A green-robed middle-aged man entered the main hall of the Dragon Race. He was bright-eyed with clear-cut features. His righteous bearing was awe-inspiring, his every step powerful and decisive; he seemed like a natural-born leader.
This was Xia Keke's second uncle, the second son of the elder of the Dragon Race, Xia Yingqiu.
"Father, Keke said you were looking for me."
"Mmhm." The seated elder said nothing; he simply grunted dully in response.
Looking at his expression, Xia Yingqiu sensed something was amiss. He frowned, then asked tentatively, "did something happen?"
"Has Maple City requested reinforcements?" asked the elder.
"Not yet," replied Xia Yingqiu. He shook his head. "I've assigned someone to keep watch, but have yet to receive news of any calls for aid."
Having said that, Xia Yingqiu's brows shot up in surprise. "Father, why are you asking about that? Could it be that the Immortal Region....."
"They didn't request reinforcements?" The elder frowned deeply, his course, wrinkled face twisting with anger. "Look for yourself!
He reached out and pointed at the sky. Xia Yingqiu hurriedly looked over.
"'No calls for aid'? Is this what you call 'no calls for aid?' Hua Hai used his forbidden technique! That alone proves the situation is dire! Yet you're telling me that we've received no requests for reinforcements?"
He slammed his fists into the arms of his sandalwood chair, shattering it completely as he revealed the true depths of his terrifying fury.
You'd better not underestimate this venerable elder. A few thousand years ago, he was universally recognized as the mightiest expert of the Beast Region.
Xia Yingqiu knelt to the ground with a thud, unable to bear the pressure. Even so, he didn't complain.
He was truly to blame.
"Who knows how many of our clansmen and allies are in peril as we speak? Yet you're telling me we've yet to receive a signal requesting aid?"
"Your son was negligent," said Xia Yingqiu, still kneeling on the ground. He gnashed his teeth. I'll send reinforcements immediately."
"By the time they get there, it'll be too late!" berated the elder, knitting his brows. "Is this really the right time to send reinforcements? No, what you need to do now is thoroughly investigate the subordinates you assigned to keep watch. It's quite likely that our Dragon Race has been infiltrated by demon agents. You'd best go handle this situation immediately. Leave the Immortal Region to me......"
"It's best I go instead."
Just as the elder placed his hands on the table and started to stand up, a deep, ethereal voice appeared within the great hall. Before like, a hale and hearty old man's spiritual body manifested before them.
"What brings you here?"
Seeing who'd arrived, the elder of the Dragon Race dared not remain seated; he stood and welcomed him. Within the current Dragon Race, the only one capable of making him adopt the mannerisms of the younger generation was the ancient Dragon God within the Dragon God Ring.
"No need to stand on ceremony," said the Dragon God's spiritual body. "I only came to inform you: I'm going to the Immortal Region."
"There's no way......"
"Enough, don't argue with me," said the aged Dragon God. "The clan needs you here to hold down the fort, whereas I happen to have a deep relationship with the Immortal Region's Emperor Ye. It's best I go; there's no better solution. That said, Yingqiu......"
"Ol' Xia is right. You'd best thoroughly investigate the situation within Dragon Race territory."
"I'm planning on it," replied Xia Yingqiu. "I'll go handle the situation right away."
"That would be best," nodded the Dragon God calmly. "As I said earlier, I'll go aid the Immortal Region. Ol' Xia will remain behind to defend the clan."
"Understood." The elder and Xia Yingqiu nodded simultaneously.
“Eternal Black Rose, Bloom! Unleash your Final Brilliance!”
On the ground below, Li Jiayi and the other disciples were locked in fierce combat with the demon and zombie hordes. When they heard Hua Hai's angry roar, their eyes grew bloodshot.
His final brilliance?
Li Jiayi gnawed her lower lip, biting down so hard she almost drew blood.
The other major powers of the Beast and Immortal Region's sensed that Hua Hai's true life-and-death battle was about to begin. Although they inwardly prayed for his success, they couldn't possibly divert their attention from the ongoing slaughter.
Meanwhile, back in the sky, all Hua Hai's veins bulged. Eyes terrifyingly bloodshot, he raised his head to the sky and roared.
Not far away, Jiangchen smiled calmly, then cast his gaze upon the final rose. It simultaneously filled him with both dread and curiosity.
The rose opened.
The instant Hua Hai roared, that enormous rose, fully a hundred thousand meters in diameter, gradually unfurled.
As it bloomed, it was far more eye-catching than the previous roses. In less time than it took to drink a cup of tea, the vast black rose fully matured.
Was that all there was to it?
Of course not.
The rose had bloomed. In its center, a humanoid figure composed of pure golden light lay curled up amongst the enormous flower's stamen.
The instant the rose unfurled completely, the figure shot forth.
It melted into Hua Hai's forehead.
In stark contrast to the other roses, none of Hua Hai's organs shattered after merging with the golden entity.
On the contrary, not only was his heart still intact, it was actually beating even more fiercely than before!
Hua Hai could clearly sense his own heartbeat as well as his rapidly increasing strength.
However, just as he marveled over these sudden changes.....
Although he felt himself brimming over with power, he suddenly curled up in the air and pressed his hands to his chest.
It felt as if someone had taken a bite out of his still-beating heart.
He activated his spiritual energy and looked within himself. That golden figure, after merging into his forehead, had somehow reappeared inside his heart.
It grasped the organ in both hands like a child holding their favorite candy, taking bite after bite.
By now, Hua Hai's face was pallid, his body drenched in sweat. He knelt in the air as sweat dripped down his arms and face.
He reached up to wipe away his sweat, then grit his teeth and stood up.
After the final rose had bloomed, his strength had, as expected, increased ten times over. However, he simultaneously had to endure ten times the agony.
As Hua Hai stood, a grim light flashed through Jiangchen's eyes.
"I can't wait any longer."
In just a few breaths of time, Hua Hai's strength had increased so much, even Jiangchen felt pressured by it. If things went on like this......
He had to attack!
Jiangchen no longer hesitated, he attacked with all his might. To his surprise, this was exactly what Hua Hai wanted.
He was in far too much pain.
His nerves were on fire, and, although the unrelenting agony stirred the flames of his fury, he still wanted.....
To get this over with as soon as possible!