Chapter 0009: Council Meeting


Pei Hao's voice resounded throughout the hall, causing the atmosphere to freeze immediately. Who would have expected that this once amiable and friendly man would spout such poisonous and vicious words?

Even though Li Luo's complexion was indeed pale and sickly, one didn't have to go so far as to curse that the person was doomed to die, no?

The three Pavilion Masters beside Pei Hao clearly looked awkward in reaction to this chain of events. However, they did not speak and just continued to stare at the floor, as though the tiles were the most fascinating objects in the world.

The other six Pavilion Masters, on the other hand, were clearly enraged.

Peng! Another large shock echoed throughout the room, surprising all. When they looked over, they saw that Jiang Qing'e's jadelike palm had slammed against the table, an absolutely icy expression on her face.

Yet before Jiang Qing'e could speak, Pei Hao immediately patted his mouth and laughed. "Sorry, sorry! I spoke out of turn and accidentally shot my mouth off. I hope Little Luo won't fault me for my accidental transgressions." 

Li Luo glared at Pei Hao as he sized him up before also breaking into a smile. Although he was accustomed to seeing the two-faced reactions of numerous people in the past few years, those were all outsiders. Pei Hao was someone who had been saved by his parents, and it was not an exaggeration to say that he had been given a new lease of life.

Without Li Taixuan and Tan Tailan, Pei Hao would probably have had his four limbs broken by that family he offended and thrown into the sewers before being left for dead. Where would he even have the opportunity to attain all that he had now?

Everything that this Pei Hao had revealed demonstrated a complete lack of gratitude for Li Luo’s parents. On top of that, he even harbored a considerable grudge.

This led Li Luo to sigh. His parents may have been wise and brilliant over the years, but even then, they were human and had made a mistake.

"No worries! This is just your true self leaking out. What is there to be offended about? To be frank, even if I were, what could I do about it? Hence, I won't say any superfluous words here." Li Luo shook his head and took his seat in the middle of the two rows.

Pei Hao's face was full of mirth as he casually spun a thumb ring around his finger. He didn't seem to have taken any offense or become enraged at Li Luo's mocking words. There was no need to. It was as Li Luo had said, even if he was offended, what could Li Luo do?

The House Luolan of today was no longer the house of the past.

Without it's two immovable pillars, there was no one who Pei Hao feared.

A hopeless Young Lord was only useful as a puppet. If not for Jiang Qing'e, he would very possibly have taken control of the entire House Luolan by now.

"Since the Young Lord is here, then I suppose the discussions can begin?" Pei Hao turned to look at Jiang Qing'e.

Jiang Qing'e remained expressionless as she apathetically replied, "Why don't you start? Why haven't you contributed even a single piece of skygold from the three pavilions under your control to the house treasuries this year?" 

Pei Hao lightly sighed and replied, "The three pavilions under me are not doing well this year at all. Junior Sister, you might have already heard that all three pavilions have mysteriously burned down! I suspect it is the doings of those external powers that covet our House Luolan's businesses. I tried my best to investigate the root of the issue, but alas! My investigations turned up with absolutely no result! Hence, I have nothing to contribute this year!"

Li Luo merely listened quietly. Although Pei Hao's explanation seemed unbelievable and even comical, he did not interrupt. He understood that his words held no weight within House Luolan. The title of Young Lord was merely a superficial title in the eyes of everyone within the house.

Thus, there was no need to speak out and court a rebuff.

Jiang Qing'e gave Pei Hao a deep and firm look before saying, "Is this your reason, Pei Hao?"

Pei Hao casually smirked yet again. "Since Junior Sister wants a reason, then I will just give you a random one! Is there really a need to clarify certain things? Perhaps now that things have come to this, then let me make it clear to Junior Sister and the Young Lord. The three pavilions under me will not be contributing a single piece of skygold this year. In fact, from today onwards, they will not be contributing anything ever again." Pei Hao's light tone landed heavily on everyone's ears. It was as though a peal of thunder had crashed through the room, absolutely shocking all. 

Jiang Qing'e's body started to exude a cold air and the very atmosphere seemed to have congealed. Her icy tone chilled the hearts of everyone in the room. "So it looks like you plan to defect?" 

Pei Hao grinned before replying, "I could hardly bear to leave House Luolan... It's just that there isn't an actual House Lord right now. Who knows what or where this skygold will end up if I pass it over? Perhaps when an appropriate House Lord is finally chosen, I reckon it won't be too late to submit my tithes." 

A depressing atmosphere pervaded the hall. The other six Pavilion Masters had ugly looks on their faces. If this was truly the case, then House Luolan would become the joke amongst the Four Great Houses.

This was because Pei Hao had effectively already formed his own feudal army and demonstrated his intent to rebel and divide House Luolan up.

"Pei Hao, do you plan to destroy House Luolan? Do you think you will benefit from its downfall?" a middle-aged man with a deep voice asked. His name was Lei Zhang, and he was a representative that supported Jiang Qing'e.

Pei Hao shook his head. "As I previously said, I don't wish for House Luolan's downfall."

Pausing for a few breaths, he looked over at the silent Li Luo before continuing, "Actually, I want to follow the rules. It's not impossible for me to contribute my tithes honestly... Of course, I hope that the Young Lord can promise me a single thing in exchange."  

Li Luo snapped out of his state where he was merely observing with his senses and his heart before affixing his gaze at Pei Hao. Curiously, he asked, "I would like to know what sort of condition Manager Pei Hao has in mind." 

Pei Hao's eyes shifted from Li Luo to envelope Jiang Qing'e, taking in the sights of her icy and exquisite demeanor and her slender figure. A trace of fiery greed passed through the depths of his pupils.

"I hope that the Young Lord will annul the engagement with Junior Sister." After these words were spoken, the temperature within the room seemed to have dropped to absolute zero and everything froze.

Li Luo was not furious, but rather seemed to have turned expressionless. He had often discussed the idea of breaking up the engagement with Jiang Qing'e and had even come up with a promise for the future…

Yet this was something between himself and Jiang Qing'e. The two of them were free to do whatever they wanted or say anything they wished between themselves... It was a personal relationship.

On the other hand, Pei Hao had come up with such a ludicrous idea. Just who did he think he was?

Bang! Just as Li Luo's heart was turning cold and about to explode forth, a sudden influx of energy exploded outwards within the main hall.

This energy was resplendent and bright, its radiance sweeping across all, bathing the entire hall with light rays.  

Immediately after, Li Luo could indistinctly make out Jiang Qing'e being wreathed in light and shooting outwards, leaving a wondrous afterimage behind.

She headed directly towards where Pei Hao was sitting.

This sudden attack also took Pei Hao by surprise, and so he could only stare. In the blink of an eye, his own body was also wreathed in golden light. 

The sword-shaped earring on his right ear quickly disattached and swiftly, like a storm, transformed into a golden longsword.

Surging golden resonant power coated the longsword, increasing its sharpness. Additionally, an inordinate amount of colorful energy channelled through it, looking like countless rainbows.

Dang!

The collision of metal and gold clashed, resulting in an explosive shockwave of energy. At the same time, all of the furniture within the hall was blasted into pieces. 

The nine Pavilion Masters immediately acted and dissolved the remnant energy, trying to observe the aftermath.

All they could see was two silhouettes locked in a confrontation with swords brandished. Jiang Qing'e against Pei Hao.

Jiang Qing'e was clutching an epee, a sword dripping with resplendent light. The light was bright enough to dazzle the eyes, and if one were to stare at it for too long, they would undoubtedly feel piercing pain in their pupils! 

Who would have expected that this normally refined and pure goddess would be able to produce such shocking amounts of power in the heat of the moment!

She possessed truly tyrannical light resonance power!

On the opposite side of Jiang Qing'e stood Pei Hao, who was wielding a golden longsword. His body was emitting waves of golden resonant power that seemed unusually fierce and even sharp. 

This was metal resonant power.

When the two swords clashed, resonant power exploded outwards, and even the floorboards were cracked to the point that patterns not unlike that of a turtle shell could be seen everywhere.

Pei Hao, still unfazed, maintained a sweet smile. "Ninth-grade Light Resonance. Its fame is well deserved. Junior Sister is just an early stage Earth Fiend, but your resonant power is already so domineering. It's clearly not inferior to my late stage Earth Fiend resonant power."

"Your metal resonance seems to have already been raised to the seventh-grade. It looks like you have squandered quite a bit of the tithes meant for House Luolan," Jiang Qing'e coolly replied. 

Pei Hao used to have a sixth-grade metal resonance, but during this particular clash, Jiang Qing'e could faintly feel that her opponent's metal resonant power had become even fiercer. Raising a sixth-grade to a seventh-grade would require a significant amount of spirit liquids and purifying lights.

Pei Hao did not reply and instead the two immediately burst out with even more resonant power, their swords savagely colliding for another blow.

Dang!

The energy generated from the clash blew both parties back a few steps.

"How presumptuous of you, Pei Hao!" At this point, Lei Zhang and a few Pavilion Masters appeared behind Jiang Qing'e, their expressions a steely green as they chided. 

At the same time, the other three Pavilion Masters stood behind Pei Hao, their stances clear as they prepared themselves.

The sounds of the battle could be heard from outside the hall. At the same time, chaos was everywhere outside as well. Two waves of horses and men had rushed in, prepared to confront each other.

"Junior Sister, are you planning to let the entire Xia Kingdom know of our internal strife?" Pei Hao gave a wry smile.

Jiang Qing'e's had an unchanging, cold expression on her face, her gaze emanating waves of killing intent. "Pei Hao, if you don't wish to die, then swallow those words of yours back into your defiled tummy. No one can interfere in our affairs, you have no right to." 

Pei Hao mused in silence for a moment as he frowned. "Junior Sister, why are you acting this way? Isn't that engagement merely a burden for you? I know that you are very thankful towards our masters, but there is no need to be so committed towards Li Luo. He... just isn't a match for you."  

"Cruel and unscrupulous dregs like you simply cannot comprehend what gratitude is," Jiang Qing'e insipidly replied.

Pei Hao shook his head as he stared at Li Luo. "Li Luo, it's best you smarten up. Otherwise, I will let you know the meaning of getting into trouble for hoarding a treasure! House Luolan is merely just a decoration to you. Junior Sister, on the other hand, is a talented genius and is something you do not deserve to have. Believe me, if you want to imprison her with the gratitude she owes your parents, then you will eventually bring about a catastrophe to yourself."

Li Luo calmly replied, unfazed by his maddened words, "You're trying to say that I should let go of both House Luolan and Sister Qing'e?"

"If you're smart enough, then that is exactly what you ought to do." Pei Hao nodded before he continued compassionately, "I am doing this for your own good. If you don't have any power, then you ought to curb your greed. This way, you might still have a way to become a rich and idle man."

Li Luo smiled and replied, "Pei Hao, aren't you worried about what will happen to you when my parents eventually return?" 

Pei Hao's pupils shrank slightly and the expressions of the three Pavilion Masters behind him turned grave. 

In the end, Pei Hao shook his head. "Li Luo, you should not hold on to such sad and naive hopes. Based on what I've heard, I'm afraid my masters will no longer be able to return." As he looked at Li Luo, he gave a sympathetic sigh. 

"Hence, your pillar of support is gone. Are you any different from me when I was powerless? No! In fact, I doubt you could even match up to me at my worst… Even at my worst, when I had no support and was poor and destitute, I still possessed some potential.

"You, on the other hand.... you... have... nothing!"

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