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Chapter Five: Gold Wind
“The success of a scheme is not dependent on whether it is clever, but if the plan has foresight and to what degree the person carrying out the plan can do so,” the woman did not look at Ji Xingbai but the sky over by the Chu land. She said peacefully, “There were tens of thousands of soldiers escorting tens of thousands of people. As a cultivator, it is easy to find a chance to leave, and it is also easy to find a chance to join these people. Even more importantly, no one expects me to be among these people.”
Ji Xingbai took a deep breath. His heart was beating rapidly, and his sickly white face flushed a feverish red.
No one would have thought that she would sneak into the people being driven away. Right now, the Chu emperor was Li Lingjun, but everyone knew the strongest ruler of the Chu Dynasty was the empress dowager who had once been the Demon Consort Zhao. Yet now, the legendary ruler of the Chu Dynasty was in front of him.
This was a very risky move.
From a certain point of view, if she was killed, the war was fated to end. If the Chu Dynasty did not have her, it would quickly break apart and descend into chaos. The Changling cultivators would pay attention to the movements of every powerful cultivator in the Chu military, but likely, no one truly understood her, and no one knew of her movements.
She being here was a miracle. This woman, the former Consort Zhao Xiang, the now empress dowager of the Chu, sat down, just like the lone and helpless women of this troop. She even sat with the same position and air as them. She sat on the ground, her arms around her knees and her chin resting on it.
In reality, the loneliness and sorrow she showed was not deliberate. Even in the Chu Dynasty imperial palace, she had been very lonely. Each day, for the position she was in, many bloody things were happening. Some people who hated her were dying, and some people loyal to her were dying.
When the Qin troops withdrew, she learned the news of her master’s death in Changling. She thought that her master had died in the bloody storm years ago before Yuanwu ascended the throne. Now, she learned that her master had been hiding in the Changling imperial palace all these years, but just after learning her master was alive, her master had died. So right now, she was very sad. Her master had died for the Chu people of the Yangshan Commandery. So saving the lives of these people was akin to her master’s dying wish. There seemed to be fate.
“You want to have a final battle with me here, so I will have a final battle with you here.” She looked at the setting sun, and thought towards the woman in the Changling imperial palace. She did not know if the other woman would ever feel sorrow.
The night came.
Light would bring people warmth. Darkness would make people panic and lost. If they could not settle the emotions of these seventy thousand Chu people, when night came, despair would spread.
Luckily, through her observations these days, there were no problems. The vital energy from Ji Xingbai had the ability to temporarily help the people by removing hunger and pain. Even though he was only a realm six cultivator, having a cultivator like him who had been in this group all this time, having already become people’s pillars of strength, was more effective than the motivation from any realm seven.
When the last thread of light disappeared, he successfully ordered the group to start walking towards the small lake she had spoken off.
The sound of water emerged. Using the fire light, some of the stronger people started to go into the water to catch fish under the direction of those who had experience. This was a shallow lake, most of the water only went up to a person’s chest. When the dry season came, this would dry up, and become a meadow.
The tired Ji Xingbai walked to the shore next to her, and silently sat down.
Some things would distract people and bring hope, but when the morning came, whether or not these seventy thousand people would listen to him depended on whether the Chu troops could bring food and medicine tonight.
But even with her promise, how could the Chu soldiers accomplish this?
The food that seventy thousand people needed was not a small amount. Even if preparations had been made long ago, how could such a number of Chu soldiers hide from the Qin troops and safely reach here? He could not help but feel doubts, but he did not dare to suspect. He did not even dare to look at the woman and talk to her to avoid drawing attention to her.
Consort Zhao Xiang found a dry piece of grass to sit down like an ordinary woman. Her gaze seemed to be locked onto the people who were fishing, but in reality, she was looking at the other side of the shore.
Without any warning, Ji Xingbai’s breathing stuttered. He sensed the ground starting to tremble, the vibration coming from the other shore.
At this time, other than cultivators like him, the Chu people who were gathered by the shore could not sense the far away vibration. But in just a few breaths, he was sure that this was the vibration of hooves stamping on the ground.
This was a military troop sprinting, and far faster than a cavalry’s normal limits. The rate of the hooves hitting the ground caused him to feel a presence of giving up everything.
He suddenly understood. He stood up, and choked, his eyes brimming with tears.
Even ignoring the safety of their steeds and pressing them to their limits to reach such a speed.
Dozens of breaths after he stood up, the stronger people standing in the water to catch fish sensed something. They saw the unusual ripples on the water, and then heard the noise in the air.
It was another army sprinting, the hooves beating on the ground, but they could not catch up to the previous troop. That troop was reckless, coming like the wind, madly charging towards the shallow lake.
Ji Xingbai could not control his emotions. In the darkness, he turned to look at Consort Zhao Xiang on the shore. He saw that she was still sitting there, almost one with the other women, but her expression was indescribably solemn.
Pew pew pew .. …
The thunder of the hooves was suddenly covered up by the sound of the air tearing. There were many streams of fire in the air, accompanied by more black shadows. Those were arrows, were seal weapons, and maybe even the flying swords of cultivators.
There were shouting coming from the madly sprinting troop, but everyone ignored the fatal arrows and flying swords. The shouts and screams turned to faster speed. The air was filled with blood and explosions.
The trees and reeds on the shore were crushed by the black shadows that came in. The sound of the dry branches cracking and the bones breaking mixed together. The Chu people on this side of the shore were unable to breathe, their mouths open as they looked at this scene they had never imagined before.
The sprinting horses charged from the shore, smashing forward through the trees and reeds before falling hard into the lake water. The light of metal came falling after, and more golden metallic lights stabbed into them as they charged down. The air on the opposite shore flowed with golden metal wind, flowing fire, killing intent, and death. Waves of cavalry, so fast they were unimaginable, charged recklessly forward, were killed, and fell into the lake.
This scene was not just for an instant, and lasted very long. Soon, the water of the shallow lake was dyed red. Even in the darkness, they were a deep blood color.
When all the shouts and screams stopped, and there were no longer mad horses carrying their riders to crash into the lake, the metal in the air finally stopped. There were only the clear sounds of hooves hitting the ground and patrolling around.
At this time, many Chu people started to breathe again, and even cry. Some looked at the floating horses and human corpses in the lake. They started to understand what had happened, and their body trembled.
Ji Xingbai’s hands trembled. He was not a general, but even a general may not see thousands of cavalry go to their deaths in front of him like this.
He looked at the other shore. Through the lingering firelight, he could see the figures of cavalry in black armor leaving. His hands were icy but his body was so hot. His blood seemed to be burning.
“Have people pull out the horses and remains. The remains have to be quickly dealt with before they infect the water source.”
At this time, an icy voice reached his ears. He knew this was Consort Zhao Xiang’s voice, and knew this coldness was not because of her cruelty and ruthlessness, and it was directed at their enemies.
“The food they have will not last for long. We need to preserve the meat of these horses as fast as possible. Try to give up on the useless sorrow. If the power of the seventy thousand people bought with the lives of these four thousand is not greater, then the Chu Dynasty is truly dead.”
On the shore, her head was bowed as she spoke into Ji Xingbai’s ears.
Translator Ramblings: This was a depressing chapter to translate.