"Teacher, you mean…?" When Teng Qingshan saw Zhuge Yuanhong's expression, he was somewhat puzzled. His heart suddenly stirred as he asked, "Teacher, are you worried about the Heavenly God Palace?"
The Heavenly God Palace was always thriving with ambitions, wanting to attack Yangzhou.
"No!" Zhuge Yuanhong said confidently with a smile, "Qingshan, the members of the Heavenly God Palace are not fools, and the Undying Phoenix is currently by your side. Even Emperor Yu's Hall has suffered a great loss… The Heavenly God Palace wouldn't be this unwise! After all, they don't have a demonic beast that can surpass the Undying Phoenix in speed. Even in earth-drilling, they can't surpass the Bladelike Chi."
"If they risk their lives to go against us to the death, it would be very unfavorable to the Heavenly God Palace," Zhuge Yuanhong affirmed.
Teng Qingshan nodded as he thought the same way.
Then why did his teacher seem to hesitate about attacking the seven counties of the south?
Zhuge Yuanhong smiled slightly as he said, "Qingshan, my Gui Yuan Sect has certainly gained a great upper hand now! But you mustn't forget that the south is different from the north. Qing Hu Island was originally from the southern part of Yangzhou. Among the six counties of the northern part of Yangzhou, Jiangning County belongs to the Gui Yuan Sect, while Chu County belonged to the Tie Yi Sect back in the day. And back then, no one had managed to unify Xuyang County and Tiannan County. Four of the six counties in the north are as such, so it can be seen that Qing Hu Island's control over the northern region was weak."
Teng Qingshan nodded.
"However, Qing Hu Island has deep roots in the seven counties of southern Yangzhou.
"We can't use the same methods of attack that we used against the five counties in the north with the seven counties in the south," Zhuge Yuanhong said solemnly.
"Then what do you suggest, Teacher?" Teng Qingshan inquired.
"We consolidate ourselves at every step!"
A sharp light flitted across Zhuge Yuanhong's eyes. "With the Long Gang Guards as our main force and the troops of the Tai Ah Mountain branch as support, we can take down one or two counties in one breath. And then… we'll carry out the purge, a bloody purge! Every single rebel and spy will be arrested and taken away to spend the rest of their lives as a forced laborer or even have their entire family immediately beheaded on the spot!
"We can't show even a bit of mercy!" Zhuge Yuanhong's voice made Teng Qingshan slightly alarmed.
He understood what his teacher meant. Once his teacher passed down this order, there would definitely be multitudes of heads falling down!
Contentions for hegemony on Earth were like this! In particular, when the Gui Yuan Sect was vulnerable in terms of manpower, it was even more necessary for them to be merciless. Otherwise, they would only be keeping a great amount of trouble.
"If my Gui Yuan Sect wants to create a foundation that can last for millennia, then we cannot be merciful," Zhuge Yuanhong said coldly. "Only by being vicious and merciless now, and eliminating the numerous sprouts of revolt, will we then prevent the future deaths of many more people."
"Mm." Teng Qingshan nodded.
Moreover, it was due to Zhuge Yuanhong's order that those elderly clan members of a branch of Qing Hu Island forged ahead to be drowned in calamity!
With a send-off from the thousands upon thousands of members of the Gui Yuan Sect early in the morning of this day, the 10,000 soldiers of the Long Gang Guards, who had rested for four to five days, began their expedition to the south! Following the army, there was the Dreamy Cloud Martial Immortal, Mu Tao. After all… Teng Qingshan was also worried that the Blind Swordmaster would suddenly appear and slaughter the Long Gang Guards. With Mu Tao present, Teng Qingshan could be at ease.
Although the Dreamy Cloud Martial Immortal, Mu Tao, was barely in control of 90% of the Power of the Heavens and the Earth, he was still the descendant of Duanmu Continent's strongest expert, Duanmu Yu. Mu Tao had also learned the "Nine Thunder Blade Scrolls" from the Godly Codex. Despite only having control over 90% of the Power of the Heavens and the Earth, he could display a formidable power, one that was close to 110% of the Power of the Heavens and the Earth!
Mu Tao was capable of suppressing the Blind Swordmaster directly!
"Qingshan." On top of the eastern city wall of Jiangning County, Zhuge Yuanhong and Teng Qingshan were standing side by side, using their eyes to follow the long line of Long Gang Guards leaving rapidly. "How are the preparations going over at the Tai Ah Mountain Range?"
"My disciple, Yang Dong, has the demonic beast, the Whole Gale Eagle, as support. On top of that, they also have Innate Calvarymen! They very easily shook up the leaders of several large gangs in the Tai Ah Mountain Range," Teng Qingshan said with a slight smile. For bandits to face Innate Realm demonic beasts and calvary, they truly did not have even the slightest ability to resist. "Additionally, with our Gui Yuan Sect's promise toward them, these bandits are extremely excited! How can being a bandit chief compare to being the leisurely lord of a city?"
First, they used military force to threaten!
Second, they lured them with high posts and generous salaries. None of these bandit chiefs were fools. The three most powerful gangs all had the same thought. These three gangs, along with the Vicious Beast Gang, had all united as one. Naturally, no one from the smaller gangs dared to go against the Vicious Beast Gang's aspirations. Anyone who dared to do so… would be easily killed by the Vicious Beast Gang's 500 Innate Calvarymen.
"With my disciple's Vicious Beast Gang, along with those three large gangs... The best men form a force of 200,000 bandits.
"As for the scattered bandits of the numerous other small gangs, they don't have much military discipline, but they are quite great in number, surpassing 500,000," Teng Qingshan said while shaking his head. "Although they are great in number, they are just a big pile of mess. It's simply impossible to depend on them to fight in the war. Meanwhile, the 200,000 troops gathered from the Vicious Beast Gang and the three large gangs are actually quite strong."
Teng Qingshan had gone to Tah Ah Mountain Range several times before and seen the characters and habits of the bandits.
The three large gangs had been able to exist for over a hundred years, like the Nine Wolves Gang from back in the day, and they all knew the importance of military discipline. However, the small gangs might thrive today and get destroyed tomorrow. Where would they have the time to train up military discipline?
"Enough." Zhuge Yuanhong smiled slightly and nodded. "Like this, we'll go according to the plan and first let the Long Gang Guards attack Nanxing County and Mengfeng County at one stretch. Then we'll have the Vicious Beast Army of 200,000 station 100,000 troops in each county. Turn the two counties upside down and examine them thoroughly! If there is a threat hiding among the troops, purge them all! If they can't resolve the issue, then have the Long Gang Guards help resolve it!
"As for those scattered 500,000 bandits… Don't bother with them," Zhuge Yuanhong said while shaking his head. "Those 500,000 bandits are from numerous sects of all sizes. The moment we let them go to the various regions for raids and purges, we'd likely just be stirring up the wrath of the heavens and the complaints of the people."
Zhuge Yuanhong knew that troops without military discipline would just lead to disaster.
On the public road road next to the Tai Ah Mountain Range, there was a seemingly endless and densely packed group of bandits. There were bandits who were carrying bundles, bringing along women, riding on horses, wearing armor, as well as many bringing along children. In short, countless bandits had all brought along their families and belongings in preparation to leave the Tai Ah Mountain Range.
"Haha, Eldest Brother, Second Brother, Third Brother." Yang Dong was dressed in a set of Fiery Gilt Battle Armor as he rode on a black-haired Treading-In-Snow Horse, appearing very impressive. "Today, our subordinates have all assembled. From today onward, we aren't bandits anymore. We're city guards!"
"Haha, Fourth Brother, you've said it well. This is also the first day that I, Tong Tiedao, am a Sovereign of a city, haha." A bald-headed strong man with only one ear was wearing a set of Flaming Feathers Battle Armor but without the helmet. "That year that I went into the city for a trip, that man surnamed Wang was so aggressive. If I didn't flee back into the mountains, I would have been disposed of by that fellow's army. Today, let's go find that guy as well."
"Second Brother is right."
"Second Brother, when the time comes, that guy whose surname is Wang—we'll peel him alive in front of all our brothers. We'll let you vent some anger," a very refined-looking middle-aged man said with a smile.
"My three brothers," Yang Dong laughed, "it's getting late. We should get going."
"Alright, let's go!"
After the bosses of the four large gangs of the Tai Ah Mountain Range passed down their commands, they majestically left the Tai Ah Mountain Range. From today onward, these 200,000 troops would no longer be bandits. They had turned over a new leaf and had become city guard soldiers. In fact, many of them had been forced by their circumstances into becoming bandits as a last resort. If they had good lives, who would willingly kill?
At the crack of dawn on November 8th, the Long Gang Guards' 100,000 soldiers arrived at Nanxing County's city wall, once again displaying their formidable strength. Every one of the Long Gang Guards covered a height of 10 Zhang and a distance of 10 Yu with a single jump. Each one of them had extraordinary strength! Most of them were Third Rated Warriors. It was to the extent that even those ordinary guard soldiers, who had yet to become Third Rated Warriors, simply had no way of resisting against them.
Within fifteen minutes… Nanxing County was captured!
Truth be told, there was something strange about the situation. Inside Nanxing County, there weren't actually many defense troops. There were merely several tens of thousands of ordinary guard soldiers.
After capturing Nanxing County, the Long Gang Guards's soldiers stationed at Nanxing County did not actually leave. After staying there for 10 days, a majestic army division of more than 100,000 troops, with Yang Dong as the head of the bandit army, arrived at Nanxing County. It was only then that the Long Gang Guards left and continued forging ahead toward the southwest direction, killing their way to the other county—Mengfeng County!
November 21st, the Long Gang Guards captured Mengfeng County!
Another hundred thousand bandit troops were stationed there.
With the 200,000 troops of the Vicious Beast Gang as support, the 10,000 Gui Yuan Sect troops that the Long Gang Guards relied mainly on began the Bloody Purge in these two counties. For a short period of time, there were enemy troops still hidden in the mountain village, as well as a few elite troops left hiding in the city. However, the moment they were discovered, Nanxing County and Mengfeng County were covered in blood rain and wind!
Multitudes of heads were chopped off! A great number of the rebels were immediately arrested and taken away to be forced laborers for the rest of their lives!
Evening, in a quiet residence in Lu City, Yangzhou:
A blind person dressed in black from head to toe was currently listening to the Island Lord, Tie Fan, talk about what had happened recently.
"After capturing Nanxing County and Mengfeng County, the Long Gang Guards and that suddenly emerged army of 200,000 actually began to investigate continuously, as well as perform a bloody clean-up operation, in these two counties. Today, our several tens of thousands of troops in hiding have either been killed or arrested. There aren't even a thousand of our Qing Hu Island's troops left in those two counties!" Tie Fan said with a deep and low voice.
"200,000 troops? Just where did they emerge from?" the black-clothed blind person remarked sternly.
Everything was different from what he had planned!
Originally, Qing Hu Island had no plans to go against the Gui Yuan Sect and meet force with force. After all, none of their troops could go head to head against the Long Gang Guards and the Undying Phoenix!
Regardless of how many people they had, the Undying Phoenix's descent of flames would be able to burn the army into ruins, while the Long Gang Guards would be able to kill and instill the rest of the troops with fear.
Qing Hu Island's plans were to prepare their advantage of having deeply rooted networks of all sorts of contacts and arranging for a large number of people to use treacherous methods, like poison, to deal with the Long Gang Guards! From their perspective, after the Gui Yuan Sect took hold of the five counties in the north, they would simply have no more manpower to purge the southern counties. So Qing Hu Island's plans would definitely succeed!
The Gui Yuan Sect had suddenly emerged with 200,000 troops! Moreover, they were extremely prudent, not at all overly greedy. So, they first occupied Nanxing County and Mengfeng County, and then began purging those counties madly.
"Consolidate at every step!"
The black-clothed blind person murmured, "This Gui Yuan Sect, consolidating at every step… step by step… Wanting to nibble at my seven counties in the south step by step… Now, they've already bitten off two counties, Nanxing County and Mengfeng County, and gained proper control over them. If they bite off another two counties… and continue on like this…"
"We cannot let them continue on like this!" Tie Fan exclaimed uncontrollably.