Zhang Jin moved in front of the woman and shielded her from the angry looking Huo Gang. The two exchanged glances for some time, Jin was smiling while Gang was frowning. The thing that broke the stare down was the appearance of Huo Qiao.
"Patriarch you have arrived!"
The man with the mutton chop beard moved forward and placed himself between the two elders. He was afraid that his leader might do something drastic. He was a loyal follower but he was more scared of Zhang Dong than Huo Gang at the moment. The white-haired cultivator could flatten their entire clan if he wished for.
"Qiao, where is that stupid son of mine? Bring him out, we are leaving!"
Huo Qiao started sweating bullets, not sure what to say to his boss. The young master was brought away by the order of the Zhang Patriarch and was in some secluded location. He was apparently training to reach the nascent soul level, but Qiao was still skeptical about the whole thing. The only thing keeping him here was the knowledge that the Zhang Clan possessed an immortal level cultivation technique.
"What are you waiting for? Where is he? We need to flee, we will head towards the west and seek shelter outside the Dark Palm Sect territory!"
"Your son is busy cultivating now, Senior Gang if you come with me I'll explain everything."
Zhang Jin moved in, trying to diffuse the situation.
"Cultivating? Why would he be cultivating at a time like this? Are you people sane?"
The man started furrowing his eyebrows and clenching his fist. His core formation aura at the great circle filled up the docking area where they were holding this conversation. The core formation masters behind him started moving forward while pulling out weapons. Huo Qiao was taken aback, his clan was turning hostile against a nascent soul cultivators sect.
"Please Patriarch calm down, we can't offend the Zhan... no, the United Elements Sect!"
The dark-skinned man stopped for a bit, not sure what his clan member was talking about.
"What nonsense is this, a Sect? Have you gone mad, if you don't tell me where Qiang is, I will consider this treason!"
Not a second later after finishing that sentence Huo Gang felt himself getting pushed into the ground. Some kind of pattern appeared at the spot he was standing on and it was sapping most of the energies from them. From the side, Zhang Kuo appeared, in his kind some kind of pilot looking treasure.
"You leave us no choice, the United Elements Sect will not negotiate with people like you!"
This was a defensive array and the item Kuo was holding was a remote control of sorts. This was a large defensive array that started affected all the core formation experts that were hostile. It siphoned the Qi out of their body rendering them defenseless but keeping enough for them not to die.
"You! ... Do you think something like this can hold me!"
The man's face went red and you could see the veins on his neck bulging all over. He started gathering all of the Qi that he could muster, his body covered with a red glow. But the moment he felt the pressure breaking Zhang Kuo turned the dial on the remote which made Huo Gang get pressed into the ground like a pancake.
"You won't get away with this! Are you working together with the Dark Palm Sect, what did you do to my son! Did you brainwash him like Qiao too!?"
The man started thrashing on the ground while bringing out some false accusations. He had quite the bright imagination as he tried pinning any type of scheme on the Zhang clan members. The array was keeping him in place, Qiao on the side wanted to go after Zhang Kuo that was controlling the whole thing. He stopped himself from doing that as he knew that this was a misunderstanding.
"Patriarch you are mistaken, Young Master is training to reach the nascent soul realm with the Zhang Patriarch that is already at that realm."
Huo Gang quieted down the moment he heard the nascent soul get mentioned. He heard about someone rescuing his son from Jade Grass City, but this information was hard to swallow. Why would a master of that level oppose the Dark Palm Sect and be from the Zhang Clan that has no power?
Huo Qiao knew that this old man was quite stubborn and would probably not believe any outlandish claims without enough evidence. The only thing they had to go off was from the call he had with his son. Huo Qiang after making a half-assed report decided to ignore all of his father's communication attempts.
It came to Qiao to try calming him down, but even when he described everything with detail. From the beginning till the end of the Dao festival, his Patriarch was skeptical. The only part he was convinced about was, that they had offended the main sect in the area and now had to flee.
While most of the Huo Clan elders were squirming on the ground, Zhang Jin stepped forward.
"Senior Gang we really mean you no harm, your sone is alive and well, if he was in danger your life indicating treasures would tell you this. Please appease your anger and we can talk this out like fellow Daoists."
The Fire clan leader looked up and was feeling humiliated. He realized that he wasn't the one with the upper hand here, the defensive measures this clan had in place were above the ones back home. He didn't like this, but for now, it looked like he had to abide by the other party's rules.
After a few moments, the large man nodded, in response, Zhang Jin gave Kuo the signal to lower the output on the defensive array. This was one of the measures put in place thanks to the secret ground rewards, this new suppressing formation warked similarly to how cultivators suppressed weaker opponents. It outputted enough spiritual pressure to incapacitate anyone below the nascent soul level. Its only downside was that it was only applicable to people in the main Zhang Clan compound.
"I hope we can start off again, Senior Gang."
Zhang Jin smiled while everyone from the fire clan breathed a sigh of relief. They all looked at Zhang Kuo that was holding the remote control to the defensive array. He just needed to use the dial while thinking about who to suppress and it would work. The fire clan relented and didn't try anything funny.
Most of their cultivators stayed in their ships while a small elite unit was escorted into the main sanctum. In there they were greeted by the fire clan juniors that were rescued from the Dao Festival, Zhang Kong was one of them. He instantly spotted his grumpy looking grandpa in the distance and greeted him.
"Grandson greets his grandfather!"
He bowed respectfully, Huo Gang almost smiling as he saw that his grandson was fine.
"Little Kong, where is your father, is what Qiao speaking the truth?"
Huo Kong nodded and recounted what had happened from his perspective, most of it was the same but the youth's eyes began shining whenever he started talking about Zhang Dong's fight and appearance.
"And then Lord Dong took off with that Dark Palm elder called Ming, he returned not long ago, I've even seen him wondering these halls he truly reached the nascent soul level."
The grandson was set on convincing his grumpy grandpa on trusting this clan for one reason or another. His blossoming fondness towards Zhang Xue might have played a slight role in his decision-making process.
"Is that so..."
Gang was willing to believe his grandson, but there was also a probability of brainwashing. He still wanted to grab his family members and just bolt it for the hills. He still needed to find his strongest son, he was the future of the clan and already almost as strong as he himself.
Then suddenly people heard the sound of thunder, out of nowhere a cultivator in a pure white robe appeared. The man looked to be in a hurry as he run-up to the man that was holding on the defensive array remote control. Huo Gang was watching this happen, he noticed that the Zhang members were instantly bowing at the man that just came in.
He handed what looked to be a cube to the man along with a large scroll of paper. He wasn't hiding anything as even he could see that that scroll had some sort of array formation on it. He focused his ears to listen to the conversation, quite interested in what this Zhang Patriarch was all about.
"Yes Kuo, here is the improved array formation and here you have the first battery cube, you see these parts, you need to place them all there."
The man took out more large paper scrolls, there were various things drawn onto them showing some strange pointy tower-like structures.
"Here, give this to the formation masters, have them work on it."
He also handed the man a spatial ring, telling him that he would find most of the building materials in there.
"Supply the masters with more building materials if there happens to be something missing, now go we don't have any time to waste I still need to make five more of those!"
Zhang Dong had taken a small break, he needed to give the plans to his workers while he was crafting the items required to power the new array formation. When he was about to head back to his crafting abode a large burly man in a red robe stood in front of him, he looked like he wanted to say something.
"Grandfather t-this is the Zhang Patriarch..."
Huo Kong was to the side, bowing his head down and looked slightly scared. His grandfather wasn't showing enough face to someone that was at the nascent soul level as he didn't even bow. Zhang Dong looked to the red-haired youth and then to the muscular grandpa, the sight of those massive tree trunk-like arms was awe-inspiring.
"Ah, you must be from the Huo Clan, I'm glad that you have arrived to aid us in these troubled times, we will take all the help we can get!"
Before Gang could even say anything he felt the white-haired man's palm be placed on his shoulder.
"I welcome you to the United Sect of Elemental Dao, I don't have the time to take your oath right now, but after the preparations are done I'll be sure to arrange a pledge ceremony for everyone! Really glad to have you here!"
Huo Gang listened to the man talking and grasped Zhang Dong's hand by the wrist. He tried pulling it off his shoulder but it felt like he was trying to move a mountain. It just wouldn't budge, the man just continued talking like there was nothing wrong. His muscles bulged and he even pushed his Qi into it but still, not even a millimeter of that hand moved.
"Ah, I see that you have brought many ships with you, that's great! If you have any spirit stones and beast cores with you, it would be great if you handed them over, we can use them to power the new improved grand formation!"
Huo Gang just sweated, his attempt at resisting wasn't being taken seriously at all. The man just walked away after a moment after monologing for a while. The large old man knew just from that short encounter that this Zhang Patriarch was a true monster and he wasn't taking him the Huo Clan leader seriously at all.
"Grandfather are you okay?"
"I'm fine Kong'er..."
The man had his fighting spirit sapped. First, there was this formation that could force them down to their knees and then there was this monster of a Zhang Patriarch running around. They had no way of forcing the Zhang Clan to do anything, the only thing they could do now is either stay or leave without Huo Qiang.
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