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Chapter 1132 - Cong Province
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
What exactly was war?
Many disciples of Mount Li had rendered services on the frontlines, had participated in the war against the demons.
But in terms of understanding of war, there truly was no one present that could compare to Zhexiu.
Guan Feibai and the others looked to Qiushan Jun.
Whether in cultivation or in life, whenever they encountered some unsolvable question, they would seek the instruction of their eldest brother. This was a habit they had developed over many years.
Qiushan Jun said, "Don't look at me. I also don't know, and I don't plan to know either."
Guan Feibai and the others were rather surprised while Gou Hanshi was deeply shocked. He had understood Qiushan Jun's hidden meaning.
Before leaving, Nanke had said that she would meet everybody in that place.
Senior Brother, are you… not intending to go?
As the morning sun rose, the true appearance of the grassland was revealed. The wounds left by the crushing pressure of the mountain ranges extended for several dozen li and looked rather spectacular.
A massive kite flew on the winds in the distance. As for where this kite had gone last night and how Xiao Zhang had managed to produce it again, nobody knew. Its curiosity piqued, the White Crane flew off in pursuit. It followed the kite for ten-some li before Xiao Zhang under the kite could no longer stand being awkwardly stared at and cursed, causing Xu Yourong to call the White Crane back.
Wang Po also prepared to leave, not chatting very much with Chen Changsheng. Just like Xiao Zhang, he was simple and straightforward, because everyone knew that they would meet again soon.
He left the Red Cloud Qilin behind, not saying if this was his intention or the intention of the individual in Luoyang. Chen Changsheng guessed that it was the latter.
The grass grew quickly in the warmth of the spring sun. Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong walked deeper into the grassland and discovered a few traces left behind by the Elves.
Back in the Garden of Zhou, he had believed her to be a young Elf girl who had wholeheartedly devoted herself to the revival of her homeland. Later on, when he was returning the swords of the Garden of Zhou to the various sects of the world, the Pope asked if he wanted any reward. He had requested this grassland with the intent of helping her complete her dying wish.
It was only later on that he realized that this had been a misunderstanding, and he also learned that the Elf race had traveled to the distant Great Western Continent with no thought of returning to the Eastern Continent.
This grassland became his and Xu Yourong's property.
From a certain perspective, this grassland was a physical symbol of their love. One could also think of it as a betrothal gift.
When they reached the deepest part of the grassland, Chen Changsheng spread his left arm out in the sunlight. A black pearl of stone sat in his palm.
Winds howled, thunder rumbled, and a faint stench filled the air as the sun was obscured and the world went dark.
Tens of thousands of monsters appeared on the grassland, as dense as a tide.
These monsters famed for their cruelty and fighting power were unexpectedly disciplined. They obediently prostrated on the ground, not even daring to breathe too loudly.
These monsters came from the Garden of Zhou.
Based on the agreement these monsters had reached with Chen Changsheng, those monsters willing to leave the Garden of Zhou had now all been sent by him to the grassland of the Elf race.
These monsters accounted for one-third of the monsters living in the Garden of Zhou.
The Monster Bull and the Mountain-toppling Fiend did not come out. They had grown used to their lives in the Plains of the Unsetting Sun. Moreover, they had experienced the cruelties of the real world several centuries ago and had no interest in it now.
The Earth Monkey came out again. It kneeled at the very front of the monster herd, the place closest to Chen Changsheng, and kissed the dirt at his feet.
"Remember to not leave this grassland."
Chen Changsheng reminded the Earth Monkey.
This was a condition of their agreement.
This grassland that once belonged to the Elves was exceptionally vast and was bordered by two extremely long mountain ranges. If not for the insufferable winters and the overly bloody atmosphere, it would have never been so deserted. But to these monsters, these were all challenges that could be overcome.
"Have you never thought about the problem that will be posed if the monsters continue to multiply and add to their numbers?"
Xu Yourong looked around at the monsters in the grassland with a very mixed expression.
"That's a matter for several thousand years later. There's no need to think of a problem so far away."
Chen Changsheng thought some more and added, "I probably won't be able to live until then."
Xu Yourong said, "It's precisely because you'll be dead then that you need to think about this problem. Besides you, these monsters won't listen to the order of any human."
Chen Changsheng sighed, "Your words are truly too reasonable."
Xu Yourong proposed, "If these monsters were used to fight against the Demon race's wolf cavalry, the results should be astounding."
Chen Changsheng had found himself speechless and rather rueful to the previous question, but he earnestly responded to this one.
"This is a war between us and the demons. There's no reason for them to participate, and it's very dangerous."
Xu Yourong asked, "Should we not use our entire strength in the war against the demons?"
Chen Changsheng said, "I don't think so. It's fine as long as we do our best."
Last night, Mountain Man Yanzhi had stopped Mountain Men Jingbo and Yichun from taking revenge for him and had them leave. Afterward, he had said something.
He had done his best for the demons and could see his teacher with pride after his death, so he didn't need to do anything else.
Chen Changsheng had never thought about whether he would have the pride to see his martial uncle or Archbishop Mei Lisha after he died. He only needed to think about whether what he did could convince himself.
Because he cultivated the Dao of following his heart.
The conclusion he obtained at the end was very similar to Mountain Man Yanzhi's. It was fine as long as he did his best. As long as he truly did his best, his heart would be at peace.
How could one do their best? He could sacrifice his life, but he didn't need to sacrifice more than that.
Like altering the way of interaction in this world.
This was even more important than living.
Xu Yourong pondered this and said, "Even if this is what you really think, you shouldn't say it."
He was the Pope of the Human race. His every word and action would have massive influence over his fervent believers and could even alter the course of the war.
Chen Changsheng understood what she meant and sighed, "I can only say it front of you and the others."
As his status grew more and more esteemed, and his prestige climbed higher and higher, it grew increasingly inconvenient for him to speak of many things. For instance, he could no longer sit by Tang Thirty-Six on the great banyan tree, peeling off bark to throw at the fat koi in the lake and then having Xuanyuan Po stew ten blue lobsters for an hour in ginger and pepper before throwing them into the lake for the fish to feast on.
The rules of the Orthodox Academy clearly stated that fishing, catching, hitting, or any other action that could harm the fish was strictly forbidden, and Su Moyu sternly enforced these rules. Crucially, there were too many teachers and students watching, and ten blue lobsters were far too extravagant. Tang Thirty-Six could eat them, but as Pope, he could not.
Xu Yourong knew what he meant by 'others'.
Besides her, there were also those few people in the Orthodox Academy.
Even though those people had already left the Orthodox Academy, returning to White Emperor City or going to Mount Li…
They were still Chen Changsheng's most trusted and most intimate friends.
"Tang Thirty-Six would probably only feel that it was a pity that we couldn't fully utilize these monsters, but Zhexiu would definitely be furious. In that wolf cub's view, anything that can help one kill the enemy should be carried out. Your action seems benevolent, impressive, and open-minded, but it's really just stupid."
Xu Yourong's face was covered in derision.
It was still as beautiful as a painting.
Chen Changsheng bitterly smiled, "I feel like you think the same."
Xu Yourong ignored him and began to walk out of the grassland.
Chen Changsheng suddenly thought of something and called the Earth Monkey back to tell it a few more things.
The Wolf tribe was currently living on the northeast corner of this grassland. Although they were still very far, he was worried that the two sides would meet in the future, so he warned the Earth Monkey.
That part of the grassland had been purchased by Zhexiu.
Three years ago, they had all spent the new-year holidays at Mount Li. Zhexiu had suddenly made this request, truly leaving the rest of them shocked.
Chen Changsheng had naturally been unwilling to accept the money, but Zhexiu had insisted.
He had taken out all the money he had saved up over the years. Although it was not necessarily enough to buy the entire grassland, the amount was still quite staggering. Even Tang Thirty-Six had clicked his tongue in praise.
It was only then that everyone else found that when Zhexiu was expelled from the tribe as a child by the elders, quite a few women and youths had helped him in secret.
He wanted to repay this kindness by moving the tribe from the bitterly cold plains of snow to someplace better.
He had lived the last few years in excessive frugality, putting his life on the line to kill enemies and gain military achievements, all for the sake of saving enough money.
He had finally done it, and how could the elders of his tribe possibly dare to show him any disrespect now?
During the Grand Examination, Tang Thirty-Six had used half a roast chicken to bribe Zhexiu. In the following battle, Zhexiu had battled with Gou Hanshi, who was an entire cultivation realm above him, until the sun went down, playing a most critical role in Chen Changsheng's eventual victory. He had paid a most grievous price for this, as he had to be carried out on a stretcher, his body drenched in blood.
But when everyone was incredibly touched, he was only thinking about one thing: more money.
Chen Changsheng felt very emotional as he thought of those old times. He wondered about how Zhexiu was doing at Mount Li and knew that with the war between the humans and demons about to begin, Zhexiu would definitely go north. As for Nanke… The smile on his face slowly receded.
He was well aware of the state of Nanke's illness.
For many reasons, he had not much enjoyed spending time in the capital in the last few years. He would often travel around and had visited Mount Li many times.
Other than those people of the Orthodox Academy, only those fellows of the Mount Li Sword Sect dared to not treat him as Pope, making him feel more comfortable.
Every year, his senior brother went to Luoyang to spend the new-year holidays. Other than one year when he went to Wenshui, he spent the other years going with Xu Yourong to Mount Li.
In these intervening years, he had gone to Mount Li around thirty times.
But every time Nanke saw him, her innocent face would break out into a sincere smile, then she would snatch at his sleeve and be unwilling to let go.
Even when he slept, she insisted on sleeping in the same room, even though she had to sleep on the floor, even though Xu Yourong had a very indifferent expression.
This was a habit she had formed during her time at Sloping Cliff Horse Farm, a matter which Qiushan Jun was well aware of.
Nanke was still a little dull-witted, but she still deeply trusted Chen Changsheng and found it very difficult to part with him.
She was keenly aware of who treated her the best.
Chen Changsheng truly did treat her very well.
The two really did seem like actual siblings.
Chen Changsheng was keenly aware of how her illness was doing. He had left her at Mount Li in the hopes that the Sect Master would be able to cure her.
He had been keeping a watchful eye on the progression of her illness. When visiting this year for the new year's festivities, he knew that her illness was on the verge of being cured.
This also meant that she was about to wake up.
When the time came, what would she do? And what should he do?
After a long period of contemplation, he left a letter with Gou Hanshi and said that if Nanke showed signs of waking up, the letter should be opened.
Was that letter still unopened at this time?
The Red Cloud Qilin could cover several thousand li in a day, and the White Crane was the swiftest of immortal birds. If they were willing, Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong could fly straight back to the capital, but they decided to stop mid-journey. Perhaps it was because of that scarlet flame that had appeared in the sky in front of them.
This flame did not actually exist, but was condensed from countless strands of bloody Qi and killing intent. It was only visible to the eyes of those who had broken into the Divine Domain.
Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong were still a distance away from that threshold, but they had special statuses that made them Saints. Moreover, they carried the Heavenly Tome Monoliths with them, so they could sense it.
The wilderness was covered in people. From high in the sky, they looked like a dense collection of black ants, but this was not actually the case.
Fear appeared in the White Crane's eyes upon seeing that flame, but the Red Cloud Qilin became excited, flapping its wings even faster.
The Cong Province Army was currently assembled on the wasteland and was currently in the middle of intense training. A formidable Qi would occasionally rise from the army. Some of them were clearly the work of array masters while others came from cultivators skilled in controlling swords. Chen Changsheng even saw the Raging Inferno Shroud of the southern Setting Sun Sect in the southwest corner of the army.
This army was truly quite frightening. Even he and Xu Yourong would not be able to engage in a head-on confrontation with it.
Finally, Chen Changsheng saw the general at the front of this army.
This general had an extremely formidable Qi indicating that he was an expert of the upper Star Condensation Realm. He was presumably the Divine General of the Cong Province Army headquarters.
A gale blew through the wastes, causing the banners of the Great Zhou Army to flap in the wind and blowing about the clothes of the soldiers.
The general's sleeve flapped in the wind. He was missing an arm.
He was Xue He.
In the coup of the Mausoleum of Books, his elder brother Xue Xingchuan was poisoned to death by Zhou Tong. Afterward, the Imperial Court and the army engaged in a cruel purge, one which he naturally could not avoid. He was stripped of his post and jailed beneath the alley of the Northern Military Department. It was only on the day that Chen Changsheng, Mo Yu, and Zhexiu killed Zhou Tong that he was finally able to see the light of day.
Later on, the Li Palace stepped forward, resulting in his release, but he was forbidden from staying in the capital and forbidden from returning to Cong Province. The Imperial Court transferred him to Huang Province, where he became the deputy commander for the local militia. Fortunately, he had a good commanding officer, and he spent his days swimming in rivers, climbing mountains, and taking part in poetry competitions. Although it could not be called a particularly happy life, it was a rather peaceful one.
And then, a storm suddenly came, master and disciple fought within the Orthodox Academy, and the Maple Forest Pavilion became a ruin. The situation was finally changed.
The emperor began to push forward a new government, allowing a group of officials from the previous government to reassume government positions. Xue He was among them, assigned to the post of Education Overseer of Star Seizer Academy.
In his three years at Star Seizer Academy, Xue He bitterly studied military strategy and had a large breakthrough in his cultivation. Without even knowing it, he reached the upper level of Star Condensation.
The emperor transferred him to Cong Province where he took on his elder brother's position, becoming Divine General of the Cong Province Army headquarters.
There was a dull thump.
Xue He kneeled, his knee smashing the hard gray stones.
His eyes were slightly red, his body trembling.
His composed and imposing air as he commanded an army of tens of thousands outside the city was no more.
The Younger Madam Xue and two sons of around eight or nine kneeled behind him.
The Xue clan was ruled strictly. The two young masters did not understand why their father had lost control of himself, but they did not dare ask.
The Younger Madam Xue had guessed at who this young man and woman were, so she was all too willing to kneel. She was only concerned that she was not being respectful enough.