Chapter 266: Traveling Through the Siban Empire
“Hurry up! Just take our valuables and let us leave; they could come by at any moment!” A woman yelled loudly at her husband as the man stood in their house with an uncertain look on his face. He wished he had more time to prepare and pack his things, but in the end, he did as the woman had forcefully suggested. He grabbed a few storage stones and with swift hands stored as many things as he possibly could before he rushed outside.
In the distance a cloud of dust could be seen. A cloud which slowly inched closer to their village while the completely pale man looked at his farm animals. He stood still contemplating for a moment, but with a final glance towards the dust cloud in the distance, he let the animals be and rushed in the same direction the woman vanished moments before. Gritting his teeth and looking distraught it was clear to see that the man was truly hurt by the fact that he had to leave his animals behind. As a small farming family, although he had some things of value, his true wealth was in his fields livestock. Things he now had to leave.
This sight was common within the Siban Empire; villages, smaller cities, and even medium sized cities were all left abandoned as the dust cloud appeared, and in its wake was the beast horde. The first city of substantial size was overrun by fear when they saw the beasts coming. Their soldiers had all been moved to the capital, and there was no one to protect the city, apart from the civilians.
Major families resided within the city, and many of the elders, all Kings, had gathered to welcome the beasts; however, as soon as they found out that all the beasts were either Kings or Emperors, they fled the frontier. Instead of helping defend the city they were tasked to protect they rushed to their families and helped them evacuate abandoning the rest of the citizens.
Some of the evacuated families headed towards the capital in the hope that their emperor was capable of protecting them. As they traveled, they brought with them gossip about the beast horde. A horde of hundreds of thousands of beasts, all of which were Kings and Emperors. Their strength was unprecedented, and no one dared to block their way. Due to their strength, many had fled. Not to the capital, but to the other kingdoms. Some wished to go to the great plains of the south while others headed to the Taiyang Kingdom. No matter where large lines of immigrants were seen abandoning cities all on the way towards the capital. Even in the capital there were families who decided to migrate to other kingdoms, the tension was simply that heavy hanging over every household. If they did not have complete faith in the emperor, then they would leave.
As the beast horde drew closer and closer to the capital, half of the empire had already fled to other kingdoms. The other half had left for the capital.
“It really is quite desolate,” Hui Yue commented as they once more arrived at a small village. The only thing they could see was the livestock which had been left behind; livestock which would starve to death if they were not looked after. Thinking about it like this, Hui Yue ended up butchering them for the army. Every night livestock would be given to various camps of soldiers and roasted for dinner. Although Hui Yue did not plan for their travel into the Siban Empire to turn into a massacre, that was exactly what had happened. Blood flowed in heavy streams as animals were butchered, taken apart, and wrapped up only to be stored and then shared with the army later on that night.
While it was a massacre, it was only a massacre of livestock. Hui Yue was grateful for all the food left behind as he knew it would making his own provisions for the army last longer, but at the same time, he pitied the many farmers who had to leave their livelihood behind.
“Stop overthinking it,” Wan Qiao said as she walked up by his side with a smile on her face and patted him on the shoulder. “The beasts get more motivated the more fresh meat they get, and their strength will soar to the skies. If anything, you should be grateful for all the food left behind as now no one will have the urge to hunt down humans since we can eat spit roasted pork, beef, and chicken every day. Toss in the lamb and sheep, not to mention the goats, and we have everything we could wish for.”
Hui Yue knew that Wan Qiao was correct, and a small smile appeared on his face. The village they were in right now was as deserted as all the previous villages they arrived at. The beasts were currently going through all the houses to take anything of practical use or value that had been left behind. Even Hui Yue picked up some packs of spices to add extra taste to his own cooked meals.
“We will stay in this village for another hour!” Hui Yue’s voice boomed throughout the entire village, and there was not a beast who could not hear him. They all roared in reply before they started looking through the houses with increasing speed. When Hui Yue said they would leave in an hour, he meant that all the beasts had to be ready to leave by then. If they were not, he would assign them the harsh task of pulling the heavy machinery together with the buffalos, something none of the soldiers would do if they could avoid it.
Although Hui Yue knew that their movement was incredibly slow due to the many breaks he took, he was still in no rush. The longer it took for him to arrive at the capital, the more people would have heard about his army, and due to this, his four hundred thousand experts could easily grow into a million beasts in the minds of their enemy. Another plus was that it allowed for more and more people to exit the empire, something which was of utmost importance to Hui Yue. He did not wish to see humans treated like the livestock, killed in numerous amounts and later eaten by the magical beasts.
Seeing the frown on Hui Yue’s face, Wan Qiao knew exactly what he was thinking, and a sad smile appeared on her face. She was a magical beast and when she was in her original form, eating a human was something she would gladly do. On the battlefield it would be impossible to tell the beasts not to eat their opponents, they would fight with teeth and claws, and sometimes they would take a bite of their opponent. That was exactly what beasts would do while fighting. She was a beast herself, and she understood what beasts were like.
Hui Yue was now half a beast himself, and he could feel the bloodlust boiling inside his inner being, struggling to come out and rip apart the animals they came across. Keeping it in control took quite a bit of willpower, and this beastly instinct was one all the beasts shared. None of the magical beasts were herbivores, all of them enjoyed meat and the more raw it was, the happier the beasts became.
The hour went by, and Hui Yue started the march once more. Everyone was ready, and no one was punished. A couple of hours was all it had taken before they reached another small village, however this village was so small that there was no reason to stop the entire army. Instead, one of the forty armies was left behind to butchering the meat and taking all the items of use. They would then later catch up to the main army who kept moving forward.
The closer they came to the capital, the more excited everyone became. Looking at their surroundings, Hui Yue was taken aback that no one destroyed the bridges that they were crossing the rivers on. No one put down traps or in any way made it difficult for them to advance; if anything, it was incredibly easy to inch closer and closer to the capital.
Soon the entire army was gathered again, and the sun was about to set. Hui Yue called everyone to rest, and Wan Qiao looked into the distance, “We are almost there,” She said, her voice hoarse and filled with mixed emotions. Feathers kept appearing on her body as she was visibly shaken about the thoughts of finally starting a war.
“We are that close, huh?” Hui Yue said as he too looked into the distance. It was still not possible for him to see any signs of the capital apart from the roads getting larger and larger.
Neither human nor beast said anything as they both looked to the horizon. Somewhere out there their opponents were awaiting them, and the coming war to start. A day of walking and they would arrive. Only one more day and they would have to brace for the fighting. It was almost time, and Hui Yue felt his heart beating rapidly.
After some time, Hui Yue sighed deeply and felt his rational mind take over. He calmed his beating heart and somehow managed to distance him from the war. No matter what happened, he would follow the beast horde. If they lost, then he would die with them, if they won, then he would celebrate with them. Getting nervous was not going to help anyone, and Hui Yue decided to take the chance to meditate. The chance to refine more essence of the heavens and the earth while calming his mind, and not allow his doubts to grow and occupy his mind.
The entire camp was filled with noise; all the beasts were filled with energy and excitement as they knew that the following day was the time to meet the enemy. Even the Saints were walking around with sly grins on their faces. Some of them were seated together, eating their dinner while others were training in isolation, and still others were sparring against each other. Seeing the Saints react the way they were caused bloodlust to spread across all their forces, and all the lower ranked experts soon understood that they were very close to the other kingdom’s army. They were close to starting the war which they had wanted for a very long time now.
This night was not as calm as the previous ones; tension hung over all the beasts. As the hours grew long, no sound was heard from the campsite. Everyone was sitting still, counting the minutes as they waited the sun to rise into the sky. No one was sparing, not many were cultivating; the majority were just seated there waiting for the first rays of sunlight so that they could pack up camp. Pack up camp and get ready for the war they had been traveling almost a month for.
Hui Yue had quickly given up on the notion to cultivate; instead, he was sitting still like the others waiting for the light of a new day to appear so that they could start walking once again. Unlike the beasts, Hui Yue knew that it was highly unlikely that they would start fighting the following day when they reached the capital.
Hui Yue knew that although his army had trained together for some time, and although they knew the bare necessity of warfare they were far from seasoned soldiers who had been taught the art of war from youth. Due to this, the battlefield was certain to be messy. A sinister smile appeared on Hui Yue’s face as he too felt excited about the war. Although his soldiers were not the most well trained men, they had strength and determination. They would definitely wreak havoc and bring chaos.