They’d raided two major factions by now, each backed by a demigod forefather.
Prime Puresmoke was in very high spirits. She was no longer her cold, demure self. This unorthodox method of doing things was an exhilarating way to vent her feelings. She’d never experienced this thrill before.
The plan they’d settled on didn’t involve attacking the rebels directly. Even counting the Vermilion Bird and Long Xiaoxuan, two humans and two beasts couldn’t take on tens of thousands alone.
Instead, they sought to relieve the siege by attacking what the rebels held dear.
The factions that had demigod forefathers were prioritized to force their return. When they did, Jiang Chen and Prime Puresmoke would have a much wider range of options.
They could ambush Meng Qianqiu of the Dreamhaze Sect or House Yuchi’s forefather. In fact, they could take on both. After all, they would be concealed while their enemy was out in the open. The terms of engagement would be entirely up to them.
A path a few hundred miles from House Yuchi’s estate was chosen as a place for ambush. Despite her considerable faith in Jiang Chen now, Prime Puresmoke was nevertheless perplexed.
“Sir Jiang, this place is completely flat. There’s no advantage to the terrain here for an ambush. Why don’t we pick someplace more suitable for a sneak attack? I know of one just three hundred miles from here.”
Jiang Chen waved a hand. “If I were the Yuchi forefather and I found out about an attack on my house, I would certainly come rushing back. At the same time though, I would wonder whether it was a conspiracy to lure me away from the main army. A surprise attack seems incredibly likely in this circumstance.
“If he considers all of that, he’ll take exceptional caution when passing by dangerous terrain.”
Prime Puresmoke considered this a few moments before understanding.
“You mean… he’ll be on his guard in the places easy to set up an ambush, which makes it hard for us to act. Conversely, this place is a flat expanse, which means he won’t pay much attention. Is that it?”
“Yes. I can’t speak in absolutes, but I do believe it will be the case.”
Puresmoke became thoughtful. “Why not ambush Meng Qianqiu then?” she asked suddenly. “We hit the Dreamhaze Sect first, didn’t we?”
“We didn’t slaughter the sect wholesale. Only their vaults were raided. Their people might not have even discovered that fact yet. The only thing of note is that we’ve kidnapped Meng Tianxing. However, the attack on House Yuchi will spread far and wide at the earliest possible opportunity.
“Plus, Meng Tianxing is in our hands. Meng Qianqiu is a puppet of our whims, forced to do wherever we wish.”
Jiang Chen was confident that Meng Qianqiu would not be much of a threat. He would be far too concerned with the safety of his grandson to do anything rash.
With Forefather Goldenbell already dead, half of the demigods would be gone if they could put the Yuchi forefather out of commission as well.
With any luck, Meng Qianqiu would voluntarily withdraw from the rebel army if he knew what was good for him. Only one lone forefather would remain.
If that eventuality came to be, it would be a lethal blow to the rebels. It was quite possible the Martial Sacred Land would instantly be able to turn the war around.
Much of the rebels’ momentum was maintained by the demigods. Without respected leaders to maintain control of the situation, they could very well crumble in an instant.
After experiencing the Eternal Sacred Land’s rebellion, Jiang Chen knew the uniqueness of a rebel alliance. If they had the upper hand and the leadership of experts, they were a force to be reckoned with. As long as they picked solidarity over selfishness, of course.
When cracks formed or their advance was halted, it was extremely likely they would fall under their own weight. In fact, they dissolved with astonishing speed when coming under annihilating fire.
Therefore, Jiang Chen was making a gamble.
More ordinary methods would never be able to rout the rebel army. Even with the Vermilion Bird on his side, the three demigods would be quite safe alongside the momentum propelling their army.
To divide and conquer was the only way to go.
Prime Puresmoke was greatly restless. As the first prime of the Martial Sacred Land, she was much more attentive to the situation there.
Though she agreed with Jiang Chen’s strategy, she nevertheless worried about the possibility that the rebel army would enter a decisive battle with the sacred land proper while they waited here.
What if the Yuchi forefather prioritized the bigger picture rather than returning after receiving the news? That wasn’t entirely impossible. The apprehension in her heart was visible on her face.
Jiang Chen could see it plain as day from a mile away. “We’ve done all we can,” he consoled. “There’s no need to worry. House Yuchi has been uprooted. Its forefather won’t possibly remain where he is.”
He was far more assured of this than Prime Puresmoke.
Time stretched impossibly long on the eve of momentous events. Two days passed by with excruciating sluggishness.
Prime Puresmoke’s anxiety intensified. Without her promise prior not to renege, she would’ve wanted to rush straight back to the Martial Sacred Land. Whether the rebel army had launched their penultimate assault or not, she wanted to fight alongside her comrades against their dastardly enemies.
However, the Eternal Sacred Land’s success stayed her hand. Puresmoke decided to trust Jiang Chen – the youth who seemed to be adept at making miracles happen.
Their long wait was not in vain.
The morning of the third day, the Goldbiter Rats concealed along the way scouted the Yuchi forefather’s return. Several elites accompanied him, making the journey with utmost swiftness.
By Jiang Chen’s calculations, the time difference was about right. The Yuchi forefather had needed to hear of the news, decide, then travel.
“He’s on his way,” Jiang Chen muttered quietly to Prime Puresmoke.
“The Yuchi forefather?” Puresmoke’s voice tensed.
“Finally, he’s come.” There was a flash of joy in the prime’s eyes. The two days they’d spent waiting hadn’t been wasted. Their strategy was materializing step by step.
House Yuchi’s forefather was rushing back with due haste, accompanied by a few elites. Hearing such news had been a tremendous blow to morale for both forefather and the army.
If their foundations at home were destroyed, what would the rebels’ victory mean? For House Yuchi at least, the loss far outweighed any gain.
Though he had brought the house’s best elites out with him, the house’s main estate was where its roots lay. There would be no future for them without it.
Even if the rebellion were successful, House Yuchi wouldn’t be able to vie for supremacy in the ensuing power struggle. Their lack of strength at that point would make them non-competitive.
The Yuchi forefather’s anxiety was thus quite understandable.
However, just as Jiang Chen had anticipated, the old man wasn’t discomposed in his anxiety. He was careful the entire way back, especially in the parts where the terrain was rough.
The forefather’s entourage now approached where Jiang Chen’s ambush lay.
The forefather himself bored a grim expression. He looked in his house’s direction, alternating between gritting his teeth and gnashing them in anger.
Upon House Yuchi’s airboat, an elite tried to alleviate some of the tension. “Forefather, we’re past Ghostsorrow Valley. We’ll be back home in less than thirty minutes.”
“Hmm. Don’t let down your guard.” Though the bulk of danger was past, the Yuchi forefather nevertheless maintained caution.
“Who exactly attacked our estate, forefather?”
“No news as of yet. The enemies came out of nowhere, for apparently no reason.” The Yuchi forefather was somber. “Most concerningly, the news from the house was fuzzy about even their descriptions. That means they have no idea who was responsible.”
If they had a target, everything would be easier. To be without that knowledge, despite the crimes against them, was sorrow in itself.
“Forefather, there’s been no news from Forefather Goldenbell for the past two days. Many of the allied army are discussing this anomaly in private. There’s a terrifying rumor that Goldenbell is already dead, and the army sent to attack the spirit herb base utterly crushed. Is that true?”
The Yuchi forefather was privy to this information, but also obligated to keep it a secret. Only the executives were allowed to know, not the common soldiers. The hit to morale would be far too big if this rumor were to spread.
However, secrecy had never been a good method to hide the truth. News about Forefather Goldenbell’s demise had spread everywhere like wildfire.
When gossip began, dissemination of information became much faster. It was basically impossible to keep from the masses anymore.
“Who did you hear that from?” The Yuchi forefather remarked coldly.
“Ah, even the lowliest among the cultivators are talking about these problems. Forefather, there’s something off about all this. Prime Puresmoke is the one defending the spirit herb base, and she’s slightly inferior to Forefather Goldenbell. There should be no reason for her to smash the entire army alongside him. That’s just too incredible to believe.”
“Hmph, what are you trying to say?” The Yuchi forefather harrumphed.
“I’m just worried that Goldenbell’s murderer is from the outside. Reinforcements for the Martial Sacred Land, maybe?”
The Yuchi forefather’s pupils contorted. Piercing light blasted forth from them.