Motivation has been ignited thanks to the few comments from the last chapter lol thanks folks.
After returning back to camp, Zhang and the beauties could be seen sitting on a golden throne situated atop a tall wooden tower that over watched the entire camp.
“Darling, aren't you a little too happy?” Lingqi said as she embraced her husband's arm and leaned her body onto his.
“With all of the essence stone we will be getting through the raffle and the treasures we will be getting through the pawn shops, we will be able to raise a small army of full saints.” Zhang said in a voice full of glee as he glanced down at the crowds of people below, the same people who were filling his pockets with wealth.
“That or we raise an army of lesser saints and break through and become high saints or perhaps reach our second ascension.” Yuying said with a devious look on her face.
“I mean think about it, most of the people we would pick to help ascend into saints would normally not even possess a slim chance of becoming a saint. Sadly, the Wulin continent and Eastern Sea lack the resources to nurture a large number of experts.” Yuying stated in a logical manner.
True to her words, none of the people that popped up in Zhang’s mind as possible candidates could ever hope of becoming even lesser saints if he did not intervene.
“Look at those people down there, of all of them less than one percent will probably ever ascend and become a saint. And more than likely, half of the will die in order for some old foggy to become a high saint.” Yuying said as she gestured to the massive crowd down below.
“We will see when the time comes. You have a point, though.” Zhang replied, agreeing with Yuying’s thought process while also having a hint of conflict in his mind.
“But if you think that method is morally sound, we can always just go search for an Ethereal Point.” Yuying said, having guessed that her suggestion had caused a minor conflict in Zhang’s mind.
“An Ethereal Point?” Zhang asked in an intrigued tone.
“An Ethereal Point is just like an essence mine or one of the countless intersecting Dragon’s Veins that channel the world’s natural flow of essence. Just instead of essence, these Ethereal Points channel a constant flow of Heavenly Energy. Instead of being located deep in the ground, Ethereal Points are located on tall mountain peaks or at random locations in the sky.” Yuying explained.
“Then we only need to find one of those and then we can all become high saints.” Ling said with a somewhat excited sparkle in her eyes.
“Sadly they are much rarer and harder to come across than essence points.” Yuying said with a sigh.
“Eh, you guys worry too much sometimes. Things will happen when they happen, if we are meant to become high saints then it'll happen with due time.” Lingqi said with a chuckle.
“You of all people, talking about patience?” Zhang said with a chuckle as he looked at Lingqi with gentle eyes.
“Yea, sis, of all of us you're the most impatient. Every time you're the first one to disrobe yourself.” Ai said, in a loud tone, attracting the attention of the crowd down below before Lingqi could even think about covering her mouth.
“Shush! Why do you always have to say such embarrassing things when there are so many people around?” Lingqi yelled with blushing cheeks, prompting Zhang and the other beauties to break out in laughter.
“Wh-why are you guys laughing? It's not like any of you act modestly wh-when-when you disrobe too…” Lingqi said in a stutter as her cheeks continued to redden.
“She's right, as long as things stay like this and we can enjoy each other’s company then I don't mind being stuck a mere full saint.” Zhang said as he wiped a joy filled tear that had gathered at the corner of his eye due to excessive laughter.
“She's also right about you guys acting immodestly once you disrobe. You guys are like four small monsters, I'm not sure there is anyone else out there who can accomplish what I do every night.” Zhang said with a chuckle in a proud.
“Hmph, speak for yourself. If we are four small monsters, then you must be a very big monster.” Ling teased in a gentle tone while poking Zhang’s cheek playfully.
“Had it not been for mother in law then I'm sure it would have been one hopeless battle after another… I need to get her to teach me the rest of those forms...” Yuying said in a low inaudible tone.
“Alright, alright, enough joking around, let’s go down and have a look at how things are going.” Zhang said before he and the beauties proceeded to make their way down from the wooden tower and into the large crowd below.
Walking through the massive crowd, Zhang was brimming with pure delight as his eyes registered everyone walking around him as giant money bags. Money bags that were walking straight into his pocket.
From everyone insignificant copper coin to the purest of essence stones, everything these people spent would all end up becoming a part of Zhang’s fortune.
As things were set up, people wishing to enter the raffle for the Ascending Beauty Painting would give Zhang’s subordinates essence stones, which they would then use to run the many pawn shops that were erected throughout the camp. Through these pawn shops, a wide variety of treasures would thus be accumulated, treasures that would then be sorted and then sold for essence stones.
If this cycle was allowed to continue, then in no time at all, Zhang would be able to squeeze out nearly every single essence stone that was in the possession of those present.
If one thought out it, although Zhang’s previous accumulation of wealth was a staggering sum, compared to many saints who had lived for countless millennia, it wasn't much. How could the wealth of any mortal kingdom or empire compare to the wealth of a full saint or high saint that had lived for many thousands of years?
“Sweetheart, after we check up on how business is going, do you want to grab something to eat before we go attend that banquet you invited everyone to?” Ling asked.
“Mmmm, sure why not.” Zhang replied as he and the beauties made their way toward a massive tent that was being guarded by a total of ten lesser saints.
“My lord!” The lesser saints all said in unison as they saluted Zhang before he and the beauties made their way inside, where a miniature mountain of glittering essence stones, as well as a miniature mountain of weapons, armor and other various treasures, came into view.
“My lord.” A pair of familiar voices sounded out the moment Zhang entered the tent, a pair of voices that belonged to Zhang’s two trusted lesser saint subordinates, Chu Shou and Hai Xing.
“How are things going?” Zhang asked.
“Very well my lord, everything is processing very smoothly and exactly as you had planned.” Chu Shou said as he picked up a thick journal and handed it to Zhang.
“After all the essence stones are counted and sorted by purity, and marked down in the ledger, they are stored away into an interspatial ring for safe keeping. As for the various items that we’ve been getting from the pawn stores, they’ve also been sorted by grade, use, and rarity, before being stored away into an interspatial ring or being put up for sale.” Hai Xing said in a cheerful tone.
“The two of you have done good work. I’ll have Xiao Gong give you a few of the corpses of those saints we killed earlier to cultivate with.” Zhang praised as he flipped through the journal that Chu Shou had handed him.
“Thank you for your graciousness.” Chu Shou and Hai Xing said in unison while brimming with excitement. After becoming Zhang’s subordinates, they’ve been able to acquire a large amount of heavenly energy that would have otherwise taken them hundreds of years to gather, allowing them to step ever so closer to becoming full saints, thus their hearts were utterly filled with loyalty for their master and performed all of the tasks given to them with their utmost ability.
Simply said, although Chu Shou and Hai Xing were not currently the strongest subordinates under Zhang’s command, they were without a doubt the most reliable. Regardless of whether the tasks given to them were extremely mundane to the point where one would be bored to death or so dangerous that few would dare to attempt, they would work themselves to the bone for Zhang.
They felt that as long as they tried their best, even if they failed in the end, Zhang would still treat them justly, unlike their previous master who was someone who was selfish and never even spared a hint of the heavenly energy that he had harvested to his subordinated.
A short bit after checking up on Chu Shou and Hai Xing, Zhang and the beauties departed and began to roam their camp in search for a bit of food to eat before heading toward where the all of their guests were invited to meet up.
“Boy am I glad I decided to not do an auction. In an auction, I would only be getting wealth from a single person or a small group of people, however, with a raffle, I can squeeze a bit of something out of everyone.” Zhang thought with glee as he recalled the astronomical sum that was recorded in the journal.
“Brother, do you want a bit?” Ai’s gentle voice drifted into Zhang’s ear, snapping him out of his train of thought.
“Say ahhh.” Ai said as she lifted a juicy looking meat kebab toward Zhang’s mouth as he was still in a bit of a daze causing the next following moments of pause to be extremely silly and awkward.
“Hmph, if you don't want some then I'll eat it all myself.” Ai said with a pouting face as she moved the meat kebab away from Zhang’s face.
“Of course I want some.” Zhang said with an awkward laugh as he grabbed hold of Ai’s hand and moved the kebab back toward his mouth before taking a large bite.
“Alright, in return for letting me eat some of your kebab, I'll get you anything you want.” Zhang said while playfully poking Ai, who responded with a few giggles.
Soon after, after having a few snacks from the many concession stands, Zhang and his wives made their way to a large opening located in the center of their camp.
Although quite a few guests hadn't arrived yet, thousands of people were split up amongst hundreds, busily conversing with each other.
While the large crowds that were made up of people from just about any walk of life, the people currently at the venue where the banquet was going to take place were all experts in their own right.
People who held sway over the lives of countless others, masters of sects, important elders and elite disciples made up the bulk of the guests that were invited to the banquet.
“While everyone is here, we should try to pick out a few small sects or forces to turn into our subordinates.” Ling suggested as she and the rest of the group made their way to the venue.
“With the power of the Blood Coral Cove alone, a believe a few of the lesser forces would be more the willing to join us for a few benefits.” Yuying added.
“Although a lot of people are trying out at the martial arts arenas, as individuals they won't be as secluded cultivators they won't be as strong as the members of those smaller sects.” Lingqi also added.
“We’ll see how things go once the banquet starts. If we are going to have equal footing as everyone else in this alliance we are trying to forge, we need sufficient manpower or else they'll walk all over us.” Zhang said, agreeing with his wives.
As things, currently were, the Blood Coral Cove lacked a high saint backer and sufficient manpower to hold sway over the rest of the forces that Zhang was hoping to forge an alliance with.
Despite being ranked amongst the top twenty most powerful forces in the sea, the Blood Coral Cove was one of the few forces that didn't have a high saint expert. Which was completely fine since the Dragon God Palace had intervened in most of the conflicts that had occurred. However now that they Dragon God Palace had changed its role from a protector to an aggressor, the Blood Coral Cove's lack of power could prove to be fatal.
That is to say of Zhang did not correct this problem in time.
Luckily for Zhang, he was currently raking in countless essence, essence stones that could be used to buy the allegiance of various lesser powers that would allow him to bolster his forces.
“An army of thousands of full saints and tens of thousands of lesser saints will be more useful to me than a single high saint.” Zhang thought as he made his way to each of the various experts attending the banquet and began conversing with them, hoping to forge friendly relations.
From the poorest looking person who was wrapped in rags to the wealthiest potbellied people who looked like merchants, Zhang earnestly conceded with as many people as he could, hoping to not leave and pearls hidden in the sand.
Zhang believed that outward appearances and face meant little to cultivators, while others who valued face, honor, and outward appearance would ignore the poorer looking people attending the banquet, he thought otherwise.
Zhang believed that it is usual the simplest and most average looking masters who were the strongest.
Take for instance there was a certain beggar who lived in the Lunar Kingdom that just happened to be a high saint, further emphasizing the phrase, “one should not judge a book it’s cover.”