In front of Zhang laid an open wooden chest, contained within the chest were hundreds of jade bottles filled with small pellets. Standing in front of him were rows of men wearing white robes with the word Yu sewn onto them. These men were the same men who did not plea for mercy when Zhang was out for blood. Unlike everyone else, these men accepted their fate and decided to die with the least a shred of dignity. Thanks to this, they were spared.
“I have enough bottle of pills here to cure you all of the heaven’s rebirth poison.” Zhang said magnanimously as he pointed the chest in his front.
“However, I’ve already spared your lives once today and I’m not feeling very charitable at the moment. But, since I have no use for these anyway, I would like to propose a trade.”, Zhang paused for a while as he looked for any reaction conveyed on their faces.
“Pledge your allegiance to me and you will get the antidote.” Zhang shouted.
However, none of them dared to look at each other nor conveyed their thoughts. To these men, Zhang was akin to a demon donned with the skin of a human. He mercilessly slaughtered everything and everyone who was in his way and now he’s asking them to swear allegiance to him?
“If you wish to live then make a pact with me and pledge your allegiance.” Zhang spieled.
“A pact with a demon.” The surviving members of the Yu Sect thought. However, no one voiced any objections because, of course, they all wanted the antidote to the heaven’s rebirth poison.
“All who want the antidote and swear their loyalty step forward. Anyone who doesn’t may leave and I wish you the best of luck.” Zhang said sternly.
Almost in unison, all of the members of the Yu Sect stepped forward and bent their knees.
“We swear loyalty to you my lord.”, they said simultaneously, declaring their allegiance.
“Good, as long as you are loyal you will be saved.” Zhang said as he nodded to Yuying hinting her to start.
Zhang moved closer to Yuying who quietly stood behind him. He channeled the energy stored in the Dragon Heart necklace into Yuying.
Once the energy entered her body, Yuying began chanting. Soon, a greenish energy swirled around her body making her hair sway as if it was being blown by a gentle wind. Runes began to appear all over, covering her snow white skin.
As Yuying continued to chant, and the runes on her skin moved andthen flowed onto the stone tiles where she stood. Thousands of mysterious runes crawled from the stone tiles and onto the former disciples of the Yu Sect.
The disciples of the Yu Sect were taken aback of what was happening. However, no one dared to say anything or even moved a step back. Fearing that Zhang might kill them the spot.
As the runes reached them it began to swirl about on their bodies, many of the disciples yelled and screamed in terror and began rolling on the ground. It was as if they were being consumed by fire that cannot be extinguished. Then in an instant, all of the runes condensed into their chests and flash of black light blinded everyone.
Zhang silently stood, with both arms crossed over his chest, watching as his new army was being formed.
All of the magical runes had condensed into an image of black flame etched on the chests of these disciples.
“Now that the spell has been completed. Welcome to the Aurora army.” Zhang said with an evil grin flashed across his face
“Wha-what did you do to us?” One of the newly acquired soldier asked as he looked at the flame mark on his chest.
“This is just some reassurance. If any of you even think of betraying me, then something terrible will happen to you. If you are good perhaps I’ll have her remove the mark one day.” Zhang said with a smile on his face.
“Re-rest assured my lord we won’t betray you.” The representative disciple of the former Yu Sect said.
“Alright distribute these among yourselves then rest, we will move out tomorrow.” Zhang said as he waved his hand and a large pile of black armors appeared.
“Lu Xun, make arrangements to integrate them into our current forces.”, Zhang said to Lu Xun who had been standing a short distance away.
“Right away my lord, I’ll arrange for someone to go and acquire horses for these six thousand former Yu Sect disciples.” Lu Xun said. Of the thirty thousand men Yu Zhao mobilized to attack Zhang, roughly fifteen thousand had been killed as they fled back to the Yu Sect’s headquarters. And of those fifteen thousand, nine thousand was executed by Zhang and his men. Lleaving only roughly six thousand, who pledged their allegiance and were spared.
“Also my lord, we have just received a correspondence from Lord Jian Wei. The message was sent by courier pigeon and only arrived not too long ago.” Lu Xun said as he pulled out a letter from his robe and handed it to Zhang.
Zhang then took the letter and stuck it into his robe without reading it.
Although the Yu Sect suffered heavy losses, the army of Aurora only lost roughly a thousand or so soldiers. Together with the Yu Sect disciples, Zhang had now a total of nineteen thousand cavalry soldiers and six thousand archers. Since the Yu sect’s disciples were all skilled in using the bow, they were assigned to be archers of the army. That being said, they of course would be given their own horses so they could travel alongside with the rest of the army.
“Okay take this gold and get whatever is needed.” Zhang said, waving his hand, as a small pile of gold appear on the ground and gestured to Lu Xun.
“Yuying let’s go, it’s getting late, time to get some rest.” Zhang said as he faced Yuying then walked towards the carriage.
“Alright let’s go.” Yuying said as she followed suit Zhang.
Once Yuying arrived beside Zhang, the two began to make their way to where the magical carriage was waiting. Ai, together with Ling were currently resting inside and patiently waiting for them to return.
As the two walked a short distance away from where Lu Xun and the new soldiers were Yuying asked, “brother Zhang do we really have to pretend to cast a curse on them?”
“Of course we do, they can not be completely trusted. There is a high chance of them betraying us later if we did not have that little show. A little fear is needed to keep people in line. Now, although the mark you left can’t harm them, they won’t even think about betraying us believing that it is a curse. Also, it will help our men not to be vigilant of the new arrivals.” Zhang explained.
“Also, the way you casted it made it seem so much more realistic.” Zhang said with a chuckle, putting his arms on Yuying’s waist as they walked and arrived where the magical carriage was.
Before the sun had completely risen to the east,, the entire army was mobilized and in a well coordinated manner they were set, ready to march.
Nineteen thousand soldiers dressed in black armor were mounted on their horses in an orderly manner awaiting orders from their superiors. In front of them were six thousand of their new comrades also clad in black armor standing in neat rows with bows in hand and quivers of arrows on their backs. All of them waiting in a huge courtyard that used to belong to the Yu Sect.
There had not been enough time to gather acquire adequate amount of horses for the six thousand new arrivals, so Zhang had decided to simply slow the pace of their march as they tried to get more horses along their way as they marched.
Zhang’s soldiers that had travelled with him before and came from Aurora did not show the slightest aversion to the new arrivals. This was, of course, because of the “curse” Yuying placed on them. Thanks to this “curse”, they were able to be at ease with each other.
In front of them, Zhang stood solemnly clad in black armor and behind him were Yuying, Ling, Ai and Lu Xun who were all also fully dressed in armor.
“Today, we will begin our march back to the Red Mist province and into the Red Mist city. But for many of you, we will not be returning using the same route we used to make it here. Yesterday, we received a correspondence from Lord Jian Wei ordering us to proceed to the Black Wind province. According to the correspondence, all the communication we have with our allies in the Black Wind province has been cut.” Zhang said to his men as he pulled out a letter.
As Zhang was talking to his soldiers one of his sentries ran into the courtyard screaming.
“My lord! My lord! The mountain has been surrounded!” The sentry yelled.
“How many of them are there?”, Zhang asked calmly. If the other side had around the same number of soldiers as he did, then he was certain he could break out of the encirclement or perhaps wipe them out regardless of who they were.
“My lord I'm not sure on the exact number, but they most likely they tripled our numbers, no quadruple.” The sentry replied.
“All of you fortify our position and prepare for battle! I will personally go and see if they are friend or foe.” Zhang bellowed.
Although Zhang had an idea of who the forces below the mountain belonged to, he still had to make sure. The population of the continent was immense and a lot of forces had thousands of soldiers under their command.
“Bother let us come with you.” Three voices broke out behind Zhang.
“No stay here, we do not know if they are friend or foe. and I can't guarantee your safety if we face too many enemies at once. What would I do if you three were captured by the enemies?” Zhang said as he looked at the three beauties that had stood behind him.
At the foot of the mountain were many thousands of soldiers clad in blue armor.
“Your majesty, shall we ascend the mountain? All preparations have been completed and we are ready to begin the attack the mountain my King.” A man clad in blue said while kneeling to a soldier in golden robes who happened to be standing on a platform.
“General, please tell the men, we will begin the attack shortly on my order. I've turned a blind eye on the Yu Sect for too long. For them to act so brazenly and attack the guests of the kingdom.” The man dressed in golden robes said. This man would be recognized by Zhang as King Huang He of the Heilong Kingdom.
“Yes we are awaiting your orders my King, to think they had the gall to attack a member of the alliance.” The general said.
“Sigh* have we found the whereabouts of the soldiers of Aurora yet? If he's alive we must find him and if he's dead we must have a corpse. Or else I will not don't know what to say to the lord of Aurora.” King Huang He asked.
“Just majesty rest assured, as soon once as we find their whereabouts, you will be immediately informed. As for the lord of Aurora, I believe he will not cause a war over this matter if we explain the situation to him.” The general said.
As King Huang He and the general where conversing, two men rode up to the platform on a pair of stallions.
“Your majesty has my daughter been found!?!!” One of the men said frantically.
“What about Zhou Zhang!!” The other man asked equally as frantic.
These two men were Wu Tong who happened to be Ling’s father and Zhou Cheng who happened to be Zhang’s father.
“Rest assured we are doing all we can to find your daughter minister Wu. His majesty already mobilized all of the soldiers that were stationed to guard the capital to search for them. And shortly we will wipe out the Yu Sect.” The general said.
Once King Huang He was told the news of the attack on Zhang, he mobilized the army that was meant to guard the capital. It had taken quite a while for the news to get to the capital and to the ears of the king, then it took some time for the army to be mobilized. Which explained why it took so long for King Huang He to respond to this issue.
“I will personally lead the search.” Zhou Cheng said.
“It's alright minister Zhou we are doing all we can. No need to worry, nothing bad will happen to the kingdom regardless of the outcome, we will explain and take care of the issue properly.” The general clad in blue armor said.
“Fuck the kingdom! My only son is missing!” Zhou Cheng cursed in his mind. However, he did not voice his thoughts, he had to keep up the act that he had no relation to Zhang as to avoid any suspicion from the King.
Suddenly, a voice rang out.
“Your majesty!! A lone rider carrying a black flag with a golden dragon sewed on it, is descending the mountain!” Someone yelled out in the distance.
“Open a path!!!” King Huang He bellowed.
Soon the sight of a young man clad in black armor, wielding a halberd with a black flag strapped on his back could be seen riding down the mountain on top of a fiery steed.
“He's alright!” Zhou Cheng thought as he watched the young man mounted on a steed, galloping toward the platform. In an instant he recognized the armor the man was wearing, belonged to his son.
Thanks for reading people. Special thanks to Nyx for editing/proofing the chapter.