The astralscape above was vast and boundless. Past the flaming clouds, one could look at the countless stars that shone and ceaselessly changed. Yet the astralscape in view of Orderia wasn't static. There was a single star approaching it.
The astralscape's nature was one that necessitated a fight for survival between the worlds. The astralscape itself was like a dark forest, while the stars were like lifeforms within. The forest also had trees, boulders, and many other obstacles or hiding places, like valleys or crevices. In essence, while it looked like there was nothing in the cosmic aether but the dark void, many complex structures were actually hidden beyond. For instance, there were places with distorted space, astral abysses, astralcrypts, and even pathways to different dimensions. Word was that cosmic wildbeasts also roamed in the space between the stars, waiting for new worlds to form so they could claim them as their own.
Even with a divine astralship, traversing the cosmic aether was a dangerous affair. Tianming's voyage between the sun and Violetglory was like sailing between two nearby islands without truly reaching the wider sea. That was why he hadn't met any of the hunters in the dark forest so far. Despite the shining stars, it didn't change the fact that the astralscape was a place filled with darkness. As such, it would usually be too late by the time prey discovered the approach of the many hunters within the dark forest, much like sheep on flat plains being hunted by wolves.
A low, rhythmic hum was spreading through a zone in the astralscape. it sounded like a low growl of hunger from some kind of beast. There was a large shadow zone above Orderia that resembled a dark vortex. Any starlight that passed through that zone would be scrambled and swallowed up. As such, there were many lunar outposts under that zone with their miniature fusion formations. Like the Divine Moon Realm, the outposts were populated by their own races, similar to the divine lunarians. To them, Orderia was a far and distant place that almost seemed dreamlike.
However, they didn't really feel any sense of insecurity, as the shadow zone above them was far too large. Legend said that there was no end to it. Those who tried flying in without divine astralships would disappear forever, never to return. It was said that the shadow zone was a huge rock that blocked out the light of the sun, preventing it from being spotted by hunters in the cosmic aether, but in fact, that only created a terrifying problem: if hunters were ever to spot Orderia, their approach would also be obscured by the shadow zone. It would be too late by the time the prey felt the saliva of the hunters dripping down from above.
Currently, a majestic sight could be seen above the shadow zone. A brilliant light came shining from deep within, accompanied by the howls of countless beasts. Two white stars seemed to crawl out of the shadow zone. They were two white nova source worlds, so white that they seemed to oscillate between pale bone and brilliant radiance. One of the stars was larger than the other. They kept moving as they orbited each other, seemingly around a central axis. The orbit seemed to increase their velocity. On the surface of the stars, one would see a large wolf head that shone brightly in the darkness. It seemed to be staring at the shadow zone beneath it.
Countless howls came from both stars. The many denizens of the two worlds had bared their fangs in anticipation. They were completely unlike Orderia or Violetglory, the former a vigorous and radiant world that resembled a hot-blooded youth and the latter a mysterious and elegant noblewoman. The two white stars that had emerged from the shadow zone seemed cold, sinister, and bloodthirsty.
Seeing them was a disastrous omen. They were hunters that killed their prey without mercy. They reached the area above the shadow zone and continued descending. It seemed like it would take quite some time for the large binary system to pass through the debris-filled shadow zone, yet its collision with the sun seemed imminent. Waves could be seen in the seas of flame and bone on both stars. All of a sudden, two flashes of darkness emerged with a velocity ten times that of the stars, charging into the shadow zone. They vaguely looked like two white wolves, but in fact, they were divine astralships.
The Ninedragon Imperial Tomb landed at the Myriaddragon Mountains. While the Nonacrypt Fushen Formation had been destroyed in battle, Tianming and his troops had managed to eliminate more than forty million enemies. Word of that had been sent back to the Myriad Solar Sects. In the eyes of their allies and enemies, it was a victory that was comparable to the battle of the Myriaddragon Mountains, with about the same number of enemies vanquished.
Even more crucially, the Myriad Solar Sects had managed to face off against the Divine Sun Palace's might even without a miracle like the ancient dragon imperials from the Primodragon Cave, obtaining victory with their own power. In fact, the likes of Li Tianyi, Li Mumu, Situ Yin, the Tumulus Pill God, and the Goldring Warlord had all been killed in the battle. Tianming had also managed to escape with the ship despite the sun emperor's pursuit, making him the biggest hero among them. During the battle of the Myriaddragon Mountains, he wasn't the main character, but this time he definitely was.
Word of their amazing performance had renewed the hopes of the cultivators that had to abandon their homes. Their spirits were at an all-time high, giving their morale a much needed boost. While the Fushens didn't feel like they had won, it was a huge victory for the alliance as a whole and some much-needed encouragement for the upcoming fight to retake their homes.
It was also a huge victory in Tianming's books. First, the number of Omnisentient Threads he had had grown to nearly a hundred million during the battle. When he thought that the growth had peaked, the spread of news through transmission stones and word of mouth had increased the number to more than a billion, comparable to the number he’d had in Violetglory. They had deified Tianming, which in turn generated even more Omnisentient Will for him to use, even though many of them hadn’t been there to witness the battle themselves. Many of them weren’t even gods, so the energy they generated wasn't that powerful, but they had large volumes of it to boast of and that number was still increasing even now, pushing his combat ability nearer to that of the sun emperor more and more.
His Imperial Will seemed to be growing just as quickly, allowing Tianming's cultivation level to reach the fourth level of the Solar stage. His own cultivation was still important, after all, even with the Omnisentient Threads. Yet still, he couldn't quite bring himself to relish in the joy. The Sky Palace, the sun emperor, and Skywolf Star were completely overwhelming to learn about. Where would he start? It seemed like a deep new mystery lay before him.