"Thanks a lot! Thanks a lot!" Du Shi Qing was moved. He nearly shed tears of joy. He had devoted his entire life to raise his only son. And it hadn't been easy. However, he was also the reason why his only son had been caught by Diwu Qing Rou. His son was then trained as a tool to be used against him...
It was very terrible and heartbreaking for him as a father. His only son had been brainwashed into picking a knife and killing his own father if justice demands it.
However, his son had lost his memories, and would have to start over from scratch. But, it wouldn't be a problem since he had a good physical foundation. Moreover, he would be accompanied by his wife since the Soul Control Method had also been used on her. So, there was nothing to worry about...
"I must say that the procedure was quite dangerous. They have a good cultivation. Their spiritual power is also very high. I was almost unable to exercise control over their souls," Chu Yang spoke as he wiped the sweat off his forehead.
The Soul Control Method was fairly simple in normal cases. However, Chu Yang had almost reached his limit in order to eliminate the deep-rooted imperialistic ideology of Diwu Qing Rou. His only option had been to reset their memories in their entirety.
However, he was left covered in cold sweat afterwards.
He spent some time to discuss the escape route with Du Shi Qing. Then, they finalized all the details… including a meeting place, the signal, and so on...
Then, Chu Yang silently departed from there.
[There's only one last step remaining — I need to get my hands on Diwu Qing Rou's military intelligence.]
Chu Yang had been apprehensive about Diwu Qing Rou since his rebirth. He didn't wish to come face-to-face with the man unless it was absolutely necessary.
He felt a sense of crisis even though he had met Diwu Qing Rou twice since he came to Great Zhao. Diwu Qing Rou's insightful eyes could see through anything. Chu Yang felt as if Diwu Qing Rou could see through him anytime and anywhere.
Chu Yang had believed that Diwu Qing Rou didn't know martial arts. However, he couldn't believe it anymore.
No one had been able to touch upon Diwu Qing Rou's background as yet. It could be said that this man had been successful in deceiving the whole world.
Chu Yang would rather break into the Imperial Palace alone than visit Diwu Qing Rou's Prime Ministerial Palace.
However, this time — he must do it.
The Iron Cloud's side wasn't prepared. They had only assembled a military force of one million soldiers. The Great Zhao could dispatch four million personnel at any given time on the other hand.
And their soldiers were well-trained. Moreover, Diwu Qing Rou had been training the second echelon for some time now. And the number of soldiers in the second echelon was bound to be in millions. Moreover, Diwu Qing Rou was still recruiting new soldiers.
The Iron Cloud would have to take up the challenge in haste if the war was to start with such a huge disparity in the military strength. Moreover, they preparations on Iron Cloud's side were insufficient. Who would be defeated in such a scenario… was quite evident.
The war would become one-sided from the beginning itself.
Therefore, it was very important for Chu Yang to plan the strategic distribution of troops. A fair advantage could be taken out of military intelligence in order to face millions of soldiers.
This was the only solution.
Chu Yang would even break into a dragon lair in such a situation; let alone Diwu Qing Rou's Prime Ministerial Palace.
This was his duty as a 'man'. Of course, he could refrain from doing it. But, he must do it.
One more day passed.
Dark clouds were scattered in the night sky. The gale had been stronger and stronger. Big raindrops started to fall down from the sky soon. The intensity of the rain started to increase. Slowly, a curtain of heavy rain had been formed.
Chu Yang prayed to the heavens for help. Then, he suddenly jumped up from his secret spot, and vanished into the curtain of rain.
Diwu Qing Rou had slept for only three hours. He sat alone in his study room. He had strictly ordered that no one should disturb him.
A sandalwood chair was placed in front of the map that hung on the wall. Diwu Qing Rou's chin rested on his hand as he looked at the map.
The entire map was already ingrained in his mind - with all its mountains and rivers.
He sat motionless. A tragic war of attack and defense had already started inside his mind. He was thinking about every city… every place… every mountain… every river… each and every of his squadrons and its respective commanders... and the possible allocation of the enemy troops and generals; even the character, disposition and military strategies of the generals on both sides.
Diwu Qing Rou's brain was like an extremely complex and high-end 'computer'.
In fact, some of the military-grade 'computers' might not be able to calculate so proficiently…
Diwu Qing Rou wanted to simulate the war in his mind and see the conclusion before going to the war - this was his ability. To be able to calculate such a foolproof battle plan - none other than Diwu Qing Rou had ever been able to achieve this.
Diwu Qing Rou slowly closed his eyes as he sat motionless. It seemed that the heavy rain wreaking havoc outside was providing him with endless inspiration.
He didn't move for a long time.
The tea on the table had long become cold.
"Oh…" Diwu Qing Rou continued to consider the situation again and again; as if in a loop. Then, he finally sighed.
The outcome of the war was always the same — regardless of any possibility that he considered. The Great Zhao could not be defeated. However, Diwu Qing Rou felt that his plan couldn't be considered as perfect.
"When the time comes... Tie Bu Tian may lead his troops into the battlefield. But, it shouldn't be a problem to deal with him. As far as Tie Long Cheng is concerned… I am quite familiar with his strategies since he has been my enemy for many years. And he is certainly a tough enemy. But, I will at-most need to pay some price in order to deal with him; so it's not an issue. Now, the only anomaly is King of Hell Chu… What stance will he take once he appears on the battlefield?" Diwu Qing Rou muttered to himself.
He had been secretly fighting with King of Hell Chu for a long time. However, he still didn't dare to underestimate this opponent; not even in the slightest.
This person had great military and civil skills. One couldn't imagine the extent of Ruth of his decisive nature. He would start a plan without any hesitation… and would then abandon it without the slightest delay if required.
He wasn't just good at conspiracy, but also excelled at the use of crafty schemes. Diwu Qing Rou wouldn't believe if one stated that such a person didn't know the art of war.
There was a possibility that King of Hell Chu would arrive at the battlefield along with the people of Bu Tian Pavilion who would perform activities related to intelligence, assassination and so on. However, Diwu Qing Rou wouldn't worry about such a scenario.
This situation would be difficult to deal with. But it couldn't have much impact on the overall situation of war.
He was worried about the possibility of King of Hell Chu personally going to the war and taking command. This would put pressure on Diwu Qing Rou's side.
Diwu Qing Rou was confident that he could suppress Tie Long Cheng and Tie Bu Tian. However, he felt that he may not be able to deal with an opponent like King of Hell Chu.
His several years of research would go to waste if he were to deal with an elusive and invisible entity like King of Hell Chu instead of Tie Long Cheng and Tie Bu Tian.
There were several mighty generals on their side. They were all highly experienced war-veterans who had illustrious military service records. But, they fell short of Tie Long Cheng and Tie Bu Tian.
Diwu Qing Rou was quite optimistic about the outcome of this war. However, he knew that he would need to pay a heavy price for victory.
Tie Long Cheng was an invincible god of war… Tie Bu Tian was a master-strategist as well as the Emperor… and King of Hell Chu was a peerless trickster; there was no end to his strange tricks and schemes...
It was no joke to deal with the combination of these three.
Diwu Qing Rou felt that the most ideal time to attack was two years from now. His preparations would've been completed by then. He would also have made an agreement with the Wolf tribe of the Northern Grassland by then; their cultivation ability would play the greatest role.
However, there had been heavy losses in his contacts inside the Iron Cloud. This had left him in a chaotic situation. This was coupled with the sudden emergence of several major incidents in the Continent Center Citadel. That had resulted in his conflict with the royal clan; this had been very unexpected.
Then, there was a major drop in the morale of Great Zhao since chaos had broken out in the Continent Center Citadel. After all, Continent Center was the national capital region of Great Zhao.
After that, the most critical thing happened… Diwu Qing Rou had known about the obscured top-secret since the birth of the first fragment of Nine Tribulations Sword. However, the secret kept changing appearances and became even vaguer.
The blue dome of sky had been dyed blood-red last night. This had given rise to a sense of urgency in Diwu Qing Rou's heart.
Such changes in the sky might have seemed like an illusion to most people. However, Diwu Qing Rou knew what it really meant… thanks to his vast knowledge.
Therefore, he knew that things would go out of his hand if he didn't act immediately.
The Nine Tribulations Sword was capable of bringing about massive changes in the world. Hence, it was difficult to say that it wouldn't affect the ongoing situation in the continent.
However, Diwu Qing Rou discovered one single variable that stood in his way every time he drew his strategic plans. That variable was King of Hell Chu.
King of Hell Chu's very existence was like a pricking thorn in his heart. King of Hell Chu always got stuck in his throat like a fishbone; irrespective of the plans he made. This caused him unbearable pain.
Diwu Qing Rou took a look outside and noticed that the sky had already turned dark. He had unconsciously sat in his room the entire afternoon. He sighed and stood up. He had a headache resulting from an entire afternoon spent in thinking. He rubbed his temples as he walked out.
"Prime Minister, Mr. Jing has been waiting for a long time," an attendant reported.
"Oh, let him in," Diwu Qing Rou said.
"King Level Master Jun has disappeared?" Diwu Qing Rou frowned. He then said, "Wasn't he looking for Nine Joints Lotus Root?"
Yin Wu Tian and Jing Meng Hun looked at each other in dismay.
Diwu Qing Rou wondered, [He obviously came here to find the Nine Joints Lotus Root. Then, why would he suddenly leave? Did he succeed in finding it? Probably not, ah… According to Yin Wu Tian's report… he shouldn't have found it, right?]
"You said that the water had gushed forth and your boat was sent flying, correct? When did it happen… at what time exactly?" Diwu Qing Rou asked.
"Should be..." Yin Wu Tian pondered for a moment. Then, he replied with caution, "... a moment after the sky's appearance had turned strange. Lightning flashes and rolling thunders had appeared in the clear skies..."
Suddenly, Diwu Qing Rou's complexion turned ugly. Then, it further turned pale. His eyes opened wide as he mumbled, "You were sent flying by a wave of water... when the appearance of the sky changed… and lightning flashes and rolling thunder appeared in the clear skies... And then, the King Level Expert Jun disappeared without finding the Nine Joints Lotus Root…" (1)
"Nine Joints Lotus Root… Nine Joints… Nine..." Suddenly, Diwu Qing Rou's entire body trembled. He jumped up from the chair. His forehead was covered with large beads of sweat, and his complexion had turned green.
"Prime Minister, what's wrong?" Jing Meng Hun and Yin Wu Tian were frightened to see this.
Diwu Qing Rou focused his eyes and sat back in his chair. His complexion was still ugly. He was breathing heavily from his mouth. Suddenly, he said in a furious manner, "Nine Joints Lotus Root… Nine Joints Lotus Root… just a Nine Joints Lotus Root, huh! Young Master Yu… Young Master Yu… you tricked me well… you tricked me well..."
Diwu Qing Rou pounded his palm on a small purple jade tea table kept on his side. 'Bang!' The entire table suddenly crumbled into a pile of shiny dust. This shiny dust was made of shattered jade fragments.
Pure jade fragments had been reduced to a state even finer than dust!
九劫 (Jiu Jie) = Nine Tribulations
九节 (Jiu Jie) = Nine Joints
The two have same pronunciation. Diwu Qing Rou has finally noticed the pun.