Chapter 173: Geologists?
Been somewhat busy due to work and life but here is a second chapter for you folks. Happy early fourth of july and wish you all a safe and happy day.
Also the flower that I posted in the previous chapter is called a Spider Lily, looks nice don't it?
After combing through the woods for two weeks and exploring the vast majority of the land to no avail, Zhang began to change his method of searching.
Instead of blindly releasing abyssal beasts into whatever caves that appeared on the golden map, he decided it was time to do some geological field work.
“If I can figure out what direction the ground has shifted over the last hundred thousand years and at what rate I can pinpoint the location where the treasure is, since there's a chance that due to the shifting of tectonic plates the entrance could be buried underneath the ground.” Zhang explained to the beauties.
“Let's head to one of the caves that run underground them.” Yuying suggested.
“From there we would be able to see the layers of sediment more easily. Through the cracks in the layers, we can figure out what direction the land has been moving in.” Ling added.
It was safe to say that it was thanks to Zhang’s memories from his past life that he knew a decent amount of knowledge regarding geology, but for Ling and Yuying to know of it just goes to show how well learned and vast their knowledge was.
Soon afterward the group headed toward an underground cave not too far from camp and began studying the walls of exposed sediment. Of course, Ai would care less about sediment and minerals so she instead could be seen playing with Little White who looked extra plump due to the large amounts of meat that it had consumed ever since being unleashed upon the unsuspecting animals of the forest.
Once a few hours of fieldwork had passed and after Zhang, Yuying and Ling compared their findings they concluded that the forest was placed atop an area where there was an intersection of four tectonic plates. In certain parts the plates would collide with each other and go upward creating mountains and hills while in other parts, one land mass would go underneath the other.
Through these findings, they concluded that the entrance to the hoard of treasure has more than likely become buried underground and had moved northward near the location where the people of the Lunar Sect were camped.
As fate had it the treasure that Zhang was seeking was right under his feet but out of his grasp.
“Should we kill them all?” Ai questioned as Zhang and the others were trying to figure out what to do because the area they needed to excavate was so close to the camp belonging to the Lunar Sect.
Since the entrance to the treasure is not buried deep underground, there wasn't much fear of it being discovered by other but the fact that they had come all this way and leaving without collecting the treasure also rubbed them the wrong way.
“Couldn't we just wait until they left?” Ling asked.
“We don't know why they are here and how long they are staying. What if they are here to establish a settlement or outpost?” Yuying said.
“If we are killing them and don't want to leave any traces of our involvement I can always whip up a brew of poison. The students had found an abundant supply of herbs for me to work with.” Lingqi said.
“One problem after the other…” Zhang muttered as he gazed down at a large map that his soldiers had compiled of the surrounding lands.
“We can kill them but if that causes more people to come before we excavated the land and collected the treasure then we run the risk of losing our prize.” Zhang said. Since neither he nor his wives fully understood the power and connections of the Lunar Sect, they couldn't act rashly.
For all, they know the Lunar Sect could have a few high saints and dozens of full saints at its disposal. There was also the chance that the council of saints, who seem to govern the lands north of the Lunar Mountains, could intervene.
If it was a fight against a full saint or two then Zhang was more than confident of victory, however, if it was a group of them or a high saint then he could only hope to fight to a standstill and sustain his life.
“Demonic beast attack? Scare them away with some scary looking monsters.” Ai suggested with a devious grin.
“Flash flood?” Ling suggested with an equally devious grin.
While Zhang and the beauties were still deciding what to do, the elders of the Lunar Sect could also be seen gathering in a large tent placed in the middle of their very own camp.
“Reports from our sources have confirmed that Master Dan Jin has no known disciples.” An elder of the Lunar Sect said.
“I knew it! Let's go kill them and claim our prizes before they flee.” The eighth elder of the Lunar Sect said as he slammed his hand onto a round table located in the middle of the tent.
“Calm down, Eighth Brother. You shouldn't act too rashly, considering how eccentric Master Dan Jin is don't you think it's odd that someone who didn't know about the rules set by the Council of Saints to know his name? Think about it, even many people who live in Lunar City and see Master Dan Jin on a daily basis don't know that he is a saint. How can some bumpkin know of his name and even dare to claim to be his disciple?” A female elder of the Lunar Sect said, trying to prevent conflict against Zhang when there simply was not enough info on him.
“Hmph, you are over thinking things. If we don't act soon then they will leave, think about how many essence stones we can trade does demonic beasts for. According to eyewitness accounts from the disciples we sent out to keep way over them, besides those eagles, it appears they have hundreds of other demonic beasts also.” The Eighth Elder said with greedy eyes.
“Have you no shame? Greedily lusting over wealth that does not belong to you. What's the difference between you and a plain old bandit if you go through with what you're saying now?” A man with a head filled with white hair who had an air of righteousness around him said.
“Tenth Brother, I bid you remember that when we left the sect on this training exercise our sect master had specifically put me in charge. So if I were you I would hold my tongue.” The Eighth Elder sneered, causing not only the Tenth Elder but a number of others present to look back at him with faces filled with disdain.
“Hmph, if you lot want to tarnish our sects name then count me out.” The Tenth Elder said before storming out of the tent with a few people following behind him.
“Don't mind that self-righteous bastard, with all of the essence stones we will gain our sect will be able to rise above the other sect within the Lunar Kingdom and reign supreme.” The Eighth Elder laughed.
“Assemble the disciples, we will show these country bumpkins what it means to not know one's place.” He added before the other elders present departed and began gather their disciples.
Soon enough half of the camp was assembled and awaited orders. If compared to the students of the Imperial Institute, the disciples of the Lunar Sect were much stronger as hundreds of level eight cultivators were mixed into their ranks that were filled with countless level six through seven cultivators. Even with only half of the disciples in the camp gathered, the sheer number of high level cultivators present was able to show off the power of the Lunar Sect.
Even with the elite guard included, Zhang’s forces did not have as many high level cultivators as the group assembled in the Lunar Sect’s camp.
“My disciples, for today we shall go on a training exercise the likes of which none of you have taken part of before. Today we will show the might of our Lunar Sect to the fools that dare to look down upon us. Today we will bring glory to the sect by striking the fools that not only broke the rules set by the Council of Heavenly Saints but ignored my warnings and saw my show of mercy as an act of cowardice.” The Eighth Elder said, rallying his disciples and the disciples of the other elders who were on his side while the elders who were against him and their disciples stood watching from afar with looks of disdain present on their faces.
Like most sects there are both good and bad people, both the intelligent and the fools, simply said the Eighth Elder and his followers were mostly comprised of blind fools who were prone to causing problems for others, while those that followed the Tenth Elder were the righteous and peaceful folk who focused most of their attention toward furthering their cultivation.
Soon enough four thousand or so disciples of the Lunar Sect charged into the woods and headed toward Zhang’s camp with ill intentions. However, things did not go as smoothly for them as one might think for a force consisting of so many high level cultivators.
As they soon found out, the forest near the location of Zhang’s camp was filled with hidden traps of all shapes and sizes. Pitfalls, tripwires, and a large variety of other trips littered the forest, much to the inconvenience of some of the disciples of the Lunar Sect who found them in a world of pain. There were also attacks from the Elite Guard who had been hiding in the forest to keep watch over the Lunar Sect’s camp.
“It seems they’ve made the decision for us.” Zhang said as his shadow expanded and the head of a massive serpent began to rise beneath his feet, lifting him into the air.
“Don’t kill too many of them, we do need people to excavate the land.” Yuying said with a smile.
In a flash Zhang could be seen unleashing his wrath down from the sky in the form of dozens upon dozens of red colored lightning bolts and the deafening roar of his mount.
“Attack! Kill him!” The Eighth Elder of the Lunar Sect roared as he jumped into the air and atop of his sword which began piercing through the sky. Joining him were a total of eight other level ten cultivators who began unleashing a storm of attacks at Zhang.
“A pest who do not know his own limits, relying on magical treasures.” The Eighth Elder mocked as he thought that Zhang’s current powers were the result of some magical treasure that allowed him to unleash a fury of lightning bolts.
“Who’s the pest?” Zhang said as he released a suffocating aura that caused the very air to quiver, an aura that only a saint could possess.
In the blink of an eye, the elders of the Lunar Sect realized their horrid mistake as they began to recognize the dreadful pressure released by a saint level expert.
“Ma-master… Please spare us. We didn’t know any better.” An elder of the Lunar Sect plead.
In next to no time at all, every single disciple of the Lunar Sect and every single elder stopped moving and either feel to their knees or stood in silence atop their levitating swords.
“Please forgive these fools for their stupidity.” A voice rang into Zhang’s ear as a dozen people atop flying swords shot into the sky from the Lunar Sect’s camp.
The Tenth Elder of the Lunar Sect soon appeared in front of a group of elders that tried to attack Zhang’s camp and began to plead for mercy.
“Very well since I’m feeling lenient today, I’ll spare your lives. However, I require you sign a contract with me, in which you agree to work an entire year’s worth of hard labor for me without pay. Of course, if you do turn down my show of mercy or ask for help then consider your lives all forfeit.” Zhang said with an evil grin as he continued to release a suffocating pressure upon everyone present.
“If that is all you require then we are here to serve.” The Tenth Elder said as he bowed while glaring at the Eighth Elder with hateful eyes.
“Good, if I’m happy with your work then I might even let you all leave early.” Zhang said, marking the beginning of his exploitation of the disciples of the Lunar Sect. Although he probably wouldn't need any more than a few weeks or a month or two’s worth of time to uncover the entrance into the treasure trove, he figured by forcing them into agreeing to slaving away for him for a year and then letting them go after a few months he would be able to at least cancel out some of their negative feelings about him with the sense of gratitude for allowing them to leave ahead of schedule.
As for the people that may come looking for them, Zhang figured he could force them into helping him excavate the land also. Since things had gotten to the point where he would have to otherwise kill them all because not only did they try to attack his people but they also could cause him a string of problems if they were allowed to leave. So for the time being Zhang decided to keep them all under his watch and perhaps as his hostages if the need to do so surfaced.
“Alright then let’s get things started.” Zhang said in a merry tune. Thus by the end of the day, Zhang’s people were relocated to the camp of the Lunar Sect and the excavation project began.
Sadly, the Lunar Sect did not have any disciples who were high level earth mages who would bend the soil and minerals in the ground to their will, so the excavation would mostly have to be done by hand. But this did not really bother Zhang nor the beauties a slight bit at all because they were simply exploiting free labor. So once the excavation began, low level earth mages moved one large stone after the other, water mages would channel water into holes and create mud that they would then move away through water magic while wind mages lived gravel and stones up into the air as fire mages were forced to do everything by hand.