Chapter 1182 – Preparation Before the Battle
The hazy distant mountains were as though covered with a thin layer of muslin that made it faintly discernible, along with the ethereal clouds that were seemingly neither close nor distant around it. The dark lines in the scenery that separated the blue horizon and the aquamarine sea were as though they had been lightly painted with a paintbrush.
A closer look at the mountain showed the sea to its east with pasture on its west side, while the northern and southern sides were guarded by the winding and undulating mountain corridor with precipitous rocks and steep forest. Thanks to the vigorous wintry Wintersweet plants and the tenacious tall green bamboos, the mountain still had some spots with lush greeneries even in the cold winter.
A cold current lingered in the blowing wind at the mountain summit and, suddenly, a ghostly figure appeared all of a sudden and leaned against the pine tree in the summit. The figure was Tang Xiu. There were faint small beads on the tip of his nose as his intelligent and nimble eyes scanned the surroundings. His mind, however, was wandering and full of the churning contents of spells and arrays.
It was the place designated to be the battlefield for a full-blown battle between the Joyous Palace and the Gene Camp. He rushed to this place with Tang An after learning its location and then began to lay out a huge array as he arrived. The chief purpose of his coming to Japan was to propel Kuwako to be the most powerful person in Japan and thus, either the Joyous Palace or the Gene Camp would affect his plan. It was then he decided to resort to killings so as to remove all the obstacles and pave the way for Kuwako.
“Four men are climbing fast about 2km eastward, Grand Master.” Tang An emerged out of nowhere and reported in a low voice. “They should be Gene Camp’s genetic warriors.”
Moving like a flash of lightning, Tang Xiu threw a pierce of jade into the ground and covered the traces with soil and leaves. Then, he grabbed Tang An’s wrist and their figures vanished at the same time.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
Four figures quickly arrived. Wearing black exercise clothes and a katana on their back, with faces covered by masks, they vigilantly scanned the surroundings unceasingly.
After a while and not noticing any abnormality, the four people then dashed to the other end.
“What a cautious and careful bunch.”
Tang Xiu slightly sneered after he and Tang An reappeared again.
Tang An’s expression, however, was solemn as she whispered, “It’s very likely both the Joyous Palace and the Gene Camp have been truly stimulated by us, Grand Master. I can tell that their next battle should be quite serious.”
“Yeah, else my painstaking efforts of laying out this huge array would’ve been for naught should they just sit their asses off,” commented Tang Xiu.
“But… do you really not need us to come with you on the day of the fight, though?” asked Tang An hesitantly. “I’m afraid they would cease fighting once both of them suffer huge blows.”
“Ah, you never participated in the battle between cultivators, An. You have no idea about the scene where huge crowds of people kill each other at all times. It’s extremely bloody, brutal and literally won’t end easily. No matter which side shows any fear, they will immediately be in a weak position, and what greets them afterward is a crazy pursuit from their adversary. What do you think is the most important issue in a large-scale war between cultivators?” Tang Xiu chuckled.
“Strength?” Tang An hesitated for a moment and probed.
“Strength is but only a minor factor. The most important thing is momentum.” Tang Xiu shook his head and smilingly explained, “Individual prowess does have its own role in large-scale wars, yet it’s significance in the overall picture of the war isn’t as big as you might think. To make it clearer, let’s make you the comparison. You’re now a Golden Core cultivator, but do you have the confidence to win against tens, hundreds, or even thousands of Foundation Establishment experts?”
“This… I’m not confident about that.” Tang An shook her head.
“True powerhouses may be able to escape, but the weaker ones wouldn’t have that luxury.” Tang Xiu went on with a smile, “The momentum of any side will weaken once their powerhouses begin to run. The rest will lose their fighting spirit, leading to a drop in their combat power.”
Having said that, he took out the prepared shovel from the interspatial ring and dug a six-and-a-half-meter wide and two-meters deep pit next to the pine tree. After putting six fist-sized jades into the pit, he covered the pit with soil and erased all traces as he clapped and said, “Well, the array is done and this pine will be its core. When both sides finally battle, they will be trapped inside the array once I activate it.”
Tang An, who really admired Tang Xiu’s knowledge and mastery in arrays, nodded and said, “Are we going back now, Grand Master?”
“Let’s go back!”
Tang Xiu calmly smiled and grabbed her wrist again.
The next day finally came.
Thousands of genetic warriors from the Gene Camp along with hundreds of cultivators occupied a side of the mountain peak under General Fukuda’s leadership. The radius of several kilometers around the entire camp was under tight surveillance by a lot of genetic warriors with hidden and open guard posts literally everywhere around the camp.
As dusk came, a large number of Buddhist cultivators from the Joyous Palace also arrived under the leadership of the Joyous Palace Master, Dragon Vanquisher Sage. Descended with him on the other side of the mountain were tens of detection experts, whereas 500 Buddhist cultivators of the palace marched forward to approach the Gene Camp’s encampment.
After an hour, both sides began to engage in minor skirmishes, resulting in some casualties and injuries for both sides. Eventually, Gene Camp’s genetic warriors retreated toward the mountain.
“When are we going to start, Miyaji?”
Yuji, who had been following Dragon Vanquisher Sage, used binoculars to observe the area with those waving banners two kilometers away. Murderous intent could be seen flickering in her eyes unceasingly.
The sage himself was very happy with Yuji in recent days since he found that she, who he never felt optimistic toward before, turned out to be the most competent person under him now. After gently patting her shoulder, he said, “No rush. Victory will be in our grasp if we know ourselves and the enemies. I need to figure out how much strength that Fukuda vagabond has along with the power possessed by his Gene Camp.”
“Ah, how do you figure it out, though?” asked Yuji in surprise.
Dragon Vanquisher Sage let out a faint smile and pulled 3 black flags from his waist. After chanting a weird mantra, invisible winds gathered from all directions in an image of a bizarre chimera that came out above the three flags. The chimera had a tiger’s head and a horn, yet with a dog’s ears and a dragon body, a lion’s tail, and a Qilin’s hooves. To the many core members and executives of the Joyous Palace, this chimera looked like a dragon, a tiger, a lion, a dog, and a Qilin, yet it was neither.
In but a few seconds after, however, the phantoms that appeared atop the black flags were covered by the flags as the wind condensed and gradually disappeared into the jungle.
“The battle today is an all-out one. How much power our Joyous Palace needs to unleash will depend on how much power that damn Fukuda has,” Dragon Vanquisher Sage clapped and happily said with a smile.
“What were those flags you just took out, Miyaji?” Yuji’s eyes flickered and she asked with a still expression, “Can you use them to figure out the enemy’s power?”
“You have never heard of ‘the Truth Listener’?” asked Dragon Vanquisher Sage.
“No, never heard of it before.” Yuji shook her head.
A mysterious golden-masked man in a black cloak on the other side of the sage suddenly interjected and explained slowly, “In the legend, that term belongs to the spirit beast under the sacred Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva or Guardian of the Earth which can recognize everything in the world by listening, especially listening to people’s heart. In the mythical fairy tale of Journey to the West, one of the four famous masterpieces is devoted to the story of Sun Wukong when distinguishing true and false. But it’s just that, a legend in which you must take a grain of salt whether you can take it seriously or not.”
Dragon Vanquisher Sage happily nodded and looked at Yuji, saying, “Your contributions this time is remarkable, avoiding the Joyous Palace to be taken advantage of by the Gene Camp’s people, which makes you qualified to know some deeper things These Truth Listener Flags were said to be a magical weapon belonging to a certain Eminent Monk before. It may not be as magical as the Truth Listener told in the legends, per se, but it indeed has a function to monitor some areas in this world while being invisible. Thus, it can be used to monitor the number of the enemy as well as their strengths.”
Yuji quickly understood, but a look of worry, nonetheless, flashed across her face. Although she had no idea about the details of Tang Xiu’s plan, she was sincerely worried that his plan would be disrupted. If by chance, the Joyous Palace defeated the enemy easily with light casualties, such a situation would make things more difficult for Tang Xiu to destroy the Joyous Palace.
During the time Yuji was worrying about it, she suddenly heard Dragon Vanquisher Sage curse something with an ashen face.
“What happened?” asked the mysterious golden-masked man hurriedly.
The killing intent in the eyes of Dragon Vanquisher Sage looked as though it was nearly solidified as he clenched his fists tightly and said in a fierce tone, “I didn’t expect the Gene Camp to boast such a powerful force, neither did I think that he has a group of cultivators with him. I’m not afraid of them, of course. But those bastards are around him… the traitors of the Joyous Palace!”
“Traitors? Who are they?” blurted out the golden-masked man with thick killing intent.
“That bottom place of 72 Chess Pieces, Ki Kitagawa and the 36th rank, Aka Hidari. I have no idea how these two bastards managed to entice more than 100 of the Joyous Palace’s backbone disciples!”
The mysterious golden-masked man coldly interjected, “Those two will be my first targets once the battle begins, Miyaji!”
Dragon Vanquisher Sage gritted his teeth and said, “I’ll give them to you, but do give your best shot to kill them! They must know what fate they will end up in for betraying me.”
“But why should Miyaji be so troubled with them? Just activate the restriction seal you’ve cast on them and directly kill them since they’ve decided to betray you. I think their inexplicable tragic deaths will create chaos in the midst of Gene Camp and strike their morale.”
Dragon Vanquisher Sage was silent for half a minute and then shook his head with an ashen face. “I have no idea what means they have used. They have broken the restriction seal I cast on them without me being able to detect it. No wonder, huh. No wonder they dare betray me! It turns out that they are now out of my control.”
“How can that be?!!” Yuji blurted out in alarm. “The seal Palace Master has cast on your subordinates is not a joke. It cannot be undone at all. Didn’t you say that no one else but you can undo that seal in this world?”
Dragon Vanquisher Sage turned furious and shouted fiercely.