LOOG Chapter – 42

Previous Chapter Next Chapter


Chapter 42: Qinggong

Located not too far away from Tung-On was a stretch of rolling terrain that created a valley, lined on either side by trees. Currently, a long line of troops, originating from Tung-on, was marching into that very valley.

On one of the hills above the valley, three figures on horseback could be seen. Although none of the soldiers in the army looked at them twice, any ordinary citizen of Qi Xien who saw them would be left trembling from fear, except for perhaps the first, who was a woman.

She had long red hair, and was stunningly beautiful. If Sunan were here, he would instantly recognize her as the Love General. Next to the Love General was a monstrous figure with tusk-like teeth and dangerous eyes, wearing armor that seemed to be crafted from bone. If Bao could lay eyes on him, she would immediately identify him as the Bone General.

As for the third figure, he was someone that neither Sunan nor Bao had ever seen. He was even more intimidating than the Bone General. Although he had similarly monstrous features, his shoulders were much broader, and he was taller. His face was crisscrossed with scars, and he was missing an ear. Whereas the Bone General was like a wicked-looking blade, this third figure was like a weathered battle-axe.

He wore a spectacular suit of yellow and orange armor, crafted expertly from interlocking plates of what appeared to be steel. While the Bone General’s armor seemed to be crafted with the intention of striking terror into the hearts of those who beheld it, this yellow and orange armor seemed designed to simply intimidate. It radiated power, almost as if it were magical, as if even the strongest sword or fastest arrow could simply bounce off of it like a pebble thrown at a boulder.

The third figure was the Fire General. He was responsible for training the Demon Emperor’s soldiers and leading them into battle. He was as skilled a strategist as he was a fighter, and was feared by anyone in Qi Xien who dared to lead troops against him.

The Love General, Bone General, and Fire General looked down into the valley, where three glowing doorways could be seen. They were just large enough for men on horseback to ride through, three abreast. Clearly, they were devices of powerful magic. Most shocking of all was that the troops who entered the doorways emerged in another location, far away from Tung-On!

The Bone General snorted coldly. “You must have paid a heavy price to persuade Gar-El to use three Krahang Doors to teleport the army to Daolu.”

“Quite the contrary,” the Fire General replied. “He insisted on it. He originally wanted me to use four, but I convinced him that three would be sufficient.”

The Bone General looked over at the Fire General with narrowed eyes. “Why does he think Daolu is so important?”

“The Chief Shaman performed a divination. Supposedly, this Sunan is the key to everything. If he builds a power base in Daolu, Gar-El will fall. If we take the city and defeat Sunan, Gar-El will reign for more than a thousand years in peace.”

The Love General shook her head. “The Chief Shaman said all that? I’m still convinced that half of his supposed prophecies are nothing more than drunken ramblings.”

The Fire General looked over at the Love General. “You’ve certainly taken a liking to that human form you’re wearing. You haven’t gone soft have you?”

The Love General’s lips curved into a sneer. “I think not. However, I still can’t believe we’re wasting three Krahang Doors just to try to take this city.”

“The Chief Shaman might be a bit of an eccentric, but his divinations are no sham. He has correctly predicted far too many things throughout the years. Even the revolt in the south would have been much more successful were it not for his assistance. If he says that Sunan is our doom, only a fool would ignore him.”

After a long moment of silence, the Love General said, “I still think it’s a mistake. Sunan could be turned to our side.”

The Bone General’s expression was as cold as ever as he said, “Our goal is to take the city. A single human is of no importance, no matter how good of a fighter he is. If I didn’t know you better, I might also think you’ve gone soft.”

The Love General declined to respond. A gust of wind blew, lifting her hair as she looked down at the troops entering the portals. Although no one could see, a flicker of hesitation passed through her eyes as she tucked her hair behind her ear.

**

Daolu was already in complete and utter chaos. Although the government and the constables had never been well respected, they were the official force of law in the city. With the sudden deaths of Magistrate Pei Bai and Sheriff Song, the city was suddenly without any leadership whatsoever.

Sunan was the defacto leader, although that was mostly due to his control of underworld elements. There were many commoners in the city who had only heard whispers of his name, or at most, stories of some of his deeds. Although the Golden Dragons were well known, to many people, they were simply another iteration of Iron Awl Hu’s organization.

And of course, Bao and the Pure Phoenix Sect were even less understood.

Under normal circumstances, the sudden death of either the sheriff or the chief magistrate would have been followed by one of their minions succeeding them. The Hen-Shi Empire still ruled in the north, with Emperor Tian residing in Nansun, to the west of Daolu. However, Emperor Tian had more pressing concerns, such as the buildup of troops in Tung-on, and didn’t provide even a single response to inquiries sent via messenger bird.

Had it been a single death, Sunan might have been able to “suggest” a temporary replacement for either of them until Emperor Tian officially intervened. But when both men were killed in the same night, it struck fear deep into the hearts of the constables, the government agencies, and the populace in general.

The next day, Sunan contacted Sorghum God, the leader of the beggars in the city, whom he had defeated recently in a duel. With his cooperation, the beggars in the city mobilized to help the Golden Dragon Sect and the Pure Phoenix Sect keep the peace.

It took about three days, but soon the city calmed down and returned to a semblance of its former order.

And that was when the armies appeared.

Only a few days ago, all reports had indicated that the Fire General was massing troops in Tung-on, leading Sunan, Bao, and everyone else to the assumption that they were many days away. Even if they marched at full speed and bypassed Nansun, they couldn’t reach Daolu for ten to fourteen days.

Besides, it seemed much more likely that the Fire General would first take Nansun, which was where Emperor Tian remained holed out. Even if Emperor Tian fled, leaving the city wide open, it would still take days for the Fire Emperor to occupy it effectively before marching on to Daolu.

Because of all of that, Bao and Sunan were both completely shocked when reports began to pour in of armies sighted to the west, north, and east.

“Impossible!” Sunan said. “We have confirmation that the Fire General was in Tung-on only a few days ago. Could this be another army?”

“But from where?” Mao Yun asked. “There are no major cities to the north or the west. Where did they come from?”

Suddenly something clicked in Bao’s mind. “I remember hearing a story once. Supposedly, when the Demon Emperor conquered Huisheng, his army mysteriously attacked from both east and west simultaneously. At the time, no one could explain how soldiers came to be on the east side of the city. Some people even said the Demon Emperor flew the army over the city during the night.”

“A flying army?” Sun Mai said. He rubbed his chin. “Seems improbable, but, at the same time, completely fantastic!”

From the city walls of Daolu, it was possible to see three encampments being set up, in the three cardinal directions. Furthermore, it was to the great shock of the entire city that the bridge crossing over the Chezhou River to the south caught fire and burned down overnight.

All paths had been cut off.

Surprisingly, the city did not descend further into chaos. Most people were so scared that they didn’t even want to leave their houses, and the city went quiet, depressingly so.

Eventually, a command pavilion sprang up in the eastern army. It was a white tent with three banners flapping in the wind in front of it. Each banner was a different color, yellow, white, and black respectively.

No one paid much attention to the banners, that is, until an emissary from the Fire General arrived with an ultimatum.

To whom it may concern:

This city is property of the King of the Pure Ones. Send out the ones named Sunan and Bao, as well as any of their subordinates. They will not be killed or harmed. You have three days to comply. If you comply on the first day, when the yellow banner flies, everyone in the city will be spared. If you wait until the second day, when only the white and black banners fly, then the soldiers in the city will be killed, and the populace spared. If you wait until the black banner flies alone, then everyone in the city will be killed or enslaved without the slightest bit of mercy shown. We have 20,000 troops, more fighters than the entire population of your city. You have no hope, and no other options. Consider well.

With full sincerity,

The Fire General

Word of the letter was not spread among the populace. Despite hours of debate, no consensus could be reached about what to do. Sun Mai suggested that the key figures from the Golden Dragon Sect and Pure Phoenix Sect try to cross the Chezou River by boat, during the darkness of night. The suggestion was met with grumbling. According to Mao Yun, there were enough supplies in the city to sustain them for several days. On the other hand, an army of 20,000 would be very difficult to feed for very long, especially so far away from any supply chain.

“But,” said Sun Mai, “what if they do have flying troops or magical means of transportation?”

Mao Yun had no response.

Late into the night, they adjourned their meeting to sleep. Back in the former residence of the Golden Immortal, Bao and Mao Yun sat in a courtyard, drinking yellow wine.

After a protracted silence, Bao said, “I know what we have to do.”

Mao Yun’s eyebrows rose.

Bao grinned. “Kill the Fire General.”

“And how do you plan to do that?” Mao Yun asked.

“A small group of us can sneak into his command pavilion. They would never expect us to do such a thing. Think about it. We killed an Ogre once already, and that was before we became truly powerful fighters. If we put an end to the Fire General, his army will dissolve. Even if the Bone General gets sent to fill his spot, we should have plenty of time to make our escape, either to the south or the west.”

Mao Yun thought for a moment. “I’m not sure, Bao. Assassination? We’ve never done anything like that before.”

“Come on, Mao Yun, you have to have some confidence in yourself! We’ve made significant progress in our martial arts recently, especially the lightness arts. What did Sun Mai call them again?”

“Qinggong,” Mao Yun replied.

“Right,” Bao Said. “Classical Fei again. With our Qinggong abilities, we could get into that command pavilion in the blink of an eye. We slice the Fire General’s throat and be back in the city before anyone knew what was happening.”

Mao Yun seemed to be wavering, but Bao simply grinned. “Come on, man up! Go get the Claws of the Phoenix. We leave within the hour!”

Get behind the scenes info and material for your Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate session at the Bedrock Blog.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Advertisement

5 thoughts on “LOOG Chapter – 42” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

  1. “to try to take this city” – interesting phrasing; she’s not confident that they will be victorious?

    Thanks for the chapter.

    not to far >> too

    form your wearing >> you’re

Leave a Reply