Now, the leaders of the eight factions gathered in the hall of the Metal Blood Sect on Red Stone Island. The group discussed for the entire night but could not come to a conclusion.
Everyone looked somewhat frustrated except for the Metal Blood Sect’s Sect Master, who sat in the center; his expression appeared rather calm.
“We cannot continue like this. Now that Xiao Chen is back, given his character, he will chase us away sooner or later, since we are occupying the satellite islands of Heavenly Star Island with the most abundant resources.”
“Even the Seven Distinguished Dragon Marquises’ groups were all chased away from Heavenly Star Island. If we do not work together, we will not be a match for him.”
“It is not a problem to ally with each other. What I’m afraid of is that even when working together, we might not be a match for Heavenly Star Island. I heard that during the Four Seas Hero Gathering, the Azure Dragon King Xiao Chen defeated all the outstanding talents with one move each. It is likely that if an ordinary Great Perfection quasi-Emperor fights with him, only death awaits.”
The Metal Blood Sect’s Sect Master, Chen Ming, did not say anything as he listened to the discussion of the others.
“Should we go to Black Flame Island and search for that old monk?” someone carefully suggested. Instantly, the hall fell silent; no one said a thing.
Several people immediately looked towards the Metal Blood Sect’s Sect Master, wanting to see his expression.
Everyone here knew that Chen Ming had been the one with the greatest ambition at first. He had not been satisfied with just Red Stone Island, wanting to occupy all the satellite islands. However, after clashing with Black Flame Island, he lowered his sights, no longer showing any sharpness.
No one would have imagined that Chen Ming would put down his teacup and say indifferently, “That is the only way. If we do not seek out Zhuang Zhenghe, all of us will have to lead our people away.”
“That serious?” an old man asked somewhat worriedly.
The rest also revealed contemplative expressions. For them, abandoning these resource islands was absolutely impossible.
The satellite islands of Heavenly Star Island were all top-grade resource islands. Even in the Black Sea, they were still considered top grade.
Compared to where these people were originally at, these were much better.
Chen Ming continued, “You all know that what I’m saying is true. Even if all of us work together, we will not be a match for Heavenly Star Island. That is for no other reason than me not having any confidence in defeating Xiao Chen.
“Actually, before you all came to look for me, I already sought out Zhuang Zhenghe once.”
This admission shocked the others when they heard it. They all revealed surprise in their eyes. Chen Ming had unexpectedly taken the initiative to seek out the Bloody Monk, Zhuang Zhenghe.
“What did he say?!”
“Right, right, right! What did he say? Are there any solutions?”
Hope blazed in the other leaders’ eyes as they asked anxiously.
A strange light gleamed in Chen Ming’s eyes. Then, he replied calmly, “He was indifferent. His Black Flame Island does not fear the Azure Dragon King. If Xiao Chen dares to go there, he will definitely not be able to return.”
When the rest heard this, they could not help feeling helpless. Now, they no longer held any hope.
“I’m not finished yet. He gave us a condition. If everyone agrees to it, he can help eliminate the Azure Dragon King forever!”
“What is the condition?”
Since these factions were already forced into a corner, these leaders did not have any other choice. As long as the condition was not too excessive, they could tolerate giving away some of the resources.
Chen Ming’s expression fluctuated. After thinking for a moment, he said, “He wants to evangelize. He wants to build temples in the islands everyone controls and also wants the ordinary people to all become believers, providing the power of faith.”
“Damn! Isn’t that as good as swallowing us up?!”
“After we eliminate Xiao Chen, those temples on our islands will just be like ticking time bombs, increasing their strength for free.”
Those present here were not fools. They understood what exactly was going on behind Zhuang Zhenghe's so-called evangelism, so they all started cursing.
Chen Ming said, “I know that. That’s why I raised a counter condition. It is fine to build temples on our islands, but they have to be destroyed after Xiao Chen is killed.”
The moment Chen Ming said that, everyone quieted down and started to think carefully.
After a while, someone said, “If that is really the case, that is still acceptable. As long as they do not insist on sticking around and not leaving.”
“Yes, with Sect Master Chen around, we have nothing to fear. Worst case, we just fight it out with that baldy and go down with him.”
The leaders agreed one after another. This was already their last resort; there was no other way.
Chen Ming said in a clear voice, “Everyone, rest assured. With this Chen around, that Zhuang Zhenghe will not dare to play any tricks.”
After discussing for the entire night, they finally got results. Once they had hammered out the details, the leaders of the other factions all took their leave.
When these people left the island, a stout figure walked out from the back doors of the hall. This person has a shiny, bald head that attracted a lot of attention.
“Old Brother Chen, your acting skills are pretty good!”
Those people who just left would never have guessed who this new arrival was. Surprisingly, it was Zhuang Zhenghe, whom Chen Ming had a history with.
Chen Ming smiled casually and then asked uncertainly, “Brother Zhuang, will your plan work?”
Zhuang Zhenghe replied indifferently, “You should be very clear on how powerful the Amitabha Buddha Dharmic Body on my island is. If we can allow this Amitabha Buddha Dharmic Body to go forth, we will have no problem overwhelming Heavenly Star Island.
“At that time, after we end the Azure Dragon King, we will eliminate those clowns from the other factions. All the sea domains near Heavenly Star Island will be in my grasp.
“As long as I control Heavenly Star Island, I will be able to dominate the entire Western Sea without any problems in less than a hundred years.”
A fervent light flashed in Chen Ming’s eyes. He prompted, “Then, about the matters we discussed…”
“Rest assured. Right now, I am in need of people. As long as you are willing to work for me, I will naturally tell you the secret method of absorbing the power of faith. If you become stronger, you will be even more useful to me.”
Chen Ming rejoiced. He already reached the limits of his potential. If he did not explore alternate methods, he would remain stuck at Great Perfection quasi-Emperor. With the Buddhist sect Secret Technique, he might be able to advance to Martial Emperor.
“However, this Heavenly Star Island is under the Martial God Palace’s name after all. Although the Three Holy Lands abandoned it, won’t there be any trouble if we openly occupied it?” Chen Ming asked worriedly as he thought of something.
Zhuang Zhenghe laughed disdainfully. He said, “Strictly speaking, the Red Stone Island you are occupying now is also under the Martial God Palace’s name. Have you encountered any trouble?”
“Seems like there was none.”
“In that case, there will not be any problems. Do you think that I do not know how to behave appropriately when doing things? Even if the Martial God Palace’s people come, I naturally have my own ways of dealing with them. My backer is quite reliable as well,” Zhuang Zhenghe said mysteriously.
The Metal Blood Sect’s Sect Master felt suspicious. He wondered what Zhuang Zhenghe was relying on for him to be so confident.
“Just do as I say. Do your best to finish constructing those temples within one month. I will send people over to purify the believers. Just play it by ear when the time comes.”
After Zhuang Zhenghe finished speaking, he stood up and left.
As Chen Ming watched the Bloody Monk go, his expression turned complicated. He knew that working with the Bloody Monk was contrary to his own interests. However, this was his only chance at advancing; he had no other choice.
Half a month later, Xiao Chen successfully subdued ten Holy Spirit Veins. He sat on the flood dragon war chariot feeling fatigued as he rushed in the sky towards Heavenly Star Island.
For the sake of expedition, he had tired himself out in the past half month. He had also taken extreme risks and sustained severe injuries several times.
Xiao Chen drank a cup of Thousand Year Flame and added another ten red crosses to the vellum. Now, only a few Holy Spirit Veins from the vellum sea chart remained uncollected.
After he collected all the Holy Spirit Veins, it would no longer be as easy as before to find new Holy Spirit Veins.
Even now, Xiao Chen was still incredulous. This is such a valuable vellum sea chart. Why did Jiang Tian give it to me?
Could it really be only for the sake of eliminating the Hou ghost? This reason seemed somewhat nonsensical, too incoherent.
All along, Xiao Chen believed that someone was secretly controlling the Hou ghost. Eliminating it was virtually impossible.
Sometimes, he suspected that Jiang Tian let him have the vellum in order to give him more hope of advancing to Martial Emperor in five years.
Could it be that Jiang Tian had done it because someone had entrusted him with doing so?
What kind of person could make a Geomaster of Jiang Tian’s stature give Xiao Chen the vellum without any conditions? Furthermore, this person had to have a strong connection with Xiao Chen, not wanting to see him die early.
There was only one person that fulfilled these two conditions at the same time; the answer was clear.
However, Xiao Chen was not willing to consider it. He found this thought too incredible. He still had not truly met with that person even once.
Just thinking about this gave him a headache. Perhaps he was just overthinking this. He put away the vellum and opened the curtains of the war chariot, casually looking at the sea domain below.
As Xiao Chen admired the scenery, he suddenly saw a huge ship traveling on the sea. The fatigue on his face suddenly vanished, his expression instantly turning grave.
This huge ship heading to one of the satellite islands of Heavenly Star Island had a majestic Buddha statue on its deck.
This Buddha statue was that of the Amitabha Buddha that Xiao Chen saw in Black Flame Island’s Enlightened Sense Temple.
This unexpected discovery put him on his guard. Ignoring his fatigued state, he stepped out of the comfortable flood dragon war chariot and floated down alone.
Xiao Chen vaguely felt the aura of a quasi-Emperor on the huge ship in front.
Not wanting to alert his enemies, he landed far away. Then, he casually pointed and instantly executed the Life Bestowal Spell. A handful of lively seabirds flew out from the waves.
Under Xiao Chen’s control, the seabirds flew for five kilometers while squawking loudly. They circled the huge ship a few times before flying far away.
Xiao Chen, who was in the distance, waved his hand, and the seabirds fell back into the water, no longer flying.
The seabirds had managed to see the scene in detail. It was indeed the Amitabha Buddha on the huge ship, the same one that he had seen on Black Flame Island.
The things that he heard from the ship made him frown.
Based on the chatter of the ship’s crew, similar situations had happened on several of Heavenly Star Island’s satellite islands. They had moved various Buddhist statues from Black Flame Island over.
There was no other valuable information; the crew did not know much. So, the seabirds did not linger that long.
As for those satellite islands, Xiao Chen’s thoughts on them were very clear. He would not take the initiative to snatch the territory of others. However, he needed to chase out those people forcefully occupying his territory.
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