Riding in the dark with her fellow riders, Bai Chuan found herself lost in thought: the joy of victory earlier today did not dispel her doubts, how did we win so easily? The Demons had the advantage, yet they suddenly retreated; and when the Calvary of House ZiChuan attacked, they were barely met with any organized resistance… that was not the usual etiquette of the powerful and the fierce Demon Army.
But in the end a victory is a victory, irreplaceable and beyond doubt. The sea of Demon corpses stretched as far as the eyes can see, like the crops in the fall, waiting to be harvest… that was the proof. Only then did she realize her back was soaked in sweat. If there was the slightest error in her judgement, then the ones lying on the ground right now would have been the riders of House ZiChuan. And she would have to take responsibility for it. Even if she was fortunate enough to survive the battle, she wouldn’t be able to escape the punishment from the Military Constables of Ministry of Supervision[]… I can’t take any more risks, she thought, surely the goddess of luck would not be so generous, to look after the same person twice.
“Stop chasing.” She gave the order.
Like taking a weight off their shoulders, the riders brought their horses to a swift halt. They were completely exhausted after chasing five hours nonstop, but none dared to suggest it to their lady tyrant… Everyone saw what happened to Chang Chuan the last time he tried. For the common soldiers, she seemed way scarier than the supposedly invincible Demon God King himself.
“All units make camp, send out the scouts, increase the number of guards assigned to each sentry post at night time from four to eight, double the scout’s recon range and light torches as warning!”
The couriers left as soon as she finished, Bai Chuan went on: “From now on, Deputy Banner Master Chang Chuan is in charge of the camp, I will go see Master Xiu.”
Chang Chuan stepped out behind the riders with an inhospitable look on his face: “So, I’m in charge? Is Master Bai not afraid of me taking all the credit for myself?”
In return, Bai Chuan gave him the sweetest of all smiles, and instantly, Chang Chuan’s anger subsided over half, and the rest… well, it no longer mattered.
“Are you still mad at me? I’m apologizing to you now, aren’t I? Chang Chuan, you are a man amongst men, surely you won’t stoop down to the level of a girl, right?”
Chang Chuan’s mouth twisted into a wry grin: “Fine, you win. It is not like I haven’t been hit by you before.”
“I’ll let you in on something, I just questioned some of the captives and they told me a strange story. They said that during the attack, their Commander Ge Sha and Deputy Commander Yun Shen were both assassinated. Without the head of their chain of command, their morale buckled and their forces collapsed on its own.”
“Really!” Bai Chuan was taken by surprise: “Who did it? They sure did us a big favour.”
“I only know it was done by a Human… as you may already know, for a demon, we all look the same, in a sense, it is just like how those green skinned monsters all look the same to us. Anyways, he was a very terrifying human according to the demons; he hid himself in the sand and waited for the Demon Commanders to walk past him before he struck them down from below. Both of them were killed in one stroke. ”
Bai Chuan considered the possibility: “I didn’t know someone like that existed in the Far Eastern regions, not only skilled, but also patient and ruthless. To hide himself in the sand….” She shuddered at the thought.
Chang Chuan: “I believe that our Banner Master must have known. Or he wouldn’t have given us the order to attack…”
Just the mentioning of his name made Bai Chuan flare up in anger: “You think too highly of that idiot! Did you know what he was doing when we were risking our lives? Shower, dinner and sleep… the only thing he didn’t do was fooling around with some woman… and the only reason for that was probably because he didn’t manage to find one. Which part of him looks like an army commander to you…?
Chang Chuan replied in a leisurely fashion: “As long as we are victorious, he can do whatever he pleases, it doesn’t matter to me one bit. But what is making you so angry?” He glanced at Bai Chuan, hinting at the deeper meaning within the words.
“He got lucky this time that something happened to the Demons!”
“I doubt it is just luck. This time maybe, but what about six years ago during the counterattack at the Capital, was that a fluke as well? Both Subjugation Wars against House Liu Feng, only his army made it back in one piece. And three years ago, when we encountered Liu Feng Shuang, only his army escaped their encirclement without sustaining any casualties… For an idiot who enlisted at the age of eleven, and gone through, big or small, seventy battles, but never lost once… Surely he can’t be that lucky?”
Bai Chuan rode forth in the darkness while Chang Chuan’s words echoed in her head: “Indeed, surely that idiot can’t be that lucky… Can he be hiding his true self all along?
Right, I must confront him face to face and uncover his true self underneath his lazy, cowardly and perverted appearance!
The lamp lights of the main encampment shined in the darkness, before ZiChuan Xiu’s personal guards could have reacted, Bai Chuan had already entered the camp.
Gu Lei, Captain of the Personal Guard stepped forth to meet her: “Deputy Banner Master Bai, Master Xiu’s orders, you may not go inside!”
“Why? Bai Chuan ignored him, thinking: “Could this be the one moment he is showing his true self? I have to get inside!”
Without giving it a second thought, she entered the main tent of the camp, but what greeted her was the sight of ZiChuan Xiu attempting to kiss an innocent young girl in his arms…
Unspeakable anger instantly rose up from inside of her as she lashed out with her sabre in hand: “So this is ZiChuan Xiu’s true self! Prepare to die!”
[] A unique Judicial Body in the Government of People’s Republic of China, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Supervision