Chapter 886 - Battle of Taiji Peak Lake

Back in Archaion, the order to evacuate the cities saw most of the citizens escape into the wilderness. As the frost around the peak had yet to melt, most of the realm was still blanketed in snow. The cold winds and the hiding commonfolk made the snowy nation in the north seem exceptionally quiet and lonesome.

From such a far distance, it was hard to see any sign of human activity. Amidst the land of frost, tribulation artifact warships from the five divine realms sailed straight toward Taiji Peak Lake as fast as they could, carrying countless samsarans within them. Those warships were considered treasures by the various sects, each having at least thirteen tribulation patterns and able to move quickly while carrying large loads.

The fact that the elites of the five divine realms were rushing toward Taiji Peak Lake meant they were committed to utterly eradicating the Archaion Sect, with Nonahall in the lead. Di Zang and Po Suo struck like swift lightning when the time finally came.

They had reached Taiji Peak Lake five days earlier than the Archaion Sect's predictions, with an elite, hate-filled army. From within the Ninefold Formation, they could see that the entire area was surrounded by the samsarans of the five divine realms in its entirety. All those tribulation elders had released their tribulation beasts, each one larger and fiercer than the last. The insects, avians, land and marine beasts gathered together and emanated such a terrifying killing intent that it made it seem like Taiji Peak Lake was about to be swallowed whole from afar. The enemy tribulation elders patrolled the surrounding area on their lifebound beasts, the sky included.

Nonstop roars shook the entire sect and could even be heard from within the Ninefold Formation, making for a rather terrifying pre-battle atmosphere. Thankfully, ever since what had happened at Tianming City, the sect had been preparing Taiji Peak Lake's surroundings for combat. A historic battle was about to take place, and every witness to it shook with nerves. It was as if the entire world had forgotten to breathe.

Soon, the elites from the five divine realms were gathered up. Apart from a select few left behind to guard their realms, most of the elites had come to join the battle. Among them, Nonahall was the most powerful faction, having at least half a million samsaran elites, which was twice Archaion's number. Among them were four hundred thousand normal tribulation elders below the fourth level, more than a hundred thousand first-origin tribulation elders, five thousand second-origin tribulation elders, and over a hundred third-origin tribulation elders, while Archaion only had a total of roughly a quarter million.

Apart from Nonahall, Biritual had the second largest group with more than two hundred and sixty thousand samsarans with around fifty third-origin tribulation elders, putting them on par with Archaion. Following them was the Hexapath Sword Sect with around two hundred thousand samsarans and roughly forty third-origin tribulation elders. As for Quadform and Heptastar, they were more or less akin to Triflair, Pentaphase, and Octagram, each having only around twenty third-origin tribulation elders and some hundred thousand samsarans in total.

In other words, the enemy had four times Archaion's number at around a million samsarans, while Archaion and its allies had half a million, at best. The enemy had roughly two hundred peak third-origin tribulation elders, while the defenders had half that number, which made for rather bad odds. However, that wasn't the full picture of the battle.

There were also near a hundred million civilians in Taiji Peak Lake who were more or less empyrean saints, as well as the Ninefold Formation. They weren't fighting an open field battle, but rather a historic siege. As Nonahall had lost their corpse puppet army, they would have to take the full brunt of the formation's power using their samsaran forces alone, which gave Taiji Peak Lake the actual edge in battle.

Everyone in Taiji Peak Lake was pumped and ready to fight. The only worry they had was that not all of the samsarans from Triflair, Pentaphase, and Octagram would dare to come reinforce them in fear of their own territories being attacked by Nonahall. The fact that they sent some help, despite such circumstances, was already a huge display of camaraderie, something the Archaion Sect would surely remember and appreciate.

However, even if Nonahall didn't have the advantage in battle, their elites were long used to being number one. Coupled with the hate they felt, their fighting spirits were no less strong. Most of them were zealously loyal to Di Zang and Po Suo as well, and were filled with confidence at being able to stand on the same battlefield as the two ghoul kings. They were rubbing their hands together and getting ready for the slaughter. Their arrogance even seemed to bleed over to their allies from Heptastar, who bore just as great a hatred toward the Archaion Sect.

However, Biritual, Quadform, and Hexapath didn't share that sentiment and maintained some distance from Nonahall. Unlike their crazed counterparts, the elites from those three sects seemed much calmer in comparison, as they had their own respective pillars of authority. Quadform, for instance, had Sect Master Long Youyue, but everyone knew that her husband Dugu Jin actually called the shots. Dugu Jin was a twelfth-level death samsaran, and those in his sect believed he was the strongest person to ever have lived. Hexapath, on the other hand, had Feng Qingyu as their moral support. Lastly, while Li Caiwei of the Yinyang Demon Sect didn't command as fearsome a reputation as the other two, she was still relatively young and filled with potential. Not to mention, her sect's cultivators took pride in being the second divine realm to form in history, and they stood proudly and firmly by her side.

The elites from all the sects were standing at the very front of the army, and ahead of them was the ghoul king dressed in purple, whom others had often seen. However, the ones people were truly paying attention to were Po Suo and Di Zang. The two ghoul kings looked much different than before when Tianming encountered them. Now they looked like a young couple—the man was tall and fit, with a head of black hair and sharp eyes, regaining his regal air from his younger days. The woman had a sensual, slender figure and her long, white hair fell to her waist like a waterfall. Most alluring was her skin that seemed as smooth as silky milk, covered with the luster of the most beautiful of pearls. She was almost as eye-catching as Li Caiwei.

The two looked perfect, as if they were made for each other. It was hard to believe that these two were actually the two old ghoul kings, Di Zang and Po Suo, people who had lived for centuries. Their transformation had only earned them more awe and respect. However, those who were in the know knew that they were going all out. No matter whether they won or lost, they wouldn't be able to live for much longer. Now that they were all there, Di Zang finally gave the order: "Surround them."

Those two short words caused every elite to immediately mobilize and spread out. As they did so, Li Caiwei went to Feng Qingyu. "Senior Feng, there's an odd rumor I heard from the Monorigin Sect. Do you believe it?"

"The one about the demon race?" Feng Qingyu calmly asked.

"Yes."

"I bet they're just afraid of losing, for them to make something like that up. No matter how foolish Nonahall is, even they wouldn't betray their fellow humans for an alien race. If the specters really return, Nonahall would crumble too. There's nothing for them to gain. Not to mention, even whether the so-called demons did exist is something of a debate. It all happened two hundred millennia ago, after all. Perhaps Great Emperor Xuanyuan only exterminated his enemies and demonized them, instead. You know that history is written by the victors, right?"

"Demonized?"

"It's simple. For instance, the side that wins today will tell their descendants that they were fighting on the side of justice against evil demons. I've read tens of books and dissertations about the existence of demons, and the conclusion I came to is that rewriting one's history to tell a different story is something humans have always excelled at. Our forebears from two hundred millennia ago were much craftier than us when it comes to propaganda, it seems."

"Then how do you explain that thing that's hanging in the sky?"

"I believe it's a treasure left behind by Great Emperor Xuanyuan, and the Monorigin Sect holds the key. Do you believe me when I say that's the real reason this battle is being fought?"

"If you’re so certain, I'm starting to become convinced of it myself," Li Caiwei said.

"Good. Good. If we work together, we might be able to demand a bigger share, too."

"Sounds good. The question is whether we really have a winning chance today. Why do I have a feeling like we're jumping to our deaths?"

"You don't have to worry about that. Those two must have a special method they can use to neutralize the Monorigin Sect's advantage. It won't do us any good if we can't breach their defenses, right?"

"True. You speak a lot of sense, Senior," Li Caiwei said respectfully.

"Haha...." Feng Qingyu turned and left.

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