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EIF - Book 03 Chapter 113: Recommending Gao Xianzhi

Southern Suppression City:

Venerable Liu Nian went to look for Long Wanyu, while Long Sanqian reported to Prince Shenwu.

Sima Changkong led Gu Hai and the others to their accommodations. Then, Gu Hai and Sima Changkong chatted while drinking tea in a courtyard.

“The prince has organized a banquet tonight to receive Mister Gu. I’ll give Mister Gu a briefing on Army Breaker’s army first, then,” Sima Changkong said with a smile.

“Alright!” Gu Hai nodded.

“Army Breaker is a heaven-grade zither and can control the one million zither puppets. You saw them before,” Sima Changkong said after taking a sip of tea.

“Each of the one million bronze statues is equal to a peak Nascent Soul Realm cultivator. They are very strong, and there are one million of them. They can only be successful in besieging a city,” Gu Hai recalled.

“Indeed, only success would await them. We previously managed to flush out all the spies with Long Wanyu’s help. That cast suspicions on Mo Yike, placing him in a difficult situation. Long Wanyu’s arrival helped us a lot, resulting in seven victories and one defeat,” Sima Changkong said gravely.

“The young prince had mentioned it to me before.”

“Yes. The young prince personally headed to Nine-Five Island to show the prince’s sincerity. The problem we encountered was Army Breaker. If Army Breaker’s one-million-strong zither puppets attack the city, they will break in soon. Only success awaits them, indeed. Fortunately, we have a method to deal with it,” Sima Changkong said with a smile.

“Oh?”

“You got to observe the calligraphy Dao earlier. We have some calligraphy Dao experts in our army camp. My Sima Clan’s Yellow Springs Absolute Quiescence Scripture shows its brilliance here. Any zither puppet that enters the city will immediately fall under the calligraphy Dao’s rules and be restricted by the calligraphy Dao’s order. This prevents them from escaping.”

Gu Hai nodded.

“However, the zither puppets are too nimble. Unless they enter the city of their own volition, it is very hard to do anything to them. While we have a way to defend against them, we cannot advance, either. It is not just the zither puppets but also the ‘Miserable World’ that Army Breaker plays.” Sima Changkong frowned.

“We encountered ‘Miserable World’ before. Back at Silver Moon City, it filled the city, and no one could escape.” Gu Hai frowned.

“Indeed. It was Fairy Waner’s ‘Miserable World.’ Ha! Previously, Fairy Waner visited Lu Yang’s official residence and gave the piece to Army Breaker, so…,” Sima Changkong said bitterly.

“The soldiers do not dare to leave the city. Otherwise, their five senses will be cut off, and they will turn blind and deaf?” Gu Hai said.

“That’s right. If the army cannot even leave the city, how is it to advance? We even—while not glorious, but it is normal—sent assassins,” Sima Changkong said. 

“Oh?”

“All we sent never returned. We sent several people, including a Heavenly Palace Realm expert,” Sima Changkong said gravely.

“A Heavenly Palace Realm expert?” Gu Hai raised his eyebrows.

Sima Changkong nodded. “A Heavenly Palace Realm expert. Haha! After he broke into Army Breaker’s camp, all signs of his aura vanished. There was not even a single commotion from any struggles.”

“Lu Yang?”

“No. Lu Yang is in the main camp and has not come out. There should be other experts in Army Breaker’s camp. According to our continuous probing, it should be a lifespan cultivator.”

“Oh?” Gu Hai raised his eyebrows slightly.

Gu Hai recalled mention of this in Long Wanqing’s message and his conversation with the Unborn Man. They mentioned that Lu Yang had a lifespan cultivator under him that captured Long Xiaoyue’s three spiritual souls.

“I heard that there are less than ten lifespan cultivators in the world. How…” Gu Hai frowned.

There were less than ten. How could one be with Lu Yang?

Sima Changkong smiled bitterly and said, “You are right. There are only eight lifespan cultivators with genuine inheritances: four white-robed lifespan cultivators and four black-robed lifespan cultivators. Even after millennia have passed, there are only eight. I do not understand the situation with that Unborn Man. However, according to the Qian Heavenly Dynasty’s records, there are only eight lifespan cultivators with inheritances. Nevertheless, of all things, there is one in Army Breaker’s camp.”

“So, when facing Army Breaker, ordinary soldiers cannot leave the city, and experts appear to end in disaster?” Gu Hai said sullenly.

“Yes. That’s why the prince wanted to ask you to deal with ‘Miserable World,’” Sima Changkong said.

Gu Hai frowned slightly. Get Ensnaring Performance to break it? How?

The two chatted for some time. When evening arrived, Gu Hai, Ensnaring Performance, Gao Xianzhi, and Mu Chenfeng followed Sima Changkong to the Southern Suppression Hall.

At this moment, food and wine filled the two sides of the Southern Suppression Hall. Many civil and military officials also had arrived. It appeared that everyone was waiting only for Gu Hai.

Prince Shenwu sat at the host’s table at the north of the hall.

He was dressed very casually, clad in magnificent embroidered robes. He had a broad face that radiated might without showing anger.

This was Gu Hai’s first time seeing Prince Shenwu. Although Prince Shenwu showed a faint smile, Gu Hai could feel an overwhelming might even from a distance.

“Greetings, Supreme Commander. This is Hall Master Gu Hai!” Sima Changkong bowed to Prince Shenwu in greeting.

“Gu Hai greets Southern Suppression Supreme Commander!” Gu Hai bowed politely.

“Mister Gu is too polite. This commander has long heard of Mister Gu’s talent. Unfortunately, we were unfated to meet until now. This commander is glad to see Mister Gu today. Mister Gu, please have a seat!” Prince Shenwu smiled faintly.

An attendant led Gu Hai’s group to the frontmost seats at the left side of the hall.

Then, Gu Hai’s group of four sat down.

When Ensnaring Performance sat down, his eyes lit up when he saw the delectable food on the table. He immediately picked up his chopsticks.

“Huh?!” The civil and military officials frowned.

We have not even touched our chopsticks yet while waiting for you, yet you are going to start eating already without even greeting us?

“Ensnaring Performance!” Gu Hai said, his voice sinking.

Ensnaring Performance’s expression turned stiff as he reluctantly put down a piece of meat that he picked up. However, he kept staring at it.

“Mister Gu, this commander offers you a toast. Many thanks for repeatedly making a move and destroying Lu Yang’s dragon army!” Prince Shenwu smiled while raising his cup.

“Many thanks, Supreme Commander!” Gu Hai raised his cup in response.

The civil and military officials immediately raised their cups to drink together.

After everyone drained their cups, the atmosphere in the hall turned warmer.

“Go on and eat,” Gu Hai said to Ensnaring Performance.

Clack! Clack! Ensnaring Performance immediately started picking food up quickly.

“Mister Gu, I wonder if you have any opinions on our battles?” Prince Shenwu smiled.

“Supreme Commander is endowed with extraordinary wisdom. This humble one does not have any comments on them.” Gu Hai shook his head.

“I heard that Mister Gu has a deep grudge with Lu Yang. That’s why you first reduced the Ying Nation’s luck, then destroyed the Heptagold Sect, and finally destroyed the dragon army?” Prince Shenwu looked at Gu Hai.

Gu Hai showed a faint bitter smile and said, “An irreconcilable grudge!”

“Because of Long Wanqing and Long Xiaoyue?” Prince Shenwu asked seriously.

“That’s right,” Gu Hai replied with a solemn expression.

“Xiaoyue is my younger sister, the smartest among all my younger sisters. Back then, she was the one I had the best relationship with. When I found out that Lu Yang was the culprit, I was the first to plead with His Holy Eminence to let me take revenge. This resulted in me being the Southern Suppression Supreme Commander. Unfortunately, Long Wanqing…hah!” Long Shenwu sighed softly. 

“Many thanks, Supreme Commander!” Gu Hai said sincerely.

“Ha! Mister Gu, I have read the information on you. Mister Gu’s wisdom and intelligence are unparalleled. How about you work with me to destroy Lu Yang’s army and take revenge for Long Wanqing and Long Xiaoyue?” Prince Shenwu offered.

Gu Hai nodded. “I followed the young prince here with this intention.”

“That is excellent. This commander has a sixth battalion. How about Mister Gu command it?” Prince Shenwu immediately offered with a smile.

“Command the sixth battalion?” Gu Hai felt some slight doubts.

“That’s right. The sixth battalion consists of experienced, ferocious soldiers. However, they lack a wise commander. If Mister Gu does not think it beneath your notice, how about you help me take command of the sixth battalion? That way, we can level Lu Yang’s army at the fastest speed possible,” Prince Shenwu said gravely.

However, Gu Hai frowned slightly and remained silent.

Commanding the sixth battalion? Indeed, that would allow Gu Hai to grasp control of great military power quickly. However, this was not what he wanted. In the end, he was the emperor of a nation. He could cooperate, but he could not be a subordinate.

As the Elite Hall Master, Gu Hai was considered a guest elder of the Qian Nation, not subordinate to anyone. How could he join Prince Shenwu’s army and become Prince Shenwu’s subordinate?

However, Prince Shenwu was offering this sincerely. Perhaps he did not think much of the Han Royal Dynasty. However, others not thinking much of it did not mean that Gu Hai could just leave it be.

“What do you think?” Prince Shenwu smiled.

After some silence, Gu Hai smiled faintly and said, “Supreme Commander trusts me that much?”

“Naturally!” Prince Shenwu said with certainty.

Gu Hai showed a faint bitter smile and said, “Many thanks for Supreme Commander’s trust. However, since Supreme Commander trusts in me, this humble one has an alternate suggestion. I hope that Supreme Commander will not mind.”

“Oh?” 

“I—Gu Hai—am used to an idle life and have not led an army in a long time already. I fear that I will mess up, so I won’t do it. However, Supreme Commander said that the sixth battalion lacks a wise commander. How about I recommend a person instead?” Gu Hai said with a smile.

“Huh?” Prince Shenwu frowned slightly.

The civil and military officials in the hall looked at Gu Hai in shock.

The Supreme Commander kindly offered to make you the commander of the sixth battalion, yet you do not appreciate that kindness?

“Mister Gu’s recommendation should be sufficient. Might I ask who it is?” Prince Shenwu asked, feeling doubtful.

“Gao Xianzhi!” Gu Hai called out.

Gao Xianzhi immediately stood up and answered, “This official is present!” 

The various officials looked at the middle-aged man with doubt. Previously, they thought that this person was just Gu Hai’s attendant.

“Prince Shenwu, this is a trusted aide of this humble one, Gao Xianzhi. You can leave your sixth battalion to Gao Xianzhi to command,” Gu Hai said seriously.

This caused a commotion among the officials. You are recommending one of your subordinates?

The supreme commander is already very gracious by letting you, an outsider, take command of the sixth battalion. However, you are not satisfied, recommending a servant instead? Are you looking down on our army?

Some of the officials even glared at Gu Hai.

Prince Shenwu frowned as he looked at Gao Xianzhi.

Before Prince Shenwu could say anything, a bulky, bearded man came forward.

“Gu Hai, how audacious of you! The supreme commander treats you as one of his own, yet you dare to slight the supreme commander? Are you humiliating us?” that bulky, bearded man said while glaring.

“You are?” Gu Hai frowned.

“I’m the current sixth battalion’s commander, Baili Zhan!”

“So, it is General Baili. Ha! Why do you say I am humiliating you? Which eye of yours saw that I slighted the supreme commander?” Gu Hai asked seriously.

Prince Shenwu did not say anything. Instead, he drank some wine and watched quietly with narrowed eyes.

“If you are not slighting the supreme commander, then what is the meaning of sending a servant to command the sixth battalion?” Baili Zhan questioned while glaring.

“The supreme commander needs a wise person. As long as it is someone who surpasses you all in leading troops, won’t that do?” Gu Hai smiled.

“With his abilities? Just a servant? Has he even participated in a war between cultivators before?” Baili Zhan yelled with a glare.

Gu Hai looked at Gao Xianzhi, indicating for Gao Xianzhi to answer.

Gao Xianzhi took a deep breath and suppressed his anxiety. He understood that Gu Hai was tempering him.

“General Baili, this humble one has commanded a mundane army before,” Gao Xianzhi said with a deep breath.

“You only led a mundane army before? Which means you have never participated in a war between cultivators? You have not even participated in a war between cultivators, and you want to command our sixth battalion? You overestimate yourself,” Baili Zhan shouted with a glare.

“The commander needs a wise person, not a rash fool,” Gao Xianzhi retorted indifferently.

“A rash fool? Haha! You are just an inexperienced brat. To think that you dare to call me a rash fool?” Baili Zhan glared.

“General Baili, a war is not won with an argument,” Gao Xianzhi said indifferently.

“You bastard!” Baili Zhan glared, on the verge of erupting in anger.

“Baili Zhan!” Prince Shenwu called out.

“Commander, this brat does not understand that he is out of his depth. Let me teach him a lesson,” Baili Zhan immediately responded.

“Huh?” Prince Shenwu frowned.

“Supreme Commander, I’m not talking about fighting. This brat thinks too highly of himself. I want to use a sandbox simulation to let him know that a cultivator army is not something to be taken for granted. Every life in my sixth battalion is precious. We cannot let him waste them!” Baili Zhan shouted.

Prince Shenwu frowned as he looked at Gu Hai.

“A sandbox simulation?” Gu Hai gave Prince Shenwu a confused look.

“A sandbox simulation is a kind of enchanted treasure. The consciousness enters the enchanted treasure, and both sides will command one army each. There are all sorts of soldiers to choose from. The two armies will fight, and victory is decided that way. That is an enchanted treasure for learning warfare,” Sima Changkong explained.

“Gu Hai, aren’t you recommending your servant? How about letting him give it a try? I’ll let him have a one-thousand-soldier advantage. What do you think?” Baili Zhan said with a cold smile.

“Supreme Commander, since General Baili is interested, then let’s let Gao Xianzhi give it a try?” Gu Hai smiled.

“That’s fine.” Prince Shenwu nodded.

Nearby, Baili Zhan revealed a cocky smile.

However, Gu Hai looked at Gao Xianzhi and said, “Gao Xianzhi, Baili Zhan is agitating you into accepting the battle. Do not underestimate him.”

Gao Xianzhi showed a solemn expression. He immediately understood what Gu Hai meant. This Baili Zhan looked rash and harmless. However, he was actually very smart and should not be underestimated.

“Yes, Your Majesty! This official will not disappoint Your Majesty!” Gao Xianzhi said respectfully.

Creak!

A few attendants carried over a large jade table from nearby. This jade table had many talisman scripts and ritual arrays carved on it.

“Come over then, little fellow. This is your first time to use a sandbox simulation, right? Just follow my lead and place your hand on the edge. Then, send in your consciousness,” Baili Zhan said with a cold smile.

Gao Xianzhi nodded and walked to the center of the hall.

The two stood at opposite sides of the jade table and placed their hands on it.

Buzz!

The jade table gave off light as the two’s consciousness entered. Then, their eyes closed slowly.

Boom!

Suddenly, the dazzling light from the jade table projected a battlefield with mountains, valleys, and rivers above it.

On one side of the battlefield, Gao Xianzhi led an army of one hundred thousand cultivators. On the other side, Baili Zhan also led an army of one hundred thousand cultivators.

The sandbox simulation was about to begin.

Gao Xianzhi vs. Baili Zhan!

Long Shenwu’s commander vs. Gu Hai’s commander!

DragonInWhite's Notes:

Chapters for November: 03 / 50

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Written by Guan Qi — Watching Chess. Translated by DragonInWhite. Edited by VampireCat.