A subdued atmosphere surrounded the hall as its inhabitants sat there, stonefaced by what they had just heard.
Feiyun was long gone from the hall, his mother had taken him out from it while the two captives were being interrogated. The Soul Exalt elder was shivering from head to tail with his eyes filled with despair. He had no hope of leaving this place alive and he knew it. To his side, the Soul Sprite youth was completely still with his head and eyes pointed at the ceiling. He looked almost comatose with how still and dull he was.
The man sitting at the front of the hall was especially stonefaced. “Take these two away and place them under strict surveillance!!”
Several guards appeared at once to take the two away. Neither of them struggled as they were taken away. It seemed as though they had lost all will to fight.
“The Soul Refining School, Wind and Lightning School, and the Beast Taming School!!”
Three names were barked out with astonished disbelief. “What an utter uproar this is for something as massive as this to take place on this continent…”
The other people in the hall shared in his shock. The white-robed elder on the right looked utterly frigid. “Never would it be any of our guesses that three great schools would unite against us. It’s little surprise that a small scout group would have that many experts in it then…this situation is far more trouble than we thought!”
“Pah!!” The yellow-faced man snarled, “Many of our predecessors died in the great battle two thousand years ago and forced us to hide. And now two thousand years later, they’re trying to do the very same thing, how intolerable can they get!?”
“Alas…I doubt there’d be anyone that’d allow us to stay safe on the sidelines in this chaotic mess nowadays. If three major schools already know of the secret in the Qimang Mountains, it won’t be long before the rest come knocking at our doors. Our long-held isolation is no more!!”
“Bah! There won’t be any way we’ll stand to let ourselves be used so disgracefully by the Soul Refining School even if we are to reappear onto the continent! The troubles they have stirred onto the continent won’t go unpunished! Even if unwilling, our aid would be helping our enemies far too much, we cannot allow that to happen!”
“That’s right! I say we shouldn’t even wait here, we should make our entrance onto the continent and join with the royal family! Our contributions in that battle two thousand years ago can’t be understated. Even though we have hidden for two thousand years, it’s our time to remind the continent of our existence! We will join the battlefield, pacify the chaos, and regain our glory!”
“Yes! We’ve been essentially cut off from the entire world, and our art is almost forgotten. Alchemy may be passed on from generation to generation, but many of the pills we make are of any practical use. If we continue on like this…will Alchemy—or even us—exist in the future? I believe it’s time to break our isolation and show ourselves! It’s time for us prosper once again!”
“While that may be true, our clan has become accustomed to a life without conflict. The chaos happening in the outside world is essentially a different world for us. Should we even join the battle, we’ll without a doubt suffer pain. It took two thousand years for our clan to heal, for us to go back in…”
“Re-entering the world stage isn’t a simple task either. We may be able to leave easily, but what of the others? The apprentices without any considerable strength? Or the ‘civilians’? What will they do? If we were to leave, what will happen to them if the Soul Refining School comes here for revenge?”
“Sigh…we’ll need to plan extensively on our future, a decision cannot be made lightly…”
Of the dozen or two people within the hall, most of them were debating with one another to speak their mind.
Everyone was in a great deal of confusion with such a situation being thrust upon them. Everyone had ideas on what to do, but no one could reach a consensus on the right one to take.
In the past two thousand years ago, the Alchemy School was a major force in aiding the unification of the Empire. Despite that, the damages dealt to their school was devastating enough for them to retreat from the world and disappear without a trace for everyone to forget.
Alchemical Arts. Elixirs, pills, and medicine. Either of the two things was things any single party coveted even before the Alchemy School disappeared from the world. Their school was thusly targeted by many, though the school never once asked the Royal Family for protection. Instead, they chose to disappear from the world.
That being said, the Alchemy School’s ‘survivors’ that arrived in the Qimang Mountains could hardly even be considered a force large enough to classify as a school. It was a terminal problem. Generation after generation, the surviving members dwindled down to become something like a ‘clan’.
From there, the head of the traditional line of the Alchemy School changed his surname to ‘Yao’. The other branch members subsequently changed their surnames to something else. Together, they started a small village and slowly expanded it to the city that stood there today.
While the clan was split in between the ‘main’ and ‘branch’ lines, but both lines treated each other like family. Wang Tong and Kai Wen, for example, were members of the branch line. Because of their outstanding talent, the two were treated well by the main line and taught with the core knowledge of the clan.
The Alchemy School was considered an ‘upright’ school in its past. They were a ‘clan’ now, but they continued to teach the moral standards they had two thousand years ago, and all of their current members were considered to be just as morally ‘upright’ as before. For that reason, they were disgusted to hear of intruder’s status. Just the thought of being acquainted with the Soul Refining School was repulsive.
The predecessors of the Alchemy School hadn’t wanted their descendants to take revenge on the ones who inflicted such wounds on them. The hatred of the past should thus remain in the past. No records were left behind on who hurt them, and thus the descendants had little idea of who their past enemies were.
The buzz within the hall was immediately vanquished the moment the dignified man seated at the front spoke. Everyone waited with bated breaths for their leader to speak and make a decision.
The man was named Yao Wuchen. His eyes sparked with something that could perhaps be said to be hesitation. “This is a matter far too serious to be decided easily. I will make an audience with the elders and see if we can make a decision.”
He wasn’t willing to make a decision so easily when the consequences were so devastatingly huge. A decision here would dictate the future of their clan. Therefore, he’d need to ask the more experienced elders for their opinion first.
“Send an order out to the city. All outbound activities are hereby canceled. Recall our hunters and double the patrols. Tighten the watch and have them be on the lookout. Should the enemies approach, have the patrolmen report back to us at once.”
Yao Wuchen ordered to the rest of the people there. “What was heard today in this hall will remain here. We do not need chaos within our ranks during this time…return back to your duties!”
With no one to disagree with him, the rest of the people nodded and left the hall.
“Clan head…” Wang Tong spoke out after the leaving Yao Wuchen, “Regarding the one we brought back, the one named Tang Long…”
“I’ll leave you to take care of him. Give him a recall pill from the repertory and have him stay within the city for now. We can allow him the chance to learn Alchemy if he wishes.”
The matters he had to attend to now were very important. Now wasn’t the time to deal with a ‘Soul Warrior’.
Wang Tong replied. Saying nothing, he waited for Yao Wuchen to leave the hall before leaving himself.