Chapter 636: As Long As You Leave, Anything Is OK!
The docks were constructed into the beach, and seemed quite simple. However, the atmosphere was incredible. For one thing, there were countless uniformed disciples directing the boats here and there.
These disciples weren’t very old, and most of them had a Cultivation base at the Qi Condensation stage. Occasionally, a Foundation Establishment disciple would stroll past on patrol.
They didn’t wear haughty expressions, however, it was clear that deep in their bones, they held themselves high above the masses. The feeling wasn’t very intense, but it was there. Despite that, they treated all the guests very courteously.
On the far side of the docks, horse carriages were lined up in rows. The horses that pulled these carts looked very bizarre. They didn’t have four legs, but rather, six. Also, they had horns coming out of their heads. They looked like horses, but were also covered with tentacle-like feelers.
This was a unique wild beast in the Milky Way Sea that happened to be easy to tame. They were called Heavenly Horses.
Far off in the distance, three towering pagodas could be seen. Burning lights flickered inside, which would make them visible even from far off in the sea.
As Meng Hao looked at the three pagodas, he noticed that sitting within each of them was a cross-legged Cultivator. All were middle-aged; one had a Cultivation base at the mid Core Formation stage, the others at the early Core Formation stage.
Obviously, they were here to keep guard over the area and prevent any disorder from erupting.
The entire dock and beach could be considered a point of entry and exit of Saint’s Island. Everything proceeded in quite an orderly fashion, despite the relatively large number of people present. Therefore, even though evening was falling, a clamor of noise and voices filled the air.
Even as they docked, Meng Hao saw at least ten more ships arrive, to be directed by the locals into various locations in the harbor.
No one actually approached the docked ships to receive any of the outsiders. This was Saint’s Island, and the Footloose Sect was the greatest Sect in the entire area. Despite the stellar reputation of the enormous organization, they wouldn’t send disciples to personally receive tiny Clans from the Outer Sea.
Of course, that included the Zhang Clan. During the time period in which the Footloose Sect was recruiting new disciples, many, many Clans from the Outer Sea would come. In fact, right now there were literally hundreds of boats moored to the docks. And this was only one side of the island. If you counted the docks on the other sides of the islands, the number of boats would exceed a thousand.
In addition to the people coming to join the Footloose Sect, there were others who had arrived to do business. Saint’s Island was a huge place, and the Cultivator cities there were exceedingly famous.
In fact, there were some types of Cultivation resources that could be only be acquired in full on Saint’s Island.
Right now, the sky was getting dark, and the ocean breeze blew across their faces, bringing with it the pungent smell of saltwater and sea life. Meng Hao breathed in deeply as he stood there on the deck, looking at the shadows that were distant mountains of Saint’s Island.
The Zhang Clan members, under the leadership of Zhang Wenfang, were preparing to disembark. The group of youngsters looked around with both nervousness and curiosity. Deep in their eyes could also be seen anticipation.
Nan’er clasped his mother’s hand tightly as he looked around. He looked a little bit scared.
As the Zhang Clan Foundation Establishment Cultivators engaged in the proper formalities with the Footloose Sect disciples in charge of the docks, Zhang Wenfang turned to Meng Hao and gave him a curtseying bow. Her voice low, she respectfully said, “Senior, this is Saint’s Island. Anyone below the Core Formation stage is prohibited from flying here, so we will need to travel by horse carriage….”
Meng Hao nodded but didn’t say anything. It didn’t take long for the Zhang Clan members to finish up with the Footloose Sect disciples, who then led the group toward three horse carriages.
This was the first time for the children, including Nan’er, to see Heavenly Horses. They looked at them wide-eyed, desiring to near them, but also afraid. This was also Meng Hao’s first time seeing such beasts, and he couldn’t help but stare a bit.
It was at this point that some Cultivators walked off of the deck of a newly arrived boat off in the distance. They wore resplendent clothing, and were led by man of roughly thirty years of age. His appearance was beyond ordinary, and he had a Cultivation base at the great circle of Foundation Establishment. He was followed by a group of four or five Foundation Establishment Cultivators, who in turn led seven or eight children along with them. The whole group casually looked over Meng Hao and the others as they neared.
The thirty-year-old man in the lead position suddenly made an “eee?” sound. He stopped in place and looked at Zhang Wenfang. She saw him as well, and her face flickered.
“Wenfang!” the man said slowly, obviously recognizing her.
She pursed her lips, a complicated expression on her face as she curtseyed to him with clasped hands.
Upon hearing her words, the rest of the Zhang Clan members’ faces also flickered. As for the Cultivators behind the thirty-year-old man, they all seemed to be thinking the same thing as they looked over.
The thirty-year-old man stood there silently, his gaze as sharp as a blade. When he saw Nan’er standing there holding Zhang Wenfang’s hand, he frowned.
Zhang Wenfang bit her lip, then finally lowered her head and said to her son, “Nan’er, this is your uncle.”
“Hello, uncle,” said Nan’er in his clear, crisp voice. A bit of fear could be seen on his face.
The thirty-year-old man snorted coldly.
“Wenfang,” he said coolly and in a very impolite tone, “Father and Mother are still furious about what happened all those years ago. If you have a heart, you’ll come home and let them talk to you. Don’t continue to lose face and make a fool of yourself among these outsiders!
“As for this child…. Don’t have him call me uncle. Did you really bring him here to try to get him into the Footloose Sect? You’ve overrated yourself from when you were young, and now you’re getting your own son to do the same. You’re just going to disappoint people.” The people behind him began to chuckle, especially the group of children, within whose eyes scorn could be seen.
Nan’er was shaking, and looked even more scared. Zhang Wenfang suddenly looked over to glare at her brother. Breathing heavily, she said, “I already cut off all ties with you people that year.”
“Xu Wenfang!” growled the man, his eyes growing wide.
“Xu Wende, I am Clan Leader Zhang Wenfang of the Zhang Clan,” she retorted coolly. “You aren’t even qualified to speak with me.” With that, she tugged her son’s arm to get into a horse carriage.
The other members of the Zhang Clan glared with hostility at the members of the Xu Clan, then began to enter the horse carriages. As for Meng Hao, his expression was the same the entire time, and he did not speak a word. In fact, he had long since taken a seat up front on the bench seat of one of the horse carriages.
No one dared to try to convince him to sit anywhere else. They all lowered their heads wordlessly as the horse carriages began to slowly make their way off.
“Slut!” said Xu Wende coldly, his voice loud enough for all the Zhang Clan members in the horse carriages to hear. “I offer to give you some face, and you reject it? Our Clan suffered shame because of you, and now you dare to bring that bastard son here to join the Footloose Sect!?
“Since you insist on bringing your little Zhang Clan bastard here to lose face, then I look forward to seeing just how far he can get through the competition!”
The Zhang Clan Cultivators clenched their fists, and Zhang Wenfang sat there in the horse carriage, her face pale and her arms wrapped around Nan’er. It was impossible to tell what she was thinking, but tears were streaming down her face.
“Don’t cry, mother,” said Nan’er, wiping the tears off of his mother’s face. “I’ll definitely get into the Footloose Sect!” he guaranteed, his voice soft.
Meng Hao sat on the bench seat of the horse carriage. As the Heavenly Horses sped along the well-maintained road, he looked up at the canopy of stars overhead. He also heard what Nan’er said inside the horse carriage.
“What a good kid,” he whispered, shaking his head. Based on his experiences, it was simple for him to understand the situation with the Zhang Clan. Obviously, there was an unapproved marriage, after which the husband died. The Clan then began to deteriorate, leaving the wife responsible for her husband’s role of leading the Clan.
The Heavenly Horses sped along through the night. At dawn the following morning, a city appeared up again. Even from a distance it appeared majestic and magnificent. Despite the early hour, the city was still like a seething cauldron of activity. People walked hither and thither, and a buzz of excitement filled the air.
Up in the air, colorful beams of light could occasionally be seen flying about. Those would be Core Formation Cultivators.
Meng Hao looked everything over, and suddenly got the feeling that there was something out of the ordinary with this Footloose Sect. He wasn’t sure what it was, but there was something about Saint’s Island that felt very familiar to him.
Upon close examination, he was sure he hadn’t seen any of these places before, but he still had an intense sensation of familiarity. However, after much thought, he wasn’t able to determinate what the source of that familiarity was. They entered the city through the east gate, and then eventually reached a tavern. Zhang Wenfang respectfully escorted Meng Hao to a luxury room, and then was about to go to arrange rooms for everyone else.
She wasn’t sure what Meng Hao was thinking, and wasn’t certain that he would continue to escort them. Before leaving, she hesitated for a moment, then lowered her head and asked, “Senior, there are still ten more days until the Footloose Sect begins the formalities of recruiting new disciples….”
Meng Hao nodded, but didn’t respond. Zhang Wenfang respectfully left.
It was currently early morning. Meng Hao opened his window and looked out at the people walking around on the street below. There were quite a few mortals mixed in with the Cultivators. The rays of the rising sun shone down to illuminate everything.
He took a deep breath, then sat down cross-legged and closed his eyes, surrounded by the sounds of the bustling city.
“Why does this place seem so familiar?” he thought once more.
Despite the fact that Meng Hao’s current Cultivation base allowed him to fight First Severing Cultivators, he still couldn’t detect the stream of Divine Sense that cautiously swirled beneath his feet.
The owner of the stream of Divine Sense was of course Patriarch Reliance, who sat in his palace, more jumpy than ever.
“Fudge! The little bastard is here. And it turns out he’s escorting some people who want to join the Footloose Sect!!” Patriarch Reliance was incredibly depressed. If he had known this was the situation, he would have simply canceled the Footloose Sect’s call for new disciples.
That way, he could have completely prevented Meng Hao from even coming.
“I can’t let this stand. With him here, the Patriarch can’t sleep well. I need to get him out of here as soon as possible…. Dammit, there’s still ten days before the recruiting begins? No, that won’t work. We’ll start tomorrow…. FUDGE! Let’s start now!!” with that he raised a hand, causing a jade slip to appear. Instantly, flames appeared on its surface and it flew into the air.
It transformed into a shocking beam of light which then sped directly toward the Footloose Sect.
The Footloose Sect was located in the east region of Saint’s Island, in a boundless stretch of wild mountains. There, nine great valleys could be seen, spread out in concentric rings. Although they looked majestic, there was also something strange about them. Inside of the nine valleys were countless richly ornamented palace buildings. Everything was luxurious and lavish.
The jade slip immediately entered the ninth valley, and a huge temple that lay therein. It came to stop in front of an old man who sat there cross-legged, somberly providing admonition to the group of people sitting in front of him.
As soon as he saw the jade slip, a tremor ran through the old man’s body. He quickly pinched the jade slip, then prostrated himself on the ground and lifted it high above his head. Instantly, the voice of Patriarch Reliance could be heard.
“Disciple recruitment begins immediately!”
It was only four words, but as they echoed out through the Footloose Sect, and the other deep valleys, colorful beams of light immediately shot out to gather in the main temple of the ninth valley.
These people were the Sect Leaders of the various auxiliary Sects from the other valleys. Their Cultivation bases were extraordinary, and some of them were Cultivators with whom Meng Hao had butted heads in the past.
Moments later, bells could be heard tolling throughout the Footloose Sect. Footloose Sect disciples flew out by the hundreds to head off in all directions. It was time to notify the visiting Clans that the disciple recruitment was beginning!
This chapter was sponsored by Joel Hammar Jüd, Yigit Demir, Nam Tran, and Patryk Czajczyński