Chapter 216: Those Gathering
In a breeze, Yuying had completed setting up a massive array around the coalition camp and just as quickly as she was able to do so, the day came to an end and with it, a new day began.
However, unlike the previous day, as if they had been summoned by the most malicious of spells, raging black clouds swept across the sky. As if the heavens were filled with sorrow for what was about to come, countless teary raindrops descended from above. Following the flood of raindrops, there would but the occasional flash of lightning that would reveal hundreds of silhouettes hidden from the light of the sun by the blanket of black clouds.
Of these hundreds of silhouettes, many belonged to massive winged beasts, other belonged to flying carriages with fiery wheels and dozens were the silhouettes of a mismatch of individuals.
“Master, are you sure be heading to Golden Shell City?” One of the many silhouettes spoke as a flash of lightning revealed a young girl who had her hair tied up into two buns, wearing long flowing red robes.
“Little Hong’er, whoever is the victor of this battle will more than likely be in possession of two pieces of that painting, or at the very least a single piece of it. As long as we can obtain the pieces of the painting then a mountain of opportunity would open up for our sect.” A young man who appeared to be no older than thirty years of age who was flying beside the young girl responded in a calm tone.
“Master is it wise for a small sect like our Scarlet Tide Sect to even attempt to contend for a piece of that painting? Wouldn't there be other more powerful sects arriving with the same intention?” The young girl called Hong’er said in a respectful tone.
“That is a wise observation, however regardless of whether we manage to obtain a piece of the painting or not, the outcome of that battle will reshape the influence of the various powers of the Eastern Sea and it would be the perfect opportunity to make a name for our sect. Alliances can be forged and rewards will be ripe for the picking.” The man flying beside Hong’er said.
“I see, master. I guess we can't possibly sit back and do nothing while all of these other small sects are heading there.” Hong’er said as her eyes gazed into the distance where a flash of lightning revealed the presence of another group, consisting of a few hundred people, not too far away.
“Ah if it isn't the young master of Crescent Skull Island!” Hong’er’s master said in a loud tone that reverberated through the air and could be heard despite the deafening rumbling of thunder.
“Sect Master Ming Kong, what a coincidence to be meeting you here.” A thundering voice rang out in response.
“Might you be heading toward Golden Shell City also?” The thundering voice sounded out once again.
“Aren't we all?” Sect Master Ming Kong replied with a laugh as the two groups flew toward each other.
“Would you like to travel together? Since it would definitely prove to be safer to travel in numbers.” The thunderous voice from earlier could be heard as a young man glad in grayish armor that appeared to be made of bones came into view.
“We would love to travel together” Sect Master Ming Kong said with a chuckle as the two groups began to combine and resume their journey.
Before long another group of people making their way through the storm and toward Golden Shell City could be spotted and soon after them, yet another group was quickly spotted.
Throughout the Eastern Chaotic Sea, independent forces of various sizes and influence were steadily congregating together and heading toward where they believe a fate-altering event would occur.
One of the largest groups heading toward Golden Shell City, of course, is the one lead by the Golden Pearl Sect.
By themselves the Golden Pearl Sect was already a formidable force, bolstering roughly two hundred thousand disciples, and about fifty lesser saint level elders, a hand full of grand elders who were full saints and a high saint.
However, with their numbers alone they would have only been about even with the forces that the coalition would have once the Ancestral Sect Master of the Starry Sea Sect arrived to reinforce Zhang and Shan Li. That would have been the case had they not spent a large portion of their sect’s base foundation to employ the aid of a staggering number of other sects and countless sea dwellers.
Adding to the might of the Golden Pearl Sect were a total of twelve small sects, five mid-sized sects and the forces of the Jade Serpent Sect which ranked twenty-first on power amongst the various rulers of the sea. With all of these sects flocking under their banner, the entirety of the Golden Pearl Sect’s forces more than likely contained a million or so regular cultivators, about three hundred lesser saints, a hundred full saints, led by a single high saint.
Although their current force still wouldn't allow them to stand on par with the Dragon Palace Sect, the current power of the Golden Pearl Sect was something that few could rival in the Eastern Sea.
For a regular small sect, lesser saints were already considered top tier masters and having but one or two of them apart of the sect was already considered a blessing. So from this alone, one could only imagine the impact that the sight of three hundred lesser saints, one hundred full saints, and a high saint soaring through the sky would have on any who happened to spot them.
One could also imagine the excitement for many of the regular cultivators under the banner of Golden Pearl Sect. For the privilege of being able to witness so many Saint level experts in action, many of them had actually volunteered to serve for no reward.
More often than not, regular cultivators would seek to befriend large sects and saint level experts, making the Golden Pearl Sect’s call for aid a perfect opportunity for many.
Thus with hopes of establishing good relations with the Golden Pearl Sect and hopes of obtaining countless benefits, thousands flocked to offer their service.
“Uncle, how much longer until we reach Golden Shell City?” A young boy who appeared no older than the age of twelve asked. Despite his looks, the boy was a level nine cultivator, in other words, a genius in regards of cultivation. One could say this young boy’s future held countless possibilities. How often does a twelve-year-old level nine cultivator appear?
“Little Feng Ji, why are you in such a big hurry? Do any of the other people here look like they are in a hurry? Even if we arrive there it would be wise for us to not partake in the initial battles.” A middle-aged man with eyes filled with wisdom and a long beard replied to the boy as his gaze swept across the room, where hundreds of other people could be seen, separated into groups.
“Why is that Uncle Feng Tian?” Feng Ji asked with as he looked at the middle aged man with eyes brimming with curiosity.
“In a battle where so many saints are taking part in, cultivators at our level would only serve as fodder. So only hot headed fools would take part in the early confrontations. Think about it… What if one of them felt bored and decided to slaughter folks like us. Would either of us be able to stop them? Just because many people call you a genius doesn't mean you can defeat a saint level expert.” The middle-aged man called Uncle Feng Tian said as lectured the young boy, reminding the lad that when compared to saints, normal practitioners didn't amount to much.
“Then is it wise for us to take part at all? How can we be certain that we are on the winning side?” Feng Ji asked.
“Win or not, as long as we play our cards right not only will put lives remain intact, we would gain many benefits for being present to witness the coming battles. Just keep your eyes keen and be sure to pick up any odd looking treasures you spot, scavenging can yield us a substantial amount of wealth.” Uncle Feng Tian said with a laugh as the sound of trickling rain hitting against the wood could be heard coming from above.
“Old man, you have a good head on those shoulders of yours.” A young man said with a laugh. Dressed in expensive looking silk clothes, with a head of glossy black hair, fair skin and beautiful azure colored eyes at first look any regular person would deem this young man as a womanizer or playboy of sorts.
“Young master, this old man is simply speaking the truth. Sometimes the truth may be uncomfortable to hear, but for people like us to that that we can step foot into a battle of saints with equal footing is but a fool's dream. I’m sure most of the people on this airship would agree with me.” Uncle Feng Tian stated as he looked at the young man.
“The words of a truly wise man.” The young man said with a laugh as he proceeded to sit down with Uncle Feng Tian and Feng Ji.
“My name is Jian Lei, may I ask what yours names are?” The young man asked as he waved his hand and made a jug of wine, along with three cups and a small basket of peanuts appear on the ground in front of himself.
“My name is Feng Tian, you may call me Uncle Feng Tian and this is my nephew Feng Ji.” Uncle Feng Tian said with a smile.
“It is a pleasure to be of your acquaintance, Uncle Feng Tian, and little brother Feng Ji. How about a toast in honor of our meeting?” Jian Lei replied with a smile as he poured wine into the three cups that he had withdrawn from his interspatial ring.
“I can’t possibly drink at a time like this. Who knows when battle may arise.” Uncle Feng Tian said as he shook his head. For all he knew, Jian Lei was trying to get him and his nephew drunk and then robs them or worse. Although everyone present was here under the banner of the Golden Pearl Sect, everyone had come for a different reason.
“Brother Jian Lei, may I ask for what reason you’ve enlisted?” Feng Ji asked with the word intrigue written across his face.
“My sect had actually offered our services to the Golden Pearl Sect in exchange for a few benefits.” Jian Lei replied before gulping down a cup of wine.
“Ah, are you from the Sea Pillar Sect? Or maybe the Aquatic Demon Sect? Oh oh, maybe the Silver Tortoise Sect?” Feng Ji asked in an excited tone.
“I come from the Jade Serpent Sect. What might you have come from?” Jian Lei said in a calm tone despite the looks on Feng Ji and Uncle Feng Tian’s faces after hearing his words.
“The Jade Serpent Sect!? The sect that would be ranked amongst the top twenty forces who dominate the sea?!” Feng Ji said in a loud astonished voice as he stood up from where he was sitting, prompting the gazes of everyone within the room to focus on him.
“Little Ji... “Uncle Feng Tian muttered as he looked at his nephew while shaking his head.
Feeling awkward from everyone’s piercing gazes, Feng Ji reseated himself after sweeping his gaze across the room with an apologetic look on his face.
“Young master, Jian Lei, to answer your question, my nephew and I are sadly not a part of any sects. We hail from a small clan that lives at the very edge of the Golden Pearl Sect’s domain.” Uncle Feng Tian said with a hint of embarrassment on his face.
“Yea, Uncle and I are going to collect a lot of treasure and make friends with all of the powerful sects so that we can help our clan grow stronger.” Feng Ji said innocently in an excited tone.
“Is that so?” Jian Lei said in an intrigued tone as he sipped a bit of wine from his cup.
“Haha, no need to listen to a child’s rambling, young master Jian Lei. We are simply going to try to see if we can scavenge a few things here and there off of the battlefield and bring them home in order to provide for the rest of the clan.” Uncle Feng Tian said humbly.
“Uncle, didn’t you say that we would try to make lots of friends so that the other clans on the island won’t bully us anymore?” Feng Ji asked as he tugged his uncle’s sleeve.
“If you’re looking to make friends then how about me? Here take this as a proof of our friendship, if you show this to anyone that knows any better than they won’t dare to bully you. I’m going to bid you guys farewell, for now, hopefully, we’ll be able to meet again once the battle is over. Maybe you can invite me to your home or something. Or perhaps if you wanted to visit me, you can use this emblem to get yourselves into the Jade Serpent Sect.” Jian Lei said with a laugh as he produced a jade emblem in his hand and handed it to Feng Ji before pushing himself up from the ground and walking off.
“Sect Master Jian Lei?” Feng Ji mumbled in a low tone as he read the letters inscribed onto the jade emblem.
“What? Let me have a look at that.” Uncle Feng Tian said, prompting Feng Ji to hand over the jade emblem to him before his body became utterly stiff from shock.
In the meantime, Jian Lei could be seen opening a wooden door and walking out of the large room and into the rain before leaping into the air and flying away from the airship that Feng Ji and Feng Tian were on.
Away from the large flying wooden boat, and away from his new found friends, Jian Lei soon made his way onto another airship, one that appeared to have been made entirely of gold and gave off an awe-inspiring presence. An airship whose massive sails had a majestic looking jade colored serpent embroidered onto it, a clear indication that it belonged to the Jade Serpent Sect.