This was truly an uncomfortable feeling, Matt felt like puking as the suppressive force crushed into him. His clan members were worse off than him as they started collapsing onto the ground, not being able to hold on. The oppressive force vanished soon after and a floating person appeared. He was floating right in front of them, his hands behind his back while his back was straight up.
“Our sincere apologies Grand Elder Guo, we were attacked by some beasts on our way here.”
The older woman said while cupping her fists and bowing before the dark palm sect elder. The woman next to her just turned her head to the side, seemingly annoyed by the whole thing which made the older one sweat bullets not wanting to offend a nascent soul expert. Elder Guo just floated in the air, he was a baldy with a long goatee and a really wrinkled up face.
“I see that your Matriarch hasn’t learned her lesson yet, you’re lucky that time is of the essence.”
The woman was quite lovely looking and had a high cultivation level while being fairly young just having turned thirty-nine, though she looked like she was in her early twenties. A woman like this would have many suitors from strong clans going after her, even though her complexion was a less desired one than the pale one. She mostly found the old masters disgusting and the younger ones kept giving her perverted looks, so she always turned them down.
One day she caught the eye of a young dark palm sect master, this wasn’t any regular member but the son of the sects Patriarch. She, of course, didn’t want to have anything to do with him, finding his character not up to par with her standards. Her clan members couldn’t force her to marry the man even if they wanted to as she was their Matriarch. The sect started blackmailing the whole clan after a while, culminating in the matriarchal clan being recruited for this expedition that had a very low chance of succeeding. This was seen as a way of getting rid of the person that didn’t give them face, without having to get their own hands dirty in the process.
Matt didn’t know any of this though, he was just staring at the people that clearly had some bad history. Soon the nascent soul elder went deeper into the mountain, ordering the clans to disembark. He had scanned the nascent soul cultivator, finding out that he was only in the early stage. The area was littered with tents and hastily constructed buildings, the dark palm Sect cultivators were all over the place. There were many core formation cultivators around, even more, foundation establishment ones making Matt wonder why they even had the clans do their dirty work for them if they had so many resources.
He was a bit surprised after seeing the gyaru ship, even the old elder lady looked peculiar with a lot of makeup and glitter on. Due to him staring so much, the leader of that ship finally noticed him. He kind of froze at the moment their eyes met, the woman took a look at him and then moved her index finger right below her right eye. She then stuck her tongue out at him, while closing her left eye and pulling down her the lower eyelid under her right eye. Matt didn’t know how to react so he just remained in place, the woman moved away after a while after having stuck her tongue out at him.
*Well… that was a bit strange…*
After the strange reaction the woman gave him, Zhang Dong waved his hand forward, giving the signal to disembark. They all jumped down from the airship, only a couple of Zhang Clan members would remain on it, waiting for their people to return later. Their clan did turn a lot of heads though, the peculiar-looking robes that they were using were quite unusual in the eyes of the other cultivators. The youths inside the robes puffed out their chests and took long strides forward as they followed their Patriarch, fear wasn’t something that they felt now. They just wanted to bring honor to their families and return safely.
It didn’t take that long to arrive in front of the humongous tower, they all looked up but couldn’t see the end, clouds were just blocking off the view. There was a large gate in front with some cryptic writings above it, it was mostly faded away and unreadable. From what Matt could decipher it had something written about chains and unity, but couldn’t really decipher it further.
Inside the ‘tower’ there were more people, there was a wide corridor and on the walls, you could see many murals depicting some fighting between beasts and people. Torches lined the passage, only the footsteps of people could be heard as everyone walked forward without saying much. Not like they didn’t want to talk, but they were getting escorted by the core formation sect members with the nascent soul grand elder in the front, so they didn’t really want to say anything that could offend the man.
After a while they came up to another large door, this one had more ancient writing on it. To the side were some stairs, they lead to the ‘testing’ area that would teleport them somewhere. Matt looked around the place, it looked really old but the large door did indeed give of immortal grade fluctuations. It looked more like a giant castle gate than a door, this was probably the one that had the immortal grade treasures behind it.
“Listen up, soon we will arrive. You all will be handsomely rewarded for your participation, as agreed you can keep anything up to the heaven grade from the secret ground. If you find anything in the immortal grade you are to relinquish it, you will get payed in spirit stones instead.”
The people in the room rolled their eyes at the mention of the immortal grade items. They knew that if they tried to take something like that out of here, they would get eradicated by this overbearing sect. The number of spirit stones that they would offer would probably also be a scam. But not like they could do much about it, might made right in this world. At most they could hope for some immortal grade pills that they could swallow before leaving.
You could cut the tension in the air with a knife, the dark palm sect continued with their self-righteous mumbo jumbo. Some clans were here on their own volition, but there were also clans like the Zhang and Feng that were forced to participate. Matt sure hoped that the clans with various agendas wouldn’t start fighting against each other in there. He was thinking about a couple of possible outcomes after the initial teleportation but wasn’t sure which one it would be. He sure hoped that it wouldn’t be one of those battle royale settings.
*Well, I did all I could and this system is even denying me more points now…*
He looked at his Chūnibyō corps, he was the only one wearing a white robe which made him stick out like a sore thumb amongst them. He wanted to give them a pep talk, but couldn’t really interrupt the sect elders monologue. Soon they were led up to the platform room, there were ten of them. The platforms were circular in shape and had many runic patterns scraped into them, making it look like something magical.
“Remember your training everyone, don’t forget that we are all with you.”
Matt said after they finally had some time to talk, the other clan members exchanged some small talk. You could see people patting each other on the shoulders, some girls holding their hands while preparing for the unknown. They all could very well die in there, get teleported to different places and never see each other again. Matt walked over to his two disciples, trying to get some weight off their shoulders.
“Listen to your superiors when we are inside, don’t worry I’ll be with you as well.”
The two nodded, they were wearing the masks already so he couldn’t really see their facial expressions but thanks to his tranquil mind skill, he was sure that they were keeping their cool. These siblings were quite tough even though they were so young, he felt that if they made it through this in one piece they would probably soar to new heights. Matt was trying to play it cool, but he also felt butterflies in his belly. This was it, everyone was ready and the dark palm sect elder was slowly walking up to activate the teleportation mechanism.
“Remember, this is a test created by the immortal Senior that design this secret ground. Any forms of contact with the outside will be blocked so you will be on your own once inside. You will get rewarded accordingly when you return.”
*Guess this is it, I should be able to take down anything up to the great circle level, there shouldn’t be anything above that level in there, right?*
He thought that the enemies inside shouldn’t be above a certain level due to only allowing people of the core formation to go inside. It would be quite unfair if they made ten core formation cultivators fight a nascent soul one inside, they would just get squashed like bugs. He looked at the dark palm sect member walk to the center, there was a strange-looking console there. The man placed his hand on it and then closed his eyes.
The console started glowing, slowly illuminating the room with it as rune-like patterns started appearing on the platforms everyone was standing in. The floor slowly lit up, going from one platform to another as the contraption got activated. The people started hearing a buzzing sound each time a platform got fully lit up, the ground looked like some kind of magical circle. After each podium got activated Matt felt a strange sensation wash over his body, more light covered all of the people around him and the scenery around started getting blurry. Finally, everything went dark as the people vanished from the spots they were standing in, the sect members just looked at the vacant platforms and snorted.
“Are the new communication treasures responding?”
A couple of people walked out from the shadows and approached the console the grand elder was standing in. Truth be told the sect didn’t expect much from these backwater clan members, the plan was to let them go inside the testing grounds just so that they could test out some measuring equipment they had some of the clan members carry inside. They wanted to get some information about what was happening inside before sending their own people in to actually complete the whole task.
The sect members brought out some communication jade slips, trying to connect to the ones that were inside the secret ground. Then they brought out some other magical items, their brows wiggling a bit as they shook their head to the elder.
“No response for now grand elder, we will need to wait and see if a signal comes through later.”
Elder Guo rubbed his chin, not really expecting anything from this test run. They were poking inside an old immortal’s secret ground, it was reasonable to assume that if they wanted to communicate they would probably need items in the immortal grade. They used some high-grade items this time around, but it seemed that it wasn’t working either. Now they had to think if it would be wise to send their own people without knowing what was inside.
“Very well, keep sending the signals maybe one will go through.”
He didn’t think that the idiots that were stuck inside would amount to anything. They were either ones guided by greed or weaklings that couldn’t defend themselves like the Zhang clan. This was survival of the fittest, the sect was trying to protect their own assets first. They didn’t see a problem in sending some treasure hungry cultivators to their doom if it furthered their own agenda.
At this time Matt felt like he was riding a rollercoaster, the teleportation was a lot different than what he expected. It wasn’t instantaneous and he felt like he was getting tossed around like a ragdoll. His feet suddenly landed on the ground, he had to muster up all his strength just not to fall down to his knees, cold sweat covering his back.
“Where did we end up?”
He looked around, the area he was in was a forest, not something that he was expecting. There was one problem though, there was no ‘we’ here. He looked left and right, he even jumped up high to see if he could spot someone from his clan or from another one. There was no one here though, he spread his spiritual sense outwards trying to scan for life forms but could feel it getting blocked by something he couldn’t really see past a kilometer from where he was standing.
“Damn, if everyone got split up the team training and the formation training was pointless…”
He facepalmed and then got ready to take his flying sword out to see if he could find someone. There was another problem though, the blasted spatial ring wasn’t opening the same thing that blocked his spiritual sense was cutting off the access to his items. He had everything in there along with provisions, weapons, change of underwear. Luckily he was at least wearing his longsword at his waist and he had ordered everyone to take out their weapons before arriving, just wanting to be ready if a fight broke out. But other than that, he had nothing. All his healing pills, magical items that he saved up for this expedition were in his ring.
“I’ve made a huge mistake…”
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