On the Eastern Kingdom’s side, Princess Gouyu made straight for the capital after spending one day in the Jiang Han territory. She sent an order to the dukes at the same time for them to combine all their armies and convene at the southwestern border.
The entire Eastern Kingdom sank into a panic the instant the order to the dukes went out. Everyone knew that the Darkmoon Kingdom was located at the southwestern border of the kingdom.
The Darkmoon Kingdom had always been a sworn enemy of the Eastern Kingdom, and the relationship between the two was famously acrimonious amongst the alliance of the sixteen kingdoms.
The two countries would wage a war against each other almost every ten or twenty years.
It’d either be a pitched full out battle or small skirmishes.
Hate and discord had been passed down through the generations for these two countries, and had reached the point of no possible reconciliation unless one side fell. Whether monarch or citizens, the two sides would grit their teeth with bone-deep hatred whenever the other country was mentioned.
Originally, although the Eastern Kingdom had been a bit weaker, it had never been so weak as to lose power and shame itself over the hundreds of years.
However, at this moment in time, after the two great powers of the royal family and the Long family had clashed with each other, the country’s strength had been depleted by nearly one half.
This was precisely when the Eastern Kingdom was at its weakest.
The Darkmoon Kingdom taking advantage of this opening to swoop in was akin to robbing an owner when his house was on fire.
Even small tradesmen and porters would be able to grasp the truth of this. The current Eastern Kingdom truly had no ability to hold their ground against the Darkmoon Kingdom.
The most important thing was that the strongest and most mysterious Jiang family of the kingdom seemed to have turned down the royal family’s rewards. This was to say that the kingdom’s sole strong fighting force, the Jiang family, would very likely refuse to fight on the kingdom’s behalf.
This despairing news spread out across the entire kingdom in waves.
However, at this moment, Princess Gouyu’s charisma was brought to the fore.
She issued orders and simultaneously proclaimed to the land that the Eastern Kingdom had long since been prepared for the Darkmoon Kingdom’s invasion, and that the elite troops of the kingdom had already been deployed to the southwestern border. They were on the alert and ready for combat.
As for the family that everyone followed with interest in the kingdom, the Jiang family would be fighting for the kingdom and wouldn’t let the dirty iron hooves of the Darkmoon Kingdom set even half a step onto Eastern Kingdom territory.
One had to say, this kind of news was most invigorating at this time.
The entire Eastern Kingdom was astir. People were filled with joy and heartened when they heard that the Jiang family would protect the kingdom’s frontiers.
The Jiang family hadn’t been too extraordinary before, but they had managed to turn the tide against the Long family’s rebellion in order to help the royal family solely based on their own power.
They had annihilated the Long family, exterminated their associates, and awed an army of a million strong.
After the embellishments and rumors of a few months, all of these legends had caused the Jiang family to completely replace the Long family’s position and cement themselves as the true pillar of the kingdom.
When everyone learned that the Jiang family would still fight for this kingdom, a jubilant atmosphere prevailed throughout the country.
As for Jiang Chen, he kept his low profile as usual.
When he knew that the Darkmoon Kingdom was about to invade, Jiang Chen had once again contacted Mang Qi and asked him to send out a large flock of Swordbirds, as a provision in case of unexpected need.
It was a good thing that the Swordbird army within the Boundless Catacombs were as numerous as the hairs on an ox. The large army that Jiang Chen had brought last time had deployed only one tenth of its numbers.
Mang Qi sent out another large army, giving Jiang Chen a bit more reassurance.
He also knew that the Darkmoon Kingdom would’ve surely paid attention to the intelligence that he could compel the Swordbird Army.
That they still dared to boldly invade despite knowing so proved that they had some sort of plan in place for the battle capabilities of the Swordbird army.
This battle would possibly not be easy.
A shrill bird cry came from the air as a beam of gold light landed. It was a Goldwing Swordbird.
“Young duke.” A man jumped down from the back of the Goldwing Swordbird. It was the captain of his personal guard, Xue Tong.
“Any news? What have you investigated?” Jiang Chen asked.
“Quite a bit. The Darkmoon Kingdom has gathered the armies of 36 dukes this time, and the general in charge is the first general of the Darkmoon Kingdom, Ren Feilong.”
“Ren Feilong?” Jiang Chen knew nothing of the Darkmoon Kingdom and had naturally never heard of Ren Feilong’s name.
“Yes, this man is not forty years old yet and joined the military when he was thirteen. His accomplishments out of a hundred battles have made him become the god of Darkmoon Kingdom’s armies. He’s revered as the first general within the kingdom, and is said to deploy troops like a god and emerge victorious from every battle.”
“Deploy troops like a god? Emerge victorious from every battle?” Jiang Chen smiled faintly. It was possible to emerge victorious when ordinary, common armies met in battle.
But if one were to say that another deployed troops like a god, Jiang Chen might not necessarily be willing to accept that. It wasn’t that he didn’t accept this on the basis of a difference in the skill of war, but that at the end of the day, core battle strength was what mattered when two countries engaged in battle.
It was important to observe the art of war, but in many times, there was simply no place for the art of war in the face of absolute strength.
“Young duke, your subject has investigated and obtained a bit of information regarding Ren Feilong. This person is the main general of the armies and it’s necessary for us to be on our guard.” Xue Tong was being quite cautious.
Jiang Chen accepted the information and started perusing it. This information was almost wholly concerned with Ren Feilong’s previous battles, and all sorts of examples and retellings abounded.
Almost all sorts of battles were covered.
Ren Feilong was an uncommon talent in the arena of deploying troops. However, this person was labeled as the first general and was the classic example of the blood of the rank and file winning the general his promotion.
This person was resolute and decisive with his troops. He gave no thought to costs and sacrifices in crucial moments.
His treatment of enemies, and even prisoners, was exceedingly cruel. It was said that during a particular battle, this person had actually killed three hundred thousand prisoners.
Therefore, Ren Feilong had another name,“the god of slaughter”.
“His many military accomplishments are but built on the back of slaughter and bloodshed. He kills even captives. This Ren Feilong is a mere butcher in the army.” Jiang Chen came to this conclusion.
However, a few more traces of wariness grew within his heart. He had to admit that this person’s leadership capabilities and skills in deploying troops were indeed unpredictable and mysterious.
Jiang Chen reflected that although his Swordbird army was great, it relied too heavily on primitive tactics of numbers after all. There was nothing of strategy and tactics at all.
If the Darkmoon Kingdom had made sufficient preparations in battle, it may have the means to fight against this tactic of a sea of numbers.
After all, his opponent was a famous general that ranked first in the kingdom.
Wouldn’t it be playing into the other’s hands if he were methodical in his actions?
“Xue Tong, if we fight seriously and conventionally against someone skilled at using weapons, we’d definitely be going with their wishes. What do you say?” Jiang Chen asked with a smile.
Xue Tong thought for a moment, and with some emotions flickering across his face, asked, “What do you mean, young duke?”
“If they want to talk strategy, then we won’t talk strategy. If they like to use the art of war, then we’re going to deploy unconventional tactics instead. This is my territory, I make the decisions here.”
“Young duke, what wise ideas do you have?”
“It’s not that they’re wise ideas, but where are our advantages? They lie within the Swordbird’s mobility. Instead of sitting here and waiting for the armies of the Darkmoon Kingdom to arrive, why not strike out proactively?”
“Strike out proactively?” Xue Tong arched his eyebrow, pondered, and then smacked his forehead. “That’s right, we seem to have sunk into an odd mental loop. Why must we sit here and wait for the Darkmoon army?”
Indeed, what was the advantage of a Swordbird Army? It was mobility. What was mobility? It meant that they could fight at any time and retreat at any time.
To fight and retreat, the initiative laid within their hands.
The Darkmoon Kingdom may have prepared many tactics to anticipate the Swordbird army’s tactic of numbers, but these strategies would still require some time to set up.
But the Swordbird army was most suited for ambushes. My army would strike like the wind before your strategy had enough time to set up.
When your formation is set up, I would then retreat like the wind again.
These harassment tactics and guerrilla warfare may not result in high damage, but it could harass the opponent, impact their morale and make them too fatigued to respond.
Jiang Chen became more excited the more he thought. “Xue Tong, assemble all the troops and contact Princess Gouyu to have her send ten thousand practitioners who are adept at archery. It would be even better if they were in the advanced realm of true qi.”
Ten thousand advanced realm practitioners would be very difficult to gather in the span of a moment.
But the grudge between the Darkmoon Kingdom and the Eastern Kingdom had pretty much reached the level of turning every citizen into a soldier of the Eastern Kingdom. When the order was issued, all sorts of experts mobilized immediately and set out on their way with the fastest speed possible to the Jiang Han territory.
On one hand, this was to protect the country and attack the Darkmoon invasion, this was the pride, duty, and obligation of all practitioners.
On the other hand, these practitioners also wanted to catch a glimpse of the legendary Jiang Chen, the genius who had suppressed the Long family’s rebellion by his strength alone.
The resolution to defend one’s home country and the emotions of personal admiration were combined. The number of advanced realm practitioners who surged into River Wave City within a single day was over six thousand.
There were around nine thousand on the morning of the second, and that number had increased to twelve to thirteen thousand by noon.
Even Jiang Chen hadn’t expected the depth of their fervor.
He had to sigh with emotion, the loyalty of this world’s practitioners to their country was absolutely no joke.
It was a good thing that as a duke, Jiang Feng wasn’t short of people who could command troops. These ten thousand or so people were quickly divided into four great teams.
Every three thousand people was one great team, every three hundred one mid-sized team, and every thirty one small team. Each level would have a captain and vice captain.
Time was still of the essence.
The second batch of Swordbirds from Mang Qi’s side had already arrived and lay concealed within the vast mountains.
Jiang Chen rotated out all the Goldwing Swordbirds and Silverwing Swordbirds from the second batch and combined them with the Goldwing and Silverwing Swordbirds from the first batch.
In this manner, he had roughly eight hundred Goldwing Swordbirds and more than ten thousand Silverwing Swordbirds.
Each of the four great teams had roughly two hundred Goldwing Swordbirds and three thousand Silverwing Swordbirds. This was to say that every practitioner who had answered the summons would be equipped with at least one Silverwing Swordbird.
“Everyone, the Darkmoon Kingdom has sharpened their weapons and watered their horses, their great army will charge into our land shortly. As practitioners of the Eastern Kingdom, since you’ve come here, you don’t need me to exhort and rally your heart to protect our territory, right?” Jiang Chen rode a Goldwing Swordbird and hovered in midair, like the arrival of a god of war.
“You are all brave warriors of the Eastern Kingdom, protecting your home and country is your duty, and your utmost honor.”
“The Darkmoon Kingdom is led by a man called the first general of their country, Ren Feilong. This person deploys troops like a deity. Our Eastern Kingdom doesn’t have the ability fight against them face to face.”
“However, if we allow this Darkmoon Kingdom army to invade, this Ren Feilong has another monniker of the god of slaughter. He’s a butcher. Not only will he trample our land, but he will also kill our citizens, kill your parents, your brothers, and your children.”
“Are you willing to stand here and wait for them to arrive on your doorstep to slaughter your kin, or are you willing to follow me and proactively meet the enemy in front of your country’s doors? Are you willing to use your blood and life to defy them, or are you willing to use the blood and bones of your kin to dye their medals of service red?”