As he observed the scene that was unfolding before him, Chengfeng’s heart shuddered. From what he saw, they were not cultivating disciples, they were literally an army camp full of soldiers!
The disciples’ perfectly coordinated movements and killing intent paired with their twelve amendments were awe-inspiring!
However, it seemed that the Grand Senior Brother was dissatisfied with their performance as he glared at the crowd and shouted in a fury, “Have you all not eaten?! Where is your strength?!”
Someone in the crowd cried, “Grand Senior Brother, we have been doing homework since dawn, there was no time for breakfast!”
Grand Senior Brother shouted furiously, “Who said that! Step out now!”
The crowd snickered, yet no one walked dared to step out from the crowd.
The Grand Senior Brother glanced towards the side and shouted, “Sun Yongcai, don’t think I didn’t know it was you who spoke!”
The man called Sun Yongcai immediately looked to the ground, those who stood beside him covered their mouths as they giggled, delighted by the fact that he was being lectured.
The Grand Senior Brother snarled, “Doing your homework in the morning? Wasn’t it supposed to be time for breakfast? Why are you so stubborn!”
Sun Yongcai gulped as he replied, “Grand Senior Brother, I just don’t understand!”
The Grand Senior Brother froze, he never expected that in front of such a huge crowd, there would actually be a disciple that dared to talk back to him!
The Grand Senior Brother’s facial expression darkened. Qin Mieqin, who stood at the front of the platoon, loudly spoke, “Sun Yongcai, are you back talking your senior?!”
Sun Yongcai, who was unwilling to submit, blurted, “It takes 50 years to be considered as another generation! Grand Senior Brother is in the same generation as me! How would this be considered as rebelling against a senior!”
Qin Mieqin replied, “Grand Senior Brother had been handling Hidden Sword Court for the past 13 years! His finger adorns the Hidden Sword ring, his hand wields the Heaven Splitting Sword! When our Martial Uncles are not here, he’s naturally the most respected member of Hidden Sword Court! And yet you dare to speak to him in such a way! How dare you say that this is not rebelling against a senior!”
“It has been 25 years since I have entered Hidden Sword Court, never have I seen one Martial Uncle! Who knows if they’re all dead or not!” replied Sun Yongcai angrily.
Grand Senior Brother’s expression had turned extremely dark. Qin Mieqin angrily fired back, “Sun Yongcai! Have you lost your mind?! How dare you say such a thing! Shut your mouth! Today you have disrespected your senior in front of your brothers, your words have disrespected our court! You are now punished and grounded for two months! Your salary will be deducted for half a year! Let’s see if you’re satisfied with that!”
Sun Yongcai’s face was red with anger, “I’m not!”
The turn of events made the people surrounding Sun Yongcai uncomfortable as they glanced at each other. They couldn’t believe that Sun Yongcai would actually dare to clash heads with the two most influential people of Hidden Sword Court.
Qin Mieqin took a deep breath. He noticed that there seemed to be a problem today, this Sun Yongcai wanted to stir up trouble!
But… What kind of trouble does he want to stir up?
Could it be…
Qin Mieqin seemed to have realised something, and immediately called upon the guards, “Even if you’re not satisfied, you have no choice but to! Guards! Take him away!”
Ouyang Nan who stood beside him smirked. However, Sun Yongcai suddenly stepped out from the crowd as he angrily shouted, “Why won’t you let me speak? Could it be that you’re afraid I’ve destroyed your plan? Destroyed the pretty little dream that you people who are in charge of Hidden Sword Court have?”
The crowd started to discuss among each other, each of them looked at Grand Brother Senior with suspicion in their eyes.
Ouyang Nan couldn’t stand this anymore and scolded, “Sun Yongcai! Do you want to die?!”
Yongcai angrily retorted, “What? Do you want to kill me to silence me now? Alright, come!” Just as he finished his sentence, he took off his cultivator robe and presented himself in full nude. Pointing towards the countless scars on his chest, he screamed, “Come, stab me here! I have endangered my life for Hidden Sword Court countless times! Three times out of those missions, I had encountered a near-death experience as I crawled back from death’s door! The scars on my body have accumulated to 23 scars big and small! None of these scars are on my back! Tell me, what does this entail?!”
The crowd stared at Sun Yongcai’s back that was smooth and strong.
He then turned to the crowd, showing his scarred chest. All of them had the look of pity showing through their expressions.
Sun Yongcai slapped his chest as he shouted furiously, “Those enemies that I had defeated for our Court couldn’t take my life away. But if you can really bring yourselves to do it, then come! Come and stab me right here!”
Grand Brother Senior used all of his patience to calm down his fury as he said, “Sun Yongcai! Is there something you actually want to say?! Today, in front of everyone, I’ll let you say whatever you want! Speak to your heart’s content!”
“Alright! I will! Today, I’ll speak my mind!” Sun Yongcai was putting it all out today, it was as if the pent up anger he had accumulated over the years had exploded. He walked to the front of the platform as he stood in front of the crowd and loudly exclaimed, “When we entered the Spiritual Mountain Sect and entered Hidden Sword Court, what was it all for? Wasn’t it to be men that were above all men? What about now? What has become of our Hidden Sword Court? Hidden Brocade Court suppresses us, Hidden Beauty Court looks down upon us, even Hidden Modesty Court bullies us! Ever Since I, Sun Yongcai entered Hidden Sword Court, there has not been a day where I felt like I was living like a human being!”
His speech seemed to have ignited all the anger that the disciple of Hidden Brocade Court had felt all this while, they immediately agreed in unison, shouting, “That’s right! You’re right!”
Among the crowd, even the unremarkable Qu Tongqiu and Zhao Yibai were riled up as they shouted, “We did not join the Spiritual Mountain Sect just to be bullied!”
Quite pitifully, when they were initially selected to join the Spiritual Mountain Sect, they were so excited that they couldn’t sleep for days. Even if they were assigned to Hidden Sword Court, they would also be grateful. However, the longer they stayed in Hidden Sword court, the more they felt that there was something wrong with the court.
Compared to the other courts where they had Senior Brothers and Martial Uncles to personally teach and train them, Hidden Sword court had an ineffective system. Whenever they had a question to ask their senior brothers, their senior brothers would always be busy training themselves, leaving no chances for them to be trained. But the thing about cultivation was that if there was no one to point directions, it would be impossible for a cultivator to improve. They would consider themselves lucky that they hadn’t gone insane from cultivation gone wrong.
For the past decade, many disciples were getting more discouraged and unmotivated from the depressing state of their court. They could not find any hope from the continuous suppression from the other three courts. The resources that were allocated to Hidden Sword Court became scarcer and scarcer, and in turn, their feeling of hopelessness increased.
Who would be willing to pose as a fraud wearing the robes of a cultivator? If it wasn’t because they had no other choice, who would even want to take such a path?
Qu Tongqiu and Zhao Xiaobai felt tears well up in their eyes as they thought about all the suffering they had to endure, just like the rest who felt the same way. It wasn’t just them, the entire crowd was now chaotic as their emotions were at an all-time high.
Chengfeng, Yuehan and Xiaobao watched dumbfoundedly from afar as the events unfolded.
“Having joined Hidden Sword Court, have you really felt like you weren’t a human being anymore?” Grand Brother Senior’s voice was filled with a lot of suppressed anger, his gaze getting sharper and sharper.
Sun Yongcai exclaimed, “We have been bullied too excessively! Whatever benefits the Spiritual Mountain Sect has had was all given to the other three courts! All that was left for us are the deadly missions and assignments! Those are the only things left for Hidden Sword Court! Why do we have to endure this? Why!”
“That’s right! All the good things go to them, yet we’re the ones who risk our lives!” screamed the crowd in anger.
The Grand Senior Brother angrily replied, “Our martial uncles are either in retreat, or far away fighting a grisly war! Don’t you all know that!”
Sun Yongcai laughed coldly as he retorted, “Yes, that was what you have said all this time. And, indeed, the other courts do not have much of their Martial Uncles around. But seeing that we are being bullied so excessively, don’t you think they should return from their retreat even once? Or is it that in their eyes, they do not care if we live or die?!”
The crowd was now more chaotic than ever, their anger could no longer be contained. It was then where Ouyang Nan and the others charged in to brawl amongst those who had rebelled. Even so, they could not control the crowd but instead made their Junior Brothers who had hot tempers fight back against them.
Luckily, their conflict did not escalate, and no magical weapons or arrays were used.
Grand Senior Brother had fully realised the situation that was happening right now had turned into a terrifying case of abdication. Instead, he quickly calmed himself down and observed the entire scene, carefully paying attention to everyone’s reactions and movement, until he saw Li Chengfeng at the back of the crowd. He froze for a second, his facial expression sunk as he thought to himself, ‘It’s him? Could it be that he was the reason that this was happening? Could it be that he was one who orchestrated this fight among us?’
As he was deep in thought, he suddenly noticed that Sun Yongcai had climbed to higher ground as he exclaimed, “If Grand Brother Senior doesn’t give us a solution by today, we will stop going for missions to risk our lives for nothing! Those who want to sacrifice your life for Hidden Sword Court, go ahead!”
“That’s right!!” screamed the crowd in unison.
Ouyang Nan furiously shouted, “Sun Yongcai! I bet you’re trying to sabotage our court while helping another! You’re trying to betray our court, aren’t you?! Let me tell you this, if you’re planning on betraying our court, you’d have to have another willing to accept you!”
Glaring at the disciples, Ouyang Nan continued, “How dare you all spout such nonsense? Could it be that all of you no longer want to be in Hidden Sword? If you don’t, then do us a favour and leave! The Hidden Sword Court guarantees that we would not ask any of you who want to leave to stay!”
This sentence was compelling, Hidden Sword Court was suddenly met with pin-drop silence. Despite the horrible treatment that Hidden Sword court was currently facing, not to mention that they were also in the brink of extinction, but as bad as it was, it was still a part of the four heavenly courts of the Spiritual Mountain Sect. If they really were to leave this place, they would lose their identity as a cultivator. That would mean that their families will immediately lose all power and pride in their hometowns.
The benefits that were brought upon them for being cultivators were plenty, if they were stripped from their title, those benefits would vanish in a flash. And if that were to happen, those that had preyed upon their power would immediately jump upon their vulnerability, taking away all their riches, like vultures tearing apart corpses of their prey.
The higher one climbed, the more painful their fall would be. This was a cautionary tale that had been taught to cultivators since the dawn of time.
The crowd suddenly realised the devastating consequences, and soon, the chaotic atmosphere among the crowd was gone.
Ouyang Nan hadn’t expected that a sentence that he screamed in a fit of rage would work so well. He froze for a second, then proceeded to laugh sarcastically, “Have none of you realised that other than Hidden Sword Court, there’s nowhere else for you to go? Are there any other courts willing to take you in?”
Once Grand Senior Brother and Qin Mieqin heard that sentence come out of Ouyang Nan’s mouth, they knew that it was going to be bad.
The crowd was filled with whispers of anger. However, no one dared to talk back.
Suddenly, a voice from outside the hall could be heard, “Yeah we’re willing, why won’t we be willing?”
Chengfeng and the rest of the crowd immediately turned their heads to see the owner of the voice, only to find a man and a woman standing from a distance not far away, not knowing how long it had been since they stood there. One of them was a man clad in a robe from Hidden Brocade Court, as he walked towards the crowd, Chengfeng noticed that it was a familiar face- it was Huangfu Song. The beautiful woman wore a cultivator robe adorned by Hidden Beauty Court, this was also a familiar face to Chengfeng- Ji Chunhua.