The atmosphere suddenly grew calm.
Ding Feng gazed at Su Chen. After a long while, he finally said, “How did you know?”
Upon seeing that he made no attempt to deny the allegations, Su Chen smiled with satisfaction. “The Blackwater Corps should have been a group of disruptive, unruly bandits, but you managed to train them into an elite group of soldiers. This is not something a normal person could do. It was also strange that you would continue to conceal your identity despite joining the Black Flame. Lin Shaoxuan is an illegitimate heir of the imperial family and a member of Long Sang Country. Long Pojun’s disappearance and Lin Wenjun’s assuming of your position, then the Heavenly Might Battalion’s fate..... I originally thought that this was because of Lin Wenjun’s incapability, but now I know that he did so in order to get on his father’s good side. But the only reason I ended up finding out about this in the first place was because of Lin Chenyuan’s backslide......”
Lin Wenjun had made such a terrible mistake, yet he had still somehow managed to regain his stride. Lin Chenyuan’s advantage was incredibly obvious, yet he had still lost somehow. Why was that?
Su Chen was also very curious about this matter.
And via Patelocke, he had managed to get into contact with Lin Chenyuan.
Even though Lin Chenyuan had failed, he hadn’t died; he had merely been denounced. He was very confused and dissatisfied with his failure, which led to him doing some detective work on his own.
Eventually, he was able to find some things out.
The information he uncovered was truly shocking.
Because Lin Wenjun’s resurgence was also related to what had happened to the Heavenly Might Battalion back then.
More specifically, Lin Wenjun’s harming of the Heavenly Might Battalion was not due to his incompetence. It was planned from the very beginning!
However, no one knew why Lin Wenjun had chosen to do so.
But from what Lin Chenyuan had managed to gather, Lin Wenjun had done so on his father’s behalf.
This piece of information was shocking.
So it was the emperor himself who wanted to set up the Heavenly Might Battalion?
Lin Wenjun’s fall and rise to power could be easily understood as a result.
His failure was actually just him taking the brunt of the accusation for Lin Mengze.
His rise again was naturally because he was reaping the rewards.
However, Lin Chenyuan had no idea why Lin Mengze wanted to deal with the Heavenly Might Battalion. Actually, Lin Chenyuan wasn’t even certain whether it was Lin Mengze who wanted to deal with the Heavenly Might Battalion in the first place. He had spent countless riches and lost numerous personal aides to get this information, and it was still quite blurry and incoherent. All he knew was that there was a high likelihood that someone in the imperial family was responsible for scheming against the Heavenly Might Battalion, and that this matter was also likely related to the missing Long Pojun.
Su Chen had already known about Lin Shaoxuan’s royal status, because he had drawn everyone’s blood when doing his research in the past.
When he drew Lin Shaoxuan’s blood.
Desolate Beast Blood?
That was how Lin Shaoxuan explained his identity to Su Chen.
When Lin Chenyuan informed Su Chen of what he knew, Su Chen was immediately reminded of Lin Shaoxuan. By factoring in Ding Feng and Lin Shaoxuan’s secret interactions, the truth immediately became clear to him. If he hadn’t noticed then, then he wouldn’t have been Su Chen.
Upon hearing Su Chen’s explanation, Ding Feng - no, Long Pojun - finally understood.
He nodded. “So that’s how it is. Sir Su’s intelligence is unrivalled. I’m not surprised I wasn’t able to keep the truth from you.”
Su Chen said, “Actually, Lin Wenjun wanted to deal with the Heavenly Might Battalion primarily because of you, right?”
Long Pojun didn’t deny this assertion. Instead, he asked, “How did you manage to come to that conclusion?”
“Simple inference. If Lin Wenjun wanted to deal with Shaoxuan, there was no need to do so in such a complicated manner. There were many opportunities to kill him, or even openly execute him, without any repercussions. After all, Shaoxuan is an illegitimate son, and Lin Raoxian died a long time ago. No one would speak up on his behalf. As such, his main reason for dealing with the Heavenly Might Battalion was to......”
“Force me out into the open,” Long Pojun replied.
“Unfortunately, he failed,” Su Chen said.
The Heavenly Might Battalion had been stuck in Ravager territory for so long, but Long Pojun never showed himself. In the end, it was Su Chen who saved them from their plight.
Long Pojun sighed. “Back when I joined the army, I was enlisted by the Heavenly Might Battalion. I was the happiest during that period of time. Wenchang was my master, and Chongshan was one of my trusted subordinates. I watched Moxie grow old. Tianhai was my disciple, Yingwan was the daughter of one of my deceased friends, and Lin Shaoxuan was the son of my master...... The Heavenly Might Battalion’s disciples were like my family.”
Su Chen remained silent.
Long Pojun glanced at him. “Do you want to ask me why I didn’t do anything even when I knew that they were headed towards destruction?”
“I think that you probably had your own reasons why you couldn’t.”
Long Pojun chuckled. “You do know how to comfort me, but I’m sorry to say that I had no such reasons. The only reason I didn’t go was because I knew that it was going to be of no use...... I wouldn’t have been able to save them.”
As he spoke, he let out a long sigh and gazed out at the calm surface of the sea. “I had already joined the Black Flame by then. Even though the world was vast, this was the only place I could hide myself. The Thousand Illusions Island is in the middle of nowhere, and information only rarely comes this way. Sometimes, it takes many months before news can reach us. I found out about the Heavenly Might Battalion’s plight after slightly less than half a year had gone by. During that period of time, I had thought of trying to save them as well. But what would I do it with? They were in Ravager territory, while I was all on my own. Even if I did go, I would only be dying with them. I don’t have that much ability. True, my leadership skills are not bad, but think about it, Su Chen - did you really save the Heavenly Might Battalion just because of your leadership and tactical skills?”
Su Chen was taken aback.
It was true that he had managed to save the Heavenly Might Battalion, but not by relying on tactics. The primary factor was his wealth! This wealth allowed him to purchase large numbers of Origin Rings and stuff them full of resources, allowing the Heavenly Might Battalion to survive. This was how they were able to continue fighting and turn the tide to their advantage.
And Su Chen’s attracting the Beasts’ attention and confusing the Ravagers had nothing to do with military strategy either. Instead, Su Chen’s plan was basically to stir up as much trouble as possible so that they would have an opportunity to escape in the chaos.
And there was no way that Long Pojun could have prepared all of these things.
Even so, Su Chen couldn’t help but frown slightly.
He admitted that there was nothing wrong with what Long Pojun had said, logically speaking. Even if he had gone, it was likely that he wouldn’t have been able to do anything.
But did everything need to be considered so logically?
He was a soldier, but was he completely lacking in fearlessness and valiance?
Aren’t you Long Pojun? The legendary, peerless, unshakable Long Pojun?
How could Long Pojun say something like “it wouldn’t have made a difference even if I had gone”?
Su Chen couldn’t resist saying, “I’m starting to question whether you’re Long Pojun after all. The Long Pojun in my heart is a peerless warrior, one who is never discouraged and never gives up.”
“What do you know?” Unexpectedly, Long Pojun began to yell. “That isn’t me at all, and I am not the person that you think I am!”
Long Pojun continued to roar, “I’ve had enough! These past years, I’ve had enough. A peerless warrior? That’s not me at all! I’m tired of pretending to be that kind of person. Su Chen, I will show you today what kind of person I really am!”
As he spoke he shoved his arms out in front of him, shaking off the armor surrounding him.
A short man appeared before Su Chen’s eyes.
After taking off the hard shell of armor, the real Long Pojun was actually only up to Su Chen’s shoulder. That wouldn’t have been such a problem, but most importantly he was so skinny that he looked like nothing more than a bag of bones, as if he hadn’t eaten a filling meal in years.
This wasn’t much of an exaggeration. It really did look like someone had draped a skin over a skeleton. It was even possible to see some red bones glowing under his skin, along with his faintly beating heart.
But...... how could this be Long Pojun?
The Long Pojun in his memories, and in the legends, was a tall, stalwart, brawny man. His body was supposedly as tough as iron.
Apparently, this man’s body was incredibly powerful. He could eat an entire cow in one sitting, and it was as if his body was made out of metal. Every time he attacked, he would directly use his fists to smash his opponents to death. His muscles were outrageously strong. He was a prime example of a ferocious man.
Even if those rumors were exaggerated, the amount of exaggeration was a little too unreasonable.
Also, Cheng Tianhai and Li Chongshan had been with Long Pojun for many years. They couldn’t possibly have exaggerated as well, right?
During their previous conversations, Long Pojun had been mentioned before. Their tone was filled with respect and reverence. No one had ever told Su Chen that all of these rumors were, in fact, a load of bull, and that he was actually a short, skinny man completely lacking in presence.
No one at all!
No one had ever said anything even remotely close to this!
In their eyes, General Long was a peerless, unrivalled God of War!
The only thing that somewhat provided some credence to these legends were the countless scars that covered the skinny man’s bodies.
The man’s back was marred with scar tissue criss-crossing his body. It was as if he had somehow managed to survive a Death by a Thousand Cuts.
There was almost no space left on his body to leave another scar.
How had such a skinny body managed to endure these kinds of wounds?
Su Chen’s expression was grave. “What exactly happened to you?”
Long Pojun chuckled bitterly.
He lowered his head to glance at himself and his hands as he said, “Nothing, really. I just didn’t want to go on any longer. I got sick of fighting, sick of killing, sick of pretending to be a peerless, real man...... I grew tired and just wanted to find a place where I could rest, is all.”
“So what’s happening to you now?”
“I cannot satisfy it. It is hungry, but it cannot devour any blood or flesh, so it can only consume me...... Little by little, it has consumed me to this condition.”
“It?” Su Chen asked.
“Yes, it. This bone on my body,” Long Pojun replied.
Underneath the shriveled skin, a blood-red bone glowed and pulsated.
Su Chen’s gaze tightened. “This bone...... It isn’t yours?”
“No, it’s not,” Long Pojun replied. “Someone exchanged it for me.”
Su Chen felt his heart tremble. “Who?”
“Haven’t you seen him before? He gave you a pair of eyes that could perceive the truths of this world, and me this Blood Fiend’s Bone that could devour blood and flesh to constantly grow stronger, allowing me to become a peerless God of War.”