An eerie silence lingered around the battlefield now that no one was fighting. The people on the ground were anxiously waiting for the command to come from the top while the Soul Kings were also anxiously waiting for the other side to make a move. All they needed was a single hostile maneuver and they’d immediately resume the fighting.
The stalemate between the two sides was broken in terms of numbers. The allied schools lost two members while the Yao clan gained two more. If a battle were to break out again then things wouldn’t look good for the allied schools. Not even Qin Bangjie would be able to make up for the difference. Four class seven soulbeasts were one thing, but these two Late-stage Soul Kings wouldn’t be as easy…
The Yao clan being able to control a large army of soulbeasts was just a temporary setback that could be resolved with time. Qin Bangjie just had to kill the soulbeasts around him and then he’d be able to clean up the rest of the battlefield and lead the troops to victory. All they needed was time.
What advantage the allied schools had was now gone. The arrival of Dan Teng and Wu Dijian made sure of that. Should the allied schools resume their attack, their best case scenario would most certainly be a pyrrhic victory…
Everyone’s eyes naturally gravitated towards Qin Bangjie. He was the strongest one there and the acting leader of the allied schools, though the Wind Lightning School and Beast Taming School might not see him as such. No one would dare do anything if Qin Bangjie wasn’t.
The robes around Qin Bangjie’s face blustered in a way that masked his emotions from the others. His eyes scanned the Yao clan for a brief moment before switching over to the city behind them…
“First elder, I believe Ceng Quanshi should be back from his mission soon…”
Xu Qianqing’s voice spoke to Qin Bangjie, but neither of the two seemed to look at all like they were talking. Like Qin Bangjie though, Xu Qianqing was looking towards the direction of Yao City.
Qin Bangjie came to his decision. The soulforce within his body started to quicken a bit, causing the others around him to tense up. “We’re withdrawing!” He barked.
Gasps were heard as they realized what Qin Bangjie just said. Though many were already hoping for the retreat command to be given, they thought that it’d be more likely they’d have to continue fighting. To have Qin Bangjie retreat was quite a surprise.
The soul refiners began to retreat the moment he gave the command as if they already anticipated this!
“Hold on! Elder Qian is still in their hands!”
The Late-stage Soul King from the Wind Lightning School barked. What he expected was to have one final excursion to see if they’d be able to fight Dan Teng and Wu Dijian to reclaim one of their own. But a rescue would be impossible if Qin Bangjie gave the order to retreat now.
Qin Bangjie sent a cold glare at him. “Be my guest if you wish to save him. I won’t stop you.”
“You!!” Elder He roared—how could he possibly save him if Qin Bangjie and his troops weren’t willing to help?
Ma Xucheng came to a decision of his own as well. Waving his hand, he gave all the beast tamers the order to retreat while also using Soul Communication to speak with He Changkai, “The enemy is stronger than we thought. We stand to lose more if we fight now. Let us go back and plan some more…”
He Changkai’s eye twitched at the ‘reconciliatory’ message of Ma Xucheng. He wanted nothing more than to curse out loud at this moment. It was the Soul Refining School and Wind Lightning School that ‘lost’ one of their own. The Beast Taming School had essentially lost nothing.
Just listening to Ma Xucheng right now felt like the Beast Taming School was taking happiness over their losses.
He Changkai gave one final look to the unconscious elder Qian in Dan Teng’s arms. “We’re leaving!” he snarled.
Like the receding tide, the forces of the three allied schools began to withdraw from the battlefield. Disappearing into the mountain forests, they left the people from the Yao clan standing there in silence.
Was…was the enemy really going to leave just like that?!
The silence didn’t last for long. Multiple people began to whoop with joy shortly afterward!
The enemy had really retreated!
Having never fought in a war like this before, the Yao clan had been extremely stressed and anxious about the whole affair. To be able to successfully defend their home against the invaders replaced the fear in their hearts with joy. Several of the clansmen couldn’t even fight properly during the war, and many of them fell victim to the enemy once they realized they were out of their depths…
The war didn’t even last for ten minutes and the Yao clan suffered tremendous losses. This war was a baptism for the clan and rudely awakened them to the cruelty of war. Their army of familiars might’ve killed plenty of their enemies, but just as many familiars were also killed.
It felt like a nightmare to the clansmen. For once in their life, the flames of hatred fanned at their hearts with fervor and desire to see their enemies thoroughly destroyed.
The battle was over and the enemies weren’t all dead. But they were at the very least beaten off. That was still a victory!
None of their fellow clansmen and familiars would have to be sacrificed for the time being.
All there was left to do was clean up the battlefield. The enemy didn’t take away their dead before they left, so the Yao clan did it for them. Cleaning up the corpses of humans and soulbeasts alike, the Yao clan quickly stored everything and returned to the city.
The only thing to remain on the outside of the city were the gulches, craters, and blood. Some places were fully saturated with blood and were especially chilling to see from afar…
Meanwhile, Yao Wuchen, Dan Teng, Wu Dijian, and the others returned to the heart of the city to discuss what to do next.
Wu Dijian looked this way and that as they walked towards the halls. He was deeply interested in the culture of the city and occasionally clicked his tongue in excitement when he saw something of interest. Sometimes, he’d even mutter to himself under his breath.
It wasn’t until they reached the halls when Wu Dijian spoke out at last to Dan Teng. “Hey now, Dan Teng, my friend. What a shock it is to hear that your Alchemy School established a city here in the Qimang Mountains of all the places! What a shock, I say! Never would I even think about this place if you didn’t bring me here to begin with. I wouldn’t have even believed the legendary Alchemy School still existed and was here…”
A bitter smile appeared on Dan Teng’s face at Wu Dijian’s words.
“The Alchemy School…no longer exists, only the Yao clan. We haven’t participated in the power struggles of the outside world for two thousand years…I thought we’d be able to hide, but in the end, we were still found out…”
A look of consternation appeared on Wu Dijian’s face. “It’s been one thing after another after the rebellion started! The enemy has been doing one mysterious thing after another, there’d inevitably be something they know that we don’t. Who knows how many years they spent planning this rebellion. I was certainly caught off-guard!”
Dan Teng sighed. The great chaos that was spreading across the continent made him feel almost helpless. The world of soul cultivators was ruined now that conflict and strife were appearing one after another. He had planned on staying neutral as the sole clansmen to be on the outside, but fate was not allowing it. Not even the Yao clan was safe from fate anymore.
His time in the Capital was not entirely hidden. The strong that resided within the Capital knew of him, but not of his background. They only knew him as a ‘mysterious’ person that seemed content to simply live in pseudo-isolation. Those types of people weren’t exactly rare in this world, and no one was really willing to investigate who he or his eighteenth ancestor was.
But the soul cultivator world was in ruins now. Wars both big and small broke out across the continent on a daily occurrence. With Soul Kings joining the fray, the number of casualties were skyrocketing, especially when it came to those with injuries to the soul.
His tea didn’t have the same level of ability pills had, but they worked wonders with stabilizing the soul and were similarly very difficult to get a hold of.
The Soothing Heart was seeing plenty of customers nowadays because of that. Many of his patrons would often sit in there in the teahouse and tell news of what was going on over the continent.
Then one day, he heard that the rebel army had suddenly given in and many of the Soul Kings on the continent had suddenly disappeared without a trace somewhere.
He also heard news that a lot of adventurers were disappearing near the Qimang Mountains in the Western River Province.
It was a rather small piece of news since adventurers disappearing wasn’t anything new. The place they traveled to were often dangerous and every year plenty of adventurers would disappear to their deaths.
But Dan Teng saw a connection between those two pieces of news. By connecting one piece to another, he came to a very fearful conclusion…
Though he wasn’t sure if his fears were unfounded or not, Dan Teng decided he couldn’t afford to just sit there. Leaving the Capital, he made his way over to the Qimang Mountains as fast as possible!
As for why Wu Dijian was here, that was actually a complete accident…