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Something had indeed happened.
Zou Liang had unwaveringly followed the plan and did not think the opposition could cause problems as they pleased, but he was called in by Tuo Ma Si. In front of him was a list of complaints, and at the bottom were the signatures of the Shadow Hunters Guild, the Archers Guild, and the Warriors Guild. From this, it seemed as though the three large occupational guilds advanced and retreated together as allies; facing the temple’s “overbearing nature”, the three wanted to counterattack.
Zou Liang laughed. “Master, this is all within expectations. These years, we have become accustomed to abuse by the other powers, so why would they put our temple in their eyes?”
“Ya Se, this recent development is not optimistic. The only reason we can challenge them is because of this little buckler, but the Engraving Masters Guild will also develop a similar design sooner or later. From the rumors, they have already made a type of small triangular shield and a square-design shield, and not only that, they are going to report our nasty conduct to Da Luo Si and even to where The Pope is.”
Tuo Ma Si knew and had actually foreseen that it would come to this stage, but he did not think it would happen so quickly.
“Master, is the messenger still here?”
“He’s still outside waiting for a reply.”
“Master, hand the situation to me and let him come in. The roles we two act are separate; I’ll act during the early stages,” Zou Liang said. “It has already gotten to this point, and if I admit defeat now, in the future I won’t be able to lift my head and conduct myself. Or do you prefer to continue hiding away like this, Master? I can guarantee that the triangular shield or square shield are all rubbish and they will come back to beg us.”
“Do as you please.” Tuo Ma Si also did not care, as no matter what happened, he was still a Head Priest who did not mind chaos.
The follower of the occupational guild came in an arrogant manner. “Head Priest, have you come to a conclusion?”
Zou Liang picked up the list of complaints. “What kind of rubbish is this? If you want to report me, then go report, and if you don’t report then you’re my grandson. I’ll tell you, if any occupational guild wants to be given a chance at receiving an Engraving, then they need to be in the first three and the Shadow Hunters Guild has to be first! If not, then roll away for this ancestor!” In front of this follower’s face, Zou Liang tore the list into pieces and tossed it onto the follower’s head.
“Good, good, you’re even going to ignore it! Just wait!” The follower had not thought that the other party would be so firm and ignore it, and he staggered backwards in fear that Zou Liang would beat him. This violent Priest’s name was also a little famous in Ye Lu Samo as someone who would move his hand without a word.
“Get lost! If you speak anymore nonsense, I’ll beat you until you have to search for your teeth!”
Once the follower fled in panic, the only role left for Tuo Ma Si was to bitterly smile.
“Master, relax. If there is anything, then just push it onto me.”
“Who do you think you are, kid? What are you going to carry? Go and do your things properly, else both of us will be out to sow the fields!” Tuo Ma Si scolded with a laugh; seeing this kid have such high fighting spirits, Tuo Ma Si also had a heart of battle take shape. They had already bullied him up to his head and they even wanted to jointly report to the superiors.
Fine, go and report! At most, he just wouldn’t be working as a Head Priest anymore!
Zou Liang left the room and the colour of his face also sank. Who would have thought that these bastards would want to break their ships1? The larger the disturbance, the better, as he worried that The Pope did not consider Ye Lu Samo to be of importance! He needed to gamble, he needed to bet that there wasn’t a Pope alive that was willing to be nothing more than a puppet with influence only in name!
In the afternoon, Ai Wei Er came with a face full of worry, but beauties becoming so distraught was what Zou Liang disliked the most. “Wei Wei, why the frown and bitter face? Who bullied you? Tell me and I’ll beat them until they’re searching for their scattered teeth!”
Ai Wei Er laughed with a puchi. “We’re all worried for you, yet you still have the mood to joke around.”
“If one does not experience the storms, how are they to see the rainbow? These trash are not enough to topple me. How are the preparations? Your family hasn’t been shaken, has it?”
Zou Liang’s clear vision of the world caused Ai Wei Er to grow confused.
“How did you know? But it has already been pacified through my previous investments. Seeing how the occupational guilds make such a fuss, they must have the support of the Magistrate and Engraving Masters Guild. My information says they have not discussed only a small amount, either, and there has already been someone heading towards Da Luo Si and the Imperial Capital.”
“Not a problem, and I even need to thank them. Sooner or later, there will have to be victory or defeat, and this will make the storms even wilder.”
“You’re really not afraid?” Ai Wei Er gazed at Zou Liang. When she had seen this Bi Er reading books alone in the library, she had thought that his person had a rude pride deep in his bones, but she was very worried; a battle on this kind of terrain was not something that could be won through Engraving Technique alone.
“I used to have nothing at all, so what is there to be afraid of? But……. If I do lose my job, will you rescue me?” Zou Liang’s heroic aura momentarily turned miserable.
Ai Wei Er was in a daze before she let out a splendid smile. “That’s exactly what I want.”
Zou Liang let out a resounding laugh. “There’s another thing: you don’t need to increase your family’s contribution. If you want an Engraving, just say so first, and after we finish these busy matters, I will specially measure the characteristics of your Beast Spirit.”
“Not a problem, as it’s giving the Beast God contribution anyway. You need to take care of yourself,” Ai Wei Er softly laughed.
Zou Liang shook his head. “I know you want to raise this busy guy’s value. Relax, I have a method, but it’ll make things difficult for you. In this moment where neither victory nor defeat is certain, the pressure on the families will not be small.”
“Hehe, businessmen all have a carefully cultivated eyesight. I won’t hide it from you, we really think well of you,” Ai Wei Er replied.
“Oh, then let us go see the work in progress.” Zou Liang extended his hand. He liked the feeling of Ai Wei Er pulled up against him; such etiquette in the Beast God Continent was indeed very good.
Ai Wei Er very lightly pulled on Ya Se’s arm. This guy…… this wasn’t even at a banquet.
Zou Liang moved close to Ai Wei Er’s ear. “I’ll tell you a secret: to say nothing of one Engraving, even if I did five or six a day, it would not tire me. But the scarcer something is, the more valuable it is. You understand?”
Ai Wei Er’s face momentarily flushed red and bowed her head without saying a word. Zou Liang was so immensely pleased with himself, however, that he completely overlooked this beautiful sight.2
The Spring Festival’s preparation was as unstoppable as a wildfire. Head Priest Tuo Ma Si had also shown more devotion than any other and threw himself into it, utilizing his many years of influence to gather all of the large families to participate.
Just as Ya Se had said, if they did not break out of the silence, they would then be extinguished in the silence.
Tuo Ma Si thought that this disciple of his had talent far greater than was ordinary. Sometimes his one word would contain endless meaning, and he confronted the suppression from the superiors as well as Ye Lu Samo’s internal conflict. The silence of the temple was like encouragement that fanned the opponents’ flames.
If they were going to do it, then they needed to go it with great fanfare!
However, blessings never come in pairs, and neither does misfortune come alone; news arrived in Da Luo Si’s shrine criticising Tuo Ma Si, and evidently Lord Shaman was not too pleased with Tuo Ma Si’s moment of confrontation. At this time when the temple was at a disadvantageous position, the need to unify all of the occupational guilds was even greater and they could not cause such an extreme rift. A Head Priest that had offended all of the occupational guilds in the city; how could they endure against the Magistrate and the Spirit Engraving Masters Guild’s antagonisation?
Sibalu was also giving pointers to Tuo Ma Si: to endure a while would still the winds and calm the waves; to take a step back would open the seas and spread the skies.
It was at this time that the Spirit Engraving Masters Guild formally released their Shadow Hunters’ specialized shield with great fanfare. The size was similar to that of the little buckler, but they had adopted the more gorgeous and fair-looking triangle, square, and even pentagon shapes. They even increased the thickness, not like the temple that “skimped on the job and stinted on materials.”
With only a moment, the temple’s little buckler craze immediately waned. The fall was great, as the Spirit Engraving Masters Guild’s many years of prestige and influence were not a farce.
Furthermore, each city’s Spirit Engraving Masters Guild did not require a queue.
The Shadow Hunters that had already obtained rights from the ballot wanted to have a refund since the Spirit Engraving Guild was cheaper. This was clearly naked suppression.
For Zou Liang, the response was simple: let them have a refund. At the same time, they increased the price, and did not have any intention to lower the contributions requirements for any of the large associations.
The associations charged towards the little buckler, and therefore the temple did not lose much influence from this. Not a single person in the Spirit Engraving Masters Guild could make the Dual-Layer structure, nor did they have the assurance to increase the upper range by one.