Chapter 187: Conspiracy
Moments after entering the massive air bubble that enveloped the Blood Coral Cove, Zhang and the beauties were given a ride on a beautifully decorated platform that was placed atop a huge crab the size of a house. This platform was outfitted with five thrones made of blood red coral while the crab it was placed atop of was armed with gigantic claws that made many people cower.
Atop the massive crab Zhang and the beauties continued to move toward the center of the Blood Coral Cove, while Little White could be seen occasionally licking its lips as an abundance of large fish could be spotted being sold in various stores that lined the streets.
“My lord we have prepared a large banquet in your honor and have arranged for all of the various experts and influential figures of the city to be present to welcome your arrival.” Chu Shou said respectfully as he stood beside the platform where Zhang and the beauties were.
“I'll have to warn you that although we of the Blood Scale Army have pledged our allegiance to you after witnessing your power, I’m certain that there will be a few individuals and forces within the Blood Coral Cove that might not look too kindly to, forgive me for saying it, a mere human ruling over us.” Chu Shou said in a near whisper.
“Things will be interesting, to say the least.” Zhang said with a chuckle.
Rather than worrying about the political problems that came with adding the Blood Coral Cove to his territory, Zhang would much rather focus his attention instead toward thinking about the vast treasure that he was going to soon obtain.
Since most treasures that came from the sea could be sold for extravagant amounts of gold and silver Zhang could only imagine how much of a fortune Shen Yu was able to accumulate over the last five hundred years. Simply thinking of adding such a horde of treasure to his very own stash made Zhang’s mouth water.
“Human scum leave our city at once!” A voice rang out from the crowd, shattering Zhang’s fantasy about the endless riches of the Blood Coral Cove and bringing him back to reality.
As a frown appeared on his face, Zhang looked into the distance to see a young man dressed in light blue robes shouting at him. If one examined more closely they would be able to see a set of gills on this young man’s neck along with fins protruding from his arms and back.
“The champions and generals of the Red Scale Army must have eaten shit for dinner because how could they give our city to a mere human! As proud citizens of the Blood Coral Cove, is it not blasphemy to let a mere human who does not have an ounce of the blood of our ancestors running through his veins rule over us? Won’t the other descendants of the sea attack our lands once they find out that we sold our souls to a lowly human?!” The young man said as he picked up a brown ball of goop with unknown origins from the ground and lobbed it at Zhang and the beauties.
The young man’s word, strangely enough, caused an unforeseeable stir in the crowd gathered on the streets. Despite not being too happy due to the class system set in place, the people of the Blood Coral Cove, even those without hereditary traits were rather proud of their origins and the young man’s words only served to cast Zhang out as an outsider.
“Yea! Why should we let an outsider rule over us? Down with the land walker!” A few voiced mixed into the crowd roared, trying to incite a mob.
After being flung out of the young man’s hands and flying through the air toward Zhang the blob of goop with unknown origins was instantly blocked and sent splattering onto the ground before it even came close to Zhang thanks to the powers of the Underworld Heart, but the intent of the young man alone was enough to make Zhang’s blood boil.
Before long a few dozen or so individuals joined the young man and began throwing things from within the crowd toward Zhang and the beauties, however, none of them dared to stand out like the young man did.
“Insolent!” Chu Shou roared as a sword appeared in his hand. However, before Chu Shou could do a thing, Zhang disappeared and appeared in front of the young man in a flash.
Seeing how fast Zhang appeared in front of him the young man was startled and stumbled a few steps backward while his compatriots ceased their actions and watched in shock.
“All of you kneel…” Zhang said in a soft voice was the Rising Moon Sword appeared in his hand and its tip was pointed at the young man.
“It appears those trouble makers Chu Shou mentioned are already acting. Although I’m somewhat torn on whether to deal with them or simply take the treasure and leave, if they want a show then I might as will give them something to remember me by before I decide my next move...” Zhang thought as he sensed a few lesser saints and three full saints who were not a part of the Blood Scale Army watching the current situation from nearby locations.
In a flash, the Rising Moon Sword’s powers were unleashed and an unbearable weight descended onto the shoulders of everyone present, saints, mortals, men, women, children alike, everyone was caught off guard and fell to their knees.
Obviously, Zhang made sure to lessen the force of gravity exerted on the regular civilians by the Rising Moon Sword so that no one was harmed. He also made sure to limit the area that the Rising Moon Sword’s powers were acting upon to make the saints watching believe that he wasn't too powerful.
The young man and other people who tried to throw excrement at him, on the other hand, were pressed onto the ground by a fairly powerful force of gravity. Of course, his wives and the saints and soldiers who had already sworn loyalty to him were spared.
“I can assure you that I am no mere human and that I am not unworthy.” Zhang said in a loud voice that rang into everyone’s ears while giving off the impression of someone who had a completely unbearable personality.
“Pssst, how much did they give you to give you enough guts to do what you did?” Zhang said in a whisper that only the young man could hear.
“Wha-what are you talking about?” The young man squeezed out of his lungs as he felt the weight of hundreds of pounds pressing him down onto the ground making it difficult to talk.
“No need to pretend, since your strength could only be considered average and of that of a regular foot soldier in the Blood Scale Army you would at best be a mere servant for one of those who wish to oppose me. So unless they are threatening your family or gave you a massive amount of wealth I doubt you would have the guts to do what you just did. Of course, there's always option number three and four where you turn out to be an idiot who doesn't know his own limits nor how to hold his tongue or you're one of those people who are willing to die for their countrymen. But I believe it should between options one and two or both.” Zhang said in a whisper to the young man while everyone else was too busy being pressed down by the power of the Rising Moon Sword to listen.
“I don’t know what you're talking about.” The young man said in a low tone.
“Don’t worry about them hearing, just tell me the truth.” Zhang whispered as a smile crept onto his face as he used the Underworld Heart’s power to create a sphere of crystallized essence around himself and the young man, making it impossible for anyone to listen to their conversation.
“Th-they said if I did this for them they would release my elderly parents, wife, and children and give them a sizeable sum of wealth to live out the rest of their days.” The young man said as he gasped for air.
“What’s your name?” Zhang asked.
“Han Shui…” The young man said.
“Han Shui, how about I save your parents, wife, and children for you?” Zhang said in a low tone.
“Really?” Han Shui asked as he felt the force of gravity that was pressing onto him fade away.
“If you're able to put up a little act and lead me to them then I assure you that not only will I free them for you I’ll even give you something for your troubles.” Zhang said as he waved his hand releasing not only the sphere that kept others from listening to his conversation with Han Shui, but also the force of gravity pressing down on everyone else.
“Since I don’t want to smear this joyous day with the blood of a scoundrel such as yourself, bygone!” Zhang said as his leg lashed out and impacted Han Shui, sending him flying to the far end of the street and crashing into a cart filled with sacks of flour.
What no one else noticed was that Zhang’s leg actually lightly touched Han Shui and it was, in fact, the power of the Rising Moon Sword that had made Han Shui appear to have been kicked into the air.
“Th-this won’t be the last you hear of me, you mere human!” Han Shui said after coughing a dozen times due to being covered from head to toe in flour. After uttering a few other remarks and receiving a snarl from Zhang, Han Shui departed from the scene while pretending that his leg was injured and he had to limp.
Seeing Han Shui leave, the few people who were trying to incite a riot like him quickly scattered to the winds and left.
“Everyone, although I can't promise you that I will be the greatest ruler or perhaps even an effective one, but what I can promise you is that I will be a ruler who cares about his people.” Zhang said as he appeared beside his wives and atop the gigantic crab once again, prompting the parade to continue.
“A conspiracy I tell you.” Ai said in a very low tone to Yuying who couldn't help but chuckle.
“A show also.” Lingqi said with a laugh as she could tell that Zhang was up to something.
Seeing that the show had ended once their people departed, the various saints who had plotted to start a riot against Zhang began to leave, each with a different impression of him.
“He must have used some sort of trick to kill both of those fools Shen Yu and Niao Wang.” These saints thought as they each began heading back to their different residences, some to prepare to attend the banquet held in Zhang’s honor and others to meet with the people they had ordered to cause trouble for Zhang.
In the meantime, Zhang was using his divine sense to monitor Han Shui’s movements, tracking him all the way to a large manor located toward the center of the aquatic city but not before combing through a series of back alleys and entering an underground tunnel.
Upon entering the large manor, Han Shui was instantly surrounded by a group of armored guards who were all at the eighth level of cultivation and possessed hereditary traits passed down from their divine beast ancestors.
“You did good, kid.” A middle-aged man with a small snake coiled around his arm said as he walked out into the courtyard where Han Shui was.
“Milord if you would please release my family, I have no need for anything else.” Han Shui pled as he fell to his knees.
“Of course, since you've done what I've asked I will do as I promised and reunite you with your family.” The middle-aged man said as he clapped his hands, signaling for a group of guards to bring out Han Shui’s family.
As Han Shui saw his elderly parents, his lovely wife and his young children, the young man who dared to throw excrement at Zhang broke out in tears.
In a heartwarming show, the family sped toward each other and huddled up closely in the middle of the courtyard as tears stream down from their faces. Days ago their only worry was making enough money to feed themselves but today the possibility of death was looking down onto them.
“The lot of you can take your time reuniting in the underworld.” The middle-aged man said as his people withdrew their swords from their sheaths.
“Make it quick I have to go attend that silly banquet and then make preparations to deal with that human.” The middle-aged man added.
“Your attendance won't be needed at tonight's banquet.” A voice rang into everyone’s ear as blinding flashes of lightning rained down from above and as earth-shattering booms followed.
In a flash, all of the armor guards surrounding Han Shui turned into pools of gore as their body parts were scattered across the courtyard.
Looking toward the direction where the voice originated from, Zhang could be seen standing atop one of the mansion’s rooftops with smoke being emitted from his fingertips.
“A mere lesser saint dares to cause me trouble?” Zhang said as a bolt of red colored lightning shot out from his fingertips and causing a dozen stone tiles on the ground to turn to powder.
“How could this be! How could attacks that possess so much destructive power not give off even a hint of the essence packed inside of them!” The middle-aged man yelled in disbelief.
“Since I have to make sure no one else knows about what is happening here, I made sure to contain the power of my attacks. While my wife made sure to erect an invisible barrier around this place.” Zhang said as he charged through the air toward the middle-aged man with a strange looking talisman in hand.
“Suppress!” An angelic voice crept into the middle-aged man’s ears as Yuying appeared in front of him without even being sensed.
In but an instant after her finger tapped this lesser saint’s forehead, countless runes began appearing throughout his body.
The sea of runes twisted and churned across the man’s body while giving off an eerie green glow which would give anyone who saw it to feel their skin crawl.