"Senior... Senior?" After some hesitation, Ye Qingyu drew closer and tried calling out to him again.
There was still no response.
Under Ye Qingyu's watchful gaze, over the next dozen breaths, the retired emperor's body lay on the ground, as still as a corpse. No matter how many times he tried to call out to him, he did not receive a response, nor did he react at all.
The closer he got, the clearer the retired emperor's body became.
The body on the ground looked to be about sixty years of age; his face was thin and well-defined and his blood-colored eyebrows were like flames. There was a pair of long horns that grew from his forehead just like a True Dragon. In addition to his mighty aura, he also exuded some elegance and nobility, which showed that he was an extremely formidable character. Even though there were signs of life in him, his aura and appearance were enough to make one feel a strong oppressive force.
Ye Qingyu was less than ten meters away from the body and could clearly sense that there was no pulse within this retired emperor's body. His life had seeped out of him at that moment earlier and he now resembled a piece of withered rotten wood. Furthermore, there were no ripples of energy nor life in the surrounding area.
It looked just like a dead human corpse.
Is he truly dead?
Ye Qingyu's shock and astonishment grew.
He was almost certain that the retired emperor of the Dragonblood Dynasty was dead. He had once been a mighty emperor at the highest level, so there was no reason for him to act dead just to deceive him... But this was also the most suspicious point. How could someone of such stature, who had stunned the Vast Thousand Domains for thousands of years and who was basically the most powerful thing in existence in this world, die in these remote mountains? And why was his manner of death so odd?
What was going on?
Ye Qingyu's shock could not be expressed in words. He sensed that this was a nefarious plot. The Third Princess of the Dragon Human Race had asked him to come into the mountains alone to see the retired emperor. So, could she be the mastermind behind the plot? He thought for a moment, then rejected that notion. He was absolutely certain that she did not have the brains to lay out such a plot, and she and the others simply did not have the prowess to kill the retired emperor of the Dragon Human Race. Any plot would be laughable and powerless in the face of absolute power.
Unless there was an even more formidable character who supported the Third Princess of the Dragon Human Race.
That person had to stand at the absolute summit of power and had to be as powerful as the retired emperor of the Dragon Human Race.
Ye Qingyu took a deep breath.
He knew that once news of this got out, it would definitely shake the entire Vast Thousand Domains to its core.
Suddenly, a fine light flashed through his mind and understanding dawned.
The retired emperor of the Dragon Human Race was probably dead even before he climbed up the summit of this mountain. His corpse had always been standing here but his breath had yet to fully dissipate after his death. After all, he was such a formidable expert that remnants of his aura would have remained after his death. This explained why he was able to sense the aura of this top expert, and this was probably why he initially did not realize that the retired emperor was already dead. It wasn't until the [Dragonblood Halberd] appeared later...
No wonder the [Dragonblood Halberd] was able to let out three sorrowful cries. It must have sensed the death of its retired emperor and grieved for him.
As for why the retired emperor's aura and power completely disappeared in an instant, that was clearly because of the [Dragonblood Halberd]. Some kind of mysterious transformation could have occurred after the [Dragonblood Halberd] transformed into a dragon and entered the retired emperor's body. This was connected to the secret of the Dragon Human Race's ancestral weapon, so he would not be able to figure it out for the time being.
The mountain wind was bitterly cold.
Dark clouds rolled overhead.
Many things now made sense to him, but he still had many unanswered questions as well that he just could not figure out.
"Hehehehe... Master, I can't believe you just wasted so much time speaking to a corpse..." Little Nine said excitedly, as though things were not serious enough.
Ye Qingyu ignored this silly dog.
He had a feeling that he should leave this place immediately, for it was clearly a trap. However, when he remembered how the Third Princess of the Dragon Human Race and that malicious old Dragon Human Race elder had witnessed him climbing up the mountain, he decided not to escape, but to remain at the scene.
In approximately fifteen minutes—just as he expected.
Dozens of splendors suddenly flashed in the Void far away, and they all charged toward the mountain, their speed as fast as flowing light and lightning.
The corners of his eyes curved up slightly and his gaze turned cold.
The splendor flickered to reveal their figures.
There were dozens of people, and five or six of them exuded a powerful aura. These few people were clearly in the Saint realm—they might even be Great Saints. The Third Princess of the Dragon Human Race and the others were also part of the group.
"Hmm? What happened, Your Highness..." The moment the Third Princess appeared, she reacted like a stunned sparrow upon seeing the retired emperor's corpse while exclaiming loudly. She was a picture of grief and concern.
Ye Qingyu scoffed coldly.
This was such bad acting.
He had still suspected that perhaps this Third Princess of the Dragon Human Race had nothing to do with the retired emperor's death, but the timing of her appearance along with so many experts was too much of a coincidence. Her exaggerated expressions and acting dissipated the last remnants of his doubts. He was almost certain that this stupid princess definitely had something to do with this.
"You!" The Third Princess pointed at him and asked accusingly, "What did you do? Why... Your Highness, what happened?"
"Oh?" Ye Qingyu responded indifferently. His gaze swept past those five or six figures with formidable auras as he discerned their auras. Then, he looked back at the Third Princess with narrowed eyes and continued calmly, "You mean, you can't even tell? Your retired emperor is now dead."
"You?" The Third Princess was slightly taken aback, then an almost imperceptible flash of viciousness appeared in her eyes and she shouted, "You murderous thief! How dare you kill our retired emperor just to claim the treasure of our Dragon Human Race as your own! You... you are absolutely heartless and you will be punished by the heavens. You..."
Ye Qingyu smiled when he saw how enraged she was, "Alright, stop acting. To be honest, your acting is extremely bad and I don't have the patience to continue watching it... You had first done your research about my whereabouts, then lured me up this lone peak, then brought so many people to appear in such a timely manner... Hmm, isn't that too much of a coincidence?"
"What... what do you mean?" the Third Princess of the Dragon Human Race asked angrily, but her breath slightly faltered subconsciously.
Ye Qingyu smiled, then continued, "Didn't you say earlier that your retired emperor had forbidden all of you to scale this mountain and only wanted to see me? Why have you brought so many people up this mountain then? Hmm?"
"I..." The Third Princess' breath caught in her throat. She did not know how to respond at that moment.
When the malicious old Dragon Human Race elder saw that things had taken a turn for the worse, he immediately stepped up and smiled cunningly. Then he said, "Her Highness was worried when she could no longer sense His Highness's aura, so she quickly led us up here. Who could have predicted that we would run into you after you committed such a despicable, evil, and cruel act? Now that we have all the evidence here, you won't be able to get out of this no matter how well you may try to twist the truth."
"Yes, things are finally starting to make sense." Ye Qingyu smiled. At this moment, he was surprisingly calm as he looked at the malicious old Dragon Human Race elder and said, "Let's see, you're saying that this stupid princess could not detect the retired emperor's aura, but why didn't she assume that it is because he had left after obtaining the [Dragonblood Halberd]? Does your retired emperor need to inform you before he leaves this mountain?"
"Um..." The old Dragon Human Race elder was slightly stunned but he quickly recovered to say, "While it is true that His Highness might have left, we, as the disciples of the Dragon Human Race, would naturally need to ensure his safety. It would make sense for us to check on him up here. There is nothing wrong with that."
"Alright, even if I accept your explanation, I would still like to ask if you think that I am actually powerful enough to kill this peerless mighty emperor who had stunned the Vast Thousand Domains? Hmm?" Ye Qingyu asked as a faint shadow of a smile danced across his lips. "If I had the power to kill the retired emperor, then you guys..." He raised his hand to point at them contemptuously, then continued, "Then you guys do not really seem like loyal subjects. If I had the power to kill someone who was a half-step to a Quasi-emperor, you would have fled a long time ago, am I right? Why would you dare to scale this lone peak? Haha, you must have really thought so highly of yourselves."
The old Dragon Human Race elder's surprise turned to anger as he said, "How dare you spout such malicious words after killing our retired emperor! You've even insulted our princess... I will not spare you today."
Ye Qingyu's smile became even more contemptuous and disdainful. "Why? You have no more excuses so you're starting to spout nonsense, is that it?"
The old Dragon Human Race elder was about to retort...
Then, a figure in the corner, whose features were obscured by his black-hooded cloak, suddenly spoke. His voice was hoarse but he enunciated each word clearly as he said, "Ye Qingyu, we the Human Race have always dared to take responsibility for our actions. You have stolen the secret treasure of the Dragon Human Race and mercilessly killed their retired emperor in order to satisfy your own selfish desires. Even though I am a Human Race martial artist, your actions are inexcusable. I heard that in recent years, the retired emperor was at the end of his life and his strength had dipped significantly. He was only a shadow of his former self which explains how you managed to kill him. There is nothing suspicious about that at all. It shows how benevolent the retired emperor had been, for he did not think you were as evil as the rumors made you out to be, and agreed to meet with you privately to persuade you to hand over their treasure. No one expected you to be so evil as to secretly ambush His Highness, then turn around and try to lay the blame on the Third Princess. You must know that the Third Princess and the retired emperor are blood relatives, so why would she do such a thing?"
Ye Qingyu's eyes hardened after he heard those words.
"Human Race? You are of the Human Race?" His gaze fell on the cloaked figure. For some reason, this figure seemed familiar to him, and so he frowned and asked, "Since you're here, why do you need to obscure your features? If you dare to speak up, why won't you show your face? Are you ashamed to reveal yourself?"
That person was silent for a moment, then he said hoarsely, "I am an upright man and have nothing to be ashamed of. My conscience is clear, so why would I be ashamed? It is beneath me to reveal my face to a human as despicable as yourself."
Ye Qingyu scoffed and said, "You're just a shady creature hiding in the dark. I'll go first since I'd like to see what kind of face lies beneath that cloak... [Eyes of the Void]!"
Two rays of small lightning shot from his eyes.
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