“How dare you!” Forefather Goldenbell raged, glaring hotly and aiming his demigod aura at the cultivators coming his way.
He was no pushover. He wouldn’t allow anyone to lay a finger on or get a share of what he’d set his eyes on. The dragon was his, and his alone!
The others had come to an understanding beforehand. It infuriated them that the forefather would threaten them with his aura. They shouldered the force between themselves without missing a beat and quietly persevered.
The forefather was caught off guard. He’d thought they’d lose their composure and scatter once he struck, getting some of them to flee and leaving the others behind, but they’d already formed a united front, aiming to challenge his authority!
The forefather levelled them with a cool stare. “What is this? Are you openly defying me?”
“Don’t say that, forefather. We followed you out of goodwill. We’re in the same boat and should work together.”
“That’s right. If we get selfish, we’ll repeat the mistakes of the rebels in Eternal Divine Nation. We have to be a team. You said so yourself.”
The forefather fumed. He really had just said that. He couldn’t come up with a counter-argument when they used his own words against him.
He managed to keep a level head despite his fury. They’d come prepared with an understanding and were determined to stick their fingers in the pie.
Forefather Goldenbell wasn’t a reckless man. After some deliberation, he concluded that it’d be too difficult for him to deal with them on his own. What was more, as soon as a fight broke out, his plans would be rendered obsolete.
He’d cooled down after a moment. Brute force wasn’t the answer here. He had to be smart about things.
“How wonderful of you all to offer your help,” he said with a faint smile. “Let us have an open conversation. We must capture the dragon alive. If you help me subdue it, you will be rewarded in the future.”
“Future reward is a little too nebulous, forefather. I think it’ll be better for us to kill it and split the gain immediately.”
“Bullshit!” snapped the forefather, infuriated. “Don’t you know a living true dragon is more than ten times the value of a dead one?!”
“Haha, then how are we going to split the gains, Forefather?”
“That’s right. It isn’t right for you to have a living dragon while we get nothing.” They were becoming increasingly forward.
The forefather scoffed. “Then what do you suggest?”
“We’ll defer to you, Forefather. We’ll accept any reasonable arrangement.”
“Reasonable?” The forefather huffed and paused for a thoughtful moment. “How about I promise each of you three drops of the dragon’s blood? I’ll give it to you in batches. In addition, we’ll negotiate an additional deal on stones and spirit herbs. The total value will be no less than a billion stones. What do you say?”
That was a generous offer; a billion stones was a considerable sum. However, it wasn’t that appealing to figureheads from major sects and families like them.
Noting their disinterest, the forefather growled, “Don’t get too greedy. I can deal with the dragon without you.”
“Haha, your offer is generous, I guess, but it’s not enough compared to a true dragon’s bloodline.”
“Then what do you want?” The forefather could barely contain his rage.
“If we help you capture the dragon and you ascend to godhood, you owe us three favors. You have to help whether we or our descendents seek you out.”
“Three favors for each of you?” the forefather asked incredulously.
“There are seven of you. That makes it twenty-one favors. Am I to be your slave in the future?‘
“That’s nothing compared to the true dragon, right?”
“What if you make some unreasonable requests?” asked the forefather in a cool voice. “Am I to fulfill them as well? That’s not how the world works.”
“Don’t worry. Our requests won’t hurt your interests or violate fundamental morality.”
The forefather thought pensively, weighing his options.
These bastards are clearly trying to take advantage. I can’t possibly let them! I might as well agree first. I’ll deal with them one by one later.
With his mind made up, the forefather accepted with feign reluctance, “Alright, I agree to your conditions. However, you better not play tricks on me. No unreasonable requests are allowed or I’ll turn you away!”
“Don’t worry, we won’t cross a line,” they promised.
“But you have to swear an oath, forefather. How can we trust you to honor the deal otherwise?”
The forefather gritted his teeth. They sure were being careful.
“Fine, I’ll do as you say. But if anyone has any ideas otherwise, don’t blame me for turning on you!” He went on to make an oath. “If the seven of you help me tame the dragon, I promise to give you three drops of dragon blood, three favors, and a billion worth of fortunes. If I go back on my word, may heaven smite me with destruction!”
The oath had serious consequences, but he’d left some wiggle room. You have to be alive to enjoy what I give you. If you die, it doesn’t count as me breaking my oath.
However, the forefather had underestimated the figureheads’ intelligence.
After he made the oath, someone cackled and piped up, “There’s something missing still. We’ve offended you today. What if you get us back in the future? All seven of us together are able to shoulder your ire, but divided, it’ll be easy for you to kill us.”
“Right, right, right. We don’t want to end up dead without getting what we’re promised.”
“Forefather, please swear another oath that you won’t get back at us or instigate or hire other experts to come after us.”
There were seven of them. Not even the smallest detail escaped their attention.
The forefather wanted nothing but to turn on them right then and there. He didn’t expect them to be so thorough, leaving him with no room to get out of the deal. However, there was nothing he could do now. If he wanted the true dragon, he had to make compromises.
He nodded. “I, Forefather Goldenbell, hereby swear to…”
They listened carefully to every word out of the forefather’s mouth. Only after they made sure nothing was amiss did they nod contently.
“Brothers, let’s work together to help the forefather tame this dragon and enjoy the benefits together.”
“Agreed. The forefather has been open and honest with us. We mustn’t disappoint him.”
“Come on. Let’s go.”
The forefather was furious, but he didn’t lose his calm. Once he weighed the pros and cons, he concluded that it was still a worthwhile deal despite the trickery. As long as he acquired the dragon, the promised rewards would be trivial in comparison.
He waved a hand. “I’ve accepted your requests. We’re now truly on the same boat and should work as a team. Listen to my orders and split up to attack from different directions. You must trap it so that I can subdue it.”
It’d be helpful to have these seven men obstruct the dragon’s escape route. He wouldn’t have to worry about it rampaging wildly then.
If he was alone and the dragon determined to run away, he wasn’t a hundred percent certain that he’d be able to capture it. With seven helpers though, he was confident in his success.
“Take a look at this map. We have to guard the locations where anyone exiting would have to pass through. You each take a spot and form a circle.”
“There are five locations and seven of us, forefather.”
“That’s right. The remaining two can be on standby. Go wherever requires help and be on your guard. You have an important responsibility. You will be the glue that maintains the concerted effort and responds to any unforeseen events.”
“Yes, we have to be cautious.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t hesitate to help if a problem arises. As long as you keep watch at these locations, I’ll tame the dragon as quickly as I can.”
The demigod forefather was at least confident enough to promise that.
After they’d divided their work, the forefather motioned at them to get going. “Alright, go to your posts. Remember not to push yourself or take unnecessary risks. I’m here. You only have to fulfill your duty. Don’t do anything else without my order.”
The forefather worried that someone might get reckless out of greed and disrupt his plan.
While the eight men were plotting to seize the dragon, Jiang Chen and the Vermilion Bird exchanged a knowing smile from a short distance. As they expected, these men couldn’t resist such a prize.
“Senior Vermilion, in what order should we take out these eight?” The bird was still their main attacker.
“Are you sure the Soulless Powder of Wind and Cloud will come into effect as soon as you activate the formation?”
“The powder may not be able to debilitate cultivators at their level, but they’ll be weakened to some degree. However, it’ll have no effect on the demigod.”
“That’s fine. I can trap even the divine forefather from House Xiahou. The demigod is only a third as strong as the divine forefather. With me striking from the dark, I’m seventy to eighty percent sure I’ll be able to take him down with one hit!” The bird brimmed with confidence.