Chapter 317: The Third Prince
When talking with the third prince, Hui Yue had to be constantly alert and vigilant not to let information escape his lips. The third prince would ask questions in rapid succession while they were talking. Questions ranging from the beast army, to Shenyuan, and even ones about the Siban Empire and their battles. While asking questions like these, he also intermixed questions about Hui Yue’s allegiance, his friends, about how he came to be in Muchuan City. All in all the conversation flowed smoothly despite the many questions. Hui Yue tried asking a few of his own, but all he got was generic answers. As time flowed by, neither Hui Yue nor Shiu Ye managed to spot a weakness in the other person. All Hui Yue learned was that Shiu Yue was a polite prince who worked hard for his citizens. He loved his brothers more than anything and greatly respected his father. He introduced himself as the exact opposite of a person who was cold-hearted and had his brother’s beloved assassinated, not to mention two entire families worth of innocent people. Hui Yue, on the other hand, was a person who traveled the world. Through random encounters entirely out of his control, he ended up within Shenyuan where he then did nothing special but share a few human tactics and warfare strategies with the beasts. He underplayed his role significantly, and he refused to go into details about his travels.
“You are an interesting person. To think that you ended up in Shenyuan by mistake and taught the beasts human tactics is indeed quite the coincidence,” Shiu Ye said with a nod of his head and an eager expression on his face. Hui Yue nodded as well with a smile not willing to give even one more detail about what he had done, but it seemed that his lack of response did not annoy the third prince; instead, he was sitting still as though contemplating something important. After a brief silence, Shiu Ye sighed deeply and rubbed his forehead with his hand. “I am aware that you are friends with Deng Wu and Wang Ju Long. I know that both of them have traveled for a time with you before,” The third prince began as he looked at Hui Yue. “Both you and I know that they are not friendly towards me because of what I did to their families,” He continued, and Hui Yue could not help but nod in response. This was the truth, and they both knew about it. It was a subject both had politely ignored while speaking with one another previously, but now the prince pointed it out on his own, an act which caused Hui Yue to feel surprised and confused. He wondered what exactly his aim was.
“I need you to understand that the reason I acted the way I did was not because of my dislike for their families but because they broke the law. The punishment I gave them was the penalty for treason.” He continued “You, yourself, were a part of the battle for Riluo City, and you know as well as I do that the Deng and Wang families fought against the Rong family and his supporters.” The prince continued with a pained expression on his face. “Although Deng Wu and Wang Ju Long both fought for the Rong family, they were the only two who did so. When the pardon was given, according to our country’s law, only the two of them should have been shown mercy.”
“I understand that the loss of their entire family was a blow that they never expected, but I, as the prince of the country, need to make sure that the law is followed. What kind of prince would I be if I turned the blind eye to such behavior? If I pardoned two families for treason then who knows it could happen again? Would I pardon assassins because of their family members were against the assassination? Sadly, I think it is impossible. If anything I need to ensure that my kingdom is stable and to do so I need to be firm when it comes to the laws.”
Hearing his explanation, Hui Yue felt disgusted as he listened to the prince. It was true that the laws should be upheld, but in this case, it was definitely possible to only execute the cultivators who had participated in the battle for Riluo City. They could have easily been satisfied with just that, yet the third prince was far from satisfied. Instead, he killed all the children, the women, the elderly, and the servants. Everyone who belonged to the Deng or Wang family had been killed. All the people who had nothing to do with the rebellion were still killed on the third prince’s orders. This alone was enough for Hui Yue to have judged his character long ago. Although he seemed sincere, these excuses which might work for nobles would never change his mind. Still, there was no way that he would show any of this to the arrogant prince in front of him.
Grumbling and in deep thought, the young man pretended that he was having some issues with what was said as if he was having an internal dilemma. “I understand your side of things,” He said slowly with a pained expression on his face, “Unfortunately, I am also heartbroken about the loss my two friends experienced, and I am worried that it will not be possible to make them understand your viewpoint.” He said looking troubled. A frown was shown on his forehead, and his eyes flickered slightly. Anyone who saw him would understand that he was considering something important, and looking at him like this, Shiu Ye’s smile increased as he looked at the troubled young man in front of him.
Clasping his hands together, the third prince looked at Hui Yue with an apologetic expression on his face, “Don’t think too much about it.” He said with a sad smile as he shook his head, “I can understand if you blame me. The decision was a hard one, but I had to make it. Even if the citizens and others see me as a cold-blooded killer.” He continued while observing Hui Yue with a keen eye.
It was easy to understand what the prince was doing, but his act that was meant to make it harder to blame him did nothing to Hui Yue. His way of speaking was impeccable, and his behavior was that of a prince who was law-abiding even if it meant that he needed to make himself into the villain. Although it was impossible for Hui Yue to ever change his opinion about the third prince, he could see how it would convince others. Currently a confused and unhappy expression was spread across his face. Seeing this expression on Hui Yue’s face, the price instantly shook his head, and spread his arms, trying to seem inviting and magnanimous.
“Don’t think too much about it,” Shiu Ye said once more as he stood up while patting Hui Yue on the shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. Think about it at home, and you are more than welcome to return anytime you wish to have a conversation with me. It has been a long time since I last had a calm and relaxing conversation about life. I usually spend all my time sorting things out for the kingdom so this has been a great experience for me.” He finished, and Hui Yue instantly understood that he had been dismissed. A heavy feeling of relief flooded over him, and he smiled to the prince. “Thank you for taking the time to speak with this humble adventurer,” He said humbly as he bowed to the older man. “I might take you up on your offer later,” He continued. “I truly enjoyed today, and some things have been put in perspective for me,” He continued and the prince nodded approvingly. Clapping his hands a servant suddenly appeared from a shadowed part of the forest. The servant bowed deeply to both Hui Yue and Shiu Yue, showing great respect to both of them. Looking at this servant, it was hard not to worry whether or not he would start talking about the information he had overheard while being in the garden. Seeing the harsh expression on his guest’s face, Shiu Yue quickly shook his head. “Do not worry about this servant of mine!” He said quickly, “The personal servants of mine are all mute, none of them know how to read or write. They would not dare leak any information about what happens here. They know the punishment for doing such a thing,” The prince said with a smile as though what he had said was the most natural thing in the world. The words caused Hui Yue to blink a few times in surprise, but he said nothing about the words spoken by the prince.
“I will trouble your servant to lead me out of the castle,” Hui Yue said as he bowed towards Shiu Ye, and the prince nodded in return his way of showing respect. “Please do not forget my invitation,” He urged. “Feel free to come back whenever you feel like it, and you can even bring your friends. Perhaps we can find a way to reconcile with the scions of the Wang and Deng clans.” He said, and Hui Yue nodded in return but saying nothing as he knew that reconciliation was an impossibility. This world was not big enough to house both Wang Ju Long, Deng Wu, and the third prince, Shiu Ye.
The servant led the way through the massive castle. His steps were silent, and his breathing was so quiet that not even Hui Yue, a King ranked expert, could hear him. The silence with which the servant showed while moving was frightening to such a degree that he could not help but wonder whether or not he was truly a weak and mute servant. The way nothing was heard made Hui Yue alert, but although he felt worried on the inside, he showed none of this. He continued to leisurely follow behind looking around as though he was curious about his surroundings, pretending that he did not find the servant unusual at all. Inside a mental note had been made to ask Gao Yan everything he knew about Shiu Ye’s personal servants who supposedly were nothing more than disciple ranked experts.
The sun was starting to descend behind the city walls by the time Hui Yue once more entered the bustling roads, leaving behind the castle. Although there had been a lot of guards, servants, and nobles within the castle, it was nothing compared to the busy streets of the city itself. Merchants, citizens, nobles, and servants were rushing around finishing up their tasks for the day or heading home after a long day of work. Moving through this horde of humans, Hui Yue walked directly towards his own mansion. Although he wished to speak with Gao Yan he had a slight feeling he was being followed and, even if this was purely based on his own paranoia, he did not wish to risk anything. As soon as he arrived home he entered his room and took a bath. Afterwards he started to cultivate. He was going to spend the entire evening and night cultivating before talking with Deng Wu and Wang Ju Long the following day. If he had time afterwards he also wanted to meet Gao Yan to try and get some more information from him.
While walking back, distracting thoughts filled his mind as he knew how badly his friends had been hurt by the third prince. Arriving at the mansion, Hui Yue headed straight for his room. Sitting on his bed for some hours, thinking through what had happened during the day, Hui Yue was filled with dejection. Although he had visited the prince, he had not learned about the formers weaknesses. Looking out of the window, he saw that the moon had risen in the sky and sighed deeply. He stopped thinking about all the things he needed to focus on the following days alongside the pain he knew his friends were currently feeling, and opened the window. He sat down on the floor calming his mind and his thoughts as the final rays of sunlight were slowly changing to moonlight. Sitting still he took a deep breath, calmed himself and emptied his head of all the thoughts that were floating around before he allowed himself to descend into nothingness. He became heavy as he only focused on absorbing the essence of the heavens and the earth.