The discussion between Jiang Chen and Venerated Skysoarer proceeded very smoothly. The latter’s impatience prompted the former to smile.
“Venerated Skysoarer, this faction is one of the best in the Upper Eight Regions. After the past few years of development, they have no doubt progressed considerably as well. Using them as the foundation for the new Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect is a win-win proposal. Ah yes, what of the formation masters you trained from when we repaired the Great Formation? How many are left?”
“I dismissed most of them. The ones who are exceptionally gifted and morally strong were allowed to stay and are very loyal to me now.”
“Very good. Quality over quantity is the correct stance to take. We were in a bit too much haste when we gathered them up in the first place, and your selection afterwards means that the ones who’ve stayed can be seriously trained. However, folding them into the sect will require a balance for you to grasp.”
Venerated Skysoarer nodded after a few moments of serious consideration. “Indeed, a balance must be struck.”
“I know a formation master named Wang Xuetong, with whom I was on pretty good terms. I’d like to ask you to take care of him – he’s someone worth teaching.”
Jiang Chen had made Wang Xuetong’s acquaintance in Pillfire City. The man had joined him afterwards due to a mix of reasons.
He was a deft hand at pill dao as well as a friend of Su Huanzhen. If he was put in a position of importance, he might be able to serve as lubricant between the two divergent groups.
The restoration of the spirit veins had transformed the human domain fundamentally. Every sect had benefited from the event.
The situation in the human domain had correspondingly undergone an unexpected shift. Factions roughly on par with each other before grew at disparate speeds.
Some factions grew exponentially in resources, strength, and ambition.
Others were more conservative. They remained quiet and avoided conflict, which meant they reaped fewer benefits accordingly.
The Celestial Cicada Court was in the latter.
Over the past decade, it had diligently defended its own territory rather than expanding. It hadn’t attempted to conquer or oppress any others.
In fact, Sect Head Su Huanzhen had commanded that its members were not permitted to leave its lands without permission, especially not to gouge or rob innocent outsiders. She would personally expel anyone who disobeyed this command.
A decisive leader in her own right, she carried out her regulation to the letter. Two elders who subjugated a small faction each for their own secretly were immediately dismissed when she found out.
It had caused a significant commotion within the sect at the time. Some supported her while others complained privately, but no one dared question her decisions.
In this, her authority was plain.
Moreover, Su Huanzhen poured all her time into setting up formations as well as searching for and repairing ancient ones. Apparent drudgery on the surface, but she pursued it tirelessly nonetheless.
Though no great gains were made after a decade, everyone had to admit that the Celestial Cicada Court was definitely the most well-defended of the first-rate factions.
One day, she sensed something within her meditations. When she opened her eyes, she heard the song of a magpie outside her residence.
What blessing awaits the Celestial Cicada Court, I wonder?
“Sect Head,” a subordinate reported from the outside, “Court Head Xia and a few elders are asking for an audience. It seems there’s an emergency.”
Hearing this, Su Huanzhen exited to meet them.
“Greetings to the sect leader.” One of the freshest executives in the Celestial Cicada Court, Court Head Xia had associated with Jiang Chen in the past.
The elders present were pillars of the sect, one and all.
“You haven’t come to see me for several months,” Su Huanzhen smiled. “There must be something momentous to draw you here today, yes?”
Court Head Xia sighed softly. “Sect Head, the Great Yu Skysword Sect has delivered a request for alliance for the third time. Sect Head Han Qianzhan pleads you to travel there.”
Su Huanzhen maintained her smile. “Sect Head Qianzhan can’t retain his composure for much longer, huh? The Great Yu Skysword Sect and the Ninesuns Sky Sect have been trading blows for a while.”
“Ninesuns is at fault.” Court Head Xia was clearly biased toward the Skysword Sect. “If not for their wanton expansionism, Sect Head Han wouldn’t be half so angry.”
Su Huanzhen kept smiling rather than comment.
“Sect Head,” an elder piped up, “we’ve always been close with the Great Yu Skysword Sect. We were allies when we both supported Veluriyam Capital, for example. Sect Head Han is merely suggesting that we resume our alliance from back then. Why are you ignoring him?”
No one could understand this.
Every first-rate faction in the human domain was madly enlarging itself. The Ninesuns Sky Sect and Moon God Sect were especially egregious examples.
Ninesuns had consumed most of the Heavenly Dragon Sect’s territory as well as the Eternal Celestial Capital’s. In fact, they were almost upon the Skysword Sect’s border, hence Han Qianzhan’s displeasure.
The Ninesuns Sky Sect was conducting its business in such an unseemly way that the Great Yu Skysword Sect could barely hold back anymore.
The two sects had been on merely lukewarm terms before. Aggressive behavior on one’s part would lead to the other’s revulsion and vigilance. Minor conflicts built up to a major grudge, with endless skirmishes between the two.
Because the Ninesuns Sky Sect seemed to be overtaking the Skysword Sect in its momentum, the latter had become quite anxious. They couldn’t ask for help from Veluriyam Palace now, could they?
The lack of an announcement from there could very well mean tacit permission. Thus, Han Qianzhan felt it was better to resolve the matter himself.
This was why he had thought of an alliance with the Celestial Cicada Court.
The two sects united would have no problem standing against the Ninesuns Sky Sect.
Unfortunately, Su Huanzhen remained entirely impassive to the suggestion, choosing staunch nonparticipation instead.
The Skysword Sect wasn’t the only one unhappy. Some internal to the Celestial Cicada Court felt similar disgruntlement.
Many in the sect thought that if they didn’t take this opportunity to expand themselves, they wouldn’t have another chance to in the future.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Wait, I thought the Skysword Sect was friends with the Celestial Cicada Court?