HSSB110: The future is uncertain
“To be rewarded ah…” Yan Zhaoge smiled, “Being highly looked upon by the clan, I enjoy more benefits than our ordinary disciples.”
“When the clan needs me, it stands to reason that I diligently contribute as best I can.”
The Shi Tie seated just a seat directly below Yuan Zhengfeng said, “It is good that you feel this way. Still, our clan metes out punishment and reward as is deserved; we will definitely not mistreat any of our disciples who have contributed.”
Yan Zhaoge bowed, “I thank Grand Master, eldest apprentice-uncle.”
Yuan Zhengfeng said, “The specifics of the rewards can be mentioned later on. First, let’s discuss the more pressing issues at hand.”
His gaze settled on Yan Zhaoge for a few moments before he addressed him, “This old man heard from Yan Di that you are aiming for Infinite Boundless Mountain’s Cloud Portent Mountain?”
Cloud Portent Mountain was located in the eastern part of the Mountain Domain and was quite a huge distance away from Infinite Boundless Mountain itself. However, they had always viewed it with great importance.
The reason for this was that the mountain produced a valuable resource known as Giant Spirit Magnetite.
In the entire Eight Extremities World, only two locations produced this resource – Infinite Boundless Mountain and this Cloud Portent Mountain.
The core qi circulatory art of Infinite Boundless Mountain was known as the Giant Spirit Profound Art, being on the same level as Broad Creed Mountain’s Clear Qi Profound Art and the Sacred Sun Clan’s Great Sun True Qi.
The Giant Spirit Profound Art was renowned for its gigantic strength. Its nature was extremely firm and unyielding, emphasizing forcefulness. However, the difficulty of cultivating this profound art was also correspondingly high.
Many years ago, the founder of Infinite Boundless Mountain had inadvertently discovered Giant Spirit Magnetite at that very mountain. Finding that the ore was useful in the cultivation of the Giant Spirit Profound Art, he occupied the mountain and established the clan there, setting down their very first foundations.
However, as time passed, the Giant Spirit Magnetite quarry in Infinite Boundless Mountain slowly dried up.
Fortunately for them, the neighboring Cloud Portent Mountain also produced this resource.
However, in the present day, Infinite Boundless Mountain itself was no longer a source of Giant Spirit Magnetite, while Cloud Portent Mountain was also able to produce less and less of it. In fact, it seemed as though Cloud Portent Mountain was about to be entirely exhausted as well.
Without the Giant Spirit Magnetite, Infinite Boundless Mountain’s martial practitioners could still cultivate in the Giant Spirit Profound Art, but would find the difficulty of doing so greatly increased. In addition, their cultivation speed would also be lower.
For Infinite Boundless Mountain, this was one of their greatest worries.
Over the years, Infinite Boundless Mountain had been searching for a new source of Great Spirit Magnetite whilst congregating the clan’s experts in trying to refine the Great Spirit Profound Art.
The former had not seen any results, whereas while some progress had been made in the latter, it was also limited.
Because of this, Yuan Zhengfeng and the others immediately gained interest when Yan Zhaoge set his sights on Cloud Portent Mountain.
Yan Zhaoge’s expression turned proper, “I cannot say for sure before having visited the actual location, but there are indeed opportunities awaiting us there.”
He paused for a moment, then looked around at the others, “This time, we weren’t able to exclude the Sacred Sun Clan from the Extreme Yin Bout?”
In response to Yan Zhaoge’s inquiry, Yan Zhengfeng and the others did not feel that he was being insubordinate. Rather, a hint of praise even appeared within Yuan Zhengfeng’s gaze.
Fang Zhun responded, “Originally, we had planned to ally with the other Sacred Grounds to exclude them from the next Bout.”
“However, Turbid Wave Pavilion and Infinite Boundless Mountain both did not declare their stance, so we had no choice but to drop the topic.”
“Thus, the Sacred Sun Clan’s Maiden of Extreme Yin will still be participating in the upcoming Bout.”
Yan Zhaoge nodded slightly.
Within Infinite Boundless Mountain, there had actually always existed a large split in opinion.
Infinite Boundless Mountain seemed to always be leaning towards the side that offered a higher price, standing in between the Heaven-Water Alliance of Broad Creed Mountain and Jade Sea City and the Thunder-Fire Alliance of the Sacred Sun Clan and the Heavenly Thunder Hall.
However, they had never actually given up on developing till they were strong enough to stand at the head of the Sacred Grounds.
In order to expand and develop, they needed a focus and a direction. However, where the mountain was, everything to the north and the west was just a desolate expanse.
As a result, they had to either expand eastwards and clash with the Heavenly Thunder Hall or expand southwards and clash with Broad Creed Mountain.
To them, an overly strong Sacred Sun Clan or an overly strong Broad Creed Mountain were both things that they would not be happy to see.
As for whether to befriend the Sacred Sun Clan or Broad Creed Mountain, Infinite Boundless Mountain had long been torn over this question.
Yan Zhaoge said seriously, “Disciple researched ancient texts and found that Giant Spirit Magnetite and the Giant Spirit Profound Art are both things which existed before the Great Calamity.”
“Disciple plans to go to Cloud Portent Mountain later on and study the site itself; perhaps I’ll gain something from it.”
For the upcoming third Extreme Yin Bout, if the Crown of Extreme Yin landed in the hands of the Sacred Sun Clan, to Broad Creed Mountain, bringing Infinite Boundless Mountain over to their side would become especially important.
As for whether they would be raising a tiger to repel a wolf, allowing Infinite Boundless Mountain to gain power and eventually come to pose as a major threat, Yan Zhaoge was not worried about that, having an answer to it.
To the left of Yan Zhengfeng, an old woman spoke, “This time, you killed Pan Botai’s grandson and also served a key role in the war in the Eastern Tang. I’m afraid that the Sacred Sun Clan will be keeping a close eye on your movements.”
“Though the Sacred Sun Clan ate a big loss this time, for them to assassinate a Martial Scholar would still not be a difficult thing.”
“Staying within the Heaven Domain, we can guarantee your safety, but the Mountain Domain is a different matter. Is there not someone you could send in your place to examine matters at Cloud Portent Mountain?”
Yan Zhaoge smiled, saying, “Many thanks for senior apprentice-grandaunt’s concern, but this matter will have to be decided by you Elders. If the Sacred Sun Clan is fool enough to fall into two consecutive traps, let’s leave behind the people they send over for good this time?”
That Elder raised her eyebrows, “You want to set up another ambush? At such a young age, do you really think yourself to be invincible?”
Fang Zhun said, “At least before they obtain the Crown of Extreme Yin, the Sacred Sun Clan will not move lightly. They indeed have to worry up us setting up a trap for them once again.”
“Even if they do get the Crown of Extreme Yin, with Infinite Boundless Mountain’s stance still unclear, they would not dare to move lightly in the Mountain Domain. Otherwise, they would only be pushing Infinite Boundless Mountain towards our side.”
“The real threat would be Huang Guanglie leaving seclusion stronger than before; at that time, the Sacred Sun Clan’s counterattack would truly begin.”
Fang Zhun lowered his voice, “At that time, I’m afraid that it would an even more intense war than this one, perhaps even an all-out war.”
“Because of that, we need to quickly begin our preparations, to increase our clan’s chances of victory.”
Yuan Zhengfeng spoke, “This time, we acted to make it more convenient for our future movements, and not so that we can be even more indecisive than we were before.”
“Zhaoge, if you want to go to the Mountain Domain, you can. But, for safety’s sake, you cannot go alone.”
Yan Zhaoge nodded his head, “Grand Master, I understand.”
Yuan Zhengfeng laughed, “Alright, let’s talk about what Zhaoge would like to hear now.”
He looked at Shi Tie, who nodded, “In the war of the Eastern Tang, Zhaoge first detected the scheme of the Sacred Sun Clan, then was even willing to brave extraordinary danger in leading our enemies into a trap.”
Shi Tie turned around and gave Yan Di a look, “From our assault on the Fire Domain this time, a portion of the spoils of war will go to you. Later, you can ask junior apprentice-brother Yan for it.”
Yan Di laughed, “Even before we invaded the Fire Domain, this little rascal was already talking about it.”
Yan Zhengfeng and the others all laughed. The thick-skinned Yan Zhaoge chuckled but did not speak.
Shi Tie continued: “And before this, you first saved Zhao Shicheng’s life, then helped him to wrest back control of the Jingyang Grand Formation, saving the Eastern Tang. This too deserves a reward from the clan.”
“Afterwards, you helped us capture the Ghost Hatchet Elder Han Sheng, contributing a great deal to our efforts against the Decimating Abyss organisation.”
“For these three merits, we would actually simply have rewarded you with a spirit artifact.” Shi Tie looked at Yan Zhaoge, “However, you currently possess at least two spirit artifacts, as well as all of Yan Xu’s personal property. Right now, you don’t lack spirit artifacts at all—rather, you have an excess.”
Martial Scholars were unable to fully draw on the power of a spirit artifact. Being able to control one was already very good; any others would be kept in reserve as it was very difficult to control different spirit artifacts simultaneously.
At the Spirit Wind Canyon, Yan Zhaoge had only used the Radiant Sun Wheel; the Jade Dragon Sword had actually only been there to serve as the eye of the reversal formation.
Shi Tie continued: “Therefore, the clan has decided to reward you with a Qilin Spring Baptism.”
Hearing his words, Yan Zhaoge instantly smiled.
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