Sky City, Perpetual Daylight Palace.
Eternal Night sat on his throne, managing his country’s affairs.
After Sky City regained its freedom, Eternal Night’s prestige had surged to new, unprecedented heights.
“Elenpo’s corruption is inexcusable and has already been confirmed. Find someone to deal with the matter,” Eternal Night ordered.
A trembling official below him replied, “Understood, Your Majesty!”
He had been asked by a friend to speak up on Elenpo’s behalf, but in that moment, he lost all of his courage. Whatever Eternal Night said, he would do.
“Right. Skyleap, what’s the situation with the humans at the moment?” Eternal Night asked Lonely Skyleap as he poured over the multitude of reports arranged on his table.
“They’re pretty quiet,” Lonely Skyleap replied.
“A lack of movement is the greatest sign of movement,” Eternal Night said as he sighed and shook his head. “The Boundless Sect’s development will take time to mature, and the more time that passes, the worse off we are. We have already given them far too much time.”
“Must we really fight?” Lonely Skyleap asked, somewhat worried.
“A fight is unavoidable,” Eternal Night replied emotionlessly.
The moment the Boundless Sect rose to power, Eternal Night knew that the Harpies and humans would inevitably clash someday.
There was no other option. The Boundless Sect had risen to power far too quickly, and their genocide of the Astrals had greatly shocked the other Intelligent Races. At the same time, it had reminded them that their future opponent could potentially be even stronger than the full might of the former Abyss.
To Eternal Night, whose dream was for the Harpies to stand alone at the peak and rule over all other races, this was completely unacceptable.
If they didn’t take advantage of Sky City’s newfound mobility to crush their opponents now, then perhaps even Sky City would be unable to keep the humans from invading them in the future.
Throughout these past few years, he had been working hard to build important relationships with the other races so that, in the event of war breaking out, they would maintain their neutrality.
Only after paying a tremendous price had Eternal Night finally convinced the Oceanids to remain impartial, and the Ravagers were currently being tied down by the Beasts to the north. Now was the perfect time to start a war.
When Lonely Skyleap realized what Eternal Night was thinking, he gave up all hopes of trying to convince him otherwise.
Just as the two of them were about to discuss potential battle strategies, a soldier entered and reported, “Your Majesty, the Boundless Sect has sent a letter.”
“Hm?” The two of them simultaneously looked up.
Eternal Night immediately said, “Bring it here.”
The letter was placed on Eternal Night’s desk.
Eternal Night opened the letter and perused it carefully. His perpetually stony and cold expression suddenly shifted ever so slightly.
“Your Majesty?” Lonely Skyleap called out with some concern when he noticed that something was off about Eternal Night’s expression.
Eternal Night seemed to be pulled back to reality by Lonely Skyleap’s call, and he shook his head. “I’m fine. The letter is from Su Chen. Can you guess what it’s about?”
Lonely Skyleap tentatively answered, “Is it a declaration of war? Or is he asking for peace?”
Eternal Night shook his head. “Neither…… He’s asking me to trailblaze a path to the northwest.”
“Trailblaze a path to the northwest?” Lonely Skyleap was stunned by this seemingly random request.
The Intelligent Races primarily occupied the southwestern area of the continent, and the unexplored northwest naturally belonged to the Beasts. The Beasts’ territory was an untouched wilderness. Their untamed nature meant that there were countless mysteries and treasures just waiting to be found.
For the Intelligent Races, paving a path to the northwest was their ultimate dream.
In fact, the Intelligent Races’ current territory had been carved out as they gradually expanded into the Beasts’ territory.
The Intelligent Races had always wanted to blaze a path deep into their enemy’s territory that lay to the northwest.
Even so, every acre of new territory was stained with vast amounts of blood.
This was the simplest form of exchange between humans and nature!
However, it often took a single race standing at the very peak for the Intelligent Races to accomplish this trade.
The Boundless Sect was extremely powerful, but they did not rule alone. The fact that Su Chen was asking the Harpies to trailblaze a path to the northwest at this point in time was indeed more than a bit suspicious.
“What exactly is he after?” Lonely Skyleap wondered out loud.
Eternal Night tapped his index finger against his desk a few times before saying, “Nothing, really. He just doesn’t want to let Sky City’s formidable combat power lie fallow. In other words, he wants to use the northwest to weaken Sky City.”
“He doesn’t want to let Sky City’s combat power lie fallow? He wants to use the northwest to weaken us?” Lonely Skyleap finally understood after mulling over Eternal NIght’s words for a brief moment. “He wants to fight us after we claim some of the territory to the northwest.”
“More specifically, at Skywild Plains.”
Eternal Night handed the letter to Lonely Skyleap.
Below the letter was a simple sketch of the northwest region.
Two deep red lines plunged deep into that territory, intersecting at a certain location.
That intersection was circled, with three large characters written above it: Skywild Plains.
There was no explanation or anything of the sort — just two simple lines and a single intersection point. Even so, Su Chen’s intentions were clearly conveyed with just that.
First conquer the northwest, and then we will battle.
Even without any explicit explanation, Eternal Night understood everything.
This was the mutual understanding between people who harbored great ambitions.
They both wanted to wipe out the other party, but neither wanted to waste their unrivaled combat strength. As such, the ideal plan was to first whet their blades against the Beasts in the northwest.
Upon realizing this, Lonely Skyleap scoffed. “He must be dreaming! Your Majesty, there is no need to entertain......”
“Why not?” Eternal Night countered, “We have indeed dreamed of taking control of the northwest for a long time.”
Lonely Skyleap was stunned by Eternal Night’s stance.
Eternal Night went on, saying, “Su Chen wants to use Sky City’s newfound strength to carve out and take a part of the northwestern territory, but wouldn’t Sky City be doing the same to the Boundless Sect? Su Chen’s plan is in fact quite enticing.”
Lonely Skyleap said anxiously, “But what if Su Chen deceived us? What if the Boundless Sect has no intentions of reciprocating and instead ambushes us while we are advancing?”
Eternal Night calmly replied, “Ambush what? Sky City?”
Lonely Skyleap was momentarily taken aback.
Of course they could not ambush Sky City. It was the main prong of their excursion into the northwest. Where would their forces gather if not there?
Lonely Skyleap finally understood.
Wherever Sky City was, that was where the Harpies would gather.
There was no need to worry about the possibility of a backstab at all.
Of course, it was not like no Harpies would remain behind. There were quite a few Harpies scattered throughout Harpy territory that still needed to be protected. If the Boundless Sect really did ambush them at an inopportune moment, they would still suffer significant damage.
Eternal Night said, “Well, it seems that Su Chen has already anticipated that issue. He’s already proposed a way to assuage our concerns.”
“To have observers present for both sides.”
In the letter, Su Chen directly proposed the idea of each side having their own observers. Specifically, the plan involved both sides sending observers to the other side and then giving them transmission boxes so that they could communicate in real-time. Naturally, these observers would then observe the opposing army’s general movements and ensure that it was advancing as scheduled towards the rendezvous point.
There would be around ten or so of these designated observers, who would be switched out twice every year to ensure that they wouldn’t be bribed to the other side.
The observers’ main purpose was to ensure that neither army would make any actions that were detrimental to their allies. However, they were not allowed to spy and report on any military secrets.
This would help ameliorate the lack of trust between the two races so that they could advance towards a mutually beneficial goal.
At the end of the letter, Su Chen also included, “The Origin Races are enemies of all Intelligent Races. They were blessed with so many resources, and yet they wasted them away and refused to adapt. Us Intelligent Races should seize our rightful glory by wiping out these external foes rather than humiliating ourselves with internal squabbles......”
Su Chen had managed to lump the Harpies into his “out,” rebranding the conflict as an “internal squabble.”
After Lonely Skyleap read through the rest of the letter, he fell speechless.
After mulling it over for a long time, he finally said, “Your Majesty, are you really planning on accepting his suggestion?”
Eternal Night confidently replied, “Of course. Why not? Su Chen’s suggestion is very fair, and it also aligns well with my goals. This is the last opportunity we will ever have to truly rise to power. If we succeed, we will be finally able to rule the entire continent.”
“But if we lose......”
“Then we lose,” Eternal Night said unhesitatingly, “This situation is truly a winner-take-all one. Once you become a loser, you will quickly discover that even wanting to be someone’s lackey is just wishful thinking.”
This was Eternal Night’s viewpoint.
Trailblazing a path to the northwest was not the most important point. What truly mattered was who was the last winner standing.
Su Chen was basically agreeing to fight the Harpies at Skywild Plains. As for the arduous trek there, it was merely a test, and also the accessory spoils to the real battle. Truly, this was a complicated game.
The side that successfully conquered the other here would lay sole claim to all the spoils, while the losing side would naturally become the vanquished and fade into history.
This was in fact a rigorous test of both sides’ reinforcements and logistical planning. As such, it was truly an exhaustive battle that would test all their aspects.
Both Su Chen and Eternal Night possessed supreme confidence that they would be the one to emerge victorious.
Su Chen fully believed that the Boundless Sect would be able to convert any resources they gained into real combat strength, like a warrior with frighteningly powerful regenerative abilities. Any spoils they plundered from their battles along the way would be quickly converted into resources and used to make up for any losses they sustained.
Eternal Night, on the other hand, believed in Sky City’s impenetrable defenses, which made them invincibile in most small-scale skirmishes. If they took no damage, they would consume very little of their resources. This was more akin to a warrior with incredible defensive prowess, who was capable of simply exhausting their opponents to death.
One regenerated rapidly, while the other sustained very few losses.
These characteristics were distinctly unique to them.
This was why both of them were absolutely confident that they would ultimately secure victory.
If they felt assured of victory, then why not give it a try?
They were going to fight anyways, so there was no reason to not do so at Skywild Plains.
Even though both sides were wary of the other side’s schemes and potential tricks, their mutual understanding of each other greatly alleviated any fears of the other party actually succeeding in such plans.
And they could understand each other on a deep level because they were both extremely ambitious individuals.
As such, Eternal Night knew that Su Chen wouldn’t try anything funny.
And after receiving Eternal Night’s reply, Su Chen was similarly confident in setting out to the northwest.
The order was spread far and wide for the Seven Kingdoms to muster up all their resources and manpower and to prepare to fight together with the Boundless Sect.
The Boundless Sect was not moving on their own this time.
This was also the first time that the Boundless Sect was publicly utilizing their connections with all the other human kingdoms.
After a brief period of “struggle,” all the countries agreed, including the Gu Clan’s twelve ancestors. All of the human race’s Ultimate Emperor Realm cultivators and a majority of the Thought Manifestation Realm cultivators were mobilized.
Two months later.
After making thorough preparations, the Boundless Sect officially set out for Illusion Fog City. The resident country’s ruler, Du Qingxi, personally came to the city to greet them.
A battle that was about to envelop half the continent was about to take place.