When Elder Redseal entered, he saw the solemn faces of Sect Master Xia and several other Immortal Monarch Elders. But that wasn't what caused the goosebumps all over his body as if he had been plunged into the deep abyss.
Sitting above Sect Master Xia was Grand Elder Xi. Her face was expressionless as usual, and her eyes as cold as ever. But Elder Redseal felt as if millions of tiny blades had stabbed into his soul just from one glance. His heart dropped into his stomach, but he didn't reveal any of his agitation on his face.
"Sect Master Xia, for what reason have you summoned me here? And for two of the sect's Grand Elders to be here, has something urgent happened?" Elder Redseal asked.
He glanced at the other Grand Elder, Zhang Cuiying. But she was just as expressionless as Mengfei, but Elder Redseal clearly felt her discontent towards him. Elder Redseal felt even more fretful.
Sect Master Xia sighed as he looked at Elder Redseal, complicated emotions lurking within his eyes. "Urgent? It's not just urgent, but a colossal matter."
Elder Redseal immediately thought of the matter with Tianyi. But such a matter shouldn't have alerted so many Immortal Monarch Elders. He looked around the room to see those of the opposing faction hiding delight and wrath within their eyes.
Even those of his faction, the Conservative Faction, had rage and disappointment concealed within their eyes. At the same time, they were sending signals with their eyes. Using their Immortal sense to communicate would be far too audacious in this situation.
Elder Redseal felt the gravity of this matter. He gave a subtle glance at Sect Master Xia before cupping his fist. He didn't pretend it didn't have anything to do with him. All those solemn looks towards him; he couldn't lie to himself even if he wanted to.
"I admit I was slightly harsh towards disciple Xi, but all this commotion for a mere Nascent Soul disciple, is it worth it?" Elder Redseal felt the origin of this matter was because of Tianyi. Although he had imagined and guessed the various ways Mengfei would cause him trouble, he never imagined it would be like this. His actions towards Tianyi seen from a subjective point may have gone too far, but that was not enough for this many Immortal Monarchs to care for the matter.
Elder Redseal thought that Mengfei would at most raise a fuss and even have the sect punish him slightly. Or she might even personally appear at Justice Hall and attack him. Mengfei had never raised any ruckus in the sect before, but he never expected her to have such means to gather all the Head Elders and Peak Masters.
But the origin of the matter was his actions towards Tianyi. So he wanted to make large matters small and small matters disappear He was, after all, an Immortal Monarch. Punishing him too much would cost the sect far more than a mere Nascent Soul disciple.
"The matter with Disciple Xi is one just of the many matters and is on the small side." Sect Master Xia said.
Elder Redseal paused, just one of the matters? And it was a small one? Elder Redseal felt his heart skip a bit as he thought of the possibility that they learned him of kidnapping girls with Water Spiritual Veins. If the truth were to be discovered, he may remain unscathed but the sect would undoubtedly cripple Lovespot, or worse, execute him.
"Please enlighten me. I have always carried my duties to the best of my abilities for years. Although I cannot guarantee no mistakes, everything I did is for the good of the sect." Elder Redseal said with an air of righteousness.
Sect Master Xia sighed. "Let's start with Disciple Lovespot,"
Elder Redseal felt his heart thump at the mention of his grandson.
"-There's no need to mention all the crimes he had committed."
Elder Redseal interjected. "Sect Master Xia, the crimes aren't Fan'er's fault. He was only being used those with ill intent. The testimonies and evidence all points towards this conclusion, and the charges have been dropped."
Sect Master Xia sighed as he looked at Elder Redseal in disappointment. "Whether he is innocent or not, we all know in our heart."
Elder Redseal wanted to say more, but Elder Brightwing stepped out at this moment.
"Elder Redseal, this is an official matter. Please change your way of address towards Disciple Lovespot. Do not let your personal feelings interfere with your sense of right and wrong."
Immortal Monarch Brightwing was a man with above-average height. His features were like carved from jade, peerless to the point of seeming unrealistic with his white brows and hair. But what caught people's eyes the most was the pair of crane wings sprouting from his back.
"Sect Master, we should start the official proceedings."
Elder Redseal inwardly frowned but said nothing as Sect Master waved his hand.
"Elder Redseal, you are on trial for deliberately injuring Disciple Xi for no reason, abusing your power as Head Elder of the Justice Hall and placing the Buzhou Immortal Sect's foreign relations in jeopardy. Do you plead guilty?"
The two rows of Elders on both sides of the hall and the two Grand Elders behind Sect Master Xia gave Elder Redseal an invisible but mountainous pressure. He felt his mind thrum from shock at the allegations.
He could understand that Grand Elder Xi was going against him and his grandson for injuring Tianyi and using his grandson's crimes as an angle of attack, but how did it become an intersect relations matter?
"Not guilty!" Still, Elder Redseal confidently called out his objection to the crimes.
Sect Master Xia nodded as if expecting this. "As this matter concerns Disciple Lovespot," He turned towards one of the True Immortals that wore a black brocade robe. "Brocade Immortal, bring Disciple Lovespot to the hall."
Brocade Immortals was a special group of True Immortals within the Buzhou Immortal Sect. They were called so because of their black brocade robes. All of them were completely loyal to the sect, and no mission was too dangerous or unethical to them as long as it was for the interest of the sect. Rather than immortals, they were closer to Immortal Artifacts.
"Sect Master-" Before Elder Redseal could say anymore, Sect Master Xia sent him a look. Sect Master Xia and Elder Redseal were from the same faction, and they knew each other for many years, so Elder Redseal could instantly interpret the message in Sect Master's eyes.
"Don't say anymore. The matter has already blown up too much. Don't do anything and follow my cues."
Elder Redseal knew that Sect Master Xia was trying to protect him in his own way, but if the Brocade Immortals were to discover Lovespot's affair, then the situation would become even worse than it was. Elder Redseal inwardly cursed himself for finding Living Pills so quickly.
"Sect Master, my grandson- Disciple Lovespot is currently in secluded cultivation. After facing a near-death attack, he is currently attempting to enter the Unity Realm. If he is disturbed, I'm afraid his immortal path may be harmed." Elder Redseal said as he cupped his fist into his hand.
Harming or severing a cultivator's immortal path was akin to the greatest offence against them. Not even killing nine generations of the cultivator's family would compare. Of course, this was just the general view, and it varied from cultivator to cultivator.
The Brocade Immortal stopped his movement and looked at Sect Master Xia. Sect Master Xia furrowed his brows. This move of Elder Redseal was akin to placing a knife on his neck.
But he didn't need to answer as Zhang Cuiying spoke. "If Elder Redseal wants to continue to shield Disciple Lovespot from his crimes, then allow him to do so. Just a worthless Nascent Soul Disciple who won't ascend towards Immortality."
Elder Redseal looked up in shock at Grand Elder Zhang. Those words both condemned him and his grandson of crimes and slapped him in his face. Elder Redseal's eyes slightly became red, but he quickly calmed down when Zhang Cuiying's eyes scanned over.
"Grand Elder Zhang, the verdict has not been passed. These words of yours are too much." Sect Master Xia interjected and played peacekeeper.
Zhang Cuiying looked at Elder Redseal slightly longer before looking away.
Elder Redseal felt himself break out in cold sweat. He still had confidence if it was just Grand Elder Xi, but if two Grand Elders allied against him, then his chances were slim. He furrowed his brows as he tried to think of how he may have sowed enmity with Grand Elder Zhang.
He couldn't recall anything he could have done to offended this Grand Elder. His grandson liked to ruin women and harm beautiful men, but Grand Elder Zhang did not have a clan, nor did her deceased Dao Companion have a clan. And she had long stopped accepting disciples.
"Since the matter with Disciple Lovespot cannot be tried at this moment, it will be pushed back."
Although it wasn't the conclusion Elder Redseal wanted, at least he had gained more time to prepare to shield his beloved grandson. As for the matter concerning himself? Elder Redseal wasn't afraid. Aside from his grandson's matter, there was nothing to nitpick concerning his way of handling things.
"Head Elder Redseal, your formal trial will begin. The first agenda; do you admit to the charge of deliberately injuring Disciple Xi with the intent of crippling him unprovoked?"
Elder Redseal stood with his back straight and answered confidently to Sect Master Xia. "No."
Sect Master Xia looked towards one of the Elders standing on the side.
A True Immortal Elder from the Rites Hall stepped forward. He recounted the events of that day as if he was there. Furthermore, the Elder produced a mist that replayed the scene.
"Head Elder Redseal, the evidence clearly points to you attacking without provocation. All the points Disciple Tianyi brought up were logical, and within reason, although his tone was disrespectful, this does not change your actions." Sect Master Xia said.
Elder Redseal wanted to refute. He wanted to argue with the matter of how Tianyi provoked him by attempting to kill Lovespot and even wanted to argue that Tianyi was deliberate. But he saw the meaning in Sect Master Xia's eyes.
Elder Redseal became alert. If Sect Master Xia wanted him to admit and let it pass, did it mean that the second and third accusation was even more severe than he thought? He deliberated for a moment before accepting. Although it pained his pride to say he attacked a mere Nascent Soul Disciple unjustly, the punishment wouldn't even tickle him.
Elder Redseal was punished to pay reparations to Tianyi. Although he was displeased by the amount he had to pay, he didn't quibble as it was something he could still easily afford. His face became serious as the next charge came up.
"Head Elder Redseal, you are hereby charged with abusing and concealing the crimes of Lovespot. Do you admit guilt?"
"No," Elder Redseal said.
Once again, the Elder from the Rites Hall came forward.
"Disciple Yuan Xiang: raped and abused by Lovespot. Charges were dropped after being given ten thousand middle-tier spiritual stones. Left the sect after being demoted to a servant after having her potential ruined. Double Perfect Spiritual Vein.
Disciple Ghostmark: raped and had her cultivation crippled by Lovespot. Her master dropped charges after Elder Redseal paid a visit to her. Exiled from the sect after her Spiritual Core shattered.
Disciple Softsleeve: assaulted and raped by Lovespot, later died due to injuries. Her master dropped the charges after an Elder from the Justice Hall paid a visit. Not buried in the graveyard due to not dying for the sect or on a mission. Single Perfect Spiritual Vein.
Disciple Zhuan Tai: face was skinned alive and had his Spiritual Core shattered by Lovespot. His master dropped the charges after a visit from an Elder from Justice Hall. Demoted to a servant after no longer able to cultivate.
Disciple Umbralight: face was skinned alive and injured to the point that recovery took years. Charges were dropped after reparation was sent. But due to the incident, an inner demon had formed, and he perished to it. Perfect and Flawless Spiritual Veins."
As the list went on, the Elders' faces became even more severe. Even the Elders in the same faction as Elder Redseal gave an astonished look towards him.
They had naturally head of Lovespot's matters, but the sheer number of incidents surprised them. All these victims had good futures, and although the possibility was low, one of them might even have ascended to the Immortal Realm. The sheer waste appalled the Elders who discovered how many were ruined by Lovespot.
Elder Redseal stayed calm as the list of incidents grew. All the charges towards Lovespot were written and filed in Justice Hall. Those that looked would naturally easily discover them. He didn't erase them as doing so would break the law of the sect. But he didn't need to, as the matter was dropped.
Another thing of note was the lack of mention of any Immortal Elders. All the victims listed were those who had no backing and those with False Immortal Masters and below. Elder Redseal knew that it would be even more shocking if the list included those with relations, no matter how distant, to Immortal Elders.
But this was likely done so that the Immortal Elders' faces could be preserved. After all, this matter was just too preposterous. The only thing Elder Redseal did in this matter was to make it so that not many would pay attention to the case each time Lovespot was charged.
As the list finally ended, Sect Master Xia turned towards Elder Redseal. "All these matters, you've been shielding disciple Lovespot. What do you have to say?"
"I did not coerce any of them to drop the charges. They accepted the reparation and dropped the charges." Elder Redseal said. He did not lie. He simply sent his subordinates to negotiate with them to drop the charges. If they dropped the charges, it couldn't be used against him legally, no matter how the circumstance seemed.
As for whether the victim felt pressured by their own conjured implicit threats? That was not his fault.
"Sect Master Xia, although disciple Lovespot is indeed spoiled and a scourge, but the charges were dropped. And Head Elder Redseal did everything according to the laws. Wasn't the matter recorded and kept in the Justice Hall? He didn't conceal or erase the files." The speaker was an Elder from the Conservative Faction who had a close relationship with Elder Redseal. But Elder Redseal felt both fury and happiness. Anger at the disdain towards his grandson, but joy at coming to his defense.
More voices came to his defense, but Sect Master Xia didn't say anything and looked at the Elder from Rites Hall.
"Leakless Sect's Icesword: raped and killed.
Leakless Sect's Fenzang: raped and killed.
Bright Ascension Sect's Teng Wuhan: raped and killed.
Monolith Sword Sect's Zithersword: skinned alive and killed.
Nihility Sect's Darklife: raped and killed.
Boundless Mountain's Firmwill: raped and killed.
With each name and affiliated sect, the blood drained from Elder Redseal's face as he looked at the Rites Hall Elder in disbelief.
"Head Elder Redseal," Sect Master Xia spoke, his tone still the same, but the words boomed in Elder Redseal's ears. "Although no charges have been brought for these incidents, murdering the disciples of our Vassal Sects is still a crime and one that has been concealed by your subordinates."
"The third charge: Head Elder Redseal, you are undermining the relationships between the Buzhou Immortal Sect and five of the six Vassal Sects and harming the sect's interest and long term plans. Do you admit guilt?"