Chapter 67:

Rumors of the Sect

Mad God


"Is this correct?" the bald gang boss asked, looking up at his man reporting all the things he saw.

"Yes. I dared not to go close, but I watched from afar, from a good vantage point. Especially after I saw them flying, I knew they were too strong for me to handle, so I dared not to get close. But what I told you, Boss, is the truth! There was some kind of treasure pagoda there, and only those five came back out. All the others were sunk back down with it!"

"Whatever was there, they probably took it… hmm… but we can still get scraps out of it; who knows, the pagoda itself must be worth a lot. We are going to do this quietly. Gather the funds and people; we will try to see what we can recover from this!"

"Yes, Boss!"


..Weeks Earlier...
…..

While the disciples were out on their first missions, the elders back at the Sect gathered with Aerthus. Only Carthus and Leinor were missing as he took him out to train, where there would be no distractions.

"Sect Head." Xendar and Dermitos greeted him when he arrived, while the others, Anya and Boursat, also stood up, cupping their hands.

"Mm. I felt five presences arriving at the Qun's side. They are probably the Elroth family's leader and his strongest men. I guess they will come to us soon, so be prepared!"

"Will it be a fight?" Xendar asked with a calm voice.

"I don't think so. If they want to be aggressive, they would have come to us directly by now." Boursat replied instead.

"Usually, the families constantly battle against each other." Anya sighed. "They wouldn't risk a battle without being sure of victory. If they lose important people, they could be done in by another family."

"Or if they get some advantage out of this, they can gain the upper hand against others." Dermitos thought loudly.

"That is why I think they are here to figure out our origins and goals." Aerthus nodded.

"That's… going to be a problem." Dermitos sighed. "We are all tightly connected to the Imperial Family in one way or another. Even though we say we are an independent entity now…." He shook his head with a smile.

"That's not a problem." Aerthus chuckled. "The Empire is not at war with the Kingdom. We have zero trading with them and a tense relationship, but many private merchants trip from one side to the other using the buffer states. But they are just that. Private endeavors. Here we are, someone who has connections with the Empire but is independent of it, without fearing retaliation. We are open to doing deals with them! Isn't this the perfect opportunity for them and for us? There is a lot of stuff the Empire has, and we also have access to it! They don't. Especially now that we have caravans going up and down from the forest, thanks to my disciple's efforts. If we are truly independent, they can make deals with us. They didn't cooperate with the Empire then! There is nothing wrong here~ I love loopholes!" He explained laughingly, "They may spread the rumors the Empire is rotting, bowing to the demons, but they would gladly get the same things we have now. Do their dealings, and our name will spread quicker at their side! I am not afraid of being the target of their attacks; they are marred with infighting, and they couldn't coordinate cooperation against us anyway."

"And if they band together against us, pointing at us as a common enemy?" Xendar questioned, bringing up what happened when Aerthus established the Empire.

"Then I will show you and them why Sects are above empires and kingdoms!" He leaned back on his chair confidently.


….
…..

At the Qun Kingdom's palace, in a guest room decorated to the brim with the most luxurious furniture and softest carpet, on the small table stood the bottle of the most expensive wine anyone could buy in the small border kingdom. Kaipan, the family head of the Elroths, was sitting there, slowly sipping on it, while his son Werebor was seated before him. The three top fighters they brought were out in the Kingdom of Qun, gathering more information before they would make a move.

All five of them were at the Harmony Realm, Kaipan being one who ascended to the 9th level while his son was at the 8th when he took the tribulation. The rest of the group did so on the 6th. The force they represented in the Qun Kingdom made the ruling family nervous as they only had the current ruler at the same level as one of the Elroth's fighters. They were guessing whether this was now a forceful takeover, cursing the day when the buildings appeared on that wretched island.

"This wine is tasteless and weak." Kaipan sighed, putting down his cup.

"You are used to your own works, father." Werebor shook his head, who inherited his father's look, and they could be mistaken for brothers. "Why aren't we going there now? Instead of sitting here and waiting?"

"We will go after the sun is up. It's getting dark soon! Who would want visitors at night?" He laughed a little.

"But they captured our people."

"Really? I thought they just killed some mercenaries. We can find those everywhere; not a big deal." Kaipan shook his head.

"They were still at an advanced level, father."

"Were they? I disagree. If they were, they would be in our capital city, working under me, not at some small border kingdom! There is a deep chasm between cultivators who rush their own cultivation! They may call themselves experts, but I call them pawns. Also… You need to relax a little; you are too stiff. How could I pass down the family matters if you are this uptight about everything?"

"Sorry, father… It's just… if we ignore them, others would be harder to poach and hire later on."

"We are here, are we not?" He looked into his son's eyes, lecturing him just like when he was young. "We can show them we are not ignoring their plight! The question is; Are they still alive? If they are, sure, we will repurchase them, whatever. If they are not? We will make something up! If they have family, give them some gold and show we are taking care of their families. The usual, I have done this for centuries by now."

"What if they won't talk with us, and it will be a fight?" Werebor asked, already preparing for the worst outcome.

"When did you become such a scared, weak boy?" Kaipan furrowed his brows.

"I am not scared! I just think about the future! You collected the strongest people from our territory; if anything goes wrong, our family will be done for!"

"It's that new concubine of yours, isn't it?" He rolled his eyes. "Stuffing your head with her nonsense ideals and whatever other bullshit! I told you not to take in a commoner, they are oblivious to real strength, and she is as far away from our realm as the moons are from the earth! She can see it but can't touch it and never will."

"Father!" He raised his voice, looking angry, but his father raised his hand to calm him down.

"Think, son! I stood against the other family heads for centuries now, and I am still here! Yet others changed leading heads multiple times! When I reach the second level, even the silver-haired bastards won't be someone we should fear as we do now! Do you think we are in danger because some low-level mercenaries were lost? For goodness sake..."

"I hope you are right, father." Werebor shook his head, unconvinced.

"I am. You need to man up and realize your strengths! You have fought with the dog of that cold-hearted fuck of a King, and it was a tie! You should be proud of your strength and stand strong, not worrying about every little thing!"

"Sentios?" He shook his head as he, to this day, felt that battle was not a tie. "Yes, but it wasn't a fight to the death… and also… Father… your words. If-"

"This is what I'm talking about!" Kaipan sighed again, drinking the wine. "This is our territory… that we lease to the Qun family. I could go and fuck his wife in front of him, and he wouldn't dare to complain! He would even help me put it in her! Do you think any Naulin bastard would be listening in here? Please." he snorted angrily. "Take off your trousers."

"What?"

"Take them off. I want to see if you still have your balls or not!"

Before the argument could get out of hand, a knock came on the door, and soon one of their fighters, Zargan, stepped in.

"My Lords, I learned something interesting. A few days ago, the Qun spies on the other side reported the following; they saw different individuals leaving the island. Here are some drawings of their appearance." He placed a stack of paper on the table that they looked over as he continued, "They wore the same outfits, clearly being part of the same organization."

"She looks like someone from the Naulin bloodline." Werebor sighed, picking up the colored picture of Ren.

"Yes, but this one carries the characteristics of the Aerthus's line." Kaipan tapped on the picture of Reignar. "So I can guess the girl must be the genius we heard about, her mother carries the blood, but that's all. Now we know we are dealing with someone from the Empire…" he leaned back on his chair, thinking seriously.

“Not… completely… My Lord."

"Continue."

"There was an announcement today in Rorik. The Immortal Wonders Sect will hold a ceremony on the first day of spring, half a year from now. It will be the first public acceptance of disciples. The Empire is already hosting preliminary tournaments to select those who can take part in it…" he scratched his throat, finding it hard to continue, "and there are rumors demons will come too… and they are open to people from the Kingdom's side."

"Sect? Disciples?" The father and son duo furrowed their brows simultaneously. "Also… demons? Are you serious?" Werebor blinked with surprise.

"Interesting." Kaipan leaned back. "You said they are welcoming others from our side?"

"The report says that the announcement stated that anyone with talent in cultivation would not be barred from trying to join. No matter the background, race, or gender."

"Huh." Kaipan fondled his chin with a thoughtful expression. "Get ready for tomorrow; call back the other two! Have a rest. We will go by daybreak and visit them!"

"Yes, My Lord." He bowed before leaving.

"What are our plans for tomorrow?" Kaipan asked his son.

"I guess if they accept disciples, they are looking for those who are still at the beginning of their cultivation… think it through in your head and pick out one of your sons."

"You wish to send one of ours in?" He crossed his arms, interested in the idea.

"They said they accept anyone. Let's talk it out tomorrow and see if it's true~" He grinned. "I don't know what this Sect thing is, but if it's profitable, I want a part of it!"

"If nothing else, it is good to have eyes and ears inside… okay, I already know which kid I'll send to be brought here." Werebor stood up, going out to make the arrangements while his father opened another wine bottle.

"I feel something is on the horizon… mmm… I like this feeling!" The king of the Elroth's murmured, drinking directly from the bottle.