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The expelling of one’s life aura was very different in the Northern Divine Region due to the presence of darkness yin energy and the cultivation of darkness profound energy. As a result, detection of one’s life aura was far less accurate and clear compared to the outside world. That being said, it was still possible to narrow it down to an approximate range.
She seemed surprised that Dong Jiukui would say such a thing, though not at the estimate itself. She replied indifferently, “That’s not a funny joke.”
Dong Jiukui moved on to the next topic after that. Naturally, he didn’t believe that Yun Che was really less than a hundred and eighty years old. In the Northern Divine Region, it was perfectly normal to misjudge a person’s life aura because the same person could give off vastly different life auras if they cultivated different darkness profound arts.
“Xueyan, I think you forgot to inquire about his background just now,” Dong Jiukui asked.
“Hmph!” Dong Xueyan frowned deeply when she recalled Yun Che’s stiff and chilly expression. “Considering the foolish arrogance he displayed earlier, it’d just be a waste of time. Plus, royal father doesn’t care about his background at all.”
“Actually, the sect master does care, but he doesn’t have the time to check right now.” Dong Jiukui shook his head and said slowly, “In the past, the East Ruins Realm has only ever lost to the North Ruins Realm during the Central Ruins Battle. But now, the West Ruins Realm has defeated us twice in a row, driving us down to third place.”
“It’s one thing to lose resources, and another to suffer a devastating blow to one’s reputation and status. You know what kind of person your royal father is. There is no way he is going to accept a third consecutive defeat.”
“If we lose to the West Ruins Realm again…” Dong Jiukui sighed deeply before continuing, “Your royal father will never accept it.”
“This Yun Che is capable of beating two level ten Divine Kings by himself, and his cultivation level is within the rules, he is certain to be of great use in the Central Ruins Battle. His background isn’t important in this case. We can always analyze him after the Central Ruins Battle is over.”
“Hmph. He may be strong, but can he compare to my older brother?” Dong Xueyan said.
“Hehe, the crown prince is starting to figure out the realm of Divine Sovereign. Naturally, he cannot be mentioned in the same breath as an average Divine King,” Dong Jiukui replied with a smile. “However, the Central Ruins Battle isn’t won by a single person, and… the crown prince is certainly improving swiftly, but the West Ruins Realm… can’t be underestimated at all.”
“Moreover, this particular Central Ruins Battle is…” Dong Jiukui paused as if he was hesitating about something, but in the end he continued and said, “There is an even more important reason the sect master must defeat the West Ruins Realm in the Central Ruins Battle no matter what: The Southern Phoenix Divine Country.”
“?” Dong Xueyan shot him a sideways look and asked, “What does this have to do with the Southern Phoenix Divine Country?”
Among the Five Nether Ruins, the Southern Ruins Realm was the weakest of them all. They had always placed last in the Central Ruins Battle, and they showed no signs of emergence whatsoever.
“I heard that Nanhuang Chanyi’s the one who’ll be leading the Southern Phoenix Divine Country this time, not Nanhuang Jun.”
“Her?” Dong Xuenyan’s eyebrows twitched immediately when she heard this name. Even the temperature in her eyes had dropped by several degrees. “What right does she have to lead the Southern Phoenix Divine Country? Has the Southern Ruins Realm declined this far?”
Her scathing remark and the emotion she failed to hide from her face made it clear that she was very jealous of this Nanhuang Chanyi.
Women were quite prone to jealousy. An average-looking woman would be jealous of a good-looking woman, and a good-looking woman would be jealous of someone even better looking than they were… Moreover, the further down the spectrum one went, the greater the level of jealousy became.
Dong Xueyan was the famous Princess Yan of the East Ruins Realm. She was revered by all, and her beauty was one of a kind… However, if she were to stand next to Nanhuang Chanyi, then her limelight would disappear instantly. No one would even favor her with a glance.
Nanhuang Chanyi was the ninety-ninth princess of the Southern Phoenix Divine Country, a force in the South Ruins Realm. Even an ordinary child would know that the Southern Phoenix Princess was the prettiest woman in all five realms.
No one had managed to dethrone her since she was fifteen years old.
“It’s because Nanhuang Chanyi is no longer just a normal princess,” Dong Jiukui said. “Half a month ago, Nanhuang Jun ousted his own crown prince and bestowed the position on Nanhuang Chanyi instead. Now, she is the Crown Princess of the Southern Phoenix Divine Country.”
“What!?” Dong Xueyan exclaimed in surprise. She couldn’t understand the decision at all.
“It’s a rumor no one could believe when they heard it, until… Xueyan, do you know who the supervisor and witness of this Central Ruins Battle are?”
“Is it… not the Venerable Hidden Mirror anymore?”
“This time, it’s the Venerable Hidden Sword,” Dong Jiukui replied.
“…” A moment later, Dong Xueyan abruptly came to realization and blurted, “Could it be…”
“That’s right.” Dong Jiukui nodded with a sigh. A trace of envy could be sensed in it. “He’ll be bringing Beihan Chu with him.”
Beihan (Northern Chill) was the realm king sect of the North Ruins Realm. It was also the strongest sect and surname in the Five Nether Ruins!
Dong Xueyan clenched her teeth and her fists unconsciously. Right now, her emotions were a mix of one third jealousy, one third reluctance, and everything else anxiety. Suddenly, she understood why her father placed so much importance in this year’s Central Ruins Battle.
“Obviously, Beihan Chu’s the one who wants to ‘supervise’ this battle, not the Venerable Hidden Sword. Seeing as he went so far as to persuade both the Venerable Hidden Mirror and the Venerable Hidden Sword to give in, he clearly isn’t coming just to watch the show. He’s aiming for Nanhuang Chanyi! Everyone knows that he’s been infatuated with her since back then.”
“Nanhuang Jun must’ve received some sort of hint from the other side. That’s why he replaced his own crown prince with Nanhuang Chanyi so urgently, and let her represent the South Ruins Realm in the Central Ruins Battle.”
“Therefore, Beihan Chu will most likely propose a marriage to Nanhuang Chanyi during the Central Ruins Battle, and the Southern Phoenix Divine Country will of course accept it. This means that the Southern Phoenix Divine Country will be connected by marriage with Northern Chill City, and receive the protection of the Nine Lights Heavenly Palace due to Beihan Chu! Even if their overall strength is still inferior to ours, their reputation and status will exceed us and the West Ruins Realm!”
“If we are then defeated by the West Ruins Realm in the Central Ruins Battle, we’ll place last in the Five Nether Ruins. The sect master would rather die than suffer this indignity.”
“Nanhuang Chanyi…” Dong Xueyan said through gritted teeth, “All you have… is good looks… Beihan Chu… Nanhuang Chanyi already turned you down once, and you’re now a dragon of the ninth heaven thanks to the Nine Lights Heavenly Palace, but you still can’t forget her?… Hmph! What a shallow and lustful man!”
Back in the Eastern Frost Nation.
“Why did you agree to help them?”
It was a question, not a criticism. Qianye Ying’er was an extremely shrewd and goal-oriented woman. There must be a reason why she had agreed to participate in the Central Ruins Battle.
“Do you know what the Central Ruins Battle is?” Qianye Ying’er asked him a question instead.
“Hmph, I thought that might be the case.” Qianye Ying’er took off her mask and revealed a face that would incite deep jealousy in a heavenly fairy… Not even Yun Che was able to stop himself from blanking out for a fraction of a second.
“The star region we’re in is called the Five Nether Ruins. They are the East Ruins Realm, South Ruins Realm, West Ruins Realm, North Ruins Realm, and the somewhat special Central Ruins Realm.”
“The Central Ruins Realm is the greatest realm of the Five Nether Ruins, but in reality it’s a barren and disastrous world. That’s because it’s been engulfed in an endless storm since the day it came to be.”
Yun Che listened intently and didn’t interrupt her.
“Any profound practitioner who steps into the Central Ruins Realm can be swept away by a tempest without warning. Anyone who enters the Central Ruins Realm without sufficient strength is basically courting death itself.”
“Moreover, even if one is strong enough to survive the Central Ruins Realm, not everyone is allowed to enter and explore because it is under the control of four realm king sects.”
“Most of the people I fought here cultivate the power of the storm,” Yun Che said suddenly. “Does it have something to do with this Central Ruins Realm?”
“Correct,” Qianye Ying’er replied. “The wind element of the Central Ruins Realm is unnaturally active, so the whole place is crawling with precious treasures despite the danger. That’s why the other four realms view it as a most important source of resources. Of course, most of the precious treasures contain the power of the storm, and they are very beneficial to those who cultivate wind profound energy. That’s why there are so many wind profound practitioners in the Five Nether Ruins.”
“The Central Ruins Battle happens every fifty years. It is held to decide how the resources of the Central Ruins Realm will be divided for the fifty years to come!”
“Hmph, I see.”
“The Central Ruins Realm is divided into ten zones,” Qianye Ying’er said. “The champion of the Central Ruins Battle gets four zones to themselves, the runner-up gets three zones, the second runner-up gets two zones, and the last place only gets one zone.”
Qianye Ying’er’s time here was less than Yun Che’s, but her way of operating had urged her to find out as much information as possible about this unfamiliar star realm.
“So, the reason you agreed on my behalf is to enter this… Central Ruins Realm?”
“That’s right!” Qianye Ying’er said, “If you can win first or second place for the East Ruins Realm, then the realm king has no reason to deny you entry to the Central Ruins Realm.”
“Taking into consideration the ability you showed me earlier, the Central Ruins Realm—a place that’s littered with countless precious treasures and unnaturally active elements—is the most suitable place for you right now.” Qianye Ying’er said slowly, “The fact is, your plan to ‘plunder’ this middle star realm is currently unwise, not unless we grow stronger!”
“Why’s that?” Yun Che said coldly.
“It’s because we’re in the Northern Divine Region!” Qianye Ying’er said seriously, “The environment and the laws of survival that govern this place are extremely cruel. Most people rely on a tribute system to protect themselves from danger. Small sects will pay tribute to big sects in exchange for protection, lower star realms will pay tribute to middle star realms, and middle star realms will pay tribute to upper star realms!”
“As of now, the two of us can barely defeat the realm king of the East Ruins Realm. Even if we did succeed… what do you think would happen if the upper star realm was alerted to our feat?”
“Heh.” Yun Che suddenly let out a low chuckle and said, “Yun Qianying, I remember you begging me on your knees for me to plant a slave imprint in you just a couple of days ago. You were willing to do anything back then. So why have you changed your attitude so suddenly?”
Qianye Ying’er sneered right back and said, “Back then I was just a broken dog, and you were the only out I had. The only thing I could do at that moment was surrender my pride and everything. But things are different now.”
She suddenly stepped forward and grabbed Yun Che by the collar, “There is hope now… A hope that I can reach as long as I’m alive! It’s the same for you as well!”
“That’s why I won’t allow you to take any unnecessary risks from here on!”
Terrible darkness crawled behind her golden pupils as she said, “My life experience is dozens of times greater than yours! The depths of human nature I’ve seen, and the number of people I’ve plotted against and vice versa are thousands of times more vast than yours as well!”
“The reason you didn’t plant a slave imprint in me is because you need a clear headed me, not a puppet who only obeys orders! So if you want your revenge to be a success, you'd best listen to me on this!”
Yun Che narrowed his eyes slightly before grabbing Qianye Ying’er’s right breast without warning. Then, he pushed her back and tightened his grip. A dangerous and evil smile sprang to his lips as he said, “You'd best not forget that I’m your master, and you’re just a useful tool, Yun Qianying!”
“I will listen to your advice if it’s worth listening to, but if our opinions differ, then you’ll have to persuade me to change my mind. Otherwise, you’ll prioritize my words over yours, get it!?”
Qianye Ying’er slapped Yun Che’s hand away before replying in a chilling tone, “Don’t worry. I don’t go back on my decisions once I’ve made up my mind… So, what are you going to do?”
Yun Che looked up as a half smile crossed his face. He replied, “I have my own plans to plunder this world, but this Central Ruins Battle sounds even better than expected!”
“Besides, a month… is just the time I need to do that!”
“That?” Qianye Ying’er was confused by his cryptic words.
“You’ll know when the time comes.” Yun Che sat down and turned serious, “Anyway, we must complete the basic fusion of the devil blood in half a month’s time… Let us begin!”
[There are a ton of new names and forces in this chapter, but you guys don’t have to memorize it on purpose. They’ll come naturally in future chapters.”]
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