The Ninefold Hell was descending upon the world. Every human was more tense than ever before when they heard the sharp, crackling sound from the sky. No doubt, the same historic phenomenon could even be seen all the way back at the Decimo Dao Nation.
It was as if the land beneath them was shaking furiously. Shocked cries and rumbling rang out from Xuanyuan Lake, with all the people there looking grim without exception. With the collapse of the Skysource Hellshaker Formation, the grey star was in full view in the sky above the Flameyellow Continent. Contrary to what its muted grey color might suggest, the star looked absolutely harrowing.
Regardless of how far away they were, the common folk were able to smell the hate wafting off the star. Countless people all across the continent looked up at the nightmarish celestial body that hovered above them, reacting with terror, curiosity, despair, and even shocked indifference. They all knew that the days to come would be spent hiding and fighting for survival.
The end of the world had arrived.
At that moment, the Ninefold Hell underwent another sudden change nobody had expected: it began falling. The gigantic grey star was plummeting from the sky! What kind of catastrophe would result from its impact? Nobody could possibly stop the descent of such a huge mass. What made Tianming even more speechless was that the specters were seemingly able to move the Ninefold Hell around. He had gone inside it once himself, so he knew how truly vast the whole place was. It was far beyond what he had expected.
Yet the thing everyone was worried about didn't come to pass. The star didn't smash into the continent; instead, it stopped when it reached the horizon. The Flameyellow Continent didn't seem the least bit disturbed. What could that mean? Had the Ninefold Hell gone all the way to the Abyssal Battlefield? That was the first thing that came to people's minds.
"Let's head to the Abyssal Battlefield!"
Many people at Xuanyuan Lake began flooding toward the many entrances to the Abyssal Battlefield. Tianming himself had gone there often to get food for Xian Xian, so he was the fastest to reach it. When he emerged from the other end of the entryway, he saw the grey star hovering in the sky of the Abyssal Battlefield. As it was quite close to the ground, it looked as large as the inverse sun!
"What’d they come here for?" The moment he said that, he saw countless specters swarm out from Ninefold Hell, filling the sky with their sheer numbers. That sight caused many humans who had just arrived to immediately flee back through the entryways.
Tianming watched as thousands of monstrous specters killed wildbeasts on the Abyssal Battlefield rather than immediately attacking the Flameyellow Continent. Not only that, they also devoured the beasts! While their numbers were nothing to scoff at, the Abyssal Battlefield was more than wide enough to accommodate them.
Tianming couldn't figure out what they were up to. "Did they used to eat wildbeasts as well?" he asked Li Caiwei.
"They did, but according to historical records, they consumed so many of them that it drove the wildbeasts nearly to extinction. That was when they turned their sights to the lifebound beasts of humans. Our lifebound beasts are more powerful and luxurious for them, after all, thanks to symbiotic cultivation. Eventually, those that fed on wildbeasts only included those in the low rungs of specter society. However, the wildbeasts here now number far more than they did two hundred millennia ago. I believe they're too hungry to be choosy now, so they're eating them for some immediate gains first," she reasoned.
"While growing physically stronger by consuming beasts is their natural talent, it isn't able to help their cultivation progress," Tianming said.
"Well, we can't deny that they'll get stronger in combat overall just by strengthening their physical bodies. Though, with how they're spread out like that, there's nothing we can do to stop them."
"Given how urgent it is, we still have to scout them." Tianming quickly located a lone specter nearby.
"A human?" The specter was freaking out, but Tianming had no problem subduing a mere sky saint.
"I'm going to ask you a question, and I expect nothing but an honest answer from you!"
But the moment he said that, the specter growled, "Humans shall die without question!" Then the specter's body exploded.
"They can even self-destruct?" Tianming was completely speechless.
It was just like Jiang Wuxin. Every time he caught a specter, they would fearlessly self-destruct almost immediately. An adversary as foolhardy as the specters was surely not easy to deal with. There was nothing he could do apart from instructing others to capture as many as they could until they found one who would talk.
While a few of them were eventually brought to the Flameyellow Continent, they exploded without a word before they had even been brought to Tianming. While Tianming had thought of going back into the Ninefold Hell to take a look, it was too risky to attempt. What was even more troubling was how many entryways leading to the Flameyellow Continent there were. They would be impossible to completely get rid of, especially with how numerous the specters were. They were too spread out and no single assault could wipe them out!
"The fact that they have to get more powerful means that they’re still weak." There was little humanity could do apart from monitor the specters for now. Thus, Tianming gave an order. "Have the formations of every city deployed and make sure to house as many humans as possible in the cities!"
Back then, the largest of the cities had undergone a complete change. Even places where cities didn't stand had fortresses and strongholds of all varieties with their respective defensive formations.
By now, Tianming basically ruled the entire Flameyellow Continent. Not even Long Youyue would disobey him. The order soon spread all through the Flameyellow Continent. As for his second order, it was to defend the formations with all they had. For instance, while Taiji Peak Lake's formation cores were damaged, the foundation of the formations were still there. It was the same with the other sects as well. It would take time for them to be repaired, but the specters didn't seem like they would be mounting a large assault any time soon, so they still had a chance.
"If Di Zang and Po Suo were already twelfth-level death samsarans, and considering the fact that there were more than a thousand caeli that’d reached godhood in the eyes of the crown prince, there must be at least one ascendant in Ninefold Hell. I guess we still have to count on the Divine Moon Realm."
Under his command, many elites tried their best to gain as much intel as they could from the Abyssal Battlefield. Tianming looked up to the moon over Xuanyuan Lake with a grim expression. Since he had returned from the Heaven Cauldron, he still hadn't met Feiling yet, so he immediately zipped back to Soulburn Hall, only to see that it was in ruins. Feiling was resting in a smaller room nearby. When Tianming came up to her, he noticed she was in a deep sleep.
"Perpetia appeared again. More importantly, how was she able to put a Bloodrose Curse on the Archaionfiend?" He looked at the slumbering goddess before him. "Xian Xian, call out to me the moment Ling'er awakes."
"Alright!" It nodded obediently.
Tianming left the hall. In the darkness ahead of him was a huge beast and a black-clad girl.
"Xiaoxiao," he greeted with his hand extended.
"What's this about?" she asked warily. She seemed a little afraid of him.
"Let's start off on a clean slate."
She bit her lip before hesitantly taking Tianming's hand. Then, she met his gaze and smiled. Their old grudges and dealings had thus been settled in a single instant. Ever since the day she had stopped the Archaionfiend's assault at Tianming City, Tianming no longer held anything against her. The misunderstanding was no more.
Seeing the two make up, the Archaionfiend chuckled with a mocking look. Tianming turned around to face it, squinting as he inspected the rose patterns on its body. It looked tempting, yet terrifying at the same time.
"Do you know where that comes from?" he asked.
"How would I know what that woman did to me? Stop kidding around!"
"So you don't feel like answering?"
"Buzz off! Who do you think you are?" it snapped.
Tianming turned to Lin Xiaoxiao.
"Wu You, tell him what he wants to know," she said."No way! I'm the Archaionfiend, not a captive!" It got up and growled threateningly at Tianming, then Lin Xiaoxiao, who was already beginning to mouth the incantation.
"Stop, I yield! Don't! Aaaaaagh! Don't!" It immediately knelt and begged her to stop.
"There will be no more warnings in the future," she said.
"I'm disappointed in you, Lin Xiaoxiao! I'm your lifebound beast, yet you treat me like a complete stranger! I hate you!"
"I don't care."
The beast was utterly flabbergasted by that response.
"You've committed too much evil. But don't worry, there'll be more than enough time for you to make up for it." The Archaionfiend's antics had played a pivotal role in the release of the specters. If it weren’t for the Bloodrose Curse, and the fact that Lin Xiaoxiao needed a beast of her own, Tianming would have chosen to kill it.
"Just ask what you came for! I don't have time for your petty judgments!"
"You claim to have lived for millions of years, so you must be really knowledgeable. So, do you recognize the Bloodrose Curse? Where did it originate from?" Tianming asked. The answer to that question could shed light on the secrets of Perpetia.Previous Chapter Next Chapter