Chapter 232: Lurking Dangers
After being briefed by Lord Long Zhiming about half deities and the dangerous beasts the resulted from failed tribulations, Zhang couldn't help be keep his eyes focused on the ever churning waves as his magical carriage flew through the air.
Occasionally he would spot massive shadows lurking underneath the waves, shadows so large that they would make even the largest ships in the Aurora Navy appear miniscule.
“No wonder the Fire Fang Eels live in the Shoal of Serpents, feasting on scraps rather than venturing out here…” Zhang mumbled as he mentally compared the size of the Fire Fang Eel he had seen with the shadow of a massive serpentine creature lurking beneath the waves that he was currently looking at.
At most, the Fire Fang Eel, would be a tenth perhaps a twentieth of whatever menacing creature this shadow belonged to.
“Those little things wouldn't even be big enough to act as a toothpick for the things that live out here.” Zhang said as he spotted another massive shadow in the water.
With utmost caution, Zhang along with Lord Long Zhiming and the rest of the saints present, flew high up in the air, hoping to avoid being spotted by the dangers that reside beneath them.
Some may call it luck, others may call it the calm before the storm, but for most of the day, the group managed to travel unhindered.
Zhang had retreated to the inner cabin of his magical carriage, joining his lovely wives for some much needed rest. Simply lying beside, each other and chatting, Zhang and the beauties allowed the day to drift by.
As peaceful as the day was, once the sun descended below the horizon while the moon rose up from the waves and the night began, chaos ensued.
Unlike the uneventful day which was filled with a serene sense of calm, as if the moon was calling to them, dozens of massive and hideous beasts began to break through the ocean's surface and roar into the night.
Due to the lack of rest and a long exhausting journey through the Shoal of Serpents, a few of the lesser saints had become too lax and less vigilant which caused a few of them to find themselves trapped within a cage of fangs as a few of the mysterious creatures dwelling in the waves shot out from the sea and clamped their jaws down upon those unfortunate enough to be their victims.
As horrifying shrieks began to accompany the terrifying roars the filled the air, a hand full of lesser saints were dragged into the dark depths of the sea where they would meet their untimely demise.
Once someone was caught by an ancient demonic beast regardless of what they attempted to do, death was unavoidable.
While water and ice attacks only proved to be completely useless against these creatures who reside in the sea, fire attacks which should have been most effective were quickly extinguished by the vast sea, as for earth based attacks due to the lack of earth available they were not even attempted.
When their immunity to the elements was paired with the massive size, which rendered physical attacks useless, these enormous monsters were a force to be reckoned with.
“If only we had someone who was well versed in soul attacks. Despite having powerful innate soul defenses, these things don't know how to properly shield themselves from soul attacks.” Master Shan Jin said as he watched a lesser saint being dragged into the sea by what appeared to be a massive shark with two devil like horns sticking out from its head.
After the loss of a few of their travel companions and subordinates, the group increased their altitude which helped greatly decrease the likelihood of becoming prey for the sea monsters.
However as unlikely as it may seem, late into the night, after a few hours of which no one fell to the mercy of the beasts ascending from the depths had passed, the loud cawing sound of a group of unknown birds caused the serene silence that had enveloped the air to be shattered yet again.
“Everyone brace yourselves!” Lord Long Zhiming’s voice reverberated through the air, causing Zhang and the beauties to peek their heads out from their magical carriage to see a mass of wings and feather soaring through the night sky.
Under the moon's bright rays, hundreds of blood red eyes and countless sharp talons gleamed as they came ever so closer to the group of saints.
“You guys stay in here.” Zhang said as he quickly flew out from the window of the magical carriage and withdrew the Rising Moon Sword from his interspatial ring.
Waving his heavenly treasure once, Zhang formed a ring of repulsing singularity around the magical carriage, hoping to keep the beauties safe.
From a quick glance, a total of fifty silhouettes could be seen shooting through the air at blinding speeds.
“Damned beasts! Be gone!” Lord Long Zhiming roared as imagine of a gigantic illusionary dragon appeared behind his back.
Looking vaguely similar to the miniature metallic dragon, the illusionary dragon that Lord Long Zhiming had conjured snaked through the sky moments before opening its lifelike jaws and biting the air, catching one of the fifty flying silhouettes.
Trapped within the illusionary dragon’s maw the previously flying silhouette shrieked and cawed loudly as it struggled to get free.
Perhaps if it were but a single ancient demonic beast, Lord Long Zhining would have been able to handle the situation on his own, however, there were a total of fifty crow like ancient demonic beasts.
Similar to regular demonic beasts, weaker ancient demonic beasts often traveled in large flocks while stronger ones lived more solitary lives, only seeking out their kind when it came time to mate.
Before long a wide array of color attacks light up the night sky as everyone joined in on the attempt to repel the flock of beastly crows.
To everyone’s surprise despite only being full saints, Zhang, and Jian Lei, the master of the Jade Serpent Sect, were able to each hold their own against a few of the ancient demonic crows.
Utilizing the strength and unique powers of the Rising Moon Sword, it could be said that Zhang was the bane all of flying creatures. While the latter, Jian Lei appeared to be able to employ soul attacks, directly damaging the defenseless souls of the swarm of massive crows swooping in on him.
Summoning one singularity after the other, Zhang was able to create something akin to a net in the sky. As massive and powerful as they were, the ancient demonic crows found themselves at the mercy of the powerful gravitational pull exerted by Zhang’s technique.
“I will hold then in place; the rest is up to you guys!” Zhang yelled toward the rest of the saints present as a total of ten crows could be seen attempting to struggle free from the singularity holding them down.
“Good work, lad!” Master Yu Xui laughed as he shot through the air with a sword in hand, arriving in front of one of the crows caught by Zhang and hacking its head off.
Upon seeing the death of one of their own, the rest of the crows fell into a frenzy, wildly flapping their wings and whipping up a cyclone storm of wind, which in turn made their razor-sharp feathers Alice through the air at extreme speeds.
Anyone unlucky enough to be impaled by one of these giant feathers the size of a sword, would instantly have their day ruined, that is to say, if they were not instantly killed.
“Go and protect the madams, no need to stand around here!” Zhang ordered, all of his subordinates, prompting them to form a circle around the magical carriage the beauties were all in. Although the beauties were more than capable of handling themselves in such a situation, Zhang felt the need to keep their full capabilities a secret. He figured it would be better if everyone simply thought of his wives as mere trophies who relied on him for protection, that way they’d be able to catch everyone by surprise when the situation called for it.
“These feathers would make for great weapons.” Zhang mumbled as he activated the power of the Underworld Heart and the power of the Rising Moon Sword at the same time, creating a bubble shaped sphere of essence around his body which shielded him from the deadly sword sized feathers. On top of shielding Zhang from danger, the sphere of essence also allowed him to safely collect and store away for later.
Coming from beasts that could rip apart regular full saints, be it feathers, talons or beaks, everything could be considered a treasure.
“I need to remember to retrieve a few of their corpses for Yuying if I can.” Zhang thought as he watched Master Yu Xui slay yet another ancient demonic crow, sending its body plunging into the cold waters below where dozens of sea dwelling creatures awaited.
As a blessing in disguise, a few of the dangerous creatures of the deep would occasionally launch themselves into the air, joining in on the intense fighting that was occurring in the sky and drag down a crow or two, serving to help dwindle down the number of ancient demonic crows.
Ignoring their slowly decreasing numbers, the murder of crows continued their onslaught without regard, peaking lesser saints to death while cutting a few full saints to bits with their sharp feathers.
Unceasing and ever escalating, the slaughter continued on as the saints attempted to hold their ground while the hungry beasts continued to attack and kill.
“Lightning!” Zhang yelled as red colored lightning was released from the tips of his fingers, branching across the air like the roots of a tree.
Although the lightning was not powerful enough to slay the demon crows, it was able to envelop a large number of them under a cloak of electricity, slowing their movements greatly.
“Kill them! Kill them all!” Lord Long Zhiming yelled as he laughed in a hysterical manner as a nearly limitless amount of bloodlust was released from his body. Observing Lord Long Zhiming’s current demeanor, it seemed as if he was an entirely different person. Rather than the usual calculating, cold and unfathomable image that had been built up in Zhang’s mind, the current Lord Long Zhiming was easy to read as he appeared to be a person who simply lived to slaughter and bathe the land in blood.
“Kill!” The members of the Dragon God Palace all roared in unison as if they were infected by the bloodlust their master was unleashing upon the world.
“These guys are getting a bit too crazy, even for my tastes…” Zhang mumbled as he watched a member of the Dragon God Palace land on the back of one of the demon crows, tear off the poor monster’s wing while ripping off its head and waving it around in the air.
“But I guess I can’t complain…” Zhang thought as he swooped in and retrieved the two severed wings that had just been torn from the demon crow.
While everyone else was focused on fighting and slaying the demon crows, Zhang was like a child in a candy store, covetly eyeing all of the demon crows as if they were flying bags of gold. If one thought about it, these giant crows were more like flying bags of essence stones rather than gold, since any part of their body could be sold for an extravagant sum of essence stones.
Fighting on through the night and into the early hours of the day, roughly three fourths of the demon crows had perished while a fourth of the number of saints had joined them, it was only then did the demon crows finally retreat, leaving the saints with a bitter victory.
That being said, Zhang did not lose a single subordinate thanks to the ring of singularities that he had conjured around the magical carriage, rather than lamenting the death of his comrades like everyone else, Zhang was inwardly celebrating the huge harvest he had obtained by picking up the aftermath of everyone’s battle.
If anyone were to actually keep a tally of how much everyone had contributed to the battle, then it was indisputable that Zhang had contributed a great sum, however, in the end, he did not have to dirty his hands a single time, never bothering to directly cut down a demon crow. However, no one could complain since Zhang had made his scavenging quite discreet on top of appearing all around the battlefield aiding everyone a bit.
“Everyone, there should be an island not too far from where we are, I suggest we rest there for a bit and treat the wounded before continuing onward.” Lord Long Zhiming said shortly after returning to his usual demeanor once the unusual bloodlust extruding from his body subsided and disappeared without a trace.
Following Lord Long Zhiming’s suggestion, the group licked their wounds and flew a few miles before landing upon a small island covered in trees. Once the entire island was scanned by divine sense a few times and nothing out of the ordinary was found, the party of saints descended and set up a small makeshift camp where the wounded were healed and a light lunch was distributed.
“If it hadn’t been for you then things would have been much worse.” Master Shan Jin said in an uplifting tone as he patted Zhang on the back.
“Haha, if it wasn’t for your battle prowess, Master Shan Jin, then regardless of what I did, things wouldn’t have ended well.” Zhang said in a laugh while speaking in a humble manner.
“No need to be some humble, your abilities played a large part in our success.” Master Yu Xui said as he also patted Zhang on the back.
“Hopefully after showing a bit of my powers, both sides will be more interested in looping me in.” Zhang thought while he eyed everyone around him. As things were, Zhang was still trying to bridge connections and try to keep all of the high saint experts interested in recruiting him to join their side, since neither was he nor any of the beauties capable of fully defending themselves when faced with someone such as Lord Long Zhiming.