After Master Yu Xui spoke, the already rowdy crowd became even rowdier as a storm of questions and thoughts began to brew.
“Once we unite and bolster enough forces to go toe to toe with the Dragon God Palace, I believe true peace will spread across the Eastern Sea.” Master Yu Xui said in a loud and dignified manner.
“Yu Xui! An alliance of the rest of the twenty topmost powers against the Dragon God Palace? Sorry if I’m speaking out of turn, but isn’t there a tad too much wishful thinking in your plans?” An elderly man who happened to be the sect master whose sect happened to rank within the top twenty topmost powers asked.
“Brother Bao Lui, perhaps you are right and our hopes of establishing a force that can stand on equal footing as the Dragon God Palace is but a fool’s dream. However, to simply give up before one even makes an effort is the mentality of the defeated.” Master Yu Xui said.
“What kind of benefits could my Tidal Blade Sect possibly gain from allying with you rather than choosing to stand alongside the Dragon God Palace? In terms of ranking, we are ranked higher than both of your sects, what benefit could we possibly obtain for foolheartedly going against the strongest force in the Eastern Sea?” A haughty looking middle aged woman questioned.
“What kind of benefit? If I recall correctly from our conversation earlier. I believe Master Yu Xui and Master Shan Jin were going to offer everyone who was willing to cooperate with them a chance at obtaining something so valuable that not even the Dragon God Palace can give you. Something that the Dragon God Palace cannot even hope to obtain.” Zhang said as he stood up from his seat and swept his gaze across the venue.
“Something the Dragon God Palace cannot give nor obtain?” The haughty-looking woman mumbled in a low tone.
“What could the Golden Pearl Sect and Starry Sea Sect possibly give us that the Dragon God Palace can’t?” Someone in the crowd asked the person beside him in a whisper filled with intrigue.
“Could they have gotten their hands on one of the heavenly treasures?” Someone asked.
“Maybe they found a way to cultivate heavenly tier herbs and are willing to give the rest of us some.” Someone else muttered.
“Maybe they found some kind of ultimate cultivation technique that not even the Dragon God Palace knows of…” Yet another person spoke.
“I bet after hearing my words, you’re all very curious.” Zhang said with a grin as he waved his hand and made a brush, and ink block and three scrolls appear on the table in front of him.
“Before I tell everyone what it is that we can give you that the Dragon God Palace can’t, I’d like to first ask three questions. What is the goal of a cultivator? What defines a power? Lastly, how should a cultivator live their lives?” Zhang said before proceeding to unfold the three scrolls that he had withdrawn from his interspatial ring, write down the three questions he had just asked and having them hung up for all to see on the center stage.
Although Zhang’s three questions were actually rather simple questions, utter silence filled the air. Despite coming up with answers almost instantly, no one bothered to speak up. While a few couldn’t bother to waste their efforts and answer, some thought Zhang’s questions were trick questions, others were afraid of making fools out of themselves, afraid of making fools out of themselves if their answers were too simplistic.
“What’s taking everyone so long? Isn’t the goal of every cultivator to become strong and stand above everyone else? Wasn’t the ability to protect yourself and your loved ones the meaning of power? Also, I think a cultivator should live their lives with dignity and honor.” Ai said in a loud and intellectual sounding tone, causing everyone to feel somewhat stupid for not speaking up before.
“As cultivators are you simply going cower underneath the night of the Dragon God Palace? Are you going to allow them to hold sway over the lives of your family and loved ones? Will you be able to live the rest of your lives while standing with glue back straight?” Yuying asked in a dignified tone while making majestic and attention grabbing gestures in a way that only someone who had been groomed their entire lives to lead the masses can so, true to her status as the ninety-ninth princess of the Underworld.
“What Master Shan Jin and Master Yu Xui is offering isn’t some kind of mythical treasure, some rare herb or secret technique, but they are offering you all a chance to live your lives with your head held high, a chance for you to not have to cower under the might of another, a chance at gaining immense honor and glory for doing something that few dare to do.” Zhang said, trying to win the hearts of those present with sugar coated words.
As stated before, Zhang and the beauties didn’t particularly care for honor, however, everyone else did and thus they would use honor as a context to inspire and lure everyone toward their side. There was also the fact that Master Yu Xui had specifically said only those ranked amongst the top twenty powers were invited to ally together with the Golden Pearl Sect and Starry Sea Sect, instantly disqualifying and becoming unrelated to the vast majority of the people present.
Nonetheless, Zhang’s words were still able to grasp everyone’s heart strings and ignite raging flames that resulted in an abundant amount of cheers of approval. Of course, there were a few people who felt skeptical about what Zhang, Master Shan Jin and Master Yu Xui were attempting to do or at least the manner in which they were trying to accomplish things.
If merely standing up to the current power of the Dragon God Palace required everyone to band together, what would be the result of openly challenging the palace after they acquired Long Shijie’s inheritance. Wouldn’t the Dragon God Palace’s power and influence become drastically increased? Wouldn’t everyone simply be setting foot on a path that would eventually lead to their demise?
“You fools think you can stand against the palace once they retrieve Long Shijie’s inheritance? According to the rumors, whoever attains his inheritance will ascend to a new height of power the likes that few of seen nor dared to dream of!” Someone roared in a sustained tone that instantly sunk the atmosphere and caused silence be invoked.
“Yo-you’re right… With Long Shijie’s inheritance in their hands, the Dragon God Palace will be able to wipe the floor with all of us…” Someone else said in a dejected tone, acting as the first of many who would soon voice their opinions.
The once positive and cheerful mood that had wrapped around the venue was no longer present in even the slightest of ways, rather a few people began to fear for their lives. They feared that simply attending this banquet would land themselves in hot water and offended the Dragon God Palace. Offend an entity that would soon have enough power to cover the sky with one hand.
“All of your worries and fears are justified and not baseless. Sadly, as things currently are, individually none of our respective forces stand a chance against the Dragon God Palace and only through uniting together can we attain a glimmer of hope in standing on equal ground with them. However, this will not be the case once they retrieve Long Shijie’s inheritance. Although we have no idea what may be included in this inheritance, I’m sure that it will help propel the Dragon God Palace to new terrifying heights. I’m sure that by then we will become fish in a barrel and fall under their mercy.” Zhang said in a manner which etched a hint of dread into the hearts of all who were present.
“Knowing that the Dragon God Palace will soon become unstoppable, will you all simply accept your fate? Accept that your lives, the lives of your family members, and the lives all whom you hold dear will soon be dominated by someone else? Will you stand by and do nothing as everyone you know falls into the jaws of a vicious beast? Will you cower and hide in fear? Will you forsake your honor, and dreams? If so I believe none of you are worthy of calling yourselves cultivators. Unworthy of referring to your sects and forces as the rulers of the Eastern Sea…” Zhang said, painting a despicable and evil image of the Dragon God Palace with little to no basis to back his words, to be honest, there was a chance that the Dragon God Palace would actually resume their role as the protector of the Eastern Sea, Zhang also mocked everyone present causing many to stare at him with scorn, disdain, and hatred.
“Or would prove me wrong and unite together to prevent what would be a bleak future from occurring? Do any of you dare to show your conviction and stand for what is morally right? If we all work together, there is still a chance at stopping the Dragon God Palace before they become too strong. the decision to wait and die or fight for a better tomorrow is for you all to decide upon. Depending on your choices, history books will either record an epic about a group of heroes who banded together to protect the interest of those who live in the Eastern Sea or a mockery of a group of cowards, lowlifes, and garbage. Regardless of your decisions, I would like to thank everyone for attending today’s banquet and I offer you all my best wishes.” Zhang said as he abruptly announced the end of the banquet while inwardly sighing, feeling that he now resembled a politician more than a cultivator.
“Whatever… Whether I’m a politician or a cultivator, as long as we live long happy lives then everything is fine.” Zhang thought.
After Zhang spoke, the audience had once again fallen into complete silence as everyone began to contemplate whether to submit to what seemed like the inevitable or stand resolute in the face of what might be overwhelming odds. Rather than getting up from their seats and departing, everyone turned into stone statues as they fell into deep thought.
“Sect Master Ming Kong, I believe now would be a great opportunity to recruit for our own Eastern Sea Alliance.” Zhang said to Sect Master Ming Kong through his divine sense.
“Master Shan Jin, Master Yu Xui, I believe now would be a great chance for you both to have a small chat with the other leaders of the top twenty forces.” Zhang also said through his divine sense, seeing a good opportunity to strike the iron while it was still hot.
Slowly but surely, Master Shan Jin and Master Yu Xui began to speak to the leaders of the other top twenty forces, one at a time through their divine sense. Since the Dragon God Palace wasn’t currently being counted, Jian Lei’s Jade Serpent Sect which ranked twenty-first was thus bumped into the top twenty, in regards to forming an alliance of course.
While the two high saints were busy contacting the other top twenty forces, Master Ming Kong spoke to a few of his close friends who had yet to give him a proper response on whether or not they were willing to join and serve in the Eastern Sea Alliance.
Luckily after hearing Zhang’s speech and weighing the benefits they’d receive from being the first to join the Eastern Sea Alliance, Sect Master Ming Kong’s bosom buddies quickly became a part of a group that would soon be regarded as the founders of the Eastern Sea Alliance.
In little to no time at all, a total of five lesser sects and a mid-tier sect had joined under Zhang’s Blood Coral Cove thanks to Sect Master Ming Kong’s hard work and efforts.
Once the leaders of these six sects had given their word and sworn their loyalty to the Eastern Sea Alliance and Zhang, in turn, they quickly began to contact others who were considering their inner circle.
One could only imagine how word of mouth was traveling amongst this group of experts as they raved about the Eastern Sea Alliance and its perks to their friends.
From one friend to another, the Eastern Sea Alliance quickly expanded and in a matter of only seconds and minutes, dozens of lesser sects and the like had joined. Had it been a single person attempting to unite so many lesser sects, a difficult situation may have arisen, however since most of these sect leaders were friends with each other, everyone was bombarded with invitations to join the Eastern Sea Alliance.
Normally when being persuaded by someone to do something, most would be somewhat wary of being cheated or tricked but after being contacted by two or three or perhaps four different people about the same subject, few people remained skeptical.
Seeing the progress and speed that the Eastern Sea Alliance was currently expanding at, a gleeful grin found its way onto Zhang’s face which in turn caused the four beauties to sport vibrant grins of their own.
“It’ only a matter before all of the lesser sects and mid-tier sects join under my banner. As for the high tier sects, I’m sure they’ll come around soon enough.” Zhang thought happily as he watched groups of people who had sworn their allegiance to the Eastern Sea Alliance begin to depart from the banquet inconspicuously upon receiving orders from Zhang.
Seeing as it would be much more difficult to convince any one of the top twenty powers to band together when compared to uniting the lesser and mid-tier sects, Zhang wished to clear out the venue and allowing the top twenty leaders to have an open conversation with each other. He also wished to see the extent of the Eastern Sea Alliance’s current influence.
Since most if not all of the people who were contacted in regards to working under the Eastern Sea Alliance had joined and then contacted their friends, Zhang wished to see if there were some forces that would require him to approach personally. For instance, it was possible that there were a few forces in the mix that had little to no prior contact with the rest of the sects and were inadvertently left out and not invited to join the Eastern Alliance.
After Master Yu Xui spoke, the already rowdy crowd became even rowdier as a storm of questions and thoughts began to brew.