"Let's go," Fang Taiqing said.
Many others hung their heads low as they began leaving. From today onward, there would be no turning back. Tianming also turned and prepared to leave.
"Big Brother, stay!" Feiling said."Ling'er?"
"I want to wait. Please, I don't want to lose hope. I don't want to lose," she said, at the edge of tears.
Tianming stood alone atop the Dimensional Battlefield, looking in the direction their guests had left. Behind him, the hundred thousand tribulation elders gradually left.
"Let's go," Xuanyuan Yu said.
"No." He shook his head, so Xuanyuan Yu had no choice but to stay by his side. There was nothing but silence for a time as darkness enveloped the entirety of Taiji Peak Lake. But then....
"Ling'er, look!" He called out her name from how agitated he was, but thankfully, nobody else was paying attention. However, he sounded so hopeful that the ones who were about to leave suddenly stopped and turned back. In the darkness, they saw some people flying toward Taiji Peak Lake.
"It's them! They're back!"
One excited cry after another sounded out. The entire sect's blood was burning with passion.
"Big Brother!" Feiling was also feeling utterly elated. They could finally stop despairing.
Tianming couldn't wait and used his third eye to look and saw the Triflair Celestial Sect at the very front, led by the coral fairy. To their left was the Pentaphase Earth Sect's master, Jiang Yuanjun, as well as Zhao Tianxing and Jiang Qingqing. To their right were Sect Masters Lin Yuntian and Lin Xixi from the Octagram Heart Sect. All three allied sects were here.
"Archaion welcomes all of you!"
The hearty laughter relieved many of them. The three sects had left, but they didn't choose to side with Nonahall and instead returned to Archaion behind their backs, which was a clear sign that they were determined to resist to their last breath if there was ever one. Coral Fairy Beigong Linlan, Jiang Yuanjun, and Lin Yuntian solemnly came forward.
"Everyone, we wish to have an audience with the goddess," said Beigong Linlan.
The rest looked at each other in wonder. It was the most sincere request one of them could make. The goddess was the person all future events would be centered on, so it was only natural that they would want to talk to her for some reassurance. By now, there was no need to doubt their sincerity.
"Alright, but only the three of you shall be allowed into Soulburn Hall," Fang Taiqing said.
"That’ll do." The rest nodded.
"Alright, let's go back for now and wait for further news," Fang Taiqing told the others.
"Li Tianming, come with me."
"Yes, Sect Master." Tianming was overjoyed at this turn of events. It was almost ideal. He also felt like apologizing to Beigong Linlan and the rest, as he had cursed them a bunch before they came back.
They headed toward Xuanyuan Lake and waited while Xuanyuan Yu entered to give them notice of the arrivals. After receiving the news, Xuanyuan Dao personally came out to allow the three sect masters to step into Nine Dragon Formation, followed by Tianming and Fang Taiqing. Apart from them, only members of the Xuanyuan house were allowed to enter Soulburn Hall. Actually, Feiling was still attached to Tianming, but it wasn't necessary to explain everything to them. When they reached Soulburn Hall, Xuanyuan Dao had the others wait and brought Tianming to Feiling's godchild body.
"Sect Master, you seemed rather calm when I told you I got the Dragonhide," Tianming said.
Xuanyuan Dao laughed, and the rest was left unsaid. "If the talks today work out, you will have contributed immensely to the sect. I was right to bet on you."
"Guess it now depends on how the negotiations go later."
"Trust in Her Eminence." Xuanyuan Dao knew that she was attached to Tianming.
After Feiling returned to her body and assumed her throne, the three sect masters were summoned inside. As the imperial son, Tianming finally had the right to stand by her side. The three sect masters walked towards her and looked up, only to twitch uncontrollably. Feiling's beauty was completely unmatched. One look was enough for most people to be convinced that she was indeed the incarnation of a goddess.
"Greetings, Your Eminence!" the three of them said.
"Spare the formalities and take a seat." Though she was a little nervous, she felt a little relieved that Tianming was by her side.
For the sect masters, being offered a seat was the highest form of honor they could receive from her. After they sat down, they exchanged glances and Beigong Linlan spoke.
"Your Eminence, we chose to come back because we already have some plans. However, we still wish to hear what Your Eminence has in mind about this alliance."
"I see. Are you asking what benefits we can give you in the event of our victory?"
"Look into my eyes, all three of you."
They did as they were told.
As her eyes came into focus, she said, "I've been slumbering for a hundred thousand years. Now that I've returned, my only goal is to break the chains of fate that bind me and ascend once more. I am merely following in the steps of our founding ancestor. Cultivation is my only desire and I have no interest at all in the conflicts and wars of the modern day."
Her sincerity was clear for the rest to see.
"Your Eminence means...."
"I am not interested in who reigns supreme on the continent. But if anyone tries killing me to stop me from ascending, they will face my and my descendants' full force and be exterminated. In the event of that, I will shuffle the power balance of the continent and might not mind helping my descendants glean even more benefit. As for your divine realms, I consider them on equal standing with mine. With your help, we will have a good chance of defeating even the strongest of foes. When we stand victorious, we will not forget your contributions.
"Our founding ancestor, Great Emperor Xuanyuan, created symbiotic cultivation and became the absolute ruler of the world. However, he didn't do so through conquest. Instead, everyone came to him and submitted themselves to his rule and protection. Our great ancestor never aimed for material gain and brought true prosperity to our realm. Even though I, Xuanyuan Xi, am not as impressive as our founding ancestor, that does not mean I will not bring about a golden age on the Flameyellow Continent by establishing my own utopia.
"If the three of you help me achieve that, I can promise you will be well rewarded. Abandoning you after you outlive your usefulness is what a lowly person would do. A true ascendant like me wants nothing but to pursue the peak of cultivation, not fleeting material gains like conquest, so you can be assured that if Archaion rules the continent one day, you will all have a seat at the table!"
Tianming had talked to her about this as they were returning to the hall. She more or less knew what words the three sect masters most wished to hear. Basically, they wanted hope, enough hope that they would be motivated to fight to their deaths. That was something Nonahall simply couldn't offer them.
Feiling wasn't Xuanyuan Xi to begin with, so her words were purer, more sincere, easier to believe, and most importantly, she truly meant it. There was no rule that said the world had to be destroyed for them to rule. Great Emperor Xuanyuan was the ultimate ruler; that was universally acknowledged. His deeds had far superseded what the following eight ascendants had achieved. In other words, he was the soul of the human race and the foundation of the Xuanyuan house.
When she finished speaking, the three sect masters lowered their heads and pondered. In the end, Beigong Linlan rose from her seat and knelt. "Your Eminence, the Triflair Divine Realm shall offer our aid!"
The rest also followed.
"The Pentaphase Divine Realm shall offer our aid!"
"The Octagram Divine Realm shall offer our aid!"
Feiling felt truly relieved after that. Her back was soaked with sweat as she looked to Tianming and smiled, tasting true bliss at the end of the tunnel of despair.
Under the dark skies, a hundred people gathered and danced like demons. Their frustrated growls sounded like the call of beasts. Eventually, the sun began rising and the myriad demons from before were nowhere to be seen. All that remained were people from the five divine realms.
They had come in the hundreds, but by the time they left, Tianming had basically killed off all their disciples. They had been waiting the whole night and smiled.
"Looks like they finally have their answer!" said the ghoul king clad in red with a chuckle. "How daring of them. Not bad. They actually dared to refuse to join us. Don’t they take Nonahall seriously at all? Don't they know that they're alive by our mercy, not Archaion's?"
The other elites of Nonahall were so angry that they were shaking. They had lost the key to the Kilostar Domain and the three other sects had fully turned against them. They had suffered unimaginable losses throughout the Number One Summit.
"At least we now know that they're definitely against us. However, we should deal with other matters first. Initially, our plan was to wipe out Archaion before splitting the other three divine realms up among ourselves. But now we'll deal with them, first. Let's see if Archaion will send them reinforcements."
"That's right! Pentaphase and Octagram are right beside us, while Archaion is some ways off."
"They're really fools to not fear death."
The looks in their eyes grew more and more savage.
The ghoul king turned to the other four sect masters and said, "Now, it's your turn to choose. Octagram and Pentaphase are sandwiched between us, so let's pick one to wipe out first. They mentioned that they didn't want to be cannon fodder, right? We'll exterminate their divine realm and make corpse puppets from all their sect members and their beasts. In the end, they'll be our cannon fodder all the same."
Cruel laughter rang out across the desolate wilds.
"Very well, let's start with Pentaphase!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter