Yang Qi could tell what this young lord wanted to do. Considering that he had no way of handling Yang Qi, he wanted to turn weapons of war into gifts of jade and silk. That was why he cut to the chase and clearly stated his demands, in the hopes of avoiding any further embarrassment.
Yang Qi’s enigmatic energy arts had something to do with it. It didn't matter that this young lord was a Quinary Lifeseizer, the burning sun Yang Qi had summoned was simply too much for him. And if Yang Qi had been some ordinary person, perhaps threatening him with the reputation of the House of Spring and Autumn would have been effective. But he was a student from the Demi-Immortal Institute, so that made things different.
The Demi-Immortal Institute was the number one institute in all of the Rich-Lush Continent, an organization the House of Spring and Autumn couldn’t even compare to.
Considering all of that, this young lord really had no choice but to back down.
“Fine,” Yang Qi said. He wasn't interested in throwing his weight around too much. In fact, he was hoping to smooth the situation out. “If that's what you want, Young Lord, then the Yang Clan would be happy to comply. When people show me even an inch of respect, I pay them back with a hundred times that. We’ll return Zhang Lie and the elders who came with him. Furthermore, we don’t ask for a single bit of compensation from the House of Spring and Autumn.”
“Really?” the young lord said, his eyes brightening. He had assumed that the Yang Clan would demand an exorbitant payment from them to resolve things. For things to play out like this was quite refreshing.
All of a sudden, he realized that he liked this Yang Qi.
“Brother Yang Qi, since you’re being so magnanimous, then let’s just consider the matter between the House of Spring and Autumn and the Yang Clan as having been completely resolved. By the way, Brother Yang, there’s no need for you to address me as Young Lord. I’m just one of many of my father’s relatively useless sons. Please, call me Lu Wangxian.” 
Yang Qi nodded, then turned to look at his father and brothers behind him. “Eldest Brother, Second Brother, bring out that Zhang Lie.”
“Yes, Third Brother.” Yang Yunchong and Yang Hualong hurried off.
‘Wait, they’re all Lifeseizers…?’ Lu Wangxian thought, eyes widening a bit. ‘The insignificant Yang Clan from Yanhaven has three Lifeseizers? Talk about big fish in a little pond. Actually, they’re more like big sharks in a little pond….’
Lu Wangxian’s impression of this place was changing by the moment. Earlier, he had assumed the people here were just nouveau riche bumpkins, but as it turned out, they were actually a first-tier aristocratic clan.
After all, people respected power in these lands. With three Lifeseizers in the clan, and the enigmatic Yang Qi, who not even a Quinary Lifeseizer could deal with, it was clear that the Yang Clan would definitely be around for hundreds of years to come.
It didn’t take long for Yang Yunchong and Yang Hualong to return with Zhang Lie, and the other elders he had come with. All of them had their meridians tightly sealed. Yang Qi waved his hands, and popping sounds could be heard as they were freed.
“Ninth Young Lord!” Zhang Lie blurted. Rushing over, he dropped to his knees and saluted Lu Wangxian. Then, he glared over at Yang Qi and the others from the Yang Clan, and said, “This puny Yang Clan dared to trifle with our House of Spring and Autumn. They should be sentenced to death! Young Lord, please, carry out the punishment immediately! Otherwise, we’ll lose a lot of face in—”
“Shut your mouth!” Lu Wangxian shouted. “You good-for-nothing fools are the ones who lost face for the House of Spring and Autumn. I can’t believe you dared to come cause trouble here. I just sparred with Brother Yang, and believe me, if he wanted the lot of you dead, he could have done it with the snap of a finger. In fact, you apologize to him immediately!”
“But, Ninth Young Lord, the Yang Clan is definitely involved with the disappearance of some of our disciples!”
“The entire reason I came here today was to resolve this issue,” Lu Wangxian said, his face completely expressionless. “It's a matter that involves both the Demi-Immortal Institute and the House of Spring and Autumn, and therefore, you don’t qualify to offer your opinion. I’m in charge here, understand?”
“Yes, Ninth Young Lord.” Zhang Lie said, shivering. He was familiar with how Lu Wangxian operated, and knew that the more expressionless he was, the more dangerous he became.
“Brother Lu, you’re a guest,” Yang Qi said. “Unfortunately, I don't have much in the way of entertainment here. Why don’t we head into my study, and we can talk about the disappearance of those disciples of yours. I can provide a full explanation.”
“Many thanks, Brother Yang. Truth be told, my father did send me here to handle that very issue. If I don’t take care of things to his satisfaction, I won't be able to show my face in his presence. And my brothers and sisters would definitely take advantage of the situation to my detriment. Brother Yang Qi, you have no idea the type of things that go on in my family.” With that, the two of them went inside, along with the four elders who ranked high enough that they qualified to attend the meeting. Zhang Lie and the others were left outside.
Along the way, Yang Qi contemplated what to do next. ‘Although this Lu Wangxian makes a show of complaining about the situation, the truth is that he really wants to find out what happened to those disciples. He’s a young lord from an important sect, but he still has to deal with a lot of competition and infighting. It sounds worse than being an imperial prince. If he doesn’t handle his tasks well, he’ll come under attack. And if he gets a bad reputation, that would be very difficult to come back from.’
After sitting down, Lu Wangxian said, “Brother Yang Qi, could it be that some useless disciples from the House of Spring and Autumn ended up offending the Yang Clan?”
“That’s exactly right,” Yang Qi said. To the surprise of everyone from the House of Spring and Autumn, he had no intention of hiding the truth. “Some time ago, a few disciples from your house tried to wipe out the Yang Clan….”
With that, he went on to give a detailed account of how he had been pillaging the Chen Clan when he came across the Chiliocosm Mirror, and how some disciples from the House of Spring and Autumn suddenly showed up, demanded the mirror, and then attacked him. He told the entire story, including how he had killed some of the disciples, and crippled the others. “And that’s what happened, Brother Lu. So, what do you think? Did I do the right thing? We had no beef with each other, and yet those disciples demanded that we be their slaves! There’s no way I could allow my clan to just sit around like a fish on the chopping block.”
As Lu Wangxian listened to the story, anger began to burn in his eyes. “So, that’s how things played out? Undisciplined and immoral! I almost can’t believe that disciples from the House of Spring and Autumn would act in such a way. Elders, what do you think? Are disciples from our sect really this arrogant nowadays?”
“Ninth Young Lord, sir,” one of the elders said, his expression grave, “this kind of thing happens with all large sects. It’s really unavoidable. Even righteous and upright organizations like the Demi-Immortal Institute will have some bad apples, people who use their power to bully and rob others. That said, such matters should be handled internally. If word got out that outsiders were disciplining our disciples, we would come across as being weak. Reputation is everything when it comes to big sects like ours. Ninth Young Lord, please consider carefully how you handle this.”
One of the other elders noticed that Yang Qi’s expression was turning grimmer by the moment, so he quickly said, “Of course, the Yang Clan did nothing wrong. You’re really in a tough situation Ninth Young Lord. Yang Qi, please, cut us some slack here. We aren’t going to blame you, but on the other hand, the Ninth Young Lord has to go back and make a report about the situation. I'm sure we can come to an agreement. After all, our Ninth Young Lord wants to be friends with the Yang Clan.”
Yang Qi’s expression softened. “I understand. This matter could affect the reputation of the House of Spring and Autumn as a whole. Although our Yang Clan was by no means in the wrong, in the interests of righteousness, we couldn’t sit back and do nothing. Brother Lu, how about I offer some compensation?”
“Oh?” Lu Wangxian said, taken aback. “Brother Yang, you're being so magnanimous today that I feel moved to tears. In any case, I have an idea of what to do. Why don’t I just go back and say that the missing disciples were set upon by wild beasts and killed, and that it had nothing to do with the Yang Clan?”
About this time, the voices of two young women reached their ears. “Get your hands off me! Let me go! Your puny Yang Clan dared to kill disciples from the House of Spring and Autumn, and then you crippled our energy arts! Your whole clan is going to be exterminated because of this!”
The door opened, and the two young women were shoved in, the very disciples that Yang Qi had crippled. When they realized who was in the room, they were at first stunned, but then began to cry out in loud voices. “Ninth Young Lord! You have to get revenge for us! Exterminate the Yang Clan! It was this guy right here who killed our Elder Brothers! He cut them down!”
Snorting coldly, Lu Wangxian snapped his fingers to interrupt the young woman, who didn’t dare to say another word.
“Brother Yang, the crimes of these stubborn, moronic disciples are really unforgivable.”
With no warning whatsoever, Yang Qi reached out, revealing a drop of scintillating liquid floating above his palm. Along with it came a powerful aura that instantly enlivened everyone present.
The eyes of both Lu Wangxian and the elders went as wide as saucers.
“Is that…? Life force springwater? Is that really the fabled life force springwater?”
“That’s exactly what it is,” Yang Qi replied. “Thanks to some meritorious service I performed for the Demi-Immortal Institute, I was rewarded with this drop of life force springwater. It’s only a drop, but it should be more than enough to propel someone into the Lifeseizing level. Perhaps this compensation will be enough to make up for the trouble the House of Spring and Autumn has endured.”
“This….” It took a moment, but Lu Wangxian managed to calm himself. “You call an amazing gift like that ‘compensation’? I can’t accept it. Your virtue knows no bounds, Brother Yang Qi. You have my deepest respect.”
Lu Wangxian’s fingers blurred, and two screams rang out. Then, the two young women from the House of Spring and Autumn toppled backward onto the ground, dead, gaping holes in their chests.
Yang Qi looked on, eyes flashing, fully aware of Lu Wangxian’s stance in the matter.
“Not even death can wipe out the crimes of those two disciples. Undisciplined and immoral robbers is what they were. Elders, considering that they flagrantly violated clan rules, shouldn’t they have been sentenced to death?” Lu Wangxian looked over at the elders.
“Yes,” one of them said, nodding.
“Brother Yang Qi, I think matters have been resolved satisfactorily for both of us. I’ll return and provide my father with a full report. And I’ll even suggest that the House of Spring and Autumn enter a formal alliance with the Yang Clan.” With that, he rose to his feet. “By the way, the House of Shadowblight has been eyeing your clan recently. If you need our help to deal with them, just say the word.”
“There’s no need for that,” Yang Qi said, his tone turning cold. “The House of Shadowblight is a vile organization that deserves to be wiped off the map! I’ll kill those dogs myself! Unless they send a Legendary, they won’t be able to deal with me!”
As Yang Qi spoke, his aura grew more and more powerful, forcing Lu Wangxian and the four elders to back up a few paces, terror flickering in their eyes as they realized how strong Yang Qi was.
‘My god,’ one of the elders thought, ‘his true energy is so strong! He’s as powerful as an Octonary or Nonary Lifeseizer! Is he just a genius? Or is he actually like the Great Sages of the distant past, a god from heaven descended into the mortal world?’
“Very impressive, Brother Yang Qi,” Lu Wangxian said with a forced laugh. “Now I know that you were actually holding back earlier; I'm not even close to being a match for you.”
“Mercy is a virtue after all,” Yang Qi said, smiling. “Listen, Brother Lu. We became friends at first sight, so for the sake of the future alliance between the Yang Clan and the House of Spring and Autumn, why don’t we become sworn brothers, right here and now?”
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Based on comments from the previous “sworn brother” chapter, it seems that many readers are unfamiliar with the arrangement, and how common it is in Chinese literature and culture. If you want some context, you could always read Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Water Margin, Legend of the Condor Heroes, Smiling Proud Wanderer, or any number of other novels where it plays an important part in the story. Of course, it’s not fictional; throughout history, the ‘sworn brotherhood’ arrangement has been an important part of Chinese culture. For more information, check out this article. To quote from the article: "Both in literature and in ethnographic report, mention is made of the Chinese custom of "sworn brotherhood" .... Some men enter such a relationship to emphasize or prolong especially close friendships or in the interest of economic or political advantage. Sometimes political leaders, criminal societies or village headmen organize themselves into sworn brotherhoods. Some groups are very large, involving hundreds of people. Others include only two close friends. Although most groups are all male -hence the term "brother"- a few include women or are made up entirely of women."
The things that are happening in the story are no accident, and clever readers might even be able to start putting together the clues to figure out what's going on. And to those readers who just speed-read the chapters for the main points, why not put your thinking caps on and start contemplating the finer points of the story....