Chapter 200: Heavenly Ne
In the early hours of what could be called the beginning of the day in the dark depths of the sea, when the blood red colored coral that made up the Blood Coral Cove began to shimmer and glow, a frenzy of activity could be seen.
Civilians who lived in the cove and those who resided in its outskirts had all congregated and were busy making their way into the Blood Coral Castle, while soldiers and those of able body were now clad in armor and equipped with weapons.
With traces of fear and anxiety on their faces, the civilians of the cove marched forward with their belongings in hand and their families by their side. Helplessly the common folk could only pray that the flames of war do not flood into the city and engulf them in agony and despair.
“Everyone please stay in calm and orderly lines! The enemy has been sighted roughly a hundred miles away from the cove and will arrive here in roughly a quarter of a day’s time. But everything will be alright. Remember it's highly unlikely the enemy will even make it past the ten layered Separation Barrier, so there's nothing to fear and all of this is just a precaution!” Chu Shou could be seen directing the people of the Blood Coral Cove, alongside the soldiers of the Blood Scale Army.
“We’ll make sure to make them run home with their tails between their legs!” Zhang’s voice could be heard as it rang in everyone's ears, echoing throughout the city, from the tallest tower in the Blood Coral Castle.
“Have confidence and we shall overcome all obstacles and a brighter future will be born. After my lord engages the enemy in battle, not only will we defeat them but we shall also make them pay! This is not the first time they've attacked us but surely it will be the last!!!” Yuying’s confident voice soon followed Zhang’s.
Upon hearing Chu Shou’s, Zhang’s and most importantly Yuying’s words, the feeling of fear was steadily replaced by a sense of security and the looks of despair gradually changed, becoming full of confidence.
“Brother, shouldn't we go beat up those guys before they get here?” Ai asked as her head rested on Zhang's lap while her body was draped in beautiful white colored scale armor.
“No need, I've already sent Hai Xing and Nai Fan to begin the first stages of our offensive plan. Also since we don't know the full extent of their forces I wouldn't dare risk putting my lovely wives in danger.” Zhang replied as his hand gently stroked Ai’s silky hair.
“If you say so…” Ai replied while sticking out her tongue as Zhang and while the other beauties who were sitting nearby chuckled.
“Hmph, you better keep yourself out of danger also then, darling.” Lingqi said while sticking her tongue out at Zhang like Ai had done.
“It's only fair that we don't have to worry about you also.” Ling said in a stern voice as she wrapped her arms around Zhang’s neck and rested her chin atop his head.
With the words of the beauties tugging on his heartstrings, Zhang could only smile and laugh while feeling a bit remorseful for making them worry about him.
But of course there is always danger lurking in the shadows and the best way to protect oneself, one’s loved ones and one’s way of life is to climb to the top and hold absolute power.
Only once one made it to the pinnacle of power could a cultivator live a worry free life.
While Zhang and the beauties stayed in each other's company and the people of the Blood Coral Cove continued to flock into the Blood Coral Castle, the forces of the Starry Sea Sect slowly drew nearer and nearer.
As the Starry Sea Sect and their swarm of jellyfish made their way toward the Blood Coral Cove, death followed suite.
Be it intentional or not, anything that were ever so slightly touched by long tentacles of the massive jellyfish quickly met their end.
Thus as the thousands upon thousands of jellyfish crossed the ocean, the remains of countless fish and sea creatures drifted to the surface. As beautiful and mysterious as they appeared, the Starry Sea Sect’s mounts were extremely deadly.
Leading this swarm was a nearly transparent jellyfish that was nearly three times larger than the rest and atop of it sat a young man who appeared to be no older than twenty years of age who extruded and air of arrogance and pride, beside him was an older middle aged gentleman who possessed dignified features.
“Holy Son Shan Li, our scouts have reported that the Blood Coral Cove is only but a few miles ahead.” The middle-aged man said politely to the young man sitting not too far in front of him.
“What of the forces of the Golden Pearl Sect? Have we received any reports regarding their location?” Holy Son Shan Li said as his gaze continued to focus on the scenery and landscape in front of him.
“We’ve yet to receive any reports of their location and our emissaries whom we left in their care haven't been answering their communication jades either. But we know for certain they are still alive because their jade slips are still intact.” The middle-aged man said as he held up a pair of thin jade slips with names engraved onto them.
“Hmph, keep a close eye on the emissaries they sent to accompany us… If they appear to be up to something, then get rid of them.” Holy Son Shan Li said in an unhappy tone.
“Prepare a blank jade slip for me and a messenger also. Depending on that bastard Hui Ying’s actions we may have to change our plans. But first, we have to test.” Shan Li said as a dozen different scenarios played out in his mind.
“You couldn't possibly mean… Wouldn't Sect Master Shan Jiang be angry if we do that?” The middle-aged man said.
“Uncle Lu, as long we I give a proper explanation and our sect doesn't suffer any losses but receives many gains then father won't be angry at all. Also, I only said that we could possibly do that, nothing is set in stone yet.” Holy Son Shan Li said as the gigantic mountain that covered the Blood Coral Cove with hidden in came into sight from afar.
“Full speed ahead! Make preparations for the Heavenly Net to be deployed as soon as we are within range.” Holy Son Shan Li commanded, prompting the swarm Behemoth Jellyfish to hasten their speed and propel themselves through the water, using their tentacles as propellers.
Like speeding arrows, the hundreds of thousands of jellyfish jetted through the water at unbelievable speeds before splintering off in all directions.
In a flash and with utmost coordination, all of the Behemoth Jellyfish interlocked their long tentacles with each other and this formed a massive net that stretched dozens of miles and encasing the entire Blood Coral Cove within it.
“Prepare to activate the Heavenly Net!” Holy Son Shan Li roared as he could be seen still standing atop his jellyfish that is now located exactly at the center top of the dome-shaped net.
Following Holy Son Shan Li’s command, the countless thousands of rider that had dismounted their jellyfish mere moments ago began chanting in unison while pressing their hands against their mounts and channeling their essence into them.
As more and more essence was channeled into the Behemoth Jellyfish and the inaudible chanting of the riders continued, mysterious patterns began appearing on the bodies of both the riders and the jellyfish.
Before long, the bodies of jellyfish and their riders became wrapped in electricity, which in electrocuted all of the fish that happened to find themselves swimming near the living net.
“Now that the Heavenly Net has been casted if you could please set up a minor separation barrier, so that we don’t have to resurface for air.” Holy Son Shan Li said.
“As you wish” The middle-aged man that was referred to as Uncle Lu said respectfully as he stood not too far from Shan Li.
Although the sea dwellers could breathe underwater for quite some time, they would eventually have to surface so by creating a separation field and filling it with air, the forces of the Starry Sea Sect wouldn’t have to swim to the surface.
“Also no one is to activate the net’s secondary power, under any circumstance, unless I give the command.” Holy Son Shan Li said.
“Of course, the Heavenly Lightning can only be used a set number of times before the net is dispelled, so using it needlessly would be a waste. It would also be very taxing on our disciples and could do more harm than good.” Uncle Lu said before hopping off Holy Son Shan Li’s jellyfish and landing atop the sea floor.
After landing on the ground, Uncle Lu retrieved a transparent sphere from his interspatial ring that looked similar to the sphere Zhang had used to travel to the Blood Coral Cove.
“Activate!” Uncle Lu said as he objected a large amount of essence into the transparent sphere. Moments later the transparent sphere began to glow and release pulses of essence into the water. As the pulses of essence were continually generated, the seawater was slowly pushed away and a bubble was thus created.
“Air...” Uncle Lu added as the transparent sphere in his hand continued to glow and the bubble it created continued to expand and push away the seawater. Since enough space to house hundreds of thousands of people were needed, it took quite some time and essence from Uncle Lu before the bubble ceased growing.
Once the separation field was complete the disciples of the Starry Sea Sect began moving in and setting up their camp. Soon enough tents, campfires, cooking stoves, and a variety of other essentials were brought out from interspatial rings and were deployed with due haste and perhaps it was due to how hurriedly everything was done did the people of the Starry Sea Sect fail to spot the prying eyes of a certain group of people who were observing.
Within one of the many caves that littered the massive mountain that the Blood Coral Cove was hidden in, Zhang and the beauties along with a hand full of lesser saints had silently watched the forces of the Starry Sea Sect.
“My lord, please give us the order to attack. As long as we focus our attacks then we can break out of the encirclement and slaughter them with ease.” A lesser saint said in a respectful tone to Zhang while his hands were clasped.
“Brother, after this I to keep one of those as a pet. They look so squishy.” Ai said in a soft voice to Zhang as they both stared at the net of jellyfish covering the Blood Coral Cove.
“Sure.” Zhang replied with a chuckle, somewhat ignoring the lesser saint that had spoken to him.
“We will attack when the time is right, there is no need to be in a hurry. When it comes to large scale battles like this, my sweetheart is very knowledgeable.” Yuying said before the lesser saint who had been ignored was able to speak again.
True to Yuying’s words, compared to most high cultivators, such as saints, Zhang was extremely well-versed in large scale battles, having acted as the commander of a standing army where tactics and strategy played a much larger role than brute force.
Since most cultivators rarely engaged in large scale battles and focused most of their time furthering their cultivation while only ever battling in small sized skirmishes, to them, using strategies and tactics in battle was a foreign matter, since most battles amongst large groups of high cultivators mostly ended resulting in large brawls, where strategy and tactics played minor roles.
In such battles, the side with the strongest cultivator or the most cultivators would obviously win. While in battles that occurred between regular armies, tactics, strategies and morale played a huge role, allowing small armies to devastate enemies that doubled or maybe even triple their numbers. Thus thanks to his experience leading the armies of Aurora, Zhang was extremely well versed in utilizing strategies and tactics in battle.
“We won’t act until we receive word from Hai Xing and Nai Fan or unless the enemy attacks us first. If we charge out like idiots and overestimate ourselves there are only two possible outcomes, we either achieve a victory while suffering heavy casualties or suffer utter defeat.” Zhang said in a calm demeanor while his piercing gaze looked past the net of jellyfish and toward the camp of the Starry Sea Sect.
Surprisingly enough as Zhang continued to gaze at the enemy camp, more so importantly at the holy son of the Starry Sea Sect, Shan Li, Holy Son Shan Li could be seen gazing right back at him, both men with smiles plastered on their faces.
Like two beasts of prey, Zhang, and Holy Son Shan Li eyed each other for a fraction of a second before their gazes shifted elsewhere.
“It seems things will be interesting. It appears a worthy opponent might have appeared.” Zhang and Holy Son Shan Li both said simultaneously to themselves.
“What will be interesting? Who?” Ai asked curiously as she poked her husband’s cheek playfully.
“You’ll see soon enough… Let’s head back and wait for news from Hai Xing and Nai Fan. Then the fun will begin.” Zhang said with a laugh as he stood up from the rock he was sitting atop of and proceeded to walk into the cave that led back into the Blood Coral Cove while gesturing for his wives and subordinates to follow.
“If you say so, brother.” Ai said as she pushed herself up from the rock she was sitting on and made her way to Zhang’s side, like the other beauties.
Of course, Zhang’s new subordinates were still rather anxious but there wasn’t much else they could do so they too silently got up from their seats and followed behind their new master and his madams.