Back in the mortal realm, Shen An De, the Grandmaster of the Hei Dian Sect, had folded his hands behind his back and was pacing up and down past Sect Master Mi’s seat in the main hall of the Sect Master’s palace. All eyes followed his movement while the Elders of the alchemy division that had gathered looked like they wanted to huddle together to feel safer. They didn’t dare to move even an inch though.
Meanwhile, Sect Master Mi was twirling a strand of his hair around his finger, a pleasant smile still hanging on his lips. Even though he might have the position of ‘Sect Master’, this was the cultivation world. He was very well aware that as long as this sect had a Grandmaster, he was supposed to shut up and wait when this person had an issue.
Well, in this case, he really didn’t mind. Looking at the pile of evidence that was neatly arranged to the side, he gave Elder Teng a sideways look. He had honestly believed that that was his handwriting in the books. To find out now that it had actually been his disciple who did the work all along … naturally, he was angry. He had even praised that guy for always being on time and doing the books so well compared to the other divisions! So yes, he was grateful to Shen An De for having discovered this and taking the lead in dealing with the issue.
Shen An De finally stopped at the side and turned to the Sect Master. “Either way, I don’t think we can let this slip.”
“Naturally not.” The Sect Master continue to twirl his hair, looking as if he didn’t have a care in the world. “I presume Grandmaster Shen has a suggestion on what to do about this?”
Shen An De inclined his head. “I do. This matter is three-fold: On the one hand, I don’t think we should let the Elders get away with this. Punishment is in order. For this, I would suggest not only a public announcement to the other Elders of the sect that can double as a warning to not repeat their mistakes but also a fine for having grossly neglected their duties.
“Then, the books were all done by a disciple. While the work looks very good at first glance, I believe it should be redone just in case. With all the Elders working together, I am sure this shouldn’t take too long.
“Then lastly, for dealing with this for such a long time, the disciple in question should naturally be compensated. He has lost out on valuable time that should have been devoted to his own studies and cultivation. He wasn’t able to go out and take part in missions to gain valuable ingredients either. And — because the Elders kept this a secret — his work was not compensated as it should have been, making him miss out in that regard as well.”
He eyed the Elders darkly when he said so, still feeling angry even after scolding them for half an hour already. He just couldn’t believe how they could dare to do such a thing!
Not everyone was able to lead a disciple well but in that case, you shouldn’t take one in. He didn’t have a disciple either, after all! Did they think that was because he didn’t have the resources? No, of course, he didn’t have one because he knew he wouldn’t do well as a Master. Why couldn’t the Elders think about this before taking one in as well?
Either way, he felt indignant on Yue Lin’s behalf. He might have the status of a direct disciple but he hadn’t gotten the treatment that was usually associated with that. And not just that but time was — even more so than other resources — immeasurably valuable in the life of a cultivator. And Yue Lin couldn’t get all the years back that had been taken from him.
He shook his head just thinking of how long this had gone on and how far Yue Lin could have gotten in all that time before he pulled his thoughts back and turned to the Sect Master again. “I won’t touch on the Elders’ punishment any further. That is for you to decide. I’d like to make some suggestions for the disciple’s compensation though if you won’t mind.”
Sect Master Mi gestured for him to go ahead. “Sure, sure. Let’s hear what you have to say.”
Shen An De inclined his head and then turned to glance at Yue Lin. “For one, his contribution over the years should be calculated and compensated accordingly. This will naturally amount to a huge number of merits he is given at once which might make it troublesome to actually pay him out. I believe it is only right to not cut corners there though.
“Then, seeing as this shouldn’t have been his task in the first place, a small compensation shouldn’t be asking too much. I believe that for this, disciple Yue should be allowed some input in what he wishes to receive considering how much responsibility he was given and how well he seems to have done.
“The lost time is the part that is most difficult to make up for. It can’t be given back and materials alone won’t allow him to make up for the lost progress over these years either. Now, my knowledge of alchemy is limited but I believe that some notes, recipe collections, or guides should work best in helping him advance fast.
“Seeing as this whole matter was brought about by the Elders’ irresponsible behavior, I believe they should supply him with these for the most part with the sect adding a few on top for fairness’ sake.”
Sect Master Mi nodded. “That does sound good. Disciple Yue, are you alright with these suggestions?”
Yue Lin stared at the two men with wide eyes, not even sure what was happening anymore. He only faintly nodded his head when Niu Hai rammed his elbow into his ribcage and made a sound next to him. Anyway … he had been screwed over by the Elders for so long, that no matter how the Sect Master and Grandmaster wished to compensate him, he’d still come out on top.