Book 8 Chapter 3 - Night Changes

Night enveloped the empire’s easternmost Dragon Snake Mountain Range.

Wang Zongwei was leaning against a large rock, not moving at all as he stared into the valley in front of him.

The valley in front of him looked like a huge crevice was suddenly torn apart in the level ground before him, the jagged eagle mouth rock at both sides of the mountains blocked the sky’s originally dim radiance. Because of the low topography, much of the surrounding forest’s black waters wriggled into a small stream, flowing into this valley. Over time, most of the valley’s white shale was dyed black, the valley depths covered in thick black sludge.

This was Sheep Point Field Mountain’s Blackland Canyon.

The Sheep Point Field Mountain marked out by Yunqin were the four long and narrow mountain ranges shaped like sheep horns. These four long and narrow horns were criss-crossed and connected, Blackland Canyon was located precisely on the easternmost ‘sheep horn’, looking just like a crack on this ‘sheep horn’.

Wang Zongwei was a Sheep Point Field Mountain Patrol Army third level soldier. In Yunqin’s border army, ordinary soldiers were only divided into three levels. If Lin Xi didn’t have a military level, even with his cultivator status, if he just entered the border army, he would still only be a first level soldier. First level was a new recruit, third level soldiers were experienced elite soldiers who had accumulated a set amount of military contributions. Above this was a minor tenth rank officer.

This canyon that he was currently staring at was impossible for Yunqin’s border army to cross through.

The black earth below that seemed hard was actually a pool of sludge, able to easily swallow up over a hundred soldiers. However, those cave barbarians instead had a natural type of intuition towards these swamps, able to easily cross this type of place without any casualties.

This ‘sheep point’ already penetrated deeply into the cave barbarians’ Great Desolate Swamp, some of the Great Desolate Swamp’s unique rotten smell already entering this Blackland Canyon. Together with the fact that the patrol army’s manpower was severely lacking ever since last autumn, for the sake of ensuring that more people still had enough stamina, the number of guards at night had changed from the original sixteen down to eight. Right now, he was the only one watching this Blackland Canyon, so he had to always maintain absolute vigilance.

When he felt a bit of fatigue, he moved a piece of black and plump leaf into his mouth  with extremely slow movements, keeping it under his tongue.

A bitterness that made one’s scalp go numb continuously seeped out from this Black Snake Orchid Grass which was unique to Dragon Snake Mountain Range, continuously dispelling his fatigue.

This was the time when Ash Scorpions were active.

In the forest around him, rustling sounds could be heard. There were clearly extremely poisonous thumb-sized gray colored scorpions crawling about, the tips of their tails flickering with faint cold light.

With a huala noise, there was a dried branch-like object that suddenly fell from a tree not far from him, but then, it began to quickly move about.

This was a certain unknown venomous snake.

Wang Zongwei remained still, always remaining vigilant as he looked at the black valley.

Suddenly, his expression froze. There was a clear abnormally tall and sturdy figure that appeared in the valley’s mist like a demon. It advanced slowly in an extremely swift and cautious manner and then stopped again, silently making a hand gesture behind him.

A wave of biting coldness that seemed to even exceed the bitterness of the Black Snake Orchid Grass in his mouth immediately flooded his entire body, making every pore release wisps of chilliness.

Cave barbarian!

Just from his height that exceeded that of an ordinary person, as well as the large amounts of dark skin exposed outside, he was certain that this was a cave barbarian!

However, cave barbarians either didn’t show up, or there were at least several dozen to over a hundred of them that showed up, attacking like a swarm. When did they become like Yunqin soldiers, having this type of vanguard scout?

These cave barbarians who have remained stupid for decades, never changed their military strategy, when did they suddenly produce this type of change?

While looking at that tall and sturdy figure, those movements that were nimble like a ghost, not matching its size at all, Wang Zongwei immediately entered a state of extreme shock.

“I feel like he has been waiting for us to give him a chance all this time.”

In the forest depths behind Wang Zongwei, dozens of soldiers were resting in black leather sleeping bags hanging from trees. They were already accustomed to this type of resting method. The daytime march already exhausted a large amount of their stamina as well, urgently needing sleep to replenish themselves, which was why these still fully equipped black-armored soldiers were already sound asleep.

Xin Weigai and Kang Qianjue had just finished quietly discussing tomorrow’s army itinerary. Then, they began to discuss Lin Xi they left behind in Sheep Point Field Mountain Patrol Army Camp.

When he heard Kang Qianjue’s words, Xin Weigai said with a cold laugh, “How are we supposed to give him a chance? He’s not a new recruit who just arrived, he is a seventh ranked Patrol Officer, and he is a cultivator as well… If he even slightly refuses to obey orders, there is no way for us to restrict him at all.”

“I understand what you are saying, but he is still a cultivator in the end.” Kang Qianjue looked at Xin Weigai and said quietly, “During these days, we treated him like this, yet he hasn’t showed any signs of retaliating strongly, so perhaps his nature isn’t as wild and untamed as those other cultivators’. Perhaps we should ask him about his intentions… see if he is willing to serve as a first level soldier, completely obey our instructions, to first try to learn and adapt this way.”

“You should understand.” After a slight pause, Kang Qianjue looked at Xin Weigai and said with a light sigh, “Even Sheep Point Field Mountain’s vanguard camp needs a cultivator, yet they still haven’t obtained any reinforcements. Even if he cannot endure it anymore here and really goes back, we might not necessarily be able to obtain a new cultivator. Moreover, the various fronts this year have all had a harder time than before.”

Xin Weigai entered a momentary state of silence.

On the slope outside Blackland Canyon, Wang Zongwei whose entire body was suffused with biting cold chilliness didn’t immediately release a warning sign, only lying still, frozen in shock like a rock as he looked at that tall and sturdy silhouette.

It was because any experienced Yunqin elite soldier would try to remain calm in this type of situation. Under this type of distance, he still had some time to observe them, try to see how large the other side’s numbers were, what kind of strength they had.

If he was in a hurry to issue a warning, they might miss out on a chance to encircle and annihilate this small cave barbarian troop.

That cave barbarian who gave off a really strange feeling leaned against a cliff, this position something only Wang Zongwei who was facing the canyon entrance could see. The hidden sentries in the mountain forest at the canyon’s two sides didn’t have any chance of detecting his whereabouts.

After taking another five or six steps forward, this cave barbarian stopped again, seemingly making another gesture behind him.

Tall and sturdy dark figures made their way out of the mist behind him one after another, also advancing with exceptional nimbleness and care.

The ghost-like figures became more and more numerous. A moment later, the mist behind that cave barbarian seemed to have been completely suffused by layers of shadows, scattered away.

Wang Zongwei’s breathing immediately stopped.

Then, he used almost all of his strength to blow the wooden whistle in his chest, releasing a owl screaming shrill noise. His entire figure also leapt out from the ground, using the fastest speed he had ever ran with in his life to head into the forest behind him, towards the Patrol Army campsite in the forest.

These weren’t some scattered cave barbarians who were bored, wishing to mess around at night in Dragon Snake Mountain Range, but rather a large cave barbarian troop!

Xin Weigai remained silent for a moment. He opened his mouth, wishing to reply to Kang Qianjue, but right at this time, a shrill screaming sound rang through the mountain forest!

Xin Weigai and Kang Qianjue’s expressions immediately changed, now frantically sprinting towards a hillside.

The black-armored soldiers in the forest behind them immediately woke up, a larger half of them directly drawing their blades, cutting the ropes holding their suspended sleeping backs in place, using the fall to completely wake themselves up.

The hillside Xin Weigai and Kang Qianjue frantically ran towards had a large tree, this area was the highest point of this forest within a few li.

The moment the two of them began to sprint crazily, that bold and upright tree that could normally hide quite a few tree snakes also already released an extremely loud warning noise.

A soldier climbed down from the treetop and jumped off with the fastest speed possible. When he faced the two officers who were running over as quickly as possible, while gasping for breath, he screamed out, “Cave barbarian large troop!”

Xin Weigai and Kang Qianjue didn’t reveal the slightest hesitation, continuing forward.

Just from the noise, they knew that the previous alert came from Wang Zongwei in front of Blackland Canyon. Meanwhile, right now, Wang Zongwei’s warning sound was still continuously ringing, proving that they still had some time, able to see just what kind of opponent it was exactly, able to give the most precise orders from this.

When they arrived at the top of this slope, after taking a moment to breathe heavily, Xin Weigai and Kang Qianjue saw their opponents.

“Retreat! Stone cave house!”

In that instant, Xin Weigai’s pupils contracted rapidly, releasing a sky shaking order.

His voice was loud, to the extent where it even made Xin Weigai, whose breathing still hadn’t become even yet, release a bit of bloodiness from his throat.

Wang Zongwei was still frantically running, the distance already less than a hundred steps from the two of them.

The spacious grassland outside Blackland Canyon was already completely flattened by a group of crazily sprinting tall and sturdy figures.

Right now, these tall and sturdy figures who were running crazily didn’t care about their previous secretive movements anymore, completely filled with an extremely bold and domineering unruliness. Even though in the dark night, they only looked like shadows, the muscles on their bodies were still tough and hard like rocks, their bodies full of explosive power, even the ground was shaking under their feet. This full speed sprinting didn’t seem to use up their stamina at all. As they ran on the slightly inclined mountain land, they actually ran faster and faster, with greater and greater power.

In the Blackland Canyon behind them, there were shadows that leapt out one after another.

Just the number of cave barbarian figures in Xin Weigai and Kang Qianjue’s line of sight already exceeded sixty.

Sixty cave barbarians, this was already equivalent to two hundred Yunqin border army soldiers, already a military group, not something their small patrol army could deal with at all!

All of the black-armored soldiers already crawled out from their sleeping bags, drawing the weapons in their hands.

When they heard Xin Weigai’s explosive roar, all of these black-armored soldiers didn’t hesitate in the slightest, all of them releasing a uniform shout, withdrawing towards the rear mountain forest at full speed. Only one soldier stopped slightly, forcefully using a sickle shaped flint to produce a spark. This spark alone lit a bonfire that he had long prepared, releasing an extremely strong smoke.

They didn’t know what exactly happened, but from these military orders, they already knew that the incoming enemy was not someone they could face at all. Only by fleeing to a rock cave house that they discovered on their way here, not even marked out on the military map, could they have a chance of keeping their lives.

Wang Zongwei was crazily running for his life.

Xin Weigai and Kang Qianjue also turned around, frantically running for their lives.

All of these Sheep Point Field Mountain Patrol Army soldiers withdrew with absolute decisiveness.

Right at this time, there was an expanse of dark clouds in the sky, drifting towards the crescent moon that already seemed extremely dim in this Dragon Snake Mountain Range.

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