A gentle morning breeze blew through the air, warmly caressing the faces of anyone who was outside.
Su Chen was standing on one of the palace’s balconies, gazing off into the distance. Rippling white sails could be seen everywhere as the fleet’s boats returned to harbor. The air was filled with celebratory sounds and laughter.
“The Sect Master finally has some time to gaze at the scenery?”
A clear voice jokingly called out to him from behind.
Su Chen knew who it was without even turning around. He chuckled and languidly replied, “I spent the entire night doing experiments. I failed 1238 times, and felt a bit tired at the end. That’s why I came out to take a break. I didn’t expect Princess to catch me slacking off.”
Princess Westminster walked over to Su Chen. “How could I ever complain about the Sect Master being lazy? What the Sect Master has done is already shocking enough, but I would never say that I ever expected us to reach this point.”
“This point” was naturally referring to their entering the Abyss, which had broken its reputation as a no-mans-land.
Su Chen, however, just shook his head. “Being able to enter and exit the Abyss at will is not the goal. We still need to figure out a way to deal with the Deep Sea Sorrow, or perhaps even learn to use it for our own purposes.”
“Sect Master Su, are you trying to appropriate it for your own purposes?” Princess Westminster stared fixedly at Su Chen.
Su Chen didn’t try to hide anything from her. “If we can extract the essence of this item, which is capable of accelerating the growth of Sea Beasts, and then improve it, the resulting product should affect humans as well.”
“Sect Master Su, you a truly a blessing to the entire human race. Unfortunately, not all humans seem to think that this is the case,” Princess Westminster sighed regretfully.
Su Chen frowned. “You seem to be trying to say something.”
“We received word a few days ago that there are some people who are intent on harming you, Sect Master Su.”
“There are many people who
want to harm me.”
“It’s different this time! They aren’t intending on attacking Sect Master directly — rather, they want to attack the Ten Thousand Swords Mountain……”
Su Chen’s eyes glittered.
Currently, most of the Boundless Sect’s elites had left the sect, and the Boundless Sect was quite empty as a result. It seemed like someone had finally gotten antsy enough to try to take advantage of this opportunity to attack the sect itself.
He didn’t bother asking Princess Westminster where she had heard such news. After all, the Oceanids were quite influential and powerful, and it was inconceivable for them to not have their own information-gathering networks. On the other hand, the Zhu Clan hadn’t heard about this at all. But now that the relationship between Su Chen and the Zhu Clan was out in the open, it was only natural that Su Chen’s enemies would take extra care to prevent sensitive information from falling into the Zhu Clan’s ears. They were already being very polite by not attacking the Zhu Clan itself.
After a moment’s thought, Su Chen asked, “Is Jiang Jusheng the one stirring up trouble?”
Westminster chuckled. “You’re quite sharp! Unfortunately, it’s not just him — there are some people from Long Sang who are pushing for this as well. Also, it’s highly likely that Li Wuyi is involved.”
“Li Wuyi?” Su Chen was stunned. “He shouldn’t be that short-sighted of a person. Why would he do something like this?”
“Sometimes, it’s not about whether you’re being short-sighted or not. He probably has some hidden agendas of his own.”
Su Chen couldn’t help but think of Li Daohong.
Was Li Wuyi ultimately unable to forgive him for killing his son?
Or was there another reason?
Su Chen suddenly thought of the Astral that had escaped earlier.
A theory gradually began to form in his head.
Then, Su Chen cracked a smile.
When Westminster saw that Su Chen seemed more happy than worried, she was taken aback. “Sect Master Su?”
The Oceanids had debated for a long time about whether they should notify Su Chen of this attack on his sect, as they were extremely worried that Su Chen might leave the Abyss as a result.
In the end, it was Westminster who believed that sincerity was the most important basis for an alliance. Su Chen would very likely hold it against them in the future if they concealed this fact from him.
Even though Su Chen would probably still continue to cooperate with them due to his need for Neptune’s Eye, it would still affect their relationship. Westminster had decided to notify Su Chen in order to maintain good relations with him.
The Oceanids, who lived under constant pressure due to the Abyss, valued military strength over political maneuvers and good relations with allies over schemes. This was why they were particularly prudent in how they handled their relationship with Su Chen, all so that he wouldn’t get the wrong idea.
Even so, Westminster was still filled with anxiety.
She didn’t expect, however, that Su Chen would respond in this way to her warning.
He calmly said, “Don’t worry. I’m just laughing because my enemies have made a serious mistake. Even though Ten Thousand Swords Mountain may seem like the foundation of my sect, I am actually the real foundation, along with the sect’s elite disciples. So what if they are able to destroy an empty nest? Not to mention…… They might not even win.”
“They might not win?” Westminster was stunned.
“Yes,” Su Chen replied. “Their biggest mistake was that they shouldn’t have waited for two years before attacking.”
Fifty thousand of the Boundless Sect’s eighty thousand disciples had come on this expedition, which meant that thirty thousand had been left behind.
If Su Chen had gained two thousand Light Shaking Realm cultivators here in two years, then what had happened back at Ten Thousand Swords Mountain?
They had gained a thousand or so as well.
Now that they were no longer restricted by bloodlines, Boundless Sect disciples began to sprout everywhere like weeds, growing hardily and incessantly.
No one knew the situation of the sect quite like Su Chen.
He knew that, as long as they were given enough time, they were more than strong enough to create a miracle.
As for now, his most important task was to give them a warning ahead of time.
Thankfully, Patelocke was still with the Zhu Clan. This meant that Su Chen would be able to transmit this information to the Boundless Sect in less than a minute.
Within the Boundless Sect.
Guo Wenchang was the only one of the senior Boundless Sect members that had remained behind.
He had originally been a civics official, but because he had been born in a Bloodline Nobility Clan, he had also become an Origin Qi Scholar once his bloodline activated.
Guo Wenchang was, by nature, quite lazy. He preferred to study rather than fight, so even though he was an Origin Qi Scholar, he was quite reluctant to cultivate single-mindedly.
However, fate had put him into the Heavenly MIght Battalion, where he couldn’t escape from his classes or his cultivation, which was how he had reached this point. However, because he hated fighting, his strength amongst the Heavenly Might Battalion’s seven leaders was the weakest. Even so, Guo Wenchang didn’t mind it in the slightest. His ambitions lay elsewhere; cultivating was a necessity for a soldier, but if possible, he would prefer to be a bureaucratic official.
As such, he had been the one keeping the former Heavenly Might Battalion in check, and now the current Boundless Sect.
There were three people who were critical to the Boundless Sect’s development. Su Chen was naturally the first. As the inventor of the Flying Immortal Cultivation Techniques and the Sect Master, the disciples of the sect worshipped him. The second was Li Chongshan. As a seasoned commander, he ran a tight ship and kept the disciples in line. If the sect’s disciples adored Su Chen, then they definitely feared Li Chongshan, all of them dreading angering him. And during this initial period of growth, strict supervision was an absolute necessity. The third was naturally Guo Wenchang. Guo Wenchang was not as feared as Li Chongshan, but he was responsible for managing all the affairs of the sect, whether great or small. Su Chen and Li Chongshan were only responsible for the bigger picture while Guo Wenchang enjoyed handling the remaining annoying small details.
It could be said that Guo Wenchang was like the Boundless Sect’s steward. Without him, many things would become much more inconvenient.
After Su Chen left with the troops, Guo Wenchang had been put in charge of defending the sect. Keeping house had basically become his entire job.
Guo Wenchang’s talents allowed him to keep the Boundless Sect neat and tidy.
Today, Guo Wenchang was reading one of the reports that had been delivered to him as he sipped on a cup of tea.
One of the sect’s disciples hurried inside. “Ministry Chief, we’ve received an urgent notice from the Zhu Clan.”
“Bring it here.”
A jade disk was handed to Guo Wenchang, and words began to float across its surface. Guo Wenchang’s gaze immediately contracted as he coldly said, “How arrogant! Go call Tuohai and the others over.”
A moment later, Guo Wenchang’s hall was filled with people, all of them disciples that showed particularly promising potential in the past few years.
“The Sect Master has sent word to us that Water Sheen and Long Sang are planning on attacking Ten Thousand Swords Mountain, and it is very possible that Liaoye is involved as well. What do you all think?” Guo Wenchang immediately got to the heart of the matter.
“Three countries? Joining forces to attack us? Is this real?” Everyone was badly startled and began to animatedly discuss amongst themselves.
“What did the Sect Master say about such an important situation?” someone asked. Clearly, they were at a loss for what to do.
Guo Wenchang replied, “The Sect Master said the Abyss is too far, and that a huge battle is about to break out there. He might not be able to send troops back to reinforce us, so we will need to think of a solution on our own. He believes in our strength, and he will accept any decisions that we make.”
When everyone heard this, they understood Su Chen’s intentions.
A burly man with a face full of hair stood up and resolutely said, “Does it even need to be said? We’ll fight them to the death!”
His name was Yan Tuohai, one of Guo Wenchang’s personal disciples. Though he seemed somewhat old, he was actually quite young; it was just that his facial hair gave him a much more mature appearance.
“We cannot bear the might of three countries all on our own. Getting into a direct confrontation with them is a bit of an overextension,” someone countered.
“You say that it’s three countries at once, but they are merely sending some soldiers our way. You don’t really think that their emperors would really personally show up, right?” said a pale-skinned scholar. His name was Ju Lang. Back then, he had merely been a scholar with an ambition to become a renowned official. However, his eventual disillusionment with the governmental official system had caused him to turn to cultivation. However, because he was a commoner without a bloodline, cultivating was bitterly difficult for him.
Back in the day, he had been one of the first people to turn to the Boundless Sect for help, and he had discovered his hidden potential for cultivation as a result. The rate at which he absorbed Origin Energy was faster than most, and he learned incredibly quickly. He was one of the first Origin Qi Scholars to reach the Light Shaking Realm, and also one of the few Light Shaking Realm cultivators who hadn’t gone on this expedition with the Boundless Sect.
Because he was also a former bureaucratic official with a talent for managerial duties, he had been left behind to accompany and assist Guo Wenchang.
“Even if it isn’t their entire army, we might still not be able to handle them if they dare to come. I think that relocating is our best chance of success,” another one of the Clarity Hall’s disciples said.
“You mean escaping?” Yan Tuohai’s tone immediately became one of disgust.
“Escaping? No, this is relocating. Relocating! Our responsibility is to protect the sect and its treasures. If we try and fight back, then who will bear the responsibilities of the lives of the thirty thousand disciples here? Who will guard the countless resources that the sect has in its possession right now? Who will continue to pass down the cultivation techniques?”
The disciples began to quarrel amongst one another.
Escape, fight, request reinforcements — all kinds of ideas, besides surrendering, were proposed.
Each of them had their own way of looking at the situation and thought processes, and those who wanted to escape weren’t necessarily cowards. It was possible that they just had more foresight or sympathy for their fellow sect members. On the other hand, those who wanted to fight might not necessarily be brave, just hotheaded and impulsive. Both sides began to ardently discuss with one another, but Guo Wenchang was still the one who held the ultimate decision-making power.
Guo Wenchang remained silent, not saying a single word.
After a long time.
He said, “The Sect Master instructed me to manage the sect’s responsibilities in his place, so I don’t dare to make a mistake. I am a bureaucratic official, so I hate battle, and I don’t like fighting even though I have a cultivation base. However, fate is always drawing me into battle again and again. Perhaps this is just our fate — the fate of men, the fate of soldiers…… One way or another, we will fulfill our duties on the battlefield. While the soldiers are putting their lives at risk on the front lines, we are sitting here doing nothing but calmly cultivating and resting. When a trial comes, how should we respond? Should we escape? Or should we face it head-on?”
He lifted his head to look at everyone. “I am a bureaucratic official, and I hate fighting. But if a battle heads my way, I will not show weakness.”
“We will bravely face our opponents and drive them back. As for anyone who trespasses on our territory…… Kill them all!”