With two elites as powerful as Feng Qingyu and Jian Wuyi, and around forty thousand extra members from the Draconis House of Jian, Hexapath was now far stronger than the Yinyang Demon Sect. It was all as Feng Qingyu had predicted, and he had never intended to fight too much to begin with. He was waiting for Jian Wuyi to come back with the Hexapath Sword Insight Rock, then he would immediately leave. However, as far too many people from the Draconis House of Jian weren't aware of Jian Wuyi's plans, many of them apart from the third-origin tribulation elders were immediately taken aback.
"What does this mean?"
"The joining of the Jian houses? The Tai'e House of Jian are traitors!"
"What in the world? Why would we ever join them?"
"Oh heavens, have you all forgotten the warnings of our ancestors?"
"They said that House King Jian Wuyi caused the formation to fall! Is that true?"
"The house king must’ve gone mad!"
The members of the Draconis House of Jian immediately fell into chaos and confusion, raging at the insanity of the situation. Most of them didn't even want to approach those from the Tai'e House of Jian."Everyone, listen to me. The house king will come and explain everything to you. Fellow brothers and sisters of the House of Jian, let’s not see each other as enemies any longer. This is the chance for our house to reign supreme over others. Let go of our differences so that we can climb to the top of the Flameyellow Continent!" the third-origin tribulation elders immediately explained.
"Climb to the top? Then who’ll be the king? Only the Jians can lead us, not the Fengs!"
"Where’s Jian Wuyi?! He has to give us a satisfactory explanation for this!"
Many second-origin tribulation elders of the House of Jian were around four or five centuries old, so Jian Wuyi was their junior, in terms of age. They were so pale and furious that some even vomited blood from the rage.
"Jian Wuyi that ungrateful wretch…… he sold his house for glory!"
"He’ll definitely be punished by the heavens! All the ancestors of our Draconis House of Jian from the past two hundred millennia will ensure that every single bone in his body will be broken!"
Those from the Tai'e House of Jian watched blankly as the people they had welcomed so warmly cursed and screeched. Their enthusiasm was almost immediately dampened. Even though those that actually reacted with outrage numbered few among the Draconis House of Jian, the rest were still filled with hate and resentment for their estranged brethren, being from the proper house themselves. It was far worse than Feng Qingyu had imagined. Reality always found a way to ruin beautiful ideals.
"Everyone, hear me out. Let's go look for Jian Wuyi together. The two of us will give you an explanation after that." Feng Qingyu didn't throw his weight around and spoke with utmost sincerity.
"Leave! Fuck off!" someone cried.
Feng Qingyu's expression immediately chilled. The Ninefold Formation has fallen, and everyone left for Xuanyuan Lake—I wonder if they’ve obtained the Hexapath Sword Insight Rock yet. "Everyone, follow me to Xuanyuan Lake! Trust in me and Jian Wuyi. We’ll give you a satisfactory explanation!"
The tribulation elders of the Draconis house were still trying to convince the rest. "Everyone, please snap out of it. It’s a fact that we’ve already betrayed the sect. There is no way they will take us back. They’re going to fall anyway, so what's the point in staying loyal to them? The Jians can be their own masters!"
By now, the ones from the Draconis house that resisted the idea were standing together. They knew that their rebellion was already an established fact, as much as they didn't want to admit it.
"Let's get Jian Wuyi to tell us that himself!"
Just like that, the two hundred thousand Jian house members didn't leave, but headed toward Xuanyuan Lake instead……
North of Taiji Peak Lake, near the snow-covered wilderness, eighty thousand people gathered. The drizzle that came down soon froze into snow. It was just as moist as it was cold. Every one of them stood blankly on the ground.
"What happened to the house king……"
They looked up toward the mountains and saw a man in a flaming green robe.
"After he buried Luan Wang, he started cultivating with his three remaining lifebound beasts."
"Cultivating at this point in time?"
"Aren't we going to keep running? We're still pretty close to the battlefield."
The eighty thousand members of the Sterling House of Fang were really confused.
"Come to think of it, is it really right for us to run? We'll become the laughingstocks of the whole world once more."
"What do you know? Didn't you hear? The mother of the house king, the palace lord of Godservant Hall, was killed by Her Eminence because she provoked her wrath!"
"That's right! Her Eminence is the goddess of the Xuanyuans. She doesn't care about us at all."
"Even if we risk our lives for her, there's no saying whether she'll have us killed. After all, we’re stronger than her descendants! We’re a threat to their hegemony!"
"The palace lord is truly pitiful…… She dedicated her whole life to the goddess! Sigh."
They huddled together, bonding over their lamentations. They, of all people, knew how it felt to be vagabonds.
"Actually, I can understand our house king's perspective. He gave his all to serve the sect, only for his mother and son to end up dead thanks to the Xuanyuans' machinations. If it were me, I'd rebel too."
"Everyone listen up. While our house isn't that powerful in the grand scheme of things, that's all the more reason for us to stand united and support the house king! We now stand alone and away from the sect!"
"Trust the house king! He’ll lead us on a path to true glory! A path that defies our destiny!"
"That's right, we'll make sure nobody looks down on us ever again."
Throughout history, they had drifted from one place to another, never having a proper place to call home. Even after they rose to prominence in the Archaion Sect, the sect would still belong to the Xuanyuan house after the return of the goddess. It was something they couldn't ever change. They would always be subservient to someone else!
Soon, the snowfall intensified as the temperature dropped. The clan of the phoenix huddled together even closer. Their shared history of hardship, humiliation, and destiny bound them together like a powerful rope.
"From now on, we’ll rely only on ourselves!" many of them swore.
Divine Marshal Fang Shenyu of the Origin Phoenix Legion and Fang Yuqing stood halfway up a snowy hill, watching the man who sat cross-legged at the peak. He was covered in green flames that burned strong even in the blizzard.
"He's been at the eleventh-level death phase for years, right?" Fang Shenyu asked.
"That's right. He used to be filled with ambition, thinking that he’d break through to the twelfth-level life phase quickly and catch up to Feng Qingyu. But as time went on, he began to lose more and more hope……" Fang Yuqing watched the blazing flames with a warm and pained gaze.
"I guess even the house king used to be a hot-blooded youth once."
"That's right. He never thought of himself as any bit inferior to Feng Qingyu. He was just born a dozen years later." Though Fang Yuqing wasn't Fang Taiqing's wife, she was the person who understood him the most.
"The Samsara stage is far too terrifying. The difficulty of advancing from the eleventh-level death phase to the life phase of the next level is only comparable to advancing to godhood at the twelfth-level death phase. He’s paid too high a price for this to fail," Fang Shenyu said.
"That's right. That's why you should know how shaken he was after he was defeated by a young man like Jiang Wuxin. In fact, even Dugu Jin, who used to be inferior to him, has now surpassed him. He really did want to be the most powerful man on the continent." She began tearing up as she spoke.
"The house king's efforts will be worth it one day. If he wants to cultivate, all eighty thousand of us will wait for him. We'll be with him through life and death."
"Even though he's a selfish and cold person, he always gives it his all when it comes to us, his kin."
"Of course! There's no way we’d willingly serve him otherwise!"
If it weren’t for the love for his own kin, there was no way he would have decided to betray the sect when they were under severe threat.
"Actually, we really didn't have a choice. We’re just a small, weak group. We can never overcome any deathly trials, only struggle to survive them. Everything he’s had to do was by no means simple."
"Let's hope that we'll be in a better place once all this is over."
"It'll depend on him." Fang Yuqing closed her eyes and prayed to the heavens.
Right at that moment, flames suddenly spread across the snowy ground. Everyone turned to look and saw a green tower of flame stretching a thousand meters into the sky and piercing through the clouds. Sharp cries of phoenixes came from the pillar of flames. Three flaming phoenixes soared into the sky alongside the man in green robes. "The heavens have not yet forsaken me!"
A cheerful laughter reverberated throughout. It was Fang Taiqing's voice.
"He finally reached the final level!" Fang Qingyu cried tears of joy as she took it all in, her face beaming with utter bliss.