Han Shuang laughed coldly.
“What, should we all turn a blind eye just because there are those more powerful than us? Taiyuan would be doomed beyond redemption then. No, each of us is responsible for the fate of our world!”
“And you think you can turn the situation around, Sectmistress? The celestial emperor must be in a tight spot. How is he going to stage a return? Are you going to make it happen? If memory serves, some godkings have questioned his deposition in the past. You’re not the first to suggest his return. But what became of them? They’ve all disappeared without a trace. The villain has an obvious stranglehold on Taiyuan and won’t tolerate dissenting voices!” Jiang Chen played devil’s advocate to sound out her intentions.
“Hmph! Are we supposed to stay afraid of them forever? Should we lie down and wait for death? They can hide as deeply as they want, but they’ve got to expose themselves before Taiyuan Plane’s irredeemable plunge into the abyss.”
The more she spoke, the more baffled the young lord became. That sort of drive wouldn’t have been out of place in a godking, but her diatribe seemed a little odd coming from one so young.
Rather than rushing to answer, he took the time to recover his bearings.
Is she trying to pull the wool over my eyes?
But he immediately discarded this possibility. It didn’t hold upon closer examination. She shouldn’t be aware of his identity, for one.
So he took a deep breath and slowly responded, “Sectmistress, you favor Celestial Emperor Taiyuan’s return. Do I follow so far?”
“Yes,” Han Shuang admitted surprisingly fast.
“But don’t you realize how improbable it is? First of all, do you know where he’s imprisoned? Second, is his strength still there? Third, can you save him? Fourth, even if you can, will the godkings offer their unswerving support?”
“Hmph, everyone knows he’s locked in the Divine Prison of Eternity. That’s basic knowledge.
“Second, it’s not so easy to deprive a celestial emperor of his strength. You can seal him, but you can’t kill him outright, because he possesses the creation token and is protected by the universe. Unless the supreme dao takes the symbol back, no godking can kill him!
“Third, freeing him will be difficult, but there are many kindred spirits working toward that goal, even if you’re not aware of them.
“Fourth, it’s obvious everyone would rather have Celestial Emperor Taiyuan back, rather than live in this constant atmosphere of terror and oppression imposed by the mastermind!
“Furthermore, His Majesty surely knows our culprit’s identity and will expose them given the opportunity.”
“Does he now?” Jiang Chen asked, taken aback.
“Of course.” Han Shuang nodded with conviction.
“Then why hasn’t he been silenced yet?” Jiang Chen frowned.
“I already told you. It’s impossible, as long as he’s acknowledged by the supreme dao. Plus, the Divine Prison of Eternity isn’t a place you can enter at will. An assassination attempt would expose the culprit’s identity.”
It was a well-made point the young lord hadn’t thought of.
He stayed silent for a long moment, then looked at the sectmistress. “In that case, what’s the relation between the Heavenly Crimson Lake and his rescue?”
Han Shuang softly said, “You’re finally touching upon the crux of the matter.”
“What do you mean?”
“The Divine Prison of Eternity is its own separate world. It’s formed by the elements of nature and bears the principles of the heavenly planes. To enter, one has to undo a seal. But the celestial emperor’s seal is reportedly jointly managed by seven godkings. A veto from a single one of them makes entry impossible. But there’s a more drastic method. We can destroy the prison’s foundations! Then the celestial emperor will be able to escape!”
“The prison’s foundations?” Jiang Chen repeated, stupefied.
“Correct!” Han Shuang nodded. “The five elements constitute the prison’s origins. As it happens, there are five lesser worlds at the edge of Taiyuan Plane. Crimsonwaters is one of them, and it serves as one of the prison’s foundations.”
“Five lesser worlds?” This revelation shook Jiang Chen. He wasn’t entirely convinced yet, but this didn’t sound like total fabrication.
“Sectmistress, is this pure speculation? Or is there evidence?” A critical difference lay therein.
“Nonsense, of course there is! Elder Zhen Junior, I swear I speak the absolute truth. There’s no need for you to doubt me.” Han Shuang firmly assured.
“Heh, Sectmistress, not that I’m calling you into question, but how did you come to learn this kind of classified information?” He finally voiced his doubts.
Han Shuang replied, “Of course I have my sources. I also have the backing of titled godkings. Don’t ask me who they are, my lips are sealed.”
Shaken, Jiang Chen replied, “Godkings moving behind the scenes? Do you lot know the price of failure?”
“Of course! Just like for the celestial emperor’s other supporters, it’ll be the end of the road for every conspirator, from the godkings down to the small fry.”
“Aren’t you afraid?” Jiang Chen asked somberly.
“We wouldn’t have joined up if we were. Everyone’s aware of the risks involved. Not to mention, we’ll all perish with Taiyuan Plane at this rate. Life won’t be rosy for anyone. We’re not simply fighting for our world, but also for ourselves!”
Her eyes were crystalline clear. Instead of her usual bold and fierce temper, she simply looked ready to die for her cause.
Jiang Chen was moved beyond words. If true, this revelation would be of utmost importance.
“Five lesser words, five origin points. That entails at least five groups on the ground. Too many are involved. The plan will crash and burn at the first mistake from a single one of you,” he said with a sigh.
“You’re right. That’s why we’ve made precise calculations beforehand in order to maximize our chances. We trust in our success, because Taiyuan Plane’s karma isn’t depleted yet. It means Celestial Emperor Taiyuan’s fortunes aren’t over yet!”
Jiang Chen fell silent. He couldn’t help but admire her. Behind the facade of a strong, lively woman, she hid a resolve of steel.
Whether she’d be ultimately crowned with success or not, her audacity in the face of adversity deserved all the admiration in the world.