Two giant banners fluttered in the wind with a ringing noise.
One was the battle merit board; Fang Yuan was now among the top ten in the list. Another banner listed all kinds of goods which could be exchanged with battle merits.
However, most of the Gu Masters in the crowded plaza had their attention on a newly announced decree.
The content of the announcement was: The wolf tide is becoming more fierce and the casualties among the clan’s Gu Masters are increasing day by day. To reinforce the treatment methods, the medical hall orders all the Gu Masters who possess Nine Leaf Vitality Grass to temporarily hand them over to the clan. The medical hall will organize staffs to unify all the productions.
There were a list of names in the notification. They were the names of the Gu Masters that possessed Nine Leaf Vitality Grass in the clan.
Naturally, Fang Yuan was also listed.
Right now, he was standing in a distant corner looking at this notification; his expression couldn’t help but turn ugly.
At first sight, he had realized this to be Gu Yue Yao Ji’s move against him.
"Hmph, this Gu Yue Yao Ji has been indignant since she failed to purchase the Liquor worm from me. I already accumulated enough battle merits to exchange for that Three Steps Fragrant Grass gu, but she prevented this from happening in the dark. Now, she is actually coveting my Nine Leaf Vitality Grass….."
Gu Yue Yao Ji’s actions were understandable.
People of the same trade were natural enemies.
By controlling the sale of the vitality leaves, Gu Yue Yao Ji could consolidate her authority, deepen her influence and maintain her connections. However, Fang Yuan sold them in increased price, so this imperceptibly was infringing on her benefits and shaking her influence.
"I have a lot of Gu worms on me now; White Jade Gu, Moonglow Gu, Plunder Gu, Water Shield Gu, Earth Communication Ear Grass and more. Nine Leaf Vitality Grass is my most important economy source; if I lose this Gu, it will be like receiving a checkmate. Gu Yue Yao Ji made a really fierce move," Fang Yuan frowned.
The discussions of the surrounding Gu Masters entered his ears.
"Medicine hall made a truly great decision! There are very few vitality leaves and they simply can’t meet our needs. Every time a batch appears in the goods board, they will immediately be purchased by others."
"Elder Yao Ji is truly gentle and kind. Look at the name list, it includes several Gu Masters from both Chi and Mo factions. She has no doubt offended many powerful elders with this action."
"Elder Yao Ji is thinking for the clan, she is worthy of respect!"
"Ai, only Lord Yao Ji has such courage. If it was any other elders, who would dare to take such action?"
"Eh! Look, the notification contents have changed. Chi and Mo faction’s Gu Masters have handed over their Nine Leaf Vitality Grass."
The crowd was boiling.
Nine Leaf Vitality Grass being consolidated and unified production meant the availability of much more vitality leaves. This was a great news to the crowd.
Fang Yuan watched the notice with rapt attention and sure enough saw: Beside the name list of these Gu Masters, there were new words ‘handed over’. His own name had thus become conspicuous.
His heart felt increasing pressure.
Gu Yue Yao Ji was an old veteran with deep schemes; with this move, she was borrowing the momentum to pressure Fang Yuan. If Fang Yuan resisted or disobeyed, that would be attracting even bigger troubles, giving people a hold over him; it was absolutely not a sensible act.
This was the power of the system.
If the clan wanted you to sacrifice, it won’t directly say so. Instead it will drape a shiny cape of righteousness, and give you no choice but to submit.
An example was the recruitment of those retired old Gu Masters and making them sacrifice their lives, how could they resist?
The current movement of collecting the Nine Leaf Vitality Grass was asking Fang Yuan and other Gu Masters to sacrifice their benefits to satisfy everyone, and was basically to Yao Ji’s benefits. Anyone that dared to disobey was going against the clan and alienating themselves! They were traitors and rebels!
"To resolve this, small schemes like delaying tactics won’t work and will instead put oneself into an even more passive state. Yao Ji’s move carries righteousness and the public opinion; any small schemes will be destroyed. Only by using an even bigger momentum, fairly fighting back and defeating her momentum openly will resolve this."
Fang Yuan already had a solution.
This plan was simple but grand; advance to Rank three!
Rank three and Rank two Gu Masters had completely different status. In the clan, any Gu Master that advanced to Rank three would immediately become an elder and join the decision makers circle. Even the clan head couldn’t lightly infringe upon their benefits.
Don’t think that the Gu Masters of the Mo and Chi factions obediently handed over the Nine Leaf Vitality Grass, seemingly sacrificing their own benefits. Behind the scenes, Gu Yue Yao Ji should have already completed secret transactions with Gu Yue Chi Lian, Gu Yue Mo Chen and other elders.
This was political transaction.
However, the majority couldn’t see this truth and were hoodwinked by Yao Ji.
If Fang Yuan was a Rank three Gu Master, even if he had to hand over the Nine Leaf Vitality Grass, he would definitely obtain enough compensations in other aspects.
Why was Gu Yue Yao Ji so anxious to deal with Fang Yuan?
On one hand, it was because of benefits; Fang Yuan’s actions infringed on her benefits and similarly she wanted some Gu worms that was on Fang Yuan’s body.
On the other hand, Fang Yuan was already at Rank two peak stage; if she didn’t make any move now and waited for him to become a Rank three elder, there would be no more opportunities.
"Advancing to Rank three is a must. The clan can sacrifice Rank two Gu Masters, but Rank three Gu Masters are its pillars and each loss would incur a huge damage. Moreover, I have accumulated too many troubles. Qing Shu died but the clan didn’t do a careful investigation. I have the Water Shield Gu, Plunder Gu and other Gu worms, but the clan has turned a blind eye to it. My cultivation is advancing so fast, the higher-ups clearly know about it, but are enduring it and haven’t examined the secrets on me."
Fang Yuan was very clear on his current situation.
On the surface, he looked to be strong and well off, but he was actually surrounded by danger.
The clan didn’t move against him because their attention was completely on the wolf tide. If they can’t resist the wolf tide, the clan would be destroyed. In front of such pressure, Fang Yuan’s situation was only a minor detail to them.
However, once the wolf tide is gone, the clan’s higher-ups would regain their energy; how could they not look for him to settle the account?
Before in the academy, the clan elders didn’t move against Fang Yuan because he was too weak. He was taking small steps and didn’t infringe upon their benefits, thus not attracting their attention.
But, it was different now.
Fang Yuan’s cultivation was already at Rank two peak stage, if he took one step further, he would become an elder.
Simply this cultivation had already touched the elders’ nerves. His every movement was observed and noted by the elders.
Any newly advanced elders could influence the whole political situation of the Gu Yue clan. This resulted in continuous suppression of Fang Yuan. What’s more, Fang Yuan hadn’t joined the system and entered any factions, thus these made the suppressions become even more intense.
Neutral faction was also a faction.
No one could tolerate the current Fang Yuan, someone who was roaming beyond the clan system.
"If I advance to Rank three, the suppression will definitely be much more lower than now, though they will still be there. Rank three is a point of qualitative change, a threshold. Stepping through it will bring one to a whole new world. Similarly, with Rank three cultivation, I can freely move about. At worst, I will simply leave the clan." Fang Yuan was clear on this.
However, advancing to Rank three was not an easy thing. Especially considering Fang Yuan’s C grade aptitude, it was almost an impossible barrier.
In his previous life, he had stalled at Rank two peak stage for over a hundred years. Until afterwards, he paid a painful price to obtain a Gu and promoted his aptitude. Only then could he step through this difficulty.
In a Gu Master’s cultivation, it was easy to advance through small realms, they only needed enough time and patience. However, every large realm had a barrier, and the higher you go, the harder it is to cross. Especially the difficulty in advancing from Rank five to Rank six was beyond imagination, harder than ascending heaven!
Fang Yuan already had a lot of difficulties in advancing from Rank one to Rank two. Now, to advance from Rank two to Rank three, there was no possibility of success by following the traditional route.
Fortunately, in Fang Yuan’s five hundred years of life experience and vast memories, there were two to three methods. Saying it nicely, they were alternative paths but saying it coarsely, they were demonic practices.
This option was very suitable for Fang Yuan’s current situation.
With this option, advancing to Rank three required one to refine a peculiar and bloody Gu — Man-beast Life Burial Gu. An ancient devil path sect leader had made painstaking efforts and invented this recipe to strengthen his subordinates’ cultivation.
The Man-beast Life Burial Gu was specialized for Rank two Gu Masters to breakthrough to Rank three realm.
In his previous life, Fang Yuan explored unknown places and coincidentally found this recipe. It had made a deep impression on him and he had firmly kept it in mind.
The crucial point was that the materials required for the fusion were not rare.
If it were normal times, Fang Yuan might need two-three years to collect them, given his circumstances. However the wolf tide gave him a great opportunity.
He had already collected sufficient primeval stones and Gu worms. The only remaining thing was to wait for an opportune moment.
"Everyone, quickly look at the notice the medicine hall has just issued."
"They want to collect Nine Leaf Vitality Grass and unify the production of vitality leaves?"
"This is a great news."
In the bamboo building, a group of Gu Masters gathered near the notice pasted on the wall. They were all filled with delight when they read it.
"Hahaha, I reckon Fang Yuan is close to tears."
"Hmph, serves him right for selling the vitality leaves at such a high price, exploiting our hard earned money!"
"I really want to see what expression Fang Yuan has now….it would definitely be very ugly."
Many people were taking joy in the others’ misfortune.
"Hehehe, this really lets us vent our resentment. We really need to thank Miss Yao Le for this, if she didn’t persuade Lord Yao Ji, how could there be such a day?"
"Right, we are really grateful to Miss Yao Le."
"Miss Yao Le is not only beautiful, she is also kind-hearted, upholding justice and fairness for us. She has the demeanor of Lord Yao Ji."
As she heard the continuous praises, Gu Yue Yao Le shyly lowered her head, she felt happy.
"Little sister Yao Le." Right at this time, Xiong Jiao Man walked in through the door, "I came to say my goodbyes. I saw the medicine hall’s notice, I am really thankful to you for letting me vent out my indignance. People like Fang Yuan are black sheeps and need to be controlled."
"Big sister, you are leaving?" Gu Yue Yao Le threw a concerned look.
Xiong Jiao Man put one hand on her hip and pointed the thumb of her other hand to a group of Gu Masters standing outside the door, saying, "I have already asked for reinforcements, I must hurry back. Let’s meet again next time."
Yao Le’s heart was filled with grief.
Xiong Jiao Man had ten Gu Masters when she had left her clan, but there were only seven left when she reached here. Now, these Gu Masters were going to step into the cruel battlefield again, how many of them could safely return?