Great Wall City was divided up into east, west, south, north, and central districts, one for each of the five legions.
The Skin Flayers occupied the east district, which was further divided up into ten garrisons, one for each of the major generals. The major generals were all Nascent Soul experts, people who had climbed mountains of corpses and swam through seas of blood to get to their current position. Their murderous auras and battle prowess vastly exceeded those of others in their same cultivation level.
Without illustrious service performed for the army, and also powerful backers, it was virtually impossible to become a major general!
As for the garrisons, they were divided into ten command centers, which belonged to the ten colonels who led them. As for the lieutenants and captains, they occupied locations within the command centers of the colonels.
Bai Xiaochun's command center was in the garrison belonging to Major General Zhou Xingjun of the 3rd Corps, right next to Li Hongming's command center. After Bai Xiaochun was promoted to colonel, Major General Zhou Xingjun had almost immediately arranged for troops to be assigned to him.
Clearly, the army cared a lot about Bai Xiaochun, because all of those cultivators came from the group of 10,000 that he had personally rescued off of the battlefield. Originally, they had been members of other parts of the army, but had been specifically reassigned by General Bai Lin.
The entire group of cultivators felt incredible gratitude toward Bai Xiaochun, and had personally witnessed his ferocity and madness in the heat of battle. As such, they were fully convinced of his abilities, and were very excited to serve in his regiment.
As Bai Xiaochun was making his way over to the command center, some of the cultivators of the regiment were drilling on the parade ground, practicing the use of various divine abilities, their faces expressionless. Others were sparring amongst themselves. Although everyone appeared to be completely ferocious, they all maintained careful control at all times.
The majority sat crosslegged, meditating in silence. The entire command center seemed filled with a very somber air, and a weighty pressure that would make any outsider hesitant to enter it.
The place had been like this ever since Bai Xiaochun was promoted to colonel, and in fact, the troops under the command of the other colonels all trembled in fear when they passed by it.
Suddenly, a beam of light appeared in the sky which shot down toward the command center. Immediately, all the soldiers inside looked up with cold eyes.
Within the beam of light was a middle-aged man with a somber expression and pulsing veins of steel. "The exalted colonel is coming!"
As soon as the words left his mouth, the cultivators in the command center trembled with excitement.
Immediately, the captains began to shout out orders. "Get into formation!"
Soon, the entire place was buzzing.
When Bai Xiaochun finally arrived, he saw many familiar faces lined up outside the command center. As soon as the group caught sight of him, they stepped forward a pace and then shouted out in a mighty voice, "Greetings, Colonel!"
Their words echoed like thunder to fill the entire 3rd Corps. As for Li Hongming and the other colonels, they were shaken, and quite a few of them rushed out of their own command centers to see what was happening.
What they saw was the assembled cultivators of Bai Xiaochun's regiment, pulsing with tenacity, as if their very bones were filled with the desire to do battle. It was as if all Bai Xiaochun had to do was say the word, and they would raze any area to the ground in a blaze of destruction!
Li Hongming and the other colonels were deeply shaken.
"Valiant troops and a gallant officer!!"
"Not only are they grateful to Bai Xiaochun, but they also personally witnessed his veins of steel and vicious fighting. Therefore, they truly respect and admire him. Because of their zealous devotion to him, until the day comes that they pay back the kindness he has shown, they might as well be his personal army!!"
This was Bai Xiaochun first time visiting his command center and seeing all the cultivators he recognized from that fateful battle. Now that he could sense how heroic and dauntless they were, it got his own blood pumping a bit faster. All of a sudden, he found himself thinking about how he had faced countless dangers that day during the war.
After a long moment, he took a breath as a feeling of profound emotion filled him. After all, he knew that, while he had saved them, they had also saved him!
The looks of reverence and awe with which they gazed at him caused his heart to tremble. Without any hesitation, he waved his hand toward the command center and said, "Come on men, let's drink and eat together! What battle credit we earn, we spend together, and when we have to flee for our lives, we do it shoulder to shoulder!"
Bai Xiaochun felt that his words were particularly domineering, and when the cultivators under his command heard them, they exchanged amused glances, then clasped hands and shouted, "Sir, yes sir!"
As their voices resonated through the area, Li Hongming and the other colonels exchanged odd glances. They had seen quite a few commanding officers give speeches to encourage their troops, but had never heard anyone say things as directly as Bai Xiaochun had.
Some distance away in the Skin Flayers' district was an enormous building that looked like a coffin, within which Bai Lin stood looking in Bai Xiaochun's direction, shaking his head and smiling.
Ten armor-clad individuals stood near him, most of them middle-aged, but some older. Moments ago, the group had been discussing business relating to the Skin Flayers, but after the scene which had just played out, they had sent their divine sense over to observe, and now, all of them seemed to be reminiscing about the past.
"This Bai Xiaochun sure is candid," Bai Lin said with a chuckle. "I can't believe he just said that they would flee from battle shoulder to shoulder." He turned to look at one of the group of ten, an old man with white hair. "Brother Zhou, Bai Xiaochun is very important to the Skin Flayers. Please make sure to take special care of him."
The ten men surrounding Bai Lin were none other than the ten major generals of the Skin Flayers. As for the white-haired old man, he was Bai Xiaochun's commanding officer, Major General Zhou Xingjun of the 3rd Corps. Upon hearing Bai Lin's words, he smiled and nodded his head.
"Don't worry, General. I'll make sure to keep Grandmaster Bai safe and sound."
Bai Lin nodded in response, then looked away from the scene outside and resumed his discussion with the major generals.
Meanwhile, the members of Bai Xiaochun's regiment clustered around him as he headed into the command center. Once inside, he looked around at what was to be his new residence. As for Zhao Long and his original squad, they were now Bai Xiaochun's personal guard, and they quickly made strict rules regarding who was allowed into the command center. Without express orders, no one from outside the regiment could gain entrance.
After all, not only was Bai Xiaochun a colonel, but he was also on the Wildlands Execution List, and in the top 10 at that. The reward on his head was a deva beast soul, something that would be lucrative to Wildlanders and cultivators alike....
In fact, in the past, there had been situations in which people on the Execution List were killed by cultivators, not Wildlanders.
Before long, half a year had gone by.
By now, Bai Xiaochun had been serving at the Great Wall for two years. After his promotion to colonel, fighting went on as usual beyond the wall, but they were all skirmishes that didn't come close to the scale of the huge battle the year before.
Bai Xiaochun was now very familiar with life in Great Wall City, and had taken up a new hobby. Every few days, he would don his colonel's armor and strut out of his command center, surrounded by large numbers of his men, to stroll through the city.
He very much enjoyed the looks of awe and envy that people cast in his direction when he appeared in public. In fact, it was something he would never grow tired of.
At first, Zhao Long and his original squad found this very odd, as did the other cultivators in the regiment. However, they gradually grew used to it, and realized that this was just Bai Xiaochun's personality. Although it was a bit embarrassing, it gradually became nothing out of the ordinary.
However, Bai Xiaochun continued to do it so often that he appeared to be neglecting his day-to-day duties. It reached the point where Bai Lin caught wind of it. Annoyed, he made some special arrangements. The next day, when Bai Xiaochun led his regiment out of the command center to enjoy the gazes of the other cultivators in the army, he had just begun to savor the buzz of conversation around him when all of a sudden, a group of several thousand cultivators appeared, all of them wearing suits of armor. As they proceeded along, they cleared a 300-meter path through the crowds in front of them.
Not even Bai Xiaochun was exempt, and was forced off to the side.
"What are you people doing?!" he complained.
Without any hesitation, the cultivator in question flashed a command medallion which was emblazoned with the surname Nian, as well as the sigil of the Skin Flayers! "Major General Nian Herong is coming through. Back up, all of you!"
Within the five legions, the only people who had command medallions with their surnames on them were the major generals!
As soon as the command medallion appeared, the cultivator didn't need to say anything else. With the wave of his hand, the thousands of cultivators under his command began to drive Bai Xiaochun and the others backward. Bai Xiaochun wasn't too happy about that, but there was little he could do about. All he could do was watch as the nearly 10,000 cultivators cleared a path through the area. Moments later, a dazzling sight appeared not too far off in the distance. It was an old man in a crimson suit of armor, flanked by ten colonels, all of whom had respectful expression on their faces.
Everyone who had been cleared out of the 300-meter path began to cheer and cry out fervently, in a way that vastly surpassed how they had reacted when they saw Bai Xiaochun. The drone of their enthusiasm instantly bore deep into Bai Xiaochun's ears.
"It's a major general!"
"Heavens! You hardly ever see the major generals walking around...."
"The major generals of Great Wall City can shake all creation! They're the kind of people who cause the lands to tremble wherever they go!"
Bai Xiaochun could merely gape in astonishment at the ostentatious and domineering scene which was playing out in front of him. At the same time, he felt a bit down-hearted.
"What's so amazing about him?" he thought. "He's just a major general, right...?" Then he gritted his teeth.
"I have to become a major general!"