At the Grand-Orient Mountains, the army that escaped from the Bloodbane Barrier hurriedly gathered together. Many of them were injured, and some were even missing limbs. They had seen their comrades and lifebound beasts die and pile up into mountains before being absorbed nightmarishly by the barrier. Now, their morale was lower than ever. They felt the pressure of defeat weighing down so heavily on them they could barely breathe.
"E-Elysian Emperor... the North Cardinal King and West Cardinal King have perished! There are fewer than eighty elysian elders remaining, with most of them having been specifically targeted by the Bloodbane Barrier...."
"Elysian Emperor... another fifty thousand of our own have perished. Currently, fewer than a hundred and twenty thousand Elysian purifiers remain...."
These words made Jun Shengxiao feel like he had been pierced with three Venomdrake Spikes. It was no longer a matter of vomiting blood, the shock was causing him utmost torture. The rest saw the Elysian Emperor with his head lowered and hands clasped together, as if he was taking the news calmly. But in actuality, his innards were bleeding profusely and the muscle fibers in his body were so tense they were tearing.
"Heaven's Elysium is done for!"
"So much for unifying the Grand-Orient Realm. We haven't even managed to kill a thousand enemies, yet we already lost so many of our own brothers and sisters!"
"It's too horrid. We've been played by Li Wudi twice in a row! We've been goaded into getting ourselves killed!"
"With Heaven's Elysium being half crushed, there's no way the Grand-Orient Realm can be unified."
"What a shame! It's the most humiliating defeat to ever occur in the past millennia!"
"Elysian Emperor, admit defeat and cut our losses! Stop sending our comrades to their death and let's go back!"
Many of them had lost their souls, not to mention their dignity. The only things that remained in the Elysian purifiers' minds was terror and humiliation. They felt that the Elysian Emperor was no longer someone they could rely on, especially after how badly he had been toyed with at Li Wudi’s hands. Continuing to follow his lead would only cause more of them to die for his ambitions.
"Elysian Emperor, I beg you, please retreat and let us recover for three thousand years before making another attempt to unify the realm." That opinion was shared by many.
"Men!" All of a sudden, the Elysian Emperor opened his eyes that were as bloodshot as Jun Niancang's. He now seemed like an injured lion driven only by bloodlust, vengeance, and what remained of his pride.
"Behead everyone who’s spreading nonsense right now. Start with elders Zhao Qing and Qian Xun!"
The Elysian Emperor still held absolute authority. Despite losing much of his subordinates' confidence, he was still able to dictate their life and death.
"Aaaah!" cried the ones that were killed by their own comrades.
"Jun Shengxiao, you've lost for sure! If this goes on, it won't take ten days for Heaven's Elysium to be ruined by your hands! There will no longer be a Heaven's Elysium in the Grand-Orient Realm!"
"The achievements of our ancestors will all perish at the hands of a selfish person like you! I don't need you to kill me! I'll end myself while I can still bring myself to face our forebears and ancestors!"
Before the two elders were killed, they ended their own lives as tears streamed down their faces. When the others saw their lifeless bodies, they watched without making a single sound.
They hadn't seen anybody who was so happy to die before. The words of the elders rang out nonstop in their minds. It was like a nightmare that had come true. Every one of them had family or friends that perished in the sect war. They had ended up like that precisely because they had underestimated their foes, and Jun Shengxiao, as their leader, should bear the responsibility for it.
Currently, Jun Shengxiao was so haggard that he couldn't even walk a few steps without stumbling slightly.
It wasn't too different on the side of Earthorigin Sect. They had sent an army of a hundred and fifty thousand people to take advantage of the situation, only to have their junior sect master killed along with suffering fifty thousand casualties without even managing to slay a single Grand-Orient Sect disciple.
"Vice Sect Master, how can we explain this to the rest of the sect when we get back? We've lost fifty thousand of our comrades! We didn't even manage to retrieve the junior sect master's head! If Vice Sect Master had stopped Yuan Chen at the start, instead of giving Li Tianming the chance to provoke him, we wouldn't have lost so many people!"
"Shut up!" Yuan Hun roared, finally quieting everyone down. There was no way he felt any better than Jun Shengxiao.
"Vice Sect Master, the Earthorigin Sect paid the price of fifty thousand lives. We have to retreat now! Ignore those idiots of Heaven's Elysium!"
"There's no way we from the Earthorigin Sect can retreat after losing fifty thousand. Do you want us to be a laughing stock throughout the entire Theocracy?!"
The elders began arguing with one another.
"Did you not hear that I asked you all to shut up?" Yuan Hun roared again.
The Earthorigin defenders fell completely silent. All they could do was swallow their words and sob.
"Yuan Hun!" Jun Shengxiao said as he came over. The two looked at each other and formed a mini heavenly pattern barrier for a secret conversation.
"Elysian Emperor, let us be direct. Even I didn't expect the bastards of the Li Saint Clan to have hidden their Bloodbane Barrier so well. The two of us have seen firsthand how powerful the number-one barrier in the Grand-Orient Realm is. Even if the whole Earthorigin Sect comes to fight, we may not be able to destroy the Grand-Orient Sect. Let's forget them! You won't be able to deal with the barrier within three thousand years!" Yuan Hun was so angry that he had lost all respect for the Elysian Emperor.
"It's not that hyperbolic. We only need another reinforcement of a hundred and fifty thousand troops from you. If we plan this out well, there’ll be a way."
"Another hundred and fifty thousand? Do you think our sect has gone mad? There’s no way we'll agree unless you also cede us the territory belonging to the Onyx Sect," Yuan Hun said with a smirk.
"Then your request is also impossible."
"WIll your sect be able to endure the loss of your junior sect master and fifty thousand brethren?!"
"It's not a matter of endurance. It's whether we can afford to lose them. Do you think we have no enemies in the Earthorigin Realm? There’s no way we can possibly take so much risk to help you take over the Grand-Orient Realm," Yuan Hun said solemnly. He was now more troubled than anyone else. He would definitely be taking the blame if he returned to the sect with these results. "Elysian Emperor, my advice to you is to retreat. Rest and recover for three thousand years and let your descendants carry out your ambitions. Forgive us for not staying any longer."
"Then return the Cloudmist Sword School to the Grand-Orient Realm."
"Aren't you a naive one? Did you think we'd actually spit out anything we've already swallowed up?" Yuan Hun said with a laugh.
Jun Shengxiao shot him a deathly gaze.
"Whatever. To be frank, I'm not going to go too far on account of our sects’ relations. If you have a good plan, I'll play along with it, as long as it isn't as suicidal as what happened today," said Yuan Hun, making a slight concession.
"I do have a plan," Jun Shengxiao said, his voice as cold as a demon that walked out from hell.
"What is it?"
"We'll use the remaining troops we have to breach the Southsky Barrier and force Li Wudi to go there with reinforcements. We'll eliminate them after they leave their Bloodbane Barrier!"
"That's a tad bit optimistic. So here's my question: why didn't you take the Southsky Sect with the initial troops instead of telling me this after we lost so many?" It sounded like yet another suicidal plan.
"It wouldn't have worked back then, but it's different now. I have a plan they’ll never be able to figure out."
Jun Shengxiao whispered something in his ear. Yuan Hun's eyes glowed once more as he looked at him in shock.
"You're crazy! Would you really dare do such a thing?!"
"Why not? I'm the Elysian Emperor, not some saint! Do you think the ancient conquerors did anything less than that? Why can they do it, but not me?"
"I don't care. As long as you take full responsibility for what you do, I'll have my troops tag along. You'll be solely accountable for the consequences of committing something so vile!"
"No problem. All you have to do is to send your Earthorigin defenders into the barrier once I breach it."
"Alright. I’ll follow you one last time for camaraderie."
"Don't call it something so honorable. You're just trying to salvage whatever reputation you can for the Earthorigin Sect that."
"Haha, Elysian Emperor, you're truly an impressive person. You have my respect."
He had thought that Jun Shengxiao would retreat after this loss, but he didn't think he would go so far. Given his pride and dignity, there was no way he could retreat now. Had he done so, Heaven's Elysium truly would be done for. There would never be another day when they would reign unchallenged and unprovoked by the others. Not to mention, they would no longer be able to receive the support of the Earthorigin Sect. In other words, they would have given away the Cloudmist Sword School's territory for nothing.
"Time is precious. We have to head to the Southsky Sect before they can react!"
Right as the suspense was reaching its peak, the two leaders concluded their secret meeting.
The Elysian Emperor announced, "Elysian purifiers, heed my orders. Head to the Southsky Sect with me! And don't worry, we will definitely win this time! Yuan Hun and I have come up with a surefire plan!"
The rest looked at each other with puzzlement. What kind of plan was it? Why didn't he use it in the beginning? Though nobody knew why, they knew they had no choice but to follow after witnessing how the Elysian Emperor had killed the dissenters without any recourse.
"Dad? What plan did you make? Don't tell me it's another suicidal move!" Jun Niancang asked when he caught up.
Jun Shengxiao turned back and saw him still holding the glass coffin with him. It looked ever so blinding and mocking to him.
"What did you say?" Jun Shengxiao asked with his eyes squinting in rage.
"I said, let's stop sending our men in harm's way!"
Shatter! All of a sudden, Jun Shengxiao appeared in front of him and slammed his palm on the glass coffin. The coffin, and the person within, instantly turned into powder and was scattered all over the place.
"Niancang, just watch. Don't say anything," he coldly said, then turned and left. Jun Niancang tried to grasp the crystalline dust in a panicked manner. It was the first time his father had done something equivalent to pushing a sword through his heart. His flesh didn't feel the pain, but his mind and soul cried out in agony.
"Long'er...." As he despaired, he watched the powder scatter all over the place. Amidst the strong winds, Jun Niancang's long, fluttering hair turned white.Previous Chapter Next Chapter