Chapter 1354: The Controversial Spirit Pagoda

At the Spirit Pagoda headquarters of the Douluo Federation.

Qiangu Dongfeng sat on the main seat with a dark expression. "How are we handling this PR crisis? Are there still any media outlets saying undesirable things about us?"

A middle-aged man seated near the rear of the conference chamber replied in a respectful manner, "We've established control over all of the mainstream media outlets, but the Tang Sect's declaration of war was too abrupt, and we didn't anticipate the scope to which they've infiltrated the media. Despite our best efforts, there's still a lot of negative press about us circulating among the general public. Furthermore..."

"That's enough." Qiangu Dongfeng cut him off in an abrupt manner. He had been under a lot of pressure of late. The Spirit Pagoda was currently extremely powerful and had many allies, but the problem was that the Tang Sect was incriminating them by linking them to the Holy Spirit Cult. The Holy Spirit Cult had caused several major disasters in the Douluo Federation, including the bombings of Shrek City and Heaven Dou City. As such the general public abhorred anything that had to do with the Holy Spirit Cult.

What was most damning to the Spirit Pagoda was that with the close ties that the Tang Sect now shared with the Dou Spirit Empire, they had obtained a lot of evidence from the empire and exposed the underground facility beneath the Spirit Pagoda headquarters. The information had even been available for the public viewing for an entire day on the Star Battle Net before the Spirit Pagoda managed to remove it. As a result, many powers in the federation, including some of the Spirit Pagoda's allies, had developed suspicions toward them.

There was no way that any of their allies would accept their collaboration with the Holy Spirit Cult. Hence, even with his lofty status in the federation, Qiangu Dongfeng was under immense pressure.

This matter had to be addressed no matter what, but the problem was that the negative press only seemed to be gaining traction, and the Tang Sect had played an important role in this.

Even Qiangu Dongfeng himself had become too complacent. Ever since the Tang Sect had withdrawn into the underground world, it had become a shadow of its former self, and many people were drawn to the conclusion that it no longer had any substantial influence.

As such, when the Tang Sect secured all of this evidence and began their retaliation, the Spirit Pagoda was caught completely off guard.

At the root of the matter, Tang Wulin was the one who had set things into motion. He had destroyed the Spirit Pagoda headquarters, as well as the long-distance communication system in the headquarters. In the Dou Spirit Empire, there weren't many pieces of technology that could facilitate intercontinental communication. As such, by the time the Spirit Pagoda managed to find a way to contact the Douluo Federation, three days had already passed.

During those three days, the Tang Sect had collected sufficient evidence, and that was why the Spirit Pagoda was in such a bad position.

Qiangu Dongfeng had appeared on multiple occasions to try and silence the negative press, and he had used many underhanded tactics to repress the situation. As such, they had managed to weather the storm, but during the span of just a single month, the Spirit Pagoda's reputation had been dealt a massive blow. In contrast, the Tang Sect was displaying signs of making a resurgence and was beginning to appear to the general public again.

At a time like this, the Spirit Pagoda didn't dare to do anything to the Tang Sect in case they were to even further incriminate themselves. Thankfully, news arrived from the Star Luo Empire not long ago, stating that the new Tang Sect Master, Tang Wulin, was currently in the Star Luo Empire. Furthermore, he was participating in some kind of friendly tournament with the Star Luo Empire.

This piece of news allowed Qiangu Dongfeng to heave a sigh of relief, and he immediately began to manipulate the media to promote the story that the Tang Sect and the Star Luo Empire were close allies. They accused the Tang Sect of trying to harm the relationship between the federation and the Spirit Pagoda for the benefit of the Star Luo Empire, and these stories greatly impacted the Tang Sect as well.

In order to prove the authenticity of the story, he had even secured footage of the Trial of Five Gods and was broadcasting them from television stations in the federation.

However, much to Qiangu Dongfeng's surprise, following the broadcast of the first two matches, the support for the Tang Sect grew even further, while the opposition against them was quelled significantly.

The reason for this was very simple: the Tang Sect had proclaimed that this was a sparring tournament between the Tang Sect and the Star Luo Empire. Furthermore, they specified that this Trial of Five Gods had been held as Tang Wulin representing the Douluo Federation to challenge the Star Luo Empire. The Spirit Pagoda's influence was present over all three continents, and the same applied to the Tang Sect as well, so why couldn't the new Tang Sect Master pay a visit to the Tang Sect's Star Luo Empire branches? Had Qiangu Dongfeng never been to the Star Luo Empire in the past?

Thus, the Tang Sect had twisted the narrative and made this Trial of Five Gods a matter of glory for the federation. 

Tang Wulin was opposing an entire empire on his own and secured two consecutive victories. The Douluo Federation didn't revere individual heroism as much as the Star Luo Empire did, but the general public still respected power. In particular, after they witnessed Tang Wulin defeating the vice-chairman of the Spirit Pagoda during the second match, the support had tilted overwhelmingly in the Tang Sect's favor.

Qiangu Dongfeng had only assigned a task for his subordinates to broadcast the Trial of Five Gods, and even he didn't know that Zhang Geyang would be representing the Star Luo Empire during the second match. By the time he realized this, it was already too late.

During that match, it was as if the Spirit Pagoda had given itself a vicious slap to the face, and the Tang Sect certainly wasn't going to let that slide. They insulted the Spirit Pagoda, saying that the Tang Sect was facing the Star Luo Empire for the glory of the federation, whereas the Spirit Pagoda was representing the imperial family of the Star Luo Empire. If the Tang Sect were colluding with the Star Luo Empire, then what about the Spirit Pagoda?

What was even more infuriating to Qiangu Dongfeng was that not only was Zhang Geyang representing the Star Luo Empire, he had lost the match! The excuse could be made that Zhang Geyang had chosen to participate in the match to avenge the Spirit Pagoda's Dou Spirit Empire headquarters, but he had completely disgraced the Spirit Pagoda by losing the match.

On top of that, even his soul spirit had betrayed him.

Zhang Geyang was a rank 98 Hyper Douluo, whereas Tang Wulin was only in his early twenties! How had he managed to lose?

Qiangu Dongfeng was greatly infuriated by Tang Wulin, but also completely astonished. As a result of his extraordinary feats, Tang Wulin was also rapidly making a reputation for himself in the federation, and the Tang Sect was steadily gaining more and more supporters.

Of course, there was still much opposition against the Tang Sect. After all, the federation was preparing to declare war on the other two empires, yet the Tang Sect had destroyed the Spirit Pagoda's Dou Spirit Empire headquarters, and their sect master was currently in the Star Luo Empire; there was definitely something going on behind the scenes.

As such, both the Spirit Pagoda and the Tang Sect were in some hot water, and they were busy addressing their respective crises. At the very least, it appeared on the surface that the Tang Sect had gained the upper hand during this power struggle.

"Have you still not gathered information on that Tang Wulin?" Qiangu Dongfeng asked.

Leng Yaozhu replied in an indifferent manner, "I've already presented to you all of the information we have on him in our database; it's just that we never had much information on him to begin with. We know that he was classmates with Gu Yuena and that the two of them grew up together. On top of that, he's the leader of Shrek's Seven Monsters, but you already know all of that. We have no further information on him, particularly after the Shrek City bombing. We don't know where he went, what he did, nor how he was able to progress so quickly during the past few years. I have a feeling that even if we were to dig any deeper, we most likely wouldn't be able to find any further information about him."

Qiangu Dongfeng could clearly hear the discontent in Leng Yaozhu's voice, but he was focused on something else. "Did you just say that Gu Yuena and Tang Wulin were classmates? She's currently in the Star Luo Empire; would she have more information on Tang Wulin? Contact the Star Luo Empire; I want to speak to Spirit Envoy Gu Yuena."

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