After muttering under his breath for a while, the fatty spoke, “This was settled at the moment the secret order was given. What is a clan’s foundation? Spirit stones, pills? No, these are support items. Strength is the best guarantee of a powerful clan.”
“Veiled Dragon Pavilion has its nine outstanding elders, Hell Valley has its twelve elders as overseers. Each of the seven houses has its own strength. Also, every one of them has invited a Venerable. Along with other secret weapons they’re holding, even we, the Imperial family, don’t dare stir them.”
Fatty’s eyes then shined like a radiant sun, “At the time, in order to paralyze the seven houses, Great Ancestor confiscated the wealth of your clans. This is why none of you has any decent cultivation method and martial arts. It was also because of this reason the seven houses withdrew their surveillance on you five hundred years ago.”
“Yet none of them would have thought that you all are still holding a low profound ranked martial art.” Fatty showed a sneaky smile, “With this martial art all of you can become strong. Even the seven houses only have one or two profound ranked martial arts.”
The three clans were amazed.
When did they have such a martial art? If they had it, they’d have used it to grow strong by now.
Only Zhuo Fan’s eyes rolled about, recalling something.
With a vague smile, fatty’s hand flashed and revealed a green jade slip, “This is a low mortal ranked martial art, Combining Art. By itself, it holds no value, but if you use it along with your clans’ spirit ranked martial arts you inherited, you can combine them into a single martial art of the profound rank.”
“In other words, Luo clan’s Returning Dragon Palm, Cai clan’s Wind Kick, and Lei clan’s Lightning Finger were originally one single martial art that the Imperial family split among the three clans. And only the Imperial family knew the way to restore it.” Zhuo Fan squinted.
Fatty was shocked but then nodded, “Steward Zhuo is wise. There aren’t many martial arts which are capable of splitting other martial arts, and the number of martial arts that can restore them are even lesser. I didn’t think Steward Zhuo would know of this. If imperial father hadn’t mentioned it, I would’ve never found out.”
Zhuo Fan just smiled.
Perhaps because the splitting martial arts were uncommon even at the mortal rank, each sect in the Sacred Domain seized them. They split their core martial arts to prevent degenerate disciples from spreading it. Only the sect leader’s disciple had the right to learn the entire set of martial arts.
Zhuo Fan turned to look at Cai clan and Lei clan. They were startled, but their eyes showed deep regret.
Perhaps because they were negligent in safeguarding their inherited martial arts and let the Hell Valley steal them. Especially with regards to Cai clan, who were quick to give it away.
[It must be really eating Cai Rong inside right now!]
“Clan Heads, please take out your inherited martial arts.” Fatty placed the jade slip on the table with a smile.
But only Luo Yunchang took out her clan’s martial art. After Lei Yuting got to know of Yang Ming’s treachery, she gave back the Returning Dragon Palm to Luo Yunchang. But the other clan heads looked at each other in shame.
Fatty frowned as he stared at them.
Sighing, Lei Yuntian cupped his hands, “Your Highness, I was unable to protect my ancestor’s martial art from Hell Valley’s thieving hands. I accept Your Highness’ punishment.”
“What?” Fatty slapped the table.
Cai Rong also cupped his hands, “Your Highness… I am the same…”
Fatty’s body shivered in rage, “Y-you, just how are you both Clan Heads? Have you forgotten your ancestor’s instructions? You should have defended it with your lives.”
The two kneeled, “Please forgive us, Your Highness.”
Fatty sighed as he scratched his head.
Cai Rong peeked at him, “Your Highness, can’t the Imperial family bestow us another profound ranked martial art?”
“Bestow your mom!”
Fatty couldn’t hold it in and began raining curses and spitting all over Cai Rong’s kneeling figure, “What do you take profound ranked martial arts for, cabbage? Even the Imperial family has only four of them. And they’re each registered. If I take one out, everyone will know. How are your clans gonna rise then?”
“You dumb pig, are you tired of living?” Fatty gave Cai Rong a round of slapping then stomped his feet.
Cai Rong curled up and shivered on the ground.
“What now, what now? The Secret Pearl Order is ruined!” Fatty paced around.
Zhuo Fan smirked and two jade slips appeared with a flash in his hand, “3rd Prince, there’s no need to worry. I have their clans’ martial arts.”
The two Clan Heads shouted in unison, staring dumbfounded in Zhuo Fan’s direction. Cai Rong in particular, having not witnessed Zhuo Fan’s prowess, was incredulous at what was happening.
Lei Yuntian gave Zhuo Fan a thankful nod. If not for him, not only Lei clan wouldn’t recover, they’d even be executed in a fit of anger by 3rd Prince.
“Ha-ha-ha, Steward Zhuo, you truly are amazing. I see why Elder Jiu of Veiled Dragon Pavilion speaks so highly of you!” Fatty was overjoyed, and ran into Zhuo Fan for a bear hug, “If not for you, I would’ve failed Imperial Father’s task. I owe you one.”
Smiling, Zhuo Fan shook his head, “This is all for the Luo clan!”
“Yes, right, for the Luo clan and for me, ha-ha-ha…” Fatty slapped Zhuo Fan’s shoulder, then gathered the four jade slips, “Now that we have the martial arts, next is the merger of the three clans. According to the Great Ancestor’s Secret Pearl Order, two clans are to merge with the strongest. And the profound ranked martial art will be in the Clan Head’s care. As such, you…”
“Your Highness,” Cai Rong seemed hyped as he jumped to his feet, “Luo clan has little strength and only four members, and Lei clan is on the verge of collapse, only my Cai clan is flourishing. As such, I will begrudgingly accept this responsibility and support them under my clan’s wing. As of now, I will take Lei and Luo clan as Cai clan’s disciples and assist the Imperial family in fulfilling the secret edict.”
As he finished speaking, Cai Rong reached for the jade slips but a rough hand stopped him. Lei Yuntian glared at him as he asked.
“Cai Rong, how can a Bone Tempering cultivator be enough to act as Clan Head?”
“Humph, so what? Based on strength, my clan is the best.” Cai Rong raised his brows.
“Don’t be so sure.” Lei Yuntian sneered at Cai Rong and looked at Lei Yunting. She showed a proud smile and stepped forward, “Clan Head Cai, in this last month, I gathered all the scattered Blackwind Mountain’s men. We have six hundred men, half of them are in Qi Condensation. Based on strength alone, the Cai clan is weaker.”
“Ha-ha-ha, so what if you’re strong? You’re just bandits!”
Cai Xiaoting laughed at her, “Lei clan is but a rabble of thugs! If you take the role of Clan Head, we’ll only be the seven houses’ laughingstock, never will we be able to reach their level.”
“Who are you calling a thug? You want a piece of me?”
“You say you’re not, thug granny?”
In an instant, the Lei and Cai clans started fighting for the leader’s position. Zhuo Fan was secretly sneering at the side.
[This new clan is just being established, and it was still a question if it could survive. Yet these bunch of idiots are plagued with delusions of grandeur that they could hold their own against the seven houses.]
Fatty and Fang Qiubai mocked the quarrelling clans with their eyes.
Luo Yunchang’s face burned in anger. They were fighting against each other while ignoring the Luo clan. It clearly showed that they thought little of her clan.
Although they were but four members, they were still one of the three clans in the edict. But these clans didn’t even ask for their opinion!
With that loud slap, the two clans stopped and turned to see the brat Luo Yunhai hitting the table.
His face was stern and his eyes were steadfast, unlike his usual childish self. Even Zhuo Fan quirked an eyebrow.
“Why all this fuss?”
Luo Yunhai swept the people with his eyes and spoke with resolve, “In this merger of clans, the only one worthy of the leader position is none other than my Luo clan.”
Luo Yunhai’s declaration shocked them silly. Cai Xiaoting mocked, “What does a brat know? You’re the weakest of us, nothing of worth at all. What gives you the right to lead us?”
Sneering, Luo Yunhai grinned.
Everyone there recognized his look, the spitting image of someone they all knew very well. This made them turn their eyes to Zhuo Fan.
[Hell, Zhuo Fan ruined him!]
Zhuo Fan was quite piqued by this brat.
“Luo clan has no men, money or pills. It only has us four, masters and servants.” Luo Yunhai looked at them with sparkling eyes, “But our clan is the strongest because we have Steward Zhuo!”
Luo Yunhai turned to Zhuo Fan with worship in his gaze.
If Luo clan was to have any right to become the head, it would all be thanks to Zhuo Fan. His skills were obvious to anyone there. Even Veiled Dragon Pavilion was certain that if Zhuo Fan stayed with Luo clan, its rise was but a matter of time.
Under the hopeful and worried gazes, especially Luo Yunhai’s expectant look, Zhuo Fan shook his head.
[This kid hardly ever shows such great expectations from me. I can’t disappoint him now, can I?]
“Humph, Zhuo Fan is a mere steward. How can a person of low status like him be worthy to hold on to all our Cai clan’s guards and wealth? Punk, our clan shall be the head, don’t… “
Cai Xiaoting mocked but didn’t finish as Zhuo Fan slapped the table, revealing the alliance agreement.
Under the puzzlement of others, Zhuo Fan sneered, “This is Luo clan and Veiled Dragon Pavilion’s alliance contract.”
The fatty was so shocked his whole body trembled and was close to falling off his chair. Even the relaxed and uncaring Fang Qiubai behind him narrowed his eyes as he scanned the sheepskin with shock.
Veiled Dragon Pavilion was one of the Seven Noble Houses. The only ones worthy of signing an alliance agreement with them were others from the seven houses, while the rest only had the right to sign a subsidiary agreement. But now…
With a deep look, Fang Qiubai sighed as he asked Zhuo Fan, “Kid, how did you do it?”
“Recognized and valued as a hero!”
He nodded towards Fang Qiubai then turned to the two clans and spoke in a cold tone, “Let me tell you, even if this crappy Secret Pearl Order never existed, as long as I’m here, Luo clan will ultimately rise to the ranks of the seven houses.”
“You’re of no help to us! On the contrary, you are a burden.” Zhuo Fan sneered.
The two other clans lost their voices in shock.
With rosy cheeks, Luo Yunchang raised her chin proudly. Luo Yunhai was grinning from excitement, watching Zhuo Fan with veneration…