The Divine Martial Stars

Chapter 328 - White Wolves

Chapter 328 White Wolves

The situation reversed so radically that everyone felt they suddenly woke up in the middle of a nightmare. Zong Wei, the Eight-armed Judge, and the other soldiers guarding the Longcheng Pass burst into whoops after they recovered from a lasting shock. Their cheers traveled to a hundred miles away like raging tides.

Then, in every part of the city, throngs of soldiers drenched in blood and the common folks still badly shaken all fell to their knees to worship Li Mu.

“It’s the Sage!”

Zong Wei and the other high officials also got down on one knee and lowered their heads in reverence. “We pay our tributes to Lord Taibai.”

In truth, Li Mu’s lord title was only nominal.

But given his cultivation of the Sage Realm, that nominal title appeared to be rather intimidating.

Li Mu lifted a hand at them and said, “You can stand up now.”

Tonight, Longcheng Pass had been secured after all.

That mysterious man glowing in golden light turned out to be too afraid to run away. He was soon arrested by the security in Longcheng Pass.

The battle officially drew to an end.

As the standing general of Longcheng Pass, the Eight-armed Judge was very experienced in arranging defense around the city. When the next daybreak barely arrived, the defense in Longcheng Pass was once again strongly fortified, and the reorganization of the stationed armies was completed, too. Meanwhile, the potential rebel associations which had been hiding in the city, especially those who were close to the Iron Sword Camp, were all rooted out. Even the Iron Sword Club where Caicai had been learning sword skills was demolished.

Longcheng Pass was once again under the firm control of the frontier armies of the Western Qin.

After a whole night of fighting and killing, the forces guarding Longcheng Pass suffered a huge loss. Among the three camps, almost all the members of the Iron Sword Camp had risen in rebellion and so been removed from the establishment. As to the Flame Camp and the Spear Camp, half of their members were lost in the battle… Honestly, the defense in Longcheng Pass was less than one-third of the usual at the moment.

Nonetheless, the morale in the armies and the spirit of the folks did not wane.

Because all of them had learned that a Sage in the empire was in Longcheng Pass, and he was protecting them.

The Eight-armed Judge and the other high officials paid another visit to Li Mu by dawn.

“This is not good for us. Last night, Longcheng Pass was not the only one that was raided. Among the ten cities and nine counties in the border area, nine cities were attacked and six of them fell into the enemy’s hands. Four out of the nine counties also rebelled. So, over half of the military regions in the border area were lost overnight.”

Zong Wei reported with a grim look.

At first, he thought the revolt of the Iron Sword Camp in Longcheng Pass was just an exception. But based on the current situation, the matter was not that simple. It was actually a storm well-planned for a long time. When it broke out, it instantly spread through the entire border area, causing the allegedly most heavily-guarded border to be riddled with a thousand gaping wounds.

The message behind that was rather startling if it was ever considered.

For the Western Qin Empire, it was undoubtedly a calamity.

Because the rebel forces under the leadership of Lord Zhenxi at the heart of the empire had not been eradicated yet.

The domestic strife and foreign aggression appeared simultaneously.

For any empire, that was always the omen foreboding its downfall.

Zong Wei, the general guarding Longcheng Pass, had sent a man to inform the forces in other places of their plight, hoping that the other forces would come to their aid. But when he received their replies, he and his subordinates were all appalled. Short of alternatives, they hurried over to see the nominally highest official in the empire at once.

Upon hearing his report, Li Mu was quite shocked.

Yet, he could not stay in Longcheng Pass any longer.

If he still heard nothing from Qiu Yin by that sunset, he would go into the pasture with Guo Yuqing first. When Qiu Yin came to Long Cheng Pass, he could just speed up to catch up with them. After all, time waited for no man. He was still concerned about Shangguan Yuting’s safety.

Nevertheless, what was predictable was that the Western Qin Empire was about to go through the coldest winter ever.

A storm had just revealed its savageness.

Snowstorms on the pasture never last long.

By daybreak, the whirling snowflakes as large as feathers had all gone. After a night’s worth of heavy snow, a thick layer of snow was lying on the grassland, which was totally above an adult’s knees. All the wilted grass was buried by snow. Seen from far away, the world was cladding in silvery white. Bathing in the first gleam of sunlight in the morning, the land reflected blinding silvery light. The entire pasture was glinting under the warm sunshine.

Jiang Qiubai woke up naturally.

Around him were green grass, lovely blossoms, and thriving plants.

“Okay, it’s time to hit the road again.” He gazed up at the boundless snow-blanketed pasture, his face calm and blank, not showing a sign of excitement at the spectacular view.

Shangguan Yuting looked a little impressed instead.

Having grown up in the mountain areas of the Western Qin, she would not be surprised by high mountains and immense forests. But she had never seen such a vast icy world wrapped in snow. Seeing the light sky and the white earth merge into one, she could not help but feel like being more broad-minded.

By that time, Shangguan Yuting had put herself together.

Although she was kidnapped there by Jiang Qiubai, after spending days with him on the way, she could not deny that he was a man with manners. At least, he took good care of her and never once attempted to harass her.

Most of the time, Jiang Qiubai had acted like a learned gentleman with a graceful bearing. He was truly attractive.

The two of them then left the hill.

Shortly after Jiang Qiubai withdrew his protective zone, the hill was swept by the chill and thick snow. The flowers that bloomed overnight and those green plants were soon frozen by the icy wind and thick snow and withered…

Shangguan Yuting looked back and captured that sight, feeling sorry for the plants despite herself.

Wind and snow continued to accompany their journey.

Even though the snow had stopped falling from the sky, the wintry wind on the pasture still blew relentlessly against their faces like sharp knives and picked up heaps of snow on the ground. Everywhere was freezing cold. The heavy snow put the lively pasture under a long, tormentingly bitter winter.

About two hours later, the two came to a relatively flat river valley.

The snow had drowned the place.

Some pasture herdsmen were cleaning the snow as fast as they could. Countless draught animals were buried under the snow, so were some tents that collapsed under the weight of accumulated snowflakes. In front of a few tents that had caved in, some herdsmen were crying their hearts out at the bodies of their partners who had died from the cold or been killed by the snowstorm…

As Shangguan Yuting had already entered the Natural Realm and she had been practicing the Xiantian Skill, her body had been strengthened as such that she no longer felt hot or cold. Thus, she was not particularly depressed by the low temperature and only found the snow-swept pasture unprecedentedly beautiful. The silvery land that stretched as far as the eye could see did amaze her. However, the next moment, her eyes fell on the bodies of the dead herdsmen, the toppled-down tents, and the other agonizing herdsmen…

In particular, it wasn’t until Shangguan Yuting saw a baby boy who might not be a month old freeze to death in her mother’s arms that it struck her what the snowstorm had brought to the pasture.

A period lacking proper food and warmth had announced its arrival.

For any of the tribes on the vast pasture, snowstorms were always harsh trials.

Jiang Qiubai directly demonstrated his power by repelling all the snow and bitter wind in the valley and rescuing the cattle and sheep buried under the snow. Even scores of herdsmen who had lost their senses in the cold but not died yet were saved, too.

All the herdsmen knelt down with gratitude and saw Jiang Qiubai off ceremoniously as if he were a deity.

During the rest of their journey that day, they came across a dozen more tribes of all sizes that were wrecked by the snowstorm. Every time Jiang Qiubai did not grudge giving them a helping hand. He assisted the herdsmen to restore their places with great patience. Even the humblest tribesmen also got his help…

That made Jiang Qiubai differ from many Sages Shangguan Yuting had heard about.

In almost every country or region, and throughout most of the history of the Divine Land, Sages were always above the others. They were marvelous figures who safeguarded part of the world. They controlled the development of history as well as the thrive and perish of empires. And what concerned them was the big picture as well as the fate of the world… More often than not, the life or death of a weak individual was far beneath their notice. However, as a matter of fact, no matter how large a country was, how impressive a dynasty was, or how remarkable a piece of history turned out to be, they were all constituted by individuals.

Sages were sympathetic.

But they were callous, too.

Yet, from all the Sages Shangguan Yuting had heard about, none of them was like Jiang Qiubai.

Through the whole journey, Shangguan Yuting registered that Jiang Qiubai was held in high prestige as a deity by the herdsmen. From that, she deduced it was not the first time Jiang Qiubai had done it, nor did he start it on a whim. In fact, he had helped those people for a lifetime…

“Thank you, the god of Everlasting Heaven!”

“May the Wolf God bless you!”

“Long live the Wolf Temple!”

“In my next life, I still want to be the subject of Wolf God!”

Numerous herdsmen prostrated themselves at Jiang Qiubai’s feet.

Down the road, he kept saving people, then going on his journey, and then saving people again…

The impression Shangguan Yuting held for Jiang Qiubai changed bit by bit down the road.

“In the eyes of pasture men, the chilling winter means a life-and-death struggle. But in the eyes of you Western Qin people, that is simply inconceivable, am I right?” Jiang Qiubai asked as he gazed at Shangguan Yuting.

The latter did not answer him.

In the Western Qin Empire, sometimes some poor people were frozen to death after a heavy fall of snow in winter. Yet, that only occurred occasionally. The Qin people loved snow, for the snow-blanketed view was stunning and the heavy snow would bring them an adequate supply of irrigation water for the next year.

By contrast, it seemed only normal on the pasture that snowstorms tended to bring them disasters.

Sometimes, heavy snow could remove a small-scale tribe from the world…

Indeed, nature was cruel.

As Shangguan Yuting pondered over those issues, a wolf howl was heard ahead of them.

In the depths of the pasture covered in snow, white figures shuttled through bushes as rapidly as flashes of lightning. Throngs of white pasture wolves were racing on the ice, as though they were the dominators of the snow world.

The two had bumped into a wolf pack.

“White wolves? They’re rarely seen.” Jiang Qiubai was a little surprised, too.

It should be noted that most of the wolves on the pasture were dark green. That was the result of natural selection, for dark green wolves could perfectly blend into the background on vast pasture and hunt their prey with the cover of the grassy color. Unlike them, white wolves stood out on the green pasture. So, they could only dominate the pasture in snowy winter.

Given Jiang Qiubai and Shangguan Yuting’s high cultivation, they certainly had no fear for wolf packs.

Plus, being the master of Wolf Temple, Jiang Qiubai could hold wolves at his command.

But white wolves were the only exception.

White wolves enjoyed a high status on the pasture. The herdsmen there called them the Divine Wolves.

The token of the Wolf Temple was a wolf. Specifically, it was a white wolf, because Jiang Qiubai, the master of the Wolf Temple, could not manipulate white wolves and so those beasts were treated as his equals.

Still, at that time, Jiang Qiubai was a little taken aback.

Because he had never seen such a massive pack of white wolves on the pasture. Looking ahead, he saw thousands of white wolves marching on as orderly as an army.

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