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These words caused everyone’s faces to chill.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Gao Ye’s entire face was ashen. “Senior Branch Master didn’t go to the Xingtian Legion’s Inauguration Ceremony, but to new agent’s Signing Ceremony instead? Isn’t this an obvious slap to the face?”
This was one such attitude. To tell everyone, the old guard, that their time had already passed. We care about the new recruits, the potential of new talent, potential even greater than the old guard! The suppression of ancient cultivators was to forbid a good arcane effort or place to cultivate. Modern-day suppression seemed elegant, but in truth it was even crueler.
It was to completely disbar someone the opportunity to rise to prominence! To erase a genius from the people’s memories! His anger gradually flaring, Chu Zhaonan studied Lu Gandang and said with a shred of obvious and visible killing aura, “Listen up.” He leaned in close so that both of their faces were only separated by ten-odd centimeters and said, stressing each word, “I’m not! Going! To fucking! Do you! The honor!”
Lu Gandang’s expression instantly grew ugly.
“Fellow Daoist Chu…” Lu Gandang inwardly grinded his teeth and said, seemingly sincere, “Fellow Daoist Xu’s appearance robbed you of your limelight. Originally, a single lone branch has transformed into Nantong’s Twin Dragons. How can you continue to endure this slight?”
Gao Ye and Luo Sanfeng looked at him like he was a ghost. This kid… sure had guts.
And yet based on their expressions, Lu Gandang believed himself to have voiced the words in their hearts. Raising a brow, he continued to speak, “Especially since Fellow Daoist Xu also chose Mingshui Province. Isn’t this a clear strike against your face, Fellow Daoist?”
Chu Zhaonan pitifully brushed an eye over Lu Gandang and said icily, “Beat it.” Done speaking, he paid no heed to the youth and walked over to the elevator.
“What’re you actin’ cool for?” Looking at the closed elevator door, Lu Gandang fiercely spat on the floor and said hatefully, “I don’t get it, what the hell are you scared of? Branch Master has our back. Didn’t you smash that Xu a few years ago like an egg?!”
“Bunch of spineless wimps!” His chest heaving up and down, he headed to the other elevator. Trash… All of them are trash! Not a single person from the last graduation is worth admiring! All of them are fuckin’ chicken-livered! All they can say is yes and no! Sucking in deeply, he adjusted his watch and went into the elevator.
“Hiss…” In their elevator, Gao Ye gnashed his teeth. “Brother Chu, the branch master’s way of handling things is too dirty! Brother Xu was the last graduation’s paragon! For him to achieve the middle stage so quickly and unleash his neurons, even a blind guy can see he’s got a lot of outstanding talent! He assailed the middle stage of Qi Condensation in the Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens Arena! If it weren’t for someone disturbing him…”
Chu Zhaonan shot a glare at the other, and Gao Ye suddenly recalled who the disrupter seemed to be… and immediately skipped over this topic. “Who was it? I never heard a damn thing about it!”
“If he can get an edge on Brother Xu, I’ll kowtow to him!” Luo Sanfeng gritted his teeth. “If he can send me flying with a kick, I’ll fucking acknowledge him! It’s not that I’m looking down on him, but just by himself? No way he can match up to the me from back then!”
Gao Ye’s gaze deepened by a few shades. “Without having experienced the last graduation, they really think that time of bloody carnage is somethin’ to brag about.”
Chu Zhaonan kept quiet, but he locked his teeth so fiercely that his muscles tensed. How ruthless… Is this the final hand? Only he understood Daomaster Floatingcloud’s Black Kill Order, a dream to consume Xu Yangyi and then elegantly wipe him away from the mouth. Xu Yangyi’s prestige wouldn’t disappear in a day, so they could continue eating away with bloodied maws. If this affair transformed into a confrontation between the Cultivation Court and a Core Formation cultivator, Daomaster Floatingcloud wouldn’t be able to bear the consequences of this level of responsibility.
Thus, the opposing party was patiently waiting for an opportunity. Waiting for a definite one-shot-kill chance.
Xu Yangyi had left seclusion… so he would have to carry out a mission… Once a mission was taken, there were far, far too many ways that Thousandedge could make Xu Yangyi disappear. As the provincial master for all of the Featherwood Guard’s affairs, Thousandedge could do it without so much as a sound or echo. This event was Thousandedge’s first probe.
As for a name… Thousandedge didn’t even want to grant Xu Yangyi one to leave behind. He wanted to completely obliterate all traces of his existence on this Earth. Even if Xu Yangyi died, the cultivation world’s reaction would only be “Oh, another legion commander died in the line of duty. Alright, everyone keep eating”, instead of a “What? The legion commander of the Xingtian Legion died? How?!”
“He’s not coming?” At the same time in a hall lounge downstairs, Thousandedge was in a well-tailored suit and playing with two glossy walnuts in his hand. He looked at the half-kneeling Lu Gandang before him and asked indifferently.
“Yes, Branch Master. Not only is he not coming, but he even ran his mouth. He said that wherever he goes isn’t your concern, sir.”
Thousandedge’s gaze faintly sparked, and he chuckled as he looked at Lu Gandang, who hadn’t lifted his head. “Oh?”
Lu Gandang didn’t speak. He was envious! Why?! In comparison to himself, on what basis was Xu Yangyi able to obtain such treatment five years ago? He saw that in the latter’s Signing Ceremony, his number of spirit stones had been calculated with tons. Why was Xu Yangyi able to gain this?
Rank one? He was also rank one! However, it was nothing more than Xu Yangyi being born a few years earlier! If Xu Yangyi was placed in the same graduation as him, he would be capable of forcing the other to lick his shoes in willingness and delight.
Thousandedge faintly smiled. “Remember…”
“In this place, I am the master.”
“You thirsted for privilege, so I granted you privilege. You demanded resources, so I gave you resources.” He leaned back in his chair. “I even personally came to lend to your prestige!”
“You say to me that Xu Yangyi is doing no more than holding sinecure. Nothing less than the dictation of fate. Thus, you face me this time for an opportunity to challenge him in battle. I granted this to you, as well. You wish for the Featherwood Guard to campaign for you, so take this mediocre disciple that only understands seclusion and defeat him… I promised all of this.”
Thousandedge looked into Lu Gandang’s eyes, devoid of emotion. “I promised all that you required. Your legion engineered your Signing Ceremony. For your Signing Ceremony, I aided you in establishing connections and requesting all the cultivation media outlets. I then helped you arrange a lounge, unknown as to how much more extravagant and grand it is to the Legion Inauguration Ceremony upstairs… If you cannot achieve your own demands, then what of elsewhere?”
“Senior.” Lu Gandang finally raised his head, a wisp of longing for abundant cultivation resources, fame, and favor flashing through his eyes. He said with a heavy undertone, “We cultivators defy the heavens in the struggle of fate. No matter whether it’s resources or connections, both depend on our own hands to vie and fight for! Xu Yangyi only knows of seclusion, not even risking to fight over these things! Why was such a cowardly cultivator who idles his time away, eating and waiting in the mountains, able to gain such great treatment?!”
“If Junior can’t even overcome such a chicken-livered person, I am willing to accept punishment!”
Thousandedge studied Lu Gandang for a long time and waved his hand. “Remember your words.”
Jingle… At the same time, the elevator softly rang out. Chu Zhaonan walked out and glanced over to the Xingtian Legion’s ceremony meeting place.
“T-This is the ceremony stage?” Luo Sanfeng looked at the lounge in shock, not daring to believe his own eyes somewhat. “Is Brother Xu playing us?!”
“Was he… so frugal in the past?” Gao Ye dumbly looked at the gathering stage, likewise in a state of disbelief.
This gathering place… was not big. It was even… a bit wretched. There were no precious treasures of the cultivation world exhibited in the vicinity, and there was no spirit tea or spirit fruit respectfully presented. There were only cups of green tea, a few cultivator reporters, and ten-odd people that he didn’t recognize.
It was too… simple and crude.
Chu Zhaonan’s thoughts couldn’t help but begin to grow incensed. Did they lack wealth? No. Presently, the Xingtian Legion was very much rich! Then this was Xu Yangyi simply not taking this event to heart! When all customs and rites were observed, was Xu Yangyi aware of how many things were related to the Legion Inauguration Ceremony?
“You came?” Xu Yangyi caught a glimpse of Chu Zhaonan. “You should still remember these Fellow Daoists, right?”
Chu Zhaonan choked on his belly full of anger and walked over to a few people. He took a glance and saw Vulture and Lilac. Controlling his voice, he cupped his hands and said, “What are you doing? Are you even treating this seriously? Don’t you know what that damned runt is doing downstairs?!”
“What’s up?” Vulture looked at the duo, startled. “Downstairs?” What happened?”
“Nothing.” Chu Zhaonan gritted his teeth in hesitation. “There’s a son of a bitch holding his Signing Ceremony down there. Branchmaster Thousandedge is personally participating!”
“What?!” Lilac’s brows almost went straight up as a deep crease formed between her brows. “What does he mean by that? Is he telling everyone that Fellow Daoist Xu’s talents are weaker than that other guy’s? Is he telling everyone that Fellow Daoist Xu’s Xingtian Legion is just a joke?”
“I just found out too,” Xu Yangyi laughed indifferently, “What’s there to worry about?”
“You might not be worried!” Chu Zhaonan took a step forward. “But I am! This is our honor as the students of the sixteenth Nantong Province graduation! If you get out of here, I can decorate things 10,000 times better than that guy’s stuff in two hours!”
“Not necessary.” Vulture laughed grimly. “A Foundation Establishment Senior personally came to campaign, eh… It really is an extravagant showing. I may not risk provoking him, but a little, new agent? With my status as a hall master, he still ain’t enough to fill my eyes.”
“Pass on my words.” Vulture swept an eye at the assistant behind him. “Bring up 200 medium-grade spirit stones. Today, those who arrive will have a share.”
“All Fellow Daoists.” At this very instant, a female secretary walked over with a smile on her face. She walked slowly and gracefully, as if she was treading on lofty clouds high above, unconsenting to lower her head and glance at the mortals below. Likewise, she was at the initial stage of Qi Condensation, however, she was Thousandedge’s third secretary.
“Branch Master wanted me notify everyone that in an hour, Fellow Daoist Lu’s Signing Ceremony and Fellow Daoist Xu’s Legion Inauguration Ceremony will begin at the same time. Oh… Is Fellow Daoist Xu still not done preparing? How could there be so few people?” She laughed, feigning amazement. “There’s already tons of people downstairs… If a few people don’t find the right way, I hope Fellow Daoist Xu can timely notify them.”
“A Legion Inauguration Ceremony is a grand affair. The age when a fragrant wine needn’t fear a dark alley is already over. The Xingtian Legion’s future personnel recruitment and legion expense financing will start here. If there’s so little people here, won’t Fellow Daoist Xu have to hire some people to fill the stage floor when the time approaches?”
These words were cutting. The new generation exchanged the old, and Thousandedge was evidently telling everyone that he didn’t view Xu Yangyi optimistically and moreover didn’t favor the Xingtian Legion! Thousandedge preferred to participate in a new recruit’s Signing Ceremony, rather than take part in an well-known cultivator’s Legion Inauguration Ceremony.
She had touched upon her master’s intentions, so why would she be afraid of offending Xu Yangyi?
“Where are you coming from with this bullshit?!” Just as her voice fell, Gao Ye and Luo Sanfeng were unable to restrain themselves from shouting angrily. However, their voices were stopped by a hand.
Xu Yangyi raised his right hand, his left hand holding a cup of tea. “Go back and tell your master.” He held his teacup and made a motion for her to see herself out. “In the struggle of living things, it is the heavens that choose. The superior will eliminate the inferior. It is not the most outstanding or even the one in new clothes that gets the last laugh.”
“Yes.” The secretary smiled as she bowed. “Indeed, if not the most excellent cultivator, how could one possibly be confirmed by the Grand Dao. Those incidentally set high above are no more than flowers in a mirror or the moon reflected in water, unrealistic in their romanticism.”
Xu Yangyi’s smile deepened. “Go.”
The secretary laughed as she departed, and Chu Zhaonan glared at Xu Yangyi. “In the few years I haven’t seen you, you’ve become more and more…”
“More and more what?” Xu Yangyi set down his teacup. “Afraid of the head and terrified of the tail, frightened of the slightest thing? Like a mouse stuck between hesitation and indecision?”
Chu Zhaonan snorted and spoke no further.
“You’re wrong…” Xu Yangyi’s smile dropped, a cold glint arcing through his eyes. “I’ll make sure everyone knows who gets the last laugh.” He turned to look over at the bustling Peony. “Get ready to notify everyone that the Legion Inauguration Ceremony will immediately convene in a half hour.”
“Huh?” Peony was dazed.
“If he won’t give me face, then why should I consider Thousandedge as branch master?” Xu Yangyi sneered coldly. “He wants to make me disappear? I’ll let him see that even if he wants to block my path and is a Foundation Establishment Senior, as long as I fancy the End of Days’ resources he won’t be able to stop me all the same!”
1. The specific word for mediocre is an idiom that originates from the texts of Sima Qian, known as “The Grand Historian”. It is an idea that one is average without accomplishment.
2. “The age where a fragrant wine needn’t fear a dark alley has long since passed” - The idea that if a wine is good, even if the location sucks, people will still find it.
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