ally, he managed to gather his thoughts and stammered, “If Your Majesty is kind enough, this…this slave would like to return home.”

Despite being brought to the palace at a young age, his memories of his parents’ faces and expressions were blurry.
And despite having endured the castration that ensured he could never marry or have children, and having only the skills to serve in the palace, he still longed for the warmth of home.

That was a place where he could finally be himself without having to worry about others’ opinions.
He could laugh, curse and express himself freely.

In the past, he would never have dared speak such words.
The Emperor’s unpredictable temper made it hard to discern if this was a test of his servants’ loyalty.

Those who failed to demonstrate loyalty had no place in the palace and were met with dire consequences.

But over time, the Emperor’s temperament softened.
He smiled more often, and no longer executed people without reason.
He even worked to eradicate much of the darkness that had once plagued the palace.

Although sometimes he spoke with a sharp tongue, there was a flicker of hope that gradually took root in his heart.

The prospect of achieving personal success and security through hard work made life in the palace seem less daunting.

But who would have thought that his elder brother, whose face he could hardly recall, would be able to persuade the Emperor to find him?

Li Jinyu remained oblivious to the tumultuous emotions brewing within Ping’an.
So, upon hearing of his decision to return home, he let out a sigh of relief before saying, “Then, let the Regent escort you in your search for Dong Jixiang.”

Ping’an was stunned for a moment, then a joyful expression appeared on his face as he repeatedly kowtowed.
“Many thanks, Your Majesty! Many thanks, Your Majesty!”


………

With just a single glance, Dong Jixiang recognized his younger brother.

The two brothers wept bitterly with their heads in their arms, only to learn that the Emperor had granted permission for Ping’an to leave the palace with Dong Jixiang.
Overwhelmed with gratitude towards Li Jinyu, they vowed to craft exceptional armor for the Emperor.

Armor modification was Dong Jixiang’s greatest obsession, and Li Jinyu already had a prototype for the lightweight armor.
With the support of the Iron and Wood Bureau, they soon produced a modified version.

Huo Caiyu personally tested the armor, and the results were impressive.
It took five or six points of internal energy to break the lightweight armor completely.

With his martial prowess already at its peak, Huo Caiyu was unmatched on the battlefield.
The cavalry of the Kingdom of Jiao paled in comparison to him.

In addition, the production cost of the light armor was minimal, and it could be easily distributed to every soldier!

The key advantage of the lightweight armor was that it weighed and measured much less than the prior heavy armor.
This made it much easier for battle-hardened generals and soldiers to wear as regular attire, without adding to their already considerable fatigue.

Li Jinyu breathed a sigh of relief, having finally fulfilled his obligations to the black cat.
After completing a set of lightweight armor, he handed it over to the cat at the agreed-upon time.

The black cat swaggered in as Prime Minister Ye, snatched up the armor, flipped it over once, and vanished without a trace.

Li Jinyu felt a twinge of envy and asked, “How is it that you seem to know everything?”

Why was there such a big gap between them even though they were both demons?

Prime Minister Ye regarded him with disdain and retorted, “How long have you been a demon? I have been one for far longer than you.”

Feeling a sense of indignation, Li Jinyu replied, “I have already passed the Heavenly Tribulation.”

Li Jinyu knew that passing the Heavenly Tribulation was no small feat, as it was a requirement for becoming a high-level demon according to Heavenly Dao’s teachings.

As soon as he said this, Prime Minister Ye’s expression became a bit complicated.

For a moment, he looked at Li Jinyu as if he wanted to say something.
But ultimately, he held his tongue and diverted the conversation to the topic at hand.
“For now, focus on being the Emperor, then cultivate well later until we dry up Huo Caiyu.”

Li Jinyu was shocked that the black cat was still determined to fight with Huo Caiyu.
He hesitated for a moment before saying, “You know, you can still enjoy wealth and glory even if you don’t get rid of him.”

After a few recent encounters with the black cat, Li Jinyu sensed a decrease in the feline’s hostility toward him.
He couldn’t help but offer advice to his fellow demon and transmigrator.


“If you resign now, I can reward you with many good things.”

Li Jinyu believed that since he could easily solve the issue with the Prime Minister’s faction, Huo Caiyu probably wouldn’t object.

Prime Minister Ye’s expression twisted into one of contempt.
“Ha, it seems he’s played you for a fool.”

Perplexed, Li Jinyu asked, “What do you mean?”

“Humans aren’t to be trusted.
Right now, he finds you cute with your fluffy fur, but once you fall ill, age, or shed, his affections will transfer to other new pets.”

Prime Minister Ye sneered, pointing to Dumpling, who was happily munching on peanuts in his cage beside them.
“See him? Huo Caiyu is already raising a second hamster.
Who knows how many more he’ll acquire in the future? When that happens, you’ll either be tossed aside or forced to compete with a swarm of hamsters for his attention.
Can you handle that?”

Dumpling looked up at them for a moment, then resumed stuffing peanuts in his mouth as if nothing had happened.

Li Jinyu couldn’t help but shudder at the thought of being in that situation.
“I don’t want that.”

He definitely didn’t want to compete with other hamsters for attention!

“The only ones we demons can truly rely on are ourselves,” Prime Minister Ye said, closing the distance between them.
His eyes glimmered with a strange, green light.
“Why are you still following him? You should follow me instead.”

Li Jinyu was caught off guard and couldn’t help but think to himself: Following Huo Caiyu is like being kept as a pet, but following you is like being kept as a food!

But he quickly reacted, “Wait, Huo Caiyu is not my owner!”

Had the black cat misunderstood something?

Prime Minister Ye sneered arrogantly, “Based on how much Huo Caiyu dotes on you, isn’t he practically your owner? Or could it be that he’s your sweetheart?”

Li Jinyu: “…”

For some reason, he subconsciously didn’t want to continue this topic and forcefully changed the subject, “Aren’t you a wild demon? How do you know so much about humans?”

As if struck by a nerve, Prime Minister Ye’s face turned sour.
“You talk too much.
I’m done here.”

He stood up abruptly, his sleeve swishing with his movement as he started to walk away.

Just as he was about to leave, Prime Minister Ye paused and looked back, his tone serious.
“Seeing that you’re preparing light armors, I must warn you that my dear niece still has her sights on you.
Be on your guard.”

With that, Prime Minister Ye disappeared, leaving Li Jinyu alone with his thoughts.
Was the black cat hurt by humans before? That could explain his strong reactions.

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