Zhang Dong had a small glass of bubbly liquor in his hand. He slowly moved it towards his lips and took a sip while glancing down. What he saw beneath were a group of beauties on their zithers playing a slow song while singing.
He was sitting in one of the booths with a group of twenty elders. Below them, a large group of people was seated around a stage area. The stage was well lit up, it kind of looked like a dancing stage with the floor shined to perfection.
There were some gems embedded in it that were shining bright. If you looked closer from his angel he could even look under the skirts of those lovely ladies that were down on that stage. He was lucky that his wife wasn't here with him.
He had been sitting here for over an hour already. First Sebas Tian walked out and did a small boring speech. He talked generally to everyone in the room without mentioning anyone in particular.
The Silver Spear Sect was here but their Patriarch was missing which did cause a little scene. The people that had come had their heads lowered and they would flinch whenever he looked at them. He wanted to just wave or throw a kissy face at them if he could, alas he needed to keep his senior attitude up.
He wished that he could be more relaxed around others, the only one he could show his true colors were his closest family. His wife already knew that he wasn't the super-serious cultivator that she once thought he was. Neither his grandfather or some of his retainers. The only ones that couldn't see it were his disciples, they were too far gone and would probably never see him more than a master to worship.
Zhang Dong took another sip from his glass and emptied it. He glanced at his own people that looked quite interested in the music. Their eyes were closed and they were taking in the slow tunes. He did notice that the tunes were strengthened by spiritual energy which meant that the women had some kind of Dao of sound. Probably a lesser one that was instrument specific.
After about another fifteen minutes the dancing and singing fairies finally were finished. Some of the younger cultivators clapped, the younger men were clearly enthralled by the women's beauty.
He knew that this wasn't just a relaxing concert. This was actually a scheme that the people from this city had cooked up. Having powerful cultivators interacting with their beauties could give various benefits to the rich merchants here.
This whole banquet was a place to gain new connections, be it in business or in the family. Zhang Dong theorized that the young beauties were probably wife candidates. in all likelihood behind closed doors, the older members of their families were already debating on which young master to wed them too.
This was one of the more distasteful traditions in this world. He would rather have the men and women be free to choose their husbands or wives. It was very rare that something like that happened. If there was nothing gained from the marriage the parents would not agree to it.
Zhang Dong was lucky enough to marry Feng Liena who was on equal footing with him. If he chose some lowly Qi condensation commoner the elders from his sect would start complaining. At most, they would allow someone like that to be a concubine but not the main wife. Though he was in a high enough position in the sect to do what he wanted, this wasn't the case with most of the people in this world.
"Fellow Daoists, I hope you enjoyed the melody our young maidens have played for you this day."
Senior Tian walked out after the musical number was done. He even urged the young lords to give some gifts to the fairy-like beauties that performed them. They would apparently be leaving this hall to go outside and mingle. While the concert was taking place a feast had been given to them so there wasn't much left to do here.
"Follow me fellow Daoists, our Yinglong Pavilion leader will also be joining soon for the festivities."
The whole hall started rumbling a bit and a large gate rose up from the ground. The other sect members gasped at the display as this was a teleportation gate. Zhang Dong on the other hand rubbed his chin and squinted.
'Hm, looks inferior to the one that we have.'
After examining the contraption he was glad that his sect was already ahead of the competition. Even this large Yinglong Pavilion wasn't as advanced in some ways as his sect. The manuals he had received after that one expedition had turned out to be the most important treasure trove.
The secret ground they were in was in another sect's territory though. He wanted to visit it as it probably would answer some of his questions. He would probably need to put his younger sect members in danger though as it would certainly test them again. But maybe he could somehow enter the closed-door another way. He was able to enter the strange room with the cube without a problem and he felt like it was connected to that secret ground.
The problem was that if he wanted to go there he would probably have to declare war against the sect residing there. He was on the fence about that. He could also try sneaking in but then he would also need to get rid of anyone defending it. There were too many factors that could lead to a war and if he got sucked into that gate his sect might have to face the wrath of the other three sects without him.
The teleportation gate had a similar design to all the other ones he saw before. Some people were already going through it. Zhang Dong and the people that he came with moved from their balcony seats as well.
Everyone slowly moved towards that gate, the people on the lower floor were first, and only after that Zhang Dong and his sect members followed suit.
Everything here was preplanned and every sect was judged and ranked accordingly. His United Element Sect had suddenly joined the upper echelons. At least from the point of view of the Yinglong Pavilion that had placed them on the upper floor. This caused the ones that were left on the lower floors to not be amused.
The only thing that was holding them back from complaining was the fact that Zhang Dong had trashed the sect leader from the Silver Spear Sect in a one on one battle. He had also done it very one-sidedly which caused everyone to be frightened of his might.
The lower placed sects weren't the only ones raising their brows at this. The other nine sects that were up there with them had kept looking at him and his oldies throughout the whole concert. They were mostly curious as to why the Yinglong Pavilion would place them there. Some of them weren't amused, it were the sects that were taking spirit stones from him.
Finally, he and his people went through the gate as the first group from the second floor. Only people that were of core formation and above were allowed to walk through it, which left the juniors outside to mingle or prepare for the coming competition.
The teleportation gate brought them to a wholly new place. The moment they appeared there he could feel some wind against his face.
They were quite high up as the air was thin but thanks to his high cultivation that wasn't really a problem. The puffy white clouds were also hovering above them in the sky really closely.
Apparently, they were on a high mountain peak somewhere in the Yinglong Pavilion's territory. This was not a pocket dimension or any kind of treasure but the mountain they were on was quite hefty.
As he walked forward he could see people there already talking. There were many tables with various foods and the smell of something cooking filled his nostrils.
'I guess that was just an appetizer that we were having?'
He walked forward while glancing at the strange-looking fruits and dishes. They were different from what his clan members ate. The cuisine was quite varied and he could feel a high concentration of spiritual energy coming from them. If a person at the Qi condensation level tried eating some of these dishes they might even breakthrough. They also might explode if the Qi concentration was too high.
"Good to see you ol' chap."
Sebas Tian was there to greet him, the man certainly liked him for some reason or another.
"Yes, good to see you too."
Zhang Dong replied while walking forward, some of the oldies from his clan appeared behind him a bit disoriented. They soon realized where they were and continued forward. They were quick to pick up on what this was and started mingling with the crowds. They were instructed beforehand to interact with others to gain information and favor.
He was left with the monocle-wearing man that was apparently done with his job now. Someone else would be taking over and it was apparently the leader of this group of merchants.
He finally appeared after everyone had gone through the teleportation gate. The man had a sharp glint in his eyes. He did look like someone in his 60s like most of the nascent soul cultivators. His hair wasn't gray though, it was a deep crimson. His beard was in the same color and had an angular cut to it. He was quite short and robust looking which made Zhang Dong think about a certain fantasy race.
"Welcome comrades, I hope we can do business as always!"
The man was sitting in a large throne looking chair overlooking the other people that came. He was under something similar to a giant gazebo. It was made from gold and various precious metals were embedded into the beams.
"Take your time and enjoy the banquet to your heart's content, your juniors will be soon starting with their competition."
The man said while the people glanced to the side. Zhang Dong followed with his gaze to where they were looking. This mountain was high up and the peak was flattened so that they could stay there. But behind it was something peculiar.
There was a giant labyrinth with walls that were hundreds of meters tall. It was multiple kilometers in diameter and looked truly tremendous from up here.
Zhang Dong spread his spiritual sense into that labyrinth and could feel that there were various living beings there. Not only humans, there were also various beasts and even automatons like the wooden dolls his sect used for some trials.
This would be the proving ground for the junior members below the core formation level. They would compete against other sects and fight the beasts inside. There were various traps and other hard tests waiting for them there.
While glancing at the giant labyrinth Zhang Dong gave out a sigh. He had already witnessed similar proving grounds. He already knew that the young kids in there would probably end up killing each other. The fights for prestige and resources were truly brutal in this world. Luckily his disciples were not here and wouldn't even be able to participate due to their cultivation level.
If he brought some of the better foundation establishment youths there would probably be a scandal. He'd expect them to just trash the competition at this point. He didn't want to brag but some of his elite members were just too far ahead of most people in this world. Maybe the kids here were young masters from strong sects but he didn't think they would match his own top juniors.
He looked at the large labyrinth from all the way up here. A nascent soul cultivator would be able to see everything that was happening there without the need for a camera. This was all thanks to their enhanced spiritual sense.
The junior members were already walking but there looked to be one golden-haired girl getting pushed in by force. It was a peculiar sight to see.
"What is the meaning of this?"
He looked to the side, there was a small group of nascent cultivators arguing and the one shouting was the man that was at the middle stage that he saw before.
His face was contorted and he didn't look pleased at all. Apparently, something was about to happen but luckily his sect wasn't the one in trouble this time around.
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