59 Chapter 59
The person in the front looked a lot younger than the people in the back, he was also the strongest, probably some kind of genius young master type. The people in the back were all older men, looking to be in their fifties. The lofty young master had long dark hair, a more tanned complexion and some kind of jewel sticking out of his forehead. Might have been some kind of treasure, or maybe part of a cultivation method. The six were of course members of the dark palm sect that ruled this region.
The first one to react was Zhang Jin, he was also the only one that could move beside Zhang Dong in this situation as the former was a bit baffled by the situation. This was actually the first time that Matt was in front of someone that he wasn't a senior too. Jin went in front and made a bow to the younger male offering his greetings in a pleasant voice.
"You honor our small clan with your presence oh honorable Seniors."
Zhang Dong was a bit slow to react, which caught the eye of the sect members. Who started eyeing them down, almost ready to pounce on him for not showing the due respect towards them and their young master. To them, he was just a country bumpkin that was a leader of a small insignificant group of cultivators.
"Ah, excuse my rudeness."
He quickly got off his throne and bowed his head in front of the sect cultivators, this being the first time he actually had to do it. Most of the time he was the strongest person in the area, so he kind of got used to acting nonchalantly around others.
The young master seemed to be a person of few words as he looked dejected to even be here in the first place. He just looked at Zhang Dong for a second and then turned his face to one of the elders behind him. His tone was quite condescending.
"Just give them the orders, don't want to be in this backwater place anymore than I have too."
The elder that was spoken too, took out a jade slip and threw it over to Matt that quickly scanned its contents. He started frowning more and more as he read on what was written in there.
"Follow the orders in the jade slip, you know the repercussion if you decide otherwise. Know your place whelp, you might have won against some trash clans, but don't ever forget that the Dark Palm sect is the one that lets you have your petty squabbles in the first place.
The man spat on the ground, as he didn't like how Zhang Dong was slow in giving them face. After the elder gave them the warning, they withdrew their aura, jumped onto their swords and headed out. As their master had stated, none of them wanted to be here in the first place. The clan people started getting off the floor while panting, knowing well that there was probably nothing good in that jade slip. Zhang Jin walked over with a solemn look on his face, he was passed the jade slip his eyes going wide-eyed in the process.
"Does damn bastards! Did we somehow offend them?"
Matt let Zhang Jin keep the jade slip as some other elders started reading through it. Due to the previous expedition ending in failure, there would be another one. The secret ground opened up on set intervals and required a set amount of people to take part in it. Their clan was ordered to supply them with 1 core formation cultivator, 20 foundation establishment cultivators and 200 Qi Condensation cultivators. Also, they specifically ordered the new Patriarch of the clan to take part in it, if not the sect would replace them with another clan.
There was also an explanation about why this specific number of cultivators was required. After going to the secret grounds, the people there found ten large platforms. The whole thing was created by some immortal cultivator, if they completed a trial they would get some cultivation technique of his as a reward. There was also a giant door in that chamber, in the text it stated that if the trial is successfully finished the giant door would open and reveal the treasure inside.
The Dark Palm sect was very much interested in what was behind that giant door, they tried to brute force their way inside but even their nascent soul cultivators couldn't put a dent on that massive door. They decided to bring enough people for the trial, but they didn't want to use their own disciples. They brought in the clans for that, some of them went in for the spoils as the sect did offer rewards. But no one could actually refuse them.
So the first time around, the Zhang Clan went over with 3 of their core formation elders, 60 foundation establishment experts and 600 Qi foundation warriors. These were the best warriors of the clan, as the clan was going to get paid well if they succeeded. The rest was filled by other clans, in the end, no one returned. The secret grounds forcefully expelled everyone that came inside and the entrance to it got sealed off. But it was later revealed that the seal was weakening with the passage of time and that it would open again.
The ever greedy sect cultivators decided to throw more people at the trial, they didn't care about what the clans thought, they could be replaced later. The opening time would be in about three month's time, they were required to bring their forces there or suffer the consequences. If they succeded the sect would offer them some spirit stones and resources also they would let them have whatever was in the trial. Probably because they thought that there wouldn't be much worth in there.
The atmosphere was solemn in the room as everyone got the news, the banquet was ended prematurely while the people in charge went to the main hall to discuss things, Matt went with them of course.
"We have three months... we are done for...the previous Patriarch couldn't best that trial with our strongest forces, how are we supposed to do it now?"
One of the men in the room said while pulling his hair out.
"We could try running..."
"And what? Become bandits? Join another Clan? The moment they find out our roots they would execute us."
"They really want us dead..."
Matt listened to the old men bickering, the trial was strange as it had designated spots and a set amount of people. The composition was strange, the core formation experts seemed like generals of their forces, the formation establishment cultivators like officers and the Qi condensation warriors as soldiers.
*Maybe it's some military game where they compete against each other? But then one of the teams would have won and been alive to tell the tale...*
He tried thinking about novels and how most of those pocket dimension dungeons worked. Mostly there were a lot of traps involved people competing to get some strange herb or treasure in the end. But this one had a treasure outside it, while the people taking the test were inside.
*Sounds like a place to test your forces or something...Maybe people inside have to work together to win... If so ... that might be bad...*
He knew well how things worked around this world, sometimes a sibling would backstab their family to get that magical pill. Working together wasn't really something that was associated with cultivators. Being a murder hobo, popping pills was more the xianxia way.
*I guess if everyone was from one sect it would work out, but if you put in Clans that probably have some grudges with each other and tell them to work together for one goal... I think I need to get more points.*
After becoming the Patriarch he had unlocked the Clan window, he could see how many people were in it and what cultivation levels they were. It kind of looked like sim city, he could see the approval ratings in the city, what cities he had, the crime rate and so on. There was even an achievement tab, that showed him that he could get points for things like getting the approval rating up to a certain point. Building a hospital, building more martial art schools and bringing the strength and knowledge of the citizens up. More or less he got points the better the clan and the city did. Also, he gained passive points each day though at the moment he was gaining a whooping two points a day.
He decided to act a bit more like a leader, slowly filling the room with his aura as she said with a booming voice.
"Organise a city-wide tournament for our clan members, tell them about the new expedition. Qi Condensation juniors and Foundation Establishment cultivators from the clan can participate. We will select the right number from the strongest from them. Do it within a month's time."
"Zhang Kuo, find me a list of any strong beasts or demonic cultivators that have bounties on their heads, best if they are in the core formation stage. Do it as fast as you can."
He needed to train his forces up, which would require quite a bit of points. The fastest way would be slaying monsters or cultivators at the core formation level. He had to get enough points to upgrade the skills for the chosen elite warriors from the tournament. He could hide the fact that the winners would get conscripted, but he would rather have some weaker people that have the guts to fight, than having to force them to come along and then have them abandon others in the middle of battle. The strongest warrior wasn't always the best one for the job.
The people in the room, mostly knew what the Patriarch was going for with the tournament to choose the best warriors. But was a bit surprised that he wanted to hunt some bounties? But they guessed that he wanted the cash rewards to aid the clan, so there wasn't much resistance from them. They discussed some other things, with him there, mostly the logistics of getting the tournament ready.
Zhang Dong returned to his chambers and flopped like a dead fish on his large bed. His face was down in the pillow as he just wanted to go to sleep. But before he could do that he heard knocking on the door. He turned around and stared at the ceiling for a moment before standing up.
"Who is it?"
"We apologize for the intrusion, Master"
It was the two kids, they were looking at him with embers in their eyes. They had apparently heard about the whole dark palm sect expedition. Probably overheard it from their mother or one of the other clan members.
"Please Master, teach us fighting skills we want to participate in the expedition!"
He looked at the two youths, the two looking quite determined.
"There's going to be a tournament if you can get into the best 200 you can participate... But is your mother okay with this?"
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"Mother will probably take part in it too... we overheard her talking to grandpa about it, we want to join her and our brothers and sisters of the clan!"
The to were taking it quite seriously, which made Matt a bit hesitant. He didn't want to get these two youths involved that much, they had a bright future ahead of them and quite the high talent. But if they failed the clan would probably be done for anyway.
"Fine... you two continue with your cultivation, but also use this..."
The two were getting the hang of it, but most of Zhang Dong's techniques required high amounts of lightning Qi. The most he could give them is the basic fighting techniques along with the lightning punching and kicking arts. If they could advance with those, they might stand a chance in the tournament. He also wanted to learn a sword art for himself, he didn't have one yet but he would need to get more points for that.
The two left his chambers with a splitting headache again and some manuals to copy from while Matt decided to cultivate for the rest of the night. He expected to get the info on potential targets in the morning, he would head out to gather points, his goal was to get into the late stage of the core formation stage, his progress was slowing down though. He started feeling responsible for these Zhang Clan people, the closer he got to them the harder it was to let go. He might have been an introvert but that didn't mean that he wanted to be alone.