Huuummm… Xu Yangyi studied the light screen formed by the two assistant cultivators. On the screen’s surface, the Reincarnation Puppet was getting closer and closer! Yet in the wake of the behemoth’s approach, all of the branch stronghold’s Spirit Accumulation Cannons began to twinkle at the same time!
A low droning noise converged in the sky. Under the spirit cannons, meter-long Demonslaying Crossbows flashed with faint light. Everything ascended as the clicking sound of machinery followed. However, all of the Xingtian Legion’s battle strength was standing in front of the plaza. Xu Yangyi’s eyes shimmered, and he stared dead on at the light screen. Several numbers were pulsing on the exterior at lightning speed.
A thousand meters, nine hundred meters! Eight hundred meters!
The ground tremors seemed to have already reached the level of a minor earthquake! Rumbling sounds tirelessly assaulted the ear, the shadowy representation of death and destruction ever approaching them! At both side-palaces, the expressions of the cultivators assigned spirit arms were now incomparably heavy. Even their hands holding weapons were slick with cold sweat.
700… 600… 500!
Xu Yangyi didn’t utter a word until the number of the screen jumped to 200! From their position, they could already see the fiend’s face! Wretched white weaved with dark-green. Under the moonlight, it was incredibly distinct!
The upper half of the Reincarnation Puppet was a deathly pale human form. It had three heads and six arms, yet each head had a pair insectoid compound eyes. Countless fleshy tendrils extended from all over its body. While these feelers didn’t look big from where they were, each one was almost a meter thick! Tens of meters long!
Its lower body was that of a spider’s, alternating in the colors black and green. Red bristles grew all over it. The talismans that covered it from top to bottom made it appear like a reaper in the glow of the moon!
“FIRE!!!” With Xu Yangyi’s roar, explosions followed and meter-thick rays of white light and glimmering golden-edged Demonslaying Crossbows soared! In the sky of the Xingtian Legion, the first resplendent firework of war erupted!
Swoosh swoosh swoosh! Falling to the earth, the fireworks tower in their awe, the stars scattered in brilliance. Flying high in the air, they circle and bring the sound of rain! Along with ear-piercing screams, a curtain of interweaving spiritual light directly surged towards the gigantic monstrosity! At this moment, the monster was only 150 meters away from the branch! 
“Scatter!” Simultaneously, the Screaming Wind Legion ahead broke into an uproar. All the cavalrymen instantly left for the surrounding areas. Facing the Reincarnation Puppet was only a dazzling curtain of light!
Instinct allowed the titan to quickly sense danger. Danger that was tantamount to obliteration. Not for it though, but the enemy! It was almost without consideration, unleashing a furious howl, and its eight legs carved out deathly trenches in the ground. Without shrinking back in the slightest, the enormous body was like a moving castle, ramming straight into the branch stronghold!
RUUUMMMBLE!!! A thunderous noise rang out, and all the beams of qi light exploded on the Reincarnation Puppet’s body!
“HIIISSS!!!” Sharp pain drove the creature’s roars to even greater insanity! In a twinkling, as the spiritual light dispersed, about a hundred head-sized holes were revealed on its body! In addition, there were scores of Demonslaying Crossbow bolts piercing into its body! Globs of nauseating green ichor gushed out and fell to the ground, plumes of black smoke rising up into the air.
Nonetheless, an astonishing scene emerged! A beam of qi light at the crown of the Reincarnation Puppet’s head, in a matter of a second, radiated brilliant green light. The wounds on the behemoth’s body surprisingly healed at a speed visible to the naked eye!
“This…” Xu Yangyi, Chu Zhaonan, and Lord Zhao were dazed. They followed the web of spiritual light to a place far, far away… The terribly gray Bluedawn Winding Corridor that seemed like a demon king’s palace!
“It’s… supplying the Reincarnation Puppet with spiritual force?” Xu Yangyi’s gaze flashed, and he came to an immediate understanding.
This was one of his disadvantages!
Yes, Foundation Establishment cultivators couldn’t be mobilized, but… how generous were the clans’ savings?! Their consumption of endless spiritual force freely rushed forth! This puppet had evidently undergone a special process. So long as spiritual force could mend it in an instant, there was actually no concern for its life!
Not waiting on Xu Yangyi to finish his thoughts, the Reincarnation had already charged before the branch! A mad hiss followed as it faced the sky! A tendril on its body loudly fell off!
In this moment, everyone could feel this tendril’s largeness! In their pupils, the appendage swiftly magnified! It was without a head. Instead, its head was an ugly mouth with many rings of teeth that caused one to feel the rise of a chill. All over the tendril, though, there were small, hair-raising suckers!
If that thing landed a solid hit… the entire plaza would collapse!
“Raise formation!!!” Lord Zhao shouted behind him! Needless of his command, the portraits in the plaza whirled in sync as the tendril fell. Prompt, a golden curtain of light covered the sky above the branch, as if it were solid!
RUMBLE!!! A shocking boom rang out! The golden screen of light shook greatly! In the blink of an eye, the tendril and the light screen locked against each other. Those underneath the light screen seemed to experience a level five earthquake!
Talismans flickered unstably. At both side-palaces, a group of four or five cultivators surrounded a reddish-purple pillar of a coiling dragon. Bereft of any misgivings in kind, they shoved in spirit stone after spirit stone into the dragon’s mouth! With the entry of each spirit stone, the glimmering talismans brightened by a fraction more! Several seconds later, the branch stiffly resisted the giant’s attack!
“LAUNCH!!!” Chu Zhaonan bellowed towards both sides. Just as his voice fell, the second tidal wave of spiritual light erupted! This surge was even more violent than the last, taking on the shape of a torrenting qi wave at once! Yet on the rooftops of both side-palaces, dozens of cultivators, who weren’t assisting with the stronghold’s operation, were carrying Spirit Accumulation Cannons. They added another wave to this great tide!
“HISS!!!” The Reincarnation Puppet reared its heads back and howled in fury. Its mouths opened for the first time. All three of these mouths were over ten meters in size, pitch-black like a cavern. Each mouth was the same size, and billowing orbs of qi churned inside!
“That’s…” Lord Zhao drew a sharp breath. “Also a Spirit Accumulation Cannon… The Nalan Clan actually installed a spirit cannon inside a living organism!”
Crack! Before his voice even fell, a brittle noise echoed in everyone’s ears. Xu Yangyi took a deep breath and solemnly looked forward. Unexpectedly, a hairline crack had appeared on the light screen!
On the crack, the tendril’s numerous little suckers were greedily absorbing qi. It was a mystery when, but a few tendrils had already come wrapping around! While thousands of suckers drew in qi at the same time, the Xingtian Legion had no time to put up a defense as their defensive measures instantly went lax!
BOOM!!! An enormous tide charged forth. Above, three qi beams rocketed out of the Reincarnation Puppet’s mouths! And yet… in the moment that seemingly gray tide of qi touched the spiritual light, it immediately pulled back!
To their surprise, it had not been an utter defeat!
“Naive!” At both sides, the Screaming Wind Legion regrouped, their captain already looking above at the qi maelstrom that took form in heaven’s curtain. He burst into loud laughter. “If the Reincarnation Puppet was broken through so easily, then it wouldn’t have become one of the Nalan Clan’s trump cards for sieges! Granted that there are only twenty Reincarnation Puppets, ten were destroyed by my Linghu Clan! How could your insignificant Xingtian Legion defeat it!”
Yes… between the quality of both sides’ qi, there existed a difference of nature!
BOOOM!!! The tsunami of qi retreated back, little by little! Unexpectedly, they were breaking down each other! Yet below was the defensive light screen, already teetering on the verge of collapse! They were physically located below this screen!
“Continue adding spirit stones.” Xu Yangyi’s face was heavy like water. Beyond the cover of spiritual light, the number of tendrils were progressively increasing. They fleshy appendages were like insatiable demons, never knowing end. None of them had expected that a single Reincarnation Puppet would suppress them into a totally disadvantaged state right off the bat!
“Brother Xu, things can’t keep going like this!” Chu Zhaonan gritted his teeth and said. “This thing… won’t die until it’s exterminated! It can immediately heal multiple injuries! Its attack potential is even more ridiculously overbearing. If we get thrashed here, we’re definitely going to be broken through!”
Xu Yangyi kept his mouth shut, and his and Chu Zhaonan’s gazes met.
Anyone could see the resolution in the other’s eyes.
Kill their way out!
They couldn’t sustain this kind of offense for long! Rather than keep to wishful thinking and wait for the Bluedawn Winding Corridor’s qi to exhaust, it was better to charge out and slaughter a path of blood!
“Make task appointments.” His intent was already decided, and Xu Yangyi said to Chu Zhaonan without the slightest hesitation, “Assemble here in a minute.”
A minute passed quickly, yet also slowly. Two domains of qi faced off against each other. The Reincarnation Puppet’s three qi beams were incredibly powerful, suppressing the Xingtian Legion’s qi wave into retreat, inch by inch! Cold sweat dripped down the faces of the cultivators holding Spirit Accumulation Cannons. While a new batch of weaponry had already been exchanged, such measures were merely a cup of water on a burning cart!
After the three qi beams merged together, they formed a ray of jade-green spiritual light! No less than several tens of meters thick! It was akin to a heavenly calamity’s descent! In this place, it illuminated a deathly and wretched green!
After a minute, Quan Ningyue, Qin Xueluan, and Fang Cheng stood at Xu Yangyi’s side. Jun Man had stayed behind. Over at Chu Zhaonan’s side was Gao Ye, Luo Sanfeng, and a never-before-seen middle-aged man. However, there was no one besides Lord Zhao, only the foot-long jade chest he brought with him.
“That’s…” Xu Yangyi’s gaze shimmered. If he hadn’t remembered incorrectly, this was Zhao Ziqi, the youth that the Zhao Clan had placed their hopes in and had to be protected no matter what.
“It’s Zhao Ziqi.” Lord Zhao said lowly. “The wielder of the Netherpierce Eye is beleaguered by a hundred phantoms. Only he is able to cast his soul into a puppet. Against all lifeless creatures, demons and ghosts, it possesses unusual effect. He will be of tremendous help in this war.”
Xu Yangyi nodded without objection. He took a deep breath and shouted at Mo Yeyu, “Go!”
Without any opportunity to take to the front line and mobilize, the surrounding cultivators all had to firmly oppose the heavenly calamity of the Bluedawn Winding Corridor! Already, cultivators with low cultivations had passed out, unable to leave and attack. A catastrophe had come… perhaps this place would flow with rivers of blood!
Swoosh! Mo Yeyu’s hands shook, and dozens of paper bird-puppets flew out from his sleeves. Like on that day against the livyatan, the paper birds took to the wind! Each one was almost ten meters long! In the air, they formed upward spiraling staircases!
At this moment, the Reincarnation Puppet… raised its hand for the first time. On this hand, tens of meters in size, all the palm ridges and hairs were in plain sight. The beast gripped a Spiritcleaver Awl, one of the most basic yet rudimentary of magik artifacts. Nonetheless… this awl, and the beast, was too big.
“HISS!!!” The Reincarnation Puppet cried out in supreme joy. Its Spiritcleaver Awl brought forth a gale, the friction even causing sparks to form in the air! Aimed down below, it pierced into the already slightly dim screen of light!
BOOM!!! A sharp noise filled the sky! The talismans on the Spiritcleaver Awl flashed, and the light screen fiercely shook! It became a few shades darker!
“Add spirit stones!!!” At the two side-pavilions, a cultivator looked towards the sky, his eyes flushed crimson-red. He screamed with all of his might at the surrounding cultivators.
“We can’t add anymore!” Facing him, a seated cultivator opened his eyes. “Look at it… The pillar’s already completely golden… It’s already at full operational capacity. If more is added… it’ll overload. We won’t be able to take it!”
“Don’t tell me we’re just going to let this thing invade like that?!”
The seated cultivator said nothing, but he stared fixedly at the dozens of soldiers holding spirit cannons outside and using all their strength to resist the Nalan Clan’s qi beam. Although he was silent, his eyes were brimming with anxiety.
This was a quasi-apex clan…
This was the opponent’s siege weapon…
The disparity was too great… Ordinarily, the clans dared not attack this place because Daomaster Ancientpine’s honor was hung here! Yet it was also because of this that in terms of a stronghold’s offensive and defense arms, the branch was undeniably inferior to the fortresses that lived and breathed for war. Daomaster Ancientpine’s name guaranteed safety in this place. Once the war had now started, however, they had actually been felled on initial contact!
1. “Falling to the earth, the fireworks tower in their awe, the stars scattered in brilliance. Flying high in the air, they circle and bring the sound of rain!” My poor rendition of a poem by the Ming poet Qu You (1341-1427 CE).
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