“Why didn’t I think of this sooner!” Zhang thought as an enlightening idea popped up in his head.
“If I use the Abyssal Cape to give an outline, the Underworld Heart to stabilize the shape, the Eternal Flame to give it sentience and the tribulation lightning to empower it, I may be able to create something the likes of which no one has ever seen before while being able to safely pass this trial.” Zhang told himself as he activated three of his four legendary treasures in anticipation of what was going to occur next.
Under normal circumstances, the Abyssal creatures that Zhang conjured from the Abyssal Cape were very weak and could be destroyed with a hit from someone who even a little capable, while the weapons and various objects constructed by the Underworld Heart were also very fragile unless a huge amount of essence was used.
But if he was able to combine the powers of his treasures together then Zhang may be able to create something lasting.
With wisps of swirling shadow, a sea of multicolored flames, and an enveloping purplish glow surrounding his body, Zhang waited for the last piece of the puzzle to descend from the heavens, the last ingredient for his experiment.
As if the heavens knew what Zhang was attempt and wished to sabotage him, the sixth bolt of tribulation lightning actually contained roughly three times as much destructive power as the fifth lightning bolt.
Sensing the approaching lightning bolt, Zhang congealed the unique powers of his three legendary treasures together into the shape of a large serpent, that stretched roughly two hundred feet from the tip of its tail to its head.
Miraculously enough, roughly eighty percent of the strength packed into the tribulation lightning bolt was soaked up by the large serpent before it made reached Zhang.
“Now let's see if I was able to replicate what had happened earlier.” Zhang mumbled to himself as he intently stared at the large serpent, hoping to see another miracle occur.
Much like the miniature Abyssal Serpents that had formed on their own moments ago, this large serpent also began to move without requiring any commands from Zhang. Sadly, moments after wriggling about, the large serpent broke apart and disintegrated into nothingness.
“It didn’t even last as long as the smaller ones…” Zhang grumbled as he quickly used the power of the Underworld Heart to heal himself.
“Maybe I made it too big? Maybe I should make it smaller.” Zhang thought, totally ignoring the fact that he was still undergoing his heavenly tribulation, ignoring the danger he was in.
Shrinking down the scale of his creation and changing its shape to something more simple, something easier to manipulate, Zhang soon confronted the seventh tribulation lightning bolt.
“Damn… This time it was too small…” Zhang yelled as an orb shaped blob that he had conjured was blown into bits causing the tribulation lightning to strike the Rising Moon Sword and inflict heavy damage upon his body.
Coughing up a mouthful of blood while looking down as his blistering bloody hands, Zhang took in a deep breath, preparing for the next bolt of tribulation lightning.
“Maybe I should try to split up the energy contained within the lightning bolt.” Zhang thought.
Levitating in the air not too far away, Long Jieshu could be seen standing idly.
“To think that little bastard was able to withstand seven bolts of tribulation lightning… Hmph, the next bolt will definitely do him in… If not then I’ll personally finish him off...” Long Jieshu muttered as he made a face full of surprise, fear, hatred, anger and disdain.
Had it not been for his unconscious fear of the large cauldron, perhaps Long Jieshu would have acted already in order to ensure that Zhang’s tribulation trial ended in failure. However, since merely being near the cauldron made Long Jieshu uncomfortable, he simply could not bring himself to act until it was absolutely required to.
In other news thanks to Zhang’s heavenly tribulation, a large number of ancient demonic beasts had fled, acting as if the golden lightning was the bane of their existence.
Once many of the ancient demonic beasts fled, the members of the coalition found a moment to catch their breath as Long Jieshu and those apart of the Sea Beast Sect all had their attention placed upon the massive cauldron that Zhang's was in.
“Everyone! Quickly reform our ranks! Regroup with the elders!” A member of the coalition yelled as he flew across the sky atop a large sword.
Moments after the Zhang’s tribulation lightning tore apart the earth and created a large ravine, many of the saints that were trapped underground speedily fled toward the sky.
With the arrival of the missing saint level experts and the small break they were graced with, those of the coalition received a surge of hope and strength.
“What are you fools staring at! Slaughter them all!” Long Zhiming’s roar echoed across the battlefield as an immeasurable amount of killing intent seeped into the air.
“For his majesty! For the glory of the Sea Beast Sect!” Many ghastly cries could be heard.
“All forces! Retreat! Fighting here is too disadvantageous for us! If they use the Primal Frenzy Spell once again then we’ll all be done for!” Master Shan Jin’s voice could be heard.
“Flee to fight another day! Do not allow the enemy to entrap us here!” Master Yu Xui yelled while charging into a group of enemy lesser saints.
Having never witnessed a heavenly tribulation and possessing little knowledge regarding the subject, the leaders of the various forces did not place too much hope upon Zhang’s success, nor did they wish to stick around long enough to witness his wellbeing.
For them, merely escaping with their lives could be considered a victory because once they have successfully escaped they could rally the rest of the Eastern Sea and set upon a crusade against the Sea Beast Sect or they could go into hiding and avoid being killed.
Vice versa, since their goal all along was to gather and eliminate as many of those who would stand as their opposition as possible, before using the element of surprise to completely take over the Eastern Sea, if the Sea Beast were to allow a sizeable number of people to escape their staged massacre that has been four hundred years in the making, then their plans would receive quite a few setbacks.
If they did not reestablish their power over the Eastern Sea quickly enough then an opportunity may open up for forces from other regions of the world, which was something that the leaders of the Sea Beast Sect would definitely not like.
But from beginning to end none of this had to do with Zhang and the beauties, because at the very start of things they had given specific orders to their subordinates to situate the bulk of their forces toward the rear of the coalition and to avoid suffering casualties as often as possible. Meaning if push came to shove, the soldiers and officers of the Red Scale Army would be in the best position to safely flee.
If had to then they would abandon the Red Coral Cove without much thought and bring their newfound forces back to Aurora.
Considering that records have shown that the Sea Beast Sect had never intended to expand toward the Wulin Continent, Zhang had been quite confident that his homeland was pretty safe.
Of course, that was the state of things before Zhang had triggered his heavenly tribulation and before the beauties had found the Ethereal Point hidden on Sea Beast Island.
Even when disregarding the likelihood of the beauties triggering their own heavenly tribulation and becoming half-deities themselves, Zhang’s chances of success were fairly high and if no one were to interfere or debatable him then without a doubt in mind he would become a half-deity.
Once that happened, he would be able to stand on even ground with Long Jieshu and with the help of his four heavenly treasures, Zhang would probably be able to turn the tide of battle around by himself.
“Everyone gather around within the array that I had just laid down. Using this array, we will be able to absorb the heavenly energy here much quicker. Whereas it would normally require a regular high saint roughly fifty years to gather enough heavenly energy from an Ethereal Point to trigger their heavenly tribulation, and roughly one hundred years for full saints like us, using this array will speed things up exponentially. Although I'm not exactly sure what is happening outside, time something we do not have.” Yuying said as she and the other beauties could be seen standing within a large circular array while their subordinates stood guard outside.
While it would seem slightly unfair for the beauties to hog the Ethereal Point to themselves making their subordinates stand in watch, allowing all of their subordinates who were present to make use of the Ethereal Point was only a recipe for disaster.
Allowing too many people to use the Ethereal Point at once would only serve to thin out the heavenly energy within it while showing favoritism toward some of their subordinates would only serve to cause a rift within their own forces.
Thus, the beauties decided to make use of the Ethereal Point first and once they’ve overcome their current predicament then only then would they allow their subordinates to make use of it.
“Sis, will there be any adverse effects? Since it takes a full saint roughly a hundred years to gather enough heavenly energy to trigger their heavenly tribulation if we speed things up too quickly wouldn’t that be bad?” Ling asked.
“Why would there be? After half a day, we should have enough heavenly energy to trigger our heavenly tribulations. Once darling makes his way here then he will be able to make use of this array also and afterward, we can deal with that Long Jieshu fellow easily.” Yuying said with a laugh, in a manner that seemed as if she wanted everyone present to hear.
“Of course, there will be a few adverse effects! But not on us, we’ll be fine but the Ethereal Point will be unusable for a short while after. But we definitely can’t let anyone else know of this or else they might betray us and try to keep the Ethereal Point to themselves.” Yuying said through her divine sense to the other beauties, reminding them that in the end, they could only place their trust in each other and their husband before activating her array which caused the heavenly energy within the Ethereal Point to congregate.
Just as Yuying’s array began to work its magic, an eighth deafening roar of lightning echoed into everyone’s ear as well as the sound of joyous laughter.
“I did it! I did it!” Zhang laughed heartily as he stared at a dozen fist-sized sparrows flying about in front of him. However, sadly his joy was short lived as he saw the lightning wrapping the bodies of the sparrows dissipate into the air.
“I need to contain the tribulation lightning and prevent it from releasing energy into the air.” Zhang thought, feeling that success was just around the corner.
“Little bastard, as a congratulatory gift for surviving eight of the nine tribulation lightning bolts, I’m going to send you on your merry way to hell!” Long Jieshu’s voice rang into Zhang’s ear, preventing him from celebrating his progress.
With a hysterical laugh to accompany it a rain of razor sharp icicles pierced through the air and showered into the fiery cauldron.
“It looks like I need to move to a different location.” Zhang thought as he raised his hand upward and unleashed a storm of reddish colored lightning from the tips of his fingers causing a loud crackle to emanate into the air while causing the shower of razor-sharp icicles aimed at him to be smashed into bits.
“Looks like you’ve gained a bit of power.” Long Jieshu laughed as he watched Zhang’s silhouette shot out from the fiery cauldron and into the air toward the sky.
“Trying to escape my grasp and finishing your tribulation is futile! The last lightning bolt is the most powerful and thus require is required for it to manifest itself.” Long Jieshu said as his figure suddenly disappeared into thin air and reappeared in the sky, right in front of Zhang.
“Do you know what the main difference between a half-deity and a regular saint is? It’s the ability to reject the world and create one’s own domain! A domain in which the creator can move through space instantaneously, a domain in which one can force others to submit!” Long Jieshu said as Zhang felt an unbearable force press down upon his shoulders.
“You think something like this can bog me down?” Zhang laughed as he utilized the power of the Rising Moon Sword to conjure a series of large singularities not too far away from his body.
Using the suction and repulsion properties exerted by the singularities to push and pull himself through the air and away from Long Jieshu.
“Useless!” Long Jieshu roared as he flickered across the air, chasing after Zhang while unleashing one powerful attack after the other.
“Ha! Try as hard as you may, my ascension is inevitable and your demise is quickly approaching!” Zhang said mockingly.
“Is that what you really think? Do you think that you’ll be able to defeat me while taking advantage of my weakened state? Then think again!” Long Jieshu said as a deafening roar of lightning rang through the air.
Surprisingly enough someone else had triggered another heavenly tribulation.
Even if you do survive your tribulation, before you are able to get used to your new powers his tribulation would have concluded and you’ll have to face the both of us.” Long Jieshu said as he pointed toward a silhouette off in the distance.
Upon a closer look, Long Zhiming could be seen with pulsating rings of lightning wrapping around his body.