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The Great Banyan Tree King finally arrived before the great ghost tower. The land of death within one thousand five hundred kilometres of the tower had become a flourishing grassland. Only a few dozen kilometres surrounding the ghost tower was stuck with grey haze, making it seem even more gloomy.
Several dozen kilometres was not far, but it still played a tremendous role. Attacks launched from beyond a few dozen kilometres would struggle to harm the ghost tower at all.
The Great Banyan Tree King understood the instincts of the Hungry Ghost realm were no laughing matter. This was all the assistance the World of the Nine Provinces could grant him. The rest was up to them.
“Fellow Fengyuan, please do it!”
The skies within several thousand kilometres had all cleared out, with only a white cloud remaining. That was Clouded city. It currently hovered over the great ghost tower.
Li Fengyuan nodded. With a whoosh, he spread his splendid wings, revealing the bearing of a king he was born with. He shut his eyes and swung his hand gently. The thick clouds beneath his feet produced waves of light, which made it become even whiter and brighter.
All of the featherfolk were ready. They spread their wings and erupted with light, pouring their powers into Clouded city.
The white cloud became brighter and brighter as if it was no longer water vapour but a clump of floating white light. The protective formation faded into view. The spherical barrier was covered in complicated, beautiful inscriptions. All of the light gathered directly below the spherical barrier as if a second sun had appeared in the sky.
Li Fengyuan snapped open his eyes. They were filled with light. “Sky Strike!”
The world dimmed as a brilliant column of light whistled down, directly slamming into the top of the ghost tower. Construction was still taking place there, so it was the weakest point of the great tower.
The column of light pierced the layers of death qi and constantly fell lower. Streaks of light poured out from cracks in the ghost tower, shooting off in all directions. The light directly vaporised the white bone at the very top as it stripped the tower away layer by layer.
A Corpse King several hundred metres tall stood at the top of the tower. His response was only slightly delayed, yet the white light had already destroyed a majority of his body, directly falling off the tower.
The King of Southern Yue saw this glorious sight through a cabin window and sighed. “Now that is truly the holy land of the featherfolk. Even a full-powered strike from the Silver Dragon King comes nowhere close! I heard the first Soaring Dragon ship was inspired by Clouded city, but looking at it now, it’s still nowhere close. Otherfolk truly possess wonders!”
“Aren’t you a little too greedy, King of Yue? The featherfolk have existed for who knows how many thousand years. There’s only a single Clouded city, yet there are as many Soaring Dragon ships as you can ever want. That strike basically combined the power of all featherfolk in the world, which includes many that have undergone the third heavenly tribulation, so of course, Soaring Dragon ships come nowhere close.”
There were many great cultivators gathered here, but anyone who dared to directly label the King of Southern Yue as greedy would not come from the Mist province. Instead, it was the abbot of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, the Dauntless monk. The ghost tower had been constructed in the Green province. As the only remaining sect of the three great sects of the Green province, he obviously had to take part. After all, if the Hungry Ghost realm invaded the world successfully, the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga that had just laid a foundation again would face another disaster.
Even when the war between the Green province and the Mist province had already come to an end, it was unavoidable for them to find each other unpleasant to the eye. This was probably just a case of so-called regional discrimination.
The King of Southern Yue smiled like a young man. “Dauntless abbot, may I ask where the Fierce King of Chu is?”
The meaning behind his words were, The Green province faces such a great disaster, yet you still need my assistance.
“The King of Chu is currently right over there, opening up a path with the Great Banyan Tree King.”
The Dauntless monk squinted his eyes slightly and said nothing. The King of Chu he was talking about was Xiao An. She had indeed inherited the position of the King of Chu from the Fierce King of Chu too. Instead, he mocked the King of Southern Yue for only having the courage to hide so high up in the air.
The faces of a group of honoured guests darkened. None of the great cultivators from the Mist province were the kind to live down insults.
The King of Southern Yue said, “Sigh, isn’t this fellow Xiao An the buddha nemesis?”
The Dauntless monk speechless. The buddha nemesis was the mortal enemy of buddhist disciples. This violent conflict and difference even surpassed the conflict between the living and the dead. However, they were powerless about Xiao An, and the threat from the Hungry Ghost realm was much more urgent too.
“I’ve only heard about it in the past, but I never expected Qingshan’s foster son to be so powerful!”
The Unraging monk let out a loud sigh, resolving the awkward atmosphere.
Since the King of Southern Yue had gained the upper hand, he stopped making things difficult for them. “The phoenix is obviously extraordinary. Among the seven great otherfolk races, the featherfolk represent yang. Their powers happen to suppress the undead. With his assistance, our chances at victory have increased by twenty percent at the very least. It’s a pity that Qingshan isn’t here, or who knows how much higher our chances would become.”
The Unraging monk said, “Who knows, he might be able to make it in time.”
“Let’s hope so. Fellows, prepare for battle!”
As they spoke, an extremely dense cluster of death qi surged out from the bottom of the ghost tower, blocking the column of light.
The grassland teeming with life reached five kilometres away from the ghost tower. The Great Banyan Tree King and the great ghost tower stood right in front of each other, within arm’s reach.
The Great Banyan Tree King’s legs separated into roots again and plunged deeply into the soil. Then he spread his arms. His dragon-like aerial roots were like blood vessels and muscles, which swelled up rapidly now. However, as soon as he approached the ghost tower, the green leaves on his arms would all die and fall, and his aerial roots would rapidly wither away too. The laws of death from the Hungry Ghost realm invaded them and added a layer of deathly grey to them.
But compared to his mountainous arms, that was only a negligible issue.
A whip flew through the air like an order.
Black smoke, ghost flames, bone spikes, and thistles all bombarded the Great Banyan Tree King’s colossal body simultaneously, and they all targeted a single point.
All of the Corpse Kings and Ghost Kings had launched an attack together under the command of that Ghost King supervisor.
“Hehe, let’s make this damned tree taste our power!”
A silver streak of light shot over from the side, destroying the combined attack from the undead.
The Silver Dragon King emerged from behind the Great Banyan Tree King. All of the great cultivators appeared. They gathered a colossal amount of spiritual qi, unleashing everything they were capable of in their lives to attack the ghost tower.
With a cry, a large, yellow bird landed on the Great Banyan Tree King’s shoulder gently, singing away loudly at the top of its voice. Its song bore some resemblance to Xiao An’s Soul Stirring Bell, except it was brimming with vitality, agitating the death qi.
A large, colourful snake slithered up the tree, opening its huge mouth and shooting two streams of venom. A Corpse King’s corpse wall blocked it, which melted it into death qi.
In a split second, the daemons gathered, the giant beasts emerged, and daemon qi surged.
Between the great ghost tower and the towering tree, light and shadows intermingled. They were only five kilometres away from each other, but it seemed to separate two worlds. Unbeknownst to anyone, the laws of life and death clashed violently.
Neither the living nor the dead were willing to leave their world and set foot in the other. Even the Great Banyan Tree King was rooted in the nine provinces, grabbing the ghost tower firmly with both arms and pushing it as hard as he could.
The white bones that assembled the ghost tower moaned loudly. Some of the “smaller” bones cracked apart, rumbling like an entire world was collapsing. However, the white bones that were as thick as mountains only twisted slightly. Clearly, this was not enough to collapse the bone tower.
Formations appeared one after another. They were the true backbone of this ghost tower.
Someone needed to venture in deeply and destroy the ghost tower’s structure, but there was only a single person present that could traverse between life and death!
Xiao An pointed her swords backwards, soaring like they were wings. She stepped on the Great Banyan Tree King and shot towards the ghost tower. She was so small and insignificant in size, yet she was like a single firefly within boundless darkness. As soon as she appeared, she immediately attracted everyone’s attention.
The Ghost King supervisor bellowed, “She’s coming! Anyone who can kill her will definitely undergo the fourth heavenly tribulation- no, the fifth heavenly tribulation and become a sovereign!”
The Corpse Kings and the Ghost Kings all roared out in response.
The Dark Queen was about to follow her when Xiao An’s voice rang out in her ears, “Mother, stay away!”
Even if the Dark Queen had spent many years in close contact with ghosts, she was still a living creature. The laws of death definitely would not welcome her, let alone venturing deep within the ranks of the enemy.
The Dark Queen warmed up inside. She understood that her daughter had already become far more powerful than her, and she would only serve as a deadweight if she followed along. As a result, she stopped where she was and made the Void-bellied Ghost King follow her, but she was filled with concern.
The half-destroyed Corpse King fell into the Gate of Hungry Ghosts and sank down even further, gathering the death qi in a hurry to repair its body.
Actually, he had the opportunity to dodge that strike, except the battle was far too dangerous. If it was only the half-god that could control the laws of the world, then so be it. The Hungry Ghost realm had never cared about these tiny obstructions when it devoured worlds. Most importantly, it was the woman called Xiao An. If a legend could be ended that easily, it would not be a legend anymore, so he was better off taking that blow and avoiding this battle altogether.
When he sank to the very depths of the Gate of Hungry Ghosts, the feeling of up and down suddenly switchd, and the familiar Hungry Ghost realm appeared before his eyes again. The gloomy clouds that never dispersed enveloped the barren ground that was piled up with bones and remains.
However, before he could even admire the scenery, a black shadow enveloped him, gripping every part of his body and preventing him from putting up any resistance.
“Sovereign Li, I’m heavily injured! I’m in no shape to fight anymore!” the Corpse King called out.
Soon afterwards, he noticed several Ghost Kings and Corpse Kings in the surroundings. There were even some Ghost Emperors, and all of them were staring at him. Their faces either twisted with sneers or were just cold, but they had no intentions of crossing through the mouth of the hungry ghost and supporting the ghost tower.
He immediately understood that his judgement had been correct. He was merely bait, hung on a hook for a fish to bite.
They used Corpse Kings and Ghost Kings as bait, the great ghost tower as a hook, and the World of the Nine Provinces as the waters to catch a legendary fish.
As for the person behind the pole, who else could it be apart from sovereign Li? He said grimly, “How dare you try a trick like this on me!”
Before he could even say the second half of “haven’t”, the Corpse King’s colossal body was torn to shreds. The undead in the surroundings all fought over his remains like a pack of starving, feral dogs.
Only the Ghost Emperors stayed put. Devouring this Corpse King would not bring too much benefit to them anymore. They refused to disgrace sovereign Li.
One of the Ghost Emperors asked politely, “Sir Sovereign Li, why don’t we just complete the Fang of the Hungry Ghost and devour this world first?”
The Fang of the Hungry Ghost—that was the great ghost tower’s true name. It plunged into the world to invade like a hungry ghost’s tooth, such that it could not escape again.
“Her strength is already close to ascending. We cannot ensure that no accidents happen before the Fang of the Hungry ghost is complete. This world is absolutely nothing compared to her. You’re still not strong enough, so you can’t hear the voice of the Hungry Ghost realm. This time, what it wants to eat the most is not this world. I’ve never seen it in such a hurry before, not even when it devours large worlds. This battle will directly affect the rise and decline of our Umbral Yin lineage. We must take this all seriously.”
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