The people from the outside heard a loud scream and they instantly knew that it was the voice of their grand elder, Zhang Jin. The people that were standing right outside wanted to charge in to see what was going on. Before the women could make a move they were blocked by Zhang Xue and Liu that stood in front of the door.
"Halt, Master said that he didn't want to be disturbed!"
The young man shouted out while flexing his cultivation level slightly. This making everyone stop in their tracks. The women dropped their heads and moved back, they couldn't go against a direct order of the Patriarch nor his direct disciples.
Back inside the room, Zhang Jin was curled up in a fetal position his hands grasping for his family jewels. Sweat was covering his whole body after he almost became a eunuch. He turned to his wife and his mistress, they were looking at him funny. He then glanced at his grandson that was deadpanning at him, his eyes slightly squinting the dagger still in his hand.
"Oh...ohhhh... it's a miracle!"
He quickly straightened himself out and stood up from the bed. He started laughing while flexing slightly to show that he was fully recovered.
"Dong'er you sure are the greatest healer in our clan!"
He looked all cheery and fine, you wouldn't think that this man was on the death's door just a second ago. The two women knew that something was wrong, even taking their Patriarch's healing Dao into consideration the reaction was far too overblown. Before they could barrage their naughty hubby with questions they saw a large hand moving between them.
"Okay, this has continued long enough, let me have some time in private with my grandfather."
The two looked at Zhang Dong and couldn't do anything besides bowing as they left. The cogs in their heads were already turning though, they wouldn't just let Zhang Jin off like this, he had to be punished. The people outside saw the two leave and started asking questions, they rejoiced to the news of the grand elder's recovery but also had to wait as the Patriarch had ordered no one to come in.
"Okay you old fart, stop pretending we both know that you were already awake the moment I walked into this room. This isn't the time for this, tell me what the hell happened back in that city. Also, why did you lie to me?"
Matt crossed his hands over one another and glared at Zhang Jin. He was still mad that they didn't inform him about the dangers of going to the Dao festival. Though he also never told anyone that he was close to reaching the nascent soul level. The lack of communication between the leaders of the clan had caused this blunder and he was also at fault here.
"Yes, this Zhang Jin made a huge mistake..."
Zhang Jin went down to his knees or at least he tried, some kind of strange repelling force kept him from doing so. This was Matt who wasn't in the mood to watch a two-hundred-year-old grandpa kowtowing before him.
Zhang Jin's eyes bulged as he stared, he could feel it, this was a nascent soul level of power. When did his grandson become this strong, was he hiding it from them?
"Yes, I've reached the nascent soul realm recently. This is also the reason why you are alive now."
Zhang Jin only regained his senses not too long ago. The people around him didn't say anything as they were more concerned about his health. He was also weakened, almost close to being in a crippled state. He had noticed that a huge number of his offsprings and concubines had shown up. These people were being kept off the main estate where he only had his main harem members.
The old man was keeping most of his side kids out of sight, not really wanting any infighting to break out between his huge family. But now they were all here and he wasn't sure how to handle this situation, he even heard his harem members fighting outside his room. He was in the middle of coming up with a plan of action, before his grandson walked in and now they were here.
"Did you think I'd cause some huge scene there?"
Matt rubbed his neck while thinking.
"Well, that might be true I'm not good at those formal gatherings... But still, you should have said something! I could have made some precautions, I could have been there sooner!"
Matt made sure to move his barrier around the whole room, not wanting all the other clan members to hear him shouting at the grand elder. He in response just stood there, just with some cloth covering his legs which made Matt's eyebrows twitch a bit. He gave out a sigh while looking at his grandpa that barely made it out alive.
"There is no time for this, get dressed we don't have much time. I might have bought us some time but the Dark Palm Sect will be at our doors soon enough, we must get ready."
"I'm sorry Don... no Patriarch, it won't happen again!"
The old man cupped his fist while doing a small bow, his expression resolute. He then felt his grandsons hand on his shoulder as he got closer.
"Well, uh... good to have you back old man, don't you go dying on me... but, please put some clothes on you old fart!"
Matt threw Zhang Jin a robe that was to the side, he had enough of seeing his grandpas bulge for a lifetime. The old man got dressed and Matt finally received the scoop on what happened during the Dao festival. Everything from the reason why Zhang Jin withheld information. The reason being that he was afraid that Zhang Dong's soft nature would cause some kind of offense against the sect. All the way to the fight with Yang Kai that was the cause of the whole predicament.
"So that's what happened..."
He rubbed his chin, he wasn't that angry at his grandfather. His reasoning wasn't so far fetched as him being there might have escalated things sooner, if that Yang Kai wasn't there in the first place nothing drastic would have happened. He also wasn't mad about his disciple stepping up to help his friend, even though that led to more things going astray in the process.
"I need to speak with Qiang and Liena..."
After getting the gist of what happened he decided to go through with his plan. He walked out first, his two disciples were still keeping guard. He nodded at the two siblings while walking through the door.
"The Grand Elder has recovered, you may enter the room at your own discretion. Xue, Liu let us depart."
Matt walked away without looking back, he could hear some women shouting. Unbeknownst to him a power struggle was happening on the Jin side of the family. The women were clamoring to treat their hubby and leave a good impression. This whole ordeal only reinforcing Matt's opinion about harems being too much of a hassle.
When he got outside the people were already kneeling with the path open. The reverence that these people were offering him was off the charts. He just increased his pace to get out of this uncomfortable situation, luckily his mental technique was keeping him relaxed. When he was about to leave the garden he could feel someone coming, someone in the great circle of core formation and they were being followed by others.
"Honorable Leader, you have returned!"
Out of the frying pan into the fire, now he was faced with all the influential figures from his clan. Besides that there were also the Huo and Feng Clan people with them. Everyone was staring at him, he could tell by their piercing gazes that they were here for some answers.
"Um, let us move to a more quiet location first, then we will discuss the plan of action..."
Everyone nodded and they returned to the same place that they were previously in. Matt was surrounded by people from the elder generation from all sides. It just showed how much they were relying on him now, everyone even showed up to escort him to the meeting room and didn't just send their retainers for that task.
At the meeting room, he stood at center stage, all eyes were on him. If this happened two years ago, he would probably be a staggering mess but things were different now.
"Fellow Clan members, people from the Huo and Feng families, we face a big dilemma."
"Do we stay and fight, or do we leave and try to escape?"
"Before I make a decision, I would like to hear your thoughts on this."
He moved his hands behind his back, wondering what these native cultivators thought about the whole thing.
"Patriarch, do we have any other options than fleeing?"
"Yes, how can we oppose the Dark Palm sect..."
"Maybe we could seek refuge in one of the other large sect territories?"
"You fool, you think the other sects will just take us in and risk offending the Dark Palm sect?"
"Even if they allow us to stay, we will be nothing but slaves!"
"I say we fight!"
The conversation of the Zhang Clan members was mostly leaning towards escaping in some way. The only person that was for staying and fighting was Zhang Zhi. The other clans didn't have much to say, they didn't dare give input to someone that was at the nascent soul level even if they were given permission. The only ones that said something were the young Hou clan lord and the Feng Matriarch.
"I say that we stay and fight, it would be shameful to run."
Huo Qiang was down for a fight, as long as he had his senior brother to back him up he felt like they could do it.
"I trust that Senior Dong will make a just decision, the Feng Clan will stand with the Zhang Clan."
Feng Liena took a follower's stance, in her eyes the man called Zhang Dong would make the right decision and she would put her faith in him.
Matt nodded a couple of times, the opinions varied. It looked like the older people in the room were more inclined to flee or seek some kind of compromise, while the younger people like Zhang Zhi and Huo Qiang were all for fighting it out. Some of them like Feng Liena were unsure and left the decision to him.
Matt moved his hand up into the air, everyone in the meeting room quieted promptly.
"I have heard your opinions, now let us discuss something."
"Firstly, I have managed to dispatch two of the nascent soul elders from the Dark Palm sect, Wu Ming is dead and the man called Zhu has been crippled and won't be a problem anymore."
He gave a short recap of what he was doing for the past few days, mostly just giving information about the state of the sect they were going against.
"The problem lies in the lack of information, we don't know how many nascent soul cultivators the sect has. For now they might be busy with the Demon subduing sect, but there is no way of telling when they will knock on our doors."
The people in the room were quite happy to hear that their leader managed to take out two nascent soul elders from the Dark Palm sect. One was even in the middle stage which gave them much hope for the future. Though their morale plummeted after they heard that the enemy was able to send out five other nascent soul monsters from which their Patriarch had to flee.
"I think that there must be a limit to how many nascent soul elders the Dark Palm sect can realistically send out."
"That is true, they can't leave their main territory unprotected. If the other sects found it out, they would surely organize an invasion of their own."
"If we manage to hold out the initial attack, or even defeat some of those Grand Elders, we might not have to lift a finger afterward."
"Yes, but what if the other big sects decide to crush us along with the Dark Palm sect..."
Another discussion occurred, it wasn't a far stretch to think that if they managed to hold out for a while news to the other sects would spread. They might organize an attack to squash out a weakened enemy. Still, they could do nothing and just be at their enemy's mercy with no hope of winning.
"But Patriarch, how can we hope to last the brunt of their attack. Do you feel confident in battling five nascent soul cultivators, what if they bring more?"
All eyes were on him, it would be reassuring if their biggest fighter could just massacre their enemies but his chances of winning were slim in their eyes.
"I...I'm not sure... but I might not be the only one battling them..."
Zhang Dong glanced at Feng Liena and Huo Qiang, the two not sure what this was about.
"But first, we must create an official alliance with our allies... this isn't a battle of the Zhang Clan, we are all in this together. I wish for us to come together not as a coalition of clans, but as one sect... I wish to create a sect that will seek independence!"