The group of specters looked at everyone else like they were ants. They descended from their ship like true rulers, scanning the ranks of the alliance and celestial orderians. The leader pointed at himself and said with a hoarse, cold voice, "I am Sovereign Greenvoid of Skywolf."
The mention of his place of origin cemented the fact that Skywolf had arrived. Both the alliance and celestial orderians couldn't help but back away in fear. The trauma from the countless atrocities committed by Skywolf in the previous war had yet to completely heal.
Coincidentally, it just so happened that Tianming had killed a specter ghoul king called Qing Ming back at the Flameyellow Continent, whose name meant 'green' and 'void' respectively, though that specter was on a completely different level.
This sovereign seemed quite satisfied with the reaction he sparked. He pointed at his mechanical wolf and continued, "This is our divine astralship, the Greenvoid Abyss."
The celestial orderians finally realized that the one that shot the sun emperor down wasn't Tianming, but the invaders from Skywolf instead. After the introduction, Sovereign Greenvoid opened his arms and looked ahead. "Our home world will descend here in five months! We’ll commandeer your nova source and take it as a greeting gift. But before that, I’ll personally teach you sheeple obedience. If there's anyone that doesn't comply, stand in line. My Greenvoid Skywolves will send you to hell."
His tone was serious and it didn't seem like he was joking. The celestial orderians and the alliance were shrouded in plain shock. They blankly looked at the new invaders that had shown up out of the blue. The two sides hated each other with a passion, only for a third party to spontaneously burst in and threaten to exterminate all of them. Many people didn't know what reaction they should have to their sudden change in circumstances.
"Do you understand?" Sovereign Greenvoid asked, but nobody answered him. "If you don't, then die."
He made a casual wave and prepared to return to the Greenvoid Abyss. At that moment, the ground beneath him suddenly cracked open! Two figures, one gold and one red, charged toward Sovereign Greenvoid. The celestial orderians relished in delight when they realized that the sun emperor had survived.
"Sun Emperor!" The celestial orderians had finally regained their pillar of mental support.
"Die!" No matter what the enemy said, they had only brought some ten thousand troops with them. Now that the sun emperor had shown up once more, the celestial orderians quickly reacted and turned their troops against the specters, much to the shock of quite a few Greenvoid Skywolves.
"He isn’t dead after all that?" According to the skywolves' experience roaming the astralscape, no sovereign-level figure could take even a single blast from the Greenvoid Abyss! Even if they didn't die, they would be brought to the brink of death. Yet the sun emperor seemed completely fine, and even had an odd red-haired figure fighting with him. The two of them rapidly charged toward Sovereign Greenvoid rapidly, intent on stopping him from reentering his ship.
In fact, Sovereign Greenvoid wouldn't have come out of his ship if he hadn't been quite certain that the sun emperor was heavily injured or dead. Even so, he wasn't one to shirk away from a fight, especially as the sovereign of Skywolf. Though, part of it was probably due to his ignorance of how terrifying the sun emperor was.
"Let me take him on. You guys take on the other one," Sovereign Greenvoid said.
The remaining Greenvoid Skywolves turned their attention to the red-haired figure and swarmed him. On the other side, the sun emperor clashed with Sovereign Greenvoid.
When the sovereign finally got a good look, he realized that the sun emperor was completely unharmed. How can that be possible? It was the first time his heart had ever skipped a beat. When he looked at the sun emperor's eyes, his heart skipped another beat. The sun emperor's body was completely covered in flames, the heat of which applied more and more pressure on Sovereign Greenvoid.
"And there I was teaching my lessers a lesson when you animals just had to show up and start barking, eh?" The sun emperor's booming voice rang in the ears of Sovereign Greenvoid.
"That's quite some arrogance! If I didn't know better, I'd think you were the ruler of a skypiercer-class world!" Sovereign Greenvoid said, snickering.
"Heh." The sun emperor merely chuckled before focusing on the fight. Nine totems and a green wolfman clashed. One side represented the sun, while the other represented a cold green moon. Fire and frost blended together in complete disharmony. There was no sophistication or elegance in their fight, only crude, unadulterated brute force.
"This is a good chance." The appearance of a divine astralship from Skywolf was a great help to the alliance. The celestial orderians had turned their fury toward the Greenvoid Skywolves, while the sun emperor was engaged with Sovereign Greenvoid. The alliance was completely neglected.
"Let's go!" Tianming made his decision and immediately turned tail. He didn't know where he would go, but all he wanted to do was to ensure that his followers survived.
"The Myriaddragon Mountains have been breached, so the Myriad Solar Sects will have much less of a chance of taking it back now. Not even the Empyrean Sword Sect or Divinemight Dynasty would be able to hold off against an invasion of such a scale."
That was the reality of the situation, unless the sun emperor died there and then, but that didn't seem likely. Tianming knew better than Sovereign Greenvoid just how terrifying the sun emperor truly was. "The only thing we can be thankful of is that I didn't completely fail and lose the faith of all these people. In fact, I grew stronger and can use even more power now. Once I’m completely healed, not even the Flameyellow Coffin will be able to kill me!"
If it weren’t for Tianming coming back for his believers, he would probably only have a billion Omnisentient Threads remaining after the fall of the Myriaddragon Mountains. After all, a ruler of a fallen dynasty had nothing left to rule over. Yet he was lucky enough to be given another chance. Even as he retreated, the flames of struggle in his heart still burned bright.
"Even though I failed today and am turning tail to run, all of them still trust me and have entrusted their hopes to me. The heavens have given me another chance, and I won’t disappoint them this time! Perhaps this will be the last chance I’m given." Tianming felt much more awake as a strong breeze blew from behind him. "The arrival of a divine astralship from Skywolf turned the sun emperor's attention away. Maybe this is an opportunity. As long as we retreat and survive, we'll still have a chance!"
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The problem was what he should start working on. He wracked his mind trying to figure it out. Eventually, he saw the Voidsky Flame Pillar and piloted the Ninedragon Imperial Tomb toward it.
"Let's take care of the voidheart worm inside the Sky Palace Formation! Currently, I'm still unsure why the sun emperor went through all that trouble to break through the defensive formations of the many factions, as well as the purpose of the pillar formations. But if I can defeat the voidheart worm and control half of the fusion formation, I’ll be able to turn the Ninedragon Imperial Tomb into a full-fledged divine astralship!" Despite the dire straits, there was still a silver lining. Tianming grabbed it like a lifeline and headed toward the Voidsky Realm.
"Aunt Ying, I need you all to handle settling everyone down. Try to hide yourselves in the wilderness. I will stay in contact with you using Yin Chen," Tianming said.
"Why should we hide? What can we still do?" Long Wanying lamented.
"Wait for me to come back."
"Where are you going?"
"The Sky Palace."
Long Wanying pondered in silence. Eventually, she pursed her lips and forced a smile. "Alright, we'll wait for you."
Tianming hadn't forgotten to leave some Yin Chens behind to observe the battle between the sun emperor and Sovereign Greenvoid as they fled. The fight only lasted fifteen minutes, and Tianming was so astounded by the result that he was stunned for a long time. Yin Chen said that Sovereign Greenvoid had been decapitated and his head was left hanging on the Greenvoid Abyss. The ten thousand or so Greenvoid Skywolves all perished as well, leaving nobody to pilot the giant mechanical wolf, and all of that had only taken fifteen minutes.
Even though Sovereign Greenvoid might not be the strongest Skywolf had to offer, seeing as he was sent as a scout, the fact that he had been killed so quickly was a sign. It wasn't that he was weak, but that the sun emperor was far stronger than the realms of common sense. One could only imagine the sight when the sun emperor dealt the killing blow. No doubt his troops would be jubilant with joy. For them to have such a powerful ruler, they could die happy!
It seemed that the remaining factions were still in grave danger. The three hundred million celestial orderian troops had mostly survived and were more motivated than ever before. Yin Chen said that the sun emperor didn't continue the assault and instead took fifty million troops with him into the Divine Sun Palace before urgently flying back to their territory. The reason for that was that another divine astralship from Skywolf had attacked the home base of the celestial orderians and caused seas of casualties.
"The death of Sovereign Greenvoid isn't the end. Instead, it's a harbinger of more to come. Skywolf won’t relent just like that. They're saving their strength for later. However, the sun emperor might just be capable enough to mount some resistance. Looks like I've been severely underestimating him. Either way, the Myriad Solar Sects and I are the weakest side in all this, and the ones with the least hope. Now, we don't even have a home to return to!"
He felt the burdens stack upon his shoulders, but endured it as he headed toward the Sky Palace.