South County .
The battle outside of Nanjin City had ended for the moment . However, that mysterious strong man from Nanman was still alive .
Therefore, Nanjin City still maintained a strong defensive front .
It was drizzling .
Sima Qingshan and Tang Yimo were standing on the city tower of Nanjin City .
Those from Dao Pavilion and Sword Pavilion had all left . The current Nanjin City was a little desolate and awful .
Up on the city tower, you could even smell the strong scent of blood spreading between the city towers .
Tang Yimo thought Sima Qingshan had great potential as a cultivator since he had seen the latter getting saved by Nie Changqing . He recommended that Sima Qingshan cultivate in the Dragon Gate . By then, Sima Qingshan had made some achievements of his own .
Tang Yimo did not think there were wizards in the world . However, as soon as he saw Sima Qingshan, he realized that this man was indeed a wizard .
From painting to cultivation, he combined two completely different expertise together . He did have the help from an immortal encounter, but without extraordinary talent and aptitude, he would not have achieved what he had achieved .
“Qingshan, are you really leaving?”
Tang Yimo looked at Sima Qingshan . He took a deep breath . It was raining lightly, but he felt kind of cold .
“Cultivation is a long journey . My painting is only the first peek through the door of this area . It is a rare opportunity for White Jade City’s Young Master Lu to impart cultivation . I might go to consult him something,” Sima Qingshan said .
“Lu Ping’an is the number one cultivator in the world . I’m sure he will give me advice on how to improve . ”
In three days, the whole world had heard of Tianji Pavilion’s Tianji Order . The entire world knew Lu Ping’an would deliver a lecture .
The whole world had been shocked .
Cultivators or not, everyone headed for Beiluo .
They all thought they might be able to gain some insights from the lecture and even become cultivators themselves .
The current world was cultivators’ world . Anyone who became a cultivator would naturally attain a higher status .
Certainly, this was what ordinary people thought .
Some cultivators were drawn to Beiluo because of the hopes that Young Master Lu might share his knowledge regarding cultivation, which would be vital for everyone who cultivated .
It was like a chess master consenting to impart skills and tricks to all chess disciples . Chess disciples would certainly be crazily excited about that opportunity because it was a really good chance to learn something .
The news spread far and wide in just two days .
Sima Qingshan said goodbye to Tang Yimo . The painter left Nanjin City for Beiluo on a horse .
Tang Yimo did not go because he had to guard Nanjin City .
Nanman’s army had retreated, but the cunning Nanman people might come back again for a sneak attack . It was hard to say what they would do .
Watching Sima Qingshan disappearing from his sight, Tang Yimo let out a sigh .
He could not stop Sima Qingshan from improving himself . But it was a fact that Tang Yimo could teach him nothing, since what Sima Qingshan learned was not martial arts techniques . On the other hand, the mysterious Young Master Lu might be able to teach him what he wanted to know .
Not long after Sima Qingshan left, a scout drenched by the rain bolted towards him from outside the city .
“Dongyang County is under siege from Dongyi’s army . They are in danger and asked for South County’s help,” the scout said .
In the rain, Tang Yimo turned around . Water splattered loudly as the rain pattered on his armor .
“They asked for South County’s help? Why don’t they ask for the capital’s help?”
Tang Yimo’s eyes narrowed .
The scout was dumbstruck . After coming to his senses, he said, “Commander, according to the scout from the capital city, Dongyang County did ask for the capital city’s help, but the capital city didn’t respond to their request for aid . ”
Did not respond to their request for aid?
Now Tang Yimo was dumbstruck . His face trembled slightly .
He understood why .
“Send a hundred troops from South Manor Army and twenty thousand soldiers to reinforce Dongyang County . If the capital city refuses to help, we, South County will help!
“At such a time, the stupid emperor is still thinking about weakening all counties . ”
Tang Yimo smiled coldly .
An emperor who had never been in a desperate war knew nothing about the cruelty of war . All he could come up with was schemes and intrigues to excite his boring palace life . Tang Yimo held him in disdain for that .
With Tang Xiansheng as his teacher, Tang Yimo had formed his own judgment on the state of the world .
Therefore, he guessed easily the reason the capital city had not responded .
He looked up . The cold rain pattered down on his face .
Tang Yimo gave the order immediately and without hesitation .
Capital city .
Two horses came forward slowly .
The people on the horses were traveling against the storm .
The ancient city tower of the capital was mottled and stained by time . The land where it was built had countless bones buried underground .
Jiang Li took off his bamboo hat and shook the snow off of it .
He looked at the ancient city tower with a complicated facial expression .
Next to him, Chi Lian also took off her bamboo hat .
“Lord, are we really going?”
Chi Lian looked worried .
“Isn’t it good for me to resign and go back to the countryside?” Looking at Chi Lian, Jiang Li burst out laughing .
Chi Lian was dumbstruck . She hurried to wave her hands . “Lord, I didn’t mean that . However, the current capital city is a dangerous place…
“You want to resign and go back to the countryside, but the emperor probably won’t agree with you . ”
Jiang Li extended his hand . A snowflake fell on it .
“Mount injured, armor broken, bloodshed wherever I pass… Who exactly am I fighting for?
“It’s better to take off this armor and go back to the countryside, making a pot of tea and eating some chicken soup . ”
Jiang Li smiled .
It was a smile of disappointment .
North County’s army was tough, and they gained much courage and upstanding from years of experience guarding the frontier .
Jiang Li had thought that with his ability, he could make the army of the capital city as great as the North County or the South County’s army .
However, now he realized no matter how hard he tried; it would not be possible .
He might be able to make the capital city’s army strong, however, when it came to courage and morals, North County and South County’s army was at a standard beyond the comprehension of the capital city’s army .
Jiang Li was a little lost because he did not think he had any chance of winning .
The little emperor fished in troubled waters . Jiang Li really disliked that . He was even a little irritated by it .
“General, I’ve finally realized why you were so disappointed and sad that day under the setting sun . ”
Jiang Li murmured . The snow on the palm of his hand melted . Water flowed down . He recalled how Bai Fengtian had let out a helpless sigh on his horse in the desert .
At last, he turned the horse into the capital city . Chi Lian followed him .
Outside the capital city, Kong Nanfei was expecting him with the Black Dragon Guard . His eyes lit up as soon as he saw Jiang Li .
“General Jiang, I’m glad you are back . ”
Kong Nanfei, in a Confucius robe, patted Jiang Li on his shoulder .
Kong Nanfei really admired and respected Jiang Li .
Jiang Li smiled . He glanced at the Black Dragon Guard behind Kong Nanfei . He saw the enthusiasm in their eyes .
“Chi Lian, you stay here,” Jiang Li said .
“Take care of Qingniao if I don’t come back . ”
Next to him, Chi Lian’s long eyelashes trembled . Panic showed on her pretty face .
“Lord, Chi Lian will go with you . ”
“No . Do what I told you . You are the only person I can still trust . ”
Jiang Li looked at Chi Lian seriously .
Chi Lian wanted to say no, but in the end, she did not say anything .
Kong Nanfei also sensed something was not quite right .
However, Jiang Li only waved his hand at Kong Nanfei . He said nothing to the latter .
He walked to the Imperial City in the snow .
Kong Nanfei was in a daze .
Looking at the man staggering through the heavy snow, Kong Nanfei felt a lump grow in his throat .
Maybe, except for the banana leaves bent over by the weight of snow before Book Pavilion, everything and everyone in the capital city had changed .
Kong Nanfei was a little dazed .
It was freezing cold in the ancient capital city .
He looked at the sky . It was snowing heavily . All the grass had frosted over .
Jiang Li was walking very cautiously .
One step after another, he walked unhurriedly, as if he was just measuring the land or feeling the pulse of the ancient city .
On the avenue in the Imperial City, some ministers walking slowly through the snow saw Jiang Li . Their eyes lit up .
Jiang Li’s position in Great Zhou Dynasty was unquestionable . As the Imperial Advisor declined, Jiang Li was regarded as the most important minister in Great Zhou .
The ministers came up to Jiang Li to greet him .
They had heard Jiang Li had been imprisoned in North County . It surprised them to find that he had come back .
Was it because the little emperor’s strategy had worked?
Did Tantai Xuan acknowledge the mistake he made to the Great Zhou Dynasty?
The ministers wondered .
Jiang Li glanced at them, but he looked very cold .
In Zijin Palace, the long corridor went on and on .
The tall, carved wooden door was open . Young eunuchs were standing in a bow in front of it .
Jiang Li took his black cloak off . He gave his bamboo hat to a eunuch at the door . He entered Zijin Palace after shaking the snow off his back .
The morning meeting started on time .
Yuwen Xiu, in a silk Dragon Robe, was sitting upright in the Dragon Throne .
He was listening to the ministers’ reports with a mild smile .
“Your Majesty, White Jade City issued another Tianji Order . Young Master Lu from Beiluo will lecture on cultivation at the lakeside of Beiluo Lake,” a minister reported to Yuwen Xiu with a bow .
“Minister Lu is the number one cultivator in the world . Because he will be lecturing about cultivation at the lakeside of Beiluo Lake, we certainly won’t miss it . We will send our bodyguards to take notes of everything Minister Lu says,” Yuwen Xiu said slowly from the Dragon Throne .
The minister who had made the report was about to add something .
However, at the mention of Yuwen Xiu’s bodyguards, he trembled and stopped speaking .
Yuwen Xiu’s bodyguards were the Thirteen Black Dragon Armored Men, who were very famous in the capital city .
The Black Dragon Guard was led and directed by Kong Nanfei and Jiang Li .
However, the Thirteen Black Dragon Armored Men were not under the control of Kong Nanfei and Jiang Li . On top of that, they could even command the Black Dragon Guard .
“Yes . ”
The minister cupped his hands and then went back to his seat .
Not until then did Yuwen Xiu look up and fix his eyes on Jiang Li .
He got to his feet from the Dragon Throne with a big smile .
“General Jiang, you are finally back! Tang Xiansheng, that old fox . We couldn’t believe he collaborated with North County to scheme against you . It was our fault that General Jiang was imprisoned . We didn’t consider the matter thoroughly .
“How are you, General Jiang?
“When General Jiang recovers, we will send a punitive expedition against South County to revenge you!”
Yuwen Xiu came up to Jiang Li .
Jiang Li cupped his hands and bowed .
“Thank you, Your Majesty . I am good . ”
“We are glad you are safe . It’s thanks to General Jiang that the Black Dragon Guard came into existence . General Jiang is really the person we need most at the moment . ”
Yuwen Xiu smiled .
“General Jiang, the post of Black Dragon Guard’s Chief Commander is still yours . ”
“Your Majesty,” Jiang Li interrupted Yuwen Xiu all of a sudden .
The air in the court was suddenly charged with tension .
“General Jiang, you disagree?” Yuwen Xiu asked with a sharp look at Jiang Li .
The smile on his face was fading .
“Your Majesty, I feel physically and mentally exhausted by this expedition . I am eager to resign and return to the countryside to spend the rest of my life in peace . I hope Your Majesty will agree,” said Jiang Li, bowing .
He looked up at Yuwen Xiu .
Yuwen Xiu’s facial expression kept changing, but he settled on a smile in the end .
“General Jiang, you must be tired from your travels . I agree that General Jiang should take a few days off… But forget about resigning and going back to the countryside . Your country is in danger . General Jiang’s support is fundamental for the country . ”
Yuwen Xiu waved his hand . Then, he turned around to walk back to the Dragon Throne .
In the distance, the old eunuch turned pale .
Below him, the other ministers’ eyes dilated involuntarily . Those who had talked to Jiang Li turned extremely pale .
If they had known Jiang Li had come back to resign, they would never have tried to befriend him even if they were forced to .
Once the emperor’s Black Dragon bodyguards learned they had been friendly to Jiang Li, their heads might hang from the city tower of the capital city .
The mere thought of such a consequence made some ministers go weak at the knees . They flopped onto the ground .
Yuwen Xiu glanced over at these ministers after sitting back into the Dragon Throne . A cold smile emerged on his face .
Below him, cupping his hands, Jiang Li only looked at Yuwen Xiu calmly .
“Your Majesty, I insist on resigning and going back to the countryside . ”
When that had been said in the court where the air was charged with tension, a cold laugh burst out and lingered .
On the Dragon Throne, Yuwen Xiu pounded the chair arm . The sound was as shocking as a thunderbolt . It felt like the entire palace was shaking .
The hall was instantly thick with tension .
Dongyang County was close to the sea . The Dongyi people were natives from islands that bordered Dongyang County on the sea .
They were uncivilized .
The Dongyi people were water dogs . They were good at building a kind of long narrow wooden boats . They would arrive at the beach of Dongyang County on these boats when they invaded Dongyang County .
There were eighteen big or small islands on the sea . The Great Zhou Dynasty called all of them Dongyi .
When the sun had risen from the horizon, boat hoisted their sails one after another and moved downwind, towards the coastline of Dongyang County .
On Dongyang County’s beach, cavalry scouts moving around on horses turned pale .
They had seen this too many times .
The appearance of those boats indicated an impending attack of Dongyi’s army .
The scouts acted right away . They took off the bronze horns they had been carrying at their waists and blew them with effort . They made such a great effort that their faces blushed .
The air from their mouths impacted the thick walls of the bronze horns . The vibration produced a thick sound that lingered in the air .
Other scouts further up the beach turned pale when they heard the horns .
They blew their horns as well .
In this way, the information was passed on to the frontier city of Dongyang County .
The soldiers in the frontier city reacted immediately . They entered the emergency state right away .
On the city tower, Dongyang County’s Mayor Yang Mu was walking with the Imperial Advisor and Mo Tianyu . He was as pale as a ghost when he heard the horns .
“Damn . The Dongyi Army is attacking again…”
Mayor Yang Mu gnashed his teeth . He looked resolute and ferocious .
“It looks we, Dongyang County, can’t count on the capital city’s reinforcements . ”
He let out a sigh .
Yang Mu unsheathed his long knife . In a fine armor, he went to the frontline .
The sun rising from the horizon cracked the quiet darkness . Sunlight spilled on the cold and mottled city wall of Dongyang’s frontier city .
Dongyang County’s Mayor Yang Mu excused himself from the presence of Imperial Master Kong Xiu .
Then, he led the army in person with his generals toward the coastline to prepare for the beachhead battle .
Thousands of wooden boats came from the sea .
Shouting from their boats, the Dongyi people pulled their bowstrings and shot one arrow after another . The arrows coming from downwind were even more devastating .
On the beach, Dongyang County’s army led by Mayor Yang Mu lifted their heavy bronze shields one after another .
The shields were thick . His archers pulled their bowstrings and shot arrows too .
After a few rounds of shooting, the first boat arrived at the shore . Some of the Dongyi people on the boats had been shot by the arrows and were already dead .
But many more of them swarmed onto the shore like ants armed with weapons .
More arrows were shot . The Dongyi people were pelted with so many arrows that they looked like hedgehogs .
But their arrows also retaliated . Many soldiers of Dongyang County lost their lives in this battle .
Yang Mu snarled, waving his knife . His voice was already hoarse .
One after another, the wooden boats came .
More of the Dongyi people charged onto the shore with mad cries . Beachhead battles were always cruel and dirty .
Blood flowed everywhere . The beach was stained red .
These spooky Dongyi people who were not afraid of death charged into the shield formation of Dongyang County’s army and burrowed an opening .
Then, countless of the Dongyi people swarmed through the opening . In this way, like a levee breach, the opening instantly burst open and the shield formation fell apart .
In the end, they had no choice but to engage in close combat . The two armies fought each other closely .
On the city tower, Mo Tianyu turned pale at the sight . He was so pale that it was as if all of his blood had been drawn out .
He had never seen such a bloody scene before .
Standing on the city tower, the hunchbacked Master watched the battle . His wrinkled face seemed to be shocked .
He let out a sigh after a long time had passed .
“Bai Fengtian commanded the death of 300,000 Xirong soldiers . I said it was cruel .
“But now I realize that Bai Fengtian was right .
“Those not of our kin surely have a different mind . This is a war of nations… Kindness is a luxury . It shouldn’t exist on battlefields . ”
He let out a sigh .
Yang Mu was still expecting the capital city’s reinforcements . However, when would they arrive?
Down on the beach, Dongyang County’s army lost the beachhead battle .
The city gate of Dongyang’s frontier city was left vulnerable and open .
The soldiers on the city tower pulled their bowstrings and prepared the crossbows .
Some newly recruited soldiers who still looked like children could not help but tremble because of fear . Their eyes were completely red . That was the adrenaline of war .
Yang Mu, covered with blood, retreated into the frontier city with the remnant of his soldiers .
“Shoot!” Yang Mu snarled as soon as he entered the city, pulling on the reins of his horse .
They would try their best to fight this battle to guard the frontier city .
If the Dongyi people lost, they would simply start over and attack the frontier city again .
However, if they lost, their city would be captured, and their people would be killed!
Dead bodies were everywhere outside the frontier city .
Master was standing atop the city tower . His robe was fluttering . He was looking at the arrows .
All of a sudden, Master’s eyes narrowed .
He looked towards the sea, which was far away .
A boat was sailing slowly .
At the head of the boat, a giant man was standing . His clasped hands were elegantly placed on his belly .
His eyes made out his black robe from the city gate in the morning sunshine .
A smile lifted the corners of the man’s lips .
He had failed to capture South County .
However, Dongyang County was easy prey .
The giant man had sensed that there was not even one cultivator in Dongyang County’s Army .
Hiding in the dark, he sent Dongyi’s army to try them many times .
He would not launch any attack until he confirmed that there were no cultivators .
He had to win this battle . After he had taken this city and entered Great Zhou, he would be able to use Dongyi’s army to try the strength of the Lord of the Plane .
If this Lord of the Plane was really just taking advantage of the Origin to throw his own weight about as he wanted to, that would be his chance!
All of a sudden, very vaguely, the giant man in the black robe felt a little bit threatened .
On the far-off city tower stood a hunchbacked old man in a Confucius robe, looking at him calmly .