Lan Ruo neither dared to lie nor to exaggerate at all, because he knew that every word he was uttering now would be subject to verification in the future!
If he ended up giving Chu Yang the impression that he had lied… the consequences would be unbelievably serious!
Chu Yang sat up straight and listened seriously . He committed everything to memory; these were all information that were going to be very crucial when he returned to the Upper Three Heavens .
After all, having someone speak this honestly with him was a once-in-lifetime opportunity, even for him!
A rare opportunity such as this had to be cherished!
In addition, Chu Yang also discovered that Lan Ruo was indeed a talent . Despite the Lan Clan’s forces being made up of so many people and so many things happening, not only could he introduce them all to Chu Yang in a neat and organized fashion, he was even able to sort the information into clear and concise levels of hierarchy without a hint of disorganization .
The most amazing thing was that he even weaved in a few interesting anecdotes about a few of the elders, so not only would the listener not get bored or distracted, they could even naturally develop a deeper impression of some people…
He was a talent indeed .
“The Lan Clan is not considered powerful among the Nine Super Clans . Brother Chu, you must keep this in mind . ” Lan Ruo was absolutely sincere . “The Lan Clan would rank only sixth or seventh at best . ”
“Top in the ranks is the Ye Clan . From what I know…” Lan Ruo started to speak at length about the other Super Clans again . It was apparent that the Lan Clan had also put in a lot of hard work in this aspect .
He listed names as though he were listing family treasures .
Then, he went on to the Xiao Clan, Chen Clan, Zhuge Clan, Li Clan… etc… Lan Ruo spoke continuously and fervently . Once in a while, he would drink some wine to soothe his throat before continuing .
The others listened quietly at the side .
The four Supreme Martial Artists of the Lan Clan were all smiling as they watched Lan Ruo in a somewhat ‘comforted’ manner .
The current Lan Ruo was like an exam candidate sitting for high school exams, while the four Lan Clan Supreme Martial Artists were like parents accompanying their child sitting for exams . Everyone’s hearts were equally excited and comforted as they listened to him; why would they be impatient at all?
When he reached some parts where his explanation was rather unclear, all of them became incredibly anxious and wished that they could take over for him . But everyone knew that that was not doable at all, because that would make Chu Yang look down on Lan Ruo through and through .
This was a test from the Nine Tribulations Sword Master toward the Nine Tribulations!
When they thought of this, the four Supreme Martial Artists couldn’t help but feel like they were going to tear up .
“In summary, Big Brother, Little Brother here has a personal ranking for the Nine Super Clans . ” Lan Ruo smiled modestly .
“Go ahead,” said Chu Yang approvingly .
“Hmm, no matter from which aspect, the Ye Clan’s strength well deserves its number one spot . Second is the Xiao Clan and third the Yè Clan . The Li Clan can be considered fourth while the Ling Clan can be considered fifth . As for my Lan Clan and the Chen Clan, we are equally matched for sixth and seventh . Eighth is the Shi Clan and ninth the Zhuge Clan . ”
Lan Ruo cautioned in reminder, “Although the Zhuge Clan is ranked ninth, it must be noted that this ranking is in terms of martial strength . If we were to rank the clans in terms of intelligence, the Zhuge Clan would no doubt come out top . Their mysterious ability to probe into heavenly secrets… must not be belittled . ”
Chu Yang nodded slowly . He happened to hold the same view as Lan Ruo when it came to the ranking . In fact, there was no difference between Lan Ruo’s ranking and the evaluation which Yue Lingxue had given him about the Nine Super Clans .
“Of course, five thousand years ago, Lord Dharma Supreme had gathered the leaders of the Nine Super Clans and instructed them to groom a covert batch of experts to stand against the Nine Tribulations Sword Master . Several hundred years ago, Lord Dharma Supreme gathered everyone again because of this matter and made another round of arrangements . This has been kept an absolute secret . As such, each Super Clan still has one or two batches of covert troops . These troops are the clans’ biggest secret; outsiders, even the direct bloodline descendants of the clan, probably don’t know much about it . ”
Lan Ruo went on, “As for our Lan Clan, it was only when I was about to come down to the Lower Three Heavens that the Elder Master told me . ”
“Hmm, in that case, the Nine Super Clans should possess over 1,000 Supreme Martial Artists in the open… If we consider the mysterious covert troops, they should have… more than 2,000?” asked Chu Yang with a frown .
“Not just 2,000! This number should be doubled!” answered Lan Ruo firmly . “At the very least, our Lan Clan’s covert troops already consists of 370 Supreme Martial Artists! Although their grades are not terribly high, their Supreme Martial Artist level is for certain . Anyone below the level of a Supreme Martial Artist does not qualify to enter the covert troops . ”
“This is the true secret weapon of every Super Clan!” revealed Lan Ruo in a heavy tone .
“Then that makes the number close to 5,000…” Chu Yang inhaled a deep breath of icy air .
During the Slaying of the Tao battle on Mount Xingyun, Zi Xieqing had annihilated 600 to 700 Supreme Martial Artists in one breath . Chu Yang had originally thought that the Super Clans had taken a huge blow at the fundamental level as a result . He did not expect their private covert troops to be this astonishing!
“In that case, should I wish to complete the mission of the Nine Tribulations Sword Master, I would have to face 5,000 Supreme Martial Artists!” Chu Yang took a deep breath, his face rather pale .
“No! Big Brother, it’s not ‘you’ but ‘us’!” Lan Ruo smiled broadly at him . “I am willing to follow Big Brother in life and death; the same naturally goes for the Lan Clan! After deducting our clan’s 500 Supreme Martial Artists from the count, we would need to face only 4,500 . Besides, considering that we are scheming against the unprepared, our 500 Supreme Martial Artists will be able to eliminate 1,000 people, or even 1,500 people, from the other side!”
“This is a conservative estimate!” Lan Ruo smiled conceitedly .
“We must not underestimate our enemy . ” Chu Yang took an icy breath and lamented regretfully in his heart .
What a shame, if you had told me this before I became sworn enemies with you guys, I would definitely have made use of this . When that happens, it wouldn’t have been as simple as just eliminating 1,000 people from the other side…
But now, the moment the Nine Heavens passageway opens, you would know everything… When that happens, killing me ten thousand times wouldn’t even be enough for you…
Besides… other than the 370 Supreme Martial Artists in your clan’s covert troops, you only have 100-odd others left . But on Mount Xingyun, 60 to 70 out of these 140 to 150 people have already been eliminated…
Kiddo, your intel isn’t very accurate .
“The enemy is too formidable . ” Chu Yang’s expression was solemn .
“They are . ” Lan Ruo also took a deep breath . “Our journey is a tough one . ”
Chu Yang smiled at him . “You can still change your mind . ”
“Does Big Brother think of me as such a fickle and baseman?!” Lan Ruo put on an offended and displeased look . “As long as I’m with Big Brother, no matter what kind of dire situation, we’ll go through it together!”
Chu Yang looked at Lan Ruo and sighed . “You must be prepared for the deaths of many people . ”
Lan Ruo raised his head and replied calmly, “Even death… will not give me any regrets!”
“Good! Well said!” Chu Yang said loudly, “Come, let us have a drink together!”
“Yes, Big Brother!”
Raising their winecups, the two of them rose to their feet, threw back their heads and downed the wine . Then, they looked at each other and burst into laughter, filling the atmosphere with a feeling as though they had found a bosom friend in each other . Seeing this, the four Supreme Martial Artists present felt like tearing up .
Finally… he had passed the test…
Although Chu Yang was smiling outwardly, he was, however, sighing in regret inside .
No one in this world understood clearer than him just how big of a mistake the Lan Clan had committed! And what kind of amazing opportunity they had missed!
The Lan Clan was the only clan within the Nine Super Clans in the Nine Heavens that definitely could have survived unscathed!
The Lan Clan’s ties with the Nine Tribulations Sword Master were simply too close .
The Nine Tribulations Sword Master’s mother’s Teacher was Lan Meixian of the Lan Clan .
The Nine Tribulations Sword Master’s wife’s Teacher was Lan Meixian of the Lan Clan .
The Nine Tribulations Sword Master’s current two biggest forces, Yue Lingxue and Feng Yurou, had had very friendly ties with the Lan Clan for several thousand years .
Even if the Lan Clan did not do anything and had just sat there waiting, Chu Yang wouldn’t have dealt with them either!
And even if they did, as long as they didn’t go too far, Chu Yang would also have put up with it . He had to consider his mother and his wife after all; these two were people whom he wouldn’t have been able to get past at all .
But now, everything had already reached a point of no return, and neither was there any way to turn back!
First, the Lan Clan had resorted to despicable methods to destroy their emotional ties with Yue Lingxue and Feng Yurou, causing both parties to fall out completely . The pursuit after leaving Tianji City in particular made Moon Breeze hate the Lan Clan to the core even more!
They had also used various despicable means when they were in Tianji City to scheme against and make use of Chu Yang, and became enemies with him . Besides, Lan Changge even made use of Wu Qianqian, who was hopelessly in love with Chu Yang, to set up a trap and attempted to violate her!
This made Chu Yang even more unable to condone them!
Next, they had also fully participated in the secret scheme against the Nine Tribulations Sword Master and put on their toughest defenses . Of course, the Nine Tribulations Sword Master’s identity did not surface in the Upper Three Heavens at all and the Lan Clan’s reaction could be said to be putting on an act .
However, they didn’t expect that the Chu Yang, whom they had been dealing with and making use of, was in fact the Nine Tribulations Sword Master!
And now, he even discovered that Lan Meixian had even betrayed Tie Butian and sent people down to the Lower Three Heavens to wait for him .
If they had been sincere in befriending him, just sending Lan Ruo alone would have sufficed . Even though it would be risky, it would show their sincerity . But Lan Ruo had brought four Supreme Martial Artists with him instead; why was that?
The answer was practically clear for all to see — The moment the partnership fell through, they would destroy the Nine Tribulations Sword Master! And kill him!
Even an idiot wouldn’t believe that the Lan Clan didn’t have such plans!
Step by step, the Lan Clan could be said to have come up with plan after plan . But what was the most aggravating was that no matter which plan of theirs, they had all come out empty-handed and pushed themselves closer and closer toward destruction .
And also further and further away from Chu Yang, the Nine Tribulations Sword Master .
There was also one more reason — the Shadows .
Chu Yang valued very much the Shadows who had protected Tie Butian back then . Even though they were from the Lan Clan, they were very loyal to Tie Butian and even saw her as their own and gave her an endless amount of familial kinship .
If Tie Butian had ever experienced kinship from anyone in her entire life, then it would no doubt be from the two of them . Chu Yang had always admired them very much .
But when he had come down this time, they had instead gone missing .
Chu Yang had asked Tie Butian but she didn’t know either . The point at which they had gone missing was coincidentally the same timing as when Lan Ruo and the others had just come down to the Lower Three Heavens .
When they met earlier, Chu Yang could already tell — There were two jade pendants hanging on Lan Ruo’s neck . They were the Heavenly Treasures — Mysterious Yang Jade!
That was why he had observed Lan Ruo’s neck quite a few times .
And everytime he did, his heart ached!
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