Lu Yin’s gaze turned steely. Someone wanted to use Astral-3 to lure out the Innerverse’s cultivators, which was a cruel plan.
He did not believe that Astral-3 had truly been destroyed, as Astral-9 was an ancient battleship that had been able to withstand Ancestor Autumnfrost’s finger. Still, that had been just one finger. Against the Sixth Mainland’s full invasion force, it was already impressive that Astral-3’s Headmaster had died together with an Imprinter.
Although there was a rivalry among the ten academy branches, they were still all a part of the same school in the end, and Lu Yin could not just ignore this situation.
“Let’s go together.” Lu Yin’s tone showed his determination.
Hai Qiqi did not decline. Although she had not been a student of the Astral Combat Academy, she had certainly heard of its reputation. Now that the people of Astral-3 were being used as bait, she wanted to rescue them as well.
“Really? Thank you, Senior!” Alfonso was delighted, and he bowed deeply to Lu Yin.
“Don’t call me Senior anymore—just call me Seventh Bro,” Lu Yin casually replied.
Alfonso nodded. “Seventh Bro.”
He felt like he had heard this name before.
In the past, Lu Yin had been famous throughout the Innerverse, and many people had recognized his face. Fortunately, he had altered his appearance before coming. Otherwise, Alfonso definitely would have recognized him.
After Lu Yin’s trio left the area, it took about half a day for news of Gui Bing’s death to reach Granny Gui’s ears.
As the Tong family’s Imprinter, Granny Gui was treated very well, but Gui Bing was her only disciple. She had even personally crafted the invisible needles for him, and she had raised him as if he were her own child. When she learned about his death, she became infuriated and left the planet, planning on personally seeking vengeance.
The Tong family’s forces had gathered in the Starfall Sea while the area outside of the Starfall Sea belonged to the Grand Martial Realm’s Flying Horse Manor.
Granny Gui immediately requested for Flying Horse Manor to seal off the route leading towards Chaos Flowzone, as she believed that the other party would attempt to escape in that direction before moving towards the Cosmic Sea. No matter how long it might take her, she was determined to find the person who had murdered Gui Bing.
Not too far away from the exit to the Starfall Sea was a yellow planet. It was colored yellow due to the ubiquitous dull sand, and fierce sandstorms constantly swept across its surface, connecting the sky and ground. These sandstorms had extremely high wind speeds, and the sand that constantly whirled through the air had enough force to pierce straight through an ordinary person. This planet was not very hospitable.
Life here had developed underground, and an entire city had actually been built underground.
This planet was known as Planet Amber.
When the nearby sun illuminated the planet, its temperature spiked.
On the desolate plains of sand that covered Planet Amber, a hundred iron pillars towering into the sky had been erected. Each one of them had a single person bound to it. They were all students and mentors of Astral-3.
There were more than a hundred pillars on the planet, but only around half of them had someone bound to them. The people who had once occupied the other pillars had all been executed, and the fresh blood that stained the sandy expanse was not only from these students and mentors of Astral-3, but also from those who had attempted to rescue them.
These steel pillars had already reaped the lives of hundreds of cultivators.
To the Sixth Mainland, occupying the Innerverse was simple, but unifying it was much more difficult. Countless cultivators in the Innerverse had hidden themselves, and they could attack the invaders at any time.
Even if just one Sixth Mainland cultivator died on each planet every single day, that would add up to a horrifying number of daily casualties.
This was also why the Sixth Mainland had constantly drafted more cultivators to the war effort, since their numbers were dwindling every day.
Of course, the Innerverse suffered similar casualties, and once anyone was discovered, they would be either maimed or killed outright.
The two sides had become locked in a war of attrition.
These metal pillars were constantly baking in the high temperature of the sun and had even become reddened while those who were tied to the pillars had their backs cooked.
Not only did they suffer from the burning heat of the poles, but they also had to face the devastating sandstorms that could appear at any moment. What’s worse, the weather was worsening.
Those who qualified to enter Astral-3 were all talented youths, and each one had impressive backing. However, they were all in miserable states at this time.
On one metal pillar, Chilian Daynight’s eyes had gone hazy, and all he saw was yellow. His body was occasionally scoured by the rough sand, but he had already become numb to such a sensation.
In the distance, a giant stone statue towered over the iron pillars. The statue had the likeness of a pretty, middle-aged woman taking an elegant pose. She appeared to be both graceful and pretty; however, this was the same woman who had massacred Astral-3, killed its headmaster, and destroyed the battleship that was the foundation of Astral-3. She was the one who had thrust all of them into this living hell. She was known as Madam Hong, and she was the head of the Sixth Mainland’s Grand Martial Realm’s Flying Horse Manor. She was a World Imprinter with a power level of more than 900,000.
Before this war, not even the Daynight clan’s elders had ever seen such a terrifying powerhouse before. A power level of 900,000 was an unimaginably astronomical figure. Chilean Daynight did not even know if his clan’s top powerhouse had such an impressive power level.
In the entire universe, as far as he was aware, it was possible that Madam Hong was second only to Progenitors.
As Chilean Daynight slowly turned his head around, he looked at Cang Shi, who was nearby. The young man’s skin was chapped, and his blood had also almost completely dried up.
Around them, there were many other students approaching death’s door, if not already dead, and the mentors were the same.
As a ringing sound rang out in the sky, multiple cultivators rose up from underground and blocked the devastating power of the yellow sandstorms. Soon after, other figures emerged from underground and slowly kowtowed to Madam Hong’s statue.
This was a daily prayer routine. Its meaning was to pray for Madam Hong’s protection and also to bless the Sixth Mainland.
The Sixth Mainland had erected these statues to both wear away at the dignity of the Innerverse’s cultivators and spread the belief that those of the Sixth Mainland were divine. They were attempting to establish this belief in the Fifth Mainland cultivators, and their methods were the most ordinary forms of cultural assimilation and daily brainwashing.
Right as countless people came out to pray, some other figures emerged from beneath the ground and slaughtered the nearby Sixth Mainland cultivators. Others flew towards the metal pillars in an attempt to rescue the survivors from Astral-3.
An Astral-3 mentor bleakly shouted, “Don’t come! Run! Hurry up and run!”
“We Innerverse cultivators are not afraid of death!” One person hollered back as he bravely charged towards a metal pillar and sliced at the ropes binding the student to it. From behind the charging man, a long blade slashed out, which the man quickly tried to block. However, the blade continued on undisturbed, slicing through the defending weapon, cutting three inches deep into the Innerverse man’s body, and causing fresh blood to drip down the pillar.
“You fools! Only you continue to resist us. Those great powers of your Fifth Mainland have all already been wiped out. You idiots, cast your lot in with us, and we will give you a way forward.”
“What wishful thinking—we’d rather die than surrender!”
With a plop, a head was separated and landed on the sand.
The Sixth Mainland cultivator coldly looked down, and the imprint behind him seemed even more like the image of a deity.
The survivors from Astral-3 cracked their eyes open as they cried out in indignation.
The group of people that had tried to rescue the Astral-3 survivors were completely massacred to the last person. Their blood poured out and added another layer of red to the sandy ground, but that was all that they managed to accomplish.
From beneath the ground, two bright eyes opened wide. They belonged to another youth, and although she was pretty, a heavy murderous intent could be seen in her eyes. She was sitting cross-legged, and beside her was a long spear that had been embedded in the ground. It gave off a sharp chill.
“Young Mistress, we killed another group. These cultivators are like locusts, and we just can’t exterminate them all. They’re too stupid.”
The young lady responded in an icy-cold tone. “They are indeed stupid. The Fifth Mainland’s great powers were already preparing to retreat the moment we first invaded, and for some reason, they left these independent cultivators with no background behind to oppose us. No matter whether or not these people emerge victorious or are defeated, they can still whittle away at some of our strength. These people are nothing more than cannon fodder.”
“If that’s the case, then why are we baiting these independent cultivators to their deaths?”
“Realmling Bai Ling has stated that popular sentiment has a limit to its endurance. Once we push past that limit, there will be nothing left of these people’s will. Without resistance, there is only subservience. Once these independent cultivators are cowed by the continuous deaths, they will finally acknowledge their allegiance to us. After all, our numbers are not that much, and if we want to truly govern the Fifth Mainland and plunder its resources, we need to put forth some effort,” the young woman coldly explained.
Regardless of the time period, the ones with the worst fate were always at the bottom. They had passion and were not afraid of death, but they did not have the necessary ability to back up their passion.
Planet Amber had no barrier around it, and it would not ever be sealed off. This was the trap the Sixth Mainland had set to lure the Innerverse’s cultivators to be slaughtered. Not only did they not seal the planet, but there wasn’t even any sort of border control. Thus, anybody could enter the planet and attempt to rescue the survivors.
The Sixth Mainland had full confidence in their strength, and they were not afraid of anyone who approached to rescue the captives.
Lu Yin, Hai Qiqi, and Alfonso had arrived and hidden themselves in a corner of a nearby underground city that was not too far from the execution site.
This was Lu Yin’s first time seeing an underground city, so it was a very novel experience for him.
There was no sky above the city, and neither was there the familiar emptiness of outer space. Instead, thick stone hung above his head, and lights had been embedded in the stone to simulate the sky, complete with birds and random weather conditions.
There were no tall buildings in this city. Instead, they were all monotonously short. Each building stretched deep underground, and it was as if a normal city had been turned upside down.
Lu Yin had assumed that the underground city would be a dark expanse enveloped in an oppressive aura. However, after seeing it for himself, he felt that it was actually pretty decent.
“10,000 years ago, Planet Amber faced an arduous situation, as the natives reached the limit of technology that they could develop, and the conditions here also prevented people from cultivating. These people were truly like primitive natives. However, as more cultivators came to Planet Amber, it gradually became more and more developed. The technology that you see here was not developed by the original inhabitants of Planet Amber. Rather, they are technologies brought here by foreign investors.” Alfonso showed Lu Yin around the underground city and shared a bit of the planet’s history.
Hai Qiqi was curious. “You seem to know this place rather well. Do you plan to be buried here?’
Alfonso opened his mouth, but there were no words he could say, and his voice remained choked in his throat.
Lu Yin was also left speechless, as Hai Qiqi’s venomous tongue had appeared once again, and she could often stifle others with just her speech. If not for her background of being supported by the Sea King, she would have long since been strung up to be beaten.
The living conditions of those in the underground city were still decent, and the people were not as desperate as Lu Yin had imagined.
The Sixth Mainland’s invasion had nothing to do with these people, and as long as they offered their allegiance to the Sixth Mainland and provided them with resources, nobody would make life difficult for these ordinary people. They did not even know that the Innerverse was at war.
In another corner of the city, Alfonso used secret codes to successfully connect with a group of people.
Hai Qiqi opened her eyes wide and was very curious about everything. Although she was worried about the Sea King’s safety, she could constantly feel his strength after arriving in the Innerverse, so she knew that he was alright.
Those who got in contact with Alfonso were mostly Explorers, and there were more than ten such cultivators, as well as a few Cruisers. Unfortunately, not a single person who showed up had rune lines that could compare to Gui Bing’s from before. Lu Yin would rather hope for the Fifth and Sixth Mainlands to shake hands and cooperate than pin his hopes on these people’s chances of rescuing the Astral-3 survivors.
“Brother Alfonso, didn’t you say that your Starphant Mountain had an Enlighter who was going to support us?” someone asked. The crowd then looked at Lu Yin; could this person be the aforementioned person? No, he was too young.
Alfonso sadly answered, “I’m sorry, but our sect elder died.”
The crowd was stunned, and their expressions turned ugly. They were not stupid, and they knew that, without an Enlighter to assist them, they would not be able to save the survivors of Astral-3 on their own.
“What happened? Were you guys discovered?” someone asked.
Alfonso nodded. “It was Gui Bing.”
Another person angrily exclaimed, “Him again! That bastard’s pretty good at ambushing people and attacking with his poison needles. He’s caused many of our comrades to die miserable deaths.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Choco
Edited By: Neshi/Nyxnox
TLC'ed By: OMA