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105 A Desperate Escape

    For two days Roley teleported over and over again, slowly consuming the entirety of his spiritual essence.

    His face had become easily recognizable by the various pursuing parties, and there weren't much cities left inside which he could find refuge.

    Within the ring, the group was preparing for an all out war against at any given moment.

    Edmund, as one of the few ninth rank cultivators, couldn't afford to take Roley's place, as he would risk wasting his own spiritual essence without the guarantee that they would not have to face a battle afterwards.

    One of their few options, was to stop, battle against the few most insistent pursuing parties, and kill them before the others could arrive.

    There was only one problem with this plan.

    While the cultivators could leave the pocket dimension thanks to the one way passage left by Daniel, Edmund would have problems in moving a large amount of cultivators in case they needed to retreat. So, he decided to take with him only the most powerful amongst their own group, the wood elementals, and the beast races.

    Each of them were cultivators at the eight or higher rank of cultivation. They numbered thirty, and only six of them were part of Daniel's group.

    Roley was almost out of spiritual essence, and that had caused him to slow down.

    He could feel various connections to different point in space being created right before he could teleport away. He knew that the moment he would stop, the pursuers would catch up to him.

    Unfortunately, for how much he wished to keep going, after about an hour, he was forced to stop.

    The moment he stopped, Edmund, Emelnie, Buriath, Leffe and the rest of the high ranking cultivators appeared around him. He immediately entered the ring in order to recover his spiritual essence at a faster speed.

    "I'll block the space and prevent them from calling support. You guys have to finish them as soon as possible." Said Edmund with a dead serious tone.

    A member of the insecta faction took a step forward, and said "Incoming.." before dashing forward and throwing a punch at an empty point in space.

    The punch traveled halfway towards the point where the connection in space had formed, and right before it covered the rest of the way, a man in grey robes appeared.

    The startled man was only able to turn his arm into diamond through the use of earth essence, but before he could move it in the trajectory of the punch, he was sent flying for twenty meters.

    His neck was broken, and his head had twisted at least two times.

    From inside the spiritual cultivator's spatial ring, a small group of cultivators started to appear around the body.

    At the same time, four more connections formed in the surrounding area.

    Four cultivators that belonged to Edmund's side tried to attack the teleporting spiritual cultivators just like the member of the insecta races had done, but the present group of cultivators which had arrived with the first one were able to prevent something similar from happening again.

    From each of these connections appeared a spiritual cultivator, and from each of their rings, another small group of three or four high ranking cultivators came out.

    In the span of a few seconds, two parties of equally large size were facing each other.

    The two sides had more or less the same amount of people, and yet the spatial connections kept forming.

    While Edmund's group attacked the other side, he desperately tried to win the control over the surrounding space, thanks to his powerful and pure spiritual essence.

    For a few minutes, flashes of multicolored lights started to brighten an area of kilometers.

    Meteors fell from the sky and crashed against thick bolts of lightning. Humongous tree roots appeared out of the blue and whipped left and right before being cut to pieces or burnt to ashes.. Massive rocks floated in the air and crashed repeatedly against large walls of ice.

    Ki attacks flew left and right while the sound of clashing weapons accompanied the show of fleeting lights and sliced rocks.

    The fight kept going for fifty minutes, and with an intensity that hadn't decreased in the slightest in time.

    Despite the similar amount of cultivators and the similar levels of power, the cultivators of Edmund's group held a slight advantage.

    It was only at the end of these fifty minutes that Edmund, due to the extremely small amount of spiritual essence that he had left, lost the control over the surrounding space and allowed more cultivators to join the enemy side.

    These newly arrived cultivators weren't at the same level of those who had arrived first, but due to the large number, they could still make damage against Edmund's group.

    The advantage in battle slowly tipped over, and in a matter of minutes, Edmund's group found itself in the losing side of the battle.

    For a few more minutes, Edmund and the rest tried to hold the enemies off while consuming pills and alchemical products in order to speed up the production of ki and spiritual essence, but that was clearly not enough.

    When the situation was starting to become dire, and a few high ranking cultivators on both side started getting severely injured..

    "ENOUGH!!"

    A powerful and deafening voice started to reverberate in the air. The tone was confident and domineering.

    The two sides stopped fighting and turned to look in the distance.

    There, an army of at least ten thousand cultivators of various levels had appeared, and were slowly marching towards the two battling sides.

    "This is not the Tiyar Empire! How dare you invade the great Zenna?!" Asked the powerful man who had talked before, and was currently standing at the head of his group. He was one of the generals of the Zenna's army.

    "I am here under the order of the Emperor to capture these criminals. They are wanted for the crime of murder and evil acts against the population of the Tiyar empire." Responded one that acted like the leader of the Tiyar's forces.

    While the two talked, members of the Tiyar empire kept teleporting on sight one after the other.

    Edmund and the rest of his group observed quietly.

    "What crime could they have possibly committed to justify trespassing into my empire's border with such a large number of troops!?" Asked the general in anger.

    "They are a group of bandits that collaborated with beasts and wood elementals to set waste on numerous cities. At first, we underestimated their numbers, and one of the emperor's son ended up being killed by that man" Said the Tiyar's general with a tone filled with hatred and regret. It almost didn't seem like everything he was saying was completely made up.

    The general of the Zenna empire turned to look at Edmund, and asked "Is that true?"

    The situation wasn't good for Edmund's side. He had to find a way to avoid revealing the existence of the perfect wood treasure, and at the same time, appear as innocent.

    Without any time to think, Edmund responded "That's half of the truth. We lived peacefully in the forest along with wood elementals and high ranking beasts.. It was that vicious prince and his group of thugs that came burning, killing and kidnapping. I've enjoyed snapping his neck."

    The general of the Zenna empire looked at the two one more time, then, he waved his hand.

    From the army behind him, three soldiers approached. Each was holding a badly injured cultivator.

    "Then I guess that the story these three have told me.. That the wood elementals possess a perfect wood treasure.. And that you've been following them to the risk of causing a war to start between our two empires, isn't true.." Said the general sarcastically.

    Suddenly, his chest swelled, and he burst out shouting "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE PLAYING FOR A FOOL!"

    The eyes of the leader of the Tiyar's forces darkened. He looked at the three men and recognized them as captured members of his army. He then turned towards the general, and said with a solemn voice "The wood treasure was born within our territory, and therefore, belongs to the Tiyar empire."

    "To me, it seems that it belongs to the wood elementals.. And they are in my Zenna empire." Responded the general while smirking.

    The leader of the Tiyar's forces was in a tight spot. He couldn't back down on this even if he considered the fact that the numbers of his group were much smaller.

    It didn't matter if he went back to the Tiyar empire to get more forces and start a war.. The moment he would take his eyes off the perfect treasure, he would never see it again.

    "You are willing to cause millions of deaths for a wood treasure?.. Can you live with the shame of putting your empire at risk for greed?." He asked in a grim tone.

    "HAHAHA!" The general of the Zenna empire suddenly burst out laughing. He then responded with a self righteous tone "My empire has been invaded by a force of hundreds of foreign cultivators.. Leading my empire's troops to fend off invaders is my job. And I take pride in my job."

    "CHAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!" Shouted the general, sending his army to attack the invading party.

    "Capture them! NOW!" Shouted the leader of the party from the Tiyar empire while pointing at Edmund's group. He wanted to capture them before the army of the Zenna empire could reach them, and flee towards the Tiyar's empire borders.

    The fight started once again, and more violently than ever. Edmund and the rest were already injured and tired, and the only thing they could do, was to hold back a few of the most powerful cultivators while trying not to be killed.

    The more time passed, the more parties from the Tiyar empire appeared. These where the weakest parties, and in it, there were groups of hundreds of heavily armored cultivators at the sixth and seventh rank of cultivation.

    In the minute the two group and started fighting again, Edmund's side had already lost four people. Two wood elementals had been burned to ashes by spiritual cultivators that were adept in fire essence, one of the high ranking beasts had been surrounded and killed by four martial cultivators, and finally, one of the members of Daniel's group had been killed by a random shard of ice that entered his ear canal and perforated his brain.

    They only felt relief when, finally, the army of the Zenna empire arrived, and engaged against the cultivators of the Tiyar empire.

    The side of the Tiyar empire hadn't immediately been obliterated as one would think. In fact, the very moment the army arrived, a large number of lower level cultivators came out from their various spatial rings.

    In the span of a second, the Tiyar empire counted an army of two thousand cultivators between the fifth and ninth rank.

    Most of these cultivators were heavily armored, or wore leather armors along with hooded capes that covered their faces and body.

    As the two armies crashed, Roley came out of the spatial ring and appeared right next to Edmund.

    One by one, he and Edmund teleported all the members of their group back into the ring. Then, completely out of spiritual essence, Edmund looked at Roley and said, "Good luck kid.." before entering into the pocket dimension as well.

    The spiritual cultivators of the Tiyar empire, now focused on fighting back against the enemy army, failed to notice Roley's actions until now.

    They immediately stopped fighting, and focused on blocking the space around Roley instead.. but it was too late.

    In the time the many cultivators had taken notice of him, Roley had already waved his hand, and opened a stable portal in the air.

    "STOP HIM NOW!!!" Shouted both the general and leader to their own groups.

    Many martial cultivators dashed towards Roley, and two of the closest ones were able to reach him before he could enter the portal.

    Various dark brown spikes spurted out of the ground and attempted to impale the martial cultivators. One of the two wasn't luck, and even if he jumped in the air fast enough to avoid the stone spikes, he didn't notice the blade of ice that decapitated him.

    The second martial cultivator was able to avoid both attacks and approach Roley, but the time he had wasted in avoiding the attacks, was enough to allow Roley to enter the portal.

    Instead of giving up, the martial cultivator dashed towards the portal, and stuck his entire arm inside it.

    He seemed to have caught something, which he tried to pull back on the other side of the portal.. But after he noticed that the portal had become too small, in order to avoid it closing on his arm and cutting it clean off, he let go.

    After the martial cultivator pulled his arm back, the portal closed.
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