Nightfall - Chapter 216

Published at 28th of May 2018 06:25:05 AM

Chapter 216: Get on the Horse and You're a Thief (Part 4)

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Doing a simple mathematical analysis would provide one with an accurate conclusion. For example, a middle-aged man who has seventeen concubines was definitely a rich man. An official who had two or more calligraphy sections written by Ning Que hanging in his study was not only rich but of a certain status as well.

That was why it became evident that it was either the Palace or the Yan Kingdom that was behind the Horse Gang when the number of Horse Gang members escorting the grains silently grew to over six hundred men strong. Only Yan Kingdom and the Left-Tent Palace had the ability to feed so many men. However, Ning Que could not wrap his around the motives of the Horse Gang. Both the Yan Kingdom and the Left-Tent Palace should be open to and welcome the peace negotiations.

Ning Que grew silent as he grew tenser.

There were two hundred riders from the Yan Kingdom and over a hundred civilians in the team sending the grains. Along with them were over ten young women cultivators from the Black Ink Garden of the Great River Kingdom. In the beginning, the two seemed to be equally strong. He had thought that they would move like the Horse Gang usually would if he scared them a little. However, he realized that the Horse Gang were not simply here to rob them, but had other intentions as he saw their numbers grow.

There were now over six hundred riders from the Horse Gang. They held the upper hand for now. Even if he brought Mo Shanshan along and charged at them, he wouldn't even make a dent in their numbers.

There were no new riders joining in. The six hundred riders from the Horse Gang followed the team bringing grains silently towards the north. The Horse Gang did not begin any attack and seemed hesitant as if they were waiting for orders.

No matter whether they attacked or not, the Horse Gang brought about immense stress to the team escorting the grains as they surrounded them. It felt as if there was a dark cloud hanging over their heads that was threatening to rain down upon them. The pressure grew more and more intense and the atmosphere descended into fear and hopelessness. If they weren't in the frigid Wilderness, the pale Yan army might have abandoned camp right there and then.

The invisible thread that hung between the grain escort team and the Horse Gang grew tighter and tighter. While nothing was happening as of yet, Ning Que was certain that the Horse Gang would lose all opportunity to attack if they didn't soon. The distance to the Palace was getting smaller with each step and there would be a point in time when the invisible thread would snap.

It was not all snow and mud in the Wilderness. There were also abandoned sand cities and little hills. The grains team stopped for a rest in a patch of aspen forest. The Yan General looked at the surrounding Horse Gang and dispatched his sentinels. Even though there was no point to it, it soothed the worries of the people slightly.

"If there are no reinforcements, the grains team will not be able to travel safely. We are not far from the Palace right now. There is a possibility we might encounter Chanyu's best riders or the cavalry from the Divine Hall. The problem is, even if they don't see the fireworks, you must have a way to inform them since you are a skilled Talisman Master."

Ning Que's gaze shifted from the map before him and asked Mo Shanshan in a grave tone. Mo Shanshan was calm and collected as usual as if she did not see the Horse Gang that was circling around.

After a moment of silence, she looked at Ning Que. Her long lashes fluttered slightly as she said, "The Divine Hall wants to send some important figures to the Palace safely. There should be a team of Papal Cavalryman. They shouldn't be too far from us according to the map, which means they should have seen the fireworks last night."

Ning Que stared into her deadened eyes and asked, "If... they didn't see the fireworks, will they be able to find out that we're here?"

Mo Shanshan nodded slightly, her dark black hair cascaded down her back like a waterfall.

Ning Que calmed down slightly and drank some water. After a moment of silence, he said, "I will get out of here first thing if the relief troop doesn't appear and our army can't resist the Horse Gang. Do you all want to come with me?"

He was, of course, referring to the students of the Black Ink Garden of Great River Kingdom. It did not include the cavalry or civilians of Yan Kingdom.

Cat Girl overheard what Ning Que said as she brought food over to them. Her face flushed slightly as she said, "Senior Brother... how can you say that?"

Ning Que did not explain himself. He ruffled the girl's head indulgently before saying to Mo Shanshan, "You should know that I am a cold-blooded person. I consider my survival first before anything else. If the relief troop does not turn up, the grains team cannot hold off any attack from the Horse Gang. If you want anyone to survive then, you'd be sending everyone to their deaths. That is why I hope that you will all make the right choice if it comes to that."

The grains team were extremely careful every time they stopped for a rest due to the circling Horse Gang. Other than sending out sentinels, the grains team had also organized their carts closely in order to prevent the enemy from charging into camp. Even though it brought about many inconveniences, it was better than death. That was why nobody thought it was a nuisance.

A sudden commotion sounded beneath a dying aspen tree. Ning Que stood up and looked towards it. He shook his head, put on his mask and walked towards the commotion. Cat Girl followed behind him curiously.

The Yan army general stared at Zhuo Zhihua with a solemn face and said angrily, "If it weren't for you Southerners, why would I be sent to do such a terrible task? You want me to wait for the relief troops even in such a situation? I only have two hundred people. They have at least seven or eight. How do I wait? How are we going to fight this war? My stand is clear. I will take my people and spring an attack on them. So what if we leave behind these grains for the Horse Gang? Being alive is the most important thing here. It's your problem if you want to die with these grains."

Zhuo Zhihua suppressed the anger bubbling in her chest. She pointed at the frenzied civilians and said, "What about them? They are people of the Yan Kingdom. Are you not going to care if they die as their General?"

"Who will care if I die?"

The General waved his hands around angrily, signing for his man to gather the cavalry in preparation to quickly escape from the circle the Horse Gang were trapping them in before they closed in on them.

Some civilians who were near the conversation overheard it. They knew that their General was about to abandon them and descended into a frenzied furrow. There were angry yells and crying all around. Some even glared at the cavalry so hard that they would have been reduced into burning embers if it was possible.

Zhuo Zhihua and two girls from the Great River Kingdom held the hilts of their sword, stopping the Yan General.

Zhuo Zhihua tried to convince him in a low voice but did not get any reaction. The Yan General looked at the Horse Gang surrounding them and was clearly anxious. He pulled out his knife and glared at the girls. "You'll face my knife if you try to stop me!" He said coldly.

Ning Que watched the unfolding scene behind Zhuo Zhihua. His eyebrows scrunched up slightly. He did not know the Yan General's name. He did not care what his name was. But he knew that if the General dared move, he would die beneath Zhuo Zhihua's sword. However, in a situation as tense as this, if they had any internal strife within themselves, everyone in this team would die even without the Horse Gang's attack.

How could he keep these two hundred men strong team alive without stirring up any internal strife?

He had to end it before it even began. Blow out the candle before it burns and everything will go back to how it should be.

Ning Que stood up before Zhuo Zhihua and blocked the General from Zhuo Zhihua's sword.

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The General was slightly shocked when he saw the lad wearing a bamboo hat and mask. He had always thought Ning Que was an ordinary disciple of Black Ink Garden. He did not know why the lad stood up for him all of a sudden.

Ning Que looked at the knife in the General's hand. He did not ask if he had to face the sword, but instead, drew his podao and sliced down.

The podao dropped along with the General's head. The General fell, spurting fresh blood. He did not even have the chance to raise his knife due to the suddenness of the situation and that Ning Que was too fast and furious.

There was a loud commotion. The confidants of the General were enraged but were stopped by Ning Que just as they were about to retaliate.

Zhuo Zhihua, Cat Girl and the other girls from the Great River Kingdom stared at the scene dazedly. They could not speak as they watched the body before them flowing with blood. They did not understand why Ning Que did that.

Ning Que signaled for them to tie the commanding officers up.

He stood in the middle of the crowd and at the civilians who looked back in fear. He looked at the cavalry who were filled with anger and fear. After a pregnant pause, he pointed at the Horse Gang surrounding them in the periphery and said,

"That's the Horse Gang. They are violent and cruel. You must know that."

He looked at the slain body of the General at his feet before talking to the crowd again, "This is a dangerous situation. He wanted to abandon everyone. He wanted to live and let us die. He had to die."

"Those who do not listen to orders will die as well."

"Even if I do not kill you, the Horse Gang will do so."

"That's why I do not wish to explain too much. Fight for your lives if you wish to live."

There was a moment of silence. The cavalry and civilians of Yan looked at the seemingly ordinary disciple of Black Ink Garden. They looked at his calm eyes above the black mask he wore and felt a piercing cold in their bones. They were calm because of the cold. They were calm because they knew that he was right.

They looked at Ning Que's retreating back as he walked towards the horse carriage. Cat Girl stared at him with wide eyes filled with confusion. She scratched her head and realized that she did not understand this Senior Brother from the Academy at all. He had previously advised Hill Master to leave while they can. Why was his reaction so extreme when the Yan General prepared to do the same thing?

The curtains lifted. Mo Shanshan looked at him and said, "The fickle minded are usually not good people."

"I am not a citizen of Yan. These Yan calvary and civillians have nothing to do with me. Their life and death have nothing to do with me. But he is a Yan General. He had no right to abandon his people. I did not kill him because of this. It is simply because his death will be more beneficial to more people surviving this."

"As for being fickle minded..." Ning Que examined his bow and arrow. "If you really can't hold them off, I'd suggest you leave with me. I am not fickle. Both the Yan General and I are afraid of death. The only difference between us is that I have the ability to kill him, but he does not have the ability to kill me." 

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