Book 6, Chapter 111: Forest of Towers

They had entered a dark, gloomy realm.

No light could be seen coming from the city below. The Astrals didn’t need light, after all.

They moved like ghosts, and a dark, dim world was more suited to them anyways.

But the three invading races were incredibly unfamiliar with the dim world around them.

A Harpy activated an illumination technique.

At that same instant, however, a whole bunch of Arcana Techniques immediately extinguished it.

“Don’t shine any lights! They’re waiting to ambush us in the darkness!” someone called out.

Just because they had entered the underground world didn’t mean they were safe. Actually, the battle was only beginning.

The dark space gave the Astrals ample opportunity to attack. They hid themselves in locations that were difficult to spot, attacking anyone who dared to activate an illumination skill and swallowing them up in darkness.

This was an effective tactic against the combined armies. Anyone who attempted to improve visibility in the caverns would be killed by darkness, and the already dim lighting in the caves made it difficult to see. Even though they were Origin Qi Scholars and possessed different techniques that allowed them to see in the dark, the Astrals were similarly able to utilize darkness Arcana Techniques.

Since the two canceled each other out, the darkness was actually dark, making it hard for even Origin Qi Scholars to see clearly.

A vicious battle began to unfold in the shadows.

The Astrals’ ambush officially commenced.

Even as the human-Ravager-Harpy forces charged forwards relentlessly, they suffered blow after blow from the Astrals.

These sneak attacks resulted in large numbers of casualties.

But if the Astrals thought that they could win this way, they were grossly mistaken.

A Ravager captain suddenly cried out, “Mighty Red Rain warriors, we fight to the death! Charge!!!”

“RRRRRAAGHH!”

A large group of Ravagers howled at the same time.

The totems inscribed on their upper bodies began to glow a deep red color as their battle intent surged.

Then, these Ravagers rushed forwards like a raging gale, knocking aside everything in their path as they stampeded forwards.

The Astrals unleashed Arcana Techniques, but the Ravagers ignored them completely and charged right through them. Their powerful physique and innate resistance to Origin Energy may have been the reason why their cultivation process was so arduous, but it was also how they were able to withstand the might of those who had mastered Arcana Techniques.

As they withstood the brunt of the attacks flying at them from all directions, the Harpies behind them seized the opportunity and began to unleash Arcana Techniques indiscriminately in all directions. They didn’t need accuracy, only a general sense of direction. A number of Astrals let out pained cries from somewhere within the darkness as they were forced backwards.

“Finish them!”

Dozens of swords whistled through the air, impaling those Astrals from behind.

No blood was spilt. However, when the swords pierced through their backs, the Astrals let out pained consciousness cries before toppling to the ground, motionless.

Even though only a small number of Astrals had been killed, the soldiers’ morale was greatly increased. Most importantly, they had found an effective way of dealing with their opponents.

The cooperation between the three armies was finally beginning to bear fruit.

The Ravagers acted as a shield, the Harpies as a probe, and the humans as precise instruments of death. The armies advanced step by step in this fashion, quickly forcing the Astrals to retreat.

As a result, the sneak attacks being launched from the darkness came to an end even more rapidly than they had anticipated.

At this point in time, the soldiers who had left the entrance to the underground world first finally crossed through the region of darkness, entering a vast plain.

Amazingly, light had suddenly appeared.

The light came from an artificial moon off in the distance. It hung high in the sky, emitting a gentle light that enveloped the surroundings. Finally, the soldiers could see the ground beneath their feet.

The plain was incredibly barren. No resources grew inside the Wanlai Caves; the only resources to be found here were rocks and ores.

No other Intelligent Race would have been able to survive in this kind of environment.

A tall castle towered on the opposite end of the plains.

Gloom City!

That was definitely Gloom City.

“Gloom City is finally in sight,” Lonely Skyleap sighed.

“The Astrals will be exterminated on this day!” Lonzell cried out with excitement.

“Don’t get too excited yet.” Su Chen dumped a bucket of cold water on his head. “We were able to kill off quite a few Astrals in our previous encounters, but those numbers probably amount to less than one-fifth of the total number of Astrals. Menelaus the Wise has already gathered them all here, so there should be just under a hundred thousand of them.”

Upon hearing that number, Lonzell couldn’t help but frown.

To the Astrals, this was no small number. After all, their individual strength was astonishing, and each Astral possessed a number of slaves, puppets, and weapons, all of which totalled closer to three hundred to five hundred thousand. When factoring in their terrain advantage, it was obvious that a big fight was inevitable.

This made Lonzell a bit unhappy. “So the Boundless Sect didn’t really carve out this path? The Astrals just let you guys in?”

Danba immediately said, “Lonzell, don’t be rude. Those ghosts will never fight you head-on, and each of them possesses the ability to escape at any time. They are both very slippery and very powerful, making them hard to kill. The fact that the Boundless Sect was able to kill so many of them is very impressive. And now that the Astrals have gathered their full strength here to fight against us, a tough battle is inevitable. The only reason we have all gathered here is thanks to Sect Master Su.”

Lonzell resentfully fell silent.

“But they might deal you a heavy blow because of us,” Su Chen calmly said. “I can’t help but feel like the Astrals have some trump cards left to use, and none of these trump cards will be easy to deal with. Even a moment’s lapse of vigilance can give them the opportunity to turn the tables on us.”

“There’s no use thinking about these things now. I would never pass up an opportunity to get rid of the Astrals once and for all,” Danba calmly replied.

Lonely Skyleap harrumphed. “We Harpies will accomplish His Majesty’s demand even if we must sacrifice ourselves in the process.”

Su Chen nodded. “Since everyone still has the gumption to fight, then fight we will. We’re going to need to go to the rodeo whether we’re riding a mule or a horse.”

The three races began to sound their respective signals.

The soldiers fell into formation and prepared to attack.

The Ravagers were the ground forces and occupied the middle position.

The humans and the Harpies flanked the Ravagers on both sides like wings.

These wings were really wings, since both the humans and the Harpies were flying.

Unfortunately, the space underground was limited, and the cultivators were only a few dozens of feet above the ground. The Ravagers didn’t need any long-range techniques to cover their surroundings completely.

This was one of the unique aspects of fighting underground. Under these circumstances, the Ravagers were able to fully demonstrate their effectiveness.

The soldiers began to advance on Gloom City.

As they drew closer, Gloom City began to grow clearer and clearer.

The city’s aesthetics were incredibly Astral-like.

Gloom City had no walls, and no defensive constructs appeared to be present apart from countless tall towers that had been erected.

These towers were where the Astrals lived, where their research labs were located, and what protected them. Any Astral that was able to reach the mid-tier would be given a protective tower of their own within Gloom City.

And Gloom City’s expansion was via these towers as well.

If no suitable tower was free when an Astral reached the mid-tier, they would construct one on the outskirts of the city.

As such, the number of towers was a rough indicator of the Astrals’ strength.

There were roughly a hundred thousand of them.

These towers both made up Gloom City and defended it.

Yes, Gloom City had no other defenses. The forest of towers was the only defense that they had, but it was also exceptionally effective and terrifying.

Su Chen had managed to get a rough briefing on Gloom City from Yanto. Based on what Yanto had said, each one of Gloom City’s towers was an individual weapon with powerful defensive properties. The Astrals’ power more than doubled when they were fighting from within these towers, and the towers were also able to unleash powerful Arcana Techniques. Of course, different towers had different capabilities, but the weakest tower in Gloom City was capable of unleashing Fifth-Ring Arcana Techniques, while the leader’s tower could unleash legendary Arcana Techniques, which was also why it was known as the Legendary Tower.

Beneath legendary, there were five hundred Tenth-Ring towers; 1,500 Ninth-Ring towers; 5,000 Eighth-Ring towers; 16,000 Seventh-Ring towers; 27,000 Sixth-Ring towers; and 44,000 Fifth Ring towers.”

These shocking numbers were enough to make a person’s scalp go numb.

Thankfully, there were less than a hundred thousand total Astrals remaining, and only forty thousand of them or so were mid-tier. As such, only forty thousand towers could be activated at any given time.

But those empty towers weren’t useless either.

When an Astral tower was destroyed, the Astral inside would be able to relocate to another tower as long as they didn’t die.

“As such, if we want to deal with these guys, we cannot just selectively attack them wherever they are. We must sweep through the region, destroying all of the towers indiscriminately,” Su Chen said, his tone serious.

“That’s simple.” Lonzell cracked a smile. “We Ravagers happen to be great at destroying everything in our path.”

Using the metaphor of a wildfire to describe the Ravagers was quite apt.

The Ravagers were never good at focusing on targets. Indiscriminate destruction, however, was their specialty.

Su Chen nodded sagely. “This battle will indeed be an opportunity for the Ravagers to demonstrate their might.”

Lonzell was delighted by Su Chen’s words and guffawed. “Just you wait and see.”

He turned around and yelled to the Ravagers, “You bumbling idiots, have you still not managed to put that treasure of ours together? Hurry and push it over here.”

With a great clamor, rows of giant cannons were pushed forwards from the back lines.

Dragonfire Cannon!

The aesthetics of these cannons were uniquely Ravager-like. The Ravagers just wheeled them out onto the battlefield. They had been forced to disassemble the cannon’s complicated guidance system in order to bring it with them, then reassemble it once inside.

Lonely Skyleap glanced at the Dragonfire Cannon with just a hint of scorn in his eyes as he said, “Bring ours out too.”

Some Harpies descended from the sky, pulling out cannons and setting them on the ground. They were the Sun-Shattering Cannons that had been used to defend Sky City in the past. Even though they weren’t as powerful as the Dragonfire Cannons, they were much more portable and could be carried inside an Origin Ring. The Dragonfire Cannons, in comparison, wouldn’t fit inside an ordinary Origin Ring and needed to be disassembled and reassembled.

Su Chen motioned with his hand, causing puppets to begin to appear one-by-one. The two Titan-class puppets were especially eye-catching. Su Chen had obtained quite a bit of knowledge about constructing puppets from Arcanist ruins and Eternal Night. After the blueprints had been handed over to the Boundless Sect’s blacksmiths, puppet-making became an important branch of its own. The puppets were all constructed from rare metals sourced from all over the continent. Most shockingly, these puppets were also covered in Void Starmetal plating, allowing them to be stored in the void no matter how large or powerful they were. As such, their portability was even greater than the Harpies’ Sun-Shattering Cannons.

Now that the weapons for besieging the city had been prepared, all that remained was to mount the offensive.

There was no resting or catching of breath.

The armies’ tens of thousands of cannons began to unload as soon as the signal to fire was given.

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