"Even better?" The High Priestess of the Snowy Lotus Cult froze.
Pei San smiled nonchalantly without responding to his daughter. Instead, he sighed twice. "Teng Qingshan. To think that even I, Pei San, was tricked by him. How interesting, how interesting."
Pei Xuelian did not know what her father was truly thinking. Perhaps there were only a few people on this earth who understood his thoughts.
On the early morning of September 5th, inside the Teng Family Village's newly built western courtyard:
"The Undying Phoenix's mother still wants to leave." Teng Qingshan was watching Little Blue and her mother, who were currently chatting with each other. Although he really wanted Little Blue's mother to stay, he had no way to insist that of her.
Then, suddenly, the Undying Phoenix's mother looked at Teng Qingshan and emitted several hoots.
"Hm?" Teng Qingshan turned toward Li Jun.
"Qingshan, the Undying Phoenix's mother said that she'll be leaving her child here, but she absolutely doesn't wish for anything to happen to Little Blue. If something does happen, don't blame her for being merciless." Li Jun's complexion changed slightly when she heard what Little Blue's mother said.
However, Teng Qingshan wasn't angry in the slightest. Sensing the concern the Undying Phoenix's mother had for Little Blue, he instead smiled at her while nodding.
The Undying Phoenix's mother looked at Teng Qingshan without saying much else.
"You~~" She stretched open her wings. Then, after softly patting Little Blue, the Undying Phoenix's mother flapped her wings slightly. Immersed in flames, she then just flew straight up into the sky. She flew rapidly toward the north and disappeared to the ends of the heavens and earth in the blink of an eye.
At the side, Zhuge Yuanhong, who had been silent this whole time, said, "She's gone."
"Mm, she's gone." Teng Qingshan nodded.
When the Undying Phoenix's mother was around, it was like there was a stabilizing force present; there was nothing to worry about at all. After all, she was an existence that could instantly kill an Emptiness Realm Culmination expert. Teng Qingshan believed that… this Undying Phoenix's mother must have had a superb innate skill from her moment of birth. In addition to that, she had reached the limits of a demonic beast, the Emptiness Realm Culmination. Moreover, she also previously had guidance from an Omnipotent Expert.
She could be said to be the number one existence among Emptiness Realm demonic beasts. Such an existence would likely cause a headache even for human Insightful Emptiness Realm Experts like Pei San and Qi Shiqi if they were to encounter her.
With the Undying Phoenix's mother around, no one would dare come looking for trouble.
However, the moment she left…
"In the future, it'll be necessary for Little Blue and I to serve as support together," Teng Qingshan said inwardly. "In the vast nine prefectures, there are as many powerful experts as there are clouds. The Heavenly God Palace, Mani Temple, and Emperor Yu's Hall are all glaring at us like tigers watching their prey. Regardless, if I want to have my own territory in the Land of the Nine Prefectures, i should first conquer all of Yangzhou." Although Teng Qingshan was confident, he was not arrogant.
The Mani Temple was the top sect. The Ying Family, which possessed Insightful Emptiness Realm Experts, and the Heavenly God Palace—their formidability need not to be dwelled on. As for Emperor Yu's Hall, they were the oldest sect. Although Teng Qingshan did not know what hidden trumps they had, he knew they would definitely be powerful. Otherwise, how would Emperor Yu's Hall have managed to continue on for this long?
Food should be eaten mouthful by mouthful, and roads should be walked step by step.
He wanted to lay down foundations for a sect and let his branch of internal martial arts spread, so this was just the beginning.
Deep in Teng Qingshan's heart… just one Yangzhou obviously could not satisfy him. However, he didn't have enough strength right now. He still couldn't be like Pei San, immediately occupying three areas—the Great Prairie, Qingzhou, and Youzhou.
Ever since the Gui Yuan Sect's main forces departed on September 3rd, the gazes of all the sects in the Nine Prefectures had been gathered here.
The formidability of the Gui Yuan Sect's Long Gang Guards made one's heart tremble.
No one would be able to stop them!
Very little time was spent on attacking the city and seizing the stronghold. More time was spent on travelling, as well as exercising control over the occupied county-cities.
September 12th, they attacked Xuyang County City.
September 28th, they attacked Fengshan County City.
October 11th, they attacked Tiannan County City.
October 28th, they attacked the northernmost Chu County City.
The northern part of Yangzhou, including Jiangning County-City, had a total of six large county-cities. In the time of close to two months, the Gui Yuan Sect had already gained complete control over them. This unstoppable offensive caused the entire Land of the Nine Prefectures to cry out in alarm. For a time, there was talk of the Gui Yuan Sect all throughout the Land of the Nine Prefectures. Those talking about the legendary Teng Qingshan could be seen everywhere.
The moment the Gui Yuan Sect emerged suddenly, they occupied half of Yangzhou.
Additionally, Teng Qingshan, who had fled and disappeared for four years, took on the alias of 'Jing Yi' the moment he returned and caused many major events. It was only when Teng Qingshan revealed his identity that everyone realised… this was why 'Jing Yi' had gone to stir up trouble with Qing Hu Island. Back then, Qing Hu Island had chased Teng Qingshan all over, trying to kill him. How could he not seek revenge?
As a matter of fact, the revenge was coming now!
All throughout the great streets and small alleys, all kinds of folk storytellers in restaurants were composing many stories of Teng Qingshan, baselessly imagining the experiences he had during his four years of disappearance. Every one of them spoke with their spittle flying all over the place. Meanwhile, in the Land of the Nine Prefectures, many youths and youngsters who dreamed of becoming heroes all had a goal set in their hearts—to become like Teng Qingshan!
Someone who could shine brightly throughout the ages!
He had practically just relied on his own strength to overturn the existence of the super sect, Qing Hu Island. In the hot-blooded lands of the Nine Prefectures, heroes came forth in large numbers. However, it was clear that in this era, all the heroes were shrouded by Teng Qingshan's radiance. There was no one else like him… Teng Qingshan's radiance was too dazzling as a 21-year-old Emptiness Realm Expert. Those who understood the meaning of the words "Emptiness Realm" would all exclaim in astonishment without exception.
Very late at night, in an eerie study in Lu City, the black-clothed blind person and Tie Fan sat facing each other.
"Just a brief two months." The Blind Swordmaster's voice was hoarse and his body shivered slightly. "It has only been a brief two months and we've already lost half of my Qing Hu Island's territory! Tie Fan, what happened? How could the other five counties have let the Gui Yuan Sect attain them so easily? Didn't I let you secretly counterattack their defense troops?"
"Martial Ancestor," Tie Fan said as his eyes reddened, "Chu County in Yangzhou's northern part was originally the Tie Yi Sect's. We, Qing Hu Island, massacred the Tie Yi Sect, so many people in Chu County have long since held hatred and a desire for revenge against us. Originally, after spending several decades of time, we would've been able to firmly exercise control over Chu County. However, too little time has passed… For us to take cover in Chu county and conduct a counterattack, it's simply impossible.
"It also hasn't been long since Xuyang County and Tiannan County united.
"As for Fengshan and the other county, these two counties have been under my Qing Hu Island's control for a long time. However, that's the northern part of Yangzhou… Qing Hu Island's control over there is weak. Moreover, that Gui Yuan Sect left behind 30,000 troops in these two counties. Adding on the people they recruited locally to incorporate into their troops… It would be really difficult for us to depend on the cover of just a few people to counterattack!" The veins on Tie Fan's forehead palpitated continuously. "Additionally, Zhuge Yuanhong, that b*stard, even drew up a 'guilty by association' system. The moment a single person amongst the recruited troops revolts, then the entire 100-person squadron he belongs to will also be treated guilty just by association! They will be sent to do forced labor for the rest of their lives or even sent straight to death."
Being a forced laborer for the rest of one's life was even scarier than being sent straight to death.
"Guilty by association?" The Blind Swordmaster took in a deep breath. "This Zhuge Yuanhong sure is vicious and merciless!"
If one person revolted, then an entire 100-person squadron would be put to death!
This would make everyone in the 100-person squadron supervise each other, not daring to relax even a little bit. Ordinarily, this system of being guilty by association would get a bad reaction from a unified people and would only be put into practice during periods of unrest.
"However, Martial Ancestor, don't worry," Tie Fan said with a deep and low voice. "Our control over Yangzhou's northern part may be weak, but our control over the southern part is very thorough. Having operated there for more than a millennium, many of our clans have long since permeated throughout Wu'an County, Nanxing County, and the rest of the counties.
"Moreover, the Gui Yuan Sect only stationed a total of 60,000 troops in Fengshan County and the other county. Then, adding on 10,000 troops stationed at each of the three counties, the Tiannan County and the other two… In other words, they've wasted 90,000 troops by stationing them in these five counties.
"With the land of only one county, how many troops could Jiangning County have altogether?
"Even if their Long Gang Guards are powerful, capable of capturing a county city, what will they rely on to control it?" Tie Fan's eyes revealed a cold light. "With the seven counties in the south… If they send down one person, our seven counties will swallow that one person! Unless he has millions of troops, the pitifully small-numbered troops of Jiangning County aren't even enough for the lands of seven counties to swallow."
Having half their territory seized, Qing Hu Island was naturally angry. So, they would wait to have a showdown with the Gui Yuan Sect in the seven counties of the south.
Great snowfall that looked like goose feathers descended and draped the entire Great Yan Mountain in a layer of silver.
Teng Qingshan, who was currently slow-moving and carrying out each and every move of the spear art, came to an abrupt stop and turned over to look. Dressed in a snow white fur coat, Li Jun was walking over with a smile. At present, Li Jun's abdomen was already bulging somewhat.
"You made a trip to Yi City. Did you buy anything?" Teng Qingshan put down his spear.
"I bought some food and consumables." Li Jun ran over to grab Teng Qingshan's hand. "Qingshan, when I was in Yi City today, I heard many people talking about you in the teahouse. Additionally, many people from other county cities are bringing their children to our Gui Yuan Sect in Jiangning. They want to join our Gui Yuan Sect."
"Talking about me, sending their children to the Gui Yuan Sect?" Teng Qingshan was startled.
"The people of Yi City are extremely prideful. Every one of them said that, Qingshan, you belong to Yi City. They praised you up to the sky. There were rarely any insults." Li Jun could not resist smiling happily. She was certainly happy to hear others praise her husband.
Teng Qingshan could not help smiling as well
Since ancient times, Yi City had never really produced any extraordinary people. So Teng Qingshan's existence was obviously deserving to be the pride of Yi City's people. Even after several millennia, the people of Yi City would be able to say…"Our Yi City is Teng Qingshan's hometown."
"Qingshan." A person approached from the distance. It was Zhuge Yuanhong.
"Little Jun, go into the house and have a rest first," Teng Qingshan said.
Li Jun nodded cutely and then entered the house.
Teng Qingshan walked over to his teacher. "Teacher."
"Mm, Qingshan. The Long Gang Guards are currently rushing back from Chu County at their fastest speed. I estimate that they'll be able to arrive by tomorrow afternoon," Zhuge Yuanhong said. "The 100,000 soldiers of the main forces that I dispatched previously seem to have all been set up across the five counties. They're busy organising the troops of the five counties, purging out rebels, and getting a firm grasp on these five counties."
Hearing this, Teng Qingshan nodded.
"Teacher, then when should we attack the seven counties in the south?" Teng Qingshan inquired.
Teng Qingshan didn't really care about Qing Hu Island...
Nor did he care at what height they stood and what sort of world they saw.
The past Teng Qingshan, who wanted to oppose Qing Hu Island wholeheartedly, had thought of Qing Hu Island as a huge monster… However, after experiencing several wars with Emptiness Realm Experts, in his eyes, Qing Hu Island was just a paper tiger now. Currently, the only forces that could threaten Teng Qingshan were the deeply hidden Mani Temple, the mysterious Emperor Yu's Hall, the dogmatic Ying Family, and the most arrogant Heavenly God Palace.
Teng Qingshan's future opponents were them. Qing Hu Island wasn't much of a challenge.
"Attack the seven counties in the south?" Zhuge Yuanhong, however, shook his head.