Li Yao’s heart changed quickly between pounding and absolute stillness. Solemnly, he nodded and replied, “Exactly. Divide and conquer is the best play of the central dynasties. If all the barbarian tribes were united wholes, they would be a major headache for the central dynasties!”
“It’s not just the barbarian tribes. The bandits are treated exactly the same way!” Qi Changsheng spat on the ground resentfully. “A few years back, the Heaven Battering Army was not the only force of homeless peasants in the northwest. There were also almost thirty different armies!
“At that time, I tried to talk sense into the leaders of those armies. It didn’t matter if they surrendered to the court, but they had to make clear who they were exactly. Would the court ever sincerely trust us?
“Therefore, we must be united. Even if we had to surrender, we would only surrender for a decent price. Also, we must not attack each other even after we surrendered!
“The fine bows will be hidden after the birds are all shot down, and the hounds will be cooked after the cunning rabbits are caught. The court only accepted the surrender of some armies of homeless peasants because there were more armies of homeless peasants that they needed to deal with! If all the homeless peasants were annihilated, what could the people who surrendered in the beginning do?
“However, some of the leaders just wouldn’t listen to me. Not a moment after the court had thrown a meatless, flavorless bone to them, they wagged their tails impatiently, begging for mercy. After their surrender was accepted, they immediately changed their banner and really thought that they were with the court. They went back and attacked the poor brothers whom they used to fight side by side with!
“That is what happened several years when the armies of homeless peasants fought each other brutally in the northwest. They nearly wiped out each other before the court was able to do so! Last winter, my Heaven Battering Army was crushed by those traitors, and even I could only hide in the caves like a rat!
“In the end, guess what? The bandit leaders, who attacked their companions in the past without any reserve, slowly lost all their subordinates during the fierce battles! They thought that they would be rewarded by the court for their contribution in annihilating the bandits, but they were all executed by the court for the crime of rebellion before I was killed! Hahahaha. Little emperor, was it your idea?”
Emperor Phoenix narrowed his eyes and coldly said, “They are unpardonable, insane criminals in the first place. They were only a means to an end. How could they ever be appointed as real officials of the court?”
“The southeast is exactly like the northwest!” shrieked ‘Mother White Lotus’ Wan Mingzhu. “There were traitors in the White Lotus Cult who sold the organization out and surrendered to the court just for petty benefits. However, those blind, gutless fools didn’t gloat for long before they were thrown away like ragged clothes after all their value had been exploited! Their outcome was miserable!”
“Well said, everybody. They are the best examples to demonstrate how a community will fall apart when external enemies take advantage of our division!” Meng Chixin concluded. “Now, you should understand why we must kill those selfish, wavering, shameless weasels, right?
“To surrender or to fight a bloody battle, and which force to surrender to even if we decide to surrender… Such questions can be discussed slowly, and the final result, whatever it is, will be acceptable for everybody.
“But we have to be united and face the deities’ realm with a common stance no matter what!
“The Ancient Sages Sector can only have one voice. Nobody is to get in touch with the deities’ realm surreptitiously and surrender for their own benefits with no regard of the big picture of the Ancient Sages Sector!
“If such traitors do appear, they shall be executed without delay!”
In the end, Meng Chixin was almost yelling. The magnificent killing intent of the ‘Wolf God’ swept across the entire room like a storm of daggers!
Including Li Yao, everybody felt that dozens of sabers were churning brutally inside their chests and heads. They could not help but tremble hard.
“Alright. The situation is basically clear to everybody right now. Let me summarize and see if we can reach the most basic consensus.”
Wu Suiyun stood in the middle of Meng Chixin and the ten Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, slightly easing the atmosphere. She calmly said, “Firstly, regardless of your side and stance, and despite your past conflicts, I believe that you are willing to consider the big picture of the Ancient Sages Sector instead of only your personal interests, right?”
The Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators looked at each other. Master Bitter Cicada was the first to nod. “If the Ancient Sages Sector can be safe and sound, I will not hesitate even if I have to be minced apart and confined to hell forever!”
The other Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, although not as benevolent as the monk, were certainly much better than the selfish scoundrels from the six major sects. They all nodded.
“Alright, since we are all considering the future of the Ancient Sages Sector, in order to save our world, we can resort to anything possible. Fight, surrender, schemes, betrayal… Even the most whimsical ideas should be up for discussions. We should have no concerns or be bound by any rule or law in the world. Do you concur with that?”
The Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators pondered for a moment and all nodded one after another.
Saving the Ancient Sages Sector was of course the top priority. What rules could eclipse one’s own world?
“Thirdly…” Wu Suiyun observed everyone’s face. Glad at the calmness and rationality of the many Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, she continued. “During our discussions, we can express our opinions and debate as fiercely as possible, but I hope that we can reach the same decision in the end.
“The twelve of us should be equal because we all boast the ability to change the future of the Ancient Sages Sector. So, I hope that the final decision can be approved unanimously by the twelve of us. We will think and fight for the same purpose and work hard for the future of the Ancient Sages Sector!
“If anybody has a different opinion, they must voice their opinions openly. Clandestine deals should be strictly forbidden! Of course, for differing opinions, even if they just come from one of us, the other eleven must also listen carefully and try to offer a satisfactory solution!
“Only in such a way can the Ancient Sages Sector expect to survive in the dark and mysterious universe and fight for the best interests when faced with the trampling of the monolithic deities’ realm. This is the only way in which we can build a new future for all the Cultivators and the ordinary folks of the Ancient Sages Sector!
“Do you agree with those three requirements?”
Wu Suiyun stared at everybody, her eyes clear and full of expectation.
“I do,” Qi Zhongdao replied with a dark face.
Master Bitter Cicada crossed his hands and said, “Fellow Cultivator Wu, you are truly thinking for the people of the world. I don’t have any objection.”
“I think it works, too!” said Ba Xiaoyu, holding his broken tobacco tube.
Han Baling looked at his master Meng Chixin and declared resolutely, “I agree!”
“I agree!” Qi Changsheng and Wan Mingzhu said at the same time.
Emperor Phoenix hesitated for a long time but still solemnly said, “I… agree!”
“I don’t really care, as long as there are more sophisticated sword arts in the deities’ realm,” said Yan Liren, yawning.
Li Yao glanced at Long Yangjun quickly, but Long Yangjun had nodded before he did. “Agreed!”
Wu Suiyun and Meng Chixin looked at each other. Finally relieved, they smiled and said, “You are all perceptive and insightful people who can think in the long term. This is fantastic. We thought that it would take at least a year and a half just to unite the top experts of the Ancient Sages Sector!
“It seems that the heavens are still blessing the Ancient Sages Sector. Chances are that we will have other opportunities to revive our world and set it off on a different path of development!”
The consolation slightly eased everybody’s nerves, which had been tightened the whole time. They finally put on thin smiles.
“Sister Wu, Senior Meng, we don’t know the first thing about the extraterrestrial domain. How should we get started?” Qi Zhongdao asked.
“The answer is so far and yet so near.” Wu Suiyun pointed at Deity Raincloud, who was still unconscious and cramping slightly on the ground. “A guest from the deities’ realm has ended up as our prisoner. Isn’t she the best breach for us?
“However, before we interrogate her, emperor, why don’t you tell us about this Deity Raincloud first and how you met each other?”
Everybody was looking at Emperor Phoenix. Even Li Yao could not hold back his curiosity. He was eager to find out the backstory of the special agent of the Imperium of True Human Beings. Why on earth was she all by herself?
Emperor Phoenix’s position among everybody there was awkward. Now that so many seniors and experts were staring at him, he looked even more awful. Biting her lips, he pondered for a long time and said, “I… met this ‘Deity Raincloud’ five years ago!
“At that time, I was still in the Thunderous Martial Temple, the ancestral temple of my family in the west suburb of the Divine Capital. I was all by myself, and my future wasn’t very promising.
“However, I was a royal prince after all, and I was never involved in the conflicts for power among other royal princes. So, my life had been rather quiet and peaceful. I was able to focus my full attention on training, and I never lacked any training resources. My advancement was rather fast. At that time, I had already reached the Core Formation Stage.”
The royal bloodline was a lineage of generations of top experts and had its own mysteries. Also, they were never short of any resources or Cultivation arts. Therefore, it was perfectly normal that the members of the royal family advanced faster than normal Cultivators.
Emperor Phoenix was quite a rare genius to enter the Core Formation Stage at such a young age when compared to the average of all the Cultivators. However, it was not an astounding achievement for the royal family, which had existed for a thousand years.
Emperor Phoenix furrowed his brow, as if he were remembering that fateful night. “As I recall, it was a night five years ago. I trained particularly hard during the day and nearly got mentally deranged. So, I took some drugs to pacify my soul. I slept soundly during the night and had no dreams at all.
“However, in the darkest moment before the dawn the next morning, I suddenly had the most bizarre dream. It was in the dream that I met ‘Deity Raincloud’ for the first time!”