Many of the senior executives of the Hall of Healing were excited by the royal family’s high regard and were jubilant about sweeping away an opponent such as the Pill King Garden.
During a meeting between the senior executives, the fourth Hallmaster, Wang Li, spoke animatedly, “Lord Hallmaster, since the royal family has weathered a crisis, now is when they need us the most. Perhaps the position of our Hall will greatly increase once again. We should make use of this opportunity to expand our operations, and to open branches in every territory of the kingdom. Wherever there’s a duke present, there should also be a branch of our Hall. In this regard, the Hall will both permeate and be deeply entangled throughout the entire country. Our income and status will all greatly increase.”
Fourth Hallmaster Wang Li was a year or two younger than Qiao Baishi, and could be viewed as one of the future pillars of the Hall. His position had been similar to Qiao Baishi originally, and he’d even been in the running as a future Lord Hallmaster.
However, Qiao Baishi’s astounding performances had continuously stifled Wang Li’s ambitions, and gave him no room to give free rein to his abilities.
Now that Qiao Baishi was out of the picture, the position of Lord Hallmaster of the Hall of Healing was basically Wang Li’s.
Therefore, Wang Li had become a bit jumped up lately — strutting around with the demeanor of the future leader a bit.
Many of the senior executives throughout the Hall completely bought Wang Li’s act. They fawned over him, and curried favor with him both publicly and privately — giving off the air that they were gathering at his side.
Several of the elders added in their assenting remarks upon hearing Wang Li’s words.
“Hallmaster Wang is correct, our Hall should take advantage of this opportunity to expand and widen our influence to all the territories. There is indeed a great need to construct branches in all the duchies.”
“Hallmaster Wang looks far ahead, and aims high with both vision and ambition.” The Blue surnamed female elder had always been on bad terms with Qiao Baishi. She’d also been one of the most outspoken ones against Qiao Baishi last time.
“Unlike some people who have no respect for the other senior executives when they have a bit of accomplishment, it’s actually a fortuitous happening for the Hall that someone like that has left.”
Elder Blue was filled with resentment. Although Qiao Baishi had already left, her mouth was still without virtue, as she alternated between taunting and jeering at Qiao Baishi.
Although Qiao Baishi was no longer present, he still had two loyal supporters within the Hall. Elder Blue was even including his friends in her hatred.
These words were naturally abusing one person, while pointing at someone else.
Even the Second Hallmaster, Yue Qun, stroked his beard and chuckled, “Lord Hallmaster, our Hall has fallen upon quite a spot of luck this time. We should make use of this opportunity to expand.”
Song Tianxing’s face had darkened continuously as he’d allowed the chatter to go on around him in.
He was in an incredibly bad mood, and was very disheartened.
He didn’t find the superficiality of human relationships odd. He hadn’t even found it strange that Qiao Baishi had been scoffed at and mocked by these people.
What was odd, was that these people didn’t have the slightest bit of sensitivity towards the matter of politics, and kept saying that they wanted to expand.
Had the Hall of Healing really never had the chance to expand their operations during the past hundreds of years? Why hadn’t they expanded?
It was because it was a taboo area!
How long had it been since the matter between the Duke of Soaring Dragon? Had these people all already forgotten?
How would the royal family allow any power to expand without limits, or let any influence penetrate every territory within the kingdom in the future?
These were the daydreams of an idiot, and it could be said that they were looking for death.
It wouldn’t be allowed, even if the Hall of Healing didn’t have the power to command troops within its hands. If an entity had too much influence, it would be sure to conflict with royal authority as time went on.
The Duke of Soaring Dragon was a prime example. It would be strange indeed if the Eastern clan allowed any power to expand without limits after the case of Long Zhaofeng.
The sad thing was that none of these people could see such simple logic. Their minds were filled with enthusiasm and only wished to expand.
Seeing that Song Tianxing wasn’t saying anything, the second hallmaster Yue Qun laughed, “Boss, everyone is very gung ho. Why don’t you say a few words as well?”
Song Tianxing had a belly full of frustrations as he swept his gaze around coldly with a thunderous looking face. “I can understand that all of you are in high spirits. I’ll only speak of two matters today.”
“First, I’d like to ask you all that, as the first duke beneath the heavens, why was the Duke of Soaring Dragon destroyed in the end?”
“Second, who can fill in the gaps after Qiao Baishi has left? Who amongst you has the ability to clean up the aftermath? I’ll say this right here and now, that if anyone has the ability to fill in for Qiao Baishi, and can take care of the aftermath left in his wake, I’ll make that person the next great Lord Hallmaster.”
Song Tianxing spread out his hands after he spoke, “Why don’t you discuss it amongst yourselves.”
Upon seeing that Song Tianxing’s reaction wasn’t very pleased, the fervent atmosphere cooled down slightly.
Yue Qun squeezed out a smile and said, “It was a fluke that the Duke of Soaring Dragon was destroyed. Who would’ve thought that the million strong army would be subdued by the power of Jiang Chen alone?”
“Indeed. Perhaps the Duke of Soaring Dragon just didn’t have the makings of an emperor in this lifetime.”
“This situation truly is a bit bizarre. I thought that it would be the foregone conclusion for the Long family to conquer the kingdom. Who would’ve thought that the final outcome would be thus?”
“Haha, but this is a great thing for our Hall.”
The senior executives were all quite at ease when they discussed the matters of the Long family. The blustering and aggressive manner that had been present when they were pointing fingers at Qiao Baishi, and when they were clamoring to hand him over to Long Zhaofeng, was completely absent.
However, Song Tianxing’s brow grew even more furrowed when he heard this response.
He raised his eyebrows, and looked at the fourth Hallmaster Wang Li. “Number four, you take the floor. What understanding have you reached regarding the Duke of Soaring Dragon’s demise?”
Wang Li knew this was a test from the Lord Hallmaster, and didn’t dare easily dismiss the matter. He thought for a moment and then opened his mouth to say, “Both luck and reason played a role in the destruction of the Long family. On the other hand, this also demonstrates that with the Eastern family’s royal heritage of a few hundred years, their destiny is still stronger than the Long family’s. And, as the truth has illustrated, the Lord Hallmaster was correct in resolutely defending his stance. You possessed foresight in doing so.”
Wang Li conveniently kissed up to Song Tianxing as well. When everyone had wanted to hand over Qiao Baishi to Long Zhaofeng, and strike a compromise with the Long family, or even submit to them, in the end it had been Song Tianxing who’d prevailed over all dissenting views. He’d stoppered the mouths of those who wanted to bow down to the Long family after Elder Shun had spoken.
The truth had revealed that the action of not submitting to the Long family had been beyond wise and brilliant.
Otherwise, it would be an unknown whether or not the current Hall of Healing would be receiving the royal family’s favor.
After Wang Li had offered up this fulsome flattery, he naturally felt that he had responded quite aptly. However, Song Tianxing shook his head inwardly. This Wang Li didn’t measure up to Qiao Baishi alright — he paled far in comparison instead.
He had raised the first question to take these people down a peg or two, using the matter of the Long family to warn them not to always think of expanding.
Business could be expanded, but territory and influence could absolutely not be expanded.
It was a pity that no one grasped his intentions.
Suddenly, an elder sitting in a corner to the right raised his hand, “Lord Hallmaster, if I may say a word?”
The elder who had raised his hand was surnamed Ying, and was one of the few solid supporters that Qiao Baishi had left. He had been ostracized by the senior executives during this time, and was slowly being marginalized.
The others wore a faint smile upon seeing that he wished to speak. They had on looks of watching a good show, as if a funny joke was in front of them.
“Elder Ying, the lord hallmaster hasn’t asked you. What are you trying to do by being so falsely proactive?” Elder Blue’s words were laced with sarcasm.
“Elder Blue, if I recall correctly, you’re also an elder, and your ranking isn’t that much higher than mine. I hardly think that you have the right to point fingers and decide when I can or can’t speak. I don’t know what you’re puffed up with importance about?” Elder Ying flicked a glance at Elder Blue as his voice was full of contempt.
“You… you… I’m not lowering my status by arguing with you.” Elder Blue sat down huffily.
“Elder Ying, what valued opinions do you have? Please speak.”
Song Tianxing thought fondly of old friendships, and knew that Elder Ying was one of Qiao Baishi’s confidantes. His love for Qiao Baishi extended to his confidantes, and thus he also held a good view of Elder Ying.
“Lord Hallmaster, I’m more of a crude person, and so beg your pardon if I offend with my words.” It looked like Elder Ying had much on his mind that he wanted to say.
“Speak freely whatever is on your mind. We’re all colleagues here, what offense could possibly be given? This is all for the future of the Hall.” Song Tianxing set the tone.
“Alright, then I’ll speak frankly. I feel that a key issue still hasn’t been addressed in the midst of all this discussion to respond to the Lord Hallmaster’s question regarding the Duke of Soaring Dragon: Why did the Duke of Soaring Dragon collapse? Simple — his influence and power threatened his master!”
“The Long family has operated painstakingly these years, in order to have a finger in many pies. They had a foothold in many duchies. In this way, the Long family had a multitude of accomplices, and their influence was wide ranging. The final result was that their influence exceeded the royal family’s, and ignited this catastrophe.”
Elder Ying didn’t pause as he continued, “All of you said earlier that you wanted to make use of this opportunity to build branches of the Hall in all sorts of ducal territories. What I want to say, is that this kind of blind optimism is not only the wrong choice for the future of the Hall of Healing, but is courting death at the heart of it. This is pushing the Hall into the abyss of destruction.”
Song Tianxing’s eyes abruptly lit up when Elder Ying finished. The former had been very disappointed prior because no one had comprehended this point.
It would seem that Elder Ying was a wise person. The saying that things, and people, of the same kind came together, did indeed hold true. Elder Ying was close to Qiao Baishi. It would seem that he had true skill and genuine knowledge.
“If the Hall was to extend our fingers to every territory, then I believe that the day the royal family were to move against the Hall wouldn’t be too far off. The Long family is a lesson of a failed predecessor. Our Hall has a long and illustrious history, and many wise men have numbered amongst the generations of forefathers. Wouldn’t they have wanted to expand as well? To build a branch in every duchy? Why haven’t they done so? Because they’re smart people. They knew that business was just business. They avoided stirring up unnecessary trouble, and didn’t attempt to increase their influence to the point that it eclipsed the royal family’s. This isn’t expansion — this is seeking death!”
Elder Ying laughed coldly as he exhaled a long breath when he finished speaking. It was as if he had vented all the ill humor he had accumulated during this time in one go.
He sat down firmly, “This is what I wanted to say, pardon me if I’ve given offense.”
It could be seen that Elder Ying had thought things through, and wasn’t afraid of giving offense now. He was being marginalized anyway, why continue to take the blows lying down? He would say whatever he wanted, why would he have qualms of offending others?
One had to say, although he hadn’t left any considerations of face in his words, they opened the ears of the deaf, and the eyes of the blind. Even if the senior executives present were isolating him, consciously or unconsciously, they all had to admit that these words had pointed out a core issue that they hadn’t thought of.
Truly, the Duke of Soaring Dragon was an example of a failed predecessor.
However, the Fourth Hallmaster Wang Li had an angrily darkened face. The expansion idea had been his, and Elder Ying’s words were undoubtedly a slap to his face.
“Elder Ying, your words are a bit of an exaggeration. You’re raising an alarm just to scare people.” Wang Li was a bit unhappy.
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