Despair swam in Tang Baiyun’s eyes .
He had Tantai Xuan and Jiang Li’s combined army behind him, and the fierce West County Army ahead of him .
He had nowhere else to run . The South County Army had been thoroughly defeated, and they had lost the will to fight . Now, they barely had the courage to fight a single battle .
This was the first time Tang Baiyun was in such a war, and a cold chill seized his heart .
He did not know why the West County, which the Overlord governed, had also joined this battle . They had agreed on ambushing Jiang Li, so how did things end up like this?
Was it because of the barbarians?
Tang Baiyun did not believe that mere barbarians would provoke the West County and North County into moving out together .
There must be a conspiracy . The Overlord and Tantai Xuan must have colluded long ago to usurp the 100,000 soldiers of the South County!
Tang Baiyun’s heart seized . He thought of his father, Tang Xiansheng, entrusting this to him when he stepped into the capital city . His father had instructed him to make sure he got rid of Jiang Li; otherwise, South County would never find another opportunity again unless chaos had broken out .
There really was no other chance for South County .
Once all the South County soldiers were wiped out, they would lose the right to scramble for this world; no matter how rich they were, they would not be able to stomach such a loss .
Of course, Tang Baiyun was most concerned about his own life right now .
The best years of his life had only just started, and he had no intention of dying here .
Tang Baiyun swung his sword and roared . “Since we can’t run, we’ll kill them!”
He charged toward the Western Liang Army, bent on making his own path and escaping .
On the ground…
The Overlord had a giant axe and shield on his back . He took slow steps forward . Behind him, the Xiang Family’s Army, all wearing full-body armor, followed . The Xiang Family’s Army was rather interesting—the weapons that they were all equipped with were heavy axes .
They followed behind the Overlord, and then they started running .
“Colluding with the barbarians… That was your first crime!”
“Using the barbarians to kill the pride of the Great Zhou… That was your second crime!” the Overlord bellowed furiously .
He drew the long axe from his back viciously and smashed it into the ground . A bout of violent Qi shattered the surface of the ground and sent dozens of people flying .
Those people who were sent flying, their bodies exploded in the air, their blood blooming like flowers in the sky .
Tang Baiyun had initially been prepared to charge, but he stood rooted to the ground, his face pale .
What kind of person was this strong?!
As expected, he lived up to his title—West County Overlord .
“Who gave you the right to collude with the barbarians?!”
“That old thing Tantai Xuan said it best—the outsiders will never harbor good intentions toward us! You d*mned scum! How dare you collude with the barbarians and to kill a man like Jiang Li, no less!
“Come then . Charge toward me if you so dare!”
The Overlord roared maniacally .
Alone, he charged toward the masses fearlessly . Demonic Qi abounded, much like an ancient demon .
“Lu Ping’an was right . These tactics are but a sign of your overwhelming weakness . If you were strong enough, why would you need an alliance? Why would you need to collude? If you could take down a thousand-man army alone, who would be able to stop you?” the Overlord questioned .
Like a black shadow, he charged through the army wildly . There was no way the South County Army would have been able to stop him .
“South Manor Army, attack! South Manor Army, stop the Overlord!”
From within his army, Tang Baiyun could see the Overlord charging toward him . His face paled instantly .
There was the sound of armor clanking as the South Manor Army moved in front of Tang Baiyun to shield him .
They triggered an abridged version of the Eight Meridians technique that had been taught to them by Tang Yimo .
The Overlord held his axe in one hand as the Spirit Qi around him formed a violent storm .
Soon after, he swept out violently with his axe . Instantly…
The South Manor Army soldiers that had been blocking his way were all cut at the waist .
Blood splattered everywhere .
And it hit Tang Baiyun’s face, causing his body to shake like a leaf .
The Overlord had initially wanted to take Tang Baiyun away immediately .
But instead, he turned his head to look at the barbarians beside Tang Baiyun .
There was a murderous edge to his gaze .
“The Five Barbarians outside of the Great Zhou committed all sorts of crimes . The moment they invade Great Zhou, its people will plunge into misery and suffering . ”
“Internal strife is fine, but colluding with outside scum is an act of treason . ”
“At Hurao Gate in West County, so many men have been separated from their families in order to guard the frontier against the enemy troops . ”
“And yet you have the gall to be colluding with outsiders!”
The Overlord charged toward Tang Baiyun, sweeping out with his axe .
The head of the white horse beneath Tang Baiyun was chopped off .
Tang Baiyun could feel his heart clench .
The Overlord moved straight toward the barbarians, charging fiercely to take them down . On the battlefield, he was the peerless Overlord . He was not the Overlord in the Central Palace of the Secret Realm, who wore the heaviest armor yet took the worst beatings!
The Young Priest of Chili was somewhat fearful . None of them had expected the tables to turn this quickly .
The Young Priest bellowed furiously, glaring balefully at Tang Baiyun .
This fellow… He did them in!
The Overlord charged toward them .
The barbarians were not a united enemy . The Overlord was not the least bit merciful when he dealt with them .
The North County Army made their way over as well . As he looked the West County Army—which was very much like a pack of hungry wolves diving toward a herd of sheep—Tantai Xuan heaved a deep sigh of relief .
“The moment I found out that South County had colluded with barbarians, I immediately ordered for someone to ride down and deliver the news to the Overlord…”
“And have him come from the West . Once the South County Army was defeated, the Overlord could intercept from the West . ”
“He has to pay the price for colluding with foreign forces,” Tantai Xuan coldly said as he galloped .
He looked at the barbarians in the South County Army, a fire burning in his eyes .
When North County had gone up against Xirong, the Tantai aristocratic family had been at the forefront of the battle, and several Tantai Xuan’s sons had been buried in the desert…
Which was why Tantai Xuan bore such a strong hatred for the enemy .
Tantai Xuan did not say much .
He unsheathed the blade strapped to his waist, and he led the North County’s charge .
Jiang Li did not say anything . He just watched as Tantai Xuan rushed out, and he too drew the dagger at his waist, charging forth astride his horse .
The fate of the South County Army was sealed .
Their destruction was determined, and Tang Xiansheng’s ingenious plans had gone up in smoke .
The Young Priest of Chili was kneeling on the ground, begging for the Overlord’s forgiveness with his hands in a salute . They were willing to surrender .
However, the Overlord paid them no mind at all .
With a sweep of his axe, the Young Priest of Chili was beheaded .
The Overlord supported his axe with a single hand, his gaze cold as ice .
Foreign enemies were the vilest of them all . Even if they were as strong as they had been in ancient times, they would still die in the hands of a foreign invasion .
Because of this, the Overlord would never go easy on foreign enemies .
Tang Baiyun wanted to leave as well .
A figure leaped forward quickly from within the masses and landed and then knelt on Tang Baiyun’s throat, pinning him to the ground . Tang Baiyun had been in such a panic he had forgotten to resist .
Chi Lian, clad in ice-cold armor, held a dagger against Tang Baiyun’s throat .
Tang Baiyun had been taken captive .
The South County Army was thoroughly defeated . They had chosen to surrender .
As for the hidden barbarians in the South County Army, they were originally Tang Xiansheng’s trump card . Now that their identity had been exposed, they had all been wiped out by the Overlord and Tantai Xuan .
When the glow of daybreak rained down…
The corpses that littered the ground gave off a pungent smell .
Tantai Xuan and the Overlord’s first encounter, the first alliance between the West and North Counties, came to a perfect end .
The Overlord shook the blood off of his axe . He heaved the giant axe and shield onto his back, shifting his gaze to Tantai Xuan in the distance . His lips quirked up into a small smile .
Without saying anything, he turned to leave .
Tantai Xuan greeted the Overlord with a fist and palm salute from a distance .
The Xiang Family’s Army followed behind the Overlord and vanished into the ends of the horizon .
“As expected of the Overlord . ” Tantai Xuan sighed in admiration .
Jiang Li spurred his horse as well, and he nodded slightly . Everyone said the Overlord was brave and valiant . Now that he had seen it for himself, he had to admit the other inspired some degree of despair in people .
After becoming a cultivator, the Overlord had only become more violent and rabid, and he was virtually unstoppable on the battlefield . The dominance that top-class cultivators had on the battlefield… It was just too overwhelming .
Tang Baiyun had been captured and was being escorted to Jiang Li and Tantai Xuan .
He was covered in blood and had tried to flee . His face had lost its color, his legs were shaking, and he could barely stand properly .
Tantai Xuan looked at Tang Baiyun and said, “Tang Xiansheng made a risky gamble . It’s such a shame he had such a stupid son like you . ”
“Since you colluded with the barbarians and proceeded northward, you shouldn’t have exposed the barbarian’s traces so hastily . You don’t understand the hatred the older generation has for foreign enemies!”
With his hands tied behind his back, Tang Baiyun paled for a beat, and he could not help but laugh .
So the reason why he failed was that he had exposed the barbarian’s trail .
Tang Baiyun did not beg, nor did he allow Tantai Xuan to use his life as bait so Tang Xiansheng would save him .
Because Tang Baiyun knew full well that once Tang Xiansheng returned to South County and learned about what he had done there, there was no way he would save him .
Tang Baiyun laughed, bitter and desolate .
“I don’t accept this…”
“So close, I was so close…”
Tang Baiyun glared balefully at Jiang Li .
Tantai Xuan drew his blade…
And swiped it across Tang Baiyun’s throat . Blood spurted out .
Tantai Xuan’s face was stony, a blank stare in his eyes .
He sheathed his sword .
“Have Tang Baiyun’s head delivered to South County at top speed . Tang Xiansheng should already have returned there, so let him see for himself the consequences of colluding with foreign enemies,” Tantai Xuan said, his red robe billowing in the wind .
After that, he turned to leave .
The North County Army detained the remnants of the South County Army, and they disappeared into the ends of the horizon .
Jiang Li spurred his horse, and Chi Lian followed after him . The remaining Black Dragon Guard and remnant soldiers of the Great Zhou Dynasty stood quietly .
Jiang Li took in a deep breath as he looked at Tantai Xuan’s retreating view .
There was the sound of wheels scraping against the ground .
A chariot drove over .
Soldiers gradually surrounded Jiang Li and his people .
The cloth on the chariot lifted to reveal Mo Beike’s aged countenance .
Jiang Li shook his head with a smile as he looked at Mo Beike . He lifted his hand to wave at the man . The Black Dragon Guard and Great Zhou soldiers who had raised their weapons slowly lowered them .
Beiluo, Lake Island .
The South County’s northern expedition came to such an end, although it did exceed Lu Fan’s expectations in some capacity .
However, it was also within reason . Had Tang Xiansheng led the expedition himself, then perhaps they might have stood a chance against Tantai Xuan and the Overlord .
Tang Baiyun was still too foolish .
He was not just foolish… He had also led people to their deaths .
Leaning back in his wheelchair, Lu Fan frowned slightly . This battle had seen the deaths of quite a few cultivators .
The South Manor Army, the Black Dragon Guard, and other armies of cultivators—all of them had suffered heavy losses and casualties .
Although death was an inevitable part of war, the death of cultivators had some impact on Lu Fan .
These cultivators had all been carefully selected and nurtured by the Dragon Gate . As such, Lu Fan stood to gain whenever they raised their Spirit Qi .
Now they were all dead on the battlefield .
And the amount of Spirit Qi he could gain had decreased drastically .
“The cultivators joining the battle had a profound impact on the fight, and it will change the rules of all future battles . By then, it might already become a conflict between cultivators…”
Lu Fan frowned . This was deviating a little from his original intention .
Cultivators dying like this for no good reason would slow the process of changing the world . This was not what Lu Fan wanted to see .
Lu Fan spent a great deal of effort into bringing many more cultivators into this world, only for these people to fight one another to the death .
Lu Fan thought about it for a while . He had to let them know the importance of becoming stronger .
The wheelchair moved around the island soundlessly .
Lv Dongxuan was currently brewing tea languidly . The lake island had splendid scenery, and an abundant Spirit Qi lingered around the island .
It was practically sacred grounds for retirement .
The lake water here was cool and clean, and tea brewed from it had a fragrance that seeped everywhere .
If you secretly plucked a cherry blossom or a chrysanthemum to add into the brewing tea, it makes the pot of tea that much more flavorful and unique .
Lu Fan’s mild voice drifted over from behind Lv Dongxuan .
“It’s nice to relax like this, huh?”
It shocked him, and he almost spat out the tea he was drinking .
“Young Master . ”
Lv Dongxuan wiped his lips, walking over with a broad smile on his face . The large gold beaded necklace on his neck glinted when it caught the morning sunlight, and it shone with a glaring brilliance as it swayed .
“Tianji Pavilion is kind of idle, huh?” Lu Fan leaned back in his wheelchair as he spoke cryptically .
Lv Dongxuan hurriedly waved his hands . “It’s not idle . We’re actually rather busy . We’re busy collecting information from influential powers from all over the world every day… We’re so busy we barely have time to drink tea . ”
Lu Fan could not be bothered to expose his lie .
Lv Mudui was fishing, while Lv Dongxuan was brewing tea . How were they busy?
Lu Fan thought about it for a beat and then said as he looked at Lv Dongxuan, “It’s time for Tianji Pavilion to do something . ”
“Speak your mind, Young Master . Tianji Pavilion guarantees perfect completion!” Lv Dongxuan patted his chest as he spoke .
Lu Fan waved his hand . “It’s nothing too troublesome . ”
“Issue a Tianji Order . From today onward, there will be no wars for three months . ”
Lv Dongxuan was taken aback .
“You can’t do it?” Lu Fan flatly asked as he looked at Lv Dongxuan .
“Sure, I can…” Lv Dongxuan came back to his senses . He hurriedly patted his chest as a guarantee .
He looked at Lu Fan, who had an indifferent look on his face, and then he asked carefully, “Young Master… We can issue the Tianji Order, but… Will the people really adhere to the order?”
Lu Fan glanced at Lv Dongxuan . The wheelchair steered itself toward the second floor of the White Jade City Pavilion .
“Just issue the order . ”
“If anyone has a different opinion, or if anyone dares to go against it…”
“Then have them come to White Jade City . ”
South County .
After a day of bumps…
Tang Xiansheng had finally returned to Nanjiang City in South County . In the carriage, Tang Yimo’s fever had gone down a bit, and he had become much more lucid, although his complexion was still a little pale .
Tang Xiansheng was fatigued beyond belief, and his clothes were in a mess .
He got down from the carriage and entered the Tang Manor, but there was nothing there except an unusual silence .
Tang Yimo followed behind Tang Xiansheng, his face pale .
Tang Yimo could not help but frown at the silence in the Tang Manor .
He suddenly thought of something, and he rushed toward the wing room that his mother and younger sister were staying in .
Tang Xiansheng sat in a wooden armchair as he caught his breath .
He heard Tang Yimo’s voice bellow from the wing room .
Tang Xiansheng had just picked up a teacup, but his hand shook for a bit, and he almost dropped it .
He stood up and headed toward the wing room…
Only to see Tang Yimo standing in the disorderly wing room, his hand clasped tightly around somebody’s neck .
Tang Yimo turned his head to look at Tang Xiansheng as he asked icily . A spot of red had surged onto his face . From between the gaps of his teeth surged forth a flood of words underlined with an intent to kill . “Where are my sister and mother?!”
Tang Xiansheng was stunned .
And at this moment…
A soldier, covered from head to toe in blood, had a wooden box in his hands and a fearful expression on his face . He scrambled to appear in front of Tang Xiansheng .
A forlorn voice cut through the entire Tang Manor .
“Mayor, South County… We’ve been defeated!”
Some distance away, Tang Yimo was unmoving .
The blood drained from Tang Xiansheng’s face, and his body swayed . With trembling hands, he accepted from the bloody soldier the wooden box that was still dripping with fresh blood .