Jun Niancang felt like his body was about to be torn apart. His body, soul, faith, and everything he had achieved in the past two decades were crumbling. Even the greatest pain life had to offer couldn't compare to this. He felt like a walking corpse on an endless wasteland after the collapse of the whole world.
Yun Zhenzhen followed behind and said, "Jun Niancang, let's go back to the Divine Capital."
"You should go. I want to die," he said with a shaky voice.
"Didn't you say you wanted to live free and unrestrained? Wouldn't it be nice to just get away and forget everything here?"
"I'm unable to relax with the weight of all those innocent souls bearing down on me," he said as he shuffled forward as fast as he could to leave.
"Fifth Brother, it's enough. Stop following me and go back," he said to Jun Yifeng, who was tagging along with an expression full of hurt.
"Niancang, I share the same opinion as you, but let's just let him do what he wants this one time. He's suffered too huge a shock this time. If he isn't able to get over this mental complication by doing what he has to, Heaven's Elysium might not survive."
"Wouldn't killing those mortals result in a complication in and of itself?"
Jun Yifeng couldn't find the words to respond. All he could do was tag along in fear of Jun Niancang dying or going missing. He would hate to never be able to see his younger brother again in his life.
Jun Niancang ran like mad, feeling like nothing but the rush of the wind could relieve the pain he felt in his heart. After some time, he came to a busy city. Feeling a little tired, he entered the merry place with a blank look on his face.
"Aquamarine used to look like this, too, yet many families have been eradicated by Heaven's Elysium," he said as he watched the denizens of the city go about their busy lives. He had heard somewhere that this was Vermillion Bird's capital, Ignispolis.
Feeling genuinely tired, he sat on the ground and watched people pass him by. He knew that those victims weren't just a statistic. Each one of them was just like the people passing him by. They were flesh and blood, had families, had loved ones, relatives, and siblings; they were alive.
Next to him was a tea shop. There were some young people engaged in a heated discussion within.
"You weren't there to witness the majesty of that azure dragon! It’s truly huge! I heard it's a saint beast! I managed to see it when I went shopping that day, and it was magnificent."
"Li Tianming rode that dragon back to the Wei Clan."
"Back then, someone from Heaven's Elysium was attacking Wei Tiancang, but Li Tianming came back and killed him with one strike!"
"He's far too powerful. Who knew that Ignispolis could give birth to a genius like him?"
"I heard that he's now the junior sect master of the Grand-Orient Sect. He's someone who'll become the sect master in the future!"
"To be honest, on the day he killed Lin Xiaoting, I felt like he would definitely experience a meteoric rise. It turned out to be true after all!"
"I heard the dragon is his master's lifebound beast."
"I wonder how his chick and cat look after they've evolved. Did anyone manage to catch a glimpse?"
Everyone shook their heads.
All of a sudden, a white-haired youth came to the entrance and stared at them. "Friends, do you know where I can find the Wei Clan?"
"Wei Clan? Oh, you're an outsider, huh? They're situated within the Flameyellow Scions Institute. Just head down this street and you'll see the academy's gates there. Then again, no normal person can just enter the academy at their whim, not to mention meeting the Wei Clan. What business do you have with them?"
"Thank you." Jun Niancang merely thanked them and bowed, then headed to the academy.
"Is something wrong with him? Who would bow just for getting directions?"
"Yeah. It's like we helped him a ton or something."
"Well, weird people are popping out all over the place. This year especially."
In the distance, Yun Zhenzhen and Jun Yifeng swapped glances. They were surprised that coincidences like this could happen.
"Niancang, you really lucked out again."
Back at the Southsky Sect, a guard came rushing in. "Sect Masters, Jun Shengxiao captured close to four hundred thousand innocent civilians and is headed toward us!"
The same report was echoed by a dozen other panicked scouts.
"The truth is finally out." Now, they finally knew what Jun Shengxiao was planning. Everyone in the hall fell dead silent, before bursting in seething anger.
"Jun Shengxiao has gone mad!"
"How could he do something so heinous?"
"How did someone like that become the Elysian Emperor? This is inhumane! He's no different from a monster!"
"How could someone like the Elysian Emperor commit such evil?"
Everyone could guess what Jun Shengxiao planned to do with his captives.
"That's inhumane! Doesn't that piece of trash fear the Theocracy’s retaliation?" Tianming asked. He had imagined all kinds of possible trump cards the enemy might have, but not one of them had been this savage. What kind of monster would use innocent civilians as cannon fodder?
"They're devils wearing human skin!" Feiling snapped indignantly.
"That's right. This will get really troublesome. It's not something Godfather and the rest managed to predict."
Though Li Wudi had planned to ambush Heaven's Elysium the past two times, there wasn’t much they could do about this, even though they knew about the plan in advance.
"Sect Master, what should we do when they toss the people into our barrier?"
Countless gazes gathered on Li Wudi, Weisheng Tianlan and the Onyx Emperor. The three sect masters were now the key decision makers here.
"Those bestial ingrates!" Li Wudi cursed.
Weisheng Tianlan's eyes were filled with worry. "We can only power the barrier down, retract the azure dragon pulses, and save as many as we can."
"But saving them will allow the enemy to breach the barrier and kill us all the same! Not only will the innocent civilians die, but the Southsky sentinels will, too!" argued the Onyx Emperor.
"What else can we do? Watch as near four hundred thousand people get massacred?" Li Wudi snapped.
"Then all we can do is gamble and save as many as we can," the Onyx Emperor relented.
"Jun Shengxiao.... This wretched mutt had to rely on something so heinous just to foil us. I really have no words. Who else in the history of the Grand-Orient Realm has committed such a foul deed?" Li Wudi said.
"Nobody." Everyone shook their heads. There was no contingency plan for this, for there had been no precedent for such a heinous thing. What else could they do to stop Heaven's Elysium?
"Tianlan's right. We’re being forced to take the passive position. The only thing we can do is decrease the barrier's power without turning it off entirely. We must make sure to mark our foes with it, at the very least. The moment we manage to save those that we can save, we'll launch our counterattack and slaughter those animals! Shaoqing has already received word about it, and should be sending as many as he can to reinforce us," said Li Wudi.
"How many can we actually expect to save?" asked the Onyx Emperor.
"We'll save as many as we can. Let's start preparing. All Southsky sentinels that train in the water type, prepare to make temporary small heavenly pattern barriers to keep the innocents safe within. Start immediately!" Weisheng Tianlan said.
The whole sect launched into a lot of busywork.
"Sect Master, why should we do all this? The blame for this atrocity lies on Jun Shengxiao alone. Even if the barrier kills those innocents, it's on him. Yet, if we try to save them, our sect will be put in danger!" asked an elder.
"Everyone, as fellow cultivators, if we can’t maintain order and protect the innocents, we're no better than animals. None of us are saints. I've killed many, so I certainly am not one. However, not even I can tolerate the uninvolved losing their lives in our feuds. Cultivators like us should die without regrets. We should die in a way that won't embarrass our descendants!" Li Wudi responded on Weisheng Tianlan's behalf.
Though Li Wudi had a terrifying reputation, people could no longer call him a murderous demon after what happened today. The one with the dubious honor of bearing that title was Jun Shengxiao, instead.
"Tianlan, we'll count on you to save the innocents," Li Wudi said.
"What about you?"
"I'd like to see if I can take Jun Shengxiao's head on the battlefield!" he said with a murderous look in his eyes.
"Li Wudi, if you really manage to do it, you'll be a champion of the ages!"
"I'll try my best. If I don't kill that animal, I don't deserve to be a Li!" he proclaimed, then charged out with his blade. Right now, he was still in a period of rapid growth after his breakthrough. Who knew how much more powerful he'd become in three months' time?
Currently, the entire sect was busy brainstorming ways they could use to save the innocents.
"Godfather, the azure dragon pulses won’t be used for now, right?" Tianming asked as Li Wudi was leaving.
"That's right. What are you planning to do?"
"I want to save people too."
"Aren't you afraid of dying? We're going to face animals that don't fear death. They're easily a few times your age."
"If I was afraid of dying, I wouldn't have come here in the first place. I'd like to exact justice on behalf of the heavens without any regrets."
"Well said, you truly have guts. Save all you can, but know that nobody will be able to protect you. Not to mention, you're a prime target for our enemies."
"Haha, Godfather, remember to give me a yell when they're about to deploy the azure dragon pulses. I'll make sure to slip away so I don't screw you again this time!"
"Fine. Make sure to be careful and don't die at sea. I won't be able to find your body that way, right?"
"I know," he said resolutely, then looked at the blue-clad girl behind him. They smiled at each other understandingly and resolved themselves to put their lives at risk.
All of a sudden, they fused into one and charged toward the sea without looking back. Li Wudi was a little taken aback by the speed at which Tianming vanished. "Damn, why do I feel like I triggered a death flag?"
Death didn't discriminate on the battlefield. How many brave heroes had perished upon them over the years? Even so, the grand path of exacting justice for the heavens is a universal one.
If it took one life to save tens or even hundreds, that deed would not be forgotten by future generations. The heavens would definitely not forsake the bravery of these just warriors.
Tianming didn't want to live as a genius in hiding, protected by countless others. What kind of unparalleled genius lived without being able to do as their hearts desired? What was the point of life if he lived in fear of death and chose apathy instead of righteousness?
At this moment, all he wanted to be was a normal warrior. He covered his face in seawater-resistant paint and put the Grand-Orient Sword away. Instead, he wielded Onyx Dragon and tied a rope to his left hand, which he would use to save others.
There was no need for a flashy weapon like the Grand-Orient Sword during a rescue operation. Now he was at the front line, facing down the combined army of Heaven's Elysium and the Earthorigin Sect. In Tianming's eyes, infernal flames burned and chaos lightning sparked.Previous Chapter Next Chapter