After the decision was made, Xue Yi continued sorting out the details of the plan.
"Li Tianming has been to the other six black hole stars. There’s only three left, so we must make sure that we don't waste this chance and pin him down for good. Even if the Kilostar Domain has a kind of sealing formation, we would become the world's laughingstock if we can't even deal with a single brat," Xue Yi said candidly.
He had asked for only tribulation elders at the seventh-level death phase and above to stay back. Tianming had defeated those at the seventh-level life phase, after all, so there was no need to take them into account. Due to the uniqueness of the Kilostar Domain, the people they brought here were mostly around the sixth and seventh levels. Those at the eighth level were mostly fighting in the ongoing war. Xue Yi wouldn't bring over a few hundred more eighth-level death phase tribulation elders just for Tianming alone.
"It’s only been a few days, so I doubt he'll have made any breakthroughs yet. All of you here are at the seventh-level death phase and above. Each of you alone should be enough to take him out. All of you shall form groups of thirty and head to the three remaining black hole stars," Xue Yi said. There were at least a thousand seventh-level death phase elders in the domain, but most of them were hall lords of their respective groups still searching for treasures in the sea of stars.
"This should be enough. If we can't take him down with this number of people, we'll have to acknowledge that he’s completely dominated us in the Kilostar Domain," Long Cangyuan said. The seventh-level death phase was the highest level that wasn't suppressed within the domain. Even Long Cangyuan was forced to remain at this level, thanks to that formation; however, he was still stronger than the others at the same level due to the unique techniques he had.
"Which of you have a darkfiend tome?" Xue Yi asked.
"I have some too."
Quite a few tribulation elders did.
"Take them all out." Xue Yi collected the tomes. Coupled with his own stash, they had around three hundred of them.
"By using one darkfiend tome, you’ll be able to remain in the darkfiend state as long as you don't move. Each tome lasts ten days, so use them to help hide yourselves near the black hole stars."
Darkfiend tomes weren't particularly rare or powerful tomes, being around the five-star grade. However, they were particularly useful for laying an ambush, though they only helped to hide one's presence and blend their looks into space. The slightest movement would cause the effect to wear off. Still, they would no doubt be effective in the hunt for Tianming.
"When he approaches, all thirty of you shall attack him at once. Take him alive, if possible. If not, simply kill him. If he's alive, I want him captured, and if he's dead, I want to see his corpse."
The little fish they had been underestimating this entire time had caused them so much grief—Xue Yi especially. After what he had suffered, he wanted to kill Tianming no matter what, even if he still had value as a hostage. Now, what he was afraid of were any changes that could happen to the status quo yet again before they caught him.
"Long Cangyuan, you should lay in wait by one of the black hole stars. Bodhi, you go to the other."
"No problem. If that brat dares to go where I am, I won't let a single hair of his slip past me," Long Cangyuan said. The fact that Xue Yi had given him this assignment showed how much trust he placed in him. Though, the thirty second-origin tribulation elders accompanying him were all from Nonahall as well. Even if Tianming had some mystical treasures on him, Long Cangyuan wouldn't dare take them for himself. As for Ye Bodhi, he simply nodded.
"Let's take this seriously. After we squash this fly, we'll be able to dine at ease," Xue Yi said.
The other ninety-odd tribulation elders looked each other in the eye. A month ago, they never would have expected that they would have to spare so much effort to chase down a single brat.
"We wouldn't be so humiliated if it weren't for the sealing formation."
Everyone felt rather frustrated from having to lay in wait for who knows how long near the black hole stars.
"Alright, enough complaining. This is crucial to us, and we must make sure it goes right. It's fine if we cause a bit of commotion. At the very least, it's better than stopping the search for treasures. If we find something valuable, our trip won't end on this embarrassing note."
The second-origin tribulation elders already had pretty high statuses on the Flameyellow Continent. Given the fact that there were only a measly fifty-odd third-origin tribulation elders in the entirety of the continent, those that managed to become second-origin tribulation elders stood above countless people and below few.
"If only we were dealing with Dugu Jin, the third most powerful on the continent.... It wouldn't be as embarrassing as being toyed with by a brat, at least."
"Let it go. If it weren’t for that brat, we wouldn't have been able to open the domain at all."
"You have a point."
As they talked, they split themselves into three groups, each headed for a black hole star. There were other ghoul kings in the domain still searching for treasure; this group should be enough to deal with Tianming for now.
"Yichen, come here," Long Cangyuan said as he was about to leave.
"What is it, Dad?"
"Do you know Ye Bodhi?"
"Of course I do. Did you forget? We even fought once, but I lost. Now, he's much different than before. His cultivation is high enough that the sealing formation had to suppress it," he said with admiration.
"Of course! His father is the first ghoul king, and his mother is the second! He’s been raised to be the very best on the continent! How could he not be someone you look up to?"
"What do you mean to say, Dad?"
"Tag along with him. Treat him how I treat Ghoul King Xue Yi."
"So you mean try to suppress my thoughts to placate him as best as I can?" Long Yichen asked with a troubled look.
"Are you insulting me?" Long Cangyuan snapped.
"Dad, it was my bad. That was never my intention."
"Nevertheless, you aren’t wrong. Put up a front and don't be too honest. Keep your head low and stand in line behind the truly powerful. Do that and you won't have to worry for your future any longer," he said, stroking his son's head.
"I know, Dad."
"Alright. I’ll place my hopes in you."
"I won’t disappoint you!" His eyes turned red after he heard that. He knew that what his father did would be ridiculed by many, but so what? If licking someone's boots allowed one to rise to the top and survive to have the last laugh, why wouldn't everyone do it?
He bade his father goodbye and went to Ye Bodhi's group. Most of the others were second-origin tribulation elders from Nonahall. Being among the strongest on the continent, they were all really prideful.
"Why have you come?" Ye Bodhi asked.
"I'm here to serve the future hegemon, of course. I’ll be at your service in life and in death." Long Yichen wasn’t really used to being flattering, so he chose a more direct approach.
Ye Bodhi gave him a long look and smiled. "Fine. I like direct people like you. Let's go."
They left for their destination and hid themselves with their darkfiend tomes, waiting for Tianming to take the bait.
"Die!" Yet another senior from Nonahall perished by Tianming's hand. It was a middle-aged woman who cultivated a technique that involved devouring male vital essence to nourish her body and maintain her youth. In actuality, she was around four hundred years old. Even the strongest cultivators at that age would have white hair and look really old, but she still had rather luscious curves. Who knew how many people she had sucked dry to be able to achieve that?
"What a heavy stench of sin." Tianming saw that the weight of her sin ranked among the top five of those he killed so far. "Looks like Nonahall thrives on the strong dominating the weak. The strong can do whatever they want to grow stronger. It's the law of the jungle, but it's no doubt hell for those that can't defend themselves."
Back in the theocracy, only the wielder of the Cyclic Mirror could commit this level of evil, but there were thousands of such people in the Nonahall Divine Realm. Using a mirror, he could also see the foul aura that manifested around him after killing so many people. "Now I look like a sinner, too. Whatever, let's continue!"
He continued slaughtering his way from star to star. To ensure people couldn't track him, he tried to randomize his destinations. Even if someone was on his tail, they would be hard pressed to predict where he would go next.
"Now that I'm at the fourth-level death phase, even the seventh-level death phase leaders and their hundred or so minions are no longer my match." Nowadays, he could kill whomever he pleased. "There's no way I'm getting out of this alive without killing."
He smiled ruthlessly. His face only softened when he thought of Feiling. "Wait for me. I'll make sure you're safe."
Five days later, Archfiend had been completely stained red. It could stretch a thousand meters away to pierce through hearts, allowing Tianming to judge them while they were defenseless. Then, the Dragonhide finally acted up again. Tianming followed its pull and noticed a black hole star up ahead.
"I don’t think I’ve been to this one before." He had run into another black hole star, but it was one he’d already visited so he didn't enter it. Since this one was new, he chose to go ahead, only for his expression to abruptly change when he got close.
"What is this?"
He saw lots of foul auras coming from beside the black hole star. The auras were so strong they seemed to coalesce into a sea of corpses. Aggrieved souls cried out to Tianming for his help.
"Please, kill him! Kill him!"
"We died a horrible death!"
"Look! We don't have hearts! This person has been consuming human hearts for more than forty years...."
Tianming saw holes in the souls' chests. They stared at him with a pale look. "The weight of this sin is the heaviest I've seen! It's ten times stronger than the nearest, at least! Who in the world is it?"
He couldn't see anyone there. How could there be nobody there even though the stench was so dense and foul? He took a random tribulation weapon sword and tossed it in that direction. All of a sudden, a jade-white hand stretched out of the void and caught it.Previous Chapter Next Chapter