Rui Xiang’s words froze the atmosphere in the hall. Many of the generals stared at him with fierce expressions. These people were loyal followers who had been with Luo Bingfeng for many years. Although being loyal to the city lord also meant being loyal to Zhang Buzhou, the latter’s popularity had dwindled since his appointment of the Wolf King. By keeping a clear line between himself and the Wolf King, Luo Bingfeng managed to win the loyalty of the staff.
There had always been a rumor in the army that Zhang Buzhou had encountered an accident in his cultivation, and that was the reason why he had made no progress despite many years of cultivation. People also believed that City Lord Luo had already caught up in terms of power.
Du Yuan’s eyes flickered. “The Heavenly Monarch is everyone’s lord, and people know that. There’s no need to repeat it.”
“Really? That might not be the case.”
Du Yuan ignored Rui Xiang’s words of ridicule. “Although we’ve managed to rule a region in the neutral lands, we’re still not strong enough to hold out against an all-out attack from Evernight and the Empire. The Heavenly Monarch had been in isolated cultivation for so long, and the powers under us have dwindled constantly for no good reason. Sire Rui, why did you have to fight this battle, can you explain it to us?”
Rui Xiang sneered, “What, are you afraid just because there’s a brat outside the gates?”
Du Yuan smiled coldly. “That isn’t the point. Battles have to be fought for a clear reason, or there might be people raising the Heavenly Monarch’s flag to advance their own interests! What if that person escapes before he exits isolation and the truth comes to light?”
Rui Xiang’s expression was ashen. He stood up with a harrumph, saying, “Since Commander Du has spoken thus, there is nothing more to say. People of different ideals cannot work together. Goodbye!”
With that, Rui Xiang left with a swing of his sleeve. He paid no attention to the fiery glares directed at him.
Everyone was furious, but they knew they couldn’t force Rui Xiang to tell them the entire story. After all, the man was a nominal representative of the heavenly monarch and his residence.
Rui Xiang’s men left as well, leaving only the city lord’s party in the conference hall.
A general asked, “Commander, what should we do now?”
“Send someone to conduct a detailed investigation of the youngsters’ background and history. Perhaps we can deduce the reason for Rui Xiang’s sudden attack. Especially that captured young man, I must know everything related to him.” Du Yuan contemplated for a moment before saying, “As for that Qianye, no matter what his background is, we can’t spare him since he’s come knocking on our door. I’ll take the field if necessary.”
Everyone became spirited, feeling a bit of relief from the brewing resent.
Zhu Meng said, “Commander, that Qianye might not be so easy to deal with. That crafty old thief has used every means at his disposal to avoid fighting Qianye after the first couple of encounters. There must be a reason for this, so I hope you will be cautious.”
His words incited a commotion, with people blaming him for cowardice. These people were Du Yufeng’s subordinates. Their position naturally diminished after the general’s death, so they were resentful of Zhu Meng.
Du Yuan waved his hand, saying, “I'll be leaving hunting down Qianye to the two vice-commanders, Zhu Meng will act as support. Summon me if I need to take action.”
The two vice-commanders and Zhu Meng accepted the order, and the meeting thus came to an end.
Zhu Meng felt great uneasiness upon leaving the meeting room. There had been no outcome despite all the discussions, and there was still no explanation for why his three hundred brothers had died.
Before long, he saw a man hurrying over toward him. He stepped forward to greet this person, “Steward Luo.”
Luo Yun stopped upon seeing Zhu Meng. “General Zhu, how did the meeting go?”
Zhu Meng smiled helplessly. “How can there be any outcome? Steward Rui wasn’t willing to say why he had to capture that young man. Oh right, Steward Luo, did the city lord say anything?”
Luo Yun sighed. “The city lord wanted to ask about this matter at first, but that person stopped him. I can’t do anything, either.”
Zhu Meng whispered, “Don’t tell me that woman and Steward Rui are working together? Are they working from inside and out to control him?”
Luo Yun was shocked. “What nonsense are you spouting? How can you make such wild conjectures? Besides, the city lord is our benefactor, we ought to do whatever he commands. Let’s take a step back and say you’re right, that person’s divination arts are unfathomable and her daybreak origin power is the purest I’ve ever seen, perhaps even above the city lord’s. Are you not afraid of being discovered?”
Zhu Meng snorted. “So what? I’ve never feared death. Besides, I’ve always been loyal to the city lord. What can she do to me?”
Luo Yun sighed. “General Zhu, this matter isn’t the same as fighting. Even my words hold no sway with the city lord, I can’t even approach the courtyard without being summoned. No matter how loyal you are, it doesn’t matter if the city lord doesn’t know.”
Feeling increasingly stifled, Zhu Meng stomped hard on the ground.
Luo Yun said, “I’ll take my leave now as I still have a mission to attend to.”
Noticing the direction of Luo Yun’s departure, Zhu Meng asked, “Is Steward Luo heading to…”
“Yes, to Southern Blue.”
Zhu Meng didn’t know what to say. All he could do was clear the path and watch Luo Yun’s figure fade away into the distance. He scratched his head hard, not knowing where to vent his frustrations.
Night descended upon the city, accompanied by dark low-lying clouds and whistling gales. The interior of Tidehark, however, was brightly illuminated and the security was extra tight. At this moment, squads of city guards were moving out of the city.
The citizens of Tidehark understood that the higher-ups were truly angry. Even some of those rarely-seen generals were now fully armored and in the field.
The large city guard squads advanced along the main roads, occupying all vantage points in practiced order. It would seem the person in command was truly skilled.
The city guard was laying down a huge net, gradually narrowing down Qianye’s field of movement. The moment his position was compromised, the hiding soldiers would swarm over and tear him to shreds.
Dawn had yet to arrive when the defenses had been completed and all the important positions along the southwestern main road had been occupied. Qianye would be hard-pressed to threaten the merchant caravans along this road no matter how powerful he was.
At this moment, several city guard officers were gathered around a large man atop a certain hill. The current operation was under the command of this vice-commander. The man narrowed his eyes as he scanned the hill region with his eagle-like gaze.
“Any news?” he asked.
“No, Sir. Our men are all in position and searching their surrounding areas, but they haven’t found anyone yet. Nor have they found any camp or stopover point.”
The vice-commander frowned. “Where are the assassins and mercenaries?”
“We’ve already dispatched them, and they should be in position by now. The mercenaries have also reached their designated areas and are starting to take action. As I see it, these people may be the first to make a discovery.”
The vice-commander’s expression relaxed slightly. “Yes, these people are hyenas in the wilderness, the most difficult type to entangle with. We need to use such people in order to deal with Qianye. I think we’ll hear some news before long.”
He hadn’t even finished speaking when a blinding blue radiance leaped into the distant sky.
The blue light traversed well over a thousand meters, passing over a city-guard encampment and into a mountaintop. Seeing where the blue light had landed, the vice-commander exclaimed, “Oh no, Old Meng!”
The vice-commander flew into the air and rushed over to the distant hilltop.
Outside of the camp, a burly man was lying on his back, his eyes wide open and full of resentment. The massive penetrating injury on his chest was a testament to how fierce that shot was. He was wearing an ordinary soldier’s uniform, and the place where he had collapsed was a sentry’s position.
The vice-commander roared furiously, “How did he figure out Old Meng’s identity?”
The soldiers trembled in fear, but no one could provide an answer. Finally, an officer replied, “It’s probably his bad luck.”
The vice-commander nodded with a sigh. As an expert in disguise and covert operations, Old Meng had always been very cautious. He was to play a key hidden role in this operation, and he had even changed his appearance for it. Apart from a couple of high-ranking officers, no one should’ve known where he was stationed. He was to hide in the periphery and deal a heavy blow to Qianye as he was fleeing. Such an important character was actually killed before the battle had even begun.
The vice-commander glanced toward the source of the blue light, but Qianye was nowhere to be found.
He said with a stern expression, “Let the merchant caravans move out. He probably can’t fire a second shot that quickly.”
The officers were somewhat hesitant. “Won’t that be too much of a risk? What if he attacks…”
“Then we can capture and slaughter him. If he doesn’t come out, then we’ll escort that caravan away under his eyes. Every caravan will be a slap on his face,” the vice-commander uttered word by word.”
“The commander is wise!”
Moments later, hundreds of cargo trucks drove out of Tidehark and toward Southern Blue. This motorcade was an accumulation of over a dozen caravans, flying the colors of many different companies. Most of them were actually cargo trucks, with only a handful of armored vehicles among them.
In a messy pile of rocks not far from the roadside, a stone suddenly moved away to reveal a pair of eyes.
Qianye wasn’t even using a special disguise. He was merely covered in a camouflaged cloak resembling the nearby rocks, but his aura was completely sealed. Ordinary people might’ve seen him, but experts who relied on perception were less likely to notice him. They would simply consider him a rock.
There was a hunter on a nearby hilltop who was constantly observing the surroundings. He had a signal gun in his grasp, ready to fire immediately once he had noticed something.
This hunter was only thirty meters away from Qianye, but he never noticed the latter’s presence.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie