Chapter 102: A Crushing Trample
An innumerable amount of disastrous Swordbirds flooded out of the mountain valley.
Tidewaters were often used as a descriptor, but even tidewaters were still contained within the rivers and seas.
This tide of Swordbirds occupied the entire sky, occupied all available space. These fierce and violent beasts were covering every corner and spot of the sky.
Within the vision of the million strong army, countless black dots were as thick as stalks in a field of flax. They were filled with Swordbirds circling and dancing in the sky.
The Greenwing Swordbirds formed a green sea of Swordbirds. It was like the dams of the river in heaven had collapsed and an opening had formed in the sky above the Second Crossing, draining the waters away with abandon.
There were inumerous Silverwing Swordbirds interspersed amongst the green ocean.
There were even many Goldwing Swordbirds within. Many golden shadows, and a plentitude of golden streaks of light could be seen across the sky. There were at least several hundred threading throughout the mass.
The clouds and wind had changed color, the sun and moon without light.
The million strong army finally knew the meaning of these words.
The originally hoity-toity million strong army was suddenly reduced to an exceedingly miniscule existence compared to the sea of Swordbirds, just like the lights of fireflies would pale in the presence of the sun and moon.
“Long Zhaofeng, you are wise and brilliant to have worn the royal robes early to have fun at playing king. You can take these beautiful dreams with you as you go skipping off to the underworld to reunite with your son.”
Jiang Chen’s tone carried a few hints of cruel banter as he looked at the greatly appalled Long family members.
“Protect the king!” Long Er made a prompt decision. Who had the courage to attack Jiang Chen now? He knew that life or death would be decided in this moment.
Jiang Chen circulated his true qi and called down in a clap of spring thunder, “I, Jiang Chen, only want to kill the Long family members and do not wish to harm those who kneel in surrender. Those who do not will be viewed as loyal to the Long family unto death and will surely die.”
“Do you all hear that? Apart from the Long family, those who kneel and surrender will not be killed. Those who do not kneel will be viewed as loyal to the Long family unto death and the sworn enemies of the Jiang family. You will be shown no mercy.” Jiang Feng was filled with magnanimity and kindheartedness, he too didn’t wish to kill innocents.
Although the members of the million strong army were basically the Long family’s dependents, the soldiers and generals of the army were just all following orders. This wasn’t a crime.
Long Er was greatly alarmed and hurriedly called out, “Don’t believe the Jiang family’s blather. This tide of Swordbirds is a natural disaster, their promises cannot be believed. The Swordbirds are dumb beasts, how would they know who is a Long family member and who isn’t?”
Except, at this time, what effect would Long Er’s words have? Those powers who had originally been forced to accede to the Long family immediately threw down their weapons, and thumped to their knees in a continuous wave of sound.
Long Er shouted gravely, “Those who kneel will be viewed as defectors having gone over to the enemy’s side, and will all be executed!”
After he spoke, Long Er dashed into the formation and hacked more than ten soldiers down onto the ground like he was chopping away at vegetables.
Except, how would he kill all those kneeling by himself alone?
Many followed after the first person kneeled. After a short while, roughly seventy to eighty percent of the million strong army was on their knees. The remaining people were either the Long family’s elite troops, the Long family’s loyal confidantes such as the Duke of Yanmen, or the people who had a deep grudge with the Jiang family previously.
A large Goldwing Swordbird suddenly emitted a sharp, long whistle!
With that, several hundred Goldwing Swordbirds launched an attack at almost the same time, transforming themselves into golden-colored shadows as they dived down.
In their eyes, the humans below were the best meal, particularly true qi masters -- their flesh and blood were the most nutritious type of food.
Thousand of Silverwing Swordbirds also dived down soon after.
Waves of Greenwing Swordbirds crashed down one after another as if they were waves from the ocean.
A splendid sight formed in front of the Second Crossing for the span of an instant.
It was as if meteors were falling from the skies. Gold, silver, and green colored ones fell endlessly.
Swordbirds had sharp beaks and razor sharp wings. Their feathers were even harder than any human armor. Normal arrows would absolutely be unable to cause any damage to them at all. A majority of the arrows were brushed aside by them when their claws waved.
Even if an occasional arrow from a strong practitioner managed to hurt them, how would they be able to shoot down all the Swordbirds that were coming at them like the tidewaters?
Even if they could shoot down two with one arrow, or three with one arrow, how many arms were there to raise a bow, and how many arrows were there for them to shoot?
“Ah, my eyes!”
“No, I don’t want to die, don’t eat me!”
“I surrender, I surrender, stop your beaks. Stop your beaks!”
Blood and flesh randomly flew through the air as arrows flew wildly. It was a scene of total chaos in front of the Second Crossing.
In the beginning, the great army managed to scrape together some semblance of resistance, but as increasing numbers of Swordbirds joined into the fray and the strong experts on the ground were continuously divvied up and eaten, the scene almost became a one-sided massacre.
Eating the flesh and blood of these strong practitioners satisfied the Swordbirds in every respect and they continuously emitted excited bird cries.
“I can’t hold on anymore, run!”
“Everyone escape into the mountain valley, it’ll be good if even one gets away!”
Except, escaping under these circumstances was undoubtedly wishful thinking.
There were Swordbirds everywhere, both within and outside, up and down the mountain valley. Whenever there was the slightest sliver of space or the slightest opening, a Swordbird would immediately appear.
These Swordbirds all vied with each other for the purposes of feeding themselves. How could they let anyone escape?
Long Zhaofeng was also exceedingly bedraggled at this moment. Within a defensive ring of horses, he was making desperate struggles under the protection of his remaining true qi masters.
It was a good thing that the power of several true qi masters was also frightening. Even with several hundred Goldwing Swordbirds attacking them, they were unable to immediately break through this strong line of defense.
After all, this was the decisive moment between life and death. It was impossible for any of the true qi masters to hold anything back. Whether it was their trump cards or their most powerful treasures, they employed them all on the battlefield.
If they didn’t use them now, then in this lifetime, they wouldn’t have the chance to use them again.
Add to that the fact that true qi masters could always force out their strongest battle potential when in dire straits, their fierce way of fighting that didn’t fear death also caused the Goldwing Swordbirds to be unwilling to go head to head with them.
After all, with this situation, the Swordbird army was already engaging in a one-sided massacre. The kings of Swordbirds were also intelligent and unwilling to do something like trading a life for a life.
Therefore, this was why a defensive formation formed by all the true qi masters was able to withstand the Swordbird army attacks raining down like the tidewaters, but the others weren’t that lucky.
Each division of the army had formed defensive units, but these units were unable to have any effect in the face of such seamless aerial attacks.
Yet another formation was dissolved and destroyed with a ghastly wail and howl. Every body of flesh and blood was swept to the floor by the Swordbirds, churned up, and eaten.
“No more, damn it, no more! I surrender!”
“I surrender. What the point of fighting for life and death? Who are we protecting?”
“Yes, all the true qi masters have run off to protect that so-called king, and we stand here and await death?”
The soldiers’ morale had finally dissipated, and they woke up after those fierce, blindly loyal supporters were continuously swallowed up by the Swordbird army, until only some stubborn resisters were left.
There was no point in fighting like this.
With this, more and more divisions all kneeled down and paid lip service to surrender.
After an hour, apart from Long Zhaofeng still managing to hold on within his crowd of true qi master protection, there were no more stubbornly resisting troops remaining anywhere else.
They could either surrender, or be swallowed by the Swordbird army.
It was an odd thing. Once someone kneeled down and surrendered, the Swordbird army would stop their attacks. Although they would circle over the soldiers’ heads endlessly, they really did restrain themselves from the temptation of flesh and blood.
Thick crowds of kneeling soldiers out of the million strong army covered the entire mountain valley. Only white skeletal frames were left of those stubborn resisters. There were fully tens of thousands of these frames.
“Jiang Chen, stay your hand. I am willing to surrender.”
Within Long Zhaofeng’s defensive formation, the Duke of Vermilion Bird, Hong Chunlei, couldn’t take it anymore. He was about to have a mental breakdown.
He had thrown himself under Long Zhaofeng’s banner partially because of the trend of the greater picture, and partially out of coercion and resignation. He had only wanted to retain his position as one of the four great dukes, but now had discovered that he had stirred up such a hornet’s nest by following Long Zhaofeng, and fallen into the dire circumstances of today.
How did he have the courage and faith to continue fighting to the death for Long Zhaofeng?
Brandishing the weapon in his hands, he leapt out of the battle ring and knelt with both knees, intending to surrender.
His knees had just started bending when a cold draft swept over the back of his neck. A blade flashed and his head was sent rolling.
Long Er said sinisterly, “Those who go over to the enemy’s side will die.”
Bloodthirsty shock tactics were no longer enough to awe and frighten others at this moment. The momentum towards defeat had formed. Even though Hong Chunlei was beheaded, many other strong experts still began to squirm out of the battle ring.
Even some of the true qi masters that Long Zhaofeng had bought, those experts who had just been titled “royal experts”, didn’t have the desire to fight on.
Although the battle ring had yet to collapse, the Swordbird army surged like the tides with a momentum that wouldn’t let up at all. They could fight and kill, but their hands were trembling from weakness, having fought until now. The Swordbirds they had killed were merely 1/100, or even 1/1000 of the Swordbird army.
What was the point in a continued battle like this?
Long Er’s body was covered in blood as he called out, “Cover His Majesty’s retreat and all of you will be meritorious subjects and made lord of ten thousand households.”
The stimulus of lord of ten thousand households stirred some fighting spirit in these royal experts’ hearts. Fortune and prosperity was gained in the midst of danger, and they would put their lives on the line to be ruler of ten thousand households.
Long Zhaofeng was overjoyed and promised, “Of those who fight by my side today, those who live will be made lord of ten thousand. Those who die will have their families be awarded one million gold and have endless prosperity passed onto their progeny.”
“Long Zhaofeng, on this day you continue to make promises that you cannot fulfill. Make lord of ten thousand households? Do you think you can leave this place alive?”
Jiang Chen laughed involuntarily upon hearing those words.
Long Zhaofeng was speechless. The situation was greater than the person. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to kill Jiang Chen, but that he’d never thought that Jiang Chen could deploy an army of Swordbirds. This was something that had never been heard of from time immemorial.
Above the pass, Princess Gouyu, Eastern Lin, and Eastern Zhiruo watched this scene with vindication.
Karma in the present life had arrived swiftly.
A few days ago, Long Zhaofeng had led a great army to lay siege to the palace and killed everything within and outside of the palace, leaving not even the chickens and dogs.
And now, he was surrounded by a Swordbird army and his life hung by a thread.
Princess Gouyu was filled with astonishment and her heart completely in disarray. She finally understood where Jiang Chen’s confidence came from, and finally knew why Jiang Chen viewed the million strong army as a trifling nothing.
It wasn’t arrogance, it wasn’t ignorance, it was just that he had absolute power.
“Royal brother, your noble spirit shouldn’t be far. Do you see this? Long Zhaofeng is not far from death. In this moment, Long Zhaofeng is tasting the same death struggles that you experienced in the last moments of life.” Princess Gouyu said silently in her heart.
The attacks of the Swordbird army continued.
The Swordbirds attacked endlessly like shooting stars and meteorites, assailing the nerves of every stubborn resistor. It was like they walked along the edge of life and death every time they beat back an attack.
Their nerves had been stretched to the breaking point, and they didn’t know either how many more attacks they could fend off.