The meeting finally started after the small dramatic exchange between the new sect leader and Huo Qiang's father. He was pacified now and in the corner with a stern expression on his face. From Zhang Dong's perspective, he looked to be sulking but he didn't really want to argue with the old man anymore.
"Give me a full report on the situation... I can feel that we are being watched..."
Matt could sense that there were some nascent soul elders far away but still close enough for him to sense some of their spiritual essence. They were probably keeping watch on the small locked off area, ordered by their elders. Zhang Kuo stepped forward, everyone in the room looked to him as he was going to give the report.
"As the Sect Leader says, we have sighted some of the nascent soul elders from all of the three sects that were here previously. Each one of them left a senior behind, probably to keep watch over us."
"Regarding the Dark Palm Sect, their main sanctuary is being attacked by the combined forces of the three sects. They have not yet fallen but they stand no chance against the combined strength of those three large sects."
They still had some spies that were outside Spirit Spring City that could relay some information through their communication jades. The demonic sect that was here the other day was now on the defensive. They were huddled up behind their defensive formations and fighting for their life.
"We are not sure what is happening inside as it was far too dangerous for our spies to go in closer, we can only speculate on what is happening."
"Hmm... they'll probably last a bit before they fall, what about the people that evacuated into the forests?"
"They are safe and are being guarded by some of our sect members, they have enough food and water to last them a couple of months."
Zhang Dong nodded, his people weren't in any danger at the time being which was reassuring.
"What about the city?"
"Spirit Spring City has mostly been destroyed... the Dark Palm sect bombarder everything with their cannons. The city has been leveled, there is nothing left to salvage, besides rubble."
The Zhang Clan members were unhappy, to say the least about this turn of events. They had spent the past two years upgrading the whole city infrastructure to the peak, they had hospitals, police stations, and even a fire station all in working condition. They knew that rebuilding everything would cost a lot and their Patriarch had burned through every single spirit stone that they had saved up.
"So only the Zhang Clan main compound remains..."
Zhang Dong shook his head, not happy that two years of work went down the drain just like that. He wouldn't be getting any spirit points from his system from Spirit Spring City anymore if it was like this. He was now contemplating moving his base of operations elsewhere, somewhere with more spiritual energy.
"If the Zhang Clan needs a place to stay they can come to our Red Lotus City."
Feng Liena interrupted while smiling at Zhang Dong, who nodded at the proposition with gratitude.
"Red Lotus City? That place is too small, we can just go to my Qingliang City!"
Huo Qiang shouted out while smacking his broad chest with his large hand, if his senior brother wanted a new base of operations he wanted his home to be it.
"Ah Qingliang City, is it?
Surprisingly his father didn't reject the idea, instead, he moved his hands over his chest in a cross shape and nodded.
"I agree, what better place for the new sect than in Qingliang City!"
"Red Lotus City has a better location and it's closer to the Zhang Sanctuary as well, I think it would be a better option!"
Feng Maling interjected on Liena's accord as she could see that her granddaughter was fuming with anger after Huo Qiang interrupted her.
"Patriarch, why should we move, we can just rebuild the old city and make it better and stronger than it ever was! Like a Phoenix, it will rise from the ashes!"
This time Zhang Zhi shouted out, some of his clan members also nodded as they were hesitant about just leaving their old home behind. The main sanctuary of their clan was still intact and it was even protected by a very powerful defensive formation. Not even nascent soul seniors could muscle their way into it.
Matt put his hands together while nodding at the propositions. To spend resources and rebuild, or to move on to greener pastures? He wasn't sure but he was leaning into another direction then the three main forces in this room. A small shouting match ensured where the Zhang Clan, Feng Clan, and Huo Clan were trying to convince Zhang Dong of seeing it their way.
"The United Element Sect, what is it?"
He asked, interrupting everyone in the room.
"It's a gathering of our three clans?"
One of the older members called out while the others nodded.
"Is it? I don't think this sect will have a future if we are just that..."
"Do you wish to conscript more people into the sect, Sect Leader?"
Another elder asked.
"That's a given, you saw those large sects, we pale not only in the number of nascent soul cultivators, but we also have fewer core formation experts and our foundation establishment juniors aren't enough."
"I don't think we should move into any of those two cities, and neither should we remain here, we need a more suitable spot."
"Where would we find such a location, Senior Brother?"
Feng Liena asked a bit saddened that her proposition was denied.
"That is something I can't tell just yet, I must go through the lands to see..."
Matt's mapping feature had gotten a boost since he reached the nascent soul level. He could now check to see below the earth as well, he wanted to scout the area's out. He wanted to find something akin to the spiritual veins that could be found in the deeper regions in the empire. He wasn't hoping for that much but even another spirit stone mine would be enough.
He had heaven grade spiritual energy gathering formation in his library, so he didn't need a place with a high concentration of it, he just needed it to be manageable.
"It would be best if those three sects allowed us to stay at the area where the Dark Palm Sect was located but don't think they will let us."
The people nodded, the large sects had their bases located in places with strong spiritual energies. It wouldn't be odd if those clans left some of their members there after they conquered it.
"Maybe if the honorable Wei Hung acted, we could gain that land for ourselves?"
One of the Zhang Clan Elders asked the others nodded with approval while looking at Zhang Dong. In their opinion, if that strong master acted even the three sects would have to listen. Wei Hung's illusion had left a big impression on these people, they thought it was just a slither of his true might and it was already that strong, how powerful was Zhang Dong's master in person? He might have even been on par with the Azure Emperor that ruled the land!
Zhang Dong just shook his head side to side while answering.
"My master won't act unless it's really dire, he only acted when my life was in danger, I fear he doesn't care for this sect of mine. I wouldn't put my faith into him that much, personal strength is always better than borrowed one."
The elders in the room sighed out after Zhang Dong's reply. They knew those types of masters that weren't concerned about anything besides their disciples. Wei Hung was apparently one of those, only taking action when his pupil was in danger but not caring about the people involved with him or her.
The elders voiced their concerns but still encouraged Zhang Dong to seek out his master for help. He just nodded at the request, though he knew no help was coming as he was his own master.
"The main concern is the three large sects, Dragon Gate, Limitless Sword, and Demon Subduing… we don't know what they will do but I don't think they will let us have any of the more bountiful lands."
"I agree with Senior Brother, they probably won't allow us into the mainland that is closer to the spiritual veins."
Feng Liena responded while everyone in the room nodded. It would be quite foolish from the three powerhouses to let them reside in places with a high concentration of Qi. The spiritual veins were something that formed naturally in this world.
Cultivators in this world liked to place their sects in areas with spiritual veins with high concentration. This was also how things in this empire were constructed. The spiritual veins with the highest concentration were further into the mainland, the closest place to it was the Empire's Capital city.
The Azure Emperor lived there with his clan, he wasn't part of any sect but that didn't matter if you were the strongest person around. His clan had many powerful experts and even if they had fewer people than some of the sects they excelled in quality over quantity.
"Yes, they just might make us remain in these lower lands where the spiritual energy isn't high enough to produce nascent soul cultivators…"
Everyone nodded, that was the likely scenario and they wouldn't be able to go against all three of those sects even if their three nascent soul elders could contend with the opponents.
'Hm, the improved versions of the techniques are superior which mostly means that they require more spiritual energy to cultivate in.'
Matt rubbed his chin, he needed to get his sect into a good location, otherwise it would take decades until they achieved anything.
'Should I sneak into their territory and raid their spirit stone mines?'
Matt didn't really want to do risky things like that, even with a spirit stone mine converted into points he couldn't produce that many nascent soul masters, unless he dropped a grade with their cultivation manuals.
"Yes, that is probably what they have planned but not like we can do anything about it."
Zhang Jin commented from the side with a frown on his face.
The meeting continued well into the night. While they had Zhang Dong's attention the other members from the new sect were sure to ask him many questions. Some of them were even trying to reel him into their families with marriage proposals. This of course earned the scorn from the Feng Clan side of the sect.
They went over the death reports and decided on giving all the warriors a proper send-off. Their families would be getting some monetary compensation and could even get a position as a disciple.
Further discussions were halted as no one knew where their new base of operations would be. They needed to plan the internal structure of their sect and also needed to build the proper facilities to house the outer, inner, and core disciples.
They decided that a merit-based system with incentives would be the best. Every new disciple would be put in an age bracket and tested. The average recruits would be outer disciples, above them were the inner disciples with more privileges and even further were the core disciples that were the true elites.
They didn't go into much detail about the merit system and rewards as no one knew how much resources they would have to spare.
"Then it is decided, we will wait till the situation with the Dark Palm sect is resolved, we will bolster our defenses and me and the two Grand Elders will continue cultivating in preparations."
Zhang Dong went with the term 'Grand Elder' just like their enemies did as it was something easy to follow. Soon enough everyone dispersed and went to prepare for the future tasks of making the sect.
While Zhang Dong was heading out he came across his female grand elder, she was apparently waiting for him. She gave him a smile, her face beaming as she just stared into his eyes.
He straightened himself out a bit, it was time to get some tea. The future was uncertain but it also held many wondrous possibilities.
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