"As a warning? Am I the one being warned?"
The corners of Gu Linuan's eyes twitched as he felt anxious in his heart. He took out a few great abundance coins and stuffed them into the eunuch's hand before bracing himself on his way to the palace. Just a few steps later, he met another imperial decree eunuch who was also rushing to Imperial College. "Congratulations, Lord Gu!"
Gu Linuan asked absentmindedly, "Eunuch, what joy is there?"
"Lord Gu might not know, but the imperial academician of your Imperial College gained merit in quelling the rebellion, so His Majesty send me to bestow a reward, promoting him."
Gu Linuan was shocked and cried out, "Another promotion? There was a eunuch just now who was going to promote him! Why is he getting promoted twice in a row?"
The imperial decree eunuch said, "His Majesty said that the first one was because others didn't do what they were supposed to do and imperial academician had done what he was supposed to do, therefore he wanted to promote him to upper sixth ranking. Whereas this time, imperial academician had contributed to the quelling of the rebellion and did a great merit at the southern border, so he's being promoted again to the lower fifth ranking."
Gu Linuan took out a few great abundance coins and stuffed them into the eunuch's hand secretly before muttering, "Oh, so it was his contribution. Imperial academician is the academician of our Imperial College, for him to be rewarded for his contribution, I'm also honored…"
"That's right!" The imperial decree eunuch was all beaming smiles as he hurried away.
Gu Linuan continued walking towards the palace with his thoughts wandering when he met another imperial decree eunuch. When the eunuch saw him, he was full of smiles. "Congratulations Lord Gu! Congratulations!"
Gu Linuan asked with a black face, "Eunuch, what joy is there?"
"His Majesty made me bring the decree to promote imperial academician!"
The old eunuch then continued, "Imperial Academician Qin Mu treated the injuries of Imperial Preceptor, therefore he is promoted to upper fifth ranking palace grandee, receiving the same treatment as the directorates! Getting promoted three times in a day, this is a great joy for your Imperial College!"
Gu Linuan nodded emotionlessly and took out a few great abundance coins to stuff them into that old eunuch's hand without anyone knowing. He gave a forced smile and said, "I'm honored as well…"
When the eunuch had walked away, Gu Linuan's face turned entirely black. With Qin Mu being promoted and he demoted, he would be on the same level as him in no time!
Gu Linuan even had to spend quite a sum of money due to the other being promoted three times in a row!
"If he continues to get promoted, I'll be the one who has to call him lord."
Gu Linuan composed himself and went to see the emperor to hand over the list of casualties. Emperor Yanfeng was currently reading his memorials, and upon Gu Linuan's entrance, he raised his head to take the list. After taking a look it, he said with pain in his heart, "These scholars were all my talents, the future pillars of the empire. Just because the news got leaked, they were harmed by the scums! I want to kill!"
Cold sweats broke out on Gu Linuan's forehead. He didn't dare say a word as he didn't know if the emperor would want to kill him as well if he interrupted.
Emperor Yanfeng stood up and walked to and fro. He suddenly slammed the table and asked bitterly, "I had only passed down the imperial decree about the location of the scholar's experience on the point of departure, so how did they get ambushed? Gu Linuan, Minister Gu! Tell me your opinion, who was the one that leaked the news?"
Gu Linuan muttered to himself irresolutely, "Looking at the situation of the battle in Lizhou, Lizhou Prefecture Magistrate had already invaded Deer County. When the directorates and scholars arrived at Lizhou, the rebels executed Soul Guide precisely. This means the rebels knew the exact time when the scholars would reach Lizhou, as if they had a premonition. They should have received the news of the scholars coming forward for an experience which was why they still had the power to summon the devil and many souls even after invading Deer County. This means it wasn't the directorates or the scholars who had leaked the news and…"
He braced himself to continue. "And it was me or the other first ranking high officials who had leaked the news. The traitor is right among us!"
Emperor Yanfeng sneered. "Seems like there are some people among us who want me to shift my butt, give the throne to them. Other than you and me, those that had come forth that day for discussion and knew about this matter were all first ranking high officials, the teachers of the crown prince, as well as Situ, Sikong, and Duke. Who do you think is the traitor among them?"
Huge beads of sweat rolled down Gu Linuan's forehead as he gritted his teeth and didn't say a word.
Emperor Yanfeng gave him a glance and snorted coldly. "You don't dare to say? Seems like you aren't loyal to me."
Cold sweat poured down Gu Linuan's forehead. "This minister has been frozen in Great Ruins for over two hundred years, so I'm not familiar with the ministers of the imperial court, therefore I don't dare to speak…"
"Just speak whatever is on your mind, I'll pardon you."
"I'm naturally slow-witted and very dumb, my Junior Protector Sword even got scammed away by the imperial academician which shows how dumb I am…"
Emperor Yanfeng smiled with extreme anger and pointed at his nose. "Stop beating around the bush! Imperial academician scammed your sword, but you could have lowered your head and apologize to him to ask for it back. If you are dumb, what need is there for you to be the grand chancellor? You can just pack your things up and scram! Tell me, who do you suspect?"
Gu Linuan gritted his teeth and raised his head. "A few of crown prince's teachers are suspicious!"
"What did you say?"
Emperor Yanfeng was unable to restrain his anger and his emperor's might burst forth, pressuring Gu Linuan to lower his head.
Suddenly, Emperor Yanfeng turned decrepit and waved his hand. "Minister Gu, you're very smart, very smart… Fall back."
Gu Linuan was covered in cold sweat as he slowly fell back.
"Come back," Emperor Yanfeng said.
Gu Linuan's hair stood on end, and he braced himself for the walk back. Emperor Yanfeng said slowly, "This time Imperial Preceptor did a huge contribution, and I have yet to reward him. What do you think I should reward him with?"
Gu Linuan lowered his head. "What can the emperor reward him with?"
Emperor Yanfeng shook his head. "Nothing else."
Gu Linuan thought for a while and said, "Then reward Imperial Preceptor with beautiful women and money."
"You have the same idea as me." Emperor Yanfeng sighed. "I'm just afraid he will reject them like he always does."
Gu Linuan hesitated before saying, "Many things happened this time, if Imperial Preceptor is really clever, he will definitely accept."
Emperor Yanfeng was stunned, then he smiled. "You're also a clever person, I'm not warning you and you have no need to be warned. Fall back. Also, don't keep messing with imperial academician. You can't mess with him, his power is beyond your imagination. Every time you give him trouble, I'm embarrassed for you. You're someone I placed in an important position despite everyone being against it, I don't want to keep cleaning up after your messes."
Gu Linuan felt ashamed as he fell back and thought to himself, "I can't mess with him? I can't mess with him? I, a big shot in the devil path, one of the few important figures of the devil path can't mess with a brat of Five Elements Realm? Have I lived the past few hundred years for naught…"
Eternal Peace Imperial Preceptor went back to reading his memorials, then suddenly placed his vermillion brush down, falling into a daze. "I had sat down on this seat when I was middle-aged while some other sons had even died from the long wait. It looks like my crown prince doesn't want to be like me and wait on the seat of the crown prince for too long…"
In Imperial College, Qin Mu received three imperial decrees and his official position was raised to upper fifth ranking palace grandee. Palace grandee was a welfare position and held no real power. People in it were civil officials of the empire in a way, but they were still wanderers.
It was obvious that the emperor still had some doubts since Qin Mu was the Master of Heavenly Devil Cult. The emperor wouldn't give him real power so that all levels of society wouldn't be filled with villains from the devil cult.
Qin Mu threw the three imperial decrees into the west room, greatly startled.
He was still cultivating the other four transformations in Five Elements Realm.
When heading to the south to quell the rebellion, Eternal Peace Imperial Preceptor had given them many pointers, so when Chen Wanyun, Si Yunxiang, and the rest returned from the southern border, they immediately headed to Floor of Heavenly Records to look for Five Element Realm's techniques.
Si Yunxiang even borrowed the imperial academician's book tablet from Qin Mu to enter the third floor of Floor of Heavenly Records to browse through the techniques.
Qin Mu took in and sent out the star force of Saturn, and his body gradually transformed. His legs fused into one and turned into the tail of a snake. With a human head and snake body, he was almost ten yards tall. At the same time, two tightly shut gates appeared behind him.
During the journey to the south, he had already managed to cultivate the god transformation of Mercury Sovereign, Mars Sovereign, Jupiter Sovereign, and Venus Sovereign. It was only the form of Saturn Sovereign that he found hard to cultivate. No matter how dense his vital qi was, he couldn't form the most perfect form of Saturn Sovereign.
When he executed Overlord Body Three Elixir Technique this time, the tightly shut gate behind him gradually became clearer. Yet the words on it were still blurry, and he was unable to make them out.
Saturn Sovereign was extremely special among the Five Elements Star Sovereigns. Saturn Earth Marquis Technique was the head of the five elements and was unexpectedly hard to cultivate, especially the gate behind Saturn Sovereign.
Qin Mu was able to transform into the form of Saturn Sovereign, but the gate behind him never fully materialized. The words on it were always blurry.
From the sky, an earth yellow light poured down continuously into his body. The star force of the earth element surged forth and stabilized the body of his god transformation. Gradually, Qin Mu discovered that the form of Saturn Sovereign still had more to its transformation. An apparition of a scroll appeared in his hands.
When he looked at the apparition of the scroll, the writing on it was still blurry. However, from the peculiar lines there, the writing on the scroll should be tadpole script. It looked like sun, moon, insect, and fish, which was different from the writing of the modern day.
Qin Mu had learned from Deaf, this great scholar, for close to ten years. Deaf had extremely deep knowledge regarding ancient texts, but he had never taught Qin Mu about this kind of tadpole script.
Qin Mu turned his head and looked at the writings on the apparition of the gate. Even though they were still blurry, he could see the similarity between the writing on the scroll and the gate.
"What kind of text is this?"
Qin Mu could faintly feel that something was weird. If every martial arts practitioner of Five Elements Realm had such a gate behind their back and a scroll in the hands of their Saturn Sovereign form, there would have definitely been someone who had studied the writings on the gate and scroll thoroughly and analyzed their profound meaning. So why hadn't Imperial Preceptor mentioned anything about it?
Could it be that other people's Saturn Sovereign form had no gate nor scroll?
While Qin Mu was thinking, a deep devilish voice rang out in his mind. "Stop letting your imagination run wild, these are Youdu's writings. How would a weakling like you recognize the writings of Youdu?"
Qin Mu's hair stood up on end, and he said in a panic, "Who? Who is talking in my body?"
"Acting?" The voice laughed. "How long are you still going to act in front of me? When I borrowed your eyes to look at Eternal Peace Imperial Preceptor's battle, didn't you recognize me then, summoner of the ruler of Dutian?"