Magic Emperor - Chapter 268
Dragon Cloud City’s westernmost side had a towering mountain going by the name of Transfer Peak.
Right on top of this huge hunk of rock laid a grand 8th grade Teleportation Array. Some said that even before Tianyu Empire came to be, the Yuwen imperial family used this precise array to send its troops to every corner of the empire.
But as the chaos made way to peace, it didn’t see much use, serving now just as a means to blow off the seven houses’ ever accumulating rancor through the Esoteric Debate.
At this particular moment, hundreds of clans were gathering on it en masse. They all looked at the array with nervousness, excitement and awe.
Anyone would be excited when it came to joining the final battle, knowing their rise was just around the corner, as was their destruction. And they were nervous as well at having qualified for this final battle. Besides the first rate clans still holding their ranks, the third and second rate clans went through a shuffling. Few were those that rose to become first rate, with new and incredible power.
The final battle, however, wasn’t as cushy as the qualification round. Not that the entry fights were ever easy to begin with, but when taking the final battle into account, its cruelty was way worse than the qualification battles. Thus, it was easy to imagine how nervous these clans were feeling.
That went farther for a particular underdog, the Luo clan of Windgaze City. With Soaring Demonic Dragon Zhuo Fan on par with Six Dragons and One Phoenix as vanguard, was there anyone capable of pushing them back? What was on the clans’ minds however was whose vassal were they, for whose sake were they fighting for?
The worry hit many hard.
“Look, the Luo clan!” A shout snapped hundreds of heads in Luo Yunchang’s direction as she led the Luo clan alongside Zhuo Fan.
Finally healed, Luo Yunhai could now show his heroic aura, and thirst for battle. A youth still, yet the Fifth Tiger of Tianyu would never just be another face in the crowd.
Their proceedings instilled a certain heavy air around the onlookers.
The Luo clan was a veritable wolf strutting through a sheep herd. It was so bad that the people made a ten meter wide space for them. Everyone feared getting close to this savage beast.
And yet, there were always exceptions…
“Big brother Zhuo, you’re all here!”
Xue Ningxiang skipped over hyped and waving. The Xue and Dong clans behind her earned not few raised eyebrows.
What was their connection for these two clans to get so close with this wolf?
But the appearance of Sword Marquise Abode’s second young master, Xie Tianyang, making his way there as well, cleared all doubts. [So they’re allies!]
There was no shortage of rumors flying about the Luo clan, especially about its supporters. It so happened that Sword Marquise Abode was among these rumors, and today only validated it.
This only worked to make the people even more envious of this upstart clan. [So this is why the Luo clan jumped from third to first rate and had a free path to the final battle. They have a house behind them!]
[What kind of sheer dumb and rotten luck had they stumbled upon to have a house treat them so?]
Thinking of how mountains of wealth were literally flung at this third rate clan to reach such a position, [If it were us in their stead, we’d have reached the moon by now, tch….]
People always looked at the surface of things, unaware that the Luo clan of today wasn’t because of the support of some houses. And it was what they were today that had caught the seven houses’ attention.
It was painfully obvious to see who here was a dog or a man…
Xue Ningxiang gasped as she reached them with a sweet and innocent smile. Zhuo Fan’s mouth quirked and he ruffled her hair, “What are you doing here? Haven’t you always hated watching people die?”
Luo Yunchang retorted as she watched him longingly. It was her first time in days that she caught Zhuo Fan show a carefree smile. But why wasn’t it directed at her?
Luo Yunchang sighed feeling the ache deep within.
“It’s fine, big brother Zhuo. Xue clan is joining as well and I’ll be going too!” Xue Ningxiang giggled, brandishing her cute little fists to show her battle spirit.
Zhuo Fan shouted anxiously, “You can’t, Ning’er! This is a vicious battle, not a game. A girl like you has no place on the battlefield!”
“I don’t care, because I know big brother Zhuo will be there to save me whenever I’m in danger!” Xue Ningxiang blinked her bright eyes, watching Zhuo Fan eagerly. She then looked at the Thunder Ring, “Whenever I’m in peril, the Thunder Ring will flicker and you’ll appear. Isn’t that right?”
Zhuo Fan squinted, then nodded in defeat, “Fine, I’ll look after you.”
“You don’t have to worry about that. You have Huangpu Qingtian to deal with. Ning’er will be in my care!” Xie Tianyang stormed next to Xue Ningxiang and held her shoulder, making a claim on her.
Xue Dingtian only now arrived and smiled awkwardly, “I can’t stop her. This girl is too stubborn. But don’t worry, she will be in her brothers and young master Xie’s care so she won’t be in any trouble.”
On cue, Xue Lin and Xue Gang cupped their hands.
Startled, Zhuo Fan gave them a once over and nodded, despite the sense of loss taking hold on his heart. He felt that he and Ning’er were only growing apart. With mountains rising between them, they could never return to the blissful times they shared in Allbeast Mountain Range.
[This is for the best.] He wanted to numb his heart, and severing those memories of their past encounters was for the best.
With a deep breath, Zhuo Fan regained inner peace, like a stone-cold killer. He said to Xie Tianyang, “Take good care of her and make sure nothing happens!”
“It goes without saying.” Xie Tianyang nodded.
“Zhuo Fan, I’m coming as well!” Luo Yunchang spoke up.
Zhuo Fan raised an eyebrow, “Why, didn’t I say I and Yunhai and ten guards are enough? Why do you want to come all of a sudden? How…”
“No reason, you’ll protect me so it’ll be fine!” Luo Yunchang batted her eyes.
Shaking his head, Zhuo Fan said, “No, too dangerous!”
“Are you worried about me?”
“That’s not it!” Zhuo Fan scratched his nose, “I’ll be in danger if I have to constantly look after you!”
The others chuckled.
Luo Yunchang glared as she kicked his shin. [You make me a dead weight while you said you’d protect Ning’er? What am I then?]
Zhuo Fan let her vent on his leg, stiffened for a second as his face went cold. Luo Yunchang kicked him once but the second kick didn’t come, for her heart grew forlorn the more she looked at Zhuo Fan.
Zhuo Fan had closed off his heart under lock and key. He was like a prideful hero, wishing to bear everything alone…
“The seven houses are here!” The shout got everyone’s attention. With Regent Estate in the lead, the seven houses strutted forth.
Chu Qingcheng was there as well. She glanced at Zhuo Fan only to see his face ever cold and impassive which made her clench her fists.
[Grandmother was right. He is dead inside, not worth any woman’s attention.]
Scoffing, she ignored him and walked behind Grandmother with a frosty gaze.
“Marshal Dugu has arrived!”
Dugu Zhantian brought ten thousand soldiers to surround this area. He did it as a safety measure to instill order.
But the thick scent of blood and steel shuddered the nerves of every disciple here, they who had only known life in the clan.
Laughing, Dugu Zhantian stopped before Zhuo Fan and patted his shoulder, “Ha-ha-ha, kid, I was ready to come out and save you that day, but you have Radiant Stage abilities already. You hid them so well that you even had me worried!”
“Marshal was there as well?” Zhuo Fan raised an eyebrow.
Dugu Zhantian nodded with a smile, “How could I not? Just the day before Huangpu Qingtian showed off his intent. I had to watch over you. Who knew, who friggin’ knew, you are both made of the same cloth, monsters the lot of you! I was worried for nothing, ha-ha-ha…”
Laughing on, Dugu Zhantian turned to Luo Yunhai and gave him some warnings before leaving. The Four Tigers of Tianyu offered their encouragement as they left as well.
Reaching the forefront, Dugu Zhantian surveyed the crowd of clans, “Please step before the array. The Esoteric Debate’s final battle will begin shortly!”
Starting with Regent Estate, the seven houses took the first line in order of the previous Esoteric Debate’s ranking.
Next were the clans, never even entertaining the thought of cutting ahead. The clans either stood behind their master or the house they wished to become a vassal of.
Obviously, Regent Estate had the numerical advantage.
But typical of Regent Estate, that didn’t mean these clans were going to be accepted. While other clans with modicum of strength settled for standing behind other houses they wished to follow.
Dong clan went behind Drifting Flowers Edifices, and Xue clan behind Sword Marquise Abode.
Zhuo Fan glanced at Luo Yunhai and nodded.
Luo Yunhai strutted under the shocked gaze of the people right abreast the seven houses, next to Drifting Flowers Edifices!
The rest of the clan’s members puffed up their chests right behind him.
The shock was understandable. The crowd now realized that the Luo clan was no one’s dog but stood on their own!
But this was a direct challenge to the seven houses’ authority. Would they be able to handle it?