People often laughed at moths flying toward the fire for their stupidity of courting death.
But what they did not know was the moths had never seen light in their entire life. So, when they sensed even a single bit of warmth, they would leap forward to embrace the light, even though the light would burn them up.
They knew that meant death.
But they also knew something man was not aware of. That was, though the flame would burn their bodies up, it would purify their souls as well.
They were creatures living in darkness but yearning for light.
And they chased light without regrets.
The vanguard of the Heaven Inspire Army viewed as unworthy beings, sinners, and slaves, as well as those members of the ancient factions who had escaped death by hiding in mountains, were exactly like the moths. They had been hiding in lightless hell. When they caught the thin shaft of light after the crown prince of the Great Moon Empire rose in revolt, they all dashed to him, follow him in the course, even if what awaited them was doom.
Yu Hualong willed himself to suppress his injuries and kept his face calm.
A piece of jade was gripped in his palm.
It was the communication method Li Mu gave him before he left Longcheng Pass. Li Mu had told him as long as he activated the jade, he would rush to him and help him with the battle no matter how far he had to travel.
Those days, Yu Hualong had been arguing with himself about whether he should activate the jade.
That was not because he doubted Li Mu’s trustworthiness.
Instead, it was because he was not sure whether Li Mu could warp the reality if he came.
Yu Hualong had fought Emperor Qin Ming once.
Technically, he had taken a blow from Emperor Qin Ming.
And he failed lavishly after that one blow.
Emperor Qin Ming’s strength was just too formidable.
Back then, Yu Hualong had followed his master, Li Bai to the Path, so he also knew some realm and power that might be beyond the comprehension of the martial arts practitioners in that world. And he could tell that one strike Emperor Qin Ming launched against him carried a mild aura that did not belong to that world.
Yu Hualong never knew Emperor Qin Ming could be so horribly potent after his 60-year-long closed-door training.
Given his power, Yu Hualong believed Li Mu would not be the emperor’s match even if he rushed to Longcheng Pass. What was worse was Li Mu might sacrifice in the fight, too.
If he did activate the jade, perhaps he would drag Li Mu down to hell instead and see him throw himself to the wolves.
Nonetheless, some part of Yu Hualong still hoped to try his luck.
After all, the one who had promised to help him was Li Mu!
Since Li Mu’s debut, he had always danced on the tip of blades and created one miracle after another by defeating many practitioners stronger than him, hadn’t he? What if he could really rival Emperor Qin Ming?
Yet, Yu Hualong dared not take that risk.
After all, Li Mu was from Earth. The blood of the forefathers was truly running in his veins. Perhaps he was the symbol of hope. With his talents, he had become a Sage by the age of fifteen. It certainly was not hard for him to go beyond that planet and follow the steps of the forefathers from Earth in the future.
Anyway, the seedling of hope could not be cut off at that juncture.
“Your Highness, let’s fight them to death.”
Next to him, a blind old man thrust the end of his iron stick against the ground and spoke in a booming and firm voice.
“Sure! I’ve been dragging my feeble existence around for so long that I want no more hiding anyway. Let’s battle it out with those scoundrels biting the hands that fed them!” A topless stout man with a sharp dagger dangling around his waist grumbled through gritted teeth.
Those two were Yu Hualong’s confidants. The old man was Mu Qing, the Heavenly Blind Mad Stick. The stout man who looked like a butcher was Zhang San, the Half-step Erroneous Broadsword. They two had been hiding among the common folks, but in fact, they were both Semi-sages.
They were also the strongest combatants in the Great Moon Empire, whose strength was only second to Yu Hualong.
The two were the only people who knew about the story of the jade Yu Hualong was holding and its function other than the crown prince. At the moment, they both chose to express their unwillingness to involve Li Mu in the fight by showing their determination to fight to the end.
Yu Hualong took a look at the two and then set his eyes on the wounded soldiers struggling on the walls. He felt words had failed him.
After numerous wars, the warriors all laid down their lives on the battlefield.
Each time the army of the Western Qin conquered a place, they launched a massacre there. Their blades spared neither military men nor common folks. By then, except for Longcheng Pass, the other 18 cities in the border area had all been wiped out…
The sacrifice on the side of the Great Moon Empire was already too immense.
Gradually, Yu Hualong came up with an idea.
He discharged a force out of his palm, which instantly ground the jade into powder.
He could not allow Li Mu to come there.
If on that day, the flame of the glory of the Great Moon Empire that had started blazing after a lapse of a thousand years was destined to extinguish again, then, he should do his best to keep Li Mu, the last and most hopeful spark, intact.
That was Yu Hualong’s final decision.
“Order the folks in the city to go out and raise the white flag. Back then, the reason that Longcheng Pass became the last one to be conquered was that the Western Qin did not organize a counterattack. We should save them. Today, we let them out. I hope the Western Qin could at least spare those folks.”
Yu Hualong instructed.
“Er… As the army of the Western Qin is outrageously brutal, I’m afraid they won’t let go of those folks.” Zhang San suggested, looking concerned.
Mu Qing said, “We have no alternative. If we don’t let the folks out, once they break into the city, what the folks will face is slaughter.”
Moments later, the order was passed on.
People in the city began to take action.
On a Flying Whale Shuttle…
Beneath the billowing central flag stood a burly figure in a black imperial robe. His face was solemn, showing no trace of joy or sorrow. His eyes were calm and composed. He had an air of supremacy and dominance that enabled him to overawe the others simply with silence. Right now, he was standing bolt up, like a sharp sword rooted in the deck.
Those around him were all too afraid to look up at him.
He was Emperor Qin Ming, the strongest practitioner in that world.
During his sixty-year-long closed-door training, the world all reckoned he had gone mad due to an error in his training. However, when he came out of the closed-door training, he neatly slashed the Pope of the Magic Sun Temple, one of the Nine Superbs, causing a million soldiers of the desert race to turn tail and run.
Previously, when Li Yuanba, the Domineeringly Demonic Halberd, led the Heaven Inspire Army to recover the lost border area of the Western Qin, he gained little progress for a long period and the battles kept on and on. But after Emperor Qin Ming came to the battlefield in person and maimed the crown prince of the Great Moon Empire with only one strike, the 18 lost cities were recovered in no time.
Today’s Emperor Qin Ming was deemed as eminence as the blazing sun in the sky in the Western Qin Empire. Nor did anyone dared to question his decisions or disobey his orders. As if being a deity, his words alone were the ultimate rules.
“Your Majesty, an envoy from Longcheng Pass has come to us and requested our army to take in their folks.” A guard marched in and reported reverentially.
Emperor Qin Ming glanced at the surrounding ministers.
A minister with white hair and white beard took a step forward and said, “Your Majesty, back then, it was Longcheng Pass that resisted the attacks of the evil remnants of the Great Moon Empire for the longest time. The people there defended the place on their own for a whole year. At last, they ran out of provision and supplies and were forced to raise the white flag. That did show their loyalty to Your Majesty. So, unlike the other 18 cities, they are perhaps worth our admission.”
“Approved,” Emperor Qin Ming said, devoid of expression.
The guard then whipped around and hurried to pass on the imperial edict.
A moment later, Emperor Qin Ming spoke again, “Yuanba, you take the elites of the Heavenly Inspired Army to waylay them on their way back here. Everyone heading out of that city shall be killed, whether young or old. Remember, spare no one.”
At that, Li Yuanba’s countenance paled drastically.
As if being slapped hard around his cheek, the old minister who made that proposal a moment ago looked as white as sheet. He stammered, “Your Majesty, this, this, this might smear your pure soul. It’s against the goodness of nature to take the lives of so many.”
None of the ministers knew the supreme emperor whose a word always carried weight could opt for an opposite move—kill all the folks hoping to be taken under his wings—right after he promised the Great Moon Empire to not hurt those folks. That was… not the kind of act a wise monarch should take.
“Once a traitor, always a traitor,” Emperor Qin Ming said coolly, “anyway, who can tell me for sure that how many of those folks are truly our folks and how many of them are the evil remnants of the Great Moon Empire?”
None of the ministers dared to lock eyes with the emperor.
Then, a gleam of broadsword light flashed past.
The head of the white-haired, white-bearded old minister zoomed up to the air.
“From now on, if I find anyone who could endanger our empire for his fatuity like this man, I will kill him.” Emperor Qin Ming declared, his voice filled with indubitable authority and brutality. “Bring this man out. Hold a grand funeral for him and promote his son.”
The guard put the head back to the old minister’s body and dragged him outside.
The rest of the ministers remained as quiet as a cicada in cold weather.
Li Yuanba bowed at the emperor and then left to fulfill the order.
“What?” Yu Hualong cried with a pale face. “He killed them all and spared none?”
“Your Highness, the folks we sent out of the city are all killed… Li Yuanba and his selected subordinates slaughtered them. They didn’t even have time to run for it.” A guard reported, tears streaming down his chin.
“Emperor Qin Ming… is a butcher!” Yu Hualong was outraged.
That little girl called Caicai, and Granny Cai were also among the folks sent outside. They were both dead now.
If they stayed in Longcheng Pass, once the defense was cracked, they would be killed for sure. Sending them out was the last chance to save their lives. However… Yu Hualong felt he no longer have the face to visit Li Mu again.
He was well aware of Li Mu’s affection for Caicai and her grandmother.
He had stayed in Granny Cai’s place for months waiting for Li Mu’s arrival. On the day Li Mu had to leave for the vast pasture, he asked Yu Hualong to take care of the girl and her grandmother. But… what could he do in the face of the vicissitudes of the world?
“Get ready to force a way out,” ordered the crown prince, who slowly closed his eyes.
“But where to go?” inquired Zhang San.
Yu Hualong said, “Go to Yue Mountain Faction.”
Two hours later, the last army of the Great Moon Empire, which consisted of less than 10,000 soldiers, forcefully charged through the west gate of the Longcheng Pass, valiantly broke out of the encirclement of the Western Qin’s army, and then fled in the northwest.
Horrific combat power erupted from each of those desperate soldiers.
Looking downward from the Flying Whale Shuttle, Emperor Qin Ming put on a contemptuous smile.
“Qin the Twenty-first, you lead the third team to hunt them down. Don’t let any of them escape. After the job is done, bring their bodies to me.” He ordered in a serene tone.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” answered a guard wearing a suit of fully black iron armor who had been standing behind the emperor. His voice sounded like rubbing two pieces of rusty iron against each other, which was rather spooky.
He and the other nine black-armored guards had been standing motionlessly behind Emperor Qin Ming like ten iron sculptures. Their aura was extremely frosty and sinister.
A few seconds later, clusters of black mist rose, then, the ten guards vanished out of sight.
The ministers all looked puzzled at that.
“Did His Majesty just send the ten guards to go after the crown prince of the Great Moon Empire?”
Up in the clouds, the Flying Whale Shuttle unhurriedly flew in the wake of the Great Moon Empire’s army on the run. It overlooked its prey on the earth like a shark tailing a shoal of fish. A blood-smeared road stretched for several hundred miles beneath it.
Soon, mountains appeared ahead.
Having lost more than 3,000 soldiers on the way, the remaining force of the Great Moon Empire trudged into the mountains.
However, the real crisis was just about to befall them.
All of a sudden, ten columns of black clouds tore the sky apart and swooped down upon them. Those black clouds carried a strong aura of destruction, as though the demon that would destroy the world had descended. The army of the Great Moon Empire that was going to take refuge in the mountain area was suddenly on the verge of being annihilated.
It felt like the previous chase was just a game to the Western Qin.
Yue Hualong, the crown prince of the Great Moon Empire, stopped running and turned around.
“You guys lead the others retreat. I’ll stay and block him!”
With that, he slowly drew out the long sword tied to his waist.
The “him” he addressed, of course, referred to Emperor Qin Ming.
You’re reading Chapter 413 – The Number One Expert on readnovels.co. Wish you happy reading! Follow more great stories at action novel.