Chapter 156: Chicken, Rabbit, Boar

“My lord, we can simply seal off the mountain range and wait until they run out of food and water.” Zhang Fei suggested.

“From what I’ve heard, the Azure Tower has vast underground springs and plenty of fertile land within its vicinity.” Tang Wei said. 

Since it was located deep within the mountain range, there was obviously plenty of water sources available to the forces of the Azure Rain Province, or else they would not have poisoned the wells and other water sources in the province.

“We could simply light the whole range on fire.” Ai said in a bored tone.

“We can march in and use our numbers to overwhelm them.” Someone else suggested.

Before long the tent was filled with babble was everyone voiced their opinions. But due to the advantage that the forces of the Azure Rain Province possessed thanks to their geological advantage, it was hard to select a plan to go with.

After a few hours of discussing, it was decided that five forts would be erected to seal off the mountains. Once the mountains were successfully closed off, two thirds of Zhang’s army would break off and proceed south while the rest remained to keep the forces of the Azure Rain Province from attacking them from the rear.

A messenger was also to be sent with a message from Zhang to the ruler of the Azure Rain Province.

“I have a feeling that something important is in that tower.” Zhang said to his wives. After the conference ended, they climbed a tall tree and gazed at the beautiful tower in the distance.

“We’ll found out once we capture it.” Yuying said.

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The next morning, Zhang’s army of hundreds of thousands of men split apart into five units and sent out to locate and secure five strategic locations. Once these locations were picked, the preparation to construct the five forts began. While a lone rider headed into the forest with a sealed golden colored scroll safely tucked into his robes.

Despite the fact that thousands upon thousands of trees were cut, the forest that covered the mountain range did not seem to be lacking any trees at all. Rivers were also diverted to create reservoirs for the soldiers that would be stationed in the fort.

Guard towers were the first to be erected to help ensure the safety of the men laboring away on the ground since there is always the face of the forces of the Azure Rain Province initiating sneak attacks while the forts were being constructed.

The elite guard was dispersed throughout the forest to keep an eye on enemy movements while dozens of small outposts were secretly being constructed. Once the forts and outposts were completed, there would be no way for the forces of the Azure Rain Province to possibly leave the Azure Tower and the mountain range without Zhang’s soldiers being alerted.

As Zhang’s men were busy working under the morning sun, Zhang, the four beauties and their furry little pet liger set out into the forest to do some hunting. Figuring that it would be a fun way to spend time together as the day passed, they set off from camp with a small group of guards following behind them.

Thanks to Little White’s keen senses, after a mere ten minutes ride from where one of the forts were, they stumbled upon an orange beast covered in black stripes.

“Little White, it seems like you found one of your kin.” Ai laughed as she spotted the tiger lurking within the woods, it’s face partially visible thanks to the streaks of light coming from the sun that managed to break through the forest’s dense canopy.

Upon spotting Zhang, the four beauties, and Little White, the tiger became extremely startled and bolted into the forest. At first, it had verb curious toward those who were approaching it but upon seeing them, the tiger’s senses alerted it of danger, prompting it to flee.

Once the tiger was gone, the party continued through the dense woods filled with lush green leaves and flowers in every color of the rainbow. 

Although it was a hunting trip, Lingqi could be seen occasionally sliding off her horse and picking up various herbs or digging up certain tree roots.

“So many herbs are simply laying around, ready to be picked.” Lingqi said with a smile.

“Perhaps it’s because that this place is considered a sacred area to the lords of this province, so regular people aren’t normally permitted in, so there’s no one to pick the herbs.” Ling said.

“More for me.” Lingqi said with a laugh as she stored away a bush of pinkish colored flowers with dozens of orange dotted blue colored fruit.

While Lingqi was loading up on herbs and ingredients to concoct poison and medicine, Little White would occasionally charge into the woods and come back with prey clenched between its jaws.

Unlike Little White, Zhang and the others decided to practice their archery skills and after a while, this resulted in a contest between husband and wives.

“Same rules as always, the winner gets to demand a single wish from anyone of the losers.” Lingqi said with a grin right as three arrows shot from her bow and pierced through the air and into two small boars.

“Deal!” Zhang and the other beauties said in unison. Thus, the party split up and would meet back up after sixty minutes.

Some may question why they would split up when in an area that is close to enemy terrorist, but of course Zhang would use the Underworld Heart to keep an eye on his wives to ensure they don’t get themselves into any danger, ensuring nothing would go wrong.

“Now do I cheat or not.” Zhang said with a low laugh. If he simply used the Underworld Heart, then he would know the location of all of the creatures within the area and with a bit of essence manipulation, he would be able to control thousands of arrows and send them in to collect lives of his prey. 

“Eh, maybe I should let one of them win. It’s always more fun trying to guess what they want to do.” Zhang laughed as he found a good place for his Inferno Wind Walker to graze on some grass. 

“If I mix a bit of Cat Paw grass with some Deer Horn leaves then all of the animals within a mile with gather here.” Lingqi said as she could be seen crouching over a small mortar in the middle of the woods while her horse was grazing on grass.

Using her medical knowledge and a few of the plants she found in the woods, she was going to concoct a potion whose scent could be side to be irresistible to regular animals.

“Now to figure out what I what him to do.” She said with a laugh.

While Lingqi was about to basically cheat, Yuying had amassed a small army of mind controlled beasts that were quickly adding more to her horde. 

Minutes after the party had split up, Yuying had managed to kill a chicken with her bow and arrow. As she was retrieving her arrow a thought sprang into her head and thus she began to draw an intricate array of runes on the ground using the chicken’s blood. 

Moments later the runs all magically moved across the surface of the ground into the chicken and resurrecting it. Unlike her regular reanimate on techniques, Yuying had placed a mid-level hex onto the undead chicken.

The hex Yuying had made it so that every animal attacked or killed by the animals that she had infected would fall under her spell also. The infect animals, of course, were much stronger than regular animals since they were undead and their limiters were thus removed.

Once the undead chicken was up and about, it attacked and pecked a rabbit to death, then the two tag-teamed and took out a mid-sized boar, from there the chicken, the rabbit, and the boar, slaughtered an unsuspecting pack of wild dogs. The moment pack of wild dogs was added to the group, the rate at which animals were infected and killed increased exponentially.

“Now to figure out what I want him to do and wait for the sixty-minute mark.” Yuying laughed as her horde of undead and mind-controlled animals hunted the area. 

While Lingqi was preparing to cheat and while Yuying was basically cheating, Ai was playing in a small field of flowers. While Ling and Little White were hunting the old fashion way.

Neither Ai nor Ling’s skill sets were really well adapted to do large-scale hunting. This was especially true for Ai because most animals that catch sight of her instantly run for their lives.

“Don’t need to win to get brother to do things for me.” Ai said with a smile as she picked up a bunch of flowers and then spent the rest of her time gazing at the Azure Tower that could be seen piercing into the sky from far away.

Like Ai, after shooting down a few board and bears, Ling preoccupied her time grooming Little White. 

Once the thirty-minute mark was reached, Yuying’s horde of animals numbered roughly three hundred and a confident small was present on her face. Currently, her horde contained dozens of chickens, rabbits, wolves, tigers, boars, deer, elk, and dozens of other types of animals. If she continued her efforts, then she could easily accumulate triple what she currently had.

However, something unexpected happened, before Yuying’s horde could increase any further, an odd scent drifted into everyone and everything’s nostrils. Before long the forest was filled with activity as all of the living animals in the area began to gather.

When the animals that were attracted to the irresistible scent gathered, Lingqi quickly dispersed one of her poisons into that air, by the time the one-hour mark was reached, Lingqi had surpassed Yuying and had hunted hundreds of animals.

In the end, Lingqi was, of course, the victor of the contest amongst Zhang and his wives, however, the true winners were their soldiers because the ones who were able to enjoy the meat from the hunted animals were of course Zhang’s soldiers.

Once Zhang and the beauties finished up their contest and spent a few more hours enjoying their time in the forest, they returned back to camp where the meat from their hunt was quickly distributed to their hardworking soldiers. 

Ling had allowed Little White to roam the words in search of more prey until it’s stomach was filled so it did not return until much later in the day, with its coat of white fur smeared in blood from the many animals it gorged on.

As the sun departed and the moon began to over watch the earth, small feasts were held the soldiers constructing the five forts. With a large perimeter set up, dozens of guard towers erected at each construction site and many small trenches dug, Zhang’s soldiers were given as much sense of ease as possible during a war. Although tea was used to replace wine, since drinking was prohibited when soldiers were on active duty, everyone was merry and enjoying the freshly hunted meat.

Freshly recruited soldiers got to know their seniors while various generals and commanders became acquainted with one another over a simple meal.

“That tower looks so beautiful under the moonlight.” Yuying said as she looked at the Azure Tower that was basking under the moonlight. The azure colored tiles seemed to glow and gave off a mysterious air to all those who saw it, especially at night. 

To receive praise from Yuying, meant that the tower was truly exceptional because as a princess of the underworld, what type of building style hasn’t Yuying seen?

“A beautiful tower should belong to a beautiful owner; shall I gift it to the four of you once we acquire it?” Zhang asked with a smile as he looked at each of the beauties who were enveloped in moonlight causing their features to be ever more dreamlike. Their hair glistened, their skin glowed, their eyes twinkled and their smiles captivated the soul of any onlooker. 

While Zhang couldn’t help but sit in silence and stare at his wives, deep within the mountains, high up atop the clouds, a lone figure stood on a massive balcony, gazing down from above. This, of course, was the lord of the Azure Rain Province, who was on one of the upper floors of the Azure Tower.

Gazing down through the gaps in the clouds, Azure Rain Province’s lord watched silently at the unchanging landscape below. Only after tens of minutes of silence could a sigh be heard before he walks away from the balcony and entered into a large empty room.

“My lord, our scouts have reported that the enemy is erecting five forts and blocking off the exits out of the mountain range, they also spotting a lone rider moving through the forest and heading toward our current location. It appears to be a messenger.” A soldier clad in azure colored armor reported as he kneeled down on one knee.

“A messenger… “The lord of the province muttered.

“Have our soldiers guide the messenger here and have him brought to me.” He said after a long moment of silence.

“Also have our soldiers mobilize and strengthen our defenses in case the enemy decides to move into the mountain range.”

“I’ll have the men prepared right away my lord.” The soldier clad in azure colored armor said before dismissing himself.

With the soldier gone, the lord of the Azure Rain Province proceeded to walk out onto the balcony once more and gazed down at the scenery below the tower where he could see countless specks that looked smaller than ants. These specks were actually the tents and makeshift lodgings for soldiers and civilians of the Azure Rain Province who were all taking shelter within the confines of a magnificent fortress that surrounded the base of the Azure tower.

“I pray that no lives would have to be needlessly sacrificed.” The province’s lord said softly.

Down below at the base of the Azure Tower, countless men, women, and children were helping the soldiers of the Azure Rain Army strengthen the defenses of their fortress while also carrying out dozens of other menial tasks.

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