"Your Iron Cloud Army can make a surprise attack as soon as I withdraw tomorrow morning. Fight a decisive battle with my returning army, and that will give you – King of Hell Chu – a glorious victory!" Diwu Qing Rou continued further, and he stressed on each word as he spoke, "I suppose I will owe you a big one!"
"What if I say no?" Chu Yang asked without any expression.
"Then… I will lead the army, and return to Great Zhao. I – Diwu Qing Rou – may never exterminate Iron Cloud in my entire life, but Iron Cloud will never get to unify the entire world! And, I won’t be facing any imminent disaster either. After all, my martial power is enough to allow me to live for two or three hundred years without any problem. But, I don’t know whether Minister Chu can afford to wait for 2 or 3 centuries!"
Diwu Qing Rou raised his face, and looked at Chu Yang as he slowly spoke one word at a time.
Chu Yang stood up with a gloomy face, and wrinkled his eyebrows tightly. Then, he began to pace back and forth.
One could doubtlessly say that Diwu Qing Rou had been ‘prefacing’ until now. He had waited for the right moment to state his condition! Moreover, this condition had struck Chu Yang’s weakest spot — time…!
Could Chu Yang afford to wait if this situation continued for two or three centuries? He simply couldn’t wait that long! He just couldn’t afford to wait that long… no matter what!
However, this matter involved the lives of 8 million soldiers!
The war could end right away if Chu Yang accepted Diwu Qing Rou’s proposition. And, the victor of the world would be decided at once. Moreover, he would be completing the first big step towards reversing the Nine Heavens! He could then leave the Lower Three Heavens, and go to the Middle Three Heavens. And, this had been his desire for a long time…!
That was the place where his beloved was trapped in the abyss of suffering. And, she was waiting for him to come and rescue her. That was the place where his good brothers were fighting a bloody battle for their common future… where his own master was expectantly awaiting his arrival...
Therefore, Chu Yang wanted to go!
However... Chu Yang couldn’t afford to pay the price by sacrificing 8 million lives! It was normal for soldiers to die in a war. If a great decisive battle were to take place today, and Diwu Qing Rou hadn’t come like this in advance — then, Chu Yang would’ve personally killed millions of people without facing the slightest psychological burden!
Because… this was war! And, it’s either you die or I die in an unstoppable war!
However, Diwu Qing Rou had arrived, and had told Chu Yang his plan. Moreover, he also told him the upcoming situation of war… as well as the conclusion. And, this was tantamount to these two people planning to achieve the same goal…
This was equivalent to these two men plotting to kill 8 million people for their own benefit!
However, Chu Yang couldn’t afford to pay such a price!
It seemed as if Diwu Qing Rou had spotted Chu Yang’s sense of urgency. So, he leisurely awaited Chu Yang’s response after he had proposed his condition.
"Why do you think that I can’t afford to wait?" Chu Yang hesitated a little, and then said, "The Great Zhao will have Diwu Qing Rou, but you can’t hold on for two or three centuries! I have the absolutely certainty that I will destroy Great Zhao after 3 to 5 decades if you genuinely retreat right now!"
"3 to 5 decades… you all will wait for so long?" Diwu Qing Rou didn’t deny. Instead, he asked a question. But, he didn’t wait for Chu Yang to speak. Instead, he gently laughed and said, "Your means have been swift and decisive with a desire for quick results ever since you’ve come to Iron Cloud. Yet, your actions are quite violent, and the repercussions caused by your actions have also been massive. Your methods are quite thunderous, but they aren’t the ways of ruling a nation.
"In fact, you could’ve used milder methods for each one of those matters. And, these milder methods wouldn’t have had any side-effects either. In fact, there are no means which you’re not aware of… yet you didn’t use any of those methods."
Diwu Qing Rou continued in an indifferent manner, "As for your trip to Great Zhao… you didn’t need to go — but you still did."
He pondered, and then looked at Chu Yang, "I’ve always felt that there is a strong sense of purpose in every action you take! I don’t know your goal, but I know that your world doesn’t lie in the Lower Three Heavens!"
He resolutely looked at Chu Yang. Chu Yang also looked at him calmly. And, a long time passed... Then, Diwu Qing Rou said, "You are looking forward to a bigger world! A world that only belongs to you! So, forget about 3 to 5 decades… you can’t even wait for 3 to 5 years!"
Wu Qian Qian was standing behind Chu Yang. Her tender body shook a little. She was someone who understood Chu Yang the best, and she knew that Diwu Qing Rou’s guess couldn’t be regarded as speculation… it was a fact!
"So, I launched the decisive battle ahead of time. You shouldn’t oppose it. It’s just that the people who will die in the battle will be far more than anticipated," Diwu Qing Rou revealed a cruel smile.
"I'm curious why you had this suddenly had a chance of heart." Chu Yang twisted his eyebrows, "You talked about your clan’s destiny – that is one reason. However, I’m not convinced that this is the only reason!"
Diwu Qing Rou fell silent for a good while… then, he finally said, "At that time… I hadn’t expected that the Diwu Clan would be able to bring about a change in its fortunes. And, I came to the Lower Three Heavens for the purpose of not allowing my talent and knowledge to go to waste. I also wanted to become a minister who has given outstanding service, and is remembered for all eternity! Even if I were merely a temporary minister… my name would be immortalized if I could unify the world!
"I only desired a false reputation in this mortal world," Diwu Qing Rou spoke in disappointed and frustrated manner, "But, I hadn’t anticipated that the sky’s appearance would suddenly reverse right before I would set upon the final step to achieve success. This made a lifetime of painstaking efforts go to waste! In other words… even the heaven doesn’t want my name – Diwu Qing Rou – to be immortalized!"
His eyes suddenly lost their shine. His elegant tone changed, and became scary as he slowly spoke in a supple voice, "I can’t leave my good name in the history for hundreds of generations to come… So, I would rather have my name go down in history as a ‘byword’ for ‘infamy’! I can’t have a good reputation for a thousand years… So, I desire eternal infamy!
"Therefore, I’ve deliberately arranged this ‘playground of death’!" Diwu Qing Rou looked at Chu Yang, and slowly said, "So, do you agree with me or not? It will be very advantageous if you agree with me..."
"As for the 8 million soldiers..." Diwu Qing Rou indifferently said, "The lifespan of moles, crickets and ants is anyway not long…"
"This decision is too insane... I can’t agree with you!" Chu Yang solemnly replied. A hint of pain appeared in his eyes. He said, "8 million people... are going to be ruined by my hands in one stroke! My heart isn’t that ruthless!"
Diwu Qing Rou was stunned by this reply. He gazed at him for a good while, and then said, "King of Hell Chu..."
"King of Hell rewards the benevolent, but punishes the evil." Chu Yang continued with a blank face, "If the war broke out under normal circumstances, and I ended up killing 8 million people all by myself… I will be calm, and I will retain a clear conscience because they wanted to kill me. But, you want me to be a part of this plan… I — Chu Yang — feel it beneath my dignity to do something like this!"
"Well, you must know... Great Zhao’s soldiers will retreat as soon as I go back. Then, there will be a violent war for at least 3 to 5 decades!" Diwu Qing Rou said, "That war will inevitably continue for 3 to 5 decades. It won’t give rise to bloody destiny or anything, but... the total number of war-dead will be far greater than 8 million when gathered together!
"You must be thinking that you’re being’s ‘benevolent’ by not deciding the life or death of 8 million people. However, there will be at least 16 million casualties in the future if the war continues. Could it be that they aren’t living beings?" Diwu Qing Rou clicked his tongue loudly.
"Those are living beings, but at least I will have a clear conscience!" Chu Yang faintly smiled, "But, I won’t be able to live with myself if I plot together with my enemy to slaughter my own soldiers — even if it’s just one life!
"I desire to live with a clear conscience. I won’t hesitate to wield my sword… even if I have to hack down everyone in the Nine Heavens as long as I have a magnanimous reason to believe in!" Chu Yang seemed to have untied the matter that was gnawing at his mind, and spoke in a pure and honest manner, "But, violating my own belief and plotting against my own people is something I simply can’t do… no matter what!
"This is the motto of King of Hell Chu!"
Chu Yang said proudly.
Chu Yang suddenly felt that his mental cultivation had gone a step further after he had unexpectedly uncovered this layer of psychological barrier!
"Clap, Clap, Clap." Diwu Qing Rou surprisingly began to applaud softly. He then said in a praising manner, "As is expected of King of Hell Chu! You are worthy of being called a ‘maverick’."
The ground suddenly shook at this moment.
Chu Yang’s face suddenly changed color. He looked at Diwu Qing Rou with a sharp look in his eyes.
Diwu Qing Rou sighed and said, "I still wish to give you this magnificent victory… even if you don’t want it! Moreover, I will still owe you one! And, I understand that this is indeed somewhat aggrieving."
Chu Yang’s face turned pale.
The sound of tremors slowly moved far away… but their effect still lasted for a long time.
This was obviously the sound produced by millions of troops setting out!
"The pursuit has already started?" Chu Yang was somewhat at a loss.
"It went as expected... a total of 3 million soldiers from Tie Long Cheng and Tie Bu Tian’s army have been sent to the battlefield! Only your troops remain here," Diwu Qing Rou chuckled.
"Minister Chu, we have talked on many subjects since I came here… but, did you notice that I would pause on every topic." Diwu Qing Rou made himself comfortable in his seat. Then, he said with a smile, "You have spoken a total of 179 sentences ever since I’ve come in. And, it took you only half an hour."
"However, I spoke a total of 421 sentences in order to deal with your 179 sentences, and that took an hour-and-half!" Diwu Qing Rou continued, "Two hours have passed by. And… it’s already dawn."
"These two hours were enough for Tie Long Cheng to react and initiate the pursuit," Diwu Qing Rou chuckled loudly.
Chu Yang’s countenance turned cold. And, he went out at once.
"They’ve already been dispatched. And, they would soon be stepping into my trap. It’s already too late even if you wish to rush out right now. Minister Chu, your three-hundred-thousand troops will determine the outcome of war... it is best that you don’t act blindly without thinking," Diwu Qing Rou solemnly said.
Chu Yang’s foot — that had firmly stepped out of the tent — suddenly came to a halt. He turned around, and looked at Diwu Qing Rou. And, his pupils suddenly contracted, "You tricked me?"
"How couldn’t I?" Diwu Qing Rou chuckled, "Besides, this is like giving you a big present..."
Chu Yang slowly sat down. He calmed down and asked, "How did you determine... that Tie Long Chen would attack?"
"That’s because… Tie Long Cheng is the Supreme Commander, but the decision-making power lies with you!" Diwu Qing Rou said, "Tie Long Cheng has independently supported Iron Cloud for a very long time. He has performed a great service through hard work… and that too without the slightest trace of selfishness! So, Tie Bu Tian will never object to his decision. In fact, he’s the person whom Tie Bu Tian trusts the most. It’s more like a ‘blind trust’ scenario! Therefore, this uncle-nephew duo lacks fear!"
Diwu Qing Rou sighed, "This was my biggest assurance to defeat Iron Cloud, but it’s going to help it to succeed under the present circumstances... Ha-ha, the providence is truly hard to fathom.
"And, according to my plan — Tie Long Cheng would eventually step into my trap. And, once he does… so would Tie Bu Tian. You were the only one who could possibly turn the tide! Therefore, you were the only random variable in the entire plan..."
Diwu Qing Rou solemnly said, "So tonight, I didn’t come here to talk about the condition with you… I came here to keep you distracted… for two hours!" he continued with a strange and mysterious smile, "And, keeping you tied-down for two hours wasn’t very difficult for someone like Diwu Qing Rou.
"However, these two hours have already determined the present situation! And, you’re already powerless. You can’t reverse this desperate situation… even if you were to be the Nine Tribulations Sword’s Master! Not to mention… that you’re not!" Diwu Qing Rou slowly said.