“Hey. Even if you are planning to go easy on Mother White Lotus, you don’t need to just stop here for no good reason. This is too obvious!”
Having swallowed tremendous negative emotions, the mental devil’s belly was round. It was simmering impatiently again as it remarked while picking the teeth.
“No. Do you not feel that the war between the living and the dead is too weird?”
Looking at the seemingly infinite dark mountains under the night sky, Li Yao was deep in thought. “Mother White Lotus has finally gathered a huge army of ghouls by taking advantage of the natural disasters. Despite the ostensible formidability, the army collapsed after the first engagement and failed to even last one day before it was completely crushed. This is rather anticlimactic!”
The mental devil picked the nose and said, “That’s only reasonable. We have five super Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators on our side and dozens of regular Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators. There’s also the court’s Thunder Striking Legion, who are carrying the main guns of crystal warships. The damn main guns of crystal warships!
“Most of the ghosts that Mother White Lotus commanded are wild ghosts that she drafted recently. If they were alive, they would just be a bunch of mobs carrying their dung forks. It is perfectly normal that she lost the battle!”
“Then, it is all the more baffling.”
Listening to the roars of Mother White Lotus, each louder than the last, Li Yao’s frown grew deeper and deeper. “The intelligence is not highly confidential. The Thunder Striking Legion was not teleported to the place, either, but marched here in the most eye-catching way. All she needed to do was release a few ghosts as scouts in the sky if she wanted to know the route of their approach. Also, she could’ve deduced the time of their arrival at East Peace County according to their speed and the terrain on their way.
“In the meantime, the reinforcements from the central plateaus dawdled for almost ten days in Roaring Tiger City. Almost all the southeastern sects knew that Qi Zhongdao, Ba Xiaoyu, Yan Liren, Master Bitter Cicada, and I had arrived. How could she have not foreseen that we would show up in battle?
“Five super Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, dozens of regular Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators, and the Cultivators in the thirty-three local sects of the southeast, together with the court’s elite troop Thunder Striking Legion. We are an almost invincible army. As long as Mother White Lotus has the most fundamental computational ability, she should’ve calculated that she stood absolutely no chance of winning with the bunch of mobs that she had just recruited, shouldn’t she?
“Then, here comes the question which we have neglected the whole time. Why does Mother White Lotus have to attack East Peace County?”
After falling into a long daze, the mental devil replied, “East Peace County is the largest town in the southeast. It is also the place where thirty-three Cultivation sects are headquartered. A lot of crystals, magical equipment, and Jade Crystal Pellets are stored here, which are of great use to the training of the army of ghouls. As long as they absorb the spiritual energy contained in the crystals and the Jade Crystal Pellets, it will be possible for the wild ghosts to evolve into seasoned ghosts and for the seasoned ghosts to evolve into even more ferocious ghost kings! Isn’t this the best reason?
“She can only achieve what she wants if she can conquer East Peace County!”
“But by common sense, as long as Mother White Lotus is not an idiot,” Li Yao said calmly. “There is absolutely no way that she doesn’t know it is utterly impossible for her to conquer East Peace County, which is reinforced by the Cultivators from the central plateaus and the Thunder Striking Legion! However many secret treasures, crystals, and Jade Crystal Pellets there are in East Peace County, they are tantalizing and yet unreachable!”
“Perhaps—perhaps she is an idiot?”
The mental devil was not convinced. “I can tell that Mother White Lotus’ Cultivation is obviously founded on ‘remorse’, ‘fury’, and ‘hatred’. Perhaps, she hates all Cultivators in the world and wants brutal retaliations because her family was killed by certain evil Cultivators. That’s why she is attacking an important city governed by the Cultivators without considering the consequences!”
“It’s impossible. It’s impossible!” Li Yao shook his head quickly. “Since she is one of the top ten experts of the Ancient Sages Sector, her Cultivation is equivalent to the peak of the Nascent Soul Stage. Even if her Cultivation is truly founded on ‘fury’, there is no way that she would lose her mind because of her wrath and launch such a reckless attack! I have a feeling that the words that Mother White Lotus said at the beginning and her miserable screams all carried signs of acting. They are slightly unnatural and a bit exaggerated!”
The mental devil was dazed for a moment. “If you think that her acting is too unconvincing, it is probably true. After all, you are the master of acting!”
“Also, the large-scale siege is obviously different from Mother White Lotus’ style in the past!” His eyes shining, Li Yao continued his analysis. “Before, although the White Lotus Cult savaged the southeast, it never attacked the big cities that were heavily guarded. Instead, it always attacked the isolated middle and small sects that were located in the remote mountains or weakly defended towns.
“Therefore, it was always able to accomplish the goals. Before the rebels were annihilated, they were always able to resist for a long time, sabotage dozens of towns and cities, and butcher quite a few middle and small sects!
“It is obvious that Mother White Lotus’ head is very clear. She knows exactly what her advantages are. That’s why she plays to her strengths and attacks those weaker than her!
“The natural disasters this time are so severe that almost a hundred counties and prefectures in the southeast have been involved. Dying disaster victims are everywhere. It is the reason that Mother White Lotus could draft such a large army in such a short period of time!
“If I were Mother White Lotus, why would I be in such a hurry to attack East Peace County, the most heavily guarded city in the southeast, when I had such a great army? I could go by the traditional approach and march southward with the army to attack the weakly defended towns and local sects, plunder the farmlands, and demolish the settlements of the Cultivators there, while keeping as much distance from East Peace County as possible. Wouldn’t it be a much better option?
“By doing so, I would be able to receive provisions from the farmlands and the local sects, and I would simultaneously be able to build the previous mobs into a well-trained army by training them in small-scale battles. Most importantly of all, the thirty-three sects in the southeast are all lying low in East Peace County. As long as their core interests are not affected, I don’t think that they can resolve themselves to fight a bloody battle with the White Lotus ghoul army without considering the cost. Instead, it is more likely that they will sit by and watch the White Lotus ghoul army diminish the strength of the local sects!
“You have seen it too with the experiences in the past months that the Cultivation sects in the world of ancient Cultivators are just loose sand. Unless they are cornered, their war efficiency is astonishingly low!
“Even I can think of such a simple methodology. It is also exactly what Mother White Lotus did in the previous rebellions. So, why on earth did she do the exact opposite by gathering the army and attacking the heavily guarded city in such a hurry when she knew that she would fail? It is almost like…”
“It’s almost like that she is intentionally losing the battle!” the mental devil said, deep in thought.
“Exactly!” Li Yao’s eyes shone as he snapped. “That’s the feeling. She has lost the battle on purpose!”
“But what for?” The mental devil paced around inside Li Yao’s brain. “What benefits can an intentional failure bring to her? Did she fake the failure because there are ambushes ahead?”
Li Yao stared at the trees in the front that were not particularly high and soon vetoed the speculation.
Baiting the enemy to pursue with a fake failure, surrounding the enemy, and annihilating the enemy once and for all was an extremely sophisticated art of war. Such a battle could only be fought with a well-trained, high-obedient super army and an experienced general as the commander.
Mother White Lotus’ leadership was already incredible to keep the army of ghouls, which was just in a jumbled battle formation, and make them charge forward without running away. It would be a fantasy to regroup the army for an annihilation battle after the army collapsed, even if the collapse was faked!
Even the army of ghouls had their ‘morale’, too. When the morale was destroyed, and after many recently deceased ghosts perished during the first clash, it was impossible to fight back at all!
Also, on the Cultivators’ side, there were also veteran generals who were adept at commanding. They had long sent out scouts to investigate the thousand square kilometers nearby. It was impossible for an elite troop of the army of ghouls to be hiding in a corner somewhere!
The southeast was generally flat. Although the continuous hills were everywhere, they were not like the high mountains of the southwest that rose into the sky. The hills were not steep, and most of the forests had been explored and developed. There were neither ferocious animals lurking nor interconnected underground caves. It was barely possible to escape on such a terrain, much less set up ambushes!
“What exactly is Mother White Lotus’ goal?” Li Yao did not plan to kill Mother White Lotus in the first place. More and more baffled, he was even less willing to chase after her when he had not figured out the situation yet.
“Scheme. There must be a great scheme in all this!” Li Yao spoke to the mental devil solemnly. “Don’t you feel that it’s very strange? We’ve been in the Ancient Sages Sector for almost half a year, but we went through everything smoothly without running into a single plot!
“This is highly illogical!
“Based on our experiences in the past, we should’ve run into a great scheme that could potentially destroy the entire new world after only taking a few steps on it!”
“… Fine. Whatever you say.”
Li Yao clapped his hands. “Mother White Lotus definitely faked her failure. There must be a great plot in all this. If the plot is not ahead of us, then… it must be behind us!”
Greatly alarmed, Li Yao turned around and looked at East Peace County.
The Cultivators in East Peace County had all marched out.
They all hated the White Lotus ghoul army’s guts and were determined to exterminate all of the enemies. Chasing after the running ghosts, they got further and further away from East Peace County.
East Peace County only had a lot of disaster victims and few Cultivators left. It appeared quiet and empty.
“Hey. You don’t think that Mother White Lotus faked her failure as a distraction, do you?” the mental devil sneered. “Mother White Lotus is not an idiot, but the cunning Cultivators are certainly not idiots, either.
“How could they have not been wary of such a simple scheme? Before they chased after the routed ghosts, they must’ve conducted the most thorough scan in the entire East Peace County to make sure that everybody in the city is a human being, not a ghost!”