On the third day of his return, a servant came in and reported: “Your Majesty, Qin Jianyao of Calm Lotus is waiting for her punishment outside.”
“A bit interesting.” Li Qiye smiled, not surprised in the slightest.
A group of people kneeled outside the palace. Some had gray hair, clearly ancestor-level characters. A few were Eternals as well. None dared to breathe loudly.
Those who cared enough to take a careful look would notice that they were all from Calm Lotus Monastery.
The one kneeling up front was the beautiful Qin Jianyao. She quietly prostrated with her head lowered.
Calm Lotus was one of the five great powers, perhaps the strongest among them. It had two secret words, allowing it to be evenly matched against War Saint Dynasty for a long period of time.
These ancestors were all famous, successfully deterring the world before. Alas, all they could do now was wait for punishment from the new king.
The spectators didn’t dare to say anything and could only watch in silence.
After what seems like an eternity, someone shouted: “His Majesty is here.”
The crowd glanced over and saw Li Qiye slowly walking closer. Although he wore a regular robe instead of a dragon one, he still looked as supreme as ever.
“Your Majesty.” Everyone got on their knees.
“Your Majesty.” Qin Jianyao bowed her head; the ancestors did the same thing, not daring to look up.
Li Qiye looked at her and said insipidly: “Little girl, you moved quite fast.”
“Your Majesty, I am here to plead guilty.” She remained composed yet respectful, devoid of fear and anxiety.
“Mmm.” Li Qiye simply nodded in response.
“Our Calm Lotus Monastery failed to see the flow of things and betrayed you, Your Majesty. Rebellion is a great sin.” Jianyao said: “I know that we can’t escape the inevitable punishment so today, the ancestors and I are here to face the consequences.”
The ancestors remained still, awaiting his decision.
They were all prideful, especially the experienced Eternals. They weren’t afraid of death and could face it without any problem.
However, they couldn’t watch their sect being destroyed. A while, their supreme ancestor wanted the immortal rope and had earned their support.
Today, the king would definitely destroy their sect. They didn’t wish to become sinners - the reason for the end of their sect. How could they face their ancestors and sages in the afterlife? That’s why they were here today with Qin Jianyao, ready to accept their fate.
“I see the sincerity. Unfortunately, death is warranted.” Li Qiye said.
“We understand.” She didn’t become afraid: “The elders and I are ready for death, hoping that our lives will wash away our great crimes. Please show mercy and spare the youths in our sect. They are only normal cultivators who didn’t get involved in the decision-making process. We are the only ones at fault, the ones deserving death.” She said.
She had tried to convince the ancestors to not oppose Li Qiye, but the supreme ancestor and fellow elders didn’t listen to her. She was even imprisoned for disobedience.
However, in this crucial moment, she still took responsibility and gathered the ancestors here in order to trade their lives for the wellbeing of Calm Lotus.
She knew that it was only a matter of time before Li Qiye attacks their sect. The only thing she could do was try and find a way to save the young disciples even if it meant throwing her life away.
“Spare their lives, huh?” Li Qiye didn’t seem to be moved.
“Yes, please show mercy, Your Majesty.” Jianyao continued: “We are willing to give up our territories and treasuries as well so that our disciples can be spared. They are weak like ants and won’t stand in the way of your conquest at all.”
Everyone held their breath. Giving up all of these things meant that Calm Lotus would cease to exist.
One of the strongest lineages in Nine Secrets was going to disappear in this manner? This result made people take a deep breath.
Alas, they knew that there was no other choice. Jianyao picked the wisest course to earn the king’s forgiveness.
At the very least, the young ones would be able to escape this disaster. Their sect would continue on with this branch.
Stubbornly resisting would only incite the king’s fury. Blood would flow like the rivers then. All of Calm Lotus would turn to ashes and all of their disciples would be killed. Their sect would lose their legacy from then on.
“The offenders will obviously die, but the innocent shall be pardoned.” Li Qiye smiled and said: You haven’t disobeyed me, so no punishment.”
“...” The calm Jianyao finally became surprised.
“Yes, you have your flaws but are still smart enough to see the grand scheme of things.” Li Qiye waved his sleeve: “No punishment for you, but the rest of the ancestors shall pay. Calm Lotus Monastery will be made an example as well.”
Jianyao came prepared for death in order to save the young ones, not expecting to be spared by Li Qiye at the last second.
“I am willing to die as an atonement for my sect’s mistake.” Jianyao bowed her head with sincerity.
Li Qiye dismissed her comment: “No crime, no death. As for the rest of you, there’s no avoiding this. End yourselves.”
Jianyao didn’t know what to say and could only look back at the kneeling ancestors.
Among them were her seniors, even her master. They watched her grew up and treated her like family. Today, they were going to the Yellow River one step ahead of her.
“Child, we count on you to take care of Calm Lotus in the future.” One ancestor nodded seriously at Jianyao and said: “We are paying for our crime now, take care.”
He groaned afterward as blood dripped down the corner of his lips; his body fell straight to the ground.
After seeing the first to go, the other ancestors took action and killed themselves by severing their veins and destroying their true fate. One corpse fell after another until no one was left but Jianyao.
These beings used to be the strongest masters in Nine Secrets. All of them chose to die today in order to save their sect.
This was already the best outcome for Calm Lotus. Their youths managed to survive, and Qin Jianyao was the most important member. There was still hope yet.
Her eyes glistened with tears but she didn’t vocally cry.
“Go, I won’t destroy your sect but other punishments will be carried out.” Li Qiye said.
“Thank you, Your Majesty.” She kowtowed again before gathering the corpses of her ancestors.
“Ill Lord.” Li Qiye said.
“Young Noble, do you have an order for me?” Ill Lord appeared and bowed before Li Qiye.
“Go with Golden Dragon and the others to sweep through, hmm, the five legions and Myriad Formation Kingdom or whatever. I almost forgot about this.” Li Qiye ordered.
“Affirmative.” The other four masters stood behind Ill Lord and shouted in unison.
The spectators outside the palace gasped, realizing that carnage was about to ensue in Nine Secrets.