Chapter 224: They Forced Me!
By the end of the day, after all of the guests had departed, Zhang and his cohorts had been able to establish a solid foundation of power within the Eastern Sea. With close to a hundred or so small sects, tens of midsized sects and a few large sects under the banner of the Eastern Sea Alliance.
As things stood, the only thing that Zhang’s forces lacked was a high saint or two, besides that they possessed a staggering number of regular cultivators and many saint level experts.
Alone, lesser saints stood no chance against the stronger forces, since they each possessed only a saint or two amongst their ranks, sometimes there wasn't even one.
However now that close to a hundred of them and many stronger powers, have banded together and joined Zhang, what they had lacked in the past they now had an abundance of.
“Now all I have to do is break through and become a high saint and the plan will proceed much more smoothly.” Zhang thought as he waved his hand and made his magical carriage appear in the middle of the venue where the banquet had occurred moments ago.
“Let's go have some rest, tomorrow will be another long day.” Zhang said in a gentle tone as he gestured to his wives with a bright smile while looking at Ai who was yawning.
“Fighting all day isn't half as tiring as attending these kinds of banquets.” Ai said with a yawn while stretching her arms up into the air.
“Once we finish things up here and return home we will avoiding going to parties and banquets for a while if you don't want to go.” Zhang said with a chuckle.
“Actually do you all want to go see who is the winner of the raffle?” Zhang asked.
“Hmmm, not interested. We have other more important things to do. Lingqi said in a playful and seductive manner as she made her way onto the magical carriage causing Zhang to chuckle and shake his head.
“Yea there are more important things to be done.” Yuying chuckled as she made her way onto the carriage also.
“I guess there are other more important things to do instead of watching the end of the raffle.” Zhang said with a laugh before joining his wives in the carriage. Since he had already given his extra piece of the Ascending Beauty Painting to Chu Shou and Hai Xing, the raffle ended without many incidences occurring.
Surprisingly, a no name level ten cultivator had won the piece and was able to trade it for a small fortune and a spot in a prestigious sect moments after the raffle ended.
“Our lord had stated that after the winner of the raffle has been decided he wishes for there not to be any violence in our camp. Those who stir trouble with face dire consequences.” Hai Xing stated while rows of saint level experts stood behind her, giving off a domineering aura.
Thus, the raffle and a very eventful day came to a peaceful end.
Some may wonder how Zhang was acting so carefree and confident when he was most likely going to have to go against the strongest power residing in the Eastern Sea. However, that is simply Zhang’s nature, for the most part, he was someone who lived in the moment and tried to make the best out of today rather than dwell on yesterday or fear tomorrow.
Of course, like everyone else, he too had his fair share of worries and troubles, but as both a promise to himself and a favor to those around him, he would also have a bright carefree smile when in the presence of others, especially front of his wives.
He was able to enjoy the little things in life while also being able to grasp the bigger picture when he wished to.
With all that being said, it was not like Zhang did not have a plan in mind in regards to how he should deal with the Dragon God Palace. If he didn’t have a plan in mind, Zhang would have more than likely already burned the piece of the Ascending Beauty Painting in his possession, despite the certainty of being attacked by the Dragon God Palace for doing so. That or he would have given his piece of the painting to the Dragon God Palace for safe passage and quickly return to the Wulin Continent.
Although the creation of the Eastern Sea Alliance and the alliance of the top twenty forces will more than likely put him at odds with the Dragon God Palace, everything was moving according to Zhang’s plan and he was certain that he and his wives could come out of their current predicament unscathed.
“All I need to do is wait for the perfect moment to act and the Dragon God Palace will surely suffer a huge blow. It won't matter if they know about the alliance or not, I'm sure they'll wait until after they obtain the inheritance before they act. But if all else fails at the very least I’ll be able to ensure that we all get out of this alive.” Zhang thought as he laid atop a large bed located within his magical carriage while staring blankly at the ceiling as twisting arms and legs, coupled with soft hills of snowy white flesh and skin surrounded him from all sides.
Early in the morning before the sun rose into the sky, Zhang’s camp was once again rowdy as countless stalls and people could be seen moving about.
Although the raffle had already ended, Zhang’s casinos, pawnshops, and other stores were still open for business, generating large sums of essence stones for him.
Regular cultivators and saints alike could be seen trading with one another and a very cheerful mood was established.
Rather than something reminiscent of a military outpost, Zhang’s camp now seemed more like a sprawling marketplace.
“Once we get back to the empire, I’m definitely going to establish a few markets like this one. A place where cultivators and regular people alike can trade.” Zhang thought as he and the beauties walked across camp and saw the abundance of wares being sold and bought.
Although there were many auction houses scattered across the Aurora Empire, most people don't get to benefit or use them. This was because auction houses generally did not accept everyday items, only particularly rare items are put up for auction.
What profit is there to be made in an item that's worth fifty or a hundred gold coins? Who would go to an auction house, pay an entry fee that costs more than the item they wished to purchase.
“Darling, do you know when those people will be arriving?” Lingqi asked as she walked alongside Zhang with arms hooked.
“I think they are already here.” Zhang said with a chuckle as his gaze shifted across the sky where a group of twenty or so individuals dressed in magnificent robes could be seeing looking down upon the camp with overbearing expressions.
“I’ll be right back.” Zhang said in a soft tone to his wives as he took off from the ground and sped through the air, arriving in front of the group of cultivators from the Dragon God Palace a moment later.
“Zhou Zhang, of the Blood Coral Cove, humbly greets your lordships from the Dragon God Palace.” Zhang said in a satirical manner while politely clasping his hand and slightly bowing.
“Young Master of the Blood Coral Cove, I heard that after we departed yesterday you had a little gathering. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend, however, a good number of my friends were present and from their accounts, it felt as if I was a part of the fun also.” Lord Long Zhiming said with a spiteful tone, hinting to Zhang that he knew about the alliance and its purpose.
“Yesterday I was simply speaking out on behalf of Sect Master Shan Jin and Yu Xui, sadly my cultivation is rather lacking and my forces are too weak to refuse them when they asked me to speak. As things are, I can’t offend them, I hope you understand that it was not in my intentions to offend the Dragon God Palace either. If they want me to act haughty and put on a show for everyone then I simply cannot go against their word. At the time, we were not acquainted and I feared that even if I plead my case with you, my lord, it would have fell on deaf ears.” Zhang said in a dejected tone to Lord Long Zhiming using his divine sense causing Lord Long Zhiming’s previously unhappy expression to be replaced with a perplexed one, before a dozen other people shot out from the camp and made their way toward where Zhang and the people from the Dragon God Palace were.
“Lord Long Zhiming, had those two not threatened to kill me and then force my wives into slavery I wouldn’t have dared to act the way I did towards you and the Dragon God Palace. Seeing as those two old men are so shameless and cruel, I beg of you to allow me to help me take them down. If you’re willing I will work as your inside man and help you deal with them when the time comes. If it pleases you to know, it was those two who commanded me to demand ten percent of the inheritance, and I actually don't want a tiny bit of it. All I want is for my wives and me to be able to safe. Please allow me an opportunity to prove my loyalty towards the Dragon God Palace. I apologize for any words or actions that I may be forced to say and do by those two bastards.” Zhang said to Lord Long Zhiming through his divine sense while a sincere expression appeared on his face before mixing himself into the crowd of people who had gathered in the air.
“Has everyone with a piece of the Ascending Beauty Painting gather?” Lord Long Zhiming said in a loud tone and pushing his thoughts about Zhang’s words aside as he flipped his hand and a torn piece of paper appeared, prompting everyone else to retrieve their piece of the Ascending Beauty Painting from this interspatial rings as well.
“So do we hand over our pieces to you or what?” Zhang said in an unhappy tone that prompted a smile to appear on Lord Long Zhiming’s face.
“This young man is simply too great of an actor... “Lord Long Zhiming thought as he contemplated whether or not he should trust the words that Zhang had relayed to him during their exchange.
“None of you have to turn over your pieces of the key. As long as they are in close proximity to each other and a special method is employed, they’ll be able to lead us to where the real painting and the inheritance is.” Lord Long Zhiming said while a storm of different expressions was made by those who gathered around him.
“Real painting?” Zhang and a few others muttered with confused expressions on their faces.
“These eight pieces will simply serve as a map and a guide to where the real painting is. Did you all think our ancestor Lord Long Shijie would be as idiotic enough as to possibly destroy a mystical treasure such as the Ascending Beauty Painting by tearing it apart into eight pieces?” Lord Long Zhiming said with a slight chuckle as he found the confused looks on everyone’s faces quite laughable.
“Alright, I will initiate the spell required to activate the power of the eight pieces of the key.” Lord Long Zhiming said as he flipped his hand and retrieved a strange looking metallic sphere from his interspatial ring.
After Lord, Long Zhiming injected a bit of his essence into the metallic sphere, a blinding pulse of light was released into the air.
“No need to be on guard.” Lord Long Zhiming said as he saw a few people tense up after the pulse of light was released.
In a fraction of a second later, the pulse of light had come in contact with the eight pieces of paper that were supposed to act as the guide to Long Shijie’s inheritance and each of the keys began to glow before eight beams of light were released.
Acting like beacons, the eight keys and the eight beams of light that they were releasing caused a series of mechanical clicks to ring into everyone’s ear from the inside of the metallic ball. Before long the metallic sphere opened up and a miniature sized metallic dragon could be seen.
“Interesting.” Zhang thought as the miniature dragon made of metal seemed to have been granted life and released a deafening roar, a roar so fearful and powerful that it caused many regular cultivators and a few weak lesser saints down below on the ground to cover their ears. There were even a few who vomited a mouth full of blood due to the frightening power contained within the tiny dragon’s roar.
After obtaining everyone’s attention with its awe-inspiring roar, the miniature dragon did the unthinkable, causing everyone to be stupefied. The miniature dragon had actually leaped out from Lord Long Zhiming’s hand and began soaring through the air.
“What, did you all think it would begin to speak and give directions?” Lord Long Zhiming laughed as he and the experts from the Dragon God Palace shot through the air and followed the miniature dragon.
“Yuying, Ai, Ling, Lingqi! Let’s go! Nai Fan and Xiao Gong, you two take a hand full of experts and come with us! Hai Xing and Chu Shou, you two ready our regular forces and catch up by tracking my transmission jade!” Zhang said as a trace of excitement had appeared in his eyes after his interest was piqued by the miniature dragon.