“Thunderous Qian Hall?” Li Yao’s eyes narrowed. The Thunderous Qian Hall was the super sect that had established the Great Qian Dynasty a thousand years ago and the current royal family of the Great Qian Dynasty.
Theoretically speaking, it was indeed the ‘greatest sect in the world’, but few people really considered the royal family as a sect.
“Elder Spiritual Vulture, you must understand that two tigers cannot live in harmony on one mountain. If you were the leader of the ‘greatest sect in the world’, how would you view an ambitious force that is more or less capable of replacing you?”
Li Yao’s facial muscles were twisting, as he replied coldly, “An eyesore, of course!”
“Exactly. Therefore, the ‘greatest sect in the sword’ is certainly not a position worth bragging about. On the contrary, it is a death sentence for anyone who bears it!”
After pondering for a moment, Dan Fengzi said, “When the late emperor was on the throne, to balance the sects in the world and especially to deal with the Grand Mystery Sect, the largest sect in the world, he supported the Purple Pole Sword Sect through Wang Xi, allowing the Purple Pole Sword Sect to quickly expand. His purpose was to raise an ‘enemy’ for the Grand Mystery Sect so that the royal family could take advantage while we are fighting!
“Although the Purple Pole Sword Sect understood the late emperor and Wang Xi’s aims, many issues were actually not up to us. The fact that the late emperor was willing to make use of us proved that we were at least worthy of being used. So, we might take the chance and have a go!
“It was a pity that the Grand Mystery Sect was still too deeply rooted. Thousands of years of heritage and accumulation cannot be shaken overnight. When the late emperor passed away and Wang Xi fled in panic, there was still a gap between us and the Grand Mystery Sect. We failed to develop to a point where nobody else dared mess with us.
“But at that time, we were already showing our power to the full extent!”
At that point, Li Yao interjected. “But I’m told that the new emperor is different from the old emperor. He has already conceded to the Cultivators. Otherwise, Wang Xi’s forces wouldn’t have collapsed so quickly!”
“Just because the new emperor wants Wang Xi dead doesn’t mean he will lower his head to the Cultivators.” Dan Fengzi chuckled. “Killing Wang Xi was perhaps just a move he played to ease the major sect’s alert when he was new to power and did not have much support. Or, maybe it was because he was not able to trust the late emperor’s subordinates and wanted to raise his own ‘Wang Xi’!
“All in all, according to the intelligence I’ve collected from various sources, Emperor Phoenix is certainly not someone to be underestimated. He might be a man ten times more dreadful than Wang Xi!”
According to the tradition of the Ancient Sages Emperor, after an emperor passed away, he would be designated with a special posthumous title. When the emperor was still alive, he would be addressed under the year name. Right now, it was ‘year two of the phoenix’. So, the incumbent emperor was called ‘Emperor Phoenix’.
In the world of ancient Cultivators, strength was power. For many Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, the so-called emperor was merely a butler who organized the resources in the world on behalf of them. They did not have much reverence.
Dan Fengzi and Li Yao were both in the Nascent Soul Stage. It was not unusual for them to not address the emperor in a more respectful way.
“This year is year two of the phoenix, but ‘phoenix’ is not in the collection of names that our ancestors made. It is an unorthodox name. The year name should’ve been ‘light martial’,” Dan Fengzi said. “The year name was proposed by the new emperor himself, meaning that ‘the phoenix will be reborn from the fire’. It is the first sign of his ambitions!
“Many ministers object to the year name, but the new emperor insists on it. The debate remains unabated in the court even to this day. It is quite a fuss. Many ministers are trying to fix the orthodox year name. The issue has been called ‘Debate of Decorum’ by many people!
“In fact, it doesn’t really matter at all what exactly the year name is. This is just a way for ‘Emperor Phoenix’ to show his power. It is evident enough that he will never be content with hiding in Divine Capital and being a carefree emperor. He definitely wants to achieve something!
“When a new local official comes to the office, they have to adopt certain extreme policies to intimidate the local magnates. Emperor Phoenix is new to the throne. This is exactly when he is whetting his saber, looking for a target to demonstrate his power!
“The Purple Pole Sword Sect is deeply connected to Wang Xi and the late emperor in the first place. In recent years, we have been too heated, too. That’s why we are involved in the case of the eunuch’s conspirator. The Dragon Spring Meeting three months ago seemed to be an occasion where the other sects threatened the Hundred Blade Mountain, but was Emperor Phoenix really not behind it?
“In our own headquarters, we would not be scared even if the Grand Mystery Sect came together with the other four major sects, but if the ‘Thunderous Qian Hall’, the real greatest sect in the world, was also behind everything, it would be something that the Purple Pole Sword Sect couldn’t resist alone!
“That is why I wanted Junior Brother Yan to lose the battle. It was partly meant to show our weakness, and partly to transmit some of the interests to the Grand Mystery Sect with the opportunity. It would be better if we reached a real alliance with the Grand Mystery Sect so that we could cope with Emperor Phoenix’s possible moves later!
“However, we did not expect that Master Spiritual Vulture would suddenly show up, leading to unanticipated changes in the situation. It was truly…”
Li Yao coughed in embarrassment. He did not know that there were so many backstories to the Dragon Spring Meeting, which made him look rather naïve.
With a conflicted expression, Dan Fengzi said, “The Purple Pole Sword Sect boasts the Hundred Blade Mountain, which is an intersection of the various mother lodes in the world. We produce the finest weapons and magical equipment. We also have a group of strong swordsmen!
“The only thing that we are short of is a large area of farmland where we can plant Jade Crystal Pellets and plantations where we can raise Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures.
“Both of the two things can be found in the southeast, the land of honey and milk!
“If we expand to the southeast as Master Righteous One said and even grasp a certain prefecture or county, we will have mines, farmland, elite soldiers, and unparalleled experts such as Junior Brother Yan and you, Elder Spiritual Vulture!
“If I were the emperor, I would have trouble eating and sleeping when there was such a super sect. I would definitely write the name of the sect next to my bed to remind myself every day that I have to get rid of it as soon as possible!”
Cold sweat popping out, Li Yao shrieked, “Damn Qi Zhongdao. How sordid he is!”
“Not exactly.” Dan Fengzi smiled bitterly. “I believe that Master Righteous One is definitely not someone who intentionally plays tricks. He is sincerely considering for the entire community of Cultivators. He wants all the Cultivators to be united no matter what, to fight the natural disasters, evils, barbarians, emperor, and all other things that do not value rules!
“It’s a shame that, although he is a mannered Cultivator, this is an era without manners and rules!
“Master Spiritual Vulture, don’t be fooled when he said that the elites from the Grand Mystery Sect, the Gold Armor Clan, Flying Spirit Island, Thunderstorm Valley, and the Monster Taming Pavilion were all out. It was probably an overstatement. Not just the Ghost Armor Clan and everybody else, can he really command the Grand Mystery Sect?”
Li Yao was dazed. “As I recall, he seemed to be quite charismatic in the Dragon Spring Meeting three months ago!”
“How can that be the same?” Dan Fengzi was amused. “The Dragon Spring Meeting was a time when a thousand sects came to divide the Purple Pole Sword Sect’s interests. Master Righteous One was expected to withstand the top experts such as Junior Brother Yan. Naturally, everybody listened to him. After all, praising him as the leader of all Cultivators wouldn’t cost them anything!
“However, fighting a super natural disaster and an army of ghouls for real is different. If they fail, they will have casualties and lose a fortune. If they win, they will attract Emperor Phoenix’s hate, too. What are the court and the emperor for if the Cultivators have done everything to deal with the trouble?
“Do you see it now? This is a deal with zero gains. You can neither win nor lose. Who will really listen to Master Righteous One and mind the business irrelevant to themselves?”
The business irrelevant to themselves… Li Yao was meaning to ask, if all the Cultivators stepped back, what could the victims struggling in the febrile typhoons and flood do?
But he did not ask in the end. He merely observed, “So, that’s the reason. However, what do you mean by saying that Master Righteous One can barely command the Grand Mystery Sect?”
“If he commanded the Grand Mystery Sect, he would be the ‘leader’ instead of the ‘grand leader’!” Weird brilliance was beaming out of Dan Fengzi’s eyes. “Do you like a senior nagging you about rules every day, Elder Spiritual Vulture?”
Li Yao pondered for a moment and realized the reason.
Qi Zhongdao was certainly not a likeable man, much less someone that other people found attractive and wanted to make friends with.
The best treatment for someone like him seemed to be to enshrine him in the sky as a flag and a mascot.
“All in all, I’ve talked with you about so many things today, Elder Spiritual Vulture, because I don’t want you to be bound to Master Righteous One without knowing what is going on,” Dan Fengzi said sincerely. “Although you agreed to only work as a visiting elder for one year, your contributions to the Purple Pole Sword Sect will never be forgotten by the hundreds of thousands of disciples of this sect. Naturally, we don’t want anything to happen to you.
“Since the thirty-three Cultivation sects in East Peace County have sent out calls for help to all the Cultivators in the world, the Purple Pole Sword Sect will certainly dispatch reinforcements. Seeing Junior Brother Yan’s shining forehead, I can tell that it will not be possible to stop him from meeting Mother White Lotus. However, you and Junior Brother Yan are different, Elder Spiritual Vulture. You should understand the benefits and drawbacks in all this!
“All in all, a trip to the southeast will be unavoidable. However, the Purple Pole Sword Sect has no intention of expanding in the southeast. Our elite swordsmen will not be all sent out, either. Elder Spiritual Vulture, you and Junior Brother Yan must consider your own safety as your primary concern. It doesn’t matter whether or not Mother White Lotus is executed!”
Li Yao took a long breath. “Thank you for your enlightenment, leader. It appears that the White Lotus Cult will not be annihilated yet again, will it?”
“Indeed, it won’t!” With a smile of derision, Dan Fengzi said, “Other than Master Righteous One, Master Bitter Cicada, and perhaps Ba Xiaoyu the Beggar, how many Cultivators in the entire world truly mean to get mired in the dirty water? I fear that you can’t even find half of them!”