“It feels like being back on the Nether Battlefield, fighting side by side with you again. I hope we’re not holding you back," said Xuanyuan Yucheng.
“When the time comes, you must protect yourself,” Tianming replied.
"Of course. We must kill more of those bastards so all our injuries are worthwhile," said Xuanyuan Yucheng. Beigong Qianyu walked beside him. She was Jian Wuyi's daughter and the only one from the Draconis House of Jian among the young disciples.
Tianming noticed that Xuanyuan Muxue's eyes were red as if she had been crying.
What's wrong?" Tianming asked.
“Before we set off, my mother heard the news that you’re going to the south. She lectured me and said I was the one who instigated you into walking to your own grave..."
“What a good use of the word 'instigate’!" Tianming smiled. "Was your transformation successful?”
“I succeeded with the seventh-grade tribulation manna, but I think I’ll hold off on the Frosty Mercurius," said Xuanyuan Muxue. She was afraid she would waste such a precious item if she died.
Before leaving, Xuanyuan Xiao had spoken to them.
“Do me a favor, Tianming,” said Xuanyuan Xiao.
“Please speak, Palace Lord,” Tianming replied.
Xuanyuan Xiao pulled out a gold tribulation artifact and placed it in Tianming's hand.
“What’s this?” Tianming was stunned for a moment. It felt rather familiar.
“This is Yuheng’s Draconic Swordbreaker. Plunge this into the battlefield for me. I dreamt of him. He says he wants to go to the battlefield." Xuanyuan Xiao smiled.
Tianming put away the Draconic Swordbreaker. Xuanyuan Xiao hadn’t dreamed of anything; he was just trying to fulfill Xuanyuan Yuheng's long-cherished wish.
After Tianming had acquired Xuanyuan Yuheng’s Astral Will, everything about him was entrenched in Tianming’s Imperial Will. Life was sometimes unclear. If Tianming had come to the sect in another way, perhaps the two might have become friends.
“I hope you young ones don’t waste your youth."
With a wave of his hand, Xuanyuan Xiao left.
Soon after, Yi Xingyin had completed the count.
More than twenty thousand people soared into the sky and traveled south. Blood pounding through their veins, they would never stop. Groups of experts set off in three directions—east, west, and south.
They knew that choosing to leave Taiji Peak Lake meant putting their lives on the line to defend the Archaion Sect and all of its citizens. Despite the trials and hardship, they had no complaints.
On the Heaven Cauldron, a drunk man with disheveled hair stood beside the five-colored column of light, a jar of wine in his hand and wine all over his clothes.
“Brothers, I can’t be of help. All I can do is offer a toast and a poem for you!"
Footsteps shaky, he wrote messily in the air with his sword and mumbled, “Endless clouds of Qinghai darken the mountains of snow. Far away stands Jade Gate Pass at the lonely outpost. The armors have been pierced through by sands from years of war. We shall never return without taking Loulan, no!” 
On the way south, most of the elders were silent. Tianming traveled with Xuanyuan Yucheng and the others.
“The enemy’s current operations are unfavorable for us.” Xuanyuan Yucheng gritted his teeth.
“What do you mean?”
“A few months ago, they attacked Pentaphase. We originally thought they were trying to break our alliance. However, they didn’t continue their previous approach but instead got the Heptastar Aerial Sect and Quadform Oceanic Sect to intercept the Triflair and Octagram Sects on their way to support our forces, deterring them. At the same time, they restrained the Pentaphase Earth Sect in the Pentaphase Divine Realm and bypassed them. That way, we have to deal with the full force of Nonahall, Sixpath, and Biritual all on our own. If our allies head out to support us, they’ll fight them. But if they don’t, Quadform and Heptastar will join the rest of their forces in encircling and suppressing our troops," Xuanyuan Yucheng explained.
“So we’re their main goal,” said Tianming.
“Of course. After all, they’re trying to kill Her Eminence. Additionally, we’re the strongest. After dealing with us, attacking our allies will be easy. The three sects will either head out and fight to the death or surrender midway," said Xuanyuan Yucheng.
“Kill Her Eminence?”
After his experience in the Kilostar Domain, Tianming believed that their goal might have something to do with the Heaven Cauldron.
“The Nonahall and Hexapath legions have assembled on our southern border. Their specific numbers are unknown, but continue to increase. Most importantly, they refined three million corpses in Pentaphase, which will soon attack the five cities in the south. Tianming City, which we’re now heading to, is of great strategic significance. Once it falls, there’ll be no other obstacles in their way. The situation will only get worse if they continue to use brutal and inhuman methods, refining corpse puppets after destroying and massacring the cities,” said Xuanyuan Yucheng.
“I have a question. Why don't they just fly to Taiji Peak Lake and attack us with everything they’ve got?" asked Tianming. Matters of war were completely different from individual battles; he wasn’t proficient in this area.
“That wouldn’t work. First of all, Taiji Peak Lake’s Ninefold Formation isn’t that easy to break. Secondly, if they attack us, we have a large number of troops and powerhouses stationed throughout our hundred and eight cities. If there’s an opportunity for us to attack them in the front and rear, they’ll sustain severe damage. That’s the purpose of urgently transferring our people and moving citizens from ordinary towns into the big cities before the war begins. There’s a defensive formation in every city. We’re united and have tens of millions of people in each city supplying power to their formations. Even if our enemies want to break the formations, they would have to pay a heavy price." Xuanyuan Yucheng explained.
“I see. The power of ten million people...."
Even if most of them were at the Heavenly Will or Earth Saint stage, it would still be enough. Despite that, Xuanyuan Dao and the others couldn't leave Taiji Peak Lake, because they couldn’t rule out the possibility of the enemy attacking there with a large number of powerhouses. That was the reason it was important to have people protecting all hundred and eight cities.
They were afraid of the enemy’s ruthlessness, using forbidden techniques to refine the corpses of beastmasters and dead beasts. All lives would be in danger once they broke into the city.
Due to the existence of the defensive formations, their enemies would have more casualties if they decided to attack the cities. War wasn’t just a competition of numbers. Sometimes, the defensive formations could indeed turn the situation around.
"It’s a pity, the cities can only hold tens of millions at most. There’s still a large number of people hiding in the mountains and jungles. If they encounter the enemy’s army, they’ll have no way out. Of course, if the city falls, it would be even harder for them to escape, given their means," said Xuanyuan Yucheng.
Gathering a large number of people in the cities was the most they could do. Although there was the Ninefold Formation protecting Taiji Peak Lake, it was impossible to accommodate every citizen of Archaion. Additionally, the journey would take too long.
Right now, each city was one of Archaion’s strategic bases. If the enemy tried breaking into the cities to take advantage of their momentum, Tianming City, which would be the first to bear the brunt of their attacks, was of strategic significance. Because of that, the Fienddragon Legion was stationed there.
“There’s half a million elite Fienddragon warriors in Tianming City, and half a million Tianming City defenders. We also have Yi Xingyin’s Sun-Moon-Star Formation. Even if we don't know how many troops there are behind the corpse puppets and beasts, we must persist!” said Xuanyuan Yucheng.
“Is Tianming City’s defensive formation the work of Palace Lord Yi?"
“Of course. Why else would he come to the front when he’s still healing from serious injuries? It’s so he can stabilize the Sun-Moon-Star Formation! Only he can create a powerful formation capable of dealing with millions," Xuanyuan Yucheng explained.
“The Sun-Moon-Star Formation is a third-origin tribulation pattern formation, easily comparable to the first three folds of Taiji Peak Lake’s Ninefold Formation," said Xuanyuan Muxue.
“Yes, I have confidence in his skills.”
Tianming glanced at Yi Xingyin. He was a talented, handsome middle-aged man, and also a tough guy!
When night fell, Tianming finally caught a glimpse of Tianming City, the southernmost city of Archaion. It was a white city rising from the horizon like a giant, built on the mountains, majestic and vast. It was the southern gate of Archaion.
From a distance, the city walls were mottled, proving that this city had endured countless attacks throughout its history. But it still stood tall and majestic.
Perhaps because they shared the same name, Tianming fell in love with the city just by looking at it. He felt that it was much like himself. It stood on the highest mountain and overlooked the tiny individuals in the south, bearing the spirit of one man against ten thousand.
In this troubled world, it was the first to stand in the way of the enemy's northward movement. Looking up, Tianming headed toward the south-facing gates of the city. Dark clouds and loud cries were coming from that direction.
An endless grey mist filled the heavens and the earth; the dark clouds above the city signaled the coming of a storm. The amalgamation of all those mournful screams bore through the city walls and into the hearts of the people.
Tianming had spent most of his time in Taiji Peak Lake. This was the first time he had seen the real Archaion. In fact, the people here were no different from those of the Decimo Dao Nation, except for being stronger.
Countless people gathered together to populate the world. Top experts like Yi Xingyin and Ouyang Jianwang all originated from such a place. Therefore, they might love the mortal world more than those of the three major clans. Yi Xingyin was still pale, but he was here.
They only had a third of their team left. The other two-thirds headed to four nearby cities. Since Tianming City was the most important, Yi Xingyin, Dao Yuanyi, and Chen Cangshu would join the battle there.
Above Tianming City, a man with tousled hair dressed in black gold armor and a fiery red cape led a large group of people to meet them. He had a third golden eye on his forehead.
The man was slovenly dressed and had an unrestrained air to him. His smile was rather wicked and domineering. He was one of the nine great divine marshals of Archaion, Xuanyuan Xie, the marshal of the Fienddragon Legion.