After hearing this, the disciples accompanying Hong Tianzhu were infuriated. This had completely exceeded their imaginations.
Hong Yujiao indignantly asked: “The ancestors are going too far. Do our Hong ancestors share the same opinion?”
The messenger nodded: “Our ancestors have passed this proposal as well after discussing things.”
Hong Yujiao angrily stated: “Do they have no shame? My father has toiled for the clan even if he didn’t perform any meritorious deeds. If a great power sends off their own sect master to another power as a token of apology, how will we ever show our face in Heaven Spirit again? This is an affront to the reputation of the human race! Not to mention that our enemy is Wyvern, even if it was a sea god’s lineage like the Roaring Conch, we still can’t do such a thing! This is the epitome of humiliation that will stop us from ever raising our heads again!”
“Yes, why can’t we resist their oppression?!” These excellent disciples chimed in: “Our lake is not weaker than Wyvern, so we might as well go all out against them. As one of the three great human powers in Heaven Spirit, if we surrender even though we have the ability to fight, we’ll live a life subservient to the sea demons from this day onward…”
One more disciple angrily exclaimed: “The ancestors are taking things too far this time. Even human vagabonds have more backbone than this. Why should we, a great power, kneel and lick our enemies’ boots?! At worst, we’ll fight to the death so that they can see our determination!”
Hong Tianzhu sighed and cast a glance at Li Qiye to ask: “Young Noble, what should we do now?”
Li Qiye said: “Go to the meeting chamber. Summon all the ancestors, protectors, elders, and supervisors of the lake.”
“Okay, we’ll go to the chamber.” Hong Tianzhu firmly made his decision. For him right now, this was inevitable. There was no path of return, so he might as well risk it all for the lake’s final chance.
The meeting chamber was used for deliberations and meetings for the lake. Many of their past decisions were negotiated and decided here.
Later on as the competition for power intensified, the chamber was used less and less often. The ancestors rather negotiated privately and made decisions by themselves instead of deliberating publically.
The chamber had a rustic feel, making it seem as if it was built next to Dongting Lake. One could see the entire lake while sitting in the lobby.
A plaque was hung in the main lobby with the phrase, “seeing clearly the downy feather of autumn”. These simple words were majestic and all-deterrenting. 1
Hong Tianzhu came to the main lobby, but they were immediately stopped by the disciples there.
“What, you want to rebel?” Hong Tianzhu’s expression darkened as he became quite oppressive. He was still the current sect master of the lake and had an important status in the minds of the disciples here.
The guards hesitated for a moment before answering: “Sect Master, the ancestors’ decision…”
“Their decision?” Tianzhu coldly uttered: “I have assumed the role of sect master and have been in charge of Dongting Lake until this very day. It is fine if the ancestors want to oust me, but tell them to come confront me in person. The elders and supervisors will transcribe everything. If I have violated the iron creeds of the lake, then I will surrender myself to the lake’s disposal. Otherwise, the ancestors need to give me an acceptable answer!”
The disciples hesitated for half a day, not knowing the right words to say. On one side were the ancestors and the other, Hong Tianzhu.
In the end, Hong Tianzhu became angry and shouted: “Go, ask your ancestors and the high ranking members to come. If everyone wants to judge me, I want them to do so in the main chamber in front of our forefathers!”
A disciple quickly affirmed and went to report to the upper echelons. This matter was far beyond their jurisdiction.
The group entered the grand chamber that could accommodate more than a thousand people.
In the center of the chamber was a large chair. It struck an archaic chord to the spectators. What was even stranger was that there was a crow engraved in the back. The bird stood there in repose with resting eyes.
There were many paintings along the wall. The people portrayed were magnificent. Some were adorned in armor with long swords in their hands. Others were scholars with their feathered fans, and more were riders trying to cross mountains and rivers…
The paintings surrounded one particular banner with a silver fox embroidery. This fox looked incredibly realistic. Above it was the word, “Indomitable”.
The young disciples looked all around since they rarely came here. Meanwhile, Tianzhu mirthlessly smiled. Outside of the ceremony when he was crowned as the sect master, there were too few conferences in this place since the ancestors would rather scheme with their own groups instead of caring about the overarching picture.
Li Qiye stood before the big chair and glanced at the portraits. He saw the familiar faces once more, stirring some emotions and buried memories within him. Here were numerous generals that have grown old, countless soldiers that have been laid to rest.
The banner itself created waves inside his heart. It once represented an unquestionable prestige and an indomitable legion.
“Sigh, I didn’t expect my final verdict to be decided before the old forefathers.” Hong Tianzhu peered at the portraits and gave an ironic smile: “It is a bit amusing. Normally, no one comes here to worship and give tribute to the forefathers, but now, here we are.”
The disciples didn’t answer. They understood that the sect master had no chance of reversing the situation after the verdict was made. Once the ancestors from the clans made up their minds, even the high elders wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, let alone the lower tiers.
Li Qiye didn’t offer his opinion. He simply looked at the banner and stared nonchalantly at the group: “Does any of you know what this banner represents?”
The young ones exchanged glances. They knew very little about their older ancestors. Even though the banner was placed here, they didn’t know of its significance.
Tianzhu hesitated for a bit before answering with uncertainty: “I heard our ancestors brought it back from a battlefield. We had a very powerful legion once.”
Despite being the sect master, he still didn’t know too much about his older ancestors. In fact, ever since their clans decided to abandon the iron creeds and abolished the unions, they no longer brought up the forefathers. After all, they were the ones who chose to disobey the old laws.
“More than just powerful.” Li Qiye looked at the banner and flatly said: “The Indomitable Battalion of the Silver Fox Legion was renowned for being cunning with many illustrious merits. They are definitely among the top of all the famous battalions in existence! This banner represents your ancestors’ supreme prestige. Under this symbol, they fought all over the nine worlds and fought crusades against true gods and other Immortal Emperors’ legions! Even the ominous grounds couldn’t repel their advance!”
“They fought against imperial legions?” The youths became wide-eyed and were startled after hearing this.
“Yes, they fought against imperial legions.” Li Qiye nonchalantly continued: “In the distant years, one particular imperial legion considered themselves to be untouchable and provoked the supreme prestige since they thought they could fight against the Silver Fox Legion! Your ancestors personally volunteered to fight. After ten victories, they conquered the imperial city and forced the imperial cavalry to leave Heaven Spirit. In the end, even this Immortal Emperor personally admitted that the prestige of the Silver Fox was not to be provoked!”
“In the nine worlds, who still knows about the Indomitable Battalion and their cunning? Winning victories despite being fewer in numbers, they’re experts at lightning speed ambushes!” Li Qiye ended with a sigh.
“Ten victories and conquering an imperial city…” Hong Yujiao was at a loss for words.
In their minds, Immortal Emperors were invincible. Meanwhile, their legions were an extension of their peerless will. Wherever they went, they would sweep through in an unbeatable manner.
But today, they found out that their old ancestors had once defeated an imperial legion!
Just imagining the style and indomitable spirit of their ancestors roused them with heroism and pride. They could envision the scene of their ancestors riding their cavalries through the majestic lands! They never knew of this prestige and glory that belonged to their ancestors who once deterred the nine heavens and ten earths!
1. Idiom meaning sensitive to the finest detail, omniscient, able to distinguish right and wrong with acuity.