Finishing the letter, Shangguan Lingxiu frowned. She only mused for a moment before giving a decisive command, "Stop the ship right now, sink the anchor. Wait where we are. We’ll stay here and wait for the Empire of Ziyou to receive us."
The sails were drawn down. The vessel slowly stopped moving forward until it came to a complete halt on the water.
Whitey Two stood up and shook out its fur. It wagged its tail and looked at Shangguan Lingxiu with gentle eyes.
"Awoo woo, awoo…"
Shangguan Lingxiu had begun to grow fond of this spiritual panther in the short amount of time that it had spent here. She asked reluctantly, "Little panther, are you leaving now?"
Her subordinates rolled their eyes.
This monstrosity could swallow three people whole with a single gulp!
The eyes of a woman are usually sharp. What has caused her vision to deteriorate to this extent?
"Why not leave after you have something to eat? I have a lot of savory meat here." Shangguan Lingxiu asked, "Rest a little here, before you depart.?"
Whitey Two’s eyes shone with pleasure when it heard her words. It looked at Shangguan Lingxiu hesitantly and turned to look at where it came from before lowering its head to look at its deflated stomach.
"Alright! Bring them over immediately, we guarantee that you will be full and have more than enough!" Shangguaan Lingxiu was delighted and ordered her men to move some meat over.
Whitey Two was overjoyed and began devouring the meat. No matter how fast it feasted, its movements were filled with a natural grace. Gradually, Whitey Two sat down on the floor with folded legs instead and with an agape mouth, it practically inhaled tens catties of meat. It chewed twice and lowered its head to take in some more.
After the feast that had inflated its stomach, it finally lifted its head and howled reluctantly, looking at the abundance of leftover meat – I’m full! I can’t eat anymore!
Shangguan Lingxiu’s eyes were bulging in their sockets for some time already – what am I watching? This panther has eaten over six hundred catties of meat! My goodness!
Over six hundred catties of mystical beast meat for a single meal!
A catty of mystical meat was one silver tael, at it's cheapest. To rear this fellow meant at least one thousand and eight hundred silver taels a day for three meals?
Who could afford such a glutton?
The well-fed panther strolled on the deck and looked into the sky. Shangguan Lingxiu knew that she could no longer ask it to stay, so she waved farewell longingly.
Whitey Two hopped and sprung into the sky, crying excitedly from the air, "Meow, meow, meow…"
Its cries baffled the troop of people underneath it.
You're a panther!
You’re a top-level mystical beast! How can you make such a sound?
It overturned one’s conventional values and shattered one's self-worth!
Whitey Two seemed to have realized its mistake since it was very easy to have its background exposed when it began to mewl, so it made amends quickly, calling out, "Awoo woo, Awoo woo…"
It cried loudly for a few times before finally leaving swiftly.
Shangguan Lingxiu stood on the deck dumbstruck, feeling her mind groggy and blur.
Why was the sound so familiar… Oh yes… Yun Yang’s home had a few cats and they made the same sound… Those cats seemed to also be white…
Was this a coincidence? Would it not be too much of one?
"Moor the ship in Lunar River, steer the bow around and keep one side close to the dense forest. Be on guard both day and night, be cautious in everything you do. This way, you can both attack and defend. Once it gets critical, give up the ship and go ashore; retreat into the forest and disperse. Staying alive is prioritized over everything else."
"Even when met with the most precarious situation, all of you must not enter Zilong City when you try to escape!"
"Zilong City is a trap, a death trap set with us as the target!"
Shangguan Lingxiu gripped the letter with a frown.
Supreme Wind’s letter had arrived and she had moored the vessel at an entrance to the forest several hundred miles away from Zilong City, according to Supreme Wind.
However, they were still some distance away from their destination. How could they complete the target this time?
There was a trap on the other side, this much she already had plans for. The other party had directly played the last card by wanting to destroy her ancestor’s remains; she had known their lowest limit and there was nothing else to be compromised on. However, Granduncle Wudi’s remains had stayed in Ziyou for too many years and the Shangguan Family of Generals wanted to welcome him home to bury him at the ancestor’s burial site. Even when she knew that the other party had tricks up their sleeves, she had to push through courageously!
It seemed that her original goal could not be accomplished now by the looks of the situation. At least, Shangguan Lingxiu had yet to think of an adaptation to be able to enter her ancestorial home. What worried her more was that if the other party had destroyed her ancestor’s remains from rage because she did not enter their plot; not only would that not benefit both sides, the Shangguan Family of Generals could no longer realize this long-held dream.
"We’ll see what the Empire of Ziyou is playing at. If it can’t do, I’ll bring a few guards and sneak into Zilong City to do it discreetly. No matter what, I have to try my best to take my ancestor’s remains home."
Shangguan Lingxiu set her will with a frown.
Within several days of Yun Yang’s arrival at Zilong City, the entire continent suddenly went through a whirlwind of changes.
The Empire of Yutang’s military forces received multiple military warnings consecutively like falling snowflakes.
The six hundred thousand-strong army of Dongxuan’s Han Sanhe had actually set off officially, amidst the heavy snow and was only a thousand and five hundred miles away from Resilience Fortress!
Estimating that the thousand and five hundred miles of the journey could be covered with the speed of Dongxuan’s Shadow Cavalry, they would arrive in less than three days’ time in addition to maintaining complete combat power. It also meant that the soonest the war might start would be three days later!
The rest of Dongxuan’s army would all reach after eight days as well.
The most extreme warfare would erupt entirely after nine days together!
It was the depth of winter where snowstorms were common. The attacker would never delay their combat opportunity as each postponed day meant pushing their own warriors to the grim reaper once more. They would initiate an attack however fast they could and as menacing as possible.
This war was predictably the most extreme and devastating one thus far!
Han Sanhe led the army personally and shuffled all available forces in the nation. The Empire of Dongxuan had announced its military recruitment as well.
It was heard that the Dongxuan’s emperor’s promise to Han Sanhe regarding this conquest was – "Fight without a worry in the frontline, marshal. I shall attend to duty myself at the back and personally organize the army and foraging teams! This invasion is during midwinter with unprecedentedly harsh conditions but I make my promise here that there won’t be a shortage of resources! No lack of a silver tael! There won’t be insufficient back up military needs nor will there be any lingering woes!"
"The tiger talisman and dragon sword are both in your hands; Marshal Han can freely take the lead on all matters. During the war and on the battlefield, wherever the marshal is, it’ll be as if I’m there!"
"When you set off on your conquest, any attacks in the imperial court will be sentenced as treason without a trial. The entire family is to be beheaded, with no one left behind!!"
"You are the first six hundred thousand-strong army in your conquest of Yutang. I promise that the following three million men, as relief troops, will speed to your assistance in batches and take on the battlefield!"
Han Sanhe’s reply was more morbid, "This official shall requite the nation with death, swearing to create the great dynasty for Your Majesty! If this war suffers, Han Sanhe shall die fighting in the battlefield to requite with death!"
The mantra to conquer the world and thrive for ages to come suddenly bloomed in Dongxuan and spread to each corner of the empire.
"This conquest is the time to conquer the world! Dongxuan’s men should enter the battlefield bearing blades and achieve accolades. Build the foundation for Dongxuan, glory for millenniums to come!"
"Immense accolades! Those with war merits shall soar up high!"
Dongxuan’s men burned with passion and enlisted eagerly like they were hit with adrenaline once they heard the announcement.
The empire’s millennial conquest began today while a man’s lifetime accolades would be collected immediately!
Behead once and there would be a rank of military merit; behead thrice and there would be the third rank of military merit. Once there was world peace and accolades were given according to merits, those who survived would at least acquire the title of a district inspector! That would be a genuine, official title!
Behead the enemy four times and one could become a military official; six-time and above would make one subordinate or assistant generals…
The sanction of recognition for military merit this time was very intricately divided!
On the set-off ceremony, Dongxuan’s emperor made an oath to the heaven, "This conquest is different than others. Any encroachment, fake report, impostor of the military merits – even if it’s a prince who committed the crime, he shall be penalized like an ordinary citizen! Once investigated to be true, one’s immediate higher authority, secretariat and anyone involved is not to be pardoned and will be sentenced to nine familial exterminations!"
Facing such a royal announcement, Dongxuan was truly buzzing with excitement.
When Han Sanhe set off, the Dongxuan emperor sent him to the city gate wearing full armor. He poured the former a goblet of wine and sent him off with a bow.
"When you return with victory, I shall lead both the civil and military officials and welcome you from a thousand miles away to congratulate this peerless achievement!"
Once this explosive news was relayed, Yutang’s entire imperial court was shaken by it.