Houselord Spring-Autumn simply could not stand being pushed around this much, and so offered a biting retort.
After all, in the end, it was still true that the Crown Prince was a holy neophyte, whereas Houselord Spring-Autumn ran a major organization. For him to be rebuked by the Crown Prince was simply too excessive.
Even worse, the Crown Prince was acting beyond arrogant. He had obviously manipulated the martial arts competition to ensure that Yun Hailan took first place. Thankfully, a dark horse came out of nowhere, that being Yang Qi.
Unfortunately, the Crown Prince was now trying to cripple that dark horse. And to top it all off, he was actually threatening to kill Houselord Spring-Autumn’s son. As the leader of a major organization, if he let himself get pushed around like that, it would cause the reputation of the House of Spring and Autumn to plummet.
Besides, the Crown Prince had used his deadly Rage Eye, a fabled energy art that could converge the rage of heaven and earth, and then transform it into a burning attack that even a hundred Lifeseizers couldn’t defend against.
“That’s right, Crown Prince,” said Pontifex Flame. “Yang Qi didn’t break any rules, and he even took first place. Why exactly have you inserted yourself into the situation? Could it be you’re trying to cover up the truth? Are you the real power behind the four institutes?”
The Crown Prince looked back at Pontifex Flame and Houselord Spring-Autumn and said, “What. What do you think you’re going to do? What makes you think I need to explain myself to a couple of heretical sects like you? You really think you can protect your children from me? How about I just expunge your two organizations from the Rich-Lush Continent outright?!”
The Crown Prince was being matchlessly rude and unreasonable. These were the leaders of two major organizations, so either he was crazy, or absolutely certain that he was invincible to them.
“What? Heretical sects?” Both Houselord Spring-Autumn and Pontifex Flame were clearly enraged by the Crown Prince’s words. One of the most taboo things to do in their presence was to call their respective organizations heretical.
After all, in the Rich-Lush Continent, only the most orthodox and civilized groups could hope to be called an institute. The institutes were orthodox. Any other group, whether it was called a sect, church, cult, or anything else… was considered unorthodox. And heretical could be considered a synonym of unorthodox. Such organizations were considered unqualified to acquire the approval of heaven and earth.
The House of Spring and Autumn had long yearned to be called an institute, but no matter how powerful an organization was, that was impossible unless they produced a Great Sage.
Only if a cultivator could break out of the Legendary level and become a Great Sage, prove that he or she did not cultivate devil techniques or engage in mass slaughter, could they then go on to found an organization that could be called an institute.
Although the House of Spring and Autumn had many Legendaries, they had never produced a Great Sage, despite the fact that they had existed for thousands of years. It was a major sore point for them.
Now, the Crown Prince was virtually slapping them in the face by openly calling them a heretical sect. And if they simply took that insult without fighting back, how could they possibly qualify to be sect leaders?
“You’re saying the House of Spring and Autumn is a heretical sect?” Houselord Spring-Autumn said angrily. “Well, then I'd like to see how you, a representative of an orthodox sect, will perform against someone like me.”
The Crown Prince laughed loudly, but his eyes flashed with such mercilessness that he seemed capable of reducing every living being in the area to ashes. “Very well, come on. Both of you. You two aren’t a match for me on your own, and even together you’re little more than dogs. I’ll kill you and then enslave your heretical House of Spring and Autumn and Tabernacle of Flame.”
When the people from the numerous other organizations heard those words, many faces lit up with shock. Some people rose to their feet as if to take action, while others just looked on, eyes burning with hatred, and yet too scared to do anything.
All of a sudden, some random member of the Crown Prince Society rose to his feet and shouted, “The Crown Prince is without rival!”
As his voice rang out, it stirred other members of the Crown Prince Society to similarly stand and cry out.
At this point, Holy Daughter Manyflowers rose to her feet. “Fellow grand elders, if we let this go on, our Demi-Immortal Institute is going to end up a laughingstock. We’re the hosts here, after all, and Houselord Spring-Autumn and Pontifex Flame are both guests. It’s downright outrageous to humiliate them like this.”
“Holy Daughter Manyflowers,” Patriarch Wind said, “these heretical sects are intentionally stirring up trouble. Just let the Crown Prince put them in their place. These sects, cults, churches and whatnot all need to be taught a lesson. After all, we don't want a fifth institute springing up.”
“Everyone here knows who is really stirring up trouble,” she shot back. “There’s no need for prevarication from you.”
“What’s so wrong with the Crown Prince punishing a rule-breaker?” Patriarch Cloud said. “And what are you getting so worked up for? If you’re so set on getting in the Crown Prince’s way, why don’t you go down there yourself? Maybe he’ll actually end up teaching you a lesson.” Both Patriarchs Wind and Cloud were being so sarcastic that it couldn’t have been more obvious that they were staunch members of the Crown Prince Society.
Master Jade-Yang, one of the Three Pure Yang Elders, said, “Patriarchs Wind and Cloud are right. The chancellor himself has been grooming the Crown Prince as his successor. Let him show off his power a bit. It will only serve to reinforce the authority of the Demi-Immortal Institute.”
One of the Legendary Seven Preheaven Masters added, “That’s right. These other organizations are so arrogant they consider everyone else beneath them. How dare they interfere with internal matters of our institute. Let the Crown Prince cut them down a notch or two. In fact, maybe they should just be wiped out of existence. They’re nothing more than heretical sects anyway.”
Obviously, those two were on the Crown Prince’s side too.
At this point, Prince Wei suddenly spoke, his voice as cold as ice. “Ladies and gentlemen, even your four institutes have to accept the authority of the Sage Ancestor Dynasty in the Rich-Lush Continent. As such, we will govern over this matter. A genius champion was already declared, only to have the Crown Prince suddenly show up and try to cripple him. Then, numerous elders of the Demi-Immortal Institute mocked and ridiculed the champion. What a disappointment to see behavior like this. I'm sure the many experts and elders present from all over the lands are gasping in shock at how the Demi-Immortal Institute teaches its students.”
Before anyone could react, he flew down to the arena floor, just in time to prevent Houselord Spring-Autumn and Pontifex Flame from attacking the Crown Prince.
“Crown Prince, a champion has already been declared. Are you really willing to violate the rules laid out by the four institutes, in the direct presence of all these witnesses? You’re going to just kill the champion and declare a new winner?” Considering that the Sage Ancestor Dynasty hated the Crown Prince to the bones, it was little surprise that Prince Wei was doing this. If he had the chance, he would love to actually fight him.
“Prince Wei?” The Crown Prince looked at him. “This is a matter pertaining to the four institutes, and not a single member from any of them has seen fit to interfere. And yet you, an outsider, dare to do just that? What's the meaning of this?”
“The Sage Ancestor Dynasty has the authority to oversee the four institutes. After all, each institute was appointed directly by the dynasty. Besides, naming yourself Crown Prince is truly disgraceful.”
“Disgraceful?” The Crown Prince laughed loudly. “The Sage Ancestor Dynasty is going to be exterminated eventually anyway. No dynasty lasts forever. Just wait until I'm a Great Sage. Then I’ll challenge the emperor himself, and wipe out your sham of a dynasty.”
The arrogant, overbearing nature of his words was wild to the extreme.
“What gall!” Prince Wei blurted angrily.
“Cut the crap!” the Crown Prince replied. Looking around, he said, “Alright, I want to know exactly how many people are opposed to me. Step forward. All of you!” His voice was like a storm wind battering at the Central Battle Arena. “Who dares to defy me!? Reveal yourself. We’re going to settle this right here, right now.”
In the observation deck, the Legendary grand elders from the True Dragon, Sun Moon, and Sea God Institutes frowned. None of them were happy at all that the Crown Prince had essentially infiltrated their institutes to recruit students for the Crown Prince Society. Although they had tolerated that behavior, now they found that he had rigged the martial arts competition, and then went so far as to demand that everyone who opposed him step forward to be ‘settled’.
One of the Legendary grand elders from the Sun Moon Institute shot to his feet. “This is outrageous! This Crown Prince from the Demi-Immortal Institute isn't showing any consideration to any of the other three institutes. I'm Hua Fengfeng’s uncle, and if you try to hurt her, then the Sun Moon Institute will declare war on the Demi-Immortal Institute!”
“Oh? Declare war?” Patriarch Cloud said mockingly. “Are you serious, Hua Chicheng?  You think the Sun Moon Institute is the top dog or something? What a joke. Besides, even if you did declare war, the Crown Prince is going to be a Great Sage soon. Do you think his behavior today is just a random accident? He’s just establishing his authority. After all, he knows that he’s just on the verge of breaking out of the ninth Legendary transformation.”
The other Legendary grand elders all reacted with open shock.
“He’s going to break out of the Never-Dying Transformation and become a Great Sage? Incredible! Once he does that, he’ll basically be the most powerful person in the Rich-Lush Continent!”
“I wonder what the chancellors of the four institutes think about him being so strong. Although none of the chancellors attended the competition, they were surely watching the fighting. How come none of them have interfered so far?”
“There must be a reason why the Crown Prince is acting so arrogantly. He must be absolutely certain that he’s going to reach the Great Sage level. Incredible. Truly incredible. I have to say, I've started to look at the Crown Prince in a different light already. Great Sages are supposed to be rude and unreasonable, right? After all, they are the type of people who can found institutes.”