Lie Huo Jiao Chou

Lie Huo Jiao Chou

Chapter 67 - Chapter 67

"Your Highness... Your Highness..."

"Your Majesty!"

"Your Majesty, you are the hope of the people..."

"The hope of the people..."

"Your Majesty, take us away from here..."

The cruel scene before Xuan Ji shattered, and before he could come to his senses, he found himself in a post station. 

He still saw through the eyes of the sword spirit, but his host had grown a few centimeters taller. As soon as Xuan Ji's soul entered this small body, he felt a ruler hit his back. 

Although the force was not enough to hurt him, the child's center of gravity was unstable, and he was caught off guard. 

Little Sheng Lingyuan stumbled and almost fell. 

Xuan Ji was startled by him and blurted out, "The hell..." 

"Stand up straight!" A cold female voice sounded behind him, and Little Sheng Lingyuan straightened his back reflexively. 

There was a rustling sound of clothes behind him, and the boy, with a stiff neck from the beating, instinctively glanced sideways towards the sound. 

He hadn't seen the person yet, but the ruler had already fallen. 

"A ruler should behave with dignity and not look around aimlessly," the cold voice said, "if you want to look, then turn around boldly, don't roll your eyes around like a fool!" 

As she spoke, the owner of the voice slowly walked up to Sheng Lingyuan, and Xuan Ji finally saw the person clearly. 

This is a tall and thin woman - or maybe not very tall, but from the perspective of a little boy, she seemed to tower over him like a mountain...a barren mountain. 

"Barren" didn't mean that she was old. The woman has a slender figure and smooth skin, and even in plain clothes, she exudes an air of elegance and nobility. There's not a hint of aging on her. 

However, for some reason, there's no vitality in her body at all. 

She's like a mummy with excellent preservation. 

Looking up, you can see a severe rectangular face with heavy makeup. Her neatly trimmed eyebrows extend straight to her temples, and below them are a pair of slender, drooping eyes that make people feel inferior. 

Wherever her gaze falls, everything is garbage. 

Xuan Ji's mind had not yet recovered from the brutal escape, and negative emotions overwhelmed him. 

He thought to himself, "Where the hell did this crappy nun come from?"

Little Sword Spirit shared his thoughts and cursed in their shared consciousness, "Old witch!"

Sheng Lingyuan, in a rare moment, ignored the Sword Spirit. 

The boy quickly lowered his head and respectfully said, "Yes, Mother."

Xuan Ji thought to himself, "Wait a minute, is this... the Empress Chen, the legitimate wife of Emperor Ping? The one who was imprisoned by Emperor Wu until her death?" 

He couldn't help but take a closer look at the woman. 

Her face looked like she had never smiled in her entire life, and she was incredibly photogenic. From her facial structure and features to her bone structure and overall appearance, there was no resemblance between the mother and son. 

They didn't even look like they belonged to the same species. 

"If this is his birth mother, how strong must Emperor Ping's genes be?"

Empress Chen held the ruler and stood in front of Sheng Lingyuan. 

"Crown Prince, do you know what you did wrong?" 

"Father..." Sheng Lingyuan barely spoke before the cold ruler hit his shoulder, grazing his delicate face and leaving a red mark. 

"What are you slouching for? Who are you to have such a weak attitude?" 

Sheng Lingyuan quickly straightened his shoulders, every muscle in his body tense. He was in a state of constant readiness to be hit, like a trembling kitten. 

He spoke with a steady voice, trying to keep it from shaking. 

"Your son should not have disturbed his elder brother's rest, knowing that he was unwell." 

"Rubbish!" Sword Spirit shouted back in his mind, "It was Prince Ning himself who said he was suffocating in his room, so we brought the Six Chess Boards to visit him!" 

However, only Sheng Lingyuan and Xuan Ji, the bystanders, could hear Sword Spirit's cries. 

Little Sheng Lingyuan ignored him expressionlessly and continued, "I also neglected my studies because of my love for games. This son knows his mistake and asks his mother to punish him." 

Sword Spirit screamed angrily, "That was Prince Ning's request! Why do you have to admit fault? Stinky Lingyuan, you're driving me crazy!" 

Empress Chen shouted, "Kneel down." 

The Sword Spirit refused, "No way!" 

Sheng Lingyuan remained silent, lifted his clothes, and knelt straight on the cold ground. 

Empress Chen stared at him and slowly asked, "Whose idea was it to play Six Chess Boards?" 

"It's Prince Ning!" The Sword Spirit shouted at the top of his lungs, as if he could shout loud enough to break through the small body of Sheng Lingyuan and make everyone hear him.

Sheng Lingyuan calmly replied, "It's this son."

"It's Prince Ning! It's Prince Ning!" Sword Spirit cried with a sob in his voice when he saw that Sheng Lingyuan was ignoring him. "It's definitely Prince Ning!"

Xuan Ji roughly understood what was going on and felt a bit strange. 

He couldn't help but think that this kind of submissive behavior didn't seem like the old demon's personality...and certainly not the young version of him either.

But then Empress Chen made a meaningful "oh" sound and said, "Isn't it because of your Sword Spirit's instigation?"

The crying little Sword Spirit stuttered for a moment, and little Sheng Lingyuan suddenly looked up and stared at Empress Chen. 

As Xuan Ji met Empress Chen's gaze through the boy's eyes, he couldn't help but furrow his brow. He didn't know if Xiaosheng Lingyuan could sense it, but as an adult, Xuan Ji felt that Empress Chen's eyes were extremely eerie.

It wasn't the stern look of a mother who wanted her child to do better, nor was it the gaze of a stepmother looking at an adopted child. 

There was hatred and indescribable malice in her eyes, especially when she mentioned the sword spirit. 

She stared at Sheng Lingyuan like a venomous snake targeting its prey.


"Your sword spirit was already an unfinished product, and it was tamed from a monster. Its wild nature is hard to control," the venomous snake hissed, "I told Dan Li long ago that the demonic sword should be sealed. Whenever you can pull out the sword body, then you can release it." 

"Mother," Sheng Lingyuan clenched his fist tightly inside his sleeve, trying to appear nonchalant. "It was because your son found Sword Spirit dull and wanted to play Six-Board Chess with a partner that he went to find his elder brother. It had nothing to do with him. Your son is willing to take responsibility..." 

A cold hand gently rested on his hair, causing Sheng Lingyuan to freeze. 

The finger traced down his forehead and landed on his brow, the woman's sharp nails turning blue as they pressed into the tender skin, as if trying to force out the little Sword Spirit hidden in his mind. 

The Sword Spirit, spoiled by Sheng Lingyuan, was furious and shouted, "Let her try to seal me if she's capable! This old witch!" 

In his panic, young Sheng Lingyuan instinctively reached out to grab Empress Chen's hand, but was met with a sharp crack as the ruler hit his knuckles. 


Empress Chen lifted his chin with a ruler and scrutinized him from above for a moment. 

"Guards!" She ordered. 

Several black-clad guards appeared out of nowhere and wordlessly pulled Sheng Lingyuan up. 

A spiritual symbol pierced through the boy's sea of consciousness. Xuan Ji's vision went black, and then he suddenly had the sensation of having a physical body. 

That body was roughly compressed into a ball and stuffed into a small, sealed box. All of his senses were instantly stripped away, leaving him completely immobilized. 

Xuan Ji's heart tightened. 

This was even more extreme than the torture technique of "sensory deprivation" used during World War II, as it couldn't completely strip away a real person's senses like this. 

And this was a direct sealing of his divine consciousness, while his sword spirit was still a mentally deficient little brat. As expected, the Little Sword Spirit started cursing at first, but soon he couldn't curse anymore. 

The silent panic quickly swallowed him up. Xuan Ji first heard him crying and asking for help, then gradually began to speak nonsense. This memory began to become blurry, full of illusions in the darkness, and then chaotic images and sounds intermittently filled the surroundings. 

Even Xuan Ji, an outsider, began to lose the sense of time, and it was difficult to distinguish whether those images were illusions or something else.

When the Sword Spirit regained his cognitive ability and allowed Xuan Ji to "read" his memory, it seemed to be half a year later - through the perspective of Sheng Lingyuan, Xuan Ji judged that the little prince had grown more than an inch taller. 

Xuan Ji quickly gathered scattered information from around him and soon learned that the Sword Spirit had only been imprisoned for three days before being released by Dan Li, who had returned to do so. 

Dan Li was usually an emotionless figure, but this time he was furious and had brought a group of skilled cultivators to force the palace open. 

With two groups of people facing off outside, Dan Li and Empress Chen had a secret conversation for two hours. 

No one knew what agreement they had reached, but in the end, the young prince was taken away by Dan Li, and Empress Chen and her troops went their separate ways to gather the remnants of the human race. 

As for the Sword Spirit, who had been sealed for three days, he remained silent and unresponsive for nearly half a year, as if he were already dead. 

During this time, Sheng Lingyuan barely slept through the night night, working tirelessly to refine his spiritual consciousness and nurture the Sword Spirit that no longer responded to him. 

The Sword Spirit finally "woke up" and softly called out "Lingyuan". 

However, Sheng Lingyuan was riding a horse and didn't have time to respond immediately. 

Upon hearing the faint voice, little Sheng Lingyuan was stunned for a few seconds in disbelief. 

After hearing the Sword Spirit's second call of "Lingyuan", he fell off his horse. 

He had been too tense and almost broke down.

This lesson taught Sheng Lingyuan to not show his emotions on his face, to keep his feelings hidden. 

From then on, except for his bond with the Sword Spirit, he never showed his likes or dislikes - until he held all the power in his hands.

That was when the prototype of the old demon that Xuan Ji knew came into being. 

Xuan Ji followed them, watching the memory from beginning to end. His chest felt like it was stuffed with cotton, and he couldn't catch his breath. 

He had nowhere to vent his emotions and didn't know who to blame for his anger and frustration. Lost in the jumbled memories, he didn't know where to look.

He wanted to see that young emperor who was never recorded in history again, but he couldn't bear it. The emotions of the Tian Mo Sword Spirit seemed to seriously interfere with him. 

If Sheng Lingyuan appeared in front of him now, Xuan Ji felt like he could forget all the previous conflicts and defenses at the speed of light and rush to hug that person.

He anxiously grabbed a handful of his own hair, and a random question popped into his head - what was the deal with this Empress Chen? 

Sheng Lingyuan seemed like he wasn't her biological son, but rather the enemy who killed her entire family. 

"Why did she, who hates him so much, stand with Dan Li to declare him emperor?" 

As this thought crossed his mind, Xuan Ji suddenly found himself in a different scene, with the light and shadows changing around him. 

The cool air hit his face and he recognized the grand and ancient buildings of the Du Ling Palace. Then, he saw the adult Sheng Lingyuan leading a group of armored guards, striding ahead. 

Xuan Ji was taken aback by the sight of the grown-up version of the emperor and was dragged along like a ghost behind him, unable to resist. 

"What kind of rare virus strain caused her mental illness?" 

The Du Ling Palace was built after the defeat of the Demon King and the unification of the human race. 

At that time, the Heavenly Demon Sword was already broken, but the Sword Spirit didn't die for some reason. 

It seemed to be in an invisible "ghost" state, always following the Emperor. It was a bit like the state of Zhi Chun... but Zhi Chun had multiple bodies due to fortuitous circumstances. 

Could the Heavenly Demon Sword, "born" in such a special occasion, also have multiple bodies?

Xuan Ji hadn't sorted out his thoughts yet when he was pulled into a palace by Sheng Lingyuan, his feet not touching the ground.

The Emperor's robe sleeves fluttered, and his murderous aura was about to overflow. Wherever he went, no one dared to lift their heads to look at his face. The poor little shadow from back then was nowhere to be seen.

Xuan Ji only had time to quickly glance at the palace plaque, which had three big characters written on it: "Chang Ming Palace."

Chang Ming... where was that again? 

As he was still trying to piece together some rough idea from his meager knowledge of history, an old servant suddenly threw herself at the feet of Sheng Lingyuan, scrambling to her knees and stretching out her hands as if to block his way. 

"Your Majesty, please wait. The Empress Dowager is changing her clothes and cannot receive visitors at the moment." 

Without even looking up, Sheng Lingyuan flicked his sleeve and sent the old servant flying several steps away, crashing into one of the pillars in the great hall. 

A black mist rose up from under his feet, and with a single step, he shattered the stone tiles beneath him. He waved his hand behind him without turning around, signaling to his guards to search the area. 

The old servant, still lying on the ground, shouted out in protest, "This is the Empress Dowager's sleeping quarters! How dare you act so recklessly! Your Majesty, are you planning to commit regicide?" 

Suddenly, it dawned on Xuan Ji. 

"The Chang Ming Palace was where Empress Chen was confined after she fell from power!" 

Xuan Ji's eyes widened as he realized that he was about to witness the truth behind the "Emperor Wu exterminating his own kin" that historians had debated for thousands of years. 

He had no idea what Sheng Lingyuan was searching for, but it was clear that the mother and son had already reached a point of no return. Empress Chen's treatment was no better than that of a prisoner. 

With a command from Sheng Lingyuan, his guards searched the empress's chambers without hesitation.

"Your Majesty, there's nothing in the side hall."

"Your Majesty, there's nothing in the sleeping quarters."

"There's nothing in the study either."

Sheng Lingyuan's face grew dark as he scanned the hall, his gaze finally settling on the floor tiles. He uttered two words, "Go to the Ice Palace."

The guards were taken aback, and the voice of the old maid, who was bleeding from a head wound, suddenly changed, "Sheng Xiao, how dare you!" 

Sheng Lingyuan glanced at her and a sinister smile crept up on his lips. "What am I afraid of?" 

The old maid screamed hoarsely, "What kind of beast are you? Are you really the demon that descended from the heavens, heartless and liverless? Sheng Xiao! The Ice Palace houses..." 

"I said search," Sheng Lingyuan was too lazy to look at her again and walked towards the Ice Palace first. "It's too noisy, make her shut up." 

Xuan Ji hadn't even realized what he meant when a guard with a knife stepped forward, covered the old maid's mouth, and swiftly slit her throat. 

The assassin's efficiency left Xuan Ji dumbfounded. 

In just a second, the boy who had made him feel heartbroken and restless had turned into a demon, casually opening the bloody prelude to the Changming Palace. The coldness in the Ice Palace was deceiving, and all the guards in the Changming Palace had gathered here, forming a human wall. 

With the words "those who block the way will die" from Prince Sheng Lingyuan, the silent Empress Dowager's bedroom became a battlefield.

Xuan Ji shuddered violently, his worldview shattered into pieces. 

Then, he took a closer look at the furnishings in the Ice Palace and saw that it was arranged like a funeral hall, with a coffin in the middle and a spirit tablet hanging above it - Prince Ning Shengwei.

Xuan Ji: "..." 

What the hell? 

Empress Chen put her eldest son's coffin in the ice cellar of her own bedroom! 

Before he could even piece together his shattered worldview, his hand trembled and he smashed it again. 

In the grand Du Ling Palace, is there anyone with a healthy state of mind? 

A hunched old woman in traditional Chinese clothing stood by the coffin, and upon hearing a noise, slowly turned around. 

"Sheng Xiao, what are you doing?" she asked. 

At first, Xuan Ji didn't recognize her, but then he realized that the woman with the horse face looked familiar. 

Sheng Lingyuan laughed and said, "Greetings, Mother." 

It was actually Empress Chen! 

At this point, Empress Chen seemed to have been drained of all life, becoming a specimen that could speak and move, devoid of any humanity. 

Only the hatred in her eyes remained youthful. 

Sheng Lingyuan reached out to her and said, "I heard that you brought the child to the Chang Ming Palace. The child is crying and disturbing you, so I came to take him away. Where is he?" 

Empress Chen seemed to have been in the ice cellar for too long, her face frozen stiff, revealing a cold, rigid, and bluish smile. "That bastard? Dead."

"Your Majesty," a guard ran over and whispered, "The Ice Palace is empty."

Sheng Lingyuan didn't even lift his eyelids. "Keep looking. I put a drop of my heart's blood on the child. It's not so easy to harm him."

"Your Majesty, the Empress..." 

Just then, Xuan Ji suddenly caught a familiar scent. 

Before he could identify it, Sheng Lingyuan's expression changed and he stepped forward to the coffin.

"Sheng Xiao, what are you doing? This is your elder brother's body! How dare you disrespect the dead!" Empress Chen shouted.

"Who is really disrespecting the dead? You harmed his bones and blood in front of his coffin," Sheng Lingyuan's smile did not diminish. "If he knew in the afterlife, who do you think he would want to strangle?" 

After speaking, his guards immediately took down the Empress Dowager. 

Without hesitation, Sheng Lingyuan reached out and "invited" the body of Prince Ning out. 

Under the pillow of the body, there was a small mechanism that, when twisted, opened the coffin and revealed a secret passage. Hot air rushed out, mixed with the pitiful cries of a child.

Sheng Lingyuan took a step back at first, but then he boldly entered the passage. 

The black mist wrapped around him like armor, burned away by tongues of flame only to regenerate again. The flames were almost white in color, and in the midst of them was a baby being roasted. 

The child was wrapped in a protective film that was almost licked through by the flames. 

Sheng Lingyuan picked him up and the sound of Empress Chen's screams was amplified countless times in the secret room: "Bastard! He's just like you, a bastard! You and all those who have polluted the bloodline of our people, if you don't go extinct, the fires of Chiyuan will never be able to extinguish!" 

Xuan Ji felt like her brain was about to overload with the amount of information in that sentence - what did it mean to call her son a "polluter of the bloodline of our people"? 

Did she put a green hat on Emperor Ping? 

And who was this little baby being roasted over the fire? 

"Bloodline of our people," Sheng Lingyuan chuckled softly as the flames rushed towards him, dispersing the black mist around him. 

Xuan Ji watched nervously and blurted out, "Be careful!" 

Sheng Lingyuan lifted his sleeve and used his arm to shield the baby in his arms. The intense heat left a horrifying burn on the back of his hand. 

Without even glancing at the wound, he forcefully lifted the coffin lid. 

Sparks flew out of the secret passage with him, igniting the corpse inside the coffin.

Empress Chen let out a hoarse scream and tried to rush forward, but was held down by several guards.

Sheng Lingyuan flicked off the sparks on his body and looked down at the corpse burning with the coffin. 

"May I ask, Your Majesty, where exactly is the superiority of the human race?"

Xuan Ji was stunned and instinctively looked at the guards that Sheng Lingyuan had brought. 

He didn't know how loyal these guards were, but they all seemed indifferent to Sheng Lingyuan's blasphemous words.

Wait a minute... something's not right. 

Xuan Ji couldn't help but take another glance and suddenly realized that these guards all had some non-human bloodline. 

"After the burning, we will tidy up the ashes of Prince Ning and bury him with respect. It's the least we can do." 

The crying of the baby echoed in the eerie hall. 

Sheng Lingyuan checked the little one from head to toe and found no substantial injuries. 

He held the baby with one hand and let him cry his heart out, instructing the guards, "He lived without dignity or freedom, don't let him die without peace." 

Empress Chen spoke without restraint, "He is my son! He is mine!" 

"He was born from you," Sheng Lingyuan looked down at Empress Chen, "but he is not yours." 

"Sheng Xiao! You..." 

The Ice Palace never saw the light of day, and it was extremely gloomy. The steam from the burning coffin fell on the Emperor's face, rendering it almost as pale as a dead person's. 

His smile was filled with eerie cruelty as he asked, "Mother, do you really think that the Prince Ning is just your son?" 

Empress Chen glared at him and asked, "What do you mean?" 

"I mean nothing. When he was alive, you summoned him several times a day. If you didn't see him for a day, you would become furious. Now that he's gone, you had someone steal his coffin and put it in the ice cellar of your own palace. Why? Can't bear to see him buried with my sister-in-law?" 

"Your sister-in-law is alive and well, but she was deceived by the remnants of the witch people." 

"My sister-in-law? Are you referring to the one in Prince Ning's mansion? I have forgotten, forgive me, Empress Dowager. I can never seem to remember her. Sometimes when I see her, I even think she's a wooden puppet carved in your likeness." 

Sheng Lingyuan's gaze was fixed on her, like the cruel woman who had looked at the helpless boy many years ago. 

Suddenly, their roles were reversed.

He lowered his voice and said each word deliberately, "I also heard that my brother and the late emperor were cut from the same mold. You keep a coffin hidden here, what does that mean? Are you not able to live together in life, so must share a tomb in death?"

Empress Chen was slow to react, only realizing what he had said after a beat. 

She looked at him in disbelief and anger, "What did you say? You worthless pig and dog, you..."

Sheng Lingyuan smirked and then chuckled. 

As he walked, he couldn't stop laughing, as if he had just witnessed a delightful human comedy. 

His laughter sent shivers down Xuan Ji's spine, even though he was several steps away. 

"The human race is certainly noble," Empress Chen couldn't stand up straight, but even in this humiliating posture, her expression could still be very proud. 

"We are the only race in this world that can grow and thrive naturally without relying on anything. Those demons rely on innate bloodlines and precious treasures to cultivate, while the cowardly witch people hides under the protection of mountains and rivers. Only the human race, with mountains, rivers, sun, moon, and all things spiritual, cannot enter their seven orifices. 

"But our human race has experts who practice against the heavens, runes that adapt to the situation, and even those rural villagers who cultivate the land with their own hands! Now that the spiritual energy on the continent has dried up, those inferior species that rely on it for survival should be wiped out. 

"The human race is the chosen one of the gods of heaven and earth. It is not us who covet the demonic energy of the Chiyuan, nor is it our race that provokes the chaos of the Nine Provinces!" 

As a former female politician, Empress Chen may have seemed a bit crazy in her later years, but she never lost her ability to improvise a speech. Listening to the first half, Xuan Ji was almost convinced by her, nodding along until the last sentence when he realized she was talking nonsense. 

Everyone knows that the chaos in the Nine Provinces was instigated by Emperor Ping himself. Even the human race admits it, otherwise why would he be given such an unlucky posthumous title? 

Although it's not as famous as titles like "Yin" or "Li" for incompetent rulers, considering that his son succeeded him and the saying "a son does not criticize his father's mistakes" was prevalent at the time, having the ambiguous word "Ping" in his posthumous title basically means "you know what it means." 

"Your despicable birth mother, instead of being a demon princess, snuck into the former emperor's palace, causing chaos in the court, deceiving the emperor, inciting conflict between the two races. This way, those demons can cross the Chiyuan with justification!" 

Empress Chen's voice almost shattered the ice in the hall. 

"Let me go! You bastards! Do you know why he wants to protect you? Because he himself is also a bastard!"

Sheng Lingyuan beckoned to a guard and handed him the baby in his arms, saying disdainfully, "Don't let him cry, this is not over yet." 

After that, he walked up to Empress Chen, gestured to the several guards beside him to step back, and then half-knelt down to help the woman who was lying on the ground in a sorry state, asking softly, "Isn't my birth mother the Empress Dowager?" 

"You're not worthy!" Empress Chen spat at him, causing Sheng Lingyuan to turn his head and grow cold. 

Empress Chen glared at him fiercely, as if trying to use her gaze to tear his flesh apart. 

"You're the demon spawn that demoness put in my womb! I knew from the moment you were born that you were just like that your mother!" 

Xuan Ji remained silent, shocked by this revelation. 

What kind of twisted scheme was this?


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