Book 17, Indigo Prefecture – Chapter 20, Conclave of Elders
As he strode into the large hall, Linley swept it with his gaze. “Only twelve Elders have arrived?” The Azure Dragon clan had thirty-six Elders. The other Elders in the hall, upon seeing Linley, all laughed while greeting him.
“Linley, sit over here.” Elder Garvey beckoned towards him.
Linley walked over and sat down by Garvey’s side.
This Conclave of Elders was held in a large hall, where a very large, dark red circular table was placed in the center, with a ring of chairs around the table. Linley swept it with his gaze and discovered: “Eh? Just sixteen chairs?”
The round table was very large, and there was more than enough space for forty chairs. But they had only sixteen chairs prepared.
“Garvey, there’s only sixteen chairs? Aren’t there supposed to be thirty-six Elders?” Linley said softly.
“The Elders of Bloodbath Gorge do not attend.” Garvey explained.
Linley sighed to himself.
Bloodbath Gorge was the most central area of the entire Skyrite Mountains. It was also the place where the most powerful experts of the Azure Dragon clan, the Vermillion Bird clan, the White Tiger clan, and the Black Tortoise clan gathered. The Azure Dragon clan had twenty Elders stationed there.
“They won’t even attend the Conclave of Elders.” On the day that Linley had become an Elder, there had only been ten or so Elders present in the palace. Not a single one of the Elders who had been in the Bloodbath Gorge had come on that day either.
“The Elders at Bloodbath Gorge truly are risking their lives to battle for the clan.” Fifteen days ago, Linley had chatted with Garvey, and had discussed the responsibilities of Elders. At that time, Garvey had explained Bloodbath Gorge to him.
The eight great clans were always watching like rapacious tigers. The Four Divine Beasts clan were faced with great danger, and although they could hide in the Skyrite Mountains and live their lives there like turtles hiding in their shells…
Given the arrogance of the Four Divine Beasts clan, how could they possibly forever hide?
In addition, how could a large clan like theirs be perpetually cut off from the outside world? The Four Divine Beasts clan was connected to the outside world, but the people who connected them would be slaughtered and attacked by the eight great clans.
Would the Four Divine Beasts clan just quietly accept this?
The Four Divine Beasts clan would counter-attack, deliver vicious counter-blows to its enemies. Thus, the ‘Bloodbath Gorge’ was formed.
Bloodbath Gorge was where more than half of the experts of the Four Divine Beasts clan were gathered. The Azure Dragon clan had twenty-plus Elders, and of course, many Six Star Fiends were present as well. The requirement for one to enter Bloodbath Gorge was having the power of a Six Star Fiend.
Bloodbath Gorge. The gathering spot for the true elites of the Four Divine Beasts clan.
“The sixteen Elders are all present.” A silver-haired Elder at the side of the round table said clearly. “This millennial Conclave of Elders, compared to the previous one, has an additional Elder present. This is something worthy of celebration.”
Quite a few Elders grinned towards Linley.
Linley smiled back at each Elder in a show of friendliness, then glanced at the silver-haired Elder. Linley recognized this silver-haired Elder; he was the Second Elder of the Assembly of Elders, the son of Patriarch Gislason.
“With regards to everyone’s assignments, let’s set that aside for now.” The Second Elder said solemnly. “Let me first explain to everyone the final battle results of our twenty-plus Elders of our Azure Dragon clan in Bloodbath Gorge, over the past millennium.”
The faces of all the Elders turned solemn.
Bloodbath Gorge was a representation of the constant slaughter and warfare between the Four Divine Beasts clan and the eight great clans.
“Our twenty-plus Elders of the Azure Dragon clan, in the past millennium, killed two enemy Seven Star Fiends and thirty-six enemy Six Star Fiends! The number of other Highgods slain was not recorded.” The Second Elder said forcefully.
Linley was secretly shocked. A thousand years, to Deities, was a very short period of time. But in a thousand short years, the Azure Dragon clan alone had killed two of the enemy’s Seven Star Fiends, and thirty-six of their Six Star Fiends.
How many enemies, then, had they killed in Bloodbath Gorge in total?
“The battle between the Four Divine Beasts clan and the eight great clans truly is vicious.” Linley said to himself.
“However, amongst our twenty-plus Elders, two of our Elders had their power dramatically reduced. They were the twenty first elder, ‘Bangden’ [Bang’dun], and the ninth Elder, ‘Jeffs’ [Ji’fo’si]. Elder Bangden’s divine water clone was destroyed, and he no longer has the power of a Seven Star Fiend. He is currently in closed door training. As for Jeffs, his most powerful clone, the divine water clone, was destroyed as well. Luckily, however, his original body has never fused a divine spark. His original body thus once more fused with a divine water spark and his strength is thus returned…but from this day forward, he will most likely find it incredibly hard to advance a single step.” The Second Elder said solemnly.
Immediately, the atmosphere in the hall became depressed.
“Two Elders. One no longer has the power of a Seven Star Fiend, while the other won’t be able to advance at all in the future.” Linley sighed to himself.
Linley knew what the rules of Bloodbath Gorge were. Those Elders who went out to do battle all left their weaker divine clones within Bloodbath Gorge. That way, even if they died in battle outside, they would still have a surviving divine clone.
Most likely, the enemies were doing the same.
Although they described the battle accomplishment as being the killing of two Seven Star Fiends, most likely, the divine clones of those two Seven Star Fiends had similarly been left back at their own bases.
“So for the original body not to fuse with a divine spark actually has a benefit like this.”
The Elder named ‘Jeffs’ had his most powerful divine water clone destroyed, but his original body had never fused with a divine spark, just like Linley. Thus, the Elder could use his original body to constantly fuse with water-type divine spark, all the way to becoming a Highgod.
This was because he already had the necessary insights into how to fuse the Laws of Water.
Thus, even if he became a Highgod through fusing a divine spark this time, his power wouldn’t be much different from in the past. Only…in the future, it would be very hard to advance further.
For example, if Linley’s divine earth clone was destroyed, he would become unable to use the Blackstone Space. However, Linley absolutely could let his original body continue to fuse a Demigod divine earth spark, a God divine earth spark, and a Highgod divine earth spark.
When the time came, Linley would still be able to execute the ‘Blackstone Space’. Only, he wouldn’t be able to make any further improvements.
“This time, aside from the two aforementioned Elders retiring from Bloodbath Gorge, there are also six Elders who have fought in Bloodbath Gorge for three thousand years already who will be retiring from Bloodbath Gorge! Thus, of our group of sixteen, there needs to be three who will fill the positions.”
Immediately, the Elders began to chat with each other through divine sense or ponder to themselves.
“Three Elders need to go to Bloodbath Gorge?” Linley also knew what going to Bloodbath Gorge represented.
“Because of the order of the Patriarch, punishing Emanuel to go serve with the Grand Elder, thus of the sixteen of us, Emanuel absolutely must go to Bloodbath Gorge. Two more must therefore be chosen out of the remaining fifteen.”
Linley couldn’t help but glance at the distant Emanuel out of the corner of his eyes. Emanuel remained silent, his face unchanging. Clearly, he already knew about this.
“Everyone, let’s choose two Elders to participate.” The Second Elder looked at everyone.
“Me!” A voice rang out from next to Linley. It was Elder Garvey. Elder Garvey laughed, “I wanted to go last time, but in terms of power, I was weaker than the others, so I was excluded. This time, it is my turn, right?”
“I nominate myself for a slot!” Immediately, another Elder spoke out. “The other Elders are battling for the clan outside, while I am remaining within the mountain. I feel miserable!”
“Garvey, it’s not your turn yet.” Yet another Elder spoke out. “I nominate myself.”
There were differences in power amongst the Elders as well. Garvey was clearly a fairly weak one. As for Bloodbath Gorge…the more powerful one was, the better it was when they entered.
“I’ll go as well.” Of the sixteen Elders, one of the three females, a jade-haired woman, laughed. “I truly wish to emulate the Grand Elder and to serve with her fighting for the clan.”
“For the sake of the clan, I’ll go as well.”
Linley, quite surprised, watched this scene. Originally, he thought that people would try to push it off onto others. However, Linley now discovered that eight of the sixteen were so valiant as to volunteer themselves, casting concerns regarding life and death to the side.
“Enough.” The golden-haired Elder shouted with a frown.
Linley turned to look. The golden-haired Elder was the Third Elder of the clan, the son of the Grand Elder. His name was Forhan. Forhan had another status…he was the father of Emanuel.
The golden-haired Elder, Forhan, said in a low voice. “I understand that everyone wishes to do battle for the sake of the clan. But in battle, the more powerful a person is, the better! Thus, in my heart, I have made two choices. The first is…”
Forhan suddenly pointed at Linley. “Elder Linley!”
Linley was slightly startled.
“Forhan, the question of who goes is a decision each person individually. It isn’t a matter for others to decide upon.” The Second Elder said.
Forhan furrowed his forehead stubbornly, then said in a clear voice, “As members of the clan, and with the clan facing danger, how can any of us ignore this? Look at the twenty Elders in Bloodbath Gorge. The vast majority of them have been battling there for thousands of years. According to the rules, every thousand years, they can retire. But they have not!”
“It is all for the sake of the clan! For the sake of making it so that our Azure Dragon clan’s prestige will not lower!”
Forhan looked at Linley. “The reason I choose Linley is because Linley’s Gravitational Space is very unusual, with the power of the gravity being miraculously great. Even Seven Star Fiends will generally have their speed greatly reduced within his Gravitational Space. When experts do battle, if Linley were to coordinate with several Elders, his power can definitely be unleashed to an extremely great effect.”
The Elders in the hall all immediately understood.
If Linley were to coordinate with several Elders while using his Gravitational Space, it would indeed be a tremendously effective supporting measure.
“Linley’s own power has been made clear to everyone as well. He vastly surpasses Emanuel. As I see it, just based on the power of his body, in our clan, Linley should rank number four! Even I feel I am inferior.” Forhan looked at Linley. “Linley, why don’t you speak for yourself. Are you willing to go?”
Linley laughed as he looked at Forhan. “Third Elder, I want to ask, who is the other person you have chosen?”
Forhan said solemnly, “The two people I selected…one is Linley, while the other is myself! I believe that in terms of strength, nobody here dares to say that they have definitely surpassed me. Last time, I didn’t go to Bloodbath Gorge…I’ve regretted it for a long time now. This time, I insist on going!”
The other person Forhan had chosen was actually Forhan himself?
“Linley?” The Second Elder looked at Linley. “What are your own thoughts?”
These Elders all admitted that in solo combat, some of them would dare say that they were not inferior to Linley. But in terms of group combat…none of them dared to say that they were superior to Linley. In group combat, the effect of Linley’s Blackstone Space truly was too good.
Once his Blackstone Space appeared, his own power would not be impacted, but the opponent’s speed would drastically drop. Even Seven Star Fiends, in a battle situation like this, would be defeated lopsidedly.
“I’ll go!” Linley nodded.
“Linley, not bad.” Forhan laughed as he spoke.
Linley just smiled back at him, while musing suspiciously to himself, “This Forhan seems to want to force me to go to Bloodbath Gorge. The way he acted just now…if I were to refuse to go, most likely the other Elders would look down upon me. Why does he want to force me to go? Can it have to do with his son, Emanuel?”
“Alright. The people have been chosen. Forhan, Emanuel, Linley, the three of you, after the conclusion of this Conclave, can go directly to Bloodbath Gorge.” The Second Elder looked at Linley and the other two. “The three of you, take care of yourselves.”
“Take care of yourselves.” These four words caused Linley to feel relieved of a sense of pressure he hadn’t realized he had been bearing.
“Bloodbath Gorge?” For some reason, Linley suddenly felt a hint of anticipation.
Ever since he had learned that the clan was in a crisis, Linley had known that one day, he too would battle on behalf of the clan. Only, he hadn’t imagined that the day would come so quickly.
Linley and the other two selectees were going to Bloodbath Gorge. Naturally, they wouldn’t be assigned any other activities. After the Conclave of Elders concluded, the other thirteen Elders all bade farewell to and sent off Linley, Forhan, and Emanuel.
“Linley, I truly want to go with you.” Garvey laughed. “Remember. Help kill a few extra enemies for me.”
Linley smiled and nodded.
Garvey’s face suddenly turned solemn. “Remember, you need to be careful. Protecting yourself is most important. Killing enemies is secondary to that.”
“Right.” Linley nodded.
“Enough. The three of you, you can head off. After arriving in Bloodbath Gorge, obey the commands of the Grand Elder.” The Second Elder said. Linley, Forhan, and Emanuel immediately made their farewells to each of the Elders, then immediately started to fly into the heart of the Skyrite Mountains.
The Skyrite Mountains were divided into four major areas, which each of the Four Divine Beasts clan were in control of.
In the core of the Skyrite Mountains, deep within a mountain valley, was Bloodbath Gorge. The place where the elites of the Four Divine Beasts clan gathered.
“The security here truly is tight.” Linley looked at the air above the gorge. There was an enormous number of roving warriors on patrol. Not just the azure armored warriors of the Azure Dragon clan, but also the golden armored warriors of the Vermilion Bird clan…
There were patrolling warriors from all four of the Four Divine Beasts clans. When these people saw Linley’s group of three fly over, they immediately saluted.
Linley, Emanuel, and Forhan flew directly into the depths of the gorge.
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