Outside the Grand-Orient Barrier.
“Dead, they’re all dead!”
“Damn the Onyx Sect, curse those traitors!”
Shrieks of anger and misery could be heard everywhere as eight thousand Cloudmist keepers scrambled back to their own sect.
“This will be the end of our sect. Thousands of years of history all gone to waste, and the Cloudmist Sword School is no more.”
“Run while you still can, forget Heaven’s Elysium!”
The Cloudmist keepers weren’t the only ones in distress. The Elysian purifiers who were lucky enough to escape the slaughter were also wandering the mountains like headless flies. With their numbers limited and their morale gone, they no longer posed a threat. The priority for them now was to heal the injured with spirit herbs before their injuries worsened, then find their way back to their own sect.
Some of the remaining Elysian elders gathered in a corner together with Jun Niancang, who was still alive. He had intended to join the battle during the final cleanup, but the Onyx army joined the fight before that could happen. He could only watch helplessly as the Cloudmist keepers and the Elysian purifiers were slaughtered inside that living hell.
“Grand-Orient Sect, Li Wudi, Li Tianming!”
It was like the last day of the Realm Wars again, when he had witnessed Yueling Long being killed. But this time, it was the Elysian purifiers being destroyed, and he even saw his eldest brother, Jun Dongyao, being beheaded. He remembered the giant golden head glistering under the sun, its eyes open wide with fear.
Jun Niancang could feel a flame of hatred engulfing him and his eyes were bloodshot. As he put his hands on Yueling Long’s crystal coffin and looked at her resting peacefully, he couldn’t help but spit out a mouthful of blood. He remembered his promise to wipe out the Grand-Orient Sect and bury her on the peak of the Sacred Mountain. But reality was far from that, and it was Heaven’s Elysium that was on the chopping board instead.
“How did this even happen….” Jun Niancang’s teeth were stained with blood and his hand trembled on top of the coffin. His hatred was gradually consuming his humanity.
“You were way too careless and arrogant. Although the Onyx Sect lost their barrier and are unprotected, you should’ve factored in the possibility that the Grand-Orient Sect could offer them protection. Either you were made careless by their obedience, or you underestimated your enemies,” Yun Zhenzhen said indifferently. What she said sounded harsh, but it wasn’t her people that died.
“You’re right. We paid a price for disrespecting our enemies.” Jun Niancang could feel himself burning up. The mist inside the Grand-Orient Barrier had cleared, revealing the piles of bodies that belonged to the Elysian purifiers and the Cloudmist keepers.
“How are you going to report this to your father?” Yun Zhenzhen asked in a more serious tone.
“How else? We lost, but it’s not over yet. My father shall slay those bastards!” Jun Niancang’s eyes glowed even redder.
“Jun Niancang, you’ve changed. You used to purely pursue martial arts, but now you’re blinded by hatred,” Yun Zhenzhen sighed.
Just then, Yuan Chen returned, his face pale and clearly injured.
“I thought you died in there,” Yun Zhenzhen said.
“It was close. I took a punch from a senior. If not, I would’ve helped apprentice-brother Jun bring that Li Tianming out.” Yuan Chen grit his teeth.
“He was there on the battlefield?” Jun Niancang asked.
“Yes. And he killed quite a few people, in fact. He was the one who finished off Sikong Jiansheng, too,” Yuan Chen hissed.
“How interesting,” Yun Zhenzhen smirked, curious about Li Tianming after hearing so many stories.
“Shame I wasn’t inside,” Jun Niancang said gloomily.
“It wouldn’t change anything. If it weren't for my Hell-Breaker, I would’ve died in there too. You fell right into their trap this time,” Yuan Chen said, unsatisfied with how this battle turned out.
“Yuan Chen, do me a favor,” Jun Niancang said seriously.
“What is it?”
“You mentioned last time that your second uncle Yuan Hun is here in the Grand-Orient Realm, right? Can you contact him?”
“Help me ask if there’s any chance Earthorigin Sect is willing to help Heaven’s Elysium.”
“Alright, I’ll pass that message.” Yuan Chen was briefly stunned before he answered.
“The least we can do is to make that Li Tianming pay for what he did.” Yuan Chen’s gaze was grim.
“Have you developed a hatred for that boy, too?” Yun Zhenzhen asked.
“Well, not really. But so far in my life, I haven’t left any person that I dislike alive. Why should I make an exception here?”
On one of the uninhabited islands near Southsky Sect, the main bulk of Heaven’s Elysium army was waiting for good news to arrive back from the Grand-Orient Sect, many bored by the lack of action. That was when Jun Niancang and six elysian elders returned with barely two thousand men left. They faced the hundred and eighty thousand strong army, the most awkward one being Jun Niancang. He was still carrying Yueling Long’s crystal coffin around, which could be considered somewhat disrespectful to the deceased.
“What happened?” The Elysian Emperor, three Cardinal Kings, and over a hundred Elysian elders who were there to welcome them gawked. It was as if time had stopped, and no one dared make a move or sound.
“So? Did you attack the Grand-Orient Sect?” the emperor snarled.
“Father!” Jun Niancang and the rest dismounted from their beasts and dropped to their knees, many of them crying and covered by blood. It was a pathetic sight to behold, and one that took the army by surprise.
“What happened? Why are you back?”
“How did it go in the Grand-Orient Realm? How many people did we lose?”
The three elysian elders were the first to break the silence. But the returning group were all silent, their faces red with anger and sorrow. With only one option left, everyone turned to Jun Niancang, who was the one in charge.
“Father!” Jun Niancang banged his head to the ground and said with grief, “Elder brother and Sikong Jiansheng commanded the hundred and thirty thousand men to attack the Grand-Orient Realm. But the moment we stepped into the Grand-Orient Barrier, the Onyx Sect turned their swords against us and attacked us together with the Grand-Orient guardians!”
“Their betrayal was too sudden! The elders from the Onyx Sect also caused the Grand-Orient Barrier to double in power. As for Sikong Jiansheng, he was slain by Li Wudi right at the beginning of the battle, causing the Cloudmist guardians to fall apart.”
“In the end, only about twenty thousand people made it out alive. Elder brother was also slain by Li Wudi!”
“Not only did we lose the sect war, but we lost horribly!”
No one interrupted Jun Niancang, and the entire island fell into dead silence as he finished reporting with his head still glued to the floor.
“Haha... Niancang, this really isn’t funny. The Onyx Sect doesn’t even have a barrier, so how could they ever dare to betray us?” the South Cardinal King laughed, trying to ease the atmosphere. But when he turned back, he could see that all of the purifiers present had gone pale.
“We accept any punishment from the emperor!” the two thousand people cried, all of them banging their heads on the floor. The emotions they showed proved that they definitely weren’t joking.
“So, there’s only so few people left?”
“Even if you couldn’t win, shouldn’t there be more who could escape the barrier? Where are they?”
“The East Cardinal King is dead?”
“Yes!” Blood and tears formed a small puddle under Jun Niancang’s head. His reply was enough to stir a storm in the army.
“No!!” Many burst into tears as a wave of anguish swept across the island.
“Seventy thousand guardians, sixty elders, and this is all that’s left?” The South Cardinal King trembled.
“Yes!” Jun Niancang hit his head on the ground again and again, ignoring the blood flowing out from his forehead.
Many of the elders and guardians had collapsed to the floor as if they had been struck by lightning. The Elysian Emperor himself was holding on to his chest as he spat out blood three times in succession. He had to take multiple steps back to steady himself.
This was the first time Heaven’s Elysium had witnessed the emperor having a breakdown. Most knew him as one who wouldn’t show his emotions easily, even when the Grand-Orient Sword was taken away. But this time, Jun Dongyao had died in battle, and seventy thousand men had perished together with him. This was no doubt the biggest blow he had taken since the beginning of this war.
“Your Majesty!” Many were worried about his reaction.
“Dongyao’s body, did you bring it back…?” He asked, his voice trembling.
“No….” Jun Niancang was still repeating the same action.
Everyone knew the emperor had intended to take over the Grand-Orient Realm without losing a single man. But in reality, not only had they achieved nothing, but they’d also lost nearly one-third of their power! It was an outcome that hadn’t appeared even in their wildest imagination.
“Curse the Grand-Orient Sect, curse the Onyx Sect!” the army roared.
With an earth-shattering boom, the emperor dropped to his knees, the impact of his action causing at least a thousand people to take a step back. But it was his heart that bled the most.
At that instance, a voice suddenly ringed from the direction of Southsky Island. Two figures had appeared outside the giant water ball—Weisheng Cangyuan and Weisheng Tianlan.Previous Chapter Next Chapter