Chapter 220: Not Crazy
After hearing Zhang’s willingness to offer up a large portion of his share of Long Shijie’s inheritance, a wave of excitement swept across the faces of those who did not have any relation to the various owners of the pieces of the Ascending Beauty Painting.
Had Zhang not spoken the words that he had, then a large majority of the people who had gathered would have left and scattered back to their respective domains. However now that there were rewards to reap and curiosity to push them downward, few would choose to leave.
“I also have a second announcement so everyone please bear with me.” Zhang said with a grin, while an impatient scowl began to become visible on Lord Long Zhiming’s face.
“On top of offering up seven percent of my ten percent share of Long Shijie’s inheritance, I’m also offering up my second piece of the Ascending Beauty Painting. Some of you may be thinking I’m insane for offering up such a sought-after treasure, however, I assure you I am not crazy. I’m simply someone who is not blinded by greed and hoping to create connections with others.” Zhang said as a crooked grin appeared on his face, prompting the beauties to inwardly chuckle at his words.
“After three hours’ time, my Blood Coral Cove will be holding a raffle to find the new lucky owner of a piece of the Ascending Beauty Painting. Those who wish to take part in this raffle and acquire a chance at winning a piece of the Ascending Beauty Painting please check out one of the booths that we have set up on that island. Those who wish to work under me please approach one of these fine gentlemen here.” Zhang said as he pointed to the island where his forces were currently camped and then directing everyone’s attention to the saint level experts who served under him.
“Lord Long Zhiming, I’m rather tired of all the fighting that occurred today, if we can put our meeting on hold until tomorrow, that would be much appreciated. I must tell you, though, that I practice a very strange fire technique and sometimes when I get tired, my body will ignite, although normally that won't cause any problem but what if I was holding a piece of the Ascending Beauty Painting?” Zhang said as he looked around with a fake apologetic look on his face before waving his hand and dispelling the large singularity that was pinning down Lord Long Zhiming’s eight massive ice dragons causing them to fall from the sky and crash into the ocean.
“Hmph! So be it... I’ll have my people contact you all tomorrow.” Lord Long Zhiming said in an angry tone as his patience was at an end after seeing the pathetic sight the eight majestic dragons were in. With a flip of his sleeves and a Lord Long Zhiming and his forces began to depart.
Seeing the eight ice dragons descend into the depths of the sea, a slight frown appeared on Ai’s face, but besides this a sign of relief evident on everyone else.
“Lad, now that our common enemy has shown themselves and our differences have been temporarily put aside, I must say it’s nice to meet such a promising youngling.” Master Lord Yu Xiu, the ancestral master of the Golden Pearl Sect said after the forces of the Dragon God Palace had departed from view and gesturing for Zhang to follow him a short distance away from where everyone else was currently congregated.
“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance also, senior. If possible I would like us to not put aside our differences temporarily, but permanently.” Zhang replied with a smile and a laugh while clasping his hands together and bowing slightly in a respectable manner.
“You old fart, let bygones be bygones already… It was you who suggested we attack his territory, to begin with. I mean had it not been for his quick thinking and broad views, then I’m certain the Dragon God Palace would have sunken our corpses beneath the waves just now.” The ancestral sect master of the Starry Sea Sect said in an unserious tone.
“Master Shan Jin, brother Shan Li has told me a lot about you.” Zhang said as he proceeded to clasp his hands together and greet the ancestral sect master of the Starry Sea Sect like he had done moments ago.
“Seeing as it was we who were the ones to deal the first hand, I would like to apologize and offer to keep this temporary alliance between our two forces permanent.” Master Yu Xiu said with a smile.
Although the loss of a sect’s holy son was a big setback, an ironclad alliance between the Blood Coral Cove, Starry Sea Sect and Golden Pearl Sect was something of much higher importance for the time being.
“Thank you, Master Yu Xiu for being such a forgiving person. As a show of my respect for you and to help further solidify our alliance, I had my subordinates prepare a small banquet.” Zhang said.
“Ancestral Sect Master, if you’d follow me I’ll lead you to the banquet.” Shan Li said in a respectful tone to Master Shan Jin.
“Boy… How many times have I told you to stop calling me that… Although I’ve been in closed door training and haven’t interacted with you and your father for a long time, I’m still your grandfather...” Master Shan Jin said in Shan Li in an unhappy tone.
“Grandfather… I’m sorry… Father had never told me and I’ve become accustomed to addressing you like everyone else…” Shan Li said in an apologetic tone.
“That dumb father of yours… If he wasn’t so idiotic and wanted to cut off our relations, then we wouldn’t be having this issue… Once everything is settled and we return back home I’m going to set down and have a long talk with that him...” Master Shan Jin said with a sigh.
“Master Shan Jin, Master Yu Xiu, if you don’t mind, I’ll meet up with you two at the banquet, but for now I would like to excuse myself.” Zhang said as the beauties arrived beside him and they flew back toward where the leaders of the other sects and forces were currently conversing with one another.
“Lord Zhang, it is an honor to make your acquaintance.” The master of the Divine Wave Sect who had stood against the Dragon God Palace beside Zhang earlier said upon seeing Zhang and the beauties.
“The honor is all mine. To be acquainted with the master of the Divine Wave Sect, which stands as the tenth strongest force in the Eastern Sea is something many can only dream of.” Zhang replied with a friendly laugh.
“The rumors do not do you justice, Lord Zhou Zhang. Not only are you not a two-headed monster hot headed monster but instead you are a handsome quick witted man.” The mistress of the Celestial Mermaid Bay said in a teasing tone as she came to greet Zhang, prompting the beauties to look at her with unhappy faces.
One by one, dozens of leaders and sect masters soon congregated around Zhang and the beauties, hoping to form ties and bridge friendships with the young man who shook the very core of their beliefs and accomplished the unthinkable moments ago.
For the people who lived in the Eastern Sea, the Dragon God Palace was an unshakeable, unbeatable and domineering force that no one dared to stand against, however, Zhang not only stood against the Dragon God Palace, he even threatened them a couple times. Atop of all things, they were quick to tell that Zhang was a crafty and very resourceful individual, making it so that everyone present wanted to at least come up and shake hands with him or exchange a few simple greetings.
Thanks to Zhang’s open personality and humble demeanor, he was able to almost instantly befriend many of the influential and powerful characters that had gathered to greet him.
Although inwardly he knew that most of these people whom he was befriend had actually gathered to witness his demise and perhaps profit off of it. He knew better than anyone else that if the previous turn of events had gone astray and resulting in an unfavorable situation for himself and the beauties, more than half the people present would have turned their blades against him in order to land on the good side of the Dragon God Palace.
But regardless of what could have happened Zhang has outwardly acted as if he didn't know any better.
He had to project the imagine of a kind and forgiving individual who was worthy of respect from everyone.
Forming an alliance to stand against the Eastern Sea’s strongest power was not something one could accomplish through fear and enacting vengeance for every minor grievance.
“Although I won’t harm a single hair on any of your bodies, I'll be sure to burn a hole in your pockets when I get the opportunity.” Zhang thought as he eyed a few individuals who had acted discourteously toward him not too long ago and were not trying to befriend him.
“Although it may be on short notice but I had order, my people, to prepare a banquet before the fighting had begun and I would like to invite you all to attend. Master Shan Jin and Yu Xiu have already headed to the venue and are awaiting us. We can all converse over a few cups of wine while down in my camp. If any of you are interested, then you can take part in the raffle I'm holding also.” Zhang said with a smile.
“If you'll have us then we would be more than delighted to attend this banquet. Since Master Yu Xiu is attending I definitely have to go. My name is Jian Lei; it is a pleasure to meet you, Brother Zhou Zhang.” Jian Lei of the sect master of the Jade Serpent Sect said with a smile.
“Likewise it is a pleasure to meet you also, Brother Jian Lei. If I recall correctly your Jade Serpent Sect had arrived with Master Yu Xiu?” Zhang said as he offered Jian Lei a handshake.
Since Jian Lei had arrived with the forces of the Golden Pearl Sect, compared to the rest of the people present, he was in Zhang’s eyes, a comrade in arms.
“Yes, Master Yu Xiu and my father have been friends for many years and thanks to him I was given an opportunity to leave the sect and broaden my views.” Jian Lei said in a tone that indicated he had immense respect for Master Yu Xiu.
“Alright if you all would follow me.” Zhang said as he proceeded to head down toward where the soldiers of the Blood Coral Cove and disciples of the Starry Sea Sect were camped.
Unlike prior to the battle, Zhang’s camp was bustling with activity. With the arrival of reinforcements from the Starry Sea Sect, thousands of tents were being erected and hundreds of tasks were being performed.
There were also tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people that had no prior connection to Zhang gathered, wishing to either work under his banner for a piece of Long Shijie’s inheritance or hoping to enter the raffle for the Ascending Beauty Painting.
The intense and bloodthirsty atmosphere that had enveloped the land, sky and sea not too long ago was now replaced almost entirely.
Thanks to prior planning from Zhang, hundreds of stalls had been set up and a wide range of activities was taking place.
Stalls selling and buying food, weapons, armor, and supplies were in full swing. Counters selling raffle tickets had long snaking lines of people waiting in front of them. Martial arts arenas were crowded by individuals who were being tested to see whether or not they were strong enough to be employed by the Blood Coral Cove, there were even a few makeshift casinos present.
“Come one, come all! Anyone who wishes to enter the raffle please get in line! Tickets are merely a single essence stone each! For a measly essence stone, you can win a chance at obtaining a piece of the Ascending Beauty Painting and in turn a price of Long Shijie’s treasure! A piece of the inheritance of the man who founded the Dragon God Palace!” The soldiers of the Blood Scale Army working the raffle counters said in loud voices.
“What if we don't want the Ascending Beauty Painting? Even if we get the painting, if we don't have sufficient power then it would only get stolen from us.” A few trouble makers and skeptics jeered.
“Not interested in the Ascending Beauty Painting? The how about the chance to win a million essence stones? The second and third place prizes are one million essence stones and five hundred thousand essence stones respectively.” The soldiers of the Blood Scale Army advertised, causing wild fantasies to run amok within everyone's minds.
“A million essence stones… With that much wealth, someone might be able to start up a small sized sect…” A few people mumbled.
“Don't have any essence stones on you? Worry not! Just head over to one of the pawn stores that we have set up throughout the camp and trade a few of your worthless belongings for a few essence stones!” Groups of soldiers repeated in loud voices.
“Sign me up!” A large man dressed in long green colored robes said as he placed an essence stone on a counter in front of one of Zhang’s soldiers.
“Alright then please select five numbers from one to ninety-nine. The drawing will take place in approximately three hours.” The soldier belonging to the Blood Scale Army said in a polite tone.
“Five numbers from one to ninety-nine… What happens if someone else bought the same number as me?” The man dressed in green asked.
“Simple, if there are multiple winners with the same numbers then we will have them all pick a single number and do a redrawing.” The soldier responded promptly.
At first Zhang had loathed the fact that so many people were gathering to see his conflict with the Golden Pearl Sect, however, after receiving word from Master Yu Xiu about an alliance, he realized if his plans came to fruition, an opportunity to reap countless riches was presenting itself at his doorstep.
With so many cultivators gathered, he was sure that through a few simple means, he would be able to make an astronomical sum of wealth in little to no time at all.
There was a one in seventy-one million five hundred twenty-three thousand and one hundred forty-four chance of winning the raffle, meaning if every possible set of five numbers were sold once, after subtracting the one million and five hundred thousand essence stones put up as rewards, Zhang would be pocketing seventy million essence stones.
Of course, there was a chance that no one would take part in the raffle at all, but when taking into consideration how many people were present and the enticement a million essence stones had, it was without a doubt that Zhang would make a killing off the raffle alone without factoring in the casinos, pawn stores, and other various stalls.