
They were the other three supreme commanders apart from Yang Feng, who represented the Royal City setting up camp along the one hundred fifty kilometer long great wall.
Ye Qingyu stood in the Nine Heavens and issued an edict, so the three supreme commanders who had been observing the situation did not dare resist the order and came to the Unmoving City of Darkness at the first instance. Then, they knelt outside the Divine Palace of Darkness and waited to be summoned by the new Emperor for questioning.
They used to be the lofty supreme commanders of the border, but now they were trembling in fear like helpless chickens trapped in a tempest.
Shen Lingzhi's terrified wails were like sharp knives that sliced at their hearts.
They all knew that Ye Qingyu was making an example of Shen Lingzhi as a warning to others.
Moreover, these three supreme commanders were actually more well-informed than Yang Feng since they were not involved in the attack on the Unmoving City of Darkness, and they were kept abreast of news from Royal City. Thus, they were shocked—the old sovereigns who were supposed to kill the new Emperor as part of the plan had yet to show themselves.
This news seemed ordinary, but those who had inside news were extremely terrified.
The sovereigns who were sent to kill the new Emperor had not appeared while the new Emperor returned safely to the Unmoving City of Darkness to issue a harsh edict, so they could imagine what had happened to those sovereigns who did not turn up.
The fact that something could have happened to these sovereigns seemed unbelievable, but that was the truth.
If the new Emperor had survived their attacks by a stroke of luck, he would have fled as far away as he could and he would have never appeared so publicly at the Unmoving City of Darkness; there was a high possibility that the new Emperor killed those sovereigns at the battlefield in space before he returned.
Shen Lingzhi's fate showed that he was just getting started.
Under the command of the bloodstained military counselor Wang Jianru, there was already a huge internal overhaul within the Unmoving City of Darkness and those military officers who had been accomplices of Shen Lingzhi and those who had helped Shen Lingzhi assassinate the loyal officials at court were rounded up and brought to trial. A very hardline stance had been taken against these people.
Ran Guangyao and the others were certain that after the Unmoving City of Darkness had been cleansed of Shen Lingzhi's followers, they and the other regular troops from the Guardians camp would be next. It was hard to predict how intense the bloodshed would be.
They felt as though they were sitting on an emotional rollercoaster and they were all gripped with an uneasiness that they had never felt before.
Within the Divine Palace of Darkness.
"Your Highness, the three supreme commanders have been kneeling outside the main hall for an hour," Lingyun reported deferentially. Everyone within the Unmoving City of Darkness was now aware of Ye Qingyu's identity and they all felt extremely grateful to Ye Qingyu for protecting them.
"Let them kneel for a while longer," he said.
The four supreme commanders were just pawns installed by Royal City to guard the great wall. He had already searched Yang Feng's memories and obtained some information, so he knew that these three supreme commanders were definitely not good men. They weren't the true masterminds who had colluded with the Invaders; they were all aware of what was happening when the battle had initially erupted, and had also agreed that Yang Feng could attack the Unmoving City of Darkness. None of them were good men, so if not for the fact that he could still make use of them, he would have already thrown them in jail.
Soon, the official administering the torture on Sheng Lingzhi entered the divine temple to report that he had completed the torture and that every single part of Shen Lingzhi had been sliced off. The soldiers within the city were full of bitter hatred toward this Sinner, who had colluded with outsiders to bring about such a big catastrophe upon the Unmoving City of Darkness, so now they were all fighting to devour a piece of his meat. Shen Lingzhi's physical body had been destroyed, so his spirit was the only thing left of him. The official administering the torture was enquiring how he should deal with Shen Lingzhi's spirit.
"Kill!" Song Xiaojun said.
He had already paid for his crimes and she wasn't a merciless person by nature, so she didn't want to continue torturing his spirit as well and wanted to consider this case closed.
The official administering the torture and Lingyun both left the divine temple.
Ye Qingyu and Song Xiaojun were the only ones left in the main hall.
"Brother Qingyu, how are your injuries?" Song Xiaojun was obviously most concerned about Ye Qingyu.
After she had almost lost him, she suddenly had a clearer view of things. Song Xiaojun had been moved by the Celestial Phoenix Maiden's choice and her determination to die for Ye Qingyu because of her love for him. At the same time, Song Xiaojun realized that life was unpredictable and an accident might befall them at any point in time, so she should treasure the present even more, as well as the people around her. No matter what would happen in the future, she didn't want to lose Ye Qingyu again.
"I'm fine," he said with a smile. He found peace and comfort when he looked at her face.
That battle in space had definitely been the most dangerous battle he had ever faced and he had almost been forced into a hopeless situation. If it hadn't been for Song Xiaojun awakening the complete version of the ancient True Phoenix blood at the very last moment, and for the True Phoenix fire suppressing the strength of a Martial Emperor, Ye Qingyu would have had to flee.
His injuries were extremely serious.
It wasn't an exaggeration to say that if a Martial Emperor's true body were to sustain any injuries, his cultivation level would fall, and his yuan qi had been so severely depleted that he had almost perished.
However, he could clearly sense that the world tree that had been extremely quiet all along in his dantian world had started to show signs of life that moved like a warm, clear spring toward every part of his body, gently healing his injuries and replenishing his yuan qi, which had almost been completely exhausted.
This was a mysterious force that made him realize that his injuries were healing many times faster than he had initially expected and as the world tree used its energy to replenish his yuan qi, his body seemed to be gradually undergoing some changes.
"You can still deal with matters in the outside world slowly. Brother Qingyu, you should attend to your injuries first," Song Xiaojun was like a loving wife and if people saw that the lofty Emperor of Darkness had such a gentle and tender side to her, they would surely gape in astonishment.
Ye Qingyu naturally took Song Xiaojun's hands in his and said, "I can't rest yet, I still have to settle some things... Xiaojun, now that you've already become an Emperor yourself, you'd be able to look down at everything in this world. I have nothing to worry about now that you're standing guard over the Unmoving City of Darkness, but things at Royal City have yet to settle down. I've issued an edict to form a new army before leaving Royal City and told them to report at the border of the great wall in three days, but the army has yet to appear even after ten days have passed. I guess I wasn't as fierce as I thought I had been at Royal City, so I need to return to Royal City and seize control of the Guardians camp, as well as the Sinners camp before I can truly relax."
Song Xiaojun was astonished.
The Ye Qingyu she knew wasn't somebody who lusted after power and authority, so why was he so anxious to unite the entire Dark Realm? Nonetheless, she vowed to help him achieve his goals, even if it meant a lifetime of battles and a lifetime of walking under fire. She wasn't afraid.
"I'm doing this for the impending huge catastrophe that would befall us all," he said, full of anxiety.
He didn't need to withhold anything from Song Xiaojun, so he told her everything that he knew, including his encounter with the nameless Quasi-emperor in the Underworld beneath the [Guanlan Mountain Manor], and the secrets that he had gleaned from him.
Song Xiaojun was extremely shocked after hearing his tale, especially when she heard about how the [Longevity Emperor], [Sea Sand Emperor], [Drifting Cloud Emperor] and the others had used their own bodies to nourish this world tree in the hopes of averting this destined fate. She was shocked by their tremendous sacrifices. If this secret were to be made known, she was sure that everyone in this world would be equally stunned.
Song Xiaojun finally realized why Ye Qingyu was so anxious to unite the entire Dark Realm.
"But Brother Qingyu, your injuries..." she became even more worried as it dawned on her how dangerous this mission was and how much resistance Ye Qingyu was about to face. After the Sky Emperor and his ilk had failed this time, they would definitely cook up all sorts of schemes to stop him from accomplishing his mission. This was especially so, since the Sky Emperor was not someone to give up easily.
Ye Qingyu replied confidently, "The benefits I've gained from this major battle have far surpassed the severity of my injuries. I'm sure the Sky Emperor will regret his decisions the next time we meet."
They hadn't met in a while, so now that they were in each other's company, they had a lot of things to say to each other.
Time ticked by.
It was already dark by the time Ye Qingyu emerged from the Divine Palace of Darkness.
The three supreme commanders had spent six hours kneeling on the stone stairs, but they didn't dare to utter a single word of complaint. When they saw Ye Qingyu emerge, their heads bowed even lower and their hearts sank. The sight of Ye Qingyu's feet was enough for them to feel a chill run down their spines.
"Head back and regroup your men. I want you to prepare to go to battle at any time," he said as he looked at the trio. He saw that they were scared stiff and all their haughtiness had left them, so he didn't pursue the matter.
The three supreme commanders let out sighs of relief.
They had expected Ye Qingyu to fly into a thunderous rage and mete out a severe punishment. They had even thought that they might die, but they hadn't expected him to let them off so easily after sending out such harsh summons. They felt as though they were just pulled from the jaws of death and the clothes on their backs were already soaked through with cold sweat.
They hurriedly thanked Ye Qingyu for his kindness and rose to their feet, not even asking why they should be on standby.
"Wait a minute," his voice rang out from behind.
Their knees quaked as they quickly turned around and waited quietly for their orders. They were extremely terrified that he might have changed his mind and decided that they were better off dead.
"Take these with you," he said.
Lingyun walked over slowly, carrying a box with black lacquer and golden markings.
The box wasn't that big and it was sealed tightly so they couldn't tell what was inside
Ran Guangyao accepted the box from Lingyun. He held it carefully and did not dare to question its contents. He bowed and held the box high as he said, "Many thanks, Your Highness."
"You may go. Remember to prepare for action since a big battle will unfold anytime soon. If I catch you slacking off, you should know what the consequences are," he said coldly and with an authority that brooked no defiance.
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