Chapter 290: Golden Eyes
Hui Yue slept through the night with no dreams and no rough awakenings. He managed to sleep until the sun rose, and as woke he was welcomed by the strong scent of burned flesh. Looking around, he saw that many beasts were waking up at the same time as him. He smiled wryly as he felt how his back ached from lying in the same position for so many hours. He was usually not one to sleep during the night but cultivate though this night sleep was a welcome guest. He smiled as he saw a stiff Lady Sun rise with the same back problems as himself. He felt that today was a new day, a fresh day. He was certain that things would be better than they had been the previous day.
The emperor had been chained to a tree where he was still awaiting his fate. Hui Yue was not certain what to do with him. He knew that they had to kill him and display his body somewhere, but he felt it was beneath the dignity of any ruler to have their bodies displayed. But, none of his beastly friends had any interest in the dignity of a ruler. They only cared about territory, and the strongest was the one who survived. That was the rule of the forest and also the rule which they would follow here. This was their new land after all.
Looking at the emperor once more, Hui Yue understood that they had to kill him. Leaving him alive when he was doomed to die was not proper, so Hui Yue headed towards him. His body changed forms to a wolf-man, the body he was the strongest in.
“Are you here to kill me?” The emperor asked quietly. His voice did not tremble, and his eyes were honest and direct. The day before he had been a mess but he seemed to have come to accept his fate. Hui Yue nodded his head. He had no intention of lying to the man.
“I see,” Was his only answer. Looking around it seemed as though he wished to see the sun and the garden one last time before he closed his eyes forever. With a sigh he looked at Hui Yue. “You have to be careful,” He said. His voice was devoid of emotions and no hate seemed present. “Listen, Grand Marshall of the beasts, did you not feel that your army won easily?” He asked, his eyes looking at the blue sky. Hui Yue frowned. He had thought that the battle seemed incredibly easy for them. Who would intentionally waste millions of humans to kill a few beasts? Who would easily give up the walls like the Grand Marshall had done? Thinking for some time, Hui Yue did not answer the emperor, but his frown showed the man chained to the tree that his question made sense.
“He left the city and took with him all the Siban Empire’s Saints. They are waiting for the opportune moment to arrive so they can sweep away the last of you. I am sure he is relying on the Crusaders to kill a lot of you, but if you all fight like the army that was guarding me yesterday did, then I think he is in for a nasty surprise.” The emperor’s voice started to sound a bit smug. “If I am to die, I want him to die with me,” He said in a matter of fact kind of way. Looking at Hui Yue, the emperor nodded once and seconds after, his head had been severed from his body.
Looking at the now decapitated emperor, Hui Yue felt no joy knowing that they had officially won the war, nor did he feel any relief with the death of the emperor. In fact, he was grateful for the information he had been given just before his death, but, sadly, he knew it was a very significant death. It was something that had to be done no matter how much he didn’t want to kill him, and making the beasts do the killing for him was not Hui Yue’s style. He was the Grand Marshall after all.
Looking around, Hui Yue took out the memory stones which contained the valuables from the castle, and he searched through them until he found a long rectangular box made from marble and inlaid with gemstones and gold. He withdrew the box and placed the body and the head of the emperor inside before he closed it. “Qiao!” He called out and the lady of the forest arrived by his side curious what he wanted from her now. Everyone within the garden had seen the decapitation of the emperor, as for why he found such a coffin, no one truly knew. They all felt somewhat confused when they saw him place the emperor within the beautiful coffin. For them, the emperor was nothing but an enemy, but Hui Yue still wanted the man to die with his dignity, and he also needed to show gratitude for the information he was given just before the man’s death.
“What do you need?” She asked curiously as she looked at the marble box. “I need someone to drop this box at the border of the Taiyang Kingdom. Preferably at a military camp.” Hui Yue said while turning away, looking around. “If they see him dead, they’ll understand that this land belongs to us now,” He said as he walked around. “Everyone gather up. The day will be wasted if we don’t manage to get rid of all the Crusaders, and we will be in a tough spot tonight,” He continued as noise rose around him from the beasts who started packing up their things to get ready for the hunt. All of them had eyes filled with anger and indignation. They had all known people from Lady Sun’s army who were slaughtered just hours ago, and they all wished to get revenge. Although they had already died, and although beasts naturally did not have much love for each other, after going to war together they had started to feel like a big family. Hui Yue understood this more than anyone as he too felt responsible for his soldiers’ deaths.
A One-Horned Eagle was quickly found to take the marble coffin to the borders of Taiyang Kingdom, and the rest of the army got ready to start their hunt for the Crusaders. The Crusaders did not have many members left, but they still should have at least another Saint ranked expert in their midst. At least Hui Yue had thirty-two Saints remaining, far more than the two he expected the Crusaders to have.
“I hope they have not gotten reinforcements,” Hui Yue mumbled to himself as he took the lead with Lady Sun and Wan Qiao on either side of him. His body was once more handed over to Lan Feng. Wan Qiao was aware that Hui Yue and Lan Feng had changed positions, but she said nothing. Lady Sun too sensed a change in the young man, but she was unable to understand exactly what had changed. The only thing she could sense was that the young man no longer seemed to be a King but rather a Saint. She had heard about this before, and she had seen him reaching the Saint rank when he battled the tall Saint from the Siban Empire, but now it felt oddly different. Earlier it felt as if Hui Yue had reached a higher rank but right now, although she knew it was him, she did not think it truly felt like him. He seemed more arrogant now, stronger, and in some ways superior even to the other Saints. This was a strength that no one could gain just like that. It was something that had taken hold in a noble beast who had lived day after day as a superior being.
Lan Feng did nothing to tell Lady Sun about the change in personality. He was not keen on many people knowing his and Hui Yue’s secret, not even someone who had fought with their life on the line together with himself. Lan Feng was no longer capable of trusting people after he lost his body, and he often said he wished that they would have kept all their secrets to themselves, something Hui Yue was incapable of doing. He wanted the ones whom he trusted unconditionally to know his secrets, but at the same time he understood Lan Feng, and he decided not to pressure him to tell their secrets to anyone else.
Moving through the desolate city, Hui Yue was deep in thought. He was thinking about how his army had spread out when invading the city, and he had to admit that the emperor had been right. Everything had been far too simple, something he should have noticed far earlier; however, it had not been possible since he, after all, had no real experience in battles much less war.
Hui Yue made sure that all soldiers were vigilant since he now understood that they were not just going to fight the Crusaders, but also the Siban Empire’s Saints and Grand Marshall. This was something which could cause him trouble if they were to battle both at the same time.
Moving through the city, Hui Yue finally realized that they would find nothing if they kept moving as they were; therefore, he split the horde into four equal battalions. Although they were split up, they should be capable of dealing with the Crusaders, or at least hold them at bay until the others came to reinforce them.
Moving through city everyone was quiet and observed their surroundings, but no one seemed to see the Crusaders as they had expected. Hui Yue hoped that his army would be the one to find the Crusaders, yet he knew the likelihood of that happening was quite low. Despite this, he kept his hopes up as he made his way through the massive city.
Suddenly he noticed a scent, the smell of decomposing flesh. Moving towards it, Hui Yue instantly knew what it was. It was a scent he had smelled before.
Many thoughts went through Hui Yue’s mind as he stopped the army behind him. “Are they killing themselves to keep us unfocused? Making us rush forward to see what happens to catch us in a trap?” Hui Yue mumbled to himself, completely taken aback by the scent. He knew it meant dead Crusaders, but he also knew that his own soldiers had not fought the Crusaders yet. He would have easily heard them fighting if they were.
Moving towards the alleyway from where the scent appeared, Hui Yue and his soldiers all became far more vigilant because they did not know what was going on in front of them. When Hui Yue reached the alleyway, he stopped, completely shocked by what he saw. Within the alleyway was the corpses of all the remaining Crusaders. They were all in different stages of decomposition; bones, ashes, flesh. Hui Yue felt his heart raise when he noticed the face of Li Meilin lying on the ground.
Sucking in a large breath of air, he found that she had four small holes on her forehead, and she also had the most complete corpse of them all.
Hui Yue felt as though he was being observed, and his eyes shifted into the air where they locked onto a pair of golden eyes. An arrogant smirk was on this person’s face who was seated in the sky as though it was the most natural thing. Looking around, Hui Yue quickly noticed that no one other than himself could see this expert seated high up in the sky.