Though Meng Qianqiu was someone who trusted his own judgment implicitly, he was able to listen to advice. The other demigod’s counsel helped elucidate things for him.
But Meng Tianxing meant the world to him. If something happened to his grandson, Meng Qianqiu wouldn’t be able to accept it at all.
The demigod made sense though. The enemy’s intention was very clear. Divide and conquer was the objective. If he left now, it was quite likely the opening would be seized to strike at both forefathers individually.
As Meng Qianqiu considered this, a subordinate came to his ear. “Forefather, things are a bit irregular. Think about it: the news we got is that the Dreamhaze Sect is completely intact. Only the vaults were raided and young master Tianxing was kidnapped. House Yuchi, on the other hand, was razed to the ground.”
Meng Qianqiu was no fool. His man’s words were thought-provoking.
The subordinate continued, “These actions mean that this enemy is leaving some room for negotiation for us. Perhaps the winds are changing, forefather.”
“Oh? What do you think about all this?” Meng Qianqiu glanced at his advisor.
“I’ve been collecting information from all around the world. I hear most sacred lands among the ten have successfully quelled their rebellions. Only a few remain which are still embroiled in their struggles. It’s quite likely the Martial Sacred Land’s call for aid has been answered. The rebel army is no longer in the same position it once was.”
Meng Qianqiu’s heart sank. He’d thought the same thing a few days ago himself, but the probability of the rebels’ victory outweighed the wariness he’d felt. It seemed though, that he’d still been too optimistic.
Was this rebellion going to fail, just like all the others?
Alarm bells clanged in his head.
“Are our allies at their wits’ end, then?”
“We’re certainly in a difficult position. I feel that we must prepare ourselves for the worst. Thankfully, our enemy’s kidnapping shows that they have future goals for us. Maybe we shouldn’t stay here much longer anymore.”
Meng Qianqiu was a decisive man. “Alright,” he nodded. “Give the order for our troops to retreat immediately! We’re part of this alliance no longer!”
His command stupefied the other forefather. “Daoist Qianqiu,” he urged hurriedly, “are you withdrawing because of cowardice?”
“Even cowardice is better than having nowhere to turn to later on,” Meng Qianqiu cackled. “Goldenbell and the Yuchi forefather are both dead, but we don’t even know who was responsible. I don’t want to be the enemy of such an entity.”
This was the absolute truth. Meng Qianqiu didn't easily give in, but that didn’t preclude him from being wise in his own way. He could clearly see that there was nothing to be done.
The Dreamhaze Sect’s men pulled back under everyone’s noses. The demigod forefather could only watch with eyes and mouth agape.
The rebel alliance was really in a bind now. First had been the departure of the Yuchi forefather and his elites, then Meng Qianqiu’s withdrawal with the Dreamhaze Sect.
These two events in succession sowed suspicion and dissension in the rebels’ ranks. The situation quickly became impossible to control.
“What is happening? Are the rumors true? Is Forefather Goldenbell really dead? And the Yuchi forefather too?!”
“Why did Forefather Meng Qianqiu leave? We need an explanation!”
“Yes, we can’t just let him leave for no reason. If we don’t get an answer, we’ll leave too!”
These people were indignant. Many had been kept in the dark about these crises until now, but the problems were instantly drawn into the open by the series of misfortune. Emotions that were ignited by Meng Qianqiu’s retreat ran high.
After leaving the army, the Dreamhaze group made a beeline for home.
Despite the fact he’d extricated his men from the conflict, Meng Qianqiu wasn’t any more at ease for it. He knew that he was playing with fire. If he made a single misstep, he would lose both reputation and life. In fact, his sect might be totally destroyed as well.
If the rebels did end up winning against the Martial Sacred Land in the end, he would no longer have any room to survive in this nation.
Thus, though he didn't regret his choice, he was somewhat concerned for his prospects.
“There’s no need to worry, forefather,” his advisor pointed out. “The Dreamhaze Sect’s withdrawal has weakened both the rebels’ strength and morale. The Martial Sacred Land is sure to take back the initiative. Maybe this is actually an opportunity for our sect.”
“An opportunity?” Meng Qianqiu was mildly perplexed.
“I’ve studied the Ten Divine Nations’ situation and structure for quite a while, and have gained a rudimentary understanding of things. I believe that there’s a reason for the ten sacred lands’ authority up until now.”
“Hmm? Be more specific.” Meng Qianqiu’s interest was piqued.
“The ten sacred lands have always kept their grasp on their nations’ lifeblood. Though things have been shaken up a bit the last few centuries, their influence and power remain. The intangible control and clout they have over the nation isn’t something that any non-sacred-land faction can replicate.
“Take our Martial Divine Nation, for example. The factions are strong, yes, but we can only ally together to match the sacred land. We aren’t truly unified, since only the prospect of profit ties us together. We’re fooled by delusions of what we will gain after we defeat the sacred land. If these delusions had materialized quickly, then we might’ve been successful.
“But the delays we’re experiencing are wearing down our collective patience. We’ve begun to indulge in anxiety and doubt about the correctness of our decisions. Even the smallest of ruts will cause our alliance to crack, and big hurdles might make it crumble altogether. The ten sacred lands’ fortunes will allow them to persist in the end.”
“Did you think of all of this yourself? Why didn’t you say so earlier?” Meng Qianqiu declared impassively.
“I am unimportant, and my words hold little weight. I would only be laughed at or cursed. But it’s not too late now. This might even be a chance for us to hoist ourselves out of this swamp. When the Martial Sacred Land recovers its breath and launches a counterattack, it’ll be too late for us to change our minds.”
“Will the sacred land really recover?”
“Without reinforcements, the sacred land wouldn’t have much of a chance. However, we can see now that the sacred lands obviously have some kind of hidden connection that we’ve never known about. In my opinion, the enemy we face probably comes from another sacred land!”
Meng Qianqiu sighed softly. His advisor was probably right. He was about to reply, then signaled with his hand that all his men should be on their guard.