Chapter 829 – Expanding the Military
I opened my eyes in the jail cell only to see a large black rat clinging to my chest. I picked it up by the tail and threw it to the opposite corner. I leaped to my feet and checked out my equipment. My armor was already getting close to breaking. There were dents and scuff marks caused by numerous battle axe and swords. “Bang!” The jail door cracked open. A guard outside shouted, “Commander Li, it’s time to come out and head to the Grand Hall!”
I stretched out my arms. Feeling a little sore, I walked out of the jail cell. More likely than not, this was going to be the last time for me to see this jail cell.
When I was finally above ground, we weaved through several rooms before we reached the Grand Hall. I quickened my pace and caught up with the guard to ask, “Sir, did anything happen yesterday?”
The guard bitterly smiled, “Nothing big happened, but quite a few small issues came up…”
“The king’s beard… was completely shaved off overnight. The person who did it was incredibly skilled. He managed to pull the feat off without waking up the king. The blade that was used must have been the world’s sharpest weapon.”
I hid a smile, but the guard still caught a glance. Feeling a little disrespectful, I explained, “I never would’ve imagined that the palace would have a mythical person like that.”
The guard replied, “Hmph, this is clearly a message to the king that this mysterious thief can take the king’s life at any moment. It is too disgraceful.”
I already had a pretty good guess of who the culprit was. Besides Odelia, who else would do something so daring and mischievous?
When I walked through the Grand Hall, it was already noon. Wan Er, Fang Ge Que, Simple, Dong Cheng Yue, Ye Lai, and the top ten players of the empire were all present. Seeing the manacles around my bruised wrists, Ye La flared up, “D*mn, what’s going on? Xiao Yao, who chained you up?”
I smiled, “No problem!”
When I walked up the steps to the throne, King Rob looked at me and coldly said, “After Pearl and Owen’s investigation, the truth has come to light. Commander Li has nothing to do with the death of my son. Not only is he guiltless, he’s actually shown quite a bit of merit. Men, unlock the cuffs for Commander Li!”
I shook my head and replied, “No need!”
As I said that, I channeled energy into my arms and roared. The special Chilly Steel that these cuffs were made of immediately shattered. I stared straight at the old king. Owen and the others were completely stupefied. They probably understood the message I was sending. So long as I wanted to leave, not even the world’s strongest jail cell would be able to stop me.
I went and stood by Pearl’s side. She glanced at me and whispered, “Do you know why they let you off so easily?”
I shook my hand, “No, I don’t…”
Pearl gave a slight smile and said, “A lot has happened in the past two days. Father’s beard was shaved off overnight. Currently, it’s suspected that your friends from Dragon City were the culprits. Besides… Long Xing, Xia Ye, and the other generals led the Royal Army in an act of defiance by gathering close to a hundred war ships on the War God’s River. The display of power had threatened the Xia Yu Army all the way back to their ports. Han Yuan and Xiao Lie lined up a hundred Dragon Crystal Cannons and regular cannons about a thousand meters outside the city walls and began training on the fields. None of the noblemen dared to come out…”
I was stunned. Never would I have imagined just how dedicated my troops would be. It was so heartfelt, but at the same time, my feelings were tampered by worry. Those actions could have overturned Tian Ling City. Besides, it would stir up King Rob and Owen. For high level men like them, there were thousands of methods to push around military men like me.
Right then, King Rob stood up from the throne. I saw a white handkerchief tied around his arm. It was a sign of respect for the deceased Prince Theodore. As he looked across the room, he said, “This expedition decimated Luo Lin’s troops, furthermore eliminating Luo Lin and Gawain while dealing a critical blow to Ignaus. It has effectively pulled Tian Ling City out of the threatening presence of the Northern Hybrid Demons. Everyone present has contributed to this incredible achievement. Tell me what you would like as a reward!”
Fang Ge Que and Q-Sword both chose to promote their military ranks. It was different this time. Almost everyone put their rewards towards raising their ranks in some way. The only difference was that Wan Er and Dong Cheng were part of Dragon City — not to mention the fact that I was already in the military. As such, they decided on equipment and other rewards.
Dong Cheng ended up with a Demon Harvest Tier mage ring, and Wan Er received a Demon Harvest necklace. Both were pretty good.
King Rob leaned against his King’s Sword and made an announcement, “The Flame Dragon Army was the number one contributor in this expedition. My son, Theodore, died bravely in battle. As always, the Flame Dragon Army has tirelessly fought for the empire. Xu Yi will become its leader as the Commander of the Flame Dragon Army. Furthermore, Fang Ge Que will now be the Supervisor of the Archery Troop and will be promoted to become a major. Mu Xuan, Enchanted Painting, and Ye Lai will all become deputy supervisors and be promoted to lieutenants!”
As he said that, King Rob shuddered and said, “Drunken Spear will be promoted to deputy general and will be in charge of ten thousand men from the Autumn Harvest Army. As before, the army will remain under the Xia Yu Army. Q-Sword will be promoted to lieutenant of the Flame Axe Foot Soldier Camp.”
Owen sat across from me with an intense glare. I smiled back.
King Rob continued, “Finally, Commander Li Xiao Yao of the Royal Army has shown great bravery and courage in this battle. He will be promoted to the Protector of the Empire, Tier 3 military rank. He will be permitted to expand his army to 100,000 men. Furthermore, generals Long Xing and Xia Ye who are under Li Xiao Yao will be promoted as the General of the East and the General of the South respectively, and will be transferred to the Xia Yu Army. Generals Xiao Lie and Han Yuan will be promoted to deputy generals and will be transferred to the Flame Dragon Army!”
I was stunned. What a malicious move. This must have been Owen’s suggestion. This way, he could take away my most capable generals. If I were the only leader of this army, I couldn’t possibly manage so many soldiers. This was clearly a hidden attack to cut off my right and left arms.
I took a step forward, “Your Majesty, this may not be appropriate.”
King Rob was stunned, “General Li, what is inappropriate?”
I thought about my answer before responding, “The Royal Army has only recently grown to be successful and is still in a phase which requires talented leaders. Han Yuan and the others are the most capable at handling such matters. Moreover, they’ve developed a relationship with the soldiers. In the military, trust is highly regarded. Only with these kinds of generals can I optimize the Royal Army’s strength. I’d rather give up all of my rewards to keep these four in the Royal Army!”
King Rob jumped to his feet, “Li Xiao Yao, are you saying that you’d rather have these four men and not the title as the Protector of the Empire?”
I nodded with a smile, “Yes, Your Majesty. Please grant my wish.”
King Rob let out a sigh and said, “All generals in the Royal Army will not be transferred and will remain in their former positions. I will allow you to recruit more people so that your army can handle the scale of 100,000 men.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty!”
I returned to my spot in line. Ye Lai smiled, “This world is just too shady…. They won’t even give rewards and even the NPCs are shady. D*mn, I don’t even know what else there is to say.”
I smiled back, “It doesn’t matter, one day there will be light in this world!”
Afraid I wasn’t happy, Wan Er stayed by my side after the meeting. I walked out with her and sent away Frost, Zi Shu, and Odelia. I went straight to the Royal Army to finish some tasks while Wan Er and Dong Cheng went to grind levels.
I mounted onto my horse and rode out of Tian Ling City. When I looked back, I saw that there were four heads on spikes before the Tian Ling City gates. One of them was fairly larger than the others. It was the Blood Giant Kehl’s head. The other three were Luo Lin, Gawain, and Han Ling. This was like a slap to the Hybrid Demon, displaying the all powerful Hybrid Demon King heads there. If Lanais, Da Lun, Xi Fu or any one of the other Demon Kings were to see this sight, they would probably be pissed. Would there be a day in which King Rob and Owen’s heads would be on spikes on the Hybrid Demon walls?
When I arrived at the camp, Han Yuan and Xiao Lie were beyond happy to see me back. They soon pulled me into the central tent for a strategy meeting regarding the status of the different factions in the army. I took the opportunity to tell them what happened during the reward ceremony
Han Yuan furrowed his brow and said, “I originally thought that I’d receive some kind of reward. Who would’ve thought that this time, the king had no intentions of rewarding the Royal Army at all. Looks like he’s really going senile.”
I smiled, “No worries, Deputy General Song can take some gold from our treasury to reward our soldiers. While the king might have disappointed our hopes, we can’t do the same to our men.”
Long Xing smiled, “The commander’s right!”
Xia Ye asked, “My lord, His Majesty allowed us to recruit enough people for a 100,000 man army?”
I replied, “That’s right. The only problem is that I haven’t thought of where we can find that many men.”
Han Yuan said, “My lord, do you know why the Royal Army’s battle power is on par, and sometimes even higher than that of Flame Dragon Army and the Xia Yu Army?”
“I don’t, why is that?”
“Because our Blade and Shield Army has the undefeatable Barbarian strength!” Han Yuan laughed, “However, after the continuous battles, our 5,000 man Barbarian division has now been cut down to 4,000. We cannot continue on like this. I have a suggestion. How about we gather some men and head out to the southeast region of Ba Huang City to recruit some men from the Barbarian tribes?
Long Xing clapped his hands, “The Barbarians live impoverished lives. If we give them gold and food, then almost all of the Barbarians would sign up to join. I’m sure we’ll be able to recruit many strong foot soldiers. General Han Yuan, great suggestion!”
Xiao Lie was much more reserved and cautioned, “I still have a few worries. The Barbarians are harder to order around. How do we tame their wild spirits?”
I responded, “There’s a piece of land just south of the Moon Blade Forest called the Flame Crystal Valley. We can start developing that land into fields. I’ll make a request and we can move the entire Barbarian Tribe to that area. Not only are the lands fertile for harvest, but it can help them develop a sense of loyalty to the nation. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about them rebelling.”
Joy lit up in Xiao Lie’s eyes, “Genius move, my lord. That’s exactly what we’ll do!”
My request went through smoothly. Princess Pearl easily got the authority over the Flame Crystal Valley land. The Royal Army sent out a 20,000 man troop to begin clearing the area. The other four generals and I led a 10,000 man team to escort several carts of rations and gold to the south eastern region of Ba Huang City.