Chapter 248: Crystal Ball
With his eyes glued onto the gleaming rain of gold coins and essence stones that was showering into the ground, Zhang's couldn't help but yell out in anger.
All of the wealth that he had accumulated over years of conquest, dozens of not hundreds life-threatening battles, through robbing countless individuals, was currently laid out for all to see, for all to take.
Even with his warning, Zhang was sure that there were some who would give into temptation and steal from him. However, as angry and unhappy, he was, Zhang knew better than to be distracted for too long in a situation such as the one he was currently in.
“NONE OF YOU BETTER LEAVE THE VICINITY OF THIS ISLAND OR ELDE DON’T COMPLAIN TO ME WHEN I KILL YOU AND DIG UP THE GRAVES OF YOUR ANCESTORS!” Zhang's yelled threateningly before refocusing his attention back toward the five lightning filled spheres levitating in front of him.
Despite all of his complaining, Zhang was inwardly glad that the Ascending Beauty Painting did what it had done, lost wealth can be regained but loved ones are much harder to come by.
Speaking of the Ascending Beauty Painting, as if it had a life and consciousness of its own, continued to release an astonishing pressure that enveloped the entire island in a dreadful silence.
By now all of the Ancient Demonic Beasts had long since fled, while many who were present stared into the sky with wide eyes and gaping mouths.
Of course, there were a few people who, against Zhang’s warnings, decided to stuff their pockets full of gold, jewels, and other riches, effectively sealing their own fates if Zhang were to survive his current predicament.
One must know the from beginning to end, Zhang had always been the one that was doing the stealing and looting, from the Underworld where he claimed not only the Underworld Heart but also one of the Yama’s daughters, to the Warring States Region where he skated thousands and erected an empire, no one had ever taken anything from him.
“What manner of trickery is this!?” Long Jieshu muttered to himself in disbelief as he saw hundreds of thousands of his Oceanic Needles littering the ground around him.
While the four Oceanic Needles weren't currently as well known as the likes of the seven heavenly treasures, in terms of rarity and heaven-defying abilities they could be considered the same tier, and so for the Ascending Beauty Painting to be able to repel his attack without a user to draw out its maximum power, Long Jieshu utterly dumbstruck.
“It must be because I haven't recovered enough of my power.” Long Jieshu mumbled while clicking his tongue as he waved his hand and made the hundreds of thousands of Oceanic Needles condense together into a massive pillar.
“You maybe have been able to stop my attack once but that doesn't mean you can do it a second time!” Long Jieshu said as he flicked his wrist, causing the pillar sized Oceanic Needle to extend and shoot into the air while releasing his control on the ocean and allowing the turbulent waves to flow once again.
On top of all else, he released the deity domain that he had erected earlier, alleviating a heavy weight that pressed on the bodies of those near him.
Although Long Jieshu had been unable to gain a complete advantage over Zhang and the beauties, one must admit that he attests to the power of a half-deity, considering the scale and frequency of his attacks.
Being able to pull off such techniques without showing signs of fatigue, is an extraordinary feat in itself, one could only imagine how powerful Long Jieshu was at full strength.
As Long Jieshu’s Oceanic Needle pierced through the air, the Ascending Beauty Painting released a subtle humming sound before suddenly absorbing all of the essence within the air around it and conjuring up a transparent membrane like shield that covered a large portion of the sky.
In the moments, the followed, once the massive staff and undeniably power barrier collided with each other, a loud deafening boom rang into the ears of everyone within a rough line hundred-mile radius of Sea Beast Island.
Despite this earth-shattering collision, neither the Oceanic Needle nor the Ascending Beauty Painting gave way to each other, releasing destructive pulses of essence everywhere.
As if their situation wasn't dire enough, the pulses of essence released from the collision of the two heaven tier treasures struck a large number of the low-level cultivators on the ground, causing a few people to vomit mouthfuls of blood while a handful of unlucky ones lost their life.
On top of claiming the lives of hundreds of unlucky people and injuring thousands, these pulses of essence also split the earth and shook the sea which had yet to subside from Long Jieshu’s previous technique.
“In the Eastern Sea, nothing is capable of standing in my way!” Long Jieshu roared as he funneled even more of his power into the massive Oceanic Needle, causing it push against the Ascending Beauty Painting’s barrier even more furiously.
“That was in the past and we are in the now!” Zhang voice could be heard as the tornado of Soul Devouring Flames that shrouded his body stopped swirling about.
Floating in front of Zhang was a mid-sized crystal ball that was covered in runes and contained five crystal spheres filled with lightning within it and all around him were hundreds of dancing wisps of Soul Devouring Flames.
“First off I'll deal with you.” Zhang said as his Abyssal Cape releases swirls of shadow, which began to wrap around the lightning crystal ball.
Appearing slowly but occurring almost in an instant, a massive black colored skeletal frame quickly formed under Zhang’s influence.
Stretching for hundreds of feet a massive Abyssal Dragon was soon brought into existence. With the Lightning Crystal Ball lodged into its body where a heart would normally be found, the Abyssal Dragon roared as lightning coiled around its body.
Unlike Zhang’s usual Abyssal Beasts which were void of intelligence and could be dispersed with a gentle strike, this Abyssal Dragon was special, it was created to be a vessel for the Lightning Crystal Ball and had eyes brimming with life and a sturdy body strengthened by Heavenly Tribulation Lightning.
Without needing to utter a word, as Zhang shot through the air toward Long Jieshu, the massive Abyssal Dragon roared once again and snaked through the sky after its creator.
“Foolish!” Long Jieshu said as he waved his hand, withdrawing the Oceanic Needle from its struggle against the Ascending Beauty Painting, in order to deal with Zhang once he came close enough.
“Immobilize that bastard over there. If possible don't kill him, I'll be needing him alive in order to collect more tribulation lightning.” Zhang conveyed to his wives through his divine sense, directing them to attack Long Zhiming.
Although so much had happened, little to no time had actually passed at all, meaning Long Zhiming’s seventh bolt of tribulation had yet to descend.
“With pleasure.” Yuying replied with a grin as she waved her hand and reassembled her troop of twenty undead lesser saints, commanding them to swarm around Long Zhiming moments later.
“I need to wrap things up, it's been a while and my ninth and last bolt of tribulation lightning should be arriving soon. If I have to use any more of my remaining strength against him then I might be too weakened and end up failing my tribulation trail.” Zhang thought to himself as he lowered his flight speed and allowed his Lightning Abyssal Dragon to overtake him.
Spearheading the assault on Long Jieshu, the Lightning Abyssal Dragon opened its maw and allowing a torrent of golden lightning to rain upon the ground below as it locked onto its target.
Having only overcome a single tribulation of his own, and only recently regaining his freedom and his body after so many years of imprisonment, as fearless as Long Zhiming may be, seeing the golden lightning descend in person, he couldn't help but feel an ounce of worry kindle within his heart.
Whereas at his peak condition, tribulation lightning such as the kind that Zhang had harnessed wouldn’t be able to defeat him, in this current state, if he allowed himself to be struck a few times then death was only a certainty.
“Although I admit that if your attack were to strike me I would receive considerable damage, that won’t happen!” Long Jieshu said as he manipulated his Oceanic Needle to fly into the air yet another time, this time to act as a giant lightning rod.
“Try as you may, your fate is sealed! As things are now, even if I do not ascend and become a half-deity I can still put an end to you. But on the off chance that you survive until my last bolt of tribulation lightning descends, I will only be better equipped to deal with you.” Zhang said as he glared at Long Jieshu from up above while droplets of sweat covered his brow.
Seeing Zhan gain an upper hand, the leaders of the coalition force quickly snapped out of the trance like state that they had been in and ordered their forces to attack the members of the Sea Beast Sect, some even going as far as contacting Zhang through their divine sense and offering him their help in slaying Long Jieshu.
“Now they decide to turn around and fight… What a bunch of opportunists…” Zhang thought after being contacted by a dozen or so people, offering to aid him.
“How can people be so shameless? Although if I had an opportunity to do so I would have fled also in such an unfavorable situation, to turn around now and offer their help once the battle has almost been decided is beyond shameless…” Zhang thought as he motioned for the hundreds of black flames that were circling around him to fly toward Long Jieshu.
Quickly finding himself surrounded by Soul Devouring Flames while being forced to evade a nearly endless barrage of tribulation lightning, Long Jieshu was forced into repeatedly teleporting from one place to the next.
Luckily none of the techniques and means that Zhang was currently employing require too much of his own essence to maintain or else he would have quickly become too exhausted to continue forth with the battle. With that being said, after undergoing such an ordeal, Zhang was at the very end of his ropes as further signs of fatigue began to surface on his face.
Had he not been so tired and if he did not have to worry about the arrival of his ninth bolt of tribulation lightning, Zhang would have directly joined his Lightning Abyssal Dragon in battle, rather than trying to retain as much of his strength as possible and merely attempting to intervene from the sidelines.
Just as Zhang was starting to feel comfortable, the sky rumbled and golden lightning could be seen snaking in and out of the dark clouds that loomed above.
“It couldn’t come sooner and it couldn’t come later, but it had to come now…” Zhang said as he galloped down a mouthful of spite while wiping off the sweat that had collected on his brow.
After successfully harnessing Long Zhiming’s tribulation lightning and having endured eight of his own, Zhang knew more than anyone how powerful the ninth bolt of tribulation lightning was going to be. He knew that it would be so powerful that if he tried to harness it instead of trying to defend against it, there was a chance that he could die.
Maybe if was stronger and had a firmer grasp on employing the Abyssal Cape, Underworld Heart, and Eternal Flame simultaneously, he could attempt to contain the ninth bolt of tribulation lightning, however, Zhang currently did not feel like gambling away his life.
Although in the end, all bolts of tribulation lightning look the same, as one’s tribulation trial dragged on, they all had varying degrees of danger attached to them. The early bolts of lightning traveled at a much slower speed and possessed very little destructive power when compared to the later bolts of lightning, if the first bolt were compared to a snail in terms of speed, the eight bolt can be compared to a speedy rabbit, making it much harder to defend against.
Quickly drawing on all of his reserves while using the Dragon Heart Necklace to absorb all of the essence collected by the Soul Devouring Flames to bolster himself, Zhang readied himself to face his final trial.
While recalling the Lightning Abyssal Dragon and using it to aid in overcoming the ninth bolt of tribulation lightning would be ideal if Zhang did so he would risk giving Long Jieshu a perfect opportunity to claim his life, thus he decided to not recall the Lightning Abyssal Dragon.