Book 7, Chapter 6: Climbing a Mountain

Su Chen felt some suspicion about the Flying Moon Emperor’s decision.

It was impossible for him not to be suspicious.

But regardless of how he felt, he couldn’t possibly refuse his opponent’s display of goodwill by backing off.

As such, he waved his hand, giving control of the army over to Du Qingxi.

Du Qingxi was the emperor of Cloud Rising. He was quite familiar with dealing with the Beasts, so his understanding of their behavior was the greatest. As such, handing over the reins to him was not a downgrade.

Du Qingxi didn’t disappoint. Even though he was individually very strong, he didn’t make any brash moves. Instead, he calmly sent out twenty thousand Origin Qi Scholars at a time, one group from the Seven Kingdoms and the other from the Boundless Sect, and pincered the oncoming army between them.

Even so, twenty thousand Origin Qi Scholars at once was quite a show of force.

The situation on the battlefield began to intensify.

At that moment, however, Su Chen had no interest in watching how the battle was about to play out.

They would just be trading blows and sending waves of elemental power at each other, with wind, fire, and lightning flying all over the place, filling the sky with multicolored light as blood rained down from the sky. After all, this battle was nothing out of the ordinary.

This was why Su Chen didn’t have much interest in it.

He sat on the Boundless Palace’s throne as he rested his head on his hand, seemingly thinking about something.

He sat there quietly for some time as time passed.

It wasn’t until dusk began to fall when the clamor outside started to die down.

It appeared as if the battle was ending soon.

The fact that no one had reported anything to him or sounded any alarms meant that the human army had kept everything under control.

After a moment’s thought, he asked, “How does it look out there now?”

A disciple responded, “The Flying Moon Emperor was defeated and is fleeing.”

So they had won yet another easy victory?

There was no trap or scheme being sprung. This Flying Moon Emperor’s actions appeared to be both idiotic and conceitedly overconfident. Of course, there were quite a few Demonic Beasts who possessed such a temperament.

However, Su Chen’s brow only continued to furrow.

An explosion of cheers suddenly burst forth from outside.

The Demonic Beasts’ final defenses had been destroyed. The humans had completely routed the Beasts, and they were celebrating their victory.

This was the first battle the humans had fought against the Beasts, which was why their spirits were so high.

Su Chen, however, remained calm.

“Sect Master, we won!” Cheng Tianhai declared with excitement as he strode into the hall.

“Oh,” Su Chen murmured in response.

Cheng Tianhai was taken aback. “Sect Master, are you unhappy about something?”

Su Chen replied, “Not really, but I just don’t think that there’s much to be happy about.”

Cheng Tianhai was befuddled by Su Chen’s words and scratched the back of his head. “Not much to be happy about? What does that mean?”

Jun Moxie sighed, “A single Demonic Emperor and two hundred thousand Demonic Beasts are worth getting this excited over? Our combined strength is enough to defeat them with a casual swipe of the hand. Is there any glory to a victory like this? You’re the only one hollering and making a racket like this, as if it was all due to your efforts. No one else is surprised that we steamrolled over them like ants. Winning is to be expected; losing would be the real cause for surprise. There’s no need to be so excited over a victory like this - you should be letting out a sigh of relief instead.”

Cheng Tianhai was startled. “Oh, that does make sense.”

His excitement seemed to have dampened quite a bit.

Su Chen muttered, “Two hundred thousand Demonic Beasts? Just sent to the slaughter like this......? Moxie, do you feel like there’s anything wrong with this situation?”

“Yes!” Jun Moxie replied. “The Demonic Beasts that died were all low-level Beasts. Surprisingly, we only killed twenty Demonic Lords, a single Demonic King, and no Demonic Emperors. This strength is clearly lacking somewhat.”

A Sovereign typically had five to ten Demonic Emperors under their command. The most powerful ones could even have up to thirty under their control. Each Demonic Emperor would rule over countless Demonic Kings and Lords.

It was indeed strange that only twenty Demonic Lords and a single Demonic King had died in this battle.

Obviously, Jun Moxie and the others had realized this as well, which was why they were showing no signs of excitement over winning the battle.

Lin Shaoxuan stepped inside as well. “We’ve confirmed that the Flying Moon Emperor did in fact only have around two hundred thousand subordinates, but he has far more Demonic Kings and Lords under his command. Obviously, they had sacrificed all of their mid- to low-tier grunts so that they could escape.”

“Well, that makes things interesting. Why would they do that?” Du Qingxi walked over as well.

Now that the battle was over, everyone was beginning to return, causing the hall to grow noisy.

Everyone had their own guesses about the Sovereign’s seemingly illogical actions.

“Maybe he wants to test our strength?”

“Test our strength with two hundred thousand subordinates? Even if they are primal, they have some kind of intelligence, okay?”

“Maybe they’re using our hand to get rid of dissenters,” someone else suggested.

“If they were just trying to get rid of dissenters, then they should have dealt with some Demonic Emperor and its disobedient subordinates, instead of sacrificing all of their low-level strength. Are all the dissenters in your clan of such low status?”

“Then perhaps he was tired of ruling over all of them and wanted to make an exit from this responsibility.”

“So that’s why he took with him a bunch of Demonic Emperors, Kings, and Lords, right? What an insightful train of thought.” Obviously, this suggestion was being ridiculed as well.

Ideas flew back and forth, but not a single one seemed to match up.

Finally, it was Su Chen who said calmly, “Sometimes, after you’ve eliminated all possibilities, the one that seems the most improbable is the one that is actually true.”

Feng Zhuying said, “Sect Master, you mean......”

Su Chen replied, “Flying Moon wanted these Beasts to die!”

Everyone turned to glance at each other.

Flying Moon wanted his subordinates to die? Why?

Li Chongshan lowered his head in thought for a moment before he said, “Is it to get a reaction out of the Desolate Beasts?”

Someone immediately shot down that idea. “Desolate Beasts will only awaken when the Demonic Beasts are pushed into dire straits. The death of two hundred thousand Demonic Beasts doesn’t yet qualify. Flying Moon would have sacrificed his foot soldiers in vain.

“Then are they a sacrifice?” Gu Qingluo suddenly asked.

“A sacrifice to what?”

“I don’t know. But this appears to be the most logical conclusion we can draw at this point,” Gu Qingluo replied.

Li Wuyi, who was standing off to the side, nodded. “Sect Master’s wife makes a good point. If we must find a reason, this is the one that makes the most sense.”

“But there was no sacrificial altar or Origin Formation near the battle, and we didn’t sense any peculiar Origin Energy fluctuations either,” Du Qingxi immediately said.

As the overseer of the battle, what he feared the most was some kind of secret underground formation waiting to trap them. As such, he had dispatched countless scouts to closely observe the surroundings and prevent any accidents from taking place. He did in fact have a right to speak on such matters.

Without an altar or an Origin Formation upon which the sacrifices could be laid, this theory held no water.

The commanders once again began to discuss amongst themselves but still failed to come to an agreement.

Finally, Su Chen spoke yet again. “I don’t know why it chose to do this, but I do know that no matter what our enemies are trying, we will not shrink back in fear. Since we can’t tell what our enemies are preparing, we will continue to advance. Any schemes will reveal themselves eventually. As long as we continue to execute our plan, nothing the enemy does will be able to harm us significantly.”

Tens of thousands of years of fighting had given the humans quite a bit of experience in dealing with such enemies. As long as they followed that plan closely, they would be able to mitigate the damage of even the most dangerous ambush.

Since they didn’t know what their opponent’s goal was, Su Chen decided to fearlessly stay the course in response to all these possibilities.

Even so, the reality was that their enemies truly didn’t have any special tactics up their sleeves.

No unexpected situation had occurred on the battlefield, and nothing had been discovered by the scouts. It appeared as if the Flying Moon Emperor had completely given up on controlling the area and, after gifting the majority of his subordinates to the human army, had fled, leaving behind his riches and treasures.

The territory itself was abundant in natural resources.

All kind of precious herbs could be found within its forests, its mountain ranges, and its canyons. To the Intelligent Races, these plants and herbs were exceptionally rare, but to the Beasts they were commonplace.

Some disciples managed to find quite a few Corpse Spirit Flowers when digging through some sinister cave. Those flowers had been responsible for starting Su Chen’s path of cultivation.

The Beasts themselves were also treasures.

Two hundred thousand Beast corpses were worth a small fortune. The disciples efficiently skinned the carcasses, ate their flesh, and used them to boil soup, refine pills, and construct tools. As a result of this battle, the human army had made a haul of many formerly rare resources, making morale quite high - indeed, killing Beasts was much more satisfying than killing Astrals.

Apart from these naturally-occurring resources were the treasures in the Flying Moon Emperor’s palace.

Unfortunately, almost all of the treasures within the palace had been taken with the Flying Moon Emperor. However, the palace itself was also quite valuable.

As such, the Boundless Sect’s disciples decided to tear down the palace upon discovering that there were no treasures inside. The palace contained quite a few rare metals, which would be useful for refining tools.

By the time all of this had been finished, it was already dark.

Even though cultivators could see in the dark, Su Chen still gave the command to rest.

They were all used to moving by day and resting by night. Even as Origin Qi Scholars, their habits were still maintained, such that they were used to performing most of their recovery routines at night.

Su Chen paced through the camp, giving the soldiers as much time as he could to rest to ensure that their condition remained in tip-top shape.

The night slowly passed by.

Su Chen, however, had no heart to cultivate.

He lifted up his head to gaze at the sky. A round, full moon hung in the sky amidst a black backdrop.

The moonlight shone down on the majestic Moon-Gazing Mountain. It did in fact look a little like a rabbit worshipping the moon.

Apparently, the Flying Moon Emperor would perform this ritual every night and gaze at the moon. This mountain had thus been named after the rabbit’s actions.

An idea suddenly popped into his head, and he began to walk towards the Moon-Gazing Mountain.

He didn’t fly. Instead, he walked towards the mountain step-by-step, slowly ascending the mountain as the moonlight shone down on him.

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