Nebula Pavilion, Tu Mo’s study.
“What have you called Zhuo Qian and I over for, Big Brother?” After Tu Ze entered, he saw Tu Mo reading a letter on his chair with a dark expression.
Elder Han Qingrui was also standing to the side with his eyebrows tightly knit. He did not look too good.
“Little Ze, you and Zhuo Qian can’t stay at Nebula Pavilion much longer.” Tu Mo put down the letter in his hands and raised his head. “Father has asked the both of us to enter Dark Asura Hall.”
“Why?” Tu Ze couldn’t quite accept it. “Big Brother, you have cultivated step by step in Nebula Pavilion and honed yourself slowly to the Manifestation Realm before you officially entered Dark Asura Hall. I’m only at the Natal Opening Realm. What’s the point if I enter Dark Asura Hall with you now?”
“That’s right.” Zhuo Qian also agreed. “It is my father’s intention that I stay at Nebula Pavilion until I reach the Manifestation Realm before returning to Dark Asura Hall.”
Tu Mo sighed helplessly. “Uncle Han, please explain it to them.”
Han Qingrui nodded his head. “The Pavilion Master had once promised that, between Vice Pavilion Master Kang Hui and Liu Yuntao, whoever can score an outstanding performance in battle will become the next Pavilion Master. Since Liu Yuntao and Du Haitian had devised that plan and killed many spirit beasts at the Arctic Mountain Range, it can be said that they have achieved an impressive feat and won the first Hall Master’s appreciation. Even Seven Fiends Valley and Dark Shadow Tower had praised him greatly…”
The moment the matter was brought up, Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian’s eyes immediately turned red as they yelled out, “You call that an outstanding performance?”
“Elder Chu Yan and his subordinates were sacrificed, but in exchange, we attained a huge victory. In the eyes of the higher-ups of Dark Asura Hall, Seven Fiends Valley, and Dark Shadow Tower, these sacrifices are completely worth it. Moreover, they also agree that Liu Yuntao’s actions are ruthless and decisive. Thus, he is suitable for bigger responsibility. They believe he will become a competent new leader in Nebula Pavilion,” Han Qingrui explained.
“How can this be?” Zhuo Qian’s voice was weak.
“Big Brother, Father is a commander under the Second Hall Master, and we both know that the Second Hall Master and First Hall Master have never seen eye to eye, so can it be that Liu Yuntao had purposely got closer with the First Hall Master?” Tu Ze said.
“Correct.” Tu Mo nodded. “For the longest time Nebula Pavilion has been under the control of our Tu Family. Since father is working under the Second Hall Master, the Tu Family can be counted as the Second Hall Master’s power. Between Liu Yuntao and Kang Hui, no matter who the victor is in this war for the position of Pavilion Master, they will still belong under the Second Hall Master and thus still count as part of the Tu Family…”
He was silent for a while before he continued, “Liu Yuntao obviously did not want to be controlled by the Tu Family. While we were fighting against the spirit beasts, he contacted the First Hall Master at the Arctic Mountain Range and joined forces with him. The First Hall Master has performed extraordinarily well at the Arctic Mountain Range this time and is currently under the limelight, so the Second Hall Master has no choice but to avoid him for the moment.”
“Since Shattered Ice Manor is also on the First Hall Master’s side, in order to ease the endless infighting between Nebula Pavilion and Shattered Ice Manor, it can be said that they’ve acquiesce the intimacy between Liu Yuntao and the First Hall Master. The higher ups feel that if Liu Yuntao had taken over Nebula Pavilion and both sides were the First Hall Master’s men, then Shattered Ice Manor and Nebula Pavilion will no longer fight each other to their deaths.”
He looked at Tu Ze. “To put it plainly, the one Shattered Ice Manor hates is us, the Tu Family. If Nebula Pavilion no longer belonged to the Tu Family, then Shattered Ice Manor will no longer hold such a huge grudge any longer.”
At this point, both Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian had understood what he meant, and they felt slightly chilled in their hearts.
“What about Second Hall Master? Can it be that he…” Zhuo Qian exclaimed softly.
“We don’t have a choice. The First Hall Master had an outstanding performance at the Arctic Mountain Range, and it is rumored that they are about to renew their contract with the spirit beast king as of late.” Tu Mo shook his head. “There is nothing the Second Hall Master can do about this matter. Moreover, the higher ups do not wish to see Shattered Ice Manor and Nebula Pavilion to continue fighting each other and has thus acquiesce to the matter. Father also knew that Nebula Pavilion will soon no longer be under the Tu Family’s control, so…”
He passed the letter to Tu Ze. “You can take a look yourself.”
With a dark face, Tu Ze bowed his head and read the entire letter. Even after reading it, he continued to stay silent.
“So here’s the plan. When Liu Yuntao comes back, I will relinquish my position and the two of us shall go together to Dark Asura Hall.” Tu Mo waved his hands helplessly. “The two of you should make preparations for the time being.”
Once Liu Yuntao takes over Nebula Pavilion, the Tu Family will no longer have any influence inside Nebula Pavilion. Even if Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian stayed behind, they would not give them any quarter. In fact, Liu Yuntao might even scheme against them from the shadows.
That being the case, they might as well leave early and avoid being heavily shackled in the future.
“If we leave, then what will Uncle Han and Uncle Kang do?” Zhuo Qian lowered her head. “What will be the statement about Elder Chu Yan’s revenge?”
Han Qingrui shook his head with a bitter smile. “Miss Qian, I thank you for your concern. The Pavilion Master shall have other arrangements for me, so you do not have to worry. As for Chu Yan… Sigh, you don’t have to worry too much. Just make sure to keep Chu Peng under control and do not in any circumstances allow him to add any more trouble into the mix.”
“The First Hall Master’s in the limelight at the moment, and the ones who got close to him, like Liu Yuntao and Du Haitian, are also in power. We do not have the power to face them directly at the moment, so we have no choice but to avoid them,” Tu Mo said darkly.
“Have you heard?” Vice Pavilion Master Liu has scored a great achievement at the Arctic Mountain Range, and he will be taking over the position of Pavilion Master at Nebula Pavilion.”
“To sacrifice Elder Chu Yan and almost everyone under him in exchange for such an achievement… How utterly despicable. I cannot believe that he can be this ruthless.”
“But he succeeded. It is said that Dark Asura Hall’s First Hall Master has given him great recognition, and it also seems that after they’ve made a contract with the spirit beast king, he will accompany him on a trip to Nebula Pavilion.”
“You have to admit that Vice Pavilion Master Liu is an able man. His methods are much greater than Pavilion Master Tu.”
“Sigh, Pavilion Master Tu is still the best. He is fair and just. If Liu Yuntao rose to his position, I wonder what will happen?”
“You haven’t seen Liu Ting’s expression as of late. She’s so pleased she’s about to make her way to the heavens. She doesn’t even look people in their eyes anymore.”
“Wei Li too, and that newcomer Du Heng. These people have been acting quite imposing as of late.”
“What can we do? Their fathers are in power right now.”
As of late, such buzz could be found at the Scripture Tower, the Artifact Tower, and every large cultivation room. Almost every Nebula Pavilion martial practitioner had heard the news and learned that when Liu Yuntao and his group returns to Nebula Pavilion, he will become a Pavilion Master immediately, whereas Tu Mo will be leaving to work under Dark Asura Hall.
Liu Yuntao, Du Haitian, and Wei Xing’s subordinates too were swaggering around as of late and wore quite the confident looks.
Liu Ting, Wei Li and, Du Heng were even worse. They would laugh out loud while walking on the streets, as if afraid that no one would know how happy and proud they were right now.
Qin Lie had accompanied Ling Feng and Ling Chengzhi for two days at the Ling Family’s courtyard until they calmed down before he finally returned to Nebula Pavilion.
The moment he returned to Nebula Pavilion, he heard countless discussions and learned that Liu Yuntao would soon become the new Pavilion Master while Du Haitian would become the Vice Pavilion Master.
His expression was cold, and he walked all the way to the Artifact Forging Hall. Just as he walked inside, he immediately saw Liu Ting walking out with Wei Li and Du Heng.
The moment Liu Ting saw his return, her face turned cold as she scoffed. “Nebula Pavilion does not raise trash. This place will be closed from now on. What Artifact Forging Hall? It has no reason to exist at all!”
“Qin Lie, your good days are numbered.” Du Heng’s gaze was malicious. “In the past, the Tu Family protected you so you could live comfortably inside Nebula Pavilion… You better watch your back later.”
“Let us go.” Liu Ting left proudly, and the group followed right after.
Qin Lie walked into the Artifact Forging Hall.
Each one of the cupboards had been sealed off with tape, and artifact forging spirit materials of all kinds had been moved away. The only thing left was the center furnace—it wasn’t moved away yet because it was too big.
Yao Tai looked forlorn beside his furnace.
“Great Master Yao…” Qin Lie cried softly.
“What Great Master…” Yao Tai shook his head with a bitter smile. “In a few days, I will be chased out of Nebula Pavilion. Sigh, I never thought that Liu Yuntao would come into power.”
“The stuff here?” Qin Lie asked.
“They’ve been all moved away.” Yao Tai explained, “They’re afraid of me stashing the spirit materials. They said that these all belonged to the pavilion and need to be moved away first.”
“Didn’t the Pavilion Master say anything?” Qin Lie frowned.
“We’ve already come to this point, and the Pavilion Master doesn’t want to conflict with Liu Yuntao, so he allowed Liu Ting and the others to do whatever they want.” Yao Tai smiled bitterly. “Sigh, if I had known about this earlier I would have made a new Mirror of Thousand Illusions for that little grandaunt back then. The pride of an artificer… is a pretty terrible thing sometimes.”
Qin Lie could not say anything.
“I’ll be leaving the day after tomorrow. I… won’t be able to teach you anything else in the future. Keep this booklet. It contains my views of all sorts of low level spirit materials. There’s nothing really valuable in there, just my tens of years of experience.” He passed over a rather thick scripture to Qin Lie and said, “The spirit diagrams I knew are too rough, so I won’t be teaching you about them. I hope you’ll be able to find a real famous teacher in the future. As for me, I’m not qualified to become your master…”
With a heavy heart, Qin Lie accepted his book of artifact forging experience and said sincerely, “Thank you Great Master Yao.”
Waving his hands, Yao Tai signaled for him to leave. He himself was staring at the furnace with a gaze full of emotions. “I’ll have a look at you for a few more days. I wonder how you’ll be treated in the future and whose hands will you fall into. In the past, I had come to Nebula Pavilion just for you. Sigh, tens of years have passed and I am still an unaccomplished artificer. In the end, I was even chased away…”
“Please keep an open mind, Great Master,” Qin Lie consoled.
“Sigh, I won’t know how this furnace will be arranged when I leave. I really don’t want to give away the things I have used for tens of years.” Yao Tai sighed. “Even if I have to destroy it, I still do not want to see it misused by other people. Unfortunately… if Liu Ting learned about this, there’ll be a whole load of trouble. Never mind, I should forget about it.”
Yao Tai seemed to think to destroy the furnace, but he was afraid of being held accountable by Liu Ting. His face was filled with hesitation.
“If I have the opportunity, I will help you destroy it.” After a moment’s thought, Qin Lie exclaimed softly before bowing deeply towards Yao Tai. Then, he went quietly left.
He arrived beside Han Qingrui.
“Uncle Han?” Qin Lie said softly.
Han Qingrui was staring blankly as if spellbound, and when he finally came to, he gave a weak smile and said, “Oh Qin Lie, you better trade in all of your contribution points while you can in the next few days. Otherwise, when Du Haitian and Liu Yuntao comes back, they may cause some trouble for you.”
“Uncle Han, what do you plan to do?” Qin Lie asked.
“Me?” Han Qingrui smiled bitterly. “I’ll stay for a while and see how it goes. If I really can’t stay here any longer then I’ll leave. It’s not that hard for me to find a living.”
“Uncle Han, can the matter of Liu Yuntao and Du Haitian setting up and killing Elder Chu Yan and the Ling Family clansmen count as violating the criminal laws of the Discipline Hall?” After a moment’s silence, Qin Lie’s eyes shone with a terrible light.
“If they had failed and Chu Yan and the others were all dead in addition to failing to kill the spirit beasts, then the Discipline Hall would definitely interfere and denounce them.” Han Qingrui sighed. “But no, they have won a huge victory. With Chu Yan and their deaths killing many spirit beasts and almost turning the situation on its head, they forced the spirit beast king to sign a contract with us. In this case, not only are they not guilty, they are even considered to have scored a great achievement and won praises from all sides. What can the Discipline Hall possibly do?”
“Then, do you mean that Elder Chu Yan and the Ling Family clansmen have died for nothing?” Qin Lie gritt his teeth as the hostility in his eyes grew deeper and deeper.
“There’s nothing we can do. There’s nothing we can do at all, Qin Lie. You should just accept reality like the rest of us.” Han Qingrui sighed.
“I cannot accept this!” Qin Lie gave a low roar.