“Ling Lanyin, of the Purple Pole Sword Sect, sends regards on behalf of my master Tian Qingzi. My master said that he benefited a lot from the discussion you and he had at the Colorful Glow Mountain twenty years ago. He often mentioned the meeting over the past twenty years and hoped that you could pay a visit to the Purple Pole Sword Sect one day, senior, so that everybody in our sect would have the chance to witness the demeanor of the experts in the Southland of Sorcerers!”
Ling Lanyin bowed to the ground in respect.
Master Black Moon smiled. His voice was warm and comfortable, utterly devoid of the southwest accent. “Please save the courtesy, my young friend Ling. You are the youngest swordsperson at the peak of the Core Formation Stage in the hundreds of years of history of the Purple Pole Sword Sect. I’ve heard your name a lot although I live in such a remote area!
“Sword is the king of all weapons, and the Purple Pole Sword Sect is the quintessence of the sword arts in the sword. I’ve been meaning to visit your sect for a long time. But I was always troubled by mundane affairs. Please do ask your master Tian Qingzi to forgive me!”
“I’m told that—”
He slightly lowered his voice and said, “Right now, all the experts are gathering in the north, hoping to hold the gala a thousand years ago again and have another great match that will decide the fate of the world. Although I’m a barbarian born and raised in the smoky land of the south, I am quite interested in appreciating the magnificence of the greatest heroes of the world. But it’s a pity that I’m a stranger to the central plateaus, and I’m afraid that I’ll have to ask your sect to help introduce me to them!”
There was deeper meaning between the lines. The guy seemed to be showing intention of standing on the Great Qian Dynasty’s side and even allying with the Purple Pole Sword Sect.
Overjoyed, Ling Lanyin bowed again. She was about to speak, when Master Black Moon shook his hand in a smile and turned to Ling Shoujing. “Lord Ling.”
Although Ling Shoujing was merely in the Core Formation Stage, he was a Class-Two official of the court, and he was an envoy of the emperor on this trip instead of a simple Cultivator.
Therefore, Ling Shoujing must wait for Master Black Moon to greet him first before he greeted back.
“Lord Ling, the situation is very clear now.”
Master Black Wind pointed at the barbarians on the two sides of the Fire Rude Clan’s town, who were at loggerheads with each other, and said in a bitter smile, “Thirty years ago, I witnessed the prosperity of the Great Qian Dynasty and the magnificence of the Cultivators in the central plateaus when I travelled in the world. The Southland of Sorcerers is remote, unpopulated and unintelligent. It is just a grain of dust faced with the Great Qian Dynasty and will be gone forever after a sneeze.
“For me, I would never dare to go against the Great Qian Dynasty. I’m willing to protect the southwest land for the Great Qian Dynasty forever.
“However, although the Great Qian Dynasty is powerful, the Ghost Qin isn’t weak, either. Over the past years, Cultivators from the Dark Cloud Prairies have been showing up in the Southland of Sorcerers, coercing our tribes with both carrots and sticks. Some of the tribes turned to the Ghost Qin’s side because of corruption and compulsion. There wasn’t much I could do!
“I went to demand those tribes several times. But I was rendered speechless by a single reason!
“They said that they were the Great Qian Dynasty’s loyal subject’s too, and they did not want to join the Ghost Qin’s side. But if they did not, the Ghost Qin soldiers would make their blood spill. The emperor’s army was too far away after all. They could not wait and watch their tribe to be butchered, right?
“Although I’m in the Nascent Soul Stage, I’m all by myself. How can I expect to protect the hundred tribes in the Southland of Sorcerers when the Ghost Qin Cultivators swarmed in blatantly?
“That is how everything comes to this far today. I can only persuade Huo Wuji and Huo Wujiu to reach a truce for now until the emperor’s army arrives to serve justice. I feel rather ashamed!
“All in all, please rest assured, Lord Ling, most of the hundred tribes here still root for the court. They are merely responding courteously but without sincerity because of the Ghost Qin’s intimidation.
“As long as we suppress the Ghost Qin Cultivators in the Black Rock Great Arena three days later, all the tribes in the Southland of Sorcerers will certainly be on the court’s side unwaveringly!”
Master Black Moon was a tough person, too. He was speaking the truth.
After all, the Southland of Sorcerers was just a tiny egg, and Great Qian and Ghost Qin were two rocks too hard for them. So, they had to ask the two hard rocks to decide which one was harder first.
As if to prove Master Black Moon’s words, hardly had he finished his sentence when dozens of barbarian Cultivators and three Ghost Qin knights dashed out of Huo Wujiu’s camp on the opposite side. They rushed towards the Appeasing Ambassador’s army in an arrowhead, only to stop beyond the archers’ reach. They demonstrated and roared, pouring profanities on the court.
Master Black Moon looked at Ling Shoujing helplessly, “Although I have some fame in the Southland of Sorcerers, it’s not like I can kill everybody who is too defiant to listen to me, right?”
His face cold, Ling Shoujing turned around and looked at the ‘Black Tiger Iron Guards’, his private troop, before he said solemnly, “Fang Dazhong, Zuo Qianjun, go and cut a few heads now!”
The private troop was not made of servants or slaves but the tough, fearless warriors who were raised since childhood and who only knew the Ling family but not the emperor.
After he called, a few gloomy vanguards walked out of the crowd, their bloodstained sabers roaring inside the sheaths hungrily.
Li Yao was watching the good show in the crowd in the beginning. But the seasoned barbarian Cultivators were all clamoring and encouraging the ‘stupid and young’ guys including himself to have a fight first.
It appeared that many barbarian Cultivators had deep contradiction with the barbarian Cultivators who were coming at them. They were hoping to kill their enemy without taking action themselves.
Li Yao secretly cursed and almost went to kick Meng Duo and Gu Siduo.
He was of a mind to stay in the back. But he had established his simpleminded image since the moment he showed up in the Head Cutting Cliff.
Seeing that most of the barbarian Cultivators were grimacing at him, and Ling Shoujing, Ling Lanyin, Master Black Moon and Huo Wuji were looking at him, too, he could only grit his teeth and charged forward together with dozens of barbarian Cultivators who were desperate to make contributions as well as a team of Black Tiger Black Guards.
Two messy, bizarre-looking and utterly-unorganized troops crashed into each other.
Li Yao intentionally went to three Ghost Qin knights.
Now that he was already here, he would certainly take the opportunity to test how good the Ghost Qin soldiers were.
Three fast sabers turned into streaks of brilliance almost five meters long, brushing past his head and cutting off a few strands of his hair.
The sabers of Ghost Qin were not bad. At the very least, they helped the soldiers to condense their spiritual energy when it was already five meters away from their body. They were rather finely-made ancient magical equipment.
What amazed Li Yao even more were the demon beasts they rode, known as ‘Dragon Wolves’.
Such a demon beast was a combination of the velocity of horses, the brutality of hungry wolves, and a fraction of the intimidation of dragons. They were not scared when they were faced with the giant python below Li Yao and simply opened their bloody mouths to bite its head.
A rather advanced demon beast. It is almost sort of a biochemical beast. Did the Ghost Qin people develop it on their own, or did they receive the heritage on biochemistry from the primeval era?
Li Yao evaded the attack of another saber. The giant python shook its head hard and knocked a knight off his mount. Li Yao took the chance to turn around and run away.
“Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!”
A few sharp arrows, mixed with spiritual energy and as powerful as crystal bullets, brushed past him and exploded on his left and his right, covering him in dust.
All the barbarian Cultivators were laughing.
Ling Shoujing, Ling Lanyin, Huo Wuji and Master Black Moon, however, suddenly beamed with interested.
“The guy is not half bad.”
Ling Shoujing spoke to Master Black Moon.
“Indeed he isn’t.”
Master Black Moon smiled. There was no telling what was on his mind.
Soon, screams echoed on the battlefield as somebody was finally killed.
Both parties cut off a few heads from the enemy’s side. They slowly disengaged.
Because the three Ghost Qin knights wasted too much time on Li Yao, the Black Tiger Iron Guards were able to go on a killing spree. Although the three knights were not killed, they each killed a few hostile barbarian Cultivators and returned with full loads. Immediately, everybody was cheering for them.
“Tomorrow, we will hold a ceremony and official degree you as the Chieftain of the South Land of the Great Qian Dynasty. You will be the guardian of the southwest of the Great Qian Dynasty forever!”
Ling Shoujing spoke to Huo Wuji. Before Huo Wuji expressed his gratitude, his sharp eyes darted towards the enemy’s camp. Mixed with spiritual energy, his voice was echoing in the ten square kilometers nearby. “The emperor’s army has arrived. Powerful reinforcements are on their way, too. In the Hundred Victories Great Arena three days later, all the vermin who disobey His Majesty shall be blown into smithereens!”
For a moment, everybody in Huo Wuji’s camp was shouting in joy, while Huo Wujiu’s camp was dead silent.
Master Black Moon narrowed his eyes and observed Ling Shoujing and his army in silence. There was no telling what he was thinking of.
Li Yao, on the other hand, squatted not far away, his face still in dust. He observed the guy coldly and felt that he smelled the scent of schemes.
The night fell.
Outside of the Fire Rude Clan’s town, Ling Shoujing’s army had established continuous camps.
The Black Tiger Iron Guards and the local barbarians enjoyed Huo Wuji’s feast near the furious bonfire, which was partly a welcome to the emperor’s army and partly a celebration for the brave warriors who fought the battle during the day.
After everybody had enough dishes and wine, and their face was boiling together with their blood, some of the muscular guards carried dozens of heavy wooden boxes and smashed the locks on them with axes, before they kicked the boxes over. Gold, jewelry, crystals, and Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures were all flowing out of boxes.
The colorful and intriguing treasures made almost all the barbarian Cultivators’ hearts stop beating.
“Everybody here is a loyal subject of the Great Qian Dynasty. So I’ll cut the useless crap and get to the point!”
After drinking a few cups of hard liquor he brought from his home, Ling Shoujing was entirely different from the day. He was filled with so much aura of a battlefield general that he almost looked like a tiger which stood on its feet.
He declared solemnly, “Now that we have carried the crystals, the magical equipment, and the marvelous pills all the long way to the Southland of Sorcerers, we never intend to bring them back!
“Three hundred persons will participate in the Hundred Victories Great Arena three days later. The Black Tiger Iron Guards will make a hundred candidates. The other two hundred candidates, however, will be selected from you!
“We’ll begin picking two hundred strongest warriors from you tomorrow. All the treasures in front of you will be divided evenly by the two hundred warriors!
“This is just the rewards before the battle!
“If you have distinguished performance during the Hundred Victories Great Arena, the rewards will be multiple times more!
“Although you are born and raised in the smoky southland, you are all the irreplaceable warriors of the Great Qian Dynasty. As long as you remain loyal to the Great Qian Dynasty, you will never be wronged!”