As the sun began to set, Tianming finally reached Linyu City. It was located rather far off from Liuyun City, though it was closer to Tianming City than Liuyun City was. The last wisps of red from the setting sun stretched across the skies, blanketing the city in a gentle cascade.
The city was really quiet; all five million captives there were filled with terror and awaiting their final fate. Si Ling's order to massacre them hadn’t yet reached the city. Regardless of the distance, Tianming would always be much faster than any messenger they had. The Nonahall troops in the city were currently toying with the captives and having endless fun, causing nonstop cries of pain, grief, and despair to reverberate throughout. Without a word, Tianming barged into the city and started his own massacre.
"It's the imperial son!"
"He's here to save us!"
The citizens all watched with tearful eyes.
"Everyone, leave with me!" Tianming realized that, as their mental support, there wasn't much he needed to say. All he had to do was show up and he would gain their faith and trust.
"There's nothing to fear now that the imperial son is with us!"
They had heard of Tianming's amazing deeds as he crushed their oppressors time and again. Not to mention, with Lan Huang paving a way and crushing everything with its Kilofold Rings, the captives allowed their pent-up rage and hatred to explode. All Tianming had to do was make a chip in the enemy's defense for the torrent of disgruntled captives to burst through.
"You leave first! I’ll watch your backs!" Tianming beckoned.
"Praise be the imperial son!"
The captives all cheered his name with utmost gratitude as they escaped northward during the twilight while Tianming killed more and more enemy troops that attempted to hunt them down. So far, they hadn’t been able to stop the captives from escaping at all. It was only after the captives had completely disappeared beyond the horizon that Tianming stopped and made his way back to Tianming City.
"I hope they all survive and enjoy the rest of their lives." Carrying out good deeds felt indescribably good, and he also got the benefit of earning the captives' faith. Using his Sovereign Eyes, he could see the Omnisentient Will from the lives he’d saved flooding toward him.
"It appears that gods truly exist. However, they aren’t cultivators that ascended beyond the Samsara stage. Instead, the gods exist in people's hearts. When people truly need a god, one will be born!"
Tianming didn't know how the ten gods in the history of the Flameyellow Continent had ascended. All he knew was that his experience was completely different from theirs. By now, he stood at a much higher place in the hearts of the folks of Archaion than Feiling and the rest. It was tacitly acknowledged that he was the reincarnation of Great Emperor Xuanyuan!
He turned his gaze to the north as he stood on the walls of Linyu City, looking over the vast lands that were part of Archaion. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, feeling his pulse beat in harmony with the rhythm of the land. It was as if he had become part of Archaion himself. Or rather, it was more like his soul had blended together with it to become one.
"My dad said that becoming a god is the best way to shake off our pursuers. However, he didn't tell me what kind of god I should become."
Gripping the bloodied Archfiend in his hand, he cracked a smile. Then, he flapped his wings and flew toward Tianming City. The desperate battle was finally about to begin.
The veil of night had set on Tianming City. Despite the south of Archaion being a place rich with nature and wilderness, Tianming City seemed dark and lifeless, even with the Sun-Moon-Star Formation covering it.
Countless dark figures came and went outside the city. There were at least six million enemies, all riding their lifebound beasts as they set their ravenous sights on the city. The scale of an army of six million was hard to imagine, especially considering the fact that the total number of soldiers of the Nine Divine Realms combined was only around eight million. With the sheer number of troops stationed outside Tianming City, one wouldn't be faulted for mistaking it for Taiji Peak Lake.
The Archaion Sect hoped that the Sun-Moon-Star Formation would be able to mitigate most of the enemy forces, but even that wasn't certain. The six million beastmasters on Nonahall's side and their lifebound beasts had erected a practically airtight encirclement around the city. Now that the order to prepare for mobilization had been given, they were only one order away from attacking.
The darkness of night was all encompassing, and one couldn’t see their outstretched fingers. With tensions rising to a boiling point, bloodshed on an unprecedented scale was bound to commence. Which side would be the one to remain standing come daybreak? Whose corpses would be strewn all across the walls of the city? Whose lover or children would be among the pile of corpses?
The regular rhythm of six million heavy breaths compounded upon each other like the soft growl of cubs, resonating with each other to form a gigantic roar. Those within Tianming City could no doubt smell the bloodlust from the mouths of the vile beasts, oh the ever-unnerving scent of iron.
Tianming was now mingled among those savage beasts. His entire body was covered in heavy black armor, only revealing his single black eye. "I heard we're waiting for the skyscourge bloodfiend and heartscourge fiend, right?"
"Yep. They wish to render a final service to Nonahall."
"They must be really fierce and ready to fight then."
"Well, it’d be ideal if they could tear apart the Sun-Moon-Star Formation and kill Li Tianming."
"No doubt about that."
"Hehehe.... The folks in the city are truly pitiful. It’s over for them, this time around. Once we're done here, the next step is to continue stomping everything in our path flat until we reach Taiji Peak Lake."
"Did you hear? Ghoul King Si Ling wants to massacre the entire city tonight as a tribute to her elder brother, Ghoul King Xue Yi. Not a fly is to be spared."
"Very well. That means we're free to do as we please tonight then."
"Archaion is only the start. One day, the Nonahall Divine Realm will unify the entire Flameyellow Continent under our rule."
"We'll start with Tianming City tonight!"
Tianming had heard all of that after blending into the enemy forces. He continued wordlessly advancing until he reached the very front of the vanguard. Now, he was as close to the Sun-Moon-Star Formation as he could be.
"Hey, back off! Don't be in such a rush!" someone from behind called out to him.
Tianming immediately spread his wings and sped up. Even as he charged into the Sun-Moon-Star Formation, the forces of Nonahall still hadn't reacted.
Right after they said that, Tianming disappeared beyond the formation. The moment he entered, the formation's terrifying power locked on to him.
"Palace Lord Yi, it's me, Tianming!" he cried out. It was only then that the Infinite Starnet of the formation dissipated. This third-origin tribulation pattern formation was no doubt much stronger than the formations of the Grand-Orient Realm. The markings alone seemed far more complex, allowing Yi Xingyin the kind of granular control to attack or spare whomever he chose.
Tianming crossed the formation and got on the walls, where Jian Wuyi and the rest were waiting for him. "Sect Master Jian, the heartscourge fiend and skyscorch bloodfiend will be leading the charge."
"Alright, we appreciate the news," Jian Wuyi said.
"Good." Tianming looked around the city and let the tense atmosphere soak in. The upcoming crisis felt like a kind of darkness that was about to overpower them. Would this be their last stand, or would they live to fight another day?
"Have the captives of all four cities been rescued?" the city lord of Tianming City, Su Wanfeng, asked.
"They have, City Lord. The sect even sent us help on that," Tianming said.
"Very well." That was the second piece of good news Tianming had brought.
"Now that we’re no longer threatened by the corpse puppets and saved twenty million people from the fate of endless suffering past death, you’ve really rendered the realm a magnificent service," Xuanyuan Xie exclaimed. If not for Tianming's efforts, Tianming City would be facing far worse that night. Still, they didn't have any concrete plans to defend themselves other than fighting to the death. Meanwhile, on the Pentaphase front, the two-million-strong army led by Fang Shenyu and Jian Qingyuan could only wait for an opportunity to come. Before the enemy launched a proper attack on Tianming City, they didn't dare leave their post.
"What’s Meow Meow doing?" Tianming asked.
"Napping over there," Su Wanfeng said. That was to be expected. Tianming went over and picked up the lazy cat.
"Who dares interrupt my restful slumber? Feel my wr—" Meow Meow mumbled as it slowly opened its eyes.
"Feel your what?"
"Feel my very strong feelings of love and affection for you?" It immediately changed its tone when it saw Tianming.
"So, you're well rested, I'm sure."
"It could be better, ideally with two more hours," Meow Meow said.
"Shame we don't live in an ideal world!" Tianming tossed it back into his lifebound space and entered a civilian residence. Before the enemy began the attack, he had a chance to enter the life phase of the seventh level—it was just a simple matter of forming his samsara rings. With his Imperial Will, he could easily control the strong tribulation forces. Soon, he and his four beasts made it to the seventh-level life phase.
"With Ling'er and the Greenspark Tower, I believe I can now face off against Palace Lord Yi and Divine Marshal Xuanyuan Xie."
Those were people at the tenth-level death phase, second only to sect masters and ghoul kings! The voluminous vigor of the life phase made his power even more prominent, and the four codexes he practiced had enough combined tribulation force to rival third-origin tribulation elders at the tenth-level life phase. He took out Archfiend and wondered when he would truly be able to take the Archaionfiend Eye into his own eyes.
"I wonder how long it'll take until I truly become one of the sky plunderer race..."
He had spent a lot of time figuring out how to crack the secrets of the black hole stars and decided it must have something to do with Archfiend. Still, he didn't have a clear answer as to how to proceed.
"Dad, what should I do?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter