Book 11 Chapter 1 - The War Against the South Has Already Begun

Dark clouds covered the sunlight, making the black fine chained mask covering Gong Tingjue’s face seem even more overcast and vicious.

While looking at the dark clouds drifting above the giant mountain range’s ridge, the corners of his lips under the mask curled upwards slightly. He slowly walked up to the cliff ahead, looking at that valley entrance that could only allow a few carriages to pass through, saying to himself, “Even though there is no radiance to be seen… the world in the darkness also has rules.”

Behind him were six cultivators whose presence was clearly different from ordinary warriors, as well as more than five hundred troops holding all types of bladed weapons.

The giant resting dragon like mountain range up ahead was the Dragon Snake Mountain Range.

Even though Yunqin Empire was this world’s most massive and most prosperous empire in the last few decades, there was naturally no way it could bring this wealth and radiance to every corner of the empire.

There were many places in this massive empire that were uncultivated.

In this Dragon Snake Border Pass, there were always troops stationed here, and since there were cave barbarians that attacked every winter, that was why in this long eastern border, there weren’t many towns and cities, no residents, not much of a society to speak of.

However, since Great Desolate Swamp had abundant resources and also because of the great benefits one could obtain in this place that didn’t seem to have much human activity, there were actually many people roaming about outside the empire’s order and society.

Gong Tingjue felt like he was the king of this lightless empire.

In the past few decades, the bandits, some businesses that secretly took bribes and even the border army exchanged some supplies for things they really did need. Most of these goods ultimately landed in his hands.

He was the largest receiver of goods in Dragon Snake’s black market.

This was the rule of this place.

However, recently, there was someone who ruined this rule, someone who seized some of his business.

That was why he was waiting here, waiting to kill the other party, waiting to use this type of method to tell the other party that the reason there was this rule was because everyone else who tried to steal business has already died, yet he is still alive.

Even though he understood clearly that those two who quickly passed by were cultivators, on this long empire border, perhaps there were cultivators that died every day. One or two cultivators, what difference did it make?

Apart from the largest bandit group, no one had greater military strength than him in this place.

The dark clouds above slowly floated over this mountain forest. They drifted over his head, bringing over the moisture of Great Desolate Swamp and scattering down a bit of fine rain.

The sounds of horse hooves sounded. The carriage he was waiting for also finally appeared in his line of sight, approaching this valley.

The carriage moved at a speed that wasn’t too fast or too slow. Moreover, there was no driver in front of the carriage at all, as if the carriage was allowed to freely move down this small mountain path.

When it got close to the valley, the carriage shook slightly and then stopped.

A voice quickly sounded from within the carriage that stopped in this valley. “This type of ambush, isn’t it just a bit too arrogant?”

Gong Tingjue stood at the top of the cliff, looking down on this carriage from above. He coldly said, “I merely wished to give you all a chance.”

The one in the carriage was a bit surprised. “What kind of chance?”

Gong Tingjue answered with a bit of mockery, “You all are cultivators, so I can give you the chance of serving as my subordinates.”

The one in the carriage paused for a bit and then said, “Since you have this type of proposal, I don’t mind giving you a suggestion as well… how about you serve as my subordinate.”

Gong Tingjue gave the carriage a cold look. “I don’t know where you get your confidence from.”

“Go!”

Because he had faith in his side’s military strength, he didn’t say anything else, only giving this order.

Under a shout, several subordinates behind him released a roar, leading more than five hundred subordinates out from above the slope, charging towards the carriage that stopped in the valley.

In Gong Tingjue’s opinion, even if the two in the carriage were both State Master level powerful existences, they would still be smothered here.

Waves of bowstring pulling noises sounded.

When the five hundred troops began their charge, many of them already began to draw their bows while crazily running. In another breath of time, there would definitely be a rain of arrows that would descend on that motionless carriage.

However, right at this time, Gong Tingjue’s face under the fine chain mask suddenly went rigid. He immediately raised his head towards the sky.

A mountain torrent like noise abruptly erupted at this moment, making all of the troops under him unable to help but freeze up.

More dark clouds suddenly appeared in the skies.

These dark clouds didn’t drift over from Dragon Snake Mountain Range, but rather rose from a mountain ridge behind them, and then descended again with terrifying speed.

These black clouds were all large sharp rocks bound together through thick hemp rope.

Boom! Boom! Boom! 

These crashing noises instantly sounded, mixed within them were extremely shrill and desperate screams.

Endless giant waves of dust surged from within the crowd. Countless sharp stones smashed into this army. The population density on this slope was extremely high, and with Gong Tingjue’s subordinates all concentrated here, there was no way for them to evade at all. Meanwhile, these stones were thrown from the distant mountain range, so even those that bounced off the ground were powerful enough to kill ordinary warriors.

In that instant, some people’s arms and legs were crushed, some people’s bodies were stabbed through by the sharp stones and some people’s faces turned into a bloody paste. The entire mountain slope was immediately dyed red in blood, becoming hell on earth.

“Stone Catapult Carts?”

The instant dust and blood erupted from within his concentrated troops, Gong Tingjue’s confidence from a breath ago immediately turned into absolute fear. He turned around to look at the place where those bound stones were flung from, and then like a bullied little child, he began to bawl, “How is this possible?! How can there possibly be Stone Catapult Carts?!”

Moon Piercing Crossbow Carts, Mountain Piercing Crossbow Carts, Stone Catapult Carts… these were all powerful large scale military equipment only Yunqin’s military should have.

However, even if Dragon Snake Border Army dared to directly interfere with the black market business, they definitely wouldn’t transfer military equipment in broad daylight. It was because countless civil officials were also eyeing the military. Just like how the military and Yunqin’s royal court were always on alert towards the cultivators of this world that possessed abilities exceeding normal humans, there were many civil officials in Yunqin’s royal court who were naturally on guard against Yunqin’s military.

Moreover, even if it was some high level officers in Dragon Snake Border Army that were mad to the point where they dared directly mobilize large scale military equipment whose movements could clearly be investigated, they definitely wouldn’t waste so much energy in transporting and arranging Stone Catapult Carts here. In the craggy Dragon Snake Border Pass region, Stone Catapult Carts and other large scale military equipment had long been fixed in place, all of them used to defend some choke points and important military locations.

This wasn’t Dragon Snake Border Army’s style at all. Moreover, a commander who had the ability to do this type of thing definitely had more efficient methods to directly transfer over some powerful military troops.

That was why this king of the eastern black market Gong Tingjue just couldn’t understand what was going on, only feeling fear.

This type of confusion only lasted for several breaths of time.

It was because the instant the giant stones flung out by the Stone Catapult Carts landed, there were already countless ghost wailing wind howling noises that sounded from the surrounding mountain forest.

Countless people who were dressed in all types of tattered armor, holding all types of weapons, their bodies carrying a type of decaying and damp stench, as if they were zombies who had just crawled out of countless graves swarmed over.

Bandits!

Only bandits would have this type of attire, and only bandits were used to shouting and screaming like this when they charged.

Gong Tingjue immediately understood many things.

As early as many weeks ago, there was internal conflict that happened within several of the largest bandit groups. Then, someone directly crushed them, joining them together into one group.

The reason why he was previously the underground king in this region was because his military strength was enough to intimidate all of the smaller groups beneath him… but it wasn’t enough to scare the bandits. Bandits wouldn’t bother with him because he could give them enough benefits.

However, before he even had enough time to completely understand what happened, the bandits in these mountains already underwent an extremely great change.

There were only two individuals in the carriage, but they were acknowledged by these bandits as their leaders.

That was why… the one who shouldn’t have tried to steal business was himself, and not these two.

In that instant, Gong Tingjue who now understood many things now only felt a bitter feeling in his mouth, only felt incredible despair within.

Gong Tingjue felt despair.

Those subordinates of his on the slope who suffered severe casualties and were covered in blood, when they saw the bandits that were several times their size rush out like howling ghosts, they felt even greater despair.

These people were only part of the black market gangs, not Yunqin soldiers with iron wills. In just an instant of time, these people already began to flee in all directions, even forgetting that there was a carriage in the valley ahead of them.

It was to the extent where in many people’s eyes, that carriage that brought death and endless bandits instead became the most terrifying thing.

The previous battle completely turned into a one-sided massacre.

The bandits that covered everything began to chase after Gong Tingjue’s scattered subordinates as if they were chasing rabbits.

The curtains of that carriage in the valley moved.

Zhantai Qiantang and Lin Xi walked out.

While watching this type of slaughter, Zhantai Qiantang felt a bit disturbed. His brows furrowed slightly. He turned around to look at Lin Xi, quietly saying, “Were we a bit too vicious?”

“It is precisely because these people are too vicious that they are here.” Lin Xi gave Zhantai Qiantang a look. “You also know that there are too many reasons for these people to die. Moreover, I already gave them a chance.”

Zhantai Qiantang nodded. Right at this moment, his face became slightly rigid.

He saw a black-robed woman walk over through the rain of blood. Forget about those subordinates of Gong Tingjue that were fleeing in all directions, even those bandits that became excited and crazy from slaughter all displayed extreme fear towards this black-robed woman. Not only did they remain far away, they even couldn’t help but kneel down.

In that instant, the surroundings of that black-robed woman became extremely vacant, the path of blood beneath her feet looking like a bright red carpet.

“So?” When he saw this black-robed woman appear, Lin Xi instead gave Zhantai Qiantang whose expression changed a look. “How is this boss of Dragon Snake Border Pass’ bandits? I told you you couldn’t win against her.”

“Sword controlling Sacred Expert?”

Zhantai Qiantang’s expression became extremely serious. He showed Nangong Weiyang who slowly walked over, face covered in black cloth, a serious bow of respect.

He knew that his involuntary vigilance only came from this female cultivator’s strength. The other party’s advance was just like an incoming giant mountain.

Nangong Weiyang walked up to Lin Xi and Zhantai Qiantang. She pulled aside the black cloth that was used in Dragon Snake Mountain Range to block some of the foul smell, revealing her tender appearance. She first gave Lin Xi a look. “You finally recovered?”

Lin Xi chuckled. “More or less.”

Nangong Weiyang’s brows furrowed slightly, saying seriously, “Your cultivation speed is extremely fast, still a bit faster than what I expected.”

Lin Xi said with a smile, “Thanks for the praise.”

Only now did Nangong Weiyang look at Zhantai Qiantang, nodding in return and saying, “This person isn’t bad. Who is he?”

Zhantai Qiantang was a bit embarrassed. Lin Xi said, “He is precisely Great Mang Old Emperor’s student, Zhantai Qiantang.”

“Oh.”

Nangong Weiyang released a light oh sound. Perhaps because she knew about Zhantai Qiantang’s matters, she didn’t express much more, as if it was just another day at work, nothing out of the ordinary.

“Where did you get those Stone Catapult Carts?” Lin Xi looked at the crushed stones on that slope, unable to help but look at Nangong Weiyang, asking this seriously.

Nangong Weiyang said extremely naturally, “I saw what Stone Catapult Carts looked like before, so I just had them make some.”

Lin Xi was in a bit of disbelief. “You just told them what they were like and they just made them?”

“If they couldn’t make them, then they lose their heads.” Nangong Weiyang said seriously, “These people would rather come here to live like rotten rats precisely because they don’t want to die. Bandits are all people who are scared of death. When their lives are demanded, when you force them enough, they will naturally find a way.”

Lin Xi helplessly looked at Nangong Weiyang. “No wonder there was always this quote… outstanding figures all become outstanding from pressure. However, even if they could be made, how did you move them here?”

Nangong Weiyang’s reply was simple. “If they can’t be moved over, then they are beheaded.”

Zhantai Qiantang immediately choked on his own saliva, unable to help but cough.

Lin Xi said a bit speechlessly, “The point is, why did you make them waste so much strength to bring these here? You didn’t have to go that far, right…”

Nangong Weiyang gave Lin Xi a look, still saying seriously, “This way, less people can die… the number of bandits actually isn’t that many either. Replenishing their numbers isn’t that simple either.”

This time, Lin Xi finally couldn’t help but smile. “You were so quick to behead them, but now, you are cherishing their lives.”

“These are different.” Nangong Weiyang looked at him and said, “I say I will behead them, but that’s not necessarily truly the case. Moreover, these bandits don’t even have much to do normally, having them do some more stuff will let them think about less things. Giving them some more orders will instead make them used to listening to my orders. They won’t only fear me, but rather not think about going against me at all.”

This time, both Lin Xi and Zhantai Qiantang were stunned.

“Seems like you are indeed suited to becoming the bandits’ boss.” Lin Xi said sincerely in admiration and then continued, “However, just suppressing them isn’t enough, you might really have to remove some more heads.”

“It’s fine.” Nangong Weiyang shook her head and said, “A few days ago, some of my subordinates seized the old caves of many other bandits and obtained many benefits. Moreover, with me overseeing this place, they aren’t scared of suddenly being threatened by a powerful cultivator. For them, their lives are already many times better than before.”

Zhantai Qiantang finally couldn’t help but sigh in admiration. “You truly deeply understand the principles of military management.”

Nangong Weiyang gave Lin Xi a look, saying directly again, “You have to first bring me a batch of medicines. The consumption of medications here is too severe, or else even more sick and injured are going to die.”

Lin Xi patted Zhantai Qiantang’s shoulder. “Let’s just hand this matter over to him. He will take over this Gong Tingjue’s position, and he can also serve as your military counselor, give you these people’s better supplies and goods.”

Nangong Weiyang gave Zhantai Qiantang a look, releasing another oh sound.

She seemed to naturally not hate Zhantai Qiantang either.

Right at this moment, a roar sounded from the distant forest. A speeding horse rushed out, not caring about the battlefield situation at all, quickly reaching not far from where Nangong Weiyang was. The rider on that horse jumped off, directly kneeling before Nangong Weiyang, handing her a small scroll.

“It’s finally starting.” Nangong Weiyang’s brows furrowed, saying this with a grave and ice-cold voice.

“What is?” Lin Xi was momentarily stunned, unable to help but ask.

“The war against the south has officially begun.” Nangong Weiyang turned around. She looked at Lin Xi and Zhantai Qiantang, saying, “Yunqin’s great army has already crossed over Thousand Sunset Mountain and officially faced Great Mang’s seven armies!”

Lin Xi and Zhantai Qiantang’s bodies shook at the same time, both of them unable to help but take a deep breath.

In that instant, even the air that entered their lungs felt exceptionally cold.

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