Chapter 168:

Moonlight Showdown (1)

Mad God


Down in the south, Sengge was sitting inside his new tent. He was watching the unfurled map while his trusted people, lions from his tribe, were surrounding him.

"I never realized her potential was so great." Sengge smiled, sighing a little. "She already took half a dozen outposts and pushed us back this far…" He shook his head, reading the reports. In the past two weeks, they have lost a significant chunk of their territory to the assault of Thunder Valley.

"It is our fault." His lieutenant bowed her head, but Sengge just raised his arm.

"No, this is good." The General chuckled as he continued. "Three out of five villages rebelled, switching sides amidst the battles. This shows how some of the tribes think about the King's ways. Keep sending tigers to the front line and let our forces gradually retreat and converge at this point." He said, pointing at the map.

"General?" His comrades looked at each other, a bit confused. "We have been retreating every day… you… we are going to…?"

"You are thinking about the right idea." Sengge nodded. "We are going to rebel." He smirked. "Of course, not just like that, out of the blue! I want to test their full capability first. The place I have chosen is an old fort, and if they want to march into where our King rests, they must go past it! Tylvana knows it, I know it. It is inevitable to meet with her there. We are going to set up our base at that fort and let them thin the tigers and other unnecessary fanatics' numbers. Tell our forces that we are going to hold that point and decimate the enemy once and for all! The usual trope that gets them fired up." He said, waving his hand.

"So… Are we going to hold up in the fort and let them kill each other?" One of his captains murmured.

"Yes," Sengge said with a nod. "On one hand, we can trim the fighting forces of the King, especially if Tylvana's side wins. On the other hand, if they lose, I can act like this was the plan all along. I did this already a few times. They say that I am a military genius, no…" He laughed softly. "Only my plans for rebelling all failed before. I greatly hope that it won't come to that this time…" He whispered as he watched the map with a playful light in his eyes. His confidants just gulped, knowing that they were playing with fire here.


….
……

"I'll need your help." Tylvana's voice resonated from the transmission jade in Ren's hands.

"I'm listening." She replied while, with her other hand, she was holding Ariana's head, helping her suppress her cultivation back into the 9th stage of Body Refinement. She almost drew down the tribulation when she emerged from the cultivation chamber.

"We pressed forward way too much, way too quickly. We are unable to oversee the territory that we just conquered. Our supply lines are stretched thin as it is. I can't fathom why General Sengge did not attack them… Also… even if the tribes here welcome us, we still can't trust them."

"Why did he not move against our backs…? It's simple; it's because he is aiding us." Ren replied calmly.

"Excuse me?" Tylvana's surprised voice came from the jade.

"You did not notice? The moves he made since arriving are all nothing but throwing tigers at us while he retreats with his own people. You told me a lot about Sengge, and if he can measure up to half of that, this is clearly his way of saying; I am on your side."

"I… did not think about that." She said, thinking that she was too immersed in her job to beat the tigers.

"It's not 100%, but I feel I am right. So? What do I need to help you out with?"

"A fort. It's our next target, and now we are sure it is heavily fortified. Thanks to the owls' reconnaissance, we did not walk into a trap and... Even worse… there is a huge army gathering there."

"How big?"

"200 warrior demons. Mostly tigers and a few other big cats… but we are sure this is their whole force, sent to defend their southern borders. Ren, they are all warriors, bred for battle. These are not mere beasts of simple, human cultivators..."

"That is… a lot." Ren smacked her lips. "Can you hold it back a little?"

"Hold it back? Excuse me?" She asked, not really understanding Ren's intent.

"Just do not attack them yet. Keep them there. I need a few weeks."

"The formation…?" Tylvana asked with a bit of uncertainty.

"That too. But Ariana is close to advancing to the next stage. If she does, it would be a good lesson for her to fight in that battle." She smiled at her disciple, who was sitting cross-legged and with closed eyes, completely oblivious to her Master's words.

"You want to let them build up more defenses because you want your disciple to… train? Are you serious?" She gawked, not believing what she was hearing.

"I am, and it is not just because of that," Ren answered calmly. "It's because, on the western front, they are also feeling the pressure." Ren's laughing voice came from Tylvana's palm as she was holding the voice transmission token. "Wait until the west breaks, and we can break the south… that will send that Kitten King into a new level of rage-induced coma! It's best if he can't think straight so we can draw him out."

"I see." Tylvana nodded, knowing that it was going this well on the other side; it gave her more understanding of what she was trying to achieve. "I'll do what I can."

"That is all I ask for." Ren's words echoed out as the talisman slowly lost its luster and died down, making Tylvana let out a long sigh.


….
……

Ren was not lying. In the previous weeks of battles, the wolves pushed back heavily on the tigers' front line. They were achieving victory after victory, reclaiming lost territories by the day. It was a bittersweet feeling as every village they came across was burnt to the ground, littered with the corpses of the enemy, with no sign of their captured brethren, only death.

"If we can keep up this pace, we are going to arrive back at the Ice Wolves territory in another month," Rufus said, walking next to Chono. They were inspecting an old village that was now in ruins. They recaptured it with the help of 01 and Sezel, yet it was not a place where anyone could live anymore. It was already getting dark; the sun had just gone down, yet the place was still faintly glowing from the fire that had burned here an hour ago.

"As we get closer, the resistance is going to also get stronger. I don't know if we can keep up the pace." Chono answered, shaking his head.

"We can," Rufus replied. "As much as I don't want to admit, that crazy human woman was right. We have been too rigid in the past. Her work clearly produces results, and the way she maneuvers with that group of youngsters helped us immensely."

"I can't argue with that…" Chono nodded, hoping they were okay as it was hard to communicate with them. "Also, we can't deny the people they sent us are what we lacked… flexibility and a mind for new ideas."

In the past month, Eisen used her experience as a bandit leader and formed her little group into a precision strike team. They were cutting deep into enemy lines, striking at their back quickly, efficiently, and mercilessly. They torched and robbed supply lines, sabotaged camps, and set up quick ambushes that claimed a few lives before they disappeared into the fog, using the weather and the wolf's superior sense of smell to their advantage. They were not letting the enemy's army catch their breaths at all. She felt like being back at the helm of a bandit group, and she was loving it.

"Rest," Eisen said as she sat down next to Kago. She was holding a bowl of soup in her hand, eating with a relaxed face, and watching the clear night sky. Behind them, the group of young wolves were already fast asleep. Only Vex kept his vigil, even though he was also exhausted. A few hours ago, they had just escaped an enemy trap, as their target of a slave camp turned out to be fake. It was clearly set up to kill them, but thanks to Eisen's personal powers, they were able to flee and regroup without casualties or heavy injuries.

"I will," Kago replied, whose eyes were less cold and filled with more life than ever before. He had a fresh scar going across one of his eyes, down to his neck, yet it seemed like he was not really bothered by it.

"Are ya' feelin' scared? Should mommy hold ya~?" Eisen joked with him, using an overly playful voice.

"Hmf! No thanks!" Kago snorted, rolling his eyes. "I'm fine! It was just… close. Some of us almost did not make it."

"True." Eisen nodded, slurping the soup. Straight from her bowl, "If it were me, from years ago, I'd have left those guys back there so the rest could escape and not risk being injured myself."

"Really?" He asked, raising his eyebrows. Even Vex's ears twitched, hearing her.

"Yep! I was a bandit leader and barely sober! My men were only numbers and meat tools for me. I was used to losing a few of them every raid. They were easily replaced a week later by new ones anyway."

"What has changed?" Kago asked, curious.

"My life." She chuckled, looking at the stars. "I was beaten and almost killed by the one who I call my Master now."

"You? Beaten?" He smirked.

"Hah, of course! I'm not the strongest, not by a long shot!" She laughed, elbowing Kago. "She beat us, and we were outnumbering her by a lot! Anyway, I bowed my head, and that was a great decision. I got stronger, and even though I miss getting high and having wild fun with my boys… I can't deny that this life also has its perks and fun moments!"

"I'm… not understanding a lot of what you are saying now," Kago answered her honestly.

"In short, you are seeing a reformed me. Mostly." She chuckled, stretching out her hand and rubbing his head, scratching the base of his ears, making Kago wag his tail, even though he looked annoyed on the surface.

"Stop it. I'm not a dog."

"Sure, sure. You are not. You are-" But she did not finish as her head snapped to the left, and Kago's ears quickly stood erect. At the same time, Vex was already standing up. Soon, everyone could hear a whistling sound, and from the sky, a falling meteor smashed close to them with a giant explosion following its impact.

The force of it was devastating, but luckily, it did not land right on them. They had time to dodge. It did not take long before another whistling sound echoed out in the night, landing once again close to them, resulting in another huge explosion.

"Fuck! Scatter, scatter, and retreat to the place we agreed upon!" Eisen shouted as she saw another ball falling from the sky, finally aimed straight at them. In the moonlight, she could make it out to be a round object, maybe 2 meters wide. It was a purely metallic ball, accompanied by a soft, glowing red hue, spinning madly as it was whistling towards them.

She quickly flew up, aiming at the metallic ball, sending out a bolt of lightning from her stretched-out index finger, hitting it in the air. The strange weapon immediately exploded mid-air, like a firework, scattering flames everywhere. The shockwave pushed Eisen back, making her ears ring in the meantime.

"Captain!" Kago shouted, watching Eisen tumble backward in the air.

"Leave!" Her order echoed around them. "I'll guard your retreat! We are going to meet up at the designated place! Make sure you are not followed!"

Kago hesitated, watching Eisen once again shooting down one such strange, exploding weapon, but in the end, he steeled himself and left, disappearing inside the trees like the rest of the group.

"Strange thing you got there…" Eisen murmured, already seeing where they were coming from. She could feel a strong aura at the source of it, probably guarding whatever weapon they were using for this.

Hundreds of meters away, on a small hilltop, Baagh was standing alongside a dozen other warriors. Before them laid two strange metallic tubes. They were around 3 meters tall and wide, angled at 45 degrees. His people put the same balls that Eisen was shooting down right into the tube, letting it slide down, and as soon as it reached the bottom, with a loud bang, it was shot out, flying through the air, aimed towards Eisen's camp.

"Great… The King is going to love the new weapons!" Baagh laughed. "It was time those dwarfs delivered the promised goods! Stop firing! It was a good test! We need to come up with something to increase their accuracy… But for now, it at least revealed our group of rats. Guard the weapons! I'll deal with this!" He laughed as he rose up to the sky with a grin, heading towards Eisen, who only took a deep breath and watched the giant figure in the sky coming for her.