“Honestly, I don’t quite see it as dire as you do,” Sunder said. “He is simply a man who likes his women, and he has shown no signs of aggression. The spies we have in the Blossoming Flowers also show that the leaders of that Sect just don’t want to anything.”
“He committed a taboo!” Fablio argued. “Dong Chen impregnated his own mother. Isn’t the fact he went against the rules of nature something to punish him for?”
“Rules of nature? What do you mean? Animals and demon beasts will inbreed with their parents once they reach maturity. You can see such behavior in dogs, what makes mortals or cultivators different from them?”
“Shut your mouth!” Fablio now argued. “You are going to do as Madam Etero states or you are going to die. She holds the power to destroy all three of us.”
Sunder sighed and looked to Yamato. The black-haired man named Yamato sat there quietly sighing back. Fablio could tell the other two did not want to support him and had no interest in continuing this. Perhaps the power of Madam Etero had not been shown to them as they were both younger in relation to him and had not seen the terrifying power of someone from the Eternal Race.
“So what’s the plan?” Sunder asked.
“We will launch an assault on the Blossoming Flowers,” Fablio said. “If all three of our Sects combine at once and attack we may sustain heavy losses but we can stomp them out completely. We can only use male cultivators, and we can recruit those from other camps as well. Even if we don’t have a quality advantage, we can have a quantity advantage.”
“Such an attack is foolish,” Sunder said. “If this Dong Chen can dual cultivate then what’s stopping him from continually doing so? Also, even if he can control female cultivators, it doesn’t mean that all of them want to be controlled by him. Wouldn’t it be better to draw him out and then dispose of him first? Even if he brings female cultivators to the pinnacle of their power, there are no Eternals other than Madam Etero, so once they’re gone she can easily help us level the playing field and defeat the stragglers. The issue now isn’t that such an attack wouldn’t work, but as long as Dong Chen escapes he can continue to order female cultivators to attack us.”
Yamato agreed. “Sunder is right.”
“Are you all cowards?” Fablio said. “We should launch an attack while we still can!”
“We don’t know how long it’s been since Dong Chen has been sexually active,” Sunder argued. “Be cool like a glacier and calm down. Our target is Dong Chen, since he is an actual threat to Madam Etero. We don’t even know the range of his ordering ability, if he can order every female on the continent to attack at once, wouldn’t we be finished?”
“Order every female on the continent? That’s preposterous! How can he do that?”
“I’m not saying he can do that, but I’m stating that it’s a possibility,” Sunder said. “Dong Chen is the first Universal Dual-Cultivator. There is very little anyone knows about him. The rumors have been that he can help female cultivators reach their potential and break through bottle-neck like a regular dual cultivator and also produce children who are guaranteed to be cultivators. For other Sects like our own, producing cultivators within is better than having to recruit them on our own.”
“If he could impregnate my wife, I can have and raise my cultivator,” Yamato suddenly said.
Sunder and Fablio now stared at him. Such a suggestion was strange for male cultivators who did not want to share their women with others. Even though cultivators valued the physical aspect of relationships less than mortals and many remained unmarried, it was still a ridiculous proposition on many accounts.
“That’s not a bad idea,” Sunder said. “My wife is also quite pretty. Perhaps if I paid him we could have him seed my wife too. Having a successor raised from birth is more appealing than having to recruit one and hoping they don’t have character flaws that take a long time to discover.”
“Are you both betraying Madam Etero!” Fablio suddenly yelled.
“No, we aren’t,” Sunder said. “It’s just I don’t see why we have to be enemies with Dong Chen. Can’t he have a sit down with Madam Etero and just talk to each other? Maybe after talking they can get along? I don’t want to go to war when Dong Chen hasn’t been seen as a threat yet. All he’s been doing according to spies is making love with the previous Sect Masters and spreading his seed and Dual cultivation with minor Sect Leaders who are in alliance with the Blossoming Flowers. The Four Great Sects have been at peace and the Continent has been peaceful, what’s the use of fighting and killing for no reason?”
“Dong Chen presents a threat to Madam Etero,” Fablio said. “Dong Chen may not be a threat as he is now, but what if power and ambition over take him? What if he suddenly decides he wants to rule? What will we do then?”
“If he suddenly decides?” Sunder questioned sardonically. “Most cultivators don’t want to rule, in fact those with the ambition for ruling often try to control others to where they have no freedom themselves. The majority don’t care for that kind of power because it’s a headache trying to force others to always do your bidding. Dong Chen seems more interested in playing around and dual cultivating than he does anything else. The only thing his existence does is prevent a female from becoming drunk on power and pushes male cultivators who want to rule into worrying for themselves. The boy is not ambitious, and it doesn’t seem his nature will change unless we force him to do it by trying to take away his freedom or something like that.”
Hearing the arguments, Fablio became angry. His anger stemmed from the fact that the other two were not interested in following his order. Madam Etero had ordered him and thus he must carry out those orders, and those two were supposed to be loyal to her. If she ordered them to go west, then they must never go east.
“Why are you not going to follow Madam Etero’s orders?” Fablio asked demandingly. “You are her loyal servants!”
“It’s not that we won’t follow,” Sunder said. “It’s that we want to know why. The only threat that can be analyzed is that Madam Etero is afraid she won’t be the top power in the continent or that there is someone who can order her around. This isn’t something I feel is appropriate to have billions die over when most of the peace-loving individuals of my Sect just want to cultivate and live their daily lives. Why must they get involved in attacking someone who isn’t hostile towards us?”
“He committed an ultimate taboo under heaven.” Fabio wasn’t giving up. “Madam Etero made each of you who you are, and the Sect gave resources and helped bring you to where you are today lest you forget.”
“Did Madam Etero give me my talent at birth as well? Did she cultivate for me for thousands of years? Do you know how many orders I had to follow for her? How many people I had to kill on her behalf? When I was taken into the Cloud Glacier Sect, I was a child who knew nothing and I had no choice but experience gives us knowledge so that we learn how to choose for ourselves. For all those years of brainwashing into believing in one way, how can you say I owe her when I have already followed her orders like a loyal dog. I’m stepping down. Let her choose my successor then.”
“I will step down too and my wife and I are leaving,” Yamato said. “Have Madam Etero choose a successor.”
“You both dare turn your backs on her?” Fablio angrily asked.
“Are you going to fight both of us at the same time?” Sunder questioned. “We’re both disappearing. We’re both tired of being nothing but tools. As such, we will leave behind all the things we accumulated and divine treasures. I think that’s a good enough repayment since I don’t believe I should be owned by her simply because I was taken in against my will.”
“After we deal with Dong Chen, we will hunt you down,” Fablio said. “Those who betray their masters commit a taboo under the heavens.”
“You and your stupid taboos,” Sunder said. “Everything that goes against Madam Etero wants is a taboo. You have no shame in that hypocrisy. Things that don’t put her at a disadvantage are not taboo. I thought our cultivator society was different than mortal society but after watching the mortals doing their own thing I’ve realized that the majority of leaders are hypocrites who will do the things they tell you not to do. Pathetic.”
Sunder and Yamato left, leaving Fablio by himself.
Fine! I’ll select new leaders and we’ll go after Dong Chen! First, I have to report to Madam Etero.