Chapter 573: Negotiations
“Steward Zhuo, forgive me for not showing you in!”
Entering the lounge, Venerable Bai saw a youth with white hair sitting there, the one and only laborer that shook Gui Hu to the core in one blow, and bowed.
Venerable Qi cupped his hands as well, but more for his status than Zhuo Fan himself.
Zhuo Fan waved them, “Venerable Qi and Venerable Bai I presume. You’re too kind in your favor for little old me. I am but a laborer, how could I possibly have venerables show me such courtesy?”
“Steward Zhuo, no true ruler is without capable men. With Steward Zhuo making the Labor Office a hot commodity, respect is more than deserved.” Venerable Qi smiled.
Zhuo Fan nodded with a smile as he got down to it, “Since venerables have already guessed that I work for the Sect Leader, then you must’ve also guessed the purpose of my visit.”
The two paused and Venerable Bai sighed, “We understand Sect Leader’s design, but not his actions. We are venerables, giving our all for the sect and not tangling with unnecessary squabbles.”
“I mean, we are part of the inner sect and cannot follow the Sect Leader’s request.” Venerable Qi sighed, putting on a pained face.
Zhuo Fan figured as much since the start and smiled, “The elder and venerable meeting had long since finished yet everyone stayed behind even as the Sect Leader left. Did you perhaps come up with a secret plan?”
The venerables shook their heads in unison, “No comment.”
“I can pretty much guess anyway. Uniting the entire inner sect in the face of this adversity.” Zhuo Fan snickered and eyed the wooden venerables, “But did you ever wonder what you’d do afterwards?”
The venerables’ brow shook.
Zhuo Fan knew he had them and drove in for the kill with a shout, “Kui Lang, Yue Ling, your masters have asked for you!”
The venerables eyed him suspiciously.
Kui Lang and Yue Ling came bowing, “What can we do for you, master?”
“Nothing much, they’ve been bored as of late and wanted to know about your life over the past decade in the Labor Office.” Zhuo Fan cut in.
The four were stumped about his point. But since the venerables stayed silent, the two acquiesced to Zhuo Fan’s request.
How despised they were, how they grew accustomed to the mean looks, the fighting in the Labor Office, the many brushes with death, and the blood and sweat they shed to work their way to the top of the Labor Office.
As the story came to a close, the two’s eyes went red, reliving those moments of pain. Yet the venerables hadn’t even flinched.
“Are you done?”
Venerable Bai asked, “Steward Zhuo, what is this?”
“You don’t feel it?” Zhuo Fan raised an eyebrow.
The venerables shook their heads. Venerable Qi chuckled, “Steward Zhuo, you’re too green, the path of demonic cultivators is wrought with pain and injustice. Labor Office is just a phase in their long tempering. Did you think we’d be sad over our disciples’ pain and loss? He-he-he, how is that a demonic cultivator?”
“Was this what I had you feel?”
Zhuo Fan shrugged, “What I meant was, who was the catalyst to their bitterness? Who was it that laughed in their face? It matters not that they were ridiculed, but who did the ridiculing in the end?”
Shaking, the venerables caught on at last.
Zhuo Fan grinned, “They were framed, but that’s their own stupidity to blame. Yet the culprit did it with blatant disregard of their masters, you. And why did you work so hard to have the two back under you? Wasn’t it because you had no one else under you to use after they were sacked?”
“Oh, the horror! Disciples are of little value, yes, but you two just laid there getting bitch-slapped and didn’t even twitch. I, for one, take my hat off. I sure as hell couldn’t accept it. Touching my disciples is raising their hands at me. Venerable Qi said just now that I am green, ha-ha-ha, true I am still very much green. Many things I can’t stand, even being called a bastard…”
Venerable Bai snapped in anger, “Zhuo Fan, I am showing respect to you out of kindness to the Sect Leader. Don’t push it!”
“Did I? Have I slapped venerables’ faces?”
Zhuo Fan snickered, “That guy bitch-slapped you for decades and yet you still want to be his errand boys. While I haven’t been in the sect for long and cared for your dear disciples, yet you want to make me the enemy while keeping him as your ally? Who’s the excessive one here and who’s despicable?”
The two glared as their fists tensed and their beards shook.
They soon had had enough, “Zhuo Fan, enough of your taunts. All the elders and venerables of the inner sect are in this together. We rise and fall as one. Go back and tell the Sect Leader: thank you, but no thank you!”
“Now don’t be too hasty. Aren’t you all fighting to get the same thing, resources? But did you ever wonder that once all this blows over, if they’ll get the pie while you get the scraps!”
“When the inner sect is finished, we won’t even have the scraps!” Venerable Bai was finally honest.
Zhuo Fan smiled, having got what he wanted. [I can give you what you want.]
“Since the inner sect has no scraps, you are welcome to join the Labor Office to revel in a juicy pie.”
“What?” The two shouted their disbelief in unison.
Zhuo Fan said, “To be totally honest, the Labor Office is overcrowded and needs elders or venerables’ supervision. If sirs find it appropriate, you are welcome to the Labor Office to take over. In plain words, Sect Leader wants Elite Labor Office to become the new inner sect for raising elites. Even with how deep-rooted inner sect is, it’ll only be a matter of time before it’s empty.”
“Venerable Shi is in control of the inner sect. He gets the pie and you get the scraps. But by coming to the Labor Office now, you’ll get the pie and he won’t even get to touch the scraps. You do not have to stick with them. Come now and enjoy the most, or later and you get nothing.”
Their eyes twitching, the venerables’ hearts shook. [Sect Leader wants a new inner sect! But the Elite Labor Office is too fresh and who knows how long it’ll last. The danger is high!]
Zhuo Fan pierced their doubts with his sharp eye and revealed two vials.
The two gasped at the thick miasma, even felt their blood flowing smoother.
“10th grade pill?!”
“The Heaven Reaching Pill to be exact. Just a little token.” Zhuo Fan smiled, “If you still find it suspicious, you’re welcome to get more people to join. For every elder or venerable coming to the Labor Office I’ll offer an 8th grade pill.”
“Yes.” Zhuo Fan smiled, “Since you’ll be the mediators, you’ll receive a bigger reward for your efforts. The rest will only get 8th grade. But you better work fast, the spots are limited. What would I do with more elders and venerables than disciples?”
The two came to understand Zhuo Fan’s true plan. He didn’t just want to poach the inner sect’s pillars, but its disciples as well and turn it into an empty husk.
Such deadly tactics would leave the inner sect crushed and ruined!
That being said, if some oldies and disciples jumped boat in favor of the Labor Office, then the inner sect would have no worth.
[By working in tandem, Sect Leader and Zhuo Fan will spell the end of the inner sect as we know it.] Sitting here any longer would make us cannon fodder. Switching sides was a much more sensible choice.
Since Zhuo Fan and their disciples were close, the sooner they joined the Labor Office, the more benefits they’ll receive.
The two’s eyes flashed and they nodded, “We agree to join you and will even rope in others worthy of trust.”
“Perfect, with the inner sect rotten, I have just the place for you to leave your mark. Welcome aboard!” Zhuo Fan’s trademark evil smile was back in business.