"Matriarch, we didn’t come here to cause trouble. Instead, we have important matters regarding the Li Saint Clan's Wind Bloodline to discuss with Li Wudi. It's a matter of utmost importance! I implore you, Matriarch, please tell Li Wudi about the matter immediately. Otherwise, the Apex Branch will have doomed the Wind Bloodline."
Only after Li Xuanhe finished pleading did the rest quiet down.
"You already dared to cause such a ruckus, so don't bother pretending anymore and just give it to me straight! With my wealth of life experience, I've already seen through the need for unnecessary pleasantries," Li Jingyu said with a smirk.
"Then forgive me for being direct. The informants we have in the Metal, Thunder, and Fire Bloodlines have received word of it already. In five days, members from those three bloodlines will force Li Wudi to pick a genius from among them to be the junior sect master!
"Matriarch, I'm sure some things don't need to be clearly spell out. Those of us of the Wind Bloodline have controlled the Li Saint Clan for ten thousand years, and throughout all that time, our prestigious legacy has never once been broken. But in the past millennium, our line has produced fewer and fewer talented descendants, causing our great clan to fall to these lows.
"But even so, our prestigious bloodline has never once been cut off! Matriarch, it’s already bad enough that you only had one son. Those in your line number fewer and fewer as they struggle to survive past childhood. Not to mention, Li Wudi already had his body horribly ruined from what happened back then. And now, he's already in his forties. Who knows if he can even birth a male heir in this lifetime? After all, only men can inherit the lifebound beast of the bloodline!
"In five days, the other three bloodlines will convene a Sacred Assembly to appoint one of the descendants from their bloodlines as the new junior sect master! I'm sure you're aware of what that implies, Matriarch. In other words, the great and prestigious bloodline of the Li Saint Clan that’s been passed down for ten millennia will finally be severed! The moment the new junior sect master is selected, the future legacy of the Grand-Orient Sect will be up to one of the other three bloodlines!
"What will become of those of us from the Wind Bloodline if that happens? Will we still reign over them? The position of sect master of Grand-Orient will never return to the Wind Bloodline, will it? Even though the current sect master is the most ridiculed in the entire history of the sect, he still came from a historic line of a prestigious family! The greatest pride and glory of the sect!
"That's why every one of us from the Seven Starry Wind Branches are unwilling to let the position of the junior sect master go just like that, thus losing the position of the Grand-Orient sect master to the other bloodlines! We have to stand out and defend the glory of the Wind Bloodline!"
Li Xuanhe's longwinded rant instigated a huge reaction among those present!
Li Jingyu felt her anger melt and chuckled. "So, how do you intend to defend our pride?" For all the posturing and grandstanding, Li Xuanhe had his own interests in mind in the end. No matter how ridiculous the current sect master of the Grand-Orient Clan was, it was still a position that many would vie for. For instance, it came with the right to enter the Mausoleum!
Only the sect master and junior sect master were allowed to enter the final resting place of the great ancestors of the Li Saint Clan, an ancient order given by their founding ancestor. Who would dare go against it? No matter how far the Li Saint Clan had fallen, the Li Mausoleum was eternal.
Upon hearing the question, Li Xuanhe seemed even more agitated. "To ensure the position of junior sect master remains within the Wind Bloodline, those of us of the Seven Starry Wind Branches are willing to contribute! The seven of us are willing to let Li Wudi adopt our talented sons, who we've raised with care since their birth! For the sake of the dignity of the Wind Bloodline, we are willing to make this sacrifice. Congratulations, Matriarch. You’ll finally have a grandson of your own. The seven of us swear that we would no longer consider whoever is appointed junior sect master as our own son! We can only keep it if Li Wudi elects one of them to the position!"
He was already at the point of tears. It was as if they had already lost their sons for good, despite the fact that there was really no way to change the blood ties. Even if their sons were to call Li Wudi their father, they would only be doing it for the sake of grabbing the junior sect master position.
Just as others were praising Li Xuanhe for his long speech, an annoyed voice rang out, "Wow, how touching. I almost cried myself a river."
Everyone turned to the voice and saw the youth with dyed hair that Li Jingyu had brought back! That youth had a rather noteworthy appearance. His left hand was scaly, black, and clawed, while his hair was a shiny, attractive platinum.
"Impudence! Matriarch, which family is that bastard from? How dare he mock us in the Kunpeng Sacred Hall?!" Li Tianyu of the Delta Ursae Majoris Branch snapped.
Li Jingyu chuckled, "Him?" She pulled Li Tianming over with her other hand clutching Li Qingyu and gave him a satisfied look. Who wouldn't be happy to have a big, chubby-wubby grandson like him?
She turned to Li Xuanhe and the rest and laughed. "So much for your grand designs, eh? You think your degenerate spawns deserve to be my grandchildren? Not one of the seven could catch my eye. I think you should keep your sons to yourselves and take them home, not bring them here to embarrass their fathers. Not one of those seven boys can compare to my granddaughter, Qingyu! Yet you dare to plot for the position of junior sect master? Dream on!"
Her laughter was so sharp it hurt their ears to listen to it.
"Matriarch, are you saying you're willing to let the position of junior sect master flow to the other three bloodlines?!"
"How could you, Matriarch?!"
"How is that an action befitting one from the Li Saint Clan?"
One after another, they jumped out to criticize her with flushed faces and furious rage. It was all the same. Li Tianming had seen it all; it seemed that no matter where he was, shameless people were without exception, the same.
Just as they were getting more and more rowdy with their complaints, Li Jingyu raised Li Tianming's hand and said sternly, "My son Li Wudi had unmatched talent in his youth, and has a bloodline of four incarnations! At ten, he reached Unity. At 17, he reached the peak of Unity and was hailed as the number one genius of the Grand-Orient Clan! The first one in half a millennium! However, he, in his naive youth, suffered from the ploys of others. Had that not been the case, how would scum like you dare call his name with such disrespect?!"
She seemed rather pained as she uttered those words. Once, she was proud of her son. Yet now that she was in her twilight years, she was the one who had to stand up to protect her son, granddaughter, and the rest of her family. Li Tianming could see the shadow of Wei Jing in Li Jingyu. She was just as enduring, just as giving, and just as respectable! That sight was yet another sign that he had chosen rightly when he’d come to the Grand-Orient Sect.
"Matriarch, we all know how glorious Li Wudi was in his youth. You don't have to bring this up to suppress us. Face the facts: he is crippled. What I'd like to know, instead, is what your intentions are in surrendering the junior sect master position to the other three bloodlines."
"My intentions? I haven't even finished speaking yet. Let me tell you that my son was also rather handsome in his youth. Did you think he only had the one daughter, Li Qingyu? I'm afraid you're mistaken on that one. Before he wedded Mu He, my son traveled for three years to train! During that time, he had a few encounters with other women, three of whom were wedded to him! However, he did them a great wrong and didn't acknowledge them as proper wives. This time around, I ventured out to look for one of those women, Wei Jing, who had given birth to his son before he married Mu He!
"That son is the one beside me, Li Tianming. He's only sixteen, one year older than Qingyu, and was named by my son himself! Originally, he didn't want to disturb his son's life and growth. Yet you lot insisted on going overboard, so my son had me fetch his flesh and blood back here. From today onward, Li Tianming is the junior sect master of the clan, and the Li Saint Clan's junior clan leader! That's why you can just forget about getting your hands on this position. Forget you lot, not even the three bloodlines will be able to challenge this!"
All of the Seven Starry Wind Branch members stared at Li Tianming, dumbfounded. Who would believe he was Li Wudi's illegitimate son that was only brought back at the ripe age of sixteen? Even Li Tianming found it hard to believe. He had guessed that Li Jingyu would pull something like this during the ride on the Rage-sea Kunpeng. Otherwise, he would be just as flabbergasted as the rest were.
Wasn't I going to join as an adopted son? Why am I an illegitimate son all of a sudden?!
Then again, it was much easier to swallow a direct descendant of Li Wudi becoming the junior sect master, rather than an adopted son. This script was written by none other than Li Jingyu. The truth was Li Wudi had never been to Vermillion Bird. Not to mention that Li Tianming was already twenty, not sixteen, though not many would dispute his age based on his looks. There were, after all, thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds with bulky physiques and full beards. However, his identity as Li Wudi's son was a matter of doubt and dispute.
In the end, they had no proof but Li Jingyu's word for it.
"Matriarch, you can't be joking around, could you? Why would you bring an outsider back just to mess with us? Even if you could force this past us, would it really be accepted by the other three bloodlines?" Li Xuanhe said as he gave Li Tianming a thorough look, immediately noting that he wasn't even at Unity. How could someone like that be from their prestigious bloodline?
"Aren't you the ones trying to bluff the other three bloodlines by getting my son to adopt yours?" Li Jingyu retorted.
"That's different. All it takes is for Li Wudi to acknowledge it. We already agreed to this. No matter who you pick, we swear to defend the glory of the Wind Bloodline to our deaths, and keep our new junior sect master secure in his post. However, we won't stand by if you try to hoodwink us like this. We'll see how your meager family of three faces off against the other three bloodlines' pressure!"
In other words, if Li Jingyu chose to adopt one of their sons instead, they would have the Wind Bloodline's backing even if the claim was false. After all, the three bloodlines wouldn't know who within the Wind Bloodline was adopted or not. At least there was some merit to their plan.
"That's right! How could a Spiritsource trash trick us, to say nothing more of the other three bloodlines?"
"This has got to be a joke."
"Where did you get that boy to act for you? Matriarch, how much are you paying him?"
"Young man, I'll pay you double to get out of my sight."
"You’re not even at Unity. Don't embarrass yourself, alright?"
The ridicule flowed without pause, followed by mocking laughter. However, Li Jingyu joined in the laughter.
"Matriarch, what are you laughing at?" Li Xuanhe asked.
"I'm laughing at your shortsightedness."Previous Chapter Next Chapter