The black smoke was pierced by the sword glare and slowly dissipated.
“Thank you, Qin-zhenjun.” Wei Tianli cupped his hands in a greeting. “I wonder how Zhenjun discovered this person.”
Qin Yanzhi, “He leaked a trace of energy from his original body when he spoke and it was very similar to the trace we encountered on the journey.”
Wei Tianli, “Presumably because his cultivation base is not strong enough, but since he can control an Amethyst Abode cultivator, this person should at least be at this stage too.”
Qin Yanzhi nodded slightly but his gaze strayed to Jing Yue.
This young new patriarch was as calm as always when faced with the crisis, at least any other emotion was not apparent on the surface, which made him seem a little naïve.
The other party seemed to perceive his gaze, the corners of his lips turned upwards slightly when their visions collided, but quickly shifted again.
Jing Yue was heard asking, “Do you know when the Amethyst Abode cultivator is controlled by the people from Cadaver Gate?”
“I… We don’t know. The elder… he has been acting quite normally…”
The respondent stammered, tongue in knots as if he was about to faint at any time.
Everyone briefly considered this matter. The Spirit Possession technique of Cadaver Gate was very deceptive. How many major forces had suffered from it back then? This Amethyst Abode cultivator came from a small sect and the other members of the sect had not seen much of the world, so they were unlikely to find out much information from them.
Wei Tianli sighed and said, “This happened because of Frostcloud Sect and you’ve been implicated. We’ll definitely compensate for your losses.”
An Amethyst Abode cultivator was a rare pillar of strength for any small clan. Some people sympathized with their plights, but there were also some that thought sacrificing an Amethyst Abode cultivator in exchange for the protection from Frostcloud Sect might also be a good turn of events.
The guests commented, “From what the demonic cultivator had mentioned, Blood Corpse-laomo seems to have regained his cultivation base. There’s another Return to Void cultivator within the ranks now, so I wonder if there will be any impact on the current situation?”
“Yes. There are even signs of demonic cultivators within the Evernorth region where Frostcloud Sect is seated, so I wonder if anything has happened to our area?”
For a while, many people were unsettled.
Upon noticing this, Jing Yue stood up and said, “The power still remains on the righteous path. Another Return to Void cultivator will not affect the general trend unless there is a change to the Heavenly Dao. Everyone need not worry too much.”
Yi Ye immediately agreed, “Shi…Di is right.”
Liu Yun and Liu Feng, “So true, so true.”
Jing Yue, “…”
Wei Tianli coughed drily. “Laozu is right. Blood Corpse-laomo has just regained his Return to Void status, whereas we have several dozen on our side with three Tribulation Passage cultivators as our main support too. Otherwise, how could the demonic sects be willing to be confined within the West Shu region for ten thousand years? Blood Corpse-laomo didn’t come here in person today, which means he’s still uncertain, so why should we be alarmed? As long as you step up your defenses, you’ll not suffer too much.”
Everyone was flustered by the sudden turn of events, but after hearing Wei Tianli’s explanation and advice, they had mostly calmed down. No matter what they had planned in private, they had stopped discussing it at this moment.
Very soon, another school came forward to present their gifts, and all sorts of heavenly and earthly items appeared, gradually diverting everyone’s attention.
The ceremony finally ended at noon.
All the sects and factions left one after another and Frostcloud Sect returned to tranquility.
Jing Yue delegated Wei Tianli to make arrangements for all the gifts he had received during the ceremony, only keeping for himself a sword capsule presented by Sword Inscription Sect.
As everyone in the cultivation world knew, there was a Sword Capsule Pond in Sword Inscription Sect that produced sword capsules with an innate spirituality. Any sword that was forged with a sword capsule infused in it had immense growth potential. As long as suitable refining materials were found, there would be a great possibility to upgrade the sword into a precious artifact or even a celestial artifact.
Countless cultivators would not hesitate to spend their life savings just to procure a sword capsule and forge their natal swords with it.
The sword capsule in his hand was said to be a rare treasure conceived by the pond for ten thousand years and most suitable for a spiritual root of the water element.
This valuable gift was a true sign of Sword Inscription Sect’s sincerity.
Jing Yue kept the sword capsule in the box and said, “I met Qin Yanzhi today. He is indeed a very talented swordsman. If Yi Wang is still alive today, he might even be good friends with him.”
Blue phoenix nodded placidly. “Jing-jing’s words are reasonable. Qin Yanzhi is indeed a superb cannon fodder.”
“According to the plotline, even though he is cold and heartless, many female cultivators still throw themselves at him, one after another. But in his eyes, they are no different from a speck of dust or a blade of grass, and he has hurt the hearts of thousands of beauties.”
“At this time, the protagonist will step forward and dazzle all the ladies with his radiance, knock Qin Yanzhi into the dust in full view, let him wallow in shame, and thousands of female cultivators will witness his most embarrassing moment!”
Blue phoenix put its wings at the back and sighed deeply. “At the end of the story, the female cultivators will realize that they have been blinded and they have met true love after that ordeal, oh no, they have met the protagonist.”
Jing Yue, “Maybe you should go down the mountain and continue reading porn.”
Blue phoenix, “…”
A few days later, when the red leaves from the West summit had covered the ground, the news suddenly came from the sect—the inner gates would welcome a new elder.
This news made many people nervous. All of them suspected that someone would pursue the matter after all.
Yu Xiaobao breathed a sigh of relief instead. Since the ceremony, the fear in his heart had increased day by day, and he stayed behind closed doors all day long. Liang Yuan and Shi Nian had no idea what had happened to him. They saw no effect even after several methods of approach so they had no choice but to give up.
Now, what would come was finally here.
The next day morning, everyone from the inner gates, including wardens, enforcers, and disciples, were required to greet the new elder.
When they arrived at the Communication Hall, they saw Elder Ying, who was in charge of the inner gates, waiting at the entrance. Beside him stood a young man of eleven or twelve.
Many people were startled. This was the new patriarch, right?
During the ceremony that day, they stood too far away and could not see clearly, but looking at how Elder Ying treated the young man with the utmost respect, the answer was quite evident.
When everyone had taken their places, Elder Ying said, “I’m about to break through to the mid-level of Amethyst Abode stage and need to practice in close meditation.” He clasped his hands towards the young man beside him. “This is the fourth patriarch of Frostcloud Sect. From this day forth, all affairs of the inner gates will be managed by the patriarch.”
Elder Ying was a little embarrassed. Since he took over, he had not been very concerned about the affairs, which caused the inner gates to end up in turmoil now, and the patriarch had to deal with the aftermath. Although the hidden dangers within the factions had existed for a long time, as the main person-in-charge of the inner gates, he could not shirk the responsibility.
He paused and added, “It is your blessing to be taught by the Laozu himself. I hope you will cherish it.”
Everyone bowed in unison. The young patriarch stood up and calmly spoke, “Although I’m a new hand at managing the inner gates, I’m not a newcomer here. Several months ago, I assumed the identity of Jing Shan and mingled within your ranks. I’ve finally gotten a sense of the situation in the inner gates.”
He admitted it! He admitted that he was Jing Shan!
Someone in the crowd fainted, and everyone saw that it was Long Ritian.
Several disciples beside Long Ritian wanted to laugh but dared not. Abruptly, Jing Yue’s expression became serious. Although he was still quite young, his demeanor was quite intense.
“Starting today, anyone who participates in factional struggles and oppresses fellow disciples, regardless of whom they are or what their background, will be expelled from the sect and their cultivation will be eradicated.”
“As for those who participate in harming another disciple, the accomplices will suffer from the destruction of the spiritual root, whereas the main culprit… Killed! Without! Mercy!”
The hall was reduced into a pin-drop silence and many people could not help swallowing a mouthful of spit.
Jing Yue said slowly, “I have found out the truth behind Mu Feng’s incident.”
As soon as his voice fell, there were several loud thuds as many people fell on the ground.
This time, however, no one had the urge to laugh…
“The plans you’ve made, how to cover up the truth if the plan failed, what benefits you’ve exchanged in private, and how are you going to frame me, I know everything.”
Every word from Jing Yue’s mouth was like a knife, piercing through the strong front of false disguise that some people had put up.
“Please, Laozu, have mercy on us!”
“Laozu, we realize our mistakes!”
Instantly, more than a dozen people knelt on the ground, repeatedly kowtowing and begging for mercy.
Jing Yue turned a blind eye and continued, “At that time, however, the inner gates was chaotic and the forces were intertwined. Many disciples were unable to fight the general environment and had no choice but to flow with it. Besides, Mu Feng has been cured and no irreparable losses suffered. Therefore, apart from those who are truly evil, I’ll lighten the punishment and give you another chance.”
The blood that drained from Yu Xiaobao’s face returned. He sighed deeply, relieved that his brother still had a chance to survive, and could not help but choke. Shi Nian, who stood next to him, glanced over several times with scrutiny in his eyes.
Jing Yue huffed softly. “If anyone dares to commit another offense, I won’t show mercy again! Do you understand?!”
“Very well. That’s the first point.” Jing Yue smiled faintly, very satisfied with everyone’s acquiescence. “Then let’s talk about the second point.”
“I’m sure everyone is aware that there are two missing wardens in the Law Enforcement Hall and the positions have not yet been filled, right?”
“After today, there will be fewer wardens. As core disciples, these people are supposed to assist in managing the inner gates. However, they didn’t differentiate right from wrong, didn’t understand the importance of prioritization, but succumbed to evil instead. To allow such people to hold critical positions is a disgrace to Frostcloud Sect indeed!”
“In order not to repeat the same mistakes, I will reorganize the roles of various wardens and enforcers, and place everyone under a half-year probationary observation. After half a year, I will judge whether you are allowed to stay in office based on your performance. Even if you stay in office, there will be an assessment every three years.”
As soon as he finished speaking, many people exchanged furtive glances.
This new structure was extremely detrimental to the three existing factions. After all, the original positions were all held by the three major factions to seek more benefits, but now, everything would be under Jing Yue’s full control.
Since Jing Yue had mentioned that he would not pursue the previous affairs too much, one person got a little bolder and cautiously protested, “Laozu, with all due respect, this arrangement is a bit too arbitrary.”
“Oh, you’re right.” Jing Yue nodded. “If everyone followed the rules and toed the line, I will pass it to the disciples for judgment in the next three years. As for now... I'm going to be so arbitrary.”
“No more buts,” Jing Yue interrupted the other party directly. “This is not a discussion. I’m telling you about my decision. Those who disagree, get out of the inner gates!”
Author’s Notes: Mini-theater
Yi Ye: Shi—di is right (So dangerous, almost called out the wrong honorific)
Liu Yun & Liu Feng: Very reasonable (Whatever Zushi says goes. Even if it’s not, it is.)
Jing Jing: Feeling inexplicably ashamed, as if I found a bunch of water navy^.
(TN: Shui Jun 水军 water navy= internet ghostwriters / paid commentators)