Chapter 16: Being made a scapegoat
After stepping outside of the central flow region and being stimulated by the dense streams of baleful qi outside, the unconscious Chao Yuanlong rapidly regained consciousness.
Having woken up, Chao Yuanlong’s consciousness instantly began to replay his battle with Yan Zhaoge.
Within his sea of consciousness, there were still a multitude of excuses, but the reality of the situation became enormous and crashed down into his mind.
Thinking back to the time when he was exchanging blows with Yan Zhaoge, Chao Yuanlong felt like there was a fire in the pit of his stomach.
Compared to his rage back then, the puzzlement he was feeling now was even more pronounced.
Since when had Yan Zhaoge become so formidable?
Was this still the same Yan Zhaoge that he had clashed with before?
At this meeting, Yan Zhaoge also had improvements in his cultivation, which was well within Chao Yuanlong’s expectations. However, the scope and breadth of this improvement had toppled over Chao Yuanlong’s worldview.
Having regained his consciousness, his cheeks still burned with a fiery pain. Thinking back on the events that had just transpired, an intense sense of anger and humiliation rose up within him.
After examining the condition of his body, Chao Yuanlong became further enraged. Even with his sect being present, he had been expelled from the central flow region by Yan Zhaoge.
He fixed his gaze on the present Sacred Sun Clan disciples, and opened his mouth wanting to speak. However, it was as if the words were stuck in his chest and he was unable to utter a single sound.
The crowd of Sacred Sun Clan disciples each lowered their heads, afraid the meet the gaze of Chao Yuanlong.
Even though he had been injured by Yan Zhaoge and his palm had been pierced through, Chao Yuanlong was not someone that regular disciples like them could provoke.
Chao Yuanlong was renowned for his harsh temperament, and it was apparent that he was presently in a wrathful mood. Anyone who set him off at this time would have to bear the consequences*.
*TL note: Lit. if you can’t eat everything, you’ll have to bring it home. Funny sounding Chinese idiom that basically means you’ll have to bear the consequences
It’s just that the fear and veneration the other disciples had for Chao Yuanlong had now transformed to just fear without the veneration.
There were several people who, though they didn’t dare to outwardly express it, actually scorned Chao Yuanlong in their hearts : “Even after being beat up by that Broad Creed Mountain’s Yan Zhaoge like a bastard grandson, he still dares to posture in front of us.”
“If you have skills, why don’t you try to show them off in front of Yan Zhaoge’s face? Truly a case of *the soft fearing the hard.”
TL note: Fairly self-explanatory idiom, meaning that fakes/noobs can’t match up to the real deal
“The current circumstances—aren’t they simply the consequence of you not being able to beat Yan Zhaoge? If it was the other way around, we’d be the ones kicking them out of the central flow region.”
Chao Yuanlong took a deep breath, willing himself to remain more level-headed.
For a split second, he really had wanted to head back and put his life on the line to fight Yan Zhaoge. After being so deeply humiliated, why didn’t he perish in battle for that one last fleeting moment of joy?
However, from the results of their recent conflict, Chao Yuanlong couldn’t help but become even more depressed.
That was precisely because he realized that even if he wanted to fight a life and death battle, he might not be able to fulfill that desire. Rather, it was more likely that he would face another humiliation.
The gap between them was unexpectedly so large—if his temperament was not so tough and unyielding, he would feel hopeless.
“The task entrusted by senior apprentice-brother Xiao; we’ve spent so much time and effort to finally get some positive results. Shouldn’t we try to get that task completed first?” a Sacred Sun Clan disciple gently suggested.
The latter half of that sentence wasn’t actually what he meant—in reality he wanted to say: “Senior apprentice-brother Xiao will be arriving at the Sealing Dragon Abyss soon; at that time, we’ll go looking for that Yan Zhaoge to get revenge.”
However, in order to refrain from provoking Chao Yuanlong, he refrained from saying this sentence.
Chao Yuanlong wasn’t stupid though—how could he not understand the hidden intent behind the other’s words?
He swept his gaze over the other disciples. Even though none of them betrayed their thoughts, he could guess as to what roughly they were thinking.
After all was said and done, he had really lost horribly to Yan Zhaoge, almost to the figurative extent of losing his underwear.
Giving a cold glance to the crowd of disciples, Chao Yuanlong refrained from saying any more than a simple agreement: “Yes. First accomplish the task.”
Having finished speaking, he departed. The other people all loosened their breath after being safely behind him.
Chao Yuanlong was expressionless, but his inner feelings were in turmoil: “Outer aura Martial Scholar! I must cultivate to the outer aura Martial Scholar realm quickly so I can begin to cultivate the special martial arts of our sect to specially suppress Yan Zhaoge’s Coiling Dragon Sleeve. At that time, even if he also breaks through the same bottleneck, it won’t matter!”
“Today’s enmity; this one will definitely repay it! If this one doesn’t make Yan Zhaoge writhe in the dirt, this one isn’t a human!”
Within the central flow region, only Broad Creed Mountain disciples still remained. Some were resting while others were exploring or gathering materials from the Sealing Dragon Abyss. Some other disciples were also teasing the cute and delicate Light Spirit Cat.
The Internal Crystal Furnace rumbled as it ceaselessly continued absorbing the golden liquid and refined itself.
Yan Zhaoge was seated cross-legged next to the Internal Crystal Furnace, eyeing it like a protective mother.
Suddenly, Ah Hu appeared with a report: “Young Master, Chao Yuanlong and that bunch seem to have come to the Sealing Dragon Abyss to seek something. It is uncertain whether they are looking for somebody or some object.”
Yan Zhaoge nodded but refrained from speaking.
Ah Hu continued: “Reporting to young master, the monastery cast out its net. That old monk and Clan Chief caught some really big fish this time.”
“Afterwards, there’s another piece of information. The surviving dregs of the Crimson Spirit Flags have arrived at the edge of the Sealing Dragon Abyss and are planning to take action against Young Master.”
Yan Zhaoge asked: “The matter of the Internal Crystal Furnace, do the Crimson Spirit Flags know about it?”
Ah Hu responded: “According to the ones who were captured, they only know that the young master has come to the Sealing Dragon Abyss to look for the seed of Li Flame True Fire.”
Yan Zhaoge paused for a moment: “The Crimson Spirit Flags is still a fairly influential force. Man for man, it would be best to not meddle in this affair. Let us hand it over to Eastern Tang’s Principal Elder to handle.
Ah Hu gave a straightforward laugh: “The Eastern Tang’s Principal Elder has already made preparations. He has personally led a group of people into the Sealing Dragon Abyss. They are lying in wait for the Crimson Spirit Flags to show up and are excited for the prospect of helping you.”
Yan Zhaoge laughed: “That’s rubbish. Even though he’s second apprentice-uncle’s man, it isn’t because of me. Vanquishing the last remnants of the wicked Crimson Spirit Flags would be a great contribution to the clan which would greatly raise his personal prestige. How could he not be excited?”
“In fact, if one wanted to bury me, they could push the responsibility onto the Crimson Spirit Flags. However, things are unlikely to go that far. This is definitely a scheme of my second apprentice-uncle. If the Eastern Tang’s Principal Elder wants to protect me, he may not even be able to.”
Yan Zhaoge shot out a supercilious glance: “Just like me and that Ye Jing, the Elder is the same. If something bad happens, even if it isn’t his fault, he will end up being made into a scapegoat.”
“The Crimson Spirit Flags are here for me. If I withdraw, then they will definitely withdraw as well. Though this plan has some risks, I want to take this chance to bait the rat out of its hole.”
Ah Hu looked up with a gaze full of adoration: “Young Master, you truly are a young hero!”
“That’s enough, quit it with your fake expression.” Yan Zhaoge responded. Ah Hu laughed in a silly manner: “Young Master, if we succeed and get rid of the Crimson Spirit Flags, your contribution to the clan cannot be ignored.”
Yan Zhaoge waved his hands: “That is only secondary. When all is said and done, the Crimson Spirit Flags are like a hidden dagger that previously remained in hiding. Now that they’ve finally showed themselves, this is a good chance to resolve this matter entirely.”
“However, risking my personal safety is my own matter, and should not have anything to do with the other disciples. Lead them out of the Sealing Dragon Abyss.”
Notifying Ye Jing, Sikong Qing and others of equivalent status, it turned out that roughly half of the disciples were willing to stay through this danger.
Some of them hoped that by passing through this trial together with Yan Zhaoge, they would be able to develop stronger relations, while others felt that they would be able to broaden their horizons.
Ye Jing and Sikong Qing both chose to stay.
According to Yan Zhaoge’s understanding, Sikong Qing was probably wholeheartedly devoted to the martial dao, wanting to temper herself in actual combat. As for Ye Jing, he could not fully understand his motivations.
However, their decisions were their decisions. The disciples present each made their own choices, and Yan Zhaoge did not pressure any of them for either choice. Those who wished to remain would remain, while those who chose to leave would be accompanied out by Ah Hu.
After Ah Hu and those who had chosen to leave had left, Yan Zhaoge and the others continued to remain at their original location.
An unknown amount of time passed, after which Yan Zhaoge suddenly jolted. In the distance, within the black mists, there was a barely discernible glow.
“Li Flame True Fire fire seed?” Yan Zhaoge’s eyes suddenly brightened: “The trip this time truly has had a propitious wind throughout the journey!”
Huge apology for taking so long to translate this chapter! I was planning on getting it out much earlier, but after midterms and assignments I found that I did not have any time to finish up the chapter. Now that the bulk of my midterms have finished, you can expect a regular release schedule again! (At least until finals.)
Also, as is abundantly clear, I’ve joined the Volare Translations team!!! I’m super excited to work with an established group while I keep doing my own thing.