The next day the news was spreading through the city, making the citizens quite unruly. This was understandable because if this expedition ended badly like last time, there would probably be a new attempt on the city. No one thought that there would be anyone rescuing them again if that happened. Some people were thinking about abandoning the clan and city in general, but then they also heard that other clans in the area were in similar situations. No one was really safe from the sect overlords and it was hard to abandon an established life to start anew.
Matt was in his cultivation chamber, trying to raise his power level. But his gains had slowed down the further he progressed. The storm clouds were coming down less, the spiritual energy in the area was thining out. He was thinking about his plan, would it even work? He left and went over to Zhang Jin, he wanted to know if he knew anything about the last expedition.
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After the two greeted each other then his grandpa explained everything in detail. The old Patriarch left with two other core formation elders, this happened about three months ago. They didn't have many details on what happened inside as the communication jades didn't work. The spirit tablets started breaking after about a month, so the people inside that dungeon didn't just get wiped out. They remained for quite some time, fighting for their lives. It took another month for everyone's tablets to break, maybe it was some kind of prolonged attack or some kind of maze?
The thing Zhang Dong was sure of was that he needed to get as many points as he could, but he wasn't about to go on a killing spree. That's why he told Kuo to get him that fugitive list. He wanted to hunt some monsters and get spirit stones as rewards to boot, he needed a lot of resources. Did everyone have the best available weapon for their disposition? Could he upgrade their cultivation method? This was a team event, so he needed to arm his men and women to the teeth and he knew that the previous expedition drained the clan's coffers dry.
"I have brought you what you asked for, Patriarch."
Matt nodded and took the jade slip, it had information about various baddies and monsters around the whole empire. He scanned it for core formation enemies, would be nice if he could grab a nascent soul beast, but a monster like that would probably one-shot him.
[ Ravager: Demonic cultivator, last seen near the five dread peeks by the city of Frostriver. Cultivation base in the later core formation stage. He has killed hundreds, maybe thousands of people in pursuit of power. Reward 10,000 low grade Spirit Stones. ]
[ Lesser Calamity Dragon: Evil Beast residing in the volcanic areas of the inferno mountain range, regularly seen raiding nearby cities and villages causing havoc on the populace. Cultivation base in the late core formation stage Reward 12,000 low grade Spirit Stones ]
[ Blood Demon Cult: An evil group of renegade cultivators, they act in the shadows and are hard to track. People have reported children getting abducted in the night. Reward 8,000 spirit stones, cultivation base unknown, possibly in core formation, not confirmed. ]
He mostly looked for opponents in the late stage of core formation, after fighting the fire lord and upgrading his skill he thought that he could take those on. He noted down the cult as well, as the city that they were doing their evil deeds was between the other two places he was going to go. He could head there after taking care of one of the assignments. After he finished up with those, he would decide if he could do more before returning to the clan.
He thought that maybe he could stay here and relax for longer, but now his life was at stake. There was always an option to leave and hide, but he was the Zhang Clan Patriarch. Everyone probably knew him by now, he would probably be a wanted one like that Ravager guy on the run. But there was also an option of a disguising skill, though if he did that the people from this clan would be dead meat. He didn't want to have that on his conscience.
*I really need some sword skills, I can't actually do any fancy attacks with this sword of mine besides swinging it around.*
Matt knew that there were many flashy sword styles, that if mastered let the user unleash powerful attacks. He would like to get a technique with a lot of potential best if he could use it from the get-go and be able to raise its prowess later. He had an eye on one particular sword art, that came under the umbrella of lightning elements so he got a discount. It wasn't an upgradable skill or anything, it was divided into tomes though if he bought the Earth grade one, he would get the previous ones for the lower ones.
The manuals were called Thunder God Sword Scripture and had various sword attacks and stances that went well with his empowered lightning Qi cultivation method. He wanted to grab the lower-level ones, but if he bought them one by one he would just lose points. For now, he decided to spend the rest of his points on Qi recovery pills and healing pills, as well as some detoxification pills against poison attacks. He knew well how those evil cultivators liked to poison everyone, though his golden body had quite the high resistance to poison attacks.
After checking out his map and marking down the first three waypoints, he could see that the closes area was the volcanic one. Also, this one actually pointed out the whereabouts of his target, the other ones were kind of vague. Maybe after he got the points from the dragon he could find some kind of tracking skill. He wasn't sure if he would be such a good detective and find that cult or that evil cultivator. Those guys seemed like the types that were good at hiding.
The plan was simple, go out, slay some baddies, get points, upgrade the cultivation methods of the clan members after they are done with their small tournament arc. Who knew, maybe some kind of protagonist type would appear during the tournament that he could focus his resources on. There probably had to be a reason why that secret ground required lower-level cultivators, so probably everyone was important and he couldn't just power through it with his own strength.
*Guess I'll be off to saving some damsels in distress, maybe that dragon will be hiding a cute princess somewhere.*
Matt thought to himself jokingly while making sure that he had everything he needed in his spatial ring. He took the excessive pills that he got from the previous battles with him, you never know, low grade pills could come in handy as well, he could always sell them later for more spirit stones.
While he was heading out, his grandpa Zhang Jin was waiting. He looked at him with concern in his gaze, fidgeting slightly before speaking out.
"Don... Patriarch, are you sure you want to leave the clan at this moment, what if something happens to you?"
He was informed about what Zhang Dong was doing, he wasn't sure what hunting some criminal and evil beasts would accomplish in the spawn of 3 months. The clan sure could use more spirit stones for weapons and gear, that was true. He was slightly concerned that the new Patriarch could die during his travels, they had no dao protectors to accompany him as he was the strongest member in the clan, they would only slow him down.
"Don't worry gramps, I'll be back. This is kind of how I get stronger... I might even have a breakthrough in these three months. I already said it to Ya and Kuo, but try to gather some crafting resources I might be able to forge some weapons for the winning clan members afterwards."
He replied in a calm voice, that tranquil mind technique working out quite nicely as previously he would have probably been stuttering all over the place.
Zhang Jin raised his hand as if he wanted to say something, but then instead nodded and gave his grandson a pat on the back and some words of reassurance before sending him off.
"Don't worry, I'll protect the clan while you are away."
Zhang Dong smiled slightly while just nodding back, then he jumped onto his flying sword that started glowing as he inserted his spiritual essence into it. With a thunderous sound, he vanished from the spot and you could hear a resounding sonic boom. Some other clan elders and members were also there. They had a myriad of feelings about the whole situation, some thought that this young cultivator would probably abandon them. Some were hopeful that their new Patriarch would deliver another miracle and get them out of this situation. Some were just confused, others were mad or fearful. Everyone dispersed after Zhang Jin told them to move their asses in motion and get to work while squinting.
The Patriarch had a communication jade slip with him this time around, the defensive formation was repaired so he would be able to come back if something went wrong. They had to follow orders, so they got busy with the tournament plans. Zhang Dong didn't mention how exactly the tournament was supposed to function, but he did say that he didn't want people to just get eliminated if they lost a fight. Everyone was supposed to have multiple chances to get their rank up, one fight wasn't enough to decide a good or bad fighter. Also, the fighter's stamina was important, so the combatants had to fight people in succession. Weapons were allowed, but they had to be of the same grade as the opponents.
The clan had a designated sparring area just for that, with build-in formations that kept people from getting killed or fatally injured. The people got to work while Zhang Dong flew through the air, the increase in cultivation making him fly twice as fast as before. If someone went into his patriarch chamber they would notice that the grand bed was missing, Matt sure as hell didn't want to sleep on that straw mattress that he got from that Tribe. The new bed barely fit into the upgraded crafting abode, he really needed to get something he could comfortable spend his time in...
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