Wuming said, “Your Highness, I will clear the way.”

Xie Lian, however, replied, “No need. I will do it myself.”

With those words, he leaped down, as if a white flower blown by the wind, silently landing before the palace.

Just as he was about to push open the doors, the sound of a baby’s cry floated out from inside the palace.

Lang Ying had no concubines, and his son had long since died. So, where did the baby come from inside the palace?

Xie Lian paid no attention to it. Even if there was a baby inside, even if it concealed a thousand soldiers and horses, he had no fear. He lifted his foot and kicked open the doors of the palace!

Strangely, there was only one person inside the grand hall, no one else, and certainly no baby. Upon seeing the person clearly, that person looked up and said, “You’ve come? I’ve been looking for you.”

The person inside the hall was none other than Lang Ying.

Although he held the esteemed position of ruler, he was not adorned in luxurious attire. He sat expressionlessly on a throne. Xie Lian was momentarily surprised by his reaction. But then he understood—wearing a mask and dressed in mourning attire, Lang Ying mistook him for Bai Wuxiang.

This palace also had protective formations. As Xie Lian stepped inside, he could clearly sense something hindering his progress. However, with a little force from his feet, he stepped onto the palace floor, and the sound of something being crushed echoed in the air.

The cold winter and darkness from outside flooded in, filling Xie Lian’s sleeves with a gust of wind. He spoke with a cold smirk, “What do you want with me?”

Upon hearing his voice, Lang Ying’s expression changed slightly, and he said, “Is it you?”

Xie Lian approached him slowly, each step of his snow-white boots landing on the cold stone floor. He said, “It’s me.”

Lang Ying, a reckless man who led his troops to destroy Xian Yue, possessed the aura of an emperor, making it difficult for ordinary malevolent spirits to approach him. But at this moment, Xie Lian had brought thousands of fallen spirits of war!

He refused to believe that with such a vast number of vengeful spirits, their grievances so intense, he couldn’t do anything to Lang Ying. Sure enough, the vengeful spirits were restless, eager to break free and possess the fresh flesh and blood of their enemies. The restless sound was audible to anyone, yet Lang Ying remained unfazed. He asked, “Are you here to kill me?”

Xie Lian did not answer. The next moment, he flashed in front of Lang Ying, grabbing him by the hair and forcing him down to the ground.

Success!

Underneath his mournful expression, a faint smile appeared on Xie Lian’s lips. Just as he expected! He could defeat Lang Ying!

Previously, as a divine official, he was bound by his identity, unable to do anything to this person blessed with imperial fortune. But after discarding his divine official status, he finally had the power to defeat Lang Ying. Xie Lian’s heart pounded with excitement. Just as he was about to take the next step, his expression suddenly changed. “What’s that sound?”

Yiyi, wuwu, he heard that faint cry of a baby again. However, there was clearly no baby in the grand hall!

Upon closer inspection, something was not right. The cry was coming from Lang Ying’s mouth!

More accurately, it was coming from within Lang Ying’s body. Xie Lian forcefully tore open his clothes, and his eyes widened in shock. He stood up abruptly. “What is this?!”

Lang Ying slowly sat up, saying, “Don’t be afraid.”

He wasn’t speaking to Xie Lian but to the things on his body.

On Lang Ying’s chest, there were two faces growing—a pair of faces that were nearly the same size as real human faces but protruded as massive tumors. The larger one had a beautiful appearance, resembling a woman, while the smaller one was wrinkled like a baby. The intermittent cries came from the mouth of this “baby.”

The Face Plague!

Xie Lian exclaimed, “How do you have the Face Plague?!”

But Lang Ying said, “This is not the Face Plague.”

Xie Lian asked, “If this isn’t the Face Plague, then what is it?”

Lang Ying replied, “These are my wife and son. It’s not what you think.”

As he spoke softly, Lang Ying gently caressed the two faces on his body, as if a husband and father were comforting his wife and child. Yet, those two faces either couldn’t open their eyes or could only cry with their mouths open, resembling humans but not quite.

Suddenly, Lang Ying looked up and said, “Where is Bai Wuxiang? He said that if he said this, my wife would come back. But it’s been so long, why can’t she speak? What’s going on? Quickly, tell him to come find me!”

Upon hearing this, Xie Lian understood and said, “You allowed Bai Wuxiang to nurture the vengeful spirits of your wife and son inside you?”

So that’s how it was. The protective formations throughout the palace were not to prevent external entities from entering, but to prevent what was hidden inside from escaping! Lang Ying, now the ruler, secretly nourished those two vengeful spirits with his own flesh and blood!

Xie Lian had intended to seek revenge on him, but he didn’t need to do anything. Lang Ying had already inflicted the Face Plague upon himself. Those two plague-ridden faces had been growing on him for quite some time, even sprouting small hands and feet, which hung down awkwardly, deformed and horrifying. Moreover, they had already drained the nutrients from their host. Lang Ying’s ribs protruded unusually, his abdomen had sunken, his complexion turned waxen, and he looked as if he had only a few days left to live. He appeared nothing like the brave and fierce warrior he once was on the battlefield.

It seemed that despite his victory in battle and becoming the ruler, Lang Ying’s life was not going well. Xie Lian felt no sense of satisfaction. He grabbed Lang Ying and angrily asked, “What’s this nonsense?!”

He hadn’t even had a chance to take revenge on his enemy, and now his enemy was dying on his own! What was this? What should he do?!

With that grab, something fell from Lang Ying’s body, gleaming with a red light as it bounced away. Lang Ying held onto Xie Lian’s hand, as if even that simple action was difficult for him. He gasped, “The beads… that coral bead.”

Xie Lian turned to look, and rolling on the ground was the red coral bead he had given Lang Ying. Lang Ying said, “I wanted to tell you, thank you for the bead.”

Hearing those words, Xie Lian was taken aback. He didn’t expect Lang Ying to suddenly say this, and it felt like something stirred within him, only to be forcefully suppressed. He said, “You…!”

Lang Ying whispered, “You should have given it to me earlier. Unfortunately…”

Before he could finish his sentence, Lang Ying’s body suddenly grew heavy in Xie Lian’s grasp, and he fell to the ground, his eyes still open.

Before Xie Lian could react, Wuming said, “Your Highness, he’s dead.”

“…”

Xie Lian said, “Dead?”

He looked down, and Lang Ying’s pupils had started to dilate. He was truly dead.

Xie Lian murmured, “How did he die like this?”

He hadn’t done anything to Lang Ying, so how did he die?

Moreover, he seemed quite content with his death. He had achieved revenge on Xian Yue, carried his loved ones with him, and was ready to reunite with them in the Underworld. He had suffered enough in this world, and death was a form of release, an end to it all. On the other hand, Xie Lian now had no target for revenge!

The pent-up frustration and resentment finally turned into a single feeling—hatred, intense hatred! It was truly infuriating!

As Lang Ying fell motionless, the two Face Plague faces on his chest seemed to sense that their host had died. They suddenly began crying in unison, wailing and shrieking, piercing to the extreme, even more unbearable than the sound of fingernails scratching against metal. Xie Lian was on the verge of madness. He drew the black sword, intending to silence them with a single strike, but the black-clad warrior “clang” unsheathed his sword. The blade flashed, and Lang Ying’s body was instantly severed into several, then dozens, then hundreds of pieces… flesh and blood scattered. Xie Lian was about to act, but the warrior preempted him, coldly saying, “Who allowed you to do that?”

Wuming said, “There’s no need for Your Highness to dirty your hands.”

Just then, urgent footsteps were heard outside the door, and a young voice shouted, “Uncle!”

Who was it? Xie Lian turned his head and saw the palace door wide open, with a young teenager standing at the entrance, looking in their direction. He had a smile on his face initially, but as soon as he stepped inside and saw the scattered body parts on the ground, he froze. Xie Lian indifferently asked, “Who are you?”

The teenager said, “I…” His gaze shifted, and he saw the dismembered body parts on the ground, exclaiming in shock, “Uncle!”

At this moment, another voice came from outside, saying, “Crown Prince! Don’t run around! The ruler said you can’t wander around the palace in the middle of the night! Don’t make it difficult for me…!”

The Crown Prince?

Lang Ying’s son was already dead, and this teenager called Lang Ying “uncle.” He must be the Crown Prince appointed by Lang Ying, the Crown Prince of Yong’an!

The young Crown Prince also realized what had happened and exclaimed in terror, “Ghosts! There are ghosts! He—-” Before he could finish speaking, the black-clad warrior struck his neck, and the Crown Prince of Yong’an fainted into a pool of blood. However, the cry had already spread outside, causing a commotion. “What? Did you hear that?” “Guards! Guards!”

Xie Lian shifted his gaze, and the black-clad warrior nodded slightly, indicating that he would handle it. He swiftly left the hall. In an instant, the commotion outside was abruptly silenced. Stepping out of the hall, Xie Lian saw numerous guards lying on the ground, lifeless, while the black-clad warrior stood in the midst of them, his slender blade dripping with blood—eliminating them all with a single stroke. In the distance, a new commotion arose as another group of guards arrived, shouting, “Protect the ruler!” “Protect the Crown Prince!”

Xie Lian turned away apathetically. As expected, in less than a moment, the voices outside were severed as if by a blade, completely silenced. Then, the black-clad warrior silently caught up with him.

Xie Lian glanced sideways and said, “The palace… burn it.”

Wuming nodded in agreement.

The raging flames burned brightly, casting two tall and dark silhouettes in front of the inferno. The shadows on the ground twisted, distorted, and elongated.

The commotion had caused all the palace residents of Yong’an Palace to wake up. Their shouts, curses, and cries filled the air, reminiscent of the scene when Xian Yue Palace was engulfed in flames.

The black-clad warrior said, “Your Highness, what do you plan to do next?”

The white-robed figure replied icily, “Go to Lang Er Bay.”

Before the destruction of Xian Yue, Xie Lian had visited Lang Er Bay countless times. Every time he went, it was to bring rain and save lives, leaving him physically and mentally exhausted, his steps heavy. This time, however, he came for a completely opposite purpose, and he felt light-hearted.

After enduring the drought and receiving strong support from the newly appointed ruler, Lang Er Bay had already regained its vitality. The streets and alleys were filled with joy, and people walked with excitement. It was a far cry from the desolation of a few years ago. Only one place remained desolate—the Crown Prince’s Palace.

No one would come to the dilapidated Crown Prince’s Palace, so Xie Lian chose it as his dwelling place. At this moment, he was meditating inside the palace.

These resentful spirits should have quickly found their host, the target of their curse. However, because Lang Ying was already dead, they were still struggling, relentlessly crying and screaming at Xie Lian. With his eyes closed, he waved them away as if swatting flies. He furrowed his brows and said, “Wait, don’t rush. I will release all of you.”

Just then, a voice called out, “Your Highness.”

Xie Lian opened his eyes and saw the black-clad warrior kneeling before him with one knee on the ground.