Chapter 896 Stick and Carrot

The chief pavilion master building was located at the center of the giant circular plaza in the middle of the Four Spirits Origin Tower.

Although there were numerous buildings in the circular plaza, the chief pavilion master building was the grandest of them all. It had only stayed empty because the four pavilions had not produced a chief pavilion master for a long time.

Since Zhou Yuan had now taken on the post, the chief pavilion master building naturally opened its doors once more.

Many pavilion members were currently gathered around the chief pavilion master building, all of them nervously gazing towards the building. That day was the first four pavilions conference since Zhou Yuan was promoted to chief pavilion master, and all of them could easily guess that the outcome would be of critical importance to the four pavilions.

Their new chief pavilion master was promoted from wind pavilion master. The attitude he had towards the other three pavilions would affect the benefits and treatments they received in the future.

The Fire Pavilion members were especially nervous. They knew how much trouble the Fire Pavilion had caused Zhou Yuan under Lu Xiao’s leadership. If Zhou Yuan decided to make bold changes, these changes would most likely be directed at their Fire Pavilion...

    ...

In an enormous discussion hall within the chief pavilion master building.

Every single seat was occupied. The four pavilion masters were seated at the very front, followed by the deputy pavilion masters and then the commanders. One could say that all the higher echelons of the four pavilions were currently gathered.

Zhou Yuan was seated in the chief’s chair where he could see everyone present. His calm face gave off a certain pressure that made the atmosphere a bit suffocating.

He glanced at the very front seat on the Fire Pavilion’s side where Lu Xiao was currently seated.

However, Lu Xiao’s expression was still quite pale. He had yet to recover from the great battle a few days prior. Moreover, his aura was no longer as confident and sharp as before.

His loss to Zhou Yuan in the chief pavilion master selection had been a big blow to him.

Behind Lu Xiao, the deputy pavilion masters of the Fire Pavilion were silent. However, traces of hidden hostility glinted in their eyes when they looked towards Zhou Yuan. They were after all members of the Heavenly Spirit Sect and Lu Xiao’s staunchest supporters. Hence, they were the least accepting of Zhou Yuan’s rise to chief pavilion master.

Before coming here, they had already come to a consensus. Zhou Yuan was too powerful, and although they did not dare to face him directly, they could engage in other roundabout tactics like paying lip service. As long as they caused trouble in secret and made it impossible for Zhou Yuan to integrate the four pavilions, the higher-ups in the sect would be able to find an opportunity. At best, they might even manage to shake Zhou Yuan’s position.

Zhou Yuan’s gaze swept across the crowd. Moments later, his calm voice rang out, “Everyone, since I was fortunate enough to be promoted to chief pavilion master, I should begin making some preparations for the upcoming nine regions tournament. Our Tianyuan Region has been on the decline for many years, and if we want to obtain a good result in the nine regions tournament, we’ll need to unify our power.”

He did not bother with any pleasantries and instead dived straight into the main topic.

He had not suffered untold hardships to take the chief pavilion master position in order to flaunt his authority and power; he had no interest in such things. The nine regions tournament was a regional affair and not something he could handle alone. For the Tianyuan Region to have any chance of distinguishing themselves in the nine regions tournament, he needed to first gain full control of the four pavilions’ power.

There was a sliver of sternness in Zhou Yuan’s gaze as he looked towards the Fire Pavilion members. Under his gaze, Zhu Lian, Zuo Ya and the other deputy pavilion masters felt their hearts shiver.

Zhou Yuan did not give anyone a chance to speak. He knew what the Fire Pavilion’s upper echelon was thinking and thus did not plan on showing mercy. “The Fire Pavilion has eight deputy pavilion masters, seven of which are from the Heavenly Spirit Sect. Out of the twenty-five commanders, twenty-three are from the Heavenly Spirit Sect. Such a proportion is too abnormal and needs to be changed.”

These words instantly drew a commotion from the Fire Pavilion as Zhu Lian, Zuo Ya and the other deputy pavilion masters displayed angry expressions.

Zhou Yuan paid no attention to them as he continued, “From now onwards, those I nominate shall have a chance to vie for the deputy pavilion master and commander positions…”

He then spat out the list of names he had prepared, each name echoing in the discussion hall.

Upon hearing the names, cold sweat emerged on several of the members present. They realized that those who Zhou Yuan nominated were outstanding members of the Fire Pavilion who had been unable to lift their heads due to Lu Xiao’s suppression. These were heaven prides from various locations and were not disciples of the Heavenly Spirit Sect.

They were also no weaker than any of the current deputy pavilion masters from the Heavenly Spirit Sect.

If they were promoted, Lu Xiao would likely lose control of the Fire Pavilion.

Zhu Lian, Zuo Ya and the rest had ashen expressions as they cried out, “You can’t do this, chief pavilion master Zhou Yuan!”

Zhou Yuan was unmoved. “Why not? Are the individuals I’ve nominated not strong enough? Or do I not have this right as the chief pavilion master?”

Zhu Lian and Zuo Ya were speechless as anger and fear came to their faces. The ones Zhou Yuan nominated were strong even when compared to the current batch of deputy pavilion masters.

Hence, they could only cast pleading gazes towards Lu Xiao, who had not spoken since the beginning.

Upon sensing their gazes, Lu Xiao raised his pale face and indifferently said, “You’re the chief pavilion master and have the authority to do anything in the four pavilions. However, things have been this way in the Fire Pavilion for a long time, and your actions will make the Heavenly Spirit Sect disciples unhappy. If this matter escalates, you’ll have to resolve it on your own.”

Surprise flitted across Zhou Yuan’s eyes. He could tell that Lu Xiao was not opposing him. Instead, Lu Xiao seemed to be conceding some ground.

Zhu Lian, Zuo Ya and the others grew even more anxious. They wanted to speak out, but Lu Xiao weakly closed his eyes.

Zhou Yuan indifferently said, “Since I raised this matter, I will take responsibility for the consequences.

“The Fire Pavilion members I’ve nominated may challenge any of the current deputy pavilion masters and commanders from the Fire Pavilion over the next ten days. Whoever wins will have the right to assume the loser’s position.”

He had slightly changed Yi Qiushui’s original plan at the last moment because allowing the upper echelons of the Fire Pavilion to be challenged would create a bigger divide between the Heavenly Spirit Sect disciples and non–Heavenly Spirit Sect disciples. As the chief pavilion master, he would not let the Fire Pavilion unite against him.

After dealing with the Fire Pavilion, he cast his eyes towards Han Yuan.

Han Yuan’s heart trembled under his gaze.

Sure enough, Zhou Yuan began to nominate members from the Mountain Pavilion. However, the number of nominees was fewer than those of the Fire Pavilion. Zhou Yuan considered this a small punishment for Han Yuan for being an opportunist.

Even so, this was a substantial blow to both the Fire Pavilion and Mountain Pavilion. A commotion engulfed the entire discussion hall. If not for fear of Zhou Yuan, the place would have already fallen into chaos.

Zhou Yuan’s bold and decisive actions could be said to be rather ruthless.

However, it was also difficult to resolve the resulting commotion.

As such, Zhu Lian, Zuo Ya and the others secretly sneered inside. If Zhou Yuan could not bring a proper end to this commotion, he would have failed his duty as the chief pavilion master!

Fortunately, Zhou Yuan only took such actions towards the Fire Pavilion and Mountain Pavilion, leaving the Forest Pavilion and Wind Pavilion alone. This prevented a mutiny from occurring.

Zhou Yuan’s expression remained composed as he gazed at the crowd and slowly said, “Besides this matter, there is something else I have to announce. From today onwards, the price of the four mother runes will be lowered by 30%. What’s more, high-grade mother runes will now be sold to the other three pavilions.”

The noisy hall instantly fell silent.

Everyone looked at each other, unable to conceal the shock in their eyes. Lowering the price of the four mother runes was excellent news for all four pavilions. It was hard to believe that Zhou Yuan would willingly yield such profits.

In the face of such temptation, even some of the Heavenly Spirit Sect disciples from the Fire Pavilion began to hesitate.

They clung to their positions as deputy pavilion masters and commanders in order to obtain more cultivation resources. Lowering the prices of the four mother runes was akin to giving them resources from another direction. For a time, they felt as if the changes he suggested were not that unacceptable.

Only Zhu Lian, Zuo Ya and a few others did not waver as much. They did not care about such cultivation resources—only face and authority.

But they were ultimately the minority.

Hence, Zhou Yuan’s second announcement stabilized the situation in the discussion hall, causing the earlier chaos to slowly recede. One could easily imagine the giant commotion the news would cause once it spread back to the four pavilions. When that happened, over 80% of the members would endorse Zhou Yuan as the new chief pavilion master.

Lu Xiao, pale-faced, stood up. He glanced at Zhu Lian, Zuo Ya and the others panicking and said, “It’s already over, so stop trying to cause trouble. Otherwise, even I will be powerless if he finds an excuse to kick you guys out of the four pavilions.”

After finishing, he headed towards the exit.

Zhou Yuan’s stick-and-carrot was enough to subdue the four pavilions.

Lu Xiao knew that the four pavilions would truly belong to Zhou Yuan in the future.

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