‘It’s similar to a defensive formation but entirely made out of mana, must be Argus’ handiwork. I don’t think anyone besides me would be able to make it through this barrier without forcing it.’
Zhang Dong was inspecting the mana structure that surrounded the whole area. While the walls were high they could not halt anyone that was capable of flying. For this purpose, large barriers were always created to protect large settlements like this from all sides. This one was quite powerful as he could see himself having trouble blasting his way through. It would probably take a few battleships focusing their beams in one spot to leave and make a small opening for people to slip through. The time required and the energy expenditure would be tremendous.
He had made it past the wall where he saw something that looked like a medieval city. Luckily there were no farm animals walking around and no excrement was on the side of the street. At first glance, he noticed something off, while the city was quite large there weren’t that many people living here. It was as if they didn’t have enough manpower to fully use this place.
‘Hm, was my assumption correct?’
Previously he assumed that perhaps due to his involvement he changed the setting slightly. The golden knights when counter together weren’t all that strong compared to the enemy empires. Lucius and Argus would not have been able to defeat the demi-human emperor even if they combined their strength with some of the other golden knights. This side just didn’t have that emperor-level unit and the reason was probably that they discovered the secret blade with limited help.
‘It wouldn’t be strange for someone stronger to arrive after they start failing, the same thing happened to the demi-humans. The Emperor only showed up after several of their tribe leaders were killed.’
Perhaps Lucius and Argus weren’t the strongest but they still could put up a fight against the Saint Emperors. Luring in a stronger knight commander than Lucius also had drawbacks. The blond man was already stubborn enough, Zhang Dong could only imagine how prideful someone in a higher position could be. Then someone that was on an emperor-level could turn their fangs against him, it was probably better to work with these two.
‘Better to have weaker allies than stronger enemies.’
“Greetings Lord Dong.”
“Salutations to you Argus, did your beard get longer?”
Finally, someone that he knew appeared, and as always it was the wizard that greeted him first. Lucius was probably busy with some other stuff and still trying to act cool and collected.
“So then, I’m sure you got my message, I wanted to present it here as I was in the area…”
“Of course but… have you truly found the sacred aegis?”
“It should be it, it gave me the same impression as that sacred blade and it reacted to my holy energy in the same fashion.”
“It reacted? Do you actually have it with you?”
Argus’ old eyes lit up with excitement as it was revealed to him that the item they were looking for could be right here. Zhang Dong would have to disappoint the old man as he had no intention of handing it over just yet. This time around he didn’t want to beat around the bush. Perhaps it would be possible to toss it out after defeating the Emerald Phoenix Emperor for them to find but these were his allies, he wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt and just bargain with them instead.
“No, I don’t have it on me; however, your secret relic is in my possession just at a more secure location.”
“It is? This is grand news! , we must tell it to Lord Lucius and gather the knight order, this… this!”
“Now hold on there, I didn’t say that I would just hand it over now did I? But it would probably be better to not discuss this matter here right?”
“… Yes, we should change locations please follow me.”
Argus was stunned for a moment but quickly realized the meaning behind Zhang Dong’s words. A deal needed to be made and this area close to the entrance gate was ill-suited for bartering. The two took off into the sky with some of the soldiers using their flying horses to keep up with them. They were going toward the large sword shape tower in the background which gave him some time to examine the surroundings even more.
Just as his senses had told him, the city wasn’t fully populated. At most twenty-five percent of the buildings were populated. Most of the people here were military personnel but he could still see servants. These were even weaker than the common people that resided in these lands. Without the magical armor that the soldiers were wearing, the power level of these people was quite low.
Finally, after flying through the air for a few minutes they arrived at another large wall. This was a wall within a wall that separated the outside city and this citadel. Inside he could sense a lot of magical power along with a high concentration of troops. Even though he considered himself to be quite powerful he didn’t think that he would be able to get out of there alive without using his teleportation feature.
This didn’t stop him from setting up a safe point within the compound. If he ever needed to infiltrate this place in the future it would be possible. He had decided to place it within the residential area while flying through the air. Putting it inside the giant sword structure crossed his mind but it was always better to measure the threat level from the outside. If he popped into the fortress directly and got surrounded then even he would have a bad time. There were ways that his teleport escape could be blocked, Wang Long used some type of blocking measure.
‘So this is probably their headquarters, something is blocking my spiritual sense.’
While Argus was talking with the gate guards he tried inspecting the giant sword tower. He couldn’t peer into it from the outside and now when he was closer the same effect persisted. There weren’t many things that could block his senses which made him believe that something powerful could be inside the tower. This he would probably not figure out yet as their destination didn’t seem to be the tower. Instead, they were going to a nearby palace that looked like it came from some kind of fairytale.
There was quite a bit of space inside this area surrounded by the second wall. It somewhat reminded him of how some sects build their inner sanctums. In the middle was the giant sword tower reaching all the way up to the clouds. Around it was seven castles and palaces, one of which was the one that they were going to. It didn’t take him much to put two and two together to figure out what this meant.
‘It’s similar to the Heavenly Crane Sect and their ten lily factions.’
These seven castles look different and probably belong to six other knight commanders like Lucius. The one he was flying to was surrounded by a wide moat that looked more like a lake. One white bridge that had a vast amount of arches on it led to the only gate entrance on it. The walls were pure white and had angelic undertones to everything. Inside it, he could feel the presence of his acquaintance, Lucius.
‘So, there are six other people on his level that would reside in those castles. The question is if he is the weakest one of them or not…’
Zhang Dong had an idea about the true power of these magical forces. Together with Lucius, there would probably be seven knight commanders. Then whoever resided in the sword tower was their leader. It was more than likely that this person was at emperor-level and he could appear at any point in time.
‘One thing is clear, whatever that person says my two friends would carry out, I need to be careful.’
While Argus didn’t seem like a bad man, he was only one of many subjects of this magical kingdom. If their king appeared they would have no other choice than to listen to him. Luckily for now there was no one above Lucius in prestige and everything that he decided would be carried out.
‘Hm, these castles are like clans and they probably operate in a similar way. Seven duke families and one king, it’s that kind of setting?’
“Lucius it has been some time, how have you been?”
“Zhang Dong, what have you come here for? I have heard that you are in possession of the aegis but are unwilling to part ways with it? What is the meaning of this.”
“Haha, I’m happy to see you too, now put down that sword and listen to me.”
He had finally arrived at the palace courtyard. He was surrounded from all sides by the golden knights that he had previously tussled with. They were all wearing their armor and ready to jump at him at any moment. It wasn’t strange for Lucius to take this approach but he had hoped that the blondie would have a bit more trust in him.
“I do have your shield and I will hand it over if you help me out.”
“Help you out?”
“Yes, you scratch my back and I scratch yours.”
Both Argus and Lucius were confused by the saying from his modern world. He could only cough into his fist while shaking his head before continuing with his point.
“I mean, that I’ll help you if you do something for me in return.”
“How do we know that this isn’t a trick? What evidence do you have of possessing the aegis?”
“Wasn’t finding your sacred sword proof enough already? You could say that I have a knack for finding holy relics.”
Zhang Dong smiled at the grumpy-looking knight in armor. He had proven himself by finding the first item and they didn’t have to know that it was just by pure luck. This however in their eyes was probably nothing more than a coincidence. Thus to make this more believable he decided to do a little demonstration.
“You will have to produce some evidence if you wish us to believe it.”
“That’s fine with me, just give me a moment, I’m sure Argus will be able to confirm my claim if he sees it.”
He reached out with his hand to produce a blue ball of energy. At first the knights and Lucius were ready to draw the weapons but Argus was quick to stop them.
“My lord, that’s a miniature teleportation gate, it’s harmless.”
“Yes, and what do you think is on the other side?”
Argus was quick to move closer as he realized the item that was on the other side. It was clearly the aegis that they desired but before he could reach out to take it, Zhang Dong closed the connection to that location.
“Not so fast, first we make a deal, and then you’ll get your item!”
“… Name your price.”
Lucius had no reason to not believe Argus that was almost foaming at his mouth after seeing the sacred treasure. Now it was up to them to not get scammed too much but Zhang Dong on the other hand would make them work for it.
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