It was finally time for the large banquet to commence. All of the sects had arrived and were already moving towards the area where part of the festivities would be taking place.
Each of these sects here were owners of large tracts of lands with millions and maybe even billions of people living in them. But they were only pieces of a larger whole which consisted of the whole Empire that they were part of.
Every leader from each of those sects was here. They gathered every ten years to discuss and measure their opponents. Some would remain silent while others would boast and seek trouble with factions that they were on bad terms with.
Most sects here were part of the old elite. They had been in power for hundreds or thousands of years. They were mostly here to uphold the status quo, yet some of the crafty cultivators wanted more. Just like with the Dark Palm Sect that used demonic arts to get ahead and finally perish under three others that went against it. The others were looking for cracks in the armors of their opponents and waiting for the right chance to strike.
Zhang Dong and his sect members were walking out of the hotel just like the other sects were. The moment he showed himself outside people started whispering. His face was well known after his small spar against the older Silver Spear Sect Patriarch. He and his sect disciples were nowhere to be seen as they were waiting for him and his group to leave first.
The men moved their heads to the side in fright of meeting his gaze. The ladies looked intrigued and were giving Zhang Dong all sorts of sensual gazes. He was a man of principle though and just kept his poker face up. His elders rubbed their chins and nodded.
They were glad that their Patriarch wasn't the same man as his grandfather. If that man was here he would have already been choosing his next target from the beautiful fairy-like cultivator women here.
"Senior Dong, we welcome you and your sect members."
A servant greeted Zhang Dong while standing in front of a carriage. This was with what he and his people would be brought to the banquet. Zhang Dong nodded and entered along with granny Maling. The other old farts would travel in a larger carriage behind them and together.
"Young Patriarch you did well, now no one should search for trouble with us."
The granny reassured Zhang Dong as she knew the reason that he went through with that fight. Before it she also feared that the sect would be looked down on because of their lack of fame and prestige. Now thanks to Zhang Dong's show of might she was reassured that nothing out of the ordinary would be happening.
The two of them entered the carriage and Zhang Dong nodded at his grandmother in agreement.
The vehicle they were in wasn't a plain horse-drawn carriage. No, it was a smaller version of a flying ship with a beast that looked like a wyvern pulling it along through the air.
The seats inside were quite soft and the intricate patterns on them depicted the Yinglong Pavilion's dragon and a couple of other creatures. The soon took off, the other sects were sure to wait till the ferocious United Element Sect's Patriarch was gone before also walking out.
"That was terrifying…"
"It was hard for me to hold my breath so long, luckily he is gone…"
The people commented while looking into the distance. They would be following right after Zhang Dong and his party of oldies but they would be sure to avoid him like the plague during the festivities. He seemed to have a short fuse and was even willing to battle with other sect leaders in the arena.
They also knew that during the banquet the duels would be handled differently. They would be a lot more bloody and not in a safe place like the Rain Tiger Arena. Every nascent soul master that had witnessed the battle made sure to advise their sect members to not bother Zhang Dong's faction. The ones that arrived a day later might not have gotten the memo though.
The regular people were greeted by roars of flying wyverns that were pulling carriages behind them. This was something that the adults were used to seeing every ten years when the sects arrived. The children pointed towards the sky and waved with smiles on their faces. They weren't allowed to the banquet grounds but they could see the fireworks later that would be happening at night.
There were quite a bit of those flying contraptions in the air, some were being pulled by other creatures more akin to bats others to regular birds. Zhang Dong looked out through the small window at the scenery below, the buildings looked small from all the way up here. The people were the size of ants but if he chose so he could insert some spiritual energy into his eyes and take a closer peek.
"The people in this city seem to be relaxed, the city lord must be a fair leader."
Zhang Dong mentioned while granny Maling nodded. It was easy to determine how people were fairing in the city. None of them would be smiling this much if they didn't feel a certain amount of freedom. Most people in this world would even fear looking up into the air. They might catch the eye of some powerful cultivator who might feel offended.
Here the citizens didn't seem to care. He wasn't sure if it was a regular occurrence or if the people were feeling protected by the fighting ban that was placed on all the visiting sects.
"Indeed but they pale in comparison to our own citizens, you have done a good job in constructing such a grand city. Some of the elders think that you are being too generous to them."
The granny continued talking while Zhang Dong looked outside. He couldn't say that he was keeping the happiness level of his citizens up so that he could earn more Spirit Points in his system. He did prefer to keep them happy, the system's incentives only made him go further beyond what he would normally do.
He had created many clinics and was using taxes to run them. Everyone had free healthcare which wasn't that hard thanks to the advances in pill making and his healing techniques. He had scanned all the sect members and knew who to train as a doctor. This saved on time and on money as he was sure that the doctor would do a great job.
Even with that, he had to give it to the man leading this city. The streets were clean and everything looked orderly. Even when he started the fight with the Silver Spear leader the nascent soul guards arrived within a minute's time to stop them.
For him, it was easy to cater to his citizens' needs as he had the system. It told him what they were lacking and even divided the city into districts. It was like a game of SimCity. He could even see the area his clinics or police stations covered. Then he just needed to look at the map and direct his sect members to build the buildings like in a game. He could then even watch the percentages go up when it was being built.
A person that managed to produce a similar city without help like he did was probably someone very smart. He had visited other cities before he was the king of the land and most of the clans ruining them didn't care much for the common people in it.
"Oh? They do? Maybe I should see if I'm not being too generous towards them?"
Zhang Dong laughed while his grandma also gave out a chuckle. She actually was all for spending money on the people as it was showing clear results. Their sect was growing strong at a staggering rate; she could even see it contending with the other sects for power soon.
"So that's where the banquet will be taking place? I guess the city lord didn't scrooge out."
He rubbed his chin while looking at the giant castle-like structure that they were heading towards. The eastern styled castle was quite large, giant stone arches and even some smaller floating islands that were producing magical looking waterfalls were part of this structure.
Behind the castle, there was more scenery that he couldn't see yet. He could feel some powerful beasts roaming there and along with other cultivators. From what he knew these were a sort of hunting ground for the younger generation cultivators to show their might. A giant mountain peak was blocking the view a bit though.
Every ten years there would be a competition and the youngsters would compete for resources and honor. His two disciples were saddened by the fact that they were banned from participating in it. He had made this decision as he was frightened that they could get in some kind of a mess. Their cultivation was also a bit high as the juniors were capped to the foundation establishment level.
This was a classical setup. Young masters competing against each other in a friendly bout. Some of them would get offended during the initial party and then during the competition they would try to kill each other. It was also against the rules for the nascent soul masters to intervene and this was the biggest problem he had with this competition. If he couldn't save them, he would rather have them train up back home. It was not yet time for them to reveal their might and cause trouble for him or the sect.
It was against the rules to help out but there was one way to avoid your junior's demise. That was something that he wanted to avoid as it would just bode more trouble.
It seemed like they would be arriving shortly. The beast that was pulling them along gave out a large roar again and started flying down. He could see a nice patch of grass and some people standing below. He knew one of the people that was standing there as he had met him when he was entering the city.
The man was Sebas-Tian that looked like a British butler out of a soap opera. He had it all down to the monocle. He was standing there with quite a large assortment of beautiful ladies. These ladies in particular were wearing french maid uniforms with skirts a bit shorter than would normally be allowed.
The carriage finally landed and Zhang Dong made his way outside. The maids formed a sort of passage for the arriving guests and the person greeting them would apparently be this man. This was a bit surprising, having a nascent soul cultivator do a task like this meant that the people behind him were just so much stronger.
"Good morning ol' chap!"
The man greeted Zhang Dong in the usual fashion. And even took down his tophat for the greeting. The two exchanged some pleasantries before entering the banquet grounds. There were more people arriving so the butler looking master wasn't able to follow along.
Before entering further he looked behind him. He could see many carriages big and small flying in after him. Most of the people here were unknown to him but he had gotten a report on each of the sects from Zhang Kuo.
Most of the sects weren't a problem. Everyone that arrived on the same day as he did was comparable to the Silver Spear Sect or slightly weaker. He didn't have to worry about those. The ones that were arriving on the second day were the problem. Zhang Kuo even mentioned a couple that stood out from the crowd.
'Hm, strange… thought they would at least bring over a Late Stage cultivator…'
This was why he was surprised after scanning the exclusive looking carriage from one of those so-called powerful sects. For some reason, they only sent a middle stage elder that would probably be looked down on by the late stage cultivators that filled the sect leader ranks.
'Oh well, not really my problem.'
Zhang Dong finally turned around and entered the banquet grounds, his people slowly following behind him.