Chapter 181: Seagull
As streaks of lightning snaked across the sky as roars of thunder echoed about and an endless veil of rain poured down from about a large fishing vessel bobbled underneath a sea of dark clouds above and atop a sea of raging waves.
“Hoist the sails!” A man with a bushy beard and crooked teeth roared as the pouring rain soaked his clothes.
“Aye, captain!” A young man said as he and a small army of others began to untie dozens of knots and ropes.
“Curse our horrid luck, where did this storm come from?” A middle-aged man complained as he walked beside the man with a bushy beard.
“Ca-ca-captain! What is that!!” A few sailors scream at the top of their lung as their voices were muffled by the clapping of thunder in the background.
“What is it lads! Calm down!” The ship's captain roared as he thought that his men were panicking due to their lack of experience regarding storms, however, that was until the sight of a massive flying island could be seen.
With each flash of lightning, this island would be visible for a fraction of a second before disappearing again, out of sight like a phantom mirage.
Beside the mirage-like island, a tiny white cloud could be seen levitating near the water’s surface. Atop this tiny white cloud that seemed so out of place was a group of five silhouettes.
The strangest thing regarding this cloud and the people riding it was that the entire area around them appeared to be a part of another world. Thousands of droplets of rain could be seen bouncing off an invisible sphere while the water near the cloud looked as calm and still as the water of some landlocked pond.
Suddenly a loud and cheerful voice drifted into their ears.
“I caught one!” A gentle female voice could be heard despite the raging storm that was taking place.
“A siren! It's a fabled siren! Plug your ears or else they'll lure you to your deaths!” The ship’s captain yelled. Perhaps it was due to his long voyage at sea or his vast experience causing him to jump to conclusions but before long the captain had all of his men tie themselves to the shop and plug their ears.
A short distance away from the ship atop the white cloud, Zhang and the beauties could be seen with fishing rods in hand.
“I caught something! I caught something!” Ai yelled out in pure joy as she finally managed to hook something after sitting still for about an hour. For those that know Ai, and how energetic she was the thought of her sitting still in one place was obviously unbelievable, however, she was so intrigued with fishing that she managed to still herself. But the moment that she felt a nibble on her line, her excitement exploded as she yelled in glee.
“Pull it in! Pull it in!” Yuying said as she too became caught up in the moment.
Surprisingly enough despite Ai’s tremendous amount of brute strength whatever beast was hooked to her line managed to put up a battle and elude capture.
“Brother! I can't see, then stupid clouds are making it hard to see!” Ai complained as she gripped onto her fishing rod.
Upon hearing Ai’s complaint, with a thought and a wave of his hand Zhang made the Rising Moon Sword appear. Grasping it in one hand and waving it casually about Zhang caused a massive hole to puncture through the clouds and allowed the rays of the sun to shine down from above.
Over the past few days, Zhang had begun to extensively train and tried to push to see the limits of the swords power. Much to his surprise the power that it had exerted on him within the cave where he found it was only the top of the iceberg.
“It's come up! I can see it!” Ai said with glee as a massive shark shot out of the water.
“It's a demonic beast called a Drill Fang Shark.” Ling said as she caught sight of the Sharks drill like rows of teeth.
As Ai’s fishing line lifted the huge shark into the air it began to thrash about and try to free itself but since the fishing line was Wraith Spider silk, the shark’s fate was sealed.
“Alright let's go back now and have shark fin soup for dinner.” Lingqi said with a laugh. Before long the fluffy white cloud that they were sitting atop of behind to soar through the sky and disappear from sight while the sailors aboard the ship not too far from them could be seen with stupefied expressions on their faces.
“Flying shark… I've heard tales of sharks flying when there are tornadoes or something but never like this…” One of the sailors said.
“We’re saved! The storm stopped! Praise the heavens!!” Another sailor yelled excitedly as he fell to his knees and began bowing repeatedly upon the ground, soon enough the other sailors and even the captain joined him.
Thus began tales of flying sharks mythical sirens and flying islands off the coast of the Aurora Empire.
It had been roughly a week since Zhang and the beauties headed out to sea so that the beauties could attempt to ascend to sainthood undisturbed. Although they were in a hurry to move as far away from land as possible, boredom soon took over so Zhang and the beauties attempted to try to find things to do to kill time.
“Crossing off fishing for sharks off the list.” Zhang said with a laugh as he held up a long piece of paper with a list of things to do at sea.
With the shark still stick to their fishing line, Zhang and the beauties flew into the clouds and into the Sky Fortress which was cloaked by one of Yuying’s magical arrays.
“I need to figure out a way to make it is lightning doesn't disrupt the cloaking array…” Yuying said with a sigh as they landed on one of the balconies of the Azure Tower where a few guards clad in pitch black armor were stationed.
“Your highnesses.” The guards said in unison as they saluted Zhang and the beauties.
“At ease.” Zhang said before entering the tower with the beauties in tow.
“Can you please have someone cook that for me?” Ai said to one of the guards in a lovable tone.
“I will have it brought to the kitchen right away, princess.” The guard said as he and a group of his comrades circled the shark that was on the last leg of its life, gaping for airs.
In a flash, the shark was impaled by a dozen spears and skewed, before being lifted up onto a floating platform and transported away.
As the days continued on, the Sky Fortress continued flying further and further away from the Wulin Continent until Zhang entered uncharted territory.
“I think we are far enough from land. It's time to get started.” Zhang said as the Sky Fortress was now a few hundred thousand miles away from the Wulin Continent, prompting the beauties to enter into the inner sanctuary of the fortress and begin absorbing heavenly energy emitted from some of the corpses of the lesser saints and large amounts of essence stones.
“If anything happens and gets out of hand, open the Samsara Gate. Although I would prefer not to go back there and we might be stuck there for a while it would still be better than being sent there unwillingly.” Yuying said to Zhang as she handed him the Jade pendant that she had received on their wedding day. Although in the end, they would still end up in the Underworld, if Zhang and the beauties were killed they would suffer a drop in cultivation, lose all of their belongings and suffer through the pain of dying which was not a very pleasant feeling.
“I'm sure everything will be fine.” Zhang said with a smile as he sat down in front of the inner sanctuary cross-legged and with his arms folded Zhang began to refine and began to absorb a large amount of heavenly energy from the corpses of a dozen or so corpses belonging to lesser saints also.
At first, he thought that the amount of heavenly energy he was receiving wouldn't prompt any huge changes, but Zhang soon found his power elevated to that of a peak level full Saint. So when paired with his three legendary treasures he certainly would be able to fight on par with a lower level higher saint.
As the beauties worked hard to break through, Zhang had all of his soldiers and all of the people of the Imperial Institute stay on high alert in case enemies appear. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were soon patrolling the sky fortress while being fully clad in armor, the elite guard and Winged Legion were up and about while the students and teachers of the academy were also keeping their eyes peeled.
Within the sanctuary, the beauties quickly absorbed all of the heavenly energy from the bodies of the lesser saints as they felt they were nearing a breakthrough for bottleneck and reaching ascension.
“Use the stones.” Yuying said as she waved her hand and made a large pile of essence stones form in front of her. In a fluid motion, she quickly picked up one of the essence stones after the other and began absorbing them as quickly as she could.
“Let's hope that everything proceeds smoothly…” Yuying mumbled in a low tone as beads of sweat dripped down her forehead toward her perfectly shaped eyebrows.
Following her example, the other beauties soon began absorbing as many essence stones as they could also after finishing absorbing the heavenly energy from the corpses of the lesser saints.
Minutes turned to hours and hours became days as the beauties endlessly absorbed massive amounts of essence stones.
As the essence revolved throughout their channels and changed their bodies, the beauties continued to inch toward ascension.
Suddenly a piercing ray of divine light pierced through the Sky Fortress and shone onto Ling who had now been absorbing essence stones for days.
“I did it! I finally did it!” Ling broke out in laughter as she felt the pure heavenly energy flowing into her body. Unlike the heavenly energy from the corpses that seemed stale and lifeless, the heavenly energy that she had been granted by the heavens was packed with an indescribable feeling that uplifted her very soul while causing her to brim with confidence.
The feeling where one felt as if they could take on the world alone if they had to.
“I can't fall behind.” Lingqi said as she saw Ling ascending.
Thousands of miles away from where Zhang and the beauties were, an ordinary looking seagull could be seen floating atop the ocean’s surface while gazing toward the direction where the Sky Fortress was until it suddenly shot downward into the water.
Soon enough it was obvious that this seagull was not an ordinary one as it dove deeper and deeper into the depths where no ordinary seagull could possibly ever travel. Attributing to the strangeness of this seagull was the fact that none of the ocean’s predators dared to approach it, sharks would flee, various water type demonic beasts would cower and move out of its way whenever it neared.
In a flash, the seagull had dived a thousand miles underneath the sea’s surface. Upon seeing a massive mountain that rose out from the sea floor, the seagull’s speed doubled causing it to appear like a blur.
Oddly the seagull continued moving at full speed and did not show any signs of stopping as he torpedoed toward the rock face of the undersea mountain. However instead of crashing into the mountain the seagull flew into it, revealing the face of the mountain to be nothing more than an illusion.
After speeding through the illusionary face of the mountain the seagull could be seen moving through a massive sea cave that was filled with colorful glowing coral and an abundance of small glowing fish.
Following the trail of luminous coral and fish the seagull soon arrived at its destination, a massive underwater city made entirely out of coral. In terms of size this underwater city was double the size of the Aurora Empire’s imperial city and in term of grandeur Aurora’s Imperial City could not even be remotely compared to this one. Thousands upon thousands of buildings made purely out of different colored coral made this city mesmerizing to all those lucky enough to see it.
As the seagull soared through the water and through a thin membrane that covered the entire city, it wings began to flutter as it shook off all of the water that was weighing it down. The seagull continued its journey, flying across the city where countless people could be seen walking the streets until it reached a massive building made entirely out of golden colored coral.
Upon reaching a balcony that stuck out on one side of the building the seagull’s body began glowing as it’s limbs began to elongate and morph. Moments later the seagull was no more and a dashing young man with three white feathers sticking to his silky long hair could be seen.
After a brief pause, the man who had been a seagull moments ago began walking down a large corridor, wherever he went strange looking people who appeared to be half animal and half human could be seen.
“General Niao Wang!” Dozens of people with scaly skin clad in red armor made of coral said wherever the man went.
Soon he reached a pair of massive gates that were lined with huge pearls the size of a person’s head and with a gentle push he stepped inside.
“Your highness, there is a disturbance above the water’s surface. Someone is ascending, most likely a human.” The man who was a seagull named Niao Wang said as he dropped to one knee and saluted.
“Prepare the Flying Fish Cavalry and the Shrimp Legion! Alert the other generals and our champions, we are going on a hunt.” A hulking figure with a pair of long horns sticking out of his forehead said.
“As you wish my lord.” Niao Wang said in a polite tone.