Chapter 170: Council of Saints
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Three days after Jian Wei has managed to sneak away from his ministers and advisors and found his way onto the Sky Fortress through one of the teleportation arrays located within the imperial city, the citizens who lived in the Aurora Empire’s capital watched in awe as the massive city that floated in the sky began to move and roughly a month and a half later it was floating over its destination, a location just south of from the Lunar Mountains and the land governed by sects.
Unlike the memory that Xin Tao shared with Zhang, from the sky gazing down on the Beast’s Nirvana, dozens of ruins could be seen poking out of the forest’s canopy. Broken towers and fragmented walls came into view, showing signs of past human settlements after Xin Tao and the group of saints that accompanied him had found this place.
“Keep the cloud creation arrays up for the remainder of our stay and send out scouts to survey the surrounding area before we disembark.” Zhang said to one of his soldiers as he gazed down into a circular mirror that showed him the landscape below.
“I’ll pass down the orders right away my lord.” The soldier said as he departed from the room.
Hoping to make his fortress in the sky less noticeable, Zhang with a bit of expertise from Yuying had dozens of arrays that drew power from the essence core installed to generate clouds that cloaked the bottom of the fortress.
After Zhang’s orders were given out, hundreds of Golden Winged Eagles flew outward and across the vast sky as their riders clad in black armor that gleamed underneath the sun’s rays looked for signs of people and beasts.
Equipped with telescopes that were invented and mass produced by Zhang, the riders atop the Golden Winged Eagles that appeared like moving specks from the ground were able to scan the terrain underneath them. Despite riding Golden Winged Eagles, these men were not the former soldiers of the Golden Wing Army, rather these were Zhang's handpicked soldiers who are the first of Aurora’s Imperial Winged Legion.
If everything goes according to Zhang’s plans, then after a few years the Winged Legion would become a force to be wrecked with upon the battlefield.
“Let we practiced, boys.” A soldier who appeared to be the commanding officer of the Winged Legion said as he gave hand signals to the other riders who were atop Golden Winged Eagles. Following their commander’s hand signals, the hundreds of men who made up the Winged Legion split apart in all directions.
As the members of the Winged Legion fanned out, combed the air and tried to peer through the canopy of the forest, they spotted a total of ten small pummels of smoke snaking upward into the sky roughly twenty miles away from the Sky Fortress. From what Zhang’s scouts could make out, these towers of smoke belonged to newly lit campfires. Through the gaps in the canopy, many white tents could be seen and countless more people were spotted.
“What is a lot like you doing here? Judging from the looks on your faces you're not from soldiers from any of the holy kingdoms.” A voice rang into every member of the Winged Legion within the area above the tents and pummels of smoke.
Looking toward the source of the voice, a man who looked neither young nor old with black hair but white colored eyebrows could be seen standing atop a levitating sword.
“Don’t you know that know that by the decree of the Council of Heavenly Saints that no kingdom ruled by mortals nor its armies are supposed to come within a thousand miles of the Lunar Mountains without an escort?” The man with white eyebrows said in a stern and mocking voice as if he was talking to nothing more than pests.
“My lord, we apologize if we have caused you any inconvenience, we’ll be on our way.” The commander of the Winged Legion said as he shot a red colored flare into the sky, signaling for his subordinates to retreat.
“As an elder of the Lunar Sect it would be beneath me to kill you, however, you're trespassing and breaking the rules set by the Council of Heavenly Saints cannot go unpunished. Surrender all of your demonic beasts to me and you may leave with your lives.” The man with white eyebrows said as he eyed the majestic Golden Winged Eagles that Zhang’s soldiers were riding.
“I apologize, your lordship, but these eagles are not ours to give.” The commander of the Winged Legion said, realizing the man’s intentions after seeing his greed filled eyes.
As far as the values of demonic beasts went flying demonic beasts especially tamed ones were very much sought after and could fetch a premium price at auctions and that was for lower leveled ones, let alone the level seven Golden Winged Eagles that were trained for war.
“Then don’t resent me for not giving you a warning.” The white eyebrow man said as the sword underneath his feet began to chase toward the fleeing soldiers of the Winged Legion.
In the Sky Tower, a frown appeared on Zhang’s face as he saw the red flare being shot into the sky.
“Brother, it seems there are people here to play with.” Ai said as she looked at the red flare that was slowly fading away while releasing her divine sense and scanning the area. After absorbing the heavenly energy of the lesser saints, Ai, Ling, Lingqi and Yuying found that the area that could be covered by their divine sense had increased to roughly fifty miles.
At first, they had refrained from using their divine sense because they wished to be stealthy. Since if there were high-level cultivators in the surrounding area they would be alerted.
“A level ten cultivator is chasing after our people. There is also a camp with a couple hundred to a thousand people with a few of them being level ten while the rest range from levels five to seven.” Ai said as she looked in the direction where the Winged Legion was being chased.
“Let’s have the students and some of our soldiers disembark and begin the field trip while we deal with these unexpected guests after enjoying a little show.” Zhang said as the silver ring on his finger began to glow in a bloody red color and the Sky Fortress began to move.
While the Sky Fortress was moving toward a small mountain, a puffy cloud with five passengers floated out from the Azure Tower and headed for where the Winged Legion was.
Although the man with white eyebrows was extremely fast atop his flying sword, the Winged Legion put their skills on display as the dozens of aerial maneuvers taught to them by Zhang were used.
Much to the white eyebrow man’s dismay, he could not catch up to his targets no matter how much he tried because whenever he got close they could somehow manage to slip out of his grasp. To make things worse he felt a pulse move through his entire body, alerting him that someone just used their divine sense to scan the area.
“They have a level ten cultivator with them? Whoever is with them should only be a rogue cultivator or else they could know about the decree but I should call for help to be sure in case there is more than one level ten cultivator.” The man thought as he waved his hand and a sound transmission device appeared in his hand. Before long, a dozen or so swords carrying a mixture of men and women shot into the sky from the camp hidden beneath the forest’s canopy.
“Tian Kong, I’m here go and join the others back at the fort.” Zhang’s voice could be heard in the mind of all of the soldiers of the Winged Legion whose panicked stricken expression, due to the appearance of dozens of hostiles whom they knew they were no match for, were relieved upon hearing their master’s voice and reassurance.
“Seniors, if you could place spare my man and me for our ignorance.” Zhang’s voice said as the puffy cloud beneath his feet sped through the sky and placed him and the beauties in front of the paths of those who were pursuing his men.
“The crime of breaking a degree set by the council is punishable by death. As I’ve told your men, no kingdom ruled by mortals nor its armies are supposed to come within a thousand miles of the Lunar Mountains without an escort. However, I was generous enough to let them go with a mere warning but to think you backwater rogues have the gall to think my mercy could be exploited.” The white eyebrow man said with a dignified voice.
“As things are there are only five of us but about twenty of them and he probably thinks that we are all mere saints like them. So he thinks we can be threatened and taken advantage of. However, if I just kill them all I might stir up unwanted attention and trouble from whatever sect they are from.” Zhang thought as he eyed the white eyebrow man and his colleagues who were all dressed in matching light blue robes.
“Again, I apologize for any inconveniences that we may have caused you but those demonic beasts are not mine to give as they belong to my master.” Zhang said as he cooked up a plan in his head. Since his men were in armor clearly showing they are soldiers and being without an escort Zhang could not deny the fact that he did in fact break whatever decree was setup and upheld within these lands.
“Whoever your master is we do not care, what we do care about is that you’ve broken a sacred degree set by the Council of Saints. If we were to report you not only you and your men but your entire kingdom would incur the wrath of the council. On top of things, if you do not compensate us for wasting our time then you’ll make enemies of our Lunar Sect.” The white eyebrow man said with a greedy smile as a few of his colleagues jeered him on while looking at the beauties with lecherous eyes. A few others who were also the white eyebrow man’s colleagues looked at him with contempt but did not voice their opinions and tried to uphold a united front.
“It seems my master, Dan Jin, is not as important as he says he is.” Zhang said with a dry laugh as he said the name of the elderly man who dressed like a beggar.
“Da-Dan Jin? Ma-master Dan Jin? He couldn’t possibly mean that Dan Jin?” One of the level ten cultivators of the Lunar Sect stuttered as he tried to speak.
“I knew someone who dressed like a beggar and claimed he was a saint wasn’t someone to be trusted… I can’t believe I was tricked so easily.” Zhang said as he pretended facepalm himself.
“Uncle Dan Jin lied to us? Couldn’t be, he even taught me a few high-level wind techniques. Honey, he also loaned us these eagles to come visit him how could he possibly be lying, how can a regular beggar have so many demonic beasts to loan?” Ling said as she played along with Zhang’s lie.
“Beggar, wind… Dan Jin…” The white eyebrow man said with as his thoughts began to scramble together.
“Eight Brother, I think he may be talking about that Dan Jin, the reason why no one dares to offend any of the beggars in the Lunar Kingdom…” A man who appeared to be in his thirties said in a whisper to the white eyebrow man.
“Seniors, although I may have been lied to, those demonic beasts really don’t belong to me so I can’t give them to you but perhaps once I have a word with their owner and explain the situation I can hand them over? If you would give me a few days to go find him. Also to prove my intentions are real I’ll leave my men, my wives and the demonic beasts in your care until I come back.” Zhang said with a sharp gaze.
“Explain to their owner? You mean explain to master Dan Jin? No need for that, I think we may have had a little misunderstanding.” The white eyebrow man said with a dry laugh as he realized the consequences that may occur if Zhang really did bring back Dan Jin after explaining to him the situation.
“If master Dan Jin finds out we tried to extort demonic beasts from his disciples on top of threatening them, then our lives are forfeit. Not even the sect leader and the grand elders are willing to face him” One of the white eyebrow man’s colleagues said as he imagined invoking the wrath of someone that even saints were afraid of.
“If it’s a misunderstanding then I’ll be on my way since I have a group of students awaiting my supervision. I hope that if we do run into each other during the remainder of our stay here we can all sit down for a few cups of wine.” Zhang said with a smile as he looked at Ai who with a wave of her hand made the puffy cloud that they were standing atop of move.
“Might I get your name so next time I meet Master Dan Jin I can mention meeting his disciple.” The white eyebrow man said trying to prove Zhang’s identity.
“My name is Zhou Zhang.” Zhang replied without a moment's hesitation, knowing fully well the opposite party would try to find out if he was old man Dan Jin’s disciple or not.
“Then I bid you farewell Brother Zhou Zhang, if we do have the pleasure of running into each other during the remainder of our stays here then I'll be sure to invite you to sit down to drink a few cups of wine.” The white eyebrow man said before departing with his colleagues.
Shortly after their little confrontation and when Zhang’s group and the group of level ten cultivators were out of each other’s hearing range they both began to talk amongst themselves.
“Tell our disciples if they run into anyone else in the forest during the training exercise then try to avoid conflict.” The white eyebrow man said as he foresaw possible conflicts arising after hearing Zhang mention something about students.
Of course, Zhang said basically the same thing to the beauties also since figured more conflicts could possibly arise amongst his students and the white eyebrow man’s group.
“We also have to be careful and make are there are no prying eyes when we pinpoint the entrance to the hoard of treasure.” Zhang reminded his wives with a smile as he laid down upon the puffy cloud controlled by Ai.
Like the softest and most comfortable bed to ever exist, the puffy cloud provided Zhang with endless joy as he was surrounded by beautiful women who also began laying down on the cloud and looking up in the vast sky.