Chapter 263: Before the Final Battle (3)

Towards the influence Zhou Weiqing had just as soon as he returned, Ming Yu could sense it the strongest. All of the high ranking officers, no matter those from the original Heavenly Bow Empire army who had joined up with them, or the original Peerless Regiment that had been gathered by Zhou Weiqing personally… all of them had a personal solo meeting with Zhou Weiqing. 

Of course, the news of the attack was restricted to only the few with highest ranks. Zhou Weiqing only told most of the officers that they would be launching their final attacks soon, but without giving the exact time. At the same time, he assured them that the safety of the Royal Family would be of utmost priority, and that they would definitely be rescued. 

Naturally, the time he spent with each person individually was not too long, but Ming Yu was easily able to observe that any officer that was spoken to by Zhou Weiqing revealed their absolute trust in him. To most of the officers, although they respected and admired Ming Yu for his abilities, he was still considered an outsider. However, Zhou Weiqing was absolutely different. In the Heavenly Bow Empire, he could be considered to have a high status. The Godson of the Emperor, the son of Admiral Zhou. More importantly, everything that the current Heavenly Bow Empire had achieved could be said to have the mark of Zhou Weiqing. His own family was also trapped in the Heavenly Bow City, and they knew he would never treat his parents’ lives as a joke. As such, they could place absolute trust in him. 

In just half a day, Zhou Weiqing had completely resolved any possible morale issues for the officers. As for the men below them, he would naturally leave it to these officers to handle. 

After this most critical issue was resolved, it was already after lunch on the next day. Zhou Weiqing brought the three Shangguan Sisters and Tian’er to his room to enter a temporary closed door cultivation while they waited for the final moment to arrive. At this point, Ming Yu turned into the busiest person, issuing military order after order from the main headquarter tent. 

Ming Yu found that he was increasingly liking this partner he had in Zhou Weiqing. Indeed, he had always looked at Zhou Weiqing as a partner, a comrade that would fight together with him, and the Heavenly Bow Empire was the perfect platform for him to display his own military genius. 

Although Zhou Weiqing did not appear often, and looked to be irresponsible on the surface, Ming Yu knew he could not be without him in this matter. Zhou Weiqing’s ‘big picture’ and ‘long-term’ visions, his exceptional charisma and interactions with others, as well as his own considerable military talents… all of them were crucial to the rise of the Heavenly Bow Empire. The thing that satisfied Ming Yu the most was that Zhou Weiqing would not try to micromanage him in terms of how he commanded the military, placing absolute trust in him. 

The final battle for the Heavenly Bow Empire was about to begin; naturally there were no explanations required regarding the sheer importance of the battle. No matter Zhou Weiqing or Ming Yu, they could not afford to lose. 

As evening approached, the skies darkened, leaving a faint layer of remaining red glow to cover the Heavenly Bow City. 

The Heavenly Bow City had been known as one of the most beautiful cities in the Boundless Mainland, and the only one which stood right in the middle of a forest. Alas, it currently looked rather broken down.

All around the Heavenly Bow City, vast areas of Star Trees had been chopped down, with the timber being shipped to the Kalise Empire and Bai Da Empire. The result of which was ugly patches of empty ground all around. At least, if one looked outward from within the city, there was no longer any cover within a ten li radius. This was one of the tactics they used to ensure no surprise attacks could be launched. 

Inside the city was a bleak and desolate sight. Near the north gate, as well as along the city walls, they were full of army troops. The city gates had been sealed shut for a long time. Currently, the population within the city was less than a third of what it had been during the Heavenly Bow Empire’s rule. Those who could escape had already done so, especially when the Heavenly Bow Empire had begun its revival of their territories, many of the Heavenly Bow Empire citizens had chosen to flee to the territories which the Heavenly Bow Empire had reclaimed. 

With the mass exodus of the Heavenly Bow City citizens, the Kalise Empire had no choice but to seal the gates, preventing the further escape of the remaining citizens. Even so, the current situation in the Heavenly Bow City remained as such; with all the citizens hiding out indoors, refusing to leave their houses. This resulted in the entire city turning into an empty, desolate looking one. However, all of the citizens were secretly hoping and waiting for the day the Heavenly Bow Empire armies would return to reclaim this city. 

The Heavenly Bow Empire Royal Palace seemed so lonely and desolate in the midst of all the empty streets, lit up by the fading glow of the evening sun. The main hall of the Palace, where the court was usually held in the past, was the biggest hall in the entire Palace, but it was currently engulfed in the darkness. 

In that patch of darkness, there was a layer of faint blood-light. Only during the day, in the period where the sunlight was the strongest, could the faint outline of the palace be seen. 

In front of this palace hall, three people stood there, dressed in the traditional fineries. 

Amongst the three, the one in the center was an old man dressed in a long black silk robe adorned with an embroidered gold dragon. He had a sinister looking countenance, his cold eyes filled with arrogance. At his sides, the other two men looked to be even older than he was. Their features were rather similar, quite clearly a pair of brothers, and they were dressed in fiery red robes. It was also clear from their manner that they were extremely respectful towards the black-robed old man in the center.

The black robed old man said passively: “How goes the arrangements?” 

The red robed old man on the left said respectfully: “Reporting, Heavenly Emperor. Everything has been arranged. The news that we have spread is that only a single Darkness-Attribute Heavenly King has arrived. If those Heavenly Bow Empire fellows dare to come, we will ‘leave’ them here forever.” 

The red robed old man on the right laughed heartily and said: “Heavenly Emperor, do not worry. I really do not understand why they would trouble you to make a trip down here personally. Although the armies of the Heavenly Bow Empire are not bad, they do not have any top level powerhouses. As such, they aren’t much to be feared at all. This time, we have already activated six Heavenly Kings for this battle, and with you, a Heavenly Emperor, holding down the fort here personally, it is truly overkill.” 

The black robed old man said passively: “We can’t be careless. In the frontlines here, we only have this amount of troops, as most of our armies have been assigned to the other southern battle lines. For the sake of the overall plans of the Empire, we cannot allow any problems to crop up here. Otherwise, although this Heavenly Bow Empire armies aren’t strong in numbers, they will be able to march in without any resistance. If the Kalise Empire is destroyed, and our Bai Da Empire lands are being attacked, it will affect the entire war situation. As such, we only need to simply defend this area without thinking too much. Such an easy task, what is there to be dissatisfied about?” 

“Of course not, of course not.” The two old men said hastily with a bow. 

The black robed old man turned around, looking at the huge palace hall behind him. With a furrowed brow, he said: “A mere ninth-Jewel, and he dares to use a Skill like the Darkness Attribute Fate Denying Seal. Even this Heavenly Emperor would have some troubles actually undoing this Seal. Well, it isn’t a bad thing to have this Seal here, it ended up turning into a good way to hold the Heavenly Bow Empire back at bay. Otherwise, before we secured control over the majority of the continent, we aren’t able to easily make a move against normal armies.” 

This black robed old man’s name was Meng Gui, known as Heavenly Emperor Meng Gui. He was originally a independent cultivator just like the Heavenly Emperor Long Shiya. However, Long Shiya was usually more active in the north, while this Heavenly Emperor Meng Gui was more active in the south. He was known for this Darkness Attribute skills, trained and refined to the peak. In the independent cultivator world, he was rather well known, though no one knew that he had actually joined up with the Dan Dun Empire. 

The two red robed old men were indeed a pair of brothers, and they originated from the Blood Red Hell. Their names were Huo Li and Huo Mei respectively, and they were powerhouses groomed by the Blood Red Hell. 

Besides them, around the main hall of the Heavenly Bow Empire, there was another four Heavenly King powerhouses, each guarding a single side of the palace. It could be said that this palace was so heavily defended that it should be impregnable.

According to their investigations, the current Heavenly Bow Empire had at least one Heavenly King powerhouse holding down the fort; the God Tier Consolidating Equipment Master Duan Tianlang. Originally, that assassin who had tried to kill Zhou Weiqing was sent by the Blood Red Hell. They had judged that the death of Zhou Weiqing would cause the rising Heavenly Bow Empire to just collapse internally, and their defense of the west would naturally be a simple task. Although the Fei Li Empire was also a large Empire, a large majority of their forces would usually be tied up at their north border by the WanShou Empire. As long as they did not attack first, the Fei Li Empire would also be unwilling to attack first. Furthermore, they had already stationed a almost two hundred thousand strong army here in the Heavenly Bow Empire, and even if the Fei Li Empire attacked, they might not be too successful. 

Alas, who could have guessed that the assassination would actually fail. After that, Ming Yu had led the Heavenly Bow Empire armies in growing stronger. Added on to the fact that they had lost so many forces in that bloody battle in the Crescent City, their overall military might had dropped so much that they were actually no match for the Heavenly Bow Empire armies now. 

Of course, to the few Heavenly Kings and Heavenly Emperor here, they did not really care much about this. If not for the fact that the Heavenly Jewel Master agreement restricted them from joining in the fight against common soldiers, how could they be afraid of the Heavenly Bow Empire armies. The only reason they continued staying here in a defensive position was because they had to take in the entire warfront into account. Of course, the other reason was they did not want to alarm the Heaven’s Expanse Palace too quickly, and even the Heavenly Snow Mountain further away. This was not the time for them to reveal all their aces yet. 

Right at that moment, the black robed old man who had been surveying the Fate Denying Seal and the palace behind abruptly lifted his head to look into the skies. Two rays of cold light shot forth from his eyes like bolts of lightning as he shouted: “Get down here!” 

“Do you think you have the qualification to order this old man around?” A disdainful voice rang out in the skies. In an instant, the entire space above the palace lit up, dazzling light of six different colours spreading out like fireworks bursting in the skies, descending upon the ground to envelop the Fate Denying Seal. 

In the skies, a large fat man stepped out, stopping right above the palace. His hands waved in a pressuring action as he shouted: “All of you, move here now!” 

The six lights spread out in all directions. The strange thing was that these lights seemed to have eyes of their own, ignoring all the buildings and leaving them intact. 

Four figures appeared in a flash from the four directions even as the brothers Huo Li and Huo Mei rose into the skies. Instantly, the six of them had surrounded the large fatty in midair. 

Meng Gui’s eyes narrowed. “Six Ultimate Heavenly Emperor, Long Shiya. Fatty Long, you dare to stand against our Blood Red Hell?” 

This large fatty who had just appeared so suddenly was indeed Long Shiya. Hearing Meng Gui’s words, Long Shiya said with great disdain: “What so great about the Blood Red Hell? Has this old man feared anyone before? I have even gone up the Heavenly Snow Mountain many times to visit that old fellow Xue AoTian so many times. Meng Gui, you were an independent cultivator who trained up to the Heavenly Emperor state on your own, yet now that you are old, you actually went to become someone else’s dog? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”

Meng Gui took a step forward, and in the next instant, he appeared in the air about twenty metres from Long Shiya, facing off against him. 

Seeing the eleven Heavenly Jewels circling Long Shiya’s feet and head, he had no choice but to release his own aura to withstand the pressure from him. 

“Fatty Long, others might be afraid of you, but I am not. Your Six Ultimate Skill Manipulation Formation might be miraculous, but you are here alone. Don’t think you can have it easy here. Where is that ‘old flame’ of yours, Duan LingTian? Why don’t you call him out as well?” 

As soon as Meng Gui appeared in the air, the six Heavenly Kings felt the pressure on them ease greatly, and they secretly sighed in relief. Long Shiya was well known as the strongest powerhouse below the Heavenly God tier, and that was not without reason. 

Long Shiya said contemptuously: “Facing an old wretch like you, and this pathetic motley crew, do I still need Old Duan to help me? You think too highly of yourself.” 

Meng Gui gave a cold humph, but his face remained impassive. “There is no point fencing with words here. It has been a long time since I have experienced your Six Ultimate Skill Manipulation Formation. Today is a good opportunity for me to try it once more, to see if you have improved over these years.” 

As he said that, the skies around him abruptly darkened, actually forcefully pushing back the six-coloured lights of Long Shiya. In the darkness, there was clearly a thick sense of frenzied insanity.

“Ehh? I see, looks like it is as I expected. I was wondering how the Blood Red Hell could possibly get you on their side… looks like it really is that bullshit Destruction Attribute.” Long Shiya was not too surprised as he stood there, hands behind his back casually. Even though he was surrounded by so many powerhouses, his expression remained unchanged.

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