Boom, boom, boom, boom!
The cannons blasted away, filling the sky above Gloom City with light. The towers’ defenses groaned under the barrage of firepower as waves of flames bathed the entire city.
At the same time, Gloom City’s counterattack had also begun.
The towers’ attacks were quite in-line with the era in which they were constructed. Lightning began to crackle and ather at the tops of the towers. Tendrils of lightning reached out, scattering amongst the armies before sending a lightning bolt in their direction.
The soldiers activated their defensive barriers. The Ravagers held up physical shields, which began to shine with a blood-colored light. The Harpies utilized joint Arcana Techniques to form a magic barrier that formed a giant protected region. All attacks that entered the region would be gradually nullified. The Boundless Sect also utilized joint techniques to defend themselves.
The lightning bolts danced across the surfaces of the barriers like snakes, filling the sky with a blinding silvery light.
The two sides were already exchanging blows as soon as the battle had begun, each side demonstrating their imposing might. Very few casualties had appeared, however.
But as time went on and the barriers began to disintegrate, the casualties began to appear.
A few of the weaker towers were unable to withstand the violent assault of the cannons. Once their barriers had shattered, the towers began to crumble. Even though they did their best to unleash one final bolt of lightning, the overwhelming wave of attacks made it seem much weaker in comparison. The Astrals inside the towers, however, were able to escape into the towers further behind.
The Astrals were losing those Arcana Towers, but the combined army was losing real lives.
As lightning continued to beat down on them, a few of the unlucky Ravager soldiers were caught up in the more violent area of the storm. Their shields were destroyed and their bodies were blasted to bits before they were even able to react. Similar scenes were playing out amongst the human and Harpy soldiers, the chaotic lightning energy disrupting them significantly. The uneven nature of the lightning storm made it so that certain groups of soldiers were hit harder than others, resulting in more casualties.
The obstruction in the tunnels and the sneak attacks in the region of darkness had all been small skirmishes. The current battle they were locked in, however, was a true war. In the blink of an eye, an astounding number of lives had been lost.
“These Arcana Towers are too powerful,” Lonely Skyleap muttered as he turned to glance at Su Chen. “There are too many of them, and their defenses are too sturdy. If we keep pushing on like this, I’m afraid that we will all die before we destroy them.”
Su Chen replied, “Even though the towers are quite powerful, they are immobile. Fighting against them in large formations is inappropriate. Give the command to disperse the formation and have them take turns defending themselves against the towers’ attacks. As soon as their barriers shatter, they are to immediately retreat, and those waiting in reserve will advance and activate their barriers. We’re going to take turns fighting.”
As the command was issued, the army’s strategy began to change. Instead of simply forcing their way forwards, they chose to stay on the outskirts of the towers’ range and pick them off one by one.
Put simply, they were planning on wearing out their opponent.
This new strategy greatly diminished the number of casualties they were suffering, but their rate of advance slowed, and they were expending much more energy.
But as long as they could mitigate casualties, it was all worth it.
The battle entered a slow, tedious rhythm. Neither side was willing to take the initiative to attack, instead choosing to lob shells at each other from afar.
The massive underground region that contained Gloom City was filled with raging fire and flashing lightning.
Even though the forest of towers was strong, none of the towers could move. Su Chen took advantage of that weakness and cycled his forces, decreasing the number of casualties even as the towers continued to fall one by one.
Perhaps because they realized the unsustainability of the situation, the Astrals began to make changes.
A black swath of flames began to form above Gloom City. These flames gathered and assumed the form of a giant. Next, a bronze puppet with lightning dancing across its body appeared, wielding a giant sword and shield, followed by a giant tree, which shook its leaves, causing countless green fruits to fall to the ground. Fierce, short, greenish-gray people popped out of the fruits. Finally, a dark black shadow began to slowly creep across the ground. No tangible figure was associated with the shadow, but that didn’t stop it from emanating a strong, strange aura.
As soon as these four strange existences appeared, a shockingly powerful wave of energy burst forth from Gloom City in all directions.
That burst of energy immediately suppressed the allied armies.
At the same time, the four creatures began to charge directly towards the allied armies.
“So we need to take the initiative to attack, huh?” Su Chen was not surprised.
Constantly being forced to defend while on the back foot would only get them killed. A truly successful defense needed to give them the opportunity to counterattack. Otherwise, they would be slowly ground to death, just like what had happened before.
The only way to disrupt their opponent’s rhythm was by attacking.
These four creatures were most likely one of the secret treasures that the Astrals had prepared for moments like this.
It was no surprise that a race that loved to perform research like the Astrals had some tricks up their sleeves.
Su Chen’s eyebrow arched when he saw the creatures. “Qingluo, you go and deal with that black flaming fiend. Li Chongshan, you handle the tree creature. The other two will be up to you to deal with,” Su Chen laughed as he gazed at Lonely Skyleap and Danba.
Danba said, “The giant creature wielding the sword and shield is ours. Lonzell, you go and handle him.”
Lonzell roared valiantly as he charged towards the bronze warrior.
Lonely Skyleap frowned. He had originally wanted to take on the bronze warrior. The dark shadow was simply too strange, meaning that it would be difficult to get a grasp on and deal with. However, Danba had acted too quickly, and there was no way that Lonely Skyleap had the fact to ask Danba to let him face the bronze warrior instead. As such, there was nothing he could do but turn to a Harpy general beside him and say, “You go and stop that shadow.”
When Su Chen saw the Harpy general take flight, he sighed, “I’m afraid he won’t be enough.”
Lonely Skyleap harrumphed. “Gentle Float is a Ninth-Ring Arcana Master.”
“Still not enough,” Su Chen replied.
“Hm?” Lonely Skyleap was taken aback.
The Harpy General named Gentle Float had already charged forwards. As he gestured, a web of interweaved lights descended on the shadow. The shadow, however, continued advancing as if it had felt nothing. The Harpy soldiers around it had already begun to turn into slag.
Gentle Float was badly startled and began to attack repeatedly, but no matter how strong his attacks were, he was completely incapable of stopping the shadow from moving.
As the shadow advanced erratically, it swallowed everything that got too close to it.
Gentle Float was forced to begin retreating as he continued to try and find what was effective
Su Chen was also observing carefully.
Suddenly, he frowned. “Careful!”
A streak of light flashed by. Suddenly, a thin line of blood appeared on Gentle Float’s forehead.
A look of amazement appeared in his eyes before he fell to the ground, split into two halves.
This Ninth-Ring Arcana Master had died, just like that.
The faint shadow turned around and began to head in a different direction.
“Found you!” Su Chen’s gaze suddenly constricted as he reached out and grabbed the air next to him. The black shadow immediately froze, unable to move any further.
Danba and Lonely Skyleap were all stunned by this.
In order to better observe the battle as it progressed, the three leaders were all far behind the front lines.
The fact that Su Chen was able to grasp his target from so far away was a clear demonstration of his shockingly powerful spatial skills.
The shadow was still thrashing in Su Chen’s grip. Eventually, motes of light began to appear on its body as it fell motionless.
Danba understood. “So that’s its main body. The shadow is merely a distraction.”
“This is probably some kind of concealment technique that the Astrals had tried to create, but it was a failure...... A very powerful failure, but a failure nonetheless,” Su Chen said.
“You mean to tell me that these four strange creatures are failed products?” Lonely Skyleap was stunned.
The black flaming giant was being dealt with by Gu Qingluo, the tree by Li Chongshan, and the bronze warrior by Lonzell. Each of them was incredibly powerful, but Su Chen was calling them failed products.
“That’s right,” Su Chen said confidently. “The black flaming giant was the result of their research on the element of fire so that they could increase their resistance to it. The tree was an attempt at creating a new class of soldiers for them to use, allowing them to produce an unlimited amount of cannon fodder. After all, the Astrals have always suffered from low population. The bronze warrior represents the Astrals’ hopes to improve their combat strength so that they would no longer be the only Intelligent Race without the ability to win in a head-on fight.
Indeed, if the Astrals had been successful in producing these creatures, the situation would probably have been quite different.
These creatures definitely were failed products, with flaws that no one knew yet.
As the bronze warrior fought, its body suddenly began to heat up.
Danba immediately recognized that something was wrong and barked, “Lonzell, retreat!”
Lonzell immediately did as Danba commanded him to and retreated quickly.
At the same time, the bronze warrior suddenly exploded like a miniature supernova. Large rays of radiant light splashed through the sky, filling the entire area in golden light.
When the light dissipated, the bronze warrior was no more, as were the soldiers that had been surrounding it.
Lonzell lay on the ground in a bloody heap. It wasn’t clear if he was alive or dead.
So this creature couldn’t fight for long periods of time because it would explode.
Thankfully, the creatures that Gu Qingluo and Li Chongshan were fighting didn’t spontaneously explode. The black flame giant, however, suddenly fragmented and began to rain down from the sky. It hadn’t exploded, but the destructive potential was just as frightening. Thankfully, Gu Qingluo had been prepared and managed to nullify a majority of the damage.
Li Chongshan’s fight was even easier - the tree constantly shrank as it constantly pumped out those small soldiers. Eventually, it was merely the size of a sapling.
Li Chongshan stowed it away. Even though the item was flawed, it still likely held research value. The other two creatures had already exploded, not even leaving behind a corpse.
The black shadow that Su Chen had grabbed had also died.
Yes, after thrashing about in Su Chen’s grip for some time, the shadow fell completely still. Su Chen could sense that its vitality had disappeared. How the shadow had died was completely mystifying to him.
The four creatures had caused a decent amount of damage to the allied soldiers, and they posed a bit of a headache.
“I wonder how many of these failed products they have,” Lonely Skyleap said.
“Probably quite a few,” Su Chen calmly replied.
Lonely Skyleap shot him a glare. “Don’t jinx us.”
Su Chen said, “Even if you don’t like it, that’s the truth. The Astrals have performed countless experiments over the past tens of thousands of years. I refuse to believe that all they have to show for it are these four creatures. Just you wait.”
As soon as Su Chen spoke, another large wave of creatures surged out of Gloom City.
This time, there were much more of them, each of varying shapes and sizes.