In front of the ancestral statue of the Xuantian Dao Sect, the thirty-six supermonasteries’ people had all lined up. Long Chen and the others from the thirty-sixth supermonastery were all at the very back.
Long Chen carefully sized up these people. It was as Shui Wuhen had said, the thirty-sixth supermonastery’s numbers truly were the lowest of all the supermonasteries, and pitifully low.
Because he was standing at the back, Long Chen was unable to catch a glimpse of Zhao Wuji and the others. Furthermore, it wasn’t suitable to use his Spiritual Strength to nose around here. That was especially true since there were women here too. This kind of spiritual probing was no different than peeping at them. He would definitely be cursed.
There were almost one hundred thousand elite disciples here who had all reached the Xiantian realm. That was truly shocking. The Xuantian Dao Sect’s four families’ experts had also gathered. They were atop a large stage at the front.
There was still an empty spot on that stage, and that was for the vice sect master. He hadn’t arrived yet, but the four families had already gathered.
Long Chen narrowed his eyes. At the front of the four families were four ancient elders that were currently discussing something. Long Chen was speechless: considering how old they looked, it was difficult for him to tell who was who.
It was unknown just how many centuries these old fellows had lived for. In any case, their wrinkles were more concentrated than the growth rings of oak trees, and their hair was as white as snow. But their gazes were still alive and healthy. The feeling they gave Long Chen was that they were wily old foxes that had taken human form.
These four were the family heads. Although their cultivation bases had only reached the late Sea Expansion realm, the reason they had become their families’ heads wasn’t because of strength, but because of their brilliant methods. That was what had won them the favor of the previous generation’s family heads.
The leftmost elder was the Qu family’s head, Qu Chengfeng. The first supermonastery, in other words, the strongest supermonastery, was amongst the nine supermonasteries they controlled. The second rank Celestial, Yue Qianshan, also came from the first supermonastery.
The next one was an elder with a long mustache and beard. He was the Shui family’s head, Shui Yuncong. Although these four were all ancient elders, when comparing them, Shui Yuncong was at least slightly better looking than the others.
Shui Wuhen sat behind him. Her eyes were closed, clearly displaying her indifference toward the ones around her. She appeared a bit isolated when compared to the others who were constantly discussing something.
The strongest supermonastery that the Shui family controlled was the fifth supermonastery, and their number one genius, Shui Guanzhi, hailed from there. Rather than saying that Shui Guanzhi was someone raised by the fifth supermonastery, it was better to say he was someone personally raised by the Shui family. The reason he was placed in the fifth supermonastery was just a formality.
Beside Shui Yuncong was an elder whose face was slightly darker. He was the Wang family’s head. The second supermonastery was under the administration of the Wang family, while Zhong Wuyan was their peak expert.
As for the final elder, he was bald. His head was even shinier than other bald heads. It almost seemed like he had buffed it with wax. The light reflecting off it could light up all of heaven and earth. It was currently noon, and looking from a distance, it was like there were two suns.
This bald elder was from the Shui family’s sworn enemy, the Zhou family’s head, Zhou Tianyi. Although the Shui and Zhou families didn’t get along, when the four family heads chatted, they actually seemed to be chatting very amicably.
“Brother Yuncong, congratulations. Your Shui family not only has Shui Guanzhi, but now even Long Chen has returned. That’s a cause for celebration,” said Zhou Tianyi with a smile.
“Haha, this is the old ancestor’s blessing. He wouldn’t allow a genius to fall just like this. Many thanks for your care, brother Tianyi,” responded Shui Yuncong. He knew this old fellow was probing him.
As expected, Zhou Tianyi said, “Myself and the others are very curious, how did Long Chen manage to survive that heavenly punishment? After all, the Corrupt path’s five Sea Expansion experts, nine Celestials, and eighty thousand elite disciples were all exterminated by it without a single one of them living. But Long Chen did. It really is puzzling.”
Let alone Zhou Tianyi, even the other two family heads were shocked upon hearing that Long Chen had returned. What had happened in the chaos region was no secret in the Xuantian Dao Sect.
Although this matter had been mainly caused by the Pill Tower’s Huo family, the Zhou family had been the one to act as a go-between. The photographic jade was proof of that, and that had brought on the fury of the vice sect master.
The Zhou family had put in a great deal of trouble to settle this affair. Not only had they scapegoated Zhou Qingyi and her son, but they had also given Shui Wuhen an immense amount of resources as compensation. But once that compensation had been given, once their people had been killed, once they had lost those resources, Long Chen had suddenly come back alive and well. That made Zhou Tianyi feel like he had swallowed crap.
He even suspected that they had known all along that Long Chen hadn’t died, all to con his Zhou family.
“Haha, brother Tianyi, you really are amazing! You’re even this clear on their numbers and levels… It really makes a person think…” Shui Yuncong laughed sinisterly.
“Think what? Brother Yuncong, don’t talk drivel.” Zhou Tianyi’s expression sank. Shui Yuncong was clearly trying to say that he had colluded with the Corrupt path. That charge was something he wouldn’t be able to bear and was something that would result in the destruction of the entire family.
The reason the matter with setting up Long Chen had drawn the vice sect master’s fury was because the Corrupt path had ended up participating. If that was the case, then it was completely different from an internal struggle. If they hadn’t pushed all the blame onto the Huo family, his Zhou family really wouldn’t have been able to bear the consequences.
“Hahaha, brother Tianyi, you’re too sensitive. My meaning was that I think you must like to gather information. It must be hard on you,” laughed Shui Yuncong.
But anyone with ears could hear he was intentionally mocking Zhou Tianyi for colluding with the Corrupt path to set up Long Chen. Although this matter had been backed by the Huo family, they were unable to escape that stain.
Everyone present was a wily old fox. Zhou Tianyi didn’t get angry. If he did get angry, that would put him in a disadvantageous position. He had long since gotten used to this kind of verbal sparring.
“Haha, I truly did investigate this matter. After all, this was my Zhou family’s mistake. We gave birth to degenerate disciples that were swayed by others into doing something foolish. As the family head, I naturally share some of that blame, so I looked deeply into this matter in order to get justice for Long Chen. Otherwise, how would I face these disciples?” Zhou Tianyi sighed with shame.
It was regretful that Long Chen wasn’t close enough. If he were to hear this, he would probably have to prostrate himself toward him in admiration. He would definitely have to ask, “Just how did you manage to make your face this thick?”
But these old fellows were all capable of committing shameful and shameless acts without batting an eye.
Shui Wuhen had her eyes closed, but her mouth was curled in a mocking smile. She didn’t want to speak. She didn’t want to participate in this kind of hypocritical fight of words.
As for why she didn’t open her eyes, it was because she was afraid of puking upon seeing their faces.
“Brother Tianyi truly is a person of unquestionable integrity and character, a model for all of us,” praised Shui Yuncong. But when others heard it, it somehow sounded mocking.
“I wouldn’t dare to accept such praise. But I do feel like it would simply be the right thing for everyone to know the facts. What do you say, monastery head Shui?” Zhou Tianyi looked at Shui Wuhen.
Upon seeing this, Shui Yuncong frowned slightly, but he didn’t say anything in the end. He was still angry with Shui Wuhen. This child was too disobedient.
When it came to seniority, Shui Wuhen should call him uncle. But because of the matter with Long Chen, she had even gone against this uncle of hers, causing him to lose face. And when the time came for her to get the compensation, she didn’t even consider backing the family.
As for the Zhou family, they were truly brilliant. They had intentionally handed the compensation to Shui Wuhen in order to incite internal strife amongst the Shui family. The results were exactly what Zhou Tianyi wanted.
Due to Long Chen’s death, he had paid a great deal of compensation. But this compensation had been used to incite disharmony with Shui Wuhen and the rest of the Shui family. That had been a brilliant move. But now Long Chen had reappeared, and he felt like he had been duped, as if he had been the one to fall for the Shui family’s trap. He even suspected that the disharmony in the Shui family was just an act they were putting on for him to see.
“What are you talking about?” Shui Wuhen slowly opened her eyes. But she didn’t look at Zhou Tianyi. She didn’t want to look at that glaring bald head. Looking at that oily thing was nauseating.
“Of course I’m talking about Long Chen. How did he manage to survive? So many people died, and he’s the only survivor? I hope monastery head Shui can explain it to me with a bit of detail and flair. We’re all very curious,” said Zhou Tianyi.
But his words were clearly a trap. That was especially true about asking her to explain it with ‘flair’. It was clearly saying that he hoped for her to come up with a good lie without any holes. It was extremely forceful.
However, when such words came from these old fellows’ mouths, they always sounded too amiable, making a person think it was just a normal conversation. But in truth, their words all contained hidden blades designed to infuriate their opponents and create holes in their mental states. This skill was essential to a family head.
“Long Chen said that when he encountered the heavenly punishment, the ground split apart, and he directly jumped in. Then the ground closed behind him, and that’s how he dodged the heavenly tribulation.
“After that, he spent the next few months digging a tunnel to get out. That’s why he almost missed the trial,” said Shui Wuhen. In truth, she was inventing absolute nonsense. That was a skill she had learned from Long Chen. She felt like after being in contact with Long Chen for so long, her own character had changed. Now she could babble wildly without batting an eye.
“He spent several months digging a tunnel?” Naturally, no one believed it.
“Yes. Long Chen said that he turned stupid from terror at the time and that he accidentally dug downward. It was only after digging for several months that he realized his mistake and dug the other direction, allowing him to once more see the sun,” said Shui Wuhen.
“What nonsense!” raged Zhou Tianyi.
She was clearly simply messing with them. No matter how stupid a person was, how could they possibly confuse up and down? If it was just mistaking north, east, south, and west, that was one thing. But no one could possibly be that stupid.
“I also felt it was nonsense. So if you want to know the truth, if you want more details, if you want more flair, you should go ask Long Chen. He’ll definitely give you a satisfactory response.” Shui Wuhen smiled.
With Long Chen’s character, he could make them choke to death with just a single sentence. Shui Wuhen was filled with anticipation. With Long Chen’s ability to infuriate others, would he anger these fellows to their deaths when they encountered each other? She even had an urge to call Long Chen over and ask him about this matter right now.
Just at this moment, a figure appeared in the sky, and everyone’s mouths immediately shut. They hastily stood and bowed.
“Greetings vice sect master!”
 Zhou Tianyi: 周天意 Zhou is just a surname, and Tianyi means heaven’s will. Shui Yuncong: 水云聪 Shui=water, Yun=cloud, Cong=smart. Qu Chengfeng, 曲乘风. Qu=song. Chengfeng=ride the wind, or take advantage of an opportunity. No name is given for the Wang family head. Wang 王=king, but this is also an extremely common surname.