HSSB258: Additional gains
With the prevention of the descent of the Nine Underworlds, the battle of Yunwu County also reached an end.
In this battle, Broad Creed Mountain also suffered some casualties, but thankfully very few.
Supporting one another, the forces of Broad Creed Mountain took care of their wounds and regrouped.Under the arrangements of the Sand Region’s First Seat Elder, they began dealing with the aftermath of the situation, and cleaned up the battlefield.
In this battle, the Wang Family of Yunwu County had been virtually eradicated; the few who remained had been caught to be interrogated later on.
Other than that, there were also some Decimating Abyss martial practitioners, remnants of Black Nightmare Mountain included, who had been captured alive. What awaited them was similarly harsh interrogation and then death.
Following behind Shi Tie, Yan Zhaoge left the Wang Family ancestral ground. Far away was a great amount of desert, but leaving Yunwu County, few people could be seen.
Because of the natural environment here, there were fewer people here than in the Heaven Domain’s South Heaven Region.
However, there were still a number of densely populated areas, where many ordinary people lived.
Looking at these people, Yan Zhaoge smiled slightly.
Harbouring some emotions, he swivelled his head, seeing a hint of a smile also surfacing on Shi Tie’s usually cold, stern features as he gazed at the distant town.
Yan Zhaoge let out a long breath, raising his left hand. Imprinted on the back of his left hand was a rune reminiscent of a brand.
This mark was red as blood, seemingly not just engraved onto the flesh and blood on Yan Zhaoge’s hand, but instead inscribed deep within his very soul.
Looking at it from the side, Ah Hu scratched his head, “Young Master, you have performed a great merit this time, but having this sort of thing imprinted on you is also very troublesome.”
“According to what you say, before this devilish mark has been resolved, if something happens to you and Elder Shi, there will be the possibility of the Great Nine Underworlds Door reappearing here in the Sand Region. Will those of the Decimating Abyss come specifically to kill the both of you?”
Yan Zhaoge nodded, “This is a very possible thing. Therefore, we are going to have to be careful of such problems surfacing.”
Ah Hu drew back the corners of his mouth, “What a headache.”
Yan Zhaoge looked at the devilish mark on the back of his left hand, “It is not completely a bad thing. There are risks,but other than the rewards from the clan, there have also been some additional gains this time.”
Ah Hu had an uncomprehending look on his face as he also looked towards the back of Yan Zhaoge’s hand, “What other gains ah?”
Yan Zhaoge stroked his lower chin, saying as he looked at his left hand, “Through this time’s incident and this mark left on my hand, my understanding of the Nine Underworlds and the Decimating Abyss has increased further.”
“Know thyself and know thy enemy, and thou shalt survive a hundred battles. The reason the incident in Yunwu County was so perilous this time was that we had not thought that the altered grand formation of the Decimating Abyss could actually lead to such an effect. Being caught unawares, we could only react on the spot.”
Yan Zhaoge put down his left hand, “While being able to react on the spot can be considered praiseworthy, how is it not something that reeks of helplessness? If we were able to let everything stably proceed according to plan, the risks would be much lower.”
Feng Yunsheng was also gazing at the devilish mark on Yan Zhaoge’s hand from the side.
Noticing her gaze, Yan Zhaoge raised his brows, “How is it? I said to you that at Clear Concealed Lake previously, I was not familiar with formations. Afterwards, I put great effort in it; only this time counts as a true show of my abilities.”
Seeing his intentionally arrogant look that demanded for praise, Feng Yunsheng could not help but laugh, relaxing greatly as she shot him a thumbs up, “Yes, yes, yes, it was this little maiden who was shallow in my knowledge previously. Please do not take my meagre experience to heart.”
Yan Zhaoge nodded satisfiedly, “Very good, this student has potential.”
Because of the devilish mark, Yan Zhaoge and Shi Tie did not remain in the Sand Region, instead setting off back for Broad Creed Mountain in the Central Heaven Region.
Before they left, they made a trip to Suzhou City together.
Xu Fei had specifically been dispatched to Suzhou as Acting Elder to fill up the gap in position here due to the chaos in the Sand Region this time.
With the matter not having occurred in the Sand Region but in the neighbouring Yunwu County this time, Xu Fei’s talents had been rather wasted.
However, he performed his duties diligently, solidly guarding Suzhou, preventing the enemy from openly attacking somewhere but covertly attacking elsewhere, leaving Suzhou exceptionally stable.
With the incident of Yunwu County having ended, Xu Fei no longer had a need to stay on here as Acting Elder. After all, him being dispatched here had been due to unique circumstances.
It was just that he wasn’t able to return to Broad Creed Mountain alongside Yan Zhaoge, Shi Tie and the others, still having to wait for the situation to completely stabilise as well as his handover to the next Acting Elder of Suzhou before he could actually return.
Seeing Yan Zhaoge and Shi Tie, after having greeted Shi Tie properly, Xu Fei lightly punched Yan Zhaoge’s shoulder, “I’ve heard about the situation-nice!”
Not re-establishing the devilish formation, with the position of the Great Nine Underworlds Door changing, the Sand Region would be secured while the South Heaven Region would face disaster.
The losses being greater, Yan Zhaoge and the martial practitioners who had assaulted the Wang Family ancestral ground would definitely be held responsible, but everyone would bear it together. Even Elder Cong who had personally destroyed the golden tower would not be pulled out alone to shoulder all the blame.
With the great game-changing move of the Decimating Abyss this time that surpassed everybody’s predictions, if blame really had to be ascribed, it would be that all of Broad Creed Mountain’s plans, from top to bottom, had been seen through by the enemy, not being a mistake of the combatants.
While with the reestablishment of the devilish domain, while the South Heaven Region would be secured, if they failed to shove the Nine Underworlds back in and they descended in the Sand Region, as the one who had suggested this method, Yan Zhaoge alone would have to bear at least half of the blame.
Even if all of Broad Creed Mountain’s higher echelon experts knew that Yan Zhaoge’s plan had actually prevented the worst case scenario, lightening their losses, and he had instead performed well rather than done wrong, those lower-ranked martial practitioners, especially those in the Sand Region, might not be able to understand this point.
At that time, things would be greatly made difficult for Yan Zhaoge, resembling the pressure of a collapsing mountain.
If Yan Zhaoge had instead kept his silence, he would be safe from most reproach. At the same time, it would be hard to blame everyone for the incident, and even if he was punished, he would be punished alongside everyone else, with the punishment not being too great.
But that was not his choice. He stepped forward bravely, bearing the immense risk all on his own. Even if he was not punished, he could face a situation where he was the target of countless ignorant fingers, the scourge of all.
Looking at Yan Zhaoge, Xu Fei sighed lightly, “Yan Zhaoge, nice one.”
Yan Zhaoge smiled slightly, “If it were you, if it were eldest apprentice-uncle, you would also make the same decision.”
Xu Fei also smiled as he patted Yan Zhaoge’s shoulder.
Yan Zhaoge retracted the smile on his face, hesitating slightly for a moment before he said, “There is something that I think you should know.”
Saying thus, Yan Zhaoge glanced at Shi Tie, standing not far away, “Eldest apprentice-uncle already knows.”
Listening to a few sentences of Yan Zhaoge’s, Xu Fei was stunned on the spot.
Possessing a firm and stable will, he immediately recovered after a moment’s shock, falling into a deep silence.
Looking at the uncontrollable grief that had surfaced within Xu Fei’s eyes, Yan Zhaoge let out a vast sigh, “At present, I still cannot confirm it, with it only being my personal suspicion. However, if it is…I mean in that off chance that it is true, I think you should be prepared for it.”
Within the Devilish Domain Grand Formation at Clear Concealed Lake, Xu Fei had also clashed with that masked Martial Grandmaster. His brows were tightly knit as he thought back to the scenes of that time.
Xu Fei shook his head, removing the wineskin from his waist and gulping down a fierce mouthful of it before he wiped his mouth, saying emotionally, “Don’t worry, I’m fine.”
Parting ways with Xu Fei, Yan Zhaoge, Shi Tie and the others rushed back without rest to Broad Creed Mountain.
While the journey was a long one, led by Shi Tie, they still arrived back at the clan very quickly. Someone was already waiting there for them, along with some good news.
“The escaped Elder Liu, has already been caught by Elder Yan.”