"Don't worry, Prime Minister. We will sweep the world down for you… even if we die horrible deaths doing it!" the crowd bellowed in unison.
"Gentlemen, I request you take care of yourselves — for me, for Great Zhao, and even more so… for your own family and elders!" Diwu Qing Rou's expression was solemn as he respectfully cupped his fists.
"Prime Minister... " some people couldn't help but choke with emotion. They felt that they would have no regrets even if they were to drop dead for the sake of Prime Minister...
"If you haven't understood my request clearly — I need you to give it all you have." Diwu Qing Rou spoke in a heavy voice, "Do you have confidence in me? Are you prepared for it?"
"Prime Minister! We have confidence in you! We are prepared!" everyone roared in unison, "As soldiers, we are already prepared to lay down our lives on the battlefield! In the army, a real man is the one who gives his life on the battlefield! Only he has lived the best life! That is the best destination for a true soldier!"
"Good!" Diwu Qing Rou's profound and dignified gaze had an intense reluctance to abandon them; almost as if it was a deep and unknown emotion which could not be explained in words. He looked at everyone's faces one-by-one. His look was that of attentiveness. It seemed full of emotion but also had an air of a strange yet strong determination to it.
Everyone could feel the same thing… it was as if their old father was standing at their house's door the first time they were about the go-out to the battlefield… and he was staring at them… with an affectionate gaze which was unwilling to let go of them...
They could vaguely remember the cold breeze which had blown past the willow tree… and the sandstorms on the precepts of the antiquity...
The cold breeze was still the same. The willow tree still danced. Sand still flew on the precepts of antiquity… it would often float into the eyes of people, and would turn into painful tears...
But that white-haired old father... where had he gone off to…?
The deepest emotion buried within everyone's hearts had been stirred up Diwu Qing Rou's gaze. These people had welled-up with the softest of emotions… just as does for their closest relatives. They all looked at Diwu Qing Rou's static gaze, and their hearts were suddenly moved. They were filled with aching, yet bittersweet warmth.
The hall where these generals had gathered was suddenly filled with warmth.
Diwu Qing Rou slowly ran his eyes all around, and noticed that there was no hesitation on their faces. Rather, everyone felt: [Prime Minister... it seems as if he has wedged our faces deep within his heart...]
[He'd never forget us his entire life!]
The eyes of everyone who thought so… turned red. They felt as if their hearts had been oppressed. And a tremendous force had risen within their boiling blood. …it would be difficult to contain if it wasn't allowed to erupt.
"Next, I will announce the combat plan. Each major regiment is required to station at their assigned positions and coordinate with the others. They must set focus to their respective combat missions within two months... " Diwu Qing Rou's voice was very gentle. However, there was a pin-drop silence in the hall, and everyone could hear him clearly.
The darkness was profound in this dim-lit night. Diwu Qing Rou stood at the doorway of the hall.
The officers and soldiers who would soon set off to battle walked past him one after the other.
Each and every general would arrive in front of him. Then, they would salute him in a dignified and solemn manner with an upright body. Diwu Qing Rou also stood in the same manner no matter who passed him. He would pat them on the shoulder, and would say a few words.
"Heizi(1), do you remember the last time I saw you? You only led fifty men… and ran way. Now you are the commander-in-chief of a battalion of hundred thousand men... do not disappoint me."
"Young Eagle(2)! I remember I gave you this nickname; ha ha, you were on the hilltop, and you were training an eagle back then. You were a young and intelligent guy..."
"Iron Rod(3)! This man! To this date your body seems like an iron rod..."
Diwu Qing Rou eyes were brimming with emotion as he looked at each and every of these generals. He was familiar with all of them. He called them by their childhood names so thoughtlessly that it seemed as if their appearance and information were engraved in his heart.
Every person whose shoulder was patted by his gentle palm was suddenly infused with an indescribable strength. They felt their hearts tremble fiercely, [Prime Minister still remembers me! Prime Minister did not forget me! He still remembers my childhood name! He remembers what I did for him! … he remembers…!]
[Prime Minister would pat on my shoulder every time I was ordered to go to war! Today — he is doing it once again!]
[I have never failed in my mission whenever Prime Minister has patted my shoulder! It will be the same now!]
[I won't fail!]
[We are unrivalled!]
"Whinny..." the warhorses neighed as their front hooves rose up in the air.
One of the generals was sitting upright on the back of that horse. He had just used his legs to control the horse. His body rose high along with horse's body. He cupped his hands with a solemn look on his face, and spoke loudly, "Prime Minister! I leave today. But I will be waiting for you at the end of the Northern Border. I will be there when you take the field yourself! We will bring the blood of countless Iron Cloud soldiers, and serve it along with your wine when the time comes!"
Diwu Qing Rou's voice hadn't yet faded when the horse's hooves fell to the ground as it turned around with perfection. The horse's hooves raced as if they were like arrows that had left the bow and had flown-out with a whooshing sound.
The tall and majestic figure on the horse's back appeared motionless and upright. He never turned back as his silhouette vanished in the darkness of the night.
He was immediately followed by the second person.
"Prime Minister! I will say goodbye until the final stage!"
"Prime Minister! The Northern border's winds and clouds shall hold a welcoming reception for you!"
"Prime Minister! I will personally behead Tie Long Cheng after the victory and request you to join me in the celebration!"
"Prime Minister... "
The neighing and rising sounds of the galloping horses were endless.
Diwu Qing Rou stood in front of the door with his hands crossed behind his back. He was looking into the distance. His tall and straight figure appeared solemn. He resembled a senior general stationed under the army flag. He seemed certain of victory. He had faith in his eyes as he gazed at his loyal troops.
The situation changed after they said their goodbyes. The world had suddenly turned upside down.
The hoof beats gradually disappeared as the officers went further away.
Diwu Qing Rou's hands were still crossed behind his back, and he still had the same solemn look on his face. But, he was flaming inside. He muttered, "King of Hell Chu... how can cheap your tricks substitute the manpower and military strength that Diwu has accumulated?"
Suddenly, he turned around and entered the palace in big strides. He then shouted, "Jing Meng Hun! Come here!"
Chu Yang dived-in like a big fish, and swam underwater in silence. He went to the deepest part of the lake.
Yin Wu Tian had already been tormented by him to the point of collapse. Moreover, he had also withdrawn his people from the shore. Therefore, Chu Yang had finally submerged underwater after calling six consecutive times for support.
In fact, he would no longer float-up to the surface.
An intense summoning call was issued from the underwater region as he swam from the shallow areas to the deeper parts.
His Dantian throbbed; Nine Tribulations Sword's Sword Point and Sword Edge suddenly came out of his chest in silence. His body was suddenly illuminated with brilliant rays, and they started to radiate in all directions.
Chu Yang didn't hesitate. He arrived before a peculiar cave's mouth with just ten successive movements.
Suddenly, a big stone appeared in his bosom and his entire body darted down towards the bottom like an arrow.
This dive obviously felt much easier than the previous one. He had completely understood the water's supple strength, buoyancy and water pressure. Moreover, his cultivation level had also advanced.
He was four times faster than before.
Chu Yang had entered the water like a droplet blending in the sea. His body felt comfortable. This made him feel that this was his own home…
He was free and unconstrained… just the way he would be at home.
His eyes remained wide open throughout the way as he continued to sink. He could vaguely see many huge fishes not far from him. They were gracefully swimming in the water, and were floating away slowly.
Occasionally a school of small fishes would come barging over.
Soon, the water started to get darker and darker.
And finally, there was no more light. The muscles throughout Chu Yang's body felt thoroughly relaxed. He squinted slightly. He had finally arrived.
Suddenly, a weak light flashed from below.
Chu Yang's spirit was lifted.
The rays of light gradually brightened as he sank another-few dozen feet.
Chu Yang's thought in his heart, and a sword appeared in his hand. He had built it very carefully over the past few days.
Whether one would consider its hardness or sharpness — this sword was two or threefold better than the one he had previously built.
Nine Tribulations Sword Point let out a tender and delicate cry, and sneakily moved along his wrist to probe that sword. Then it turned into silver-light and slowly crept all the way to that sword's tip. Then, it merged into the tip of the sword and could no longer be seen.
Sword Edge suddenly rushed out, and attached itself to the edge of that sword.
The next summoning call was realizably more intense; it seemed as if a young girl was earnestly longing for a toy. She was dancing with joy. She was calling out… as if looking forward to a friend's arrival…
The air of a pleasant surprised was evident in that call.
Suddenly, a burst of sharp piercing sounds emanated underwater. Chu Yan frowned as he saw that several monster snakes had already taken a form similar to that of a sharp sword. They rushed towards him like a wave of white smoke.
Each and every one of them had dense venomous fangs inside their mouths. They were ferocious enough to terrify anyone.
He had never thought that he would be attacked before he'd even get a chance to set foot on the lakebed.
Chu Yang coldly snorted and brandished his sword into a slash.
Chu Yang swung his sword and launched a silvery criss-cross attack with a slamming sound.
The rays of sword light scattered like the rays of a shiny crystal.
Seven snakes were cut into pieces at the same time. They issued several strange blood-curdling screams.
Poisonous flood dragon!
Chu Yang knew that these creatures were extremely poisonous since the Sword Spirit had already explained it. He wasn't afraid of the poison. However, he didn't wish for them to be near his body.
More and more poisonous flood dragons appeared in the water. Suddenly, he found himself surrounded by numerous of them.
But they still couldn't approach Chu Yang's body.
Nine Tribulations Sword Point angrily screamed and suddenly spurted an extremely cold stream from the sword's tip.
It was the 'Seven Shades Cold Energy' technique that he had obtained from Beyond the Heavens Sect.
The overwhelmingly cold energy spread in a radius of hundreds of feet around him, and congealed into a giant chunk of ice. Those poisonous flood dragons were frozen inside that chunk of ice, and remained motionless like statues thereafter.
Chu Yang used the Sword Point, and fiercely struck dozens of times in succession. This action shot cross-shaped stars right below his feet.
The bodies of thousands of poisonous flood dragons were dismembered into countless pieces below his feet. A series of blood-curdling screams were obviously issued in the process. Then, Chu Yang finally set foot on the stone floor.
He raised his head, and saw that strange wall with an unusual pearl embedded in it. It wasn't far away from him. He stood quietly for a long time. He grunted and an invisible energy was issued-out from his arms.
Overhead, the chunk of ice began to melt.
The bodies of the poisonous flood dragons which had been frozen inside the ice finally collapsed and sank to the bottom. God knows where the undercurrent would take their corpses. In reality, that cold energy had almost instantly killed these poisonous flood dragons.
The undercurrent shook severely as a seemingly angry roar sounded. A few million thin and poisonous flood dragons had emerged this time. A huge and incomparable figure had also emerged among them; it appeared quite furious.
Poisonous Flood Dragon!
Chu Yang's pupils contracted as he secretly thought: [you finally came! This time, I'm the one who has been waiting for you!]
Heizi is the nickname of this general; it means black son, or dark son.
His name would be Xiao Ying in Pin Yin.
His name would be Tie Gun in Pin Yin.