Li Tianquan had never imagined Qianye would be able to fight to the point where both he and the Demoness were heavily injured.
As someone who had worked his way to the second-elder position, the old man was neither stupid nor lacking in background and knowledge. Even though he had never seen the Demoness in person, that couldn’t stop him from deducing her combat strength. This Demoness was even capable of forcing Zhao Jundu into a corner—this wasn’t someone Li Tianquan could go up against.
Yet Qianye had fought her to the point of mutual injury!
Didn’t this mean that Qianye could kill Li Tianquan just as easily? The elder couldn’t help but tremble when he recalled how he had almost broken into a fight with Qianye.
His right hand was trembling not only from terror but also from anxiety and not knowing what to do. The first thought that came to his mind when the news arrived was that he couldn't let Qianye live! If Qianye were to become powerful in the future, the Li family might not be able to withstand the pressure; they might very well toss him out as a sacrifice and sue for peace.
The current Li Tianquan was no longer as bold and fearless as he was in his youth. He now had power, a family, and an extravagant life—the only thing he didn’t have was the courage to fight to the death. That actually was the case for many high-ranking people. It was just that they didn’t need to face such difficult circumstances.
The old man turned back and glanced at the giant painting on the wall. Behind this drawing was a secret cabinet containing the Stillwater Rebirth. The second elder had spent great effort in order to settle his bet with Qianye, and even then, he was only able to afford it because the Li family had given him a 50% discount.
The Li family’s public excuse was to uphold their family honor. No one could tell just how much of it was due to Zhao Jundu’s pressure and because Qianye had slaughtered a virtuous count.
At this moment, there was someone from the Zhao clan in the guest room to the left of his office—this person had come to ask for the Stillwater Rebirth. To the right of his office, however, was someone who had come to dissuade him from handing over the medicine. The latter’s identity was mysterious, but his status was extremely high. This shrewd old man had long since figured out the people behind this man.
That lobbyist stated several conditions that moved Li Tianquan deeply. The most important one among them was that the big-shot would support him in the imperial court should he one day seek to establish his own family.
Their only request was not to hand over the Stillwater Rebirth.
That was the reason Li Tianquan was so torn. He had already realized that even the bigshots in the imperial court were taking action to prevent Qianye’s recovery. Didn’t this mean that Qianye’s status had reached a level of being debated in the imperial court?
From the remote contention between the magnates of the imperial court, Li Tianquan could already sniff out the importance of this Stillwater Rebirth. It was very possible that Qianye’s survival depended on it.
Then, should he hand it over or not?
At this very moment, Li Tianquan really wished that the life-saving medicine wasn’t in his hand. That way, he wouldn’t have to make such a choice deeply related to life and death.
It was just that he had no time to meditate on this. A sudden explosion rang out outside, causing the entire office to tremble and dust to shower down from the ceiling. A small piece of splintered wood fell right on top of Li Tianquan’s head.
The old man was furious. “What’s going on!?”
The secretary entered anxiously and said, “Elder, that Zhao clan person has started to break things. He’s saying he’ll tear the whole place down if you don’t give him an answer soon.”
Li Tianquan was absolutely infuriated, but he broke out into laughter instead. “Fine, fine. This is simply not putting the Li family in his eyes. Let’s go, this old man wishes to see how he’ll tear down this building in front of me.”
Before Li Tianquan had even left, the entire building began swaying and astonished cries rang out inside the building.
Within the guest room, that Zhao clan general stomped down with a cold smirk on his face. He didn’t even bother to look at the Li clan soldiers around him. This strike was akin to a giant beast stomping the ground—the building shook and the walls started to crack, but the floor itself remained completely intact. This was the Zhao clan’s famous “Earthshaker”. After training it to a high level, a single stomp could damage all buildings and walls within a hundred meters, while the area right below the wielder remained mostly undamaged.
Li Tianquan finally burst through the dust cloud and appeared at the door. “What audacity! A mere brigadier general dares act so atrociously here? This old man would’ve killed you in one blow if not out of consideration for the Zhao clan!”
This matter caused a huge ruckus in the middle of the base. Dozens of spectators had gathered nearby in the blink of an eye and their numbers only kept on growing. The Li family officers had wanted to clear them out at first, but they soon found out that the people who had arrived were elders and stewards of the aristocratic families.
Whether or not they could keep the Li family stronghold intact was reliant on their willingness to stay and fight. The single Storm Pearl was gradually losing the ability to court these nobles amidst their heavy casualties. Besides, there was only one storm pearl left, and it wasn’t a certainty who would be able to obtain it. As such, the Li family people had to lay low and keep these aristocratic families happy.
In the face of a furious Li Tianquan, this Zhao clan warrior laughed fearlessly. “This daddy Duan Chengpeng is a coarse man and my cheap life isn’t worth anything. Since I’ve come here, I have no intention of going back alive! But I want to ask you one thing, where did you get the damn gall to embezzle the life-saving medicine that our Zhao clan is rightfully demanding? Where are your Li family’s prestige and trustworthiness? Are they not worth as much as a single Stillwater Rebirth?”
Li Tianquan’s face became as dark as a pot. “Nonsense! That Stillwater Rebirth isn’t in my hands!”
But he hadn’t even finished speaking when Duan Chengpeng cut him short. “Haha! Have you no shame? The medicine is clearly in your office. How about we go there now and this daddy will find it for you?”
Li Tianquan was at a momentary loss for words. He cursed in his heart upon realizing that someone close to him was spying for the Zhao clan. Otherwise, how could this Duan Chengpeng know about such a secret matter? Moreover, this man looked coarse on the outside but was fairly clever and devious. He had acted crude and waited for Li Tianquan to speak out before throwing this information onto the table. This instantly pushed Li Tianquan into a dangerous corner.
Under the eyes of so many people, how could Li Tianquan dare to let Duan Chengpeng enter his office and search? Moreover, there was no way he could play tricks under so many eyes.
His expression transformed repeatedly, but he remained steadfast with his words. “What a joke! This is the Li family! Not to mention a mere brigadier general, even Duke You himself doesn’t have the right to search my place!”
Duan Chengpeng’s expression turned solemn. “Does this mean Elder Li is adamant on withholding the Stillwater Rebirth? Heh heh, the life of our family’s General Qianye, Elder Li should be clear as to how important it is! Can you shoulder that responsibility?”
Li Tianquan hadn’t expected Duan Chengpeng’s words to be so incisive, pinning all the blame on him in a single word. Li Tianquan had more or less understood how much Qianye’s life was worth. How would he dare to assume this responsibility? “Nonsense! Stillwater Rebirth is our family treasure. How we distribute it is entirely our business. Moreover, General Qianye has been fighting for king and country, this old man has nothing but admiration for him. Why would I want to harm him?”
Duan Chengpeng sneered. “Elder Li, I’ll cut the bullshit short. You’re very clear about this matter, delaying is tantamount to conspiring. If you don’t hand the medicine over now, it’s equal to making an enemy out of our Zhao clan. I hope you will think this through because there’s no way to reverse this enmity once it has been formed. This vendetta shall last unto death!”
Li Tianquan glared back. “You’re going too far! What if the Zhao clan is powerful? Our Li clan isn’t that easy to bully, either. Men! Capture this person!”
The Li family soldiers looked at one another. They were fairly hesitant but had no choice since it was a direct order. The spectating aristocratic families hadn’t expected the situation would deteriorate so quickly. The Zhao clan visitor had left no room at all. It would seem this Stillwater Rebirth was critical for Qianye, and it also went to show that the latter was in a perilous situation.
There was actually no dispute as to the owner of this Stillwater Rebirth. Everyone at the scene knew of the bet between Li Tianquan and Qianye. With the second elder’s position and status, it was only right for him to keep his promises. Now that he was withholding the medicine, it was clear that he had ulterior motives.
But this matter involved a conflict between the Zhao clan and the Li family; how could these aristocratic families dare to get involved? Even if they did interfere, the final decision had to be made by their respective clan lords. Hence, everyone simply stood on the sidelines and observed the changes.
Seeing the Li family soldiers closing in on him, Duan Chengpeng pounced forth with a laugh, shouting, “Today, I shall sacrifice my blood to the flag. The fourth young master will raise this war banner and avenge me another day! Scoundrels, do not forget that the fourth young master has a shot left to fire!”
Duan Chengpeng’s cries were followed by thunderous rumbles and whistling winds that echoed throughout the base!
The main building trembled amidst the explosions and half-collapsed in the end. When the dust scattered, people saw Li Tianquan standing in the air and looking down at the rubble below, his hands trembling slightly.
Duan Chengpeng remained stationary in the rubble, his fate unknown.
Li Tianquan couldn’t resist taking action at the last moment and heavily injured Duan Chengpeng. However, the man didn’t die in the end because the elder didn’t dare deliver the final blow.
Those with discerning eyes knew that the difference between killing and injuring wasn’t that great—he was delaying Qianye’s treatment all the same. This was sure to incite the Zhao clan’s thunderous wrath. With Zhao Jundu’s character, it could be said that war was inevitable. Yet, people didn’t quite understand why things had turned out like this. Li Tianquan was a bit domineering, but he wasn’t a stupid person. His behavior was akin to the Li family fully offending the Zhao clan. This wasn’t something a mere elder could decide.
Many people started to read deeper into this.
“Capture this arrogant man and lock him up.” Li Tianquan’s voice was calm, but he was fairly nervous at heart. Additionally, he could hardly conceal his trembling despite hiding his hands in his sleeves.
With this matter concluded, the aristocratic family members soon dispersed. The Zhao-Li conflict was a matter of great importance, so they had to report this as quickly as possible and seek instructions.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I like how the (somewhat expected) events were triggered by external factors. The man was kinda forced by various circumstances instead of turning full imbecile.
TL: Legion ED: Moxie