The skies gradually cleared.
The rain had stopped some time ago.
It might have ceased because of Elder Sangs Infernal Heavens, which had vaporized the storm clouds entirely, or because of the gaping black hole that Ye Xiaotian had ripped in the skies, devouring everything in sight.
Regardless of what they had done, no one could stop the masked stranger from leaving if the latter desired so.
The nine founding elders felt slightly disheartened.
They had done little tonight.
Theyd been of no help to anyone but the masked figure, who had used them to keep Ye Xiaotian in check.
Theyd only contributed the rain and a little sprinkle of their own blood to the fight.
“Weve gotten old.”
We cant deny the truth.”
They sighed heavily.
The extent of their injuries was something that they could handle on their own.
They immediately departed, vanishing without a trace, knowing very well that prolonging their presence at Goose Lake would only bring them further embarrassment.
Just as Ye Xiaotian had predicted, these old fellows were long past the age for battle.
Their place was behind the scenes, issuing orders that might be slightly obsolete and not in keeping with the times.
Let the new generation of leaders in the Spirit Palace unleash their abilities and prove themselves.
The dean of the Inner Yard and representative of the Spirit Palaces leadership, Ye Xiaotian, held onto his broken arm as he landed on the banks of Goose Lake.
Elder Sang grabbed Xu Xiaoshou by the collar and landed on the banks as well.
The law enforcers around them appeared nervous as they greeted Ye Xiaotian and Elder Sang with the utmost deference.
Their greetings startled Xu Xiaoshou.
Elder Sang was a vice dean
He searched his mind, and after piecing together the fragmented memories inside his head, he finally made a connection between them and the old man next to him.
He had heard rumors of a vice dean in the Spirit Palace who was away from the palace most of the time and hardly drew anyones attention at all.
If it werent for people mentioning him, no one wouldve remembered that he existed.
But it wouldve been impossible for anyone to completely forget that he existed.
After all, the Tiansang Spirit Palace had been named after its two founders.
The “tian” in Tiansang had been taken from Ye Xiaotians name and “sang” from Elder Sang.
In addition, the Outer Yard hosted Windcloud Competition annually at the Chuyun Platform.
How had the Chuyun Platform been formed
During the construction of the Tiansang Spirit Palace, Vice Dean and Elder Sang had cast Chuyun Peak in fire, melted down half of the peak, and forged a platform that could seat ten thousand people.
Grab any Outer Yard disciple, and he or she would be able to recite this tale from heart.
“So hes the one…”
Things had finally clicked.
Elder Sangs eccentric personality had prevented Xu Xiaoshou from piecing everything together sooner.
That old man hadnt displayed the slightest semblance of a man of stature and rank at all.
He was an eccentric loner who always did whatever he wanted, getting up to strange and bizarre antics and flagrantly flouting the rules.
This could be seen from the way he had forced the Infernal Fire Seed down Xu Xiaoshous throat and how he had chosen to attack despite the predicament his allies were in.
Xu Xiaoshou recalled the scorching heat that he had experienced at the beginning of the advancement round during the Windcloud Competition and how he had barged into the arena to beg Xiao Qixiu for aid.
When the judge had realized that Elder Sang had been the one who had caused Xu Xiaoshous predicament, he had appeared reluctant to interfere with the matter, as if he couldnt afford to offend Elder Sang.
“Thats right, I shouldve realized it sooner.”
Xu Xiaoshou felt distressed.
How could this old man be a vice dean
Hold on a second.
He should look at it another way—the man was stuck being a vice dean and nothing more because of his personality!
Xu Xiaoshou observed the look in the law enforcers eyes.
Despite Ye Xiaotians broken arm, he continued to garner looks of respect.
As for Elder Sang…
No one dared to look at him at all.
The few who dared to sneak a look at him were the younger ones, and their eyes were full of fear.
There wasnt the slightest hint of it in their eyes.
Xiao Qixiu was still resting among the others.
The sword had pierced right through him, and he had sustained quite a serious injury from that attack.
Xu Xiaoshou had never seen him in such a bad state before.
In the past, his impression of Xiao Qixiu was that he was a free-spirited deity adrift in the heavens.
Yet, when the fight had broken out…
He had completely overturned Xu Xiaoshous impression of him.
Xu Xiaoshou had caught the look in his eyes when the middle-aged man had been severely injured.
Instead of showing weakness, his eyes had gleamed with a strange excitement.
“Is he a masochist” Xu Xiaoshou muttered to himself.
Xiao Qixiu got to his feet.
Before he could say a word, Elder Sang cut him off with a wave of his arm.
“You may all go now!”
The eyes of every law enforcer fell upon Xiao Qixiu.
He waved his arm.
An area that had been slightly dim became bright and spacious once more as hundreds of men instantly vanished in shockingly simultaneous concert.
The sight of such pure efficiency left Xu Xiaoshou in awe.
He hurriedly bailed as well.
While not as swift as the law enforcers, he wasnt slow.
Elder Sang nearly rolled his eyes when he caught Xu Xiaoshou sneaking off.
“Where do you think youre going”
Upon hearing the exasperated voice from behind him, Xu Xiaoshou felt the vice deans grip clamp around his throat and yank him back to where hed been standing.
He stared at the three powerful men before him and felt his legs go weak.
Before him stood the Chief Elder of the Spiritual Law Division and the Dean and Vice Dean of the Inner Yard.
He had a feeling that he didnt deserve to be in the same space as these three while they were talking.
“Arent we supposed to leave” Xu Xiaoshou asked meekly.
“Im in a rush.
I have to rebuild my house.”
The other three men were silent.
“Rebuild his house” they thought.
“The Spirit Palace just survived a crisis, and the first thing he wants to do now that the crisis is over is rebuild his house”
“Did you kill someone” Xiao Qixiu immediately asked when he realized that Xu Xiaoshou had been dragged back.
Xu Xiaoshou panicked.
This was why he had tried to run.
This was what he had feared!
The Outer Yard had rules.
One shall not kill their own.
He had a feeling that those two fellows had come from the Inner Yard and not the Outer Yard, but that didnt matter.
He was just a nobody from the Outer Yard, after all.
The Spiritual Law Division could have him executed for murder!
“Actually, its the masked figure.”
Xiao Qixiu mercilessly cut him off before he could finish his sentence.
“I staked out the entire night.
Do you think Im blind”
Xu Xiaoshous face fell.
“They tried to kill me first!”
“I have no idea what I did to offend them.
They were going to kill me.
I couldnt just stand there and do nothing!”
“If youd been watching the whole time, shouldnt you have shown yourself sooner and stopped them”
“Thats two human lives were talking about, after all.”
Xiao Qixiu was dumbfounded.
What was going on here
The young man had killed someone.
Why was he acting as if he were the one who had just undergone a hardship
Sensing that there appeared to be wiggle room, Xu Xiaoshou added, “I killed in self-defense.
I shouldnt be punished for that.”
Xiao Qixiu could feel a headache coming on.
He gave Elder Sang a look.
The message was clear.
Elder Sang had given the orders.
He should deal with this.
Elder Sang smacked Xu Xiaoshou on the head with his palm.
What did he just say
Xu Xiaoshou wasnt the only one who was baffled.
Similar looks of bewilderment appeared on the faces of the other two men present.
The look on Ye Xiaotians face darkened.
He was the dean of the Inner Yard.
How could Elder Sang praise an Outer Yard disciple for killing Inner Yard disciples when he was standing right there
Elder Sang seemed oblivious to the stormy look on Ye Xiaotians face and went on talking.
“Ill be honest with you.
We set this whole thing up a few days ago when I returned to the Spirit Palace.”
“It doesnt matter if the people who tried to kill you were two nobodies from the Inner Yard or someone with a higher office.
No one would have saved you.”
“Thats the truth.
Even I couldnt have done anything that wouldve affected the plan.”
“But Im very glad that you managed to kill those two fellows.”
Elder Sangs eyes glimmered brightly.
The look of unconcealed approval shot straight to Xu Xiaoshous heart.
“Id hoped that you would.”
Xu Xiaoshou did not say a word.
The guesses hed come up with after finding out about the plan had been right.
Did he resent them for what theyd done
Anyone who had just realized that he or she had been marked as an easy sacrificial pawn naturally wouldve felt resentment upon this discovery.
But when he thought about it from another angle, he realized that no one alive wouldve chosen to ruin the greater plan for a small fight between a few insignificant disciples.
In fact, he should be grateful that he hadnt been killed for creating unnecessary trouble.
There was really no reasonable cause for anger.
He had not warranted sufficient regard because the power that he possessed didnt command such respect.
The same rule applied in this world as it had in others.