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

Chapter 854: 854. Retrea
The two bloody halves of Icy Stare's corpse started to morph as the red halo kept them floating in the sky. Their size grew, and a layer of gray hair appeared over her maimed robe.

Noah instinctively took a step back. He had never seen anything like that, but he knew that the effect of some inscription.

As he focused on the rest of the battlefield, he noticed that there were other areas where the same red halo had surrounded the corpses of the dead heroic cultivators of the Empire.

The Elders of the Hive and the Council were as confused as him at that sight. Yet, their eyes didn't linger too much on those events. They looked for the leader of the troops of the Elbas family.

Andrew was aware of what was happening on the battlefield, but even he found it hard to hide his surprise. His expression was a mixture of curiosity, amazement, and greed as he stared at that red light.

The gazes of his allies forced him to snap out of his thoughts. He had to the situation through the notebooks that the Royals had spread among the troops.

"This is the Second Life formation. We can't win this time, but we must fight anyway." Andrew said.

His explanation ended there, but the other higher-ups of the army had learnt to know him reasonably well in that period of battles. They knew that his knowledge was incredible when it came to inscriptions and that they should trust his judgment.

Noah couldn't trust a member of the Elbas family, but he respected his expertise enough to do as he said. His attention though didn't leave the halved corpse of his opponent, which had transformed entirely in those seconds.

Icy Stare's corpse had disappeared, and the maimed body of an ape-type magical beast had taken its place. The red halo began to vanish at that point, and Noah flew under it to grab the corpse when it started to fall. The two bloody halves of the ape's body landed in his arms when the effect of the inscription vanished, and Noah could finally analyze that creature.

The ape had been cut in half, but what surprised Noah the most was that its skin had the same kind of injuries that he had inflicted on Icy Stare. Under the layer of hair, he saw signs of burn and aging that were a perfect copy of what his opponent had endured during the battle.

'What is even happening?' Noah thought as he kept analyzing the beast.

Countless ideas surged in his mind as he tried to understand the purpose of that inscription. The Divine Deduction technique was still active too, so it didn't take him much to come up with a few hypotheses.

'The trigger of the inscription is the death of a heroic cultivator,' Noah thought as he gazed at the ground. The human cultivators of the Empire kept on fighting and dying under the assault of the invaders, but no red halo came for their corpses.

'According to the name given by Andrew, this should be a life-saving formation specifically meant for heroic cultivators.' Noah concluded in his mind. 'Yet, not for all of them.'

Noah turned his eyes on the battlefield and noticed that the halo didn't engulf all the corpses of the enemy heroic cultivators. It seemed to reach only for half of them, which turned into ape-type creatures too before falling lifelessly toward the ground.

The sole idea that something like that existed made Noah concerned. There were so many majestic and miraculous aspects of the inscription methods that he ignored completely.

Yet, he knew that they had to respect the fairness imposed by Heaven and Earth, which meant the price to pay to save the lives of those heroic cultivators had to be enormous.

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'What is the value of a cultivator in the fifth rank?' Noah questioned himself as he looked toward the forest that covered his view of the ground. He was almost sure that an intricate formation was right there, but he couldn't be certain that it was connected to the red halo.

Noah suppressed his thoughts after a few seconds. The war was still happening around him, and the Empire had just started to activate its defensive measures. The victory was not in sight.

Three blue pillars formed in the air and radiated their destructive light to push back the invading troops. Hundreds of shadows set off from the forest and joined the battles in the sky. Powerful hybrids came out of the terrain and roared as they flew toward the first target in the heroic ranks that they could find.

The intensity of those defensive measures was on a completely different level compared to the others seen in the other territories. It was as if the Empire considered that region as its headquarters in the same was as the Hive saw the forest of White Woods.

It wasn't a surprise. Each one of the four organizations had invested a lot in the first territories that they colonized, turning them into proper strongholds that were extremely hard to conquest. Only a series of attacks aimed to deplete the reserves of energy that fueled them could lead to a victory.

The Elders of the Council used their battle formations to block the blue pillars, but they managed to prevent only two of them from affecting the environment. The last one unleashed its full might on the invading troops, injuring them and pushing them back.

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Only a couple of assets died in the process, but they had already been injured in the battles. All the others had reacted in time since they were used to that blue light by then.

The shadows had never been a real issue in the other territories, but they were a real problem there. Facing hundreds of copies of heroic cultivators was hard even if those shadows could only perform the same attack over and over again.

Also, there were still the other cultivators of the Empire to mind, so the invaders couldn't just take care of the shadows first.

The hybrids were a problem too. There were far more of them compared to the battle on the mountain chain, even if there was the same number of specimens in the fifth rank.

The invading forced did their best to kill as many cultivators of the Empire as they could and deplete the resources used by the formations. Still, it quickly became apparent that they were slowly losing their positive trend in that battle.

There were too many defenses to face, and some of them were a threat to rank 5 cultivators. Also, the fact that the red halo replaced some corpses of the defeated with apes made the invaders feel dejected about whether there was even a possibility to win.

Because of those factors, no one felt surprised when Andrew, Elder Regina, and Elder Julia ordered a general retreat. The first battle for the last territory of the Empire in the new continent went on the defenders.

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