Many people rushed into the Royal Palace; but they couldn't do much as they watched the palace hall being swallowed by scorching fire. Even if the rainstorm occurred at the moment, the fire wouldn't be put out.
The eunuchs and the palace servant girls were standing around bewilderedly, and some of them cried out wretchedly. A few eunuchs showed a bemused countenance, thinking that the thing they had been good at in this life was wash away the blood after the Emperor had a fight with somebody; but the palace hall was burned down and the Emperor passed away. What can we do now?
The blaze was out of control; and there was no way to put it out. It had burned for three days and nights. The soldiers rushed to the ruins to search for the Emperor as soon as the fire burned out. They discovered that the silvers embossed on the posts had been melted into solid lava; the corpse of the Emperor was nowhere to be found.
Overnight, countless white banners were hung in the residential houses. It seemed as if a snowfall had occurred in the capital.
After Emperor Bai had learned of the news, he issued a decree to have Jing Jiu buried as the head of the state.
The Grand Scholar Zhou had fallen ill afterwards. As soon as he recovered, he quit his official position and left the capital; nobody knew where he was since then.
The Chief of Taichang Temple had already moved his whole family back to his hometown before the burning down of the palace hall.
Nobody was so heartless as to blame the Emperor for his incapability and cowardice anymore.
The Emperor of the state had died for his state; what more could anyone expect him to do?
Many residents recalled the days when the Emperor and Grand Scholar Zhang had governed the state, and they felt nostalgic about it.
How many emperors could behave like their emperor who had never gone out the palace gate or made troubles?
Being nostalgic often meant that those who felt nostalgic about the past were discontent with the current situation.
Nobody was willing to be governed brutally and forcefully by Qin State.
Many scholars abruptly changed the contents of their writings. They had written many sorrowful poems to mourn the Emperor who had perished in the fire. Many folks, however, didn't believe that their emperor had died at all. They thought that he made use of the fire to escape covertly, and he was living somewhere in secret, either as a monk, or to prepare in secret to wait for an opportunity to take back the state.
The palace of Xianyang City was black in color; it appeared even more intimidating against the distant green mountains.
It was quiet in the surroundings of the grand hall. The guards in black armors holding the long spears seemed to have stopped breathing themselves, arousing a dreadful feel.
The only white cloth in the black grand hall was very noticeable; the white cloth was worn by the most powerful man in this world, Emperor Bai.
Bai Zao arrived in the hall. She was evidently very striking, because she was wearing a white dress.
"You know clearly that he is not dead; why did you come back?" Bai Qianjun demanded while staring into her eyes.
Bai Zao stared back at him calmly and protested, "Are you reproaching me?"
Bai Qianjun said while clutching his forehead with his hand, "Sorry. This emperor is a bit tired after taking care of so many state affairs."
He had said a few years ago that he wished to forget some things.
Bai Zao remembered it. Her eyelids dropped slightly; yet, her thin and long eyelashes kept still.
"We can't just let him escape like this," Bai Qianjun said. "We must try to find his whereabouts, to ascertain whether he is alive or dead. Arrest all the eunuchs and the servant girls of the Chu Royal Palace and those chancellors; we will be able to get some information by torturing them harshly. I don't believe that no trace of him has been left behind."
Bai Zao said, "I don't think it appropriate. Since the basic political situation is mostly determined, we don't need worry about the trivial matters; otherwise, we might cause unnecessary troubles for ourselves."
Bai Qianjun said, "Though Yun Qi has a good reputation, the scholars are mostly useless because all they can do is talk but no action. We don't need worry about him. But it's really difficult to deal with the Eunuch He. Fortunately, he is merely a eunuch; as the Zhao Emperor grows older, the problems will emerge in Zhao State. All we need to do is wait. As for the Chu Emperor, you have said many times before that we need to pay sufficient attention to him, but why isn't he counted as a major threat now?"
Bai Zao said, "An emperor without a state is like a lotus without the root; it can only float about along with the wind. How can one person unsettle the whole world?"
"What you said makes sense," said Bai Qianjun after a moment of silence.
"I am going to rest now."
Bai Zao headed to the outside of the hall.
Seeing her approaching, the Eunuch Gao outside the grand hall knelt down in courtesy hurriedly.
She didn't even take a glance at this person, nor paid attention to the powerful and intimidating soldiers outside the grand hall.
As she arrived at the landing of the stone steps, she suddenly stopped short, thinking of something; but she didn't turned around, but resumed walking forward.
The Eunuch Gao came to the deep end of the black hall, kneeling before the Emperor, with a name list held high in his hands.
Bai Qianjun took the name list and skimmed it, his countenance grave. It was apparent that he was not pleased with it.
"It can be determined that the Chu Emperor hasn't escaped with the commission; it is only that some things can't be asked too intrusively…"
The Eunuch Gao said this with his head hung low, his voice trembling slightly.
As the chief caretaker of the Royal Palace of Xianyang, he was one of the few who knew the true status of the Princess in Qin State and her influence on the Emperor.
He didn't dare offend the Princess, so it was inconvenient to use more forceful methods to interrogate the members of the commission.
Bai Qianjun commanded icily, "Bring every member of the commission to the side hall. This emperor wants to watch when you interrogate them."
The side hall was black in color as well; and the lighting was even dimmer than the grand hall. As such, it appeared gloomier here.
The officials and the caretakers of the commission were brought to the hall one after the other, to be interrogated by the Eunuch Gao. They didn't notice the Emperor who was sitting in the deep end of the hall.
After interrogating the officials and caretakers, no clues had been discovered. Next, a few managers of the business groups were brought to the hall.
The commission of Qin State used the name of one of the business groups to sneak in the capital of Chu State; so a few managers of the business group were summoned to help with the negotiation affairs.
One manager came to the side hall and walked to the front of the Eunuch Gao. He bent his body forward slightly, ready to bow to the Eunuch Gao.
In the deep end of the hall, Bai Qianjun who pretended to doze off suddenly opened his eyes and stared at that person.
The manager of the business group looked a bit slender; yet, the sound of his feet stepping on the floor revealed more significant information than his body.
Bai Qianjun didn't have time to think it over, as he yelled, "Stop him!"
The Eunuch Gao changed his countenance abruptly; he stepped in front of the manager of the business group without hesitation.
The manager bent his body forward slightly not for bowing, but getting in an attack posture, resembling a bow being pulled back.
His feet landed heavily on the floor, creating a few cracks; and his whole body shot out like an arrow.
The Eunuch Gao was a highly achieved swordsman in the Xianyang Royal Palace; but he couldn't do much against such a formidable attack, a terrified expression forming on his face.
With a ripping sound, his body vanished, turning into the bloody flesh and shredded pieces of clothes flying in the air!
The flying word passed through the bloody raindrops and instantly arrived in front of Bai Qianjun.
Bai Qianjun screamed sharply and crossed his arms before his chest; the magic treasure on his wrist exuded the lethal energy, shielding against the flying sword.
The sharp sword and the magic treasure collided constantly, generating countless fire sparks.
On the other side of the fire sparks, a figure could be vaguely seen dashing over like a tiger.
Bai Qianjun fell down on his buttock.
A very thick iron plate dropped down from the ceiling of the hall and hit the floor heavily, making a thunderous booming sound with innumerable dusts rising up, to form a insurmountable iron gate.
A dozen highly achieved swordsmen of the Qin army arrived in front of Bai Qianjun and held up their iron shields, to have formed a wall so tight that the wind couldn't even pass through it.
Bai Qianjun finally felt a bit relieved after finding that he was protected by two strong defense lines; but the expression on his face showed humiliation and anger.
All of a sudden, his expression changed again; it was because the assassin with the sword arrived right before the iron gate that was over two inches thick. Normally, he shouldn't be so worried because the strongest crossbow couldn't even pierce through the iron gate; but for some reason, he still felt ill at ease and took two steps back reflexively.
It sounded like thunder that should have rumbled in the sky had exploded in the hall; and it also sounded like two iron hammers of ten thousand pounds hitting each other.
The air waves rolled around in the side hall, along with the smoke and dusts.
The highly achieved swordsmen of the Qin army holding the iron shields had all been knocked to the floor, with blood gushing out of their mouths; most of them were dead.
Though Bai Qianjun was solidly protected, he was still injured a little and covered in blood; he was helped by the reinforcing swordsmen of the Qin army to retreat to a farther place in the rear of the hall.
Dozens of highly achieved swordsmen of the Qin army formed a few layers of shield formations in front of Bai Qianjun; and numerous crossbows were pointed in the direction of the rising dust.
As the smoke and dust settled, the scene became gradually visible in the hall.
They found out that the iron gate was punched a hole.
A man stood on the spot where the smoke and dusts had risen. He looked droopy, with his head hung low.
His left sleeve was torn into shreds, exposing the disfigured iron arm. The matted hair was ruffling on his head, showing a few streaks of white hair.
He was Zhuo Rusui.
He cut Eunuch Gao, a highly achieved swordsman in Qin State, into pieces with a swing of the sword, punched through the iron gate with a thrusting fist, and knocked dozens of the swordsmen of the Qin army to death and injured the Qin Emperor. Zhuo Rusui was indeed very formidable. However, he had also paid a big price for it. His chest was covered in blood stains. He looked droopy not because he was drowsy, but because he was extremely tired.
More highly achieved swordsmen of Qin State arrived. They brought down one corner of the side hall, and held up countless iron shields; but nobody dared approach him.
Bai Qianjun was helped up by the swordsmen. He looked at Zhuo Rusui behind the shield formations with a pale face, thinking that he was indeed a weirdo of Green Mountain; he was so formidable even in the Illusionary Realm and took merely forty years to attain the Free Travel State!
The Free Travel State or the initial state of the Yuanying was the upper Cultivation state in the Illusionary Realm of the Green Sky Mirror.
"There is nothing you can do, even though you are very powerful."
He said to Zhuo Rusui, "You will certainly die today."
Zuo Rusui lifted his head slowly and said while staring into his eyes, "Don't talk nonsense. If you think you are powerful enough, let's fight one on one."
Bai Qianjun said in a mocking tone, "This is the competition for the world, not a fight to demonstrate one's prowess and courage. You try to fight against the whole state all by yourself; it's a silly act."
Zhuo Rusui said, "You represent the Center Sect in the Dao Competition, but you have been forced by the Green Mountain disciples to hide in a turtle's shell all your life. Don't you fear the Center Sect losing face?"
Bai Qianjun sneered, "How stupid of you to think I'm as stupid as you."
As soon as he finished these words, the arrows shot out from the crossbows like raindrops.
Hundreds of the highly achieved swordsmen of the Qin army charged forward with no regard for their own safety, overcoming Zhuo Rusui like the tide overcoming a rock.
Though the tide looked horrifying, it would be hard for a tide to instantly crush the rock into pieces.
Zhuo Rusui was like a rock; the bloody foams formed on his body when the tide reached it. Once in a while, he disappeared from the scene, but in the end he always reappeared again.
The bloody and brutal siege continued for half a day.
The corpses and broken arrows were everywhere in the hall.
Over a hundred highly achieved swordsmen of Qin State had died in the battle; and Zhuo Rusui was on the verge of collapsing.
"It's not that I'm not powerful enough; I'm a bit tired. I haven't had a good sleep lately."
Zhuo Rusui said this while sitting on the floor and coughing.
Every time he coughed, the blood on his body would splash out, looking rather horrifying.
Bai Qianjun looked at him and said in a mocking tone, "You regard yourself as a real assassin. Even if you remember the things from the outside world, you are still lost on your path."
Zhuo Rusui said, "It's not a big deal for me. But you have regarded yourself as a real emperor; you are destined to achieve nothing in the end."
"The Green Mountain Sect emphasizes the individual Cultivation; but the Center Sect is willing to lead the whole human race moving forward," Bai Qianjun declared solemnly. "This is what a true leader should do. Either in this world or in the outside world, the history will attest to which path is the correct one."
Zhuo Rusui said, "If the Green Sky Mirror didn't set the upper limit for the Cultivation state, I would have killed you a long time ago. In that case, would you want to lead the Underworld moving forward?"
Bai Qianjun sneered, "Do you think you can do whatever you wish and command all the other swordsmen if you have a higher Cultivation state?"
"If I were in the outside world and attained the Heavenly Arrival State, I would be able to kill anyone I wanted to; otherwise, why didn't the colleagues of your Center Sect go to the West Ocean to kill Jian Xilai?"
Zhuo Rusui spat blood to the ground in front of him and exclaimed wearily, "Are you an idiot or something to ask me such a question?"
Bai Qianjun's countenance changed a bit; but he forcefully suppressed his anger and said, "Tell me where Jing Jiu is."
Zhuo Rusui felt even more bewildered, as he said, "You are truly an idiot to ask me this question."
Having said that, he brought down his palm to slam on his head. He died as a result.
Then, he opened his eyes by the edge of the Green Sky Mirror, awake.
It was dusk at the moment. The scarlet setting sun shone on the slowly rotating Green Sky Mirror; the rivers in it looked like the flowing blood.
Dozens of the participants in the Dao Competition gazed at him, with a hint of awe and hatred.
In that world, Zhuo Rusui killed more participants than anybody else; his fighting prowess was the most formidable, and he died a brave death.
Yet, Zhuo Rusui didn't pay any heed to these gazes. As he looked at the bloody rivers and the red mountains inside the Green Sky Mirror, he fell silent for a while, pondering something.
Regardless of whether he felt sentimental, or indignant, or regretful, in the end, he didn't show any of those emotions.
He stood up and staggered to the outside of the cave while clutching to his waist, complaining incessantly.
"Have sat here for so long, so tired…why didn't anybody think of putting a cushion or something on the backs?...Ahhhh…It feels rather strange to have two hands."
Please go to https://www.readlightnovel.cc/The-Path-Toward-Heaven/
to read the latest chapters for free