In Li Yao’s eyes, most of barbarian Cultivators were little guys in the Refinement Stage. For those in the Building Foundation Stage, they were either surrounded by their adoring public or followed by a large batch of wild animals or insects and could not have looked more awesome.
Appeasing Ambassador Ling, perhaps considering it a gesture to welcome talents or perhaps because he was seriously short of hands, recruited all of them who were nothing more than acrobats. He seemed really thirsty for loyal supporters.
Just like that, after every barbarian village, the scale of the emperor’s army would be significantly larger. Putting aside the combat ability of the barbarian soldiers and the barbarian Cultivators, the team at least looked rather spectacular right now.
Besides, there was another advantage to recruiting the locals, which was that they were more familiar with the terrain there. After they joined, the emperor’s army was able to send out the barbarian soldiers and barbarian Cultivators for reconnaissance when marching. The odds of being ambushed by the enemy were significantly lowered. A lot of their trouble had been saved.
Appeasing Ambassador Ling grouped the barbarian Cultivators into the same camp and asked quite a few barbarian soldiers to attend to them.
The barbarian Cultivators were ‘deities on the earth’ in the southern forests in the first place. They were essentially the guardian angels of the major villages and tribes. The barbarian soldiers all considered it a great honor to look after them.
For several days, the barbarian Cultivators were bragging about how awesome they were in their camp from morning to dusk every day.
But they did not know that a Neltharion was hiding right next to them, eavesdropping on their conversation.
Li Yao summarized the basic situation of the Sector based on their chatter. He also learned why Appeasing Ambassador Ling was dispatched to the Southland of Sorcerers.
It was time to get in touch with them.
After more than half a month, an indifferent young man gradually surfaced on the branches above the canyon in the depths of the mountains.
The young man’s skin was slightly green, yet it was extremely smooth as if it were made of a warm, green, slippery jade.
Although he was a young man, the corners of his eyes were filled with tiny streaks that extended all the way to the temples on closer look, making his eyes rather narrow and long.
Together with his pure black eyes without the slightest fancy shade, where the pupils almost swallowed the eye white, he gave out a mysterious, immeasurable feeling and made others unable to guess his age.
It seemed appropriate to call him a teenager. It was not wrong to say that he was a middle-aged man in his thirties. It would pass, too, to call him a man more than seventy years old who had paid special attention to facial care.
The young man’s lips were extremely thin, and he was always wearing a half smile. His vision was extremely broad. One would feel his stare whichever side they were standing to him. The brutality that was occasionally flashing inside his eyes explained why he was able to walk inside such a perilous forest without any disguise.
The young man was wearing a green ring on the left thumb, which was shining brilliantly like a green fog that was forever clenched inside his palm.
The young man extended his right hand, span the ring softly, and coughed.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Ear-splitting explosions immediately echoed deep inside the canyon. The crags on the cliffs collapsed and blocked the cave, leaving absolutely no hole.
The young man smiled and darted into the forest as quick as lightning.
Very soon, the sounds of trees breaking off and rocks falling apart and the screams of demon beasts filled the area.
A giant python that had nine sharp thorns above the head like a crown dashed out from the top of a tree and fled in panic, only to be grabbed by an unstoppable force before it reached twenty meters away. Amid the most miserable shrieks, it was dragged into the depths of the woods by brute force, like a lamb whose thighs had been bitten by it in the past.
Right next to the great banner of ‘Appeasing Ambassador of the Fifth Prefecture of the Southland of Sorcerers’, quite a few red and green flags as well as bizarre-shaped skulls of demon beasts were hanging. They represented the different barbaric tribes that had succumbed to the emperor’s army.
Right below the great banner was a wagon dragged by four spotted cows. It was like a mobile palace. Despite the rune arrays added to the wheels and axles, the four spotted cows were still sweating and breathing hard.
Inside the wagon and outside were two different worlds.
The outside of the wagon was a forest with venomous fog, giant flies and mosquitoes, and a scorching sun.
Inside the wagon, on the other hand, was a quiet, peaceful room. Not only were the shrieking cicadas, the hissing horses, and the clamoring crowd outside were entirely blocked, the passengers in the room could not even feel the bumps when the wagon ran over the tree roots or the water pools. It was as smooth and gentle as a journey in the clouds.
The mobile quiet room was in fact not qualified even for Appeasing Ambassador Ling to enjoy. It belonged to the female Cultivator at the peak of the Core Formation Stage who manipulated the orchid sword.
In one corner of the ‘quiet room’, a bright purple incense was burning inside an octagonal censer made of white jade.
On the right side of the room was a delicate bookshelf, on which a few mottled bamboo books and several vintage remnants were placed.
The female Cultivator was still in white, like an orchid flower that was about to blossom. She was sitting cross-legged with her eyes half closed, as if she were taking a nap.
When the smoke of the incense flowed to her, however, it was condensed into an elegant shadow that was waving a sword like a thunderous dragon because of the attraction of her telepathic thoughts, filling the entire room with sword auras.
Suddenly, the sword auras, consolidated by dozens of streams of purple smoke, retreated into a bright purple pill. The female Cultivator opened her mouth and swallowed it.
She opened her eyes and extended her wrists. Ripples appeared on the curtain of the wagon, as if a barrier was just removed.
A cough echoed outside before Appeasing Ambassador Ling raised the curtain, stooped, and walked in.
He was much slenderer than before after marching in the forest for half a month. His face was darker and blacker, and his wrinkles were deeper as if they had been cut.
But at this moment, there was delight in his eyes, as if he had just encountered something good.
“Father, why did the army stop just now?” the female Cultivator asked casually. “I sensed quite impressive shock of spiritual energy. Has a local expert joined us?”
“Yes and no.” Appeasing Ambassador Ling smiled. “When the army passed the ‘Head Cutting Cliff’, a dangerous area nearby, just now, shrieks below the cliff were heard. We sent out scouts to investigate, only to discover that a weird-looking young man was fighting a High-Crowned Lethal Python next to the Thousand Snakes Cave below the cliff!
“The High-Crowned Lethal Python is one of the strongest snake-type demon beasts in the southern forests. Yet, it could not withstand the bare hands of the young man, who tore it into several pieces on the spot. It was quite a wonder!
“I asked the local experts to test him. Three village leaders of the Sky Touching Mountain were defeated by the young man in a row and almost killed.
“According to my observations, the young man is at least in the middle level of the Building Foundation Stage. His attacks were quite organized. Somebody must’ve enlightened him before. He is a rarely-seen talent in such a rough land!
“It was great that the young man came to greet us on his own initiative after seeing the great banner of the emperor’s army and the Black Tiger Iron Guards.”
“Is that so?” The female Cultivator’s eyes suddenly glittered. She asked, expressionlessly, “What’s the guy’s background?”
“I asked an interpreter who is familiar with the vernacular of the southern villages to inquire him, but the guy was speaking what sounded like a dialect in the westmost area,” Appeasing Ambassador Ling replied. “Also, he was stammering and almost couldn’t say a complete sentence. It seems that the guy has lived alone for too long to talk to anybody.
“According to the interpreter, even the guy himself couldn’t tell exactly where he came from. He only knew that he grew up in an unpopulated place in the company of snakes and wolves. As a result, his body was built up to the point that it was almost weapon-proof. One day, he was captured by an eccentric fellow and dragged into an unknown cave, where the stranger taught him all his knowledge. After several years, the eccentric fellow died an abrupt death. The guy has been a dominator of the forests since then and fed on serpents and wild animals.
“However, the guy’s master did inform him of the incredibleness of the court. Therefore, he did not dare challenge us upon seeing the banner of our army, and he was willing to join the court and attack those who are disobedient!
“My dear daughter, ever since the ‘Appeasing Order’ was released half a month ago, the barbarians from twenty-two villages have joined us. The Cultivators in our army have reached a hundred, too. Right now, we have even found a warrior who perfectly fits the role of vanguard. It is indicative enough that the Great Qian still has its influence. Chances are that we may fight a bloody way out of the deadly trap.”
“Still has its influence?” The female Cultivator smiled, her eyes mysterious. She sighed gloomily. “Three hundred years ago, when the Great Qian Empire was in its heyday, what were the barbarians in the southern forests exactly? At that time, we did not need to deploy an army at all. As long as an official in the Refinement Stage came here with the gold sword degree from the capital, not just the Mr. Nobodies in the Refinement Stage and the Building Foundation Stage, even the Cultivators in the Southland of Sorcerers in the Core Formation Stage and the Nascent Soul Stage would still have been intimidated and obeyed every command, right?
“After only a few hundred years, however, the Great Qian has deteriorated to such an extent that Father, a Class-Two eminent official of the court and the Appeasing Ambassador of the Fifth Prefecture of the Southland of Sorcerers, is overjoyed for nothing more than a newly-recruited Cultivator in the Building Foundation Stage. What a… What a… What a…”
His daughter’s words made Appeasing Ambassador Ling blush. He smiled bitterly in embarrassment, “Lanyin, we pledged our loyalty to the emperor, and we serve him well. The changes in the court are not something that you or I can control. Now that I’ve been appointed as the Appeasing Ambassador, I can only try my best to stop the situation in the Southland of Sorcerers from getting any worse. That is the only way I can return His Majesty’s trust!”
“His Majesty’s trust?” Ling Lanyin, the female Cultivator, sneered. “It is obvious that the new emperor has not calmed down from his anger yet after recently ascending to the throne. He is trying to wipe out the entire Ling family as an example for others!”
“Watch your mouth!”
Just now, when he was speaking to his daughter, Appeasing Ambassador Ling was rather polite, as if his daughter’s position was even higher than his.
However, hearing such defiant words from her, Appeasing Ambassador Ling still put on a grave expression and roared, half seriously.