After asking Li Jun and the Six Legged Bladelike Chi to stay outside, Teng Qingshan carried the Splitting Mountain Axe and headed into the cave with Pei San.
They walked in the cave for a very long time before they finally arrived in a very quiet room where a faint glow shone in through the cracks on the wall.
"Sit," Pei San beckoned, sitting cross-legged before a low stone table.
Teng Qingshan sat opposite him.
"Tell me, why have you come here?" Pei San asked with a smile.
"Sovereign," Teng Qingshan frowned and said, "I heard that you have dispatched a huge army, as well as the Immortal Guards, the Bloody Lotus Guard, and the Energy Destroyers, southward to attack Yangzhou?"
"Yes, that is true." Pei San nodded.
"Your three elite troops are indeed powerful, especially the Energy Destroyers. These 12,000 First Rated Warrior of yours are terrifyingly strong. If I've guessed correctly, the Energy Destroyers were raised by using the Elixir Of the North Sea, right?" Teng Qingshan asked with a smile. "I heard that a great amount of the Elixir of the North Sea emerged after what happened in the Great Yan Mountain."
In the past, the Elixir of the North Sea had invoked the fight between the Supreme Sects. Although it was considered a secret to the world, the Emptiness Realm Experts all knew about it.
"Yes." Pei San nodded.
"Sovereign, the Energy Destroyers are indeed very powerful. To be honest, even I myself approve the strong ability of the men of the Heavenly God Palace."
Hearing this, Pei San smiled. Everyone loved hearing flattery.
However, immediately, Teng Qingshan changed his topic as he continued elaborating, "However, according to my knowledge, Sovereign, you are not the only one that acquired the Elixir of the North Sea, right?"
Pei San frowned slightly.
"This time, you have destroyed Xiao Yao Palace in Qingzhou and Hong Tian City in Youzhou. Now, you are attacking Yangzhou! What do you suppose the people of this world will think? Not to mention the other sects' opinions? Firstly, Qing Hu Island of Yangzhou will definitely fight back regardless of the cost. As the saying goes, the fox grieves if the rabbit dies. I am sure the Shooting Sun God Mountain knows that they will be next if Qing Hu Island is doomed. Therefore, the two Emptiness Realm Experts and the Emptiness Realm Demonic Beast of the Shooting Sun God Mountain will definitely help the Blind Swordmaster," Teng Qingshan said solemnly.
Pei San smiled and nodded,
"Sovereign, you are now in control of the Great Prairie in the north as well as Youzhou and Qingzhou. You rule over one billion people. Now, Emperor Yu's Hall, Ying Family, and Mani Temple are already taking guard against you. Sovereign, if you destroy Yangzhou and set your eyes on Yanzhou, I am afraid that even the southernmost Mani Temple won't tolerate your actions.
"In terms of manpower!
"A few sects have acquired the Elixir of the North Sea, and those sects are able to create a powerful army of First Rated Warriors. Emperor Yu's Hall and Mani Temple will help the Shooting Sun God Mountain and Qing Hu Island. If so, it wouldn't be weird if even an army with over ten thousand First Rated Warriors appeared.
"In terms of Emptiness Realm Experts…
"The Shooting Sun God Mountain and Qing Hu Island have a total of four! If Mani Temple and Emperor Yu's Hall tolerate your actions, there will only be four. However, if they don't tolerate them and end up bursting out in anger, then there will be definitely more than four Emptiness Realm Experts! There might be seven, eight, or even over ten Emptiness Realm Experts!"
"With more manpower and the geographical advantages, as well as the assistance of the Mani Temple and the other sects, I am afraid…"
Teng Qingshan sighed and said, "Sovereign, previously, when the enemy was just Hong Tian City, Brother Li Chao lost an arm. If you attack Yangzhou and cause the Mani Temple and the other sects to take action, I am afraid more than one Emptiness Realm Expert will die. Sovereign, are you willing to let this happen?"
Hearing this, Pei San furrowed his brows. It had indeed pained him when Li Chao lost his arm.
Ever since Li Chao was young, Pei San had taught and nurtured him. He viewed Li Chao as a son. Therefore, when Li Chao's arm broke, Pei San had been extremely furious.
He had to admit that…
Teng Qingshan's words had struck Pei San.
"Sovereign, if you can wait for a dozen to twenty years..." Teng Qingshan said, "With the vast land and population of Qingzhou, Youzhou, and the Great Prairie, you will be able to build a firm and stable foundation within a dozen or twenty years. The land of three prefectures will be able to raise an army of millions easily. By that time, no one will be able to stop the army of millions from charging southward.
"By that time, even the foundation of the Mani Temple would be weaker than the Heavenly God Palace.
"If you achieve a breakthrough a dozen or twenty years later, the Heavenly God Palace will be even more powerful. By that time, there's a higher chance that your army will be able to conquer the world.
"Just endure for over a hundred years. Then with the flourishing lands of the three Prefectures, it is possible that the Heavenly God Palace might have two or three more Emptiness Realm Experts. By that time, the Heavenly God Palace will have become more powerful to the extent of being able to defeat the Mani Temple. The Heavenly God Palace would be able to win without even engaging in a battle with them," Teng Qingshan said with a smile. "Sovereign, think about it. Is it better to fight, suffer, and lose several Emptiness Realm Experts or wait until the Heavenly God Palace has consolidated enough strength to obtain victory through a road that's as easy as crushing dry weeds and smashing rotten wood? Please decide for yourself."
Pei San frowned.
What Teng Qingshan said was reasonable. However, Pei San's thought process was different from Teng Qingshan's. The things he wished to do weren't things that Teng Qingshan could imagine.
"Haha, Huhe," Pei San suddenly laughed.
"Sovereign, are you done choosing?" Teng Qingshan asked calmly.
Pei San smiled as he looked at Teng Qingshan and said, "Emptiness Realm Experts cultivate in seclusion all year long, therefore, they are normally bad at negotiating. However, you are quite good at negotiating and persuading. I have to admit that even I am swayed by your words."
Hearing this, Teng Qingshan felt alarmed.
The situation was bad!
"Huhe, you've come to persuade me because of the Gui Yuan Sect, right? I heard that you have a close relationship with that sect." Pei San didn't give an answer but asked a question instead.
"Yes. Back in the day, the Gui Yuan Sect showed me kindness," Teng Qingshan answered.
Pei San nodded and said, "It is good to repay a kindness. Huhe, to be honest, the attack on Yangzhou has already been part of my plan since a long time ago. I will not make any changes. As for the things that might happen, I am confident that the Heavenly God Palace can deal with it."
Teng Qingshan couldn't see through the smile on Pei San's face.
"I owe the Gui Yuan Sect a debt of gratitude," Teng Qingshan said softly, "I don't want to see them destroyed."
"If the army charging southward is about to attack Jiangning County, are you going to fight against me?" Pei San said with a glint flashing in his eyes as he stared at Teng Qingshan.
Teng Qingshan stared and replied abruptly, "Yes!"
"Alright," Pei San nodded and replied with a smile, "For you to choose to fight against the Heavenly God Palace just because of a debt of gratitude shows that you are a courageous and good man.
"However… No matter how much I approve of you, my plan will never change," Pei San said, still smiling. "The Heavenly God Palace have planned for several hundred years to attack Yangzhou in the south. After enduring for several hundred years, we have now emerged just to conquer several prefectures. Do you think these several hundred years of endurance can be undone just because of your words and my approval of you? Huhe, leave. You can ask the Gui Yuan Sect to disband and scatter as soon as possible. Ask them to hide in preparation to rise again."
Teng Qingshan's expression hardened.
"Sovereign, you owe me a favor.," Teng Qingshan said with a deep voice.
"Indeed." Pei San nodded.
"In consideration of this favor, I hope you won't attack Yangzhou," Teng Qingshan pleaded as he stared at Pei San.
"Are you using this favor to ask me not to attack Yangzhou?" Pei San was stunned. He then smiled bitterly and said, "I have enmeshed myself in a trap that I devised."
Teng Qingshan held his breath as he stared at Pei San.
"Haha…" Pei San suddenly guffawed. The reverberation of his laughter shook the room, causing many pieces of rock to fall. When Pei San stood up, Teng Qingshan immediately stood up.
Pei San held up the jug of wine in the corner of the quiet room and took a drink. He then turned and stared at Teng Qingshan intensely. "Huhe, you think too highly of me. My debt of a favor to you is not as important as the attack on Yangzhou. I can help you kill someone, but if you want me to stop attacking Yangzhou, then just a favor is not enough for me to do so."
"If the promise of the reward is included?" Teng Qingshan asked.
"Still not enough." Pei San's hair suddenly fluttered fiercely. He glared at Teng Qingshan coldly and asked, "Do you still not understand? The conquest of one prefecture is related to a long-lasting success. Compared to that, what value do the favor and the promise have? Therefore, I am definitely attacking and conquering Yangzhou. Don't waste any more of your time."
Teng Qingshan's face blackened in anger.
Pei San... was indeed an ambitious and ruthless figure. Favor? Promise? By saying that favor and the promise were not as important as the conquest of Yangzhou, he was able to decline fulfilling Teng Qingshan's request. If Teng Qingshan asked Pei San to do something he felt reluctant to do, he could just say, 'It is not worth it for me to do this for the sake of that favor.'
How great a favor this must be for it to depend entirely upon Pei San's opinion.
"However, this favor and this promise can save you one county to ensure the continued existence of the Gui Yuan Sect. What do you think?" Pei San said with a smile.
"The favor and the promise in exchange for the land of one county?"
Teng Qingshan hesitated before he looked toward Pei San and answered, "Deal."
"Alright." Pei San nodded. "Since you have agreed, you can now choose between the northernmost Chu County or the southernmost Nanman County in the region of Yangzhou.
The Gui Yuan Sect can stay in one of these two counties."
"What?" As soon as Teng Qingshan heard this, he froze momentarily and exclaimed, "Sovereign, I wanted Jiangning County! Let Gui Yuan Sect stay in Jiangning County!"
"Haha... Jiangning County?" Pei San guffawed as he stared at Teng Qingshan. "Huhe, you aren't a fool. Do you not understand? Jiangning County is located at the center of Yangzhou. It is a flourishing land. Moreover, Yu Yang Grand Canal runs through Jiangning County. How can I let other sects occupy such an important location?
"You can only choose either the northernmost Chu County or the southernmost Nanman County. The favor and the promise are only worth one of these two counties."
Teng Qingshan's expression turned cold.
Even his heart turned cold.
What was the most important to a sect? The foundation!
For example, although the Heavenly God Palace had already conquered Qingzhou and Youzhou, they have not begun managing and exerting control over the prefectures. Therefore, their control of these prefectures would still be very weak.
The same went for the Gui Yuan Sect. The Gui Yuan Sect had been in Jiangning for over a thousand years. As their foundation was very deeply rooted in Jiangning County, even the distant villages knew that Jiangning was ruled by the Gui Yuan Sect. Such integration could not be formed within ten or twenty years. A time of ten or twenty years could only make the people obey the sect. Instead, it would take many generations... or a time of several hundred years or even over a thousand years to win the hearts of the people.
Yet Pei San was asking the Gui Yuan Sect to abandon Jiangning County and move to the unfamiliar Nanman County or Chu County?
"Teacher said that it would be fine if the Gui Yuan Sect is able to stay in Jiangning. I did not expect Pei San to be this ruthless," Teng Qingshan thought furiously and anxiously. "If worst comes to worst, we will fight!"
"It took the Heavenly God Palace spent several months to eliminate Qingzhou and over half a year to eliminate Hong Tian City. I think the destruction of Yangzhou and Qing Hu Island will take much more time. According to the agreement, the Undying Phoenix, Little Blue, should be here within one or two months. We will fight then. When Little Blue arrives, it can cooperate with the Six Legged Bladelike Chi. Little Blue's speed and ability to attack groups will make the Heavenly God Palace will cry," he declared inwardly.
Teng Qingshan had no other choice.
He could only bet!
He could only bet that the Undying Phoenix would arrive before the attack on the Gui Yuan Sect began.
"It doesn't matter. If there's not enough time, I will ride the Six Legged Bladelike Chi and head to Phoenix Island. I will just ask them here." Teng Qingshan made up his mind.
He decided to break off this relationship with the Heavenly God Palace!
For the sake of the Gui Yuan Sect, he could only make this choice!