Chapter 989: Grim Circumstances

The war between the Heavenspan region and the Wildlands continued to intensify. At this point, nearly seventy percent of the cultivators from the four rivers had been deployed.

Such a large number of cultivators ensured that the four enormous armies were like sharp arrows that could pierce anything that stood in their way. They stabbed deep into the Wildlands, crushing everything in their path. The Wildlands had been at a disadvantage from the beginning, and now they were being defeated at every turn!

Not even the participation of the four heavenly kings could change the overall tide of the war. As the demigod patriarchs from the four riversource sects bombarded them with divine abilities, they were forced to cede more and more territory. The front line began to shrink as the Wildlands forces fell back, both to buy some breathing room and to look for a chance to strike back.

As the riversource sects advanced from both east, west, south and north, they occupied more than thirty percent of the Wildlands, and essentially had the Wildlanders surrounded!

From then on, the war involved tightening the encirclement, and marching onward toward what would be the final battle!

The fighting in this war was far more bitter than in any war of the past. Normally, things would never have reached this level. However, the Celestial was dead set on this outcome, and gave the four riversource sects no other option than to fight with all the power they could muster.

Another factor that played into the situation was that the gravekeeper was old and weak, and could not protect the Wildlands like he had in the past. And the new Hell-Emperor had not yet fully matured in his role, and could only act passively.

Considering everything, it was only natural that the fighting would be more desperate than it ever had been in previous conflicts.

As the Wildlands ceded more territory, conflicts between devas became more common, and more casualties resulted.

By this point, more than ten devas had been killed collectively. Furthermore, the fighting between the demigods had escalated to a deadly nature. Although no demigods had perished as of yet, it probably wouldn't be long before that happened!

The casualties were especially high among the Wildlanders. Entire tribes of savage giants had been wiped out, leaving vast swaths of the Wildlands littered with corpses and the vestiges of war.

The armies of the four heavenly kings had not fared well either. They were exhausted, and yet, gritted their teeth and fought on. It seemed clear that this war would only end with one side being completely wiped out!

There would be no surrender. There would be no mercy. There was only one outcome for the loser: death!

That was the ultimatum the Celestial had given to the gravekeeper!

Either open the Worldgate, or… watch the bloodline of the Arch-Emperor be destroyed, along with every Wildlander cultivator!

At the same time, countless chosen rose to prominence in the Wildlands. Gongsun Yi. Zhou Hong. Chen Manyao. Xu Shan. They all experienced baptisms by blood and fire, and by means of such deadly situations, grew into true men and women.

It was the same with Mistress Red-Dust, who led the Giant Ghost Legion in a spectacular campaign to resist the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect. All of the other three riversource sects were completely shaken by the results of that fighting.

Of course, heroes rose up among the Heavenspan sects as well, people who accomplished amazing deeds and inspired their fellow cultivators.

It was almost as if… the entire world were a withered flower that, by means of destruction, used its last bit of energy to bloom in radiant glory.

Devas. Nascent Soul cultivators. Core Formation experts. It was the same with all of them!

In the River-Defying Sect, it happened with Song Que, Shangguan Tianyou, Xu Baocai, and their deva, Patriarch Spirit Stream.

People died every day, until the Wildlands ran red with blood!

**

In one particular valley in the Giant Ghost King’s territory, the Wildlanders were fighting a coalition of great sects from the Middle Reaches. Patriarch Spirit Stream was there, as well as Song Junwan and Bruiser.

The River-Defying Sect cultivators weren’t particularly enthusiastic about this war, nor were the Wildlanders from the Giant Ghost Legion. Although neither of them were very interested in fighting to the death, they had no choice in the matter….

After all, the Heavenspan forces were being led by Bai Zhentian from the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect!

At the moment, his eyes were bloodshot from anxiety. Although the Heavenspan forces had the advantage, and were winning the war in general, there were often isolated incidents in which the Wildlanders would catch them by surprise and inflict heavy casualties.

And that was exactly what was playing out right now. The Giant Ghost Legion had lain in wait in this valley, and managed to surround the Heavenspan cultivators, who were unable to extricate themselves.

On one side of the valley, the exhausted Mistress Red-Dust stood looking at the Heavenspan cultivators, mixed emotions in her eyes. Throughout the course of the war, she had done her best to avoid fighting cultivators from the River-Defying Sect. But as the fighting ground on and on, that became more and more difficult.

Flanking Mistress Red-Dust were numerous cultivators from the Giant Ghost Legion, whose eyes were blood red as they stared into the valley. All it would take was a single command from Mistress Red-Dust, and they would attack with deadly force.

Also among the Wildlands forces were cultivators from Arch-Emperor City, including several heavenly marquises and two heavenly dukes. Although they technically outranked Mistress Red-Dust, during times of war, they would usually abide by the orders of the army leaders.

Mistress Red-Dust could sense that everyone around her was itching to fight, and that the lives of the people within the valley were essentially in her hands. She closed her eyes for a long moment. After taking a deep breath, she opened them again.

“Kill them, but… spare as many as you can from the River-Defying Sect.” This was her first time openly stating that the River-Defying Sect cultivators should not be killed. Her words caused an almost immediate uproar.

It was one of the heavenly marquises from Arch-Emperor City that spoke up the loudest. “Fellow Daoist Zimo, I don’t know why you favor the River-Defying Sect, but I can tell you that if we hold back, they won’t be the only ones who’ll escape!”

As for the other heavenly marquises, they frowned and looked over at Mistress Red-Dust.

Only the heavenly duke seemed to have already guessed what she was thinking.

Eyes blazing, Mistress Red-Dust coolly said, “Bai Xiaochun comes from the River-Defying Sect! If you don't care about pissing him off, then go ahead and kill his people!”

“Bai… Bai Xiaochun!?!?” The instant that heavenly marquis heard the name ‘Bai Xiaochun’, he shivered visibly, and even gasped. By this point, it was no big secret that Bai Xiaochun had masqueraded as Bai Hao in the past.

The other heavenly marquises were similarly shaken, and thought back to all of the things that had occurred when Bai Xiaochun was in Arch-Emperor City. Some of them had even come close to experiencing the shakedowns. All of them had nearly worshipped him back in the old days, and of course, they all knew that he was the Master of the Hell-Emperor….

After exchanging glances, the heavenly marquises smiled bitterly, but held their tongues. And when the fighting started… they heeded Mistress Red-Dust’s orders.

The truth was that similar scenes would begin to play out in other locations in the Wildlands.

Eventually, the fighting in the valley was over. Under the leadership of Patriarch Spirit Stream, the River-Defying Sect cultivators escaped off into the distance. Mistress Red-Dust quietly watched them go.

“Where are you, Bai Xiaochun?” she murmured. “Why are you doing this…?” Sighing, she turned and left.

In that very moment, Bai Xiaochun was back in the world of the magical item, his Undying Blood having just reached the eighty percent level. His cultivation base was now in the great circle of the Deva Realm, and the entire world around him was shaking.

His aura now surpassed that of an ordinary cultivator in the great circle. For example, Chen Haosong couldn’t possibly measure up to him now, not any more than a firefly could compare to the full moon!

“I wonder what's going on in the outside world…?” he thought, taking a deep breath. Now that the fire region was empty, and there was no more spiritual energy around him, he wished more than ever that he could leave soon.

Looking up at the face of the baby girl overhead, he sent out some divine sense and confirmed that at the most… it would take three more days before the fusion process was complete!

“Three days, huh…?” Eyes flashing he looked off into the distance… to where the ghost face was hiding.

“The old ghost is weak now, but once he gets out of here, his cultivation base will go back to normal…. Right now, he has a lot of life force left. It sure would be a pity to let it go to waste.

“I wonder… if I could use his life force to push my Undying Blood to an even higher level. Perhaps one hundred percent…? At that point, I would be in full control of the Godkiller technique!” Having reached this point in his train of thought, he smacked his bag of holding to produce his Eternal Parasol. Then, he began to walk toward the ghost face.

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