Chapter 336 – Three Months
Shang didn’t know how long he remained here, and he didn’t care.
The stillness of the water around him soothed his mind, and he felt like being here was the right thing to do. He didn’t know why, but that was what he felt.
After an unknown amount of time, Shang opened his right eye again.
He felt like he knew the lake better now.
‘I should continue,’ he thought.
Then, Shang continued descending.
Why was he descending?
There was a reason for it.
After another two minutes, Shang felt something other than water touch him.
He extended his hands and felt the sand.
‘Finally,’ he thought.
‘I’m probably over 1.5 kilometers deep in the lake, but I only feel sand now.’
Shang was sure that the lake had to have a deepest point, and he was also sure that the deepest part would not be that close to the border of the Zone.
The deepest part of the lake would be the most dangerous part, and Shang didn’t want to enter that part.
However, Shang also didn’t want to leave the Tide Serpent Zone. The Tide Serpent apparently didn’t really care about Shang, while other Zone Beasts might care a lot about him, which would be bad.
If Shang decided to dig into the earth right near the edge, the Plague Rat might decide that Shang was inside its Zone again.
Because of that, Shang had swum downward. Right now, he was about 50 meters away from the border, which meant that if he were to dig into the wall now, he would definitely still be inside the Tide Serpent Zone.
Shang’s hands felt the sand, and he noticed that it was a steep wall instead of a floor.
‘It’s like a funnel,’ Shang thought, ‘an incredibly steep one, at that.’
‘If the funnel keeps going at this angle, the deepest point of the lake might be tens of kilometers deep. Maybe even hundreds.’
Shang wasn’t sure if the funnel shape would keep going indefinitely until the walls met, but he didn’t think that it was impossible.
Up to now, Shang still hadn’t seen another beast, but he felt like he had come across some on his descent.
After Shang had reached the sand wall, he extended his arms and buried them in the sand.
Then, he continued swimming into the wall.
Shang’s body was strong enough that he could swim into the sandy wall like it was water. It basically made no difference to Shang.
Shang purposefully didn’t leave an opening while burying himself in the sand, not that the sand would allow him to.
His purpose in coming here was to find a safe place.
After digging several meters into the sandy wall, Shang stopped.
Sand was all around him. In a sense, Shang was buried alive.
The pressure here, especially with the sand surrounding him, would kill a Soldier Stage warrior, but it wasn’t an issue to Shang.
For a while, Shang simply laid motionlessly buried in the sand, feeling the surroundings.
The sand allowed Shang to feel any vibrations much better than the water, and he was using it to scout if something living was nearby.
Shang felt some slight movement come from the lake, but it wasn’t significant.
More importantly, Shang didn’t feel anyone digging in the sand, which he had expected.
Only beasts with Water Affinities were living inside the Tide Serpent Zone, and those beasts definitely weren’t interested in being surrounded by sand, which exhibited Earth Mana.
Additionally, this wall was just beside the Plague Rat Zone, which meant that there were only very few Earth Affinity beasts living there.
This made this place perfect for Shang.
Only Earth Affinity beasts would be interested in coming here, and there were no Earth Affinity beasts around here.
The depths of the Tide Serpent Zone symbolized the greatest danger. No human would willingly come here. After all, an unknown depth filled with terrifying sea creatures would be below them. Even more, there was no place to hide in the middle of the lake.
Which human would willingly descend that far into the Tide Serpent Zone?
Yet, in the greatest danger lay the safest place.
A perfect sanctuary for anything that wasn’t a sea beast.
After several hours of not feeling any kind of significant movement, Shang decided that this place was safe enough, and he entered his inner world.
Shang decided to take his clothes and sword with him. In this lake, clothes were not really useful, and they were rather annoying.
Inside his inner world, Shang put on his nearly destroyed black armor. His real body in the Tide Serpent Zone was naked now, but the body inside his inner world would need protection.
When Shang saw the black armor, he thought that it looked even more damaged than he had remembered.
The scars of battle from his fight with Vice-Commander Wilbury were still visible.
The Magic Runes were destroyed, and the cape could barely be called loose, black streamers.
But it was still better than nothing. The material might still be able to turn a fatal attack into one that only heavily injured Shang.
Shang had never taken off the black wrapping covering his left eye socket, which meant that his look had returned to his old one.
Right now, Shang no longer looked like a barbarian but a warrior.
In a way, he looked a bit like a younger but more injured version of the Dean.
Shang’s inner world was just as dead and lifeless as previously. Yes, the blue sky was beautiful, but the meadow that stretched into infinity made the world feel artificial, barren, and unfinished.
The only thing of note was the black stone beside Shang, and that stone was also the reason why he had come here.
Below the writings on the stone, Shang found it.
“86 days and a couple of hours,” Shang said. “It seems like I get three months to adjust to my power this time. Last time I only got one month.”
Shang’s brows furrowed. “But it’s still surprising that there are 86 days now. Did I stay in the lake for four entire days? It didn’t feel that long.”
The reason why Shang had come here was to check the timer for his next trial.
It was important to know how much time he had. After all, the more powerful he became before the trial started, the better.
‘With three months, I can strengthen myself about six times if I operate at peak efficiency. I can only strengthen my body with water beasts, but that doesn’t really make a difference since I can’t use Abominations anyway.’
‘Serpents are known for their magical powers and gigantic attacks. If Abominations were to appear in the lake, the Tide Serpent would probably release one massive attack that takes all of them out, including me. Right now, it might respect the Thunder Horse’s mark, but if it sees Abominations suddenly appear around me, it will probably kill me just to be sure.’
Shang looked at the timer for a bit more.
“Three months, six strengthenings,” he said.
“I should get on it right now.”
After that, Shang left his inner world with Sword and entered his now-naked body.
Then, he dug out of the sandy wall.
Then, he carved the location of this place into his mind and swam deeper into the dark unknown.
He needed to hunt.