The Iron Cloud's army flooded the battlefield like a tide. The soldiers began to chase down and kill the remaining two-thousand experts of the Golden Horse Riders Department under the collaboration of the two shadow experts and Bu Tian Pavilion's people. However, those two-thousand experts weren't mediocre. All of them fled away and disappeared without a trace — except for around five-hundred who were killed, and around forty who were captured.
Jing Meng Hun was the first one to escape; he had already gone far away.
Chu Yang lay unconscious on the bosom of Tie Bu Tian. Tie Bu Tian noticed that Chu Yang's body was getting hotter with the passage of time. It was heating-up like a stove… even though he was still unconscious.
The two shadows came back. Their eyes flashed as they saw Chu Yang.
The return of the two shadow experts was similar to the arrival of saviors for Tie Bu Tian. He asked, "Uncles, take a look at him… how is he?"
The two shadows had already learnt about the happenings from a captive. It wasn't hard for them to understand Chu Yang's condition. One of the shadows sighed and said, "I'm afraid this person... can't be saved."
"Can't be saved?" Tie Bu Tian felt as if he had been struck by a thunderbolt. His body shook and his vision darkened. He asked, "But… he's still breathing. He also has a healthy and vigorous pulse. Why can't he be saved?"
"He was poisoned…" the shadow replied with a sigh, "… and this poison doesn't have an antidote."
"It doesn't have an antidote..." Tie Bu Tian was on the verge of collapsing. Then, he asked in a weak voice, "What kind of a poison is this? How is it so vicious and overbearing... that it's actually... actually..."
"This is the lust poison of a lust dragon. We're in the middle of these barren mountains. There are no women in our army. And, finding a village girl will be even more difficult..." one of the shadows explained. Then, he became silent. His face was contorted with pain.
The other shadow had pinched him.
"Lust dragon? Lust poison?" Everything had become clear before Tie Bu Tian's eyes. He thought for a moment and said, "If the poison isn't detoxified within five hours… then his entire body will start to fester… and death will be inevitable. Are you talking about 'that' poison of a lust dragon?"
One of the shadows lowered his head, and the other one started to look around. They pretended as if they hadn't heard anything.
"Yes or no?" Tie Bu Tian asked in an angry manner.
"Yes… that's correct! But, nothing can be done about this..." one of the shadows stammered. Then, he added, "Anyways... there's no need to do 'that' to save him even if this information is true. After all, you..."
He was once again interrupted by a pinch. Then, he took a step back and became silent.
Tie Bu Tian looked at the other shadow suspiciously, "What's the matter?" His facial expression gradually sank.
"This... he has brought about this situation upon himself. This is his fate." The shadow weighed his words and spoke, "Besides, we already have a King of Hell Chu in the Iron Cloud... there's no need to have two. Moreover… this person has always been rebellious and out of control... also... considering that the war is close… it isn't appropriate to have him around..."
Tie Bu Tian's eyes seemed like water as he looked at Chu Yang's face. His facial expressions were fluctuating. One could sense a fierce struggle of emotions in his heart. He stayed like that for a long time. Then, he clenched his teeth as a hint to let the shadow know that he had overstepped his boundaries. He then said in hoarse voice, "Prepare a carriage… we're transporting him back..."
His voice sounded weak. It seemed that he could collapse any moment now.
The two shadows heaved a sigh of relief. They seemed to have been relieved from a burden. They looked at each other and went off to execute the orders.
Suddenly, Wu Kuang Yun strolled over. He stretched his neck to take a look at Chu Yang. Then, he shrugged his shoulders and spoke with a smile, "So, it's this little bastard! This guy owes me a big one."
Tie Bu Tian was looking at the deep night sky; he appeared to be in a daze. His face was expressionless. He stood motionless. It seemed as if this Iron Cloud's monarch had turned into a figurine carved from wood and clay.
The carriage arrived and Chu Yang was loaded onto it. Then, the army turned around to depart.
Tie Bu Tian remained next to the carriage the entire time. He didn't say a word; he appeared to be in pain. He had bit his lower lip until it had gotten ruptured...
The two shadows followed him closely. They seemed worried to see Tie Bu Tian in this condition.
"Your Majesty, there's a bad news." Wu Kuang Yun ran over to Tie Bu Tian. He was sweating profusely. He held a message that had been brought by a falcon, "Three enemy cavalry armies are rushing towards us at a great speed. They are less than three-hundred-and-fifty kilometers away."
"How far do we need to cover until we reach our barracks?" Tie Bu Tian asked; he seemed stupefied.
"One-hundred-and-seventy-five kilometers." Wu Kuang Yun said, "But… we're mostly infantry troops… whereas the enemy has cavalry troops. Moreover, they are coming at the fastest possible speed. Even if we manage to reach the barracks before they reach us… we'll still need to organize the personnel to retreat..."
Tie Bu Tian understood the meaning behind Wu Kuang Yun's words - the situation wasn't in their favor.
"I'm leaving the army in your command. No matter what method you employ… you must meet up with our remaining troops before the enemy catches up. Return to the valley as fast as possible… And organize the personnel to retreat to the Heaven Splitting Mountain Pass," Tie Bu Tian issued the order in a decisive manner.
"But... what about you, Your Majesty?" Wu Kuang Yun asked in a surprised tone.
"I'll be going back with the two shadow uncles," Tie Bu Tian replied as he stretched out his hand and pointed a finger at the shadows. "Also… leave behind this person and the carriage… You won't be able to move quickly with him."
"That won't do!" Wu Kuang Yun objected in a startled manner.
"Execute my order!" Tie Bu Tian glared at him, "If you dare say a word again… I'll put the charge of treason on you and execute you."
Then, he said in a comforting manner, "Rest assured… We'll be following right behind the army. I will keep up with you if I can. And, there will be no danger even if I can't. I have two Ninth Grade King Level Experts by my side."
He paused for a second and added, "I'll personally explain everything to the Supreme Commander Tie; no matter what happens. There won't be any need for you to come forward."
Wu Kuang Yun wasn't willing to comply; no matter what Tie Bu Tian said. He wasn't willing to leave the Emperor in this burning wilderness.
"You won't go?" Tie Bu Tian's eyes turned sharp. He pulled out his sword from the sheath with a 'swoosh' sound, and put it on Wu Kuang Yun's neck, "I'll kill you right here if you don't go… I'll kill you right now…"
Wu Kuang Yun was sweating profusely. His eyes had lost their color...
"You still aren't gone?!" Tie Bu Tian shouted heavily. The sharp sword had already carved a trace of bloodstain on his neck.
Wu Kuang Yun cried out loud. His voice was full of grief, "Your Majesty, please take care of yourself. Old Wu is leaving." He jumped and mounted a horse. Then, he started to give orders like a madman. After that, the army changed its formation and charged forward. Wu Kuang Yun led the cavalry troops and dashed out like a hurricane.
[I must get back as soon as possible… and defend the mountain-pass. Then, I'll personally come to your aid, Your Majesty.]
[If... if... if I'm left with no other choice… this Wu Kuang Yun will put his life on the line for this mission...]
"Wu Kuang Yun, I'm handing over Iron Cloud Nation in your hands from this moment onwards. There will be hope so long as you manage to defend the Heaven Splitting Mountain Pass. If you fail in this mission… then this will be the first and the last time that I - the Iron Cloud's Monarch - will be paying such a huge price because of an impulsive decision," Tie Bu Tian muttered to himself.
He recalled that this impulsive decision was taken for 'that person' in the carriage… whose life hung from a thread. There was a strange poison running in his body. He got upset as this thought crossed his mind.
Tie Bu Tian moved with the carriage — closely behind the troops. [It was best to make Wu Kuang Yun rush back to the base under the present circumstances. I could've led the troops, but… what about Chu Yang? He can no longer withstand the bumps, and... he wouldn't have been able to hold-on for such a long time...]
Tie Bu Tian bit his lips. He was still holding on to a glimmer of hope in his heart. He was constantly looking around, [Here... it's too desolate… ah. Besides, we've just passed through the burning mountain. There shouldn't be anyone around...]
[What should I do? What should I do?]
Time passed slowly. Tie Bu Tian had followed the troops, and had driven the carriage for dozens of kilometers. The troops were getting farther, and their sound was getting fainter with the passage of time...
Suddenly, Tie Bu Tian restrained the horse and jumped down from it. He squatted on the ground, and sat motionless. His shoulders shivered; he seemed to be... crying?
The two shadows looked at each other and sighed deeply.
Suddenly, a low and deep moan was issued from the carriage. It was filled with pain and misery. The three of them looked towards the carriage, and saw Chu Yang's unconscious body twitch from head-to-toe. His face had turned deep-red...
"He's in so much pain. How about... I give him pleasure to his heart's content?" one of the shadows said, and turned to walk towards the carriage.
"Don't you dare!" Tie Bu Tian shouted and jumped up. He stood in front of the wagon, and blocked his way. His eyes were bloodshot.
The two shadows looked at Tie Bu Tian; his eyes revealed a cold and imposing look of determination.
He kept his head lowered for a while. "Find a secluded place for me..." Tie Bu Tian's entire body shuddered as he spoke these words.
"You wouldn't..." the two shadows cried out in unison; they seemed to be in shock.
"This is the only way." Tie Bu Tian gave a distressed smile.
"But... what about the Icy Heart Jade Bone?" a shadow said anxiously, "If... if... if you did 'that'… your master will certainly kill you…"
"Icy Heart Jade Bone..." Tie Bu Tian smiled indifferently and spoke, "If he passes away… for whom will I guard my icy heart? All these jade bones of mine are for whom?"
He seemed to be at a loss. He smiled and said, "As for the master... do you think that I can become her apprentice again?"
The two shadows became silent.
Tie Bu Tian was the only offspring of Tie Shi Cheng. Now, he was the Emperor of Iron Cloud Nation. How could he also become... her apprentice?
"But... it's not worth it." One of the shadows spoke-up anxiously, "He doesn't even know your true identity... and..."
"What does this have to do with whether he knows or not?" Tie Bu Tian replied with a smile, "This has nothing to do with him."
"Don't tell me you..." The two shadows were dumbfounded.
"Do you think that I plan to spend a lifetime with him?" Tie Bu Tian smiled mournfully and replied, "I'll be spared of many entanglements because he doesn't know anything."
"This..." the shadow was speechless. This was impossible in the light of Tie Bu Tian's male identity.
"What's the problem since things are this way…?" Tie Bu Tian said solemnly, "This is my matter. It's neither his matter… nor yours… This is none of my master's business either."
A determined look appeared on his face, "This is my matter… Mine alone…"
He turned around and looked sadly at the two shadows, "He'll leave regardless of the outcome of this power struggle in the Lower Three Heavens. It's possible that I'll never get to see him once he leaves. Only a speck of his memories will remain in my life... alright?
The shadows remained silent and heaved a long sigh.