A ten meter pavilion rested on a tall peak, with a cloud dancing around it. A youth in soft black clothes sat at the table, partaking in tea. Though his twisted smile ruined his good image, turning it sinister.
Like a viper about to strike.
A light trailed the skies and landed right before the youth. It revealed an old man in white with golden edges holding a horsetail whisk, the very picture of an immortal.
The youth laughed and waved, “Mystical Heaven Sect’s Xuan Jianfeng, have you been well these years?”
“Xie Wuyue, we hardly interact and there’s nothing cordial between us. Why the sudden invitation then? What are you up to?” Xuan Jianfeng snorted and took a seat.
Putting on a vague smile, Xie Wuyue shook his head, “To discuss important business of course. Though it’s too soon to tell. There’s still one person left…”
Another light appeared and the immense power swept the peak. Even the two of them jerked for a moment there.
Xuan Jianfeng cried, “Sect Leader Ren, what are you doing here?”
It was a middle-aged man with sharp features, his expression bitting and resolute. Sparse hair grew on his chin, giving him a wild look.
“Sect Leader Ren, greetings.” This time Xie Wuyue’s evil smile turned respectful, bowing at the man.
Xuan Jianfeng did the same.
Grinning, the man flicked and spoke with valor, “Please, Sect Leaders, I’ve only come here to talk business. Don’t stand in ceremony for my sake, ha-ha-ha…”
The two had known Sect Leader Ren for a long time and sat right away.
Sect Leader Ren took a seat as well, looking at Xie Wuyue with a cold glint, “Sect Leader Xie, is what you said true? Yuwen clan has the gall to play dirty tricks behind our backs?”
“I never make light of such grave matters, Sect Leader Ren.” Xie Wuyue nodded.
Xuan Jianfeng was stumped, “Sect Leader Ren, what is going on?”
“You don’t know, Sect Leader Xuan?” Sect Leader Ren eyed Xie Wuyue and asked, “Sect Leader Xie didn’t explain it in the sending jade? Yuwen clan sold a tenth of Tianyu to Quanrong.”
Xuan Jianfeng shuddered, turning shocked to Xie Wuyue, “Is this true? Are they that outrageous? And why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“I told you now, didn’t I?” Xie Wuyue snorted.
Xuan Jianfeng glared at him.
[The punk is messing with me. Calling for a meeting without stating why.] These two sects weren’t exactly friends and now Xie Wuyue was playing deaf, letting him get duped.
Sect Leader Ren was the head of the empire’s three guardian sects, Heaven Trailing Sect’s Sect Leader. [By showing indifference in such a grave matter, it would only strain the relations between me and Sect Leader Ren.]
And this was where Xie Wuyue succeeded. He had forced Mystical Heaven Sect to come without explaining anything to Xuan Jianfeng.
[You didn’t say a word, it would be this big!]
The two sects had a competitive relationship, so why would anyone come just because the other said so?
[But from the looks of it, the matter isn’t that grave…]
Xuan Jianfeng wiped his brow and glared at Xie Wuyue. The youth found it more interesting to enjoy the scenery with a cold smile.
Sect Leader Ren knew everything but laughed instead, “Alright, it’s just Sect Leader Xie forgetting to mention. Sect Leader Xuan needn’t mind it. What is important is understanding the situation and its causes before settling it.”
Sect Leader Ren smiled, “Sect Leader Xie, since you found out, you must have done something before calling this meeting.”
“Sect Leader Ren is wise beyond his years. I indeed acted the instant I became aware of it. Now everything is settled. Though it will require all three of us if we want to take it out on Quanrong and Beast Taming Sect.”
Xie Wuyue explained the entire chain of events.
Xie Wuyue placed a gourd on the table, “Here are the three Beast Taming Sect’s elders’ souls. We can use them to strike a blow at the Beast Taming Sect but we’ll need Sect Leader Ren to consider what might we get out of it.”
“Humph, what else is there? Quanrong live in the mountains and forests with rich lands, plenty of mines and are filled with herbs. I’ve been waiting for ages to get my hands on it.”
Sect Leader Ren snickered, “Didn’t they want a tenth of Tianyu? This time we’ll have them bleed instead!”
Xie Wuyue nodded, “Rightfully so. I am in full accord with Sect Leader Ren’s idea. We’ll send a team of experts to Beast Taming Sect for compensation!”
Sect Leader Ren laughed, “It’s only a matter of time before our shares increase, ha-ha-ha….”
The others laughed as well.
Xuan Jianfeng and Xie Wuyue weren’t always on the same page but were content when both sides had a bite.
Though Xuan Jianfeng frowned, “The foreign matter is resolved but that still leaves the internal one. Due to its outrageous attempt, Yuwen clan is unfit to lead Tianyu. We need someone else, someone to guarantee our interests.”
“No need to worry, Sect Leader Xuan, isn’t the choice clear as day?” Xie Wuyue grinned.
Xuan Jianfeng jerked, “You mean… the Luo clan? No. Everyone knows you’ve got their steward Zhuo Fan to join you. Making them our choice will elevate your prowess.”
“Xuan Jianfeng, why be so petty? The Luo clan and Demon Scheming Sect do have some ties, but it’s nothing to fuss over. I’m not one to affect the sects’ interests and earn Heaven Trailing Sect’s ire over some crumbs. Do you take me for some narrow-minded and ignorant fool?”
Xie Wuyue bowed, “The usual distribution was Heaven Trailing Sect getting a third, each other sect a fifth and the remaining was left to Tianyu. But with Luo clan being Tianyu’s representative, an extra tenth will be divided among us, leaving it with only a fifth.”
Sect Leader Ren lit up and nodded, “This is everyone’s share. No matter who controls its distribution, it will be a gain for all. All that matters is paying the tribute on time and not skimming the top.”
“Exactly so!” Xie Wuyue chuckled and gave Xuan Jianfeng a taunting look.
Xuan Jianfeng saw Sect Leader Ren’s smile and the eerie chill behind it.
He nodded too, “But Sect Leader Ren, we now have a new representative so what do we do with the old one?”
“Yuwen clan has ruled Tianyu for a millennium, its roots are deep. Moving against them will throw the lands in chaos and affect our shares. When Tianyu was founded, it needed a hundred years to attain peace, a time during which the seven houses were at war and the people were struggling to survive. How could the empire’s resources be extracted in such desperate times? We were left with meager profits then. No, Tianyu must not fall into anarchy.”
Sect Leader Ren said, “Sect Leader Xie, is your representative confident in controlling the Yuwen clan, and grasping the entire imperial family’s power?”
“Ha-ha-ha, Sect Leader Ren, he’s doing it as we speak. And besides, doesn’t he have Demon Scheming Sect in case of hiccups?”
Sect Leader Ren nodded, “Sect Leader Xie, so young and promising. I’ll leave it to you. Goodbye.”
Sect Leader Ren vanished.
Xie Wuyue bowed.
Xuan Jianfeng stared at him, “Xie Wuyue, you sure looked big in front Sect Leader Ren. But I am warning you, you better not have your representative controlling Tianyu be up to something. If anything happens to Mystical Heaven Sect’s share…”
Xie Wuyue raised an eyebrow, “It’s not my fault Tianyu’s representative is in my court. When I took the kid in, all you knew was how to mock. Now look at what he has turned into. While that lass of yours hasn’t done anything, ha-ha-ha…”
Xuan Jianfeng clenched his fists but opted to snort and left Xuan Jianfeng with, “Don’t get too cocky. That kid is more than you can handle. You will be sorry!”
“Humph, useless talents are of no danger. I like the kids with some bite. But no matter how dangerous, he still won’t escape my grasp.”
Xie Wuyue snorted and clawed the air with a vicious look…