Chapter 231: The Soul, The Body, The Mind
“How much longer are they going to take?” Ai asked while yawning.
“Judging by the pace that we had traveled at before, they should be arriving at the exit any moment now.” Zhang said while looking at his wives and subordinates with a slightly apologetic face.
Due to his orders, everyone had basically turned their clothes into rags and a few had even gone as far and inflicting wounds on their bodies so that Zhang could provide proof to his claims when he hands in only a single Phoenix Feather Lily to Lord Long Zhiming.
With the sorry state, everyone currently was in, it wouldn’t be too hard to convince Lord Long Zhiming and the other group that they had been attacked by Fire Fang Eels and lost nearly half of their numbers.
However, there was one thing that Zhang forgot to factor in as he acted on the spur of the moment. He forgot to take into account the travel speed of Lord Long Zhiming’s group.
Unlike Zhang’s group, after running into a Fire Fang Eel, Lord Long Zhiming’s group did not get to enjoy the gracious gift of flight. Meaning they traveled on foot while keeping an eye out for nonexistent dangers, which of course would result in a snail-like pace.
“It’s been about a day and a half, they should be coming out any moment now…” Ling said with a sigh.
“When they do remember to stick to the same story.” Zhang said with a slight chuckle.
In a flash, roughly five more hours passed before Zhang’s divine sense picked up Master Shan Jin and Master Xui Yu’s presence. Signaling to the rest of his party, Zhang plastered a distressed and wary expression on his face.
“Master Shan Jin, Master Yu Xui, Lord Long Zhiming!” Zhang yelled as he began to run toward the other group.
“Lad, what happened? You look awful.” Master Shan Jin said in a worried tone.
“We were nearly wiped out…” Zhang said with a grave tone.
“You had a run in with the Fire Fang Eels too?” Master Yu Xui asked while noticing the sorry state Zhang and his group was in.
“All hell broke loose… Brother Ren Tong was ripped into two…” One of Zhang’s subordinates cried as he hugged his head.
With Lord, Long Zhiming’s party gathered around them, Zhang and the beauties began to spin an outrageous yet believable tale filled with self-sacrifice, brotherhood, love, death, and sorrow.
Upon hearing Zhang’s account, those apart of Lord Long Zhiming’s party could not help but believe themselves to brimming with luck.
“If we had a run in like theirs, we would have been goners…” Someone mumbled as they felt a shiver run down their spine due to Zhang’s tale.
“That poor llama… If it was not for its sacrifice, then things would have been disastrous...” A female lesser saint said while wiping away the tears that had gathered in the corner of her eye.
“Yea, that poor demon llama… Bless his soul…” Another lesser saint said.
Thus, after making everyone believe their story, Zhang’s group reintegrated themselves into Lord Long Zhiming’s group.
“Everyone, I’ll reactivate our little guide now, and we will continue on our journey.” Lord Long Zhiming said as he retrieved the miniature metallic dragon that had initially lead the group from his interspatial ring.
Injecting a bit of his essence into the inanimate metallic dragon, Lord Long Zhiming caused its eyes to emit a blinding glow moments before a deafening roar sounded into the air.
Before long, the miniature metallic dragon wiggled out of Lord Long Zhiming’s hand and shot into the air where it began to soar about before resuming its course to where Long Shiji’s inheritance was hidden.
“Let’s go!” Lord Long Zhiming yelled as he shot into the air following the metallic dragon.
Not wanting to fall behind, one by one everyone else soon took to the air also, leaving behind Zhang, the beauties, and their subordinates.
Withdrawing the magical carriage from his interspatial ring, before opening the door for the beauties to get on board.
“After you guys get a change of clothes you can catch up.” Zhang said to his subordinates before waving his hand and sending the magical carriage flying into the air, joining it moments later.
Once in the air, Zhang utilized the powers of the Underworld Heart and engulfed himself in a faint purplish glow.
As the Underworld Heart began to work its magic, the torn threads on Zhang’s robes slowly began to reattach to each other. Employing the power of the heavenly artifact, Zhang mended his clothes in a flash before landing on the driver's seat of the magical carriage.
“Lord Long Zhiming, I was able to accomplish the task you had handed to me. When the opportunity presents itself, I will hand over the Phoenix Feather Lily I managed to retrieve to you. I apologize for not being able to collect more than one.” Zhang said in an apologetic tone to Lord Long Zhiming using his divine sense.
“You managed to get one?” Lord Long Zhiming replied in a slightly surprised voiced.
“Yes, my lord, although I lost nearly half of my men, I was able to retrieve a lily for you. I hope our prior agreement is still in effect.” Zhang responded in a sad tone that only someone who had just failed an important would use.
“Of course, our deal is still in effect. As I’ve said before, as long as you can retrieve a Phoenix Feather Lily for me, you would have proven your worth and not only will your past insolence be forgiven but you will also be recognized as a member of the Dragon God Palace and by association, your wives will also.” Lord Long Zhiming responded cheerfully.
“Welcome to the Dragon God Palace, lad.” Lord Long Zhiming added.
“Please take care of me and my wives in the future, Lord Long Zhiming or shall I call you sect master.” Zhang said with a chuckle.
“Good, good, when you get the opportunity hand over the lily to me as soon as possible and I will give you a few lifesaving treasures. This part of the sea isn’t very safe, there are many ancient demonic beasts that lurk beneath the waves. Like the Fire Fang Eels that live on the cliffs of the Shoal of Serpents, these beasts have lost the ability to shed their beastly shell and along with it their sense of thought and reason. Equipped with immense power the sole purpose of existence for these creatures is to devour and kill.” Lord Long Zhiming said.
“So, there are other beasts comparable to the likes of the Fire Fang Eels?” Zhang asked.
“Yes, this stretch of ocean has become a gathering place for many beasts like the Fire Fang Eels. Actually, compared to the Fire Fang Eels that reside within the Shoal of Serpents, the creatures that lurk out in the open sea are many times stronger. Perhaps it is because the Fire Fang Eels lack the strength to fend themselves out here that they live in the on land, where the stronger oceanic beasts cannot reach them.” Lord Long Zhiming said solemnly.
“Are some demonic beasts just born without the ability to shed their beastly skin? Or is there some kind of reason behind why?” Zhang asked, after a peculiar question popped up in his head.
“Let me ask you this, do you know what comes after sainthood?” Lord Long Zhiming asked.
“If I recall correctly, Lord Long Shiji, the founder of the Dragon God Palace and his father the master of the Sea Beast sect had both reached a realm higher than sainthood. They had become deities, right? Pardon me for my lack of knowledge on the subject...” Zhang responded.
“Yes, Long Shiji and Lord Long Jieshu had both break free of the shackles of sainthood and completed their second ascension. However, they did not reach the deity realm, in the history of the Eastern Sea and perhaps there has yet to be someone who had reached the deity realm. Both Long Shiji and Lord Long Jieshu had become half deities. Although both are considered the characters myths and legends and there is only a single word differentiating them, half deity realm and deity realm cultivators are leagues apart.” Lord Long Zhiming said.
“Half deities…” Zhang mumbled in his mind.
“Now let me ask you why do you think in the history of the Eastern Sea, there are only two notable half deity realm experts and while there are so many high saints flying around.” Lord Long Zhiming asked.
“That I do not know…” Zhang replied promptly, accepting his lack of knowledge.
“The answer is simple, everything is based on luck. To initiate one’s second ascension and become a half deity is not very hard at all. There are only three requirements, the first is you must be a high saint, the second is you must have a sufficient amount of heavenly energy stored within your body and the is you must possess the guts to fall forth a heavenly tribulation.” Lord Long Zhiming said to Zhang, chuckling after stating the last requirement needed to become a half deity.
“Heavenly tribulation?” Zhang asked with intrigue as his mind brimmed with questions. Although Yuying was quite knowledgeable in regards to cultivation, she felt that the need to allow Zhang to learn things on his own, feeling that by sharing her immense knowledge with him, his growth would be stalled. Yuying had said knowing too much before the time came would do more harm than good. Thus, being the first-time Zhang had the opportunity to learn more about the world of cultivation from someone more knowledgeable than himself, he was quite pleased, even if he did not exactly trust not like Lord Long Zhiming.
“From the way, he’s talking this type of knowledge doesn't seem to be some kind of secret, so he shouldn’t be lying, there is no real benefit to doing so. If anything, I’ll ask those two old goats to confirm… Or maybe my lovely princess from the Underworld will grace me with a bit of her knowledge.” Zhang thought as he waited for Lord Long Zhiming to reply.
“Unlike us saints, half deity realm cultivators aren’t classed as lesser, full nor high realm half deities, they are classed by the number of heavenly tribulations they’ve endured. There is a total of five tribulations, the first taking place right when one tries to become a half deity. Tribulation lightning will strike down from the heavens and test the will of all who try to transcend into a higher existence, those who wish to carve out a place for themselves in the stars.” Lord Long Zhiming stated.
“Unlike regular lighting that wouldn’t even make a saint flinch, heavenly tribulation lightning is extremely terrifying and strikes down in many different variations. Sometimes it strikes the soul causing the weak willed to have their souls shattered into thousands of fragments, leaving but a hollow shell behind. Other times it burns the unprepared to ashes, leaving not even a single hair behind, causing one’s soul to wander aimlessly without a shell to return to. To answer your initial question on why ancient demonic beasts, lack the ability to shed their beastly skin and morph into the form of a human, that is because their ancestors had once failed a heavenly tribulation. They were unlucky and faced against the worst and most infrequent type of heavenly lightning, the kind that attacks neither the soul nor the body, but the mind.” Lord Long Zhiming further explained.
“Unlike the soul and the body that can be strengthened through outside means, the mind is something that is developed and tampered solely by one’s efforts. Some say the heavenly lightning that attacks the mind is a blessing, a test where one cannot fail, while other say it is a calamity that cannot be avoided. After failing this type of heavenly tribulation and losing their mind, a person reverts back to their most basic form. Human cultivators become beastly savages that kill and devour their brethren, seeking out highly populated areas to destroy, often losing their lives very quickly. While demonic beast cultivators, revert back to their beastly forms and their minds melt away, leaving the most primitive of thoughts behind. From then on any offspring they have would also be given the same kind of curse.” Lord Long Zhiming added.
“So, you’re all of the Fire Fang Eels that reside in the Shoal of Serpents are descendants of a high saint who lost his mind during his heavenly tribulation?” Zhang asked in an astonished tone.
“That is correct, although we refer to them as ancient demonic beasts, not all ancient demonic beasts are that ancient” Lord Long Zhiming said with a chuckle before he and Zhang cut off communications from each other.
“Half deity realm… I need to find a way to prepare for those heavenly tribulations… If all else fails I can only pray that Yuying has a method to overcome them.” Zhang thought with a chuckle.
As the magical carriage continued to soar through the sky, Zhang soon fell into deep thought as he tried to digest the information he had just acquired and try to come up with ways to prepare himself and perhaps the beauties for when the time came for them to ascend into half deities.
If they managed to all succeed, Zhang was fairly sure there would be no one within the Eastern Sea and the Wulin continent that could threaten their lives anymore. They wouldn’t have to worry about offending other people nor would they need to care about how power everyone was.