The streets that were just moments ago teaming with people were now eerily quiet. If someone dropped a pin it would be audible in this silence. Breaking the silence, the sound of hooves pounding against the cobblestone laid streets could be heard. A lone rider could be seen in the distance. Zhang was galloping through the empty streets of Red Mist city alone.
The city guard had ordered all civilians to return to their homes. Anyone caught outside would be imprisoned. Commoners ran home, merchants closed chop, and travelers made their way back to the inns they were staying in.
Zhang’s destination was the poorest sector within Red Mist city. To enact his plan, he needed to go there. Over the last few days Zhang had become a bit acquainted with the city’s layout so as long as he headed in one particular direction he would reach the place he wanted to.
As he sped his way through the streets in the distance he could see a group of guards coming out from an alleyway on the right.
“You! Dismount now! And come with us or we will use force!” A guard yelled out with his sword drawn.
Totally ignoring the guard Zhang sped up his mount even more.
After Zhang ignored him the guard pulled out a flare and shot it into the sky signaling for reinforcements. Soon many soldiers and city guard converged on the area where the flare was shot and began an encirclement.
“Form formations! Form formations!” A soldier yelled.
In front of Zhang was a row of soldiers that blocked his path, from the alleyways toward his side teams of soldiers stormed out, and behind him his pursuers had caught up.
“Ha you fool I have you now!” A man dressed in full armor and sitting on top of a horse cried out. If one looked closely they would be able to see that this person was Jin Chang.
“You actually closed off the city gates just for us?” Zhang mocked.
“Of course no one mocks my clan and gets away with it. Also I couldn’t possibly let my future brides run off now could I?” Jin Chang said while licking his lips.
“But they have already run off. Do you see them here? I’ve had people smuggle them out of the city already.” Zhang laughed.
“Enough small talk! Men kill this fucker! Archers shoot at will!” Jin Chang yelled.
Behind him rows upon rows of archers marched to the front and began drawing their bows.
“Hmph you’re just looking to die!” Zhang yelled as two chained daggers appeared within his grasp.
Zhang was currently dressed in his Lightning Eater scale armor while grasping the two chained daggers and riding an Inferno Wind Walker he looked like death reincarnated.
Once Zhang was armed a hint of hesitation fell on the soldiers. Before Zhang had been unarmed and they were not afraid of him however now that he had weapons no one wished to lose their lives.
These man had heard from their comrades about what happened in front of the auction house and knew about Zhang’s prowess. Sure they could outnumber him and defeat him but they knew for sure some of them would have to die in the process. And who would want to charge at him knowing there was a chance they’d die.
“What are you doing attack! Attack or I’ll have you all executed!!!” Jin Chang screamed.
If they didn’t fight they’d all die but if they fought only some of them will die hence all the soldiers put their fear aside and charged toward Zhang.
Jin Chang wanted to capture Zhang alive so he can find out where Yuying and Ai were also to torture Zhang. So unless he needed to he would not order the hundreds of archers behind him to fire.
“CHARGE!!!” the soldiers screamed as they brandished their spears and swords and rushed to where Zhang was.
Zhang swirled the chained daggers around himself and his horse creating a whirlwind of spinning chains and blades. The soldiers in the front being pushed by the soldiers in the back ran into this storm of blades and chains.
The blades made of Voracious Eater fangs are naturally extremely sharp so with next to little effort they cut through the leather armor that the soldiers were wearing. But since the daggers were not very long they only created superficial injuries to the soldiers.
Soldiers struggled to halt their advance toward Zhang, some lodged their spears and swords into the ground to help them hold back the momentum of those behind them. After a short while they were able to stop their comrades.
Seeing this Zhang stopped the whirlwind of blades and whipped the chained daggers toward Jin Chang.
“If you want my life then I shall not show mercy anymore!” Zhang roared as the daggers pierced through the air.
“Not on my watch!” A familiar looking man appeared. It was the soldier who had caught Zhang’s wrist the other day.
The man slashed at one of the daggers aimed at Jin Chang and knocked it away. The dagger plunged into the ground pinning itself into the hard cobblestone road.
“You think you can stop me?” Zhang sneered.
With a flick of his wrist the 2nd chained dagger that was still in motion snaked about. The dagger instead of going for Jin Chang backlashed toward the armored man. Seeing this the man used his sword to block the strike.
With another flick of his wrist the dagger slashed downward and then back toward Jin Chang.
The armored man’s mouth opened in disbelief as Zhang’s dagger hacked off the two front legs of Jin Chang’s horse. Once that horse’s legs were cut off it tumbled toward the front sending Jin Chang flying toward the ground.
The armor man quickly jumped off his horse to catch Jin Chang. Jin Chang’s cultivation was miniscule and a fall off a horse would injure him pretty badly.
Using this chance Zhang tapped the side of his Inferno Wind walker and made it gallop. He charged toward a row of soldiers blocking an alleyway. Once in front of the soldiers the wind walker jumped over their heads. One unlucky soldier’s head was smashed to a pulp by a hoof of the horse when it landed.
“Quickly you useless fools get him!!” Jin Chang yelled as he stood next to the armored man.
Hundreds of soldiers began cramming into the small alleyway to chase after Zhang.
As Zhang made his way through the maze like alleyways he finally reached his destination. In front of him were hundreds of homeless people. He had ridden to the poorest sector of Red Mist city. Although the city itself was extremely wealthy the vast majority of its wealth fell into the pockets of the already rich and privileged. The ruling clan pocketing a large chunk of the revenues of the city.
Due to this a large portion of the city’s population was left in poverty. Some could not afford to feed their families or provide shelter for their children. And a vast majority of them lived in this sector of the city or rather a better word to call this place was slums.
With only so much wealth to go around the people in the slums only survived by scraping together the bottom of the barrel.
“Quickly get him!!” A voice rang out behind Zhang
“Everyone who follows me will receive gold coin!!” Zhang screamed while tossing a hand full of coins into the air.
Seeing this the eyes of everyone who lived in the slums were lit. Never in their whole lives have they had more than a few silver coins. And if they worked and saved for most of their lives they’d probably not ever have a gold coin.
So they all rushed to where the gold coins fell ignoring the income soldiers.
“This is mine!” A sleazy looking man yelled as he kicked a woman who had managed to pick up a gold coin and stole it from it.
A dagger was embedded into his chest causing him to slump to the ground.
“No fighting whoever picks up the coin it belongs to them!!! Also make way and there will be more than enough for everyone!” Zhang screamed.
The people quickly made a path for Zhang and his horse to move. And keeping his word as Zhang moved through the crowd he would occasionally toss out dozens of gold coins.
Soon a mob of thousands were trailing behind Zhang hoping to pick up some gold coins. However due to Zhang’s words no one fought over the coins that other people had picked up. The man who was killed was a prime example of those who did not listen and were too greedy.
The soldiers could not do anything due to the large amount of commoners amassing and forming a barrier around Zhang. Although they could see him riding his horse not too far from them there was no way they’d be able to move through this mob and get to him. If they slaughtered their way through then they would incite the wrath of the mob and be overwhelmed.
As some of them picked up the gold coins they thanked Zhang. This money would help them get a new life for their families and could ensure that they did not die of starvation on the cold streets. Although Zhang was doing this to help keep the soldiers at bay.
But when he heard these people and their faces filled with joy a part of him felt happy.
The mob by now had doubled in size and numbered tens of thousands. These people who lived in the slums had nothing to lose and these gold coins meant they had a chance at bettering their lives so troves of them began filing out of back alleys and their shacks to follow and pick up coins.
Zhang of course had tons of wealth so a few hundred or a few thousand gold coins was nothing to him.
Zhang with a sweeping motion of his hand made thousands of gold coins’ rain from the sky. It was literally raining money and everyone went crazy.
All of the people bent over to pick up their share of coins. All but the guards who did not dare to, if they tried to pick up the coins also then the mob would attack them. Because the common view in the city was the soldiers and guards were dogs of the nobles and aristocrats.
Everyone besides the guards and a man stood and did not pick up gold coins. The man seemed roughly in his later twenties and was dressed in rags.
“You why aren’t you doing what everyone else is?” Zhang asked out of curiosity as he looked at the man.
“What will a few gold coins do? A few gold coins will help these people but it won’t help everyone in this city. Those in power trample on those without and bleed them dry. Today we can pick up these coins but tomorrow can we keep them?” The man replied.
“May I ask your name?” Zhang said.
“My name is Sima Yi.” The man replied with a slight bow. Upon further examination Zhang noticed that the man although dressed in rags and very skinny gave off a dignified aura within his gaze.
“I will remember you! Until the next time we meet” Zhang yelled as he tossed one gold coin at Sima Yi.
With a smile on his face Zhang began galloping away. Once Sima Yi caught the coin he looked at it and his face was will with mix feelings.
He could tell from Zhang’s eyes that this gold coin was not given to him because Zhang pitied him. Had anyone ever treated him like this before? Before when his family was one of the wealthiest a few gold coins was nothing to him but when they lost everything did any of their so called friends bother to help them?
Instead looks filled with pity and mocking was all Sima Yi saw.
A year or so ago his family was extremely wealthy and thanks to his wisdom his future was extremely bright. He had a lovely fiancée named Xia Mei who he loved and would wed one day and money was not an issue.
When Sima Yi turned twenty-five he became a strategist for Jin Sho and helped devise strategies for the clan’s army. He had love, money, and prestige everything that a normal person wanted.
However, this all changed with Jin Chang saw Xia Mei and wanted her for himself. Xia Mei’s family was very influential within the city with many of their clansmen in official positions so the Jin clan did not bother them. However, the Sima clan was suppressed and all of their businesses were taken over.
The engagement between the two lovers was cancelled and Xia Mei was then betrothed to Jin Chang. Thankfully for Sima Yi she was faithful and strongly refused to marry Jin Chang. However, there was nothing her family could do due to the pressure from the Jin Clan so all they could do was push the date of the marriage back. In a few years however she would be married to Jin Chang.
Having lost everything Sima Yi no longer had a bright future as before and could not bear to see Xia Mei any longer.
Grasping the gold coin in his hand Sima Yi walked off into an alleyway with a slight smile on his face.
“It seems that I’ve run into someone interesting today.” He mumbled to himself.
While Zhang lead the mob away he couldn’t help by remember Sima Yi’s gaze when he was talking about the situation of the people within the city.
“This man if given the chance could be a bright star and bring about lots of change.” Zhang thought.
As the mob continued through the city it reached Zhang’s 2nd destination the eastern gate of Red Mist city. By now teams of hundreds of soldiers blocking the gates to exit the city. Archers were stationed on top of the walls ready to fire.
“You trash are looking to rebel!!?” A middle age man yelled out from above the walls. Many people recognized this man as the lord of the city Jin Sho.
Seeing this man alone made some fall into fear. A few even went as far as to soiling their pants.
“It’s about time.” Zhang thought.
Suddenly a loud BOOM could be heard from the opposite side of the city.
“What was that!” Jin Sho asked one of his subordinates.
“I I don’t know my lord.” The man replied.
Smoke could be seen rising from the other side of the city from on top of the wall. Moments later a soldier came running up toward the wall.
“My lord! Someone blew a hole in the western gate!!”
“Wha-what?!” Jin Sho replied with disbelief on his face.
“Someone blew a hole in the western gate!! One of the massive gates fell over milord. And fire from the explosion is starting to spread to the guard posts along bottom of the wall” The man yelled.
“What are you doing here! Quickly send men over to put out the fires!’ Jin Sho barked.
Seeing that everyone fell into confusion Zhang activated the Ruler’s Domain. It had grown just big enough for him to keep his Inferno Windwalker within it. A black hole appears and sucked the horse inside of it.
Once the horse was stored away Zhang sneaked into the crowd and began weaving his way toward an alleyway.
“Quickly find him!” Jin Chang asked as he saw Zhang jump into the crowd.
However, this was easier said than done. The crowd had grown huge which made it hard for them to see where Zhang went.