Beastmaster of the Ages - Chapter 1293
Gujian Qingshuang, Ye Dongliu and Granny Mu Hua had gathered at the Celestial Welcome Hall. The others waited outside; there were quite a lot of people there, arguing and discussing the events, but the commotion didn’t disrupt the atmosphere within the hall.
“Please take a seat.”
All three of them sat down. There was a woman with stone skin looking straight at them, sitting ramrod straight without the slightest movement.
“I didn’t think the One-strike Slaughterer would come all the way here. Welcome, and sorry for the poor hospitality we can afford you,” Gujian Qingshuang said.
“Don’t bring up that nickname. Just drop the formalities and call me Shi Yan.” The woman whose name meant ‘stone’ sat with both arms on the armrests of her chair and her legs parted. Though she was a woman, there was a really domineering aura coming from her. It was as if her gaze could see through every pretense and read minds.
Shi Yan was a crude, simple name, yet a girl was using it. Like her namesake, everything about her screamed ‘hard’. She was the junior sister of the sect master of the fifth-ranked Empyrean Sword Sect, the Northdipper Swordsage. As far as others were concerned, she was a weapon he could direct at anyone. The One-strike Slaughterer got her name from never needing a follow-up strike for any of her confirmed kills.
The stone-like woman looked at Gujian Qingshuang and said, “Since I’m already here, I’ll be direct.”
“Please do,” Gujian Qingshuang said.
“The Empyrean Sword Sect intends to help the Azuresoul Palace rise to the top of the Azurecloud Continent to match your rise in ranking. We will suppress the Supracloud Sanctuary and make sure they won’t be able to catch a breather.” Every word from her mouth sounded firm and carried weight.
Hearing that, the three Azuresoul Palace elders pursed their lips, wild thoughts racing through their minds. For the longest time, the Empyrean Sword Sect had occupied a special place in the hearts of the cultivators of the Azuresoul Palace. Despite not having had much contact throughout the years, others always spoke of the Azuresoul Palace as a splintered branch of the Empyrean Sword Sect, and how it had inherited aspects from the bigger, older sect. Even their swordpupil, swordtroop and swordcitizen structure was directly borrowed from them.
However, there had never been a precedent for Shi Yan’s so-called ‘offer’ of help in the past hundreds of thousands of years. The Empyrean Sword Sect had never so much as batted an eye to acknowledge their existence, especially with how far apart they were in the ranking. In fact, they were closer to the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect than their own splinter sect, given that they were ranked fifth.
“Is that what the Northdipper Swordsage wants?” Gujian Qingshuang asked.
“It’s the will of the entire sect,” Shi Yan said.
“Looks like you have the Azurecloud Divine Tree in your sights.”
“Of course. What else would it be? What are you worth? But don’t worry, we’ll definitely leave you with more than what other outsiders would. After all, our sects share the same origin,” Shi Yan said. Smiling, she continued, “Not to mention, the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect has their own mess to clean up. Nobody but us dares to come over here. The Dreamless Celestial Nation and Voidword Shrine have historically never paid too much attention to the tree, only sending a couple of elites from time to time to pick small quantities of the harvest. However, we’re able to mobilize huge numbers to help with the harvest. Nobody else dares help you resist the wargodeans or the Blueblood Starocean.” Though her words were ruthless, they described the reality of the situation well.
“But it’s not like the Empyrean Sword Sect is much stronger than the wargodeans, and they also have the support of the celestial orderians. Won’t you become another target if you help out like the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect did?” Gujian Qingshuang countered. It wasn’t going to be an easy talk.
“Fine, let me break it down for you.” Shi Yan cleared her throat and continued, “First, my senior brother, the Northdipper Swordsage, is stronger than the wargodeans’ Warlord. Second, the top four in the sect ranking include the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect, traitors who’ve sided with the celestial orderians, and outsiders. So our sect wishes to challenge their hegemony. Third, we don’t have something like the Veildragon Palace, so we aren’t afraid of any faction using ‘returning’ to our sect as an excuse to invade us in our absence. Fourth, the Sky Palace, Voidword Shrine, Dreamless Celestial Nation, and some other factions have already been alerted by what happened at the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect and are taking countermeasures against the traitors siding with the celestial orderians. Borders have been reinforced with more troops. Considering all of that, we’ve come to give you a hand.”
“I see….” Gujian Qingshuang nodded. The divine tree only bore fruit once every ten thousand years, so he hadn’t experienced it before. But based on historical records, the Azuresoul Palace had always been picked by those who wanted to help, not the other way around. They never had any right to negotiate. For instance, had the current second-ranked Xuanyuan Dragon Sect picked them, no other faction would dare to come take the spoils of the harvest. Even if they wanted to cooperate, they would be seeking the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect’s permission, not the Azuresoul Palace’s. They had to accept whatever was coming their way, or they wouldn’t be able to even so much as touch the dried roots of the divine tree. That was why they had opened their formation to let those from the Empyrean Sword Sect in.
“In fact, you already knew all this the moment you deactivated the formation,” Shi Yan added.
“Then, I guess we shall thank the Empyrean Sword Sect for their help,” Gujian Qingshuang said. It appeared that the conflict over the divine tree would be fought between the fifth-ranked Empyrean Sword Sect and the tenth- and fourth-ranked Blueblood Starocean and wargodeans.
“There’s no need for gratitude. We’re doing this for our mutual self-interest. We just won’t dress up our intentions with pointless justifications. We’ll leave a tenth of the harvest for your sect,” Shi Yan said.
“Only a tenth….”
“That’s already considered generous on our part. It’s non-negotiable, friend,” Shi Yan said, smiling.
The three elders helplessly looked at each other. Even though the divine tree was the Sky Palace’s compensation to them for the low nova source density, they won’t be getting any more than a tenth of what was harvested. Perhaps the Sky Palace had never intended for the entire harvest to go to them alone in the first place. The rules had only been put in place to prevent world wars that would have happened once every ten thousand years, otherwise.
“There’s another matter we came here to talk about,” Shi Yan said.
“What is it?” Gujian Qingshuang asked.
“Jiang Qingliu is to be killed.”
“What?!” The chief instructor was stunned.
“Why is an elite of our sect to be killed?” Granny Mu Hua asked coldly. She had been able to tolerate Shi Yan’s arrogance, but this was going overboard.
“Simple. Jiang Qingliu is the link between the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect and those disciples of yours. Long Wanying was only able to invite them to her sect through him. Once he’s killed, you can completely cut off all ties with the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect. Then, we can slowly educate those four before the Empyrean Sword Sect finally takes them in. Even though the Sky Palace disciples must leave for the Sky Palace after five hundred years, the other two, Feng and Xiaoxiao, can stay with us. Not to mention, they’ll be able to do quite a lot for us before the time comes.”
“You!” Gujian Qingshuang was completely flabbergasted.
“Two birds, one stone. Not only will you get the divine tree’s harvest, you also want the disciples. Are you taking everything the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect initially wanted?” Granny Mu Hua said.
“That’s really not much. The only truly historically established factions in the top ten are them and us. Now that they’ve fallen, we’re going to take their place as the representatives of the native Myriad Solar Sects.”
“How can you be so sure that they’ve fallen?” Gujian Qingshuang said. That was the crucial question. At the very least, he didn’t think the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect would fall overnight.
“Hahahaha!” Shi Yan broke out into quite a long bout of laughter. She regained her composure and said, “Come, let me tell you a secret.”
“I’m all ears,” Ye Dongliu said, his eyes brightening.
Shi Yan clicked her tongue and said, “The Sky Palace has summoned the top ten factions. Naturally, the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect, wargodeans, and the Blueblood Starocean weren’t invited.”
“What happened?” the three asked in unison.
“The Ninedragon Imperial Tomb gave the sun emperor an excuse to act. He struck swiftly and ruthlessly, obtaining many dragonsprings. By now, the entire sect has fallen under their control. The Sky Palace took the blame for that, but there’s little they can do to help. However, the excuse of ‘repatriating’ the Veildragon Palace to their original sect can only be used once. So, even though we’ve lost the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect, we won’t have to worry about any incursions in the near future. Not to mention, the Empyrean Sword Sect will step up our game in the future.
“Either way, the Dreamless Celestial Nation and Voidword Shrine don’t want to serve the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect, and neither do we. The opinions of the others don’t really matter. So, it’s been accepted that there’s nothing that can be done about the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect’s misfortune. Trust me. It’s best for you to stop associating with them to protect yourself.
“As for what happens next, the Sky Palace can simply tweak the fusion formation to decrease the nova source concentration on the continents controlled by the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect and funnel that to second-rate sects like you. The Myriad Solar Sects is our turf, after all. We can decide how to split up the surplus nova source. The sun emperor won’t be able to control the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect at their peak without our permission.” Shi Yan sounded almost happy about how things had turned out.
However, Gujian Qingshuang and the rest felt a chill running down their spine. The Sky Palace and the other first-rate sects had completely given up on the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect. Now, there were only outsiders, traitors and leader-wannabes like the Empyrean Sword Sect in the top five. It was probably no coincidence that those sects had prevailed over the others. The Myriad Solar Sects were as filled with internal strife as usual, with few hesitating to cannibalize a carcass of their own.