Chapter 32: Puppets
On this day, the Abyss was quite calm and peaceful.
A small team of boats was slowly heading towards the harbor from outside.
Once again, Lin Xiao was leading the way in his dragon boat. The group of five boats advanced just as before, but this time there were also a few more supervisory eyes watching the surface of the sea. This appeared to be how the fleet was going to increase security over the region. These eyes could see to a certain depth beneath the sea. If the Sea Beasts began to move strangely again, they would issue a warning, giving the boats an opportunity to escape.
Even though the effectiveness of such a system was questionable, it was still better than nothing.
The flotilla slowly advanced, eventually coming across a Demonic Lord Sea Beast.
This time, they were not picky. Lin Xiao immediately gave the order to capture it.
The five boats surrounded the Demonic Lord and began to blast at it with their Origin Energy cannons.
Streaks of powerful Origin Energy slammed into the Sea Beasts like a cannon. Blood sprayed everywhere as the Sea Beast howled in anger, churning up waves everywhere.
As the waves cascaded in all directions, a vortex quickly formed and began to draw in the boats.
This was the Sea Beast’s killing blow. The vortex was more than capable of swallowing up the entire fleet, consigning them to eternal damnation.
At the same time that the vortex appeared, all of the Oceanids surfaced simultaneously and moved towards the vortex. The vortex began to gradually slow down as its drawing power decreased.
Once the vortex stopped spinning, it would lose its frightening sucking power, making it completely non-threatening.
As the vortex began to die down, the boats’ attacks grew even more vicious, causing the Sea Beast to howl bitterly in pain.
It was only a Demonic Lord Sea Beast. Naturally, there was no way it could endure the full might of the flotilla.
Lin Xiao commanded, “Unleash the Sky-Catching Net!”
A large black net arced through the air, constantly expanding as it flew. It wrapped around the wounded Demonic Lord and immediately constricted, tying up the Sea Beast quite neatly.
Sky-Catching Net was an incredibly practical tool for capturing targets. Its level of strength could be attuned to the strength of the target.
In order to save on costs, the flotilla was using the lowest-grade Sky-Catching Net. As for the possibility that the Sea Beast would escape from the net…… Why else had they unleashed a beatdown on the Sea Beast in the first place?
It was only natural that it would grow obedient after being violently beaten.
As the net constricted, the Demonic Lord was dragged along behind the boat. Of course, there was someone specifically assigned to keep an eye on it.
The Sea Beast was purposefully being dragged behind Long Peak.
Shang Li stood quietly at the aft of the boat, gazing at the captured Sea Beast. His eyes flashed and glittered strangely.
He muttered, “As a Sea Beast, you should have the power to traverse the sea as you please, but you ended up being bound in this place. Are you really okay with this?”
The Sea Beast opened its eyes wide, glancing at Shang Li mournfully as it groaned, as if responding to Shang Li’s words.
Shang Li continued, “If you still have any backbone, you should have fought to the end.”
The person responsible for keeping an eye on the Sea Beast said, “Beasts have no backbone to speak of. Shang Li, you really are a funny guy, you know that?”
Shang Li chuckled. “I was just saying it casually anyways. Who cares if it listens to me or not?”
At that moment, however, the Sea Beast suddenly began to struggle. Its spirits, which had been subdued only a moment ago, suddenly began to surge.
The guard was stunned when he saw this. “Shang Li, you jinx, now this guy is really stirred up.”
Just as he was about to attack, a massive boom sounded out, causing the boat to rock violently.
“It’s the Sea Beasts!” someone yelled.
“The Sea Beasts are attacking!”
“What’s going on? Why wasn’t there an alarm?”
“Are those people watching blind?”
Everyone yelled angrily as a massive Sea Beast breached the water’s surface. It narrowly scraped past one of the boats, almost flipping it. As soon as it appeared, a powerful, icy consciousness spread across the entire region, causing everyone nearby to shudder involuntarily.
“It’s a Demonic Emperor!” everyone yelled.
“Everyone, prepare for battle!” Lin Xiao yelled.
Just a Demonic Emperor? The team of boats was not afraid.
Very quickly, however, Sea Beasts began to appear from all directions.
Even the Demonic Lord they had left behind earlier began to go into a frenzy as energy exploded from its body. The Sky-Catching Web was unable to withstand its explosive movements and began to tear.
“It looks like we’re really unlucky. The Sea Beasts are attacking us yet again,” Shang Li said with a slight smile.
“Maybe you’re the only unlucky one,” a voice suddenly spoke.
Shang Li’s expression drastically shifted as he whirled around, only to find a person standing behind him.
“Sect Master!” the other guard cried out.
Su Chen had appeared on the scene.
But why was he here? Had he been on the boat the entire time?
Even as all these possibilities flashed through his mind, he was already bowing to Su Chen. “Greetings, Sect Master! Your appearance is incredibly timely. I am confident that you will be able to slaughter all of the Sea Beasts attacking us!”
“There’s no need to keep up this farce. Tell me your real name,” Su Chen said as he waved his hand, scattering some medicinal powder into the water.
As the medicinal powder dissolved and diffused into the seawater, a miracle occurred.
The gathered Sea Beasts suddenly retreated, giving up on chasing after the flotilla. Only the Demonic Emperor was still battling the flotilla because it was already involved in a fight. The medicinal powder had little to no effect on it.
Shang Li stared in shock at what was going on around him as he said, “This disciple doesn’t understand what Sect Master is referring to.”
Upon seeing that he was continuing to play dumb, Su Chen said after a moment’s thought, “The medicine you scattered into the ocean was probably Fragrant Bait Pellets, right? That medicine is used to draw Sea Beasts in particular. I knew how to do this when I was at the Qi Drawing Realm, so I’m not too surprised. But you must really not think much of my skill as an alchemist! And the way you spurred on that Demonic Lord was probably with some kind of Astral consciousness technique, right? It can actually imprint your words onto the consciousness of that Demonic Lord. Even a Desolate Beast would be able to understand your words. This was why that Demonic Lord appeared to go berserk.”
As Su Chen spoke, Shang Li’s panicked expression began to fade, replaced by one of calmness and stoicness. He chuckled coldly. “Su Chen, you never cease to amaze. So you discovered us so early on.”
When they heard this, the soldiers on Long Peak were also stunned.
One of the more quick-tempered soldiers barked, “So you were the one responsible for all those accidents!”
Just as he was about to charge forwards, Su Chen stopped him. “Don’t get any closer. He’s not himself right now, but a puppet under the control of the Astrals. There are some skills that you guys just aren’t skilled enough to handle. You all, disperse. Leave them to me.”
Upon hearing Su Chen mention the name “Astrals”, everyone was taken aback.
The Astrals were a strange race with powerful consciousness techniques. They were indeed opponents that the flotilla couldn’t handle.
But Shang Li was not an Astral.
He was merely a puppet controlled by the Astrals, just like Wei Liancheng from all those years ago.
As a puppet, Shang Li was completely unafraid of being discovered.
He chuckled, “Su Chen, so what if you’ve discovered my true identity? As you have said, I am but a puppet. Even if you kill me, you will not have solved the problem. If you can’t find where the master is, he will continue to hide in the shadows. If you kill me, my master will have some of his strength freed up to target another person and control them instead. He will continue to create chaos for you.”
Su Chen chuckled. “Yes, there’s no point in killing you, which was why I never mentioned it in the first place. If you aren’t afraid of dying, why would I threaten you with it? Also, Shang Li is a member of my fleet, and if I kill you there will be no turning back. On the other hand, if I kill who is controlling you, you will quickly regain your freedom. So how could I kill you?”
Shang Li’s expression drastically shifted before he leapt backwards.
At that moment, the Demonic Lord had managed to escape from the Sky-Catching Web. It opened its mouth wide, and Shang Li leapt headfirst into it.
He was going to try and kill himself.
He would rather die than fall into Su Chen’s clutches.
Su Chen sighed. “What’s the point?”
He reached out his right hand and made a grasping motion. Shang Li stopped in his tracks.
Su Chen pulled his hand back, sending Shang Li whizzing towards Su Chen.
Shang Li hurriedly attempted to revolve his Origin Energy in an attempt to destroy his own heart, but the moment he fell into Su Chen’s clutches, he felt his body go weak as the Origin Energy in his body was suddenly not under his control.
Su Chen quickly tossed Shang Li aside and said, “Keep an eye on him, but don’t make eye contact, and don’t let him die.”
“Yes, sir!” all of the soldiers replied.
At this moment, the flotilla was still fighting with the Demonic Emperor, which was howling and churning up massive waves. Even though the flotilla had a numbers advantage, they were still having a hard time fully controlling it.
The surface of the waters became incredibly turbulent as a result.
Su Chen glanced at the havoc-wreaking Demonic Emperor before raising his hands. Lightning began to flicker across his palms, slowly forming a blade made out of thunder.
Instead of immediately unleashing the skill, however, he allowed it to continue to gather.
The blade of lightning grew larger and larger, eventually taking on the form of a spear.
However, Su Chen still held back, continuing to pour lightning power into the spear. In any case, the flotilla was strong enough to withstand the Demonic Emperor’s attacks for now. Su Chen was prompted by a sudden impulse and interest to play it up.
The lightning continued to gather incessantly. At this point, it was no longer a spear of lightning, but a snake.
The violent, raw, untamed lightning energy coursing through the serpent made it hard for Su Chen to resist the impulse in his heart. However, his understanding of lightning and the enlightenment he had received about thunder and lightning Method Power was finally coming into play. He continued to hold onto this wild energy, refusing to relinquish his grip.
As Su Chen continued to gather it, the lightning snake grew longer and longer until it began to take on the form of the dragon.
This massive lightning dragon took shape in Su Chen’s hands. Everyone on Long Peak could clearly see the crackling dragon floating in the sky.
At that moment, Su Chen could feel the dragon slipping from his hands. He knew that if he didn’t release it now, it would be too late to do so later, so he swung his hands forward. “Go!”
The incomplete lightning dragon shot forth ferociously, aimed right at the Demonic Emperor.
Even the Demonic Emperor recognized that the lightning dragon was incredibly dangerous, but the dragon was so fast that it had collided with the Demonic Emperor in an instant!
An unprecedented, brilliant light burst forth upon impact.