A grand feast was taking place in the grand hall of Lightning Manor, marking the most important day the clan had ever seen. They were hosting the vice-inspectors from Heaven's Elysium right now, and even if the word ‘vice’ was appended on their titles, it was still an event without precedent. Truthfully speaking, there were more appropriate hosts than the Lightning Manor, like the royal clan or Heaven's Sanctum. But it was the inspectors' decision, and the Lightning Manor considered themselves lucky to have raised a never-before-seen genius, Lin Xiaoting.
Clans and organizations in Ignispolis had all caught wind of the celebrations. The Lightning Manor was clearly on the ascent, with even becoming the nation's new ruler on the cards. What would happen when Lin Xiaoting returned as a powerhouse? What if he didn't see the act of helping his clan rise as below his station? Of course, those discussions were never brought to the surface, and it would take at least another decade for Lin Xiaoting to return from the Elysium.
Many of the rich and famous had expressed interest in attending the feast, but every single one of them were turned down, without exception. The feast was reserved for the inspectors, the Lightning Manor and the Yueling Clan.
Inside the hall, Lightning Seigneur Lin Zhao accompanied the two vice-inspectors, Jin Yixuan and Song Yixue, at the most prestigious seats, along with Yueling Hong. On their left were the members of the Lightning Manor, while the right was occupied by the three members of the Yueling Clan. Notably, Li Yanfeng was seated at the furthest seat, dressed in a red robe, a calm expression on his face as he surveyed his surroundings.
The only youth from Lightning Manor present at the feast was Lin Xiaoting. And across the table was Yueling Ji, well-dressed with her beauty in full bloom. The two youths were about to enter Heaven’s Elysium to cultivate together, so it was not wrong to say that the feast was meant for them.
The feast was well-prepared, with all kinds of delicacies and precious alcohol served constantly. The food was either made of spirit herbs or meat taken from wildbeasts. Throughout the meal, there were also all kinds of performances to keep the guests entertained. All these obviously cost a fortune, but it was a necessary expense to please the inspectors. Luckily, it was a great success, with both the inspectors and the Yueling Clan praising the exotic culture of Vermilion Bird.
Once the feast was done, Lin Zhao ordered the place to be cleared, with only core members of the clan as well as the guests remaining in the hall. The time had come for serious matters.
“Whatever we're about to do to the Wei Clan will be a huge surprise for that Wei Tiancang.” Vice-inspector Jin Yixuan smirked, and was instantly joined by the rest in the hall.
“The Wei Clan has hogged this Heaven's Sanctum for too long — it's high time they make way for others.”
“The Yueling Clan has seen so many young geniuses in the past few years. Not only do you have the miraculous Lady Long, but also disciples like Yueling Ji, who has the qualifications to enter the Elysium. Such a clan is definitely worthy of controlling a sanctum and its institute.” Lin Zhao smiled.
“The change of leadership for any Heaven’s Sanctum is quite a normal procedure, according to Heaven’s Elysium. According to the rules, any clan that controlled a Sanctum for a prolonged period of time can be subjected to a contest by the Elysium, to make sure that their newer generations aren’t falling behind. Only then can there be fresh blood entering the Elysium on a constant basis. Therefore, it’s perfectly reasonable for us to replace the master of the Vermilion Bird Heaven’s Sanctum with the Yueling Clan,” Song Yixue explained.
“Of course, of course we understand!” Lin Zhao nodded in agreement. Unlike the strict face he usually maintained before his clan, the Lightning Seigneur was all smiles as he tried to please the inspectors.
“Vice-inspectors, thank you for your help.” In comparison, the three from the Yueling Clan were a lot more composed. The one who replied was Yueling Xiao, a middle-aged man about the same age as Lin Tianjian, the Tempest Marshal.
“No worries, the ‘Sanctum's Replacement Decree’ is already prepared, courtesy of our boss, and we can challenge the Wei Clan whenever we're prepared. Once that is done and the Wei Clan is booted out of Vermilion Bird, the Heaven’s Sanctum here will be the Yueling Clan’s property for the years to come,” Jin Yixuan said.
“From what I know, the Wei Clan’s current generation, Wei Tianxiong and Wei Zikun, are all rather useless. Only Wei Tiancang’s two disciples, Mu Yang and Zhao Yuanji, are a threat to us, and more importantly, they are qualified to participate. Other than them, the older, current and younger generations are all worthless. They'll scatter like sand before us,” said Lin Zhao.
“Vice-inspector, will Long’er be watching the battle on the day?” Yueling Xiao asked.
“Brother Yueling, just a warning. Even if you are Lady Long’s father, you are to address her properly from now on. Understood?” Song Yixue lowered her voice.
“Yes, pardon me. It won’t happen again,” Yueling Xiao apologised immediately.
“In all honesty, Lady Long has done everything within her power for her family. She left her family when she was young, but she still had her clan in her mind, telling us to arrange a place for you lot to stay while getting Yueling Ji into the Elysium." Song Yixue frowned at the Yueling Clan. "But in the end, rules are rules, and you have to abide by them. Furthermore, it's been a while since you last saw Lady Long.”
“Ah yes, she left home when she was very young,” Yueling Xiao recalled.
“To answer your question, Lady Long is in the peninsula, but she is just wandering around, with no intention of seeing you. For now, just focus on the battle ahead. She will appear if she wishes to see you,” Jin Yixuan said.
“Yes, we understand.” Yueling Xiao lowered his head slightly.
He knew that she didn’t have the most enjoyable childhood, and her past had probably distanced her from the clan. Without their help, she alone had worked hard, achieving her current heights without any help from them. It was possible that she had no desire to see the family that had failed to protect her mother from the Duanmu Clan.
Everyone in the clan thought that she had died ten years ago, but not only did she return as an elysium child, a storm of blood and death had also descended on the Duanmu Clan as well.
“Even though Lady Long doesn’t wish to see you, she has treated you well. Heaven’s Elysium is very strict about accepting new disciples, and even Lady Long cannot bring in anyone on a whim. Even Lin Xiaoting made it in only because he had the Saintbeast War-Soul; if Lady Long forcefully accepted clan members into the Elysium, she would suffer backlash herself. This is the reason why we had to arrange an Abyssal Trials to properly accept Yueling Ji into the Elysium. The Yueling Clan should be grateful for that already,” Song Yixue said.
“More importantly, Lady Long had told us to settle the Yueling Clan down in a safe and comfortable position. If it wasn’t for you to secure Vermilion Bird’s Heaven’s Sanctum, why would we arrange the Abyssal Trials to be in Azure Domain?” Jin Yixuan further elaborated. The inspectors weren't fools. The Yueling Clan was beginning to overstep their boundaries by exploiting their relationship with Lady Long — that was something the inspectors had to quash.
Having met Lady Long before, they knew her opinions on her family. She didn’t like them all that much, but since she valued kinship, she'd helped them anyway. The Yueling Clan's takeover of Wei Clan in the Sanctum and Yueling Ji's entry into the Elysium was due to that reason alone.
“With the Sanctum's Replacement Decree, this challenge would be fully authorized by the Elysium, and Lady Long’s reputation would not be affected. I would like to repeat once more that Lady Long herself will be facing challenges in the Elysium, so please do not cause any more troubles for her. Once she settles down there, with her talent, it wouldn’t be long before she emerges as the strongest there!” Song Yixue said.
“Yes, inspectors, we will keep that in our mind!” Yueling Hong nodded. When he thought about it, they did indeed go slightly overboard, even making the mistake of calling Lady Long ‘Long’er’.
“Sir inspectors, brother Yueling, I raise you this toast. To our victory in the upcoming battle, and to Lady Long’s success in the Elysium!” the Lightning Seigneur interrupted, before the atmosphere got any stiffer.
“To victory!” The serious talk was over, and laughter filled the hall once again.
“Our clan will do our utmost in assisting the Yueling Clan to defeat the Wei Clan! I never really liked Wei Tiancang, and I’m more than happy to see that old fool gone!” Lin Zhao said.
“We really appreciate the help, brother Lin. From this day on, the fate of our clans will be bound together, in this nation!” Yueling Hong exclaimed.
“Of course it is. Our kids are getting married after all,” Lin Zhao replied.
“Yes, what a great couple they would make. The two of them will surely be the envy of many as they cultivate in the Elysium together.”
“Definitely. When the time is ripe, if the Lightning Seigneur wishes to be the ruler of this land, the Yueling Clan will always be here to support you.”
“I’m old now, I will leave that ambition to my son.” Lin Zhao patted Lin Tianjian on the shoulder, who responded with a smile.
“Same could be said for me, since I’ll let my son be the new potentate too. Meanwhile, we shall be imposing on you in the Lightning Manor.”
“No worries, we are one family now.”
Things were going well between the two clans, and even Lin Xiaoting was looking at Yueling Ji, who was blushing and playing with the fruit in her hand.
“There’s one more thing I would like to say regarding the challenge.” Song Yixue suddenly interrupted the joyous chatter. “The Sanctum replacement contest is held between families. For the case of the Wei Clan, only the Wei Clan members and Wei Tiancang’s direct disciples can take part. If we go according to these rules, winning won't be an issue, but it may incur unnecessary injuries and casualties for the Yueling Clan. Therefore, our boss has decided to tweak the rules a little, to allow the extended family to take part too. That means once the wedding between Lin Xiaoting and Yueling Ji is over, the Lightning Manor will be allowed to take part in the contest too.”
In other words, that would be the Wei Clan against the Yueling Clan together with the Lightning Manor! Everyone present grinned. With this, the Wei Clan's defeat had been set in stone.