Whoosh… Under the dim moonlit skies, a soft gale swept through the desert located at the very top of the Yin Mountains.
Zhao Yun sat on top of a stone platform within the ruins of the Martyr’s Shrine, while his hands rested on an empty scabbard located right in front of him. The parts of the scabbard that touched the ground left traces of complex arrangements of Yin Talismans on the ground, almost as though the scabbard was an otherworldly existence.
The wind swept through the gaps in the ruins, howling like a chorus of a thousand ghosts, and gently tousling Zhao Yun’s hair like a group of playful poltergeists.
Darkness shrouded the entire mountaintop, and everything was as still as the silence before the storm. Countless pairs of eyes lay hidden in the shadows below, staring intently at the Martyr’s Shrine with a ferocious gleam in their eyes.
The surging murderous intent from the shadows engulfed the entire mountaintop, filling it with a tense silence. A second later, the voice of the alter ego erupted from within the Martyr’s Shrine, “Why bother?”
“The sons and daughters of the great Tengri are brave warriors, and they respect brave warriors like them. If you’re willing to defect and submit to me, I’m willing to swear on the name of the great Tengri that I’ll never purge your soul! In fact, I’ll see to it that your name spreads far and wide beyond the limits of this country!”
“This is the promise that I, Emperor Taizu of Yuan, Genghis Khan, am willing to give to you. You are a rare hero, one that is worthy of respect!”
Zhao Yun smiled.
He was a handsome man with a striking appearance. Yet his smile was unbelievably frigid, “Then, do you know what the history books say about me?”
Zhao Yun looked calmly to the skies with an abstruse gaze in his eyes. His voice didn’t even carry a trace of haughtiness as he spoke matter-of-factly, “One who possesses courage at the expense of longevity.”
“You’re no longer an emperor. And now that you’re dead and belong to the netherworld, you need to fall in line in accordance with the order that is already in place! Everything that slips through the cracks of Hell’s grasp will fall under my jurisdiction and purview! By Hell’s Dictum, all rabble shall disperse! Do you think I’m playing games here?”
“Great Khan, an instance of infraction, a lifetime of requital. Hell might be lacking in some ways right now, but Fengdu is still Fengdu, and Hell is still Hell!”
His voice was like thunder, and yet not a single word was transmitted beyond the four walls of the Martyr’s Shrine, almost as though these words were intended only for the ears of Temujin’s soul.
After a long time, the voice of the alter ego sounded once more, “Is there anyone who doesn’t wish to leave his mark in history? I can do it, and so can you. But look at that wide-eyed, guileless kid out there. Do you really think he will be able to make your name known throughout all generations?”
“Insolence!” Zhao Yun bellowed, “How dare you question the dignity of the King Yanluo of Hell?”
“Very well.” The voice of the alter ego remained just as calm and placid as ever, “I, Temujin, have spent my life in conquest, and the whole of Eurasia had at one point trembled wherever I pointed my blade, but the ones who remember these conquests of mine are now few and far between. My cavalry, God’s Whip, approaches. I sincerely hope that when their hooves trample all over what remains of your formation array that you’ll still be able to smile just like you are now.”
“Remember, the gates of Tengri are always open to you.”
Neither said another word.
The air burned with intense frigidity, and the tension was so thick it could be cut with a knife. Their exchange was short and uninspired, but both egos knew that it was going to be the final words that they were going to exchange with each other.
This was the final moment of silence.
And that was the last probe of intentions.
What comes next was the cold gleam of their blades!
The soul of Tengri could wait no longer for another wandering Yama-King to fall into their grasp like this.
After hundreds of years of being shackled and oppressed, Temujin could no longer wait for the freedom to ride beyond the skies where he belonged!
The Yuan Emperors and Imperial Preceptors were likewise just as eager as ever before to recover the lands that were long lost to them!
The opportunity to restore their dynasty to its former glory was right before their eyes, so how could they possibly be willing to remain silent any longer?
The sea of darkness was now stirring and bubbling, almost as though signifying that things had finally reached its boiling point.
Time slowly trickled by as both sides made their final preparations. And then, as soon as midnight of the next day arrived, the bleak toll of a bell resounded from the void.
A handful of pale-faced cultivators stood around Qin Ye, shrinking back slightly as they asked with a tremor in their voices, “D-do we really have to participate in this?” Each of them held a red talisman scribbled with black words and complicated patterns in their hands.
They weren’t afraid of ghosts. After all, it was arguably part of their life’s duty to hunt and purge evil ghosts.
But unfortunately, a battle of this scale was something well outside of their expectations. At the very least, none of them would have expected to participate in such a horrific battle, not even in their wildest dreams!
“There’s no need to take any action. All you have to do is to hold onto these talismans and sit in the place that I’ve designated. And so long as you remain alive, you’d do well to remain as still as you can.” The Harken gazed deep into the rolling fog beyond, “Don’t you want to know what’s been causing all that ruckus over the last few weeks?”
“No buts.” Qin Ye calmly cut them off, “Nobody’s coming to save you. Either fight with us for that glimmer of hope of regaining your freedom, or die here in these mountains.”
He wasn’t in the mood to encourage the survivors right now. Thus, he said nothing more, and simply turned to gaze into the fog.
All that needed to be said has already been said. There was no use flogging a dead horse any further.
There was a period of silence, followed by the cries of countless crows that rushed right up into the skies. The rolling fog below stirred like the sloshing waves of the ocean, almost as though schools of piranha were stirring anxiously, waiting to tear at the survivors on the mountaintop!
Gulp… One of the survivors gulped nervously. But the soft sound of gulping was soon drowned out by the heavy beats of the war drums.
The drum beats of the mountain gods!
Dong, dong, dong! The ferocious thumps of the war drums echoed from all around the mountaintop. Then, a second later, everyone heard the tremors of horse’s hooves commencing their charge.
It sounded far away.
At the very least, it sounded as though they were at least 1,000 meters away.
That said, it was endless.
Dense and incessant, just like the pelting of raindrops onto the earth.
At first, it started out slow and rhythmic. But just five seconds later, the soft pattering of hooves burgeoned into the terrifying rumble caused by a stampede of war horses!
There wasn’t any hissing.
Nor was there any shouting or sounds of clashing iron.
Everything else was silent, save for the oppressive rumble of the charge of tens of thousands of horses!
RUMBLE!!! If one were to say that the earlier pattering of hooves was no more than the sloshing of the waves, then the deafening rumble right now would be no different from a terrifying tsunami that was crashing straight onto a small island in the middle of an ocean! The rumble was accompanied by an intense eruption of murderous intent that filled the air with dank bloodthirstiness. Meanwhile, the Yin energy in the surroundings stirred wildly, swirling into a massive whirlpool spanning 10,000 meters from end to end that surrounded the mountaintops!
It was a grand spectacle.
Qin Ye slowly raised his hands. His existence right now was like the glimmer of light amidst the all-consuming darkness.
Meanwhile, the vortex swirling madly around them only grew closer and closer as it increased in speeds. Then, just as the clouds of Yin energy were no more than 300 meters from the peak, Qin Ye swung down his hand and bellowed over the deafening rumble of the charging hooves, “FORMATION!!!”
Shit!!! The survivors immediately bit down onto their lips and ran desperately to the positions they had all been assigned. At once, they bit through the skin of their fingertips and smeared the talismans with their blood.
Whoosh! A brilliant wave of light erupted from the talismans, filling the skies with coils of lustrous tendrils of complicated runic symbols that appeared to draw a complex diagram in the skies.
Boom!!! The eruption of light was accompanied with a deafening blast that instantly consumed the drone of the hooves around them. Meanwhile, the roiling sea of Yin energy around them stirred with countless ripples - a clear sign that the Golden Horde cavalry was charging bravely approaching the mountaintop without any fear of death.
Just then, a cloud of dust and smoke began to emerge from the clouds of Yin energy.
Here they come… here they come!
Qin Ye had never thought that he would one day stand toe to toe against the Golden Horde, otherwise known by Europa as God’s Whip. Yet, for some strange reason, there wasn’t any fear in his heart. In fact, he could sense his blood boiling from within him. He silently observed his surroundings, listening intently to the drone of the horses’ hooves as they slowly approached the mountaintop. 1,000 meters… 800 meters… 500 meters… 300 meters…
He raised his hand into the sky and then swung down his hand decisively, “Now!!!”
At once, the survivors bit down on their fingers and smeared another dash of blood onto the talismans in their hand, causing a brilliant white light to erupt from the talisman once more. Immediately, a series of dazzling runic symbols emerged from the talismans like glimmering vines, intertwining together until they all formed the illusory image of Laozi riding a bull.
Just then, the Harken clasped its paws together, “Auspicious omens from the yonder, echoes of the primordial, Laozi’s breath summons the Three Divinities!”
Whoosh!!! The illusory image of Laozi immediately rode his bull westwards. As he did, he abruptly opened his eyes, took a deep breath and blew gently. At once, the rolling fog that surrounded the entire mountain peak vanished at once, revealing everything originally hidden in the void.
All of them were riding skeletal war horses, and equipped with pitch-black armor. The Iron Stupa riding right at the front of the formation appeared no different from an iron pontoon, followed closely by units wielding devilish scimitars, before a series of archers right at the back of the formation. All in all, there were easily over 50,000 troops in total!
Furthermore, with the fog now out of the way, they could now easily see that there were complicated symbols of Tengrism gleaming under the feet of each of the cavalrymen. Furthermore, there were a total of 15 banners embroidered with the emblems of dragons, each of which represented an emperor of the Yuan Dynasty. Qin Ye promptly surveyed his surroundings, only to realize that each of the Yuan Emperors were Infernal Judges, and that there were even two other Abyssal Prefects hidden in their midst.
This was the march of the Yuan Dynasty, replete with its 98 years of history, 15 Emperors, 2 Imperial Preceptors, and the Golden Horde cavalry! And all of them were charging fervently for the horse’s head peak!
At this very moment, the armies of the Yuan Dynasty were charging straight into a thin curtain of light that appeared to be wearing out. The runic symbols of Yin Talismans on the curtain of light were all flickering weakly, almost as though they were on their dying breaths. What’s more...
There was nothing beyond this thin curtain of light!
Broadly speaking, the horse’s head peak contained three layers of defenses.
The outermost layer of defense was the wavering curtain of light, while the innermost layer of defense was where the Martyr’s Shrine was located. Naturally, that left the middle layer of defense, which was none other than…
Eight men and one dog, standing tall against tens of thousands of the Golden Horde cavalry imbued with the might of the God’s Whip military formation!
BOOM!!! It didn’t take more than five minutes before what remained of the curtain of light shattered completely, disintegrating into countless golden butterflies that promptly scattered into the surroundings. At once, the invaders charged forward like a rising tide, bringing with them an intense wave of murderous intent that battered the mountaintop.
“My god…” “Heavens help me…” “Shit! Shit shit shit!!!” The survivors’ eyes widened as they stared at the clouds of Yin energy that were quickly closing in on them. Yet not a single one of them dared to move a single step from their designated locations.
Time seemed to come to a complete standstill.
Just like the foreboding moment when the superstorm clouds were on the verge of bursting into a torrential downpour, the air was completely dank and still.
Yin energy flourished all around them. And then, for the very first time, the Mongol soldiers cried out with great fervor, breaking the silence.
I came, I saw, I conquered!
Strike like thunder, and move silently like a stream. The Golden Horde rushed up from below, only to find themselves standing face to face with only one man.
Whoosh… A bone umbrella slowly opened up. Qin Ye stared intently at the approaching cavalry. He could even see the cold gleam of the scimitars in their hands. Then, as soon as they drew within a 50-meter radius of him, the Yin energy from his body suddenly stirred into action and erupted at once, sending a ring of pitch-black shockwave rippling through the surroundings. Immediately, the cavalry located at the very front of the formation were sent stumbling backwards!
This was a Prefect’s Prestige of the Luminary.
“By Hell’s Dictum, all rabble shall disperse!!” Qin Ye glared at the approaching cavalry with fury in his eyes, “How dare a horde of ghosts and demons flaunt your might in front of an Abyssal Prefect of Hell?!”
Whoosh… At once, a series of silhouettes appeared right behind him, including a peculiar Yin spirit with his mouth as large as a gaping black hole, a series of zombies, a young teenager with blood pouring out of his seven apertures, as well as… an ink-black toddler.
“Kwon Kyung-ho, Ryu Changmin.”
“These are traitors.” Qin Ye waved his hand, “Kill them all! Leave none alive!”
The Yin spirits that Qin Ye had conscripted thus far for his still-incomplete Dusk Legionnaire immediately charged forward, hurtling straight into the horde of cavalry ahead. Meanwhile, Qin Ye turned back and glanced at the Martyr’s Shrine.
Brother Zhao, did you hear that?
This is all we can do for you right now. Whether you can take that final step forward and attain your breakthrough is entirely up to you.
Back in the Martyr’s Shrine. A pair of tightly shut eyes suddenly opened wide.
Then, a split second later, a terrifying source of Yin energy erupted from his body, transforming into a pillar of dark light that shot straight up into the skies like a pillar holding up the heavens! At once, the entire canopy of the skies was tainted with darkness. Then, countless scarlet eyes began to open up from the darkness around, staring intently at Zhao Yun’s body, before finally… two silhouettes appeared.
“Changshan Zhao Zilong.” Zhao Yun slowly picked up the scabbard on the ground, “Great Khan, care for a duel?!”
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