The eerie silence gnawed at their shocked minds. Demon Scheming Sect’s number one expert, High Venerable, was a bodyguard.
[Who on earth is that punk?]
Grand Elder said, “Venerable Shi, are you sure it’s him?”
“No mistake. No matter how mysterious High Venerable is around the sect, with most only seeing his soul form, but that aura and power are without a doubt from High Venerable. “
“Does that mean the High Venerable knows everything?” Grand Elder sighed.
Venerable Shi frowned, “Not sure. High Venerable stopped me before I could get to the kid. It felt more like he didn’t want to fall out with me, and only warned me. That’s the only reason I’m still alive.”
Everyone pondered. [True.]
“Does that mean the High Venerable wants to keep the sect from plunging into chaos?” Grand Elder mulled.
Venerable Shi said, “I think so as well. No matter how strong High Venerable is, we aren’t pushovers either. Taking us out will have the inner and elite disciples flip while the other elders and Venerables will use this opportunity to get their own disciples to climb ranks. The sect will be in a mess. High Venerable has always cared about just cause and will never let that happen. All we have to do is not push him.”
“Master, does that mean we cannot kill the kid?” Liu Xu was apprehensive.
Venerable Shi rolled his eyes and pointed at himself, “Isn’t it obvious from my state? Don’t touch the kid. I’ll be probing Sect Leader in the meantime and figure out who he is and why is High Venerable so fixated on him.”
Liu Xu frowned.
[No matter how much of an anomaly Zhuo Fan is, we can’t get to him now…]
After further deliberations, they reached an accord. No one was to make a scene, especially move against Zhuo Fan before the inner competition, lest they provoked Xie Wuyue and High Venerable.
At dawn, they disbanded just as they received notice that the Sect Leader had called a meeting of elders and Venerables.
There, they heard Xie Wuyue pardoning Kui Lang and Yue Ling and reinstating them as inner disciples.
Venerable Qi and Venerable Bai were wild with joy, their hopes rekindled with promising disciples for elite positions. They had even banded together with other fellow elders and Venerables to petition their case.
Yet Sect Leader announced it on his own accord and just before the big inner sect competition, a last ditch effort for these oldies to grab some profits.
Venerable Shi’s faction refrained from fighting and handed over the two spots with modesty and grace. On and off, Venerable Shi made some remarks about Zhuo Fan to test the waters, but Xie Wuyue didn’t rise to the occasion.
With Kui Lang and Yue Ling back in the inner sect and him coming out empty in regards to Zhuo Fan’s matter, this lofty Venerable sulked out of the Sect Leader hall.
Kui Lang and Yue Ling were reinstated and worked hard for the inner competition three months later, as did the other disciples.
Everyone was giving their all in grasping even the smallest chance of becoming an elite.
The cultivation trend was in vogue in the sect which made these months fly by without an incident.
On a ten meter tall stand, the elders watched the competition with a cold eye.
On the highest seat was Xie Wuyue, his chest was out, his head high, like a true Sect Leader. On his left were the Venerables, starting with Venerable Shi, while on his right he had Grand Elder and other elders. The new elders were not worth mentioning.
The audience was packed, with outer disciples enjoying the bustle and learning what to look for when they become inner disciples.
All were buzzing and commenting, waiting for the Sect Leader to start the competition every disciple yearned, a cruel battlefield.
“Ha-ha-ha, it seems High Venerable isn’t around to join us.” Venerable Shi commented next to Xie Wuyue.
Xie Wuyue merely glanced over.
Venerable Shi was the second Venerable. In High Venerable’s absence, he had the right to stick closer.
Xie Wuyue didn’t let his derision show, “High Venerable enjoys peace. The inner competition isn’t so great to make him come, even less than the outer competition. I wouldn’t be here either if I didn’t need to.”
Venerable Shi’s beard shook in anger.
Xie Wuyue jabbed him, knowing that he had rigged the inner competition. He gave a roundabout criticism leaving him speechless.
All because they had full control of the spots.
Three of those were taken by their disciples, Gui Hu, Liu Xu and Hu Mei’er. The rest were thrown to the other elders and Venerables to appease them, i.e. Kui Lang and Yue Ling.
As for the rest of the disciples, none had the strength to take them, or they’d be snuffed out if they tried.
The inner sect competition had devolved into a mere formality with time.
“Sect Leader, we aren’t so selfish not to care about others.” Grand Elder didn’t catch on to Xie Wuyue’s mockery and smiled.
Xie Wuyue frowned, seething in hatred.
Him and Venerable Shi were in cahoots and hard to counter.
A shame that High Venerable only cared about Dao and left Venerable Shi room to seize power. Or with the Venerables and elders keeping each other in check, this never would’ve happened.
Even if High Venerable returned, seizing control couldn’t be harder.
It left the only glimmer of hope shining down on Zhuo Fan, the anomaly, to break this corruption.
Xie Wuyue sighed, not finding Zhuo Fan down below and shook his head.
[No more waiting. I just hope he shows up in time.]
“Begin.” Xie Wuyue flicked his sleeve.
The judging elders bowed to the Sect Leader and the rest, before shouting, “Let the inner sect competition begin!”
The disciples all hollered.
The judges took a ribbon and read the names on it.
The fighting started with the arrival of the contestants while the audience grew livelier.
None however noticed three shadows a thousand meters away, sitting on a tree.
“Ha-ha-ha, another boring competition. At this rate, the elites are nothing but average, with the promising disciples left for dead in the inner sect.” One laughed.
The other sighed, “Such is the rot festering inside our sect. It makes Wuyue’s actions so dull. What’s the point of rewatching the same thing over and over again? If it were me, I’d explode by now. Looking at it now, I think not having a Sect Leader is still a blessing in disguise.”
“Ha-ha-ha, true, our luck is great. Reminds me of that Double Dragon Gathering, when only the four of us survived after those rich boys killed the rest. Our luck is practically godlike, weaving the same cloth that ruined us then.” The third’s laughter ended in rage.
The first person sighed, “Yeah, some elites are still excellent…”
“Yeah, crazy good, but who’ll then lead the Double Dragon Gathering team? Who the hell cares how great and mighty one is, even the best across the lands, when you can’t work together? What can they possibly achieve?” The third voice ranted.
The second shook his head.
The first looked at the second, “By the way, Wuyue brought some tough guy from Tianyu, right? How is he?”
“Don’t remind me. I know of Tianyu’s Regent Estate, plagued by narcissistic tendencies. Providence this, providence that; annoying up to here. I don’t feel like seeing him.” The third shot it down.
The other two shrugged.
Not that they knew the one to come to the Demon Scheming Sect was not Huangpu Qingtian but Zhuo Fan, a demon like no other.
Meanwhile, in the cemetery, a lovely figure came out of the Black Wind Array, her eyes flashing with a piercing gaze.
Zhuo Fan nodded and handed over a vial, “Hurry and take it, then complete your task…”