Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
There were 16 candidates vying for the sect leader’s position in the Dafang Sect. Among them, there were five people from the Jiang Clan, the only clan which had filled up the vacancies completely. The rest of them included four from the Zhou Clan, three from the Yuan Clan, three from the Chen Clan, and one from the Wang Clan.
The location for the Sect Leader Preliminary was known as Dafang Grotto. It was a secret cave accidentally discovered by the founders of the Dafang Sect, and it had some fortuitous encounters in it. After that, Dafang Grotto had become the Dafang Sect’s forbidden land, and outsiders could not trespass.
Dafang Grotto had five entrances at different locations. Cave number five, where Mo Wen was, was one of them. The rest of the four caves were the preliminary locations of the other four clans. After going through a passage which was not too long or short, one would reach the center region of Dafang Grotto. As long as the candidate reached the center region of Dafang Grotto successfully, he would have completed the first assessment.
According to Wang Yinru, that was the entrance to the secret land which was in the center region of Dafang Grotto. Only when one had reached this place, would he have the chance to enter the secret land.
Mo Wen’s figure flashed and leapt into the cave in front of him. The cave was pitch dark, so in the blink of an eye, he had disappeared into it.
“He indeed went in.”
“Go according to plan.”
The two middle-aged men who were guarding the cave looked at each other. A cold radiance flickered in their eyes as each fished out a conch from their chests, put them to their mouths, and blew them.
The conches didn’t make any sound but instead emitted a wave of invisible ripples that gradually spread outwards. At this time, a series of loud discussions resounded among the people in the main square.
On the platform in the middle of the main square were five big screens. On each of the screens was a broadcast of a different scene. They happened to be the entrances of the five caves, and the screens were live broadcasting Mo Wen and company’s preliminary. The actions of all the preliminary candidates were under the surveillance of the Dafang Sect and were being broadcast to the public.
“What is happening? Why would the Dafang Sect broadcast the entire experience of the candidates? Aren’t they afraid that the Dafang Sect’s secret will be divulged?”
“That’s strange. In the last Dafang Sect’s Leader Selection, they didn’t broadcast the assessment process, especially when Dafang Grotto was involved. Hasn’t the Dafang Sect been concealing that place and forbidding outsiders from entering it?”
“Why do you care so much? Just being an onlooker will do. Being able to see those young strong ones fighting one another is a feast to the eyes.”
“Interesting. It is not so boring to watch the Dafang Sect’s Leader selection after all.”
“Look at that cave number five. Why is there only one person? Other caves have at least three people.”
“That person is reckoned to be a member of the Wang Clan. It is already good that the Wang Clan is able to participate in the Sect Leader Selection. What else do you expect? Using only one person’s strength, I’m afraid he won’t even pass the first assessment. After all, the assessment is directed at four to five ancient martial art practitioners. It won’t be easier due to fewer candidates, hence it is almost impossible for him to succeed alone.”
“Only one person is eligible for the Sect Leader’s assessment. That Wang Clan seems to be in dire straits. Anyway, why have I never heard that the Dafang Sect had this clan before?”
“I also didn’t know. When did this Wang Clan appear? I heard the rumors about the Dafang Sect’s five big aristocratic families, but it there have always been only four aristocratic families. Could the Wang Clan be the fifth aristocratic family?”
Animated discussions went on in the main square. Many people were from the small influences in the ancient martial arts world. Some of the small influences in the three big mountain ranges came into existence after the annihilation of the Wang Clan, so they didn’t know about the Wang Clan’s incident.
At the scene, there were only a few who knew about the Wang Clan’s incident that year. These people had been keeping the Wang Clan’s murder a secret, and with the Jiang Clan being present at the scene, they basically wouldn’t discuss it.
Because so few people knew about the incident, Mo Wen’s appearance had naturally given many people a shock.
“What’s the purpose of the Dafang Sect broadcasting the video of the assessment?” Hu Qiongqi furrowed his brows, as he didn’t understand the aim of this action. He had never heard of such a thing before.
Could the broadcasting of the assessment process and the secret of Dafang Grotto be merely for the sake of entertaining them? This conclusion obviously was not tenable, as the Dafang Sect wouldn’t be doing such an idiotic thing.
“This matter might not be the Dafang Sect’s decision but the Jiang Clan’s decision. The Jiang Clan is presently monopolizing the sect, and normally what it says goes, while the other three aristocratic families basically don’t dare to object. Ever since the Wang Clan’s annihilation, the Jiang Clan has violated many rules established by the Dafang Sect’s former generations.”
Hu Guiyuan laughed. The present Dafang Sect had not been the Dafang Sect of the past and had become the Jiang Clan’s authoritarian sect. Perhaps if the Jiang Clan continued to be in control, the Dafang Sect might not exist and would be taken over to become the Jiang Sect of the ancient martial arts world.
“What’s the Jiang Clan’s purpose in this?” Hu Qiongqi knitted his brows.
“That secret of Dafang Grotto has been around for hundreds of years, and is not a secret in the three big mountain ranges. Any ancient martial arts influences which are slightly stronger will know. In actual fact, that so-called forbidden land have been entered by the four big influences in the three big mountain ranges including the Hu Clan, but nothing has been gained.”
Hu Guiyuan cast a look at Hu Qiongqi and said indifferently, “That year, it was not a secret that the founders of the Dafang Sect had been rich because of this secret place. Many people thought that there were many treasures or many fortuitous encounters and resources in that place that caused this sect to develop so strongly. That year, in order to enter that place, the other three influences in the three big mountain ranges had paid an exorbitant price to be eligible to enter that place.
“However, the result was a devastating lesson that included our Hu Clan. Not only did the three influences not gain anything, but also a large number of experts were injured and killed. Many in the Qi Nucleation realm and even those in the Embryonic Breathing realm died in there. In the next several decades, the three influences also attempted a few explorations, but the result was the same. Therefore, over time, nobody paid attention to that place anymore.
“In actual fact, the Dafang Sect has been guarding that cave for hundreds of years, but other than what the pioneer founders of the sect gained, almost nothing else has been gained. Even the Dafang Sect had the same lack of results, not to mention us, the other influences.”
Hu Qiongqi had been surprised with Hu Guiyuan’s speech. As it turned out, the rest of the three big influences had already been in contact with the Dafang Sect’s secretive forbidden land, including their Hu Clan, but he hadn’t known about it at all.
“You mean the Dafang Sect releasing the footage of Dafang Grotto now has the intention of making that place completely public?”
Other than this, Hu Qiongqi couldn’t think of any other possibility. Otherwise, there was basically no such need to publicize the process of the assessment. However, there must be a purpose for doing so.
“Making it public completely is impossible, but since more people will know, the Jiang Clan will also publicize the pioneering experience of the Dafang Sect’s five founders again. What do you think would be the result?”
Hu Guiyuan smiled sardonically.
“The result will be many people will want to be inside that place to find the treasures, and will dream of encountering serendipity to have an instant success and become a strong expert.”
A sense of understanding flashed in Hu Qiongqi’s eyes, and realization dawned on him.
That year, the Hu Clan had paid a great price in order to get into that place, and the Dafang Sect had made a fortune from it. It could be said that in this manner, the other three influences in the three big mountain ranges had been tricked by the Dafang Sect. They paid a double price, and not only did they not get any treasure, they didn’t even get a single cent back.
However, the three big influences couldn’t blame the Dafang Sect, as they had initiated the discussion of this matter at that time. Now, they were suffering, but they could only swallow the bitter pill.
After the Dafang Sect had tricked the three big influences, it had obviously had the intention of using Dafang Grotto as a gimmick to continue tricking others. In any case, the Dafang Sect had not gotten any benefits from that place over the past few hundred years, so it was pointless to continue guarding it. It would be better to get something more practical out of it.
“From the beginning, that place to the Dafang Sect was like something that was not worth eating, yet it was a pity to throw away. Furthermore, it was too dangerous inside, so they didn’t dare to go in casually. However, due to the rules established by the founders of the sect, it had to be guarded generation after generation. However, now that the Dafang Sect has become the Jiang Clan’s authoritarian sect, it has broken many of the forefathers’ rules and basically doesn’t care about the sect’s regulations. This matter is reckoned to be the Jiang Clan’s idea.”
A long time ago, the Dafang Sect was a clan sect. Although there were five big aristocratic families in it, they had attached importance to the sect from the beginning, and the aristocratic families kept one another in check. However, now the Jiang Clan’s ambition and desire basically didn’t have the interests of the sect in mind. It had made the sect to be a part of the clan’s assets, constantly milking the benefits of the sect to develop the Jiang Clan’s strength.
Now the Dafang Sect existed in name only and had done so for a long time. It had changed from a sect to the Jiang Clan. As for the rest of the three aristocratic families, there were only three paths open to them: leave the Dafang sect completely, depend on the Jiang Clan completely, or annihilate the Jiang Clan completely.
“In doing so, the Jiang Clan is very short-sighted, killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. If that place were to have some exceptional treasures that were gained by others, the Jiang Clan could only watch helplessly. Although that place may look like something of little value now, there may be an opportunity in the future.”
Hu Qiongqi laughed sardonically as the person who came up with this plan was too interested in immediate benefits.
“There have been no fortuitous encounters for hundreds of years. Who knows when the next time one appears will be. Perhaps another hundreds of years’ time, and whether the Jiang Clan will still be around by then is a question. Furthermore, if someone could have a fortuitous encounter in that place, whether he could live to leave the Dafang Sect is yet another question. You think the Jiang Clan are kind people?”
Hu Guiyuan dared to guarantee that once there was any kind of fortuitous encounter which was enough to tempt the Jiang Clan, the Jiang Clan would definitely kill the person and seize the treasure.
“Hm, that person looks familiar.” Hu Qiongqi commented softly like he had discovered something, while his eyes were fixed on the screen that was showing cave number five.
“You know that youngster?”
Curiosity flashed in Hu Guiyuan’s eyes. Wasn’t that Wang Yinru’s son? Could my son know him?