Chapter 290: Ruler (2)
The time they spent talking wasn't long, but neither was it short. As if they simply forgot about the thousands of cultivators waiting outside, Ancientpine and Titanspirit acted as usual. However, there were no spat-out complaints from the veritable hordes of cultivators outside.
"You may dispense with formalities." Following Ancientpine's casual words, four command plates transformed into four flowing lights and floated in the air.
Buzz… Meanwhile in Nanzhou, five qi pillars of gold, azure, blue, red, and yellow rocketed into the air! Each one occupied a direction and partitioned the land until nothing was left!
There inside, because the Xingtian Legion was absent, were only four command plates.
"Nanzhou has a total of four districts. This time, only three can be taken." Ancientpine's voice echoed in everyone's ears. "Three days. Everyone… remember, you only have three days worth of time."
"When the time comes, the remaining strength of the Dao mark on the command plate will be judged. If you take another power's command plate, you automatically win."
Upon hearing these works, Xu Yangyi suddenly raised his head, his eyes glimmering as he looked at the palace in the sky.
"WHAT?!" Just as Ancientpine's voice fell, the old woman-spider reared her head up. She looked at the two giant palaces, in disbelief.
"Impudent." A thunderous voice came from the great golden tent. This voice showed no sign of exclamation, but as these words were said, all the clouds rumbled and echoed! It was as thousands and thousands of people in the clouds were snarling at the old woman!
The old woman's complexion changed a few times, and she immediately paid her respects. "Dao Master, please quell your fury…"
"It is no matter." In the Heavenraiser Palace, Ancientpine's voice faintly echoed. "I remember your demon title, 'The Crimson Rakshasa'... You are now the Nalan Clan's head, eh? Very well then, which part is unclear?" 
"For the Dao Master to remember this servant's name is a thanks I cannot bear." The Crimson Rakshasa bowed with deep reverence and gritted her teeth. "Dao Master… three days… In the past, it has always been half a year for a contest of territory. This time…"
She made to speak but hesitated. Her heart was besieged by incomparable worry!
No one wished for a miserable pyrrhic victory. What meaning was there in fighting until there were only a few clans left remaining? Was there an even larger territory waiting to be taken over?
Three days… This was forcing the four clans to completely unload their firepower! A rhythm that immediately separated life and death! This time limit didn't agree with any established rule!
In half a year, they could make adequate deployments. The wounded could receive treatment, and they could set up an independent region for the lowest price. Not dye Nanzhou's soil red within three days!
This move almost threw all of their initial plans into chaos!
If the ruler didn't change their tune, the danger levels of this heavenly paradise struggle would surpass all past wars! Even the wars of clan exterminations that stemmed from feuds!
"So that's how it is." Daomaster Ancientpine nodded in understanding. "This matter has already been approved by Daomaster Skybearer. Nanzhou is not the Nanzhou of cultivators. It is the Nanzhou of China. Cultivators also aren't cultivators of some clan. They are China's cultivators… None of the past wars had a precedent of unfolding in the mortal realm. After this war, Nanzhou will inevitably be rebuilt. And what of Nanzhou's millions of mortals? These pressures you need not shoulder yourselves with, but we face the pressure of the Chinese government."
The hearts of the Lou Clan's Five Honored Stars dripped with blood, but they could only clench their teeth.
"Originally, the Chinese government simply wouldn't allow a war to be staged in Nanzhou. This is the result that we rushed from many sides. Three days is already your most relaxed time limit."
In the Heavenraiser Palace, Ancientpine finished speaking and seamlessly glanced at the great golden tent. He just so happened to welcome an extremely obscured gaze from within the Myriad Beasts Valley. Both of them coolly nodded, calm and collected. Soon afterwards, a notably vague spiritual sense filled the air, as if it was waiting on something.
Under the clouds, Xu Yangyi fixed his eyes on the large palaces not too far away. His heart couldn't endure any longer, his pulse already starting to quicken! He couldn't help but ruthlessly hammer a window frame.
"What?" Chu Zhaonan asked suspiciously.
"Three days! A command plate!" Xu Yangyi licked his lips, thirsty for blood. "Did you figure it out?"
Chu Zhaonan pondered for a brief moment and snapped his head up. "We don't have a command plate!"
"Right!" Xu Yangyi breathed in deeply, his gaze fiery. "Because… we haven't shown up! A command plate hasn't been issued to us!"
The gunslinger's breathing was somewhat disorderly. The plan that Xu Yangyi had spoken of to him was dangerous, very dangerous, but their sole advantage was that no one presently knew that Xu Yangyi was in Chengdu!
"In that case…" Xu Yangyi stared at the sky. "everyone knows we don't have a command plate. For those who'll take their opponent's command plate to win, we're the weakest power on paper. Say… what are they going to do?"
To his surprise, he hadn't expected that his originally very minor advantage had unintentionally been expanded infinitely by his master-ancestor!
He was of heart to plant a willow. There was nothing that could surpass this will. 
"After this war, any power that engaged in battle will receive shelter from the Heavenraiser Palace and the Myriad Beasts Valley. For a period… of fifty years." A seemingly solid gaze swept through everyone. "Everyone, do you have any other questions?"
The Crimsom Rakshasa finally sighed in relief.
Three days… half a year… fifty years… The disparity between these three digits were fields strewn with slaughtered corpses, but also the gap of a skillfully-handled butcher's cleaver!
If this was how it was going to be for them, then it would be so for the other clans as well!
Three days of sacrifice in exchange for fifty years of asylum… Even if skulls are now piled high in Nanzhou, you must give you heads to me! The old woman mused to herself.
"Nalan Clan… receive command! Receive command!!!" In her ecstasy, the old woman stood up, the hair left on her mostly bald scalp flying up by the roots. She then roared out twice in succession. Within the countless skull sockets of the surrounding Bluedawn Winding Corridor, legions of hanging spider-cultivators hissed out in chorus, their cries shaking both heaven and earth!
Swoosh! An azure command plate flew into the old she-spider's hand, and she took a deep breath and raised both of her hands. Her eyes were shut, but her voice was like a great bell. "Go, children… Let us use the blood of our enemies to distinguish the name of the Nalan Clan!!!"
"Bluedawn Winding Corridor… start all operations! From this moment forth, the Nalan Clan is in a complete state of war!"
"KILL!!!" Just as her voice fell, infinite jade-blue netherflame ascended below the black clouds in the sky! On the colossal pagoda of bone, thousands of cultivators snarled, all of one voice! Countless spider limbs collided, and indistinct silken threads danced gracefully. A boundless sea of cultivators reared their heads towards the sky and unleashed bloody roars brimming with murderous intent! Even the clouds at the horizon shook endlessly!
Hum… In the wake of all the fires lighting up on the pagoda of bone, the Bluedawn Winding Corridor suddenly transformed into an azure cloud tinted by sunlight, and flickered through the air!
Their objective was Longsu Province!
Rustle… As this azure light rushed forward, the sky-reaching aurora that originated from Longsu's earth soundlessly parted. After the azure streak entered, the barrier quietly folded once more.
Everything now was quiet. However, the Nalan Clan's soaring killing-intent caused the slaughterous instinct of the other three clans to burn even more hotly!
"Zhao Clan, Zhao Zhiqiu." Zhao Zhiqiu stepped forward, standing in the air. He raised his hands and clasped them towards the two palaces beneath the moonlight. "Please grant a command!"
"Good!" Frank and hearty laughter was heard from the Myriad Beasts Valley's grand golden tent. A jade cup—it was unknown what was filled within—began to rise with misty-white fog. The wine cup was lidded with a yellow command plate. "Drunk on the sandy battlefield, a gentleman does not laugh. Since time immemorial, how many have returned from campaign… This Dao Master shall present to you a cup of wine." 
"My thanks, Dao Master." Zhao Zhiqiu prudently took the wine cup and drained it in a single gulp. Followingly, he took the command plate and turned it towards the Kindling Mulberry Wall behind him. In the next second, a deafening shout, no less than the Bluedawn Winding Corridor's just now, suddenly boomed!
Swoosh swoosh swoosh! Red silhouettes ascended into the sky, one after another. Although they differed from each other, all of them were arranged with exceptional order! In particular… a violet flame burned on their foreheads.
"The Zhao Clan's Hunting Immortal Guard…" The Lou Clan's Five Honored Stars calmly took in everything before them. Hundreds took to the sky at the same time and sorted themselves into a gigantic formation. It was without the slightest hair of chaos, imposing with the cold aura of murder. Like the most precise chess game. Three days already had them standing at the edge of an overhanging cliff!
"Their name is well-deserved… They are equally matched with our Screaming Wind Legion." In the Linghu Clan, the gazes of three figures were fiery as they observed everything.
Zhao Zhiqiu turned his head and laughed heartily, his eyes cutting through the two clans.
Dong! A couple gazes weaved together. In the sky, ice-cold killing intent spread without warning. Noiseless yet incomparably staunch.
"Go!" Zhao Zhiqiu waved his command plate, and the Kindling Mulberry Wall swiftly transformed into a streak of yellow light. Under the protection of hundreds of cultivators, the fortress stormed the seal that enveloped Longsu Province.
In the sky, treasure light twinkled. This was an amazing sight that only cultivators could see. Inside, azure and yellow gathered and brought forth a multicolored galaxy. They slashed through Chengdu's sky, lasting for no less than a minute!
Below, Xu Yangyi and Chu Zhaonan watched everything with stern gazes, not uttering a word.
Another ray of light ventured forth. This one was blue. The White Tiger Hall of the Linghu Clan had faded away from the whole sky!
"Are you sure?" Under the blue galaxy, Chu Zhaonan held a cigarette in his mouth, but his cigarette was faintly shaking somewhat.
"How can I be a hundred percent?" Xu Yangyi held a cigarette in between his fingers. The ash on it was already over an inch long, and his heart seemed to pound at the side of his ear. He said lowly, "Everything's a gamble… I only dare to be sure that absolutely none of them know right now that I'm in Nanzhou. The rest… will depend on the Will of Heaven."
"So… we'll just wait here for now."
Before his voice even fell, a rainbow of colors permeated the fiery river of qi! It took the heavens and dyed it a scarlet-red expanse. The last party was the Sky Universe Palace, wreathed in a prismatic typhoon bundled in red as they rushed into the blue aurora!
The sky now belonged to silence. Apart from the immense Heavenraiser Palace, the Myriad Beasts Valley, and the four clan strongholds, everything had vanished without a trace.
Tick… Tock… All that remained within the room was the quiet ticking of the clock. Time passed on by the minute and second. After a full two hours, Xu Yangyi's eyes suddenly brightened, and he stood up!
Seconds later, Chu Zhaonan stood up as well and rushed forward two steps before the window. His anxiety held an unconcealable wisp of pleasant surprise.
"Come on… Come on!" Xu Yangyi's hand held on tightly to the window, his gaze like fire. At the extremes of his field of view, a star-like dot of spiritual light was faintly discernible at the horizon of the blue light-screen. Its target… was straight towards Longsu's surroundings!
Swoosh swoosh swoosh… The light's movement was very fast. In less than five minutes, it was already in visible range.
The light… revealed about a hundred cultivators!
They were all saddled on fierce black tigers, their beasts almost three meters tall! Seven to eight meters long! Rather than call these creatures tigers, labeling them as great elephants was better. Each of the tigers' riders were dressed in black armor. A ring of drizzly white qi protected their bodies, and a realistic mark of a white tiger carving graced their breastplates. The tigers' eyes emitted a foot of red light.
Their silhouettes were extremely faint, as if they dissolved into the night sky. If one wasn't careful, they wouldn't see these riders at all.
Oily black barbs grew out from heavy black armor. Their armor was riddled with scars, but didn't appear ugly. On the contrary, because of the sound of their nearly harmonized footsteps, they seemed to be carved out of a mold to form a flood of steel!
1. A rakshasa is an evil spirit part of Hindu myth that later also became part of Buddhism. The word originates from the sanskrit phrase of "Protect me" (rakshama), and the story behind their title comes from a Brahma, a creator god in Hinduism. As Brahma slept, his breath gave birth to rakshasas which were filled with bloodlust. They began to eat at him, so Brahma called out for protection.
2. This is an old Chinese adage. Something along the lines of "once an idea takes root, nothing can overtake it/to carry out one's plans".
3. "Drunk on the sandy battlefield, a gentleman does not laugh. Since time immemorial, how many have returned from campaigns" Part of a poem from Tang Poet Wang Han (687-726 CE).