The months continued to pass and word had spread far and wide that the new upstart sect would be having a festival. Two of their senior members would be bonded in secret matrimony and become Daoist partners.
All of the prominent clans in the United Element sect area were invited to this event. This would be a chance for them to meet up with their new overlords. There were a lot of rumors about this Zhang Dong, mostly positive ones. He was supposedly a generous man that favored the weak while being an honorable warrior.
Every large city that was comparable in size to Spirit Spring City or Moonlight City had one of these clans. They mostly had to have a core formation elder in their mids to be eligible for an invitation.
Everyone was skeptical at first. The Dark Palm sect was gone but not due to the United Element sect. They were taken out by the three other large sects from the area and not by this new one. They feared that if they socialized too much with these upstarts that the other large powers could take their anger out on them.
They took a wait and see approach without taking any sides. Time continued to fly but for some reason, even after the Dark Palm sect's demise, the other three sects didn't seem interested in attacking the upstart. Then updated news arrived that Zhang Dong's master was apparently someone that was to be feared. He was the sole reason that the three sects didn't move in to seize the rest of the lands. There was also info that the three United Element sect elders outclassed regular nascent soul masters.
This was evidence enough for the weaker clans to seek an audience. Everyone knew that the quickest way to prominence was joining a powerful sect. Even though this one was only starting out and it was dangerous they still had nascent soul elders on their side. This wedding would be a good opportunity to make a good impression so they all needed to get some gifts ready.
Everyone used their spies to get information about the most prominent people in the sect. There were some discrepancies but everyone agreed that Zhang Dong was probably the strongest one from them all. The next in line was Huo Qiang followed by Feng Liena in tow, though her status might have been higher as she was the bride.
Then the fourth most influential person in the sect wasn't even at the great circle of core formation. No, Zhang Jin was considered next up as he had the ear of the Sect leader and could affect his decisions. After that, it blurred as the sect was still new and the inner workings weren't clear.
The clans were wary of the nascent soul masters so most of them decided to go for an easier target to bribe. This would be Zhang Jin and he was quite infamous in the land. He had stolen quite a few brides in his younger days and never ceased doing it to this day.
Concubines and alcohol would be on the people's agenda. Getting one of their sisters in bed with this old pervert was cruel but they saw this as an opportunity to prosper. Plus, they couldn't really do that with Zhang Dong as his Daoist partner was also a nascent soul master. Trying to give away their daughters to him could bring ruin to them by Feng Liena's hand.
There were also lower priority targets like Zhang Dong's disciples. Also anyone from the inner circle that belonged to one of the three clans that established that sect. The probability of gaining their trust was low but they had to try as it was a golden ticket to prosperity.
While the clans with lesser power made their preparations the three sects were in a bind. Should they send envoys to the wedding, or should they ignore these newbies and show that they weren't on their level by ignoring the invitations.
Each one of them had tried gathering more information during the period that they were building their base. They didn't come up with any substantial evidence of the reason they were in the lower lands. From their standpoint, Zhang Dong had to be crazy to wish to build his sect at that location. There was just nothing of value hidden there.
The investigations brought nothing and all of the spies that wandered too close to the building site vanished. They then received word that their sect leader was seen patrolling the whole area and figured that they would need someone close to him in strength to get anywhere. This they weren't willing to do as they still feared the man that was backing him.
In the end, they decided to send someone over that was expandable. They didn't need to move their nascent soul masters yet but could at least show some good faith. This was also an opportunity for them to see how this new sect operated. It had been about a year since they started rebuilding and they were close to completion.
While everyone was finalizing their schemes of either getting on the good side of the new sect or spying on them, a nervous Zhang Dong was pacing back and forth in his room. He had managed to prepare the wedding rings and was now getting cold feet.
While busy with his work he could relax and not think about the commitment he would be making towards the Feng Matriarch. He had made two identical golden rings, they were of a dragon and phoenix that were entangling each other. He got the idea from Liena's and his soul beasts that were a dragon and a phoenix.
Just as he wanted he had added a teleportation function to both of them. He could either teleport to her or have her teleport to him in times of need. There was also a tracking function connected to his system. This would show him his wife's last location if ever something blocked out his teleportation or if the rings got damaged.
There wasn't enough space to fit too many enchantments into the items. So he had to settle for the teleportation function and a barrier that would appear as a large bubble and shield her from harm. It could also be later recharged if she used up this protective measure.
He had been able to relax after the protective arrays had been set up. He inspected them by himself and even tested out their power. They were able to even take hits from him that were equal to a nascent soul expert at the late stage. Thanks to the spirit vein he didn't need to use his system points to power the cubes that acted as batteries.
The siphoning array that was the most important one was also completed and now all of that natural spiritual energy was being funneled into the Dimensional Regalia treasure. The longer this continued the larger the floating island got. There was now enough space to fit large structures for their core disciples and core elders.
Building them would have to wait till they started with their recruitment drive. They were finished with the main structure and the walls surrounding it but still had to prepare the side buildings that would be used by the outer sect disciples. They also needed to organize the food and prepare some occupations for their new disciples.
They wouldn't just allow strangers into their minds without making them work for it. That's why they were going to set up a merit-based system. They would also have something akin to a notice board with job listings.
The elders would place jobs that the disciples could perform for them. Like helping with pill forging, procuring herbs, or even going out of the sect to hunt beasts to bring back cores or food. Everything was moving forward fast and it seemed that the sect would be taking flight soon.
The sect wasn't the thing on Matt's mind though, no. He was the groom and he hadn't been able to see his bride for a couple of months now. The closer to the date of the wedding the more nervous he became. He had gone through the whole thing in his head a couple of times but he was still anxious. What if he says something stupid? What if they don't get along with each other? What if that sister of hers tries doing something silly again?
There was a myriad of questions flying around in his head. The tranquil mind technique seemed to be working a bit less since he got to the nascent soul level, probably because he got it while he was still at the core formation level. While he was looking over the wedding rings, checking if they weren't chipped in any place a small group of female cultivators walked in, Zhang Ya at the front.
"Sect Leader we have brought the designs for your wedding robe"
There were five women of various ages here, even one that could be his grandmother. They started bringing out robe after robe and hung them out for him to see. A giant mirror was also brought out and placed to the side so he could see how they fit him.
They were mostly in red and golden color, some of them purple or violet as that was also considered the color of nobility. He would rather use his white clothes but apparently white was attributed to mourning and bad luck. Which didn't really fit the joyous occasion that was the wedding.
The women that Zhang Ya, her included looked quite eager to make their sect leader try on all of these robes. He had to get this over with so he let them use him as a dress-up doll. They continued to squeal with joy each time he came out in a brand new robe. He even was coerced into putting on a silly hat and a black and gold fan with a dragon pattern.
In the end, he was forced to decide on a long flowy red robe. It was all in crimson with dragon patterns running all over it. He was also wearing some kind of rectangular hat with twelve strings of beads hanging out in the front of his forehead. From what he knew these kinds of hats were worn by men of power. The wiggly beads on the strings were there to remind him that he shouldn't make any sudden movements to make them wobble. They were to remain unmoving while he kept a straight posture.
The group of ladies finally let him have his rest and the date of the wedding approached closer. He didn't know what kind of wedding dress Feng Liena was going to wear but considering it was the Gyaru clan we were talking about. She might appear in something closer looking to a western wedding dress. Though he had convinced her to lose those traditions so she might appear in something to match his red and gold appearance.
Soon the day of the wedding came. The banquet would be held inside the new large sect castle building in a giant hall. There were numerous round tables with golden tablecloths. Everything was on red and gold, the chairs and decorations included. There were beautiful fountains with golden dragon and phoenix heads spitting out spiritual water that glowed in a blue hue.
Murals depicted some of the struggles that their Sect leader had to go through. The soul-beasts of Huo Qiang, Feng Liena, and Zhang Dong were all depicted on the walls looking quite ferocious after one of the more artistically inclined sect brothers witnessed their battle.
This space was quite empty at the moment as the guests from the sects were only just arriving. The large numbers of ships and cultivators on swords were slowly flying this way. If you didn't know better you'd think it was some kind of invasion. In reality, there wasn't even a single person that was at the nascent soul level that was coming this way. Most of the people gathered here were from the clans that were even weaker than the Huo Clan was before they rose to more prominence with the United Element sect.
While the guests were coming a pale looking Zhang Dong was looking at himself in the mirror. He was all dressed up in his groom's robe and had to now go out to greet the guests. His wife was going to arrive soon and he was getting cold feet.
He gave himself a double smack to the face with his palms. His cheeks went slightly red as he finally mustered the courage to walk out of the room. He put on his poker face while pushing the large door wide open, his retainers already waiting outside.