As the process of completing the fusion of the Undying Live Forever Technique was going on… war still raged outside!
And the fierce fighting at Heavenspan Island had not yet ended!
The entire world was gripped with madness and slaughter!
Although this war between the lands of Heavenspan and the Wildlands had only been going on for a few years now, in terms of the bitterness of the struggle, it was something the likes of which had never occurred before in the history of this world!
A great war had been fought when Daoist Heavenspan rebelled against the Arch-Emperor Dynasty. The dynasty had fallen, and what remained of it had fled to the Wildlands. But not even that war could compare to this one.
Never before had a war been fought in which so many cultivators died in such a short period of time. It virtually defied imagination!
The Wildlands was the battleground, and it had long since been stained crimson with blood. The aura of death and the stench of gore was so intense… that not even the most powerful of winds could dispel it.
More than half of the cultivators from the four regions of the lands of Heavenspan… were dead. Were it not for the strict control maintained by the Celestial, such a high death rate would have already destroyed the morale of the Heavenspan cultivators.
Devas fell in battle left and right, to the point where among the Heavenspan forces, only half of their original force of devas remained…. As for the four demigod patriarchs, so far, none had been killed. However, all of them had taken severe injuries.
Considering that the Heavenspan forces had suffered such mind-boggling casualties, and yet still maintained the upper hand, it was possible to imagine… how disastrous this war was for the Wildlands!
Of the savage tribes that had once made up the bulk of the Wildlands forces, most had been wiped out….
Seventy percent of the heavenly marquises had perished, and nearly half of the heavenly dukes had been killed in body and soul….
All of the cities of the four heavenly kings had been burned to the ground. The Giant Ghost King’s army was mostly intact, but the armies of the other three heavenly kings had suffered roughly eighty percent casualties….
The vast difference between the Giant Ghost King’s forces and those of the other heavenly kings was all because of Bai Xiaochun. Not only had he stopped the fighting between the eastern Heavenspan cultivators and the Wildlanders at Giant Ghost City, but he had also killed three of the Heavenspan arcane guards, and destroyed their spell formation.
The other three cities had been routed, and the flight of their armies hampered because of the spell formations. And thus, those battles had nearly turned into massacres.
By now, the Wildlanders were completely surrounded, with ninety percent of their territory lost. The only thing that remained… was Arch-Emperor City!
Arch-Emperor City was where the Wildlanders would make their final stand. If that city fell… then it would mean that the bloodline of the Arch-Emperors was gone forever!
The cultivators from the four rivers were encamped around Arch-Emperor City. Of course, the Heavenspan cultivators still couldn’t help but feel exhausted, and were filled with mixed emotions.
It was an exhaustion that ran so deep that most of them were expressionless and numb….
As the years of fighting wore on, virtually all of the cultivators had lost friends and loved ones…. However, there was another death that none of the cultivators from either side of the conflict were aware of. Bai Hao…. Because of his death, the Underworld River had dried up, and the dead souls within it could no longer return to the cycle of reincarnation. They had no choice but to wander heaven and earth…. It was easy to imagine how such a situation quickly became another catastrophe to plague the world.
It also became a powerful portent…. Eventually, the Wildlander soul cultivators began to speculate about what it meant….
“The new Hell-Emperor… must have perished!!” Such speculations inundated the soul cultivators like floodwaters, causing them to tremble and sink further into the darkness of despair. To them, it seemed like the end of the world was nigh. Even the Grand Heavenmaster and the demigod experts felt their hearts being overtaken by anxiety and gloom.
The four heavenly kings’ cities had been routed. Ninety percent of their armies were dead. The Heavenspan forces had Arch-Emperor City surrounded. To the people of the Arch-Emperor Dynasty, those things all became a massive blow to any hope for survival that anyone had…. But the death of the Hell-Emperor was even more unimaginable. It was like an attack that landed directly on their hearts and minds!
Those two heavy blows had the Arch-Emperor Dynasty reeling…. In fact, if the Celestial had offered an opportunity for surrender, the Grand Heavenmaster and the other leaders would have definitely been tempted to take it.
Except… the Celestial didn't seem to care about human life at all. He would accept no surrender. He wanted the Wildlands wiped away, all the way down to the grass and roots!
Such orders had long since been passed down to the demigod patriarchs of the four riversource sects. In their exhaustion, they had begun the assault on Arch-Emperor City with all the power they had at their disposal. Their task… was to completely destroy it!
The decisive battle… was beginning!
Booms rang out constantly outside of Arch-Emperor City. It was a precious treasure with powerful defensive shields, but they were being worn down, and could not stand forever against the divine abilities and magical techniques that battered them.
The Giant Ghost Legion, and the armies of the other three heavenly kings, bolstered the innate defensive powers of Arch-Emperor City, giving it the power to make its final stand!
Bloodcurdling shrieks rang out. Booms of self-detonation filled the air. Shouting and howling could be heard all over the battlefield!
The corpse troopers that had once struck fear into the hearts of the Wildlanders were now fully deployed onto the battlefield, and yet, they didn’t seem to have much effect on the conflict as a whole.
High above, the demigods fought with utter desperation. The four heavenly kings and the Grand Heavenmaster had all suffered horrific injuries, and yet, were still going all out. As for the Heavenspan forces, they had their four demigod patriarchs, as well as two divine guards from Heavenspan Island!
A total of eleven demigods clashed above, causing the entire world to tremble as if it might collapse….
The Arch-Emperor stood in the highest tower of the imperial palace, looking out at the fighting. A gloomy expression covered his face, but he had a bit of hope in his eyes, hope that the gravekeeper would eventually show his face.
He had no idea that Bai Xiaochun was already in Arch-Emperor City. In his mind, the gravekeeper… was the only hope of the Arch-Emperor Dynasty….
The Arch-Emperor wasn’t the only one who waited with such anticipation. The Grand Heavenmaster and the four heavenly kings all harbored a similar hope, as did many of the soul cultivators fighting down below.
The new Hell-Emperor Bai Hao was important in the Arch-Emperor Dynasty. But to the soul cultivators, he was like the earth, whereas the gravekeeper… was like the vast heavens!
Only if the gravekeeper appeared… could the tide turn!
But even as the cultivators of the Arch-Emperor Dynasty continued to place their hope in the gravekeeper… all of Arch-Emperor City suddenly shook violently. The lands around it quaked, and massive crevices snaked out everywhere. In the blink of an eye… an aura of death spread out from Arch-Emperor City, filling all of the Wildlands….
And things were just beginning. That aura of death… continued on to fill all of the lands of Heavenspan….
Mountains seemed to lose their strength and collapse…. Jungles began to wilt and crumble into ash….
It was as if the surface of the world were collapsing! Although it didn't explode… the aura of death that filled it was plain for everyone to detect!
It wasn’t just the ground that was affected. The sky in the Wildlands and in the Heavenspan region… began to turn as gray, as if no life force existed in it at all!
Apparently… the entire world… was dying!!
Cultivators, mortals, and all other living beings were suddenly filled with the most profound unease. It felt as if… the entire world were about to fade away into eternity….
All of the cultivators in and around Arch-Emperor City suddenly stopped fighting, and looked around in shock. Those from the Heavenspan region seemed confused, whereas the Wildlander soul cultivators were so stunned that many of them staggered in place. Looks of terror could be seen in their eyes, as well as profound grief that soon turned into rage.
The Arch-Emperor shivered, his eyes lighting up with disbelief as he murmured, “The gravekeeper… has perished. The world… is dying!”
Then he began to laugh bitterly for a moment before a wave of exhaustion overcame him. Staggering backward, he coughed up a massive mouthful of blood.
“There will be no more Arch-Emperors…. We will burn along with the imperial city….” He closed his eyes.
The Grand Heavenmaster and the four heavenly kings looked around with blank expressions and blanker minds. They had all known that the gravekeeper was very weak, but the realization that he had actually perished filled them with despair.
It was made worse by the fact that, along with the death of the gravekeeper… the world itself seemed to be crumbling.
The demigod patriarchs of the four riversource sects were all shaken to the core. However, after looking around momentarily, their eyes lit up with determination. Taking advantage of the sudden blow to the morale of the Wildlanders, they joined forces in a final salvo to destroy the city!
In the briefest of moments, fierce fighting broke out again…. Mountain-toppling, sedraining force… slammed into Arch-Emperor City!
The defensive shields of the city finally shattered, and the city walls began to fall. The Wildlanders were being pushed back by defeat after defeat. As for the Heavenspan cultivators, most of them just wanted to be done with the fighting, and thus, killing intent once again rose from within their numbed minds and hearts.
The four demigod patriarchs and the two divine guards reacted similarly. Blood sprayed out of the mouths of the four heavenly kings, and even the Grand Heavenmaster was shoved backward.
There was no hope for the Wildlanders. Only despair. There was no way they could defend themselves from this onslaught. At this point, their minds and wills began to collapse, forcing them to howl in madness.
Even as Arch-Emperor City seemed to be on the verge of falling… fluctuations exploded out from within it that seemed to affect the rapidly spreading aura of death!
Down below in the third section of the city, Bai Xiaochun… opened his eyes!