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Published at 19th of October 2020 05:24:23 AM

Chapter 851: 851. Cage
The wasteland didn't have many resources, and the Empire had made sure to empty its buildings before the battle. The only real gains of the invaders were the same region and the contents of the space-rings of the fallen. Still, the leaders of the factions would divide them privately.

Wars were usually harmful to both the attacking and defending sides, and it was possible to determine how worth that effort was only years after the battles were over. For now, the three organizations had only gained some random resources and a large amount of land.

Of course, their primary interest was to weaken the Empire, so they didn't care too much about their temporary losses. Yet, the overall number of cultivators in the world was decreasing at high speed due to those fights.

The crisis that those Mortal Lands were waiting for had finally arrived. The greed of the cultivators had been the cause of that trend.

Similar events had repeated themselves across the millennia, as if in a constant cycle of growth and mutual destruction. The various organizations of the world would increase their number of cultivators until those territories became too crowded, and they felt the need to expand.

In the current political system, the war had begun due to the sudden weakness of the strongest organization.

The invading forces aimed to put the Empire in a situation where it had to surrender all its resources and swear ponderous oaths that enforced its cooperation. After all, it would be pointless to defeat the Empire if it ended up destroying all its riches just to hurt the winners.

Since there hadn't been many injured in the battle over the wasteland, the invaders resumed their assault reasonably soon. After only a month of rest and analysis of the remaining territories of the Empire, the army of the three forces marched toward a region filled by small rivers.

That region was more open compared to the forest next to it, so it would be easier for the invaders to spot eventual traps and similar. They were choosing to take care of the territory that appeared easier to conquest first.

The army of the Empire was waiting for them as usual, but its troops didn't have the same stern expressions that they had at the beginning of the invasion. They looked tired and dispirited as if they knew that they were about to lose again on that day.

Of course, the cultivators on the invading side didn't let that scene affect their judgment and charged ahead just as they did in all the previous battles.

The two armies clashed in a matter of seconds, and the Empire resorted to its usual defensive measures to contain its losses and make up for their fewer assets. The formations in place there created the blue pillars and the shadows, but they didn't add any new defense.

Only the human cultivators saw the defending troops making use of the environment to their advantage. Large packs of rank 4 Swarming Piranha filled the rivers, and most heroic cultivators would die if they happened to fall inside them.

It was needless to say what happened to the human troops that stepped inside those waters. Their entire bodies vanished before they could even scream in pain.

However, those magical beasts were too wild to turn them into a weapon against the experts in the heroic ranks, so the battles on the sky saw only cultivators fighting in groups of various numbers. Only a few experts dared to dive into one versus one battles among those messy fights.

June was one of them. She had finally managed to keep in check her higher energy and reveal only normal "Breath" in the fifth rank, so she could fight without worrying too much about exposing her strength and relationship. Yet, her power appeared quite underwhelming when she faced a rank 5 cultivator of the Empire.

She was a newly advanced cultivator when she used the regular "Breath". After all, all her centers of power had become used to the higher energy by then. She had made it a core part of her strength.

June struggled as she fought against the waves of blue flames launched by her opponent. She gritted her teeth and relied on the Perpetual Formations to increase the output of energy her center of power, but that wasn't enough to match the fire coming at her.

If Noah were to watch her during the battle, he would know that she was considering to forsake any pretense and unleash her real power. However, she held on and kept on fighting with her normal "Breath".

When that wasn't enough to face her opponent anymore, she retreated to join one of the groups of the Elbas family.

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The Royals showed understanding smiles at her decision. It was only normal for someone who had been in the fifth rank for only a few decades to be unable to match other experts.

In their eyes, her decision to retreat was a mature acceptance of her limits.

June could only ignore those smiles. Her mood was quite bad since she couldn't have the battle that she had desired for so long. Yet, she had to hold back to preserve what was important to her.

Also, she knew that being in a relationship with Noah would inevitably force her to fight the best cultivators of that world. She would eventually vent her battle intent.

As for Noah, the army of ice figures entangled him in a battle once again.

Truth to be told, Noah didn't want to fight Icy Stare at that time. He had understood part of his weaknesses and accepted that he couldn't defeat her, so he desired to approach different experts now.

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However, Icy Stare seemed set on fighting him even if she wasn't able to inflict critical injuries due to his tight defense.

Noah didn't understand the reason behind her fixation on him, but he went along with the battle since he had no intention to retreat. Even in a fight that he couldn't win, he would still express his individuality to its fullest.

Icy Stare didn't keep her intentions a secret. When the troops of the Empire started to retreat, and the figures made of ice stopped attacking, Noah heard her voice echoing in the area. "You are too troublesome to roam freely. I'll make you spend the rest of the war inside my ice."

Then, she left along with the rest of the defenders, leaving Noah in the middle of what seemed to be a cage made of ice.

Noah didn't answer her. He rarely spoke during a battle, and he had no interest in shouting after someone that was leaving. Yet, his aura was so sharp that the simple movement of his eyes shattered parts of the frozen sky around him.

It had been a long time since someone had tried to cage him, but he wasn't the human cultivators in need of teachings anymore. Now, he was a monster that she shouldn't have provoked.

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