Chapter 14 - All the Citizens Hates Gu
Inside a big tent, Gao Xianzhi along with Crown Prince Song and a bunch of faithful followers were stationed in a secluded mountain valley.
Gao Xianzhi complexion was ugly to the extreme as he gazed at a pile of reports of defeat.
It had been several days already since they arrived at this location. Crown Prince Song’s complexion was extremely haggard.
A Royal guard charged into the tent.
"Did you locate him?" Crown Prince Song asked with an anxious look.
The Royal Guard's complexion turned extremely ugly as he nodded his head: "Your Royal Highness, please hold yourself!"
While speaking, several royal guards carrying a corpse on their shoulders entered the tent. It was the corpse of none other than Song Zhenxi whose entire body had been stabbed several dozen times. And the blood was already dry; it was too horrible to look at.
"My son!" Crown Prince Song suddenly walked over in grief.
Gao Xianzhi stopped reading the report in his hand as he glanced at the just arrived royal guards: "Where did you find him?"
"He was beside the corpse of Ling Chong! At the time, when the camp was in disarray, while the Chen Army was plundering, we were separated from the Royal Grandson, the ten royal guards, that were responsible for his Royal Highness’s protection are all dead, from the wounds, we discover that the Royal Grandson had been killed by Lin Chong's weapon!" A royal guard solemnly stated.
"Lin Chong!" Crown Prince Song's face revealed a hideous expression as he roared.
Gao Xianzhi though took a long and deep breath, his eyes flickered with powerlessness and an agonizing look.
"Your Royal Highness, I was fast but Gu Hai was faster. He hasn't given me anytime, even for a meal. Hahaha, Gu Hai, I was too presumptuous." Gao Xianzhi said in anguishment.
"Gu Hai? I will cut you into pieces!" Crown Prince Song looked hideous as he roared.
"Oh! I see!" Gao Xianzhi's complexion suddenly changed.
"En?" All the people in the tent turned their gazes at Gao Xianzhi.
"Gu Hai wasn’t at the Tiger Cage Pa.s.s, he wasn’t here at all!" Gao Xianzhi suddenly looked mad.
"What?" Everyone looked at Gao Xianzhi in astonishment.
"I should have thought of this. I should have attacked with everything when I have first begun laying siege on the Tiger Cage Pa.s.s. Ah! It wasn’t Gu Hai. He wasn’t actually here!" A look of regret appeared on Gao Xianzhi's face as he said.
"General, what's all this about, it wasn’t Gu Hai?" everyone perplexingly gazed at Gao Xianzhi.
Gao Xianzhi's eyes turned gloomy as he said, "Gu Hai is in the Song Capital. The only way possible for him to control every aspect so exquisitely is if he was in the Song Capital. Only that way would it have been possible for the news regarding Ling Chong's family to be transmitted here and the fact that the Royal Grandson was saved from the execution. He’s definitely in Song Capital, that's why the whole domino effect was possible. As long as a little flaw appeared, we would be short of success. It was all Gu Hai's making. Even with the fastest mode of communication, it would have been impossible for him to control everything this elegantly, hence there is only a single possibility, Gu Hai was in our Song Kingdom's Royal Song Capital from the beginning!"
"How is that possible?" Everyone cried in astonishment.
When a huge army was upon borders, when it was the time of a huge crisis, the other party had not only beautifully strategized before the initiation of the final battle, furthermore, the opposing General, wasn’t even at the front line, but rather calling wind and storm from his enemy’s Royal Capital!?
"General, is that possible?" asked Crown Prince Song as his complexion changed.
"Yes, Your Royal Highness. You must restrain your grief, it‘s not the time for you to be grieving. Gu Hai may have left, or he may still be in the Song Capital. I know Gu Hai, it isn’t over, this is just the beginning!" Gao Xianzhi said with an ugly look.
"It’s just the beginning? What do you mean?" Crown Prince Song stared with eyes wide-open.
"Gu Hai's promised condition to the immortal sects wasn’t to defeat eight-hundred thousand soldiers but to lay a waste to the Song Kingdom. Hence, Gu Hai is definitely not finished, there is more to come!" Gao Xianzhi said in worry.
"More to come?" everyone in the tent sucked a cold lump of air.
Their army of eight-hundred thousand had completely collapsed even before the appearance of Gu Hai. However, Gu Hai hadn’t even made any move personally? There was more to come...
Having thought of everything that has happened, everyone felt a chill running down their spines.
"General, what are we going to do now?" someone anxiously asked.
Gao Xianzhi's eyes flickered as he said, "Fortunately, I have killed those six-hundred thousand Chen soldiers at the beginning, or else, the Chen Kingdom army would have been marching straight for our Song Kingdom and it would have been impossible for our Song Kingdom to escape this crisis. At present, Chen Kingdom is seriously weakened, it’s just that the Song Kingdom's army has lost its morale, presumably, three-hundred thousand of eight-hundred thousand soldiers might return. However, even if it is three-hundred thousand, it’s alright, we can gather slowly!"
"Yeah, the Chen Kingdom is seriously weakened, they are only left with only a few soldiers. General, you stay here at the border and while I go to recruit soldiers. I will also report to Royal Father ask for various cities to quickly gather their forces and then transfer them to you, for deployment. And we should also summon the deserters back!" Crown Prince Song immediately said.
Gao Xianzhi nodded and painfully said, "I will do so, however, I am worried that it will be too late."
"How can it be too late? Six-hundred thousand soldiers of the Chen Army are already dead, can Gu Hai transform himself into six-hundred thousand individuals?" Crown Prince Song asked in disbelief.
Gao Xianzhi forcefully smiled as he nodded, "Others aren’t aware of Gu Hai as I am, as long as he is given time, he can indeed transform!"
Crown Prince Song: "...."
"General, you couldn’t be afraid of Gu Hai?" Crown Prince Song asked in dissatisfaction.
"I am not afraid of him, it is just personal projections. The soldiers have lost the morale, wouldn't it be hard to gather the army once again? It’s difficult to change the hearts of people in situations like these. However, I will attempt everything I can. Including staying in this border city, in order to take in and reorganize the troops and prevent the invasion of the Chen Kingdom's army. Your Royal Highness, please return immediately and warn the King and the officials, that, they mustn’t slack. Also, request them to publicize the damage caused by Gu Hai to the entire Song Kingdom to prevent Gu Hai's scheme drilling into loopholes once more. At the same time, grant forgiveness for the crimes of desertion." Gao Xianzhi earnestly said.
"I will, I will immediately return to the Song City!" Crown Prince Song said while clenching his teeth.
After a few days, within the Song Kingdom’s, Royal Court.
The Song King sat on the dragon throne, beneath stood Crown Prince Song while the civil and military official respectfully stood on both sides of the throne in rows. At this moment, the entire Royal Court was shrouded in silence as they listened to Crown Prince Song as he narrated everything from the frontline.
After a while, everyone held their breaths, their eyes flickered in anxiousness and doubt continuously.
"800,000 soldiers? Completely collapsed in an instant? Gao Xianzhi should be blamed for this!" an old official on the left side broke the silence.
Everyone turned their gaze towards him when the moment old official opened his mouth. The old official had an ashen complexion, as he seemed to be slightly older than the 82 years old Song King sitting on the dragon throne.
"Royal Tutor Pang, Gao Xianzhi did all he could, however, Gu Hai was fiercer, we were unable to prevent anything!" Crown Prince Song said bitterly.
Royal Tutor Pang didn't get angry but stated with a frown, "The army was handed to him, so he has to bear the responsibility, there can be no excuses even though this old official is well aware that he did everything within his power. However, he still didn’t realize the terror of Gu Hai, as a result, Royal Grandson was saved by Gu Hai. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have fallen short."
"Royal Father, Royal Tutor Pang, and the Officials, during my return, I have ordered the arrest of the Court Magistrate. Every in and out has been checked, however, it was difficult to prevent. Especially, who would have thought that someone would be impersonating the Court Magistrate? However, it isn’t the time to find those at fault, Gao Xianzhi is remaining in the border cities and gathering the army, he requested me to return as soon as possible and prevent, Gu Hai from finding any loopholes." Crown Prince Song stated solemnly.
"What did Gao Xianzhi request?" Song King who sat on the dragon throne asked.
The group of Officials looked at Crown Prince Song.
"He asked to pardon the deserters and gather the army again as soon as possible!" Crown Prince Song said in a solemn tone.
"Granted!" Song King complied.
"Search the entire city, do not allow any location unchecked, including my Crown Prince Mansion, let's just hope that we can find Gu Hai's whereabouts. Also, try to find the citizens that had been imprisoned by Gu Hai, furthermore a Royal edict should be pa.s.s to reveal the damage caused by Gau Hai to the entire nation and reignite the army's morale. Lastly, prepare the local officials along with the citizens in order to prevent any of Gu Hai’s continuous machinations." Crown Prince Song solemnly stated.
"Approved!" Song King agreed.
"Royal Father, Officials please believe in our Song People wholeheartedly. As long as we are prepared in advance, everyone could prevent any conspiracy in advance, Gu Hai's heaven-defying abilities will not cause any more trouble to the Song Kingdom. Chen Kingdom's army is exhausted, Gao Xianzhi will definitely gather the army again and march for the Chen Kingdom, destroying the Chen Kingdom in one fell swoop!" Crown Prince Song said solemnly.
Inside an inn within the Song Capital.
Gu Hai and Gu Han were sitting by the window, drinking wine, gazing at the countless citizen not far from the inn who were reading the Royal edict that was filled with righteous indignation. At the same time, the people within the inn’s restaurant were also discussing the same topic.
"Have you heard? The 800,000 soldiers had been completely destroyed by that old man, Gu Hai!"
"Of course I heard, I used to think that Gao Xianzhi was formidable, who would have known that he would be played around by an old man!"
"Don't believe in the nonsense of others, one of my nephews is a subordinate of Gao Xianzhi, according to him, what they have gone through was too strange!"
"Oh? Tell me, what is it?"
"Have you ever heard the someone commanding the army of the enemy in battle?"
"What? You’re joking with me, how could someone command the enemy's army? Are you spinning yarns?"
"Hey, you don't believe me, this story is still truly wonderful! You might not know, but the eight-hundred thousand soldiers were as if they have been bewitched by Gu Hai, just like puppets whose threads were in the hands of Gu Hai, whatever he wanted them to accomplish they would do. If he wanted them to attack the camp, they would attack the camp!"
"You must be joking?"
"Why would I deceive you? My nephew saw it with his own eyes. At first, it was just a small number of people, but slowly the number people increased, following which the entire Song Kingdom's army was manipulated, forcing Gao Xianzhi to return and kill the Royal Grandson. And then just like this, the 800,000 soldiers were manipulated until the entire camp had been set ablaze. It was too terrifying!"
In the inn’s restaurant, the guests were talking how Gu Hao made the soldiers lose their morale step by step; it was very detailed. The listeners shouted to their heart's content one after another. However, the performance on the stage didn’t have much upheaval.
"Fortunately, Gao Xianzhi had buried 600,000 soldiers of the Chen Kingdom, otherwise, after the army of our Song Kingdom was defeated, the Chen Kingdom's army would have directly invaded to destroy our Song Kingdom! We would have been subjugated and become slaves!"
"Horrible, if Gu Hai really commanded the troops to war, we would have been miserable!"
"d.a.m.n you, Gu Hai, you kidnapped innocent people, forced our Song Army into chaos, my nephew died on the battlefield. It's all your fault, Gu Hai!"
"I also don't know whether my son is dead or alive, d.a.m.n you, Gu Hai!"
Very soon, the narration at the beginning which depicted the course of events slowly changed and revealed their original intention, which was the denouncing, Gu Hai.
Gu Hai who by the window, when heard the chatter of the guests, not only didn’t get upset, on the contrary, a sliver of chuckle escaped his mouth.
"G.o.dfather, the Song Kingdom has completely defamed you. It seems they are afraid of you, even the details of battle hasn’t been let off from the citizens. I guess they want to plant seeds of hatred in the heart of the citizens so that it would prevent our next course of actions!" Gu Han slightly frowned as he said.
"Citizens' heart are readily usable. The more they hate me, the faster the Song Kingdom will be destroyed!" said Gu Hai as he drank a mouth full of wine while a sliver of confident smile appeared on his face.
"G.o.dfather, when are we going to begin?" Gu Han's eyes flickered with a bit of excitement.
"No, it’s still far from enough, the Song Kingdom's citizens do not hate me enough, it's still isn’t the time. If that's the case, then I will have to make them hate me more!" Gu Hai said in a heavy tone.
"It is still not enough? Isn't everyone talking about it?"
"No, it is not enough, the momentum of the crusade against me is too weak, hence, let me help them increase that momentum! I will make everyone crusade against me, I will make them hate me even more!" Gu Hai said in a heavy tone.
"Release the family members of the Song Soldiers. Let my atrocity be described through their mouths to make everyone believe that it was all because of my machinations that an army of 800,000 soldiers was completely defeated. Let me give a hand to Song Kingdom’s Officials and make their propaganda become more persuasive while everyone starts to hate me!" said Gu Hai, his eyes flickered with confidence.