LOOG Chapter – 48

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Chapter 48: A Zhen Bird

Smoke choked Daolu. As the Fire General’s troops poured into the city, fires raged, and the citizens who couldn’t cower in their houses ran screaming into the streets. In certain key locations, Golden Dragon and Pure Phoenix fighters held firm against the enemy soldiers. However, most members of the sect were already fleeing via the prearranged routes established by Dragon Lord Sima.

A gentle breeze had sprung up, ensuring that the smoke didn’t rise high up into the air, but rather, spread out through the city.

Everything was descending into chaos.

Sunan and Bao stood on a rooftop adjacent to the Pure Phoenix Sect headquarters, strips of cloth tied around their noses and mouths to protect against the smoke.

From that vantage point, they could just barely see into the courtyard, which was occupied by a handful of the Fire General’s troops. No more soldiers had appeared over the course of the past few minutes that Sunan and Bao had been observing the courtyard, leading them to believe that whatever force had been led into the city by the Golden Immortal had already dispersed. This relatively small group must have been left behind to stand guard.

“You’re sure your Phoenix Crown is down there?” Sunan asked.

“It has to be. When the Golden Immortal arrived, we started fighting almost immediately, and then I ran to find you. There was no time for him to search the room.”

“What if one of his men found it?”

Bao shrugged. “Anything’s possible. But I locked it in an iron chest in a hidden compartment under the bed. They seem more interested in burning the city than searching for loot.” Bao looked over at Sunan, her eyes flashing. “Sunan, that crown is dangerous. If it ends up in the wrong hands….”

Sunan tightened his grip on the Ox-Tail Dao he held in his right hand. “You don’t have to try to convince me it’s dangerous. Sun Mai and I are both very familiar with what it can do.”

Bao wanted to tell Sunan that the power of the Phoenix Crown was different than the raw power of the spirit of the Phoenix Demon in the fallen star’s unrefined form, but now didn’t seem the proper time. “None of those soldiers down there look very intimidating,” she said. “I’d wager they’re all in the first level or so.”

“Agreed. I still haven’t recovered from the fight with the Golden Immortal, but those soldiers shouldn’t prove to be much of a problem.”

Bao hefted the spear she’d picked up along the way. “We don’t have much time. Let’s go.”

Without another word, she leaped through the air toward the courtyard. Sunan flew along right behind her.

They descended onto the soldiers like a force of nature, showing not even the slightest scrap of mercy. Bao stabbed a soldier through the heart with her spear, then slammed the haft into the nose of another, sending him flipping backward. Sunan severed a head, then unleashed a swinging kick that sent two soldiers tumbling backward.

Bao’s initial assessment had been correct; these soldiers were not powerful Qi fighters, and as such, it wasn’t even necessary for Sunan and Bao to use any of their high-level techniques to defeat them.

There were more soldiers than they initially realized, but virtually every move they made resulted in soldiers dying or being rendered unconscious. A few soldiers inside of the buildings rushed out to join the fight, and yet, barely a minute later, not a single one of them was left standing.

Bodies littered the courtyard left and right, and blood flowed everywhere.

Bao and Sunan were panting slightly, but neither one had received even a cut or bruise.

Sunan wiped the blood off of his Ox-Tail Dao with a rag, and then sheathed it at his side. Bao tossed the spear aside and picked up a pair of butterfly swords laying off to the side. “Come on.”

They were soon inside Bao’s bedchamber, where she quickly opened the hidden compartment and pulled out the iron box. After unlocking it with a key she kept strung around her neck, she confirmed that the Phoenix Crown was safe.

Sunan looked over at the wardrobe which led into the tunnel. “That’s where he came from?”

Bao nodded. “The wardrobe was locked, which means he must have a key or some other method to open the door from the inside.”

“I just wonder how he got into the passage to begin with. We searched it thoroughly after you discovered it. Maybe we should investigate further….”

“No,” Bao said. “Too dangerous, and not enough time.”

Sunan frowned, but nodded his head. “You’re right. Let’s go.”

**

As the flames raged higher in the city, the soldiers and constables of Daolu, along with the members of the Golden Dragon and Pure Phoenix Sects, fled the city. A select few shed their uniforms and stayed behind.

As for Bao and Sunan, they raced through the slums of Daolu toward the Zhen Gate, which was the arranged evacuation point. Upon arrival, they climbed up into the barbican to look out over the city. Much of it was obscured by smoke, but even still, the devastation was already apparent. Sunan gritted his teeth and shook his head.

“Damn you, Fire General,” he murmured. “And damn you too, Demon Emperor.”

“This almost seems too easy,” Bao said.

“What do you mean?”

“Like we’re being allowed to flee. The roads leading from the Dragon, Thunder, and White Rat Gates were all locked down, but the Zhen Gate was completely unguarded. It doesn’t make sense.”

“Maybe it does, Chieftess,” said a new voice. It was none other than Dragon Lord Sima Zikang, flanked by Sun Mai and Mao Yun. Sima Zikang looked haggard and exhausted, and both Sun Mai and Mao Yun had clearly seen better days.

“What do you mean?” Bao asked.

“The Fire General would prefer for us to flee. A protracted siege wouldn’t benefit him, nor would the destruction of the city.”

“But he set fire to the damn place!”

“To some of it,” Sima Zikang corrected. “Not all. We probably set more fire than he did.”

Sunan looked over at Sun Mai. “What of the Golden Immortal?”

“We wounded him,” Sun Mai said, “but didn’t manage to finish the bastard off.”

Mao Yun made a sound almost like a growl. “I somehow feel like this won’t be the last time we run into him.”

A short moment of silence followed, which was then broken by Sima Zikang. “Sect Leader. Chieftess….”

Sunan turned away from the city. “I know. It’s time to leave.”

**

Not too far north of Daolu’s Thunder Gate, three figures on horseback looked at the blanket of smoke covering the city, and the formations of troops pouring into the shattered gates.

They were the Fire General, Love General, and Bone General. They were not alone. However, the soldiers and guards that accompanied them were arranged in formation out of earshot.

Different expressions could be detected on the faces of the three Ogre Generals. The Fire General’s lips curved up into the slightest of smiles. The Love General seemed conflicted. The Bone General appeared to be struggling to contain his rage.

“I can’t believe you’re just letting them escape!” the Bone General snarled.

The Fire General didn’t bother to look over at the Bone General. “My concern is taking this city, not routing the enemy. You never were a big strategist, Gu.”

The Bone General turned his head and spat onto the ground. “You know I hate that name. The language of this place sounds like a monkey vomiting up its intestines.”

The Fire General chuckled softly. “This is our home now. After all the decades that have passed, you surely realize that, don’t you?”

Without another word, the Bone General turned his horse and left. A few minutes passed in which the Fire General and the Love General simply watched the troops entering the city.

A wind gusted, carrying with it the acrid odor of smoke. The Love General sighed inwardly. “Thank you, Huo.”

The Fire General looked at her out of the corner of his eye. “You shouldn’t thank me. This was a strategic decision. I care not for your politicking and scheming.”

“I know that. But after you’ve conquered everything there is to conquer, there will still be much work to do to keep this empire in one piece. We’re going to need people like that Sunan on our side.”

The Fire General snorted. “You’ve grown soft, Ai. You might be the spymaster among us, but don’t think you can hide that look in your eye from me. You’ve let that human boy work his way into your heart, haven’t you?”

This time it was the Love General’s turn to snort. “How much of a fool do you think I am?”

“I never said you were a fool. But you and the Bone General both seem to get obsessed with the wrong things. Do you know how much time he’s wasted chasing that girl here and there? And why? Because she got lucky and killed one of his agents?”

“You know it’s not as simple as that. Gar-El is very protective of us. He was the one who gave the order sentencing her to death.”

“That was years ago, Ai. Much time has been wasted while Gu chased her all over the map, time that could have been spent on much more important affairs.” Not giving the Love General a chance to pursue the topic, the Fire General said, “Daolu is ours, and it will be safe to enter by the time the sun sets. Will you be joining me? There will be plenty of work trying to ferret out the spies and the traitors.”

“Isn’t that the Bone General’s job?”

“Indeed it is. But I suspect he might have other things on his mind. A young girl perhaps….”

A long moment passed, and the smell of smoke grew stronger.

“I hate conquered cities,” the Love General said. “Too much smoke and too much blood. I’ll head back to Yao Gong Palace.”

**

The escape from Daolu was relatively orderly, but some chaos couldn’t be avoided. Soldiers and constables mixed in with the Golden Dragon Sect and the Pure Phoenix Sect, and were joined by a large number of ordinary citizens of the city who didn’t wish to stay behind.

Crossing the Chezou River was difficult considering the bridge had been burned at the beginning of the siege, but by making use of boats and other methods, they managed to get to the other side of the bank. A few people made their way directly south or even to the east. However, the vast majority followed Bao and Sunan to the west, toward the mountains which surrounded Zhifu Shan, one of the five legendary peaks of Qi Xien.

The first night outside of Daolu, they made camp on the border of the forest which led to the foothills of the mountain. Although sentries were posted, everyone was exhausted and out of sorts, and the camp was haphazardly set. Furthermore, there were hundreds of people in it.

Because of that, nobody noticed a shadowy figure fly into the camp late at night and land onto the branch of a tree not too far from Sunan’s tent.

It was a Zhen Bird, an avian creature with a long neck, a copper-toned beak, golden claws, and purplish feathers. Zhen Birds were not unheard of in the north of Qi Xien, and at first glance, this one seemed just like any other Zhen Bird, albeit somehow more beautiful. And yet, if anyone were there to look at its eyes, they would see them staring fixedly at Sunan’s tent, gleaming with something that seemed to far surpass the intelligence of ordinary animals.

As the night wore on, the Zhen Bird remained on the branch, almost as if it were standing guard over Sunan.

Get behind the scenes info and material for your Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate session at the Bedrock Blog. The info for this chapter is really cool! Check it out!

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5 thoughts on “LOOG Chapter – 48” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

  1. Looking forward to the story progress.
    Is this Zhen Bird Hui/controlled by her, or is the Love General more invested than we have seen so far? Or is this the introduction of yet another party?

    Thanks for the chapter.

    Personally, I’d like to know a little more of what Hui is doing, even if it’s small snippets that don’t reveal what she is trying to accomplish. Or it could be more of the ‘mysterious girl’ interactions that we hear about through the MC’s. As it is, she is the first character introduced to us, but I’m not sure what relevance she has to the story other than to give you a plausible reason to have an outcome different from the ‘current time’ of the game world. (My stance as someone with no knowledge of the game.) On the other hand, we are still only less than 50 chapters in, so I suppose it’s early days to be getting restless.
    Do you envision this story to be in the region of hundreds of chapters or 1000+?

    1. The story will be relatively short compared to the long-form web novels. However, there is a possibility that I’ll continue the story past the current “end point” that’s already planned. I really don’t want to say too much for fear of spoiling things. If you’re dying to know the general outcome, you can always get the Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate game book and read some of the chapters on lore and world history. But I’d recommend just waiting until the details are revealed in the story XD

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