Book 7, Chapter 26: Surprise Attack

Skywild Plains.

This place was located in the western stretches of the Primordial Continent, and sat in the center of the untamed wilderness occupied by the Beasts.

Skywild Plains was one of the most fertile locations on the entire continent. Its size was quite limited, but precious herbs grew in abundance here, and all kinds of naturally-occurring treasures could be found. Some strong Intelligent Race individuals had managed to make it to this place and returned with enough treasure to buy an entire city. Any resource found here was extremely valuable, making it the treasury of the Primordial Continent.

Apparently, this was also the final gathering place for the Beasts after the Origin Energy available in the environment had begun to decline.

This idea was soon validated, as Su Chen could sense that the Origin Energy in this place was far richer than anywhere else.

Everyone’s Origin Skills and Arcana Techniques would be stronger here, and they would consume less energy. The battle would be much more brutal as a result.

After the main army arrived at the Skywild Plains, they soon found a suitable location for the duel: the North-Facing Slope.

Terrain was still an important factor in battles between cultivators. What mattered, though, was not which area was higher but rather whether it would be possible to assemble an Origin Formation there. The more easily Origin Formations could be deployed, the more suitable the terrain was.

The Origin Energy around the North-Facing Slope was quite dense, and the area’s strong magnetic fields would be especially useful in offensive Origin Formations.

Very quickly, groups of scouts began to split off from the main force, searching for resources and setting up formations in preparation for battle. Clearly, they had thought out plans for this process, as their movements were quite organized.

“A slaughter seems inevitable,” Su Chen sighed.

Merely from the standpoint of setting up the formations, the North-Facing Slope was extremely suited to the Boundless Sect’s needs.

“Sect Master, Le Feng sent word that Sky City will get here in about three days,” Lin Shaoxuan reported excitedly.

Reaching the Skywild Plains first was an extremely important objective for both sides. Of course, getting there first wouldn’t guarantee victory, but the first to arrive would still have an advantage. They would be able to set up Origin Formations first, come up with tactics to hold onto that advantage, and scour the place for precious resources and herbs, refining them into usable consumables in battle.

Morale would also increase. In battle, morale was still quite important. Even cultivators would not be able to fight a battle they knew they had no chance of winning. The reason why their fight against the Beasts had been relatively easy was because of Su Chen’s declaration that the Sovereigns were fleeing, which had totally destroyed the Beasts’ morale. That was why their forces had collapsed.

Reaching the Skywild Plains had its benefits both in terms of raising morale and obtaining benefits, as well as for strategic preparations. No wonder Lin Shaoxuan seemed so excited.

“Three days?” Su Chen’s eyebrow jumped.

“Yes, sir,” Lin Shaoxuan replied. “Does Sect Master feel we don’t have enough time? The Harpies are moving quite fast, it seems.”

Unexpectedly, Su Chen shook his head. “I don’t think we have too little time, I think we have too much.”

Too much?

Why was Su Chen worried about having too much time to prepare? Lin Shaoxuan didn’t understand.

Su Chen continued, “Sky City started fighting the Beasts at around the same time that we did. After the Beasts lost, the danger of running into a counterattack was greatly reduced. If they had rushed forward as quickly as possible, it’s still likely that one of us would have gotten here first, but the gap shouldn’t be so big.”

Lin Shaoxuan replied, “Sky City is incredibly powerful, but it’s not exactly known for its speed. There’s no way it would be faster than our dragon boats.”

“But it shouldn’t be this much slower.”

Jun Moxie spoke up. “I heard that Sect Master played a hand in the damage that Sky City sustained this time around. Is that true?”

“Something seems strange.” Su Chen shook his head. “I did accidentally stir up some commotion near the Sark’s Nucleus, but I have no idea how much damage I actually did. But I do know that, given how important Sark’s Nucleus is to Sky City, they would never let Le Feng find out that their mobility was affected. If I had been assassinated or gravely injured by the Harpies, would you not have kept the matter a secret so as not to disturb morale?”

Everyone fell silent, stunned.

Su Chen said, “I’ve exchanged blows with Eternal Night before, so I know just how tricky he can be. Never underestimate him. No one knows when he might suddenly surprise you with a sneak attack.”

Everyone present grew serious when they heard this.

Even Li Wuyi nodded. “Eternal Night is the ruler responsible for making the Harpies relevant again. Putting him on such a pedestal is not an overreaction. If Eternal Night is in fact purposefully slowing Sky City down, that begs the question: why?”

The old Gu Huiming nodded as well. “Can we think of it this way? Eternal Night is purposefully taking his time because there is something bad waiting for us at the Skywild Plains.”

The reasoning was quite simple. Since Eternal Night had given the Boundless Sect an opportunity to arrive at the Skywild Plains first, that meant that he definitely would have made arrangements for what would happen here as well.

Once this became clear, the answer was not nearly as hard to guess.

“Could it be a Desolate Beast?” Chu Yuan immediately wondered.

The Desolate Beasts were an unavoidable hurdle for the Intelligent Races, as well as the guardian angels of the Beasts.

No one knew how many Desolate Beasts were in hibernation, but they would definitely appear whenever the Beasts were in dire straits, repelling the invading Intelligent Raes.

After the defeat the Beasts had suffered, Desolate Beasts could appear at any time and any place.

It was totally logical that a Desolate Beast could appear in the Skywild Plains.

The only question was: how would the Harpies control it?

Someone pointed out this contradiction. “The appearance of the Desolate Beasts is quite random in nature, and not even Sovereigns can control them fully. So how could the Harpies do anything? They might not even be capable of awakening a Desolate Beast, much less directing it to the Skywild Plains.”

That was true. From a practical standpoint, accomplishing this was far too difficult. If even the Sovereigns had great difficulty, how could the Harpies do anything?”

However, Su Chen said firmly, “No, it must be a Desolate Beast!”

If he had still been unsure only moments ago, that hesitation had now disappeared.

Everyone was startled by Su Chen’s assertiveness.

Su Chen said, “Three days! That’s how long Sky City took to vanquish the Thousand Poisons Toad. If Eternal Night evaluates us to be on the level of Sky City, then this gap of three days begins to make perfect sense. That’s why it must be a Desolate Beast.”

People always liked to use past experiences to predict the future. Eternal Night was smart, true, but he was no exception.

Eternal Night had instinctively assumed that the humans would take three days to defeat a Desolate Beast because Sky City had taken three days to defeat the Thousand Poisons Toad.

“How will he do it?” Feng Zhuying didn’t understand.

He still couldn’t grasp how a Harpy could control the movement of a Desolate Beast.

Su Chen replied, “He can’t, but the Astrals can.”

Finding a reason once the outcome had been found was much easier.

The Harpies themselves were indeed incapable of directing the movements of a Desolate Beast, but the Astrals could!

After all, the Astrals had preyed on the abilities of others for tens of thousands of years. They weren’t suited to fight head-on battles, but they would always try to pull off countless schemes behind the scenes. Even Desolate Beasts could be utilized, as long as the Astrals were willing to pay a price.

But given their hatred towards the human race for exterminating their fellow members, what difference would a few more sacrifices to control a Desolate Beast make?

Upon realizing this, Gu Huiming, Li Wuyi, and the others all understood.

“Retreat from the Skywild Plains, now!”

“It’s too late now. We’re already being watched, and our opponent is racing over here. With the aid of those Astrals, it won’t be hard for that Beast to find our tracks.” Su Chen glanced up at the sky. At some point, it had slowly grown dim. It was possible that this was merely a change in the weather, but it was also possible that a powerful entity was rapidly closing in on their position.

Without the earlier discussion, they might have thought it was the former, but now they knew that the latter was far more likely.

The mood in the room became heavy.

It wasn’t necessarily because they were facing a Desolate Beast, but more so because Eternal Night had even calculated the timing perfectly. Even if they did manage to defeat the Desolate Beast after a tough fight, they would then immediately face the overwhelming might of Sky City.

It was almost as if Eternal Night had been watching them this whole time.

Oh, right - he was watching them.

Those observers were his eyes. This was not a secret matter.

Many schemes were actually easier to pull off when enough information about an enemy’s movements was publicly known.

“We can’t just sit idly by. There is still some time. Have everyone participate in setting up the defenses! We must complete the defensive Origin Formations before the Desolate Beast gets here!” Su Chen immediately commanded.

“Understood!” All of the high-ranking humans immediately began transmitting the orders to their subordinates.

At this point, there were no longer any divisions between the strong and the weak. Everyone, from the Ultimate Emperor Realm to the common martial artists, all joined hands.

Those responsible for harvesting resources harvested resources, and those responsible for laying down the formations laid down the formations, squeezing out as many seconds as they could.

Every bit they could construct would only improve their chances of victory and survival.

The human army, which had been advancing in a calm and orderly fashion only moments ago, suddenly exploded into a flurry of activity. The defensive formation began to take shape at a rate visible to the naked eye on the North-Facing Slope.

At the same time, the sky only continued to darken, and black clouds began to gather. The pressure was beginning to mount.

The disciples responsible for sounding the alarm gazed intently at their surroundings, golden light shining from their eyes as they attempted to determine where the Desolate Beast was coming from. Even if it gave them an extra second to prepare, that was enough.

Time slowly trickled by, but the Desolate Beast had still not yet appeared.

The human army’s adrenaline was beginning to fade, yet no Desolate Beast had appeared. A trace of doubt surfaced in their hearts.

Had they guessed wrong? Were they worried for nothing?

Many people had this thought.

At that precise moment.

“AWOO!!!”

A thunderous, ear-shattering roar echoed through the skies.

“The sky! In the sky!” the sentinel disciples began to cry out.

A giant golden bird seemed to be descending from a different plane. Its wingspan alone was roughly ten thousand feet.

It descended with all the momentum of a mountain falling out of the sky.

“Time to face the enemy!!!”

Alarms began to blare through the sky, mixing with the shrill shrieks of the golden falcon.

“Prepare for battle!!!” Su Chen boomed.

His voice was filled with excitement.

It was only natural that he was excited to fight. Ever since he had gained the power of an Immortal, no one at his level was worthy of being his opponent. Now, he finally had an opportunity to fight in a fierce battle.

This kind of excitement gave Su Chen an incredible adrenaline rush, and his face contorted into a vicious smile.

He growled, “Eternal Night wants to take advantage of us, does he? He won’t even get a handful of rice from me. Three days? I’ll take care of this Desolate Beast in a single day!”

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