Chapter 186: Into the Sea!
Shortly after Yuying finished her ascension, Ling and Lingqi followed suit, while heavenly energy continued to descend for Ai.
Strangely enough despite beginning at roughly the same time, Ai’s ascension did not only take a few minutes or a few hours longer than the other beauties but continued on for days. As one day turned into two days and two days turned into three days, Ai continued to stay in a trance like state while absorbing in vast amounts of heavenly energy without uttering a single word or consuming a single ounce of food or water.
Normally at most a person’s ascension would last around three days at most, however, Ai’s ascension lasted a total of six days before the magnificent rays that pierced through the sky began to fade away.
Although the Heavenly Energy ceased descending, Ai continued to sit in a meditative pose without any signs of awakening. Knowing better than to disturb Ai before and while her powers stabilize, Zhang and the other beauties along with their two lesser saint subordinates patiently waited and found means to kill time.
While Zhang tried to learn more about the sea and the Blood Coral Cove, Yuying, Ling and Lingqi each resided in their own chambers to solidify their newfound powers since they were not blessed with the powers of the Underworld Heart like their husband.
After a few conversations, Zhang learned that after traveling a few hundred thousands of miles east of the coast of Aurora, he was currently in what is called the “Chaotic Sea.” Within the Chaotic Sea were twenty major forces and dozens if not hundreds of lesser forces who governed the waves and countless islands.
“Considering that someone mentioned that the forces of the Blood Coral Cove was ranked amongst the top twenty strongest forces of the sea, who is ranked first?” Zhang asked curiously as he tried to gauge the power of his newly claimed territory and subordinates.
“Hai Xing, since I rarely take part in discussions regarding other forces I think it would be best if you explained things to our lord.” Chu Shou said to the female saint with a starfish sticking to her hair.
“To be exact, the forces of the Blood Coral Cove was ranked twentieth in power when compared to the other major forces. However now that Shen Yu, Niao Wang and a few of the other lesser saints have been replaced by our new lord and the madams, I would say our current powers are comparable to the forces of the Aqua Serpent Grotto.” Hai Xing said.
“They are ranked sixteenth in terms of power.” Hai Xing added.
“Which force is ranked first Zhang questioned with a curious look on his face.
“That would be the forces of the Dragon God Palace. However, despite being the number one power under the sea, due to the kind nature of their master, the Dragon God Palace is on friendly terms with all of the other powers and seeks to ensure peace throughout the sea.” Hai Xing replied.
“Like the Dragon God Palace, the forces of the Celestial Mermaid Bay that is ranked fifth in power is also openly friendly.” Hai Xing added.
“Are there any forces who are openly hostile then?” Zhang asked.
“Of course, my lord, like in all places there are the good and the bad. In regards to relationships with our Blood Coral Cove, the forces of Starry Sea Sect and the forces of the Golden Pearl Sect are the ones we have to look out for. Although our precious lord, Shen Yu, tried to avoid conflict with the other forces as much as possible, due to how close their territory is to ours a lot of conflicts often arises.” Hai Xing reported to Zhang.
“Over the past hundred years, thrived each attacked us quite a few number of times. Luckily neither of them are willing to work together and since they possessed roughly the same amount of powers as we did, we were able to repel them.” Chu Shou said as he recalled the bloody battles that he had taken part in.
“I'm sure that they'll show up eventually since news tends to travel extremely fast beneath the waves.” Hai Xing said with a spiteful tone, showing that she did not very much like the Golden Pearl sect and Starry Sea Sect.
“Like all matters in life, if they are fated to be then all we can do is wait for them to happen.” Zhang said despite having torn out his page from the Book of Fate, which effectively unbound him from the path originally set for him.
“It is as you say my lord.” Chu Shou and Hai Xing said respectfully as they began discussing the power structure of the forces of the sea to Zhang. As the conversation drew on, Hai Xing withdrew a large map from her interspatial ring which depicted the domains of the various forces under the sea. Showing Zhang that the domain of the Blood Coral Cove contained dozens of populated islands.
“Although these islands are in our territory we do not directly govern or influence them, rather they are more liken to indirect vassal states that offer us tribute once a year to show their allegiance. Besides occasionally trading and offering them out protection there isn't much done to these islands.” Hai Xing explained to Zhang, as he tried to grasp the power structure of his new domain.
“What about these islands right here and which force rules over this fraction of the sea here?” Zhang asked.
“These islands are uninhabited and thus fall under our direct rule. That part of the map is governed by the Starry Sea Sect my lord.” Hai Xing said.
“I was thinking of setting up teleportation platforms and allow for easy travel from the continent to here. But that would mean we would have to set up platforms within the territory of the Starry Sea Sect and on a few of these inhabited islands.” Zhang said as he traced his finger in a straight line across Hai Xing’s map.
“As long as we give the word, the inhabitants and rulers of these islands would be more than willing to allow you to do as you please my lord. However, the Starry Sea Sect will be an entirely different matter.” Chu Shou said.
“Brother! Let’s go! Let’s go! Big sis told me that you’re all waiting. I can’t wait to go either.” Ai’s cheerful voice could be heard as the sound of swinging doors echoed across the room that Zhang was in.
“It seems our discussion will have to continue another time.” Zhang said with a smile as he turned toward where Ai was standing.
“You sure took your time.” Zhang said as he walked up toward his adorable wife and ruffled up her hair.
“Don’t know what you’re talking about, let’s go!” Ai said as she grabbed Zhang’s hand and led him out of the door where the other three beauties could be seen with smiles and grins on their faces.
“Please allow me to lead the way for you my lord and your madams.” Chu Shou said as he performed a half bow.
Before long after leaving instructions to their subordinates, Zhang, and the beauties were led out of the Azure Tower and away from the Sky Fortress to the ever-moving surface of the sea where Chu Shou withdrew a transparent sphere from his interspatial ring.
“This is for your use my lord.” Chu Shou said as he handed Zhang the sphere which suddenly began glowing and emitting a bubble-like sphere. In next to no time at all the sphere had grown gigantic and enveloped Zhang and the beauties within it.
“Lead the way.” Zhang said as he held the sphere given to him by Chu Shou in one hand and held Ling’s hand in the other.
“I wonder what sort of techniques and magic I will be able to learn there.” Ling said in a low tone as her eyes twinkled. Considering the Blood Coral Cove was a force that ruled over a vast area of ocean, it was obvious they would have a large number of water related techniques and skills for her to learn.
As Ling continued to fantasize about the wondrous techniques she could learn, the bubble that she and the others were in began to sink into the waves as Chu Shou and Hai Xing dove into the water.
In a heartbeat, Zhang and the beauties departed from one world and entered into another one, a cold world of water and beasts.
Descending into the dark depths where countless beasts reside, Ai could be seen looking in awe as schools of fish swam by. The dazzling sight of light reflecting off the scales of thousands of colorful fish coupled by their dance-like maneuvers around the bubble that the group was standing in made everything seem mystical.
With sparkling eyes mesmerized by beautiful landscape and creatures of the deep sea, the beauties could all be seen with broad smiles on their faces.
“They never had anything like this near the City of the Dead.” Yuying said as she gazed into the aquatic world around her.
Despite not showing it, Zhang was equally as dazzled as his wives and couldn't take his eyes off the beauty that the sea had to offer.
“That one there is similar to the one I caught not too long ago.” Ai said as she pointed at a massive shark that was speeding through the water and toward the bubble she was in.
However, before the shark could even get remotely close, a pulse of essence traveled through the water and smashed into it, sending it hurtling away.
As Zhang and the beauties were distracted by the scenery and creatures around them, they soon arrived at a massive undersea mountain.
“Brother, watch out or else we are going to crash into the mountain. If the bubble pops, I'm my a very good swimmer.” Ai said as she tugged onto Zhang’s sleeve.
“It's okay I'll make sure to have Little White help you swim up.” Ling said with a laugh as she rubbed her face against the little furry feline that was hanging onto her shoulder.
“Or we can each take a deep breath and share oxygen through our mouths.” Zhang suggested with a laugh.
“Or you can try to fly up.” Yuying said with a laugh.
In a flash Chu Shou, Hai Xing and the transparent bubble carrying Zhang and the beauties flew through the face of sea mountain and into a dazzling cave filled with glowing coral and fish.
Before long Zhang and the beauties were out of the sea cave and caught the sight of a marvelous undersea city made entirely out of coral.
The moment they arrived, hundreds of thousands of mantis shrimp and flying fish shot out from the city, creating to neat rows and a path for Zhang and the beauties to follow.
After a path was created, all of the riders of the flying fish and mantis shrimp saluted Zhang by raising their weapons up toward the sky.
“It seems they called in ahead.” Zhang thought as he spotted a team of lesser saints flew out of the city.
From the looks of anticipation and excitement on the faces of the approaching lesser saints, Zhang could tell that Chu Shou and Hai Xing had been keeping in contact with them.
“More than likely they know about the fact that I had given those two a share of heavenly energy. Hopefully, this will make them more willing to submit to my will in the hopes of gaining rewards.” Zhang thought as the group of lesser saints gathered and bowed in front of him before turning around to lead him into the city of coral.
Perhaps it was due to Shen Yu’s attitude as a ruler, perhaps maybe due to the fact that the people of the sea adores the strong and disdained the weak or perhaps it was entirely due to something else but Zhang and the beauties received a surprisingly warm welcome from the people that lived in the Blood Coral Cove.
“These people look so normal.” Ai said as she saw how humanlike the citizens of the city appeared, contrary to his expectations of a city brimming with oddly look individuals that possessed mixed matched parts of aquatic creatures.
True to what Zhang learned from the two lesser saints that accompanied back to the Flying Fortress, for the most part, the regular citizens of the Blood Coral Cove looked extremely close to that of a regular human. Unlike the soldiers who had some features that belonged to other species, the only fundamental difference between a regular citizen and a land dweller was the fact that they could hold their breath underwater for a much longer time.
Zhang was told that this was mainly because of the thinning of bloodlines that occurred as the descendants of the original sea dwellers intermingled with humans. Originally all of the sea dwellers were the children of Divine Beasts and possessed many beast like qualities in both their appearance and physical abilities.
As one generation passed onto to the next, bloodlines began to thin resulting in the sea dwellers of today. That is to say, there aren't clans who solely we'd within their clan to try to prevent their bloodlines from thinning.
Out of the general population, one out of every twenty or so citizens of the Blood Coral Cove would possess a heretical trait passed down from their ancestors. These individuals, of course, would be recruited into the Blood Coral Cove’s Blood Scale Army due to their superior combat capabilities.
However due to this a class system was created and set amongst the population of sea dwellers, where those who possess inherited traits or were divine beasts were placed at the top while those who closely resembled humans were placed at the bottom Of course regardless of features saints were also placed at the top of the totem pole. This in a way made it so most sea dwellers looked down on humans who resided on land.
“Perhaps it's because I am not like the previous rulers who resembled Divine Beasts that the common people are so welcoming.” Zhang thought as he noticed that besides the soldiers of the Blood Scale Army who had seen his abilities, most if not all of the citizens of the city who possessed hereditary traits from their divine beast ancestors were giving him and the beauties looks of scorn.
“Since the empire doesn't really need me at its reins and since I have plenty of time to kill I'll stick around for a while and have some fun.” Zhang said in his kind as he thought about personally governing the Blood Coral Cove.