The afternoon sun shone fiercely. The glaring sunlight shone on the spacious and empty encampment of the Surveillance Division. The encampment was desolate and silent. Occasionally, a few people would walk across the encampment, giving it a bleak atmosphere. Most of the soldiers were out gathering intelligence. Only 10 percent of the total number of Surveillance soldiers stayed back to guard the encampment.
Ever since Xiao Shan brought a few hundred men with him to the front line, the morale of the Surveillance Division dropped drastically. The atmosphere of the encampment was downcast and tense. As such, many people couldn't take it and requested the higher-ups to send them out on missions. The number of soldiers who stayed in the encampment became smaller and smaller.
Those who stayed in the encampment were listless and downcast. Even their daily training sessions had slackened significantly. Being one of the three central divisions, which were known for their strict military discipline, such behavior was unimaginable.
If the departure of Xiao Shan and his counterparts from the Surveillance Division caused internal strife for the combat division, then the establishment of the Sky Leaf Division made the Surveillance Division's external situation more complicated.
In the past, the Surveillance Division was Madam Ye's right-hand man that she relied heavily on. Their position was irreplaceable back then. However, now everyone could tell that the Sky Leaf Division was Madam Ye's "legitimate son."
This wasn't the worst aspect.
The Sky Leaf Division shocked the world when it annexed Newlight City and forced Palacefield City to surrender. Soon after, it swept across the whole of Beyond Avalon with thunderous momentum. Wherever they went, outstanding heroes would bow down to them.
This unprecedented powerful performance and the great undertaking of unifying Beyond Avalon were incredible. The Sky Leaf Division's reputation skyrocketed instantly.
In the depths of the encampment, there was an unremarkable brick house that was unguarded.
The interior of the house was very dark, looking completely different from the dazzlingly bright world outside.
Nian Tingfeng was staring at the memorial tablets in the house like a motionless statue. He had been in this house for quite a long time. Ever since he stepped into this house, he had been silent. On the long black table, there were hundreds of memorial tablets with names inscribed on them. They were spotlessly clean and neatly placed. Clearly, someone had been cleaning and tidying them with great care.
Trails of smoke rose from the censer, blurring the names on the memorial tablets. The memorial tablets seemingly transformed into an army of soldiers who were standing silently and solemnly.
The Surveillance Division was the most well-informed organization in Beyond Avalon. It was the first to know of the victory at the front line and of the decision that Xiao Shan and his counterparts made.
It was unknown who built this memorial hall. Every soldier who returned to the encampment after their missions would come here and pay their respects to those who had died.
This was the first time Nian Tingfeng came here.
His body moved, and his eyes regained their clarity. Following which, he picked up three joss sticks.
He lit them up with the fire from the altar lamp, bowed to the memorial tablets, and inserted the joss sticks into the censer.
After staring at the memorial tablets for a little while longer, he turned and left.
All this time, he never said a single word.
He took an unremarkable gray fleabane cart out of the encampment without alerting anyone.
Inside the cart, Nian Tingfeng was expressionless. Every now and then, he would look out of the window at the pedestrians walking hurriedly on the street.
Skyheart City was regaining its vitality, and the number of people on the streets had increased significantly. This could be seen from the slow moving speed of the cart. The shops along the streets were open. Neatly dressed shop assistants were attracting customers to their stores. . Occasionally, they would yell and promote their businesses with a loud and clear voice. The colors of their sign boards seemed to have become brighter as they were wiped clean of dust, adding liveliness to the streets.
Nian Tingfeng suddenly thought of the Avalon of Five Elements in the past. Every city was packed with people and brightly lit, illuminating the night sky.
An indescribable, complicated look flashed across his eyes.
Honestly speaking, he disliked Master's Glory. He disliked it very much. If Masters could be produced so easily, wouldn't it be ridiculous for those who trained and worked their a**es off in order to become Masters?
Whether it was him or an ordinary soldier from one of the three central divisions, which one of them had not worked desperately and been through rounds of brutal competitions to achieve their current strength?
However, whether or not he liked Master's Glory, he had to admit that it was as if it was born to impact this world. Whether or not it succeeded, it would deeply influence the world.
The mighty performance of the Sky Leaf Division made everyone realize the rise of a powerful Skyheart City. Even those who were slow could tell that Skyheart City would become a legitimate behemoth of Beyond Avalon in the future!
The strong confidence people had for Skyheart City had revived it, rendering it as good as new. The previously closed shops were opened once again. The economy became prosperous once more. Those who had foresight were already hastily heading for Skyheart City.
Madam Ye picked up the scepter that the Elders Guild had dropped.
Of course, not everyone had hope and confidence in her.
Before Nian Tingfeng walked into the great hall, he heard an angry voice coming from within it.
"Madam, there is trouble! It's too brutal! They are not our enemies, but our own people! New citizens might disagree with us on certain issues, but we still shouldn't forget their contributions to the Avalon of Five Elements. They are your subjects as well. How can you treat them like they are your enemies? Using brutal force, inciting bloodbaths, alarming and scaring the people, and causing the entire world to fear us…"
In response, Madam Ye's gentle voice rang across the air, "You're right. Xiaobao and the rest are too rash in their actions. I will reprimand when they return. They are just a bunch of youngsters who act impetuously and do not think about consequences. They need experienced and prudent seniors like all of you to guide them along…"
Nian Tingfeng did not enter the great hall. He merely waited at the door with his head lowered while calmly listening to their conversation, resembling an old monk who was mediating.
After a while, a group of old men walked out from the great hall with satisfaction. When they saw Nian Tingfeng waiting at the entrance, some of them snorted and some looked at him with disdain and animosity. After the emergence of the Sky Leaf Division, the status of the Surveillance Division had dropped sharply. In the past, Nian Tingfeng was Madam Ye's sharpest knife, and he had offended countless people. Now that he lost power and influence, many people silently gloated at him as a result.
However, these people did not dare to go overboard. After all, Nian Tingfeng still possessed power.
Nian Tingfeng turned a blind eye to them.
After a while, Madam Ye summoned him.
As Nian Tingfeng walked into the great hall, Madam Ye, who was lying on her chair, smiled with a lazy grin. With a tinge of derision in her voice, she said, "Take a look, this bunch of fussy old fogeys always enjoy criticizing me when they're free. Previously, all of them hid in their homes like a bunch of cowards. Now, all of them suddenly became candid officials! They are worse than a bunch of fence-sitters. At least fence-sitters still have some capabilities. These people are extremely incompetent."
"So what if some blood was spilled? How much blood have we already bled? Hmph, if we don't intimidate those people now, how long should we wait to do so?"
"Madam is right," Nian Tingfeng answered.
Madam Ye looked right at Nian Tingfeng and sat up straight with a solemn look on her face. Next, she spoke with a very serious tone, "I know recently you have heard a lot of rumors and slander that have wronged you. I'm well aware of your merits. Why would I forget about you? If the Sky Leaf Division is my fists, then the Surveillance Division is my eyes. How can I punch accurately without having good eyesight? Once Beyond Avalon is pacified, you can place your focus on augmenting the Surveillance Division. I will give you the authority to recruit experts from various cities to replenish the strength of the Surveillance Division. I have high expectations for the Surveillance Division, so you have to work hard."
A grateful look appeared on Nian Tingfeng's face. He bowed and answered, "I am ready to risk my life and limbs to serve Madam!"
"All right, all right, don't get led astray by those bootlickers." Madam Ye chuckled and waved her hand. Shortly, the smile on her face disappeared. She then said plainly, "From now onward, the work that we have to do will be very tough, especially your mission. Whether it's the new citizens or the aristocratic families, I want you to identify the defiant ones."
"Yes," Nian Tingfeng replied.
"Beyond Avalon can only defeat the Blood of God if we are united. We have to get rid of those rebellious rotten apples, especially among the new citizens since they have been a independent for too long."
"Yes, this subordinate will take note of them."
"It's definitely hard to avoid pain, but as long as we can endure through this stage, the road ahead will be smooth and level. At this point in time, we can't be too soft-hearted." Madam Ye sighed with sorrow.
"Yes," Nian Tingfeng agreed with Madam Ye.
"As long as we are united, we don't need to be afraid of the blood elementalists. Take a look, we have obtained another great victory at the front line again. This is the best proof. We can't depend on just one or two combat divisions. Can we solely depend on just them to defend the front line? Clearly no!"
"Madam is right, and I will specifically remind all the news villages."
"I always feel relieved whenever you handle matters for me." A look of satisfaction appeared on Madam Ye's face.
"What do you think of the Central Pine Faction?" she suddenly asked with a change in her tone.
After remaining silent for a while, Nian Tianfeng replied, "By Great Elder's decree, Madam is the legitimate decision maker for the Avalon of Five Elements. Every elementalist in the world should obey your commands. Those who defy you should be regarded as the blood elementalists' accomplices, and they are to be executed to serve as a warning to the rest of the world."
"You make me sound as though I am an executioner who indiscriminately kills people. Sigh, I really hope they can smarten up…"
Suddenly, Nian Tingfeng spoke with a clear and solemn voice, "The Elders Guild is ancient, decadent, and unsuitable to handle the current perilous situation. Beyond Avalon isn't the same as the Avalon of Five Elements. The blood elementalists are closing in on us. If we want to defeat them, we have to raise our war banners and fight bravely against them. The Blood of God has the Holy Emperor to command the blood elementalists, while we also have a leader who can unite every elementalist in the world. However, it's out of Madam's jurisdiction to do so. Therefore, I suggest we abolish the Elders Guild so that Madam can ascend the throne and command the world under the name of the Holy Phoenix!"
Madam Ye's beautiful eyes lit up.
In the darkness, She Yu had suppressed her aura completely and resembled a statue. The rocks around her were cold, and the darkness was moist. She was in a crevice that was only a few meters wide, situated in the depths of a mountain.
The path that connected the crevice to the outside world was extremely winding, preventing light from entering the crevice.
To break out of the encirclement of the Sky Leaf Division, She Yu did not hesitate to use her secret art. Even though she had broken out of the siege, she was on the brink of dying. At that point in time, she couldn't even care where she was escaping to. Fortunately, she came across such a well-hidden crevice.
She Yu's current condition was extremely terrible. Her face was deathly pale and completely devoid of blood. Her body was covered with ghastly wounds that did not have any bloodstains. Her pale-white bones were revealed in many areas.
How many bones had she broken? She Yu did not know.
Her consciousness began to turn fuzzy. With her last tinge of consciousness and self-preservation, she was able to suppress her aura.
The few faint auras outside had disappeared, but She Yu had already fainted. Her condition had worsened significantly. Her body became boiling hot, and her life force was sapping rapidly. Fine lines and wrinkles appeared on her face as her skin began to dry up and crack.
Her long black hair turned snow-white at a visible speed, and her heart gradually stopped beating.
Over time, her body became transparent. Her dark-red blood vessels could be seen clearly now. The fine blood vessels emitted a faint demonic red glow that undulated with a gurgle.
Time silently passed in the darkness.