Yu Xian shook his head. Han De's preferences weren't important at this moment.
'The pitiful kid's father and grandfather should arrive at any moment...'
He was right. Hundreds of royal guards in the 3rd stage of the Qi Condensation realm were escorting two men with exquisite clothing. Han De had already spotted them a few minutes ago with his spiritual sense. In reality, the ones being escorted didn't need to be escorted at all since they were at the 6th and 7th stage already. Quite the achievement according to this world's standards.
Soldiers with incredibly ornate lamellar armor displayed unnatural coordination. By all accounts, they were the most impressive drill team Han De had ever witnessed. Even the movements of their hair seemed to be coordinated. Everything was so perfect that they looked copy-pasted!
In the middle of the official drill team of the uncanny valley, was two dignified men, one much older than the other. Even at a glance the two were obviously related. They carried themselves with long, stable, and proud steps.
'Hmmm. They're trying a bit too much.'
Underneath their pride, Han De spotted the familiar emotions of fear and anxiety. Hiding those feelings was quite difficult for the uninitiated. Even more so for the royalty that lived a life of luxury. Father and son emperor pair obviously couldn't hold a candle to Han De in this Dao.
Yu Xian had already won by default by carving a frickin' line on the capital city. By Han De's reckoning, the rest was just filler face slapping chapters.
Since he wasn't in the right mood to enjoy filler, and his issue with the kidnapper/runaway was solved temporarily, he allowed his mind to wander. All he needed to do was to wait until Long Ai arrives, and nuke that little kidnapper/runaway from orbit! Problem solved. Permanently. No loose ends.
* * *
Half an hour later, the older-looking noble, who really turned out to be the grandfather of Yu Xian, had just started explaining the circumstances behind the events that led to Yu Xian's mother's death.
"...be you are not aware of the truth of this world."
Those were the magic words. After listening to half an hour of boring exposition, those words were the last straw. All thoughts about letting things play on their own left Han De's mind.
Even back on Earth, anytime a fictional character started talking about 'The Truth of This World' Han De would want to flip a table. Eventually, he would either skip those parts or drop the novel/manga/anime altogether. He especially didn't want to hear something like that in a needlessly verbose language!
"Stop… I can see you are about to start a poorly-thought-out explanation full of logical leaps. Keep the conversations about 'The Truth of This World' short, 100 words or less. I've used 48, you have 52 left."
Han De's threatening voice caused the Qin people to shiver. They were already wary of the demon-like figure standing behind Yu Xian. The Emperor and his father recognized the utter indifference in those pitch-black eyes. How could they not? They had the same gaze when they were looking at blood slaves.
If Han De could read their thoughts, he would definitely roll his eyes.
"This… R-responding to the supreme master-..."
"... The balance of this world is fueled by the blood qi of-"
"That's enough. You are 2 over. But don't worry, I can see how your explanation would've ended up as remarkably nonsensical."
Han De status checked the two and found the same demonic-sounding art on both. He also realized the cultivation of the old emperor was at the 7th stage. Previously the 'Qui' family had mentioned his cultivation to be at the 6th stage. Clearly, the demonic art had caused an improvement, despite its [Power] section being empty.
"Maybe your stupidity is caused by the demonic art you've practiced. Hmph. I guess it is too late to know whether or not it's an induced quality…"
After an awkward pause, the former emperor responded with a strange tone.
"Supreme Master, isn't it just a cultivation method? Why are we cultivating if it isn't for eternal life?"
'He didn't even deny that it was demonic?'
Han De's aversion to demonic methods was just a self-preservation measure. Early on he realized the requirements of some cultivation methods were beyond his capabilities. The first and second places were demonic and masochistic methods. The reasoning for the latter was self-evident.
After seeing the two emperors, Han De was completely reassured that his conclusion about the former was correct as well. Demonic cultivation techniques really did influence the mind. Reading about such techniques in a web novel was one thing. Witnessing it, living with it, was another. Subtle details that would be ignored due to MC's plot armor could break a normal person.
"You could've locked yourself in a cave and discerned the truth between heaven and earth to grasp the true meaning of the heavenly way. Yet you have chosen the shortcut. To inflict suffering on others...
Just a cultivation method? Hmph…"
Han De lightly shook his head and did not elaborate further. The hero of the story wasn't him; it was Yu Xian. Han De was only a passing expert that offered help. Any and all story progress had to be done by the MC.
As long as it didn't involve 'The Truth of This World'.
Yu Xian was so disappointed that he couldn't even sigh. The original Yu Xian's parents were as useless as the boy himself. Seeking short-term benefits in pursuit of eternal youth was the antithesis of cultivation! To think that he had karmic ties with these people! Unfortunately, he couldn't take the short road and be rid of them this time.
The only silver lining Yu Xian had was that the original's adopted father was completely unrelated to these people! Him, Yu Xian could respect!
Liang Cuifen listened to unapologetic explanations of the Qin royalty without any emotion. The indifference that came from them was mind-boggling. Would these people care about the citizens' lives if they purposefully let their own flesh and blood suffer in the name of eternal life? Unknowingly, she started exuding a very mild version of killing intent.
After weighing his options, Yu Xian decided this was a good chance to score some points. Han De clearly had intense disdain for demonic methods. He gave a respectful martial salute to his ticket to higher realms.
"Senior, this disciple is in a dilemma. The debt of karma between this disciple and them is too heavy to bear, yet this disciple is helpless against his own flesh and blood..."
Naturally, Wen Jiayi was also listening intently. She was waiting. Biding her time. The not-so-subtle change in how Yu Xian referred to himself was impossible to miss.
Previously, it was 'junior', which represented a respectful but distant relation between different generations. The language of this world was excessively descriptive about people's relations. The word 'junior' could have 20 different but similar meanings, each depicting various levels of familiarity.
Changing 'junior' to 'disciple' meant that one has cast away their mortal attachments. The meaning was universal regardless of the language used. The variation of 'disciple' that Yu Xian used wasn't just showing deference, but also contained the willingness to follow.
Naturally, Wen Jiayi was fully alert. She felt that the only concrete avenue of exploration was Yu Xian’s master.
His master, who was said to be handsome, and beautiful. His name was censored and his whereabouts were unknown. They met right after Yu Xian began cultivation.
'That master can't be Han De, can it? No, there could be something I'm missing…'
Wen Jiayi stayed silent and continued observing her surroundings. Could there be an unknown master lurking in the shadows? Waiting for an opportunity to test Yu Xian? It was impossible to know!
Han De didn't notice Yu Xian's wordplay. Ultimately, he was only imitating the modern accent of a language he learned from a cultivation scripture. However, even if he did notice he wouldn't care about it one bit. At worst he would call Yu Xian his in-name disciple and be done with it. He would gladly participate in some fake relationship to distance himself away from the Harem MC!
However, at the moment though, Han De switched into deep thought mode after realizing Yu Xian threw the ball to him.
'I should not have said anything. F#$%...'
Dealing with an MC's blood-related parents? What was Yu Xian trying to do? Was he trying to get Han De to kill his parents?
'Yeah, not going to happen, pal.'
He needed some non-violent way to solve not only Yu Xian’s, but Liang Cuifen’s hidden resentment as well. In fact, though it was bothersome, if he played his cards right, he could get yet another unit of gratitude from the two MCs! 2 units of gratitude for the price of 1!
Soon, Han De remembered a scene that grabbed the attention of Han De the Grandmaster Illusionist. He adorned the righteousness and the grandeur of a Profound Expert.
Some part of him was reluctant to use a quote, because he really didn't know what could qualify as a lie to the lie detector skill of Liang Cuifen. However, this matter was only indirectly related to her, so even if her skill were to light up, it wouldn't be a big deal.
"In antiquity, mages learned blood magic from demons. A mage's crime, a mage's punishment. Qin dynasty, I deny you death. Tranquility."
Silence ensued. The word 'Tranquil' wasn't a common one among the modern versions of the language. No one had any idea what Han De meant by that. His sinister smile was their only reference point.
Liang Cuifen thought something was off. What did he mean by 'mage'? Did he mean a sage? Did sages confer with the demons? These questions remained in her head as she silently watched.
Affecting emotions was only a side effect of the Twilight Phantasm scripture. Thanks to having a grandmaster level comprehension, Han De could stretch that side effect to its logical conclusion. And thanks to the Primordial Light Qi, the normally short-lived Qi constructs could last decades!
Such tricks wouldn't work on an expert of Han De's level, but the cultivation difference between him and the Qin emperors was simply too huge.
Han De closed his eyes and immediately started constructing the framework. Of the people who were present, only Wen Jiayi could sense what Han De was doing.
And Wen Jiayi raised an eyebrow. The information sent by the Long family had detailed accounts of Han De's cultivation, including speculations. Regular cultivation techniques, body cultivation, spiritual spells, weapon techniques, mind techniques. The list was exhaustive, and yet it did not include… whatever this was…
Only a dozen breaths later, the tranquil framework was complete. Han De used one-quarter of his remaining spiritual power as a battery for the self-replication function. A single tranquil framework could be 'bestowed' to twenty Qi Condensation disciples. He made two of them for the father and son pair, which meant that there would be 42 tranquils at maximum.
Han De the Grandmaster Illusionist, smiled at his creation. Though it was a brute force technique, and it could be dispelled quite easily by a Nascent Soul expert, he still felt quite a bit of pride.
"Since you have succumbed to your emotions, I shall take them away from you. Fear, anger, sadness, joy, pride, you will feel them no longer. You won't feel anything at all. The world itself will be as if it is a dream. You shall only know service."
An invisible force of energy hit the two emperors. The light in their eyes instantly dimmed, their proud postures immediately relaxed.
"From this day, until your last day, you shall work for the good of common people. Anyone that practices demonic arts will either become tranquil and follow your creed, or perish. You will work tirelessly to bring peace, freedom, justice, and security to the entire world. All other concerns are secondary."
""This servant shall obey.""
Hearing the father and grandfather of the original, Yu Xian the God-King was alarmed. This wasn't a mere mental technique! It was completely different! He silently watched the two emperors leave without a word of complaint. The very way they carried themselves had changed. Their pride that led them to face overwhelming power with dignity, was nowhere to be seen.
Han De smiled at Yu Xian. Though it would've been cooler to reply with a mysterious smile, the illusionist within him was dying to talk about his work!
"It is just an emotional inhibitor. They will truly feel like they are in a dream. At every moment of every day, they will keep asking themselves one question. 'How can I make this world better for the common people?'. This question will drive everything they do.
They will only eat to take care of their body. They will only take care of their body to live longer. They will only try to live longer to serve the people. They will never be able to laugh or cry ever again. They will simply exist."
Han De's eyes narrowed while gazing at the two figures leaving with steady steps.
"They cannot break free of this illusion in their lifetime. As they spend time under its influence, their very soul will be affected. Their sins can't be absolved with only a light sentence. No. This is a lesson they need to bring to their next lives. And then the next, and the next…"
Yu Xian… felt conflicted! While he inherited the original Yu Xian's body, certain lines were established after introspecting inside the training illusion.
These people could barely be considered distant relatives to Yu Xian the God-King. Combined with their obvious crimes, he had no qualms about using them for gaining benefit. Why would he? Even the original Yu Xian would be furious after learning how they cast aside his mother for the sake of face.
Tyrannical mental curses weren't exactly taboo, but they were pretty close! Influencing someone's very character was akin to influencing their Dao. That was something even Yu Xian couldn't and wouldn't interfere with.
Learning such methods required tremendous effort, skill, and even luck. And using them required an unshakable Dao heart. The risk of getting lost in one's mind was quite real. Anyone that could use them with success wouldn't be ordinary.
Pulling out a cruel and domineering curse like that at a moment's notice naturally changed Yu Xian's opinion of Han De.
First, it was obvious Han De wasn't some random elder of his sect, and the Han family was obviously not some random family of the lower realms. Han De had demonstrated a variety of different arts and his mastery of them wasn't ordinary. Regular sects and families wouldn't be able to acquire or develop advanced versions of healing, sword, illusion, and curse arts.
Second, this was obviously a response to Yu Xian calling himself a disciple. By changing the very essence of the local emperors, Han De was killing the chicken to scare the monkey. It was a warning to Yu Xian. Do not get conceited!
Yu Xian snorted from inside. This was all within his calculations! If he couldn't predict something like this he didn't deserve to be called God-King! Probably!
Meanwhile, Wen Jiayi was aware of Han De's aversion to demonic arts. His actions were well documented in the Long family's report. But she never could have guessed that he would go this far.
A curse that could affect future incarnations, was one of the major taboos! Heavens would never allow such an insult! Yet there was no heavenly punishment weighing down on their location!
Though she wasn’t experienced in mental arts, Wen Jiayi could tell the curse that Han De used wasn’t ordinary. What did the Long family hope to accomplish by giving him taboo methods?!
And why did he suddenly decide to use it? There was nothing in Han De's past that could explain this level of hatred. Could this be a Long family ploy too? Giving her too much information to make her complacent, only to get interested in Han De when he does something unexpected?
This… was too much effort from the Long family's side.
Liang Cuifen felt that even though she had the ability to detect lies, she was the most normal person around. She felt like something quite extraordinary happened, but no one was giving the appropriate response!
The beautiful Han De seemed extremely pleased with himself, Yu Xian was expressionless, and the new freckled girl ignored everything. Also, why was the freckled girl shielding her from Yu Xian anyway?
'Wouldn't it be better to kill everyone?' Liang Cuifen thought.
After experiencing suppression of fear and anxiety for a few hours she didn't think losing all emotions was punishment enough. If they couldn't feel terror, or helplessness, what was the use in keeping them alive?
Unfortunately, she couldn't speak of these thoughts. It seemed to her that she truly was the only 'normal' person here.
Yu Xian thought the time was right and bowed deeply towards Han De.
"This disciple is grateful for senior's… no."
While Yu Xian was talking, Han De lost the presence of the kidnapper/runaway. Before he could even glance at her, Yu Xian directly kowtowed, and his head even made a thud sound as it met the ground.
"Disciple Yu Xian is grateful for master's benevolence!"
|Oh, you got another disciple?|
Behind him, was Long Ai.