The Eight Dragons Cloudcity. The main palace.
Daofather Crimsonbright sat on the throne. Below him sat a host of Empyrean Gods, True Immortals, and Celestial Immortal commanders, Ji Ning amongst them.
“Both Daofather Ink Bamboo and myself have been keeping an eye on our respective armies.” Daofather Crimsonbright looked downwards upon his subjects. “We are both trying to suss out the true strength of each other’s forces, find a weakness, then launch a fatal attack! The Seamless Gate’s greatest advantage lies in its intelligence network, making it much easier for them to investigate us. Based on the multiple Realmwars which have occurred within the Three Realms…the Seamless Gate often launches a fatal attack first. Thus, I have to warn you…the more battles that occur, the greater the chances that the Seamless Gate will launch an all-out fatal attack on the next one. You have to be vigilant at all times.
“Master.” The Xia Emperor said worriedly, “To always be vigilant isn’t a winning solution…when will we lauch our own all-out attack?”
Daofather Crimsonbright nodded. “I understand what you are saying, of course. However…I can dimly sense that the Seamless Gate has another force that is lying in wait. I have to hold some of my forces in abeyance to deal with it. Otherwise…if we launch our all-out attack, we might end up being tricked and countered by the Seamless Gate, resulting in a great loss.”
Everyone, Ji Ning included, nodded.
There was nothing for it.
Whenever there was a significant disparity in intelligence, the only choice was to allow the enemy to strike first. Perhaps one might suffer a bit for it, but they would still be able to deal with the forces they saw. If they revealed all of their trump cards at once in an attack…their fate would be completely up to luck.
“There’s one thing we can be certain of.” Daofather Crimsonbright looked at Ning. “Ji Ning.”
“Daofather,” Ning replied respectfully.
Daofather Crimsonbright looked at Ning. “You have a talent for commanding Heaven Punishers. Once you breakthrough to become a Pure Yang True Immortal, the power of your Heaven Punisher shall explode to a new level. Thus, the Seamless Gate is definitely going to try and kill you to avoid future problems! The intelligence we’ve obtained regarding them concurs; they’ve wanted to get rid of you this entire time.”
“During each of the past three battles, the three Diremonster Gods of Mount Dragoneater have been in your surrounding area,” Daofather Crimsonbright said. “This has resulted in much of both side’s forces being concentrated around you, roughly 30% or so of the entire battlefield. Minor battles are going on in other places; the only place where both sides are concentrating their forces is the area around you. Once an all-out attack is launched, that place will be the most dangerous place on the entire battlefield…and the first target they will want to eliminate is you, Ji Ning.”
Daofather Crimsonbright looked towards the Xia Emperor. “Stay next to him and assist him. You have to protect Ji Ning; be wary of any sudden changes in the battlefield.”
“Yes, Master,” the Xia Emperor said respectfully.
“The rest of you need to keep an eye out as well. Even if the other minor battlefields take a turn for the worse, casualties will be limited. The region around Ji Ning and Xiamang, however…once there are casualties there, the casualties will be heavy, so heavy as to potentially change the entire dynamic. You need to keep an eye out and be prepared to deal with anything on the fly,” Daofather Crimsonbright instructed.
Daofather Crimsonbright nodded. “Alright. You can go back and rest now.”
Ning and the hundreds of Immortals and Fiendgods present all walked out of the main palace. Only after exiting did they start to discuss matters in small groups.
“Ji Ning, if you can just keep those three from Mount Dragoneater tied down, you’ll have rendered a major contribution,” the Xia Emperor said, walking alongside Ning. “Don’t be in a rush to try and kill enemies; keep an eye out for those three at all times.”
“Right. Darknorth, if you are defeated, we’ll have lost a powerful military unit. For you right now, not screwing up is already a contribution.” A bald old man in loose robes next to them chuckled while fanning himself with a fan.
“Right now, you are our main defense against those three Diremonster Gods of Mount Dragoneater.”
Multiple Empyrean Gods and True Immortals spoke out. They were all responsible for tying down those three Diremonster Gods, and so during the three clashes of this Realmwar, they had been by Ji Ning’s side. To be honest, it was rather strange; those three Diremonster Gods were always close to Ning. The main reason for this was that the Godking viewed Ning as an extremely important target, believing that if Ning suddenly broke through to the Pure Yang True Immortal level, his Heaven Punisher would instantly rise to a level of power where it would be no weaker than the combined power of those three Diremonster Gods.
“To be honest, with Ji Ning around, it makes things easier for us. His Heaven Punisher is so strong, not even those three Diremonster Gods can suppress him.”
“Ji Ning is indeed formidable as a Heaven Punisher commander. If he becomes a Pure Yang True Immortal…how powerful would he become?”
The Empyrean Gods and True Immortals continued to chat with Ning and amongst themselves.
Suddenly, someone walked past them. It was Sword Immortal Evergreen, who gave them a sideways glance and a cold snort. “All of you are quite smug, aren’t you? Don’t forget…if Ji Ning dies in battle, the entire situation will become quite ugly for us. As I see it…you need to focus on what you will do in the event that Ji Ning dies.”
After finishing his words, Sword Immortal Evergreen walked out.
Ning frowned upon hearing these words. On the surface, Sword Immortal Evergreen was reminding them to be careful…but he kept on saying ‘Ji Ning dies’, ‘Ji Ning dies’…anyone would feel displeased upon hearing someone say such things.
“Ji Ning, don’t mind him.” The Xia Emperor glanced at Sword Immortal Evergreen, frowning at him before turning to smile at Ning. “That’s just how junior apprentice-brother Evergreen is. Still…he’s not wrong to remind us that we need to be careful.”
“Understood.” Ning nodded.
“Fellow Daoist Darknorth.” After Sword Immortal Evergreen walked away, a delicate, white-robed female Immortal who had heard his words walked towards Ning and hurriedly said, “Senior apprentice-brother Evergreen is always like that. Please don’t mind him.”
Ning smiled. “A minor matter, fellow Daoist Snowdance.”
Fairy Snowdance smiled towards Ning, then followed Sword Immortal Evergreen in leaving.
Ning asked the nearby Xia Emperor, “What is the exact relationship between Fairy Snowdance and Sword Immortal Evergreen? I often see them together, and even on the field of battle, they are an inseparable duo.”
“Junior apprentice-sister Snowdance is devoted to junior apprentice-brother Evergreen, but he is excessively solitary and aloof; he’s completely unreceptive to her advances. She, however, continues to quietly watch over him. Although the two haven’t joined together to become Dao-companions, Evergreen is indeed closer to Snowdance than to any of our other fellow disciples. Still…in the end, he always treats her in an icy manner. Junior apprentice-sister Snowdance really is blinded,” a barbaric-looking man said with a sigh.
“Evergreen’s simply too sharp. His heart is like a sword, and he acts like a sword in dealing with both people and business. He’s let her wait for him for so long…alas…”
The various Empyrean Gods and True Immortals chatted amongst themselves for a bit, then all departed.
A few days later, the Xia Emperor sent the mental order for his army to assemble.
“Be careful. You said it yourself; the Seamless Gate is trying to kill you if at all possible. Our child is soon to be born; I don’t want our child to never have the chance to meet you,” Yu Wei warned.
“Don’t worry, senior apprentice-sister; the Seamless Gate is far from being able to kill me,” Ning said with a laugh.
Since the start of the Realmwar, before each clash Yu Wei would give Ning many warnings to be careful.
“I’m off.” Ning smiled, then transformed into a streak of light and flew away.
Yu Wei rubbed her stomach, watching as Ning flew away. She could sense that their child was most likely going to enter the world in around half a month…but why was it that she was feeling increasingly nervous?
The vast, awe-inspiring army had assembled, then flown out from the Eight Dragons Cloudcity. The wilderness outside the city had long been transformed into a desolate, crater-ridden wasteland. The two opposing armies once more charged against each other, and everything was as it had been in the past.
Soldiers against soldiers. Generals against generals.
Both sides were now experienced with each other. The heaviest casualties had come in the first clash, while the following clashes had seen much fewer deaths. In this clash, the three Diremonster Gods of Mount Dragoneater once more had their sights set on Ji Ning.
“Once the opportunity arises, you have to kill this Ji Ning. The most important mission you have in this Realmwar is to kill Ji Ning.”
These were the instructions which both Daofather Ink Bamboo and the Godking had given them.
Both sides were evenly matched.
“Junior apprentice-sister, those six Heaven Punishers are in danger; let’s go help them.” Sword Immortal Evergreen and Fairy Snowdance were flying through the sky. Sword Immortal Evergreen scanned the field of battle, then sent a mental message to her.
Fairy Snowdance glanced over as well.
Far from from, within the region where Ning and the three Diremonster Gods of Mount Dragoneater were, six Heaven Punishers were being assaulted by three White-Faced Flood Dragons, with one of them apparently being commanded by an Empyrean God or True Immortal. They were clearly superior to the six Heaven Punishers in power, but the Heaven Punishers weren’t in any real danger yet; by joining forces, they were able to stave off defeat.
Still…Fairy Snowdance didn’t refuse. “Fine, senior apprentice-brother.”
They immediately flew down to the battlefield, beginning to cast spells and use their magic treasures to support those six Heaven Punishers. With their help, the six instantly found the battle much easier, and in fact they were even able to seize the advantage.
“Senior apprentice-brother, be careful; this region is the most dangerous region in the entire battlefield,” Fairy Snowdance sent mentally. “Both sides have sent more than twenty Empyrean Gods and True Immortals to this place, and we have over fifty Heaven Punishers here, as well as Raindragons and Pangu War-Formations…”
“Don’t worry,” Evergreen said confidently. “We just need to be careful.”
“Right.” Fairy Snowdance was just giving him a reminder; thus far, not a single Empyrean God or True Immortal had died in this Realmwar. As long as there wasn’t a sudden change in events, it wasn’t likely that one of them would die.
Sword Immortal Evergreen continued to cast spells to help the Heaven Punishers below while keeping a careful eye on the battlefield.
The Xia Emperor, one of the six Empyrean Gods and True Immortals on his ship of light, noticed that Sword Immortal Evergreen and Fairy Snowdance had arrived as well. It must be understood that the Xia Emperor was controlling the local formation; he naturally saw everything that happened on the battlefield, and he generally would arrange for the disposition of their forces. He immediately sent mentally, “Junior apprentice-brother Evergreen, junior apprentice-sister Snowdance, go and help out those five Heaven Punishers to your left; they are in serious danger.”
“Alright.” Sword Immortal Evergreen and Fairy Snowdance immediately noticed it as well. Those five were indeed suffering a group attack, and there were no other Empyrean Gods or True Immortals nearby, aside from the two of them.
The two flew in that direction while casting their spells.
“Go.” Fairy Snowdance pointed, and instantly a snowy-white lance pierced through the skies.
Suddenly, a streak of sword-light flashed past her. Blood splattered everywhere, and as the blood splattered on the snowy white lance of light, it was instantly frozen.
Fairy Snowdance stared at her chest uncomprehendingly. A sword had pierced straight through it, cutting quite cleanly through her Pure Yang Jindan. She raised her head to look towards Sword Immortal Evergreen in disbelief. “Senior, senior apprentice-brother…” In her heart, there was one thing she wanted to say: “If you want to join the Seamless Gate, I’m willing to join you…”
Fairy Snowdance revealed a hint of a smile…the smile of release.
Snick. Sword Immortal Evergreen pulled his sword out, and as his sword-ki trembled…her entire body was instantly turned into dust, her treasures left for Sword Immortal Evergreen to pick up.
In his heart, Sword Immortal Evergreen felt a certain dull pain. “If you spend years raising a dog, you’ll feel pain when it dies.” Sword Immortal Evergreen immediately wiped away the tiny bit of pity he felt in his heart, then looked downwards. He charged straight downwards, charging towards those five Heaven Punishers. Not only did not he not support them, he launched an assault that caused those five to feel utterly shocked.
“EVERGREEN!” The distant Xia Emperor saw this happen. Upon seeing Fairy Snowdance’s chest be pierced, his eyes widened so much they threatened to split apart. He let out an utterly enraged roar that caused the heavens themselves to tremble!