Unlike the now lifeless and uninhabited streets of Twin Star City, Sky Cliff City was filled with a vibrant sea of people. Without a hint of news as to what had occurred the previous night within the walls of Twin Star City, Zhang and the beauties could be seen casually strolling the streets of Sky Cliff City.
Despite crashing Lord Tian Xuan’s wedding and causing quite a scene, Zhang and his wives did not take any further action since replacing Sky Cliff City’s lord would cause quite a stir amongst its populace and could lead to unwanted events occurring.
“For now, we will leave him be and simply keep a close watch, after things are settled, if needed I can have Sima Yu arrange someone to replace him.” Zhang said to Ling and the others as they walked through the streets of Sky Cliff City, blending into a sea of people while basking underneath the midday’s sun.
Uneventfully, as Zhang and his wives secretly patrolled the city, nothing occurred and in a flash the day came to an end. Contractionary to Zhang’s initial expectations, the coming days were filled with peace and prosperity and not signs of omen had appeared at all.
One could call it the calm before the storm while others could believe that the unknown dangers that had come to the Northern Frontier had decided to go elsewhere, but no one could be sure as to what the future held.
It was not until a total three days and three nights had passed before the forces lurking in the dark began to stir, before the members of the Order of the Blue Moon could be seen treading through the shadows, making their way to Sky Cliff City.
Unlike their previous incursions that resulted in the destruction of numerous villages and cities, this time the Order of the Blue Moon was rather flamboyant. With dark clouds acting as their vanguard, a rhythmic sound clanging metal and a stale stench of death emanating their path, the Order of the Blue Moon’s banners could be seen fluttering in the air as the shining rays of day began to set and the luminous night was about to take their place.
Peering outward into the horizon atop Sky Cliff City’s walls, hundreds of city guards stood with gaping mouths as they watched countless thousands of shady figures approaching their home. Amidst the Order of the Blue Moon’s ranks were thousands of rows of shadows hoping up and down as they moved forward in what seemed to be orderly ranks.
These hopping shadows of course were Jiangshi, otherwise known as hopping vampires, beings that could individually bring an entire midsize city to its knees. Besides the numerous Jiangshi, other fearsome looking sprites and demons of legend, vengeful looking female spirited clad in red robes, gruesome looking sprites with long tongues that snaked out from their mouths and onto the ground, demons with the bodies of humans but the heads of vicious looking beasts and countless abominations that could not walk within the light of day.
Whenever this army of death walked, vegetation withered, water turned murky and crimson, while the air filled with the stench of rotting and putrid flesh.
“An army of Jiangshi, spirits and demons…” Yuying mumbled as a strange gleam flashed through her eyes.
“It looks like someone beat you to it.” Lingqi said as she stood beside Yuying, with a strange expression visible on her face, a mixture of anticipation and intrigue, void of any hint of fear or anxiousness.
Even when disregarding her unyielding personality, after Lingqi had been around Zhang and the other beauties for so long and after encountering one life threatening situation after the other, she had long forgotten the meaning of fear.
“Yup, it seems someone made an army of Jiangshi before you, sis.” Ling chuckled as an expression similar to Lingqi’s could be seen on her face.
“Is it time to fight yet?” Ai could be heard asking in an excited tone as she could be seen leaning over the city ramparts.
“Activate the barrier and let's go greet our guests.” Zhang said moments before Yuying performed a series of hand signs which in turn caused a bright golden colored sphere to envelop Sky Cliff City.
With the safety of Sky Cliff City’s citizens ensured, Zhang and the beauties leaped into the air and sped through the sky, making their way toward the forces of the Order of the Blue Moon. Without the need to figure out the order’s intentions, Zhang and the beauties prepared to do battle.
For simply amassing an army the likes of which few have seen before within the Aurora Empire without permission, there was more than enough reason for Zhang to eradicate the Order of the Blue Moon without even connecting them to the destruction of the villages and cities of the Northern Frontier.
Allowing his power to explode and burst out across the land, Zhang took the lead, approaching the forces of the Order of the Blue Moon at high speeds.
As Zhang neared the forces of the Order of the Blue Moon, his aura collided into the strange black clouds that loomed above the frightening army of the dead, causing the friction in the air to increase exponentially.
Although there was initially a deadlock between Zhang’s aura and the black clouds, the might of a half deity triumphed and the sprawling black clouds quickly dispersed, revealing a beautiful full moon that had been kept out of view.
“Oh, devourer of the heavens, strike down this fool who dares to stand in my path!” Reverend Dark Moon’s voice suddenly rang into Zhang’s ears as a subtle sense of dread suddenly enveloped him.
Before Zhang could react, an iron coffin shot into the sky, its lid sliding open moments before a half-deformed corpse flew out from within.
Scanning the deformed corpse with his divine sense, Zhang could tell that his own power vastly outstripped that of the deformed corpse’s, however he couldn't shake off the sense of dread that it gave him.
“From ashes to ashes, from dust to dust, begone!” Zhang roared as he utilized the power of the Underworld Heart to conjure hundreds of crystalline swords from thin air.
With a simple wave of his hand, Zhang caused the hundreds of crystalline swords to pierce through the air as they glittered underneath the moonlight.
Perhaps it couldn't react quickly enough to dodge Zhang’s attack or perhaps it did not feel the need to dodge at all, the deformed stood motionless, allowing itself to be impaled by hundreds of swords.
Whereas a regular person would have definitely met an untimely end or would have sustained an immense amount of damage from Zhang’s attack, the deformed corpse instead stood motionlessly in midair, glaring at Zhang with icy eyes.
“Detonate…” Zhang said in a low and emotionless voice moments before the hundreds of crystal swords embedded within the deformed corpse’s body began to glow brightly. In the moments to follow, countless cracks could be seen snaking across the crystal swords before a blinding light lit up the night sky along with an ear shattering boom that was capable of waking everything within a fifty-mile radius.
Gales of dust were sent sweeping across the land, knocking down and uprooting countless trees as the howls and cries of countless panicked stricken beasts could be heard as they fled for their lives.
“Tch, not enough…” Zhang clicked his tongue as his body flickered and appeared a short distance away from where he originally was, moments before an arm half covered in flesh shot out from the cloud of smoke that now blocked out the sky.
While it was impossible to tell how much damage Zhang’s attack dealt to the deformed corpse due to its unique characteristics, the fact that the deformed corpse took the initiative to attack alone was enough to tell that it wasn't affected very much at all.
Before the dust could settle and a flicker of a second after Zhang had evaded the deformed corpse’s attack, it roared and shot through the air at high speeds.
Although the deformed corpse hadn't regained its full power due to Reverend Dark Moon, its body was extremely resilient and allowed it to display immense physical strength as it fought toe to toe with Zhang.
As Zhang waved his hand, countless crystal swords to materialized once again. Sparkling underneath the moon’s rays, the thousands of crystal swords looked like twinkling stars from afar as they sped through the air.
Like speeding arrows, Zhang’s crystal swords cut through the air and honed in on the deformed corpse. In an instant, a repeat of what had occurred moments ago played out again. The deformed corpse was once again impaled by countless swords before a massive explosion lit up the night sky and cause everyone's ears to ring.
“Futile…” Reverend Dark Moon muttered as he watched from afar.
However, unlike before, before the deformed corpse could even move an inch, Zhang's waved his hand once again and withdrew thousands of lances from his interspatial ring, these lances of course were smelted from liquid mithril which could be called the bane of all things that had to do with magic.
“Let's see how you fare against these.” Zhang mumbled as he waved his hand and caused all of the mithril lances to drill across the sky and toward the deformed corpse.
Revealing their might, the mithril landed quickly descended upon the deformed corpse, piercing through its powerful body as if it was made of paper and raining down upon the forest below.
Seeing what was happening, creases quickly formed and had spread across Reverend Dark Moon’s brow.
“What are you fools waiting for! Go! Attack!” Reverend Dark Moon roared angrily as he witnessed one of the deformed corpse’s arms getting severed from its body by one of Zhang’s mithril lances.
Although it may have seemed quite a bit of time had passed, in actuality one a few mere seconds had gone by before Reverend Dark Moon and the forces of the Order of the Blue Moon began to act.
Performing a series of hand signs, Reverend Dark Moon caused the Reaper’s Coffin that was strapped to his back to take flight and arrive in front of the deformed corpse where it was miraculously able to withstand Zhang’s barrage of mithril lances.
With the Reaper’s Coffin acting as a shield, the deformed corpse was no longer pinned down and was able to charge out from Zhang’s barrage.
“So, it isn't a mindless corpse after all.” Zhang thought as he watched the deformed corpse charge toward the army coming to its aid instead of trying to attack him like a mindless beast.
Whereas Zhang believed the deformed corpse was going to join the army of demons and ghouls in order to attack him, the first thing it did when he found itself amongst its allies was to reach out and pierced its hand into the chest of an unsuspecting cultivator garbed in black robes.
While the cultivator garbed in black robes screamed in agony, his body began to shrivel up and soon only a lifeless bag of bones was left.
Without batting an eye, the deformed corpse tossed the husk of a body away before glaring at Zhang, showing hints of intelligence in its angry gaze.
Letting out a deafening roar again, the deformed corpse descended toward the ground where it dove into the shadow of a large tree, causing a hint of amazement to appear on Zhang’s face.
But before he could comment, the Reaper’s Coffin, under Reverend Dark Moon’s control, appeared in front of him, its lid sliding open as if it was getting ready to capture Zhang.
A short distance away, Yuying could be seen with a dazed expression on her face as a storm of thoughts sped through her mind.
“Think Yuying… Thank… Why does that coffin look so familiar…” Yuying mumbled. Although she knew the Reaper’s Coffin was an artifact from the Underworld thanks to the numerous runes etched onto it, Yuying was having a hard time recalling who or what was specifically locked within it. It didn’t matter to her how the Reaper’s Coffin had appeared in the world of the living nor how Reverend Dark Moon was able to manipulate it, all of her thoughts were currently focused on uncovering the deformed corpse’s identity.
“Sinners who are beyond redemption, only those who have invoked father’s wrath and only those who are completely taken out from the cycle of reincarnation are sealed away in such coffins However crimes leading to such a punishment often vary and the strength of the individuals sealed away often vary as well, even someone who has yet reached sainthood could be sealed and cast out from the cycle of reincarnation. If only that were the case here, throughout the countless millennia, countless individuals have been locked away into unique coffins, each with their own design and markings, but since I have a vague recollection of this coffin in particular, that corpse must be the remnant of something unspeakable.” Yuying thought as her eyes focused on the deformed corpse.