Beastmaster of the Ages - Chapter 782
Fang Taiqing, Xuanyuan Dao, and Jian Wuyi stood on a large podium within Soulburn Hall, facing Feiling on her throne. She had seemed a little distracted in recent days, and had definitely not had any good rest the whole time. Beside her stood Fang Qingli with her head lowered.
Fang Taiqing was currently giving his report. "Your Eminence, since the Kilostar Domain's opening, Nonahall, Heptastar, and Quadform launched an attack on Pentaphase. The allied army breached the formation at the border of the Pentaphase Divine Realm. The sect is having a hard time fending off their enemies and is in dire straits."
"Go on," Feiling said.
"Our enemies are desperate. Before, at least they would need a good excuse to attack. But now they no longer care about any pretense, and use all sorts of inhumane methods. For instance, they turn the bodies of the fallen into corpse puppets, then use them to trip the traps we've set for them. It's an insult to the dead! These methods have been forbidden across the other eight divine realms, so we believed that it must have died out long ago, only for them to bring it out in this war. Not to mention, Biritual, Hexapath, and the other sects don't seem like they intend to stop Nonahall from doing so."
This war had caused the entire continent to fall into complete insanity. Nonahall would use any method to win, and it didn't seem like their allies cared about it either. Their silence only made them complicit in those actions. No matter what, Pentaphase had no choice but to take what was thrown at them. Nonahall's plan was to deal such a horrifying blow to their divine realm that everyone in it would loathe Sect Master Jiang Yuanjun and force them to topple him from within. Then, they would make an example out of Pentaphase to shock the other divine realms in the alliance. After all, the alliance was only agreed to by Jiang Yuanjun and a few others. Not everyone in the Pentaphase Divine Realm was as willing to fight the terrifying Nonahall Divine Realm. Now they were surrounded by enemies on three fronts.
"Have you discussed a solution yet?" Feiling asked. The situation was growing worse.
"So far, a fifth of Pentaphase's territory has been lost, but their troops have mostly retreated from the conquered territories intentionally. Many normal folk have suffered, as they couldn't be evacuated in time, and they all fell to horrible fates. Currently, the enemy army still hasn't reached the sect itself yet. In our negotiations, we've urgently sent Divine Marshals Fang Shenyu and Jian Qingyuan to lead the Origin Phoenix and Arcana Sword Legions to Pentaphase as reinforcements. Triflair and Octagram have also sent troops to help out. Hopefully, the enemy’s advance can be stopped," Fang Taiqing said.
"Your Eminence, based on the reports, the enemy is intentionally trying to divert our forces to defense so that we won't be able to send more to the Kilostar Domain. Once they deal with what they have to there, they will launch their attack proper. As for Pentaphase, they should be able to hold out with help from reinforcements. If they fall, it could severely impact the alliance we have with the other two sects as well. So, I suggest we send more troops there as reinforcements. Taiji Peak Lake is protected by the Ninefold Formation, after all, so we should be fine without so many stationed here," Jian Wuyi said.
The three of them looked to her to make the decision.
"I believe the call should be up to you." As the matters were rather complicated, she couldn't really bring herself to make a choice, lest it complicated things even further—especially while Tianming was still away.
"Understood, Your Eminence."
"What is happening in the Kilostar Domain now?"
"Your Eminence, the enemies have sealed off the entrance by stationing thousands of people there and deploying quite a few formations," Xuanyuan Dao said. In other words, it would be even harder to barge in and rescue Tianming now.
"I see." She nodded, trying her best to hide her worry.
"Additionally, Dugu Jin seems to have broken in before they strengthened their defenses," Xuanyuan Dao said.
"What'd he go inside for?" Feiling asked.
"I don't know. Probably to look for treasures."
After the report, Fang Taiqing and Jian Wuyi took their leave. Pentaphase had to hold, and their responsibilities weighed heavily on them.
"Can we only passively wait on the Kilostar Domain matter?" Jian Wuyi asked.
"We've already sent a dozen people in and still haven't received any word from them. Now that our enemies have set even more traps, if we make the wrong move, we'll definitely be forced into passively defending down the line," Fang Taiqing said.
"We'll just keep an eye out for opportunities to act!"
Tianming found five targets on this star of ice, all of whom had a heavy foul aura of sin that would bring him lots of good karma. About five of the hundred or so Nonahall cultivators were like Yin Po, which was a rather small ratio. Everyone would do some immoral acts in life. However, not many would rack up so many of them that the eyes of a sovereign deemed them worthy of judgment, so Tianming still had to patiently seek out the truly rotten ones.
Apart from those five, nobody else noticed any trace of him, so he left them be. He snuck away to another star and continued handing out judgment. So far, his eyes had never wronged him, and everyone he took out brought him good karma.
The one Tianming had just killed was a fat, ugly old man with squinty eyes. Before his death, Tianming asked him about his past. According to him, he had forced himself on thousands of young teenage girls in his two centuries of life before killing them all and taking their pinky fingers as souvenirs. Tianming did indeed find thousands of fingers in his spatial ring, which shook even him. Was this the mortal realm, or was it hell? Perhaps hell was just what a minority of people in the mortal realm experienced. When Tianming asked him why he did it, he said that he had been insulted by women since his childhood due to his looks. He claimed it was childhood trauma that caused him to develop a taste for exacting his revenge on beautiful girls like a self-fulfilling prophecy. There was no way young girls like them could possibly resist a sixth-level death phase samsaran like him.
"I shall be the judge of the powerful and heartless!" Tianming felt a weight settle on his chest. He had a far better understanding of the human condition after coming into direct contact with the worst it had to offer. There was so much suffering in the world that an individual alone could hardly fathom its true extent.
"If I let people like this leave alive, their victim count will shoot up into the tens of thousands. This world really needs a unifying force with a strong will to enforce laws strictly for peace and prosperity to be possible. If killing people like these is ruthless, then I shall live on ruthlessly!"
Growth wasn't only quantified by a rise in power. Instead, one's experiences also played a core part in the formation of their identity. Tianming's path was one of pondering Imperial Will and how he could usher change into the world.
"My ability to gain good karma and see the weight of sin is probably a recent development. Otherwise, I would've gotten lots of good karma from killing Autarch Qian," he said with a resigned smile. He knew that even after dealing out judgment and gaining from it, the pain and suffering that had been dealt couldn't be remedied. Victims got no second chance.
Never before had he felt so powerless.
"I can still grow stronger. If I control the world one day, I'll make sure everyone has a chance to fight their fates. I'll make sure every life is treated just as preciously as every other life."
That was his wish. He didn't know whether it was too childish an ideal, but it was one that he was willing to try fulfilling without any regrets, even if he had to bloody his hands by being judge, jury, and executioner.
"Being born into this world was hard enough. I should make it a world worth living for the new lives that are born into this world."
Cultivating and fighting for the greater good by uniting the world under one rule. Wasn't that the ideal? All of a sudden, it occurred to him that Great Emperor Xuanyuan had done it a long time ago. That was the reason he was known as the Progenitor of Humanity, or the Human Emperor.
"I’m not alone on my path to the heavens after all! The Human Emperor trod this path too!"
Tianming would walk his path and carry the blood he spilled on the way. Like a god of death, he went from one star to another. It almost didn't look like he was executing people; he seemed to simply be cultivating. His Imperial Will grew each time he pondered after a kill. Now that he was in the fourth-level life phase, he was far more powerful than before.
Every time he defeated someone, he would ask them about their past before killing them. In actuality, people like them were far and few in between; it just so happened that many of them were gathered in the same place for Tianming to take out. Soon, he felt himself approaching the death phase once more. Though his power quickly grew, it was a little heartrending to hear of the suffering those sinners had inflicted on others. It was so torturous that it filled him with rage and a desire to kill off all sinners like them.
"The Primordial God-Emperor gave me these eyes as a blessing, as well as a burden of responsibility." Now that he could see the depraved that walked among them, there was no more excuse to leave them be. "Let's continue."
Soon, he went to another black hole star that, like the one from before, looked like a vortex surrounded by a disk. Once more, the Dragonhide guided him toward it, so he went in without hesitation. There was another round of confusing visions of the war from two hundred millennia ago, but this time, the war seemed to take place in the Kilostar Domain. When he emerged from the pathway, he saw another golden word: 'two'.
"How many stars like this are there?" he wondered.
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