46.2 The Beginning of War
If he were to cast the rank 1 magics of the Ice and Fire Source without powerful magic tools, the most power he could reach would be primary stage of rank 3. But after using the two magic tools, when the spells exploded the spells drew close to rank 4 in strength. Of course, there was another reason why he could easily kill a swordmaster and nine advanced warriors: they underestimated him. After all, the Ice and Fire Source was not something just anyone could understand.
Pondering over the mysteries of magic, Nian Bing’s nausea gradually disappeared. Before, when he killed Third Manager Liao, he told himself that when there was an obstacle in the way of his progress, destroying the enemy was the simplest solution. So he couldn’t be lenient. Even when using magic he didn’t have the slightest hesitation; it seemed the hatred in his heart had let loose a massacre.
Just as he was flying, Nian Bing’s heart suddenly stopped. Unconsciously, he raised his head and saw three mages floating above the road he had to take. Each of them wielded a magic staff. Currently, their ill gazes were focused on him. Each was wearing a different colored magic robe – red, blue, and green, and all three bore an insignia on their chest. The mage wearing a green magic robe was like him, a great mage. The other two were only advanced mages. He steadied his heart and firmly believed that with his Ice and Fire Source Magic, handling these three mages wouldn’t be too big of a problem, so he might as well face them.
As Nian Bing came within thirty feet of the mages, he couldn’t help but take a deep breath of cold air. Because he saw an army camp; as far as the eye could see, there was an army camp. There must have been at least one hundred thousand soldiers garrisoned here! The three mages were stationed on a short hill, so he didn’t see them before. Currently, he felt the harsh aura directed towards him. Could it be that they were an army from the Ice Moon Empire? No, not possible. He was already in Profound Orchid Empire. Based on the state of this camp, it seemed that they had been organized here very methodically. That cavalryman had already said that the Harmonic Flower-Qi Lu alliance had already attacked the Profound Orchid Empire. It seems that the troop stationed here must be providing support; their original goal should have been to defend the Ice Moon Empire.
“Halt.” The head wind mage raised his magic staff against Nian Bing. Nian Bing manipulated his snowstorm to a standstill. He deliberately asked in surprise, “What is happening here?”
Seeing the snowstorm condensed beneath Nian Bing, the wind mage asked in a deep voice, “You are an ice mage?”
Nian Bing nodded. “That is correct. I am from the Ice Moon Empire Mage Association; I was planning on heading to your esteemed country’s capital. I don’t know what is going on here?”
The wind mage’s eyebrows wrinkled slightly. “Currently, our country’s army is in the middle of advancing. In order to avoid any unneeded trouble, please advance with us. Is the Ice Moon Empire Mage Association any good, hasn’t it long since declined? Seeing your appearance, you must be an advanced mage. Since you’re so young and already an advanced mage, staying in the Ice Moon Empire does not give you many prospects.”
Nian Bing’s heart was electrified. What should he do now? Should he go with them, or refuse them and probably get attacked like before? Relying on the strength of his Ice and Fire Source Magic, he was certain that he could attack them while they were still chanting. However, he reckoned that they had some defensive magic scrolls on them. In case they delayed him, it would be extremely disadvantageous. After all, there were one hundred thousand soldiers here! Even if everyone spat out a mouthful of spit, it was enough to drown him. Master once said that for any country, if there was an army that surpassed over ten thousand soldiers, there must be a strong person among them. When he remembered this, the smile on his face became more amicable. “You three mages, may I ask what will happen to me if I come with your army?”
The wind attribute mage said, “Relax. We won’t make so much trouble for you. After the army sets out on their journey, then we will naturally let you go. Of course, you need to show that you have the badge of your country’s mage association.”
Nian Bing secretly thought that with the current level of his snowstorm, if he started to run away at full speed, they would be helpless to chase after him. Just as he got this idea, ten mages flew upwards out of the main section of the Profound Orchid Army. Most of them were wind mages. It was very obvious they used the soaring wind spell, capable of short flights. Never mind about running then with this many mages. He did not want to seek death. Nian Bing nodded to the wind mage and said amiably, “Okay, I will definitely come with you.”
The three mages led Nian Bing onto the hill. Nian Bing took out his mage badge, but this time he took out his advanced mage emblem. Several days before he had left Ice and Snow City, Long Zhi had told him that in the Ice Moon Empire he should show his elder badge so he could gain more respect and things would go more smoothly. But when he was outside of the Ice Moon Empire, he should show his advanced mage badge. After all, Nian Bing was too young. Being an advanced mage would attract less attention.
Long Zhi had told him, that right now, it seemed there was peace between the great empires, but in reality, there wasn’t a single empire that didn’t want to gobble up the other empires. Even the Profound Orchid Empire that had good relations with the Ice Moon Empire had this thought. So, he definitely couldn’t get caught up within these politics. He was to stay away as far as possible, since war would break out sooner or later.
Currently, the war had already broke out. From a standpoint of strength, the strongest empires of the five great empires on the continent were the Profound Orchid Empire and the Harmonic Flower Empire. Because the Ice Moon Empire had the sole descended god, the Ice Goddess’ Worshipper, they were in an exceedingly powerful position. If any country wanted to move against them, they needed to think about the terrifying descended god spell. Out of the other four empires, the Harmonic Flower Empire was the only one that didn’t show respect to the Ice Goddess’ Worshipper because they had the strongest fire mage corps. Relying on their three fire magisters as well as their large quantity of magic scholars and great mages, their strength was only slightly less than the Ice God’s Pagoda.
Nian Bing was very clear on the strength of the Harmonic Flower Empire’s military. When he was small, he heard his father say that the Harmonic Flower Empire’s Flame Lion Cavalry was the number one cavalry on the continent. They were the only cavalry to pair mages with a cavalry. He didn’t know whether they were participating in the conflict this time, but with the strength of the Qi Lu Empire, they were definitely not someone the Profound Orchid Empire could contend with.
What was war? Nian Bing didn’t really know, but he knew that his original course of action had changed. A war wouldn’t be advantageous for him.
After recognizing Nian Bing’s Association badge, he nodded his head. With a smile, he said, “As expected, you are from the Ice Moon Empire. But since seeing your badge, you’re not a member of the Ice God’s Pagoda.”
Nian Bing sighed and replied, “I am Nian Bing, part of the Ice Moon Empire Mage Association. As you probably know, the situation of our Association isn’t very good. I’ve been entrusted by someone to deliver a letter to your esteemed country. Is this okay? Why is your distinguished country’s troops engaged in such a large scale movement?” He obviously knew the answer to his question, but he had to play it smart.
The wind mage smiled and replied, “Our president and President Long have had the pleasure of meeting before. We are very sympathetic to your esteemed association’s current situation. With the presence of the Ice God’s Pagoda, any country’s mage association wouldn’t have a good time. According to what i’ve heard, your present situation is extremely terrible! It seems you do not even receive properly allocated funds from the royal family.”
Nian Bing nodded and said, “The situation is definitely not good, and there are many reasons that led to the gradual decline of our association. There isn’t anything we can do either; with the lack of a country’s support and the depletion of our mage association’s resources, we will never have an opportunity to come back. Because of that, our president is very anxious.”
The wind mage did not have a very high status. He looked around forty or fifty years old. A layer of faint green light covered him. His looks were very ordinary, but his gaze was extremely sharp. His biggest feature was a red birthmark between the center of his eyebrows. He looked at Nian Bing and said, “My name is Sang Jie. This is what we call ‘Trees die when moved, humans move to live.’ Have you ever thought about changing your situation? The Ice Moon Empire Royal Family, because of the Ice God’s Pagoda, haven’t placed much importance on you. If you can’t change now, then you can’t change later. If President Long wishes, I think that our Profound Orchid Empire Mage Association would be very willing to admit you as members. You probably know that our Profound Orchid Empire Mage Association is primarily made of wind mages. Your esteemed association president is a wind magister. Our president has said many times that if he could work together with President Long, he would be extremely honored.”
Nian Bing smiled. Although the Ice Moon Empire had declined, it still had over one hundred mages and the top magic expert Long Zhi. It would be very normal of other associations to try to rope them in. “Great Mage Sang Jie, it would probably very hard. As you know, your distinguished country and our empire have good relationships. If our association were to move, then it might have an effect on the country’s relationship.”
Sang Jie smiled and replied, “You don’t need to worry about those things. I hope that when you return to you can bring up this matter with President Long. If he wants to, then we have a way.”
Seeing the other party’s vague smile, Nian Bing felt that the relationships between countries were full of subtleties. However, he thought that the proposal wasn’t very likely to succeed. If Long Zhi wanted to leave the Ice Moon Empire, why hasn’t he left yet? Because he was extremely unwilling to part with the mage association that he had founded! “Okay, when I get back I will tell the president about it. Thank you for your good intentions.”
Sang Jie shifted his gaze to the Profound Orchid Empire that was hurriedly yet orderly setting out. “The continent isn’t peaceful at all. The Harmonic Flower Empire and the Qi Lu Empire alliance launched an attack against our country. I don’t know what they were thinking. Could it be that the Harmonic Flower Empire isn’t worried about them getting attacked by the Lang Mu Empire, who they are on bad terms with?”
“You’re going to fight?” Nian Bing asked in surprise, “You are heading to a battlefield?”
Sang Jie nodded. “We have already told your Ice Moon Empire cavalry who were left here to defend this place to go back to your country and report. Right now, the entire Profound Orchid Empire is assembling its strength and heading to the battlefield. Fortunately, the Harmonic Flower Empire didn’t send out their elite Flame Lion Cavalry, but I heard that currently that tens of cities near the border have fallen into enemy hands. The details of the situation won’t be known till we reach the frontlines.”
Nian Bing asked curiously, “How many soldiers are participating in the battle now?”
Sang Jie answered, “Not just a few. The Harmonic Flower-Qi Lu alliance totals four hundred thousand. Their army is travelling on three different routes into our territory. If it weren’t for the enemy being so excessively powerful, we wouldn’t have to dispatch these defending soldiers back. The Harmonic Flower Empire has always had a good relationship with the Qi Lu Empire, while always being mortal enemies with the Ice Moon Empire and the Lang Mu Empire. I really don’t understand why they have chosen our country instead of the Lang Mu Empire.”
Nian Bing lowered his head and said, “I don’t understand one whit about war, however I believe that the aggressors mustn’t get away with this.”
Sang Jie turned to give Nian Bing a look. He discovered that the handsome youth looked very shy. He couldn’t help but have a more favorable impression of him. He smiled and replied, “Do not worry. There won’t be a problem. Your Ice Moon Empire wouldn’t just watch our country get destroyed by Harmonic Flower and Qi Lu. If not, they would use our country as a springboard, and then your country would be out of luck. The Lang Mu Empire specializes in defense, not in offense. They would unable to pose a real threat to Harmonic Flower and Qi Lu. However, there has always been a deep enmity between your empire’s Ice God’s Pagoda and the Harmonic Flower Empire’s Flame Ancestor. The Flame Ancestor holds a position equivalent to the royal family in the Harmonic Flower Empire. If it weren’t for our Profound Orchid Empire and Lang Mu Empire laid between them, perhaps Harmonic Flower and Ice Moon would already have fought each other to death.”
When he heard the two words ‘Fire Ancestor,’ Nian Bing’s muscles couldn’t help but twitch. He did not say anymore and just waited for the army to leave with the Profound Orchid Empire’s three mages.
One hundred thousand troops departed majestically on the winding turns of the road. The cavalry was situated at the very back. The heavy cavalry troop and the light cavalry troop set off, leaving the camp deserted.
Sang Jie handed Nian Bing a whirlwind-shaped emblem. “When the war has ended, even if your President Long does not wish to enter our association, you are welcome to come to the capital and find me, and I can give you an assignment. Okay, we are leaving. Oh, that’s right. If you’re going to the capital, the next city on the way is Crow Orchid City. I recommend that you do not go there. If the letter you are delivering is not urgent, then it would be best to not go to the capital temporarily. Right now, the war has made everyone nervous, so the guard near the capital has become extremely strict. As a foreign mage, you won’t be very welcome there. So I propose that you first go to Orchid Dream City, not far from Crow Orchid City, and wait there for some time. It would best for you to wait until the war is over and do as you planned. Because Orchid Dream City is far from the front lines, we call it the paradise of our Profound Orchid Empire. There are our country’s most highly ranked warrior institutions and magic colleges. If you have time you could go take a look. Okay, I’m sure that we will meet again one day. Mighty wind! Share your freedom with me and lead the free wind of heaven and earth so that we may grow wings for flight. Send us away from the noise, away from all worries.”
At the completion of the chant, his ordinary magic staff dispersed a strong green light. Not only did it cloak himself, but also the other two wind mages. Under the support of the green light, their speed suddenly increased. They left the hillside behind and actually seemed to have sprouted wings made of wind. They glided to where the majority of the army had gone. Seeing their figures, Nian Bing could not help but feel cold. Sang Jie’s magic level was higher than what he had imagined. The wind wing spell was a rank 6 support magic, but for it to be used on three people required more magic power than that of a rank 6 spell. From his appearance, he should soon be entering the realm of a magic scholar. His proposal was made in good will. Although it was meant to entice him, according to what he had said, right now wasn’t a good time to visit the capital of the Profound Orchid Empire.