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The Dragon

The Dragon By Nov 09, 2023 10 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 48

Chapter 49

A Traitor Within

Zuo Yuezhi spoke, “Your disciple, Zhong Michu, along with Xuan Miao Sect’s outer disciples Gu Fuyou, Gu Huaiyou, and Si Miao, have relied on their strength to commit acts of violence, injuring our Zuo family’s guards and murdering my descendant, Zuo Tianyi. Sect Leader Ji, I’ve heard of your fairness and kindness, that you are a person of reason, and I believe you would not harbor thoughts of shielding them just because they are your beloved disciples.”

Before Ji Chaoling could respond, the second elder interjected, “If everything Protector Zuo says is true, and our sect’s disciples have violated the sect rules, we will not show leniency. I’m just curious as to what Protector Zuo wishes to see as the outcome.”

Zuo Yuezhi continued: “If I may speak frankly without offense to everyone present. Gu Fuyou is the main culprit behind the killing of Tianyi, and I must bring her back to the Xu Ling Sect. Tianyi was a promising young man on the path to immortality, yet he was cut down by this cruel woman. Without dealing with her personally, the resentment among the Xu Ling Sect cannot be appeased. Our sects are neighbors, and we should be as brethren. Zhong Michu, Gu Huaiyou, and Si Miao, seeing their fellow cultivator in trouble, did not lend a hand but instead acted as accomplices, showing no kindness or righteousness. How can such cold-hearted people be allowed to cultivate? In my opinion, they do not deserve to follow the path of cultivation, their spiritual roots should be destroyed, never again allowed to step on the path of immortality!”

Ji Chaoling chuckled, “Leaving aside that Protector Zuo’s proposed punishment is too severe, the truth of the world isn’t simply as Protector Zuo claims it to be. If Protector Zuo wishes to make distinctions, then let’s make it clear. Protector Zuo has just accused my disciples and several others of murdering a member of the Zuo family, based solely on one side of the story. We should at least hear what my disciple has to say, Michu.”

Zhong Michu knew that the Zuo family had come with ill intentions; their demeanor suggested they were seeking justice for the incident involving Zuo Tianyi. She harbored no guilt in her heart. However, she couldn’t understand why Ji Xiyan had deceived her. She was aware of Xiyan’s strictness; despite being brothers with her master, he had a completely different nature. Yet, his dedication to the sect was unwavering. Perhaps it was Ji Xiyan’s stubbornness, or for the sake of the sect’s reputation, that he insisted she return to confront the Zuo family directly. But since it concerned the sect, she was prepared to prove her innocence. There seemed no reason for Ji Xiyan to have lured her back under false pretenses.

As Zhong Michu locked eyes with Ji Chaoling, she caught a subtle nod from him, a gesture also seen by the watchful Elder Jiu Yuan. Bowing respectfully to the Zuo family, she detailed the events of the cave confrontation. “Protector Zuo’s account is heavily one-sided. The truth is that it was Zuo Tianyi who acted with cruelty and a cold heart. He inflicted harm upon the Gu family’s people and ministers, then tried to kill them to cover it up. Gu Fuyou was simply defending herself; she is not at fault. We neither interfered nor supported any wrongdoing. In fact, it was Zuo Tianyi and his guards who were the actual supporters of tyranny.”

The Great Elder of the Xuling Sect said: “The dead cannot speak, and you are free to shirk your responsibility however you wish.”

Ji Chaoling, with a smile that was not quite a smile, retorted, “Isn’t it possible that the statements from Protector Zuo and the Great Elder are biased as well? The Xu Ling Sect has arrived with nearly a hundred cultivators at the Xuan Miao Sect’s doorstep, accompanied by half of their elders and protectors. This hardly looks like a mere visit to clear up a misunderstanding, but rather an attempt to destroy a sect. Despite the Xuan Miao Sect being small, we have a lineage that spans thousands of years. We will not accept blame without fault. Even at the risk of our own destruction, we refuse to be tarnished by false accusations.”

“Many praise Sect Leader Ji for his honor and integrity, yet he’s known for his sharp tongue; the Xu Ling Sect’s presence on the mountain, with so many people, is merely a precaution against unforeseen events. Should we find a peaceful resolution with Sect Leader Ji, we will not harm the Xuan Miao Sect in the slightest—but let’s not forget, we have suffered the loss of a life. Gu Fuyou’s involvement in Tianyi’s death and the roles played by Zhong Michu and the others can’t be overlooked.”

“The rules of Xu Ling Sect are known throughout the world. Even if Zuo Tianyi committed heinous acts, the Zuo family would handle it. When was it ever the turn of outsiders to execute private punishment!” Zuo Yuezhi continued, hinting at Zhong Michu’s relationship with Ji Chaoling, “I wonder if Zhong Michu, being the beloved…”

Ji Chaoling’s expression changed sharply.

“Hehe,” Zuo Yuezhi quickly corrected himself, “is the beloved daughter of Yunran Xuanzun and the beloved disciple of Sect Leader Ji, after all, we should not meddle in this affair, it’s better to let the elders decide.”

The elders exchanged glances. They all understood that Zuo Yuezhi implied that Zhong Michu might be the beloved daughter of Yunran and Ji Chaoling. Setting aside the opinions of outsiders, even among their own ranks, some elders harbored doubts about whether Zhong Michu was truly Ji Chaoling’s daughter.

Jiu Yuan had previously received a gesture from Ji Chaoling and quietly slipped away, just as he was about to leave. Zuo Yuezhi saw this and sent someone to stop him, while also shouting, “Elder, please don’t leave. Without the witness of both sect elders, how can we conclude this matter?”

Ji Chaoling stepped aside, blocking the person and said, “If the presence of respected elders from both sects is required, then all the elders of our sect must be present. Elder Jiu Yuan was just going out to fetch someone.”

Zuo Yuezhi chuckled, “I heard that Gu Fuyou and your disciple are very close, almost inseparable. Since your disciple has returned, Gu Fuyou must also have followed back. I’m afraid Elder Jiu Yuan is not out to find someone, but to hide someone.”

As they were speaking, the ground shook, and everyone felt as if a layer of ice crystals had shattered within their hearts. Ji Chaoling’s face darkened. The peripheral mountain defense formation had been breached! When such a formation was attacked, a vibration could be felt within the mountain. Now it had been broken without any warning, as if shattered with a single strike. Not even a Hallow Void stage cultivator could accomplish such a feat, yet it had indeed happened. There was only one possibility, that Elder Liu He, who maintained the formation, had encountered trouble.

The Second Elder glanced at Zuo Yuezhi, their eyes locking for a brief moment. The Second Elder roared, “Xu Ling Sect harbors wild ambitions, stalling us with deceit while undermining our mountain’s defenses, aiming to seize control of Xuan Miao Sect — truly despicable! Even if my disciples have committed a thousand crimes, you won’t take them away now!”

Without further discussion, he activated his spiritual power. The stone tiles beneath them rose like a flying dragon, directly charging at the members of the Xu Ling Sect.

Zuo Yuezhi and his companions dodged, saying, “Good, Xuan Miao Sect’s disciples are unreasonable, in order to shirk their guilt, they refuse to hand over the criminal, and now they resort to violence. Our Xu Ling Sect is not to be trifled with, we have been patient again and again, but since you have taken action, you can’t blame us for being impolite!” As soon as the second elder made a move, all the people of Xu Ling Sect also launched an attack, and the elders of Xuan Miao Sect had to defend themselves.

Ji Chaoling felt that something wasn’t right. Glancing around, he counted seven from the Xu Ling Sect against their eight, not counting Zhong Michu. With his defensive formation in place, it felt like they were on his home turf, giving him an upper hand. As such, the Xu Ling Sect was at a disadvantage.

Jiu Yuan took the opportunity to escape with Zhong Michu out of the formation. Although the Zuo family were Hallow Void stage cultivators, they couldn’t sense Gu Fuyou nearby within Ji Chaoling’s formation.

Gu Fuyou and Dongli were outside, and because of the barrier from the formations, they couldn’t hear what was being said inside. Fuyou, watching Zhong Michu step up to argue, guessed it was likely about Zuo Tianyi’s incident. She thought the Zuo family would surely be shameless, not saying anything good. Then, the mountain’s defensive formation broke, and they clearly felt the rush of spiritual power pouring into the mountain like a tsunami from their position outside.

A disciple, covered in blood, flew in on his sword and fell down. Gu Fuyou and Dong Li hurried forward to help him. It was Liu Guizhen who, upon seeing them, said, “Quickly report to the sect leader, the Xu Ling Sect’s cultivators have invaded.”

Dongli coldly said, “How can the Zuo family be so arrogant?”

Gu Fuyou looked towards the distance for a moment, feeling that something was not right. It made no sense for Xu Ling Sect to attack a sect over a matter related to a non-direct family member like Zuo Tianyi. Besides, if it were just about Zuo Tianyi, they should be dealing with Xiaoyao City. Xuan Miao Sect has always had an excellent reputation; a baseless attack by Xu Ling Sect would surely draw widespread outrage. After all, if today Xu Ling Sect could unjustly wipe out Xuan Miao Sect, what would stop them from targeting the other three continents next, in a bid for unchecked power? Such aggression would not go unnoticed or unchallenged by the other continents. Besides, Xuan Miao Sect was formidable in its own right—a head-on clash with Xu Ling Sect would be a costly affair for both sides.

Why is the Xu Ling Sect so overconfident? Where did it go wrong? Surely, the matter of Zuo Tianyi could not be the real reason. If such a trivial issue prompted Xu Ling Sect’s intention to destroy Xuan Miao Sect, then Xuan Miao Sect would not have survived in Nanzhou for thousands of years.

At that moment, Ji Chaoling and others were fighting with the Zuo family in the second layer of the defensive formation. Jiu Yuan had left the formation with Zhong Michu. Dongli was treating Liu Guizhen’s injuries. Seeing the situation, Jiu Yuan quickly asked, “What’s the situation outside the mountain?”

Liu Guizhen replied, “After the mountain’s defensive formation was breached, Zuo’s people stormed in. We’re outnumbered and heavily suppressed.”

Gu Fuyou remembered that the one responsible for leading the disciples in guarding the mountain gate was a reclusive immortal. This reclusive immortal was Ji Chaoling’s uncle, who, due to his cultivation stalling at the mid-stage of the Hallow Void period for nearly a thousand years, had declined all sect duties to focus on his cultivation, and he was respected in the sect for that. There was also another elder, Guardian Yi Yuan, Ji Chaoling’s senior, who had reached the initial stage of the Soul Splitting stage and had gone traveling. These two venerable figures, along with the sect leader, were the three main pillars of Xuan Miao Sect.

Although the reclusive immortal was leading the disciples in guarding the mountain gate, many inner disciples of Xuan Miao Sect were away visiting relatives, resulting in a shortage of people, making it hard for even this immortal to hold the fort. If the inner disciples and Guardian Yi Yuan were present, the situation would not be as desperate.

Xuan Miao Sect had its spies to gather intelligence. If they had known about Xu Ling Sect’s movements in advance and sent out messages for the disciples and elders to return, they would not be in such disarray now. How did the Zuo family calculate their move so precisely? Why did it feel like the Xuan Miao Sect was ambushed and completely unprepared at Jingdu Mountain?

Who was in charge of gathering intelligence within the sect? Gu Fuyou thought for a moment, and it was Ji Xiyan.

A thought crossed Gu Fuyou’s mind, turning her face pale. It seemed impossible. Of all people in the sect, Ji Xiyan, an elder and Ji Chaoling’s own brother, was the least likely to collude with outsiders. Unlike the Zuo family, rife with power struggles, Xuan Miao Sect was led by a scholarly and modest sect leader…

However, Gu Fuyou remembered the scene where she saw Ji Xiyan meeting with Zuo Yuezhi in Wantong City, and her heart sank.

Jiu Yuan said, “How could Elder Liuhe’s defensive formation be broken? What happened to Elder Liuhe? Where is the First Elder?”

Liu Guizhen replied, “I came from the mountain gate and don’t know what happened at Xiyi Peak.”

At this moment, it was as if a crack had opened in the distant sky, like a shattered mirror, forming a shuttle-like gap that was difficult to detect. Ji Xiyan stood amidst the shadows, looking down at the Xiangxing Hall through the rift. A puppet tumbled from his embrace, landing on the ground and transforming into a person.

This man, with a slender build and profound features, stretched gracefully and said with a smirk, “Elder Ji, they’re looking for you. Aren’t you going to see them? Tell them that Elder Liuhe is dead and Xiyi Peak is now under the control of your disciples.”

With his hands behind his back, Ji Xiyan replied, “Zuo Zhifa, instead of trying to capture those two girls, you seem quite relaxed, joking with me.”

Zuo Shaode, seemingly ignoring the comment, teased, “Elder Ji only knows the direction in which Zhong Michu left, and yet you figured out where Ji Chaoling wanted to send them, tricking them into coming back. A brother indeed knows his own brother best. However, if you had taken the initiative to capture them for us earlier, it would’ve saved me some effort.”

Ji Xiyan looked at him and responded, “My collaboration with the Zuo family is based on mutual benefit. Capturing those two was not part of our agreement. Bringing them back into your trap is already a favor on my part.”

Zuo Shaode chuckled, “Elder Ji just doesn’t want to dirty his hands and tarnish his reputation. Elder Liuhe and the Xiyi Peak disciples fell to my puppets, a scheme run by Du Pan and me that cost all my magical artifacts. No need for airs now, relax, Elder Ji, we’re allies. We’ll take care of Ji Chaoling and Zhong Michu, and today, no one who opposes you will get away.”

Suddenly, Ji Xiyan declared, “I want Ji Chaoling alive.”

After a pause, Zuo Shaode laughed, “As you wish.”

Knowing the dire situation at the mountain gate, Zhong Michu wanted to go and help. Jiu Yuan grabbed her and, pushing Gu Fuyou, said, “Help what? Leave with this girl quickly! Dongli and Guizhen, the two of you go together!”

Zhong Michu responded, “In times of crisis for our sect, I wish to stand by its side. I’d rather die defending the mountain gate than flee alone.”

Jiu Yuan argued, “Are you out of your mind? I don’t know what’s gotten into the Zuo family, but they’re dead set on destroying Xuan Miao Sect. Your sacrifice would be pointless. If you leave and find your Master Uncle and gather the disciples who are outside, even if the Zuo family takes us down today, there will be hope for Xuan Miao Sect’s resurgence as long as you’re alive. In the future, whether you seek revenge through your own cultivation or by seeking aid from the three continents, remember that revenge can wait—even three thousand years if necessary. When the time is right, we’ll make them regret their actions and pay for what they’ve done!”

He continued, “Elder Liuhe is messing up the formations in the sect, but I know there are several hidden teleportation formations within. I don’t know where they lead, but it’s surely better than staying here. Hurry and follow me!”

Zuo Shaode, observing from the void, felt it was about time and said, “Then let’s go for Zhong Michu first.” He took a bow off his back, and as he drew the bowstring, spiritual light gathered, shining like the golden sun. He aimed at Zhong Michu’s back, pulled the string to its limit, and released his hand with a snap.

The arrow shot out from the crack in the sky, screeching sharply, heading straight for its target.

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Previous: Chapter 48

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Alex Potus
Alex Potus
8 months ago

I love the fact that Fuyou is so rational, and logical, so good at connecting the dots and finding out the big picture for a mortal human.
Can’t wait for more chapters!
Thank you admin.

Alex Potus
Alex Potus
8 months ago

The Zuos are wishing for the dead. Michu is the Dragon King’s granddaughter and the royal princess. The Zuos injuring Michu is equivalent to offending the dragons. I’m hoping the Zuos get what they deserve.

Shakthivel
Shakthivel
8 months ago

Thanks for the chapter

mauno
mauno
8 months ago

Aww what a cliff after getting caught up.

Bit surprised that we’re already well over third-way through the whole novel, kind of feels like its just getting started. Welp better than dragging endlessly I guess.

Many many thanks for consistent releases so far!

Alex Potus
Alex Potus
8 months ago

Why can’t I leave a comment on this chapter? My previous comments disappeared, and this chapter does not appear on the website’s homepage as well. Is everything alright? I hope the admin is okay.

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

:O Danger! I hope our protagonists escape safely and soundly;; ZMC is so noble.

Doom
Doom
5 months ago

Too many characters. Confused who is who now.

Kat
Kat
2 months ago

I feel so helpless. These villains! Practicing the dao but they’re evil??? What’s the point. Ahhhh pissing me off!