The eight azure dragons swam around the golden city within the clouds. Space undulated around the city as a spatial tear formed, and the golden city flew straight into the tear, disappearing.
Within the city.
A million Immortals were present. The skies above them were filled with endless clouds; they were completely unable to see the outside world at all. Clearly, they were in a separate space.
“Each of you shall return to your own camps. You are not to act without permission. Any who violate orders shall be executed!” The black-robed Xia Emperor’s voice rang out, echoing throughout the Eight Dragons Cloudcity.
“Yes,” the million Immortals assented in unison.
Instantly, the nine armies and the army commanded by the Xia Emperor all entered their respective camps in an ordinary fashion, none of them daring to leave their camps without permission. Everyone understood that in a time of war, military discipline would be extremely tight. If the Immortals were permitted to act and wander about as they pleased, there would be no way an army could be quickly mobilized.
“It’s quite large.” After entering the Darknorth army camp, the hundred thousand Immortals saw a vast region with countless private rooms, more than enough for all of them to reside in.
“Find your own places and go rest for now. You are not to leave the Darknorth army camp,” Ji Ning ordered.
“Yes, General.” The hundred thousand Immortals answered in an awe-inspiring chorus, their voices shaking the skies.
Sounds from the other army camps could be heard from far away.
“Nine generals, come to the main hall for a meeting,” the Xia Emperor’s voice suddenly rang out.
“Senior apprentice-sister, take a rest first. I’ll be back soon,” Ning said.
“Alright.” Yu Wei nodded. Although she had joined this army, there was no need for her to enter the battle.
Soon, Ning and the rest of the nine generals arrived within the central main hall of the Eight Dragons Cloudcity. As for the Xia Emperor and the other five Empyrean Gods/True Immortals, they had arrived long ago.
“In this campaign, I shall serve as the field marshal. I, and I alone, shall be responsible for our movements and our plans,” the Xia Emperor said from his throne on high. “It isn’t that I don’t trust you; rather, the Seamless Gate’s intelligence mechanisms are simply unfathomably great. If I tell you, they will probably find out, and so I am keeping it to myself for now.”
Ning and the rest of the nine nodded.
“Don’t worry, your Imperial Majesty. This is a time of war; we know what is at stake.”
“Since you are our field marshal, then it is natural that you shall be in charge of everything, your Imperial Majesty.”
The Celestial Immortal generals all hurriedly assented.
Ning had been informed by Subhuti as to how powerful the Seamless Gate was. He understood the Xia Emperor’s predicament. As for the others, they might or might not understand, but they accepted the Xia Emperor’s explanation.
“Mm.” The black-robed Xia Emperor nodded lightly, then waved his hand.
Instantly, eighteen black globes of fur-covered flesh appeared in the air. The black-furred globes also emanated heart-quaking golden light. These eighteen globes all had tremendously powerful auras, causing Ning to feel startled; he felt as though these were on the same level as the Ananda World-Swords.
“These are top-grade Pure Yang treasures,” the black-robed Xia Emperor said. “There are nine pairs in total. They are known as the ‘Splitters’, and each of you shall have a pair.”
“Top-grade Pure Yang treasures?” Everyone present, Ning included, was surprised.
These were incredibly valuable items, even for Empyrean Gods and True Immortals. In fact, for many Empyrean Gods and True Immortals, all their treasures combined were not worth as much as a pair of ‘Splitters’.
“Why haven’t you accepted them yet?” The black-robed Xia Emperor frowned.
“Yes.” Ning and the others didn’t dare to be slow; they immediately accepted the treasures, filling them with their Immortal energy and easily binding them. Upon doing so, Ning immediately understood how these Pure Yang treasures were meant to be used.
The pair of Pure Yang ‘Splitters’ merged into Ning’s hands, causing them to instantly transform into bestial paws. Thick black fur grew out from the palm and the back of Ning’s hands, and his fingernails became inch-long and knife-sharp. These were the claws of a vicious beast!
“Transform.” Ning willed it, and one of his fingernails instantly began to lengthen at high speed, transforming into a longsword. As for the other dagger-like fingernails, they grew shorter until they disappeared.
“Transform.” The longsword vanished, but a sharp blade appeared at the edge of his palm, making it seem like the edge of a greataxe.
Axe, spear, sword, staff…
All of these could be manifested.
The nine Celestial Immortals couldn’t help but feel delighted with the results of their experiments.
The black-robed Xia Emperor glanced downwards towards them, then smiled. “Enough.”
Ning and the others immediately came to a halt.
“The Heaven Punishers that your formations create possess tremendous power and are skilled in close combat, and so in the war you shall be fighting in melee. These treasures, the ‘Splitters’, shall serve as the weapons for your Heaven Punishers,” the black-robed Xia emperor said. “It doesn’t matter if you are skilled in swords, sabers, or other weapons; the ‘Splitters’ will transform to be of use to you.”
Ning and the others now understood. So these were meant for the Heaven Punisher Formations!
“However, let me warn you,” the black-robed Xia Emperor said, “That although the Heaven Punishers possess enormous strength, they are not very fast or nimble. Your battle tactics have to be adjusted accordingly. Return to your camps and ponder on what is the best way for you to use your Heaven Punishers in battle, so as to allow them to unleash their maximum power.”
“Yes.” Ning and the others immediately withdrew.
Within the Darknorth army camp.
Within the largest, centermost private room. This was the commander’s residence, and Yu Wei was present here, along with Ji Ning.
“How should I battle?” Ning was frowning, pondering this question pensively.
He thought back to the feeling he had when he had first taken control over the Heaven Punisher, that feeling of tremendous power. Ning nodded slightly. “Right. The Heaven Punisher is most suited for using greataxes or warhammers; in short, heavy weapons. They should be used to fight in a straightforward, head-on manner, rather than in a nimble, graceful manner.”
In a battle, one had to make use of one’s advantages. If one was clearly weak in terms of agility, and yet still insisted on using flashy, agile sword-arts, one would be courting death.
Fortunately, Ning’s true body was that of a Fiendgod, and so he had many insights with regards to close combat. He also knew multiple sword-arts, and so he was quickly able to come up with a battle method that suited him the most.
“What’s going on? You’ve already come back to rest, but are still here mumbling to yourself,” Yu Wei said with a laugh.
“I’m fine. I’m just thinking about my battle tactics for when I fight against the Seamless Gate,” Ning said with a laugh. “Using the Heaven Punisher is different from using my own Fiendgod body, after all.”
“Mm. Then go ahead and spend some time thinking about it.” Smiling, Yu Wei sat down next to him.
Ning nodded, then immediately began to train.
The Eight Dragons Cloudcity was now merely three hundred meters long, and it was hidden within the clouds.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
Three black-armored figures appeared out of nowhere. Moments later, the black-robed Xia Emperor appeared as well, and he stood next to the city, gazing at the three figures.
“Master,” the three figures called out respectfully.
“Mm. Your mission this time is a critical one; you have to set up the formation perfectly,” the Xia Emperor said. “If you fail…then we’ll have to pay an even larger price.”
“Don’t worry, master,” the three black-armored figures said respectfully.
“Go, then.” The black-robed Xia Emperor nodded.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! The three black-armored figures flew off in three separate directions, and then they each used spatial teleports to disappear.
The black-robed Xia Emperor remained there, standing within the clouds, quietly attuning himself to the locations of his three servants.
In the air above a wide river, a black-armored figure suddenly appeared out of nowhere. The figure quietly pondered for a moment, then made a tossing motion. Instantly, a tower-shaped formation-base flew into the river, sinking into it and drilling deep into its depths.
A black-armored figure appeared out of nowhere in the air above a massive, towering mountain. A tower-shaped formation-base, covered with countless complicated runes, appeared in his hand as well. He tossed it downwards with incredible power, and it instantly smashed deep into the depths of the mountain.
A black-armored figure appeared in the air above a desolate marsh. He, too, tossed down a small tower.
In just a few moments, more than nine small towers were set up within Whitepole Commandery, each of which was roughly 500,000 kilometers away from Whitepole City.
Within Whitepole Commandery.
The black-robed Xia Emperor stood there quietly amidst the clouds. Upon sensing that the nine little towers had been emplaced, he revealed a smile. “If you start off a step ahead, you’ll remain a step ahead! Does the Seamless Gate really think that I’ll rely on the power of the imperial capital to the point where I shall simply defend there without fighting back?”
He had been building up the imperial capital for countless eras, and it was indeed the most stable location within the Grand Xia. Right now, he had only left behind the ‘white-robed Xia Emperor’ to watch over the capital, but he didn’t worry at all that it might be breached. The Xia Emperor hadn’t chosen to take the easier route of relying on his fortified capital; instead, he had launched an attack!
“Arise!” The Xia Emperor instantly willed it.
Within a vast river, the formerly calm flows of water suddenly turned savage and ferocious. The tremors shaking the river grew increasingly powerful until, with a boom, an enormous tower suddenly sprouted out from within it, rising upwards nonstop. The tip of the tower that jutted out from the water was more than thirty thousand meters long, and the entire tower was covered with countless golden runes and lines. Instantly, the world itself began to twist, and spatial ripples that were visible to the naked eye could be seen.
A towering, massive mountain began to fall apart…because from the heart of the mountain, an even more massive black tower that was covered with golden runes had appeared.
An enormous divine tower was emerging from the marsh as well.
A large region of Whitepole Commandery, spanning more than a million kilometers, became completely trapped within the field of divine towers.
Within the black citadel of the Seamless Gate located above Whitepole City.
The main palace of the Seamless Gate.
True Immortal Whitepole was seated up high, and below him were seated the Empyrean Gods, True Immortals, and a few Celestial Immortals.
“The imperial capital of the Grand Xia isn’t so easily attacked. Our best chances lie in slowly conquering the other territories of the Grand Xia, forcing the Xia Emperor to come out and leave his headquarters,” the Cavemaster of the Myriad Demons Cave boomed out.
“I just received word,” Gatemaster Azurefox said, “That the Xia Emperor had produced a Protocosmic spirit-treasure, the Eight Dragons Cloudcity, and then had his entire army move into it. However…none of the Immortals within the city know where it is. It seems that the Xia Emperor is wary of us and doesn’t wish for us to know where he is and what he is doing.”
Suddenly, the local space began to change.
The faces of everyone present changed as well.
“A restrictive formation?” The black-haired, black-robed, red-eyed elder laughed coldly. “Didn’t you say that the Xia Emperor would rely on the strength of his imperial capital? Where did this formation come from?”
“Qiankun has been locked; there’s no way to Greater Teleport or void blink in this area. Not even coresense can be used to investigate outside of it.” Gatemaster Azurefox said softly, “The Xia Emperor is even more confident than we expected; he actually dares to abandon his imperial capital and attack us?”
True Immortal Whitepole’s cold eyes held a hint of eagerness within them. He immediately said in an icy voice, “The more he prances around, the faster he will die. In the end…I shall be the master of the Grand Xia. Everyone, prepare for battle!”
A deep sound suddenly rang out, shaking the entire Seamless City. This was the alarm sound.
“The attack’s already begun?” Within the main palace, True Immortal Whitepole, Gatemaster Azurefox, and the others all revealed looks of surprise. This was simply too fast. The enemy formation had just been set down moments ago, and now the attack had already arrived!