“King of Hell Chu is seriously wounded; his five internal organs have been ruptured… But, have you seen this with your own eyes?” Wang Teng Long asked as the coldness in his eyes became intense.
“The subordinate… the subordinate hasn’t seen…” Sun Fuhu stuck out his chest as he replied loudly.
“You haven’t seen it yourself… then how can you say that he’s seriously injured?” Wang Teng Long looked at him seriously.
“This…” Sun Fuhu was speechless. [This information has come straight from the sources of the Golden Horse Riders Department; it has even undergone the approval of Prime Minister Diwu. Can’t it be considered as authentic?]
“Don’t believe such news until you’ve seen it for yourself.” Wang Teng Long said in a strict manner, “We are soldiers and generals. So, we must pay great attention to evidence. If we haven’t seen something with our own eyes… then we must confirm it even if the entire world believes it to be the truth. Otherwise… our gullible nature will bring-about our doom.
“The people of Jianghu can escape if they get defeated. They can come back ten years later to take revenge; it still won’t be too late. The politicians can forebear if they’re defeated. They can wait, keep a low profile and conceal their strengths to make a comeback later on. But, military soldiers turn into a mountain of bones or a sea of blood when they are defeated. For us… a crushing defeat is beyond redemption.”
Wang Teng Long said fiercely, “Several of our brothers will get buried in the battlefield if we get defeated. Our dead brothers will never come back even if we get an opportunity to turn that defeat into victory later.
“We can’t let our brothers die in vain. Understood?” Wang Teng Long shouted coldly.
“Yes.” Sun Fuhu stood straight. He felt that his back had been covered in cold sweat.
“If you still think the same as before… then I will never leave the reins of the army in your hands,” Wang Teng Long said insipidly.
“Yes… your humble subordinate will never dare to think like that,” Sun Fuhu sweated profusely as he said.
“Relay this order to everyone – pitch the camps quicker. Then, bury the pots in the ground to cook rice. This must be done at the fastest possible speed. The camps must be pitched and the iron cooking pots must be set-up to cook food within a quarter of an hour. The soldiers must be done with eating food within half an hour.” Wang Teng Long tilted his head to one side as he looked at the chaotic troops. He frowned as he said, “I’m giving them only half-an-hour. They must eat within the allocated time… even if they have to eat uncooked rice.”
Wang Teng Long was slightly worried as he looked at the mountain-forest on the opposite side. He muttered, “If we are to meet with a mishap and King of Hell Chu is to escape from here… then his only chance to do that is… now. The consequences would be disastrous if he were to escape getting captured here.”
“Yes!” Sun Fuhu didn’t agree with this decision. However, he didn’t dare to say anything and went down to relay the order.
[Everyone must finish eating within half-an-hour… the allocated time is not that short. But, the army has been marching at a fast pace, and has arrived here moments ago. The soldiers and horses are worn-out. They haven’t had enough time to rest. It will take time to set up the barracks… even if everyone works together. Afterwards, a pot must be buried in the ground in accordance with the location of each camp.]
[Light a fire… add water… cook rice… and then eat one’s fill within the given timeframe…]
[Half-an-hour isn’t enough. One can only eat half of one’s fill even if everyone works in the fastest possible manner. It seems that the army will have to eat half-cooked food this time.]
Sun Fuhu sighed. He then marched down at double his speed to relay the order to the troops. He didn’t understand why the army had to go through so much torment for this King of Hell Chu… Going so far for just one guy…?
Sun Fuhu was discontented, while Wang Teng Long was anxious and impatient.
He tried his best not to blink as he looked at the mountain-forest on the opposite side. The sense of crisis in his heart was getting heavier. [This is the only opportunity for King of Hell Chu to break through my defense since everyone is busy for the time being.]
Wang Teng Long was sure that King of Hell Chu wouldn’t be able to pass this check-point if he missed this opportunity; he wouldn’t be able to pass even if he were a God.
He was getting impatient. He was worried about whether or not King of Hell Chu would seize this opportunity.
The best scenario for Wang Teng Long would be, [… when everyone’s done with setting up the camps… and the entire army has eaten their fill to preserve and nurture their strength for the big push.]
He was impatiently waiting for the time to fly by.
He had never been this nervous since the time he had joined the army. He knew the importance of capturing King of Hell Chu. The overall situation of the war depended upon this.
The smoke started to rise from the barracks. The soldiers had received the orders. They knew that this was a time of urgency. Therefore, they had gone into action without any delay.
These people were old army-ruffians. They seemed to be lazy and out-of-shape. They seemed to lack strength, and looked as if they could fall anytime as they walked. However, they would pull themselves out of their usual lazy-selves, and get to work with everything they had when their endurance was put to test at the time of an emergency.
These people had become indifferent since they had got used to life-and-death situations. This indifference resulted in their usual laziness.
However, their mental outlook changed as soon as they went into action.
“Maybe… there’s still some time.” Wang Teng Long was slightly relieved. He went to the forefront with his personal team of guards after he had issued the order.
He had only three hundred personal guards, but they were experts; every last one of them. The weakest among them was a Martial Master. There were a few Martial Great Masters and a Revered Martial Artists among them as well.
The strength of these experts seemed humble. However, one mustn’t forget that this wasn’t an ordinary army.
A commander must have an extraordinary charisma to employ these many experts in an army since it required them to willingly resign themselves to the rank of soldiers.
Wang Teng Long marched forward with his personal guards. They hadn’t yet lined-up in formation. Suddenly, his complexion changed as he looked far into the distance towards the mountain. He waved his hand and cried out loud to alert everyone, “Enemy attack! The enemy is charging at our camp. All personnel to stay on guard!”
His face became flushed as he shouted at the top of his lungs. Then, he issued a burst of intense hoarse sounds. He almost spouted blood in this process. The well-trained troops responded immediately. Suddenly, the bugle horns sounded. Everyone stopped doing whatever they were doing, and grabbed their weapons.
Wang Teng Long had lost his mental-strength; he had become incapable of thinking in a straight manner.
He had seen the birds flying away from a hilltop. Then, he had heard some faint sounds of activity from the same spot. However, it was calm and tranquil when he had looked again carefully.
He had been thinking whether this was caused by a person or a wild beast when he saw a burst of undulating ripples in the thicket of grass that was located at a distance of about 1000 feet from the location of the troops.
It was after this that he had made a noise by shouting out loud.
However, a shadow rushed forward at a lightning speed before his voice got a chance to resound; it seemed as if the lightning carried a raging thunder-like murderous aura with itself. The shadow approached them with a loud ‘bang’ sound. Wang Teng Long saw the fuzzy figure of a person using a strange stance. Then, the figure crashed into the formation of ten thousand soldiers.
A deep voice resounded; it reeked of murderous spirit, “One ray of cold light pierces… ten thousand fathoms!”
A sword light equivalent to thousand waterfalls broke through the Milky Way’s impediment and flooded across five thousand kilometers.
Suddenly, a blood-curdling scream resounded through the clear sky.
It seemed as if the murderous aura had condensed and swept-across the entire canyon.
Wang Teng Long closed his eyes in pain. [The fragrance of cooked rice has started to spread. It’s the most relaxed time for an army that has had a long and wearisome journey. They’ve set-up their camps, and wait to eat their meals. Some people hold their rice bowls by the cooking pots. They push and shove each other to be the first ones to get the serving. Some people must be cursing…]
[They’re running out of time. So, they want to grab the first bowl of rice. This is going to decide who’d get to eat their fill and who wouldn’t. Therefore, the entire army is in a chaotic mess.]
[Everyone in the army is vulnerable at this time; regardless of whether one is an ‘elite’ or not …they can collapse at the very first blow.]
[How did King of Hell Chu grasp this moment of utmost vulnerability so precisely…? …despite being separated by so much distance?] Wang Teng Long was puzzled by this fact. He remained perplexed despite having spared it some thought. However, he quickly took a correct decision, “This is my order – the rear troops must prepare to block the enemy.”
The vanguard troops had been broken-through by the enemy. They could at-most block the enemy for a short while. But, they couldn’t stop him for long; especially once one considers his speed. The only hope was to depend on the rear troops.
Wang Teng Long was deeply worried; he felt as if his chest was on fire.
[I only need a moment. No… I need a little time. I need some time to guide my troops into a response in this extremely chaotic situation… and to help them gain the required battle efficiency.]
[But… will King of Hell Chu give me the required time?]
[The answer is certainly… no.]
Chu Yang had been dormant until now. He had moved into action because of the fleeting of time. He had seen the smoke rising from the barracks. Therefore, he had dashed-out five minutes later.
The fragrance of cooked rice had started to disseminate by that time.
The soldiers had camped after a long and tiresome journey. Therefore, they were tired and hungry.
The smell of rice had entered the noses of the hungry soldiers. This was the smell of heaven for them. Their minds were full of desire for food.
Their desire would become more ardent once the food was completely cooked.
Chu Yang had experienced this feeling countless times in his life. Therefore, he understood it well.
Hence, he had selected this particular moment to charge forward and break-through the defense-line of the famous general. The defense-line of the army hadn’t yet taken form. So, Chu Yang would be taking an unfair advantage even if he managed to defeat the general. However, Chu Yang had no choice but to take advantage of someone else’s difficulties.
He had quickly employed the Nine Tribulations Technique to conceal his appearance. Then, he had dashed-across one thousand feet. He had come out of the thicket of grass and had arrived before the army’s formation. He had left a three hundred feet long trail in the thicket of grass; the strands of grass waved to and fro.
His speed was indeed shocking.
Even Chu Yang was baffled by his own speed.
He had never anticipated that the combined might of the three fragments of the Nine Tribulations Sword would be so massive.
‘One ray of cold light pierces ten thousand fathoms! Unleashed!’
Dozens of people tried to dodge it, but it was too late. They screamed as their bodies rotated in the air. Streams of blood gushed-out of their bodies, and went whirling in every direction. Their bodies had transformed into a sack of broken bones and meat within a split-second of Chu Yang’s passing from their vicinity. Their bodies eventually fell apart.
Chu Yang didn’t stop. He continued to advance like a whirlwind. There was a cold and cruel look on his face; there wasn’t the slightest trace of mercy in his eyes.
The Sword Spirit revealed a faint smile in his consciousness and muttered, “This time’s ‘one ray of cold light pierces ten thousand fathoms’… looks a little bit like the original move…”
Chu Yang’s sword killed several soldiers with each swing. He felt a slight vibration in his palms as strands of heat crept through them and entered his body. He felt as if his own spirit had been roused.
Chu Yang’s heart thumped as he remembered the Sword Spirit’s words from the day when he had obtained the third fragment of the Nine Tribulations Sword, “Starting today… the Nine Tribulations Sword will have a new function. It shall be aimed at the benefit of the Master of the Nine Tribulations Sword – devour the power of life!”