The silver city towered over the rest of the valley like a giant. Rays of morning light fell on its walls, causing it to gleam with a shimmery golden light. A flight of white doves took to the air as they chirped cheerfully, further emphasizing the tranquil serenity of the valley. Countless little maps dotted the area inside the large valley. There was Fierce Bear Gorge, Greedy Wolf Ridge, and Tidal Forest. These were excellent grinding spots for players in Dawn City who were between Level 50 and 100. After the new version had been patched into the server, quite a few high-level maps had popped up in the areas around Dawn City. There were quite a few maps which contained Level 170 ancient monsters, and every high-level player would soon grind in these maps to level up.
However, Dawn City was also located in the northernmost part of the China server’s continent, so it was the closest city to the Northern Alliance. This was also why it was so critical for us to defend Dawn City. The moment we lost the city, the Northern Alliance would be able to use it to establish a beachhead to pour millions of troops into our territory. At that time, we might not even have the ability to fend off the Northern Alliance after pooling together the might of several cities, much less launch a counterattack.
In the end, Dawn City was for the China server what Jieting was for the state of Shu in the Three Kingdoms period. The moment Shu lost Jieting, they lost the ability to resupply their army as they launched the first Northern Expedition. Likewise, if we lost Dawn City, our road to attacking the Northern Alliance would be sealed. Furthermore, Wind City, Sky City, Dark Moon City, Silver Fir City, and Warsky City would all be vulnerable to the attacks from the Northern Alliance. We would lose far more than what Lin Xiao had predicted. Even though Lin Xiao’s words made sense, he was ignoring the fact that this was a virtual war. A battle here could be resolved within 24 hours. There wasn’t as much flexibility and opportunities to salvage the situation as there were in a real war. Perhaps Lin Xiao hadn’t properly looked at the map of the China server, and this may have very well led to our quarrel on the forums. 
After He Yi and I caught up with the rest of the Dragonlight Cavalrymen, we assumed the point. As we led our troops around the perimeter of Dawn City, the sound of our hooves thundered through the valley. It had undoubtedly startled more than a few people.
As expected, the players who were grinding on the plains around Dawn City looked at us with startled eyes as we galloped past them. When they saw the emblem glowing on our shoulders, many of them couldn’t help but yell things like "Wow! Isn’t that the emblem of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls? Their levels are so high and they all look like sixth-promotion riders!", "What mount is that? It looks so cool! I don’t think we’ve ever seen something like that before!", and "It looks like a huge battle is really going to happen in Dawn City. Even the main forces of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls have come…"
As I spurred my Ice Qilin Horse forward, I glanced to the side to look at the distant Dawn City. We were not going to enter the city. After all, we didn’t want to cause any panic. As I stared at those silver walls, I sucked in a deep breath and said, "Even though the sturdiness of Dawn City’s walls and its defensive facilities can’t compare with the three main cities, it’s really quite good. If we station ourselves here, we will need to make full use of these advantages to destroy as much of the Northern Alliance’s core strength as we can. Once the battle starts, we can’t even allow the thought of retreat to enter our minds! We will only be advancing from there on out!"
Gui Guzi laughed as he said, "Boss Broken Halberd, what kind of strategy are you planning on employing? Are we all going to enter the city and wait for a chance to launch a counterattack?"
Li Chengfeng gave me a steady look as he said, "Yeah, what strategy do you plan on using?"
Xu Yang gave a flamboyant flourish of his sword as he laughed. "It’s simple. All of us will be stuffed into the Windy Trail. Defending the Windy Trail will be as good as defending the gates to Dawn City."
I couldn’t help but laugh, "Yeah, Xu Yang has a point. However, I looked at the map and I don’t think the Windy Trail will be so easy to defend. The Northern Alliance has no lack of super experts, and we won’t be able to stop them from attacking Dawn City itself, no matter how hard we try. I don’t have a specific plan in my head right now, but I do know one thing. Our single objective is this. We definitely need to kill as many of the enemy’s cavalry troops as we can before they reach Dawn City. We will sap the Northern Alliance’s core strength before they can even reach the city and show them that the China server isn’t so easy to bully!"
High Fighting Spirits raised his Dragonlight Shatter warhammer in the air as he gave a roar of laughter. "Lu Chen is right! That’s exactly what we need to do! What does that old fart Lin Xiao know? If we look weak in the very first Nation War we fight in, we will only galvanize the enemy forces and let them believe that we are easy targets! Furthermore, losing this battle will also allow them to rampage willy-nilly in our territory! In fact, it might very well be an irrecoverable loss and there’ll be no way to stir up the spirits of our players by then!"
He Yi giggled as she nodded her head. "Yeah, Fighting Spirits is right on the money. However… could I trouble you to show Lin Xiao a bit more respect. After all, he is still Lin Yixin’s father…"
High Fighting Spirits rubbed the back of his head with embarrassment before he started laughing yet again. "This… You’re right! I did indeed forget something. I forgot that this old fart might actually become Lu Chen’s father-in-law one day…"
He Yi pressed her lips together as her beautiful eyes turned bloodshot. It was obvious that she was forcing down the words that she wanted to say!
Chaos Moon yelled angrily, "Can you shut your mouth, Fighting Spirits!? Didn’t I already say that this topic was off-limits…"
He Yi looked around before whispering in a small voice, "It’s fine. In fact, it’s too early to say anything right now. I will definitely fight for my happiness!"
Chaos Moon giggled as she moved her horse close to He Yi and grabbed her arm. She flashed her a grin as she said, "Yeah, I’ll definitely be supporting you, Sis Eve! I’ll do everything I can to help! Even if that punk Lu Chen gets his soul stolen by Beauty Lin, I’ll just use a soul summoning banner to lure it right back!"
He Yi’s silvery laughter tinkled in the air. She tightened a delicate fist before she said in a very confident voice, "That’s fine! Why so serious? Right now, Lu Chen is still a member of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, and none of the people under my banner are so easily seduced! Hmph! Am I right, Lu Chen?"
I obediently nodded my head as I replied, "Our boss is wise, I won’t ever leave..."
Everyone erupted in laughter.
After we passed through a dozen maps, we finally saw the valley start to narrow. The two huge mountains to either side were growing closer to one another, causing the area around us to shrink to a space that was only a few hundred meters wide. If we stuffed the two mountains with archers and mages, it was clear that this would make for a great ambush spot. It was also the place that we had to defend.
Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun was moving at a frightening speed. He was ahead of all of us, and his four hundred party members kept pace with him as he flew forward, his black blade in hand. Sixth-promotion players could lead a party of up to 200 players. If the sixth-promotion player was a Famous General, that number increased to 400. If that player was a Divine General, it increased to 600! This was also why Lin Yixin had been able to sweep boss monsters so easily after she had become a Divine General. If she formed a full party and activated Bombshell, that meant that all 600 players in her party would have their stats boosted by 80%! What kind of boss wouldn’t she be able to kill now!?
"There are people ahead!" Chaos Moon shouted as she urged her horse to go faster. As she pointed her sword ahead of her, hesitation filled her beautiful eyes. "Tsk, are they players from Candle Dragon?"
"What? Players from Candle Dragon!?" He Yi and I exclaimed in shock.
The Ice Qilin Horse gave a loud neigh as I urged it forward. As I raced forward, I saw that there was a big group of players in the valley. There were about 3000 of them and they had taken up the entire space. Every single one of them had the emblem of Candle Dragon floating above their shoulders, but they weren’t part of Candle Dragon’s main guild. These players were all from Candle Dragon’s first subguild, but they were not to be underestimated. Even though they were only a subguild, they were still one of the strongest forces in Wind City. In fact, they could directly battle against a big guild like Peach Garden without any support from their main guild.
A dozen magic knights raised their huge shields as they moved their mounts over to block the road. One of them swung his sword in the air as he yelled, "The first subguild of Candle Dragon is training in this area. We request that our friends who have come to visit from afar take a detour! We don’t want any unfortunate misunderstandings to occur!"
Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun brandished his long blade as he retorted, "Oh? And why exactly won’t you let us cross this area?"
"We don’t need to give you a reason!"
A Level 151 magic knight spurred his mount forward, the haft of his long spear resting against its neck. He laughed as he said, "Oh, I know who this is! To think that it was one of the Famous Generals of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun! No wonder you dared to talk to us in such a manner! I’m really very sorry. Even if it’s Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, we will still have to request that you make a detour. In Wind City, we have already designated the left side of this area as Candle Dragon’s responsibility to defend! As such, we request that you make a detour!"
Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun had always been a frank person, so he pointed his sword at the magic knight and asked, "If I may be so bold as to ask. Exactly which guild decided how this area would be defended?"
The magic knight chuckled before he replied, "Candle Dragon, Candle Dragon’s first subguild, Candle Dragon’s second subguild, Candle Dragon’s third subguild… Hahaha, why? Do you have a problem with that?"
Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun brandished his long blade as he let out a roar of laughter. "Your words just gave me a reason to kill you! Do you have the balls to fight me one on one?"
"Bring it on!"
The two hotheaded warriors charged toward each other. Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun’s long blade shone with a glaring light as he switched to Encourage VII before his opponent could hit him. After that, he delivered an exquisite Barrier Break to the magic knight’s chest!
The magic knight’s eyes widened in shock but his spear trembled as he activated Barrier Break as well. Unfortunately for him, he was just a step slow. By the time he had activated his Barrier Break, Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun had already made his move. His blade carried the might of a mountain as it smashed into the magic knight’s neck! He had actually hit a weak point with his Mount Hua Strike!
After two exchanges, Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun had shaved off nearly all of his opponent’s health while only losing 15% of his HP. As he urged his mount forward, he gave a furious roar, "Die, you punk!"
Light erupted from his blade as the magic knight hurriedly activated his Holy Shield skill. However, Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun brash actions had disguised his cunning. Horror filled the magic knight’s eyes as he realized what skill Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun had used when his blade hit his shield. Crushing Blow!
Three hits was all it had taken to send the man toppling from his horse.
"Fucking hell, this punkass bitch actually killed our squad leader. Let’s go! It’s time to kill this bitch!"
A group of players from Candle Dragon’s first subguild flew into a rage as they unsheathed their weapons with steely rasps. Both the fighters and the long range players started to move toward us.
A high-level archer quickly strode out of the crowd. As he raised his longbow in the air, he yelled, "Fucking hell, Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls have gotten too big for their britches! They actually dared to kill one of ours in our own territory! Comrades, prepare yourselves for battle! Candle Dragon’s first subguild will kill all of them, no matter how many cavalrymen they brought today!"
"Dammit! Eighteen Steeds, you idiot! Why did you go and create a mess for us…" Chaos Moon pursed her lips as she sighed helplessly. "The Nation Wars are about to start, so are we really going to have an internal conflict right before this?"
I swiftly flew forward and cut in front of Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun. I drew the Cyan Netherworld Sword with a steely rasp, and pointed it straight up. After that, I smiled at Purple Dawn and said, "Purple Dawn, that’s enough. Let’s not fight."
Purple Dawn, the guild leader of Candle Dragon’s first subguild, let out a cold laugh. "On what basis are you trying to stop this fight? Eighteen Steeds of You and Yun just killed one of our corps commanders. How are you going to account for that?"
I pointed my sword forward and smiled as I said, "The first reason is that we haven’t come here to fight. We came here to help defend Dawn City, and we don’t wish to come into conflict with any other guild from the China server. The second reason is that Eighteen Steeds only killed your man because you were trying to hog this area. Don’t forget, this is a public map. It’s not yours just because you say so. As for the last reason? It’s really very simple. Pardon me for being blunt, but do you, Purple Dawn, think that the few thousand players you have here are enough to fight the two thousand cavalrymen that I brought with me today?"
Purple Dawn gritted his teeth as he stared at the players behind me. He soon discovered that most of our famous super experts, such as Li Chengfeng, He Yi, Gui Guzi, and Chaos Moon, were all present today. They had also drawn their weapons and it was clear that they were ready for battle. Just a single command from me would cause our ace cavalry troop to descend upon these Candle Dragon players like a pack of wolves. Candle Dragon’s first subguild didn’t even have a 10% chance of winning this battle.
1. The Battle of Jieting was a key loss for the State of Shu during the Three Kingdoms Period. The loss of Jieting cut off the supplies from the advancing Shu army, directly contributing to the failure of Zhuge Liang’s first Northern Expedition against Wei.