Did gods really exist in this world?
This possibility flashed through Su Chen’s mind as he stepped out of the graveyard.
His clone disappeared, but this thought was still bouncing around in the mind of the main body. He couldn’t help but think of the Harpies’ Mother Goddess. After all, that peculiar reaction really did make it seem like there was some god observing this land.
But if that was truly the case, then why were they only observing instead of actively intervening?
For some reason, Su Chen was reminded of the old beggar yet again.
He had already met two other people who were similarly affected by the old beggar.
And Long Pojun had told Su Chen that the old beggar was actually an ancient being.
Only gods could possibly live that long, right?
But what was the old beggar’s goal?
It was obvious that gods were not powerless in the human realm.
But the extent of their powers was another question entirely.
It was as if these gods could only affect this world on an extremely small scale. Even so, they were still trying their hardest to do so.
The more Su Chen thought about it, the more confused he became. In the end, he resorted to interrogating the surviving Astrals.
The interrogation, however, left him bitterly disappointed.
Reaper Jia Luo was indeed merely a soul fragment. Its memory had already mostly faded away, so much so that it didn’t even know how it had ended up in its current state.
It would have to eat many, many Astrals before it would regain its memories.
The Astrals had actually already tried to do this in the past, which had resulted in them needing to pay a heavy price to push Jia Luo down to his current state.
As for what the Astrals had learned after Jia Luo had regained its memories, only the high-tier Astrals knew. These simple guards knew nothing other than the fact that this monumental secret was managed by their leader himself.
“In other words, I will only know after I seize the Wanlai Caves and take control of Gloom City,” Su Chen muttered to himself. “Menelaus the Wise...... I wonder just how many secrets this old Astral has stored away.”
An insatiable sense of curiosity rose in Su Chen’s heart.
Even though he wanted to do nothing more than slaughter his way over to the Wanlai Caves at that moment, Su Chen nonetheless repressed the feverish desire in his heart and continued to solidify their encampment at Reaper’s Temple.
This was for dual purposes: on one hand, they were still gathering information, and on the other, they were waiting for the Harpies and Ravagers to respond.
The responses came very quickly.
Needless to say, when Eternal Night found out that Su Chen had requested reinforcements, he had immediately sent over a hundred thousand Harpies to support his campaign. These hundred thousand Harpy warriors had participated in the defense of Sky City, making them all veterans and elites. Eternal Night was obviously not holding anything back for the sake of the Immortal’s Soul. Even if all hundred thousand Harpies died, the Immortal’s Soul absolutely needed to be reclaimed.
Danba’s support was not nearly as resolute. In fact, the two had to negotiate for some time before finally coming to an agreement.
They had exchanged at least ten letters, constantly going back and forth.
The Ravagers should have been delayed quite far significantly after wasting so much time negotiating, but they had actually crossed into Astral territory long before the agreement was reached. Obviously, Danba had taken advantage of the Boundless Sect’s campaign to expand the Ravagers’ borders into Astral territory as soon as he received the first letter from Su Chen. Since the Astrals were in a state of constant retreat, their borders were naturally completely unguarded.
After two months, the Boundless Sect marched upon the Wanlai Caves and arrived at the agreed-upon time.
On that day, the Astrals witnessed a scene the likes of which had never been seen in Astral territory before.
Three races had converged at this frigid, northern tip of the continent.
The Wanlai Caves were famous for being frozen solid year-round.
The caves were situated at the extreme north end of the continent. The air was incomparably chilly, and resources were sparse due to the harsh environment. There was no grass to speak of, so there were very local animals. Only the fierce howls of the wind could be heard.
This Astral territory was completely empty of any living creature.
And with no living creatures, there was rarely any conflict, which meant that this place was perpetually shrouded in silence.
After all, the Wanlai Caves derived their name from a phrase that meant, “Not a sound could be heard.”
The Astrals had constructed their capital here because they had no need for food, and their required living necessities were extremely low. In fact, this location’s deafening silence, naturally hazardous environment, and Origin-Energy-absorbing earth all served as forms of protection for the Astrals.
This was why they had ignored this land’s frigid, biting cold and its desolateness and built their capital city here, along with an intricate system of underground tunnels that ultimately formed the Gloom Kingdom’s underground kingdom.
From the surface, the Wanlai Caves appeared completely flat. Anyone who hadn’t entered it before would have a hard time even finding the entrance.
In actuality, the entrance to the Wanlai Caves was not on the ground, but in the sky.
This mountain peak stoically towered above everything.
It stood alone, just like a giant on the desolate ground. It was somewhat reminiscent of a stone tree, because there were no other mountains around it.
The Sky-Breaking Mountain proudly stood tall like a sword jabbed straight into the ground. It represented the Astrals’ claim on this territory, as well as their might and power.
And on this day, the greatest test that the Astrals would ever face finally arrived.
The Boundless Sect was still the first to arrive on the scene.
The bone-chilling wind couldn’t diminish their morale. After arriving, they hunkered down and began to wait.
The Harpies were the second group to arrive.
As a race naturally capable of flight, their speed was undeniable.
And as a race also proficient in Arcana Techniques, they possessed many different ways to withstand the cold.
In comparison, the Ravagers, who were the last to arrive, were in a much sorrier state.
They were the only group of soldiers that had traveled here on foot.
The giant horde of Ravager soldiers appeared off in the distance. They marched in a chaotic and disorganized fashion, and their yells could be heard long before their figures became clear.
“Hurry up, you worthless bums, you cowards! Is a little chilly air enough to cause you to shrink back? Straighten up those chests!!!” a tall Ravager bellowed.
He was Lonzell, one of Danba’s fiercest generals.
Many years had already passed, but this man’s valor had only increased. He had lost an eye during the civil war against the Inferno Tribe, but his eyepatch only served to further accentuate his ferocity. Even the cold couldn’t stifle the boundless desire to do battle exuding from every pore of his body.
The Ravagers roared savagely in response and charged forwards with renewed vigor.
Even though they were in an arctic tundra, many of them were still half-naked. They crudely carried their weapons on their backs and advanced rapidly. White steam trailed off from their bodies as they devoured the Beast legs in their hands. To the Ravagers, food was their greatest source of energy.
They were obviously much less graceful than the Harpy elites and much less disciplined than the Boundless Sect’s disciples, who were organized into tight formations. Even their most powerful groups of soldiers would be disorderly and undisciplined.
Even so, beneath this chaotic facade was still a certain kind of order.
As Su Chen watched the procession of Ravagers approach, his gaze tightened. “This guy......! He’s gotten even more clever, it seems.”
Jiang Hanfeng curiously asked, “How has he gotten more clever? They seem just as disorderly as always.”
Su Chen shook his head. “This Ravager army might seem disorderly, but they are actually very disciplined, and their movement is very coordinated. Yes, they might not be standing in neat rows, and they might not all have the same weapon. Actually, even their formation is a bit crooked. However, these are all superficial defects; if you look closely enough, you will notice that the basic unit of fighters that the Ravagers typically employ has changed.”
Previously, the Ravagers’ basic combat unit were small three-man teams.
These teams were the smallest amongst all of the Intelligent Races.
This was because the Ravagers’ brains were simple, making it difficult for them to coordinate and complete complex tasks with others. Thus, in the past, the Ravagers had learned to operate in three-man teams as it was the easiest.
This current Ravager army, in comparison, seemed to be divided into teams of ten Ravagers each.
No matter what kind of threats the Ravager forces faced, these ten-man teams would remain intact. This was incredibly impressive — obviously, Danba had vastly improved their ability to cooperate with one another.
Danba had managed to overthrow the Crazed Monarch and his armies, which were brimming with experts, not only because of Su Chen’s help, but also because of his own diligence and hard work.
The presence of these ten-person teams greatly meant that Danba’s soldiers had greatly increased combat proficiency in comparison to the Crazed Monarch’s. During his campaign against the Crazed Monarch, a single one of his ten-person teams had been capable of taking out seven three-person teams on the other side. This increased team size also greatly increased their ability to deal with a target much stronger than them. In short, this change improved their odds of survival and also ate away at their opponent’s supply of powerful experts.
Most of the Inferno Tribe’s experts had been killed by the Gravel Lizard Tribe’s armies. They had evaluated Danba’s modern armies from traditional lens, so it was only natural that they had suffered tremendous losses.
“Most importantly...... they are not Danba’s direct subordinates,” Su Chen calmly elaborated.
“They’re not his confidantes?” Everyone was stunned.
“Yes, these Ravagers aren’t from the Gravel Lizard Tribe.” Su Chen had interacted with the Gravel Lizard Tribe quite extensively in the past, so he had immediately noticed that these Ravagers did not belong to them.
“Then what tribe are they from?”
“The Inferno Tribe.”
The imperial tribe?
Everyone was stunned by this revelation.
After the Crazed Monarch had been defeated, the Inferno Tribe should have been vanquished, and all power stripped away. Even though Ravager tradition meant that they wouldn’t be slaughtered, they would need to relinquish the most fertile lands, decrease their numbers, and accept supervision from the new imperial family.
But unexpectedly, Danba had sent these defeated Ravagers to participate in this paramount mission. Not only that, but they were also organized into ten-person teams, which suggested that they had also adopted his combat strategy.
Danba’s self-confidence was quite apparent just from this army’s composition.
But since that he had sent members of the Inferno Tribe over instead of trusted members of his own Gravel Lizard Tribe......
Obviously, Danba had not been deceived by Su Chen’s enticing offer.
He was even using this opportunity to deal with his least-loyal subjects.
Indeed, behind the Inferno Tribe came Ravagers from the Redeagle, Iron Bone, Blood Hand, and various other tribes.
These tribes had all been loyal to the former imperial family. The new Ravager nobles, which included the Droughthammer, Thunder Edge, and Raging Sun tribes, were not present either.
Of course, that didn’t mean that no one of importance was here. After all, wasn’t Lonzell here?
And Lonzell wasn’t the only one. Danba had also come.
After the 200,000 Ravagers fully arrived, an imperial carriage appeared.
The young Ravager monarch, Danba, stepped out of his carriage and onto the frozen ground.