AGM 439 - Punishment
The sight in front of their eyes was beyond any of their expectations and caused great mayhem in the hearts of those still standing. A terrifying cold glint of light erupted in the Skythunder Emperor's eyes when he saw those who knelt down in acknowledgement of the Azure Emperor Token.
This indicated that those who knelt had already betrayed him. In that case, they could all die here together with the successor.
In the Skythunder Country, he was the Emperor. Throughout the history of the Skythunder Aristocrat Clan of the past, his branch was the strongest. Those of the other branches were suppressed by him, and in normal times when he was high up and mighty with no challengers, these people naturally wouldn't dare to cause trouble.
But now, when one person took out the Azure Emperor Token, this was an opportunity for the branches that had been suppressed by the main branch in the Skythunder Aristocrat Clan. Let alone the fact that the Skythunder Emperor had offended the successor earlier with his actions earlier. These people who chose to kneel, they were all gambling.
Gambling on the fact that the arrogance the successor had shown meant that he came here prepared. As long as they gambled correctly, it didn't matter even if they pledged their allegiance to the successor. Because in that case, the rights to the Skythunder Country would fall to them.
The Skythunder Emperor glanced at those who knelt, these were people of two branches of the Skythunder Clan that had close connections with each other, and if they worked together, their level of power didn't lose out to the main branch of the Skythunder Clan. n addition, when the successor of the Azure Emperor was thrown into the mix, they then would have enough strength to overthrow the Skythunder Emperor.
These people must have discussed in secret and surrendered at the same time after coming to a conclusion.
Since the Skythunder Emperor could tell what these people were thinking about, how could Qin Wentian fail to surmise that? The him now was no longer the naïve young man that he was years ago.
Although they did so, regardless of the machinations and schemes of these people, everything was useless in front of absolute strength.
"Three more breaths." Qin Wentian calmly spoke, as the eyes of the crowd flickered, their hearts pounding with a struggle. They were now faced with an extremely difficult choice. Now, the matter was no longer as simple as pledging allegiance to the successor, but rather it was to stand with or stand against the Skythunder Emperor.
In the last three breaths of time, another three knelt down, choosing to side with the successor while the others still continued standing. This meant that from the start, their conviction in the Skythunder Emperor had never wavered.
"All of you, excellent." The Skythunder Emperor's voice contained a thick killing intent as he stared at those who knelt. The young woman by the side of the prince involuntarily laughed, she never expected that there would be such delicious drama, that the arrival of the Azure Emperor's successor actually created an internal conflict in Skythunder.
"Time's up." Qin Wentian's detached voice seemed to contain a hint of coldness within. These people hadn't simply forgotten the ancestral edicts. They wanted to kill him.
"You can have the authority token back." The Skythunder Emperor tossed the token back yet Qin Wentian didn't catch it. He took a slight step forward causing a burst of astral light to inundate the area as his silhouette vanished from sight. In the instant he disappeared, a thunderbolt struck down on the area he was standing at an instant ago. It was like a real thunderbolt from the heavens, containing exceedingly tyrannical attack power within. The heat energy contained within that attack was sufficient to roast Qin Wentian to a crisp were he to be struck by it.
As for the Azure Emperor Token, it was already destroyed as the thunderbolt shot out. However to Qin Wentian, the token no longer served any purposes, he had already accomplished the things he needed to do using it. After the remnants of the 'hidden' Azure Faction were gathered, this meant that the first step had come to an end.
The Skythunder Emperor struck out suddenly, he had initially planned to slay the successor before taking care of the traitors. Yet he didn't expect Qin Wentian's reaction to be so swift.
Inclining his head and staring up at Qin Wentian, coldness flickered within his eyes. The sharpness radiated was so intense that it seemed as though he wanted to pierce Qin Wentian's sea of consciousness with a bolt of his thunder. However, Qin Wentian's figure soared higher and higher. Zong Yi appeared behind him as both of them stood in the middle of the air.
"That movement technique earlier...was it Stellar Transposition?" The Skythunder Emperor had a look of astonishment on his face.
As for Zong Yi, he didn't find it strange that Di Tian was able to use it. Qin Wentian beseeched Fairy Qingmei to pay a visit to impart the nine ultimate arts to the White Deer Institute and Zong Clan back then, it wasn't weird for Di Tian who was the representative of Qin Wentian to know the nine ultimate arts.
"Since you have made your choice, there's no longer a need to spare traitors who have turned against the Azure Emperor." An overwhelming pressure gushed forth from the air. As the crowd glanced upwards, they only saw a group of people descending from the skies. Although the number wasn't that great, the aura all of them exuded was extremely powerful.
At the very least, every one of the new arrivals was at the third level of Heavenly Dipper which was more than a match for the strongest experts in the Skythunder Country.
The expressions of those from Skythunder all changed. The successor of the Azure Emperor had already subdued so many powerful characters? Maybe, if the Skythunder Country were united, they might still be able to put up a fight against them. But now that there were besieged by internal conflict, in addition to this external threat, they knew that they had no chance of victory.
"The matters between us, are still our internal clan affairs. Join with me to expel these enemies and I shall forget the matter regarding all of your betrayals today. How about it?" The Skythunder Emperor were still extremely composed at this moment.
Yet, nobody replied to him. Those who pledged allegiance to Qin Wentian knew that an arrow that was fired would never return to the bow. The strength of the allies Qin Wentian brought with him far exceeded their expectations. They would not regret their decisions now, because if they did, it only meant death.
The experts on Qin Wentian's side all landed on the ground, their terrifying aura enveloping this entire region. The crowd only saw that there was an old man clad in extremely tattered clothing, retrieving baggage from his back. After untying the knots, he took out a wooden staff from within and the instant the Skythunder Emperor saw that staff, his countenance paled immediately.
"Staff of punishment." You are a descendent of the Punishment Branch of the Azure Emperor?" The Skythunder Emperor's countenance was now incredibly unsightly, as someone from a hidden Azure Faction, he had naturally heard of some secrets. Back in the era where the Azure Emperor was still alive, the Punishment Branch enjoyed the greatest prestige and authority out of all the other branches. They were the strongest faction supporting the Azure Emperor, and there were times where they invokedeven more terror than the Azure Emperor himself.
Because, they were the one who meted out the punishment, not the Azure Emperor. They punished those that the Azure Emperor didn't want to punish, they killed those that the Azure Emperor didn't want to kill. In the Azure Emperor Palace, their authority was only exceeded by the Azure Emperor himself. Even those of the direct line of descent feared the people from the Punishment Branch.
"Now, the 'hidden' factions will all undergo restructuring and I shall take up the position of the Punisher. Today, the whole lot of you turned traitor and even dared destroy the authority token of the Azure Emperor, your crimes are utterly reprehensible and by the rules, all of you shall be killed without mercy. However, taking into account that thousands of years have passed, I shall give you a chance to save the majority of your clan members."
The punisher spoke in a low voice as a dangerous pressure gushed forth from him. He stared at the Skythunder Emperor as he continued, "You can choose to commit suicide now, or I will exterminate your entire clan using my staff of punishment."
"I wonder if the punisher of this generation is still as powerful as what the legends mentioned." The Skythunder Emperor grimly smiled. He soared into the skies and directly faced the old man. Thunder rolled and lightning flashed, as arcs of electricity blinked around him, exuding a terrifying might.
"Although the Punishment Branch has whittled down to one, I will still uphold this mantle."
The old man of the Punishment Branch serenely stated. Wielding the staff of punishment in his hand, he slowly took a step forward as he smashed forth with a seemingly ordinary-looking staff strike ahead.
However, the countenance of the Skythunder Emperor was extremely complex, he didn't dare to underestimate his enemy at all. Rushing out, an endless number of lightning serpents sprang into being as they self-destructed, caging the old man inside a forcefield of lightning.
The old man was seething in anger. His hair and beard fluttered in the wind as a layer of light enveloped his body. With a strike of his staff, a black hole manifested at the tip, warping space and tearing apart the void, as he escaped the force field cage of lightning. An instant later, the black hole tore through all of Skythunder Emperor's defences and pierced through his chest. As copious amounts of blood flowed out, the arcs of electricity around the emperor faded as he fell from the air, slamming heavily onto the ground.
There was actually a cavity that appeared on the Skythunder Emperor's body! Staring at the old man in the middle of the air, the emperor roared, "FINE, as expected of the punisher, it would be hard to find an opponent able to match you under the Celestial Phenomenon Realm. I will accept your terms."
After speaking, a sorrowful look flashed past his eyes as he slapped his hands onto his forehead, summoning a bolt of thunder to fry his brain. The ruler of a country fell just like this.
He was very clear that there was no more hope for him to survive. Only through his death would his branch members not be massacred. The Punishment Branch was famed for their iron words, if they proposed a term, they would keep to it and vice versa, if they wanted to punished someone, no matter who pleaded for the offender, they would still administer the punishment. Back then, there was a case that the Azure Emperor himself personally stepped in to plead for leniency, but it was useless. This, was the job of the Punishment Branch, this was their authority.
The expressions of the remaining survivors were like dead ashes. That prince as well as that charming young woman beside him had no way to smile any more in this circumstances. Their pale countenance were also warped by a terror blossoming in their hearts.
"Your highness, I don't want to die." That charming young woman looked to the prince with a pleading tone in her voice. Yet, right now, how could the prince have time to listen to her nonsense? As the punisher shifted his gaze onto him, he could feel the impending crisis of death, hovering around him like a spectre.
"I shall follow my father in death. I hope the rest of my branch members would be spared. As for those that surrendered, don't be too harsh on them, after all regardless of what happened...we, still share the same bloodline." The prince decisively spoke as he glanced at those who knelt down earlier. After which, he slammed his palms into the heart of the charming young woman before committing suicide as well.
Making the wrong choice at a crucial moment, the only path remaining is death.
For the rest of the traitors that were directly involved, they too knew that they had no hopes to live today. Although they had an intense desire to survive, they knew what their fates were going to be just by looking at the eyes of the old man. In the end, all of them committed suicide, slumping onto the ground, littering the area with their corpses.
Qin Wentian emotionlessly gazed at the scene unfolding before him. The him now had experienced so many things like this that his heart had already hardened. A general builds his success on ten thousand bones. On the path of the strong, corpses were a common sight, there was nothing surprising.