He Huan was very casual with this kiss. When they returned to the inn, he even cheerfully drank a small cup of wine before going back into the dantian to cultivate, leaving a solidified He Ku alone in the room. He was frozen for a while before realizing that this bastard had left without giving a single explanation. He had even said that his current mood was extremely conducive to cultivating. What did that mean? Unless…He Huan had already reached the point where his lack of moral standards could even let him develop intentions towards himself?
His thoughts were a mess because of what He Huan did, so he ended up circling around the room. Finally unable to brush it off, he quickly felt his way into his co-conspirator’s room to seek an answer.
And so, a white figure appeared in the perfectly straight You Jiang’s bed in the dead of night. You Jiang instinctively sought the war fan stashed underneath his pillow when the white figure turned to face him, revealing his Palace Master’s sleazy face. In an interrogating tone, the Palace Master asked, “You Jiang, you are the straightest guy I know in the Palace. I ask you, if I were to lie beside you with this face, would you feel tempted to jump me?”
Of course, the one who did all this couldn’t be He Huan. He knew that this must be another phase the Little Palace Master was going through. Just as he was going to defend his sexuality, he raised his head and saw that face.
He Huan formed his Nascent Soul at the age of twenty, and ever since then, his appearance hadn’t changed. Normally, he never paid any attention to this, but now that he actually took an objective look, he noticed that although the Little Palace Master had the same exquisite eyebrows, bright eyes, and peerless appearance, the charm in He Huan’s eyes that made people feel like they were falling into an abyss was completely replaced by a cleanliness that was like the sky on a clear summer day. All that had changed was their expressions, but unexpectedly, it forcefully twisted the Palace Master’s bewitching and wild temperament into a fresh handsomeness. Everyone in the palace knew that He Huan accepted both men and women indiscriminately, but only the enforcers knew that He Huan actually preferred young men with a clean disposition. For example, Yun Ce. It was only his straightforward spirit that had attracted He Huan in the first place. However, it seemed that there was no youth more to the Palace Master’s taste than himself.
You Jiang naturally didn’t say this to He Ku’s face, instead he sighed. “Little Palace Master, so it turns out I’m your type?”
If this were He Huan then he wouldn’t obey even if he was beaten to death, but He Ku clearly didn’t look like a top… Not that it mattered who topped or bottomed once the lights were off, so sacrificing himself was still somewhat acceptable. Thinking so, You Jiang wore a face of false bravado as he began to unfasten his clothes. “Whatever, for the demonic side’s grand vision, what harm is there in sacrificing myself tonight?”
Never did he expect that this would be the result even after picking the most stubbornly heterosexual man in the whole palace. He Ku became even more worried. “This face really has such destructive power? Even straights could be bent? No wonder He Huan was unable to resist.”
The moment He Ku said this, all of You Jiang’s movements stopped. Even his voice trembled as he asked, “You and the Palace Master, you two? Is this even possible?”
It couldn’t be… he thought, the Palace Master already made a move? He couldn’t really have held it for so long that he wouldn’t even let off his own Nascent Soul, right? How do two of the same people even do that sort of thing? Such unconventionality, such unorthodoxy, it simply left onlookers stunned in amazement. The Palace Master truly was worthy of being the strongest demonic cultivator, it was them who had lost.
Completely oblivious that this person’s line of thinking had already taken a high-speed express train to the ends of space, He Ku saw his increasingly amazed face and became further convinced that he wasn’t being too paranoid. He asked in distress, “He Huan kissed me just now, what do you think he means by this?”
“What?” The same incredulous sound, but this time it was made up of several layers.
He Ku turned his head in response to the sound only to see Qian Ren with one foot on the window sill, Xiu Niang in the corner with a robe draped over her, and a Yun Ce who had fallen from the roof beam. The three people all had an expression of shock as if they had seen a ghost.
Seeing them all, You Jiang’s lips couldn’t help but twitch as he helplessly said, “Why are you all running into my room in the middle of the night?”
“Yun Ce and I were betting whether or not you would bed the Palace Master,” Looking at him directly, Xiu Niang answered very honestly.
“My original purpose was to prevent a fight from breaking out and revealing our identities.” As someone who had firmly believed that You Jiang wouldn’t bed the Palace Master, Qian Ren’s face was the most interesting, like his understanding of the second enforcer had just been washed over. “But how could I have known that you would be willing to sacrifice your body for the cause? When the Palace Master wakes up, he definitely wouldn’t mind helping you fulfill your wish.”
You Jiang shuddered the moment this was said. If He Huan really took it seriously then he wouldn’t be able to keep his virtue past the night. He instantly raged, “Shut up! If you dare tell the Palace Master, I’ll gut you!”
The two threw glares at each other as Xiu Niang watched their shenanigans. Yun Ce finally pulled himself up from the floor and felt his way over to He Ku, curiously asking, “Ignore them. Tell me, what technique does the Palace Master use to kiss people?”
Not expecting him to ask this question, He Ku blinked owlishly. “Kissing the forehead also requires technique?”
Everyone’s focus turned to the Little Palace Master’s white little forehead, before all leaving to their own rooms. Even You Jiang had simply collapsed back onto his bed and pulled up the sheets as he said, “Scatter, scatter, return to sleep.”
Although they didn’t show it, He Ku could clearly feel their displeasure. In order to prove that he wasn’t making a fuss over nothing, he hurried to open his mouth. “Wait, don’t you guys find it strange? Who would randomly kiss someone on the forehead?”
They all stared at him with the same look as they said nothing, using their actions to replace words.
Qian Ren offhandedly plucked a cat from the roof and kissed its forehead; Xiu Niang pulled Yun Ce over and kissed him, even leaving a lip mark; Yun Ce looked left and right for a target before running to the bed and kissing You Jiang on the cheek, completing the telephone; as for You Jiang, he didn’t continue to agitate He Ku in favour of holding down Yun Ce and beating him up.
Fine, with the Palace of Bliss’ loose style, a kiss to the forehead was probably on the same level as the most common greeting.
Through everyone’s personal demonstration, He Ku finally confirmed that He Huan didn’t have any other intentions. However, he worried that to him it was like Qian Ren, teasing a small kitten or puppy. If it really was like that, then wasn’t his status a little too low? Qian Ren knew He Huan the best, and He Ku felt that his guess was the closest. Immediately, his chest felt stuffy. Waving his hand to everyone, he said, “I thought too much. Go back to sleep.”
He had thought that they would be able to leave after this, but when he looked to the group, Qian Ren actually came in from the window. “Since we’re all here, we might as well discuss before we leave.”
Hearing this, Yun Ce had a face of confusion. “Weren’t we here to eavesdrop?”
Qian Ren was also speechless towards this new enforcer, only correcting, “You guys came to eavesdrop; I’m here to report information.”
Once again confirming that only the Head Enforcer and Second Enforcer did any real work within the palace, He Ku silently sighed as he went to get a seat for Xiu Niang and himself to listen.
As it turned out, after He Huan brought Lin Xuan away, Qian Ren had also infiltrated into the inn the Three Great Sects were residing in. There, he found out that Xuanmen had only booked two rooms, and when he went up to check it out there was only a young man and woman. Their faces were extremely unfamiliar, this was probably their first expedition. Their cultivation was merely at the Golden Core stage. Within the younger generation, they would be classified as geniuses, but they were far from the level needed to represent Xuanmen. Qian Ren subconsciously felt that there was something wrong with this, so he went back to report it to He Huan before bumping into the current scene.
Listening to Qian Ren’s intel on the arrangements of the various sects, He Ku once again got a sense of how powerful this “Number One Mercenary” was. To be able to gather so much information with none the wiser, it could be imagined what would happen if he was there to kill people. However, the two Xuanmen disciples really were too strange. He Ku immediately asked, “Is Lin Xuan’s relationship to his sect this bad?”
Shaking his head at him, Qian Ren returned earnestly, “His disciple was kidnapped, so even if it’s just for the face of Xuanmen, Swordsman Yao can’t possibly ignore it. I think there’s something else going on.”
Of course there was a problem with what was happening at Xuanmen, but You Jiang looked at He Ku and still asked, “Are you sure we want to discuss these peculiarities in front of the Little Palace Master?”
Even He Ku was able to hear the disdain in these words, rubbing his nose awkwardly. But immediately following that he heard Xiu Niang shoot back, “And you dare to talk about Xuanmen in front of the Palace Master?”
Talking about Xuanmen in front of He Huan? The last person who did that was Lin Xuan, who would have become crippled had it not been for He Ku. With a clear precedent laid out, they naturally wouldn’t go courting death, so both of them were silent.
Seeing them like this, He Ku sighed and said to himself that it was still this big sister who was the best. He smiled, very clear on his role. “You guys talk, I’ll pass it on.”
Although You Jiang often let himself go, he was still quite reliable when it came down to business. He leaned on the bed in thought, then asked, “Is the Xuanmen delayed on the road?”
Qian Ren’s eyes moved as he looked at him. “With Swordsman Yao’s cultivation being second only to Qing XuZi’s, it would take a Calamity Crossing cultivator to be able to stop him without letting anyone catch wind of it.”
Silently exchanging a glance with him, You Jiang’s face darkened. “Qian Ren,” he asked, “with the relationship between our master and Xuanmen, what would you do if Xuanmen launched a full-on assault on the Palace?”
As soon as this question came out, there was almost no hesitation. Qian Ren immediately answered, “Kill or trap Swordsman Yao at all costs.”
The two reached an agreement. You Jiang curled up his mouth into a sneer, “Because it is considered impossible, once it is done, everyone would assume that it was the Palace Master who did it. It seems that in this battle between righteous and demonic, there are people who are even more bloodthirsty than me.”
After listening to their analysis, He Ku was 80% certain that a large pot would come hurtling towards him. Similarly helpless, he could only remark, “This really is a case of blame falling from the sky when I haven’t even done anything yet.”
Naturally, no one wanted to carry the responsibility of taking Qing XuZi out of seclusion. After thinking for a moment, Qian Ren said decisively, “You Jiang, you go back to the palace and gather people to investigate where Swordsman Yao is. I will see if I can find out what’s up with those two Xuanmen disciples.”
Then he looked at the people around him again and ordered the irrelevant people away, “Xiu Niang, you take the Little Palace Master and Yun Ce back. You Jiang and I will discuss some more details.”
He Ku knew that he wouldn’t be of much use due to his lack of experience in political matters, so thinking that He Huan would discuss countermeasures once he woke up, he obediently followed Xiu Niang out.
Seeing them walk out of range, Qian Ren checked the doors and windows. When he turned back, he saw that You Jiang was already fully equipped. Not a trace of the elegant air he had during the day remained, and he could even faintly smell the scent of blood on the cloak covering his body. In his hands was his weapon, Naihe Shan, a war fan. Although he was ready to move, he didn’t. Instead, he looked to Qian Ren and asked seriously, “Now that we’re alone, answer me honestly. Is the Palace Master really just playing around with the Little Palace Master?”
It was common knowledge that Qian Ren knew He Huan the best, but the reality was that even he didn’t know this time. But, seeing the earnestness in his expression, he still answered with his guess in the end, “I’m afraid he isn’t.”
As if he had already guessed this answer, the corners of You Jiang’s mouth lifted into a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “I don’t care what the Palace Master does. So long as he is still the strongest demonic cultivator then he will be my master. I just hope that he will not forget his identity, because he can’t go back.”
Unconsciously, the memory of He Ku meeting his gaze flashed in his mind. That distant clear sky in the depths of his soul really made him jealous. Even his tone became a little more sombre, “I’m just afraid that, in the end, the one he raised will be a reborn Bu QingYun.”
Assessing him, Qian Ren didn’t have any expression, only emphasizing, “That’s still a Bu QingYun who is loyal to the Palace Master.”
Fingers clenching the handle of his fan, You Jiang didn’t ask anymore. He left under the cover of the night, pressing down the last question he didn’t ask to the bottom of his heart.
To take control of the world, you must be the enemy of the world. To be the one to push a version of himself who still had such clarity in his eyes into the bloodshed, Palace Master, do you really have the heart to do it?
End of Chapter 22