Chapter 258: Towards Siban Empire
The two days went by in a flash. As soon as Hui Yue left the library, he personally visited every single lord and informed them about the same things he told Wan Qiao. They now had the capital and the provisions needed to commence with the war, and the army had been ready for about a week. There was no longer any reason for the army to wait while the Saints spent time packing their items. The army started to pack up the military camp outside the city.
Some groups started moving back towards their homes because they would not be participating in the war, and as their lords left the castle, the guards followed behind. After two days had gone by, the only ones left were the four hundred thousand experts whom Hui Yue had trained previously. These four hundred thousand beasts were Shenyuan’s army.
The tents had been packed into storage stones, and everything which made up the army camp was nowhere in sight. The only thing left behind was long lines of soldiers standing side by side in formation, ready to set out. The group got ready to travel on the largest road within Shenyuan, and as Hui Yue saw the army, pride swelled within his heart.
“Lords!” He called out with a voice filled with authority. Moments after the forty Saints stood in a line in front of him. Some of them had smiles on their faces while others had stern expressions. Some were excited while others seemed timid. Looking at the many faces, Hui Yue nodded to them and slowly the forty of them turned their back to the army. As they saw Hui Yue’s nod of approval, the smiling expressions grew slightly larger, and the stern looking experts became less stern. The experts stayed on the line which was somewhat similar to the one of the soldiers behind them.
Hui Yue looked out over the army in front of him, and as he looked at them, a smile played on his lips.
“Everyone listen up!” He yelled, his voice booming in the crisp morning air and sounding from the first soldier in line all the way to the experts at the back. “We will now venture to the borders of Siban Empire. This empire has time and time again sent one delegation after another into our borders their humans have mistreated us time and time again, but no longer!”
“Shenyuan has had enough of hiding within our own borders. We have suffered through millenniums hiding as though we were afraid, but we are not afraid! We will show the world that the beasts are still here! We will let them know that we once controlled the entire continent and although we are not going to take it all back, we will once more stand tall! We will leave the forests of Shenyuan to allow for our children and the generations to come to once more live in freedom! Our war is a war against oppression!”
For every word Hui Yue said the beasts felt their excitement climbing. Some had goosebumps listening to his words while others had tears in their eyes. Every beast was touched, and it was impossible for them to not push out their chests and feel important. They were the beasts who fought for freedom!
“We will not all survive, but we will fight to the end. We are proud beasts! Beasts who fight with claws and teeth as well as weapons. We do know not if we will meet an army superior to us, but no matter what we encounter, we will fight! There is no such thing as retreat in our army!”
“I cannot promise you victory, but I can promise you that if you all fight as I have taught you, then we stand a great chance! Fight in your groups; support each other and watch your teammates backs! Fight for your survival and fight for our freedom!”
Hui Yue went quiet and as his eyes swept across the army they also rested on the Saints. His eyes met forty pairs of eyes which all stared at him dumbfounded. Some were riled up, much like the soldiers, unshed tears in their eyes. Others were smiling, showing their sharp teeth as the speech made them feel their killing intent starting to roil, but regardless everyone was eager to start fighting as soon as possible.
Next to Hui Yue was a guide with all the maps. This guide was a Ghost-Clawed Owl. A creature which usually was awake only at night. His eyesight and memory were so keen that he could remember every part of the forest by heart. He had traveled everywhere, and he was the one who would lead the army to the borders of Shenyuan.
With one last glance at the Saints and the soldiers, Hui Yue raised his arm high with his hand clenched tightly in a fist. His voice cut through the air once more, “Follow me! We are going to war!”
Roaring sounds could be heard from all the beasts. Every beast roared and screeched. The uproar made everyone within the city wonder what was happening. The tall city walls trembled from the shockwaves coming from so many beasts screaming out at the same time.
Seeing this, Hui Yue nodded his head. He turned his back to the soldiers as he sat one foot ahead of the other and slowly moved towards the road next to the city wall. By his side was the Ghost-Clawed Owl and right behind him the Saints. The soldiers also started moving and suddenly the morning air was filled with sounds of movements. The four hundred thousand beasts started moving, slowly and orderly towards the road that Hui Yue decided.
This army was far swifter than any other army Hui Yue had ever heard about. Everyone was a magical beast, and they all knew how to move swiftly through the landscape. The Ghost-Clawed Owl was swift in his movements, and his eyes already knew the entire way they were headed. As they started moving, he transformed into an owl and flew forward like a dart. Everyone followed suit with no trouble whatsoever.
The army consisted of experts of the King rank and above. They all had speed as one of their strengths and, although the army was not moving at top speed, the speed with which they moved through the landscape was astonishing. Within the day, they had already covered a seventh of the way to the Siban Empire.
As day turned to night, Hui Yue stopped the guide, and the army stopped for the night. Tents were being erected and within moments, the roadside had transformed into an army camp. While some beasts spent their spare time preparing food, other beasts decided to train, and yet others cultivated.
The Saints were all seated together in conversation with one another. Their faces were filled with smiles, and their eyes were shining with excitement. These Saints had never experienced anything like this before. They had never gathered their guards into an army, nor had they traveled through the lands on their way towards an empire which they were to battle.
Seeing these Saints all seated around a small fire made Hui Yue smile; however, he did not go over towards them. He was, after all, not a Lord of the Forest, and although he was the Grand Marshall, he did not belong together with them. Instead, he started his own fire and sat down together with the guide.
Neither of the two spoke much. Hui Yue found some tools from his storage stones and put a large saucepan on the fire in which he started cooking a stew. The stew consisted of both various types of meat he had gathered and salted long before and vegetables which he cut into cubes. The scent of the stew quickly traveled throughout the entire army, and every beast started to hear their stomachs grumble. The ones who were eating the provisions they had been given earlier were looking at their dried meat with longing eyes as their nostrils vibrated, constantly breathing in the scent of the delicious stew.
The common soldiers were not the only ones who noticed the scent of his stew. The many Saints noticed it as well and unlike the soldiers, they were not very good at holding back. They stopped their conversations as all of them looked towards the fireplace where Hui Yue was seated together with the guide. Salivating, all of them suddenly got hungry.
Although experts, beasts and human alike, who had reached the rank of a King were capable of living without food for months, the entire army was suddenly bustling with life. Fireplaces were being started everywhere, and the rustling sounds of saucepans, kettles, and knives could be heard all over. Soon the scent of the delicious stew was accompanied by smells from all over where the soldiers started cooking their own food. Everyone, even the ones who had previously been cultivating were now eating.
The Saints were in a pickle. They were uncertain wondering if they should cook food, which seemed to be below their dignity, or if they should eat some rations they had prepared. All of them had fruit and berries, food which was considered a delicacy, but eating it on the first day was definitely not dignifying either.
Watching the Saints, Hui Yue smiled a little and added extra meats and vegetables into the stew. He found a few more saucepans and increased the amount of food he was cooking. Approximately an hour later, the young man provided each of the Saints with a portion of food. These supreme experts all looked at the food with gratitude, none of them able to remember when they last had eaten cooked food.
Some of these beasts had not eaten in a very long time. They had not felt the need for food, and as magical beasts, they would usually eat their food raw. They would eat whatever they had just captured for the sake of continuing to live.
Having eaten his food, the Saints all moved towards Hui Yue, and the lords ended up spending the entire night discussing the direction they were going to take.
The following morning, Hui Yue and the rest of the army wrapped up their tents and after a few hours was they were once more on their way towards the Siban Empire. The speed with which they were traveling was as swift as it had been the day before, and before long yet another day had gone by in a flash. Night appeared and once more the entire army set up camp. The atmosphere was getting more and more tense as they got closer to their destination. Their days became routine as one day took another and in this way seven days went by. The longer it took, the tenser the atmosphere became. All of them were acutely aware that they were entering territory they had never seen before. Leaving behind Shenyuan was something no living beast would have ever imagined if they were below the Saint rank.
Looking at the troops, Hui Yue felt his heart pounding as he looked around. The entire army had stopped some time ago as they stood on the road, the only road leading towards a massive mountain. On the other side of this mountain was the Siban Empire. It was impossible to travel directly to the Siban Empire because there was no road that left Shenyuan which meant that they had to cross a mountain range. The mountain range which was the last obstacle on their way to Siban.
Hui Yue was a little worried. Had the army not consisted of beasts then he would have never dared to cross the mountain range; however, beasts were far more nimble on their feet than humans. Some beasts could fly, and other beasts could help the ones who had problems. Looking at the mountain, Hui Yue’s eyes turned determined.
“We set up camp now, tonight, when the moon is out, is the time when we will start crossing the mountain!” His loud yell was heard by everyone in the army, and he was once more met with roars and screeches.