EIF - Book 04 Chapter 002: Chang Ming
Countless bats circled in the sky above where the Heptagold Sect used to be. The Yuan Nation’s army camped below, temporarily establishing Northern Expedition City as a base for the Northern Expedition Supreme Commander.
At this moment, a large sand table was placed in the main palace hall of Northern Expedition City. A red-clad general stood upright, clasping his hands behind his back while looking at the large sand table.
A group of subordinates carefully explained the situation on the sand table and expounded on the troop deployment.
“Supreme Commander, these are the cities that we currently control, and these are the directions the various battalions are heading,” the subordinates said respectfully while pointing at the sand table.
That red-clad general narrowed his eyes slightly and revealed a faint smile. “The Ying Royal Dynasty’s army is really not even worth a strike?”
“Indeed. Just earlier, we received news from Ying Capital. The Ying Royal Dynasty’s blessings crumbled. Lu Yang must have fallen. According to reports, Lu Yang’s last appearance was when he loudly declared that he was going to Foundation Deity City to kill Gu Hai.”
“Oh? Lu Yang died at Foundation Deity City?” The red-clad supreme commander frowned slightly.
Suddenly, a bat flew into the palace hall and transformed into a human-shaped guard.
“I have a report!”
The red-clad supreme commander kept his back to the guard, not turning around.
“Reporting to Supreme Commander, this subordinate obtained information from the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty’s borders. Huangfu Chaoge fell, and the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty no longer exists. Huangfu Chaoge bequeathed his nation to Gu Hai. Then, Gu Hai used the nation’s power to kill Lu Yang,” that guard said respectfully.
“Oh?” That red-clad supreme commander turned his head to look at that guard.
That guard reported everything he had seen and heard in great detail.
Then, the red-clad supreme commander turned his head to look at the Foundation Deity City on the sand table.
“Chaoge City? Ha! This Gu Hai is good at gaining the support of the citizens,” the red-clad supreme commander said coldly.
“Indeed. Supreme Commander, Mister Mo previously sent word that you must keep your guard up against Gu Hai and not to make him your enemy without serious consideration,” one of the subordinates reminded.
“Ha! Keep my guard up? Gu Hai only managed to kill Lu Yang after using the nation’s power. Furthermore, that was after Huangfu Chaoge sacrificed himself and severely injured Lu Yang. He took advantage of the situation. He cannot possibly gain the unanimous support of the twelve cities in such a short time.”
“However, since Mister Mo said that, we naturally still have to be careful. My Yuan Imperial Dynasty already surrounds these twelve cities. They can be considered a nation within my Yuan Imperial Dynasty’s boundaries. Taking them down is just a matter of time. However, it looks like this Gu Hai is not a person who is content with his lot. Since that is the case, we had better take preventive measures and capture these twelve cities first,” the red-clad supreme commander said gravely.
“This humble officer volunteers to capture the twelve cities!” A general with a pale complexion at the side stepped forward.
“Chang Ming?” The red-clad supreme commander looked at that pale general.
The pale general smiled faintly and said, “Supreme Commander, my eighth battalion has not been deployed yet. Let me capture them. Rest assured. I will not disappoint Supreme Commander. Furthermore, this humble officer has advanced to the Heavenly Palace Realm.”
The red-clad supreme commander looked at Chang Ming for a while, then said, “Chang Ming, you have been in the Heavenly Palace Realm for just half a year, and you only established the lower heavenly palace. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
“I am not. Supreme Commander, I know that Gu Hai killed Lu Yang. However, what state was Lu Yang in then? Lu Yang was already on his last breath. Gu Hai just dealt the finishing blow. Although this is this humble officer’s first time leading troops, it would be easy to deal with one Gu Hai. Capture the leader first to capture all the followers. As long as we take down Gu Hai, it will be easy to capture the twelve cities,” Chang Ming said confidently.
The red-clad supreme commander seemed to consider these words. After some silence, he eventually nodded and said, “Alright.”
“Many thanks, Supreme Commander!” Chang Ming said with a smile.
Gu Hai’s study in Chaoge City:
Gu Hai sipped his cup of tea while sitting behind his desk. He looked at the officials before him. The leader of this group was one of his former general managers, Tang Chu.
“Have you finished looking through the information?” Gu Hai asked the sixty officials.
“Yes. We have all memorized everything in the three hundred pages of information that Your Majesty provided,” the officials said respectfully.
“Do you have any thoughts?” Gu Hai asked after taking another sip of tea.
After a deep breath, Tang Chu said, “Your Majesty, the information Your Majesty provided covered not the twelve cities that you already grasp but a different twelve cities.”
“Yes. Continue,” Gu Hai said after sipping some more tea.
“These twelve cities all share a common characteristic—they all once belonged to the Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty. However, the Ying Royal Dynasty, the Heptagold Sect, the Ravenous Wolf Sect, and the Huang Royal Dynasty captured them. Recently, they became part of the Yuan Imperial Dynasty’s territory,” Tang Chu said gravely.
Gu Hai nodded.
“Your Majesty is sending your subjects to these twelve cities to open This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion branches because Your Majesty is targeting these twelve cities?” Tang Chu said boldly.
Gu Hai nodded. After a deep breath, he said, “The Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty used to have twenty-five cities. After the Heptagold Sect destroyed Heavenly Peace City, twenty-four cities remained. I have grasped half of them, and the other half is in the Yuan Imperial Dynasty’s hands. We believe that the citizens there still have lingering affections for Huangfu Chaoge, so we hope to take back these twelve cities in one go.”
“Yes?” At first, the officials’ eyes lit up. However, worry soon appeared on their faces.
“Your Majesty, this is like pulling a tooth from a tiger’s mouth. Can we…,” Tang Chu said worriedly.
“We are doing exactly that. It is normal for you to worry about the Yuan Imperial Dynasty’s revenge. Ha! Even if we do not make a move, do you think that the Yuan Imperial Dynasty will let the twelve cities we control escape their grasp?” Gu Hai said with a cold smile.
“Since they won’t, why can’t we gamble on this?” Gu Hai said.
“There’s no need to worry. The Yuan Imperial Dynasty is not invincible. This battle will not last forever. We want to obtain as many cities as we can before the battle stops,” Gu Hai said gravely.
“Yes!” the officials answered.
These officials were veterans who had followed Gu Hai for a long time already. They could make out his unwavering determination from just his eyes. Since His Majesty ordered it, we just have to do it.
“Your Majesty, what should we do?” Tang Chu asked gravely.
“This time, you are responsible for the entire thing. You will open This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion branches in the twelve cities and coordinate between them. Aside from selling zithers as the primary goods, you can also bring in other things—even medicinal pills, enchanted treasures, weapons, and Go boards—as long as the sales model does not change. Quickly establish all the branches,” Gu Hai said.
“We will arrange for the previous Divine Foundation Royal Dynasty’s experts to follow you; they’ll complete any task you set them. As for how to use a shop to conquer a city, we will teach you when the time comes,” Gu Hai said.
“Yes!” everyone answered.
“Your Majesty, when returning from Silver Moon City, we also brought the profits from This Street’s Best Zither Pavilion!” Tang Chu handed over the account books respectfully.
“Oh?” Gu Hai did not even look at the account books. Instead, he looked directly at Tang Chu.
“Over the most of the past year, we earned forty million superior-grade spirit stones,” Tang Chu reported respectfully.
Gu Hai nodded and said, “That’s quite alright.”
“Many thanks, Your Majesty!” The officials smiled.
In the Han Royal Dynasty’s territory in the Divine Continent, fifty flying ships sped towards Chaoge City.
The Han Royal Dynasty just entered the Divine Continent and had not gained stable footing yet. Otherwise, these fifty flying ships could not have entered the Han Nation’s territory so easily without anyone stopping them.
The flagship sported two large banners—one with the character for Yuan and the other with the character for Chang.
Wearing long, black robes, Chang Ming sat elegantly on a chair on the flying ship’s deck. In his hand, he held a crystal glass half-filled with a crimson liquid. If one looked carefully, one would notice a layer of blood plasma on the top of the liquid. This cup held blood, not wine.
Chang Ming elegantly took a sip as he looked into the distance with narrowed eyes.
“General, we will arrive at Chaoge City soon!” a subordinate reported respectfully.
Chang Ming said with narrowed eyes, “I can see it already. Chaoge City? Ha! Do you think that Gu Hai will immediately surrender from fear the moment he knows I am a Heavenly Palace Realm cultivator?”
“Uh…” That subordinate remained silent for a while, not knowing how to answer.
“Mister Mo and the supreme commander said to be careful of Gu Hai. However, no matter how incredible he is, he is not omnipotent. According to the information from Nine-Five Island, that Ao Shun was stupid; that’s why he got tricked. Only a fool like Ao Shun would believe such low-level lies. Be careful of Gu Hai? What is there to be careful about? Before absolute power, all plots are a joke,” Chang Ming said cockily.
“Lu Yang lost to Gu Hai because he was already on his last breath. Let’s see him try against me. Ha!” Chang Ming said with a cold smile.
“General, this is your first time leading an army. Perhaps…”
“Do you think I am boasting?” Chang Ming looked at that subordinate coldly.
“This subordinate does not dare. It is just that there are no minor matters in the military. We cannot be careless at all,” that subordinate said with a lowered head.
“Humph! What do you know? These twelve cities are trapped within my Yuan Imperial Dynasty anyway. So what if this is my first time leading an army? The supreme commander still sent me. That is because this battle is going to be easy. I am just here to claim accomplishments. What do you know?” Chang Ming scoffed.
“Just watch as I capture the city without losing even a single soldier! Hahahahaha!” Chang Ming guffawed confidently.
The subordinates felt somewhat at a loss, but they did not dare to say anything.
Huangfu Palace Hall, Chaoge City:
Wearing imperial robes and a crown, Gu Hai sat on a throne, issuing decrees to the two columns of officials before him.
All the officials listened patiently during the royal assembly.
Suddenly, a guard rushed into the palace hall.
“I have a report!”
Urgent military reports could ignore all obstructions and go straight to the emperor.
“Reporting to Your Majesty, fifty flying ships of the Yuan Imperial Dynasty’s army, carrying about five hundred fifty thousand soldiers, appeared ten kilometers south of the city!” that guard reported anxiously.
“What? The Yuan Nation’s army?” The officials revealed expressions of horror.
Find the original at *hosted* novel.
However, Gu Hai slightly narrowed his eyes and stood up from his throne.
Gu Hai flung out his sleeves and sauntered away from his throne with hands held behind his back. He walked out of Huangfu Palace Hall and looked to the south. The officials followed him.
Huangfu Palace Hall stood on high elevation. One could see ten kilometers south of the city from there. Gu Hai saw fifty flying ships lined up in the row as they hovered in the air. All of the flying ships had a banner with a large character for Yuan fluttering in the wind.
“The Yuan Imperial Dynasty? They came so quickly?” Gu Hai’s expression turned sullen.
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