Book 9 Chapter 24 - Rebel Army

When Xiyi’s Fifteen Divisions’ invasion east failed, their kings’ heads were all removed in one night by Principal Zhang’s blade, Yunqin’s army ultimately sweeping through them, forcing them to flee to the other side of Sanskrit Passage even though they were always the owner of Jadefall City.

Before heading east, Xiyi’s Fifteen Divisions joint together were always like a small country in Yunqin’s eyes, its population at the time equivalent to a third of Yunqin. Moreover, because Xiyi’s Fifteen Divisions always hunted, nomadic by nature, other than women, children, the sick and elderly, all of them could fight. That was why when they advanced east, their troops’ numbers were even greater than Yunqin’s army back then.

The reason why so many hunters and nomadic people could live there was because Jadefall City’s climate was suitable, its water source abundant, the land size also extremely vast.

According to Yunqin’s customary way of dividing into east, south, west, north, and middle, Jadefall City actually occupied a quarter of the empire’s entire west, equivalent to the sum of two to three provinces.

The biggest reason why Jadefall City was treated as a city and not as a province was because this entire piece of land was seized from the hands of Xiyi’s Fifteen Divisions. At the time, Xiyi’s Fifteen Divisions all lived in portable tents, temporarily living in mountains and pasturelands when the climates were suitable, not building any walls at all, no city to speak of.

Back then, Jadefall City was vast but sparsely populated. After experiencing a great battle, Xiyi’s Fifteen Divisions all retreated from Jadefall City, even though there were quite a few herdsmen who moved in, compared to before, it instead seemed even more desolate.

For Yunqin Empire, this large, temperate weathered land, full of water and plant life obviously possessed tremendous value. Only, it had only been a few decades since Yunqin truly established the country, this empire’s people and cities only just starting to expand from their originally denser areas, it didn’t have time to expand here yet. Moreover, only when Wenren Cangyue oversaw this city did this region appear more peaceful.

In these past few decades, Xiyi’s Fifteen Divisions wished to return to Jadefall City even in their dreams.

To go from a place plentiful with running water, grass and trees, a place where they didn’t have to worry about basic necessities just by relying on hunting and raising some livestock, to a place where even drinking water was an issue, this barren yellow sand world that only had some thorn plants and cactuses, experiencing such a sharp decrease in quality of life, one could well imagine their desires to return to their original lifestyles.

Ghost Fur Division of Xiyi’s Fifteen Divisions originally lived in the vast mountain forests and plains between Jadefall City’s Heaven’s Lens Lake and Heaven Passage River for generations. This division didn’t distinguish between men and women, from generation to generation preferring to shave their heads. They had spiky tortoise shell tattoos added to their scalps, silver rings in their noses and wore clothing made from fish and beast skins. Because the region they lived in had many bodies of water, fish meat was also one of their main sources of food.

Fresh fish blood that was extremely bloody, enough to make normal Yunqin people vomit upon smelling, wrapped around tender corn was their favorite appetizer.

Xiyi’s Fifteen Divisions originally viewed themselves as their own factions, occasionally even fighting among themselves, not unified. After finally joining hands with great difficulty, they were quickly defeated. After Ghost Fur Division suffered a miserable defeat, fleeing into the barren wilderness, there were other Xiyi divisions who were doing the same. Under the conflict between Yunqin’s troops and the other divisions, Ghost Fur Division was pushed back all the way into Wailing Ghost Mountain and Ghost City.

Ghost City was the remains of an ancient kingdom from thousands of years ago that had been eroded by wind and rain for who knew how many thousands of years. Endless dilapidated palaces and buildings, as well as countless small mountain peaks and shifting sands changed by the winds formed a massive labyrinth.

In a situation without any guidance, even if it was an experienced Yunqin troop here, they would still lose their way.

Normally, hiding in Ghost City was indeed safe, but from time to time, there would be sandstorms that invaded. If they wanted water to drink, they had to guard those small underground water sources that might run dry at any time, dig large and deep water storage holes to store rainwater from the rain that only fell two or three times a year in this barren land. Despite this being the case, many times, there wasn’t enough drinking water at all, so they could only take on the risk of being killed by Yunqin troops and pass through Sanskrit Passage to obtain water or plunder some caravans escorted by cultivators.

Their main food source already became some nasty cactus leaf flesh, sand scorpions, lizards, and dromedary’s meat.

Because their numbers were too great, making it hard to hide their traces, after Xiyi Fifteen Divisions’ people fled into this barren world, when they found areas suitable for living, they would divide up into six or seven hundred manned small tribes. In these past two decades, these small divisions all began to mutually exchange goods and do business. If one wanted material assistance but wasn’t willing to give anything in return, that was impossible. It was as if the original great tribe was then divided into countless smaller tribes. Only when facing opponents or Yunqin troops they couldn’t defeat on their own, would these small tribes band together.

That was why these Xiyi people from Ghost Fur Division already forgot the taste of fresh fish blood with tender corn they were so fond of, already forgetting what a shower felt like.

This type of lifestyle, compared to their lives in Jadefall City, was simply an eternal nightmare and hell, miserable to the extent where it couldn’t be any more so.

Azike was the leader of one of these Ghost Fur Division small troops.

Compared to other small tribes, Azike’s situation was actually a bit better.

He had a secret… In his cave, there was a large water reservoir that was always filled. When his small troop’s soldiers left to plunder caravans, they would almost never encounter the encirclement of Yunqin troops.

It was because he secretly made a deal with Great General Wenren.

With the price of informing him about some movements of Xiyi Division’s people, as well as helping Great General Wenren do some things that weren’t convenient to take care of with the military, he obtained a lifestyle and authority that were better than those of the people of other tribes.

However, before summer started, this type of lifestyle already came to an end.

A Yunqin rebel army entered Ghost City and Wailing Ghost Mountain’s labyrinth, this troop that consisted of Yunqin’s elite troops, for them, became the most savage and most powerful roving bandits.

It was unknown where within Ghost City and Wailing Ghost Mountain this Yunqin rebel army hid. Not only did they face Ghost Fur Division, there were also some elite soldiers who plundered from other tribes from time to time too.

Most of the tribes in Ghost Fur Division who wanted to deal with this Yunqin rebel army had already been slaughtered, quite a few of them already completely yielding.

Moreover, for some reason, this Yunqin rebel army seemed to have noticed that he was Wenren Cangyue’s insider, directly focusing all of their attacks on him.

Right now, Azike was currently riding a large and tall dromedary, frantically fleeing towards the maze-like eroded buildings and ruined traces.

There were only seven subordinates with him, their bodies more or less all carried some wounds, similarly riding dromedaries behind him. Their supply of clean water and food was already pretty much exhausted.

However, Azike still didn’t feel despair.

It was because he was a powerful cultivator, practically unmatched in Ghost Fur Division. Moreover, he also knew that soon, Wenren Cangyue’s Sky Wolf Guards would be like flies who smelled blood, discovering his fleeing self as well as the Yunqin rebel army chasing after him.

Several li behind him, there was a wave of faint yellow dust that was quickly moving. These were pursuing soldiers who had already chased behind them for a few hours.

In Azike’s calculations, as long as another hour passed, these pursuing troops who mainly relied on warhorses would be forced to stop, or else those war horses would die from heat strokes.

The only thing he worried about was whether or not he would run into any ambushes that would cut him off.

That was why he was always carefully observing his surroundings, examining the ruined palaces and houses that lacked the slightest trace of beauty after being eroded by wind and sand, now only giving off a gloomy and sinister feeling.

Suddenly, his scalp that had a tortoise shell tattoo produced small bumps because of his nervousness, his ten finger joints releasing explosive ka ka ka sounds from time to time.

In this yellow sand world, on a section of broken wall, sat an extremely tender faced green-clothed young lady, not moving at all as she stared at him. She was like a female ghost that had crossed over thousands of years of time, walking out from these buildings already eroded by the winds.

The back of his head immediately became suffused with a bone penetrating coldness.

It wasn’t because of nervousness or fear, but rather because of true chilliness.

A flying sword that was hidden in the yellow sand flew up from beneath his body, instantly penetrating through his mount, arriving at the back of his head.

Dang!

Azike’s snow-white curved blade hacked out in reverse against this flying sword with incredible precision.

The flying sword bounced backwards, but Azike was directly sent into the sky by the tremendous recoil force. Meanwhile, that handleless flying sword spun about in the air and then the bodies of all seven subordinates behind Azike completely went rigid.

These seven subordinates all maintained stances of using their blades to intercept the flying sword, but the flying sword’s speed made it so that none of their weapons made contact, instantly passing by all seven’s throats.

Their throats were hacked open, but the extremely cold power on the sword made their blood completely freeze. In that instant, their bodies lost the ability to move even faster than that of blood loss, they died even faster. Not even a single drop of blood fell, their throats only had a red thread that was slowly widening.

“Impossible!”

“How can you be a Sacred Expert at your age?!”

Azike looked at that maid-like tender faced green-clothed young lady who was still sitting on the distant broken wall, not moving at all, using Ghost Fur Division Language to continuously howl out.

However, this green-clothed young lady didn’t even bat an eyelid.

The handleless flying sword returned.

Azike was only able to block two strikes, and then his perception and reaction speed already couldn’t keep up with this flying sword’s speed. Then, he felt his throat become cold, darkness and icy coldness instantly flooding his body.

The handless flying sword shook off all of the blood on its surface, returning into this green-clothed young lady’s sleeves.

A moment later, more than a hundred Yunqin soldiers who had already changed into pale yellow clothes rushed up to Azike and the others’ corpses. After searching through all of Azike’s belongings, they immediately began to quickly return through another path.

“Boss, when can we go back?” At the very front of the mounted troop, a young soldier with a bow on his back lipped his dried lips, asking the young commander who led this troop.

“I don’t know. General Nanshan said there might be a slight opportunity… but perhaps we might never be able to go back.” The young commander didn’t suppress his voice, extremely direct, letting all of the riders hear his voice.

The bow carrying young soldier’s head hung down.

After so many days, his and the other soldiers’ willpower and moods were approaching their limit as well, or else he definitely wouldn’t ask this type of question. He didn’t fear death, but he was scared of forever bearing the title of a traitor’s humiliation on his back.

“We might forever be known as traitors.”

The young leader at the very front didn’t turn his head around to look at anyone, still speaking with an extremely cold and heavy voice, “However, ever since we defected… crossed over Sanskrit Passage, how many heads of thieves and bandits have we removed?”

“The number of heads we took in several weeks' time might be even more than the number of heads we have previously taken in our entire lives.”

“We are a rebel army, we might never be able to return, but we are working for the empire… We killed so many thieves and bandits, this is equivalent to saving the lives of an untold number of frontier inhabitants and caravans.”

“Even if we take on the name of traitors, we still possess true glory.” The young commander said with a deep, cold and forceful voice. “As a soldier, what is more important than true glory?”

The people behind him remained silent for a moment. Suddenly, many heads that were originally hung were raised. “Even if we carry the names of rebel armies, we still have true glory!” Many people repeated this while shedding tears.

These soldiers’ tears reflected the sunlight, as well as the color of the yellow sand, extremely golden.

“She is a Sacred Expert… and we have also watched as her strength became more and more powerful. That is why as long as she doesn’t die, regardless of how fleeting hope seems, we still have hope.” The young commander remained silent for a moment and then said this with a heavy voice.

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