Fang Xingying was a humble figure that no one paid attention to. Fang Taiqing had almost forgotten about this man. He smiled at him.
After Fang Xingying, members of the Sterling House of Fang expressed their willingness to follow Fang Taiqing until Fang Yuqing was the only one who remained. Their actions proved one thing—honor was more important than a conscience.
"Yuqing, go with your conscience." Closing his eyes, Fang Taiqing took a deep breath.
Eighty thousand people turned and rushed toward Xuanyuan Lake.
Very soon, Fang Taiqing realized that Fang Yuqing had followed them.
“What’re you doing?” asked Fang Taiqing.
“I’ll collect your body when you’ve suffered retribution,” said Fang Yuqing.
He took a deep breath and roared with laughter. This was the most important bet of his life.
As soon as the Jian clan left, the Imperial Sect’s seven hundred thousand warriors gathered in front of Xuanyuan Lake. A phoenix cry sounded from the north; everyone looked up to see more than a hundred thousand phoenix lifebound beasts braving the wind and snow. Their flames melted the heavy snow and formed a monstrous wave of fire. What a spectacular sight indeed.
“It’s the Sterling House of Fang!”
“They’re returning to the Archaion Sect?”
“The enemy approaches!”
Many among the Imperial Sect were vigilant. Dugu Jin was the only one with a faint smile on his lips. The moment he waved his hand, the crowd fell silent. Approaching the Sterling House of Fang, he said, "Why so disconcerted? Our visitors are like-minded people.”
“Fang Taiqing is on our side?” Changsun Shenqiong did a double take.
Amidst his puzzlement, the phoenixes descended from the sky and landed before the seven-hundred-thousand-strong army. Out from the crowd walked Fang Taiqing, dressed in cyan phoenix robes and supported by the Sterling House of Fang powerhouses. Dugu Jin stood opposite him, clad in black and red. Both men held their hands behind their backs as they exchanged a smile.
“Not bad. You’ve made a breakthrough and reached the peak of the twelfth-level life phase. It’s no wonder you returned." Dugu Jin smiled.
Having entered the life phase, Fang Taiqing appeared a lot younger. The change was obvious at a glance. The two men had once competed for the position of Heaven Branch Sect Master in Archaion Sect. In truth, no matter how strong Dugu Jin was, he was destined to be the loser because he didn’t have the support of a clan. There were certainly grievances in the contention between the two, but now it seemed their intention was to bury the enmity with a smile.
Perhaps because they were competitors, they knew each other better. After Fang Taiqing reached the twelfth-level life phase and become the next Feng Qingyu, the meaning was different. Fang Taiqing stepped out and got straight to the point. "Sect Master, the Sterling House of Fang is willing to join and serve the Imperial Sect, defeat the Archaion Sect, slaughter the tyrant’s descendants, and seek justice for the Blooddragon Clan.”
Dugu Jin laughed. Because they were so familiar with each other, this scene was all the more unexpected.
Upon hearing Fang Taiqing’s words, many smiled knowingly and cursed; the leopard never changes its spots.
Dugu Jin walked up to Fang Taiqing. The two men stared at each other, gazes fiery. Then, Dugu Jin stretched out his arms and gave Fang Taiqing a warm hug.
In front of everyone, he raised Fang Taiqing's hand and solemnly announced, "From today onward, Fang Taiqing will be the Imperial Sect's second sect master!"
An uproar ensued. Although the status of Archaion Sect’s Heaven Branch sect master was equally esteemed, what the Imperial Sect possessed was the audacity to unify the land. The position of second sect master was undoubtedly more prestigious than any in the Archaion Sect. More importantly, Dugu Jin placed Fang Taiqing in such a high position regardless of their former hatred. With one hug, he had silenced all the naysayers.
It was clear that they needed each other. Dugu Jin required a truly capable general, and Fang Taiqing needed to make a comeback. Their needs happened to click, thus the two came together. At this point, it didn’t matter if either man harbored ulterior motives.
“Second Sect Master!” they shouted.
Perhaps there were those among them who were dissatisfied with the outcome. However, their disapproval meant nothing in the face of the majority. With the merger came a top powerhouse at twelfth-level Samsara and eighty thousand mighty members of the Sterling House of Fang. Although Heptastar had hundreds of thousands of Samsara powerhouses, they wouldn’t necessarily be a match for the Sterling House of Fang. Amidst the commotion, Changsun Shenqiong grit his teeth and was forced to accept the situation. Although Dugu Jin hadn’t specified, it was obvious that Changsun Shenqiong had become the third sect master.
“Please abandon all prejudices from now on. There is no Nonahall, Heptastar, Quadform, or Archaion Sect. We are one! Let’s fight for our common goal!" said Dugu Jin.
“Thank you, Sect Master. Thank you for your trust. I, Fang Taiqing, will set an example and give my all for the sect!” said Fang Taiqing.
“I will do the same." Although Changsun Shenqiong couldn't get a word in edgewise, he bit the bullet and shouted.
Sweeping his gaze across the masses, Dugu Jin declared, "The rules of the sect will gradually be introduced. Today, I shall declare the first article—the Imperial Sect’s three sect masters are chosen and ranked based on strength! As long as you have the strength, anyone can challenge a sect master and replace him!"
As soon as the words left his lips, the crowd cheered. This regulation was intended to appease the Nonahall powerhouses. After all, Nonahall consisted of many clans. They were the Imperial Sect’s most powerful force, yet none of them had been elected sect master. Even if Dugu Jin was a supporter, there was bound to be discontent.
This gave every clan hope. At the very least, there would be someone who could surpass Changsun Shenqiong, who was only an eleventh-level samsaran. A system based on strength was most convincing.
Regardless of how united the newly formed Imperial Sect was, it had now gathered the peak powerhouses and an army of eight hundred thousand samsarans. It was much stronger than the original Nonahall Ghost Sect.
“Sect Masters, are we going to flatten Xuanyuan Lake?” they asked.
“Of course! They’re still dealing with Ghoul King Di Zang. Even if they have the help of Yinyang and six hundred thousand tribulation elders, the Nine Dragon Formation is currently being restrained by Di Zang. They don’t stand a chance against us!”
There was no need for prompting; Dugu Jin couldn’t wait any longer. He didn’t immediately slay Di Zang in order to use the last remaining ghoul king against the Archaion Sect. Words alone weren’t enough to build up the Imperial Sect; this was the perfect time to show their strength and destroy the Archaion Sect.
"We’ll slaughter all of them, flatten Xuanyuan Lake, then head to the Swordsoul Mountains and conquer the Hexapath Sword Sect. The world will be ours! Brothers, come with me and kill the enemy!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter