Chapter 729: The Day Before
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
Meng Qi’s heart jumped the moment he heard Qi Zhengyan’s words. He recalled the matter with Gu Xiaosang. She was a true Demoness and evil spirit!
However, the Dual Cultivation was a matter of refining energy into Qi, harmonizing Vital Yang and Vital Yin, and dissolving the “Solitary Yang and Lonesome Yin” effect, all to obtain the ultimate harmony of the body. Before he decided back then, he already knew it would leave no mark. Otherwise, he would be in serious trouble now.
Meng Qi was glad that lust had not consumed him and he had not let down his guard to go for a second round. The Demoness would have controlled him like a puppet otherwise. Truly, this was a case of meeting misfortune while standing at the edge of a cliff!
The smoke that shrouded the camp had just dissipated, revealing the faces of the people inside. Some wore sorrowful expressions while others looked like they were too numb to feel anything. Together, they painted a portrait of just how cruel war could be.
Meng Qi and Qi Zhengyan used their tokens to enter the camp and immediately made their way to the main battalion camp to look for Du Huaishang and Immortal Wanshi. There, they explained everything that had happened and handed Miao Hu’s life seal to Du Huaishang to show sincerity and loyalty to the Revolutionary Army. It was also to prove that they were unlike those responsible for the conspiracy to control the Marquis of Nine Mountains.
“Now that Heavenly King Du has recovered and has regained the ability to use the divine weapon, and just as the army has forced the imperial court to retreat, now is the right time to put an end to this matter. We must start making follow-up plans.” Meng Qi made his proposal, changing the topic without putting too much emphasis on what had happened.
Du Huaishang looked somewhat proud as he paced back and forth. “With the death of Lord of Shadows and the mistake of the imperial court, the external aggression we face will significantly diminish. Our internal concerns are also minimized with Miao Cong dead and the Marquis of Nine Mountains under control. It is indeed time to clean up the Revolutionary Army and discuss our follow-up plans. This is all thanks to you all!”
He solemnly expressed his thanks.
Immortal Wanshi frowned. “Didn’t you say there is a spy inside the camp that has a grandmaster level offensive power? It is likely the important assistant of Zhu Shou, Feng Jingtang, and Liu Shunshui. If the spy suddenly betrays us in a crucial moment, it will likely result in our defeat. We need to find the spy immediately.”
Thanks to his connection to his doppelganger, he was clear about the situation over at Jiang Zhiwei’s side.
Back then, Zhu Shou and the other top-tier masters had been locked in a fierce battle against the experts of the Imperial Army. Immortal Wanshi believed that they could not afford to distract themselves by trying to assassinate Jiang Zhiwei, Ruan Yushu, and Zhao Heng.
Du Huaishang did not wait for Meng Qi and Qi Zhengyan’s response. He said calmly, “Their loyalties wavered because the outcome was ominous and everyone was making their own plans. Things are different now. Those who are willing to turn to the imperial court will be in the extreme minority. We can’t make the investigation of the spy our priority lest we provoke the experts who have already eliminated their traitorous thoughts. Let’s pretend for now that there is no spy in our ranks and let the unrepenting ones show themselves.”
This was the kind of benevolence that leaders ought to have. Naturally, Meng Qi and Qi Zhengyan would not protest.
“In such a situation, our most important task is to assemble Zhu Shou and the others for a discussion. We need to unite the Revolutionary Army once again.” With a plan in mind, Du Huaishang commanded Hu Zhigao, Hou Yue, and the rest to move separately and invite the chiefs. In the end, he turned to look at Meng Qi and his friends. “Masters, your fame has already spread far and wide for killing Lord of Shadows and discovering a spy. It is no longer suitable for all of you to stay in Zhu Shou’s camp. Let’s put an end to the secret investigation of the spy.”
“Very well,” Meng Qi said, nodding.
The 18 armies that made up the Revolutionary Army were gathered in the main battalion camp an hour later. Du Huaishang, who once again held the Sword of Divine Mandate, stood before them with his pride somewhat restrained.
Miao Hu appeared ill at ease. Being a crafty and ambitious person, he remained a bystander in his son’s affairs. He might not know the details but he could guess what his son’s goals were. He had allowed himself to be caught up in it as it benefitted him and gave him a bargaining chip. Once Du Huaishang recovered, he immediately made his decision and requested the mysterious “Mr. Shi” for help. Under the pretense of “rescuing” his son, he had made it look as if he had thoroughly cut ties with the other side lest he was silenced.
In any case, he knew his son was completely no match for “Mr. Shi” who was considered a First Order master of the world. Their traps might be useless as well. Mr. Shi and his companions may very well easily take them down. When that happened, he could just swear his undying loyalty to Du Huaishang. He believed that would be enough to solve the problem his son posed.
Yet, Du Huaishang did not initiate a private meeting with him and threaten him using his son’s incident. Instead, Du Huaishang called for all the chiefs of the army for a discussion. It felt like he had gone off-script!
Liu Shunshui glanced left and right but did not find the two lieutenants of the Red Coat Army who had come to invite him. That night, they had been searching for the spy alongside his adopted daughter, Yuntao. Where were they now?
He must properly question Du Huaishang on this!
Feng Jingtang was a heavily-bearded, ruddy-faced man who watched the world straightforwardly. He exchanged looks with Zhu Shou and they saw the despair in each other’s eyes.
Du Huaishang’s recovery meant the loss of their opportunity to replace him, at least for the time being!
They were all notable experts of the world. Feng Jingtang, in particular, was a former high official of the imperial court. His qualifications, strength, and reputation were all extraordinary. There was no way he would resign himself to be subordinate to Du Huaishang who was a mere top-tier master.
If not for Du Huaishang’s affinity with the divine weapon and Immortal Wanshi’s assistance, in what aspect would the Red Coat Army differ from the other armies?
While all of them were deep in thought, Du Huaishang spoke.
“Everyone, let me first introduce Master.”
With a clap of Du Huaishang’s hands, Meng Qi and his friends filed out from behind the tent. Zhu Shou’s eyes narrowed and his heart sank. He felt as if someone had just played a joke on him. Miao Hu was staring at Meng Qi and Qi Zhengyan but found no signs of his son anywhere.
Liu Shunshui, Feng Jingtang, and the others were all on their guard. They had only detected two or three people behind the tent but their assumption did not correlate with reality. These people were likely no ordinary characters!
Du Huaishang introduced them, saying, “This is Mr. Shi…”
Meng Qi felt so embarrassed that he wanted to cover his face.
When the introductions were over, Du Huaishang continued, “It is all thanks to Mr. Shi charging into the camp of the Imperial Army alone and killing Lord of Shadows that I am able to recover so quickly.”
“Charging into the camp of the Imperial Army alone and killing Lord of Shadows?”The chiefs who had yet to receive the news all sucked in a breath of air. They were frozen as if they were turned into wooden carvings. They could not even wrap their heads around such a matter.
“This feat should only be achievable with a First Order master with mysterious skill?”
“Moreover, the act of charging into the camp of the Imperial Army alone cannot be simply described as the act of a brave and capable master!”
Du Huaishang did not elaborate on the matter and instead said, “The Masters here have investigated the matter of the spy. Mr. Shi, kindly explain it to everywhere.”
Meng Qi shamelessly took a step forward. “The spy kidnapped Miao Hu’s son and threatened him to incite internal strife. Fortunately, the dutiful Miao Hu took the initiative to report this to Heavenly King Du. We followed the clues to find the spy, who turned out to be Great Heavenly King’s adopted daughter, Liu Yuntao!”
“Nonsense!” Liu Shunshui rose to his feet. He was very protective of his adopted children. “Yuntao’s parents died young and she has been with me on this revolution since she reached marriageable age! She had killed countless noblemen of the imperial court! How could she be the spy?”
He erupted in anger, wanting to obtain an explanation for this ridiculousness.
Without any change in expression, Meng Qi continued, “Times have changed. Liu Yuntao and Miao Cong were old friends who became involved in a secret affair. She used this excuse to lure him to the river bank by the West Hill with plans of seizing him while he was unaware of an ambush. Otherwise, considering Miao Cong’s strength and identity as well as Miao Hu’s protection, who could kidnap him within this heavily-guarded camp?”
His words drew the approval of many chiefs of the army. While they were an entire realm stronger than Miao Cong, they did not have a top-tier master as their fathers. Under such circumstances where even Miao Cong could be kidnapped without anyone noticing, wouldn’t the rest of them have to live in fear?
“Didn’t you also kill Lord of Shadows in a heavily-guarded camp of the Imperial Army and return just as easily, Mr. Shi?” The shrewd and ruthless Liu Shunshui countered with an equally convincing argument.
Meng Qi did not respond to him directly. Instead, he chose to look at Miao Hu and said, “We were a little too late in coming to Young Master Miao’s rescue. Liu Yuntao had him brutally killed but she failed to escape and died as well.”
Miao Hu felt himself turning dizzy and even his voice turned a little faint. “Brutally killed?”
He would have endured the pain of sacrificing his son for the sake of the world. That would at least mean that he could reap the benefits in the future. However, Du Huaishang had recovered and his son had died a tragic death. It was natural for him to lose his composure.
Liu Shunshui unleashed his grandmaster level power without holding back as he glowered at Meng Qi and the others. His power exerted such great pressure on the other chiefs that they trembled incessantly.
Meng Qi clapped his hands, indicating for Hu Zhigao, Hou Yue, and the other lieutenants of the Red Coat Army to carry the bodies of Miao Cong and Liu Yuntao in.
Miao Hu and Liu Shunshui immediately rushed toward the bodies to determine the cause of their deaths.
Meng Qi then said indifferently, “Being a spy, Liu Yuntao had most certainly roped in other Exterior experts. We will be able to know the truth if we interrogate some of them. Don’t you think so, Great Heavenly King?”
Liu Shunshui’s heart turned ice-cold. He spun around to meet Meng Qi’s eyes, which he found to be serene and unfathomable. He could not see any emotion in Meng Qi’s eyes at all. Thus, he snorted and flicked his sleeve. “You want to entrap my entire army? Humph! I would definitely not let this end here if not for the good of the world. Rest assured, I will deal with you once we overthrow the imperial court!”
He acted like his patience had come at a great personal cost as he directly refused investigation on the other high-ranking officers of the Army of Progenies.
Naturally, Du Huaishang would not force him. He said several words of consolation to Liu Shunshui and even implied that he would turn a blind eye to past events as long as they did not harm the Revolutionary Army.
Many chiefs secretly heaved sighs of relief.
Miao Hu failed to discover the true cause of his son’s death. In a hoarse voice, he asked, “Where are his Precious Weapon and Space Ring?”
“The imperial court’s spy had taken them all.” Meng Qi lied without batting an eyelid. “Young Master Miao had long fallen under the spy’s sorcery and his lifespan was already near its end. That was why we failed to rescue him in time.”
That indeed corresponded with Miao Hu’s own inspection. This startled him. He could not figure out exactly what had happened.
Just then, Miao Hu saw Immortal Wanshi spread his right hand for inspection.
Miao Hu’s eyes shrank violently. He immediately saluted in deference and said, “Many thanks to you Masters for finding justice for my son. Now that the imperial court has killed my son, there is no way for me to live under the same sky as them!”
His words were partially true, and partially pitiful as well.
Seeing that Liu Shunshui and Miao Hu were temporarily “surrendering” to Du Huaishang, Zhu Shou and Feng Jingtang’s momentum were immediately suppressed. They dared not act recklessly and followed suit in pledging their allegiance to Du Huaishang.
After all their effort, the Revolutionary Army was now united, at least on the surface. Du Huaishang and Meng Qi both sighed in relief.
“The situation has been reversed. What should we do next?” Du Huaisang asked in a magnanimous manner.
“Of course it is to guard this place as we wait for reinforcements!” Zhu Shou said without hesitation. “Heavenly King Du, since you said the situation has reversed, surely you understand that the fortune sits with us and not the enemy. We only have to guard this place for another half-moon until the rest of the Revolutionary Army south of the river thoroughly eliminates the remnants of the imperial court’s power and rushes over here. When that time comes we will have a First Order master like ‘Flying Cloud of Solitary Hill’ on our side. There will be even more rebels north of the river. When the time comes, the people’s loyalty will waver and the Imperial Army will fall without us doing anything!”
Liu Shunshui, Miao Hu, and the other chiefs indicated their approval. This was the most dependable method, with the only flaw being that they would have to share the “spoils” of overthrowing the imperial court.
Du Huaishang glanced at Meng Qi. “What are your opinions, Masters?”
Meng Qi looked around and shook his head. “Good opportunities are fleeting. If we miss it, it will be our heads on the chopping block!”
“Let’s scare them with words first!”
Then, he gave them his analysis. “Lord of Shadows came from unknown origins and was serving an Ancestor described as a true god. Now that he has died from my hands, that Ancestor would likely make a drastic move. The more time passes, the more dangerous it will be.
“If an unknown Lord of Shadows could be evaluated to be a Second Order master, then it is apparent just how terrifying and mysterious that Ancestor would be. Even if the Ancestor doesn’t truly descend upon us, it doesn’t seem like a difficult task for him to reverse the situation yet again!”
Him murdering Lord of Shadows with Fruits of Karma was simply him postponing the danger. Who knew if the “Fury of Deities and Demons” would find the opportunity to descend with the passing of time? When that happened, their task would be jeopardized!”
“Yet, with our strength at the moment, we won’t be able to break into the camp of the Imperial Army in a short time,” Miao Hu said, frowning.
Meng Qi smiled. “When you were all new and full of righteous energy as you fought the imperial court, what was it that you relied on?”
“The rifts within the imperial court! The conflict between the top-tier masters! Even though the Crown Prince is relying on his divine weapon to suppress them, we may have a chance to rope them if we can make them understand the real situation!”
“If they stay inside the camp, we have no way of infiltrating the camp to rope them in,” Feng Jingtang said.
Du Huaishang pressed his hand. “Before the arrival of the Ancestor, the imperial court would certainly be wary of us staying on guard and waiting for reinforcements. They will definitely choose to attack us. When that happens, we can find a way to relay our message to those experts.”
The other chiefs gave up opposing the proposal now that Du Huaishang had made his stance clear. They began going over the details.
Inside the camp of the Imperial Army, several Exterior experts of the Cult of the Gory Seas were so distressed that they could barely function. It took them an entire day, but they finally managed to put together a small altar so they could request the Ancestor to enlighten them.
Suddenly, a pillar of bloody light fell from the void above and entered one of the experts’ Mud-pill Palace.
The expert recalled everything that had happened to so that the Ancestor could understand.
Then, a short moment later, the Ancestor’s imposing voice echoed in his mind.
In the dead of the night, the same Exterior expert of the Cult of the Gory Seas quietly arrived at the riverside. He took out a yellow paper from his bosom. The handwriting on the paper was red as if written with blood:
“The shades of heaven and earth and the continuum of space and time…”
The ordinary-looking Thousand Character Classic flickered with strange rays of light. One look at it was enough to cause a dizzy spell.
The Exterior expert carefully placed the yellow paper on the surface of the river and watched it sink like a rock. The paper then spontaneously combusted despite the lack of fire, its flames unextinguished by the river water. The expert immediately heaved a sigh of relief.