Chapter 203: Demonic Pearl Array
As Zhang and Shan Li’s respective forces withdrew and attempted to regroup, the forces of the Golden Pearl Sect came into full view, emerging from the sea floor.
With beautifully colored shells and their massive size, the countless giant clams captivated everyone on the battlefield. But the most captivating of them all was a clam whose shell was a solid golden color.
“Shan Li! It's been a long time since we've last met.” A voice echoed across the waters as the giant golden shelled clam opened up, revealing a chubby looking young man who was wearing a pair of golden colored pearl earrings, standing within it.
“Hui Ying! I'd rather fight with my head held high and retreat knowing that I did not have to pull some kind of petty trick to achieve victory, instead of hiding away in the dirt like you!” Holy Son Shan Li’s voice brimming with rage reverberated into everyone’s minds, showing the hatred and sustain he held for Holy Son Hui Ying.
“Laughable! The victor is the who determines what's written in the history books! Regardless of whether or not I use the dirtiest of means, as long as I am the one to come out on top then everyone else will only be remembered as my stepping stones.” Hui Ying said with a laugh as all of the clams beside the clan he was standing in began to open up and thousands upon thousands of people shot out into the water.
“He must have been here the entire time since the Chimera Maxima Clams that the Golden Pearl Sect uses for battle are known to be extremely slow.” Uncle Lu said as he arrived beside Holy Son Shan Li, after managing to overcome the fear that had been instilled in him by Ai.
“I knew that bastard would be up to something!” Shan Li continued to curse as he eyed Hui Ying’s forces while accessing the number of his subordinates under his command who were still able to fight.
“Shan Li! Let's put aside our differences for now and combine our forces to put an end to the Blood Coral Cove! My people have already managed to complete the preparations needed to activate the Demonic Pearl Tribulation array, with our combined forces we can obtain victory with ease.” Hui Yong said in a confident tone.
“Dem… Demonic Pearl Tribulation? Work together? You actually have the gall to bring up such a thing? You, who waited until after my subordinates exhausted themselves, to finally crawl out of the hole you’ve been hiding in… Atop of having laid down such a heinous array.” Shan Li said to Hui Ying with a face full of scorn as he recalled his master’s teachings in regards to the Golden Pearl Sect’s Demonic Pearl Tribulation array, an array that can drain all of the essence in the atmosphere and a large portion of the essence from the bodies of anyone who is caught within it. But of course that was not the deadliest factor of the Demonic Pearl Tribulation array, it was actually the fact that the people of the Golden Pearl Sect were not affected by the array at all. Meaning while everyone was considerably weaker than normal, the members of the Golden Pearl Sect would be at their full potential.
“To think he would actually have that array setup without anyone noticing… If we get caught in it then we would be done for… Unless you are willing to use that…” Uncle Lu said to Shan Li through his divine sense.
“Shan Li, I’m sure you're not as petty as to purposely abandon your trial by fire to spite me. If you're going to leave then I should activate the array and give you a show to watch.” Hui Ying said in a taunting manner as a glint could be seen from his eyes while Shan Li glared back at him.
After seeing the infuriated look on Shan Li’s face, Hui Ying was just about to speak again in order to provoke his counterpart even more, however before he could do so a small curved dagger shot through the water and embedded itself into the clam he was standing atop of.
“I don’t know what you two are talking about but I hate to be ignored.” Zhang’s voice could be heard in both Shan Li’s and Hui Ying’s minds, seizing their attention that had been focused on each other.
Once their attention was redirected at Zhang, two entirely different thoughts ran through the minds of the two respective Holy Sons. While Hui Ying glared as Zhang with scorn, Shan Li remembered his initial thoughts before the battle had begun and the jade slip he had prepared to give to Zhang.
In an instant, Zhang received two entirely different messages sent via divine sense.
“Hand over the Ascending Beauty Painting and the rest of your valuables or else I won’t leave a single trace of the Blood Coral Cove behind!” Hui Ying said in a haughty tone.
“Lord Zhou Zhang! I know I did not come here with the best of intentions, however, due to the current situation I suggest we cooperate with each other. I not sure if you've heard of the Demonic Pearl array or not, but I can I can tell you that it's not something either of us want to be trapped inside of.” Shan Li said in a respectful demeanor.
“Cooperate? With you? How can I be certain that the two of you aren't trying to lure me into a trap?” Zhang asked, despite being certain that there was some sort of irreconcilable enmity between Shan Li and Hui Ying.
“I had initially intended to offer to cooperate with you, hence the reason as to why I haven't been fighting to the utmost of my abilities. As things are now, if we don't cooperate, it'll only be a matter of which one of us falls first.” Shan Li said, trying to convince Zhang to work with him.
“Regardless of whether we work together or not in confident that I'll be able to get out of this situation unharmed. Any moment now, my reinforcements from the Dragon God Palace will arrive and by then I doubt the likes of the Golden Pearl Sect will be much of a threat. So as I see it, there isn't much I can gain by working with you, rather it could end up jeopardizing my own wellbeing and the safety of my wives and subordinates.” Zhang replied with a bluff since he had actually never received word from the Dragon God Palace after Lord Long Feng relayed for assistance.
So in actuality, there was a fifty percent chance that the Dragon God Palace won't arrive at all. However, like in most instances, regardless of the situation, Zhang would always try his best to obtain some sort of benefit.
Upon hearing Zhang’s words, a storm of thoughts raced through Shan Li’s mind as he tried to figure out a way to entice Zhang into working with him.
“Cooperate with me, annihilate Hui Ying’s forces and together we can invade the territory controlled by the Golden Pearl Sect! With their expeditionary forces gone, they won't have enough available resources to hinder us! In certain we can take at the very least half of their territory. We can also split everything equally.” Shan Li said to Zhang Suddenly after a brief pause.
“Half of their territory... I'll get seventy percent of whatever we manage to acquire and you can have the rest.” Zhang replied with a grin. He actually had been hoping that Shan Li would offer up some kind of magical item or treasure, however, the thought of receiving a vast amount of territory from the Golden Pearl Sect was equally enticing, rather it was much more enticing.
But regardless of how enticing anything is, upon seeing the hint of desperation in Shan Li’s tone and mannerisms, Zhang, of course, would attempt to exhort him for more.
“Deal! Being able to keep my life and thirty percent of something is better than nothing.” Shan Li said, signaling the beginning of an alliance with Zhang.
Also despite the number of exchanges that occurred between Zhang and Shan Li, not much time had actually passed by at all.
“Just so I’m sure we are in the same boat, you begin.” Zhang said as he grinned at Shan Li who regained a bit of his composure after completing his deal with Zhang.
“Hui Ying! What are you waiting for! Let’s finish our task so we can report back to our masters!” Shan Li said to Hui Ying as lighting began to appear and wrap around his arm.
“Let’s begin then.” Hui Ying replied with a smile while a small black colored pearl appeared in the center of his fist while glance toward one of the elders of the Golden Pearl Sect who also happened to have a small black colored pearl in his hand, obviously in preparation of activating the Demonic Pearl Array.
“Prepare to die!” Shan Li’s roar echoed into the minds of everyone who was present as he glared at Zhang while a sizable ball of lightning had formed in his palm, causing the water around him to boil.
“You prepare to die also!” Zhang’s roar soon followed Shan Li’s as a ball of red colored lightning formed in his hand.
Seeing Zhang and Shan Li preparing to slaughter one another, Hui Ying’s eyes turned into crescent moons filled with glee. His joy was soon propelled to the fullest as Zhang unleashed a torrent of red colored lightning toward Shan Li, however, his glee was short lived because an instant later instead of attacking Zhang, Shan Li turned one hundred eighty degrees and unleashed the ball of lightning in his palm downward.
It was only once Shan Li unleashed his attack did Hui Ying realize that he was actually standing directly below Shan Li and in turn directly in the line of fire from Zhang’s attack.
“Activate the array!” Hui Ying commanded as the shell of the massive Maxima Clam he stood in slammed shut moments before Zhang and Shan Li’s attacks arrived. With a loud bang that shook the seafloor, Zhang and Shan Li’s attacks stirred up a curtain of sand and musk that shrouded all visibility.
“Kill those bastards from the Golden Pearl Sect! Leave none of them alive! We are cooperating with the forces of the Blood Coral Cove now!” Shan Li roared.
“All forces! Attack! No one from the Golden Pearl Sect is to remain alive!” Zhang ordered as he stored away the Rising Moon Sword and withdrew his Sky Piercer Halberd.
A massive storm of attacks was released toward the seafloor seconds after Zhang and Shan Li gave the command to their subordinates. One after the other, techniques and special abilities were used in rapid succession by the forces of the Blood Coral Cove and the Starry Sea Sect.
“Brother! Can I go now? Can I?” Ai asked Zhang in an excited tone through her divine sense as the dust kicked up by the countless attacks launched at the seafloor began to settle. Contrary to the dark expression that had been on her face during Uncle Lu’s attempt to attack her, Ai had returned to her usual cheerful self and seemed to have no reconciliation of what had happened.
“Not yet, let’s wait a bit more and then you can go show them who’s boss.” Zhang replied with a grin as his eyes were continually focused on the clearing curtain of debris. Had they not in separate air bubbles, Zhang would have normally ruffled up Ai’s hair in a playful manner like he often did.
Slowly but surely the dust clouds subsided and to everyone’s surprise, there wasn’t even a single scratch on the shells of the massive Chimera Maxima Clams. Further adding to everyone’s dismay, a total of thirty-six columns of black colored light began to come into view.
Soon enough a sinister aura seeped into everyone’s core and caused shivers to run down their spines.
One after the other the thirty-six columns of light began to fan out and connect with each other until a massive ring shaped wall of black light was erected.
“Damn… This array is so large… To think I even thought about having everyone attempt to fly out of it.” Zhang thought as he eyed looked at the wall of black colored light, located tens of miles away.
Just as Zhang finished his thought, thousands upon thousands of white colored runes began to appear on the walls of light.
“I’m feeling a bit woozy…” Ling said as she felt the essence in her body suddenly drop while the essence around her seemed to have disappeared.
Of course, Ling was not the only one to feel the effects of the Demonic Pearl Array, soon after Ling’s comment, the other beauties also felt extremely drained. Zhang, however, appeared to experience no differences in his body or powers at all.
Perhaps it was due to the Underworld Heart lodged in his chest where his heart was supposed to be or the Dragon Heart Necklace, but Zhang was actually unaffected by the Demonic Pearl Array.
“All disciples of the Golden Pearl Sect and all elders present, I Holy Son Hui Ying, order you all to attack! Leave no one alive!” Hui Ying commanded as the shell of all of the massive Chimera Maxima Clams began to open and dozens of waves of attacks shot out of them.
“Blood Scale Army! Defensive formations!” Zhang commanded and in result, almost immediately after his commands were given, all of Zhang's subordinates assembled while the entire Flying Fish of the Flying Fish Legion congregated and formed a giant ball as they swam in perfect synchronization while every Mantis Shrimp in the Mantis Shrimp Cavalry linked claws and formed a large wall of solid shell that wrapped around the ball of flying fish.
“Ice Prison!” Ling said in her mind as a protective layer of ice formed in a ball shape in front of the Mantis Shrimp.
Thus in next to no time at all, three protective layers were formed in front of Zhang, the beauties, and their subordinates to negate any damage that could be received due to the incoming attacks of the Golden Pearl Sect.
In the meantime, much like Zhang, Shan Li had ordered his subordinates to fall into defensive formations, which consisted of being encased behind a wall of Behemoth Jellyfish.