Chapter 572: Poaching
The sinister laughter echoed among the old timers who were bearing dark faces, as if a storm clouded their lives.
Venerable Shi smiled at them, “See, Sect Leader has made his stance clear. It goes to show that he had a hand in it, all directed at us. Letting this devolve any further will leave us penniless.”
They all nodded, yet someone asked in doubt, “But the flood of resources coming from the Labor Office to train the disciples isn’t stopping. As the sect’s resources have to pass through us before being dispatched, how exactly did the Sect Leader fork out such a huge amount to strike back at us?”
Venerable Shi pondered and shook his head, “It eludes me as well. But one thing remains unchanged, we can’t let the Labor Office’s attraction go on. As we don’t know the full extent of those resources, no matter how we regulate the sect’s resources, it won’t affect the Labor Office. What worries me is that when we are left with no disciples, Sect Leader will use this as an excuse to take control of our rightful resources… “
That remark hit right where it hurt them the most and the old men were wrought by pressure.
Taking away their resources was akin to crippling their status in the sect.
“Sect Leader’s drastic move is ingenious!” Second elder exclaimed.
The rest snorted and nodded.
Venerable Shi’s eyes were constantly moving, “Yes, Sect Leader did use a great move, but can’t we do the same and beat him at his own game?”
“What do you mean?” everyone asked.
With a crafty glint in his eyes, Venerable Shi began, “Sect Leader has put out this Elite Labor Office as a bait, to draw our disciples in. But as long as we settle our own disciples, it loses its effect. And as the Labor Office’s resource upkeep keeps rising, it will soon run out of fuel and no disciples will approach. It will ruin his plan for good. Let’s see who lasts the longest!”
Seventh elder gave a thumbs up, “We’ll just play the waiting game and one day it’ll run out. And then chaos will follow with him crying, ha-ha-ha…”
Seventh elder’s laughter echoed in the hall, infecting the others to do the same.
[If Sect Leader thinks he can steal our rights, he’ll have another thing coming!]
But then someone said, “How do we stop disciples from going to the Labor Office though? It might work for a short time, but not forever.”
The startled folks turned to the frowning Grand Elder.
How were they going to handle their disciples?
Venerable Shi shook his head, his eyes flashing murder, “We set a precedent. If the disciples don’t hear reason, we’ll kill a couple and they’ll all fall in line!”
Heart sinking, the other oldies looked around awkward.
It wasn’t that they couldn’t, since they were demonic cultivators at their core, but earning such a bad name would make sure they don’t get any more disciples.
[Since you have no disciples, you don’t deserve these resources.]
It all came down to interests, forcing these savage demons into shying from doing the unthinkable, killing their disciples.
Venerable Shi sensed their worry and chuckled, “I know your fears and can easily deal with them. We just have to do it together so that there will be no difference between who the disciples choose. Is everyone willing to bear this stigma?”
Heart thumping, they all nodded.
[With everyone else killing disciples as well, we’ll all earn a bad name. Desperate times call for desperate measures!]
With all of them seen as evil, the disciples would have no choice in the matter.
Everyone had a sinister grin spreading on their faces.
[Brats, your time has come!]
“With all in agreement, it’s decided. Go set an example for each of your disciples and shake the rest into compliance. Make some outer sect executives to round some of them up as well. If some elders or venerables do not have disciples to kill, just pick some from there. With everyone having the same reputation, an escape wouldn’t exist. And any that fails to do it will earn the wrath of the entire inner sect. “
Venerable Shi eyed each of them with a cold eye.
Venerable Shi turned around, “Venerable Qi, Venerable Bai, we may have had our differences, but we are up against a common enemy, Sect Leader. I hope you will join the fight for the greater good. If the inner sect collapses, so too will your interests.”
The two sighed and nodded.
Venerable Shi beamed. With all oldies of the inner sect of one mind, Xie Wuyue’s plan had no chance.
More than half of the sect’s power was held by elders and venerables.
After setting up the details, they each went their merry way with a glint in their eyes and out for their disciples’ blood.
Whoever ran for the Labor Office will die!
Grand Elder was about to go as well when Venerable Shi said, “Grand Elder, please wait.”
Grand Elder turned to Venerable Shi’s smile, “I heard you’ve cast out your prized disciple into the Labor Office. Why?”
“He violated the rules and therefore he was sent there!” Grand Elder said.
Venerable Shi shook his head, “Ha-ha-ha, Grand Elder, do you not trust me? With Gui Hu being your pride and glory, no matter how vile the act was, you’d still not send him there. Moreover, after a couple of days of you sending him there, the Elite Labor Office appeared… “
“Venerable Shi has made a thorough investigation, ha-ha-ha…” Grand Elder chuckled, “Fine, I’ll tell you. When Gui Hu lost to Zhuo Fan and that girl asked to return to the Labor Office, it raised my suspicions. So I sent Gui Hu earlier as a spy. The sooner I know about whats going on, the easier it is to strike!”
Venerable Shi was stunned and praised the Grand Elder, “Grand Elder’s vision is so wide and selfless. Even sending your prized pupil as a spy.”
“Ha-ha-ha, it’s nothing. Others weren’t suitable and I could only send Gui Hu. It pains me even now to think about it.” Grand Elder waved his hand, “Then, Venerable Shi, I’ll be going.”
“Please!” Venerable Shi smiled, “If you need anything, just ask!”
Grand Elder smiled and left. Venerable Shi failed to catch the subtle shift in his expressions, a heavy mood.
Nor did the Grand Elder see Venerable Shi’s suspicion. As both parties were in doubt, neither revealed their treachery to the other.
Meanwhile, Venerable Qi and Venerable Bai returned to Venerable Bai’s home to discuss. No matter the regrets of dirtying their hands with their pupils’ blood, they had no choice in the matter.
Everyone was going to bear this cross and so should they if they wanted to live on in this sect.
Yet just as they entered the house, Yue Ling and Kui Lang came bowing, “Greetings, master!”
“Is something the matter?” Venerable Bai asked.
Yue Ling reported, “Master, Steward Zhuo has paid a visit.”
“Steward Zhuo? Who’s that?”
“The steward of the Elite Labor Office, Zhuo Fan!” Kui Lang bowed.
The venerables tensed.
The mastermind behind all this mess, the boss of the Elite Labor Office just came knocking?
[Since he is the Sect Leader’s right hand in this plot, he must represent the Sect Leader!]
Venerable Bai sighed, “No gift is ever free. For him to represent Sect Leader, it means Sect Leader wants us on his side. But who should we choose, Sect Leader or the inner sect?”
Venerable Qi frowned in deep thought.