Book 12 Chapter 3 - We Can’t Return

In the darkness of the night, seven Great Mang cultivators were carefully examining an uncultivated forest surface.

After moving aside some mud, they discovered some warm charcoal remains and some bird bones.

Shi Qian was precisely one of these seven Great Mang cultivators.

His identity on the surface was just the attendant of a local Great Mang official. This identity already ensured that everything went smoothly for him for many years, even now not drawing the suspicion of anyone. However, his true identity was a core disciple of Thousand Devil Nest, moreover a core disciple loyal to Li Ku.[1]

When Purgatory Mountain Patriarch finally discovered traces of the fleeing Li Ku, moreover gathered all of Purgatory Mountain’s elders and Wenren Cangyue to kill Li Ku, Thousand Devil Nest cultivators who supported the old emperor and Li Ku experienced a cruel purge, over half of Thousand Devil Nest’s cultivators losing their lives under this great purge. Now, Thousand Devil Nest only remained in name, no longer the cultivation holy land that could keep Purgatory Mountain in check, instead becoming a puppet controlled by Purgatory Mountain.

In the end, some of the secret caves of the Thousand Devil Nest resistance members were completely burned to ashes, and then those Thousand Devil Nest great figures who knew about his identity all died under the purge, so in this world, there might already be no one left who knew that he was the sole inheritor of a Thousand Devil Nest elder, that he was a Thousand Devil Nest ‘remnant evil’.

The true Thousand Devil Nest already no longer existed, there was already no one in this world who knew of Shi Qian’s identity as a Thousand Devil nest direct descendant. According to normal reasoning, what was most suitable for him in the new Great Mang that had already completely changed, was to calmly spend the second half of his life in peace.

However, he couldn’t forget how when he was still young, his teacher supported his head while imparting cultivation dao to him, unable to forget those friends he laughed and played with, unable to forget those sweet memories… He couldn’t let these memories be erased just because of a desire to live, not willing to forget his status as a Thousand Devil Nest inheritor.

That was why by borrowing this type of chance that wouldn’t draw any suspicion, he crossed over Thousand Sunset Mountain, entering Yunqin’s territory.

On the surface, he was obviously hunting down Lin Xi together with other Great Mang cultivators, but his true objective was that in Yunqin Empire, there was someone named Zhantai Qiantang.

Just like the purge of Thousand Devil Nest, the old emperor’s people also suffered a cruel cleansing. However, in the hearts of the old emperor’s people who were still alive, Zhantai Qiantang was their only remaining hope, as well as the hope of Shi Qian, this Thousand Devil Nest ‘remnant evil’.

Shi Qian didn’t know that Zhantai Qiantang already became partners with Lin Xi. For him, getting in touch with Zhantai Qiangtang was still an extremely distant and difficult matter. However, while pursuing Lin Xi and Gao Yanan, he developed a type of extremely strange feeling. It was as if the Lin Xi Wenren Cangyue and Purgatory Mountain wanted to kill had a type of ability to foresee their Great Mang cultivators’ next step.

If it was any other cultivator, even if they were a State Master level cultivator, under the coordinated search of so many Great Mang cultivators and soldiers, they might have long been surrounded and killed. However, even after closing in several times, his traces even further locked down on, he still managed to escape again and again. While looking at the charcoal that still carried a bit warmth, he couldn’t help but produce a strange thought in his head; if even so many cultivators and soldiers couldn’t kill Lin Xi, then wouldn’t someone like Lin Xi be able to defeat Wenren Cangyue, perhaps even the entire current Great Mang dynasty?

This type of strange thought made him feel extremely complicated emotions, to the extent where not even he himself could understand what these emotions were.

Close to a hundred black-armored Yunqin soldiers were lying in ambush without making any sounds, even their breathing sounds controlled to the limit.

Not far in front of them was a horse path.

These close to a hundred-black armored Yunqin soldiers’ thick leather armors all carried some scars, many people among them carrying injuries that had medicine and black bandages applied.

Their complexions were thin and pallid, in rather sorry states, even their hair full of dirt, not looking like hair, instead looking more like hay mixed with plaster that was used to fill in walls.

However, their expressions were still extremely strict, filled with an admirable radiance of viewing death as a return home.

They were all the leftover troops from Thousand Sunset Border Army, to the extent where they even came from different forts.

Because of Lin Xi’s help, Hu Piyi achieved a great victory after commanding Thousand Sunset Army one last time by Meteor City’s southern shore. However, because of a lack of provisions and military equipment, as well as Wenren Cangyue obtaining the trust of Great Mang dynasty, the reinforcements and powerful Great Mang military equipment arrived in an unending stream. In the end, Thousand Sunset Border Pass was still completely lost. All of the Yunqin troops in the southern half of South Tomb Province began to carry out a retreat.

The Thousand Sunset Mountain border army troops that were the furthest from Meteor City had it the roughest in the previous battles. The distance they had to cover during this type of retreat was also the furthest, so the price they had to pay was naturally also the most severe.

Most of the border army troops were scattered, many border armies of over a thousand men only had a few people survive.

These close to a hundred black-armored Yunqin soldiers from different scattered troops were able to survive in environments even cultivators might not necessarily be able to survive in, living until now with great difficulty.

The high ranking military officer in command of this current troop that looked extremely miserable and extremely sorry was Thousand Sunset Border Army's Mo Xunhua, a twenty-nine year old young man from Qiantang Province[2]. Originally, his post in Thousand Sunset Border Pass was Confidential Officer, only could be considered a civilian post in the army. However, right now, judging from the scar on his face that still hadn’t healed, his decisive and steady gaze, he was already no different from the commanders closest to the front lines.

After ascertaining that that Great Mang troop that was passing by on that path already traveled far enough, Mo Xunhua licked his already cracking lips, slowly turning around to look at all of the Yunqin soldiers who had similar expressions as him.

“We haven’t been able to get enough rest or enough food, to the extent where we don’t even dare to drink too much unboiled water… I believe that all of you are just like me, your bodies already unable to hold on much longer.”

After forcefully swallowing his saliva and speaking with difficulty, he looked at these Yunqin soldiers, slowly saying, “I don’t want to speak like this, but this is reality… Great Mang army’s speed of advance is far faster than we imagined, also much faster than the speed at which we can flee. Even the journey between us and Meteor Lake is extremely far. I reckon that we most likely can’t go back, or I should say that there is no way to return and see our family.”

“I wanted to go back even in my dreams, because originally, at the end of this year, I would have been able to take a vacation and go back, marry my fiance, but we really already cannot return.”

“Perhaps no one imagined we could still survive for this long, we might have all already appeared on Yunqin military’s death list. Our families might already think that all of us are dead.”

“...”

Mo Xunhua slowly said this, while all of the Yunqin soldiers in front of him were completely quiet, not a single one of them voicing the slightest criticism. It was because they knew that what Mo Xunhua said was all the truth. After experiencing these past few days, they also knew that Mo Xunhua, this type of person whose name and outer appearance were all extremely scholarly and who was only a military civilian post official, had a will even tougher than most front line soldiers. They knew that Mu Xunhua wouldn’t speak these types of words at this type of time for no reason.[3]

“We cannot return… but no matter what, we are Yunqin soldiers, Yunqin people who cannot leave behind other Yunqin soldiers. That is why we can make a choice, to die here, die here with glory.” Mo Xunhua’s voice sounded again.

Tears appeared in the eyes of many of these Yunqin soldiers, but all of them still tightly clenched their teeth, not uttering any sounds. Their expressions instead became even more resolute and fiery.

“Previously, my post in the military was handling some confidential articles, so the things I came into contact with are a bit more than all of you. The Great Mang troop we encountered just now are quite different from other Great Mang armies.” Mo Xunhua’s cracked lips produced some bloody wisps, but he didnt stop, seriously looking at these Yunqin soldiers and saying resolutely, “That Great Mang troop’s banner was special, the troop even having ceremonial weaponry and palanquins. When they passed by just now, there was clearly some flower resin water powder fragrance, meaning that there are maids inside those palanquins. Taking in all of this information, I can use my life to guarantee two things. One is that inside of this fleet, there is definitely a great figure from Great Mang Dynasty who will personally oversee the battle, at least a special envoy or a minister who is here on the king’s orders. There is one more thing, which is precisely the reason why I am saying that we most likely won’t be able to return… which is that we are deep within land occupied by Great Mang’s army, and there won’t be any Yunqin soldiers around us for many li. It is because this escort troop is only several hundred in number, Great Mang’s military wouldn’t consider that our Yunqin soldiers would be here at all. Moreover, there should be two Great Mang camps nearby. This escort army is only meant to bring this great figure from one large camp to the other nearby large camp.”

“Since we cannot return, then we will fight to the death, die with glory. That is why I believe that we should try to assassinate this Great Mang important figure!”

“Regardless of whether we can succeed or not, we won’t be letting down our reputation as Yunqin people. Even if we fail, we will give them a scare!”

Mo Xunhua’s teeth were also tightly clenched, spitting out these cold and resolute words from between them. Even though his voice still wasn’t loud, the words he spoke were like striking metal, clear and resounding.

All of these Yunqin soldiers whose bodies already reached their limit still didn’t say anything. However, they all brought their fists up to their chests, making a movement typical of Yunqin soldiers, vowing to fight to the death.

“I am someone from Yunqin, my name is Lin Xi.”

Right at this time, Mo Xunhua whose eyes were also becoming a bit blurry suddenly went a bit rigid. A voice sounded from the nearby darkness without any sign of movement.

Meanwhile, the instant he heard the other party announce his name, he, who was now truly weary and exhausted, yet his body still gave off Yunqin military’s greatest brilliance, was just like many of these Yunqin soldiers, all of them unable to help but start to tremble intensely.



2. Bian Linghan is from Qiantang Province

3. Mo is a surname, Xun Hua means flower-viewing

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