Chapter 1426 - The Star Altar Arrives
Meanwhile, within the spatial tunnel leading to Spirit City, God Emperor Zhou Wu’s expression was grave. The Divine Arbiter was at his side.
Just now, he’d received a sudden notice that the Southern Divine Mountain’s Society of Saints had all taken action at once, and that all of them were headed for Spirit City and the Bai Family. The God Emperor’s Estate had received no advance notice; he only received word when they’d almost reached the city.
Zhou Wu immediately took action, and using the Divine Arbiter’s power over space as a vector, he hurried to the Bai Family estate.
“How could Chao Feng and his people possibly manage this? And how dare they! And just now, we received no advance word at all!” Zhou Wu’s expression was cold and sharp. The God Emperor’s Estate was at the heart of the Central Divine Mountain, which towered over the other eight Divine Mountains. Chao Feng had never gotten along with Zhou Wu, and they’d never resolved their grudge. If not for the chaotic nature of their current situation, the God Emperor would definitely have obliged Chao Feng’s Society of Saints first.
Their conflict was so deep that, naturally, the Society of Saints contained numerous informants working under the God Emperor.
Through them, the God Emperor saw everything the Society of Saints did. Furthermore, the surrounding cities contained huge numbers of troops, all of them under the God Emperor’s jurisdiction, just to keep the Society of Saints in check. If they dared act up, the God Emperor’s troops would rush in and surround them, and at the same time, call for reinforcements.
And yet, whether it was his informants within Chao Feng’s forces or the troops stationed in the surrounding cities, neither had sent word.
He’d only found out about the Society of Saints’ movements after they reached the perimeter of Spirit City. How exactly had they pulled it off?
“What about the generals we left in charge of the cities?”
“Please, God Emperor, punish me as you see fit.” To his surprise, the Divine Arbiter suddenly knelt. “Half a month ago, our forces in several cities of the Southern Divine Mountain were eliminated. I am entirely to blame for failing to realize the implications in advance.”
“What?” Zhou Wu’s expression filled with shock. He stared dazedly at the kneeling Divine Arbiter, shaking his head and facepalming.
“They were wiped out? That was almost a million cultivators!”
“Your subordinate doesn’t know how exactly Chao Feng managed it, but several cities' worth of troops disappeared overnight. No one managed to send any word, either; they simply vanished. I’ve let you down, Your Majesty, and await your punishment,” said the Divine Arbiter solemnly.
“Forget it.” Zhou Wu sighed, then used his divine power to lift the Divine Arbiter to his feet. “When Chao Feng takes action, he leaves no loose ends. Of the Dragon God’s remaining sons, he looks like he’s the least ambitious. He chose the Southern Divine Mountain, the mountain with the least strategic position, as his base. And yet, of his brothers, he’s the most scrupulous and cautious. He’s reserved compared to the arrogant Bi’an. If he dared attack my people, he inevitably prepared thoroughly first. It’s no surprise that you received no word of it until after the fact.”
There were few people who truly understood Chao Feng, but Zhou Wu was one of them.
From his position on the throne of God Emperor, Zhou Wu saw it clearly: although Chao Feng seemed as if he lived in retreat, in his heart, he too wished to vie for supremacy. Bi’an was open about his hostility and his ambitions; everyone knew he wanted the throne for himself. From Zhou Wu’s perspective, however, Chao Feng was the more dangerous of the two.
He’d always wondered just when Chao Feng would b.a.r.e his fangs. It seemed…. The time had finally come!
“The Yuchi and Huangfu families….”
“They sent reinforcements,” said the Divine Arbiter, “But the Lord of Seven Stars’ forces have held them up.”
“Seven Stars? That’s the Lord of Seven Stars who appeared a hundred years ago, the one chosen by the Big Dipper?” asked Zhou Wu.
“That’s right.” The Divine Arbiter nodded. “The Lord of Seven Stars is Ye Zichen’s biological mother.”
“That, I already knew.”
Ye Zichen’s treasures and destiny tempted him, so Zhou Wu had long since investigated his background.
In fact, before taking action against Ye Zichen, he hesitated.
Of the other eight Divine Mountains and their Holy Lands, only the Society of Saints intimidated him. If he did anything to Ye Ziche, odds were he’d make the Lord of Seven Stars his enemy. He knew that, but he thought that Chao Feng would stop Ye Rong from doing anything reckless. Unfortunately, his plans had only spurred Chao Feng into action too.
Of the other eight Divine Mountains’ Holy Lands, only the Hermits Palace, Supreme Hall, and the Void Palace remained uninvolved on their own mountains. Although the aforementioned factions weren’t actively looking for a fight, if any of them started leaning toward supporting Xue Yang, it would increase Xue Yang’s alliance’s power many times over.
Zhou Wu wanted to keep his grip on the throne firm, so he had to get closer with the neutral factions. He couldn’t afford to lose the Bai Family either.
He’d arranged this incident as a test of the Bai Family’s loyalty and the extent of their power. He hadn’t expected things to go this badly.
“How much longer until we reach Spirit City?”
“Less than fifteen minutes.”
When he heard that, the God Emperor sighed in relief, closed his eyes, and gathered his energy.
“The Star Altar.”
Xue Yang and the other great emperors looked up into the sky. It was midday, and yet, the sunny skies had vanished, replaced by stars, celestial bodies, and the black of night.
Ye Rong stood at the group’s forefront, clad in the Lord of Seven Stars’ characteristic robes. Countless star bearers stood behind her.
“The Society of Saints!” Now, for the first time, Bai Mingli’s gaze revealed hints of fear and uncertainty.
He glared at Xuan Ji and gnashed his teeth. “So, the Society of Saints is allied with you too?”
“I wouldn’t put it like that. You might not know this, but that youth you wanted to kill? He’s the current Lord of Seven Stars’ only son.”
Bai Mingli felt as if an explosion had gone off inside his brain. That single sentence was enough to plunge him into an abyss of despair.
The Lord of Seven Stars, Ye Rong? Ye Zichen was her only son?
“Impossible! If he’s really her only son, why didn’t the God Emperor tell us that? Why are we only finding out about it now?”
“If he told you, would you have agreed to his plan?” asked Xuan Ji with a cold laugh.
Everything became clear.
When he ordered Bai Yulong to severely injure Xue Mo, he knew that the Bai Family would first investigate Xue Mo and her status.
But despite knowing her relationship with Ye Zichen, Zhou Wu had deliberately avoided sharing information about Ye Zichen’s status with the Bai Family.
Why? It was just as Xuan Ji said: he was afraid that if he told them, the Bai Family would refuse out of fear of the Lord of Seven Star’s wrath. If that happened, it would ruin his plans. To put things even clearer, the God Emperor had used the Bai Family as a throwaway pawn, a sacrifice to force his enemies to reveal themselves.
If the Bai Family could handle the consequences, that would be perfect. If they couldn’t…. Then the Bai Family could suffer the consequences in Zhou Wu’s place.
Unfortunately, the God Emperor had miscalculated: he’d been certain that the Society of Saints wouldn’t dare get involved. Now, he had no choice but to pick his “sacrificial pawn” back up. Otherwise, without them, he couldn’t maintain control if the other Divine Mountains formed an alliance.
And that wasn’t all; Zhou Wu had to contact all the major powers still choosing to remain neutral.
“It seems the God Emperor is on his way here too.” Xuan Ji sneered, her eyes filled with a knowing light, as if she’d sheen through everything already.
“Then my Bai Family branch clans….”
“They won’t be coming.” At that moment, the Lord of Seven Stars, Ye Rong, descended from the Star Altar. She glanced coldly at Bai Mingli, then turned her concerned gaze on Xuan Ji. “Where is Zichen? He’s not injured, is he?”
After a while, Su Qingyan walked up and pointed toward Xiao Yumei. “Go see for yourself.”
Their solemn expressions made Ye Rong’s heart sink. “If you’ve hurt so much as a hair on my son’s head, hmph….” she snorted coldly, then whipped her head around and glanced in Ye Zichen’s direction. When Bai Mingli and Bai Jinsheng heard her words, they felt as if they’d been plunged into an endless, icy abyss.