EIF - Book 05 Chapter 020: Ao Shun’s Return
Venerable Liu Nian, Mo Yike, and Bing Ji had left for Heavenly Court City first. Gu Hai had remained in Silver Moon City for two more days with Mu Chenfeng. Now, he boarded a flying ship and headed to Heavenly Court City, guided by Mu Chenfeng and a group of Wood Division disciples.
In a huge plaza in the thirty-three layers of heaven:
Many soldiers stood around the plaza, and many huge dragons circled in the sky. This place was where Heavenly Court City’s dragons were stationed—Dragon Star Palace.
No one was permitted to enter Dragon Star Palace casually. Even Qian Nation officials could not approach without any orders. The dragons enjoyed boundless prestige. As the Qian Nation’s national beast, they looked down at the world proudly.
At this moment, a white-clad man stood quietly a distance from Dragon Star Palace’s plaza, looking at the majestic palace buildings.
This man was none other than Ao Shun, the former crown prince previously trapped in the Han Royal Dynasty.
“Dragon Star Palace? Hah! I have returned,” Ao Shun said with a faint smile.
“Halt!” Many soldiers suddenly blocked Ao Shun’s path.
“Who are you? How dare you barge into Dragon Star Palace?!” an officer shouted furiously while glaring.
“Oh? Look at his forehead; there is a sin mark. He is a sin dragon,” another officer said in shock.
“Sin dragon, how bold of you! To think that you dare to abandon your post and return to Heavenly Court City? Are you tired of living? Quickly, inform the dragons!” the soldiers said while glaring.
“Hey? Isn’t this His Highness the Crown Prince?” Suddenly, a lofty voice rang out.
An armored man flew over.
“Commander Chen, this sin dragon is trying to barge into Dragon Star Palace, so…,” the soldiers called out.
Commander Chen smiled and said, “This is the dragon race’s crown prince. Don’t you recognize him?”
“Ah?” The expressions of the soldiers changed.
“Isn’t the crown prince of the dragon race Crown Prince Ao Sheng? How…” The soldiers looked at Ao Shun in shock.
“Indeed, it is Crown Prince Ao Sheng. However, the one before you is the previous crown prince. Unfortunately, his crown prince position was snatched away, and he became a sin dragon. Am I right, Crown Prince Ao Shun?” Commander Chen said with a cold smile.
If it were in the past, Ao Shun would have been enraged already. However, remaining in the Han Royal Dynasty for a few years had cultivated his temper. He merely smiled without taking these words to heart.
“You recognize me?” Ao Shun said with a smile.
“How can I not recognize you? Oh, that’s right. Crown Prince Ao Shun probably does not recognize me. To you, I was just an unremarkable ant. I recall that when Crown Prince Ao Shun led the dragons west to subjugate an animal spirit race, your shoes got dirty, and you stepped on my head to wipe the mud off. Hahahaha! Now? I am now the commander of Dragon Star Palace’s guards. What about you? A sin dragon, a criminal. You even followed Duke Lu Yang in his betrayal. Haha! To think that you dare to return?” Commander Chen sneered.
Ao Shun smiled faintly. “Go inform my younger brother. Tell him that I’ve returned.”
“Hahahaha! Inform Crown Prince Ao Sheng? Who do you think you are? Do you think you can meet just anyone you want? You are a sin dragon, the shame of the dragons. I heard that you stupidly led dragons to the Thousand Islands Sea to die and even got tricked into sealing your own cultivation? Hahahaha! Do you know that you have completely embarrassed the dragon race? You can’t even meet with one of the dragon race, yet you want to meet the crown prince? That’s right. This used to be your residence in the past. However, it is now Crown Prince Ao Sheng’s,” Commander Chen sneered.
“The shame of the dragon’s race. Hah! Perhaps. Alright. Go and make the report.” Ao Shun did not feel humiliated by the criticism. He just smiled faintly and repeated himself.
More people started to gather around Ao Shun. Suddenly, a huge dragon circling the sky noticed the crowd and immediately flew over.
“What’s going on?” that huge dragon demanded coldly.
Commander Chen turned his head and replied, “Lin Shizi, this is the sin dragon Ao Shun. He disobeyed the edict and came to Heavenly Court City. He even said he wanted to meet the crown prince. I am currently lecturing him!”
“Sin dragon Ao Shun?” That huge dragon felt slightly startled. Then, it looked at the white-clad man in the center of the crowd.
When Lin Shizi recognized Ao Shun, its expression suddenly changed.
“Crown Prince! Crown Prince! You are back!” Lin Shizi said excitedly.
Ao Shun smiled faintly and nodded.
“Lin Shizi, he is a sin dragon! A sin dragon! Many dragons died because of him. For coming to the capital without summons, he should be imprisoned!” Commander Chen’s heart skipped a beat.
“Screw you!” Lin Shizi immediately scolded.
Commander Chen’s expression changed.
“Father! Uncle Gen! The crown prince is back! Crown Prince Ao Shun is back!” Lin Shizi turned his head and roared towards Dragon Star Palace.
It seemed like all the dragons around Dragon Star Palace roared and soared into the sky.
“Little Lin, what did you say?”
“Little Lin, if you dare to trick me, I will beat you to death!”
“Crown Prince Ao Shun returned?! Is that true?!”
The dragons around Dragon Star Palace were abuzz with excitement. They all soared into the sky and flew towards Ao Shun.
Commander Chen’s expression changed. “How can this be? He… Isn’t he the shame of the dragon race?”
In Dragon Star Palace:
At this moment, Crown Prince Ao Shen was sitting behind a desk, holding a brush, as he dealt with some of the dragon race’s administration.
“Your Highness, you work so diligently and are very attentive. Now, the dragon race already has confidence in you!” a subordinate beside him said, smiling.
“Perhaps. However, the dragon race’s yearning for my elder brother is too strong,” Crown Prince Ao Sheng said with a bitter smile.
“No. Ao Shun? That traitor to the dragon race? By allying with Duke Lu Yang, he had aggravated his crimes. Then, there is that event at Nine-Five Island, where he greatly embarrassed the dragon race. All the dragons probably don’t care about him anymore. Now, they only acknowledge you as the dragon race’s crown prince. You definitely have surpassed him already. Don’t you see it? Every time you return, half the dragons come to welcome you. Sometimes, one or two elders show up. This is the dragon race’s recognition for you. They acknowledge you even more as time passes,” that subordinate said, still smiling.
A subordinate on the other side smiled and said, “Indeed. Crown Prince, this old servant recalls that when you first became the crown prince, practically no dragon came to welcome you when you returned. Now, more dragons are acknowledging Crown Prince’s diligence. Half of them now come and welcome you. Even Ao Shun might not have enjoyed such treatment back then.”
As the subordinates fawned over Ao Sheng, he showed a faint, cocky smile. Although he did not say anything, he enjoyed this in his heart.
Just at this moment, a shout came from outside the palace hall. “Father! Uncle Gen! The crown prince is back! Crown Prince Ao Shun is back!”
Lin Shizi’s shout caused Ao Sheng’s hand to pause and his face to sink.
“Roar! Roar! Roar! Roar!”
Thunderous roars rang out as many huge dragons soared into the sky.
“Where? Where is Crown Prince Ao Shun?”
“Little Lin, if you dare to trick me, I will beat you to death!”
Excited voices rang out all over the palace buildings as many dragons flew into the distance.
In Ao Sheng’s study, the expressions of his subordinates changed.
“Ah? That’s Elder Gen’s voice. Isn’t Elder Gen in closed-door cultivation? He never comes out midway through his closed-door cultivation unless it’s the prime arriving. Why…?”
“Is that Elder Lin’s voice? Didn’t he betray Ao Shun in the Thousand Islands Sea previously? Why does he sound so excited?”
“Are they all crazy? This… Nearly all the dragons went out. How is this possible?”
Anxious and excited cries resounded outside the palace hall. When Crown Prince Ao Sheng’s subordinates heard the commotion, they lowered their heads, not daring to speak.
They had just said that when Crown Prince Ao Sheng returned, half the dragons would go and welcome him back. Now, when Ao Shun returned, nearly all the dragons went to welcome him?
Isn’t he the shame of the dragon race?
Why do those dragons support Ao Shun so much?
A crisp sound came from the brush in Ao Sheng’s hand. He had inadvertently broken the brush while showing a sullen expression.
Commander Chen gaped at the dragons arriving.
Even when Crown Prince Ao Sheng returns, many of these dragons do not come to welcome him. Yet, they all came out so excitedly when they heard that Ao Shun returned?
Their expressions? How could it be like this?
Isn’t Ao Shun the shame of the dragon race? He is a sin dragon, no longer the dragon crown prince. Why do you all still support him so much?
Lin Shizi had already taken human form and hurried over to Ao Shun.
“Crown Prince, you finally returned. I have been waiting for you!” Lin Shizi said excitedly.
Ao Shun smiled bitterly and said, “I am no longer the crown prince. Just address me as Elder Brother Shun.”
“No. In my heart, you will always be the crown prince. Forever the crown prince!” Lin Shizi said, nearly incoherent with excitement.
“Crown Prince! Crown Prince, you returned!”
“Crown Prince! I’m Little Dong!”
The dragons took human form and rushed over excitedly.
The soldiers who blocked Ao Shun earlier immediately shrank back, quickly leaving with ashen complexions.
Besides the dragons of the younger generations, there were also the dragon race’s elders.
In particular, there were Uncle Gen, Uncle Lin, and the others who had appeared on Nine-Five Island. All of these elders looked at the white-clad Ao Shun.
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“Why do I feel that the crown prince has undergone a transformation.”
“Me too. It’s like Crown Prince Ao Shun has metamorphosed.”
The elders smiled as they flew over. However, the younger-generation dragons had already surrounded Ao Shun, so they did not push their way forward.
“Crown Prince, why are you not coming in? Let’s go. Let’s go in. We have kept your place as is. No one dares to touch it; it is just waiting for you to return!”
“Indeed. Crown Prince, let’s go. Let’s go in!”
The dragons showed their support for Ao Shun.
Ao Shun smiled faintly and nodded. Just as he was about to enter the plaza with everyone, he suddenly smiled. “My shoes seemed to be dirty again.”
“Huh?” This slightly startled the dragons.
However, Ao Shun looked at the earlier Commander Chen.
Lin Shizi immediately turned enraged. “You bastard, are you seeking death? How dare you make things difficult for His Highness the Crown Prince?”
Although Lin Shizi did not know what happened, he roughly guessed it, so he glared at Commander Chen in anger.
“You are seeking death!”
The dragons glared at that Commander Chen.
“This insignificant one knows his mistake. This insignificant one knows his mistake now. Crown Prince, I…I’ll be your stool.” Commander Chen crawled over in horror with his head lowered, wanting to let Ao Shun step on his head so that Ao Shun could wipe the mud off the shoes.
Ao Shun looked at the trembling Commander Chen kneeling before him. However, he did not step on Commander Chen. He only smiled and said, “Never mind. I will not step on you this time. This is just a reminder. It is not the place for an outsider like you to interfere in the affairs of the dragon race.”
“Yes, yes, yes!” Commander Chen kept his head down in fear.
“Let’s go.” Ao Shun smiled as he walked into Dragon Star Palace’s plaza with the other dragons.
“Humph!” the dragons snorted coldly at Commander Chen.
The younger-generation dragons followed Ao Shun’s instructions, but the dragon race elders exchanged looks.
“Ao Shun lost his previous arrogance?”
“No, that’s not right. I sense that Ao Shun’s arrogance is even sharper than before.”
The elders marveled at how Ao Shun dealt with the earlier matter. He was still arrogant, just not as rash as before.
After the dragons left, Commander Chen continued trembling on his knees for a while before recovering.
At this moment, another commander came over. “Brother Chen, are you crazy? To think that you dared to look for trouble with Crown Prince Ao Shun. If he had his previous temper, you would have died long ago!”
Commander Chen showed a bitter expression as he said, “I… How could I have expected that? Isn’t he the shame of the dragon race?”
“Shame, my ass! What do you know? Are you aware of Crown Prince Ao Shun’s past? He is the pride of the dragon race. Open your eyes and look carefully next time. Don’t go rushing to your death and implicate us,” that commander said coldly.
Commander Chen’s expression congealed.
Inside Dragon Star Palace:
“Let’s go. We’ll welcome my elder brother!” Crown Prince Ao Sheng said after a deep breath.
The gates to Dragon Star Palace opened. When Ao Sheng stepped out of Dragon Star Palace, he saw nearly all the dragons warmly welcoming Ao Shun back.
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