74 Chapter 74
Matt canceled the disguising art during his cultivation period in the mountains, so he was back in his white robe looking like the Patriarch that everyone knew and loved. Well, at least that was what he hoped for. People on the ground spotted him flying in, he cruised by by the gate and just gave the guards a nod, this making the men freak out and do sort of a salute.
He flew back to the main clan building, trying to slip in without making too much of a commotion but the moment he landed he could hear footsteps coming, people were apparently waiting for his return, he could hear some youthful voices.
"Master! Welcome back!"
The shout made his ears ring as his male disciple greeted him with a wave followed by a small quick bow with clasped hands. Matt looked at the sixteen-year-old, his hair was a lot whiter than before but you could still see the black strands in there. His sister appeared right behind her brother, a pout visible on her face.
"Aww, I wanted to greet Master back first... not fair..."
The girl puffed up her cheeks while glaring at her brother that was looking kind of smug. Matt didn't know how to react, was it some kind of grand achievement to greet your master first? The kid sure looked like he had won some kind of prize, while the young lady pouted like a little child. Though their master started chuckling to himself, finding the siblings to be quite the comedic duo.
"Well, Liu my student for greeting your Master first, you have earned the right to a reward!"
The brother perked up at his masters' words, you could see his eyes shining with anticipation.
"Hah, you wish!"
Matt replied with a smile on his face then ruffled up the youth's hair with his larger hand. The sister started at her squirming brother that was getting his hair rearranged by their master. This was a peculiar sight, most master - disciple relationships were more no-nonsense but Zhang Dong liked to keep a more relaxed atmosphere where people weren't that tense around him. After he was finished teasing the youth he asked about the tournament.
"Well, I didn't see the report yet, how did you fare in your fights?"
Zhang Liu was grasping his messed up mop of a head, trying to calm down his long locks, due to that Xue answered instead.
"We both got into the top 200 participants! They had no chance against Masters' superior cultivation and combat techniques!"
"She meant to say that she barely made it into the 195th spot."
Liu snickered under his breath while his sister snow-white complexion started turning pink, her eyes in the form of daggers were pointing in the direction of her brother that was having a good time.
Matt crossed his arms over one another and looked at the two, the two would be going with him, their life probably depended on his decisions. He sighed inwardly hoping for the best, the two made the decision to come along on their own but they were far too young in his opinion.
"Is that so..."
"Well, I'll check your progress later you two. First I have to speak to your grandpa, we need to start preparing for that expedition..."
The two quieted down, the atmosphere got a bit more serious as their Master started talking about the impending quest into the unknown. The two bid their master adieu as he went to his chambers, his two retainers and Zhang Jin were already waiting for him.
"I see that you are back Dong'er, were you successful in your travels?"
Zhang Jin asked while the two people on the sides gave small bows of respect to their acting Patriarch.
"More or less, got some loot. I went through it all and there are some things that we can sell, but I'm not sure about some of these items, here take a look."
While saying that he handed one storage ring with some less useful treasures over to Zhang Kuo so that he could pawn them off. He handed a second storage ring over to his grandpa, this one contained a lot of occult looking items and demonic cultivation manuscripts. Matt didn't really know what to do with those, could they be sold of, or were things like these banned? Matt did look through all of them on his way here, he disposed of the more gruesome techniques, like the one that used women as batteries. He mostly left techniques and items that used the cultivators' life for bursts of power, if someone wanted to use things like those for a short term power increase they could go right ahead. He just didn't want more demonic cultivators popping up that used strange skills to bother the populace.
Zhang Jin just scanned the storage device with his spiritual sense, his eyebrow quivering oh so slightly.
"I see... we can't sell these with the usual channels, but there is a way, don't worry I'll have someone handle it."
Gaining more spirit stones was always a good thing, he could absorb them for more points or buy more crafting materials to equip his soldiers.
"So, did you do what I asked for?"
Matt looked at his retainers that nodded, they handed him a storage ring with a lot of old parchments and manuscripts. Some of them looked like they would crumble at the slightest touch. He also received a jade slip with the statics that showed him which cultivation techniques were the most used by the Zhang Clan members. Luckily the costlier ones that the foundation establishment seniors used weren't that varied, they all more or less cultivated similar water skills.
Mostly depending on the family ties and bloodline, a Zhang clan member could choose a cultivation method from a limited pile. The higher the grading the less of a choice there was, so most of the people tried their luck at cultivating the highest-ranked technique or skill they would find. Due to this, there wasn't as much verity, which would mean that there were fewer manuals to upgrade.
"Okay, I'll start with the foundation establishment ones first... Oh right, Gramps give me your cultivation manual as well."
The Zhang Clan members still weren't sure what their Patriarch was trying to do, what could he do with those old techniques, could he learn them all and train the people in just two months of time? This was a hard pill to swallow, there were over a hundred manuals in there even if you were a genius, you needed a couple of days to grasp even the easiest of skills. They didn't think that there would be enough time to do that.
"Ah sure, here you go..."
Zhang Jin handed his grandson the cultivation technique. The group discussed some other things, asking Zhang Dong about his travels. They gave him a general report about the tournament and what happened in the past month, but there wasn't much to report. The three left soon after, Matt could now concentrate on his next task. He removed the big bed from his storage ring and started placing all the foundation establishment manuals on the ground, segregating them by general cultivation manuscripts, then combat techniques which were further segregated into ones that required and didn't require weapons.
"There we go..."
He picked up one manuscript, it was called Rainwater Sutra. It was a general cultivation manual and this was the second part of it. This was the method the main family line practiced, along with his new disciples that switched over to his now. There were three parts to it, that went from Qi condensation up to core formation, but the third part was incomplete. Due to this, it was impossible to cultivate it to the great circle and you could barely get into the late stage if you bumbled around.
[ Rainwater Sutra part 1 (Common high grade): First part of a cultivation manual, suited for cultivators with water affinity. Gives a more than moderate insight into qi condensation. ]
[ Rainwater Sutra part 2 (Mortal high grade ): Second part of a cultivation manual, suited for cultivators with water affinity. The foundation pillars forged through this method are more or less stable, but flawed ones can arise ]
[ Rainwater Sutra part 3 (Earth low grade ) [Incomplete ]: Third part of a cultivation manual, suited for cultivators with water affinity. It's missing a lot of information, cultivators won't be able to cultivate past the late stage if they follow the incomplete instructions and it will stifle their progress. ]
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Matt raised a brow at the explanations, the best cultivation method of the clan wasn't all that great. The ones the core formation elders were supposed to use even got them stuck in the late stage. This was the one his grandfather was using and the same one the previous Patriarch used as well.
He brought out a different cultivation manual, it belonged to the first man he killed it was called called 'Inferno art'. It had quite the cool sounding name, but the grading was just as bad as the one that the Zhang clan was using. Matt had checked every core formation manual that he got from his travels and they all were of lower grades, sometimes incomplete with glaring flaws. This was probably why no one was able to reach the nascent soul, the methods these people used were just abysmal.
*The manuals for foundation establishment and Qi condensation are better, but still they aren't perfect, no wonder the sects treat the clans as lower-class citizens. I bet they hog all the good methods to themselves and just laugh at the clans that bumble their way through the process.*
Matt could see that past the foundation establishment the clan was reaching a bottleneck in their techniques. The lower the grade of the method the more damage one suffered to their body. Like with the Rainwater Sutra, it outright stopped the cultivation process after the late stage.
*Also the advanced grade is quite low and that rainwater part isn't good either...*
Cultivation methods mostly fell into a certain Dao. The Rainwater Sutra was derived from a greater Dao of water and was a lesser Dao. The closer to the 'Source' of a Dao you got, the better it was. Zhang Dong's lightning cultivation was from a greater Dao, the inferno art was also something created from the greater Dao of fire, or yang as the people in this world liked to refer to it.
What was the difference between a lesser Dao and a greater one? A person that followed a lower path would always be weaker than a person that followed a greater one. Also, you could not progress into the immortal stage if you didn't have any insights into a greater Dao. Most cultivation techniques in this world were just crude imitations of greater Daos, but they were a lot easier to produce.
*Guess I lucked out with my greater Dao of lightning, I wonder how many spirit stones I could get for my cultivation arts...*
This was a tempting motion, to start selling improved versions of cultivation methods. But then some scary sect uncles could come knocking, wondering where he got them from.
*Think I better wait till I'm in the nascent soul for that...*
He picked up the manuals that the foundation establishment members used and started upgrading them.
[ Rainwater Sutra part 2 (Mortal high grade ) Do you wish to upgrade this cultivation manual. Yes/No?]
[ Springwater manual (Mortal middle grade ) Do you wish to upgrade this cultivation manual. Yes/No? ]
[ Dragontide manuscript (Mortal middle grade) Do you wish to upgrade this cultivation manual. Yes/No? ]
His points started going down and down, he got them all up into the mortal perfect grade. This wasn't the limit of the upgrading though, you could improve them further. He also used an immortal grade cultivation manual that was for core formation practitioners. The only rule was that a manual couldn't be of a lower grading than what the cultivation level was. So, if you were in the foundation establishment realm your cultivation manual couldn't be off common grade, that just wouldn't work.
*Should I upgrade them into the earth grade, or is this enough...*
Matt thought that upgrading a technique of a lower level into a higher one would probably be very beneficial to the cultivators that practiced it, even if it was only in the lowest of them. He was glad that there weren't that many of those scripts for his foundation establishment members, so it didn't cost that much but still he lost eight thousand points a pop.
*This better be worth it, could buy myself an earth grade skill for this... Though it's not that much at this point*
There would be more spirit stones coming in so he could spend some points on these things. He needed to go through the other parchments before deciding if he could upgrade anything past the lower earth grade.
*Though there is one problem...*
The upgrading process didn't do anything to the manuals he was holding, the refined techniques were added to his system's library which he now had an icon for. He could click on it and read through everything, he also got the knowledge inserted into his brain as always.
*Damn, do I need to write these down myself now?*
The Impartation skill was good and all, but it wasn't perfect so he needed to complement it with the written down texts. As always, the system came to the rescue as it had various calligraphy and copying skills that he could buy, and they didn't cost much as they weren't used for battle.
He bought two skills, one called hyper calligraphy the other beautiful penmanship as his writing style was quite trashy. Thanks to the first skill that let him smoothly scribble everything down within seconds, he managed to write everything down within fifteen minutes. Which was quite fast for so many complicated manuals.
*Think I should hand these over so that those guys can go to work, still so many things to go through...*