The Desolate Era - Book 17, Chapter 7 - The Grand Army Mobilizes
It was a blazing summer day. The world seemed to have turned into a gigantic furnace; only late at night did things cool down a bit.
Ji Ning and Yu Wei were standing at the top of a tower within their mountain peak estate. From this location, they could see nearly half of the entire Stillwater City.
“It’s been half a year since the Seamless Gate sent out that final note, but they still have yet to move. We have to wait carefully every day…I wonder how long they’ll keep us waiting?” Ning said.
“Right now, Stillwater City doesn’t just have Sword Immortal Unity; it also has you, junior apprentice-brother. You were able to fight back against nine mighty Celestial Immortals and slay two of them. Now that eighteen years have gone past, they probably have guessed that your power has risen yet again. How could the Seamless Gate behave rashly? They naturally need to make many preparations. To spend half a year in preparations to fight a Celestial Immortal who nearly has the power of a Pure Yang True Immortal, and who is supported by a peerlessly talented monster…it makes sense.” Yu Wei continued, “In addition, the more time passes…the more powerful their strike shall most likely be.”
Ning nodded. “I understand.”
“Junior apprentice-brother.” Yu Wei looked at Ning, then said solemnly, “You absolutely must not underestimate the Seamless Gate.”
“Haha. Senior apprentice-sister, don’t worry. Last time, I ended up suffering mightily at the hands of the Youngflame clan. I’ve learned from that. This time…I definitely won’t be overconfident again.” Ning smiled. In recent days, Yu Wei had often reminded him to be careful, to be cautious. It seemed as though the Youngflame clan’s exile of him to the Void had caused her to fear something similar would reoccur.
Ning felt warmed and comforted by this sort of concern.
During the past half year, Ning had more than half-mastered the art of applying heartforce to his Immortal swords. Given a bit more time, he would have fully mastered it. Given that he was experienced in applying heartforce to his sword-fingers, his rate of improvement was quite quick. In addition, Ning also noticed that his rate of improvement in comprehending the Dao of the Sword had been incredibly fast during this past half year. Clearly, his comprehension of the first level of swordforce, which had allowed him to touch upon the innate essence of the sword, had given him a straight path towards fully understanding the Dao of the Sword.
Suddenly, a streak of coresense shot out.
Yu Wei’s face changed slightly.
Seeing this, Ning glanced at the skies. “Is it your turn to stand guard, senior apprentice-sister?”
“Yes.” Yu Wei nodded.
“Sword Immortal Unity truly is cautious; at every moment of every day, he’s using his coresense to cover the entire Stillwater City. Every day, our three Celestial Immortals will rotate in this duty, ensuring there is always perfect coverage.” Ning sighed. “As long as the Seamless Gate dares to draw close…there will be no way they can hide it from us at all.”
“We are in the light, while they are in the dark; we naturally must be cautious,” Yu Wei said. “We are also the weaker side to begin with; if we are overconfident, we’ll be in true danger.”
Ning nodded. “They’ve been preparing for so long. I really wonder what sorts of methods the Seamless Gate is preparing.”
“When they come, they will strike as swiftly as the thunder,” Yu Wei said solemnly.
Ning gave Yu Wei a glance. Of the three Celestial Immortals, Yu Wei was the most pessimistic of the lot. Her attitude had an impact on Ning and the others, causing them to become even more careful. For example, the usage of coresense to keep continual oversight over the city; in truth, this was an extremely tiring thing! Fortunately, their three Celestial Immortals rotated through this duty, which was why they were able to maintain this policy.
While Ji Ning and the forces of Stillwater City were waiting carefully, keeping their coresense spread over the city at all times…on this summer night, the grand army of the Seamless Gate finally began to make their move.
With that black, foggy cave.
A group of masked, golden-robed figures flew out from the cave, then immediately dispersed into many small squads. They executed a void blink technique and disappeared.
A mysterious teleportation array within a gorge…suddenly flashed.
A large group of masked, golden-robed men immediately appeared within the array. They, too, separated into many small squads, then quickly teleported away to various locations.
Deep within a region of rippling fog, two golden-robed figures appeared.
In almost the same instant, two thousand squads had silently arrived at the world of the Grand Xia. They all dispersed towards their respective targets.
Within a desolate, wild region.
Two golden-robed figures were standing amidst the grass, message talismans in their hands.
“Big brother, thank goodness we joined the Seamless Gate rather than stay with the Xia Emperor. The Seamless Gate really is far too powerful. Their headquarters in the Fifth World…good heavens! We’ve seen over a million Celestial Immortals gathered together in an amazing display of power, but that represented almost all of the Celestial Immortals which Daofather Crimsonbright commands. But the Fifth World…heh heh, it definitely has at least as many Celestial Immortals as Daofather Crimsonbright does! In fact, when we went to go pay our respects to the Gatemaster of the Seamless Gate, a True Immortal, he told us that those largest, most towering of edifices were meant for Empyrean Gods and True Immortals to reside in. How many Empyrean Gods and True Immortals does that represent?!”
“Haha, third brother, don’t be frightened by the words of the Gatemaster. Yes, the power of the Fifth World is inconceivable…but there were more than a thousand of those towering edifices. I refuse to believe they have more than a thousand Empyrean Gods or True Immortals! In addition, I imagine that the Fifth World has most likely prepared multiple palaces for everyone at the level of the Gatemaster. Some are used for resting, some are used for training and meditation, some are used for receiving guests…and so if you calculate it that way, the number isn’t that terrifying.” The more heavyset golden-robed figure said, “However…that Fifth World truly is one of their headquarters with awesome power. They actually dared to gather so many forces there…that means they are at least capable of withstanding a Daofather. Otherwise, the Daofathers would’ve wiped them out long ago.”
“Right.” The other golden-robed man nodded.
“If the Fifth World used its full power against the world of the Grand Xia, they would probably be able to annihilate it in just a few days. But the Fifth World needs to assault many major worlds; it is the principal responsibility of that Gatemaster of the Seamless Gate to assault our Grand Xia,” the heavyset golden-robed man said.
“Only after we completely surrendered were we trusted enough to be allowed to go to the Fifth World,” the skinnier golden-robed figure said. “Now…this time, the Gatemaster assigned us to deal with the Flamedoor Commandery, and instructed us to fight with that female Immortal of the Flamedoor Commandery. However…it’s only meant to be an act, a mock-fight.”
“No need to even think about it; she’s probably joined the Seamless Gate as well. That’s why we are only going to put on a show of fighting her,” the heavyset golden-robed man said. “What’s true is false; what’s false is true. Only when the waters are muddied can one fish from them in secret. So long as Flamedoor Commandery comes under attack, the Xia Emperor will probably feel much less suspicion towards that female Immortal of the commandery.”
“Right. This time, we’ve been told that two thousand squads numbering more than ten thousand people have been sent out. I wonder how many are Celestial Immortals and how many are Loose Immortals? And how many are joinees like us, while how many were members of the Seamless Gate to begin with?”
“Who cares? That’s not for us to know or worry about.”
“Right. Still…why haven’t the talismans shattered yet?”
Both of them were holding a message talisman. Once the talisman shattered, it meant that the time had come for them to make their move!
They were waiting a few tens of thousands of kilometers outside of Flamedoor City; they’d be able to arrive there with a single void blink. They just needed the order.
The talismans shattered.
The faces of both figures instantly changed. No longer in the mood to chat, they immediately void blinked towards Flamedoor City.
Deep within a foggy region outside Flamedoor City. A total of eighteen figures had appeared atop the clouds, each of whom were dressed in golden robes. However, their golden robes were slightly different from ordinary golden robes. Their golden robes were all covered with various decorations such as flowers, Godbeasts, clouds, mountains, and other things.
All of their auras were extraordinary.
“Everyone, per the orders of the Gatemaster, I shall lead you all today,” Celestial Immortal Violetgrass said. “I know that I am lacking in experience, and so I’d like to ask everyone to be patient with me.”
“Little sister Violetgrass, although you haven’t trained for very long, your talent is exceptional. You are now amongst the top-tier Celestial Immortals, comparable to the rest of us; I imagine that in the future, we’ll be asking you to take care of us!”
This was the response from the other Celestial Immortals.
They all knew quite well that Celestial Immortal Violetgrass was heavily doted upon by the Gatemaster, and she was also protected by Celestial Immortal Blackheaven and many other powerful figures. It was guaranteed that in the future, her status would be higher than theirs.
“This time, the Gatemaster has sent out two thousand squads; this shall be the final time we test the enemy’s strength in detail, with the true war against the Grand Xia to begin right afterwards. The purpose of all this is to get a good sense of any powers or abilities the Grand Xia is hiding. The mission of almost every squad is to probe the our foes, with a few squads meant for putting on a show; only very, very few squads are meant to wipe out the foes!” Celestial Immortal Violetgrass swept them with her gaze as she said solemnly, “And our squad…is one of those meant to wipe out our foes!”
“Celestial Immortal Unity is too stubborn; there’s no way he’ll bend the neck for us,” Violetgrass said. “He is incredibly powerful, and he might break through to the Pure Yang True Immortal level at any moment. His ability to wait and endure is also incredible; if we just let him do as he pleases, he’ll most likely become a major impediment to the Seamless Gate’s subjugation of the Grand Xia. Since we can’t recruit him…then we have to eliminate him!”
The Xia Emperor wasn’t sure about the loyalties of many Celestial Immortals; for example, he couldn’t be sure if even the capture of Celestial Immortal Hunchmont was part of an act or not. The Seamless Gate, however, knew everything! They knew that they truly had captured Hunchmont and had used everything they could think of to force Unity to capitulate…but alas, all their efforts had failed.
“At present, Stillwater City has Celestial Immortal Unity, Immortal Diancai, the Rainbowflame Fairy, and Sword Immortal Darknorth, also known as Ji Ning.” Violetgrass said seriously, “Immortal Diancai and the Rainbowflame Fairy are fairly weak; they aren’t worth mentioning. Celestial Immortal Unity and Sword Immortal Darknorth, however, are no ordinary figures. If Celestial Immortal Unity was by himself, there would be no need at all for the eighteen of us to join forces…but now, Sword Immortal Darknorth has emerged.”
The other seventeen all nodded.
They had all received reports regarding Sword Immortal Darknorth, Ji Ning. Prior to this, they had been battling across other major worlds. Only after being gathered here had they received Ji Ning’s intelligence report…and after reading it, they had been badly shocked.
Sword Immortal Darknorth…Ji Ning!
The champion of the Conclave of Immortal Destiny, a disciple of one of the most supreme Daofathers of the Three Realms, a practitioner of the [Eight-Nine Arcane Art], a wielder of astonishing sword-arts, a possesser of incredible divine abilities, and who had been able to fight nine Celestial Immortals of the Youngflame clan as a Void-level Earth Immortal…and kill two of them! Although he had trained for less than a century, he was able to survive even the descent of karmic sinflames; he truly was an incomparably astonishing talent.
“Everyone present is a supreme Celestial Immortal, and you are all skilled in using the formation which the Godking created. The eighteen of us are able to somewhat unleash the power of this formation; it should be enough to dominate anyone below the Empyrean God or True Immortal level.” Violetgrass said solemnly, “Everyone already has a copy of the plan; we must act in accordance with it. We have to be careful, to tread lightly. If we are overconfident…then Celestial Immortal Unity and Sword Immortal Darknorth will be able to escape!”
“If the eighteen of us fail even when fighting together…once word spreads, we would have no face at all.”
They had all reached Celestial Immortal Infatuation’s level of power; in fact, some were even slightly stronger.
The eighteen of them joining forces was a more terrifying prospect than a hundred ordinary Celestial Immortals joining forces! These were the true elites of the Seamless Gate; only when the Seamless Gate encountered a truly thorny foe would it send out these elites.
The eighteen Celestial Immortals waited there within the fog, waited for the final order to come. The two thousand squads had to strike at the same time!
A short while later…
The message talismans in the hands of the eighteen Celesteial Immortals simultaneously shattered!