The vast snow-blanketed prairie stretched as far as one’s eyes could see.
That year’s snowstorms were more violent than the previous year. In just one day after the first heavy fall of snow, the second snowstorm swept across the vast prairie.
Flying in the sky, Guo Yuqing overlooked the vast expanse of whiteness. A hint of lamentation and sympathy surfaced on his face.
As he had lived on the vast prairie for years, Guo Yuqing understood perfectly what the snowstorm would bring to the prairie dwellers. People living in other places liked criticizing the savage lifestyle of those living on the prairie, but they had no idea why the prairie men chose to live like that. That was all because of the hostile environment. For those who lived in such a brutal world, reproduction was their priority. When a particularly bitter winter came, in only a few months, the population of prairie men and the number of their draught animals would fall by 1/3.
That was also why the prairie dwellers held such a strong craving and desire for the lands of Western Qin and Northern Song.
The prairie tribes also yearned for a piece of fertile land to multiple so that they would not have to struggle in such an adverse place and see their family members bid farewell to the world one after another due to the extreme cold.
Vying for living resources was the most eternal reason for the outbreak of war.
That problem had not been solved during the past several thousand years. Instead of easing the pressure, the feud kept deepening. The conflicts among the prairie tribes, the Western Qin, and the Northern Song were getting steadily irreconcilable.
However, Li Mu was not troubled by that at the moment.
He was simply contemplating how to locate Shangguan Yuting on the boundless snow-blanketed prairie.
The situation was more complex than he had expected.
Since Shangguan Yuting had been carrying some jade seals and jade pendants that Li Mu had given her as gifts, those objects furnished Shangguan Yuting’s aura to him, which served as clues that had led him to the prairie. However, once he had come to the prairie, the aura had disappeared. Apparently, it had been blocked by someone, and the one who could manage that was certainly Jiang Qiubai, the master of the Wolf Temple as well as one of the Nine Superbs in the World. In truth, it came as no surprise to Li Mu that the Sage was able to do the trick.
Li Mu also cast some Taoist magic arts on searching missing people by using a few of Shangguan Yuting’s personal belongings as the catalyst. But the clues those arts provided were intermittent.
Jiang Qiubai’s cultivation and horror-introducing ability did overtake any opponent Li Mu had encountered. For that moment, Li Mu did not know where to start the rescue operation.
Guo Yuqing was not very helpful, either, for he had left the prairie for a long time. He knew nothing about the changes that had occurred on the prairie.
“The Wolf Temple’s location is not fixed in one place. It changes a lot, so even I can’t find where the Wolf Temple is,” said Guo Yuqing in distress. When he returned to the prairie after years, the view was still familiar, but the people there were not the same. Those who had fought alongside him had long scattered around the prairie like volatile smoke and could hardly get together again. Plus, since Guo Yuqing had already sworn that he would never come back, he had severed all the ties with the Wolf Temple. Therefore, he could no longer sense its existence.
The two continued skimming over the snow-blanketed pasture, searching for the traces of Shangguan Yuting.
It had been just two days since they had left Longcheng Pass.
But by that time, the ten cities and nine counties in the border area in Western Qin had been a total mess. Although the royal family and the military organs had both taken actions, it was nearly impossible to recover the lost territory in a short time. After all, mobilizing people to wage war was not as easy as they pictured. Moreover, the emperor of Western Qin was still in closed-door training. And it appeared that the allied armies of Northern Song, the prairie tribes, and a mysterious party that had invaded the borders of Western Qin had then been patronized by a certain force. They had puffed out their chests again instead of beating a retreat after Lord Taibai’s menacing appearance in the border area.
Fortunately, the Western Qin Empire had one more unparalleled general to safeguard the borders—Li Yuanba, the Domineeringly Demonic Halberd. Thanks to him, the frontier forces of the Western Qin Empire had managed to hang in there despite their many defeats. Big or small battles were still on at the borders. The allied forces and the Western Qin’s frontier armies constantly rounded off in conflicts. Both sides earned some victories and also suffered some losses.
Twenty years ago, when it had been the 27th year of Emperor Qin Ming’s administration, Four Great Legends had emerged from the 42nd imperial examinations of the Western Qin Empire. As one of the Four Great Legends, Li Yuanba, the Domineeringly Demonic Halberd, had become the Commander-in-Chief of the whole frontier army. In addition to the forces stationed in the ten cities and nine counties in the border area, the Heaven Inspire Army was also at his command. Those 400,000 soldiers were the best of elites in the frontier army. Since the war had broken out, the Heaven Inspire Army had played even with the allied forces.
Given the current circumstances, numerous members of the frontier army in Western Qin hoped that Li Mu, the Sage titled as Lord Taibai, would stay in the border area and keep the crisis checked. Li Yuanba’s deputy general had even come to invite Li Mu over in person, hoping him to lead the Heaven Inspire Army, but Li Mu rejected his offer. With people eyeing him in puzzlement and discussing him suspiciously, Li Mu had left the border area and headed for the eastern prairie for private affairs.
The glory he had earned through blocking thousands of soldiers with one hack ebbed away as he had left the Wester Qin Empire.
As a lord of the empire, he had refused to help his empire through the calamity. That had brought the blame of others upon Li Mu’s reputation.
However, Li Mu did not care about any of that, did he?
He never felt a sense of belonging and sense of identity in the Western Qin Empire.
A few months ago, the second prince had still wanted him dead, and Li Gang had attempted to take advantage of him. Not to mention the Supervisory Department’s appointment document that had been withdrawn halfway through the procedure, or the crown prince, who had also sought to make him the scapegoat to appease the emperor’s potential wrath… All they gave me is a nominal title as Lord Taibai. Now they want me to devote my life to the national calamity? Who are you kidding?
All Li Mu cared about were his family and friends.
Go stew in your own juice!
The wind blew and the snow whirled. The two still soared in the sky.
Although Li Mu’s speed was peerless due to his Broadsword-Commanding Skill, he could not go at full speed at the moment, for he had to examine every place through his spiritual force and Third Eye for any clues Shangguan Yuting might have left. Once he came within ten miles of Shangguan Yuting, he would be able to detect her accurate whereabouts despite Jiang Qiubai’s Sage-level blocking means.
The prairie was incredibly vast. If solely in light of the area of the land, it was perhaps larger than the territories of Western Qin and Northern Song added up.
In the overwhelming blizzard, Li Mu’s eyes widened like copper bells. The Third Eye between his brows sprang open. A jet of divine light shot out of it as if a searchlight.
Uh? I might have spotted someone I know!
Li Mu just sensed something familiar.
Around 100 miles away, out on the snow-blanketed prairie, a battle at close quarters was raging.
“There seems to be the territory of the Moon-Shooting Tribe!” yelled Guo Yuqing. He also caught that feeling and gazed at some place in the distance behind the thick snowflakes.
100 miles away…
War had suddenly broken out.
Tie Muzhen, the Chief of the Moon-Shooting Tribe, was holding a long broadsword and drenched in blood. Along with the bravest warriors in his tribe, he was fighting at the forefront. Blood splashed on the prairie, dyeing the snow red. Howls of wolves, roars, cries, wails were mingled with the howling northerly wind, which sounded not that distinct. Yet, death had truly befallen that river valley.
It was an unexpected raid, which had started just half an hour ago.
Raiders from the forces controlled by the Spider Shrine had launched their attack at dusk. With the snowstorm giving them cover, they had not been caught until they had fought their way to the protective walls made of wool bags that the Moon-Shooting Tribe had built up in haste. The war had been ignited at once. Even though the raiders had not come in droves, each of them was a top expert. Adding that they had the demon spider warriors help them, they had soon caused great casualties in the Moon-Shooting Tribe.
“How dare you breach the rules the Wolf Temple laid down! How could you sneak up upon other prairie tribes in winter?” snarled Tie Muzhen.
There was a set of iron laws on the prairie. The Wolf Temple that reigned the prairie forbade any tribes to attack one another after the winter arrived. It was a law that had not been violated for several thousand years. Its purpose was to ensure the tribes could survive on the prairie by preventing those that had already been plagued by the bitter winter from being annihilated in the conflicts between tribes. However, the Spider Shrine had initiated a raid. They clearly had broken that iron law.
How come they dare violate the principles of the Wolf Temple?
Every warrior in the Moon-Shooting Tribe was enraged by that.
The battle was unprecedentedly fierce.
Tie Muzhen and his trusted guards were in the lead. They fought without a stop and eventually made sure that the enemy could not take the upper hand.
“Hand me the mental cultivation method of the Heart Heavenly Shoot and the Gold Sun Magic Bow. Otherwise, after today, there will be no Moon-Shooting Tribe on the prairie.”
A squat figure blazed a path through the heavy snow and landed on the battlefield like Death.
Under his feet was a huge white prairie spider with eight legs, which was ten meters in height. As the pincers of the huge spider, which were as large as reaping hooks, randomly swept across the land, scores of best warriors in the Moon-Shooting Tribe were minced.
“Lord of the Spider Shrine?” cried Tie Muzhen, his pupils contracting rapidly.
Since last year, the Spider Shrine had been expanding on the prairie at an alarming speed. They had been vying with the Wolf Temple for more followers and had taken control over dozens of tribes in succession. It was rumored that the Spider Lord, who was already powerful enough to challenge the Wolf Temple that had long dominated the area, the Spider Shrine worshipped had revealed himself before them. The lord had waged several massive wars on the prairie. In the prior year, the Spider Shrine had, directly and indirectly, participated in more than half of the tribe conflicts on the prairie. The fairly friendly tribes on the prairie had been suddenly troubled by a foul wind and a rain of blood.
The elder Chief of the Moon-Shooting Tribe had been killed exactly in a battle between tribes, which the Spider Shrine had triggered with a smart scheme.
Shortly after Tie Muzhen had rushed to Chang’an, Western Qin, and brought back Guo Qinyan, the Virgin Goddess of the Wolf Temple. Thus, he had become the Chief of the Moon-Shooting Tribe and governed the whole tribe. Even though he wished to seek revenge, because of the rapid growth of the Spider Shrine’s power, he had been forced to let his forces rest and build up their strength after several fiascos. He had even moved his tribe to other places several times to avoid more attacks. Yet, to his shock, in such a wild snowstorm, the Spider Shrine had still found them and launched a raid.
When he saw the legendary lord of the Spider Shrine, who could manipulate the colossal spider on the snowfield, Tie Muzhen realized that the most critical moment had arrived.
Spider Shrine’s lord was already an expert only second to the master of Wolf Temple on the prairie. Rumor had it that he had escaped from the master of the Wolf Temple several times and had been protected by the Extraterrestrial Devils. The number of experts and chiefs on the pasture he had killed already exceeded 100. It was also said that once he revealed himself on the battlefield, any tribe against him would be wiped out.
Tie Muzhen turned into a beam of red light and lunged straight at the Spider Shrine’s lord.
“You are kicking against the pricks!” bellowed the latter.
A jet of green light shot out from the palm of the Spider Lord.
Tie Muzhen was thrown backward in the air, blood spilling out of his mouth.
The gap between their strength was just too striking.
“I will let those who comply with me thrive, and those who resist me perish… Go to hell!” shouted the Spider Lord of Spider callously. His face was hiding in the darkness. Without any bit of compassion, he launched his killing move. Under his order, the huge spider thrust its feet, which were as massive as the largest swords in the world, at Tie Muzhen, attempting to chop him up. At that, the warriors in the Moon-Shooting Tribe in his vicinity all darted forward to shield their Chief. Unfortunately, none of them fended off the causal swings of the spider’s legs, and they were sent flying backward like shattered snowmen.
A shaft of golden arrow light zoomed up from the battlefield out of the blue. It disrupted the dancing snowflakes. With a loud bang, one of the huge spider’s massive feet was instantly blasted into pieces, as though an ice sculpture just exploded.
The aura of that wonderous arrow lingered around them for a long time.
“What? It’s the Heart Heavenly Shoot? The Gold Sun Magic Bow?” yelled the Spider Lord as he looked over his shoulder in alarm. “Guo Qinyan, I’ve been trying to hunt you down for a long time. Now, you finally come to the stage again. Today, let’s settle it once and for all. Well, there is no escape from your doom.”
You’re reading Chapter 332 – Maelstrom in the Moon-Shooting Tribe on readnovels.co. Wish you happy reading! Follow more great stories at action novel.