127 Chapter 127
The junior members of the clan looked out of their ship, they were standing on the deck of the boat. There were other flying vessels slowly descending into the water below. The last part of the descent made the waves splash to the side which made their own ship shake. There were quite a bit of them anchored here, many unfamiliar clan insignias could be seen ones belonging to small and one to the middle-sized clans.
The Zhang Clan was still considered a middle-sized clan, Clan's like the Xing family from Moonlight city would be considered a small-sized one. Still, some of them had enough spirit stones to buy themselves a sky fairing flying vessel, this was a good occasion to show of their clan members and make some connections with the other families in the Dark Palm sect area of influence.
The country this was taking place was called the Azure Dragon Empire, the Long Clan and the Azure Emperor were the ruling factions, but there were various other powerhouses scattered around it. In this world, the density of spiritual energy determined where people would set up their settlements.
The more you traveled towards the Long Clan occupied area the denser the Qi condensation got and the easier the cultivators could progress. The Empire was divided into smaller state like areas where various powerful clans and sects ruled. Due to this, sects and clans wanted to set up their bases as near to the Long Clan area as it was possible, so those cities were always built close to the state borders. The further away from the border you got, you'd find weaker and weaker sects and clans residing there.
The so-called states didn't really have any particular names, they were just areas ruled by a powerful clan or sect. The area that the Dark Palm sect was occupying was about in the middle of the map, the land further in was the spot that was occupied by the truly strong forces, ones that even this sect wouldn't be dumb enough to offend.
But in response, the space that they occupied was deemed inferior for them, letting this sect grow in power while the powerhouses further into the empire fought with themselves, leaving sects like the Dark Palm one alone to do whatever they pleased. They wouldn't care one way or the other what happened to them, they would only react if someone tried moving onto their territory.
Thanks to this, these kinds of sects could flourish. They were deemed strong enough to not be worth the hassle of losing any troops if it came to blows, the nascent soul cultivators being a strong enough deterrent. Yet, the probability of them getting stronger was quite low as the better resources were all further into the empire, things like secret grounds were far more common there.
There was also a thin balancing act that the more powerful sects had to go through. If they suddenly ordered a large chunk of their nascent soul cultivators to attack a sect like the Dark Palm sect, another powerhouse could use this and move in on their turf. So, unless something drastic happened they wouldn't keep to themselves.
Jade Grass City was one of the spots affiliated with the sect, they had a small force stationed here and even a direct line to the main sect. Though it would be used for emergencies, for moments of a revolt or if a particular strong beast attack.
The bustling of the crowd could be heard everywhere, some people on flying swords were also buzzing about. They were all people in high places and with connections, normal cultivators were forbidden from flying on their swords above the city.
Zhang Jin was still on the ship, one of his retainers was outside handling all that paperwork and showing them the proof that they were truly from the Zhang Clan. There was a small fee you had to pay to participate, this small payment was already too much to stomach for some smaller clans.
There were about fifty junior clan members from the Zhang Clan, mostly everyone was twenty or twenty-one, and in the early stage of foundation establishment. There was no reason to take Qi condensation cultivators as they would never make it through the preliminary round of the test, failing at the first one where the all-around strength was measured.
This was actually a high number, all things considered, thanks to increasing the ranks of their cultivation techniques the Zhang Clan was seeing a new renaissance. Their younger generation was profiting the most as it was easier to change things up before you reached the foundation establishment level. Creating superior pillars was far easier than reinforcing cracked or flawed ones.
Zhang Jin knew well how things stood and that his clan would be sticking out with how much they had progressed. But he was betting on that, he wanted to show that his family was getting stronger this would make people think twice about offending them. He was well aware of the looming threat of the sect but he knew that they would do a thing unless it was related to a nascent soul level threat.
At the foundation level, they had nothing to fear, their still had only three core formation cultivators which was nothing in the eyes of their overlord. Though, if they showed up with fifty core formation experts, the Dark Palm sect would probably start playing a different tune and engage them in combat.
The accommodations were ready as the Zhang clan retainer moved back to the ship and gave the news to the grand elder, he in response clapped his hands to get everyone's attention.
"Okay you rascals, stay close together, and don't get separated from the group at least till we get to our hotel, then you'll be free to explore the city."
The youths beamed with excitement, it was very rare for them to leave the main clan city and they were mostly cultivating diligently at their homes or cultivation caves. This would be a nice chance to see the world and have some fun, they all were snapped back to reality after their grand elder spoke once more.
"But be cautious, I'm sure you are all excited but remember where we are, be courteous to the other clans and the sect, don't cause trouble for me or the clan. If you offend someone from the Dark Palm sect or a strong clan, I won't be able to do anything for you."
The youths looked at each other, they knew well how this world worked. They were all highly regarded cultivators in their home city, but here they were more or less just country bumpkins. No one would bat an eye if they got stabbed in the back after offending some scary uncles or overbearing young masters.
"Still, don't bring shame to the Zhang Clan and the Patriarch, this clan isn't a bunch of cowards, don't let me see you tarnish our reputation!"
It was one thing to be honorable and civilized, it was another to just let people spit in your face. The elder's words were clear, if you meet someone from a stronger affiliation you should bow your head, but if it's someone of an equal status you are not allowed to defame the clan, losing face was not allowed,
This was also the reason that Zhang Jin didn't want Zhang Dong to be here. The juniors seemed to have more common sense than his grandson, that if push comes to shove would probably offend their sect overlords. Zhang Jin knew how to maneuver things which got difficult, there was no shame in bowing your head to someone stronger than you, it was the way of this world. He feard that his grandson would blunder and cause a scene that could cost him his life, he wasn't quite ready to take the next step.
"Well then, let us depart!"
The youths started moving in an orderly fashion, there were also members of the elder generation with them. They were all quite proud of how their youths were progressing, they knew that at their age they weren't nearly as strong.
They were slowly guided towards the main lodging area, people in various colorful robes were gathering there. The youths didn't recognize the patterns or insignias at all, the cultivators were from various sects and clans that were scattered around the area hoping to make a name for themselves.
"Have you heard, apparently this time around the winner will receive fifty middle grade spirit stones!"
"Fifty? But that's like fifty thousand low-grade spirit stones... I'm getting even more pumped up!"
While going in you could overhear people talking, besides the name recognition that you would gain from winning the tournament, you would receive quite the hefty sum of spirit stones. This amount was enough to fund your own small clan, you could probably build a small city with that amount as well.
The top ten participants would earn prises and even be allowed to join the Dark Palm sect if they so wished for. This wasn't anything strange, it was normal for clan members to study at sects. They were sworn to secrecy but that didn't mean that they couldn't protect their family members and improve their status. The sect wouldn't bat an eye if they shared some rudimentary techniques with the lower clans though, but the higher ones were forbidden from getting passed on outside the sect.
The building the clans were staying was huge, it was a giant pagoda in an octagon shape. It looked to be able to house tens of thousands of people inside of it, with various levels outfitted filled out with diverse equipment. There was a dining area, an auditorium for lectures and even a casino, betting and gambling was quite popular in this world, probably due to the fact that it was a way to gain easy money and all these cultivators liked taking high risk, high reward bets.
The thing was over a hundred stories high, there was something akin to an elevator installed. There were various platforms outside the pagoda balconies, they would slowly float upwards after you pushed some spiritual energy into them. They were only designed to move in a certain way so you couldn't use them like a flying sword. The requirement of spiritual energy was quite low, thanks to that almost everyone could use them. This was all thanks to something akin to spiritual energy batteries that were embedded to the floating platform, the platform only required a small jolt of energy to get moving.
The clan was situated at about the 30th floor, due to the fact that they had to switch those platforms constantly it took them thirty minutes to just reach their lodging. The higher the level of the hotel the more pristine it was, the pagoda was thinner at the top. That's where the penthouse suite was, it boasted the best qi gathering formations and was made from the best materials on the market, but it was reserved for the utmost important guests.
It had quite the view as well, letting the person staying there enjoy the jade green scenery below. At this time some people were staying in this apartment, they were brought here by the Dark Palm sect elder that was panicking just a couple days ago.
Two people were in this penthouse apartment at the moment. One was a handsome young man, he had the usual long dark hair and he was wearing a golden robe, the most peculiar thing about him was the jewel sticking out of his forehead. Its color was purple, which was associated with royalty in this kind of world.
The youth was clasping his hands in front of an older man, this man was sitting in a large armchair and just glancing to the side out to the scenery. The man was wearing a similar robe to the youth, but it was even more extravagant with various gems and sparkling metals attached to it, a large dark palm symbol glistering in the back.
The man's outer appearance was quite normal, he had a classical beard that wasn't all that long, just long enough to cover his chin and cheeks. He had salt and pepper hair and didn't look anything out of the ordinary, though when you looked into his eyes they would send shivers down your spine. It were the kind of eyes that made you cover in fear of what was hidden behind them.