Book 7, Chapter 20: Initiative (1)

This droplet of blood continued to glow faintly on top of the cauldron, resiliently hanging on.

Even so, it was beginning to run out of steam.

The squabble with the demonic cat had expended quite a bit of the clone’s energy, making it impossible for it to do much of anything else.

Well, at least he had taken care of the most important matter.

The blood slowly but surely dissipated away, eventually leaving behind nothing more than a faint seal marking on the cauldron.

This seal was incredibly small, roughly the size of a single blotted droplet of blood. In such a busy environment, no one would ever notice it unless they were specifically searching for it. But more importantly, this seal served as a homing beacon.

A spatial marker of sorts.

Once the clone had taken care of this matter, it disappeared for good, and Sky City’s core once again returned to its former smooth operations...

Sky City was still locked in a battle with the Demonic Beasts, but Su Chen was no longer observing.

Within the Boundless Sect.

“Whew!”

Su Chen let out a long sigh and massaged his forehead.

Transmitting his will over such a long distance had expended quite a bit of his energy.

“Master?” Iron Cliff could tell that Su Chen’s face was slightly wan and couldn’t help but inquire.

“I’m fine. I just feel a bit tired after that long-distance consciousness journey. That being said......” Su Chen chuckled as he then relayed his discovery to Iron Cliff.

Upon hearing what Su Chen had done, Iron Cliff let out a wry chuckle. “So you’re saying that, as soon as our battle with the Harpies begins, that you’ll be able to directly infiltrate their core and wreak havoc upon their most vulnerable area?”

“That’s exactly right,” Su Chen said as he stretched out lazily. “This is all thanks to Le Feng finding an opportunity to send my blood inside.”

Iron Cliff immediately said, “The Heavens must be watching over us. We will definitely come out victorious in this duel!”

Su Chen chuckled. “We got lucky because they were preoccupied with a battle. Now that you mention it, our Demonic Beast friends should probably be making their move around now as well, right?”

“We haven’t discovered the presence of any Demonic Beasts ahead, but we haven’t seen them for many days now. I imagine that a storm is just off on the horizon.” Iron Cliff’s foresight had improved greatly after following Su Chen for so many years.

“Mmm,” Su Chen indistinctly murmured.

Suddenly, he thought of something and said, “Iron Cliff, do you think that the Harpies have some kind of secret tactic of their own that will allow them to discover our secrets while we are preoccupied with a huge fight?”

Iron Cliff replied without hesitation, “Of course. No one would possibly let such an opportunity go to waste. However, Deputy Sect Master has already assigned talented individuals to closely supervise those Harpy observers.

Su Chen shook his head. “Weren’t the Harpies keeping an eye on Le Feng as well? However, he nonetheless still managed to find an opportunity to send a drop of my blood into Sky City’s core. He succeeded most likely because the Harpies aren’t that familiar with my Blood Clones, and none of them would ever expect that I would be able to control a clone from so far away.”

Iron Cliff was momentarily taken aback. “Sect Master is saying......”

Su Chen calmly said, “All of the defenses that we’ve prepared are only effective against the tactics that we are already aware of. However, do you think that we know every single trick the Harpies have up their sleeves? If we don’t know what they’re going to do, then we can’t defend against it either. For instance, how would you or I know whether or not they had bugged this room with some Origin Formation or secret mechanism and are listening to us as we speak?”

Iron Cliff was taken aback by this possibility.

Su Chen suddenly summoned a bolt of lightning into his hand.

Whoosh!

The bolt of lightning swept through every nook and cranny of the room, completely sterilizing it.

If there were any such microscopic Origin Formations planted in the room, then they would definitely have been destroyed by the sweep of lightning.

Iron Cliff rubbed his head. “We should be safe now.”

Su Chen, however, shook his head slowly. “This place might be safe right now, but what about everywhere else? And how long will this place even be secure for? As long as those Harpy observers are still breathing, they will be able to come up with ways to harm and spy on us whenever they please.”

Iron Cliff was startled. “Master, you’re not thinking of killing them, are you?”

Su Chen shook his head. “Of course not. Not only would that affect my reputation, but it would also put Le Feng and the others in danger.”

Iron Cliff let out a sigh of relief when he heard this.

“But imprisoning them is not an impossibility,” Su Chen muttered.

Even though imprisoning the Harpy observers would definitely affect his reputation negatively, it was unlikely to directly cause Le Feng and the other human observers to die as a result.

A moment later, however, Su Chen rejected that idea as well. “If I do that, then Eternal Night will probably refuse to fight me at Skywild Plains.”

This duel at Skywild Plains had originally been Su Chen’s proposal, and he would naturally not let all of his preparations go to waste. These ten Harpy observers, however, were indeed a thorn in Su Chen’s side.

Iron Cliff understood what Su Chen was thinking and suggested, “Why don’t we assign some more people to keep an eye on them?”

Su Chen shook his head. “I already said that our main concern is defending ourselves against techniques that we don’t understand or know about. Do you think that Le Feng’s act of slipping a droplet of my blood into Sky City’s core on an Origin Stone would not have happened if they had simply assigned more Harpies to supervise him?”

Iron Cliff fell silent.

Su Chen said, “With such high stakes, we cannot afford to take reactionary measures. We must take preemptive initiative!”

As Su Chen spoke to himself, his eyes began to glow.

Iron Cliff knew that Su Chen had arrived at an answer when he saw this expression, but he couldn’t for the life of him figure out how Su Chen was going to take the initiative if he wasn’t going to kill or capture those Harpy observers.

Night Rain sat in his room, calmly cleaning his Flying Rain Blade.

As the commanding officer, there was no need for him to participate in this battle.

But fighting was just in his blood.

Whenever he held this blade in his hand, Night Rain felt like he had returned to the real him.

With this blade, he had carved out rivers of blood, creating a name for himself that had raised him to his current position.

Unfortunately, there was no room for him to participate in this battle.

It was for this reason that Night Rain was gazing at his blade as if he were gazing at a lover.

A lover that he was about to part with.

“Night Rain? Night Rain?” Youthful Labor cried out from outside his window.

Youthful Labor was the other Harpy observer. His personality was quite erratic, and no one really knew why Eternal Night had chosen him to take on this responsibility.

Upon hearing Youthful Labor’s cries, Night Rain frowned and impatiently asked, “What is it?”

“Demonic Qi is surging in front of us,” Youthful Labor yelled excitedly from outside the window.

“Hm?” When Night Rain heard this, he stood up.

He pulled his door open and walked to the railing of the ship. He immediately spotted a dense, pitch-black cloud off in the distance.

This black cloud was obviously not naturally formed. Instead, it was composed of copious amounts of Demonic Qi and exuded an intense pressure. If a commoner saw this cloud off on the horizon, they probably would have died of fright on the spot.

Even Night Rain felt uneasy when he saw this ominous cloud.

“What an immense cloud of Demonic Qi. So the Demonic Beasts are finally about to make their move here as well, huh?” Night Rain muttered to himself.

Night Rain had learned from the transmission box that the Boundless Sect had gifted him that Sky City and the Beasts had already started fighting. The Beasts over in this area, who had been monitoring the situation closely, had also finally made their move.

The Harpies were not the only ones who were going to spill their blood today.

Fortunately, the Beasts had indeed come for the Boundless Sect, and by the looks of things, there appeared to be just as many here as at Sky City.

This made Night Rain quite happy.

Perhaps the storm would blow just a little fiercer and save the Harpies quite a lot of energy.

But Night Rain knew that this was not possible.

Both the Harpies and the humans were stronger than they had ever been before. One possessed the invincible Sky City while the other had a terrifyingly large core group of powerful disciples.

Of course, this strength still paled in comparison to that of the Beasts.

But as mentioned before, the Intelligent Races didn’t rely on just their strength to contest the Beasts.

The Harpies had their Floating Points while the humans had bloodlines, Lifesource Candles, and powerful military formations.

As the human army drew closer to the cloud of Demonic Energy, the formation of the Beasts ahead gradually revealed themselves.

There were hundreds of Demonic Emperor palaces floating in the sky as countless Demonic Kings and Demonic Lords commanded their own troops. They were arrayed in an imposing fashion, and the massive army exuded an immense pressure upon their enemies.

They had ruled this territory for tens of thousands of years.

But there would always come a day where the old would replace the new.

And today was that day.

The battle didn’t break out immediately. Instead, both sides took their time arranging themselves into formation and preparing for battle.

If the Beasts were barbaric, hot-blooded, and lacking in intelligence, then the humans were cool, calm, and collected as they arranged themselves in a disciplined manner.

A clash between ice and fire would definitely produce an amazing spectacle.

No impassioned speech was necessary to motivate the troops. After all, the centuries of hatred and resentment between the two was more than enough reason for them to claw at each other’s throats. As both sides’ respective armies got into position, the signal to attack was given without pause. The commanders didn’t want to waste even a single second and immediately led their subordinates into battle.

The Beasts made their move as well.

Their strategy was the same as always: cannon fodder in the front, whose sheer numbers would drown their foe.

The humans responded with an even simpler solution.

A multitude of small armored flying boats detached from the large floating dragon boats and descended towards the Beasts like hail from the sky.

Cloud-Piercing Shuttles were a unique invention of the humans, and they stood out even amongst all of the unique tools developed throughout their history.

They allowed lower-tier cultivators to compensate for the fact that they could not fly, and they later became one of the unique characteristics for humans to distinguish themselves from a forest of Intelligent Races.

During large-scale battles, the Harpies relied on Sky City’s defenses, the Astrals on armies of puppets, and the Ravagers on their physical strength and Totems. Naturally, the humans primarily relied on their armored flying shuttles.

When enough of these shuttles were deployed at the same time, they would essentially form a large barrier in the sky, making them the ideal front line for the human army. They were basically armored flying tanks that absorbed the majority of the enemy’s attacks, allowing the Origin Qi Scholars to fight freely. Of course, their defenses were far from matching Sky City’s, but their offensive capabilities were greater and they were more flexible in a variety of tough situations. After all, they could change formations at a moment’s notice.

This array of Cloud-Piercing Shuttles was the Meteor Formation which the humans were famous for. Even common soldiers could instantly assume this formation. Until the Boundless Sect’s appearance, this was one of the human race’s trump cards.

The Meteor Formation was composed of a total of seven unique kinds of Cloud-Piercing Shuttles, and each of these shuttles was necessary to complete the formation. Notably, the manufacturing methods for each shuttle was split amongst the Seven Kingdoms.

The reason for doing so was very simple — this mean that the Meteor Formation could never be used in an internal struggle.

The Meteor Formation was only truly effective when the Seven Kingdoms joined forces against a foreign enemy. No ruler was allowed to ever use the Meteor Formation against a fellow human army.

This was yet another reason why the Seven Kingdoms were relatively unified.

If they ever separated, they would perish.

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