Chapter 696: Two Choices
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
In the Grand Heavens Hall, Lin Feng did not care much after he handed over the affairs to Zhu Yi.
On one hand, he believed that Zhu Yi could take good care of the matter.
On the other hand, he fully predicted what Xu Yunsheng would do, just like how he predictedthe results between Xu Yunsheng’s and Ying Luozha’s fight.
As long as one deliberate sought to lose, anything is possible. This did not apply only to Chu Yang.
If one wished to win, one may not win. However, if one wished to lose, then that would be too easy. The question was how to lose in a way that no one could see through.
The results of the fight between Xu Yunsheng and Ying Luozha originally hung on a thin line anyway. It was very easy to see who would lose. In such circumstances, Xu Yunsheng did not need to do anything particularly difficult, as long as his desire to win was not so strong, he was sure to lose.
Lin Feng knew that Xu Yunsheng had been communicating with the Great Zhou Empire, but he had not revealed any crucial information about the Celestial Sect of Wonders. Of course, this was related to the Great Zhou Empire’s not asking.
By sending Xu Yunsheng, they had much grander plans. They did not want Xu Yunsheng to reveal himself too early.
However, there was something of vital importance that Xu Yunsheng did not report to the Great Zhou Empire.
While he did not ascend the Heart-Revealing Steps, he, along with Liu Xiafeng and the other second-generation disciples, experienced the Purple Clouds Treasure Pagoda’s temptation test. That was more severe than the Heart-Revealing Steps.
The absence of this information caused the Great Zhou Empire to severely miscalculate the situation. They were extremely optimistic that Xu Yunsheng’s identity had not yet been exposed.
When a spy repeatedly informed his superior that he had not yet been exposed, this would a huge misunderstanding, especially since his superior had no way of ascertaining the veracity of his information.
Lin Feng was unsure if Xu Yunsheng deliberately concealed the information or did he do it subconsciously. However, this did not prevent him from seeing through Xu Yunsheng’s mind at the very moment and his own inclinations. Under such conditions, the result of the battle between Xu Yunsheng and Ying Luozha could be easily predicted.
As to the results of this battle, many felt that Xu Yunsheng’s loss was regrettable. However, these people did not just feel pity and sympathy for him.
The Crown Prince of the Great Zhou Empire, Liang Yuan, sat in the quiet chamber. No one made a single sound.
Everyone stared quietly at the unmoving Liang Yuan. After a long while, the statue-like Liang Yuan sighed and said.
“All for nothing.”
Liang Yuan shook his head slightly but his expressions were still calm. A Nascent Soul stage cultivator stepped forward and said, “It’s all my fault. Please punish me, Your Highness.”
“It’s not your fault,” Liang Yuan waved his hand. “Someone underneath us made a mistake. I can’t blame you, my loyal subject Shao. After all, he is still a human and possesses his own mind and emotions. He’s not a puppet.”
The Nascent Soul stage cultivator surnamed Shao said vehemently, “The Northern Tribe wildling, all he had to do at first was to distract the wildling from the Celestial Sect of Wonders for a while. Who would have thought that he would actually go after the little girl? In the end, not only did he lose an arm and a leg, he also ruined Your Highness’ plans.”
Liang Yuan said, “If not for his deep hatred for him, we could not have used him. Using a double-edged sword always has its pros and cons.”
“Xu Yunsheng himself did not try all that hard too. If not, he would have defeated the wildling and advanced into the top four. By doing that, he would be universally recognized as number one. Zhu Yi may even pick him as his main disciple.”
Another Nascent Soul stage cultivator said solemnly, “We can’t use this person properly and we have wasted our efforts on him. Doing this, we may even expose our other spies. The risk here is real.”
In the second round, there were spies of the Great Zhou Empire hidden amongst the many cultivators whom Xu Yunsheng had defeated and robbed. In the first round, the cultivator who hindered Chen Xingyu’s group too was linked to the Great Zhou Empire.
These people were all sent by the Great Zhou Empire to take part in this spiritual conference. Some of them were spies hidden in the other major powers, like Zhuo Lei.
Everyone who was sent to take part in the Spiritual Conference of the Kunlun Mountains were all important disciples of the major powers. The Great Zhou Empire hoped that these people with ties to the Great Zhou Empire would be placed in places of importance and hence, they devoted a lot of resources into them.
However, there was a chance that the entire charade was up right now. While Liang Yuan may have placed a lot of effort into Xu Yunsheng, he did not appear to gain anything from it.
The cultivator surnamed Shao shook his head and said, “According to what we know, Xu Yunsheng and the wildling were similar in their abilities. With their battling styles, either of them could obtain victory. Three months ago in the mini-tournament in the Grand Heavens Pavilion, Xu Yunsheng managed to win by a hair’s breadth.”
The Nascent Soul stage cultivator from earlier on smiled coldly and said, “So what if he had won then? He lost, and all of his previous victories were for naught.”
The cultivator surnamed Shao looked at the Crown Prince, Liang Yuan, slyly and said, “Your Highness, is it possible that Xu Yunsheng had already been compromised? The Celestial Sect of Wonders only chose to not reveal the fact and instead, play him against us?”
Liang Yuan shook his head and said, “I have just asked the Grand Advisor. He said that nothing appears amiss. Only the Master of the Celestial Sect is able to deceive so many Immortal Soul stage elders, but based on his usual style of doing things, I doubt that he’ll do so.”
Cultivator Shao sighed and said, “Then we can only blame Xu Yunsheng for being unable to defeat the wildling. The opponent clung onto him tightly and refused to slacken.”
“Fortunately, with our help, Xu Yunsheng performed exceptionally well in the second round. In the third round, victory and defeat are only in a hair’s breadth.”
Liang Yuan said, “When they pick a First Disciple, they will consider man factors like the person’s interpersonal relationship. Xu Yunsheng is much better than the wildling in this aspect. Furthermore, he is more palatable to Zhu Yi. Regardless whether he wins or loses, Xu Yunsheng is still the premier choice.”
“Most importantly, we have to tighten our control over Xu Yunsheng and prevent him from forming his own ideas.”
The many Nascent Soul stage cultivators nodded their heads and said, “We understand.”
In the quiet chamber, Zhu Yi sat on a chair as he listened to Xu Yunsheng’s tale, his mission and everything that he had done.
Xu Yunsheng was very detailed, to the point where he was somewhat excessive. However, Zhu Yi never showed impatience. Instead, he listened to him intently.
After everything was said, Xu Yunsheng closed his mouth and kept quiet. He kneeled on the ground and awaited his judgement.
After he had listened to everything, Zhu Yi said calmly, “Yunsheng, do you know what crime you had committed?”
Xu Yunsheng fell silent for a while before replying, “When I first joined the sect, I should have told master everything. Then, master could make the choice for me. Now, all I can do is to await my sentence.”
When he first joined the sect, he should have told Lin Feng everything. By the usual style of the Celestial Sect of Wonders, Lin Feng would not view it as an instance where Xu Yunsheng was forced to become a spy because of his sister. Instead, he would have viewed it as an instance where his disciple’s relative was being held hostage. The Celestial Sect of Wonders would not have let this matter pass.
However, when Xu Yunsheng first joined the sect, the Celestial Sect of Wonders was nowhere as powerful as its present self.
This caused him to miscalculate and submit to the Great Zhou Empire. This was his first mistake.
Because of this mistake, he made many more mistakes along the way. Only when Xu Yunsheng was at the most critical juncture did he understand the depth of his folly. Hence, all he could do was to silently suffer.
Now, he had finally made up his mind. He did not want to save anything but instead, he sought to put down his mask.
Zhu Yi looked at him calmly and said slowly, “While you strayed off the righteous path, you did not do anything damaging to our sect. Since you are able to confess on your own accord, I will not kill you.”
“After the spiritual conference is over, I will head towards the Great Zhou Empire and bring your sister back. This is part of our destinies as master and disciple.”
Xu Yunsheng kneeled and kowtowed and said, “Thank… thank you master!”
Zhu Yi said, “As for yourself, you will be punished.”
“Yunsheng, while you are honest today, you seized only the last chance we gave you. You missed many other chances.”
He looked at Xun Yunsheng calmly and said, “Do you think you have been exposed only after you took part in the trial of the second successive disciples?”
“Your grandmaster is intelligent and cunning. From the very first you joined our sect, he saw through you. When you and Ying Luozha took part in the Purple Clouds Maze, my fellow disciples and I knew everything.”
“Since you joined our sect, your every action and your contact with the outside world had been under our sect’s control. There is no exception.”
Xu Yunsheng began to sweat cold sweat as he continued kneeling. He said shamefully, “I am foolish. I am wrong.”
“The rules of our sect cannot be abandoned. Regardless what problems you have outside and regardless whether you harmed our sect or not, spying on our sect and disloyalty are punishable offences.” Zhu Yi stood up and looked down at Xu Yunsheng. “Seeing that you know the errors of your way, our sect shall be merciful. You have two choices.”
“First, you will leave our sect. From today onwards, you are no longer a member of the Celestial Sect of Wonders. We will remove all of your cultivation and take back everything that we had given you. However, our sect will ensure that you live a comfortable and worry-free life either in the Celestial Wonders World or the Cloud Mirror City.”
“Second, I will not chase you out of our sect. You have ten years to form your Aurous Core, upon which your lifespan will reach the thousands. Then, you will serve hard labor for the next one hundred years. Your cultivation will be sealed and your personal belongings confiscated. You will labor in the Celestial Wonders World for a hundred years.”
“In that time, your appearance will be changed and your identity will be concealed. You cannot reveal any information about yourself and you cannot interact with anyone from our sect for a hundred years.”
“After your time is up, you will still be my disciple.”
Zhu Yi then said slowly, “If you cannot form your Aurous Core in ten years, then your cultivation will still be sealed and you still must serve your 100 years. However, if you do this, it is akin to a life sentence due to your limited lifespan.”
“Regardless what you do, if you dare to do anything inimical to the Celestial Sect of Wonders, you will be executed. Consider your choices carefully.”