Chapter 220: Return
A short while later.
The sounds of piteous wails could be heard echoing throughout the forest.
“Why? Why did this happen? I already ascended to Lord-Class, but why am I still unable to defeat him? I refuse to admit...... AH!”
Su Chen interrupted his complaints by cutting off a large chunk of his life source and taking it for himself.
“You should consider yourself lucky. Not everyone who betrays me gets a second chance,” Su Chen said faintly. “If you even think about doing it again, remember the price that you will pay.”
“I...... acknowledge my wrongdoing...... Master!” the paper crane whimpered at Su Chen’s feet.
“If you acknowledge your wrongdoing, then let’s go.” Su Chen stepped onto the paper crane.
Su Chen himself could obviously fly, and he also had the Cloud Piercing Shuttles on him. At this moment, however, he preferred to fly around on a paper crane.
The paper crane took Su Chen and flew back along the return path.
Seven days later, the paper crane arrived at the Harvey Plains, where the Gravel Lizard Tribe was situated. At this point in time, the Gravel Lizard Tribe was already the most powerful tribe in the southern area of Ravager territory. Danba had gone on a rampage, subjugating ten or so tribes in a single sweep.
Su Chen was very warmly received by Danba.
Three days later, Su Chen left, and the paper crane continued to fly south.
This time, Su Chen was really planning on going home.
Unlike the Heavenly Might Battalion, however, Su Chen was planning on taking the route through the Flowing Gold Fort.
He was going to return to the country in a confident manner.
In the Flowing Gold Fort.
The soldiers were standing on the city walls, chatting with each other aimlessly.”
“This is really boring. Brother Bo, tell us some more stories about the Heavenly Might Battalion’s exploits in Ravager territory,” a young soldier said to another soldier who was sitting there with a resolute expression.
His words drew the attention and support of the nearby soldiers.
“Yeah, yeah! Tell us some more!”
That soldier’s name was Kong Bo. When he heard the young soldiers’ words, he chuckled. “I’ve already told you all the stories that I can these past couple of days. Anything else that I haven’t told you are all things I’m not allowed to talk about; what else is there to say?”
The other soldiers felt their moods sink again when they heard this.
One of the soldiers said, “What is there that you cannot say? Is it not just about those people and those things? You might not be allowed to talk about it, but no one knows what the heck is going on. Someone’s just trying to pull the wool over our eyes.”
“Shut your mouth. A loose tongue brings no end of troubles,” a nearby person said.
The soldier who had spoken earlier said angrily, “Like hell I’m afraid of him……”
He wanted to say something more, but someone else stopped him from saying anything more.
The soldier who shut him up glanced at Kong Bo. “Brother Bo, sorry about that.”
“Don’t worry about it. I understand.” Kong Bo didn’t mind.
The topic of the Heavenly Might Battalion was brought up and quashed almost within the same breath.
Even so, suppressing matters forcefully like this would always leave some people dissatisfied.
There was simply too much to talk about, so it was no surprise really that someone couldn’t stay quiet.
After a brief moment, another soldier couldn’t resist saying, “I don’t understand, Brother Bo.”
“What don’t you understand?” Kong Bo stood attentively at the walls of the city, staring off into the distance. It appeared as if there was something flying in this direction.
Kong Bo instinctively focused his attention in that direction.
“I don’t understand why they are treating you like this, or why you all are just accepting it,” the soldier continued to complain.
Kong Bo continued to focus on the advancing object as he replied casually, “Do you think our attitude is really that strange? Then what would you have us do? Stand up for ourselves? Or start a mutiny?”
“......That’s not what we mean.”
“I know,” Kong Bo said. “But if you experienced the same things that we experienced in Ravager territory, you wouldn’t place so much importance on what we are going through right now…… If we were able to make it through that kind of a desperate situation, of what importance is this little valley? In any case, we had some expectations that this would happen before we even returned.”
“You expected this would happen before you returned?” Everyone was stunned. “Then you still……”
Kong Bu chuckled. “There will be something to say. It just isn’t the right time either.”
The dot on the horizon was slowly becoming larger and larger. Kong Bo could finally see the outline of a human riding on the back of some kind of strange beast.
Kong Bo motioned for them to remain alert and stand on guard.
“When?” There were a few soldiers who didn’t understand what he was talking about.
“When the person who can decide what the right time is,” Kong Bo replied calmly.
He had only casually said something like that, but that was actually the crux of the matter.
After those days and nights they had spent in Ravager territory, the leader in the hearts of the soldiers had gradually changed.
The reason everyone could endure until this point was because they knew there was one person who was willing to stick his neck out for them. That person, who had the right to decide what the right time was, had not yet returned.
So they could only wait.
This was something the soldiers had decided on their own, and something the higher-ups of the Heavenly Might Battalion had unanimously concluded.
However, these things could not be spoken to anyone else. There were some things that were invisibly hidden within peoples’ hearts that could not be revealed, but everyone was extremely clear about.
The person who can decide? Who was that?
Just as everyone was making their guesses, Kong Bo’s eyes suddenly dilated as his body trembled ever so slightly.
“It’s him! He’s back! He’s back!” Kong Bo suddenly began to yell with excitement.
“Who is it?” the others asked as they watched a person flying in their direction from afar.
A slight smile danced around Kong Bo’s lips. “Naturally, the person we cannot talk about.”
The paper crane flew through the air as the walls of the Flowing Gold Fort gradually faded into view. Even Su Chen felt a bit of excitement in his heart.
He had finally returned.
Su Chen did not instruct the paper crane to land directly on the walls of the city. Because he had come from Ravager territory, he still needed to be inspected. As such, Su Chen told the paper crane to slow down so that the guards of the fort would have enough time to react.
Very quickly, the walls of the city began to light up.
These lights were for direction, instructing Su Chen to land in a certain location. It was also a warning, informing the nearby soldiers to be prepared and alert.
Su Chen instructed the paper crane to head in the direction of the lights.
He had just stepped off the crane when he saw a soldier suddenly kneel in front of him. “Kong Bo greets Prince Su!”
“Kong Bo? You were from the Heavenly Might Battalion’s Sea Mountain Garrison, am I right?” Su Chen asked.
Kong Bo was ecstatic. “Prince Su, so you still remember me!”
Su Chen smiled slightly. “You were on my left flank when we attacked Chagula Castle. I remember you leading the charge bravely and without fear. I also remember that you were one of the fastest individuals to grasp my Immaculate Cultivation Technique. How come now……”
Su Chen had noticed that he didn’t recognize any of the soldiers next to Kong Bo.
Of course, it was impossible for him to remember all of the soldiers. However, only Kong Bo was kneeling before him. All the other soldiers were quizzically sizing him up, which allowed him to quickly confirm that they were not members of the Heavenly Might Battalion.
The main problem was that Kong Bo was in fact a member of the Heavenly Might Battalion, so how did…...
A certain bad premonition surfaced in Su Chen’s heart.
Indeed, Kong Bo replied, “After the Heavenly Might Battalion returned, we were disbanded. There is no such thing as the Heavenly Might Battalion anymore.”
“The Heavenly Might Battalion was disbanded?” Su Chen asked with some surprise.
No wonder Kong Bo had called him Prince Su. After all, he was still the Heavenly Might Battalion’s Deputy Garrison Commander. Even if he had not been actively involved in his duties for the past few days, his official position was still there. As such, Kong Bo should have referred to him as such, and those who knew how to flatter him might even have dropped the “deputy” title. Now, however, he understood - since the Heavenly Might Battalion itself was gone, then it followed that his rank had disappeared as well. Kong Bo could only refer to him as Prince Su.
“Yes.” Kong Bo lowered his head. “Not long after the Heavenly Might Battalion returned, the higher-ups decreed that our battalion ignored a direct command and invaded enemy territory, committing a great crime. As such, we were seriously punished.”
“So that is how it ended up, huh?” Su Chen muttered, not all that caught off-guard.
Everyone had realized that this was a possibility before the Heavenly Might Battalion had even returned.
Anyone who had managed to survive until this point couldn’t be an idiot. The matter of the Heavenly Might Battalion was a stain to certain powerful individuals.
If that stain disappeared, then everything would have resolved itself over time. But if the stain managed to return alive…… it would not be removed for at least a lifetime.
That Crown Prince would definitely not be able to accept an outcome like that.
However, slapping the Heavenly Might Battalion with treason was too far-fetched, and no one would believe it. As such, he could only choose to transfer the responsibility of his mistake to the Heavenly Might Battalion itself.
Even though they had guessed that this might happen, guesses were guesses, and possibilities were possibilities. Su Chen’s expression still sank when he heard the terrible news. “So that’s the reason why they disbanded the Heavenly Might Battalion?”
This was a battalion with incredible amounts of combat experience. The fact that they survived an expedition into Ravager territory was more than enough to badly surprise countless people.
How to deal with this kind of a battalion was a big problem.
It was impossible to kill them, but neither did he want to reward them.
After thinking it over a number of times, the easiest method was to dissolve and reorganize them. They would be able to destroy the battalion’s cohesiveness. In order to ensure this, they forbid the soldiers from ever discussing what had happened in the Iron and Blood Country.
Objectively, if they maintained this stance and time went on, their contact would grow limited and their unified consciousness would slowly dissipate. This really was quite an effective way to deal with the problem.
However, even though this helped them deal with the problem, the education this battalion had received in large-scale battles and the power and influence this battalion had possessed also disappeared.
“So the Heavenly Might Battalion was not destroyed after a year in the Iron and Blood Country, but someone managed to wipe them out just a few days after they returned?” Su Chen muttered.
Kong Bo replied with agitation, “Prince Su, the Heavenly Might Battalion can be disbanded, but our consciousness still exists! We have been waiting for you the whole time to fight for justice on our behalf.”
“Waiting for me? What about General Li? What about my Instructor?”
“General Li was charged with mishandling his authority and was stripped of his rank. Vice Commander Shi…… was placed under house arrest.”
“Under house arrest? How dare they!” Su Chen’s expression sank.
At this moment, a deep voice boomed out, “Who dares trespass in the Flowing Gold Fort? Arrest him!”
As these words rang out, a large horde of soldiers charged to the top of the fort’s walls, pointing their heavy crossbows and spears at Su Chen.
A scholarly-looking man stepped forwards, facing off against Su Chen.
Kong Bo hurriedly said, “This person is Su Chen, the benefactor who saved the Heavenly Might Battalion!”
“Su Chen?” The scholar’s eyes glowed with intensity. “So you’re Su Chen.”
“Yes, I am he,” Su Chen replied.
“But even Prince Su himself doesn’t have the authority to charge into the Flowing Gold Fort like this, does he?” the scholar asked.
Su Chen glanced around. “I just came back from Ravager territory. If I didn’t go by way of the Flowing Gold Fort, how else would I have returned?”
“Then the problem is even bigger. Prince Su is only a plainclothes civilian, so how were you able to return from Ravager territory safe and sound? Perhaps Prince Su sold out human secrets to become a Ravager spy? Men, come and seize him. We will make a decision after interrogating him.”