Chapter 1406: CKC, Valkyrie (10)
A distinctly oppressive silence befell the world as the lingering Imperial Heaven Aura swirled in the air and ambient mana of the world.
Li Yungu was a terrifying character, and not a single Ascendant dared to underestimate her, yet the Eternal Monarch Saintess had arrived with peerless momentum and struck out to slaughter her where she sat. The sight was imposing to an extreme.
The Chosen from the World Beyond was utterly shaken by the fact their joint forces hadn't been able to breach Li Yungu's defenses but this female mortal had pierced it with a single word and a simple toss of her halberd. What a monster!
While the Ascendants all observed the direction that Wu Baozhai took off in, their eyes suffused with fierce, aggressive fighting spirit. Not a single one of them was deterred by her strength.
Not. A. Single. One.
They were already conceiving plans, tapping into their decades' worth of training and principles toward the art of combat, war, and survival.
Thousands of miles away from the site of Li Yungu's demise, Wu Baozhai met up with two other exceptional, starfield-toppling women. Na Xinyi and Xue Yifei stood together with a notable space between them. There was an invisible tension that couldn't be easily dismissed between them.
The latter smiled, caressing the contented and obedient Ernu.
"Nice work," Xue Yifei praised.
"..." Na Xinyi remained silent.
When she landed, Wu Baozhai didn't comment on the tension between them, mostly because she also had a feeling that the moment she arrived, that tension only intensified. She knew the cause without a single need to guess, her eyes briefly glanced at the mostly grayed aurora borealis with a single dazzling color.
Wu Baozhai resisted the urge to pout her lips when she thought about that era-defining existence. She said with very little effort behind it, "Thanks." Her perfunctory attempt to accept that compliment spurred Xue Yufei's smile to grow a little.
"You can use the 3rd Grand Transformation?" Na Xinyi asked suspiciously. The 3rd Grand Transformation was Wu Yu's greatest state, granting him superiority in his early Earthly Saints day to dominate the established True Element Sect with ease. There were limitations to its usage, and it should be impossible for mortals to tap into such profound powers of the Imperial Heaven Aura.
"..." Wu Baozhai's eyes flickered vigilantly as she looked at Na Xinyi. Despite her reaction, she didn't feel the need to question how she was aware of the Imperial Heaven Qi Method's 3rd Grand Transformation. She looked at Xue Yifei who only replied with a faint smile as well, seemingly interested yet also disinterested. She only shook her head and looked upwards to the aurora borealis as if trying to gauge the countdown's logic.
Na Xinyi frowned slightly upon seeing Wu Baozhai ignore her question. She was about to speak out when a voice interrupted her.
"We've all made preparations for the competition, let's not dwell on each other's secrets." Xue Yifei calmly replied as she, too, looked at the aurora borealis up above with curiosity and the light of calculation within. But Na Xinyi's frown only deepened, but then Xue Yifei added, "If you must know, remember that she has Grand Knight Wu to seek out ceaseless improvements in her cultivation. Moreover, Cultivation Methods aren't inflexible or unable to be improved upon, even catered to a lesser cultivation realm.
"And if you really want an answer, then you don't have to look very far. After all, the Eternal Monarch Saintess is someone that my husband greatly admires. I'm not blind to it, and I'm sure you're not either." Xue Yifei was Wei Wuyin's official concubine, but she was well aware that he had certain feelings towards other exceptional women, and they had feelings for him. If he wasn't that impressive and capable, she definitely wouldn't be very satisfied with her husband. The only thing that held Wu Baozhai back was her past relationship, but she was still a Valkyrie.
Wu Baozhai's exquisite brows furrowed after hearing that. She didn't care about Xue Yifei's assessment, but was more affected by the usage of the word 'my husband'. As for Wei Wuyin admiring her, she already knew this, but it helped soothe her thoughts slightly.
Na Xinyi similarly felt somewhat uncomfortable with how casually and naturally she spoke those two words. While she had her own goals and wishes in life, she felt in every fiber of her heart that Wei Wuyin was her husband, and she-his wife. It was only after sensing Xue Yifei's Primal Yin that her heart relaxed. While this dragon lady might call herself Wei Wuyin's concubine, she hadn't even wildly ridden his dragon like her.
She smugly smiled in silence.
The three women were all immersed in their own thoughts.
Xue Yifei seemingly didn't care about either of their thoughts. Slowly, she lowered her gaze to look at the far-reaching horizon.
"Your actions have brought trouble," Xue Yifei commented softly.
Wu Baozhai and Na Xinyi's expressions slightly changed as they, too, looked at the far-reaching horizon.
The Ascendants weren't a simple organization; the Ascendants were forged with the grand aspirations of the Ascendant Emperor of Neo-Dawn, forged to lead the new era, handle all matters, and wage war with any enemies. Wei Wuyin hadn't expected his strength to rapidly leap at such a heaven-shattering, hell-rising, and earth-breaking pace, so the Ascendants were meant to gather the strength of all to overcome the power of the one.
However, despite his breathtaking leap in personal strength, Wei Wuyin had never once neglected this organization's development, establishing the Defiant Creation Association as continuous assistance and instilling harsh, intense training into the bones of each member without the slightest trace of kindness. They were trained at levels that would put the typical Soldier of War to shame.
Li Yungu, for example, was an incredibly talented and powerful formation master. She could, by her lonesome, alter the environment to her needs and create the most idealistic battlefield for her allies. Bei Yunhan's tactics of suppressive fire were utterly devastating as well, capable of dealing with countless forces while holding back endless more. Zu Zun was like a tank, capable of meeting the enemy and crushing through any obstacle.
If not for facing Ascendants who acted flawlessly against them, adapting to their tactics like trained machines, such as barraging the tank and archer with super long-range spiritual disrupting spells at a safe distance, they would have been able to fight against an army of ordinary Soul of Mysticism experts from the Sealed Regions with absolute ease. Perhaps even the World Beyond!
However, whether it was Li Yungu, Bei Yunhan, or Zu Zun, they were merely members of the Ascendants. There were tens of thousands of Ascendants, all trained in tactics and had specialized skills that made them absolute monsters on the battlefield.
And now, these monsters were gathering together.
Wu Baozhai wasn't an Ascendant.
One must know that the Valkyrie was a secretive sub-category amongst the Ascendants. Only the Prime Ascendants and other Valkyrie were aware of its existence.
To the world, Wu Baozhai was Wu Yu's descendant and successor. She was the Eternal Monarch Saintess, a world-renowned valiantly imposing female cultivator of outstanding beauty.
To the world, Na Xinyi was a frighteningly talented cultivator who could topple entire organizations with her looks, and had caused even the Imperial Clan to try to claim her but failed in doing so! Fierce. Powerful. Cunning. Breathtakingly gorgeous!
To the world, Xue Yifei was the sole concubine of the greatest mortal in the written history of the eighteen regions, the Ascendant Emperor of Neo-Dawn. She had been, in recent years, regarded as the Number ONE Beauty among mortals, only actively contested by Na Xinyi, Wu Baozhai, Lin Xianxei, and a few others. The debate was as fierce as her battle record prior to the Neo-Dawn Starfield's establishment with no firm decision made, not even by the Golden Gate Pavilion.
None of them were officially recognized as strictly 'Ascendants'. They only had relationships with those from the Ascendants.
So in the astute eyes of the Ascendants, even Xue Yifei, all of them were extraordinary threats. Wu Baozhai had also shown a level of domineering strength that skyrocketed her threat level. When they sensed Wu Baozhai with Xue Yifei AND Na Xinyi, their movements and thoughts shifted rapidly.
Xue Yifei, Na Xinyi, and Wu Baozhai noticed that the Ascendants seemed to be gathering together in the distance. Some of them even concealed themselves. All three had to unleash their greatest Ocular Spells to find the slightest traces of some of them, while others were as hard to grasp as smoke.
Xue Yifei heaved a sigh.
Na Xinyi's eyes blazed with spirited excitement.
Wu Baozhai grinned, her hand tightening upon her halberd.
"The timer isn't a countdown to the battle," Xue Yifei suddenly said as she glanced at the aurora borealis. The Aspect of Extraction's unique light was only growing slightly brighter by the passing second. Wei Wuyin definitely didn't set this timer so that everyone would simply wait around. This, too, was a stage of the competition.
Li Yungu had tried to take the preparation route and was thus routed as a result. Her attempt was valiant and certainly a good move. Unfortunately, she was the first to stand out and the first to fall.
Others, like these Ascendants, were taking the elimination route-to remove the strongest competition first and foremost. None of them lacked a basic understanding of strategy, and these two strategies were simple yet effective.
There were, of course, other strategies to take. But that didn't mean they were inferior or superior to the others. For example, Li Yungu's actions would have placed her in an utterly invincible position. She simply had to wait and take the crown using the world's strength.
If, a strong 'if', she had succeeded.
Similarly, taking out the strongest competition with a temporarily allied group meant less energy expended, thereby increasing one's chances of claiming the crown in the chaos that was bound to unfold.
"Get ready," Wu Baozhai calmly warned as her halberd jolted out fiercely, her eyes a canvas of starry light, and her Imperial Heaven Aura flared.
"I'm tempted to let you fight this out yourself," Na Xinyi teased as she looked at the far-reaching horizon while her two fingers outstretched, a Sword of Yin was conjured; the killing intent emanating from the sword was utterly soul-chilling!
"As if you'd just stand aside and miss this opportunity to show off your strength," Wu Baozhai smiled as battle intent effused from her starry eyes.
"You know me too well," Na Xinyi grinned. She was already walking toward those Ascendants who were trying to gather and unite together. She suddenly paused, "Did you do this on purpose?"
Wu Baozhai didn't answer. She simply began to walk forward, her steps strong and accumulating strength as her Imperial Heaven Aura intensified. A gushing explosion of aura sent the mana into a turbulent state as Imperial Pressure surged!
1st Grand Transformation!
These weren't ordinary cultivators but Ascendants! She didn't dare to hold back too much!
Xue Yifei didn't bother with the duo's banter showcasing their long history and close relationship or their accumulation of internal power. The Ascendants were far too decisive and swift with their decision-making. She already felt over three hundred targeting them.
"I'll handle those from beyond our world," she calmly said as Ernu growled softly, a murderous intent blazing within her eyes. As Xue Yifei was still their 'Royal Highness', they'll still have some subconscious reluctance to deal the lethal blow to her regardless of their training, especially since loyalty was equally branded into their hearts as their reverence for Wei Wuyin.
She didn't think anyone other than the Commanders and Prime Ascendants would be able to overcome that mental barrier. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but she didn't want the two women to capitalize on their hesitancy. In a battle of their level, the two of them would unleash a slaughter given that chance.
"Do you," Na Xinyi indifferently said as she erupted in an illusory Yin Aura that touted a presence that was not a lick inferior to the Imperial Heaven Aura. The two's aura clashed as the ground broke apart and clumps of earth flew about in chaos.
Neither of them were the 'waiting for your opponent' type. They flew off at mind-bogglingly speeds, splitting off as they took two opposing directions after traveling a few hundred miles. They, too, were going the elimination route!
Xue Yifei caressed Ernu and she turned toward a blank portion of the sky. "Let's see how strong the Earthly Saints from beyond the world are." Ernu released a cute roar, her eyes exuding draconic light that could shake the soul.
Xue Yifei explosively tossed Ernu toward that portion of the sky.
The dragon instantly transformed into her largest form, unleashing an earth-crushing chomp toward an area. Within that area, fixed space rippled as a figure exited out with their Mystic Ward erected. Thousands of Mystic Runes swirled around them strongly, exuding a terrifying 9th Runic Ascendant State!