Meanwhile, within Tianming City...
"I have news to report..." said a tribulation elder with a pale complexion as he knelt on the ground, breaking into tears.
"Friend, stand up and tell me." Xuanyuan Xie helped the man up.
On the walls of the southern city gate stood the tribulation elders in a neat row. Countless normal citizens beyond the walls looked up at the bringers of news.
"The cities of Fufeng, Liuyun, and Guiyang have been breached. Our brothers in the Fienddragon Legion suffered five hundred thousand casualties, while over six hundred thousand garrison troops were slain. They were all heavily encircled, and fifteen million citizens have been taken captive. Linyu City is the only one that remains, and is at its limit." The elder immediately slumped to the ground after making his report. He had seen the most despairing sights possible in the human realm; his hurt could hardly be put into words.
The mood within Tianming City was just as dismal. Having experienced war, they finally understood the value of peace. Everyone's faces were filled with pain and a sense of numbness. Even though Tianming City had seen a great victory, Archaion as a whole had suffered huge losses.
The fiends continued heading north to slaughter the brothers and sisters of those in Archaion. Even if Feng Qingyu had died then and there, the people simply wouldn't be able to bring themselves to celebrate it. The sheer cruelty of it all was like a chain weighing down their hearts that made it hard to breathe. They didn't know when this all would end. If their nation fell, there was only one fate for them: death.
"Is death our only release?"
"I have to work harder in my next life to grow strong. Then I won't have to worry about being oppressed. I won't have to watch fathers, mothers, and children die before my eyes ever again."
The fall of the other cities made Tianming City the only shining beacon remaining in the south of Archaion. They would have to fend for themselves. Perhaps fighting to their deaths was their only option now. Putting aside saving the captives, they didn't even know how long Tianming City could remain standing. After their short moment of glory, their gloomy prospects dawned on them once more.
"Big Brother... did I cause all this? Perhaps something like this wouldn't have happened if there was no goddess...." Feiling was a picture of unease, her gaze cold and depressed. She hadn't felt good since the battle had started.
"Don't overthink it. It's already clear to us that the 'threat' the goddess poses is merely an excuse. Their real goal must be up there. Even if we weren't here, this day would’ve come sooner or later. We should muster up our courage and change our own fates like they’re doing. We must make sure to live a life we won't regret so that we can live up to their hopes!" Tianming didn't want to give up just like that.
"I... I want to be able to do even more." She held his hand, many thoughts flashing across her eyes.
The next day, a group of people stood before Xuanyuan Xie as he sternly announced, "There's good news, everyone."
The others' gazes seemed to brighten upon hearing that. They got word that since the three ghoul kings had breached the cities, they hadn’t continued north. Instead, they were turning back and trying to surround Tianming City. How could there be any good news in their predicament? The city would be breached within days! They anxiously waited to hear what the news was.
"Word of the imperial son being able to render the corpse puppet army useless has spread. We’ve decided to continue defending Tianming City and make our stand in the south so that we can prevent the enemy troops from advancing north. We'll draw all their firepower to us.
"As such, the sect has sent a third of the tribulation elders to reinforce us, led by the Human Branch Sect Master, Jian Wuyi! Additionally, another two legions are on their way to help us and have arrived at Kunyang City to the north. They’ll be able to form a pincer attack with us during the critical moment."
Everyone in Tianming City felt renewed hope at hearing the news and cheered. A third of all tribulation elders being on the way meant that the sect had decided to make Tianming City a stronghold that was second only to Taiji Peak Lake. Now, the city would stand a chance of surviving, and even possibly choke the enemy forces!
"No matter what, we'll have a higher chance of survival if we get reinforcements."
Everyone was rather agitated at hearing the good news.
"Additionally, even though Triflair and Octagram's legions are afraid of leaving, thanks to pressure from Quadform and Heptastar, they will also send a third of their tribulation elders here!" Xuanyuan Xie announced.
"Whoooaaaa!" The crowd exploded in uncontrollable cheers of joy. Some even broke into tears.
"Our struggle at the frontlines has earned their respect! This is what we all deserve! Our performance last night shocked the entire continent!" he roared, riling the crowd up even more.
"Stoooop!" Xuanyuan Xie suddenly yelled, causing them to fall abruptly silent. Then he took a deep breath and said, "Next, I'll be breaking down what we'll be in for from now on. Did all of you notice that all the reinforcements we're getting from our sect and the others are all elite tribulation elders? The reason they were chosen instead of normal armies is because they still have to defend the other cities and Taiji Peak Lake. But sending the sect master of the Human Branch here with other elites will be able to keep the enemies at bay even if Tianming City falls, while incurring minimal losses to the number of troops the sect has and allowing them to effectively defend Taiji Peak Lake.
"Now, Tianming City is a thorn in the enemy's eye. Without reinforcements, we’re doomed to perish. But now, our enemies can't be so sure! Our mission is to draw their fire and thin down their numbers as much as we can! Once the city falls, don't blame anyone that retreats, for they are doing so to continue serving the sect! So, do you all know where I'm going with this? Tianming City never had any hope for the future to begin with. We are the ones that are desperately fighting to extend its life! As a result, our alliance has also risked their experts to fight here.
"As the imperial son is here, the enemy will not stop their deathly attacks. As long as we can hold on, there's a chance we can rely on the Sun-Moon-Star Formation to deal them a heavy blow and take some of the pressure away from Taiji Peak Lake! As long as the city stands, we’ll be able to backstab the enemy whenever they try advancing toward Taiji Peak Lake. We are the number one city in the south! It has always been our mission to fight the invaders to the death to defend our pride and homeland!
"We just obtained a glorious victory, and now we have another chance to turn things around! Perhaps everyone here with me might die, but history will never forget us and how we refused to bend down and continued to resist the strongest army ever seen in the Nine Divine Realms! This city is directly influencing the fate of the skies and the world! Every sacrifice made by this city will cost our enemies ten times. So I ask you again, do you understand what I'm trying to say?!"
"We do!" Thunderous roars of agreement shook the whole area. The cheers were filled with passion.
"All of you who dared to remain here to live or die with the city, you are the true warriors!"
That was all a rhetorical flourish, though. They were nothing more than victims of circumstance, children trying to sacrifice themselves after seeing their seniors putting up a fine example.
"Where’s the imperial son?" Xuanyuan Xie asked. He knew that Tianming was now bait. As long as he was here, the enemy wouldn't head north. He suspected Tianming had predicted this would happen.
"Divine Marshal, he seems to be cultivating."
"Then we shan't disturb him." Xuanyuan Xie took a deep breath. "The next battle will decide this city's fate. Let's hope we will get another chance to go wild! But will it be possible...."
Tianming could hear every sound outside from within his plain room. Yet, he remained fully focused on cultivation. The Omnisentient Will he received contained the feelings of passion, despair, dedication, and courage toward the upcoming battle, allowing him to see a broad path ahead.
"The sovereign gave me these eyes...." He opened them, his gaze piercing through all obstacles until he saw the enemies assembling outside the city.
"I'm now at the sixth-level death phase!" It had taken him a few days to transition from the life to death phase, though it was still record time in all of the Flameyellow Continent. Nobody would believe that he actually managed that even if he told them the truth, and it was all thanks to the huge boost everyone in the city had offered him, for which he was incredibly thankful. They had raised him up once more.
"Jian Wuyi and the reinforcements from Triflair and Octagram will be facing off against the four ghoul kings and their gathered army. Will it be another dire battle? Though, with the Sun-Moon-Star Formation being so impressive, it'd be a waste not to use it to its full potential. Since we're so far away from the Heaven Cauldron, the sect will stand a chance even if we fall back from here. However, the citizens here won't be fine...."
A piercing light radiated from his eyes. He wanted to do something for their sake.
"Even without Ling'er's Spiritual Attachment, I can face off against ninth-level death samsarans. But with her here, I can even take on third-origin tribulation elders in the tenth-level life phase!"
It was worth noting that figures like Yi Xingyin and Xuanyuan Xie were only at the tenth-level death phase, while Su Wanfeng, Chen Cangshu, and Dao Yuanyi were at the tenth-level life phase.
"From now on, even without the sealing formation, they won't be able to easily mess with me. Come on."
The Prime Tower appeared in his hand. He put it down and entered it, then went up to its second level.Previous Chapter Next Chapter