During the seven days that had passed, the troops and wealth of the subsidiary branches had already been consolidated by the chief elders. After all the details were handled, Yang Zhan called a formal meeting with them, along with Yang Qi and his brothers.
One goal was to see how sincere the chief elders were in their support of Yang Zhan as clan lord.
It was a frosty autumn morning, and the ground was already white with ice, with scattered leaves blowing here and there that the clan servants were working hard to clear.
All of the servants in the mansion seemed to be ruddy-faced and in high spirits.
Because of the energy convergence pills they received as salary, all of them had strong cultivation foundations. Already, the clan was rebuilding its strength and power.
As soon as the more than twenty chief elders caught sight of Yang Zhan, they were deeply shaken. Each and every one of them could sense how much more powerful he was than before.
That was especially true of Yang Xingshi and Dowager Yan.
Being Masters of Energy, both of them were certain of what had occurred.
Yang Zhan’s face fairly shone, and his eyes sparkled like the starry sky. It seemed like the wave of his hand would be sufficient to allow him to fly into the air and leave the world they resided in.
He was as sturdy and intimidating as Mount Tai, but at the same time, seemed as light as air, and capable of moving at such speed that he could vanish and reappear anywhere in the blink of an eye.
Shooting to his feet, Yang Xingshi said, “Yang Zhan? Did you fully absorb that airmastery plant that was in you?”
“Yes. I finally did, with Qi’er’s help.” Yang Zhan couldn’t hold back from laughing heartily. He almost seemed like a king now, and it immediately caused them all to bow their heads in deference. Even Dowager Yan felt like she was suffocating just by looking at him.
As of this moment, she realized that she was a match for neither Yang Qi nor Yang Zhan.
“My cultivation base and energy arts are now four or five times beyond what they were in the past,” Yang Zhan continued, “and the true energy of the airmastery plant now flows through me.” Smiling, he suddenly moved with such incredible speed that no one saw anything more than a blur. A moment later, he was back in his seat. However, everyone could now see that his palm print had been embedded into a huge tree several thousand paces away.
In a mere breath of time, he had moved a huge distance, and returned. What level of speed was that? And it was not an energy art, it was just the speed he was currently capable of.
In terms of his fleshly body, he was now past the Master of Energy level, all thanks to the airmastery plant. It was the same with his lifespan.
Most Masters of Energy would die of natural causes after two hundred years or so, but he could definitely live for much longer.
“Four or five times…?” Yang Xingshi murmured, swallowing hard and not daring to say anything further. He now fully realized that he couldn’t defeat Yang Zhan even if he teamed up with Dowager Yan.
Of course, thanks to the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, Yang Qi was actually ten times beyond Yang Zhan in those regards.
Many of the chief elders simply bowed their heads even more deeply. The son was invincible, and the father had advanced by leaps and bounds. The senior members of the Yang Clan were now pushed into a corner, and could do absolutely nothing about it.
Given some time, Yang Zhan’s control over the clan would definitely be like that of an emperor.
At this point, Yang Qi rose to his feet. “Father. Eldest Brother. Second Brother. Now that clan affairs are in order, the time has come for me to go to the Demi-Immortal Institute. Please, be careful of the city magistrate.”
“I’ll find some time to go put him in his place,” Yang Zhan said. “After doing so, I’ll make sure all the clans in Yanhaven know how powerful we are, and that they have no choice but to submit to our oversight.”
Yang Qi nodded. “Well then, I’ll take my leave.”
“Why don't you take something with you to help you in your studies? How about the Chiliocosm Mirror?”
“There’s no need,” Yang Qi replied with the shake of his head. “The technique I cultivate won't benefit from it.” He had actually attempted to cultivate the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth with the Chiliocosm Mirror, but for some reason, the mirror didn’t work with it. Apparently, the technique was simply too powerful for the magical elements of the mirror to handle.
“Have a safe journey. Keep track of the map and don’t get lost. You’ll have to cross nearly a third of the continent to get to the Demi-Immortal Institute, a journey of tens upon tens of thousands of kilometers, through hundreds of cities. Make sure to bring plenty of energy convergence pills. And when you get to the institute, don't show off. Keep your true powers hidden.”
At that point, Yang Qi flew into motion, flitting away like a bird into the clouds.
That was something that Masters of Energy normally couldn’t do. For example, although Yang Zhan could now float in the air, that didn’t mean he could fly into the clouds like a bird.
‘With an outstanding person like that in our clan, I wonder what will happen when he reaches the Demi-Immortal Institute. Will he bring even more glory to us?’ That was what all of the chief elders were thinking. After all, no matter how shocking of a person Yang Qi was in Yanhaven, the experts in the mighty institute were as numerous as the clouds in the sky.
Therefore, it was hard to predict how Yang Qi would rank, or how he would progress.
Hopefully, he would reach the Lifeseizing level; if he did, all of the chief elders would benefit from that glory.
Yang Zhan now had two family members in the Demi-Immortal Institute, and a powerful cultivation base of his own. His power as the clan lord would only continue to grow more stable.
“Clan Lord! Bad news just came in!”
Suddenly, one of the clan's top experts rushed in and knelt in front of Yang Zhan. This was one of the individuals who had been sent to collect wealth from one of the subsidiary branches.
“What happened?” Yang Zhan said, his expression flickering. “What’s got you so flustered?”
“The State of Yun has started expanding. War broke out between them and Zhaoluforth, and therefore, we weren’t able to get in to access our wealth and troops. According to the news we came across, the experts from the State of Yun have already put the city magistrate of Zhaoluforth to death, and captured the city. Worse, our subsidiary branch there has already become part of the State of Yun!”
“What? Yundale-by-the-Sea wasn’t like this before, was it? They wiped out Zhaoluforth? The city magistrate there was a Master of Energy! The number of top experts under his command was like the clouds in the sky. And they had plenty of connections to big sects, like the House of Jade Dew. I can’t believe that they were defeated, just like that!”
Yang Zhan wasn’t the only one to react with shock. The more than twenty chief elders were also completely taken aback.
Yang Xingshi was so surprised that he rose to his feet. “Yundale-by-the-Sea is its own nation now,” he said, “the State of Yun. And former City Magistrate Yun Zhonglong is now calling himself a king. The Great King of Yun.” 
“Yes,” Yang Zhan replied, “but who could have guessed that they would become so aggressive so quickly? How did they get so many soldiers and expert fighters? Did Yun Zhonglong actually join the battle himself, and kill Zhaoluforth’s city magistrate on his own?”
“No, Clan Lord. The State of Yun has a mysterious expert working for them, a masked figure who uses the energy arts of the Sea King. Supposedly, he's not even human, but rather, one of the people of the sea! In the battle for Zhaoluforth, there were quite a few experts present who wore very strange armor, people who are rumored to be Seafolk.”
Yang Zhan’s expression flickered dramatically in response to the news. “Yundale-by-the-Sea is in league with the Seafolk? Not good.”
The beings who populated the sea were usually called Seafolk. They built cities on the seafloor, and in most ways were like other humans. However, they breathed with gills instead of lungs, which made it as difficult for them to go on land as it was for ordinary humans to enter the depths of the water. When it came to affairs on the land, they normally minded their own business. But now, they had joined a war with dwellers of the land, which was very suspicious.
Of course, one of the four big institutes in the Rich-Lush Continent was the Sea God Institute, which was just as famous as the Demi-Immortal and True Dragon Institutes.
Yundale-by-the-Sea was actually a coastal city, and was the home of Princess Yun Hailan, who was the daughter of Yun Zhonglong.
Yun Zhonglong was something of a legend. He had reached the Master of Energy level long ago, and had married a Seafolk princess. His wife had eventually given birth to Yun Hailan as well as several doughty sons.
And now, they had gone to war to expand their territory, and were joined by warriors from the Seafolk. If that war reached Yanhaven, then the Yang Clan could be facing a big disaster.
“Clan Lord,” one of the chief elders said, “Zhaoluforth has already fallen, and the flames of war are heading in our direction. We need to be prepared for when it comes.” This chief elder had bossed Yang Zhan around in the past, but as of now, he was treating him with the newfound respect.
Suddenly, everything clicked for Yang Zhan. ‘Well done, Yundale-by-the-Sea. Yun Zhonglong's daughter seduced Qi’er and tricked him into stealing that Latent Dragon Pill. As it turns out, they were planning to make a move on Yanhaven all along. Supposedly, that Latent Dragon Pill was concocted using the blood of a dragon. When an ordinary person uses it, it increases their life force and strength, and completely transforms their body. It also imparts some of the blood of a dragon into whoever consumes it. However, it would be different for someone who has the blood of a sea god in them. A person like that would have a rapid advancement in energy arts. Yun Hailan has the blood of a sea god in her, and if it's incited, the results will be astonishing.’
“Muster our soldiers immediately!” Yang Xingshi shouted. “And—” Suddenly, he stopped talking. Apparently remembering his standing in the clan, he looked at Yang Zhan and said, “Clan Lord, what do we do now?”
Yang Zhan looked back at him with a glint of praise in his eyes. Strangely, Yang Xingshi didn’t seem offended at all by that.
“Muster the experts. And have all of the subsidiary branches retreat to Yanhaven. Thankfully, we exterminated the Chen Clan, which gives us an extra mansion in town. It should be large enough to hold the influx of people coming.”
In response to Yang Zhan’s orders, everyone in the clan headquarters burst into action.
1. Yun Zhonglong: Yun means cloud. In this context, my interpretation is that Zhong means “in the midst of” and Long means “dragon.” So technically, his name could be translated as “dragon in the clouds”