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Chapter 52: How To Do It?
Ding Ning lifted his head slightly but did not look at the corpse of the Wuzhi cultivator. As he looked up, several sharp whistles sounded from the Wuzhi cavalry.
Accompanied by the whistles, the cavalry stopped advancing and then retreated like the tide down the mountain slope at their fastest speed. They did not attack again, only continuing to withdraw into the grassland.
Bursts of cheers and shouts erupted from the Imperial Guard Army and the walls of Guyu Pass. This was undoubtedly a victory worthy of being proud.
This Wuzhi cavalry charged and retreated, leaving behind six to seven hundred corpses on the slopes. The Imperial Guard Army had only a few fatalities.
Yet looking at the retreating cavalry, Ding Ning’s brow furrowed deeply. Nangong Caishu’s body trembled in excitement. This was her first time on a true battlefield, and this was a battle of the weak and the strong.
“What is it?” She was confused at Ding Ning’s worried expression.
“The enemy has a powerful general, and he is within the vanguard.” Ding Ning did not look at her and focused on the cavalry that had retreated into the dark grasslands. He said slowly and seriously, “Ordinary generals will likely choose to retreat and attack Guyu Pass because all the cultivators of Guyu Pass are here. Even though they have lost so many people, they still have an advantage against Guyu Pass.”
Nangong Caishu stilled. She felt a sweat break out on her back and felt great terror.
Ding Ning continued. “This general chose to not attack Guyu Pass, not because we frightened him, but because he does not want to take risks and lose more people.”
Nangong Caishu took a deep breath. As the cold air entered her lungs, her body also grew colder. “So he is choosing to wait until the main army arrives?”
Ding Ning nodded. His gaze fell onto the Wuzhi cultivator’s corpse near him. “This Wuzhi cultivator is not much weaker than Palace Attendant Rong … The general leading this army is naturally much stronger.”
Nangong Caishu turned stark white. If a vanguard army had such an outstanding general, then how strong would be the highest ranking general of the entire army?
“We still have the chance to win,” Ding Ning turned around and said softly to Nangong Caishu. He nodded towards her, indicating for her to not follow.
Nangong Caishu understood his meaning and watched him walk a short distance.
Ding Ning walked next to the carriages. Within these carriages were the craftsmen who were not skilled in battle but repairing military ordnance as well as Zhangsun Qianxue
In the previous march, the Imperial Guard Army had grown used to Ding Ning lingering around the carriage most of the time. It was as though Ding Ning would obtain more peace beside the carriage, or rather, he could think better.
Ding Ning walked next to Zhangsun Qianxue’s carriage. The Imperial Guard Army was starting to clean the battlefield and preparing for Ding Ning’s next orders.
A middle-aged cultivator dressed in robes the color of dried grass was slowly walking towards Ding Ning. He held the Last Flower remnant sword that had fallen on the battlefield previous with a solemn and respectful expression. He came with great respect, wanting to return the sword to Ding Ning.
“You stop there.”
At this moment, Ding Ning looked at him and then made a hand gesture. This was a military order.
The Imperial Guard Army soldiers around him still immersed in the aura of blood and steel immediately reacted. The soldiers next to this middle-aged cultivator instantly surrounded him, their gleaming blades all pointed at the middle-aged cultivator.
This middle-aged cultivator looked in speechless shock at Ding Ning. “This is?”
Ding Ning did not immediately answer his question. Then he pointed at an armor wearing commander not far from the middle-aged cultivator.
That general wore the armor of the border army, and was a cultivator from Guyu Pass.
“And you.” He looked at this commander and said, “You two have nothing to say?”
The wind seemed to grow colder. The slope was silent. Many of the Imperial Guard Army soldiers reacted after a moment. Even though they did not see a new order, there was a burst of footsteps and this armor-wearing commander was also surrounded.
The surrounded commander looked up, his expression unusually cold. He said coldly, “Are you crazy?”
Ding Ning calmly looked at him and said, “In the battle, everyone else was normal, only you two were unusual.”
This middle-aged man in grass-colored robes had a pale face. The commander’s expression grew colder as his eyes narrowed. “I do not understand your meaning.”
“Of all the cultivators who came from Guyu Pass, you two killed the fewest enemies, but you are not the weakest cultivators.”
Ding Ning looked at the commander who was going to speak and interrupted him. “Do not say that you are kind, you both only killed two enemy soldiers, and those were all unimportant ordinary riders … In the last part of battle when the enemy charged, you were of almost no effect. You acted like you were fighting, but did not truly fight. Can you tell me why?”
Hearing this, the commander paled, and everyone on the slopes looked with shock at Ding Ning. They did not believe that he could have noticed the details of these cultivators during the battle.
“Just based on your words?” The paling commander looked at Ding Ning and shouted what they found hard to believe. “Who knows if you saw incorrectly? How do you know we only killed two people?”
“You should be from the Fish-Dragon Sword Temple, your first attack was the Fish-Dragon Transformation, but your sword essence was directed to a place with no enemies. What is most suspicious is your Migratory Sword. You could have stabbed that Wuzhi cultivator in the stomach, but you turned your sword and only brushed the enemy.” Ding Ning’s expression did not change even as he narrated slowly.
As he spoke calmly, this commander’s expression turned tense and his body trembled uncontrollably. In the next moment, this commander howled wildly and pulled out his longsword from his waist.
But in this moment, at least two flying swords lingering not far from this commander fell towards the commander. He had only taken a step forward when he fell to the ground like a piece of wood, causing a spray of dust and blood.
Of the two flying swords, one was the crimson flying sword that had appeared the sharpest and effective in the previous battle. The master of this flying sword, a tall and thin man, looked with unspeakable respect at Ding Ning stunned in thought: How did he do it?
Ding Ning looked at the middle-aged cultivator holding the Last Flower remnant sword and said seriously and sincerely, “Your life depends on you.”