Lang Fantian had already turned pale, tiny beads of sweat dotted his face while his breathing became uneven. An ace cultivator like himself should not have been seen in such a state.
It was solely because he was the only one who could say what he had said, as a Vice Chief, as a sworn brother, as both combined. If the words had come from anyone else, they would probably be killed by now.
Nonetheless, Lang Fantian felt much lighter now that he had poured everything he had wanted to say out.
Throughout these years, the commerce league’s abilities had grown stronger and the Chief’s influence and fierceness had grown alongside it; that his prestige came without him having to lash out was merely an understatement. There were also groups of people in the league who were just waiting for an opportunity to pounce. In a nutshell, these were detrimental to the General Commerce League; they were brewing issues that could lead to a full extinction.
Take the current incident for example; prior to this, the commerce league would first think of sincere collaboration and supporting the Residence of Nine Supremes when they met an organization like it, better yet if they could work together seamlessly. Now, however, the Chief had thought of the sect as a threat almost instantly when they were still in a partnership.
This was an incredibly unhealthy frame of mind!
A long time had passed again before Xiao Jianghu finally picked up his head from the dead silence. He looked up into the sky and spoke faintly, “Fantian, thank you. Being brothers for so many years, today is the one time I’m most thankful to you!”
“I believe that you already have a plan, this younger brother is only…” Lang Fantian replied feverishly with a shudder.
“No need to be humble,” said Xiao Jianghu softly, “A commerce league is a commerce league. Your reminder is correct! I’ve been on too high a pedestal these years. This time, you’ve looked at things farther than I have…”
Words of comfort began to spill from the masses simultaneously.
“I shall draft a rule after this contest, to stop the wild ambition that the commerce league shouldn’t have had. Like Fantian had said, the commerce league is a commerce league. Never deviating from the way of trade is the way to go.”
Xiao Jianghu chuckled bitterly. “If we were to push ourselves higher, even if we’ve come to the day when we’ve gone past the Sacred Heart Palace, could we actually surpass the Celestial Court? We’ll be wiped out sooner or later. Why not maintain the presence of a trader and play a crucial role among the forces – this is the way to harmonious longevity.”
“Since that’s the case, let’s show a slight sign of weakness when we can still stop upon reaching a certain level, be reserved about our own faculties. This is how we can secure our organization and sustain it eternally…”
“Brilliant, Lord Chief!”
A voice rang out all of a sudden, outside of the window.
When the group turned to the source of that voice, it was Zhang Changgong who had gone back to his youth, walking in airily, looking pleased. “This old one… can die with no regrets being able to hear what Lord Chief has just said!”
Lang Fantian’s term of address reminded everyone of this person’s identity, consequentially shocking the mass into rounded eyes.
“Senior Heaven Sword!” Xiao Jianghu was prepared for Zhang Changgong’s change of physical state, but the sight was still too much of a surprise that his eyes bulged. When had he ever expected the old man who had one foot in the coffin to be so thoroughly rejuvenated to his youth?
The group’s conversation turned heated upon Zhang Changgong’s arrival.
“Regardless, the exchange in the Spirit’s Grave must still go on tomorrow. It’s necessary that we obtain the Qi of vitality. We’ll just recompense Leader Yun better next time.”
Xiao Jianghu spoke ultimately, “Not only is advancing to the upper-class banner our wish for many, many years, but it’s also the key to our league’s future standing… If Senior Li Yixin couldn’t recover, the General Commerce League has no chance of winning.”
“I think he can,” Zhang Changgong replied with a faint smile.
Xiao Jianghu’s frown was immediately soothed as he asked, “How come? Please enlighten us, Elder Zhang.”
“For Chief’s information, our league is indeed a little too impatient regarding the exchange this time. We intended to maximize our chances of acquiring the Qi of vitality and increase our qualification to bear the upper-class Celestial Luck Banner, which is an inevitable matter of course but it is still coercion to our alliance. Any flowery words to conceal this intention or compensation afterward is of no help to the ill feeling that’s already there. Yun Yang, Leader Yun, is upset, whether by his words or his reaction, towards what we’re doing. I believe that you won’t remain oblivious or lie to yourself about this,” said Zhang Changgong.
Xiao Jianghu maintained a neutral expression as he answered indifferently, “I do know about this, but what we do this time is essential to our league. One who wants to achieve great things cannot be restrained by minor details. Even if it is partial, it must be done!”
“Do you think that I’m blaming you, Chief? Or that I’m speaking on behalf of Yun Yang? You’re mistaken, Chief!” Zhang Changgong sighed softly with a bitter smile.
Xiao Jianghu corrected him in a hurry. “I don’t mean it at all. Do not misunderstand, Elder Zhang.”
With a shake of his head, Zhang Changgong continued. “Honestly, I do regard this leader Yun quite well. I’m rather fond of him too. Still, I’m a part of the commerce league. While it’s thanks to the Qi of vitality that I could be reborn, the vitality Qi has still come from an exchange of massive heaven and earth treasure by the commerce league. I am very clear about this!”
“Elder Zhang is too polite. You’ve contributed incessantly to the league. No matter how precious the Qi of vitality is, you’ve gained it through your actions and merits. I believe that there’s no doubt or differing opinions throughout the league!” Xiao Jianghu said ceremoniously as he stood up and made a slight bow to Zhang Changgong.
The latter sidestepped and avoided his Chief’s bow. “I’m emphasizing this now to state my stance. Back to the transaction this time – our league obviously hasn’t considered the Residence of Nine Supremes. Perhaps, our need is truly too pressing. This is the fact, an undeniable truth.”
“I believe that Vice Chief Lang has clearly reported Leader Yun’s notion last time. Leader Yun is frank, that we must put things on hold even if we’ve gathered sufficient resources. We can’t allow the Spirit’s Grave to assume that these items come easy.”
Zhang Changgong smiled. “A powerful presence like that, I think they’re able to tell the bigger picture from a hint. How long between Yun Yang’s every entry, if he’s calm and collected, if he looks troubled if the heaven and earth treasure are repeated… if each piece of metal is relevant… Many things can be inferred from these minor details…”
“If the presence inside could judge that Yun Yang is actually capable to collect what he needs in a short time, he’ll definitely increase his request. By then, not only will Yun Yang find it hard to complete his task, we’ll be burdened as well and can hardly go on.”
“Even if Yun Yang has yet the faculty to reject us, even with an inward disagreement, he can only opt to work with us. But once or twice of such instant gain is insufferable in the long term, the friction lingering.”
“Yun Yang has actually mentioned very formally during the end of the last exchange that he’ll try his very best to obtain another portion of the vitality Qi, so I believe that he’ll actually resort to all he can to obtain the energy entering this time. After all, the Qi of vitality is our focus. Obtaining it allows both of us to gain some advantage. If he couldn’t procure it, we’ll necessarily ask him to enter again with the gathered resources for the current situation. And that… will be what Yun Yang can’t take.”
Zhang Changgong said, “I think that there’s an eighty to ninety percent chance that we’ll acquire the Qi of vitality this time but in the future… we must place a larger emphasis on this… We mustn’t commit impulsive and profit-eager actions like this again.”
“Elder Zhang is wise with far sight. I’ve learned much from you,” Xiao Jianghu replied with a serious nod of his head.
On the next day, Lang Fantian, Xiao Jianghu, Zhang Changgong, Song Yixin, and Feng Guohai came to the central hall of the Residence of Nine Supremes together.
The General Commerce League showed even more sincerity this time. Other than the five men, the rest of the entourage had left the residence to stay at the place where Feng Guohai was temporarily residing near the sect.
This was a massive display of trust.
As Yun Yang glanced at them, his gaze turned into a squint while his heart felt lighter.
Xiao Jianghu was walking in the center as the five of them came, smiling warmly.
By the looks of it, was the decision not to hide anymore?
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