HSSB30: Flaunting a non-existent authority
Ah Hu entered the room, saying, "According to the news we currently have on hand, a Ten-Leaf Golden Orchid was spotted in the Luliao Mountains."
Yan Zhaoge considered, "The Luliao Mountains? They're rather close to the Sealing Dragon Abyss, and are situated within Eastern Tang territory as well."
"Wu, since I've got nothing to do anyway, I might as well go take a look at those Luliao Mountains, and also see if I can lure out that Crimson Spirit Flag Master again."
The abnormalities within the Sealing Dragon Abyss, the Ghost Hatchet Elder Han Sheng suddenly appearing as well, as well as the Crimson Spirit Flag Master's movements on the side, had caused the Sacred Sun Clan to similarly stand ready to make a move at any moment, raring to go.
Although the King of the Eastern Tang Kingdom was biased towards Broad Creed Mountain, if the clan only had a single Yan Xu stationed in the Eastern Tang, it would obviously not be sufficient for dealing with whatever situation might arise.
As he held heavy responsibilities, the East Elder had not been able to stay for long. However, Broad Creed Mountain had also deployed other experts over. While these were tumultuous times within the Eastern Tang, Broad Creed Mountain did not lack manpower there.
It was only that he did not know whether the Crimson Spirit Flag Master would once again risk making an appearance.
As for the Ten-Leaf Golden Orchid that he had ordered his subordinates to search for, to Yan Zhaoge, it held much greater significance.
The competition between Yan Zhaoge's father and his second apprentice-uncle for the position of Broad Creed Mountain's next Clan Chief had already reached the most critical stage.
Yan Zhaoge's Grand Master, this generation's Clan Chief, had long since revealed his intention of going into closed door cultivation, from which it was unknown if he would ever emerge.
This time's cultivation session would be different from those of the past. It would last for an indeterminate amount of time, and it was possible that it would be ages before he emerged. Well, if he even managed to avoid dying, his dao perishing alongside him, that is.
Thus, the old Clan Chief planned to directly appoint an official successor before beginning his closed door cultivation session.
To Old Man Yan, taking down Cui Xin and Wen Ningzhi, these Elders of the Assignment Hall, had been but an inconsequential thing, the bigger picture considered.
As for the Internal Crystal Furnace, it could not yet produce a spirit grade artifact at this current stage. At most, it could only be said to have added a few appearance points, not being able to give the definite victory to their side.
From a certain standpoint, it seemed to be doing more for Yan Zhaoge's position instead.
Yan Zhaoge knew this full well, and and had already been prepared for this eventuality early on. Thus, even while trying to upgrade the Internal Crystal Furnace, he had been making some other plans as well.
The concoction of a certain pill.
Ever since the time of the Great Calamity, this precious pill had not appeared in the Eight Extremities World.
If he managed to achieve success in this matter, it would be an extremely huge boost for his own father's bid for the position of Clan Chief; in fact, it might even win them the position in a single move.
Leaving the mansion, Yan Zhaoge walked along the streets of Overlooking Abyss City, pondering as he went.
"Right, Young Master, there's still something else. Earlier, you asked me to search for two different types of medicinal ingredients. They had run out of stock within all the markets of the Eastern Tang; I could only obtain a small amount from the Kingdom's secret vault."
"Check for me whether this was because of the greatest alchemist organisation in the Eastern Tang Kingdom, the Pill Stone Pavilion, purchasing a large amount of it without care."
'At the same time, the Pill Stone Pavilion also recently started suddenly selling the previously long-extinct supreme healing medicine, the Ash Cloud Powder."
Yan Zhaoge thought about it for a moment, then said, "The Ash Cloud Powder, as I remember, was made from the Pill Fire Sword God Gao Zhe's personal secret pill formula. When Gao Zhe died, the pill formula was lost and it vanished along with him."
As the various Sacred Grounds all began gradually determining the power structure within the Eight Extremities World, the Pill Fire Sword God was one of the few peak masters who had struck it out on his own, even reaching the Martial Saint stage in his later years.
His personality had been extremely domineering and arrogant, but he had also had real power to back it up.
Even while being splendidly proficient in the sword, he had even become one of the top alchemists of the era, having had great achievements in both the fields of sword and alchemy.
It was only that the relationship between him and Broad Creed Mountain had not been so harmonious.
However, this person had already died many years ago.
"Perhaps through the work of fate as well as coincidence, the Pill Stone Pavilion obtained the secret pill formula Gao Zhe had left behind that year." Ah Hu guessed.
Yan Zhaoge shook his head, as if saying that well, that might be true, but that might also not be true. He did not put it to heart.
The Ash Cloud Powder had indeed been one of the most supreme healing medicines of the time that it would not hurt to have; but to him, it was not really something he definitely had to obtain.
After having walked for a while, Yan Zhaoge's heart suddenly twitched slightly as turning his head, a few figures appeared at the opposite end of the street.
That group of people seemed to in the midst of an argument. While the distance was rather far, with Yan Zhaoge's auditory power, he was naturally able to hear all of it clearly.
"Junior apprentice-brother Fei, the other party is obviously just unreasonably making things difficult for you; why do you even bother to listen to him!" Said a tall youth, his face filled with unhappiness at how his friend was currently being treated.
He was a young disciple who had followed Yan Zhaoge over from the clan for tempering, whose name seemed to be Lan Wenyan.
The few people beside him were also young disciples of the clan who had come out for tempering.
The previous mission at the Sealing Dragon Abyss having ended, the missing Ye Jing aside, out of the remaining fifteen disciples, some had chosen to return to Broad Creed Mountain while the rest had decided to remain in Overlooking Abyss City to gain more experience and continue their tempering.
In front of Lan Wenyan, a youth of around the same age as him was seated on the ground.
He laughed helplessly, "Senior Apprentice-brother Ma is in complete charge of our day-to-day cultivation; what he requests of me, I naturally have to follow."
Lan Wenyan raged angrily, "But with your current cultivation, if you go under the large waterfall for an hour, there's the possibility of something bad happening to you."
"A whole hour; does he want to kill you?"
The youth surnamed Fei had a melancholic expression on his face, "Well, I won't exactly die, though; at most, it'll be like the previous time when I keeled over and fainted and he pulled me out of the water."
Someone said from the side, "Did you offend him unwittingly, such that he would want to purposely take revenge on you?"
Junior apprentice-brother Fei sighed, "I was too ignorant of the world in the past. When he was around being corrupt, I wrecked his intended plans; naturally, he now wants to turn around and take care of me."
"Isn't it settled then? You were also not in the wrong; what do you have to be scared of? What he's done to you; you can just reflect all of it to the Acting Elder ah."
Junior apprentice-brother Fei answered in a muffled tone, "I did think that way once. It was only later that I realised that at that person's back was the Acting Elder himself; otherwise, how could he have walked out of it unscathed, and be taking it out on me now?"
"Even if I did report him to the Acting Elder, Senior apprentice-brother Ma just needs to say that he did what he did to induce me to work harder in my cultivation, thus getting out of it easily. At most, he will just change his method of torturing me. Not being able to bear having to suffer any punishment, he will definitely get back at me with even greater vigor than before."
Junior apprentice-brother Fei looked at Lan Wenyan and the others, standing in front of him, and laughed helplessly, "Initially, in order to earn a little more, I applied to leave the clan and come here. If I had known that it would be like this, I definitely wouldn't have come; I really thought about things too simply in the past."
"Now, if I want to return to the clan's headquarters, I would still have to communicate my desire to the Acting Elder first. But with senior apprentice-brother Ma blowing things up from the side...I can't agitate him, but even hiding from him seems like it would be impossible."
Lan Wenyan's eyebrows were clenched tightly together. Having entered the clan together with this junior apprentice-brother Fei in front of him, the two shared a very close relationship. Having arrived in Overlooking Abyss City this time, he had originally thought that it would be a joyful scene of old friends reuniting once more, but had instead discovered that his old friend had ended up in such a tragic state.
After considering for a moment, Lan Wenyan said hesitantly, "This time, we came here along with senior apprentice-brother Yan. Senior apprentice-brother Yan's position is rather special; if you can invite him to help you, perhaps senior apprentice-brother Ma will not dare to make trouble for you anymore, and your being transferred away from Overlooking Abyss City might still be possible."
"The senior apprentice-brother you are referring to is Senior Brother Yan Zhaoge?"
Junior apprentice-brother Fei's eyes brightened for a moment, but very quickly dulled, "This sort of minor thing is something that senior apprentice-brother Yan might not care about; also, I've heard that the relationship between him and Overlooking Abyss City's Xu Chuan is very good."
Lan Wenyan said, "Then we'll help you to report it directly to the clan."
"Senior apprentice-brother Ma has only been making it difficult for me in a few insignificant matters; any actual faults of his cannot be proven. Even if people from the clan come over and ask, he can still deny it."
He smiled helplessly yet again, 'Forget it, forget it; I'll just tolerate it. Having released all of his pent-up anger, senior apprentice-brother Ma's anger should have been quenched. It's not like he will actually kill me; I'll just take it as though I'm really undergoing some especially tough tempering then."
Yan Zhaoge looked peacefully at this scene, his expression not changing in the least bit.
He only tilted his head to the side, "In my memory, none of Xu Chuan's personal disciples are surnamed Ma; there's no such person amongst his relatives either?"
"That's right," Ah Hu nodded, before temporarily taking his leave.
A short while later, he reported back, "That person is known as Ma Yue; he is the descendant of a past Elder of our clan. In his youth, Xu Chuan was once helped out by that very Elder Ma; because of that, he's been watching over that man's descendant, Ma Yue."
Yan Zhaoge raised his eyebrows, "Xu Chuan himself is somewhat 'clean', in taking care of a benefactor's descendant, he would tolerate that person's corruption?"
Ah Hu shook his head, "Due to the rush, I couldn't obtain any clearer details on what happened. Still, Xu Chuan might not have known about this matter."
"In front of Xu Chuan, this Ma Yue pretends to be very humble and respectful. Having done some small wrong, Xu Chuan would also forgive him on Elder Ma's account."
"Thus, Ma Yue ended up flaunting a non-existent authority, leading to others being unable to easily reveal his matter to Xu Chuan."
Ah Hi laughed, "A classic case of 'fooling the subordinates and deceiving the superior'.
Yan Zhaoge did not laugh along, however.
Instead, he narrowed his eyes, "No, with Xu Chuan's ingenuity, just Ma Yue and a couple of his own subordinates could not have pulled the wool over his eyes."
"There is also someone helping that Ma Yue, except that that person's target is actually Xu Chuan himself."
"This Ma Yue is, step by step, turning into a weak point of Xu Chuan's. Who knows when he will suddenly make an irredeemable mistake, dragging Xu Chuan down with him in the process."
"Especially with Xu Chuan now holding the position of Acting Elder in both the Spirit Wind Canyon and Overlooking Abyss City; I'm afraid that the other party should already be preparing to make their move..."
Seeing the strained smile on junior apprentice-brother Fei's face, Lan Wenyan and the others were about to continue saying something, but were interrupted by a voice sounding out from the side, "Junior apprentice-brother Fei, why haven't you gone yet? Could it be that you still need your Senior Brother to personally wait for you over by the waterfall?"
A young male of an average build walked over, smiling as he looked toward the crowd, suddenly letting out a low laugh as he said, "Yes, I am intentionally making trouble for him; but what can you do about it?"
The newcomer was that Ma Yue. The lips of the youth surnamed Fei twitched slightly, but he did not let out a sound. Shooting a helpless smile at Lan Wenyan, he walked towards Ma Yue.
"You do not need to leave with him." A cool, clear voice suddenly resounded, as Sikong Qing's figure appeared before the crowd.
Lan Wenyan's face revealed a hint of excitement as he hurriedly greeted Sikong Qing, "Senior apprentice-sister Sikong."
Sikong Qing's line of vision moved past the youth surnamed Fei, and also Ma Yue.
"Painstakingly cultivating and tolerating hardship with perseverance are originally good things; some of the clan's senior generation will also forcefully make their disciples accept such hardship."
"But those stem from good intentions, rather than a selfish, narrow desire for revenge.'
Ma Yue looked first at his own white garb, then at the blue robes that were draped over Sikong Qing's inner white clothes, as a hint of viciousness flickered in the depths of his gaze.
He laughed, "Junior apprentice-sister must be joking; I was simply entertaining them with a small joke."
Sikong Qing said mildly, "It wasn't funny."
Ma Yue laughed darkly, "You, junior apprentice-sister Sikong, are garbed in blue robes; I naturally cannot compete with you."
"Still, how long are you going to be staying in this Overlooking Abyss City? And how much longer can he continue depending on you? If you remember, you do not possess the authority to transfer him away from here, no more than you have the authority to send me away."
"With you gone, whatever will he do?"
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