The azure glow was dim, drifting, and barely discernible. That bit of aura contained an indescribable feeling of clarity, almost as though it weren’t of this world.
It was like fire but also unlike fire, just a mote of hazy azure light hovering on Zhao Jundu’s forehead.
The black flames had actually left this azure ember after burning out.
The ephemeral glow phased in and out without the slightest conflict with this world, a stark contrast to the fierce black flames from before. The flame might look unassuming, but it possessed an incomparable sense of existence once noticed—it was clearly one level above the violent black blaze.
Nighteye’s brows rose. “You can actually rise from flame and ashes. As expected of the Empire’s number one genius.”
Her voice turned cold. “But that’s far from enough!”
She tossed the Tempest backward, almost as though she were throwing away a useless item and not a magnum that the world would fight for. Awakening Dream appeared in her hand, erupting with a murderous glint that stunned the world!
The long sword pierced through Zhao Jundu’s chest and emerged from his back. There were countless experts on the field, but none of them managed to see how she had done that.
“Halt.” A calm yet august voice arrived from the distant skies. Many of the top experts were familiar with this voice, so much so that they had heard it in their nightmares.
That was Prince Greensun Zhang Boqian’s voice.
The heavenly monarch appeared out of thin air and swung his palm toward Nighteye.
“You want him? Here, take him!” Nighteye shook her sword, flinging Zhao Jundu away.
Zhang Boqian did not continue with his attack. His swat became a grab as he picked up Zhao Jundu and left.
Awakening Dream rose again at that moment and its water-like sword radiance slashed at Zhang Boqian’s back. Some people felt that they had heard a soft grunt from Zhang Boqian, but no one could confirm if they really did hear it.
Space parted like rippling water and Zhang Boqian disappeared with Zhao Jundu in tow. It was as though he had never appeared.
Nighteye sheathed her blade and exhaled. “Let this strike be the end of our karma.”
The battlefield remained silent for a while before the dark races erupted in a thunderous cheer. Their army moved out on their own, charging toward the Imperial fortresses in a frenzied state.
Zhang Boqian’s name was like a giant rock that pressed down upon the dark races, making it difficult for them to breathe. Many well-known dukes and princes had lost to him, then the great dark monarchs fell to a disadvantage.
Although there were all kinds of reasons for Zhang Boqian not to fight, when all was said and done, Nighteye had managed to land a slash on him. Zhao Jundu was also utterly defeated, ending his unbeatable legend among those of the same generation.
Dark race morale was so high that the younger ones entered a frenzied state. They charged without fear of death, vowing to take down the Imperial fortress to prove their loyalty to Nighteye.
The black tide soon engulfed the Imperial stronghold.
The defenders’ morale had long since hit rock-bottom. The troops were quickly routed after Zhao Jundu was taken away by Prince Greensun, with only a small number making it back to the central fortress.
Many soldiers in the dark race army had gone berserk—they didn’t even listen when the officers tried to regroup. All they did was chase after the retreating Imperial forces toward the central fortress. Another fierce battle thus broke out at the walls of the stronghold.
The crazed dark race soldiers knew neither pain nor fear as they charged forth through the rain of bullets. They used the last bit of vitality in them to charge up the walls and take down a target with them.
Wave after wave of dark race soldiers crashed against the fortress, their madness instilling fear into the most experienced of veterans. The defending soldiers had to rely on mechanical reflexes and numbed emotions to remain in their posts. They shred apart as many of the charging dark races as they could, up until they were torn apart themselves.
The sturdy fortress walls began to warp and distort as the black tides slammed repeatedly against it. Countless corpses filled up the trenches and obstructions in front of the fortress. More dark race soldiers would step on their comrades’ bodies to rush onto the walls, only to become corpses themselves.
The battle immediately reached its climax from the get-go. Attacks came in from all sides with neither strategy nor pattern—but they were sufficiently bloody and fierce.
This was the kind of wear-down Song Zining always wanted, just not in the way he had hoped for.
The dark-race morale was through the roof, and they had all too many cards to play. The four major races had set aside their differences and united under the glow of Nighteye’s spider lilies. Their strength in this state was far beyond the Empire’s, so much so that even the young strategist god of the Empire felt suffocated.
The chips in his hand were too few for this grand gamble. This was a game of chess, but the two sides didn’t have an equal number of pieces.
This crazy exchange of pieces with no regard for cost just happened to be Song Zining’s weak spot.
Three days later, the Empire’s central fortress fell.
Song Zining pulled back with the army, fighting a series of brilliant tactical withdrawal battles, obstruction, and ambushes until they had rid themselves of the pursuing army. The Empire had lost the strategic objective that was Blacksun Valley. They had already failed to achieve the main objective of this fight, but fortunately, not all hope was lost.
Song Zining didn’t pull back to the Great Qin Continent’s door. Instead, he relied on the supplies mustered by the Empire to wage guerilla warfare on the Blacksun Valley, hoping to uproot the dark race strongholds. However, things were now quite different from when they had just entered the valley.
The dark races were no longer segregated, and at least under Nighteye’s command, they were as solid as a steel plate. The four races working together enforced their advantages and eliminated their shortcomings. The increase in fighting power wasn’t trivial.
On the other hand, Song Zining was no longer able to plan a thousand miles ahead like before. The reason for this was also Nighteye. Her existence itself did away half of Song Zining’s divination. He had to consolidate his fighting power at every step and could only launch attacks when the situation was favorable. It was no longer possible to field troops in his usual bold and unpredictable manner.
Having lost both advantages in stronghold and mobility, Song Zining’s plans for a war of attrition had naturally gone to waste. The Empire could not even afford a two-to-one trade, let alone any worse.
Nighteye changed her strategy after sweeping out the Imperial forces. She more or less ignored the guerilla attacks and imitated Song Zining’s previous strategy. The dark races built fortress clusters and staged an airtight defense, not giving Song Zining any opportunity to divide and conquer.
The council wasn’t idle during this period. Every day, a massive fleet of transports would fly between Blacksun Valley and the doors of the dark race continents. The Empire utilized their assets and learned that they were transporting a large number of low-ranking soldiers into the valley.
It was rather odd that these low-ranking soldiers would be sent here because they would hardly be able to adapt to the harsh environment. They would only have half a month’s lifespan before dying in droves. Was the dark race planning on transporting them back after a few weeks?
The expenditure involved in such a move would be colossal, even if the effectiveness wasn’t a topic of discussion. Just the transportation costs would be astronomical, let alone the limited holy tree sap that would be wasted on them.
All these signs proved that the council was planning something else, something important related to the sinkhole. The Empire could only drift around the edges at this point, so they would never know what was going on, let alone stop them.
Song Zining racked his brains to find a way—he did win several small battles in the days to come, but he still couldn’t change the outcome.
Nighteye kept her main forces garrisoned at the major crossroads and was immovable as a mountain.
Despite the many successful reports, one could see that Song Zining was growing thinner by the day.
Voices of criticism stirred up once again, and under their pressure, the military began urging for progress. Everyone was restless because the four Evernight races working together would easily shake the world.
Knowing that he had no way back, Song Zining finally made the decision to use his divination powers to scry Nighteye’s movements.
Once activated, he appeared in the depths of the void where that familiar pair of dark golden eyes was waiting for him. In the world and to the very end of the void, there was nothing else but those eyes!
Song Zining groaned as the divination tokens burst into flames and became ashes. He collapsed without a sound and fell unconscious.
The change happened so quickly that the Imperial generals were caught off-guard. Seeing that he hadn’t improved after one day, they decided to send him back to the Empire for treatment.
At this point, Song Zining was a priceless treasure to the Empire.
All those well-known divination families couldn’t put forth a single candidate to replace Song Zining in the Empire’s time of danger. The many experts at the Divination Pavilion held several large-scale ceremonies, yet they couldn’t produce a single result. This proved how powerful Song Zining was.
Although no one discussed this openly, many people believed that losing Song Zining following Lin Xitang’s passing would shake the Empire’s foundations.
Nighteye moved out in full force once Song Zining was gone, splitting her army into numerous independent units to seek out and fight the Empire’s main force. The Imperial army suffered numerous defeats in just a few days and took grievous losses. They changed one commander after another, but none of them made a difference.
At this point, people found out just how difficult it was to achieve the small victories Song Zining had managed to rack up. He was a worthy strategist even without relying on his divination powers.
The dark race army held the absolute numbers advantage as they mobilized in full force, sweeping the valley with the intent to wipe out all Imperial forces.
The Imperial marshal in charge of the forces made a small mistake in his anxiety and was captured. Nighteye took this opportunity to destroy three supply fleets continuously.
This deprived the Imperial forces of supplies and plunged them into dire straits.
Every day, the topic of discussion in the Imperial court was whether they should pull back their forces from Blacksun Valley.
It wasn’t as though the Empire had run out of commanders, but the war between the dark races and the Great Qin was being fought on multiple fronts. Defeat in the new world would put more pressure on the mainland, where the defensive dark race forces would attempt to scout the Empire with greater frequency. If they were to transfer a powerhouse from the continental warzones to the new world, there was a chance that the mainland forces might suffer a defeat.
Yet they couldn’t just sit by and do nothing. There were tens of thousands of Imperial soldiers in Blacksun Valley. All of them were veteran elites, and losing even a few of them made one’s heart ache.
Facing such a situation, the Radiant Emperor asked, “Didn’t you say the Empire will undergo a resurgence in my era? Is this it? Who is going to bring about this resurgence?”
This was a question no one could answer.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie