The Earth is the Victim of the Enraged Dragon and Phoenix
The legend of the dragon and phoenix dated back to a time when darkness and lightning pervaded the Earth, a time when rifts in the dry earth spread to the ends of the world. Depending on which story it was, the dragon and phoenix were illustrated, as well as connected, differently. In “Six Evil Beasts Chronicles”, the dragon and phoenix were mortal enemies who’d never be allies. While the book was a work of fiction, some of the details were surprisingly accurate, especially this part.
From the archive’s Mount Daluo’s founder left, the six beasts often fought as a team. Due to their varying reproduction times, they’d each lead their own armies in separate places; compare it to a nation with numerous garrisons set up in different cities. For this reason, divide and conquer was always used to tackle the threats. This was true for all but the smallest races – the dragon and phoenix races.
The might of the dragon and phoenix were distinctly different to the others, and their connection was the hardest to understand. The strategy used back then to take down the two was to put them together because they couldn’t help going at each other’s necks until they were incapacitated. In other words, the only counter to dragons’ might was phoenixes’ might.
Fengqi shenmu was a tree unique to Nanjiang and most commonly mentioned of in old tales related to their Sun Divine Bird. According to the fables, the Sun Divine Bird’s habitat was on a spiritual tree in the clouds. The Sun Divine Bird only chose the most beautiful habitats to call home. Any tree it perched on, spat on, bled on and whatnot was considered a priceless treasure. That was how a fengqi shenmu tree was created.
That was what I was supposed to say. For some reason, it came out as, “The hen pecks the centipede, and the centipede bites back. Their fight was incredibly ferocious. The centipede is now too poisonous. What can we do? We’ll scare it with the hen’s feathers. Easy.”
“So you came to Wanyu for the shenmu?”
“You two understood that? You’re geniuses?!”
Young Shiyi imitated a puffer fish: “I always knew, okay? You think I’m uneducated like you?”
My bad for forgetting she finished books ten times faster than me. Did I ever mention she didn’t read gossip exclusively unlike me?
Boss Shen finally finished thinking. “Wait, are you suggesting… the Sun Divine Bird Nanjiang people worship is…”
“I never said that.” I shook my head. “Let me make it clear that I’ve only seen this mentioned in old gossip books back on Mount Daluo. I’ve never seen a phoenix. By the same account, I’ve never seen a Sun Divine Bird, so I can’t provide a confident answer to your query. One thing I can confidently tell you, though, is that fengqi shenmu is the bane of dragons.”
In the first clash against a dragon, the wood was used to design a formation. In a sense, the wood weakened the dragon similarly to a drug.
Shen Yiren asked, “We can take down the beast if we have the wood?”
“Even if we can’t get our hands on it, we can still succeed with our current forces.”
“Why did you go through all the effort to come here, in that case?”
“But, it will reduce the death toll.”
Boss Shen just stared at me, seemingly surprised. She then glanced over to Young Shiyi – perhaps because she thought she shouldn’t stare at me. For that reason, she noticed Young Shiyi’s mischievous gaze, prompting her to mutter, “Not a good person,” before clearing her throat and recomposing herself. ”That being the case, I have to help you. As per your request, Miss Ming and I shall overlook what you do.”
“Eh?” Young Shiyi’s face read: when did I ever agree?
“I have agreed on her behalf. If she has any complaints, come see me.”
“Boo, party pooper.” Young Shiyi inflated her cheeks.
You two have grown really close while I’ve been busy, huh?
“So, what needs to be done to obtain the wood?”
“There are two challenges: first, I don’t know where it’s found. Second, I can’t take it even if I know where it is.”
Although I was aware that the special material was only found on Mount Wanyu, it wasn’t realistic for me to scour the entire mountain alone to find it, not to mention Shaman Monarch Palace and Nanjiang’s citizens reverence of it. If I waltzed off with it, I’d become public enemy; for all I knew, the other states may even send their militaries after me. How would I clean that mess up?
Boss opined, “Hmm, those are challenges, indeed. I assume you have a plan to leave if you posed as Shaman Monarch to join them.”
“Hohoho, I have my own designs, but I can’t tell you yet.”
Young Shiyi rubbed her chin as she mulled on it for a while: “If it were me, I’d instigate Wanyu and Shaman Monarch Palace into engaging in a dog-eat-dog fight. Shaman Monarch Palace wouldn’t be able to fight back once Wanyu brings out their military, however. The crisis would become the catalyst for Shaman Monarch Palace to seek my help. I can force them to hand over fengqi shenmu in exchange for my help. If Shaman Monarch Palace were to secretly hand it over to me, the people wouldn’t riot. What do you think?”
“When did you read my mind?!”
How did you figure out the majority of my strategy? Is this how you always catch me cheating? Is this the difference between a dropout and a straight-As student?
“Pfft, no, I just made a lucky guess. How could I have looked inside your mind?”
How do you explain knowing what I was thinking just now, then?!
“The plan is sound. I wouldn’t have had a better idea. Thing is, there’s one glaring plot hole: how are you going to galvanise Shaman Monarch Palace into recruiting you? You need to be worth recruiting. More specifically, you need to be able to guarantee them victory.”
Boss Shen piggy backed off Young Shiyi’s statements: “Secondly, there’s a trust issue. They need to be able to trust you won’t turn on them afterwards. They won’t trust you now that you’re sticking out like a thorn.”
“I’m sure Gegewu will believe me.”
“Third, how is fengqi shenmu operated? Don’t forget that only Sixth knows anything about formations. Even then, he’s no expert at them. You’re overstretching him if you expect him to be effective against one of them.”
“I already have a candidate. It’s just… he hasn’t arrived yet.”
While Young Shiyi didn’t comment again, Shen Yiren mulled over my information. If my intuition wasn’t wrong, Shen Yiren already knew who I was referring to and was already contemplating how to compel them.
Hey, can you two stop checking inside my head without my attention? It isn’t free! You have to let me touch your face once every time you want a peek!
“Fourth, and most importantly, you still haven’t assembled your team. You know who I’m referring to,” Young Shiyi stressed.
A coordinated team was paramount to defeating Six Evils. Everybody had their own goals, though. The imperial court, Beijiang and Nanjiang’s adepts all had someone to different to answer to, and the truce couldn’t be counted as a harmonious one. Lai Jingzhen, Martial Paragon and Bodhi weren’t the type to cooperate with each other, not to mention Lai Jingzhen was Emperor Yuansheng’s chaperone. If they couldn’t be commanded, then everyone else was history.
Young Shiyi grumbled, “This isn’t going to be enough when there’s so much to do.”
“That’s why I’ve sent a letter to have Emperor Yuansheng march them into Wanyu as a business group and then finalise preparations to enter Nieyao. I’ve pretty much sacrificed sleep the last few days. I’ve had to put on exhibitions, wipe out bandits and a plethora of other things. I reckon we’ll make it, albeit barely.”
The two of them couldn’t believe my agenda when I told them what I planned to get done.
“Why the rush? Why are you in such a hurry if you believe we’ll be on time.”
“Because we don’t have much time left.”
Boss: “Not because His Majesty can’t stay in Nanjiang for too long but due to other reasons?”
I bobbed my head: “It’s because the beast will soon awake.”
Based on their flinches, they must not have expected that answer.
“I can smell its stench from Nieyao, and it’s growing stronger by the day. It’s a sign that its ability to move is increasing by the day. In other words, its awakening is drawing closer. At most, we’ll have three months. Worst case scenario, we only have around thirty to forty days left before Nanjiang hears the first roar.”