218 Chapter 218
Zhang Kuo looked into the communication jade. The sect leader had sent him an order to gather up people for the next event. They were to go to the sect gathering with the largest battleship that they had. This was the normal part, the odd one was the characteristics of the members that he should gather for it.
There was a list of the attributes that these people from the sect should have. One was that they were supposed to be old, the Patriarch even added that if they were ugly it would be a big boon. None of his disciples were to come with him or from the junior generation. They were all supposed to be composed of the senior generation elders. Even the people doing chores were supposed to all be old and not good on the eye.
Zhang Jin was banned from going and Feng Liena's grandmother would be coming with him instead. There were actually a lot of elders from the Feng Clan, Zhang Dong even mentioned that it would be best if they had a lot of makeup on and really dark skin. He even added that the people coming should be good at etiquette and not standing out.
Zhang Kuo scratched his head and just shrugged. He was already used to his sect leader's quirky ways so he wouldn't even ask about an explanation. He was already a core formation senior as well so he knew that if he continued working hard that maybe he would make it into the next realm. There were already other people that did it before him, so this wasn't just a pipe dream.
While Kuo was working hard on his future, Zhang Dong was sitting in his own room and cultivating. He was thinking about the sect get together and how he could evade it going wrong. He already knew that things tended to go astray where they could.
'Okay, what else… I eliminated all the good looking people from the equation so I shouldn't run into any horny young masters…'
The first thing he did was forbid people like Zhang Xue to even set foot in the flying ship. He knew that her beauty would get the young lords all riled up. They would probably start fighting over her hand in marriage almost instantly.
He also couldn't bring her brother along, that fool had a knack for getting in trouble as well. He would jump to defend anyone he could, if he saw someone in distress he would try to protect them. Fights were sure to break out with other disciples due to this. He would also be the first one to defend his master, Matt feared that if his name was tarnished there Liu would want to face the opposition with a sword in hand.
His plan of action was to bring only old farts that were nice and docile. They would be the types that would drop their head and apologize if there was a chance of avoiding a fight. They would be far too old and crafty to engage in combat with another sect. He needed people experienced in diplomacy instead of warriors even though this would make his sect seem weaker.
'Well, they are only there to accompany me, the whole thing should only take a couple of days anyway.'
He certainly couldn't take his wife or daughter with him. Feng Liena was the biggest problem, when she would be giving birth was a big unknown. Pregnancies at the nascent soul level mostly took longer than regular births. His daughter only came out after a full year and he had to support both of them with his golden healing aura during the whole process.
If he didn't have to go he would stay but he was afraid to send Huo Qiang or any of the other masters instead. He could tell that they were all itching for a fight after achieving a breakthrough. This was something he needed to do on his own as he at least wanted to keep this fake peace until his son was born.
The city was well protected and with the spirit vein as a power source, it would last for quite some time against a middle sized sect. The number of defensive cannons was also increased as well as a whole legion of beasts and beast tamers to aid. He didn't need to fear about his city falling unless the sects made another pact and attacked altogether.
'Maybe I can strike a deal with that Dragon Gate sect master, he seemed a bit more sensible than the other two.'
He paced through his room, he had gotten a bit older and was even past his mid-thirties. The first few years were the most hectic but after establishing the sect everything had somehow settled down.
Thanks to his system he was able to identify any spies that tried sneaking in here, even through these five years the sects had never really given up. There were even several people from their camp during the trials. They were promptly apprehended and sent down to the mines along with the others. He would not refuse free labor if it was offered, maybe in the future, they could be set free.
The time of the departure was in a couple of days and his people were already packing up. He was a guest at that banquet but he was still required to bring a gift or two. He didn't want to reach far into his pockets but he still needed to bring something with him. This something would mostly be pills that aided cultivation. He also had some other goodies packed if he felt that it was worthwhile to share them.
He gave out a sigh after finishing up with all the plans. He was worried, this life as a leader and a family man wasn't the easiest. Still, he couldn't grab his wife and kids and fly away or give the sect over to another person. This whole enterprise was his creation, without the system backing it up it might crumble into dust within a couple of years.
He soon went to bed while worrying. Time flew by fast as the sect members got the large flying ship ready. This was something that took over a year to build and was the sect's crown achievement.
It wasn't made from wood as all the other ships, no it was entirely made of spirit metals. It also didn't have the usual galleon design as the old Zhang Clan ships that Zhang Dong had used before. This one looked more like a modern capital ship, an aircraft carrier in particular.
Zhang dong had designed it while having a certain mobile command center in mind. It didn't have any sails to pick up wind but it had two giant engines on each side, enclosed in more metal. It looked like a giant flying drone with many cannons plastered on top of its flight deck.
There were even some flying artifacts that could be operated by the crew inside that had the power of core formation masters. The whole giant mobile fortress was a heaven graded treasure and could even go against multiple nascent soul cultivators at once. It even possessed a hidden giant cannon that, if charged, could even harm a cultivator at the great circle level.
Matt decided on bringing this oversized flying fortress with him into enemy territory. He mostly did it as a backup plan if something went wrong. When he was in the captain's chair he could infuse his own spiritual energy into it and improve on its power. He could even dump his system points into it to repair some of the parts like the engines as they were made in his crafting abode and worked on the system's rules.
The only downside of bringing it with him was that the other sects would see some of his true strength. That could also be a good opportunity to show of though, he didn't want to start any conflicts but he wasn't afraid. If they came asking for trouble he would be sure to act accordingly. He hoped that masking the ship as a low heaven grade treasure would be enough for the other sects to only see it as a large toy instead of a risk.
The day of departure finally arrived and Zhang Dong had to kiss his daughter and wife goodbye. Just as he had planned beside the trained ship crewmembers the rest of the delegation was composed of grandpas and grandmas that weren't very pleasing to the eye.
Zhang Dong nodded at Zhang Kuo who did a great job in picking these ugly cultivators, some of them were even overweight. There was also another reason he wanted them to be old. He wouldn't feel as bad if one of them offended a powerful sect member and got smacked. If it was one of his disciples he would need to defend them but if it was some random old guy that he didn't know, he could just let him bow a couple of times instead. The loss to face if he didn't intervene would be much lower then.
'Didn't think I'd be thinking about 'face' this much…'
His point of view had slightly shifted to fit the people in this world. Still, he mostly felt like his core values were there. He wouldn't actually let any of these old fogies get hurt too much and he believed that they were all smart enough to not get into trouble. He sure hoped that a weirdo like that guy from the Dark Palm sect wouldn't appear this time around. He really didn't want to defend Feng Maling from soul hungry demonic cultivators again.
"Greetings Patriarch, it's an honor to make this journey with you."
"Granny Ling, you can just call me by my name."
Zhang Dong waved his hand as the old woman was still very formal around him. He had married her granddaughter and now treated her as his own grandmother. She on the other hand didn't want to drop the act only doing it when his wife or his daughter was close.
"I mustn't sect leader, what will the other sect members think!"
She looked at the other old men and women that were coming along. They were mostly here for their linguistic skills as all were crafty with politics. Their job was to try to weasel in some connections, maybe get a good deal on some crafting resources. The sect was in a spot with a lot of spiritual energy but they didn't really have many resources. They had to mostly plant their own spirit herbs which took time and space. Opening trade routes with the middle-sized sects would be profitable for all people involved.
"Well, the trip shouldn't take that long but we will have to go slower once we are in their territory to keep up appearance."
Feng Maling nodded as she knew what Zhang Dong meant. This ship was massive but it was also very fast, a lot faster than what a low grade heavenly artifact should be. To keep appearances they needed to slow down while in enemy territory.
"Okay everyone, get to your stations and move out!"
Zhang Dong gave the order for departure after everything was in place. The trip to the border wouldn't take more than a day but after that, he wasn't sure. They were supposed to meet someone there that would escort them to the meeting place. Even if they were ambushed with the firepower this ship had they should be able to make an escape. He could also summon his grand elders to aid him if the need arose.
While the sect leader was leaving for the banquet the new trial disciples were getting ready to take their first lessons. They had switched to gray robes and were now all in the same color scheme. Their life would consist of attending theoretical lessons as well as practical lessons. Depending on their skills they could sign up for more classes like alchemy or crafting. Everything was slowly moving forward as the sect continued to grow but would things remain peaceful now one knew.