Tianling Imperial Palace, Huayang Palace.
“Elder Duanmu, how did the investigation go?” asked Shangguan Wan nervously.
Duanmu Chun shook his head. “Don’t worry, Your Highness. Everything is fine; the Long Yuan Sword is still there.”
It was only then that she could set her mind at ease. “That’s good… That’s good…”
The elder gave her a strange look. “Your Highness, why did this matter suddenly cross your mind? Without the Long Yuan Sword, the Tianling God Realm is unlikely to continue existing.”
Shangguan Wan forced a smile. “I know. I’ve just been a little distraught ever since I opened the Tianling God Realm to the public for the competition. Somehow, I feel that my ancestors would blame me for doing this. Thus, I requested for you to go check things out and make sure that nothing is affected there.”
Her brows furrowed slightly as she patted her chest. “I’d be a sinner if something were to happen in the Tianling God Realm because of my decision…”
Duanmu Chun couldn’t help but sigh inwardly at this sight. The Third Princess is rather outstanding in all aspects, but she just doesn’t have enough resolution. It was her idea to open the Tianling God Realm to the public, yet she’s worrying and even regretting her decision now. This never would’ve happened with Princess Shangguan Yue if she was still around…
Unfortunately, the Third Princess is currently in power and has absolute say. Even though there are other princes and princesses in the royal family, nobody is more suitable than her for this position. If His Majesty remains in a coma forever, then it’s highly likely that she’ll directly ascend the throne.
“You worry too much, Your Highness. You did it for the Tianling Dynasty’s sake after all. The Tianling God Realm…” He paused, hesitating to speak further. To be honest, I sensed something amiss with the place as soon as I entered it. Although the Long Yuan Sword was still there, the entire realm was in chaos, and the sword didn’t look like it had been sleeping for thousands of years. However, I have never entered the Tianling God Realm before, so I can’t be certain about what’s going on there.
“What’s wrong, Elder Duanmu?” asked Shangguan Wan.
Duanmu Chun pushed his suspicion away. “It’s nothing. I just think that you might feel more assured if you were to go there and take a look for yourself.”
Shangguan Wan froze for a second. “I’m preparing for a breakthrough, so I’ve been focusing on my cultivation lately. I don’t have the time to go there now; let’s talk about this another day!”
Not doubting her words in the slightest, Duanmu Chun bent his waist. “Understood. Once you make a successful breakthrough, you can attempt to wake the Long Yuan Sword. If you succeed…”
His voice trailed off as he swallowed the rest of his words.
A hint of resentment flashed across Shangguan Wan’s eyes as her lips formed a small smile. “I understand.”
With a bow, Duanmu Chun took his leave.
As soon as he disappeared, the smile on Shangguan Wan’s face slipped off. She knew exactly what the elder meant. With Father in a coma and me being the eldest of my siblings, it’s only right for me to take over Father’s duties. Even though I currently have the power to handle all of the Tianling Dynasty’s affairs, the power isn’t truly mine since I’m ultimately just a Third Princess in title.
The Tianling Dynasty’s throne wasn’t passed on to princes only. Princesses stood a chance to compete for it as long as they were outstanding enough. It was just like how the emperor had wanted to pass his throne to Shangguan Yue when she got married.
Hence, Shangguan Wan only had two ways if she wanted to become the ruler. With the first method, she could naturally succeed the throne once her father passed on. However, this method wasn’t viable because she couldn’t let him quietly pass away just like that and had to make him regain his consciousness instead.
On the other hand, the second method was that she prove her own capabilities and take the throne for herself. Alas, the problem with this method was that she wasn’t Shangguan Yue, who had a Tianjing Yuan meridian. The people below her would thus be reluctant to submit to her.
If I can invoke the Long Yuan Sword, I’ll be able to prove that I’m qualified to take the throne and squash out all the rumors about me at the same time! But stepping into Tianling God Realm is already a tall order for me, let alone invoking the sword! Annoyance surged within her. “Chan Yi, go summon Yang Qin’er over!”
When Yang Qin’er arrived at Huayang Palace and saw the expressionless woman sitting at the seat of honor, a sense of foreboding flooded her. She walked over and went down on her knees right away.
Shangguan Wan looked at her, sneering. “Do you know why you were summoned over?”
Yang Qin’er answered in trepidation, “B-because of the Long Yuan Sword…”
Shangguan Wan slowly said, “That’s right. According to our investigation, the Long Yuan Sword is still inside the Tianling God Realm.”
Just as I expected! How can that be though? Yang Qin’er was flustered. “That’s impossible… It can’t be… I saw it clearly back then…”
“Are you doubting my words?” Shangguan Wan asked in return.
Yang Qin’er nearly bit her tongue off right there and then. “N-no…”
Shangguan Wan rose to her feet and slowly walked up to her. “Raise your head.”
Yang Qin’er stiffly did as told.
Following the loud slap resounding across the room, Yang Qin’er fell over to the ground. The cheek on one side of her face turned red and swollen instantaneously.
“How dare you make a fool of me?! You must be tired of living!”
Yang Qin’er’s voice trembled as she held her stinging face. “B-but Your Highness, Ning Jiaojiao was also there back then—”
She was met with another slap across the face.
“Who are you compared to Ning Jiaojiao?” Shangguan Wan found it ridiculous that Yang Qin’er even mentioned Ning Jiaojiao. Ning Jiaojiao is ultimately the sole daughter of Xuanfeng Hall’s clan leader, so I can’t possibly do anything to her. However, that isn’t the same for a nobody like Yang Qin’er.
As she stared Yang Qin’er, she suddenly asked, “I remember that you have a superior Dijing Yuan meridian, is that right?”
Chu Liuyue was surprised to find a freshly written plaque—it read: Chu Residence—hanging above her mansion’s front door when she returned home in the evening. Based on the handwriting, she could tell that it was written by Weichi Song.
She pushed the door open, only to realize that the mansion looked entirely brand new. Gone was the gloomy atmosphere. Just two steps into the mansion, and she saw Qiang Wanzhou emerging from a corner. Is that a cloth in his hand?
Ye Ranran was right behind him. Her sleeves were rolled up as she held onto a broom.
Chu Liuyue’s eyelids twitched at the sight. “W-what are you guys doing?”
A shy smile—as well as two little dimples—appeared on Ye Ranran’s round face. “You’re back, Liuyue? We’re tidying up the place. How do you think it looks now?”
Of course, I can see that. It’s just that… “How did you persuade Little Zhou to help you with the chores?” He doesn’t seem like he’d do such chores. Based on his character, he doesn’t look like he’d agree to do them either…
With a bright smile, Ye Ranran said, “I was actually going to do it on my own, but Wanzhou offered to help. Hence, I let him do it!”
As Chu Liuyue turned to look at Qiang Wanzhou in shock, he turned his face away in embarrassment and hid the cloth behind him. “I cleaned your room.”