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Chapter 2279: 2279. Turn
Noah felt a headache trying to take control of his mind while he inspected the Foolery's battle. The pig had obtained a troublesome power, and even the clearly superior Dec.u.mia was struggling to face it.
Noah soon stopped focusing on the Foolery to bring his attention back to his task. Snore was keeping its opponents busy inside its dark world, so only the spherical cage made of roots required some work from his end.
Nevertheless, the parasite was enjoying the influx of potential coming from the ethereal blackness. Noah had even killed one of the privileged cultivators from that team, which made escaping the cage quite hard.
The privileged cultivators still tried their best to defeat the disposable a.s.sets and create holes in the array of roots. Yet, Noah launched piercing slashes whenever someone came close to escaping the cage.
That approach was slow, but it allowed Noah to save energy when fighting against multiple powerful a.s.sets. None of those privileged cultivators were at his level, but they could create problems if they managed to corner him through a joint offensive.
The issue didn't involve the overall amount of power that those experts were capable of summoning when working together. Noah had to be careful about their energy reserves since even his incredible world couldn't overcome that hurdle in that situation.
Truth be told, Noah had come close to approaching his limits a few times already since the beginning of the final battle. After all, fighting a fully-fledged privileged cultivator in the solid stage required him to go all-out.
However, the nature of the ethereal blackness had allowed Noah to keep fighting. Every victory generated more potential and refilled his world with valuable energy. He couldn't approach the breakthrough with that method, but he could remain a significant threat to his opponents.
That was Noah's task. His organization had a vague plan for the final battle, and his role was quite important. Keeping so many privileged cultivators busy greatly helped his side and would eventually grant it a stark advantage during the last phases of that war.
Still, Steven's death had added sourness to that role. Noah kept diverting his attention from the trapped experts to glance at other significant battles. He didn't want to get in the way of his companions, but he felt the urge to fight against stronger cultivators.
Noah knew that the urge probably had roots stretching deep into his world. He had already confirmed that he would need to defeat one of the enemy leaders to advance. His constant desire to obtain more power naturally pushed him toward those opponents, and he had to suppress that feeling to stick to his role.
Yet, Noah had never been great at holding back. He could feel that desire fusing with his violent thoughts and the emotions caused by Steven's death to create something unstoppable.
Of course, that alone couldn't distract Noah from his role. He had responsibilities, and a mistake from his end could be fatal in the grand scope of the final battle.
The problems started at that point. Noah could suppress an urge, but proper thoughts were harder to ignore. Dealing with instincts wasn't an issue, but he found it difficult to face them once they became somewhat reasonable.
'This is our best shot at retaining energy,' Noah reminded himself. 'Heaven and Earth will free themselves at some point. We need to be ready for them.'
'I need to trust my companions,' Noah continued in his mind. 'This is only the beginning. Everything will change once Heaven and Earth arrive.'
'Why is he still staring at me?' Noah eventually thought while glancing toward Caesar.
Caesar wasn't affecting the battlefield in any way. He was also holding back his influence as he hovered in a relatively empty spot before the sky. Still, he had long since decided to keep his attention on Noah, and the latter didn't know why.
'Does he know that I'm about to snap?' Noah wondered. 'Is he doing this to make that happen quickly?'
Noah couldn't find answers, but the issue remained. Caesar's smug smile was a scene that he couldn't ignore. That gesture also influenced the sore feelings caused by Steven's death, making them stronger than ever.
Everything was going fine on the battlefield. The landma.s.s' forces were still suffering defeats from time to time, but their momentum was set in stone. Heaven and Earth's leaders were the only exception, but Noah expected as much.
In theory, Noah could find replacements for his task. Emperor and Queen could handle more opponents, and Snore didn't need his help to deal with the experts trapped in its dark world.
Yet, Noah knew that going after Caesar right now wouldn't lead anywhere. He wasn't strong enough to affect his world. The exchange at the beginning of the final battle had already proven that.
A series of exchanges followed those thoughts. Noah focused on sending the cultivators who tried to escape his cage back to its center, but he failed to inflict deadly blows.
Noah would have to enter the cage and summon some of his strongest attacks to kill the experts, but the roots were already wearing them down. He would win as long as he kept his opponents trapped there.
The wait didn't benefit Noah's mental state. He could feel Caesar's gaze on him while he dealt with his opponents. The arrogance and challenge behind that gesture triggered instincts that he wanted to keep under control, but he still didn't let his emotions take over his mind.
A random slash eventually led to a surge of potential inside the ethereal blackness. Noah noticed how one of the cultivators inside the cage had finally fallen prey to the many threats contained by the roots. That death had partially refilled his world, but he quickly used that energy to send more power to his technique.
That trend seemed indestructible. Noah and the others were doing it. They were cornering Heaven and Earth's forces, and the final battle almost appeared on the verge of falling completely in their favor.
"Come on," Caesar eventually spoke. "I know you aren't happy with this."
Caesar's voice spread through the entirety of the higher plane, but everyone knew the target of those words. Noah ignored that challenge and continued to focus on his opponents. Snore even ended up killing one of the privileged cultivators, so he could distract himself by enjoying the new potential filling his world.
"You know that these victories don't mean anything," Caesar continued. "You must kill some of us to advance in the right direction."
Noah revealed his cold smile toward Caesar before sending more potential toward the cage. Flowers grew from the roots and gave birth to seeds, which generated more branches of the parasite.
The new branches stretched inside the cage and filled the area with corrosive energy. Only the dark world's creations could survive that new environment without using any additional power, so the privileged cultivators' situation greatly worsened.
"I never thought the great Defying Demon would be happy squas.h.i.+ng ants," Caesar announced. "The cultivator who gave you that t.i.tle would be greatly disappointed."
"Why are you even trying to bait me?" Noah asked. "You know what you have to do to force my hand."
"So cold," Caesar laughed. "Did you even feel anything for your friend's death?"
"I will kill you," Noah calmly stated. "It's up to you to decide when."
"I guess I have to make the first move," Caesar shook his head while his bright smile remained on his face.
Caesar waved his hand, and Noah shot backward when he noticed changes in the void's s.p.a.ce-time array. Faint energy was affecting that structure, and his technique suffered during the process.
The cage of roots shattered, but the power it contained returned inside the ethereal blackness. The same happened to Snore's dark world. The snake saw its destructive energy disappearing while its body teleported next to Noah.
The privileged cultivators who had been trapped inside Noah's techniques didn't hesitate to run away. They appeared exhausted and full of injuries, and their poor state rea.s.sured Noah.
"You reverted the very existence of my techniques," Noah exclaimed, "But you couldn't remove their effects. I'm getting there."
"Is this enough to make you come here?" Caesar wondered.
"You know it is," Noah replied. "The time has come then. Shafu, it's your turn."