Chapter 1175 – Attacking the City
“So you’re saying that Ma Xingkong has ventured up north with a large number of people to search for the daemon star and isn’t in Pegasus city right now?”
The army ventured downstream along the river, and the climate gradually warmed up. The towns and cities on the banks of the river became busier as well. Li Qingshan had just taken down a small city. He discovered there were many people from the martial arts community in the city, so he learnt about this as soon as he asked.
In terms of location, the small city happened to lie right in between Pegasus city and where they had landed.
“Yes, my king. Right now, the entire martial arts community is astir. Many have ventured up north in search of the daemon star, but it’s said that the Ma family has already locked down the entire place. Those below the innate realm aren’t even allowed to approach the place.”
A group of people from the martial arts community looked at Li Qingshan carefully. They were all shaken. Never had they heard of a person like him before, actually bold enough to oppose the Ma family openly and even make those two figures submit to him and serve him as his protectors. However, the White Ape Sword Classic truly was tempting.
Unlike the nine provinces where sword cultivators only formed a minority, swordsmanship was mainstream in this world.
Gu Yanying nodded. “I see, but what exactly is the daemon star that you speak of?”
Li Qingshan glanced at her in surprise. Aren’t we the “daemon star”? However, he soon understood why she had asked that question. This world’s understanding of the daemon star seemed a little strange—on one side, they said it was an omen of chaos and trouble, which was very normal. Ignorant guesses would always lead to these strange connections. On the other side, they also seemed to treat it as some sort of precious treasure, actually leaving the entire world astir and desiring it.
However, under the various descriptions from these people of the martial arts society, Li Qingshan’s expression became even stranger, sharing a glance with Gu Yanying. There was quite a bit of surprise in her eyes as well. The daemon star they spoke of would lead to a drastic change in character upon close contact, turning people into bloodthirsty murderers. However, if they could control their thoughts and not die from madness, it would lead to a drastic improvement in martial arts instead.
All of this sounded like the Rock of Slaughter, which was also the original form of Strongboulder, one of the three Daemon Generals under Spider Queen Lolth’s command. It had fallen onto the nine provinces from the Asura realm and was contaminated with the mad killing intent of the Asura realm, so it could naturally influence the minds of others.
It was even less strange that it could lead to a drastic improvement in martial arts. The Rock of Slaughter had always been filled with tremendous amounts of pure spiritual qi. It was very difficult for it to assume the form of a daemon in this world, but it was basically like the perfect nourishment to members of the martial arts community. Even a wisp of its spiritual qi was enough to remould them through and through, not to mention the will of slaughter from the Asura realm was basically an embodiment of the limits of martial might. It could transform a person in all aspects from spirit to body.
With all of this in mind, they could basically imagine the chaos and slaughter the previous daemon star had created.
“With the arrival of the daemon star, the world falls into chaos” was not some foolish prophecy. Instead, they were going off from the first impression, which led to a misunderstanding.
“Then where is the previous daemon star right now?” Li Qingshan asked.
“After the Demonic School of Seven Slaughters was destroyed, the Salvation temple sank it into a lake. They said they wanted to use the boundless buddhist dharma to suppress the demonic nature within and prevent any future disasters.”
The Salvation temple was located in the central region. It was one of the seven great sects and was even called the leader among the seven. Li Qingshan had no idea whether they possessed the boundless buddhist dharma, but they were probably a force to be reckoned with.
“What a great plan by those monks!”
Li Qingshan smiled. Large temples could gather the power of belief and greatly diminish the killing intent within the Rock of Slaughter, while the pure spiritual qi inside could turn the entire temple into a blessed land of cultivation.
“It’s basically prepared for you.” Gu Yanying swung her metal fan gently.
“That’s right.” Li Qingshan nodded. As long as he could absorb the spiritual qi within the Rock of Slaughter, his strength would definitely recover rapidly. “But we can’t rush things. Let’s take down Pegasus city first.”
“Didn’t you say something like starting off with villages because they surround cities?” Gu Yanying said.
TL: This comes from a saying by Mao Zedong before the CCP gained control over all of China (so in around 1928), to establish a foundation in villages before expanding into cities once they built up enough influence.
“That’s because you’ve failed to comprehend my spirit! You can also influence villages from cities! What matters is we grasp this opportunity and destroy the enemy’s fighting forces!” Li Qingshan gripped his fist.
The people of the martial arts community looked at one another. They were a little puzzled, but they could clearly sense the horrors involved. The Ma family was in trouble this time.
Gu Yanying immediately issued the orders, and the army went straight for Pegasus city.
Basically half of the population in Pegasus city bore the surname Ma, but due to the sheer number of descendants, not every one of them was wealthy and well-off. In the past, they would still strut around with their heads held high, looking down on others even if they lived in poverty. However, their faces all changed when the surname “Ma” was mentioned these days.
Rumors ran amok in the city. A person called the hero king specially went around killing people surnamed Ma. Who knew how many families he had destroyed already. He was said to be extremely vicious, not even sparing newborn babies. He would brand other people with a hot iron and turn them into slaves.
Some of the rumors were even more absurd, something like they needed to offer up a woman to him every single day, or he would fly into a rage and carry out a massacre. It was as clear as day that it was an exaggerated description of Ma Xingkong’s habits, yet it happened to sound so vivid. As such, it was most persuasive, throwing the entire city of people into fear.
When the long fleet of boats sailed down the river and approached Pegasus city, the entire city was startled with alarm bells ringing loudly.
It was dusk. The setting sun dyed the city a brilliant red.
Gu Yanying’s sharp gaze landed on the tall, large city walls and a thick and heavy gate. Figures moved about on the walls, amounting to several thousand. Even without any proper military training, all of them knew martial arts, which demonstrated the firm foundation of the Ma family.
They did not possess an advantage in quantity or quality in this battle, and their army was limited by the geography too. If they tried to take the city by force, it would definitely lead to severe losses, and their momentum would be broken. The situation would become extremely disadvantageous to them.
“Qingshan, what are you thinking about?”
Li Qingshan stood on the front of the boat and listened to the frantic ringing of bells. “What do we want to eat for dinner?”
“That sure is a question.” Gu Yanying smiled.
Li Qingshan let out a laugh and leapt off the front of the boat. Over a hundred figures followed behind him. Some of them possessed exceptional movement techniques, without leaving behind any ripples when they stepped on the water, while others were clumsy in their movements, producing plops.
However, they all knew martial arts. The swordsmen from the mountain manor had already become a minority. Instead, they had recruited far more members of the martial arts community along the way. However, when it came to their strength, the swordsmen still possessed an absolute advantage. With just the two protectors working together, killing everyone would not be a problem.
They all gathered by Li Qinghan’s side now, without assembling into any kind of formation. They were either proud, unruly swordsmen or fine men of humble origins, so they could not be tamed by military law. Instead, they had always served Li Qingshan, which made them seem more like a gang than anything else.
“It’s quite late, so I’ll cut to the chase, just in case we miss out on dinner. I heard Ma Xingkong’s den is hiding quite a lot of fine alcohol, so I’ll invite you all to a drink tonight. I also heard that the old bastard has a lot of wives. I don’t think he has any use for them, so we might as well share them between us.”
Everyone erupted into roars of laughter, voicing their agreement.
“But let me just put this out there first. I’ll be taking the lead today, and you’ll be following behind me. If I discover any of you flee-” Li Qingshan paused. “There’s nothing I can do, but there will be a day when they will have no place left to hide in this world!”
“We are willing to kill the enemies with the king!”
“Alright! Raise the flag!”
Li Qingshan swung his hand, and a great flagwas raised into the air. The thick pole was forged from a mixture of metals. The flag depicted a scarlet tiger that swayed with the wind, brandishing its claws and teeth and lunging straight for Pegasus city.