At the Ye Castle, a messenger hawk flew in. Ye Zhantian's expression changed drastically as he read the message in the letter. He
pa.s.sed the letter to Ye Changxuan.
"What are we going to do, Sixth Uncle?" Ye Zhantian was anxious. The Ye Clan had grown tremendously from their olden days in terms of power yet they were far from mighty to battle a force like the Second-rank Prince of Donglin.
"We can't leave the castle. If we do that, we would never outrun the Dark Trooper's steed. The Second-rank Prince of Donglin has many Ninth Level combatants but he only possesses three peak Ninth Levels. We'll stand and hold our ground. At most, we'll just die defending our home!" Ye Changxuan's expression was somber. When push came to shove and the Second-Prince's Palace gave them no choice, they would respond accordingly. What Ye Changxuan did not know, however, was that Second-rank Prince Liu Xun was already a low Tenth Level and his father, who had recently arrived at Donglin County, was a mid-Tenth Level.
"We're one step away from low Tenth Level. If anyone manages to advance to the Tenth Level, we need not be pushovers." Ye Zhantian was displeased with the circ.u.mstances. Sadly, advancing to another rank was easier said than done, even if the clan willed for it.
Ye Changxuan did not hesitate with his answer. "Get the needy to the cellar, the rest will defend the castle!"
The people in the Ye Castle began to move. Thankfully, due to the financial situation of the clan, they had already managed to stock up on necessities like fire arrows and oil.
After two days of preparation, the Ye Clan was in a battle-ready mode. To prevent the Dark Trooper's steeds from advancing into the castle, all alleyways were barricaded with an iron fence.
At noon, the sun burned violently.
Dum, dum, dum. Sounds of horses galloping could be heard from afar. Those who resided in the Ye Castle felt as if their reckoning had come.
The men from the Second-Prince's Palace had arrived!
The alarm bells in the Ye castle went off. Like a volley of arrows, Ye Zhantian and his men leaped on to the castle wall to look outside. Groups of black horses charged toward them. The troops were clad in armor but the weight did not slow their horses down. The horses ran on slopes as if they would on ordinary ground.
The Dark Troopers were getting close. Like death knocking on their doors, the expressions of the people atop the castle wall changed. There were at least a thousand of Dark Troopers, all rank seven and above and they were masters of warfare, having partic.i.p.ated in twenty to thirty ma.s.sacres that had taken millions of lives!
Even the ten Ninth Level combatants of the Ye Clan could never push back the onslaught of the troops! There was a silent acknowledgment on their faces. They knew once the fight started, there would be casualties involved but a true member of the Ye Clan would fight to their deaths, never to live an undignified life!
Ye Zhantian and Ye Changxuan clenched their fists as they channeled their Celestial Chi. They had been stuck at peak Ninth Level for the longest time and were one step away from advancing to the Tenth Level. If only they had a half month, they would have accomplished it. Alas, time waited for no man and the troopers from the Second-Prince's Palace had arrived!
At the forefront of the Dark Troopers was a soldier clad in seamless black gold armor with a halberd in his hand. The Nightwind that he rode was comparatively bigger and mightier than the other Nightwinds too. It was Liu Xun. Liu Xun had led the troops to conquer numerous countries in the past. He was a valiant general. Apart from having strong cultivation, he was also an experienced commander.
At the wave of Liu Xun's hand, the Dark Troopers charged even quicker to the Ye Castle and surrounded it. Far up ahead, apart from the Dark Trooper were countless soldiers who helped surround every nook and cranny of the castle. The formation of the soldiers was impeccable and swift, offering a breathless sight.
"Listen up citizens of the Ye Castle. There has been a series of bandit cases breaking out in Donglin County and they're said to be close to the Ye Castle. Out of worry for the castle's safety, the king has sent troops to protect the Ye Clan!" Liu Xun's deep, loud voice echoed in the Ye Castle.
"What is Liu Xun up to?" Ye Zhantian's eyebrow twitched. The Second-rank Prince of Donglin had countless of siege engines. Most large cities could never defend against them too. There was no way the Ye Castle could stop the Dark Troopers. One word from Liu Xun was all it took to break their castle walls and then the war would begin. Why the long-winded talk? They could have just quelled the bandits!
"Unless… I got it!" Ye Changxuan suddenly understood the situation. "Liu Xun must be afraid that we have some hidden powerful figure behind us and so he dare not attack us. Instead, he's trying to test the waters. If the powerful figure doesn't show up after some time, he would begin the siege."
"That makes sense." The crowd agreed with Ye Changxuan's words.
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"Thank you kindly for the concern, Second-rank Prince of Donglin. The Ye Clan is perfectly capable of looking after themselves so you need not worry about us. Please take your leave," Ye Zhantian spoke at the top of his lungs.
"How'd it go, Sixth Uncle?" the clansmen asked.
Ye Changxuan finally regained his senses after a moment. He struggled to speak. "Liu Xun has already hit the Tenth Level!"
Ye Changxuan was already at the limit of peak Ninth Level. Only a Tenth Level could ever hope to dent him! It all explained how Liu Xun was so bold. He was already at the Tenth Level!
"All hail the unsurpa.s.sable Second-rank Prince!"
"All hail the mighty Second-rank Prince!"
The Dark Troopers cheered like the roar of thunder in a symphony of waves.
"Ahaha! Anyone else in the Ye Clan up for a challenge?" Liu Xun laughed maniacally.
The Ye Clan members clenched their fists tightly and gritted their teeth. If it were not for Ye Zhantian's intervention, they would have charged outward long ago. They could only sit idly and watch as Liu Xun bragged about his powers in front of the castle.
Liu Xun barely made a move following the clash with Ye Changxuan. He only ordered the Dark Troopers to set up a base close to the Ye Castle and have them cornered. No going easy on the Ye Clan and not allowing anyone to leave the castle grounds.
Back at the Sunken Jade Tower, Ye Chen was nearing the critical moment of his cultivation. Tenth Level was a mere foot from him and he had gained a deeper understanding of the Dao Trance. Having remained in the state for some time, he had nearly forgotten about who he was as he was so engrossed with his cultivation. His cultivation speed had also increased ten-fold too. Then again, it was not easy for him to tune out to the surroundings most of the time and he could only do so for a short period of time. If only he could maintain a longer period of focus, his cultivation would improve significantly.
Ye Chen continued to sit in a meditative posture, harvesting Celestial Chi and gradually descending into his consciousness. The Flying Dagger had appeared before him, his mind came into contact with the ent.i.ty. A voice ruptured in his head like the sound of thunder greeting the ears. He felt a moment of fear. What was going on?
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