Pei Hao's harsh words were just like a sharp blade, cutting straight towards the heart. These words infuriated the Pavilion Masters who were siding with Jiang Qing'e.
At the same time, they couldn't help but to look over at Li Luo. What was most surprising was that he seemed to be completely indifferent to those words. This led them to heave sighs of relief and at the same time taste a tinge of regret. This young lord may have been cursed with a blank palace, but his heart was unyielding and firm, something commendable considering his situation.
Pei Hao also noticed that Li Luo was unfazed by his words, making him feel astonished. Perhaps this was not unexpected. Li Luo had changed over these past few years. Perhaps he had already accepted the gravity of the situation.
"Are you done blabbering?" Li Luo retorted calmly.
Pei Hao returned his reply with a dull smile.
"Actually, I've been quite baffled by this series of events. My parents have clearly lavished you with their favor. Why are you acting as though you possess an immense grudge against them?" Li Luo asked.
Pei Hao paused for a moment in thought and replied, "My masters have indeed treated me well. Yet they have always known what I truly wanted: to become a full-fledged disciple. Not just a mere disciple in name. For this goal, I labored for House Luolan endlessly, and what did I get? They never so much as opened their mouths to accept me! Can you understand how many times I've anticipated this reward, only to be disappointed?"
Li Luo laughed. "Is this what it means when one says if you provide too much help in a time of need, the person becomes reliant on you instead? In retrospect, what my parents did was right. With your ungrateful and vicious personality, it would be akin to inviting a blind and vicious wolf into our home. Imagine if you had become an actual legacy disciple... Just what more would you have done? Giving you the position of an actual disciple would only have amplified your wild heart, making it even easier for you to take control of House Luolan."
Pei Hao shook his head to disagree, unwilling to further quibble with Li Luo regarding that. "It looks like you aren't interested in my proposition, then?"
Li Luo shook his head. "Stop wasting your effort. This marriage agreement is something between Sister Qing'e and I. It will not change based on your threats."
Hearing his reply, Pei Hao sighed lightly, "Li Luo, greed will only lead to your reckoning. This is no longer the past. You no longer have any capital here."
Li Luo's gaze was affixed on Pei Hao. Despite Li Luo having a much weaker aura compared to Pei Hao, his fervent gaze possessed something that led Pei Hao to feel mildly uncomfortable.
"I will redirect the same words back to you." As he spoke, Li Luo's expression became dead-serious.
Pei Hao naturally laughed. "Li Luo, do you really believe that Junior Sister will always be there to protect you? How childish and naive. Since you don't agree with my suggestions, let's leave it at that. From now on, it's as I said. The three pavilions under me will no longer contribute a single tithe to the House. Similarly, any commandments made... will not be implemented... depending on my mood."
The expressions of the six remaining Pavilion Masters within the hall gradually turned frigid.
Two of the six were still trying to stay neutral. However, if Pei Hao truly wanted to carve apart House Luolan, their interests would also inevitably be affected.
If this was the case, they would unfortunately only be able to obey Jiang Qing'e's orders and suppress the other three pavilions and Pavilion Masters.
If things were to escalate to that point, House Luolan's dirty laundry would indeed be aired to the public eye and all of the powers within the Xia Kingdom.
"What? You wish for me to show my hand?" Pei Hao could feel their cold gazes bearing upon him as he chuckled.
Looking at Pei Hao's jubilant expression, Lei Zhang and his fellow Pavilion Masters held themselves back in fear of the consequences of aggravating this beast. What was true in Pei Hao's previous exchange with Li Luo was that his contributions to House Luolan had not been minor. When House Luolan was ascending through the ranks, he had exerted himself greatly, reaping the lives of numerous strong foes.
Pei Hao had even become a late stage Earth Fiend. Other than Lei Zhang, who was a middle stage Earth Fiend, the rest were only early stage Earth Fiends.
In this group, perhaps only the ninth-grade Light Resonance-wielding Jiang Qing'e could be his match.
Most importantly, Pei Hao wasn't just a single individual. He possessed a veritable army and three Pavilion Masters on his end as well.
If all hell were to break loose, it would announce to the world House Luolan's internal strife and the House's position within the Xia Kingdom would become even more untenable, to add insult to injury.
"Everyone, my aim here today is not to engage in meaningless gossip. What I wanted to do was find a solution that would allow House Luolan to continue to stand tall within the Xia Kingdom.
"If Junior Sister is willing to annul the marriage, then I'm willing to work together to bring House Luolan towards a new era!" Pei Hao's gaze flitted around the group with his ever-present smile.
"Now that things have come to this, I can only blame a certain Young Lord for being too greedy... It's time to settle things." At this point, he produced a medallion. On it was engraved the word "Mo". This immediately set off a chain of different expressions amongst the group when they realized what it was.
"Is this Elder Mo's medallion?" Lei Zhang quietly asked.
In House Luolan, other than the nine Pavilion Masters, there were also three respected ancestors holding high positions. They were the mightiest warriors of House Luolan, excluding the two House Lords, and they were all Heavenly Dipper Generals.
Normally, these ancestors would not interfere in the mundane matters of House Luolan, only rising to the occasion when dealing with enemies that brought about existential danger. This was the agreement that Li Taixuan had made with them.
Specifically, Elder Mo was the strongest amongst the trio.
Who would ever have imagined that the one who was most obligated to protect House Luolan would instead pass his authority medallion to Pei Hao. This was a clear indication of his stance.
"When Master first invited the three ancestors to join, he said that they possessed the power of supervision. Whoever is capable of obtaining the support of two ancestors and four Pavilion Masters by next year's meeting will have the right to become the House Lord of House Luolan."
Pei Hao grinned. "Hence, you don't have to be concerned about me tearing House Luolan apart. What I truly want is the complete whole."
The entire hall was shocked. No one had expected this turn of events, nor for Pei Hao to raise this possibility.
Judging from the current developments, he did indeed have the possibility to succeed. It was clear that he had long made preparations for the sake of today, taking effect immediately after the House Lords had disappeared.
Pei Hao's gaze then turned onto the icy Jiang Qing'e and then to Li Luo at the side. "So treasure this remaining year's worth of time. You might no longer have any affiliation to House Luolan after the next housemeet. At that point, you will truly have nothing!" After delivering his ultimatum, Pei Hao turned and strode away, the three Pavilion Masters in tow.
With Pei Hao's departure, the frigid atmosphere previously found in the hall gradually warmed up. Yet the countenances of the ones remaining were tinged with sadness.
Although they had made certain preparations for the housemeet, when push came to shove, it had still caused quite a headache.
What was commendable was Jiang Qing'e being able to remain cool and collected the entire time. She immediately reassured the six Pavilion Masters and delegated some important matters before letting them go.
After which, silence descended upon the hall again.
Li Luo's eyes were fixated upon the floorboards until his view was filled by a pair of straight and slender jade-like legs. Only then did he snap back to reality and raise his head to look at the person in front of him. His gaze met Jiang Qing'e's, quietly watching him with her alluring, golden pupils.
"Even though you seem to be calm on the outside, you must be seething on the inside, huh?" Jiang Qing'e casually asked.
Li Luo gave a bitter smile. "How can I not be angry?" Pei Hao had treated him as though he was non-existent. Combined with the request to annul the marriage in front of the House, it was akin to being stomped in the face.
"However, your performance was admirable. You never lost your cool." Jiang Qing'e's dainty, red lips rose into a slight smile as she praised him.
"If only I was strong enough. I would have smashed him to a pulp on the spot and assisted my parents with some housekeeping matters..." Li Luo sighed. Staying calm? Wasn't this because he could do nothing else?
At this point in time, Li Luo gained a greater appreciation for the importance of personal strength. The Young Lord without his parents was worth nothing at all.
He did realize that what was most important now were his blank palaces. Everyone thought that he was powerless and hence underestimated him.
"No one will ever have a smooth life. Exercising forbearance is a virtue," Jiang Qing'e explained.
Li Luo nodded in agreement. "After experiencing today's housemeet, I now understand just how much trouble House Luolan is in. These two years must have been hard on you, Sister Qing'e." House Luolan's ascent to the top had been too rapid and a solid foundation had not been laid, resulting in the situation seen today. The moment the founders disappeared, the tower they had built was no longer stable.
If not for Jiang Qing'e's two years of blood, sweat, and tears, perhaps the predators looking to tear the place apart would not only just be Pei Hao.
Jiang Qing'e took a seat as she elegantly folded her alluring, white, and slender legs together. "Don't take what Pei Hao said to heart. I will deal with him. All I need is a little bit of time." After saying this, killing intent could be seen emanating from her pure-gold pupils.
"Since the two of us already had an agreement, then I will naturally carry it out. I will hand House Luolan to you in one complete piece. Thus, don't take to mind the problems faced by House Luolan today. What you need to focus on is Southwind Academy's final examination happening next month. If you are able to enter the Astral Sage College, all these problems will naturally resolve themselves," Jiang Qing'e gently said.
At this point, she paused and tilted her head slightly and smirked. "Of course, if you feel that your chances aren't too good, just let me know. I can treat your agreement as something you said at the spur of the moment and won't hold it against you."
Li Luo blinked before extending his hand. "Pass me your hand."
Slightly suspicious, she inspected the hand in front of her and paused for a moment. If it were some random stranger who had asked this of her, they would most definitely get a sword chopping towards them in return. Li Luo, on the other hand... they did have a special relationship after all.
Hence, she expressionlessly extended her own dainty hand, placing it within Li Luo's palm.
Li Luo tightly grasped her small hand, that delicate feeling causing one's heart to sway. Perhaps it was due to her light resonance that her skin was an exceptionally sparkling snow-white, like the most beautiful of jade, the downfall of a kingdom.
However, Li Luo suppressed his urges to fondle her hand gently, instead circulating a tiny amount of resonant power to be emitted from the palm of his hand.
The previously calm Jiang Qing'e's expression changed swiftly when she felt that weak amount of resonant power come forth.
Grasping Li Luo's palm tightly with her slender fingers, she directed her consciousness towards Li Luo's body. It was then that she discovered that Li Luo's previously blank palace was now emanating an azure radiance!
Jiang Qing'e was a little shocked at Li Luo's smug look. "This... is a water resonance? You've manifested a resonance?" Her mind in shock, she only released her grip gradually after a long while. "Is this what the Masters left behind for you?" Li Luo nodded.
Jiang Qing'e exhaled lightly before speaking. "This seems to be the best piece of news all day! Although your water resonance is not of a high grade, it seems to have an unmatched sort of purity to it. Perhaps this is because the Masters utilized treasures from the heavens and earth to craft it. Regardless, this is still an excellent beginning." It was clear from Jiang Qing'e's facial expression that her mood had improved. Even her slender eyebrows were no longer furrowed in thought.
She even joked, "Congratulations! Eh? It looks like you've finally made it a tiny step closer towards annulling the marriage agreement!"
But she was faced with a serious question now. "Do you think his words about my parents were true?" Li Luo smiled helplessly.
Jiang Qing'e's long eyelashes gently fluttered as she blinked. "Although I don't know where he got his sources from, I personally feel that with how shortsighted he is, how could he possibly comprehend how mighty the Masters are? Furthermore, I believe that the two of them have only been restrained temporarily. They are definitely fine and free of harm." Li Luo gradually nodded vigorously in agreement.
"I feel the same way too."
Jiang Qing'e stood up and walked to the window. At this point, the sun's rays bathed her exquisite body with resplendence, each ray tracing her every movement, a truly soul-stirring sight.
"I will return to Xia City tomorrow. If you need me for anything, let Cai Wei know. She will remain in the Tianshu Province for a while, helping to tidy up House Luolan's affairs"
After settling a few more matters, Jiang Qing'e turned to look at Li Luo. The sun had yet to set, and its light shrouded her perfect silhouette.
Those golden pupils looked even more radiant with such a background, an eye-catching and unforgettable sight.
"And so, Li Luo.... I hope that the next time I see you, you'll already be part of the Astral Sage College," Jiang Qing'e, with that ever-beautiful smile on her face, quietly murmured to herself.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
It's Midasthefloof here. I will be the translator for the upcoming novel Absolute Resonance with Heaven's Devourer coming to an end.
I've found the novel extremely enjoyable and so has the team! Do stay tuned as we eventually release more chapters into sneak peek before launching sometime soon.
Hope you guys enjoy the ride!
We will probably do a proper introductory post for this sometime down the line. Will be reading everyone's comments as well so hope to keep interacting with all of you! Though I won't be able to respond to everyone...
Once again, enjoy the novel!