Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Kill the enemy, regroup, set off, rinse and repeat. Their numbers kept growing as every Grand Sky Coalition cultivator in the outer ring who had heard the news did their best to meet up with them. Some managed the entire journey without issues, and some were intercepted midway and suffered terrible losses.
This had never happened in the history of the Battle Royale of the Legates. In the past, no cultivator had ever formed a group bigger than a squad of ten even when they hailed from the same faction because the bigger the group, the more complicated things became. Loot distribution, Contribution Point distribution, rights to treasure found and more. Everything was so much more difficult to handle in a big group than it was the other way around.
It was different this time though. Due to the pressure generated by Thousand Demon Ridge, all the Legates and prolegates of the Grand Sky Coalition had been forced to come together as a united force. In other words, this battle royale had somehow transformed into a literal war between two factions.
At first, Thousand Demon Ridge did not realize the seriousness of the problem. Every group that had survived until this point had been dominating their opponents until the final merging, and they believed that the bone fragments had allowed them to snowball their advantage into something that was absolutely unstoppable. Now that the final merging was complete, all they needed to do was to take out the remaining enemies and claim the entire continent as their own.
However, as more and more messages were traded between their ranks, they suddenly discovered that Grand Sky Coalition had somehow managed to gather a group that was made up of hundreds of cultivators. Not only that, they were circling around the outer ring to kill any enemy and absorb any ally they encountered along the way. Already, a lot of Thousand Demon Ridge groups had run into this group and sustained major losses as a result.
The situation was not developing the way they were expecting. Not only had Thousand Demon Ridge failed to take control of the continent, they were getting their asses kicked right now. Although they tried to emulate their enemy’s example and meet up with their own forces, it was too little too late. Lu Ye’s group had had days to wipe out as many Thousand Demon Ridge cultivators they could find, meaning that the massive numbers advantage they had accrued was all gone. Not only that, Grand Sky Coalition was the one with the superior numbers in the outer ring. The war eventually devolved into a cat-and-mouse chase encompassing the outer ring of the entire continent after that.
On the sixth day after the continent was formed, Grand Sky Coalition decided to halt their march and make camp. By now, their numbers had blown past the one thousandth mark, and some of them were cultivators from the inner ring. There were Eighth-Order, Ninth-Order, and even Heaven Grade cultivation technique champions among them.
In the past few days, these inner ring cultivators had been hunted like rats by the cultivators of Thousand Demon Ridge. After hearing that their outer ring brethren were doing fantastically, they decided to escape the inner ring altogether and join the outer ring instead. Of course, everyone in the outer ring welcomed them with open arms.
Although the Heavens would suppress their cultivation level to that of an outer ring cultivator, there was absolutely no reason to say no to extra manpower. In fact, their group would never have grown to one thousand people if they hadn’t accepted the inner ring cultivators into their ranks. No thanks to Thousand Demon Ridge’s scheme, there weren’t nearly enough outer ring cultivators to form such a big group.
Even now, their numbers were still growing because Grand Sky Coalition cultivators kept running out of the inner ring to join them. This had almost never happened in the previous Battle Royales of the Legates for the same reason Cloud River Realm and Real Lake Realm cultivators normally refrained from entering the Spirit Creek Battlefield.
No one’s cultivation journey was easy, and to enter an area that suppresses one’s cultivation level was to risk losing it all. If they lost to someone of the same cultivation level, then they only had their own weakness to blame. But if they lost to someone whose cultivation level was much lower than theirs, then the shame would linger even after they were dead.
In fact, there had been a precedent where a Real Lake Realm champion had been slain by a Spirit Creek Realm cultivator on the Spirit Creek Battlefield. As a result, the champion and his sect became the laughingstock of the entire Cultivation World in a single night, and that shame still haunted them to this very day.
Back to the present. Lu Ye’s group was currently hunting down a large group around six hundred cultivators strong. It was also all the cultivators Thousand Demon Ridge had had in the outer ring.
The reason they temporarily halted their advance was because the ghost cultivators acting as their scouts had sent back some crucial intelligence.
Each of the six cultivation factions had a strong suit, and for ghost cultivators it was their movement speed. They also excelled at sneaky stuff such as infiltration, assassination, espionage, tracking and more. Naturally, they were entrusted with the duty of scouting.
As the group had grown to a thousand cultivators strong, and the conflict had escalated into a literal war, they had come up with a decision-making circle a few days ago. The circle was made up of nine representatives, and each one of them represented a continent of Jiu Zhou.
The nine representatives had been chosen not because they were strong, but their sect was prestigious, and their social network was massive. There was an exception though. Of the nine of them, Lu Ye was the only one who hailed from a Ninth-Tier sect—everyone else hailed from Seventh-Tier sects—and possessed the lowest cultivation level. The continent he represented was Bing Zhou.
No one had a problem with this despite his lack of qualifications because he and Hua Ci were the reason Grand Sky Coalition was able to come this far. Without them, they would have lost the ability to throw down with Thousand Demon Ridge a long time ago.
Right now, the nine representatives were standing on a mountain peak and gazing toward the distance.
A cultivator with the appearance of a youngster said, “According to the intel brought back by our ghost cultivators, a lot of Thousand Demon Ridge cultivators had come out of the inner ring to assist their brethren. Their numbers had grown to eight hundred or so, and they are currently regrouping themselves and getting ready to challenge us to one decisive battle.”
To say that the cultivators of Thousand Demon Ridge were pissed off for the past couple days would be an understatement. Not only had their advantage disappeared like it never existed, they had been forced to run with their tail between their legs again and again. They were all looking forward to taking revenge against Grand Sky Coalition.
Realizing that their brethren in the outer ring no longer possessed the strength to resist the enemy, the inner ring cultivators had decided to dispatch a portion of their numbers to reinforce the low level cultivators. After the two groups met up, their numbers jumped to eight hundred cultivators or so.
Now, the fighting strength of the two factions was almost even. Even if Grand Sky Coalition still had a slight lead over Thousand Demon Ridge, it wasn’t nearly enough to decide the outcome of the upcoming battle.
Moreover, the enemy wasn’t sitting on their laurels while they waited for the decisive battle to begin. They were actively making preparations for the battle such as setting up all kinds of arrays in key points of the battlefield. Given enough time, they could set up a massive kill zone that would narrow the number disparity between the two factions even further. If Grand Sky Coalition dared to attack recklessly, they would suffer massive casualties for sure. Not that either side was going to commit to anything reckless at this stage of the war.
There was one more point of interest that the ghost cultivators discovered, and that was the location Thousand Demon Ridge was occupying right now.
The youngster looked at Lu Ye and asked, “Did you notice it yet, Brother Yi Ye?”
Lu Ye gazed into the far distance and compared it to their surroundings. He even checked the sun above his head to confirm he wasn’t mistaken. Finally, he nodded. “They’ve set up camp in our Chess Island!”
That was correct. Thousand Demon Ridge had chosen to set up camp at the Chess Island where he and Hua Ci had appeared at the very beginning and stayed for nearly twenty days. There was no one besides Hua Ci who was more familiar with the terrain than him. In fact, he could see the peak that they had used many times as a lookout right now.
“So, you’re saying that we’ve come back to our starting point?” Another guy with a short stature asked while scratching his head.
The youngster replied smilingly. “That is exactly right.”
“Oh, I get it!” A girl exclaimed with bright eyes. “They chose that island as their headquarters because it’s where Brother Yi Ye had built his Gathering Spirits! Those evil bastards must have used up a ton of energy while they were running away from us, and suddenly they found a special location that drastically reduced their recovery time! That’s why they chose that island to make their final stand!”
Lu Ye’s expression was odd to put it mildly. When they had chosen to leave their Chess Island behind and take the fight to the enemy, he had thought that they would never see it again. He never imagined that it would attract their enemies like flies to honey, not knowing that they were really sitting on a giant death trap!
Had Thousand Demon Ridge continued to run away like they did before, Grand Sky Coalition would not have been able to do anything substantial to them. After all, the one thing a big army did not possess was speed. But now? You could say that the Heavens themselves wanted to see these evildoers punished!
“The credit is all yours and Sister Hua Ci’s, Brother Yi Ye!” The female cultivator said excitedly.
“Everyone, I believe that now is the time for Grand Sky Coalition to unleash their might,” the youngster said seriously. “In fact, I believe we should launch an attack right now. What do you all think?”
Not only did they unanimously agree to attack the enemy, they wanted to do it as soon as possible. After all, delaying the assault would only allow the enemy to prepare better.
This battle could very well be the last large-scale clash between the two factions. Almost two thousand cultivators would be participating in this battle. Assuming that everything went smoothly, Thousand Demon Ridge would lose the outer ring to Grand Sky Coalition completely.
That said, they couldn’t sound the horn of battle just yet. They still needed to discuss the best way to kill or wound as many enemies as possible.
The nine representatives were just discussing tactics when suddenly, Lu Ye received a message. He inspected his Battlefield Imprint for a moment before frowning deeply. “Everyone, may I have your attention for a moment? I just received word that this may be an elaborate trap by the enemy.”
They all looked at him immediately. “What do you mean?”
“My senior brother, Li Baxian just sent me a message saying that he spotted a troop of three hundred hiding in a forest, and judging from the location they’re only ten kilometers away from us! Not only that, he’s pretty sure that they came from the inner circle.”
Everyone exchanged worried glances with each other. It did not take a genius to figure out what this meant, and since the message was sent by Li Baxian himself, it was highly unlikely that this was a mistake.
“Did they find out about the mushrooms?” A couple of people voiced the first thought that had entered their minds.
Lu Ye considered this for a moment before shaking his head. “I don’t think so. Hua Ci’s mushrooms are real mushrooms, so I doubt that Thousand Demon Ridge would pay them much attention even if they realized that they did not quite fit with the local flora, not to mention that everyone who bore witness to Hua Ci’s technique perished to the last. Even if they figured out that the mushrooms were bad news and avoided them, we still have our Golem Masters to deliver the mushrooms straight to the enemy. In any case, I’m pretty sure it’s just a straightforward ambush.”
If that’s the case, then we’ll turn their ploy to our advantage!”
The group quickly come up with a battle plan. At the same time, Lu Ye told Li Baxian to keep a close eye on the three hundred ambushers and be ready to notify him at a moment’s notice. Li Baxian agreed as a matter of course.
Speaking of which, Li Baxian had joined Lu Ye’s group a while ago. When they first entered the Chess Sea, he had promised to visit Lu Ye after the continent was fully formed because he believed he would able to provide his junior brother protection. However, the situation had developed in a way that no one was expecting, and now it was he who needed Lu Ye’s protection. It was pretty embarrassing all things considered.