Chapter 246: Struggle
“Son of a…” Zhang cursed whilst catching glimpses of Long Zhiming who had a peculiar looking smile on his face. A smile that caused a tingling chill to shiver down the spines of all who saw it.
“Once my ascension is complete, I will use the opportunity to kill you first and then I'll have ample time to deal with him and the rest of your lackeys.” Zhang said to Long Jieshu while continuing his attempts to evade the storm of attacks raining from the sky.
“In your dreams kid!” Long Jieshu said as pointed his fingers toward the central area of the island. Surprisingly enough with a flick of his wrist, Long Jieshu caused the entire island to rumble and shake uncontrollably.
As if an ancient beast that had been lost in vestiges time was emerging from dark depths of the earth to unleash, the ground began to split apart and rise upward into the sky.
Before anyone knew it, a large column has risen up from the ground, piercing through the clouds and into the heavens.
“Is-is that the legendary, Oceanic Needle?!” Master Shan Jin yelled in a loud and astonished voice.
“The Oceanic Needle? The legendary treasure that the Sea Beast Sect had stolen hundreds of years ago? The same treasure that is said to have been one of the four pillars that had kept the four seas level with one another? A weapon capable of altering its size and form to suit its user, that Oceanic Needle?” Zhang’s subordinate, Xiao Gong said in a trembling voice as he laid eyes upon the massive column that had risen up from the ground.
Just as Xiao Gong’s words left his mouth, the ever-churning waves of the sea that had been washing onto the shores of Sea Beast Island ever since it had come into existence began to recede.
“You should feel honored to be killed by this weapon!” Long Jieshu laughed manically as he flicked his wrist once again causing the massive column to suddenly uproot itself from the ground and soar through the air while unleashing a blinding glow.
"Can you still call that a weapon? Although it resembles a staff, it looks like it would be better used as a pillar to hold up a roof.” Zhang complained while gulping down a mouthful of spite as he created more singularities. Since escaping Long Jieshu’s domain was not something he was currently capable of, Zhang could only continue his attempts to outmaneuver his opponent.
“Split apart and skew all who resist my power!” Long Jieshu said, clapping his hand together and in the moments to follow the massive staff that was soaring through the air split apart into hundreds of thousands of smaller identical looking staffs that were the size of needles.
“Just because there is more of them doesn’t mean that it’ll be any easier for your attack to hit me… Lift the weights binding me to the earth, open a path to the heavens! Oblivion Field!” Zhang said while channeling all of his strength into the Rising Moon Sword, unleashing his trusty sword’s power to the best of his ability, activating a technique that he had never tested before.
Although it required a vast portion of his strength to do so, Zhang had enveloped the entire island within a faint veil of light. Unlike the singularities that Zhang usually conjured using the Rising Moon Sword’s powers, which either pulled in or pushed away everything around them, everything that was touched by the veil of light slowly began to levitate into the air.
Under the effects of Zhang’s Oblivion Field, the hundreds of thousands of needle sized staffs that were previously aimed at him slowly lost their momentum as they levitated in midair as if they were floating within an invisible sea weightlessly. Adding to the artistic beauty of what was occurring were countless millions of individual raindrops that also floated weightlessly in the air.
On the ground, all forms of fighting ceased as the regular soldiers and disciples of the various forces, the men, and women who had yet to achieve sainthood, were unbound from the shackles that chained them to the earth.
Caught by surprise and having never experienced such a thing before, many people struggled to remain upright, unable to rely on their center of gravity.
Along with the mass of people rising into the air were an immeasurable number of corpses, belonging to man and beast alike, adding to the chaos that had already enveloped the battlefield.
Swords, shields, spears, arrows, pieces of rubble, droplets of blood and a wide manner of other things also began to drift upward.
“What an interesting technique! However, that won’t do you any good.” Long Jieshu laughed as he flickered across the sky toward Zhang yet again while a terrifying bolt of lightning shot down from the heavens.
“Dammit, when is that lightning bolt going to arrive…” Zhang cursed as he saw Long Zhiming’s second heavenly tribulation lightning bolt descend.
“No… Waiting on something like that won’t do me any good. I need to take matters into my own hands for now. I have to try to eliminate him before he can pose a threat to me… Actually, eliminating him would be a waste.” Zhang thought as a murderous glint surfaced in his eyes while a devious smile crept onto his face.
“Oh, great and wise master of the Dragon God Palace, your humble servant has come to pay his respects!” Zhang said while laughing in a maniacal manner similar to Long Jieshu, as he propelled himself across the sky toward Long Zhiming while a thunderous roar echoed into everyone’s ears.
Of course, this was thunderous roar was the signal of the arrival of heavenly tribulation lightning, but luckily this bolt of lightning was aimed not at Zhang but at his opponent.
Arriving in front of and swinging his sword downward with all of his might, Zhang instantly struck fear into Long Zhiming’s heart.
Unlike Zhang who had the aid of his legendary treasures, Long Zhiming had to focus the entirety of his attention on defending himself against the tribulation lightning, leaving himself vulnerable.
As Zhang’s sword cut through the air, dozens of droplets of cold sweat covered Long Zhiming’s brow as he tightly gripped onto the saber in his hand. Caught between a rock and a hard place, if Long Zhiming were to defend himself against Zhang then he would be unready to receive his third bolt of tribulation lightning and would most likely be killed, vice versa if he ignored Zhang and tried to defend against the tribulation he would be cut to pieces.
“Your opponent is me! Placing your attention upon him will only bring about your demise quicker.” Long Jieshu said as he appeared and blocked Zhang’s attacked.
“Focus on surviving your tribulation trial! I will handle him.” Long Jieshu said as Long Zhiming’s third bolt of tribulation lightning snaked down from the sky.
Channeling the powers of the Underworld Heart, Eternal Flame and Abyssal Cape once again while pulling himself upward, Zhang caused everyone present to become utterly dumbfounded as he revealed his true intentions.
“What’s he doing?” A large number of people said as they stared at Zhang dumbfound.
Rather than taking advantage of Long Zhiming’s tribulation trial to cut down his enemy, Zhang was actually leading a helping hand, he actually intercepted Long Zhiming’s third tribulation lightning bolt.
“Since there’s only going to be one more lightning bolt before my own tribulation trial ends, I’ll have to borrow a few of yours for practice. Make sure that you don’t end up dying too early on.” Zhang said with a laugh as the powers of his heavenly treasures manifested themselves in the form of a translucent orb.
Obviously, since Zhang wasn’t idiotic, he only allowed the translucent orb that he had conjured to absorb roughly ten percent of the golden lightning bolt before quickly maneuvering himself away, leaving the bulk of the tribulation lightning for Long Zhiming to endure.
“It didn’t work this time either... Let’s hope my ninth bolt of lightning won’t come until I at least get a few more tries at this. Or else I’ll lose the perfect opportunity to increase my battle potential.” Zhang muttered to himself as the translucent orb that he had created began to crack and break apart.
“I shouldn’t let this be wasted.” Zhang thought as his body spun and kicked the translucent orb that was covered in cracks at Long Jieshu.
“Enough of your tricks! Come and accept your death!” Long Jieshu roared as his hand shot out and grabbed the translucent orb, squeezing it tightly and causing, even more, cracks to appear on its surface.
“Explode!” Zhang said as he released the powers used to conjure the translucent orb, causing it to suddenly light up and unleashed a torrent of lightning upon Long Jieshu and whipping up a curtain of smoke.
“Die!” Long Jieshu’s voice could be heard as the hundreds of thousands of needle sized staffs floating in the air came to life and pierced through the sky and toward Zhang again, coming in from all directions.
Although there wasn’t very much tribulation lightning contained within the orb, quite a few injuries were still inflicted upon Long Jieshu, as could be seen as the cloud of smoke hiding him slowly dispersed.
Clicking his tongue, Zhang tried his best to evade the incoming attacks, however, compared to the speed in which they were traveling prior, these needle sized staffs had doubled in speed. Thanks to their sheer numbers and high speeds, a few of the needle sized staffs were able to fly straight past the singularities conjured to protect Zhang, embedding themselves into his body.
“Freeze!” Long Jieshu said while making a series of hand signs, causing the few needle sized staffs lodged into Zhang’s arm and leg to emit a piercing cold aura that quickly turned whatever they touched into ice.
Grinding his teeth and mustering up all of the resilience within himself Zhang spun the Rising Moon Sword in a windmill like motion, first slashing off his leg and then his arm.
“I can’t keep this up for long… If those things land in the wrong places that I’m done for.” Zhang thought as sweat poured down his brow while the essence stored within his Dragon Heart Necklace flowed into the Underworld Heart, slowly regrew his lost limbs.
Without the ability to kill Long Jieshu and the ability to escape, Zhang was like a cornered rat who could only wait for a miracle to occur, well in his cause a calamity in the form of tribulation lightning to rain down from the heavens. Sadly, although Zhang’s only hope was the arrival of his last bolt of tribulation lightning and his ascension into godhood, the longer this battle drew on the most of a disadvantageous situation he was in.
“All members of the Sea Beast Sect! Whoever brings me his head will become the sect’s second grand elder!” Long Jieshu said while staring at Zhang with eyes full of disdain, inwardly cursing his current weakened state. Under normal circumstances, Zhang could only be compared to an ant in Long Jieshu’s eyes, however in his weakened state where only roughly twenty percent of his power could be utilized he was unable to remove this thorn no matter how much he tried.
“Second Grand Elder?! That would make me the sect’s third highest ranking member!” Someone yelled as they launched themselves into the air.
“A straight path to the top!” Someone else cried.
“The Sea Beast Sect’s second grand elder, why should I bother staying within a dying sect such as the Golden Shell Sect!” A person from the Golden Shell Sect said as he decided to defect and try to gain the favor of the Sea Beast Sect.
Before long a mass of people originating from both sides of the conflict settled their differences and began to point their swords at Zhang, much to his dissatisfaction.
“I am not someone to be trifled with! Just because I’m unable to kill those two does not mean just anyone can fuck with me!” Zhang roared angrily as he poured out all of the remaining essence stored within the Dragon Heart Necklace and ignited a grand total of one hundred Soul Devouring Flames.
Dancing in the air and circling around the body of the person who had conjured them, the one hundred flickering wisps of Soul Devouring Flames gave off a fear-inducing aura that instantly made all of who had dared to bare their fangs toward Zhang to stop in their tracks.
“All of you, die!” Zhang said as he waved his hand, signaling for a barrage of black colored flames to streak across the sky.
As the very fibers of their being cried out and spurred them to flee, hundreds of saints turned tail and flew away as the one hundred wisps of black flame selected and homed in on their victims.
Unlike when Zhang had tried to cut down Long Zhiming, Long Jieshu did not bother to lift a finger to aid the hundreds of saints that had fallen under Zhang’s mercy, rather found this to be a perfect opportunity to attack.
Controlling the one hundred wisps of Soul Devouring Flames while maneuvering himself in a manner that would make it hard for Long Jieshu to grab hold of him, Zhang unleashed his might and for the second time since his escape from the Underworld, sought to make full use of his trump card.
Reminding everyone that a caged tiger is still a tiger nonetheless, Zhang enacted a one-sided slaughter as the one hundred puffs of black flames quickly claimed the lives of one hundred lesser saints, sending their lifeless bodies tumbling onto the ground while burning away their souls to create even more black flames.
Unconfident in his ability to instantly kill full saints and high saints with the black flames, Zhang chose to strike fear into everyone’s hearts by specifically picking out and exacting his wrath on lesser saints. This way although he was unable to kill high saints and full saints in large numbers, Zhang would be able to trick everyone into thinking he was capable of doing so and thus deter people from attacking him.
“Black colored flames that burns away souls! What relation do you have with the fallen god from the Nether Void Realm from a thousand years ago!” Long Jieshu asked in a surprised tone as he manipulated the hundreds of thousands of Oceanic Needles to volley the area where Zhang was.
“Fallen god of the Nether Void Realm? Nether Void Realm? A thousand years ago?” Zhang mumbled while continuing to increase the number of black flames under his control.