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876 Unlimited Power



In the great hall of Liangzhu's imperial palace, King Xin Shan was staring at Wu Qi furiously.

The label Wu Qi put on him was too heavy and too serious. Even though he was Emperor Haozun's eldest prince, he could not suffer such an accusation. Unfilialness was a serious sin in Great Yu. If a man was publicly acknowledged as being unfilial, everything he owned could be stripped away instantly. At this critical juncture, if he were firmly believed to be an unfilial man, he could even be in danger of losing his life.

Off to the side, King Li Shan, who also clad in the garb of King and appeared to be the weakest man in this great hall, with only several thousand civil and military officials clustered around him, cleared his throat and walked forward slowly. Cupping his fist at King Xin Shan, he said, "Brother, King Dong Hai is right. We need to figure out what caused Father's death and find out the culprit. We can discuss the throne later!"

As soon as he said that, the leaders of various factions nodded in agreement. This made King Xin Shan's face turn uglier. After a long silence, he flicked his sleeve and snapped, "A snake cannot move without a head…"

"Yes, a snake cannot move without a head, but Great Yu is not a snake." He was interrupted by Wu Qi once more. "If King Xin Shan worries about the state affairs, we have the eighteen Kings in the council to handle everything. They are men of noble character and high prestige, experienced and prudent, and have always been the best assistants to His Majesty."

King Xin Shan darted a glare at Wu Qi while fuming. He thought for a moment, then suddenly laughed coldly and said, "Fine! We'll do as you say! Do you really think I want to be the Crown Prince? If it weren't for the worry about Great Yu, do you really think I'd like to be the Crown Prince? Do you really take me for someone who has a lust for power?"

He took off the heavy garb and threw it on the ground, then cried out fiercely, "I must tell you bluntly that you will be held responsible should anything go wrong with Great Yu!" He laughed coldly while pointing his finger at the noses of Wu Qi and others one after another, and continuing, "Remember, we don't have an emperor now, and all the state affairs are handled by the Kings in the council. With the Heaven and Buddhist League causing troubles even at this moment, don't blame me for being ruthless should something bad happen!"

After stamping his foot angrily, he strode out of the hall with his head held high. As he left, he shouted in a loud voice, ordering the imperial guards to assemble and open all the palaces and pagodas, with the reason that he wanted to bring an army into the palace and search for the traces of Emperor Haozun's murderer. Soon afterward, he was gone, but his bellow could still be heard coming from the distance, "I'm Father's most filial son! If I find out who killed Father, I'll cut him into a thousand pieces!"


King Xin Shan had left the great hall, followed by at least thirty-thousand civil and military officials. These people were all the members of the imperial clan and representatives of the powerful clans. Judging from the number, about twenty percent of the high powers in Liangzhu supported him. Compared to King Li Shan, who only had the support of about three thousand men, King Xin Shan had an absolute advantage in terms of both actual strength and voices.

Wu Qi chuckled and said under his breath, "With so many people supporting him, no wonder he dares to proclaim himself as the crown prince."

King Li Shan grunted when he saw King Xin Shan bring so many officials away with him. He glanced around, and his eyes met with several middle-aged men in princely garbs. Bright sparks flew in all directions as their gazes collided in midair. It was unknown as to who did it first, but a few muffled booms suddenly rang out and the air in the hall tumbled as the few princes staggered back a step at the same time.

Apart from King Xin Shan and King Li Shan, who had formed their own factions, there were eight more princes in the great hall, and they too had grouped themselves into three factions. In addition to them, all the eighteen Kings of the council were here, except Ji Ao, who was promoted to King Wei Shan and sent out to charge the You Xiong Army in the western region of You Xiong Plain.

When King Xin Shan left with his men, five old men clad in the garbs of Kings came next to King Yang Shan slowly as they cupped their fists and bowed their heads at him. Without a word, King Yang Shan returned the gesture, and then all six Kings stood in a straight line, shoulder to shoulder. Apparently, they were of the same faction, which was also the strongest faction among all the Kings who sat in the council.

King Yang Shan, King Yin Shan, King Cang Shan, King Hao Shan, King Ding Shan, King Gu Shan…A dead silence fell across the great hall when the six Kings of the council stood together. After exchanging glances, King Li Shan and the other princes withdrew themselves to the side, while the other eleven Kings, who were divided into four factions, strode up silently, forming a circle with the six Kings.

Seventeen of the most powerful Kings in Great Yu glanced at each other. "We are now facing both internal and external problems. Some ambitious people can kick up a fuss, but we can't!" said King Yang Shan in a deep voice.

A tall King smiled coldly and said immediately, "Ji Kui, how can you say Crown Prince is ambitious? This is not a remark you should have made."

King Yin Shan, standing next to King Yang Shan, refuted, "Why can't we say that? Who ordered the Flying Bear Army to imprison King Yang Shan and hunt down King Qing Qiu? Who impatiently proclaimed himself as the crown prince and coveted the throne even before we figured out who murdered His Majesty? Who refused to recognize His Majesty's secret edict…"

King Yang Shan cut him off with a light cough. "Well, let's put this aside for now," he said coolly. "I think we all know what is more important now. We need to come out with a way to deal with the invasion of Heaven and Buddhist League as soon as possible. Also, under the supervision of our confidants, summon the elites of the Punishment Court and order them to investigate His Majesty's murder. I suggest we let King Dong Hai lead the investigation. What do you think?"

A King laughed contemptuously. "King Dong Hai? What qualifications does he have for handling such a serious case?"

Wu Qi drew the Kunwu Sword and brandished it in silence. The King's laughter came to a sudden end as he gave Wu Qi a nasty glare before turning his eyes to somewhere else. With the sword in his hand, Wu Qi walked slowly into the circle of Kings and said faintly, "Although you might find me inept, I volunteer to investigate His Majesty's murder. I can't guarantee that I will find out the truth, but I'll never let go of anyone who might be involved in this matter."

His words were somewhat contradictory, but no one ridiculed him, because everyone heard a strong murderous tone in his voice. The scene of him destroying the east gate with the Fiend Slaying Sword Formation emerged in their minds once again. All the Kings, including those who were in the factions opposing King Yang Shan, shut their mouths immediately. They would never argue with a man armed with Kunwu Swords.

Glancing at the seventeen Kings of the council, Wu Qi smiled coldly and said, "Therefore, I ask you to give me the right to execute one on the spot without prior approval from the council, or execute one without reporting to the council. I need to kill someone. Only by killing someone can I figure out what happened on that day. If you are sincere about the interest of Great Yu, for His Majesty, for the human race...give me unlimited power."

One of the Kings stared at Wu Qi in horror and cried out furiously, "What unlimited power!"

Wu Qi gently waved the sword in his hand and said, "The so-called unlimited power is…I can arrest, investigate, imprison, and torture anyone I suspect, or kill anyone's family in front of him."

Even King Yang Shan was speechless when he heard that. If they really gave Wu Qi this power, and he used it to act wantonly in Liangzhu, the consequences would be too terrible. But, if they refused, would they be accused of being unwilling to find out the truth about Emperor Haozun's murder? King Xin Shan had already taken off his garb and given up the opportunity to ascend to the throne. Who dared to say no to Wu Qi now?

The accusation was too serious, just like the unfilial label Wu Qi had put on King Xin Shan. No one in the great hall could bear the suspicion.

The group of Kings stared at Wu Qi for a long time. Suddenly, King Yang Shan waved his hand and said, "Fine…You will have your power. But, you cannot act alone. All eighteen Kings must appoint confidants to follow you. We cannot allow you to act foolishly and take the opportunity to kill Great Yu's high officials!" His tone of voice did not change at all as he spoke the last sentence, but it gave everyone the impression that he was anxious for Wu Qi to act foolishly.

After a long silence, the other Kings nodded slowly.

Wu Qi's eyes flickered as he said coldly, "You've made the right decision. But, I also ask you to understand that if I suspect your confidants of colluding with the Heaven or Buddhist League in an attempt to harm Great Yu, don't blame me for being ruthless to them, and don't blame me for putting you to questioning!"

Not waiting for them to speak, Wu Qi went on, "Think for yourselves…Who could kill His Majesty in the imperial palace if there had not been a man of your rank working in collusion with the enemy?"

The faces of all the seventeen Kings fell instantly. They exchanged glances and then said in unison, "From today on, we will not leave the imperial palace without permission. Anyone who violates this rule shall be executed!" King Ding Shan added, "All princes must unconditionally bring all their families to temporarily live in the imperial palace. If anyone dares to disobey..."

The Kings of the council turned to look at the few princes who had real powers in hand and were supported by others, including King Li Shan. Their faces were extremely unsightly, and so were that of those representatives of the powerful clans behind them. After a few moments of silence, these princes bowed deeply at the same time without a word.

It was settled. All seventeen Kings of the council stamped their seals on the official document that granted Wu Qi unlimited power.

After receiving the official document and the medallion the eunuch produced on the spot, Wu Qi immediately gave out his first order.

"Arrest all the eunuchs and guards who serve His Majesty and put them in jail with their families.

"His Majesty's edicts are made of special materials. Arrest all the craftsmen and eunuchs responsible for the production of the edicts, and put them in jail with their families.

"Arrest all the imperial guards who were on duty on the day and the two days before and after His Majesty's murder, and put them in jail with their families."

He took a deep breath, and then casually threw Kunwu Swords out of the great hall to activate Liangzhu's defensive formation once again. With that, an enormous pressure weighed heavily on the imperial palace. "Senior Torch Dragon, please show yourself in the human form and take a walk in the jail with me!"

Everyone in the hall froze at the same time. Someone pounded himself on the head in anger. Why did they forget this guy?

Who knew more about Emperor Haozun's murder than this Torch Dragon dwelling beneath the great hall?Nothing can be accomplished without a leader.