At this moment, the clans were none the wiser that of the Xintian Legion which they disdained, twenty-odd people were already standing before Xu Yangyi in the branch’s master hall.
“Branch Master.” The slightest trace of respect was absent from a young cultivator’s face. There was only unrestrainable anxiety. “Connections are already finished! What are we going to do next! Your immediate command!”
He could no longer manage respect. His heart was now as restless as an inferno! One late step might spell their deaths here!
Yet waiting for Xu Yangyi here were the resignation letters of all the legions under command! After waiting so long, the branch master hadn’t arrived or replied. None of them could wait, composing orderly and clear-cut missives. All of them were applications to quit being a legion commander!
From A-rank above to C-rank below, there was no exception! A position that left one envious in the eyes of ordinary cultivators was now incomparable with the preciousness of life. Apart from a thick stack of resignation letters and a warehouse of middle-grade spirit stones, there was nothing else.
“Return to your posts.” Xu Yangyi’s expression was motionless, and he gently waved his hand. All the resignation letters transformed into flying ash. “Get ready… to commence total war with the four great clans!”
“Fellow Daoist Xu!” Just as Xu Yangyi’s voice fell, a cultivator couldn’t help but cry out. “H-How is this alright?! We’re not the opponents of the four clans in any way! All they have to do is extend a finger, and we’ll be crushed to death!”
Xu Yangyi coolly furrowed his brows, and the look in his eyes transformed from chilling-iciness to danger. He uttered, “I said… return to your post.”
“Fellow Daoist Xu.” Before he even finished speaking, another fat cultivator gritted their teeth and said, “This is a death wish! We stayed to make contact! Not to follow you staking your life away! And not to get killed with you, either! I…”
“Do you, or do you not belong to the Longsu Province Featherwood Guard?” Chu Zhaonan laughed grimly.
The fat cultivator swallowed his next words all into his stomach, yet he raised his head and glared daggers at Xu Yangyi several seconds later. “I want to resign! I resign!”
“You guys have a death wish!” His expression was somewhat malevolent. This day was the longest day he had ever spent. When Longsu Province received notice that a late Qi Condensation cultivator had been promoted to branch master, the Featherwood Guard broke into an uproar! And then, news immediately arrived that Nanzhou was to be demarcated for war! They had been made to stay behind and make contact, fearing that Xu Yangyi would come fight. So as terror consumed them, they waited for the new branch master, while in the grip of fear. Originally, they had even wanted to feel out whether the new branch master would immediately raise a white flag and protect lives. In that case, they could continue following along with the other.
Since the beginning of yesterday, the fat cultivator’s heart strings had been stretched taut, and he had waited anxiously for the branch master to come. He hadn’t expected that Xu Yangyi’s first command upon just arriving would be to prepare total battle commencement!
Is he insane?! His nerves, strained tightly until now, finally snapped.
“Look outside!” His expression was emotional as he pointed outside the window. “The Bluedawn Winding Corridor! The White Tiger Hall! The Kindling Mulberry Wall! Which one isn’t the name of a palace that shakes the cultivator world? And us?!” His voice was somewhat hoarse as his finger cut in front of the people before him in a circle. “Just over sixty people?! The others have a thousand ready armies! At one mouthful of spit per person, aren’t they able to drown us to death?! And you’re planning to use the branch to ram into their palaces?!”
Already, Xu Yangyi’s eyes were a blizzard of icy-coldness. He stood up and walked in front of the complaining cultivator. “I’ll give you one last chance. Return to your station,” he paused. “This is the Branch Master’s command.”
“NO!!!” The cultivator’s voice became even louder, and he roared at Xu Yangyi. “I refuse to accept orders! I don’t want to go die with you! I want to resign! I’ve going to appeal to Ancestor Ancientpine! I’m going…”
His voice yet to abate, he was unable to continue speaking. In shock, he looked at his chest.
A hand had already run through his body!
Eyes wide and mouth dumb, he looked at the cool-faced Xu Yangyi in front of him. The branch master didn’t even have the faintest ripple on his face from killing him face to face.
“Those who disturb the army’s heart, kill.” Xu Yangyi didn’t have the slightest mote of pity. In a time like this, to lose any one of the army’s heart, morale, and battle intent was enough to consign them to eternal damnation, nothing less than ten thousand calamities.
Squelch. As his hand pulled out, an arrow of blow shot out. The fat cultivator’s eyes were round, yet he looked at Xu Yangyi with fixed eyes as before. He dared not accept it… The new branch master had actually killed him just like that…
“You didn’t leave before, so now you want to act like an indecisive rat for me?” Xu Yangyi took a silk handkerchief that Li Zongyuan offered and casually wiped his hands. He looked at the twenty-something people in front of him. “Last time. Return to your stations.”
“That’s an order.”
Silence. Three seconds later, a cultivator’s legs went soft, and he tumbled to the ground with a thud. Soon afterwards, his hands sprung up to clasp in greeting. His lips quivered, wanting to say something, yet nothing left his mouth. He got up, turned around, and left towards the outside.
“Those who flee before battle, kill.” Xu Yangyi said calmly, lighting a cigarette and taking a deep drag. “Those who fear battle and do not advance, kill. Since you’ve followed me here, I’ll be the first to charge. I’m not retreating, and whoever wants to flee…” His gaze swept across everyone, and his voice was icy-cold like a blade. “Don’t blame me for being merciless.”
There could not be a shred of kindness at such a time!
“Understood!” Everyone yelled in response and hammered their chests in unison, shock overtaking them. Even Chu Zhaonan and Lord Zhao cupped their hands.
Xu Yangyi’s hand stroked the top of his storage ring but ultimately released it. Right now still wasn’t the time to activate the Taiyi Everlasting Array.
Over twenty people departed with ashen faces. Merely, two people shared a glance with each other and gritted their teeth as they stood in the hall.
“W-We’re the contact crew in charge of the master hall.” The duo didn’t wait for Xu Yangyi to speak and stammered out, not daring to look at him. “W-We’ve come to handover the master hall’s arrangements to Fellow Dao… Branch Master.”
In their hearts, they were already as silent like a cicada in winter. As expected… no one able to reach the branch master’s seat was easy to get along with. In the same vein, this branch master was no good samaritan!
“Yes.” The two cultivators stood at both sides and weaved seals. Suddenly, a screen of light floated into view before everyone’s eyes.
“The Featherwood Guard branch is already completely activated. T-This subsection is all the surrounding regions. The little red dots represent how many personnel are around…”
Following their instruction, Xu Yangyi, Chu Zhaonan, and Lord Zhao didn’t utter a word as they looked at the light screen. On its surface, even their surroundings were gathered with several hundred little red dots. Lord Zhao furrowed his brows. “In that case, what’s this big red dot?”
At the position his finger pointed to, tens of little red dots, subordinate to a giant red dot, suddenly broke free of ranks and rushed towards their location.
Still in the grasp of shock, the pair hadn’t even been paying attention. In the instant they saw the large red dot, they were stunned for two seconds and then screeched at the top of their lungs. “Enemy attack! ENEMY ATTACK!!!”
BOOM! Needless of them to speak, the ground suddenly quaked. The thuds of heavy footsteps immediately followed! Each noise seemed to tread on one’s heart. Furthermore… they were getting increasingly near! Louder and louder!
“Face the enemy!” Xu Yangyi and the other three stood up without a moment’s hesitation. In a twinkling, all cultivators hurried straight to the other two palaces! Based on the norms of a stronghold, the central region was the master hall, and the two branch pavilions were the armories.
“What the hell is this?” Chu Zhaonan gritted his teeth and said. “How could there be such a coincidence? We just got here!”
“I-Its the Nalan Clan’s Reincarnation Puppet…” One of the contacts was ashen-faced. “Height… 300 meters… Length… 520 meters! Its an effective siege weapon!”
Xu Yangyi was reticent. To come to this warzone, he had made blood-soaked preparations long ago. However, anything could happen on the battlefield. Any mishap would follow on the heels and come. Yet he hadn’t foreseen that a mishap would come so fast! His soldiers basically had no time to familiarize themselves with the stronghold, yet the first attack wave was already before their eyes!
Without any wasted words, the group hastily left the main hall. Outside, the entire stronghold was already glimmering with golden light, like a hedgehog with raised quills. It was a warning to all attacking invaders. However, at the end of the horizon was a titanic shadow, the Bluedawn Winding Corridor that had a beam of spiritual light directly penetrating the sky. The beam was snow-white and linked to the crown of the structure. Thundering through the air, the stronghold wildly stormed towards them!
In the darkness, one could only see the enormous silhouette of a figure that had the upper-half of a human and the lower-half of a spider, yet the human-half had three heads and six arms. Each arm wielded a magik artifact that was several tens of meters long! The rise of a hand seemed capable of ripping apart the clouds, and the lift of a foot was like ten thousand stampeding horses! Runes were inscribed all over its body from top to bottom. Looking at it far away in the dust and smoke all around, the behemoth was akin to a rushing fiend, seizing control of the hearts and souls of men!
In the surroundings in front of it, dozens of cultivators, shrouded in white qi and saddled atop black tigers, were escaping at lightning speed. The riders appeared to be fleeing, yet there wasn’t a hair of disorder with their formation.
“The Screaming Wind Legion.” Xu Yangyi immediately recognized them.
Chu Zhaonan gritted his teeth besides Xu Yangyi. “Nice way to shift trouble on someone else.” 
The Screaming Wind Legion hadn’t been wiped out and scattered, fleeing in all directions. Instead, their goal, their plan, was to attract this Reincarnation Puppet and draw the Xingtian Legion into the battlefield!
In a distant place was the leading cultivator of the Screaming Wind Legion, his armor and face mask both snow-white. His hand gripped a longspear, exposing the meager sleeve of his robe that was rippling loudly in his mad dash. His objective was pointed straight to the Featherwood Guard.
The hundred cavalrymen of the Screaming Wind Legion had been annihilated! This was the Screaming Wind Legion’s disgrace! It was also because these hundred had been annihilated that the Linghu Clan was in such an embarrassing situation today!
He tightly clenched the longspear in his hand. The hundred-strong assault unit were all the true elites. Yet it wasn’t like this anymore, over a dozen of them bringing tens of ready soldiers. In the place where the Xingtian Legion had crushed the Screaming Wind Legion’s elities, it was unknown what shameful method the Xingtian Legion had used. Nevertheless, their squad of ten-odd true elites couldn’t mount a clash of blows again. After all, death was no longer avail to the Linghu Clan!
And yet… this was a battlefield!
Whether or not they were capable didn’t represent that this almost-mindless Reincarnation Puppet running purely on instinct couldn’t!
He pressed down on his facial armor with a finger, and the black tiger below him sped up again! Behind him, smoke and dust surged, and the incomparably gigantic Reincarnation Puppet unleashed a heart-sharking hiss. The places the behemoth trampled over were devastated, and broken bits swirled in the air as it raced straight towards the Featherwood Guard!
“Clan Elder.” In an enormous skull, Nalan Cuo’s gaze flashed, and he said lowly, “Puppet No.7 has been drawn away by the Screaming Wind Legion.”
“Oh?” the Crimson Rakshasa said indifferently. “Drawn where?”
“The Xingtian Legion’s direction.”
The woman-spider’s eyes glimmered, and she smiled. “In that case… just let it go.”
“Just let the people of the Xingtian Legion see what kind of leviathan Xu Yangyi’s war challenge has been handed to. Let him clearly realize the disparity between us. Perhaps… he will finally awaken from the sweet dream of his own overestimations. And offer his command plate with both hands?”
She looked sinisterly at the sky. “Don’t worry about it. Pass on the order to annihilate the Xingtian Legion with full power! Even if they are not killed, ruin them for me! We don’t have the energy for this now. The White Tiger Hall won’t be able to support itself for long… Within six hours, we must capture the White Tiger Hall!”
1. “Nice way to shift trouble on someone else = 祸水东引”. Another specific Chinese adage. Originates from the ancient kingdom of Chu (770-223 BCE). Duke Huan of Qi attacks the State of Chu. The king of Chu says, “Why?” The scholar Guan Zhong (645~ BCE) points out that the State of Chu did not pay tribute on time and that some guy had failed to comeback from a river. Thus, the state of Chu took the blame. Unfortunately, this one was too Chinese for me to do it literally.
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