Book 18, Pure Yang, Chapter 14 – No Way Out
Ji Ning could sense a terrifying power spread out to encompass his entire body. He had bent his knees and assumed a stable stance to build up power to block the blow, but upon actually receiving this terrifying strike from Venomsong’s White-Faced Flood Dragon…Ning couldn’t help but stagger back heavily by one step. He almost went down to one knee as his body was pressed downwards before he was able to weather the powerful collision.
Bang! A cold smirk was on Venomsong’s White-Faced Flood Dragon as his second claw attack ripped out towards Ning.
He had two sharp claws, after all! Just now, he had only used a single one to tear at Ning.
Ning remained very clear-headed. His right hand manifested another longsword, and his sword-light struck out like water, lashing sideways against the sharp claws of the Venomsong Terrorbeast and knocking it aside. Ning immediately retreated, pulling back. “Hmph. This White-Faced Flood Dragon’s first claw came with all of its power and was tremendously strong. The sudden attack from the second claw, however, was a bit weaker.”
Venomsong didn’t really expect to actually be able to slay Ji Ning with just two claws. He immediately moved to pursue Ning, sending the two claws in another ferocious strike.
Ning was forced back time and time again, but he was still able to hold on.
“Fellow Daoist Darknorth.”
The other Heaven Punishers came to assist Ning.
Empyrean God Venomsong could tell that he had lost his chance. All he could do was furiously strike out with his draconic tail.
Ning lifted both his arms, blocking the strike from the ninety thousand meter tail, then relied on the counter-force from the blow to retreat backwards. His movements, however, remained perfectly steady.
Empyrean God Venomsong gave Ning a hateful look, then glanced sideways at the other seven Heaven Punishers. He smirked, then barked a mental order, “Retreat!”
“Yes!” Everyone assented to his order.
The other two White-Faced Flood Dragons and the nine Empyrean God golems immediately began to retreat, under the command of Empyrean God Venomsong. They all began to move at full speed, bounding across the wild marshes, traversing tens of kilometers with each movement as they moved rapidly towards the levitating black citadel. Even though Ning and the others remained more than ten thousand kilometers away from the Seamless City, they could still sense how utterly enormous the citadel was!
“No need to chase.” The Xia Emperor’s voice rang out by the ears of Ning and the others.
The eight Heaven Punishers and the two Empyrean Gods came to a halt, just staring off into the distance at their fleeing foes. They then turned to look at each other, a complicated look in their eyes.
“It was just a very short exchange, but countless Loose Immortals and Celestial Immortals died.” Ning and the others couldn’t help but feel a sort of sympathetic grief. Today, it was the Loachwater Heaven Punisher which had fallen. In the future…it could be them.
Swish! Swish! Swish! Ning and the others disappeared into thin air.
Within the Eight Dragons Cloudcity.
Countless Celestial Immortals and Loose Immortals were gathered here, within the main plaza of the Eight Dragons Cloudcity. They stared at the Xia Emperor and the others around him, such as Ning and the rest of the nine generals. Celestial Immortal Loachwater was with them as well. Although the Loachwater Army had suffered castastrophic casualties, there were still many Celestial Immortals and Loose Immortals who had survived. Celestial Immortal Loachwater had been lucky and had managed to survive as well.
“My fellow Immortals,” the black-robed Xia Emperor said solemnly, “This was the first battle between our Grand Xia and the Seamless Gate. Even I didn’t expect that in our first real battle, we would have suffered such heavy losses. The Loachwater Army suffered heavy casualties, with 436 slain Celestial Immortals and 51,210 slain Loose Immortals.”
Ning’s own heart sank as well upon hearing this.
436 Celestial Immortals and 51,210 Loose Immortals. What did this represent? Everyone present knew the answer. Prior to the onset of this great storm, the Black-White College had only produced a single Celestial Immortal in its entire history. Even the Youngflame clan, a clan that was ranked as one of the top ten clans of the Grand Xia, had only produced nine Celestial Immortals and around a thousand Loose Immortals.
In other words…the casualties they had suffered today represented a force that was tens of times more powerful than the entire Youngflame clan!
The slain Celestial Immortals and Loose Immortals had come from throughout the various commanderies of the Grand Xia; they had come in response to the Xia Emperor’s summons, gathering at the imperial capital. They had come from countless schools, clans, and sects; that was why so many of them had been able to gather in one place.
“This happened as a result of poor command decisions by myself.” The black-robed Xia Emperor’s voice was low. “The Seamless Gate has a formidable intelligence network, while we know very little about them. We didn’t know in advance that one of the White-Faced Flood Dragons was that powerful. Still…we know all along that our war against the Seamless Gate would result in heavy losses.”
The countless Celestial Immortals and Loose Immortals below him were all silent. Their hearts were heavy.
“Their losses were even heavier than ours!” The black-robed Xia Emperor’s gaze turned slightly more vicious than before. “Sword Immortal Darknorth, Ji Ning, led his Heaven Punisher to defeat and slay a White-Faced Flood Dragon. He killed more than six hundred Celestial Immortals and nearly seventy thousand Loose Immortals.”
The morale of the Immortals located below him began to lift noticeably.
“They killed our warriors, but we killed theirs as well. In fact…we killed even more of them!”
“This is war!”
“A war of life and death. The Grand Xia, the Seamless Gate…one side has to fall!”
“If we don’t want to die, then we have to kill them. Kill them all!”
The Xia Emperor’s voice rang out, echoing throughout the city.
“Kill them all!” The Xia Emperor roared once again.
“Kill them all!”
“Kill them all!”
The Xia Emperor’s voice, along with the enormous pressure all of the Immortals felt, caused all of the Immortals to let out angry snarls as well.
All of the Immortals present knew that there was no way for anyone to hide from this storm. They had to face it head on. If they wanted to survive…they had to go all out! They had to make their enemies die!
“All of you can go back to your camps to rest. This will be a long war. Today was just the beginning,” the Xia Emperor ordered.
“Yes, Imperial Majesty.”
Instantly, all of the Immortals acknowledged his command, then flew back in a dense mass towards their respective camps.
“Let’s go back to the main palace.” The Xia Emperor swept his nine generals with his gaze, then immediately turned to head towards the main palace.
Within the main palace.
The Xia Emperor was seated up high on his throne. His five Empyrean Gods/True Immortals were by his side, while Ning and the rest of the nine remained standing before them.
“Imperial Majesty.” Celestial Immortal Loachwater’s face was completely ashen. He stepped forward, then immediately went down to his knees. “It was because of me. I was hungry for a victory, causing so many of our fellow Immortals to die. Imperial Majesty, please punish me!”
The Xia Emperor gave him a glance. “You were the general for the Loachwater Army, but today you caused so many Celestial Immortals and Loose Immortals to die in battle. Indeed, you cannot escape responsibility for this disaster. However…strictly speaking, I can’t fully blame you. That White-Faced Flood Dragon was indeed more powerful than we had expected. This time, I’ll let the matter rest…but in the future, you must be more cautious. I will arrange for new Celestial Immortals and Loose Immortals to enter and replenish your Loachwater Army. Do not disappoint me a second time!”
Although he now knew that he would not be punished, Celestial Immortals Loachwater still felt great guilt in his heart. Upon hearing the Xia Emperor promise him new Celestial Immortals and Loose Immortals to rebuild his Loachwater Army, he couldn’t help but feel shocked. “Imperial Majesty, this…”
“I have faith in you,” the Xia Emperor said calmly. “Enough. You can rise.”
“Loachwater will not disappoint you again, your Imperial Majesty.” Celestial Immortal Loachwater rose to his feet, a fierce look in his eyes.
The Xia Emperor turned his gaze towards the others. “What do you think of this battle?”
“That White-Faced Flood Dragon had to have been commanded by an Empyrean God or a True Immortal,” the nearby red-bearded elder said. “When I fought against him, I saw that although his claw attacks were seemingly simple, they contained full mastery over the Grand Dao of Blackwater. The commander is definitely an Empyrean God or True Immortal. As for how many additional Celestial Immortals and Loose Immortals he had under his command…that’s hard to say.”
“Right.” The Xia Emperor nodded. “Ji Ning and the rest of the nine, listen up; in the future, you absolutely must not fight against that White-Faced Flood Dragon by yourself. Even you, Ji Ning, must only attack if you have helpers nearby.”
“I understand,” Ning said. “When I fought against him, I saw that he was superior to me in every aspect, be it strength or speed. I might be able to hold on for a short period of time, but any longer…”
“Fellow Daoist Darknorth, you might be able to hold on for a short period of time, but the rest of us would probably be defeated in just one or two exchanges,” Celestial Immortal Dustfloat said, shaking his head.
“Thus, when fighting that White-Faced Flood Dragon, you have to have at least two helpers,” the Xia Emperor said. “Also; what are your opinions regarding those Empyrean God golems?”
“Tough to deal with.”
“Very tough to deal with.”
“They get in the way.”
Ning and the others had fought against the golems personally. They all had frowns on their faces.
Ning had already become the unspoken leader of the nine generals. He said, “The attacks of the Empyrean God golems weren’t that strong, but they are manufactured golems with bodies as tough as Pure Yang treasures; it is hard to damage them through direct attacks. The only way to deal with them is to suppress them through overwhelmingly superior power, then capture them. However…if several of them join together, there’s no chance for us to capture them at all.”
“Right. No matter how we attack them, we can’t damage them,” Celestial Immortal Unity and the others agreed.
Ning realized that these Empyrean God golems were much similar to himself, back when he had first learned the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]; weak attacks but incredibly powerful defenses. Most likely, there was only two ways to deal with them; constricting and binding them, or suppressing and sealing them!
“Right, your Imperial Majesty,” Ning suddenly said.
“Mm?” The Xia Emperor looked towards Ning.
“I have an Empyrean God golem,” Ning said, “One of the same type that we just fought against.”
“You do?” The Xia Emperor was surprised and delighted.
“I acquired it when the Seamless Gate attacked me,” Ning said. “But I only have one.”
“Good, good, good! In their campaigns against the other major worlds, the Seamless Gate lost several Empyrean God golems to our side. I did everything I could, but only managed to procure three of them. Now that you have another one…excellent!” The Xia Emperor said hurriedly. “These Empyrean God golems are incredibly precious. I won’t force you to give it up for free. Ji Ning, if there is anything you want, I will trade it to you, but you have to give me the golem.”
Ning said, “Since I mentioned it, I naturally have the intentions of giving it to you, your Imperial Majesty. As for what I need…Imperial Majesty, you can just give me some Pure Yang Immortal pills or Great Firmament Immortal pills.”
“I’ve prepared a very large number of these pills.” The Xia Emperor let out a sigh. “I don’t know how long this war will go on for. All of our Immortals will need Immortal pills to replenish their energy at critical moments, and so we need many pills. Haha…I’ll give you an entire bottle of them.”
Ning immediately waved his hand, producing a black, palm-sized horned golem within his hand, one which looked identical to the Empyrean God golems they had previously battled against.
Because this was a manufactured treasure, its size could be changed as necessary.
The Empyrean God golem flew towards the Xia Emperor, and a bottle of pills flew towards Ning. Ning knew very well that this golem required many Celestial Immortals working together to control it. It was useless to him, but it was incredibly useful on the field of battle. As for the pills…he desperately needed powerful pills to train in the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art]. At present, he had only reached the fifth stage of the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art].
“Everyone.” The Xia Emperor said, “The battle between us and the Seamless Gate is one in which only one size can survive. There’s nowhere for us to retreat to. In addition, we will be fighting against them for a long period of time; after all, if we can tie down more of their forces here, it will mean that they can’t use those forces to attack other major worlds.”
Ning and the others nodded.
The Grand Xia was just one battlefield in this war. If all the major worlds hid their forces without willing to use them, then the Seamless Gate would be able to focus on them one-by-one and defeat them.
Thus…every single major world had to go all out, to fight as if they were mad! If the Seamless Gate wanted to take them over, they would have to pay enough of a blood price!
“Starting from tomorrow, each time the nine Heaven Punishers go out into battle, Ji Ning will be the leader. None of the Heaven Punishers are to stray too far away from him. I will ensure that the Eight Dragons Cloudcity is close to Ji Ning, so that I can reinforce him immediately,” the Xia Emperor said. “The Empyrean Gods and True Immortals will also reinforce you as needed. At appropriate moments, I’ll also send out the four Empyrean God golems to assist you.”
“This war will most likely last for a very long period of time.”
“Now that you have battled against the Seamless Gate, both you and them are more experienced. It is unlikely that either side will be able to gain easy victories in the future. However…you must not grow too complacent. Over the course of many battles, you will have many chances to slain one of the White-Faced Flood Dragons, and each will represent an enormous victory,” the Xia Emperor said. “Succeed several times, and the foe will no longer have any White-Faced Flood Dragons left. The more of them perish, the greater our chances of success shall be.”
“Life will be tough. We’ll be engaged in a long war, and if you slip up, the result will be death,” the Xia Emperor said. “Thus…my nine fellow Immortals, you must be careful.”
“Yes, your Imperial Majesty.”
Ji Ning, Celestial Immortal Unity, Celestial Immortal Loachwater, Fairy Rainsoar, Celestial Immortal Dustfloat, Celestial Immortal Allbeast, Fairy Thousand Needles, Celestial Immortal Whacko, and Celestial Immortal Rainbow all assented solemnly.
The war would be a cruel, vicious one. Perhaps others amongst them would fall, and each time they fell, it would mean that a thousand Celestial Immortals and a hundred thousand Celestial Immortals had fallen with them. And yet…none of them felt any fear.
In the face of the war before them, there was no way out for anyone!
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