Chapter 536 - Duke Huai
This time, a hundred people from the Yun Family came to the Demon Empress’ Grand Ceremony. Amongst them, about half were young disciples. Out of the thirty-six core elders, twenty-nine of them came along, and the three grand elders were also amongst them.
“None of the three Grand Elders stayed behind. All of them came along. Looks like Father is really going all out this time,” Xiao Yun approached Yun Che and said quietly.
Yun Che nodded, “The other guardian families would probably bring their best along with them as well. Speaking of which, is each family only allowed to bring a hundred people?”
“Mn! At this Demon Empress’ Grand Ceremony, the top forces and leaders from each the major regions in Illusory Demon Realm were invited. But usually they could only bring a maximum of three people. Even those with top skills cannot have more than ten people. Only us, the Twelve Guardian Families, and each major Duke Palace can bring that many people,” Xiao Yun explained. The Demon Empress’ Grand Ceremony had been at the center of worldwide attention for a while, so naturally he had some level of understanding about it.
After all, the Twelve Guardian Families were the most powerful forces within Illusory Demon Realm. Their position was equal to that of the Profound Sky Continent’s Four Great Sacred Grounds, and their existence was meant to protect the Demon Emperor’s clan, so the special treatment came naturally.
“How many people would be at the Grand Ceremony?” Yun Che asked again.
“Uh, I don’t know,” Xiao Yun said as he scratched his forehead. “This is also the first time I attended the Demon Empress’ Grand Ceremony.”
“There would be about one hundred thousand people,” Yun Qinghong, who was walking ahead of the, answered. “Out of these hundred thousand people, none of them are ordinary. This included mayors from major cities, aristocrats, sect masters, profound palace chiefs, and the kings of different races… as well as the young generations that they brought with them, they’ll most likely be a young master or their number one genius. Demon Imperial City is the head of the Illusory Demon Realm, but even though their skills may not be on the same level as the twelve families, they cannot be underestimated.”
“One hundred thousand people...” The scale was close to what Yun Che had expected. This was the first large event that happened after the reign of the Little Demon Empress, and it gathered almost all of the top beings in the whole Illusory Demon Realm. Yun Che thought for a while, and asked, “How many Duke Palaces are in the Illusory Demon Royal Family? How are their strengths?”
“There are a hundred and three Duke Palaces, and the most powerful one is Duke Huai Palace.” Yun Qinghong squinted his eyes and said, “All of these royal families more or less have some of the Demon Emperor’s bloodline. With such natural talent, their cultivating speeds are a lot faster than those of normal beings. In addition, having the most abundant resources and the opportunity to enter Golden Crow Lightning Flame Valley improved them greatly. Because of this, no one in the royal family is mediocre. They are all strong pract.i.tioners. Especially the ‘Illusory Demon Seven Scions’ of each generation, their names are well-known all over the world.”
"Each Duke Palace has a shocking amount of strong pract.i.tioners, but the scale is still far behind the Twelve Guardian Families. However, over the years, Duke Huai tried to win over all of the other dukes secretly. All of the powers from each major Duke Palace have gathered towards Duke Huai Palace, and on top of that, they used high prices to buy strong pract.i.tioners from each clan. Currently, the strength of Duke Huai Palace is unfathomable. Even the guardian families are leaning towards Duke Huai Palace, especially the Helian Clan, they’re clearly on Duke Huai Palace’s side… If Duke Huai really rose in revolt today, the situation would be unfavorable for the Little Demon Empress’ side. But, even though the Little Demon Empress is a woman, she will not go down that easily. What will happen at today’s Demon Empress’ Grand Ceremony… is unpredictable!”
Demon Imperial Palace laid precisely at Demon Imperial City’s center. Before even entering the range of the Demon Imperial Palace, an enormous hall so tall that it was covered by the clouds emerged before their eyes. This hall was so huge that it was almost the size of the entire Yun Family. This Demon Imperial Hall was exactly where the Demon Empress’ Grand Ceremony was to be held. Above the hall, a large crow with its head up high, standing on three legs with golden feathers covering the sky was there, receiving the whole Demon Imperial City’s veneration and wors.h.i.+p.
Seeing Yun Che staring straight at the golden crow overhead, Xiao Yun explained, “That is the Golden Crow Divine Beast’s golden sculpture. The Illusory Demon Royal Family's Demon Emperor’s bloodline is in reference to the Golden Crow’s bloodline. The Golden Crow symbolizes the highest beliefs in Illusory Demon Realm.”
It was still early. The Yun Family's party wasn’t moving fast, when they were about to enter the main entrance of the Demon Imperial Palace, a group of merely ten or so people was coming over from the other direction. When they reached their destination, all of the guards in front of the palace welcomed and knelt before them.
The leader of that party was dressed luxuriously. His expression revealed an imposingness which came from someone who was naturally born above others. From his eyes, there was arrogance, as if nothing on this world was good enough for him to look at. Seeing the Yun Family’s group, his eyes squinted, and his mouth slightly grinned, as he said with a joyous expression, “Oh? Big Brother Yun! Is it really you?”
Yun Qinghong’s footsteps stuttered. He turned around to look at him, and said softly, “Duke Huai, it’s been a long time.”
These two words quickly made Yun Che look to the direction of the person speaking.
Everyone in Demon Imperial City knew about Duke Huai Palace’s ambitions. His schemes were endless, so much so that he was reckless and fearless, and seemed to not be afraid of the Little Demon Empress knowing. Yun Che thought that the Duke Huai would be someone without any manners, but the person who Yun Qinghong called Duke Huai was someone with a smile on his face, who looked harmless and gentle. It was hard to imagine him as someone with ambition that wanted to take over the Demon Emperor’s throne… except for his eyes, which were deep like the dark night, and proud like a lone eagle.
“Hahahaha!” Duke Huai laughed loudly as he walked over, “Big Brother Yun, it really has been a long time. Two months ago I suddenly heard that you and sister-in-law’s body magically healed, this duke was overjoyed. Unfortunately I had to prepare for today’s Grand Ceremony, so didn’t had spare time to come and visit. I feel ashamed to appear before Big Brother Yun, I hope Big Brother Yun wouldn’t be offended.”
Two months ago, not only had Yun Qinghong insulted his son, Duke Hui Ye, he also personally beat up the Venerable Stone Dragon into serious injury… The Venerable Stone Dragon probably didn’t come along today because he hadn’t healed yet, and with that injury, it would most likely take more than half a year to recover completely. At the same time, Duke Huai Palace sending the Helian Family to a.s.sa.s.sinate Xiao Yun and Number Seven Under Heaven had been exposed. But when this Duke Huai saw Yun Qinghong, he didn’t bring it up at all, as if it had never happened. He even called Yun Qinghong “Big Brother,” so intimately, as if they were brothers through life and death who hadn’t seen each other for many years.
What a smiley poisonous snake… Yun Che laughed coldly to himself.
“Since Duke Huai had that thought, how could this Yun offended,” Yun Qinghong said without emotion.
“Ai!” Duke Huai swung his hand, said with dissatisfaction, “Big Brother Yun, don’t call me ‘Duke Huai’ like a stranger, call me Brother Huai like the old days. I miss the old days when we brothers drank together. How about… after the Demon Empress’ Grand Ceremony, Big Brother Yun come to my shabby duke palace as a guest, and we, as brothers, could drink together, how about that?”
“Duke Huai, I accept your good intentions, but I’ll pa.s.s on the drinking.” Yun Qinghong laughed lightly. “The people are the same from back then, but the purpose is not the same as back then. As for the taste of the alcohol, it’s naturally different as well. It has become hard to swallow, so it’s better to not drink it.”
But Duke Huai wasn’t mad at all towards Yun Qinghong’s mockery, “Is Big Brother Yun mad at this duke? Sigh, no wonder. This little brat from this duke’s family doesn’t let people stop worrying… Ye’er, come over here!
Duke Hui Ye came out from the rear, and stood beside Duke Huai. A cold gaze brushed upon Yun Che’s face. Duke Huai said, “I heard that this duke’s good-for-nothing son disrespected Big Brother that day. Sigh, you’ve really humiliated our Duke Huai Palace. Ye’er, hurry up and apologize to your Uncle Yun!”
Duke Huiye gritted his teeth, lowered his head, and said, “Uncle Yun, Hui Ye’s was immature that day, please forgive me.”
Yun Qinghong calmly accepted it, and said softly, “Since you know your own fault, I will not hold a grudge against a junior. Duke Huai, I scolded your son, and embarra.s.sed him in front of everyone that day. I hope Duke Huai wouldn’t mind?”
"Don’t mention it Big Brother Yun!" Duke Huai waved his arm in a forthright manner, “My good-for-nothing son was out there with his reckless behavior, disrespected elders, and caused so much trouble. Big Brother Yun, as his senior, teaching him a lesson is a matter of course. This duke can’t thank you enough, why would I mind? Next time, if this brat disrespects you again, don’t waste your tongue, just beat him up and throw him out.”
Yun Che smiled enigmatically.
“Big Brother, look at the person behind Duke Hui Ye,” Xiao Yun came over, said while lowering his voice.
Yun Che gave a sidelong glance behind Duke Hui Ye; standing there was a tall, muscular, young man. Hui Ye could be considered fair-skinned, handsome, and elegant, while this young man was fierce-looking with sharp aquiline eyes and large muscles on his body. Just looking at him, would make one feel the frightening power hidden within the muscles.
The young man appeared to have felt Yun Che and Xiao Yun’s gaze, as he suddenly stared straight at them. However, his eyes left Yun Che and Xiao Yun after one glance, then he scoffed loudly. His gaze was filled with extreme disdain… as though Yun Che and Xiao Yun didn’t even qualify for him to take another look.
“This man, is Duke Huai’s oldest son, Hui Ran! Head of this generation’s Illusory Demon Seven Scions! Whether it was the Twelve Guardian Families, or the Illusory Demon Royal Families, none under the age of thirty-five was his match! And he had a brutal nature. Those who fought him either were either seriously injured, or died a horrible death,” Xiao Yun said in a low voice. From his voice, Yun Che could hear his deep fear.
Yun Che nodded slightly, and stopped looking at him. Yet at this moment, he realized that Duke Huai’s gaze had suddenly landed on his person.
“Could this be the G.o.dson Big Brother Yun had adopted? If this duke remembered correctly, his name should be… Yun Che?” Duke Huai said while smiling. His gaze scanned Yun Che from head to toe, then, he slowly nodded his head, “As expected, his bearing is extraordinary. It is no wonder such a character like Big Brother Yun would adopt him as G.o.dson. How could he be someone common? At least from the looks of him, he’s probably even stronger than the biological son.”
Xiao Yun stepped forward, kept a straight face and said, “Big Brother is indeed stronger than me. With a big brother like this as an example, I am confident that I will improve myself even faster. At the very least, I would not embarra.s.s my parents.”
Yun Qinghong nodded his head slightly, his expression was full of approval.
“Good, hahahaha!” Duke Huai laughed loudly, and cupped his hands towards Yun Qinghong, “I forgot to congratulate Big Brother Yun for receiving a G.o.dson. However, Big Brother Yun’s adopted son is quite mysterious. This duke had wanted to get to know him a little more these past days, but even with this duke’s eyes and ears, this duke still couldn’t get any information. It really triggers this duke’s curiosity.”
Duke Huai exposed the fact that he looked into Yun Che with a straight face, and didn’t even try to hide it. After saying that, he put his arms down and said, “The Grand Ceremony is about to start, this duke will leave first. When there comes a time that this duke sends an invitation, I hope that Big Brother Yun will not reject me.”
Duke Huai revealed a meaningful smile towards Yun Qinghong, then, he strode to the entrance of the Demon Imperial Palace. When he had one foot in the palace gate, he suddenly stopped, looked toward his front, and sighed with his back towards Yun Qinghong, "Aside from you, Yun Qinghong, within the Twelve Guardian Families, there are no others that this duke has yet been willing to call ‘Big Brother’. If there’s one person who this duke doesn’t want to be an enemy against the most, it would also be you, Yun Qinghong. Today, this duke still calls you Big Brother Yun, and from this day forward, is Big Brother Yun willing to be on an equal footing with this duke and call each other brothers, or… Heh heh, the results will naturally be decided by Big Brother."
Duke Huai’s remarks stunned the Yun Family and the members of Duke Huai Palace. The legs of the guards who were guarding in front of the palace were trembling, as they kept their heads down, pretending to have heard nothing.
Duke Huai laughed softly and stepped into the palace, with Hui Ran and Hui Ye following closely behind.
"Royal father, why did you did you show so much courtesy towards that Yun Qinghong? And even making the promise of having equal footing afterwards? How is he qualified?" Duke Hui Ye asked in confusion.
"Heh heh," Duke Huai smiled lightly, and said with deep emotion, "The Yun Qinghong that you know about had always been a useless cripple. But the Yun Qinghong from before you were born, was the real Yun Qinghong. If you were born a few decades earlier, you wouldn’t have asked this question. The previous Demon Emperor gave Yun Canghai the t.i.tle of ‘Demon King’ back then, and even allowed him to have equal footing as him. The Little Demon Emperor even saw Yun Qinghong as an example since he was young, and called him Big Brother. Even I, your father, was required back then by your grandfather to set Yun Qinghong as a goal!”
“Ah...” Duke Hui Ye was stunned, and couldn’t say a word.
“Hmph!” Hui Ran scoffed in disdain, “Royal father, you are being too serious. Even if he’s that strong, with his age, he could be a mid-stage Monarch at most. So the Yun Family has another mid-stage Monarch, how much of a threat can he be? There was no need for royal father to bribe him with ‘equal footing’!”
Duke Huai paused in a brief silence, and said, “Probably because the image of him is too deep in this duke’s heart. Everything is prepared, and this duke’s heart is extremely a.s.sured, but the thought of him having already recovered, there's an uneasy feeling… This feeling, makes this duke feel extremely unpleasant!”