The Human Emperor Chapter 695
Chapter 695: Wushang Village I
Chapter 695: Wushang Village (I)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Cries that seemed both apish and human came out of the white fog. The cries were brief and were clearly intended as a harsh warning.
"It's the Wushang!"
The howls caused Li Siye's subordinates to pale.
"They're about to move!" a subordinate officer said.
"Get ready. No matter what, we can't leave this place!"
Li Siye stood by the edge of the cliff, his gaze fixed on the distance and his expression firm. The Wushang had attacked many times over the last few days, but Li Siye had continued to occupy this cliff with no intent of withdrawing.
A true man kept to his word, and he had already promised the young master, so no matter what difficulties he encountered, no matter how difficult the mission was to accomplish, he would never retreat.
The howls coming from the fog were coming at a faster and faster tempo and seemed to be getting fiercer and fiercer. The fog roiled and gusts of winds could be heard from all around. The Wushang were finally beginning their operation.
As the cries echoed in his ear, the composed Li Siye took a few steps forward.
By the time Wang Chong arrived with his forces in the vicinity of Wushang, more than half a month had passed since his departure from the capital.
Standing atop a lush hill, Wang Chong held his hands behind his back and asked, "How is it? Is there any news from General Li?"
"No, we've heard nothing from General Li since his last letter, not even a single signal. And the mountain range here is vast, so we've not been able to get in touch with him," a voice said.
Wang Chong nodded, no change in expression on his face. Li Siye was the future Invincible Great General. Whether or not his mission was proceeding smoothly, Wang Chong was confident that his strength would mean that he would never encounter any problems.
Wang Chong thought quietly for a few moments and turned to the soaring peaks in front of him, those mountains that were clearly several times higher than the surrounding hills. This mountain range was like a series of waves on the sea, stretching into the distance.
At the sight of these mountains, anyone would feel an ancient and desolate aura, as if time had forgotten about this place, and they would instinctively want to flee. And yet Wang Chong's eyes held affection for these lofty peaks.
I've finally returned.
As Wang Chong looked ahead, he gave an emotional sigh.
This was not Wang Chong's first time seeing these mountains, but it was his first time seeing them before the calamity. It looked completely different from that shattered and ruined landscape he recalled.
This is Wushang before it was destroyed. How beautiful! Wang Chong quietly said to himself.
He had been standing in front of these mountains for many hours now. In Wang Chong's eyes, even seeing these apparently monotone mountains a thousand times would not be enough. Because these barren mountains that not even bandits were willing to venture into happened to be the breeding ground for the future hope of the Great Tang:
The Wushang Cavalry!
The strongest force in the world!
In that apocalyptic world where the stars of generals had begun to fade, this crack force of five thousand cavalry had carried the hopes and dreams of many people, and they had been the strongest soldiers under Wang Chong's command, the pillar that supported his army.
If he wanted to change the world, he needed an extremely well-trained and powerful army that could sweep away everything before it. The Annan Protectorate army could not reach this level, and the elite experts that Wang Chong had recruited from the great clans also could not reach this level. Not even Gao Xianzhi's thirty thousand elites of Anxi, hailed as the best troops of the Great Tang, could reach his standard.
And the army Wang Chong most desired just so happened to be sequestered amidst these towering mountains.
No other place in the world could give Wang Chong this sort of feeling.
"Is everything ready?" Wang Chong said suddenly, turning his head.
Behind him, Gao Feng and Nie Yan deferentially answered, "Lord Marquis, everything is ready."
For this expedition, Wang Chong had not brought many people with him, just these two and ten-some elites who had survived the war of the southwest. These were all experts who had experienced battles of life or death and were extremely loyal to Wang Chong.
Although they arose from different clans, in their hearts, Wang Chong held a higher status than even their clan patriarchs.
Wang Chong nodded and gave a wave of his hand, ordering his forces to set off.
Departing from the summit of that verdant hill, Wang Chong did not lead his forces straight to those precipitous mountains. Instead, he circled around them, heading toward the northwest.
If one followed the Silk Road from the capital in the direction of Anxi, the lands would grow more barren and remote the farther west one went. Of all the sections of the road, Wushang was the most barren and remote. That not even bandits were willing to enter this place was a testament to this fact.
As he gazed at the peaks that thrust into the clouds, even Wang Chong had to admit that climbing those dangerous mountains was no easy task. Even he would find it very difficult to enter the heart of the mountain range, the Wushang village, by directly crossing the mountains.
However, Wang Chong also knew that though most of this mountain range was dangerous and steep, with the ever-present risk of dropping into a deep abyss, there was a place in this mountain range that was safer and less steep, a small path of sorts.
Entering the Wushang village from there would be much easier.
Around an hour later, in a place ten-some li from their starting point, Wang Chong looked forward. The sunlight seeped through the clouds, falling between two towering peaks, revealing a long and narrow, almost unnoticeable 'thin strip of sky1'.
(TN: A thin strip of sky, as the name describes, refers to when there is a thin gap between mountains such that one can see the sky between them.)
"This is the place!"
This 'thin strip of sky' was several dozen meters tall and four feet wide, making it almost undetectable from a distance. Anyone except Wang Chong would have never noticed it.
"How did Lord Marquis know of this place?"
Gao Feng and Nie Yan looked at each other in surprise.
From the moment they had left the capital, they had kept very close to Wang Chong. They could guarantee that Wang Chong had not come to scout this area beforehand, but for some reason, he seemed to know the place like the back of his hand.
"Follow close behind me, and don't get lost," Wang Chong said, paying no attention to Gao Feng and Nie Yan. "This place is extremely dangerous, and if you drop from the mountain, at your level of cultivation, the drop of several hundred zhang will shatter your bones."
Neither experts of the True Martial realm nor those of the Profound Martial realm had the ability to fly through the air, so the only outcome that awaited them in a drop from these heights was death. This was also the reason the bandits on the road to the west were not willing to set up their bases here.
"Yes, Lord Marquis."
Without another word, Wang Chong bent down and entered that 'thin strip of sky'.
As one ventured further into the path, the steep mountains towered on both sides, and the stones forming the path were so sharp that they stabbed into the soles. Awooo! A howl came from the distance, echoing through the mountains.
Gao Feng and Nie Yan paled, and they unsheathed their swords with vigilant expressions.
"There's no need to be nervousit's the Wushang. Let them be; they still haven't discovered us yet."
Wang Chong smiled and had Gao Feng and Nie Yan sheathe their swords. Although the Wushang were cut off from the world, the roads to the west were still crawling with bandits. The Wushang lived nearby, so they were very wary and vigilant.
The Wushang were extremely wary of outsiders.
They really haven't changed at all!
The distant cries caused a faint smile to appear on Wang Chong's lips and a warm feeling to surge through his heart.
Before they were formally made into soldiers and trained, the Wushang had maintained their primitive traditions. This primal and steep geography had trained the Wushang into the most agile of people. They shuttled through the mountains like apes and used these short and sharp cries to communicate with each other.
Wang Chong had tested their speeds once, and the most formidable Wushang villager could even outrun a warhorse!
I'm finding myself filled with more and more anticipation!
Wang Chong's eyes shone, a hint of excitement in his eyes.
When they emerged from the thin strip of sky, the terrain was rather low, but as they traveled, it grew higher and higher, steeper and steeper, the road more and more difficult to traverse. At some point, a white fog suddenly began to billow around them.
"Milord, be careful!"
"This fog is strange!"
Gao Feng and Nie Yan widened their eyes, instinctively sensing danger. It was still daytime, and when their party had entered the mountains, the sun had been right over their heads. For this kind of fog to appear on such a clear day was far too strange.
This coupled with the howls from before made all of them very uneasy.
"Haha, there's no need to be nervous. There are a few springs beneath this mountain, rather large ones. The temperature of these springs is rather high, resulting in this fog. There's nothing strange about it."
Wang Chong gave a faint smile, a confident look on his face. This confidence influenced the rest of the party, making all of them relax.
Wushang were courageous and pugnacious, filled with hostility toward outsiders.
And the place they lived in was also full of dangers. The first line of defense was the steep mountains, where the slightest misstep would lead to a long fall and shattered bodies. The thick fog was the second line of defense. In his last life, when the Wushang killed many of the invaders, many people had wanted to recruit them, but the majority of them had been defeated.
Many of them had failed to even get past the first line of defense, much less the second.
Wang Chong had been the only one to succeed.
Unlike the others, Wang Chong never panicked, not when he encountered those Wushang people flitting across the mountains or that thick fog. He had even been able to determine the true source of the fog when he saw a spring bubbling out of the earth.
"Extend your sheaths and grab on to the sheath of the person behind you. Stay together and follow me! This fog will disperse in around fifteen minutes and isn't dangerous in itself. The true danger is the ravines and abysses being shrouded by the fog. If you're not careful and fall, even I won't be able to save you," Wang Chong indifferently said.
Gao Feng and Nie Yan glanced at each other and didn't dare to say any more. The group made a line and followed behind Wang Chong, quickly disappearing into the thick fog.
1. A thin strip of sky, as the name describes, refers to when there is a thin gap between mountains such that one can see the sky between them.