Book 42, The Five Truncheon Chapters, Chapter 9 – Dueling Hawkfang
“Once the Daoguard Tower breaks free from its foundation, many of its formations will become unusable, and it’ll no longer be able to draw any more energy into itself. It’ll only be able to use whatever energy it already accumulated prior to breaking free,” Ji Ning mused to himself. “Without the foundation supporting its many formations, the Daoguard Tower will be dramatically weakened and won’t last long in battle.”
“And… I don’t even need to go inside that Daoguard Tower.” Ning was brimming with confidence. “I’ll definitely win this battle!”
The frenzied war outside the Sacred Realm had been dangerous to him because there had been 2,800 Hegemons and Emperors attacking him, reinforced by multiple formations and treasures from the Daoguard Towers! If Ning had chosen to fight them squarely, he probably would’ve died in that battle. Thankfully, he was able to rely on his Illusion Sword Dao to put on a fine show without actually using up much energy. Now, things would be much simpler.
The only thing worrying him was the Daoguard Tower controlled by Exalt Bowenya! The other Daoguard Towers would be comparatively easier to deal with.
“I need to conserve as much energy as I can.” Ning watched as the distant Daoguard Tower flew through the skies in his direction. “Based on the memories I searched, this Daoguard Tower should be the ‘Flameland Elder Hall’ which Hawkfang controls. I hear that he’s an incredibly talented genius who has a chance of becoming an Autarch!”
After breaking free from its foundation, the Flameland Elder Hall began to fly by itself through the air. This was going to be a battle to the death, a war without quarter. Roughly four hundred Hegemons and Emperors were within the Flameland Elder Hall. The entire Sacred Realm only had a total of around 1,200 Hegemons and Emperors left, and they were divided into three squads controlled by Hawkfang, Jonnbech, and Exalt Bowenya.
The Hegemons and Emperors who followed Hawkfang were all Sithe descendants!
“Hawkfang, Daolord Darknorth is already at the verge of death. There’s no need for you to fight personally. Let us go instead! We’ll exhaust him to death,” a muscular, fiery-armored man said.
“Right! Hawkfang, you have to stay alive. So long as you are alive, the future generations of Hegemons and Emperors here will have someone to protect them and make their lives easier. Let us be the vanguard in this battle. Once we kill that demon, this tribulation will be at an end and we’ll all be able to relax.”
Hawkfang was silent. His heart was filled with many mixed emotions. He didn’t feel much hatred towards Daolord Darknorth, because he had seen too much and knew too much. He had long ago learned the truth when his avatar had accompanied his father in that final battle during the Dawn War.
Is there no way out at all? Hawkfang glanced at his comrades. All of them were native to this dimension. They were powerful experts who had arduously arisen from amongst the countless mortal cultivators born within this realm. He had known them for countless aeons, and they were all linked together by deep bonds of love and affection.
There’s no way out. We’ve all sworn oaths long ago to be loyal to Exalt Bowenya and obey his commands. If we flee, we’ll all die. For the sake of my friends and brothers… Daolord Darknorth, I suppose you’ll have to die in their stead. Cold light flashed through Hawkfang’s eyes.
“Hear my orders!” Hawkfang called out loudly. All of the Hegemons and Emperors turned solemn and let out acknowledging shouts.
“Assemble a total of three Ragnorak Formations! We’ll need a total of 192 Emperors to control them.” Hawkfang swept the area with his gaze, then waved his hand and sent his Immortal energy flying out towards 192 of the figures present. “You shall control these three formations. Hurry up and take control!”
“Everyone else, focus on offensive formations. We’ll split the remaining Hegemons into six squads which will control these formations.” Hawkfang divided up the remaining Hegemons into multiple squads. He had more Hegemons and Emperors than he needed to fully staff the Daoguard Tower’s formations, and so he assigned them to control other formations instead.
“Hawkfang, what about our avatars?”
“Our avatars will be able to fight as well!” the Sithe descendants said hurriedly.
Hawkfang replied coldly, “Deploy your avatars as you see fit. Prepare all your treasures and get ready for our final battle.”
“Let’s go!” The Hegemons and Emperors quickly began to take control over the respective formations.
Ning’s Sword Dao Domain was continuously maintaining an illusory field within its reach. To the Sithe, it looked as though Ning was soaring through the skies towards them… but in reality, Ning was more than six hundred million kilometers away from his illusory location!
“The Daoguard Tower. If I refuse to go inside, what can it possibly do to me?” Ning stared as that twelve-storied tower flew towards him from afar. This Daoguard Tower radiated a weighty aura of might, and it did give Ning a vague sense of danger. It continued to move closer to Ning’s real location, causing him to frown. He immediately began to retreat, wanting to pull away from it as much as possible.
“Attack!” This cold shout came from the lips of a black-robed man whose eyes were terrifyingly calm. He stood at the entrance to the Daoguard Tower, staring at Ning.
Ning was able to see the opening, but he certainly wasn’t going to charge into it and enter the Daoguard Tower!
“Hawkfang?” Ning immediately recognized this person. He had already ‘met’ Hawkfang numerous times while rifling through the memories of the captured Emperors.
A series of formation-lines suddenly lit up on the ninth floor of the Daoguard Tower, with a large amount of power circulating through it.
A dimensional wave filled with destructive power swept out towards Ning, moving so fast and covering such a great area that it almost instantly appeared before him.
“Damn! They’ve actually completely boxed me in.” Ning frowned when he saw this. His illusions were still active, but his opponents had launched such a large-scale attack that everything within his Sword Dao Domain was being assaulted, including both the illusory Ning and the real Ning!
There was really nothing Ning could do against such a large-scale area attack. He immediately drew a Northbow sword and lightly sliced the air, causing a dimensional ripple to spread out and surround him. He was going to use his Space Sword Dao to counter these dimensional ripples.
Ning was securely ensconced in a dimensional ‘bubble’ which resisted the all-encompassing attack. Ning could sense exactly how much power was pushing against him, and he made sure that his bubble held just a tiny bit more power. He also continued to maintain the illusions with his Sword Dao Domain, having the illusory Ning also ‘block’ with the Space Sword Dao.
“Attack!” Yet another order rang out. This time, the sixth floor of the Daoguard Tower unleashed a terrifyingly large streak of saber-light that shot out in a fan-shape. This fan of saber-light was composed of countless tiny streaks of saber-light that were densely clustered together. Their power was overwhelming, and they also constitute a vast area attack that completely covered the entire Sword Dao Domain, viciously smashing through everything within it!
There was nothing Ning could do except use his sword-arts to defend once again. Fortunately, it didn’t require too much energy as these untargeted area attacks were much less dangerous to Ning, in that the force exerted against each individual within the area was much lower than in the case of a targeted attack. It was just barely at the Blazesun Ruler level of power, and so Ning was able to block without too much difficulty.
“Attack!” This time, the attack came from the third floor of the Daoguard Tower. It burst forth with the most powerful attack yet, unleashing a stream of golden flames which covered the skies and blazed away at everything within the Sword Dao Domain.
“Have they already guessed that I’m using illusions? Otherwise, why would they exclusively use such large-scale attacks?” Ning frowned. These large-scale attacks weren’t that dangerous, but they still took up some of his energy. Ning couldn’t help but feel worried. “Time to change strategies.”
Exalt Bowenya and Jonnbech were carefully watching this battle from afar. It was impossible for Hawkfang to fully control the tower while using his godsense to maintain a connection with an incarnation, and so he had dispelled it for now. The only people remaining here were Bowenya and Jonnbech’s incarnation.
“Watch carefully, Jonnbech.” Exalt Bowenya stared at the distant Ning intently. “I hope Hawkfang can win this battle, but if he loses, you are next! You are one of the most impressive Sithe Hegemons to have come here. I don’t care too much if the others die, but I hope you will survive.”
“Don’t worry, Exalt,” Jonnbech said. Jonnbech was the only Hegemon within this entire hidden dimension who had a truly perfect Dao-heart. He was close to becoming an Exalt himself.
True Sithe were only able to become Exalts in this dimension, but their children could become Autarchs! This was why the Sithe had paid so much attention to Hawkfang. In his heart, though, Exalt Bowenya still felt closer to Jonnbech. He couldn’t help it; the two were both true Sithe.
“It doesn’t matter if Daolord Darknorth really is skilled in putting on a show. We’ll find out the truth soon enough.” Jonnbech stared from afar. “If he can endure even this sort of all-out assault from Hawkfang’s Flameland Elder Hall, we can be all but certain that his ‘injuries’ were a false front.”
“Yes. If he truly is at the brink of death, it’s highly unlikely that he will be able to defeat Hawkfang’s Flameland Elder Hall,” Exalt Bowenya agreed.
“Hawkfang’s quite intelligent as well.” Jonnbech continued to watch, then let out a cold smile: “He’s using up all the remaining power of his Daoguard Tower to launch repeated wide-scale attacks. That was the fifteenth wave of attacks!”
Exalt Bowenya just continued to watch silently. So what if Hawkfang died? So what if even Jonnbech died? He cared, but not that much. So long as he himself survived and managed to successfully kill Ning, he would be a happy man.