The moment the battle began, Tianming stood atop a cliff and watched the slaughter occur within the Grand-Orient Barrier. It was so chaotic that it was rather hard to make out what was happening. Based on the howls and roars, however, it was easy to tell that people from both sects were dying at a startling rate. While the Grand-Orient Sect could still hold on for the time being, their barrier was already shimmering and shaking.
"The moment someone attacks the sacred mountain and breaks the barrier, the sect will fall!" Ye Shaoqing said, his eyes bloodshot.
"If it weren’t for Yuwen Taiji, we’d be fighting off the enemies together," Tianming said. For him to watch the fight for the sect's survival, but not join it, was truly painful.
"To be frank, most of the elders had already chosen his side before the sect was under threat. Elder Zhao and Elder Shangguan were only carrying out the deed." It wasn't just that Ye Shaoqing and Yuwen Taiji personally didn't get along; their cliques and factions were also wildly different.
"Now that the sect is under threat, where’s Yuwen Taiji?" Tianming asked. The moment he finished speaking, a huge change occurred within the Grand-Orient Barrier. It glowed brightly all of a sudden as the spirit hazards created thousands of corpses.
"Die!" a resounding roar rang out, filled with hate and longing. It wasn’t the cry of the invaders, but rather the Grand-Orient guardians.
"Why are there so many guardians?" Ye Shaoqing said as he looked through the barrier on the battlefield.
"Weren't half of them sent to the Abyssal Battlefield?" Tianming asked.
"Does them being back mean the other front collapsed?"
"How many guardians do we have in total?" Tianming wondered.
"There's an estimate of forty thousand and above here on the battlefield,” Ye Shaoqing answered.
"That means around twenty thousand of them came from the other side. Don't you think the number would be lower if the front there had collapsed?" Tianming asked.
All of a sudden, Ye Shaoqing's eyes widened. "Yuwen Taiji is back."
The moment he said that, a loud rumble sent the barrier shaking and Cloudmist keepers began retreating. Beastmaster and lifebound beast alike scrambled to flee in panic. The moment the first person chose to run, the rest followed, all covered in traces of blood and some form of injury or another. The heavily injured were probably being left behind on the battlefield during the mass retreat.
"Crush the defeated enemy!"
What happened next was even more shocking. The Cloudmist keepers that attacked from land, air, and sea all retreated. It wasn't that they were defeated. In fact, it seemed more like a strategic retreat, for they still seemed to be moving in some orderly fashion. Some of them even used barrier formations to aid others in their retreat. Within a flash, around sixty of the original seventy thousand Cloudmist keepers had already left the barrier. Once they were outside the barrier’s range, they were no longer being bothered by spirit hazards and didn't seem as fearful anymore. After all, they still outnumbered the Grand-Orient guardians.
At the very end, a flaming phoenix lifebound beast barged out of the barrier and collapsed onto the ground, crushing a good number of Cloudmist keepers. Right after that, a silhouette was sent flying out of the barrier with the sword in his hand crumbling.
"The Cloudmist Sacred Sword was shattered!" The keepers were dumbstruck. That was a mighty artifact passed down through generations of sect masters of the Cloudmist Sword School. The sword had thirty heavenly patterns in total, and was a top-grade saint beastial weapon.
Sikong Jiansheng collapsed onto the ground with a bloody gash on his chest. His hair was mussed up, and he seemed all the more haggard thanks to the blood that covered him. Not an ounce of his mighty demeanor remained.
What kind of weapon was capable enough to destroy the Cloudmist Sacred Sword? The answer was all too obvious. Currently, thousands of guardians clad in black and gold appeared within the barrier. They didn't leave the barrier to attack, but remained within it for defense instead for they were at a numerical disadvantage.
Before all the guardians was Yuwen Taiji and the Grand-Orient Sword. More than ten elders stood behind him in support. Now, he looked almost like an emperor. There was no question that Yuwen Taiji had managed to turn the situation around.
Only a little over sixty thousand of the seventy thousand Cloudmist keepers that entered were left. They had suffered huge losses while their sect master was killing the junior disciples of the Grand-Orient Sect instead of dealing with the bigger picture. In comparison, the Grand-Orient Sect had only suffered a third of their enemy's losses. Those numbers were a testament to the Cloudmist Sword School's utter failure. There were still some keepers who hadn’t managed to leave the barrier, thanks to the clouds and fog that formed.
"Yuwen Taiji, let the rest of my Cloudmist keepers out, or else—"
Sikong Jiansheng was now heavily surrounded. Before he could finish, Yuwen Taiji ordered, "Kill them all and throw their heads out."
All forty thousand guardians that weren't obscured by the fog easily killed the remaining two thousand keepers that hadn’t managed to escape. The sheer disparity of numbers meant there was no contest. The next moment, the heads of two thousand people and two thousand or more lifebound beasts were tossed to the feet of the Cloudmist keepers outside.
"Grand-Orient Sect!" The keepers howled alongside their sect master like savage beasts. When they had been slaughtering the Grand-Orient Sect's members, they felt like they were at the top of the world. Yet now they could only grimace at the bitter taste of their own medicine. Most of them vomited blood from the sheer anger they felt after witnessing that act.
"You're just a bunch of dogs serving Heaven's Elysium. There's no need for hate or anger. From now on, come in if you please. The more you send in, the more we’ll kill! As long as I’m here, anyone that dares take a step inside will suffer annihilation!" Yuwen Taiji's voice reverberated throughout the battlefield, overpowering Sikong Jiansheng's enraged roars.
Sikong Jiansheng seethed with anger, not that it could change the fact that he couldn't defeat Yuwen Taiji. For a divine artifact that was used to symbolize rulership over the whole realm, even the slightest amount of mastery over it would ensure that no normal beastmaster of the same rank would be able to match its wielder. With all of the Grand-Orient guardians here, that meant nobody was left in the Abyssal Battlefield.
"Quick, go to the Abyssal Battlefield and see what's going on!" Sikong Jiansheng was so mad that he was shaking.
"There's no need. Word is that the Onyx Sect was forced to retreat after Yuwen Taiji captured the Onyx Empress," Jun Niancang said. He felt rather horrible for losing in this expedition. He was quite impatient to wipe out the Grand-Orient Sect.
"Onyx Empress? Is she an idiot?!" Sikong Jiansheng snapped.
"It's not like you managed to defeat Yuwen Taiji yourself, either."
"But I wouldn't let myself be captured, at least!" It was one thing to be killed, but another to be taken captive. "Since the Abyssal Battlefield is empty, can't the Onyx Emperor launch an attack?"
"I already talked to him about it, but he's afraid that Yuwen Taiji will kill his wife. I'm unable to force him, so I sent word to my father to have him order the Onyx Emperor to fight." If the elysian children hadn't lost the Grand-Orient Sword, the Grand-Orient Sect would be in dire straits.
"That's right. She’s as good as dead if she's captured! Don't tell me the Onyx Sect won’t fight just because one of their sect masters was taken captive. They'd be fools to think that." While the sect masters were the strongest participants of the war, the loss of the Onyx Empress wasn't that significant to the Onyx Sect.
"We have to retreat for now, and negotiate with the Onyx Emperor. There's no way he'll give up on the Onyx Empress's life," Jun Niancang said as he looked at Yueling Long's translucent coffin, feeling his heart tingle. If he felt like this for a mere lover, how would the Onyx Emperor feel for the wife he had been married to for decades?
Meanwhile, at the sacred mountain, every single member of the sect seemed quite different. After surviving what they thought would be certain demise, they could finally grow and comprehend the true meaning of cultivation and battle. The disciples were currently gathered outside while the guardians were located at the centermost position, and the elders, prefects, mountain lords, and exalted masters were between the two groups. At the peak of the sacred mountain were thirty elders. Yuwen Taiji took the most exalted seat within the Grand-Orient Sacred Hall. Swaying his robe as he turned, he sat down and enjoyed the respect of countless members of the sect.
"Greetings, Sect Master!" These words reverberated throughout the Grand-Orient Mountains. It had been more than a thousand years since a sect master had been shown so much respect. This was the first master of the Grand-Orient Sect that hadn’t borne the Li surname since its founding. Though most still had their doubts, they acknowledged him nevertheless, as the elders themselves were the ones who supported Yuwen Taiji. Not to mention, there was nobody more qualified than him to be the sect master. People no longer cared about Li Wudi.
"From now on, the Grand-Orient Sect has reclaimed the Grand-Orient Sword! We also have a proper sect master!"
"We no longer have to worry! Trust the sect master and ourselves! The sect has lived on for tens of thousands of years and that will not change! With the sect master here, we'll definitely survive this. We'll make those crooks pay for what they've done!" Yuwen Fengtian proclaimed as he stood by his son's side.
As everyone knew Yuwen Taiji's personality, they couldn't be sure if letting him take control was a good or bad idea. Regardless, nobody cared about the fact that the Yuwen Clan had taken the spot from the Li Saint Clan in a time of crisis like this. They had no choice but to submit.
Yuwen Taiji finally stood up. He shot a gaze at the elders and said, "Bring me Ye Shaoqing and Li Tianming!" His words quieted the masses. As expected, his first act as sect master would be to kill members of their own sect.Previous Chapter Next Chapter