In the discussion room, Gu Yue Bo expressionlessly sat in the leader’s seat with deep meaningful eyes.
The remaining dozen or so clan elders all sat upright, looking down, only using the corner of their eye to sweep the surroundings and discern some clues from their expressions.
The atmosphere became delicate.
"Fang Yuan getting first place, the deeper meaning behind this is definitely not simple. He actually said he found a bag of hidden wild boar tusks, this is too unbelievable."
"This bag might’ve been prepared by someone, it is not possible for Fang Yuan to do it himself. That means someone is helping Fang Yuan in the dark."
"This year’s mid-year exam is unlike the previous ones. We had to deploy tens of Rank two Gu Masters to invigilate the exam. Thus the contents of this examination, not only does the academy elder know, but many of the elders in the clan as well."
"If anyone wanted to prepare this bag in advance, it can only be the clan elders present here now, or even the clan leader!"
The clan elders were all shrewd foxes. After being in the political field for years, they immediately thought of many things.
Fang Zheng was an A grade talent, if he really reached Rank four, what did that mean?
That would mean he is the next clan leader!
Fang Yuan is Fang Zheng’s brother. Even if he is only C grade, with that blood relationship, he is worth investing in!
To the clan leader Gu Yue Bo, if he helped Fang Yuan secretly, that would be bringing him into his faction, and to Fang Zheng, it was a good belt to tie him to the leader faction together.
To the clan elders, Fang Zheng who is the only A grade talent in years, has already been absorbed into the clan leader’s faction. If he was really nurtured, the clan leader’s faction would be even stronger. However, if the clan elders made Fang Yuan into their own, using this layer of blood relation, it would be a good chess piece when dealing in Fang Zheng in the future.
Thus, the ten over people in this hall, they all had the motive to help Fang Yuan.
Gu Yue Chi Lian thought deeply, "I did not recruit Fang Yuan, so who would help him secretly? Is it Mo Chen that old man, hmm, possible. Although Fang Yuan killed his family servant, but that’s just a servant, even if they all died it wouldn’t hurt him. The clan leader is more possible though, he took in Fang Zheng, so if he recruited Fang Yuan as well, that would increase his control over Fang Zheng! But… in previous years, the norm is to recruit them during the year end exam. Taking his action now during the mid-year, it is breaking the rules."
"Not exactly breaking the rules, but it really is throwing a curveball. Just exactly who thinks highly of Fang Yuan, even more than me?" Gu Yue Mo Chen was also thinking.
The truth is, after Fang Yuan killed Gao Wan and sent the minced corpse, he changed his impression of Fang Yuan and had the thoughts of recruiting him.
But such actions only happened during the year end, after the students graduated from the academy.
Fang Yuan being recruited in advance, it struck Mo Chen by surprise.
Gu Yue Bo’s gaze was focused on Gu Yue Mo Chen and Gu Yue Chi Lian, the two elders in power.
This clan leader had greater insight.
Fang Yuan blatantly said a lie and got the first place. This action had the meaning of being fearless, thus sending a signal to everyone to show them that — I’m protecting Fang Yuan! He is now my member, and you all better not touch him.
Then who is this person?
The political field in the Gu Yue clan was split into three. Other than the clan leader faction, it was Gu Yue Chi Lian’s Chi family, and Gu Yue Mo Chen’s Mo family.
Gu Yue Bo knew that he himself did not take any actions to recruit Fang Yuan. Thus, the greatest suspect was Chi Lian and Mo Chen.
"These two old fellows, their acting is improving. Seeing their expressions, I really cannot tell. Don’t tell me it really isn’t them, but some other small faction?"
Gu Yue Bo observed carefully as he investigated. He did not know that all the elders were like him, observing, suspecting and deducing.
The academy elder was also guessing, but he had always been in a neutral position, outside of politics, thus his thoughts were simpler, "So Fang Yuan has been recruited by a clan elder. No wonder he let go of Fang Zheng, Mo Bei and Chi Cheng while extorting, that means the one who recruited him was either the clan leader, Chi Lian or Mo Chen. This is good news! It shows that he has accepted reality and has starting integrating into the clan. No matter what, he is now a member of the clan, so once he fully integrates, he will contribute his entire life to the clan!"
After a short silence, Gu Yue Bo could not see any more clues, thus he spoke, "An eye for an eye, since the other party has started targeting Fang Zheng, our Gu Yue clan is not to be trifled with, we will show them! Dark Hall Elder, formulate a plan for this matter and report to me afterwards."
"Yes, sir clan leader." Dark hall elder immediately nodded.
"As for Gu Yue Fang Zheng, I’m afraid his heart might be damaged from such an encounter. He is an A grade talent, and to our clan, the status is monumental. From now on, I will teach him personally." Gu Yue Bo said.
No clan elders objected.
Many people knew that the clan leader had already given much benefits to Gu Yue Fang Zheng in the dark. Now that he mentioned this, even though it violated the fairness rule, with sufficient reasoning, the clan elders could not stop him.
"As for Gu Yue Fang Yuan..." Gu Yue Bo dragged his words.
At once, all the clan elders paid their fullest attention. Was the clan leader hinting that he was the one helping Fang Yuan secretly?
Gu Yue Bo looked at everyone’s expression as his gaze swept through, but he was destined to be disappointed.
Thus, he could only continue, "With his C grade talent, he managed to get first place. It is not easy. Thus, in my personal name, I reward him thirty primeval stones. Academy elder, pass my word and tell him to continue working hard."
"Yes, clan leader." The academy elder bowed as he received his orders.
"Thirty primeval stones, such an ordinary reward, what does this mean?" The clan elders frowned.
"No matter who absorbed Fang Yuan, this thirty primeval stones is my expression of goodwill. After all, there is still the Bai and Xiong clan other than Gu Yue." Gu Yue Bo sighed in his heart.
Fang Zheng was assassinated by external foes. Fang Yuan’s cheating was internal conflict.
Against external foes, one had to use hard handed methods to retaliate, but for internal conflict, Gu Yue Bo chose to use the soft approach, in order to avoid too much internal conflict and result in the entire clan’s strength being weakened.
"Alright, this matter will be settled like this. Everyone may leave and do all your work well, the clan’s prosperity has everything to do with your performances." Gu Yue Bo waved his hand.
"Yes clan leader, we will take our leave."
The clan elders left one by one, and after a few breath’s time, only Gu Yue Bo was left in the room.
He sighed deeply, using his fingers to rub his two temples.
As the clan leader, even if he was the person with the most authority in the Gu Yue clan, it did not mean that he had it easy. He needed to coordinate the interests of the different factions, and could not do as he wished. The clan’s forces were dispersed and intertwined through many generations of inheritance, and they all had long history, restricting one another.
Against outside forces, he had to deal with the arrogant and rude Xiong clan village and the gradually rising Bai clan village.
Internally, he had to resolve the complicated political conflict in the clan. Although he was middle-aged, he already had white hair all over.
"These years of being the clan leader, although I had sufficient resources, my cultivation has barely advanced. My heart is tired from all these tiresome clan affairs. Sometimes, I really want to be a lone cultivator, free and easy with no burden. That would allow me to move faster and I might travel even further in my cultivation path."
Gu Yue Bo sighed in his heart.
As long as one is in the clan system, they had responsibilities on them. Once they had responsibilities it would not be easy to wholeheartedly cultivate.
But on the reverse, if one is not in the system, the clan’s resources would not be available to them, and without resources, their cultivation would come to a halt.
This formed a contradiction, a weird loop.
Because of this loop, many people's futures were ruined, burying an insurmountable number of talents and geniuses.
Wang Da is dead.
Three days later, Fang Yuan got the news.
At the same time, he also heard from Jiang He that the two young hunters vanished when hunting in the mountains. As for the hunter whose right hand was broken by Fang Yuan, he "committed suicide" in his home out of depression.
Jiang He looked at Fang Yuan meaningfully when he said the news. He had seen Wang Da’s corpse, thus recognising him.
But he did not dare to say Wang Da’s true identity.
He was the stationed Gu Master, and held responsibility. As long as one is in the system, regardless of position, they had responsibility.
Wang Da became a demonic faction cultivator for three years, and Jiang He as the village Gu Master did not investigate. If they really pursued responsibility, this would become the biggest flaw in his records, and his future in the clan would be ruined.
The three hunter’s peculiar deaths were covered up by him.
"Fang Yuan, since we’re acquaintances, from now on you get a 50% discount when you purchase things from my cousin brother Jiang Ya’s shop!" During one time, Jiang He said this to Fang Yuan.
Everyone else was dead, only Fang Yuan and him knew of this matter. But if the matter was revealed, it did not have a huge impact on Fang Yuan.
He only killed three village servants, and even if he killed thirty, the clan would not pursue it, at most he would pay "tens of primeval stones" as a punishment.
Jiang He’s bribery, Fang Yuan took it with ease. To him, this matter was full of surprise and danger, but the result was good.
After this matter, Fang Yuan who had no foundation within the clan, received half an ally and also a non-existent faction supporting him.
This mysterious backer became Fang Yuan’s second safety net. When he started showing his strength gradually, this safety net would have a crucial impact, at least able to allow him to cultivate until Rank two without much opposition.
At this point, he could feel clearly the academy elder’s changing attitude towards him, into a more amicable one.
Over ten days passed in a flash.
After Gu Yue Fang Zheng and Mo Bei advanced, Fang Yuan and Chi Cheng almost simultaneously advanced to Rank one upper stage successfully.
Although extortion continued, he no longer took Fang Zheng, Mo Bei and Chi Cheng’s primeval stones, and he started becoming more low key, while his strength grew rapidly at a speed multiple times of his previous life.