Book 17, Indigo Prefecture – Chapter 53, Putting on a Performance
“What exactly is Lord Beirut going to do?” Linley was puzzled. Whether or not the clan had a traitor and whether or not Forhan was that traitor…there was no evidence for it. Why was Lord Beirut asking so many questions?
Just as Linley was puzzled, Beirut, seated at the front of the hall, suddenly slammed his cup against the long table in front of him. That ear-piercing sound couldn’t help but cause the four clan leaders and Phusro to all look towards him.
“Hmph!” Beirut let out a cold snort.
Instantly, the entire main hall went silent. Everyone understood that this Lord Prefect of Indigo Prefecture seemed to be rather upset about something. It didn’t matter if they offended others, but they couldn’t offend this person who was supporting their clan. Gislason let out two chuckles, then said, “Lord Prefect, is something amiss?”
Beirut glanced sideways at him, and then looked at the surrounding people, his gaze clear and fierce.
“Linley’s group was assaulted by eight enemy Elders. He killed several of them; he rendered merits, and so he was rewarded. I must praise your clan for the way you handled this part…but, can it be that your Four Divine Beasts clan isn’t preparing to investigate how this matter of a simultaneous attack by eight Elders came about?!”
Beirut let out a cold snort. “From what I know, when these eight enemy Elders attacked, three of them used Sovereign’s Might! Clearly, they wanted Linley dead! And the shockwaves of battle even impacted my grandson, Bebe. Fortunately, I had forged a soul-protecting divine artifact for him long ago, which is why he was able to resist those green spots of light. Otherwise, he would have ended up just like Delia!”
“This was such a major affair, but your clan isn’t investigating it? Hmph!” Beirut let out an angry snort, then didn’t say anything further.
After these words came out, all of the Elders in the hall began to secretly speak to each other through divine sense. Even the four clan leaders seated at the front of the hall began to speak amongst themselves through divine sense. As they saw it…
The real reason why Beirut was so angry was probably because Bebe was impacted as well.
Although Bebe wasn’t harmed, Beirut was clearly upset by this affair. The four clan leaders could completely understand this.
“Lord Prefect.” The Vermillion Bird Matriarch immediately said apologetically, “We, too, feel that there must have been a plot behind the attack of the eight Elders. Otherwise, how could the eight Elders have suddenly appeared as soon as Linley’s group left Meer City? But…there’s no way to investigate!”
“No way to investigate?” Beirut said calmly. “It’s simple. Your clan has a traitor.”
This word caused the entire hall to descend into a cacophony of noise.
Forhan was so shocked that even the hair on his body stood up. His heart clenched tightly…but then he immediately calmed down. “It’s fine. It’s definitely fine. Aside from myself, there’s no one at all who knows that I notified the eight clans. If I don’t admit it, who would know? Even if Linley suspects me, does he have proof?”
Forhan’s thoughts immediately firmed and coalesced around one thing – No matter what, he wasn’t that traitor!
But as the saying went, a thief would always be nervous. Forhan knew that no one else knew, but he still felt rather tense.
“Father, do you think there really is a traitor?” Emanuel asked Forhan through divine sense as well.
“Possibly.” Forhan put on a pretense of calm as he sent back through divine sense. “Perhaps there is a traitor. However, it’s also possible that the eight great clans truly do have a way to clearly locate Linley’s whereabouts.”
The main hall was in a state of chaos. The Elders were all stunned.
As for Linley, he was in a state of shock as well. “Lord Beirut is being perhaps a bit too…” He didn’t know what he should say. He didn’t have any proof at all, but Beirut had actually acted in such a manner. Still, as Linley saw it, Beirut’s behavior had always been different from that of normal people.
“Linley, is there really a traitor?” Delia, by Linley’s side, asked through divine sense.
“There probably is.” Linley replied.
“Who? That Forhan?” Delia glanced at Forhan as well. When thinking of possible traitors, the first person that came to mind for Delia was Forhan as well.
“If there really is a traitor, he is almost certainly the person.” Linley replied.
Only now did Gislason, seated in the front of the hall, say hurriedly in response, “Lord Prefect, you say there is a traitor. Can it be that you have proof?”
“Of course I do!” Beirut laughed calmly.
Immediately, chaos erupted once more in the hall. Even Linley was stunned.
“He has proof?” Even Linley himself didn’t know what proof there was.
“Proof?” Forhan, seated below, was shocked. “Impossible. Absolutely impossible. My divine clone sent the message after changing its appearance. There’s definitely no one who knows about this situation.”
“What is the proof?” Gislason immediately said. “If there really is a traitor who has betrayed the clan…Lord Prefect, worry not. No matter who the person is, our Four Divine Beasts clan will destroy all of the person’s bodies, not leaving a single one behind!”
Gislason’s words were firm and resolute.
“Right, the person must be executed!” The White Tiger Patriarch also said fiercely.
“Lord Prefect, what’s the evidence?” The Vermillion Bird Matriarch said. Everyone in the hall turned to look at Beirut, while Linley and Forhan stared at Beirut as well. They all were wondering…
What the proof was!
“I can’t say, I can’t say!” Beirut laughed calmly.
Everyone was stunned.
“Lord Prefect, what are you…” Gislason and the others were stunned, and Linley frowned in bewilderment as well.
Beirut laughed calmly, “There’s no point to me saying it. Only two individuals know about this. One is myself! The other is an almighty Sovereign! Do you think that a Sovereign will come bear witness about a matter like this? As for the details…it involves some of the secrets of the Sovereign. I dare not reveal them.”
Everyone was stupefied.
Linley was dazed as well. How did a Sovereign get involved in this?
“Lord Prefect, are you saying that you are unable to provide any proof?” The voice of the Grand Elder rang out in the hall.
“Right. I am unable to provide any proof.” Beirut nodded.
The Grand Elder said respectfully, “Lord Prefect, if you don’t provide any proof, then there’s no way this matter can be addressed. It’s uncertain as to whether or not there is a traitor! In a situation where there is no proof, it is best not to cause everyone to worry.”
Beirut stared at the Grand Elder. “What, can it be that you think I am lying?”
The Grand Elder was speechless.
“Little Sis.” Gislason hurriedly shouted at her through divine sense, “This Lord Prefect clearly wants to pursue this matter to the end. Let him pursue it if he wishes to. If he wants to find a traitor, in the end, he’ll still have to provide us with evidence that we find compelling. If he just randomly points at someone, our Four Divine Beasts clan won’t accept it either! It is best not to irritate him just yet.”
Gislason asked solemnly, “Lord Prefect, dare I ask, do you know who the traitor is?”
Immediately, the entire hall fell silent.
Linley listened carefully as well. Beirut laughed calmly, then stretched out his right hand, pointing down at Forhan, seated in front of them. “The traitor of your Four Divine Beasts clan is him! Forhan!!!”
“Forhan!!!” When Beirut barked out this name, it echoed throughout the hall, and Forhan’s face immediately became exceedingly unsightly to look at.
Linley felt astonished and surprised. He immediately asked through divine sense, “Lord Beirut, what are you…?”
“Don’t worry about it. I have my own plans. All you need to do is watch.” Beirut replied through divine sense.
All of the Elders within the hall turned to look at Forhan, who immediately rose to his feet, a look of anger on his face. In a sonorous voice, he said, “Lord Prefect, I, Forhan, am a third generation member of the clan. In the past ten thousand years, I have killed two enemy Seven Star Fiends! My son lost his most powerful divine clone while battling the enemy as well. And you say I am a traitor? Haha…”
Forhan actually began to laugh loudly, from his ‘grief and rage’. The anger and grief within that laugh caused many of the Elders present to believe Forhan.
Clearly, this Beirut hadn’t been able to provide any real evidence at all, and yet he pointed to Forhan as being the traitor. If it was a junior member of the clan, or a member who had joined the clan just recently, the Elders might believe it.
But this was Forhan. The son of the Grand Elder!
They didn’t believe Forhan would betray the clan!
“Lord Prefect.” The Grand Elder stood up, those eyes of hers behind that silver mask radiating an angry look. In a fierce voice, she said, “This Forhan is my son. Over the course of countless years, I have always understood him very well! I dare to guarantee that he definitely is not a traitor! And he can’t possibly be the traitor!”
A calm smile was still on Beirut’s face.
“Oh, you don’t admit it?” Beirut looked sideways towards Forhan.
“Forhan, you think that since you acted stealthily and secretly, as long as you don’t admit it, no one would find out, right?” Beirut laughed calmly. “But you forgot something. There is no way for you to notice when a Sovereign is paying attention to you!”
Forhan’s heart trembled. “Can it be that a Sovereign was aware of everything I did? Impossible, impossible! How could there be such a coincidence, that a Sovereign just so happened to notice what I was doing?” Forhan repeatedly tried to convince himself.
But on the surface, Forhan still had his head proudly raised, and he said firmly, “Lord Prefect, I, Forhan, dare to proclaim that I definitely have never betrayed the clan. Never!”
“I won’t waste words.” Beirut looked towards him. “You believe you are innocent, right??”
Forhan raised his head proudly, then nodded. “Of course!”
Beirut nodded slightly. “Very well, then. If you truly are innocent, then don’t resist. I will use a hypnotic technique against you. While hypnotized, you will tell the truth to everyone.”
Linley, by now, understood what Beirut intended. “Forhan is a Seven Star Fiend, after all, and even amongst the Elders, he is ranked amongst the most powerful. And he is also a member of the Azure Dragon clan, with that innate azure glow protecting his soul. Most likely even Lord Beirut isn’t capable of hypnotizing him against his will.”
Hypnotizing a Seven Star Fiend was very hard.
A Seven Star Fiend who also had, as an innate ability, that azure light protecting his soul…the number of people in the Infernal Realm capable of hypnotizing him could probably be counted on one hand.
“Hypnotize?” Forhan said angrily. “Lord Prefect, I am no traitor! You even want me to undergo ‘hypnotism’. Although you are a lofty and mighty figure, Lord Prefect, I dare say that you are going too far in abusing others!”
“Impudence!” Gislason barked.
Forhan took a large step forward.
“Bang!” He fell to his knees.
“Patriarch!” Forhan said furiously. “Given the situation, there’s nothing I have to say for myself. The Lord Prefect sullying me is one thing, but he even wants to hypnotize me and wants me not to resist. I, Forhan, am an Elder of the mighty Four Divine Beasts clan! I am also a Seven Star Fiend! I won’t accept an insult like this!”
Forhan raised his head proudly. “Patriarch, if you are afraid of the power and authority of the Lord Prefect, then today, I, Forhan, will grant the Lord Prefect his wish and accept death! The Lord Prefect can do as he pleases and execute me if he wishes! But you, Beirut…even though you are the Lord Prefect, even though you have shown great benevolence to the clan, I refuse to allow you to insult me any further! Even if you kill me, I won’t let you sully me!”
Forhan closed his eyes. “If you want to kill me, then do so!”
Immediately, the Elders in the hall all began to speak through divine sense.
“Forhan, just accept the hypnotism. When the time comes, the Lord Prefect will naturally know that you are innocent.” Gislason said.
“I’ve already suffered enough insults. To suffer hypnotism without resisting?” Forhan’s tears began to fall down, and he said in a high-pitched voice, “Patriarch…when the ancestor was alive, who would have dared to treat an Elder of our clan in such a way?”
These words struck right at the hearts of quite a few of the Elders who were present.
When the ancestors had been alive, the Four Divine Beasts clan wouldn’t have even held the Asuras of the Infernal Realm in much regard.
Beirut’s laughter echoed in the main hall, and he stood up and walked downwards.
“If you want to kill me, then kill me.” Forhan shut his eyes, kneeling there, the picture of rage and grief.
“Lord Prefect.” Gislason said hurriedly.
Beirut just walked out of the hall, laughing calmly. “Kid, your acting abilities aren’t bad. Fine. Today, I won’t force you to die. You say that I sully your reputation? Then I will permit you to live a few more months…and in a few more months, I’ll see what else you have to say for yourself!”
After finishing his words, Beirut, with a swirl of his cloak, exited.
“I, Forhan, am not a traitor. Several months from now, I still won’t be a traitor!” Forhan knelt there, but his head was held high.