Chapter 126: Controlling Snakes
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
"Southern King! Southern King!"
The army stood in a formation, with their banners flying overhead. They stood still, somberly. Each and every single soldier looked fearsome. At this point, they were shouting in unison. In the blink of an eye, the sky turned overcast. A single grey cloud loomed over the battlement. Rain started falling down, the pitter patter of raindrops against the tents was almost deafening. Rain dropped onto the numerous corpses strewn across the ground. A man looked up and opened his mouth as rain poured in.
"This is my last drink of water!" The man looked around and saw several bodies, some familiar and other foreign lying next to him, "What a talented fighter. This must be the wrath of heaven? To live my life and for it to amount to nothing."
Pei Zi Yun gasped as he awoke. In a state of half-asleep and half-awake, he then realized a change had happened to him. All of a sudden, he heard a deep voice which sounded like a dragon talking, and yet did not. The shadow of a man appeared in front of him, "The ascension to the throne, the long and difficult road, I wish to do it all again."
This man looked like he was in his midlife, and yet had a melancholic look on his face. Pei Zi Yun realized it was the exact same man in his dreams. Pei Zi Yun's heart fluttered with a variety of emotions, and could not believe his eyes. This had not happened in the previous life as well. Could it be that the Plum Blossom could revive the dead?
Just as he was thinking, this man summoned a stream of blood energy and assaulted him with him. Pei Zi Yun was about to defend himself, and yet felt a certain numbness take over his body, and he could not move. He could see the sinister look on the man's face as he wanted to enter Pei Zi Yun's body. All of a sudden, there was a blinding flash, as a transparent Plum Blossom appeared. Two solid petals emerged. A stream of red light shot out from the Plum Blossom and fell onto the shadow.
"No, I'm not satisfied." The shadow managed to withstand the attack of the Plum Blossom for several seconds before being pushed backwards. Finally, the Plum Blossom overwhelmed him as he disintegrated into the air, screaming in agony. The Plum Blossom then faded gradually onto Pei Zi Yun's forehead.
"Young Chieftain, Young Chieftain!" Someone was shaking him vigorously. Ye Qing Qing's body was covered with blood as she tugged on Pei Zi Yun, "Young Chieftain, how did you fall asleep? Let's go, let's go."
The sound of slaughter and killing was extremely loud from where they were. Hearing the sounds intensifying, the young woman started becoming frantic as she repeatedly pulled Pei Zi Yun up. He then sat up, and retrieved the staff from under his pillow.
"Young Chieftain, we can't hold on for much longer, please escape. Run to the back of the mountain."
"Do not worry. Take me to the wall!" Pei Zi Yun took a step forward and muttered under his breath, "Heh heh, who could imagine that your expedition was so successful, only to die under the hands of your wife."
"It seemed like your wife was a chess piece who had been planted by the Southern King a long time ago."
"Some of your Dao arts, or a little Imperial Qi had been harnessed by you within this staff. It looks like this Legacy, once absorbed, would allow your Dao arts remnants, or Imperial Qi remnants to attempt an attack"
Just as he was thinking this way, he reached the top of the stronghold. The situation had severely deteriorated from when he was previously here. On the right side of the stairs, a mountain warrior had managed to find a way into the stronghold. His entire face was covered with gruffy facial hair. Once he appeared, he gave a loud roar and slashed down viciously on the nearest old woman, who was pushing a boulder down, "Weng", Fresh blood spilled all over the place as the old woman's head flew into the sky. It was a terrifying sight.
Pei Zi Yun did not hesitate any longer. He drew his sword and advanced. The top of the stronghold wasn't a big place. With a flash of his sword, several heads were severed from their necks. In a short time, all the mountain warriors who had breached their stronghold fell to the ground lifelessly.
"Kill them all!" His own warriors then shouted, as they regained confidence to defend their stronghold against the assault.
"Give me five minutes." Pei Zi Yun raised his staff. All of a sudden, the hissing of snakes could be heard. The sound was faint at first, and it was hard to tell if it really existed. Several seconds later, the hissing intensified as the entire Snake Mountain started to fill up with snakes, all of them hissing.
Outside the Stronghold
The black robed Priestess had torches lit all around her. A warrior stepped forward and knelt down before reporting, "Priestess, we've managed to break through the stronghold. The rest of our brave warriors are going up to slaughter them all now."
"Good, this vermin shall finally be killed once and for all. Command the warriors to kill every single person inside, especially their Young Chieftain. We do not need to have two priests here." The black robed woman ordered.
"Yes, Priestess your excellency." The warrior retreated after receiving his order. He then waved his hands as two rows of mountain warriors shouted as they charged towards the city.
"Fetch me a bow an arrow." Pei Zi Yun threw down the staff. Snake Mountain had already been activated. Now was the last chance for them to defend themselves. At this point, someone passed him a bow and arrow.
Pei Zi Yun looked down at the numerous warriors below. He then spotted the leader among them. He was surrounded by man other warriors and kept casting glances towards the stronghold. It was clear that this man was the actual commander of the troops.
Pei Zi Yun notched an arrow and tugged at the bow string. He squinted both his eyes before releasing the arrow, "Weng", the arrow darted through the air. A fraction of a second later, a cloud of blood burst forth from his head. He fell onto the floor instantly and died. His eyes were wide open, as though he could not believe what had just happened.
At this point, the scene below turned into chaos. The warriors surrounding him shouted loudly for him to wake up. Pei Zi Yun's mind was clear and composed. The sound of arrow being loosened could be heard again as another one of them fell, clutching the arrow which had embedded itself deep into his neck. He sputtered out blood, as more gushed out from his wound.
Within a short time, the new wave of assailants who had managed to break through to the stronghold had mostly been killed. However, most of the people within the stronghold were either old and frail or too young. As long as they had subdued an attacker, they left the corpse lying around in complete disarray, overcrowding the stronghold.
"It would not hold out for much longer." The woman in black robes seemed like she knew what was happening within the stronghold and ordered, "Continue attacking!"
At this point, an elderly man beside the black robed woman started talking. His face had a look of panic etched on it, "Priestess your excellency, that year which the High Priest died abruptly, he left a prophecy, saying that he will return again once more. If we insist on killing our way through to the stronghold, I'm afraid we will rouse his spirit."
"He had been dead for so long, even if there were vengeful spirits, can they return to life? These are all just fear mongering tactics. All these years, we've waited so long, and yet he didn't return. Now's the time to kill them all." The woman in black robes said coldly.
At this point, they could hear the loud hissing sound. Everyone turned in all directions to get a glimpse of the origins. They then noticed that there was some heavy movement from beyond the forest.
The woman in black robes had initially wore a look of fierce contempt. After hearing the unrelenting hisses, her face turned to one of fear. This could not be, that's the sound of the venomous snakes controlled by the High Priest. Could it really be that the High Priest had returned?
The black robed woman looked across anxiously. Under the light of the torches, many venomous snakes and bugs slithered out from the forest, into the battlements.
"There are snakes! There are snakes!" The warriors who had been fighting earlier started panicking. Several snakes had already found their victims and had bitten them, spreading fear to all the warriors.
"Chieftain, you've finally returned." The people atop the wall who had been defending their stronghold shouted loudly before kneeling down, "Chieftain, Chieftain, we've waited so long for you."
"The High Priest has been revived, he's been awoken from his slumber by us, and is now here to kill." A warrior who had been climbing up the ladder shouted loudly. After he had finished his sentence, everyone started screaming in panic.
"Ah, save me. Please save me." The anguished screams could be heard.
"Hurry, use the red orpiment to counter the snakes."
(E/N: orpiment is a deep yellow/orange mineral. It was used in China in the past as a medicine even though it is very toxic.)
"No, that won't do. The red orpiment would not have any use as these venomous snakes are not afraid to die and will keep attacking."
"Ah!" The cries of agony could be heard as the warriors started turning frantic, "Run! Hurry run!"
These sounds and cries started to fill up the entire atmosphere. The mountain warriors who had once been organized and fearless started panicking, as the scene before them turned to pandemonium.
"These venomous vipers have always been under the sole control of the High Priest. Nobody else could control them. Priestess, let's run. We've awoken the spirit of the High Priest, and he's coming for revenge." A mountain warrior said to the black robed woman.
"I don't believe it. He's been dead for so many years, how could he just revive?" The woman in black robes gripped her staff tightly, her face was full of disbelief.
"Your Excellency, Priestess, let's run. I do know of your abilities, but the High Priest managed to conquer so many tribes. He had slaughtered the Priest of every tribe he conquered. The main reason for this was to ensure that his venomous snakes and bugs would not ever be countered and subdued."
"I'm not satisfied." The Priestess gritted her teeth.
"Let's go, Your Excellency Priestess. Even if you're not afraid, the men are all afraid."
Initially, the thousands the men had come to attack the stronghold, their orderly and fearsome demeanor could be felt by anyone watching them. At this point, they started disobeying orders and fleeing for their lives. The reputation of the High Priest back then was enough to make everyone around tremble in fear. What's more, actually witnessing the return of the venomous snakes and bugs. If there were a single snake, or two snakes, of fifty snakes, these mountain warriors could deal with it. However, how were they to deal with thousands of venomous snakes?
Several warriors had been bitten by these snakes. Within seconds, their faces turned black as they fell to the ground.
Seeing that the morale had been lost, the black robes priestess eyed the defending stronghold one last time before saying furiously, "Go, let's go!"
Seeing that the black robed woman was trying to flee, the old woman on the wall laughed out, "Jin Zhu you traitor. Are you trying to flee sneakily again?"
Her mocking laughter intensified, as she was extremely joyful.
'Yin Zhu, Jin Zhu, a pair of sisters and traitorous wives who led the warriors.' Pei Zi Yun glanced at her as certain memories flooded to his minds. These memories brought a sharp pain to his heart.
'But it's nothing. I am not him, he has already passed away.'
He looked up at the sky. He had slept for an hour at most, and had been fighting up to now. The sky was still dark. Standing atop the stronghold, he glanced far ahead. A group of people were escorting the black robed woman as they fled for their lives.
He Qing Qing stood by his side, her eyes was one of sadness. The numerous bodies sprawled around the ground, and so many were people she had known. She then looked at the masses escaping below.
The young woman then said softly, "That black robed woman's name is Jin Zhu. It was her who had organized numerous raids on our stronghold all these years, and is a danger to us."
"Is that the Priestess belonging to a tribe? What can she do?" Pei Zi Yun glanced far ahead as he asked.
"She was the daughter of a tribe Chieftain, but had inherited the powers of a Priestess. She holds a lofty status and commands several tribes nearby. That year, when the Chieftain tried to unify the mountain tribes, he killed her father and her brother. She and her sister were brought to the Chieftain and became his wives. It's just that Yin Zhu managed to win over the Chieftain's heart and she did not. She had always been angry with him from the start."
"When the Chieftain died, she was the first person to rebel. Thus, many other tribes followed her due to her influence. As long as she died, the nearest tribes within a hundred kilometers would have nobody to unite them any longer. They would not attack us anymore."
"So that's the case. Clean up the battlefield, I shall bring her head back." Pei Zi Yun laughed coldly. He looked down and realized the hissing sounds were getting softer. He noticed that the venomous snakes were chasing after the fleeing warriors and were not staying idle below.
'However, these snakes were merely protecting themselves. By the looks of it, there are more than ten thousands snakes, like a great army. They are extremely useful.'
Pei Zi Yun then leapt off the wall and jumped downwards as he started running in the direction of the fleeing Priestess.
'The reason I wish to kill her, is not because of the High Priest's hatred, but because I'm curious. If she is filled with hatred down to her bones, she has sufficient reason to attack the stronghold. But how did she get here so quickly?'
'I took about two days to buy the rice and necessities before delivering them up to the mountain. In order for her to rally this many tribes, even if they were nearby, would require at least half a day.'
'In other words, as soon as I arrived at the mountains, she had already started activating and rallying her tribes.'
'Who alerted her of my presence here?'