Repeated failures had taught the demons that subjugating Winterdraw was a long shot.
It wasn’t impossible for a desperate offensive to crack what they’d seen of the human fortifications. But what would be the point? What came after that?
They would lose half their forefathers in the process, or more.
Could the remaining half kill the island’s defenders? Could they conquer the human domain? That was nothing but a pipe dream!
Out of the elites the demons had initially brought to the continent, less than two tenths were still alive, as well as roughly one-third of the forefather-level cultivators. It was too puny a force for their grand, beautiful dream. It was time to wake up from the illusions of grandeur.
The post-battle debrief ultimately ended on a sour note.
Celestial returned to his tribe’s camp, barely holding his boiling anger in check. From the moment he’d led the troops into this world, his authority had never been thus challenged.
All he had to his name now were the tatters of dignity and a chest full of rage.
His cold gaze landed on the third forefather. “Old Third, aren’t you the sociable one? Why’d you make our tribe even more of a laughingstock? To glorify the humans and shame us demons, whose side exactly do you stand on?”
The third forefather sighed lightly. “Celestial, my words were half honest and half to appease them.”
“Which part was real?”
“My evaluation of humanity is genuine. The rest was to dispel their anger. I didn’t want them to band together against us.”
“Do they have the balls to?” Celestial sneered.
“We’re already past asking this kind of question. At this rate, it’s a matter of when, not if,” the third forefather retorted calmly.
“Old Third, what are you saying?” The other celestial demon forefathers looked at him, dumbfounded.
“Are you still blind to the truth? They’re merely waiting for an opportunity to unload their accumulated hostility on us. Even if they don’t rebel outright, they’ll find subtler ways to make our life difficult. Nothing will pacify them!”
In spite of his wrath, Celestial stayed silent. He couldn’t refute Old Third’s arguments.
“So there’s no more hope left for our grand undertaking? Is that what you mean, Old Third? Should we give up just like that?” asked another forefather, clearly reluctant.
The third forefather muttered, “Of course we can’t renounce our goal. Only, we’re either headed towards a schism or…” He stopped there, his words trailing off.
But they jolted Celestial nonetheless. He stared at the third forefather, an intense glint in his eyes. “Old Third, speak plainly.”
“Forefather, perhaps our final card is the only resort left to us. As celestial demons, it’s our destiny rule over the fate of the tribes. They’ve lost their loyalty to our race, so we must sacrifice them for our grand ambitions…”
Everyone felt their blood run cold at his eerie tone. They all understood his implications.
As the supreme authority of their race, their bloodline possessed a secret art passed down through their distinctive mark.
Only those belonging to the tribe could unlock the mark and learn this art. None of the other tribes were aware of its existence.
The so-called secret art consisted of sacrificing other demons in times of need. Victims were absorbed and bloodlines of the tribes assimilated to strengthen the celestial demons.
As a result, they’d not only gain the other demons’ strength, but also their unique abilities, ending up representing all ten tribes by themselves.
In due time, they’d once again slowly beget offspring belonging to other tribes. Through this cycle of fusion and division, the celestial tribe acted as a confluence for the entire race.
A heady rush of excitement flooded the celestial demon forefathers.
The secret art was an oppressive one. It magnified the tribe’s power as soon as it was used.
Of course, it wasn’t easy to implement. They had to absorb the other tribes first, then spend a long time to digest their powers.
The process was filled with dangers. If they couldn’t stay in control, it was entirely possible for spontaneous implosion.
Of course, imploding didn’t necessarily mean death for celestial demons. As long as their spirits lived on, they could reconstruct their flesh, reassemble their soul, and come back to life.
So it was a simple matter of time, a small price to pay for a glorious future.
“Forefather, let’s do it!”
“That’s right, the other tribes have clearly lost faith in us. Their role is done as far as our race is concerned.”
“Forefather, we’re all waiting for your word!”
The latter murmured to himself for a moment before giving his nod. “Very well. Since they don’t know their place and challenge our authority, they’ll have to reap what they’ve sown.”
“Old Third, you’re the one to first mention it. You must have a plan in mind?”
The third forefather smiled faintly. “There are roughly sixteen forefathers left in the other nine tribes, enough to match us in raw strength. So we must act in complete secrecy! Divide and conquer. We’ll catch them in small batches. We can’t let anyone slip through our net! We’ll have a civil war on our hands if word gets out.”
“Then who’s first on the menu?” Celestial quietly asked. “The fire, winged, and shadow demons are still relatively loyal. Perhaps we should start with them…”
“No, we must be decisive and go right for the root of the problem.” The third forefather shook his head in refusal, rather disapproving of Celestial’s dithering.
“Good, we’ll do as you’ve said then. We’ll catch them one by one.”
“Once our tribe springs into motion, they’ll have choice but to submit to their fate,” the other forefathers voiced.
Meanwhile, Bloodreed was slowly recuperating inside his tent. Thanks to the many pills he’d taken, he’d brought his injury under control, unlike the anger still running wild in his chest.
Beside him, Goldenhowl sipped a cup of wine with a subtle smile, a peculiar expression on his face.
“Just spit it out. Don’t hold it in, or it’ll fester!” demanded the disgruntled Bloodreed.
The golden demon clearly had some choice words, judging from his deportment.
Goldenhowl chuckled. “Hehe, you blood demons didn’t take my tribe’s woes to heart when your strength was still intact. How does it feel now that you’re down to my level?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
That is.. wow okay, that is a helluva secret art.
And hoo, last milestone!! 2300 chapters!!