Ye Rong was overjoyed to hear these words. “Brother Jiang, does this mean that you’ve accepted?”
“Well spoken, we’re all gold buried in the sand, our shine temporarily hidden. However, you and I are not the sort to accept being buried in the sand forever. Perhaps, you and I teaming up would be the ideal decision.”
Pa pa pa pa.
Ye Rong applauded and laughed heartily. “Good! Such satisfaction! Jiang Chen, I, Ye Rong, haven’t met someone as straightforward as you in a long time. Come, let’s drink!”
Jiang Chen had been running about to and fro ever since he was reincarnated into this world. He’d had almost no chance to explore the outside world. Apart from Fatty Xuan and Hubing Yue who were left behind by his predecessor, he had almost no one who he could call a friend.
Princess Gouyu could possibly be counted as one, but the relationship between the two had basically exceeded the range of friendship.
As for the others, they were either his kin or his subordinates.
This Ye Rong was the first person that he felt he could get along well with, and someone that he could become friends with. At least, the two of them were birds of a feather.
“Brother Jiang, I feel like we’re old friends despite this being our first meeting. Take this Da Yu1 bow and this quiver of arrows as my greeting gift. There are 36 arrows within it that form a set with the bow. Divine arrows must accompany a precious bow in order to deploy its greatest effectiveness.”
Ye Rong was in a great mood as he discovered the two had much in common after drinking a few cups of wine with Jiang Chen.
“Prince Ye, don’t call me brother Jiang. You should be a year or two older than me, you can call me Jiang Chen or lil brother Jiang.”
“Heh heh, then I shall call you younger brother Jiang or wise brother. Oh right, Jiang Chen, this Da Yu bow will only increase your chances by an additional ten percent. It won’t be able to guarantee your success in killing Ren Feilong.”
Indeed, even with a spirit bow in hand, Ren Feilong would have countless numbers of experts protecting him in an army numbering tens of thousands. It wouldn’t be simple to kill him.
“Unless, brother Ye do you have any other better ideas?”
“I do have other ideas, but they’re a bit ruthless.” Ye Rong was slightly hesitant.
“Ruthlessness is of no concern in a battle between two armies. If the Darkmoon Kingdom kills their way into the Eastern Kingdom, then with Ren Feilong’s nickname as the god of slaughter, he’ll be a full fledged butcher. The death toll of my Eastern Kingdom’s citizens will likely measure in the tens of thousands.”
Ye Rong nodded. “One truly can’t have so many reservations when two armies meet in battle.”
After he spoke, Ye Rong seemed to execute another trick as he reached out with his right hand. A snake dotted with green spots appeared on the back of his hand and it entwined around Ye Rong’s arm.
This snake had a pair of thin and small eyes, the black, slitted eyes located on the two sides of its triangular head exuded a frightening sense of viciousness.
“Younger brother, this snake is called the Sevenstar Joined Moon snake. Its venom is quite strange. The blood of anyone poisoned with this venom will boil and their organs will undergo aberrations. They’ll slowly change into bloodthirsty monsters. These monsters’ appetites are bizarre as they’ll have a primeval urge to feed and will lust after living people and fresh blood. Imagine this, if a batch of people were afflicted with this poison out of a million strong army and one bites another, then they’ll be linked like a string of seven stars. They’ll be interconnected, and it won’t be long before the million strong army will fall apart without making battle.”
“Sevenstar Joined Moon snake?” The memories of his past life floated up in Jiang Chen’s mind. This snake did possess a strange venom that could spread continuously, like Ye Rong had said.
As long as someone afflicted bit another person once, then the person bitten would spread this poison. Following this train, one would infect ten, and ten would infect a hundred.
How much of this suffering would a million strong army be able to endure?
However, it was said that this venomous snake was very difficult to raise. How did Ye Rong acquire one?
“Younger brother, don’t look at me that way. This snake isn’t something that I can afford to raise. I’ve borrowed it from a friend in the Precious Tree Sect and only have fifteen days with it before I’ll have to return it to him. If he knew that I used it to intervene in the battles of common kingdoms, I’d likely be incriminated.”
Ye Rong seemed troubled as he spoke these words. It could be seen that he had truly spent a large amount of capital to recruit Jiang Chen and gain his friendship.
“Brother Ye need not worry. The venom of the Sevenstar Joined Moon snake can be refined into a completely different poison, so that others won’t be able to recognize that it’s the Sevenstar Joined Moon venom.”
“Refined?” Ye Rong blinked a bit in disbelief. “Younger brother, you know how to refine poison?”
Jiang Chen laughed heartily. “It looks like your intelligence gathering wasn’t thorough enough. I actually do know a thing or two about this unconventional method of poison.”
“Oh? This is a pleasant surprise. The roots of the way of poison ultimately originates from the dao of pills. Younger brother, can it be that you’ve carried out some research on the dao of pills?”
“I know a thing or two about it.” Jiang Chen smiled humbly.
“Younger brother, if you truly are talented in the field of pills, then your chances of entering the Precious Tree Sect will greatly increase. The Precious Tree Sect heavily emphasizes potential in the dao of pills. The Precious Tree Sect exists at the apex of the four great sects of the sixteen kingdom alliance in the area of pills.”
Jiang Chen was immediately inspired with the Sevenstar Joined Moon snake and he combined the various methods in deploying poison in his past life to instantly brainstorm many more tactics.
When Jiang Chen reappeared the next day, a few more traces of a confident smile was on his face.
After a day and night of refining, he had already refined great batches of the Sevenstar Joined Moon venom into mutated forms of venom.
This venom was poured into several hundred small flasks and passed out to the captains of the great, middle, and small teams.
It was the seventh day since the Darkmoon army had left the capital of the Darkmoon Kingdom.
On this day, the great army had chosen to convene in an empty mountain valley. They only started making camp after ensuring that their lines and formations were arranged properly.
They would arrive at the border after two more days of marching, and then the Eastern Kingdom would be visible in the distance.
The Eastern Kingdom’s fertile lands, sexy beauties, and countless wealth seemed to be waving at them.
Ren Feilong had summoned all the high ranking officers within the army to the tent of the commander-in-chief.
“Everyone, we’ll be arrive the frontier of our Darkmoon Kingdom after crossing this Bayun Valley. We’ll split the army into two, one to take the Eastern Kingdom’s Westcreek territory, the other to make a feint at the Eastern Kingdom’s Jiang Han territory.”
“Make a feint at the Jiang Han territory?” A highly ranked officer asked out of curiosity.
“Yes. The Jiang family has a grip on the Jiang Han territory, and are versed in compelling the Swordbird army. If we attack them head on, although we have many methods to counter them, it will still be a war of attrition in the end. They won’t care no matter how many Swordbirds die, but we’ll have to use the lives of our soldiers and generals. It’s not worth it.”
“The commander-in-chief speaks truly. There’s no need to expend ourselves against the Swordbird army. As long as we create an opening in the Westcreek territory and have the great army pour in, the troops can follow from behind in an unending stream. Our army will have already surged into the Eastern Kingdom before the Jiang family reacts. At that time, they’ll be hard pressed to attend to two fronts. We’ll then employ a pincer move and surround them with several squadrons from different sides. They’ll be unable to focus on one thing without losing sight of another, and hence will be defeated without even battling.”
The person speaking was another high ranking officer, and one of the more renowned Dukes from the Darkmoon Kingdom.
The first part of his words had grasped Ren Feilong’s invasion strategy, but the second part still didn’t comprehend the latter’s intent.
“It’s undoubted that our great army will pass through the Westcreek territory to enter the Eastern Kingdom, however, this is only one of our many plans. Our real ace in the hole is to come in through the southeastern part of the Eastern Kingdom. We’ll take a roundabout path for a couple thousand li2 and then turn to slip into the Jiang Han territory.”
“Ace in the hole?” The crowd of officers showed some skepticism.
“Indeed, our great army is only preparations on the surface. The real trump card to deal with the Jiang family isn’t us. We’re just posturing. I’d like to ask everyone, even if we have an army a million strong or even more, how much would we lose in a direct confrontation to destroy the Swordbird army? Thirty percent, or even fifty? If our casualties reach fifty percent, then our morale will be such that we are unable to continue fighting. The Eastern Kingdom ultimately still has some fighting capabilities, so at that point, it would be difficult to determine who is the victor or loser if we fight to the death. Therefore, to capture the Jiang family, we must spring a surprise attack.”
“A surprise attack?”
“Indeed, a surprise attack.” Ren Feilong brimmed with confidence. “The trump card I’m sending out is comprised of true qi masters. They’ll infiltrate the River Wave city in the Jiang Han territory, and we’re sure to have long since made preparations for our Darkmoon Kingdom spies within the city. We’ll work in collusion, one from outside and one from within to sneak into the River Wave city, then strike swiftly to attack the Jiang Han manor, like a sudden clap of thunder leaving no time to cover one’s ears. Our target is Jiang Feng.”
“Yes, as long as we capture Jiang Feng and the Jiang family clan members, then Jiang Chen will hold back from taking action for fear of involving his kin. He’ll lose his fighting capabilities. As fierce as he is and even if he can compel the Swordbird army, there’s no way that he would sacrifice his clan for the Eastern Kingdom. Therefore…”
All the other officials were suddenly enlightened when Ren Feilong’s words traveled across the room. They all praised him highly, “The commander-in-chief is undoubtedly great. This sort of arrangement that mingles true and false truly makes one gasp in admiration.”
The army’s various maneuvers, all sorts of attacks and feints were all actually illusions. Their true goal was to provide cover for the trump card and to numb Jiang Chen as they made a surprise raid on the Jiang Han manor.
One had to say, Ren Feilong’s strategy arrangement was unconventional, but it happened to be the most appropriate and one most likely to succeed.
If they didn’t use this method, the Darkmoon Kingdom would pay a heavy toll to defeat the Swordbird army.
“Alright, everyone make your preparations. The army will continue to move forward tomorrow and split into two on the border. We’ll follow the battle plan, with no mistakes allowed.”
With Ren Feilong’s arrangements, these officers were in even higher spirits. Their emotions had been a bit complicated originally.
After all, they’d never experienced fighting a Swordbird army. They felt that it was quite a sticky situation when they thought about it.
Even if they won, it would be a pyrrhic victory since they would pay a heavy cost.
If the commander-in-chief’s tactics worked, then they would be able to capture the Jiang family with unstained swords. It would be absolutely perfect.
Just as the officers were about to head back to their camps, a shrill horn sounded from the outskirts.
This meant an enemy was attacking them.
“Everyone get ready! Enemies approach!”
Just as this voice rang out, countless winged birds suddenly appeared in the night sky beneath the rays of the moon. They were akin to an enormous black curtain, covering the sky and blotting out the moon, making furiously for this part of the mountain valley.
“It’s Swordbirds, Swordbirds!”
Some in the great army started calling out and shouting.
“Why are you panicking? Set up the round shield formation.”
The round shield formation was the best way to fight against high aerial attacks. The round shield formation could guarantee that the momentum caused by diving from the air would have almost no damage.
“Arrow formation, ready!”
“Long spear formation, ready!”
These two formations were part of the same formation system that the round shield formation belonged to.
If the round shield formation was to defend against high aerial attacks, then the arrow and long spear formation was the set up to attack the Swordbirds.
One had to hand it to them, the Darkmoon Kingdom troops had made a significant amount of close knit preparations for the Swordbird army.
Just as everyone stood stiffly at attention on the ground and prepared to fight, the Swordbirds actually flew over in the air above them and didn’t even want to dive down. They whooshed past like an enormous black curtain being drawn swiftly through the sky. They came fast, and they left fast.
1. Da Yu is the name of a legendary ancient ruler who successfully controlled the floods. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yu_the_Great↩
2. One li = 0.5 km = 1/3 mile↩