There was an abundance of peach blossoms on the vast green hills. Trees swayed in the spring breeze as the sound of flowing water echoed around.
An old man in casual clothes was sitting in a lotus position amid this dreamy scenery. As he inhaled and exhaled, he kept breathing in and out a mass of vital energy about the size of an egg.
The old man's mild breathing made the mass of energy become even more succinct and slowly start looking substantial.
The old man sucked in the vital energy and suddenly expelled it forcefully. The green mass of energy surged like a streak of lightning towards a mountain peak a kilometer away.
The lofty mountain peak remained the same. However, when the mass of vital energy dissipated, anyone with good eyesight would have seen a slender hole in the other side of the summit.
"Uncle's Green Wood Sword Qi has become even purer. At this rate, taking the head of a grandmaster-level individual a kilometer away will soon be a piece of cake!" A man with a staunch expression strode over with a majestic gait.
The old man flashed the man a faint smile, but didn't move when he saw him. Instead, he replied softly, "Is something the matter? Why would the Family Head come find me at this time?"
"Old Six came back yesterday," the man told the old man. "Someone broke his leg."
"That disappointing fellow! He is the only member of your generation who hasn't lived up to our expectations!" The elder cursed viciously before adding, "However, Old Six is still a disciple of the Gu Family, so whoever broke his leg did so to provoke our family. The culprit was probably a martial grandmaster. Just have someone kill him."
Although the old man's tone was flat, it also gave off a sort of domineering vibe that was laced with a murderous aura.
The middle-aged man smiled gently. "The man in question is very strong. He ranks 2nd on the Sky List and he just became the Blood Strike Guard Commissar."
2nd on the Sky List? The man's words made the elder frown.
He flicked his fingers in the air before he said dully, "The old fellows of our ancient family did not participate in the creation of those lists. However, if he was able to place 2nd on the Sky List, then he must have a certain level of ability. Who cares if he is the Blood Strike Guard Commissar? This won't be the first time you would be killing one. One more won't hurt."
"You can send him a diplomatic letter on behalf of the Gu Family. Get him to offer up the people our family is after when he arranges to pay us a formal visit. Then, he can kneel and kowtow in apology. If he does, we can pretend that this never happened."
The elder suddenly snorted. "The members of the Da Alliance have been forgetting their manners more and more lately."
As they were talking, the middle-aged man's communication device started to beep. After meeting the elder's gaze and receiving a tacit approval, the man answered the call.
"What's the matter?" the middle-aged man asked after restoring his dignified demeanor.
"Sir, the Cen Family has informed us that the new Blood Strike Guard Commissar has already assumed his position for three days, yet he has showed no intention of paying a formal visit to the ancient martial families. The Cen Family Head is displeased and he has invited us to jointly issue an order for the new Blood Strike Guard Commissar to enter the Zhi Ge Hall and pay his respects within three days."
"What an arrogant man! He must have a death wish!" The middle-aged man cursed angrily. "Alright, add one condition: he has to enter the Zhi Ge Hall on his knees."
The Zhi Ge Hall was a place jointly built by the various ancient martial families so they could discuss official business there, so it was supposed to represent the dignity and splendor of those families.
Ever since the third Blood Strike Guard Commissar's leadership, whenever the Da Alliance had anything to discuss with the ancient martial families, they would go to the Zhi Ge Hall.
Although the various ancient martial families lived great distances apart, thanks to the use of communication devices, they reached a consensus rather quickly. In less than half a day, the Da Alliance's Eight Armies and Three Guards had simultaneously received a notification through the Sky Vision.
In three days, the Blood Strike Guard Commissar would have to kowtow in the Zhi Ge Hall.
This message troubled the Da Alliance's higher-ups. Lu Qubing was so furious when he heard the news that he slammed his palms on the table. He felt as if his insides were on fire!
"Viceroy, shouldn't we discuss this matter with the vice-chairman?" a middle-aged man reminded Lu Qubing gently.
"Discuss it, my ass!" Lu Qubing waved his hands wildly as he cursed loudly. "All these years, we have been over-indulging those families, which is why they have gone out of control! These people have taken our tolerance for granted! In my opinion, we should use taboo weapons to target their lairs and blast those f*ckers to pieces! Let's wipe them all out completely!"
Lu Qubing's face was flushed. He had gotten so worked-up that he suddenly started to cough violently.
The middle-aged man patted Lu Qubing lightly on the back and said, "We can't do such a thing, Viceroy. A lot of things in the 13 Eastern Cities are controlled by these ancient martial families. Plus, their lairs are all located in the small cracks between the voids. It would be very difficult for taboo weapons to get there."
"Furthermore, using taboo weapons would mean an all-out war. You know what the consequences of an all-out war would be. The entire 13 Eastern Cities would be turned into ruins."
"The space barrier has been becoming even thinner, and the source beasts have been getting even closer. If we fight with those ancient martial families, there is a possibility that humanity will not survive. I'm also afraid that the venerable Martial God would turn to these ancient martial families!"
His last line was like a pitcher of water on Lu Qubing's face. Lu Qubing immediately sat back down without saying a word. Then, he sighed softly. "I might have taken this for granted. I just wanted to use Luo Yunyang's ranking on the Sky List to intimidate the younger members of these families and make them show more restraint. I never imagined that they would get even more rampant!"
"I will go see the vice-chairman in a bit and ask him to dismiss Luo Yunyang from the post of the Blood Strike Guard Commissar."
The middle-aged man flashed him a slightly pained smile. Although what Lu Qubing said sounded good, deep down he knew clearly that this matter wouldn't be settled so easily.
"Take a look at this notice, Viceroy! Quickly!" a female soldier in a Rising Dragon Army uniform said as she rushed over.
The soldier, who was young and beautiful, had entered the room like a spring breeze. In her hands was an electronic screen about the size of a notebook.
On the screen was the Sky Vision.
The news was only one line. However, this line made Lu Qubing's blood race when he saw it. He suddenly realized that this matter had developed into a situation he would be unable to control.
"Go f*ck yourselves!"
The three words were followed by Luo Yunyang's signature. Although there wasn't any indication as to whom he was addressing, anyone in the know would understand that this insult was aimed at the ancient martial families who had requested that he kneel in the Zhi Ge Hall.
"Viceroy, after these words, our last hope of easing the tension between us and these ancient martial families is gone." The middle-aged man standing beside Lu Qubing shook his head.
Lu Qubing groaned as he said, "Put me through to the vice-chairman. I need to discuss this with him. No matter what happens, Luo Yunyang can't be allowed to get in the thick of this!"