Book 7, Chapter 48: Defiance

Hidden Cloud continued its barrage of frenzied and vicious fist strikes that were aimed at nothing in particular.

The silver river of flames flowed unceasingly through the sky.

This silver river lasted for an entire three hours before showing signs of weakening.

Hidden Cloud was beginning to run out of steam.

Even an ocean’s worth of Origin Energy couldn’t handle its expenditure rate. Every one of Hidden Cloud’s attacks was unleashed at full-power, which was why it had run out of energy after just half a day. It wouldn’t even be able to last for as long as the golden falcon.

Even so, Hidden Cloud continued to madly wave its fists in the air.

It almost seemed as if Hidden Cloud was raging against the Heavens, determined to fight until its dying breath.

And it truly lasted to its dying breath!

Boom!

After one final, barbaric punch, Hidden Cloud’s arms came to a crashing halt.

It stood there, completely motionless, as its massive body began to shrink.

Eventually, Hidden Cloud had become the size of a mere human.

At this point in time, Hidden Cloud’s intelligence also began to return to it.

It opened its eyes and glanced at Su Chen, opening its mouth as if it wanted to say something. But it was unable to find the words, and it eventually closed its mouth before unceremoniously toppling to the ground.

A wisp of fog rose from its body and into the sky, gradually turning into a steady stream of fog. Once the fog had completely dissipated, so had Hidden Cloud. All that remained behind was a body of light that twitched every so often.

This body of light was Hidden Cloud’s true form. Actually, it was quite similar to a parasite, as it relied on attaching to powerful entities to ensure its survival.

While attached to a host organism, it would absorb its host’s life force until its host had been fully transformed into an ethereal state. Then, it would assimilate its now-ethereal host into the cloud of fog blanketing it.

This was the real secret behind its ability to alternate between tangible and intangible states.

Hidden Cloud had died, and it was probably the first Desolate Beast to die by expending every ounce of its energy in battle. When Hidden Cloud’s main body disappeared, the fog also disappeared, revealing the parasitic creature inside.

The parasite was in a semiconscious state at this point. Even though it had lost a large amount of its lifeforce, it was still twitching and writhing on the ground.

This writhing, however, was not a sign of life but of death. When this parasite died, its writhing would only grow more and more intense, never stopping. It actually didn’t need any energy source of any kind to sustain its motion. This was just one of the organism’s fundamental properties.

When Su Chen saw this writhing bug, he suddenly realized something.

He had only been able to recognize the parasite before him due to the vast amounts of knowledge that he had accumulated over the course of reading tens of thousands of books. In some sense, it was only natural that he could immediately identify it on sight.

Su Chen suddenly felt extremely fortunate that he had stumbled across this insect. “Wow, this is really a treasure.”

He pulled out a jade box and put the bug corpse inside.

After taking care of this, Su Chen glanced around and verified that no living Demonic Beasts were in his immediate vicinity before turning to leave.

Some time after Su Chen left, a nearby rock suddenly shifted.

A shadow crept out from under the rock and gradually returned to a physical form.

It was Sovereign Kucha, and his expression was filled with shock. He couldn’t stop himself from trembling as he muttered to himself, “A single human managed to kill Elder Hidden Cloud? This is even more terrifying than the Arcanists’ achievements. I must go and awaken the Barbaric Ancestor immediately!”

After Kucha said this, he flew off into the distance, leaving the blood-stained canyon behind.

As such, Kucha failed to notice that, not long after he left, the fresh blood on the ground had begun squirming......

Back in Sky City:

The battle here was in full swing.

Floating shuttles swayed back and forth while flying swords danced in the sky.

Sky City’s powerful defenses were no longer a nightmare to the human forces. Instead, they had become the human race’s most reliable shield.

White Lion and Towering Clam were like giants wading through an endless sea of human soldiers.

Even Desolate Beasts would be tormented by the deluge of attacks that they were currently suffering from. White Lion and Towering Clam constantly roared and howled with pain and rage.

However, the ways in which they expressed their rage was different.

White Lion was a typical Desolate Beast, so it attacked by slamming its massive body against Sky City’s iron defenses. Every leap it took sent it moving tens of thousands of feet in seconds, every bite was thousands of teeth raking across Sky City’s barrier, every strike of its paw could obliterate a mountain, and every howl sent the nearby clouds fleeing in fear.

It could be said that White Lion’s way of fighting demonstrated the majesty and might of a Desolate Beast without any pretense. The sheer aura that it exuded seemed powerful enough to devour all of the soldiers present.

Towering Clam, on the other hand, was the exact opposite.

Towering Clam remained quiet and motionless the entire time.

The only movement it ever made was to slightly open its shell every once in a while.

It was in no position to pounce on Sky City.

Its silence, however, was the silence of death, and it brought devastation upon the human soldiers.

It had carved out a circle a hundred thousand feet in radius around itself that was completely calm and peaceful.

No lifeforms were present in that circle apart from the fifty Titan-Class puppets.

This area was a zone of absolute death created by Towering Clam. Any living organism that entered this zone would have their lifeforce constantly sapped away, which would only serve to increase its strength. Whenever something died within this zone, it would also be turned into a puppet for Towering Clam to control as it pleased. Only the Titan-Class puppets could ignore this effect.

However, the Titan-Class puppets alone could not kill Towering Clam.

Towering Clam’s shell was even tougher than Cloudmother Metal Essence. The only material that was more durable than its shell was probably the Arcane Turtle’s shell.

The fifty Titan-Class puppets, which were supposedly unbeatable in close-quarters combat, found that all of their attacks bounced harmlessly off of Towering Clam’s impenetrable shell.

In fact, it was they who were finding it hard to bear the opponent’s attacks.

A single, solitary eye hung high in the sky.

The Towering Eye.

The Towering Eye was the only offensive ability that the Towering Clam possessed. In other words, all of its attacks were carried out through the Towering Eye.

On the surface, it seemed to be nothing more than an eye, but upon closer inspection, the eye was actually a vortex. And at the center of that vortex was a boundless darkness.

Out of the darkness, however, shone a brilliant, blazing light — Towering Clam’s light.

Towering Clam could construct illusions, unleash powerful consciousness attacks, and also make either forms of attack tangible. All of these attacks were unleashed through the shining light.

Towering Clam was currently shooting out three hundred streaks of light every second. Most of them landed on their targets, while the rest were scattered throughout the battlefield. Anybody struck by the light would become confused for a brief moment and attack their comrades. Even though this confusion only lasted for a brief period of time, the disruption that it caused was substantial with each target hit.

No one liked to be attacked from behind by their comrades, and a well-timed blade to the back from a trusted ally was extremely hard to guard against. Even if it was not done on purpose, and even if the ally recovered quickly, a challenging dilemma arose every time. Should you fight back? Should you kill them? After all, they will recover soon. However, if you don’t kill them, you will have to endure for however long they are controlled for.

The humans had no choice but to assign a special group of soldiers to the sole duty of dealing with these mind-controlled soldiers and keeping them alive if possible. The influence of Towering Clam’s light was dependent on the target’s consciousness power, and this special group of soldiers all possessed extremely powerful consciousnesses. In order to maximize the effectiveness of its mind-controlling lasers, Towering Clam instinctively sought out weaker targets to control. Thus, it rarely targeted the soldiers in this special group.

Zhu Xianyao was the leader of this squad. Her bloodline made her quite resistant to the Towering Clam’s light. Whenever anyone was affected by the light, she could even forcefully dispel the effect by first using the Zhu Clan’s control techniques to diminish the effects of the Towering Clam’s light before forcefully awakening them.

Gu Qingluo, meanwhile, was responsible for handling the White Lion.

The Shining Dragon Aspect formed from Gu Qingluo and the twelve Gu Clan elders directly faced off against the White Lion. With Sky City’s support, the Gu Clan’s elders no longer had any fear of running out of energy, so they could fight with all their might. Even if they did run out of energy, they could simply return to Sky City to recharge.

As such, there was a certain push and pull to the battle. Whenever the Gu Clan’s members sprang into action, that signaled the rest of the human army to attack. The Gu Clan’s members would be responsible for defending the other cultivators while they unleashed as many attacks as quickly as possible.

When the Gu Clan’s members ran out of energy, the entire human army’s formation would enter a defensive stance. Gu Qingluo and the twelve elders would then return to Sky City to recharge while the other cultivators held the front lines.

White Lion was suffering quite the heavy beating as a result.

This was the benefit of Su Chen baiting Hidden Cloud away.

If Hidden Cloud had been present, then the combination of its corrosive fog, White Lion’s powerful attacks, and Towering Clam’s control skills would definitely have posed a significant threat to the human army.

But without Hidden Cloud, Sky City and the Titan-Class puppets meant that the human army could fight against two Desolate Beasts while remaining relatively unscathed.

But their current tactics did not allow them to end the battle in a short period of time.

“Speed up our attacks! Only after we kill it can we go to Sect Master’s aid!” Gu Qingluo yelled frenetically as she returned to Sky City’s walls. She immediately sat down and began to recover the energy in her body, only to hear someone beside her suddenly cry out, “Look, over there! Hidden Cloud has disappeared!”

Gu Qingluo turned to look in that direction. Indeed, the silvery rain that had been falling upwards into the sky for a number of hours had finally disappeared.

What did that mean? Had something happened to Su Chen?

Gu Qingluo felt her heart tighten as she turned to face the nearby clone. “Su Chen, are you alright?”

The clone remained motionless.

Gu Qingluo felt her heart seize in abject fear. She cried out once more. “Su Chen!”

A sudden wave of pressure washed over her in response. Those nearby suddenly found it difficult to breathe.

This pressure could only emanate from Su Chen’s real body. Gu Qingluo immediately understood what had happened. “Su Chen, you’re back!”

Su Chen smiled slightly. “Yes, I’m back.”

He glanced around, and his eyebrow jumped up. “It’s been so long. You guys still haven’t finished off these two bastards yet?”

“Well, they are Desolate Beasts. How could they be easy to defeat?” Gu Xinrong replied brashly.

“It seems like I still need to make an appearance on the battlefield,” Su Chen sighed playfully. “I thought that I would finally have an opportunity to rest.”

“Make an appearance my ass. You better keep Hidden Cloud well entertained. Don’t worry. We’ll kill at least one of them before nightfall,” Gu Xinrong confidently said.

“Keep Hidden Cloud entertained?” Su Chen was momentarily taken aback before he realized something. “You guys thought that I came back because I couldn’t handle it any longer?”

“Is that not the reason?” They all turned to glance at him in surprise.

Su Chen chuckled but elected not to clarify anything.

Everyone was stunned when they saw this.

A lone and unlikely possibility surfaced in their minds.

Had he killed Hidden Cloud?

Gu Xinrong softly murmured, “Is that even possible?”

Gu Changsheng fiercely barked, “I don’t believe it!”

Gu Huiming likewise yelled, “That’s impossible!”

All of them shook their heads simultaneously.

Their reaction to Su Chen’s feat of killing a Desolate Beast all on his own was not one of joy, but rather one of disbelief.

Only Gu Qingluo leapt forward with excitement as she lovingly hugged Su Chen. “Husband, you really killed it? You really killed it?!”

Su Chen nodded gently.

His simple motion left everyone else reeling in shock.

Killing a Desolate Beast by oneself virtually violated the natural order that had been ordained by the Heavens!

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