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Reborn as a Demonic Tree – Chapter 81: (Interlude) The Ultimate Tournament Arc Bahasa Indonesia

“Grand Elder!” A woman’s distant voice rang through the library’s heavy wooden door, which flew open a moment later as she rushed inside. “The representative of the Ashfallen sect has arrived at the gate alongside the spirit beast!”

The Redclaw Grand Elder looked up from the desk covered in parchments still smelling of fresh ink he had been furiously copying over the last week and eyed the young woman with the same fiery red hair as him.

“Amber? Have they really come so soon? The rest of the family only arrived a few days ago, and I haven’t had time to talk with them yet…” The Grand Elder grumbled as he eyed the setting sun through the stained glass window and noted it was late evening. “I hoped they wouldn’t come for a bit longer as I still have much to learn about this ancient language, and my state of mind is clouded.”

Amber, one of the younger generation that had been with him on that day they faced the spirit beast in combat, furiously nodded. “They are already waiting outside and demanding an audience with you!”

“Alright, alright. Just give me a moment.” The Grand Elder sighed as he separated the original documents he’d promised to return to Stella Crestfallen by the week’s end and his own personal copies. The two stacks of parchments vanished into his spatial rings, and he rubbed his eyes as he followed Amber out of the silent library.

Even with his cultivation being in the middle of the Star Core realm, his wrists ached, and his eyes felt dry as he walked through the corridors of the white stone palace.

As he strode, he passed by many of his family members, but they all returned unenthusiastic nods rather than the usual lively greetings he expected of them.

Although the Redclaws were a relatively small and tight-knit family, they still ran a city in the volcanic region of the sect.

Unfortunately, he had forced them to abandon their lives, businesses, and plans, which they had all left behind because their useless Grand Elder had promised the heavens their family’s allegiance to some unknown power within the sect.

Also, Darklight Valley was less than ideal for cultivating fire Qi, so they were all extra grumpy with him.

It also didn’t help that after arriving, he’d refused to speak with them as he was busy copying the ancient language over so he could start learning it to converse with his new overlords.

The whole situation was a mess in his eyes, and he just wanted a few weeks for everything to settle down and for him to get his family in order before having to deal with the Ashfallen sect again, yet here they were, on his new doorstep.

“Amber.” The Grand Elder’s voice echoed through the stone palace’s eerily silent and depressing walls. The skittish girl acknowledged she was listening with a nod, so he continued, “Gather all the elders of the family’s side branches. We will have a quick discussion in the front room and then meet with the Ashfallen sect representative outside.”

Amber nodded and left to fulfill his orders—leaving the lonely Grand Elder to stroll through the bare hallways. His shoes tapped the stone, and his dark red robes swished around his legs.

Despite years of experience handling politics and sitting at a table with the Patriarch, he had an unsettling anxiety brewing in his chest about this upcoming meeting. How the Patriarch had kept such a secret so silent from even him was unnerving.

Things simply didn’t add up regarding the Ashfallen sect, but his hands were tied. He had sent messages to his contacts throughout the sect over the last week, but their investigation was still ongoing.

Naturally, it would make sense if they had never heard of this secret Ashfallen branch of the sect, as anyone who knew was apparently killed. “Not like it matters anyway after taking that oath.” The Grand Elder muttered as he entered the waiting room—keeping his back to the door and his hands clasped behind his back as he gazed at the setting sun through a stained glass window with a heavy heart.

Over the next few minutes, the elders of the various Redclaw side branches trickled in and silently took a seat in the well-furnished room. The Grand Elder could sense the tension building even with his back to them.

“Are you going to keep your back turned and ignore us forever, Grand Elder?” A gruff voice the Grand Elder recognized as Elder Mo broke the tense silence. “You may be the Grand Elder of our beloved Redclaw family, but to oathbound our loyalty to an unknown force is preposterous. Were you misled? Mindcontrolled? Remember, the rest of us have yet to take the oath and are simply here out of our lingering respect for you, so if you cannot justify this, we shall take our leave.”

“Strong accusations there, Elder Mo.” The Grand Elder spoke sternly as he turned to face the branch elder that managed the family’s prodigies, and the elder shrunk back slightly from the Grand Elder’s glare. “Do you have such little faith in your Grand Elder that you genuinely believe I would fall for such a scheme?”

Elder Mo was a cultivator near the end of his lifespan—evident by his wrinkled face, balding head, and permanent scowl. Accepting he had peaked in cultivation at the 8th stage of the Soul Fire realm, Elder Mo had devoted himself to teaching the younger generation, so he was a well-respected and valued family elder.

The balding man scowled harder than usual, “Grand Elder, I will follow you through the fires of hell if given a reason that benefits the family and leads us to prosperity! But to follow you like a blind man is the peak of foolishness!”

“Calm yourself, Elder Mo.” The Grand Elder said simply and surveyed the anxious expressions of the other elders. “Allow me to explain our situation…”

The elders listened with a mixture of awe and doubt as he described the events that led up to him, vowing to the heavens.

He especially enjoyed Elder Mo’s expression when he described in great detail the horrifying feeling of tiny spiders crawling into his mouth and how he still had a lingering phantom ash aftertaste since then.

Concluding his explanation, the Grand Elder added one last point. “I believe the key to us making the most of this situation is getting onto Stella Crestfallen’s good side as she is the descendent of this elusive immortal.”

“I see. The girl does indeed seem of great importance. Especially since she can order around a spirit beast despite being in the Soul Fire realm.” Elder Mo leaned back in his seat and rubbed his hairless chin, contemplating, “So you have not seen this supposed immortal yet, but too many coincidences line up and make this immortal’s existence seem possible?”

“Indeed.” The Grand Elder nodded solemnly, “Even disregarding the oath, I personally believe this to be the opportunity our family has been seeking for far too long. If we can win the trust of the Ashfallen sect, then we are privy to information the other houses are not and will therefore be closer with the Patriarch.”

Elder Mo slowly nodded in agreement, but the others didn’t seem so convinced.

“But the Qi around here is awful for our youth.” A stern-looking woman interjected. “If we stay here, even with the support of vast cultivation supplements, it will be impossible for us to advance with so much nature and water Qi all around. Our cultivation will stall, and we will fall even further behind the other families. Do remember the beast tide is coming, and the fight for the new land at the next sect location is looming.”

“Elder Margret, you bring up a good point. I plan to bring this matter up with the Ashfallen sect representative.” The Grand Elder sighed, “Unfortunately, we have kept Stella Crestfallen waiting long enough, so we may not discuss this further. Please be respectful, and understand that although you aren’t oathbound to this place, the spirit beast the girl is bringing will hunt you down if you dare leave.”

Everyone stood up and briefly exchanged serious expressions before they made their way to the white stone palaces courtyard in an awkward silence. The Grand Elder just prayed none of them made a fool of themselves in front of the Ashfallen sect.


Stella found herself at the base of the neighboring mountain peak as she stepped through the portal created by Tree. There was a small pop of air as she stepped through and then a larger one as Larry emerged beside her.

The spider still freaked her out, but its presence was calming her nerves for once. The last time she had met with the Redclaws, it had been a spur-of-the-moment situation where her overwhelming confidence was mainly fueled by her annoyance over having her cultivation interrupted.

She had been arrogant and abrasive and had made up a story on the spot.

But this time was different. Stella had tossed and turned on a moldy mattress inside the pavilion for hours as sleep escaped her before getting up and accepting her role as Ash’s spokesperson.

As she quickly scaled up the mountainside with her cultivation swirling through her body, she couldn’t suppress her rising anxiety. I should have forced Diana to learn the ancient language as well… she handled the merchants in Slymere perfectly. She would make a way better spokesperson than me.

Although Stella felt a bit inadequate for the job, the fact Tree trusted her so much filled her heart with warmth. Clenching her fist, she swore she would try her best, and the meeting would go perfectly.

“Just remember the topics Ash wanted to say, and then I can leave,” Stella muttered as she arrived at the white palace gates. There, she found a red-haired man leaning against a pillar.

He seemed confused. “And you are…” The man then saw Larry crest over the mountain steps and stand behind her, which made him clamp his mouth shut.

“My name is Stella Crestfallen, and I represent the Ashfallen sect. Please inform the Grand Elder to meet with me at his earliest convenience.” Stella gave the man a threatening smile, and the poor guy ran off in a stumbled sprint.

A while passed, and Stella tapped her foot in annoyance. How long could it take for that Grand Elder to find his way to the front door? Luckily, as her patience reached its breaking point, five figures donning dark red robes emerged from the white palace.

The one at the forefront she knew all too well offered her a short bow, and the rest followed.

“Stella Crestfallen, please excuse my tardiness.” The Grand Elder straightened his back and failed to hide his surprise, “Your cultivation has increased by leaps and bounds in only a week! How very impressive. As expected from the daughter of an immortal.”

Stella returned a frown and crossed her arms below her chest.

The Grand Elder smiled weakly and gestured to the men and women beside him, “These fine people are the elders of the various Redclaw branch families, brought here as requested.”

Stella gave them a once over with little interest as they were all busy goggling at Larry beside her and had all gone pale as ghosts.

She couldn’t help but raise a brow at the Grand Elder, “I believe I only requested your attendance, Grand Elder? These other elders are not under oath yet; therefore, I do not wish to speak with them for now.”

“Ahem, please forgive me.” The Grand Elder clasped his hands, “But it will be hard to convince the rest of my family to follow me and stay here if they aren’t privy to Ashfallen’s power and… benefits.”

“Benefits?” Stella snorted, “Leaving your family alive for discovering Ashfallen’s existence is already generous enough. What need would an immortal have for a small family within the sect if he had no need for the Ravenborne, Winterwraths, or Evergreens?”

Stella then scrutinized the terrified elders in the eye one by one, “And all of you also know about Ashfallen’s existence now due to your Grand Elder blabbering mouth, so either you swear the oath today or die.”

Ash had explained to her during the afternoon the importance of monitoring this group. Honestly, what they could offer the Ashfallen sect was almost not worth the risk of their betrayal or leaking their existence to the Patriarch.

But they had to start somewhere, and this family would serve as a good test.

Trust was cheap out here in the wilderness where backstabbing was commonplace, and loyalty was more fickle than the crisp autumn leaves that cracked underfoot.

Despite Ash’s harsh opinion of the Redclaws, Stella was giddy to set them to work. She had always wanted a group she could order around so she could focus on her cultivation.

“Forgive me. I misspoke.” The Grand Elder smiled. “Would your spirit beast be fine with facing my elders in a friendly fight? I feel experiencing its torment will serve them well.”

Stella could detect a smug undertone to his voice. He must have described his experience to the others, Stella thought as she saw the other elders shrink back.

Larry flared his cultivation as he crawled forward, making the elders yelp as an intense force pressed down on them. Then the massive spider opened his maw, and tiny ash spiders began to pour out and crawl toward them in a wave.

A balding man stumbled forward and fell to his knees. “I, Elder Mo of the Redclaw family, pledge my loyalty to the Ashfallen sect!” He took a deep breath as the Qi of heaven swirled around him, “If my loyalty is to falter, may my cultivation be forever crippled and my heart demons unleashed upon my unfaithful soul.”

Stella nodded at the man, “Anyone else?”

Naturally, the other Redclaw family members soon followed, pledging their loyalty as they eyed the tiny ash spiders with fear.

“Good. Now that everyone here has pledged, I can say my piece.” Stella side-eyed Larry, “Entomb this courtyard in ash so no prying eyes or ears can reach us.”

Larry obliged and surrounded the group in a swirling dome of ash.

Stella spoke through the absolute eerie darkness where only the shifting ash and nervous breaths of the elders could be heard, “Redclaws, by order of the immortal, you are now under the rule of the Ashfallen sect. Your duties are simple.”

There was a brief pause, and the Grand Elder answered through the darkness, “The Redclaws are willing to serve.”

Stella smiled as she continued, “Obey all requests from the immortal given through myself or those under the Ashfallen sect. To complete this task, all elders must be well-versed in the ancient language by the end of the year. Furthermore, your family shall manage Darklight City and its surroundings as any other family would manage a city. This includes guarding the walls and overseeing the industries.”

“Forgive my imprudence Stella Crestfallen, but may I ask a question?”

Stella recognized the gruff voice of the first elder to pledge his loyalty. “Please continue, Elder Mo.”

“Thank you.” Elder Mo replied, “Does the Ashfallen sect really not want any ownership over Darklight City and the area?”

“We own it. You manage it.” Stella quipped back. “The immortal has no interest in managing a mortal city nor desire to micromanage some farms or mines. Understand?”

“Yes.” Elder Mo replied and fell silent.

“Excellent.” Stella clapped her hands together. “Now we can get onto my true reason for coming here. The immortal wishes to establish the Redclaws as this region’s publicly known ruling family and restore peace, while he also needs a highly skilled alchemist.”

“Ahem… we have a few alchemists in training under our family.” The Grand Elder interjected, and Stella scowled. Ash didn’t want an alchemist from the Redclaws to step foot on Red Vine Peak as they would leak information. Instead, they needed an alchemist from the city that had no affiliations.

“The offer is appreciated, but the immortal wishes to conduct an alchemy tournament to spread your family’s fame. It will be run and funded entirely by the Redclaw family.” Stella said, and she could feel the elders grow restless, so she added, “The elder that puts the most work into the tournament’s creation and also the elder who sponsors the winning candidate of the tournament will be rewarded directly by the immortal.”

Stella summoned a light purple flame into her hand and decided to showcase just a fraction of Ash’s power to excite the elders. “How about a legendary pill that can improve the purity of your spirit root, for example?”

Stella knew exposing this part of Ash’s power was risky. But if rumors of this legendary pill’s existence spread, she knew they were at fault and could be eliminated.

Furthermore, a legendary pill that could improve a spirit roots purity was impressive but was nothing compared to the knowledge that Ash could grow them.

But the final thing that reassured Stella was the downright selfishness of demonic cultivators. If an opportunity presented itself, they would rather take the information of it to the grave than allow another person to benefit. So even their own family was kept out of the loop.

As expected, news of such an outstanding pill got the elder’s attention, and Stella began to think she might have got them a little too excited.


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