Wayfarer - C.349: The Left Division Leader Tang


C.349: The Left Division Leader Tang

On Blackflame Island, Han Bingdie recounted what had transpired with Nalan Qiankun.

"What? Nalan Qiankun's betrayed the Taiqing sect, and he's even harmed Lu Yan?!" the demonic sect master exclaimed.

Betraying the sect was a taboo beyond all else; it was an intolerable offense.

"Sect Master, how could you only listen to her one-sided testimony? My husband never asked Lu Yan to return. He did impersonate Lu Yan, but only that, and only in order to force expose Xiao Nanfeng's false pretenses. He was misunderstood; my husband is innocent! I have incontrovertible proof that Xiao Nanfeng killed the left division leader!" Cui Haitang hastily explained.

"Cui Haitang, you killed Hong Lie and harmed Ku Jiang. How dare you frame yourself as innocent?!" Han Bingdie demanded.

"I didn't do it! It's all Xiao Nanfeng's slander. He's the mastermind responsible, and he even killed my sons!" Cui Haitang cried out, her eyes red.

"Enough!" the demonic sect master shouted, putting an end to the drama.

The two cultivators turned to the demonic sect master, waiting for his judgment.

The demonic sect master took a deep breath. "I cannot ascertain which of you is being honest for the time being. Regardless, it is true that the left division leader has been killed, and a new one is necessary to rejuvenate the division. The new division leader will be in charge of investigating the truth of the previous division leader's demise, then reporting it to me. Today, we will pick out a new division leader among those gathered here."

"Sect Master, who would qualify as the new left division leader if not me? According to the sect laws, if the majority of the demonic disciples favor and support me, I would qualify to be the next division leader."

Han Bingdie scoffed. "Have you forgotten? The seat of division leader must be approved by the sect master as well."

Cui Haitang looked expectantly at the sect master. With his agreement, she would be able to become the new division leader.

Han Bingdie spoke up. "Sect Master, you recommended me for the position of the left division leader in the past, but I turned you down because of my marriage. I wanted to avoid any suspicion that the left division of the Taiqing Demonic Sect was under the control of the Yuqing holy land. That was how Cui Haisheng managed to land the position. Might I ask if I've served the left division well?"

"You have," the demonic sect master responded in the affirmative. "Your contribution to both Taiqing sects has been immense."

"As a member of the Taiqing Demonic Sect, I have no intention of breaking sect laws. I wish only to propose a minor request: that all but Cui Haitang be allowed as nominees," Han Bingdie said.

"What? Han Bingdie, how dare you!" Cui Haitang thundered.

"Cui Haitang, you and Nalan Qiankun have done nothing but lie time after time. If leadership of the left division passes to you, you'd only destroy it. As long as I remain, I will do everything in my power to stop you from becoming the left division leader!" Han Bingdie declared.

"You!" Cui Haitang screamed.

The demonic sect master thought for a moment before he nodded. "As factious and fractious as the two of you are, it would be best that neither of you be nominated for the upcoming selection lest the left division becomes nothing more than your tool against the other."

"Sect Master, you're deliberately favoring Han Bingdie!" Cui Haitang roared.

"Insolence! Han Bingdie gave adequate rationale for her suggestion. On behalf of the demonic sect, I acknowledge and ratify that suggestion," the demonic sect master replied.

Cui Haitang frowned. She glared at Han Bingdie, with no choice but to accept that she was out of the contention.

"The strongest disciples of the left division are present here today. We will begin with a test of cultivation and then one of character. Unleash your auras," the demonic sect master commanded.

"Understood!" The disciples of the left division unleashed their auras.

A howling gale swept across the plaza. Just then, a disciple radiating with multicolored light and Immortal qi appeared in sight.

"What?!" All the disciples turned to the source of the phenomenon in shock.

No one could have expected that there was an Immortal among their number.

"Pestilence Sage? When did you become an Immortal?!" Cui Haitang exclaimed in surprise.

Tang strode forward. "I greet the sect master and the various elders gathered here. I, the Pestilence Sage, coincidentally triggered and successfully overcame a tribulation."

"Come here and allow me to examine your foundations," the demonic sect master said bluntly.

"Yes, Sect Master!" Tang walked forward.

The demonic sect master retrieved a relic bubbling with black smoke. With a wave of his hand, he sent the smoke into Tang's body. He murmured a chant as the black smoke circulated through Tang's body before returning to the relic in his hand.

The demonic sect master relaxed. "The Pestilence Sage, I see. This is the first time I have heard that name, and I was worried that you might have been a spy from another sect. Now, however, I can relax. From start to finish, you have been a loyal demonic disciple. I apologize for the intrusion."

"No offense was taken, Sect Master," Tang replied immediately. "I understand the need for precaution for the future of the sect."

The demonic sect master turned toward the disciples of the left division. "I am unfamiliar with the Pestilence Sage, but all of you must be aware of him. Would you acknowledge him as your sect master?"

All the disciples of the left division turned to Cui Haitang, who was silent for a moment before she finally nodded. Everyone responded immediately.

"I am willing, Sect Master!"

"I am willing, Sect Master!"

"Cui Haitang, Han Bingdie, have either of you any objection to the appointment of the Pestilence Sage as the left division leader?" the demonic sect master continued.

Han Bingdie shook her head. "As long as Cui Haitang does not take that role, I do not intend to interfere in the selection."

"I do not mind," Cui Haitang replied.

"In that case, I declare the new left division leader the Pestilence Sage!" the demonic sect master announced.

"Understood!" everyone replied.

Tang gaped. All he had done was eaten the blood peach that Xiao Nanfeng had given him. How had he suddenly become the left division leader?

"Thank you, Sect Master! Thank you, everyone! I promise to do my best for the good of the left division," Tang cried out.

"We greet the new division leader!" The disciples of the left division bowed down, and Tang returned their bow.

"Pestilence Sage, in a few days' time, you will be contacted to undergo refinement at the principal altar once your work at the left division is complete. Your most urgent task is to figure out how the former left division leader died. Report to me within the coming days," the demonic sect master said.

"Understood!" Tang bowed down respectfully.

"This is the left division leader's token. Because Cui Haisheng's identity was rather unusual, I had the token for safekeeping for the time being. Now, I will pass this token to you. The left division has specific laws. Are you aware of the taboos associated with this token?" the demonic sect master asked.

"I am, Sect Master," Tang replied.

"Very good. I won't recapitulate them, then. I've cleared away all bindings to the token. Attune to it with your blood."

Tang immediately dropped a drop of blood on the token. Black rays of light shot out and entered Tang's body. His body shook in resonance with the token. After some time, the black light finally dispersed.

"The left division leader has been chosen. Let us end this gathering here," the demonic sect master said.

"Understood!" everyone replied.

The demonic sect master flew into the air and left Blackflame Island, vanishing over the horizon.

The representative of the right division bowed toward Tang before flying off as well.

Han Bingdie flew toward her husband and Yu'er, then disappeared.

Cui Haitang turned to Tang tentatively. "Congratulations, Pestilence Sage. I hope you'll lead the left division to greater heights."

The left division disciples all around them eyed Tang coldly, as though they only listened to Cui Haitang. With a single command from her, they might well attack Tang.

Tang was aware of his situation. He smiled immediately. "Your Majesty, please don't joke with me. You were responsible for my appointment. I will do what I can to obey your command."

Cui Haitang nodded in satisfaction. "It's good to know that you're an intelligent man, Pestilence Sage. Worry not. The Tianshu Empire will treat you well."

"Thank you, Your Majesty," Tang replied, smiling.

"Hand me the left division leader's token."

Tang did as instructed. Cui Haitang attempted to activate it, but to no avail. She frowned. "It looks like the sect master really is on guard against me."

"Your Majesty, do you need me to do anything?" Tang inquired.

"Are you aware of the uses of the left division leader's token?"

"I am. It's a powerful relic. A demon of incredible force lies sealed within Blackflame Island, and the seal was incorporated into the left division leader's token. Only the left division leader's token can unlock that seal. Sect law specifies that the demon is of uncommon might and would surely destroy all living beings in the vicinity when unsealed. No one is to unseal the demon on penalty of being branded a traitor to the sect," Tang recited.

"A demon? No, that's my father. He's being sealed deep within the volcano," Cui Haitang said.

"What?" Tang exclaimed.

"Pestilence Sage, if I were to ask you to unseal him, would you?" Cui Haitang turned to Tang.

The left division disciples all around them eyed Tang coldly, as though they would strike at him all at once if he were to refuse.

Tang grimaced inwardly. He might as well not have been a division leader at all—just a puppet!

"As you will, Your Majesty," Tang replied immediately.

Three days later, in the study of the Xiao manor in Yongding, Xiao Nanfeng frowned to hear Zheng Qian's news about Blackflame Island. "The Pestilence Sage has become the left division leader?"

"He has. On Cui Haitang's orders, he unsealed the seal around Blackflame Island, releasing a demon of absolute strength. That demon killed almost all the demonic disciples on the island.

"Oh?" Xiao Nanfeng was shocked.

"The blackguards sent word. One had infiltrated Blackflame Island and saw a black skeleton emerge from deep within the volcano. Black smoke roiled from it. It opened its mouth wide and absorbed almost all the disciples on the island. The blackguard spy dove into the sea and luckily managed to survive. Only Cui Haitang and Tang avoided the carnage on the island. Then, Cui Haitang repeatedly called the black skeleton Father before it slowly regained its rationality," Zheng Qian summarized.

Xiao Nanfeng gaped. Inwardly, he murmured to himself, "Tang cursed all the left division disciples to death the moment he became the left division leader? He really is an omen of calamity!"

"King Xiao, the blackguard reported that the black skeleton boasts immense strength. Do you know where it came from?" Zheng Qian asked in worry.

"The black skeleton's name is Cui Heiyan. He's Cui Haitang's father and the first left division leader. Because he cultivated the demonic arts and went overboard, he ended up transforming into a ghoulish creature who traded his humanity for overwhelming bloodthirst. On account of his contribution to the Taiqing Sect, however, both sect masters worked together to seal him with the left division leader's token. The demonic sect master has always been worried that Cui Haisheng would free him and safeguarded the left division leader's token since. Who would have expected that Cui Haitang would get her way, after all? She never wanted to choose a new division leader; she just wanted the left division leader token," Xiao Nanfeng said.

"Will Cui Heiyan listen to Cui Haitang and attack Dazheng?" Zheng Qian asked in worry.

"If Cui Heiyan still retained his mental faculties, he would never have ended up sealed. He's nothing more than an uncontrollable demon," Xiao Nanfeng analyzed.

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