Chapter 372: Killing a Person is Fine; Committing Such an Outrageous Act is Out of Question!
They were faced with a lone enemy. However, it was related to the war between two countries.
The Golden Horse Riders Department should've been the main force to chase down the enemy. Yet, they had arrived after the battle was long over. Their late arrival was the biggest cause of this regiment's anger and resentment.
They wouldn't have had to sacrifice so many brothers if they had arrived earlier. In fact, the enemy may not have been able to get away. Therefore, their greatest resentment wasn't towards King of Hell Chu... but towards the Golden Horse Riders Department.
The over 400 soldiers who were collecting the corpses in the battlefield suddenly burst into tears after they heard Jing Meng Hun's apology. They had started to cry bitterly. [Brothers, you died; you've sacrificed your lives, but the party guilty for the loss of your lives has apologized...]
[Though it's only a small apology...]
Jing Meng Hun had a heavy heart. He felt that he didn't have the right to face this group of ordinary soldiers. He hurriedly led the experts of the Golden Horse Riders Department, and rushed in the direction of the army's departure; he started to follow their trail at the maximum speed.
The several hundred experts of the Golden Horse Riders Department felt that they had lost face when that young soldier had lashed-out at them. How could they endure something like that? However... many people had died because of their fault... so there was bound to be some public-resentment towards them.
[We came late; who can we blame for that? We had come to an agreement that they'll step-up the barracks and prevent the enemy from making an escape. We would then deal with the task of the real fighting, and capture the enemy. However, their role had inverted since the battle had ended by the time we arrived...]
Chu Yang continued to push forward at the front. He frantically urged his horse and flitted across the flat ground like a shooting-star. The army was in hot pursuit behind him; it was getting closer and closer.
Unfortunately, this road was a wide expanse of flat land. It didn't have any forks in the road. In fact, it didn't have any crossroads. There were towering mountains on either side of the road, but there was no sign of forests.
Chu Yang felt the inner side of his thigh that was being rubbed against the saddle was causing damage to his skin...
Wang Teng Long's eyes were tenaciously tracking the rider they were chasing. He had been issuing orders incessantly. About a 1000 people had dismounted their horses midway. They had then charged forward on foot.
This wasn't to support the chase. This was rather a part of Wang Teng Long's plan. [The enemy is a lone man on a lone horse. The horse won't be able to run for long. We must conserve our horsepower; first vacate a thousand horses and choose a thousand elites to pursue him by using their own strength. The thousand troops at the front will inevitably experience a lack of horsepower over time. Their tired horses will then be replaced with these thousand without the slightest delay. Our chasing power would be more than doubled as compared to the enemy!]
This was the law of pursuit.
It was common sense that if several thousand men were chasing a lone person down... the said-person would run out of luck sooner or later.
Then, he would gradually be overtaken.
However, Wang Teng Long didn't dare say that he was sure of the outcome when he looked at the man they were chasing. King of Hell Chu was wise and well-versed in all sorts of trickeries. Who knew what bizarre method he would use next?
Therefore, Wang Teng Long didn't dare to be negligent. He continued to push forward as he persistently accelerated his speed. [I must capture King of Hell Chu on this straight mountainous road!]
[King of Hell Chu will have countless strategies to put to use for an escape once the terrain becomes complex... he could even go into hiding. Capturing him won't be easy then.]
Chu Yang was sweating profusely. It seemed like he was drenched in rains of sweat. The pursuers were less than 500 feet behind. His face showed that he was calm and composed. However, he was somewhat impatient. He was aware that he would eventually die at the hands of these ten thousand elite soldiers if the chase continued.
The horse had started to sweat profusely as well. It was panting heavily, and was emitting white vapours from its nose along with 'whistling' sounds. It was obvious that it wouldn't last for long.
Chu Yang coldly snorted in his heart. However, he didn't have any intention to give-up. [I expected nothing more than this. No more... and no less.]
Soon, the road curved and changed directions. Chu Yang suddenly saw a bright lush-green growth of plants not far from him. It unexpectedly seemed very lovely to his eyes. Chu Yang ferociously whipped the horse's back and leaned forward slightly; he seemed prepared to dash forward at any time...
Chu Yang could finally see some hope of getting away from this trouble. However, his heart was as calm as ice.
Chu Yang changed directions. The soldiers shouted as they saw the dense forest and the many continuous mountains up ahead.
"Release the arrows! Do not hesitate; shoot him down at all costs!"
Wang Teng Long hadn't changed directions yet. However, he heard the shouts of his men and realized what had happened. He made a prompt decision and issued an order.
They had pursued him swiftly over the course of this entire chase. However, shooting arrows hadn't been fruitful. The arrows-shot couldn't reduce the speed of the enemy since he was out of their firing range. In fact, some of the arrows had ended-up injuring the men and horses on their own side instead. Moreover, they didn't have many bows and arrows; therefore, they had to give-up for the lack of a better option.
However, they didn't have the time to think about all this...
They released the arrows once again. They didn't hope to kill King of Hell Chu on the spot. The mere addition of a few scars would be enough as per Wang Teng Long's tentative plan. It would somewhat increase the certainty of him being captured once the Golden Horse Riders Department were to join the hunt.
The order was issued, and thousands of arrows were shot at once. Some of the officers even threw their weapons at Chu Yang.
A long and loud whistling sound was heard as Chu Yang's body swiftly fled from the horseback, and soared into the air. He then transformed into a group of abstract shadow, and rushed-out like a lightning.
His body had left the steed's saddle. However, the powerful recoil generated from his leaping-force had obstructed the speed of the steed. This had caused a considerable reduction in its speed. It was soon turned into a huge 'iron hedgehog' by the rain of arrows. It moved forward for a few feet, and then collapsed with a loud 'bang'.
However, Chu Yang's body had already borrowed strength from the recoil. He dashed into the dense forest like a meteor. One could only see the dense cover of leaves shake in his wake as his figure disappeared.
Then, a thunderous noise resounded unceasingly. About a dozen great trees on the periphery of this forest fell down. These trees had smashed-down on a squadron of mounted soldiers.
The men shouted and the horses neighed. Dozens of horses had anxiously tried to dodge the falling trees... but were too late. The horsemen frantically tried to escape. They tumbled down from the horsebacks and rolled on the ground several times. They somehow managed to avoid being crushed; but the horses weren't as lucky. They were crushed by the falling trees, and their blood splashed everywhere.
These great trees were so thick that it would take 5-6 people to completely wrap their arms around the girth of one such tree. And dozens of them had suddenly collapsed. This had covered the entire entrance to the jungle. People could still go in through the blocked entrance. But riding-in on a horse was impossible.
Chu Yang heaved a sigh of relief. He had reached a critical situation where he would've completely exhausted himself like a dried up oil lamp... despite the fact that he had the Nine Tribulations Sword's strong support.
[Perhaps it would've been difficult for me to escape this calamity if this forest hadn't appeared.]
He pushed his exhausted body as he ventured into the deepest parts of the forest.
He took out a bottle of Vitality Spring Water as he ran, and raised his head to chug it down in one shot. The burning sensation in his throat gradually subsided after he had swallowed an entire bottle of Vitality Spring Water.
Wang Teng Long waved his hand. The cavalry squads behind him stopped.
"Send a message and notify the army on the opposite side of the mountain. Ask them to take over the mission of capturing King of Hell Chu," Wang Teng Long shouted in one long breath.
[The next step is a battle in the jungle. But if my ordinary soldiers go inside this primitive jungle where one can't even see their own hand... won't they end-up getting slaughtered?]
[Only the martial experts have the ability to capture this King of Hell Chu...]
"General, I have an idea... " Deputy General Sun Fuhu's breathing hadn't settled yet. This journey had made him unbearably tired, but he tried to put forward a proposal nonetheless, "How about we set this entire mountain on fire?"
"Set fire to the mountain?" Wang Teng Long frowned. He raised his head to feel the whirring of the wind. It was a south-eastern wind. Then, he looked at the mountain range that extended into the distance for thousands of miles. He couldn't help but sigh.
[These mountains are filled with many oil-trees such as Cyprus and Pine trees. If they were to catch fire - the raging fire would probably sweep across the entire forest and turn this lush greenery into ashes!]
Wang Teng Long hesitated for a moment, and slowly said, "It's too malicious to burn down over 60 Km2 of forest area for one person."
He sighed again. He was visibly in a very contradictory state of mind. He eventually spoke up after a long silence, "This mountain-forest is massive, and consists of thousands of mountains and rivers that stretch across 1500km to the north and 800km to the south.
"This mountain forests lies in the territory of Great Zhao... " Wang Teng Long forced a bitter smile, "Great Zhao has at least thirty million people whose lives depend on this mountain forest for food and fuel. Lighting a fire to this forest is equivalent to burning the lives of 30 million citizens of the Great Zhao!
"It's not like I don't want to... but I honestly can't!" Wang Teng Long said in a somewhat melancholic tone.
Sun Fu Hu lowered his head in shame.
"If a fire were spread in this forest - then our primary objective would've been to put out the fire... even if King of Hell Chu was inside. Therefore, we certainly shouldn't be thinking of committing such arson!" Wang Teng Long further said, "This mountain forest has been here... for a period of ten thousand years. How can we destroy it for something so insignificant? Wouldn't that turn us into eternal sinners?"
"The subordinate was being impulsive," Sun Fu Hu was ashamed of himself.
"No; you're not. I was tempted to do it as well!" Wang Teng Long said as he took a deep breath. "Setting the mountain on fire would get the job done. However, we can't do such a thing. Therefore, I resorted to convincing you... in order to convince myself in the process."
He took a deep breath. He then heaved a long sigh. He continued to do this for quite a while. Then, he powerlessly said, "Even if this mountain forest wasn't located in Great Zhao... and instead was in Iron Cloud... we still couldn't have burned it. This forest is very close to a human settlement... We're soldiers. We can savagely kill people in the battlefield. But committing such an outrageous act is out of question!"
"Yes! I will solemnly follow the general's instructions till the very end," Sun Fu Hu accepted willingly.
Wang Teng Long commanded the men to wait. Jing Meng Hun and the other experts eventually arrived like a whirlwind.
"Has King of Hell Chu entered this mountain-forest?" Jing Meng Hun frowned, "Why didn't you pursue him?"
The tone with which these words were said was very harsh. Therefore, Wang Teng Long frowned in retaliation to supress his rage.
"That's your task!" Wang Teng Long spoke disdainfully as he casted a meaningful glance towards Jing Meng Hun, "King Level Master Jing, the Golden Horse Riders Department must give an explanation regarding the casualties of my subordinate brothers!"
He paused, and then slowly said, "Even Prime Minister Diwu would have to give me an explanation if he were at fault in this matter."
Jing Meng Hun was suddenly stunned. This general was usually very calm and collected. However, Jing Meng Hun could sense Senior General Wang's anger by listening to his words. He could tell that this General was on the verge of erupting; he could tell that such anger couldn't be controlled.
Jing Meng Hun knew that he had fallen short. Therefore, he couldn't yell even if he wanted to. So, he resigned to remaining speechless.
Wang Teng Long coldly snorted as he mounted his horse and straightened his back like a javelin. Then, he slowly spoke as a chilly look surfaced on his face, "I, Wang Teng Long, am not a person whom you King Level Master Jing can interrogate! Whether I pursue or not... it's not something that you would get involved with!"
Then, Wang Teng Long waved his hand and ordered, "Withdraw!"
The army followed closely behind him. They passed by Jing Meng Hun and his men as they evacuated the area. Their eyes shone with such flare that it seemed as if they'd eat Jing Meng Hun and his men alive.
"You!" a Revered Martial Artist shouted angrily from behind Jing Meng Hun. He then pointed his halberd at the General. He was about to rain curses at the General, but was held down by Jing Meng Hun. However, he suddenly realized that several hundred archers of the General's army had nocked their arrows in their bows. And those cold and eerie looking arrowhead were aimed at him.