Mulling over, the fatty traced his hand on the alliance agreement.
He found Zhuo Fan’s strength exceeding his expectations as it was not a simple matter to gain such an alliance agreement. Even if Long Jiu was in favor of him, an elder didn’t hold much sway in the Veiled Dragon Pavilion.
Fatty sighed, “Steward Zhuo, I am saddened by seeing you live in such a poor clan. Why don’t… you come help me. Just think about it.”
To the shock of everyone present, the 3rd Prince expressed his intention in recruiting Zhou Fan. It amazed them that Zhuo Fan was so highly sought after that even the Imperial family was willing to have him.
Luo Yunchang stood up nervously, thinking Zhuo Fan would be snatched away.
Zhuo Fan smiled and shook his head, “3rd Prince, you’re overestimating me. Even in the Luo clan, am I not doing my best for the Imperial family?”
Fatty quirked an eyebrow and smiled, “Alright. I’ll leave it at that.”
He then turned to the rest, “It’s decided. The Luo clan will be the leader of the three clans merger. Cai and Lei clans are to assist the Luo clan in fulfilling the Secret Pearl Order.”
Cai Xiaoting was disgruntled and wanted to voice his objection, but Cai Rong gripped his arm. He didn’t understand the reason but fatty’s pin-sized eyes left him shivering from the killing intent.
Secret Pearl Order was a millennium-old secret plan, and it held great importance to the Imperial family. It was understandable that they would only choose the best clan for the position of leader.
If the three clans were equal, the Imperial family would’ve taken his objection into consideration.
But Zhuo Fan took out the alliance agreement, making all dissent moot. It turned the Luo clan into the best choice in implementing the secret edict for the Imperial family. If even with this, the other clans voiced their discontent, the Imperial family would deal them with a heavy hand.
Just as Zhuo Fan said, the Luo clan had all the power it needed to bring the secret edict to fruition. This, in turn, made the other two clans their vassals. If they felt that being a vassal was unpleasant, the Imperial family would finish them off with a mere swipe.
Cai Xiaoting let the matter drop, yet the discontent never left his face. He could only follow Cai Rong’s actions in submitting.
Fatty nodded, then turned to Lei Yuntian to see if he had objections. The old man said, “Your Highness, be at ease. I will give my all in assisting Yunhai and Yunchang. As Cloud Manor fell because of me, I will become a servant to atone for my crimes.”
Fatty nodded at his sincerity, “Good, since there are no objections, the three clans shall unite.”
“Understood.” Everyone bowed, “We shall now withdraw!”
“Steward Zhuo stay for a while.”
Zhuo Fan was unclear as to the reason why but remained nonetheless under the departing and curious gazes of the rest.
The fatty let out a breath then rushed to Zhuo Fan and dragged him to an empty place in the garden.
“3rd Prince…” Zhuo Fan frowned.
Fatty waved, “Just follow my lead.”
Fatty then pointed two fingers at the sky as he shouted, “I, Tianyu Empire’s 3rd Prince, Yuwen Cong, vow to heaven to become sworn brother with Luo clan’s steward, Zhuo Fan. To share life and death together and never betray him!”
“Your turn!” Fatty watched Zhuo Fan impatiently.
Zhuo Fan was confused, but becoming sworn brothers with 3rd Prince had to be a good thing so he went along, “I, Luo clan’s steward, Zhuo Fan, vow to Heaven to become sworn brother with Tianyu Empire’s 3rd Prince, Yuwen Cong. If he doesn’t betray me, I won’t either!”
Fatty muttered when he heard the last part, “Brother, you sure are meticulous.”
“Fatty, it’s not that I don’t trust you, but the pugilistic world is too vicious.” Zhuo Fan shrugged, not having any restraint in calling him fatty. Since no one was here, the fatty himself wouldn’t blow a gasket over this.
[Plus, this kid needs me to complete the secret edict.]
Zhuo Fan was perfectly clear when to be fierce and when to be scared.
Just as he foresaw, the fatty nodded instead of getting angry, “Call me how you like it. I feel much better since we are sworn brothers now.”
Zhuo Fan looked at him in puzzlement.
Fatty sighed, “Do you remember our bet from yesterday? The winner gets to have Sister Kui. I lost the bet but I still can’t let it go. So I decided to become sworn brothers with you. This way I won’t go after my brother’s wife and it would help me forget about Sister Kui too.”
Zhuo Fan rose an eyebrow, incredulous that the fatty wanted to become sworn brothers over this, “Fatty, there’s nothing between me and that girl. She was just making excuses.”
“What, is that true?” Fatty even jumped ten meters in joy, “Then can I still chase her?”
Nodding, Zhuo Fan showed a vague smile, “Go, go, annoy the little lass to death!”
“Awesome, brother. You are indeed my sworn brother, ha-ha-ha…” Fatty was skipping and whooping in joy. Now that the bet was off, he could chase Long Kui to his heart’s content.
Zhuo Fan smiled, “Fatty, what does the Secret Pearl Order truly say?”
The fatty dropped his smile, watching Zhuo Fan with embarrassment, “Brother, didn’t I say it already?”
“This plan is very delicate, and even the goal is fair, but,” Zhuo Fan squinted, “It lacks ambition. So much so that an Emperor of a founding empire would never come up with it.”
The Great Ancestor showed great ambition when he established the empire. Zhuo Fan wasn’t gullible enough to believe the secret millennium order was limited to restricting the seven houses and maintaining a balance of power.
Fatty shook his head, “I do not know either. This was what I’ve been told.”
Zhuo Fan stared him down but discovered nothing else. Maybe he knew nothing, or maybe his acting was top notch.
“Then how did Hell Valley catch wind of this thousand-year-old secret edict?” Zhuo Fan smiled, “All of Hell Valley’s actions were against the secret edict while looking innocent doing it. They were afraid of the Imperial family’s investigation.”
Fatty frowned, “Reason points to the contrary, but there are many spies in the Imperial Capital, the information about secret edict might have leaked.”
“It remained hidden for a thousand years and only now it gets leaked?” Zhuo Fan frowned, “Maybe leaking it is part of the secret edict’s contents?”
The fatty shivered and went wide-eyed.
Zhuo Fan smirked, [It’s clear now.]
“Never mind, it works in Luo clan’s benefit anyway. So there’s no need to poke my nose in it. There’s no need to worry over nothing, ha-ha-ha…”
Zhuo Fan waved as he left, “Fatty, I’ll be going. We’ll meet again if we get the chance!”
A voice rang in fatty’s ear as Zhuo Fan’s figure distanced.
“This kid is perhaps too sharp… scary even!”
It was Fang Qiubai in his blue robe.
Fang Qiubai muttered, “The more I watch him the more he resembles someone!”
“Who?” Fatty asked.
Fang Qiubai’s eyes flashed, “Zhuge Changfeng!”
“The Leader of Four Pillars, Prime Minister Zhuge Changfeng?” Fatty was in shock, “Are you saying Zhuo Fan…”
Nodding, Fang Qiubai smiled, “Cong’er, becoming sworn brothers with him was the best decision you made in your life. One day, he will become one of your Four Pillars, helping you rule!”
The fatty was stunned, watching Zhuo Fan getting further away as ambition flickered in his eyes…
Zhuo Fan returned to the small courtyard and saw the others waiting outside.
“What’s wrong? Did 3rd Prince say something?” Luo Yunchang was worried. He refused Veiled Dragon Pavilion’s invitation but this was the Imperial family.
With just a nod, he could become an official with the support of the Imperial family.
Secretly smiling, Zhuo Fan said, “Fatty told me to do my best in fulfilling the secret edict.”
Luo Yunchang covered Zhuo Fan’s mouth then looked around before saying, “How can you call 3rd Prince like that? Be careful or he might take your life!”
“He won’t. He still needs me!”
Zhuo Fan dismissed her worry and even gave a thumbs up to Luo Yunhai, “Your performance was perfect, worthy of a Clan Head. You made me proud.”
“Please, didn’t I learn it all from bro?”Luo Yunhai stuck up his chin. It was clear the bro he referred to was Zhuo Fan.
Everyone laughed and Luo Yunchang showed a relieved smile.
[Dad, can you see? Yunhai has grown up. He can shoulder the honor and glory of the Luo clan!] Luo Yunchang looked at the sky with sparkling eyes.
On the second day after the meeting, the new clan was established with Luo clan at the helm. The name was, of course, Luo clan. Zhuo Fan, with the Imperial family’s support, had no trouble becoming the Head Steward of the clan, handling all affairs.
He appointed Lei Yuntian as Luo clan’s Grand Elder and Cai Rong as the 2nd Elder while keeping Old Pang as the Captain of the guards, leading the Cai clan’s guards. Lei Yuting was made the leader of the shadow corps, taking Blackwind Mountain’s bandits under her, and in charge of intelligence gathering and training assassins.
Because of the Imperial family’s decree, the Veiled Dragon Pavilion and Hell Valley were banned from entering the Windgaze City. The rest of the seven houses remained within their borders, thus making this city belong to the Luo clan alone.
As for the Luo clan’s estate, Cai clan suggested for it to be the former Cai Manor, but Zhuo Fan had other plans.
Blackwind Mountain, the place where a natural array took form!
And so, another Devil Mountain was established, and Zhuo Fan’s plans advanced one step at a time…