The Zhang Clan flying ship moved through the air, most of the people were just sitting in their cabins cultivating but some of them were out and about, looking at the scenery that zoomed past them. It was quite the sight, the closer they got to their destination the greener it got, the city the festival was being held was famous for its lush grass fields.
Spirit grass was a staple in this area and it was a very potent pill concocting ingredient. This was why it was procured by the ruling sect from the area, they wouldn't let a green goldmine like this be conquered by any of the backwater clans in the area. The spirit grass export and price was regulated by the Dark Palm sect, making sure to have the people that they deemed unworthy to have to pay up more.
This was an important ingredient, but it wasn't super essential that's why only lower-level members from the Dark Palm sect were stationed here. It brought in quite the penny but wasn't as important as some other assets that the sect was defending, like a spirit stone mine that was far more of a flexible asset.
This wasn't the only thing that grew in this city though, there were vast rice fields, that added to the greenery. The whole area was more or less fertile land, that allowed most plants to bloom and grow. The name coming from the vast fields of green, that made the outside look like green jade.
The Zhang Clan ship was close to reaching their destination, the youths on the deck were slowly coming out from their secluded meditation. There weren't that many of them, the clan only chose the most promising members that would participate, some of them were well-known figures that made their fame from partaking in the expedition two years ago.
The two most prominent ones were, of course, the Patriarch's disciples, both of them had reached the foundation establishment realm before the age of twenty which was quite the achievement. Their salt and pepper hair turned mostly white after they formed their perfect Dao pillars, now they only had a large patch of hair at the forehead area that was pure black, the rest was snow white. Their mom didn't come this time around, leaving everything up to their grandfather.
Next in line was their senior brother, Zhang Tai. He was older than them but still made the cut, he was still quite talented. His potential was at a B grade, which wasn't much below the two siblings. Thanks to his achievements he had earned better cultivation methods and the Patriarch even gave him a more fitting cultivation method as well as some manuals to aid him in with his swordsmanship skills.
That was all the members that were from the old 9th Platoon, the rest were recruited for police work and sitting back in Spirit Spring City training up new recruits. There were a couple of other promising youths, but most of the juniors that were at the expedition were too old to participate now and the ones here paled in comparison to the three previously mentioned youths.
"Junior Sister Xue how do you fare?"
Zhang Tai walked over to the edge of the ship, his junior sister was standing there and looking at the lush greenery. The young man had a slight smile on his face, but it quickly turned around after he saw Zhang Liu standing next to her.
"Ah, I don't get a greeting, senior brother?"
Zhang Liu asked, a cocky grin plastered all over his face. The two had built up a kind of rivalry over the past two years. In the beginning, Liu wasn't a match for Tai at all, but now they were at exactly the same cultivation level and were more or less equal in strength. This was a slight hit to the face of Zhang Tai, having someone younger be his equal but considering that the person in question was the Patriarch's disciple, he could somehow stomach it.
"Well, if it isn't junior brother Liu... don't get your hopes up too much, I'll be taking the number one spot!"
He stuck out his chest, hands behind his back as if he was trying to imitate that Zhang Dong pose. He also glanced at Zhang Xue's expression from the side, the younger girl caught his eye as the man was gunning for her affections. This was something her older sibling knew and didn't agree with, thinking that this senior brother was far too pompous for his lovely sister.
"Haha, I see senior brother has cultivated a sense of humor, I'll be sure to congratulate you on your spot, after I'm the tournament winner!"
Sparks flew between the two young men, the girl just covered her face with her long sleeve and started laughing. She took quite the joy from these two, they bickered and fought like an old married couple which was quite fun to watch.
"Oh, you want to have a go at it?"
Zhang Tai shouted out, his finger pointing at Xue menacingly.
"I'll be your opponent, anytime!"
Liu replied while getting ready for some fisticuffs.
"Brother, Senior Tai please calm down. Use that anger against the other clans that will be participating."
She tried to defuse the situation, a bright smile on her face the moment Tai got a glimpse of it, he felt a devastating blow to his heart. His face went slightly red and he turned away, worried that the beautiful junior sister would find it funny and he wanted to come off as a gallant gentleman.
"Ah, if junior sister says so..."
"Hah, you always chicken out when Xue is around."
Tai turned to glare at his junior brother once more, this time around he was more willing to give him a good trashing. The two released their cultivation aura which alarmed all the other people in the vicinity, but they weren't going to jump in or anything most of the youths were just interested who from these two would come out on top.
"Brother Liu you can do it!"
"Brother Tai, don't let that junior speak to you like that!"
"Fight, fight, fight!"
The two of them moved their palms up, Zhang Tai was holding his hand out, blue energy slowly enveloped his mitt. On the other hand, Zhang Liu placed his palm in a ninety-degree angle, lightning energy started crackling as he was preparing to receive his senior brother's attack. But before the two could clash a booming voice filled the entire ship, which made the two fighting peacocks ferocity deflate like a poked balloon.
"What are you two idiots doing, cease your squabbling!"
This was Zhang Jin flexing his aura, which made the two youths drop down to their knees in an instant. The crowd on the side that was egging the two one just a second ago dispersed, doing it only after cupping their fists at their grand elder. The two didn't get to leave unscathed as a lump appeared on their heads after the elder gave them a good smack.
"Now, sit down and be quiet you two, we will be arriving shortly, can't have the other clans see you two idiots bickering!"
Zhang Jin glared at some other elder members from the clan that were previously in the crowd. They didn't do much to stop the fight as they thought that it would be too bothersome. Also, no one really wanted to offend the Patriarch's disciple as that was a fast way of getting yourself in trouble.
The whole place quieted down afterward, the city was just a couple hours away and they could already see more of those lush rice and spirit grass fields. Some villagers were there, they bowed to the flying ship. Regular people would preform these acts of courtesy, flying ships were a sign of power as you had to have quite the amount of cultivation resources to buy or build one.
Soon you could see the more refined architecture, many large pagodas were sticking out also in that green color which made the whole city look like a piece of jade. All the buildings were made this way, the pavilions and the palaces all had a green tint to them, the cultivators apparently liked the green jade theme that went with this city.
At the front was a massive gate, people were lined up on one side and moving in while on the other they were moving out. This city was a coastal one too boot. From the front, it was surrounded by greenery while from the back by a giant mass of water. By the sheer size of the body of water, you would think that it was a giant sea, but this was only a really large lake. Things were larger in this world, so the lakes that were the size of an earthly ocean were quite common.
This city was larger than Spirit Spring City and Moonlight City that boasted a population count close to ten million each. It was about twice the size of those, but it was still smaller than some main cities or the capital city that had a population of over one hundred million.
The population was densely packed and the buildings were built high up, which allowed for such a huge amount of residents in one place. But such a high population brought in the usual problems, like a high poverty rate and rampant disorder. This was fueled by the fact that most ruling powers didn't care about the commoners and let them handle their own disputes, as long as they paid their taxes and were courteous they were left alone.
This made what the Zhang Patriarch was doing back in his two cities stick out like a sore thumb, the news was slowly reaching the outside area's, it had a mixed reception with the crowd. Mostly positive from the poorer demographic, but they were also unwilling to trust the rumors. Their spirits were already broken, so they wouldn't have faith in the news of a just clan that would tend to their needs with minimal recompensation needed. Still, the curiosity was there if things got too rough they might not be against trying their luck out there.
On the other hand, the ruling forces were even more skeptical about the whole thing. For them, it looked like some kind of ploy to get people's attention. It seemed like the Zhang Clan was trying to lure the downtrodden people in with the promise of milk and honey, then do something unfathomable once they were in their clutches. They just couldn't get their heads around someone trying to help people with minimal or no gain in mind, that would just be something a fool would do. If it was true though, they just chucked it up to the Zhang Patriarch being far too young and uneducated for his position.
The Zhang Flying ship moved around the city, which allowed all the people to get a good look at it. They had to fly around to land on the big shipyard in the lake, some of the other clan ships being already stationed there while others were just arriving as them. The descending ship slowly landed in the water, an anchor getting thrown out, the ship could very well function as a normal water faring vessel.
They were finally here, people started descending and a man dressed in a baggy robe with a clipboard in his hand came out to greet them. He was wearing quite a large pointy hat and his beard was long and excessive.
"Greeting fellow Daoists, from the insignia I can see, that you are probably from the Zhang Clan, right?"
Zhang Jin nodded and let one of his retainers get the paperwork ready, they would get some accommodations and a guide just as any other clan. He didn't think they would get much though, his clan was still considered one of the averages ones, the word of their Patriarch's strength was still being questioned which made them quite the underdog. It didn't help that he was rarely seen and most of his accolades outside were under his demon hunter persona.
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