Xu Sanshi and Jiang Nannan didn't participate in the operation on the other side because his injuries were relatively severe. Instead, he represented Huo Yuhao to settle the deal with Chen An's subordinates.
Huo Yuhao's plan didn't allow anything beneficial for the Tang Sect to slip through their fingers. Even if their other two operations failed, the rare metals they had obtained through this deal was enough for the Tang Sect to use for quite some time. How could money be more important than rare metals? Furthermore, most of their income came from what they won from the underground tournament, other than Xu Jiujiu and Wei Na's deposits.
Completing this deal would reduce Chen An's suspicions. The Tang Sect could possibly draw upon this connection in the future.
A bracelet and two rings were handed to Xu Sanshi.
Xu Sanshi passed them to Jiang Nannan beside him, and she immediately wore them on her hand as she scanned them with her spiritual power.
She nodded at Xu Sanshi after a few moments. They exchanged a look, and they could see the elation in each other's eyes - they had completed the deal on this side.
"Are the goods all there?" the middle-aged man that came forth to complete the deal asked a little restlessly.
Xu Sanshi nodded in response.
The middle-aged man's expression smoothed out, and he pulled the hood of his cloak over his head as he waved to them before he briskly disappeared into the night.
Xu Sanshi grinned and said, "Let's go, Nannan. I believe their operation is about to begin, so let's get ready to coordinate or lend a hand. I wonder how Huo Yuhao is doing?"
"Alright." Jiang Nannan acknowledged softly, and the two of them vanished into the darkness.
Inside the Sun Moon Empire's royal palace...
Lights and lanterns dotted the royal palace and lit up the night sky. The crown prince, Xu Tianran, was reading a book in his study, accompanied by Ju Zi.
Xu Tianran suddenly looked up and smiled as he spoke to Ju Zi. "Ju Zi, do you want to watch the great soul tool crafting tournament? You're also a soul engineer, so you should be interested in that."
Ju Zi was momentarily stunned. "That's not a good idea, your Highness. How can you appear in a place like that with your status?"
Xu Tianran smiled and replied, "That's alright. All I must do is hide your identity. There will be a conclusion tonight - even if rare metals have to be given out, the profits must end up in the royal family's hands. Furthermore, the Holy Ghost Church has an exceptional appetite, and they wouldn't be so obedient and stable if not for these profits. Besides, you're the one spectating the tournament. I won't be following you. Go if you wish."
Words came to the tip of Ju Zi's tongue, but she held them back in the end.
"What? Are you worried that working with the Holy Ghost Church is like dealing with the devil?" Xu Tianran saw through her doubts with one look.
Ju Zi nodded lightly and said, "The Holy Ghost Church is a sect that consists of evil soul masters after all, and they are publicly rejected. Their thought processes are drastically different from how normal soul masters think. I'm afraid…"
Xu Tianran waved her away. "I am very clear that cooperating with them is equivalent to dealing with the devil. However, this is something I have to do."
"The Douluo Continent's three native empires will never catch up to our speed of soul tool development no matter what they do, and our national strength is far superior to each of them. With our current strength, we can deal with a single country, but unifying and conquering the entire continent is exceptionally challenging."
"Why haven't the other three empires devoted their time and energy into developing soul tools? The reason is not because they lack rare metals - the more substantial reason stems from their deep-seated ideas and principles about soul masters. Soul masters represent a formidable profession, and they have existed on the Douluo Continent for far too long. Powerful soul masters are considered strategic assets for empires, and we have far fewer soul masters than the other three empires. The gap is even more pronounced as we go up the ranks. Think about it - how many Titled Douluo are there in Shrek Academy alone? Perhaps the Sun Moon Empire may accumulate enough strength, soul tools, and prodigious soul engineers to conquer the entire Continent after a few hundred years. But I won't live that long, and time is short. I have to conquer the entire Continent in the time that I have to rule over the Sun Moon Empire."
Xu Tianran's eyes surged with passion as he reached this sentence.
"We will need friends, and we have to form alliances if we want to achieve this. We need to obtain sufficient strength to fight against those soul masters on a higher level. Soul engineers can rival soul masters given enough time to set up and prepare, and soul engineers may even surpass soul masters in battles that rely on large-scale attacks. However, a Class 9 soul engineer has almost no chance to defeat an actual Titled Douluo in an impromptu battle, while every single Class 9 soul engineer is considered an invaluable asset to the empire. Therefore, I will not use them against those soul masters and those Titled Douluo. The optimal decision under such circumstances is to work together with the Holy Ghost Sect."
"The Holy Ghost Sect's evil soul masters have been holding back and building up for countless years to reach the scale they are at today. They are our greatest strength in terms of high-level combat. The Holy Ghost Church consists of only evil soul masters, so they can't do anything in public or out in the open. This is the reason why they are always in the shadows, while I handle the publicity and everything else on the surface. I have been using the Holy Ghost Church, and they have been using me. Their most important request doesn't mean much to me - they want to become the Sun Moon Empire's national church, and they want their founder to become the Imperial Tutor. At the same time, they want us to announce across the entire world after we conquer the Continent that they will take over as traditional soul masters, and society is to do away with their label of evil soul masters."
"Therefore, I don't have to worry about anything at all. Even if we have conflicts, all that will happen after the empire conquers the Continent. When that happens, perhaps I will have accumulated enough strength."
A cold feeling flickered across the corner of Xu Tianran's mouth as he finished his last sentence.
Ju Zi listened intently, but her heart was going cold inside. The crown prince is so reserved, and he will only reveal some of his thoughts and opinions in front of me. Have you left, Huo Yuhao? Hurry up and leave! How can you fight against him? I truly don't wish to see your corpse.
Ju Zi couldn't help but feel a little anxious when she thought about Huo Yuhao. She had taken a big risk and gotten someone to send a letter to Huo Yuhao so that he could leave this giant whirlpool that was Radiant City as quickly as possible. She didn't know how many people were going to be sucked into this enormous whirlpool.
Xu Tianran said, "Push me to the window, Ju Zi."
"Yes." Ju Zi hurriedly pushed his wheelchair to the window and helped him open it.
The night winds felt chilly as they gusted through the window. Xu Tianran stared at the night sky and smiled as he said, "You should make your move if you want to watch the tournament."
Ju Zi shook her head and said, "I'm not going anywhere. I want to accompany you." She placed her hands on Xu Tianran's shoulders as she spoke and gently massaged them.
A warm smile appeared on Xu Tianran's face, something that was hard to come by. He patted Ju Zi's hand and said, "My heart can relax only when I'm alone with you. This feeling is just fantastic. It's a pity that the night will not let me enjoy this pleasure peacefully and quietly. If you're not going to watch the tournament, remember not to leave my side after this. They should be here soon."
Ju Zi was a little surprised. "Who's coming? It's already so late."
Xu Tianran sneered and said, "Some people won't give up on their stupid decisions just because it's getting late."
Right at this moment, an elderly voice suddenly rang out. "Since you're already here, stop hiding. Come out!"
Countless bodyguards raced out and plugged every corner of Xu Tianran's study. A white sphere of light suddenly lit up the black night sky.
A figure hovered arrogantly in the sky above Xu Tianran's study, and a long black robe swayed gently in the wind.
He was just standing there in midair, as if he had been there since the beginning of time.
There was no expression on his face, but there was an indescribable pride and arrogance, as if he were the sky's dictator, as if the earth beneath submitted to him.
"The Dragon Emperor Douluo has become someone's guard dog. People are so treacherous nowadays!" A strange voice could be heard, and the sky seemed to split open as a dense dark green cloud stretched through the night sky. The green cloud opened, and someone walked out from within.
Indeed, the person hovering above Xu Tianran's study was the Dragon Emperor Douluo, Long Xiaoyao, who was also known as the Darkness Holy Dragon.
The person who had stepped out from the green clouds was the Body Sect's current sect leader, Du Busi, who was a Rank 98 Body Douluo. He was close to becoming an Ultimate Douluo.
Only powerful individuals of his level dared to face someone like Long Xiaoyao, who was already an Ultimate Douluo.
Long Xiaoyao grunted coldly as he glanced at Du Busi, who had a mass of green hair on his head. "Your elder brother was heavily injured at the hands of Mu En all those years ago. If you wish to remain here today and want the Body Sect's lineage to end, I will fulfill your wish."
Du Busi's eyes closed into slits as he muttered coldly, "Don't be so pretentious and condescending, Long Xiaoyao. If I remember correctly, you're originally from the Heavenly Soul Empire. Your decadence has taken you into a sect filled with evil soul masters, and you've become the Sun Moon Empire's lackey. The Body Sect looks down on you."
Long Xiaoyao's expression changed a little when Du Busi mentioned the Heavenly Soul Empire. He lowered his voice and said, "Has the Body Sect really come under the Heavenly Soul Empire's wing?"
Du Busi said contemptuously, "Come under their wing? No. We're just working together. The Body Sect is currently the Heavenly Soul Empire's national defense sect. Long Xiaoyao, if you still consider yourself part of the Heavenly Soul Empire, get out of my way."
Long Xiaoyao shook his head and said plainly, "I'll spare your life since you have decided to represent the Heavenly Soul Empire. There's nothing more to be said. You should understand the code of Titled Douluo, and we will speak in the sky if we interfere with mortal conflicts and affairs. Come out, Xuan Zi. I will take you both on at the same time today."
Long Xiaoyao shook as he spoke, and instantly surged into the sky as shadow after shadow appeared behind him.