Chapter 229: What Danger?
Highly suspicious of Lord Long Zhiming, Zhang secretly asked Yuying to place an inscription array on the stone door leading into their chambers, as a simple precaution.
“At the end of the day, we aren’t the only ones capable of scheming against other people, just to be safe we should keep up our guard when we are traveling with the group.” Zhang said to the beauties after they sealed off their room and made sure no one could listen on their conversation by deploying a barrier around themselves.
Judging from that man’s demeanor, he has been acting too friendly recently… People simply cannot change like that overnight.” Ling said as she stretched herself atop the only bed within the chamber while staring at the ceiling.
“It’s not like it would be wise to trust those other two old fogies either. Our interactions with them have been shallow and to them, we don’t possess anything beneficial to give. Regardless of wealth, power, and influence, I’m sure we are all lacking compared to them.” Yuying said in her usual skeptical manner.
“In the end, no one can be trusted, sometimes even brothers bound by blood will stab each other in the back. Luckily for me, I'm blessed to be surrounded by people I can trust.” Zhang stated as he glanced at his wives while chuckling.
“Are you sure about that?” Lingqi said in a teasing tone.
“Maybe when you get all wrinkly and old, our sisters may lose interest in you.” Lingqi added with a playful laugh.
“At least we know it won’t be the other way around.” Zhang laughed while sticking out his tongue toward Lingqi.
“Better not be.” Yuying said with a chuckle while glancing at Zhang.
With a room, full of laughter, Zhang and the beauties soon enjoyed a light meal in each other’s company before getting some much-needed rest after a weary journey through the first leg across the Shoal of Serpents. Since there was no need to worry about lurking dangers, the group quickly fell into a deep slumber.
Outside under a veil of moonlight, a lone figure could be seen drifting through the Shoal of Serpents in midair.
If Zhang were to see this figure, he would undoubtedly recognize it as the mysterious man that he had seen before meeting Jian Wei. The same man that he had seen walking across the ocean shortly after returning from the Underworld.
“After nearly a century, everything is coming to fruition. To think after so many years, so many people and so many attempts, so many scattered clues and hints, that there's finally someone who managed fulfill all of the steps required to make it this far.” The mysterious man mumbled to himself as he gazed down into the ravine, toward the outpost cut into the side of the cliff.
“Old friend, although the task you had left was not a simple one, it seems that you will finally be able to rest in peace now. Soon once everything is ready, I'll be able to leave this lower plane and exact our long overdue revenge upon those three bastards…” The mysterious man said in a tone mixed with grief and anger before returning to the calm and slightly jubilant demeanor that he had prior.
As the mysterious man fell into a moment of deep thought, the slithering serpents that resided within the Shoal of Serpents caught wind of his presence and quickly reared their hideous heads out of their lairs.
“Considering that a joyous event is about to happen soon and I'm not in the mood to needlessly slaughter if you pests know what's best for you then leave before this old man gets angry.” The mysterious man said in a low tone as a dozen arching serpents bared their fangs at him.
Ignoring the mysterious man’s warning the Fire Fang Eels hissed angrily and released a dozen torrents of fire from their maws in unison, causing the night sky to light up.
Being the unchallenged rulers of the Shoal of Serpents for hundreds if not thousands of years, these Fire Fang Eels did not know the meaning of fear. Considering they were capable of ripping high saints to shreds, what was there for such beasts to fear?
“Hmph!” The mysterious man snorted as a powerful wave of essence swept out from his body, causing the air and space itself to shiver.
“You want to play with fire in front of me? Laughable!” The mysterious man laughed as the dozen or so torrents of fire being spat at him twisted and twirled, bending to his will before dispersing into nothingness.
“Die…” The mysterious man muttered as the serpents surrounding him bursted into a bloody mist. In a fraction of a second, with little to no effort involved, a dozen or so Fire Fang Eels met their untimely end.
Contrary to what one may think, the scent of blood left behind by the death of the Fire Fang Eels actually served to attract even more of their brethren.
“Wretched beasts…” The mysterious man thought as hundreds of fist-sized fireballs ignited in the air around him. Shifting into the shape of ravens, these first sized balls of fire shot through the air at unbelievable speeds.
Like the harbingers of death, the storm of fire ravens, smashed into the swarm of Fire Fang Eels, instantly igniting whatever poor beast they came in contact with.
Before long, only the smell of charred flesh and ashes remained as most of the Fire Fang Eels residing within the Shoal of Serpents were burnt to death.
Ironically, a demonic beast that had the word fire in its name had been killed by fire.
“It seems I went a little bit overboard and ended up inadvertently helping them… However, I guess it couldn't be helped… Consider this a reward for coming this far.” The mysterious man said with a laugh as a fiery ring ignited around him. A fraction of a second later, the fiery ring rose into the sky before being dispersed by a single gust of wind.
As the fiery ring faded away, so did the mysterious man.
Without knowledge of the events that had transpired in the dead of night, as the first rays of day approached, Zhang and the beauties along with rest of the people seeking out along Shijie’s inheritance resumed their journey through the Shoal of Serpents.
With cautious gazes and quiet steps, the group continued on.
Due to an ever-present oceanic breeze, the smell of blood and char had long since been blown away, leaving little to no trace of the one-sided slaughtered that had occurred.
“Everyone, stick close to the cliff walls, during this time of day, the Fire Fang Eels are most active.” Lord Long Zhiming warned in a whisper as he proceeded forward cautiously, eyeing his every step to ensure that he made as little noise as possible.
Thus following, Lord Long Zhiming’s example, the rest of the group pushed onward at a steady pace.
After a few hundred steps, an odd yet terrifying sensation slowly took root as the group found that a dreadful silence has enveloped their path.
The previously frightful shaking created when the lords of the Shoal of Serpents slithered across the earth could no longer be felt. The occasional hissing that drifted down from above could no longer be heard, only a deathly silence was present.
“It’s as if they all up and died.” Ai muttered in a low tone, causing a pleasant thought to appear in everyone’s mind.
“Nonsense, everyone pick up the pace, something is amiss…” Lord Long Zhiming said as he instantly shot down Ai’s thoughts, causing her to snort in response.
“It'll be good if they all up and died. That would make things much simpler for us.” Zhang thought with a chuckle as he saw that they were quickly approaching a fork in the road.
“Master Yu Xui and Master Shan Jin, when we arrive at the fork in the road, I will be leading my group to the left.” Zhang said through his divine sense.
“The path to the left? Why would you do that? As I've heard, the path to the left is many times more dangerous than the path to the right.” Master Yu Xui replied through his divine sense with a hint of worry in his tone.
“I was asked to retrieve a certain something in order to gain along Zhiming’s trust. Rest assured I have my own means of keeping myself and my people safe.” Zhang responded.
“If the situation becomes too dire, protecting your life is more important than gaining that bastard’s trust.” Master Shan Jin said before Zhang cut off communications with him and Master Yu Xui.
Thus, when the time came to splinter off from the group, Zhang, the beauties and their group of followers without stirring too many questions or gazes.
After walking a substantial distance down the left path, from what Zhang could tell, the only major difference between the two paths was the fact that path to the left was partially basically a sandy and partially covered in water while the path to the right was composed of solid stone.
“Besides being knee deep in water, this isn't too bad…” Zhang murmured.
“Maybe they are afraid that the sound of splashing water might attract a few Fire Fang Eels.” Ling stated.
“Maybe they are afraid of getting themselves wet.” Ai said with a chuckle, causing the rest of the group of snicker.
What they did not know was if they had walked this same path a day prior, there would have been roughly triple the number of Fire Fang Eels present compared to the other path.
There might have even been a few eels waiting in the sand for their next meal, making it near impossible to not have a run in with a Fire Fang Eel or two.
One must know that when one or two Fire Fang Eels were attracted, a whole horde of them all were. With three times the number of Eels and three times the chance of encountering one, the path to the left would have certainly spelled death for most.
Luckily, most of the Fire Fang Eels had been scattered to the four winds and those that had survived were too afraid to leave their dens for the time being.
So, without any Fire Fang Eels to hinder them, Zhang, the beauties and their subordinates were able to move at long at a fairly quick pace all the while keeping their guard up in case any dangers were lurking about.
Before long the group, Lingqi in particulate, spotted three peculiar looking flowers growing on the side of the cliff. With fiery feather life petals, not only did these flowers look otherworldly they also gave off a mystical and divine aura.
“Phoenix Feather Lilies…” Lingqi mumble as her inner self, screamed in excitement. As someone who practiced both medicine and pill concocting, upon seeing such an odd and unique plant, Lingqi couldn't help but be mesmerized.
“If you want, I can't pick a few for you. He did say that we only needed to retrieve one lily.” Zhang said as he saw how feverishly his wife was gazing toward the cliff.
“The question isn't whether or not how many they want; the question is how many we can retrieve without attracting any unwanted attention.” Lingqi said with a slight giggle as she felt a tinge of warmth deep into her heart after hearing Zhang volunteering to go retrieve a few Phoenix Feather Lilies for her.
“If it's just retrieving a few flowers, I could do it with my eyes closed. If a few of those pesky things show up, we might end up having grill eel for lunch. Zhang chuckled while putting on a fearless expression.
With a thought, Zhang’s shadow began to wiggle and come to life as a small group of Abyssal Beasts shaped like mice scurried out from the dark depths.
Not needing to be given any kind of directions, a group composed of nine Abyssal Mice skillfully ascended the cliff face at an uncanny speed.
Splitting up into teams of three, upon arriving at where the three Phoenix Feather Lilies were sprouting out from, they began to burrow and dig away the dirt and rock keeping the lilies rooted.
Being needlessly cautious and hoping not to make too much noise, Zhang employed the power of the Underworld Heart to prevent any of the rocks being broken loose by the Abyssal Mice from falling downward.
Slowly, lowering the levitating rocks to the ground and into the water, Zhang waited for the Abyssal Mice to finish their work and collect the Phoenix Feather Lilies for him.
Before long, three fiery lilies were presented to Zhang, who in turn gave two to Lingqi while depositing one away into his interspatial ring for Lord Long Zhiming.
“This flower can probably be used to make a wide variety of different healing pills. Each petal is brimming with so much vitality that if I were to give ground it to a paste and dilute its potency to a hundredth of a fraction of its currently at now, it would probably still be powerful enough to help an injured saint regrow a lost arm.” Lingqi stated after examining the Phoenix Feather Lilies in her hand briefly.
“Consuming a single petal would probably allow someone to push their abilities an extra fifty percent higher than usual.” Lingqi added.
“No wonder that old bat wants us to collect one of these for him… For a regular saint, having one of these means basically have an extra life.” Zhang said before gesturing for the group to move forward.
However, before they had even moved forward a few dozen footsteps, the group came to a sudden halt once again.
Hidden within crevice underneath an overhang, were five more Phoenix Feather Lilies, ripe for the picking.
“This place is a treasure trove… I don't know why everyone thought it was so dangerous.” Zhang mumbled with a chuckle.