It seemed that Jian Wuyi had taken command of the troops, which wasn't a surprise as he ranked above Xuanyuan Xie. His arrival had further bolstered their confidence in being able to resist their enemy.
However, the good news didn't stop there. Two hours later, reinforcements from Triflair and Octagram arrived from the east and west, with the former group led by Coral Fairy Beigong Linlan. She was Jian Wuyi's wife and had been the one to forge the alliance with the sect masters of the Archaion Sect, so she decided to take the risk and come in person. As for Octagram's group, they were led by Sect Master Lin Yuntian's younger brother, Lin Qingtian.
Triflair sent over eight third-origin tribulation elders, five hundred second-origin elders, and five thousand first-origin elders. As for Octagram, they sent over seven third-origin elders, more than four hundred second-origin elders, and around five thousand first-origin elders. Now, the combined forces had thirty third-origin, two thousand second-origin, and twenty thousand first-origin tribulation elders.
It was worth noting that the whole of Archaion only had fifty-three third-origin tribulation elders, yet the elites gathered here numbered more than half of Archaion's full roster. In fact, it was more numerous than Triflair's full force. The three sides had joined up to make Tianming City among the most fortified strongholds, akin to an entire divine realm in might. The only thing they fell short on was the total number of troops. A normal army would never have been able to travel to the city so swiftly.
As combat was just on the horizon, they were received with little fanfare. Xuanyuan Xie retained control of most military matters, as he was the most familiar with the terrain. He announced, "Everyone, I'm sure we’re all roughly aware of where we stand compared to our enemy. Currently, we have roughly the same number of first-origin tribulation elders as the enemy. It's said that among the four ghoul kings' forces, there are around forty third-origin, three thousand second-origin, and thirty thousand first-origin tribulation elders. Even though they’ve got more than us, we can make up the difference with the Sun-Moon-Star Formation. The only thing that can't be easily made up for is the number of first-origin elders and the regular army!
"Those below the fourth level won't help much as reinforcements, given Tianming City's current predicament. The enemy has more than a hundred thousand normal tribulation elders, which is equivalent to an army of two million. Not to mention, their regular troops number more than four million, coupled with another five hundred thousand from Hexapath. In terms of normal troops, they total around five million, while our Fienddragon Legion and the garrison here number a million.
"Fortunately, our allies in the Pentaphase Divine Realm include Fang Shenyu and Jian Qingyuan's Origin Phoenix and Arcana Sword Legions. There are around two million of them in total, but they aren’t going to come yet due to the state of battle. They’ll be waiting for an opportunity to reinforce us. That’s the roundup of our forces! Remember our advantage. We have a formation and tens of millions of allies. We also have Yi Xingyin and the imperial son!"
Xuanyuan Xie pointed at Tianming when he was done speaking. Everyone's passions were burning bright—would they be able to defend Tianming City during the battle?
Not long after Jian Wuyi and the others had arrived, their scouts reported that the four ghoul kings' army had completely surrounded Tianming City, and weren’t just attacking the south gate this time. Their forces stretched out in all directions. There was no doubt that they would also mount a joint attack from all sides.
Jian Wuyi immediately readied their defenses and the entire city was put on alert. Once more, the curtains would part to make way for the cruelty and depravity of war. Yet the ghoul kings' troops didn't show any sign of activity even six hours after they assembled. What could they be doing wasting precious time like this?
"It's only one city, yet an army of five million doesn't dare attack us. Don't tell me they have even more troops on the way?" Xuanyuan Xie said, his brows furrowed with worry.
Given the scale of the Nonahall Ghost Sect, if they were willing to leave their strongholds and weren't worried about being attacked by the four sects, they would be able to send out an army of up to twenty million troops. The standing army of Archaion, not including its garrison troops, only numbered around eight million. But now, the Fienddragon Legion had lost half its number already.
Apart from them, the other six legions, including Origin Phoenix and Arcana Sword, were in other war theatres defending against the troops of Hexapath and Biritual. As for the garrison troops of the various cities, they were inferior to the standing troops, in some ways, and didn't number as many as those in Tianming City either, which had only served to hasten the fall of the three neighboring cities. Given that the enemy had a hundred thousand tribulation elders and five million troops, there was a good chance they would be able to take Tianming City, so what in the world were they waiting for?
The defenders would soon find out. "Human Branch Sect Master, Divine Marshal, we’ve identified the reason for their inaction."
"What is it?"
"Ghoul King Si Ling and her five attendants, the Five Wraiths of Shoal Mountain, have gone to the nearby Fufeng City. There are six million citizens of Archaion there. The ghoul king intends to turn all of them and their lifebound beasts into corpse puppets."
"My dear husband, doesn't she know that our imperial son is able to render her corpse puppets useless? Why would she waste her time?" Su Wanfeng asked.
"She no doubt knows. It's probably because she refuses to accept it. After all, this is her signature ability. Not to mention, if they're careful, they can probably avoid making the same mistake of being surrounded. More importantly, making those on our side into corpse puppets will lower our morale," Xuanyuan Xie said.
"It's too dastardly! Yet... nobody is able to stop them. It looks like the Hexapath Swordfiend is nothing but a tool."
"What can we do now that we're trapped here?"
"Is watching as our six million comrades are killed and turned into corpse puppets the only thing we can do?"
The encirclement was already having a demoralizing effect on Tianming City. Ghoul King Si Ling would probably be able to make tens of millions of corpse puppets out of the six million captives and their beasts if she wasn't stopped, not to mention there were another three fallen cities. If the encirclement continued, the atrocities they committed would only continue to grow.
By the time they had an army of tens of millions of corpse puppets, they would easily be able to swarm Tianming City without the defenders even putting up a fight. The elites that came to reinforce them would only die in vain. Not even Xian Xian would be able to take on all those corpse puppets at once.
In fact, Nonahall’s forces were quite happy to hear that so many elites had gathered in a single city. No matter what, wiping the entire city off the map was now their main priority. They wouldn't let a single fly escape.
Even if Tianming could counter the corpse puppets, he and Xian Xian couldn't stop all of them at once and would be overwhelmed, not to mention the ghoul king was directly harming the citizens of Archaion in the act. Even if the puppets were neutralized, those that were used in their making wouldn't come back to life. That realization paralyzed those in Tianming City once more. They had underestimated the sadistic lengths Nonahall would take to achieve their goals.
"All we can do is hold on while the imperial son neutralizes the corpse puppets."
"That's right. We're encircled, and retreat isn’t an option."
"But... will the citizens of Fufeng City die just like that?"
Everyone was filled with worry at the impending doom coming to the citizens there. Would it be their turn soon?
At that moment, Tianming asked, "How long has it been since Ghoul King Si Ling left for Fufeng City?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter