The Martial Sacred Land had always been Eternal’s stalwart ally. Since Jiang Chen had saved it singlehandedly so recently, it had a natural duty to reciprocate that today. Where Eternal itself was indisposed to take the lead, Martial filled in as necessary.
Others were very happy to chime in.
“Yes. With how bad things are, the ten sacred lands need to band together. Otherwise, the future of the offworld battlefield will be bleak indeed.”
“We need to discard our differences and oppose the alien menace. If we expend any more resources on internal squabbling, Myriad Abyss will be spent sooner or later. If that happens, we will all be equally vulnerable. You know the consequences as much as I.”
“No eggs can stay intact under an overturned nest. I support the alliance.”
“I too support the alliance! We must gather up all of our strength in order to turn the tables on the battlefield.”
Multiple sacred lands offered their agreement.
It was hugely beneficial to ally with one another. Ten sticks were easily broken individually, but virtually indestructible once secured to one another.
The ten sacred lands were weak because of their dispersion. Occasionally, two or three of them would band together, but the future alliance would have all ten concentrate their forces.
Even the Flora Sacred Land had wanted an alliance before, mainly because they wanted to lead it.
Right now though, that faction was strangely silent. It was rather worried that the formerly secure position would fall by the wayside.
The plethora of methods it had prepared to hamper Eternal had unfortunately not paid off. Lu Mingye and Shi Qinglu had both failed to produce the effects Flora had hoped for.
Jiang Chen’s decision to challenge the tenth island had been a golden opportunity that had also failed to pay any dividends in the end.
There was no longer any hope of accomplishing their original objective. It didn’t seem very likely that it would become the leader of the alliance. Under these circumstances, its members began to hesitate whether to form an alliance at all.
It would be a net negative to forgo forming an alliance, but it would have a bad time if Eternal was to become the leader as well.
Its attitude didn’t much matter in the grand scheme of things though. Most sacred lands supported the alliance, including Flora’s closest allies, Polylore and Void.
The three sacred lands had been inseparable before, and the seat of leadership had seemed almost guaranteed if only two or three more sacred lands could be swayed to their side.
Now… well, they were still close, but cracks had appeared in their relationship.
The parties Flora had scoped out to influence were actively avoiding it, clearly suspicious of its ethics and intentions.
In the competition, Lu Mingye’s performance had been a far cry from Jiang Chen’s in every way. They were on totally different levels.
In terms of assets, Flora didn’t have much of an edge over Eternal. Because of Jiang Chen’s allegiance, the latter had a large collection of excellent pill recipes to choose from, which was an undeniable advantage.
In contrast, Flora couldn’t promise many substantial benefits—certainly nothing so hefty as the Crowning Empyrean Pill. Thus, it turned out to be in a rather poor position.
“Daoist Gao, wasn’t Flora in complete agreement with the alliance earlier? Why are you quiet now?” someone inquired with a smile.
Flora wanted to feign ignorance, but continuing that strategy would only be detrimental at this juncture.
“Haha, I’m glad we’re trying to form an alliance. Myriad Abyss needs an institution such as this. However, there’s a lot of work involved in figuring out the details. I think we must discuss at length exactly how to do that.
“Why not take some time to reflect and confer? When that’s done, the alliance will naturally come together. If we hastily rush into things right now, we’ll still think of ourselves as separate. What’s the point of all form and no function?”
Prime Gao was both imaginative and eloquent. It wasn’t easy for him to make up such a long list of frivolous reasons on the spot.
“I do not agree, Daoist Gao. The ten sacred lands are separated by vast distances. It is very difficult to gather all of us together under one roof. Plus, we’re in rather dire straits right now. Do you think we would even be here otherwise?
“The alliance needs to be decided as soon as possible. Who cares about the details? We can work them out very quickly right now. I believe that all of us are factions with our unique convictions and heritages. We all understand what it means to act for the greater good. At the end of the day, things aren’t as complicated as you make them sound.”
“I concur. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Delaying will only lead to our individual defeats. An alliance would be too late then.”
“Daoist Gao, I don’t understand you. Just a moment ago, you were more anxious than anybody to form an alliance. What’s with your inconstancy?”
The Flora prime’s conflicting performance was very aggravating.
Prime Gao coughed. “You misunderstand me. Flora has supported the alliance from the very beginning, but we must find an appropriate leader. I think that is a rather difficult task.”
It came down to the mantle of leadership in the end, a fact that everyone implicitly understood.
“If we were to elect Flora as the leader, I’m sure you would readily agree, yes?” someone joked.
Prime Gao chuckled, then followed up without missing a beat. “If all of the friends here have faith in Flora, we will do the best job we can.”
“Hah, I knew you would say that. However, consideration has revealed that Flora isn’t the best leader at this time.”
“The Flora Sacred Land isn’t bad, but some of the finer points we’ve noticed during this competition are disappointing.”
Since all the sacred lands were equal, the other executives weren’t worried about being blunt. There was little need to hide their opinions.
Prime Gao looked mildly disturbed. The crowd’s directness was frustrating.
Thankfully, Flora had its own allies. Prime Zhao of the Polylore Sacred Land stepped in. “The Flora Sacred Land has always commanded respect among the ten for its prestige and wealth. Its coffers and libraries are fuller than any other’s. We must pick the most outstanding among us, shouldn’t we? Why shouldn’t Flora lead?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Finalizing my next novel over the next couple of days... kinda darned excited! Here's to counting down to the end of SOTR, Worlds semifinals, and going on vacation next week!