Beastmaster of the Ages

Chapter 1792: Lands of Three Skies

The fallen Azurecloud Divine Tree had completely darkened and wilted, losing all its leaves. After the celestial orderians had set it on fire, the flames spread quickly all throughout the continent, reaching even the flaming clouds above. Black smoke filled the area and caused the flaming rain to fall more heavily. The entire continent was now an apocalyptic hellscape. All over the place, from trees, to rivers, to mountains, small metallic cockroaches roamed about. They looked around like cold sculptures, serving as Tianming's eyes. This was what happened to territories the enemy had taken over. 

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The Azurecloud Continent was the first continent to be completely occupied. As for the other continents, while most third- and fourth-rate sects had been uprooted, some second-rate sects still held on. They had also absorbed a lot of refugee cultivators from other sects like the Azuresoul Palace once had.

As for the first-rate sects, they concentrated their forces near the south pole of the sun. If all the ninety second-rate sects stopped holding their ground, the celestial orderians would have taken over eighty percent of the sun's territories, breaking the balance of power. What could the top ten sects do about it, especially when a few of them were traitors or fence sitters? To Tianming, it was crucial that the second-rate sects held on to ensure the outer territories remained unclaimed, ready for subsequent crucial operations.

The Xuanyang Army had only been the vanguard against the second-rate sects. The true backbone of the celestial orderian army was coming south, including thirty million troops from the Tribulator, Tianyi, and Godblade Armies, and that was only the first wave of more to come. Perhaps even more troops would be sent to ensure the wipeout of the remaining eighty-eight second-rate sects. It was crucial to organize an effective countermeasure for the battles to follow.


The southernmost part of the Azurecloud Continent looked like a sea of magma. Past the flaming sea were three continents that used to be one, but had later broken apart. They were the Skygrand, Skysplendor, and Skyseal Continents, respectively, collectively known as the Land of Three Skies. The continents were easy to defend and hard to attack, yet the celestial orderians had to pass through them to head south. There were five second-rate sects across the continents that were still holding their ground.

After the celestial orderians had taken down the Azuresoul Palace and Supracloud Sanctuary, it would be a huge blow to the morale of the Myriad Solar Sects if these five sects were to fall as well. Their fall would open the floodgates for the enemy troops to enter the sects’ core territories. As far as the celestial orderians were concerned, even before the changes Tianming had brought to the table, the Land of Three Skies was a strategic point they had to conquer. But with Tianming as the leader of the Myriad Solar Sects, he would serve as a single breaking point the celestial orderians needed to slaughter in order to crush the sects’ final hope. 

For the celestial orderian elites, he was naught but a fumbling toddler, yet that 'toddler' had put them in a difficult predicament. When news from the front arrived, their confidence had been completely broken. The commanding officers, some hundred of them, assembled near the sea of magma. These particular hundred were led by the generals of the three armies. One of them was Li Tianyi, the eldest son of the sun emperor. Even though he was the eldest, he was from a different generation than Tianming. In fact, he was even senior to Jiang Qingliu and Li Wushuang, being nearly a thousand years old. There was no longer any hope for him to become a sovereign. But even so, he was an incredibly competent commander.

The other two were Li Mumu, commander of the Tribulator Army, and Situ Yin, commander of the Godblade Army. The celestial orderians had even more armies that were ten million strong. To those three, the young Li Xuanyang was just a dark horse with unrealized potential. His Xuanyang Army hadn’t been that large to begin with, and the likes of him couldn't compare to the bigwigs with many years of experience behind them. 

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These three were the real deal.

Li Mumu and Situ Yin's statuses were comparable to Li Xiaoyan. Li Tianyi also had great status. Though he had a lot of hopes placed on him as the eldest son of the sun emperor, he no longer had any chance of becoming a sovereign, so he maintained a low profile. Instead, he had a close network of allies thanks to his incredible wit and planning. His modus operandi differed from most of the other, more impulsive celestial orderians.

The three leaders held a meeting with the other top elites as their armies stopped marching. Li Tianyi, who had just set the Azurecloud Divine Tree aflame, paced in front of the other two. "Our eight million informants were suddenly wiped out without warning, costing us our eyes. How could that have been achieved? Each spy was trained over the course of decades.... They know how to hide themselves, yet all of them were killed in one fell swoop!"

Li Mumu and Situ Yin shook their heads in confusion. The former had a head of dark green hair and the elegance of a soul tribulator. He was born near the forests and looked filled with vigor, appearing young despite his age. Situ Yin was a godblader and appeared incredibly huge. Knife cuts were visible all over his body and face. He seemed visibly older than Li Mumu and had some white hair. The two were about the same age as Gujian Qingshuang, yet they were far more powerful than him, or most second-rate sect leaders, even.

"What about the moles we have in the Myriad Solar Sects? Did they learn anything?" Li Mumu asked.

"There was quite a few of our own in the grand assembly, but all that Long Wanying announced was the result. She didn't explain how it was achieved. Though we managed to capture some Ninedragon Army troops who were sent to take out the informants, all they knew were the details of the informants and what they looked like. They had no idea how that information came about," Li Tianyi said, shaking his head.

"The only possibility is the presence of a mole among us who leaked the information," Situ Yin said.

"That's impossible. All our information contains are the names of the informants, their abilities, backgrounds, and their departments. We don't have any information about their precise locations. Even though we send them to a general region, the informants themselves decide where they hide and how they will blend in. It simply isn't possible, unless Li Tianming himself has eyes that can see every corner of the sun."

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"How could there be such a power?" Li Mumu said.

"If it really exists, there's no point in even fighting. It's far too ridiculous. I believe there's some other method we just haven't figured out yet," Situ Yin said.

"Who can say for sure? That brat is weird in all kinds of ways. Even Li Haochen, Li Shenjian, Li Xuanyang, and others suffered at his hands. Some died, and some were crippled. We can't take him lightly," Li Tianyi angrily said.

"That's right. The most important step of our strategy is to take out the second-rate sects, yet we've run into an obstacle like this. We lost eight million pairs of eyes. The remaining three million or so are moles in the Myriad Solar Sects who only have limited access to information, and we can't expose them. If we rely on them, we won't have any initiative on the battlefield at all. They even have a divine astralship that can rapidly move troops. Taking the Land of Three Skies will be incredibly risky and difficult," Li Mumu said.

"We can be as careful as we want, but this isn’t a fight we can run from. We gained so much ground in the past three years, and even took down the Azurecloud Continent. We must continue on to take the Land of Three Skies and fight our way south on five fronts. The wargodeans and Blueblood Starocean will work with us to curb the first-rate sects. It should've been an optimal chance for us. We can't afford to send no good news back, especially after we lost five million troops to the Azurecloud Divine Tree. If we stop now, the effort of the past three years would all go to waste," Situ Yin said. Victory was just within sight! Yet even so, the uncertain waters ahead still made them hesitant and fearful. They would be wandering in blind while the other side scrutinized every move they made.

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"Will our moles be able to uncover the truth of how our scouts and informants got wiped out?" Li Tianyi asked.

"Temporarily not. I suppose only the alliance leaders will be aware of it, though I doubt the dreamless celestial emperor will be among those in the know," Li Mumu said.

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"The dreamless celestial emperor? How are negotiations with him?"

"We might have a chance."

"He'll make the wise choice," Li Tianyi said, smiling.

"It isn't just him. We still have an opportunity to approach the other alliance leaders. Once we have them, the secrets of the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect will be revealed to us. The Northdipper Swordsage, for instance, is said to be quite ambitious and opportunistic. I doubt he has any grand and noble intentions, so we can probably sway him with the right price. With the Empyrean Sword Sect on our side, we won't even have to fight this war," Situ Yin said, smirking.

"The Northdipper Swordsage... really isn't an easy person to deal with," Li Mumu said, but without explaining further. "How about this—Tianyi, you decide what steps we take next. The emperor's original plan was to take the Land of the Three Skies to demoralize the Myriad Solar Sects. After that, our forces of three hundred million would head south on five different fronts. But now we're stuck at the choke point without any intel. What do we do?"

"I can't say for sure. It isn't my decision to make. I'll ask my esteemed father about it just in case. If I mess this up, I'll be wiped out, just like my younger brothers. I'd like to live a few more years if I can," Li Tianyi said before he entered a secretive formation.

"Didn't the sun emperor say that no disturbance was to be permitted during such a crucial time?" Situ Yin asked.

"Perhaps that matter worked out," Li Mumu guessed.

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"Perhaps..." Situ Yin paused for a moment, then continued, "even though Tianyi is obedient, he's perhaps a little too obedient. He never has his own opinions and almost religiously does what the sun emperor says." In other words, he was carrying out the will of the sun emperor at all times, never his own.

"What do you think the emperor will decide?" Li Mumu asked.

"What else? The Divine Sun Palace has lost its control wheel. We only have one divine astralship. Now that we've lost our eyes, we can't afford to fight this war and waste the lives of our own troops."

"So we can only attack after we learn how our eyes were wiped out."

"That's right. If it weren’t for that, our thirty million troops and those of the wargodeans and Blueblood Starocean could easily take the enemy down by encirclement." That was the key to their plan. It would be the first time in many years that the celestial orderians bore down with their full military might, yet even that seemed to be a non-starter given what had happened.

Li Tianyi ended his conversation and left the formation with a troubled look.

"What’d the emperor say?"

"We’re to proceed according to our original plan."

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