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The moody atmosphere didn't distract the group from their purpose. King Elbas, Noah, Great Builder, Divine Demon, and Steven alternated themselves while exploring the cavities to divide the corpses equally.
The group mostly met puppets at the bottom of the ninth rank, but stronger versions appeared from time to time. They easily calculated how to divide them, and they didn't hold back from speculating about the depths of Heaven and Earth's preparations.
Some of the puppets could become liquid stage cultivators once filled with energy. A few of them could even aim to reach the solid stage after obtaining a world. The rulers' new army appeared immense and scary. It seemed a better version of the Legion, even if its members weren't exactly as strong as hybrids.
Everyone did their best not to trigger traps, but some defenses inevitably activated once the group killed and stole a dozen puppets. Sparks gathered in the crystal walls before giving birth to giant crackling avatars that tried to fill the immense separate dimension.
Many avatars had power in the middle tier. That sight would normally scare away entire armies of cultivators, but Noah's group faced their opponents fearlessly. King Elbas and Noah even made sure to isolate the battlefield to prevent the activation of more traps.
Nothing could stand in the path of the seven experts. Great Builder and Supreme Thief were monsters in the liquid stage, while Steven, Wilfred, and Divine Demon had just stepped into the ninth rank. Their power was incredible, but Noah and King Elbas didn't fall short in that battle.
The horde of crackling avatars vanished quickly, so the group could resume the looting. Each puppet contained a decent amount of energy even if their centers of power were empty. The raw organic materials that made them were strong enough to satisfy most rank 9 magical beasts due to the improvements that Heaven and Earth had implemented to that fabric.
Noah felt something only when he devoured the puppets ready to become liquid stage cultivators, but his potential obtained benefits during the whole process. He was stealing directly from Heaven and Earth, so the anger inherited from Robert's existence intensified after each successful theft.
The separate dimension was immense. Noah and the others couldn't help but remain speechless in front of the sheer number of bodies that Heaven and Earth had prepared for their followers and laws.
The number of bodies described the potential power that the rulers could deploy if their fairness didn't limit their freedom. Moreover, King Elbas, Noah, and Great Builder believed that the separate dimension was only one of the many locations created by Heaven and Earth to contain those puppets, which hinted at the existence of a far larger army.
Noah had always known that the sky could contain hundreds of rank 9 cultivators since Heaven and Earth had been in charge of the world for entire eras. Yet, the contents of the blinding separate dimension made him rethink his initial estimate. The rulers might have thousands of rank 9 experts hidden inside their cities.
Noah wasn't the only one to realize that. The separate dimension was a window that allowed the group to explore Heaven and Earth's power, and some conclusions were obvious. The rulers were far stronger than predicted, but that felt almost expected at that point. Overcoming them wouldn't be considered impossible otherwise.
The group's mood plummeted whenever they met a puppet with the potential to reach the solid stage after obtaining energy. Wilfred even counted them with his fingers to highlight how deeply those scenes hit him. Those bodies represented opponents at the peak of the cultivation journey that they would eventually face. It was almost normal to feel worried about the future.
Noah felt conflicted. He hated the idea of being so far away from his goal, but those scenes also rekindled his hope. His requirements had become insane after his experiments with the ethereal blackness, so he had started to wonder whether the entirety of the higher plane could meet them. Still, it seemed that Heaven and Earth had him covered. The sky definitely had enough energy.
The group remained inside the blinding separate dimension for a long time. The stronger puppets needed longer to break or capture, and the random activation of traps slowed down the exploration even further. The area was also immense, so the experts spent many years gathering energy or stealing valuable materials.
A change happened after the group hit the ten years mark. An even brighter light suddenly ran down the crystal walls and filled the various cavities that still had the giant bodies in their insides. Intense energy filled the entirety of the separate dimension and made King Elbas prepare the escape route set in advance.
Noah and the others gathered around King Elbas and deployed their defensive abilities. None of them complained when they noticed that their companion waited before activating the teleport. Everyone had silently agreed to inspect the sudden event instead of running away immediately.
The cavities lit up even if blinding whiteness already filled the entirety of the area. Energy entered the bodies inside those holes and activated their structures. Multiple auras spread throughout the separate dimension as the puppets took life and flew out of their chrysalises.
Noah's team could gain a glimpse of Heaven and Earth's new army, and the sight was breathtaking. The puppets didn't gain actual worlds. The rulers had only given them enough energy to make them exit their cavities, but the auras that they released remained oppressing.
Each puppet appeared far stronger than the usual cultivators in Heaven and Earth's system. It seemed that their improved structure could enhance the energy flowing out of their centers of power and add specific effects.
Of course, the puppets' auras didn't have any unique effect now since they lacked worlds. Still, Noah's group could notice and study many features now that the improved cultivators had activated. Nothing escaped their senses as they stared at the army amassing next to the crystal walls.
The army didn't attack. The puppets limited themselves to fix their glowing eyes on the black sea that contained Noah's group. No emotion appeared on their faces, but Noah and Steven could sense a slight annoyance in the auras that filled the separate dimension.
Noah and Steven exchanged a knowing glance. Their anger toward the rulers had granted them improved senses when it came to matters related to the sky. Both experts could understand that Heaven and Earth didn't wake up to interrupt that destruction. They had only prepared a mechanism that would allow them to salvage most puppets if an invasion were to happen.
The puppets' gazes pierced the dark world and the other defenses around the group of experts before moving upward. The separate dimension started to shatter, and everything turned into primary energy that fused with the world before the experts could absorb any of it.
The usual light of the sky shone on Noah's group and the army, but no storms managed to reach their position. The sheer pressure that enveloped the entire area was too dense for those chaotic laws. Even the largest gales shattered as soon as they entered the range of those oppressing auras.
The many puppets didn't do much. They shot toward the sky as soon as the fabric of space stabilized before disappearing among the storms. Noah tried to use his enhanced sense to keep track of them, but their trace suddenly vanished after they got too far away. It was clear that they had entered the white layer that covered the entire plane.
Author's notes: Also, Chaos' Heir will also resume… You can expect it at the usual release time.
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