I Do Not Understand. Can Someone Explain?
All of the imperial court’s members had their red faces aimed at the ground. Given they possessed better combat attributes and more adepts, their embarrassing results couldn’t have been attributed to those two factors.
“Why did nobody assist Long Zaitian when he was in a pinch?” Emperor Yuansheng ignored his entourage’s silence, continuing, “As my bodyguards, nobody else can advance if you don’t. Long Zaitian’s subordinates, why didn’t you work together to help when your comrades were trapped? Why didn’t any of you lend a hand to our brothers from Beijiang and Heisina when they were driven back? There may have been a lot of them, but are you going to tell me you haven’t fought fiercer enemies? Remind me what their weapons were. They only had wooden cudgels and rods! We are fortunate we don’t have any casualties. What do you think the outcome would’ve been if they were armed with sharp weapons?! Reflect on your damn selves!”
Emperor Yuansheng then called over Qilin Guards and his entourage’s leaders to castigate.
To be fair, the situation wasn’t so bad that Emperor Yuansheng was in peril since Lai Jingzhen was sleeping beside him. Emperor Yuansheng couldn’t let his subordinates continue the way they were, though, as it wasn’t hard to imagine what the consequences would be if their enemy was a beast that could scare off clouds when they crumbled against bandits wielding blunt weapons. His anger was also justified because the wake-up call humiliated him.
“This group must only be a scouting group. The next time they show up, we’ll be fighting enemies who mean to hurt us. I hope you’re all ready!”
“Hero Li, please curb your anger. This one wishes to share some insight.”
Needless to say, nobody with the imperial court dared to open his mouth. From Mount Daluo, the only one who could be trusted – among those present – to say something within the realm of reality was Sima Huai. In fact, he was a lot more trustworthy than his senior, who had no respect for hierarchy, or his second brother, whose whereabouts were always a mystery. Emperor Yuansheng also trusted Sima Huai as a stand-in strategist on Ming Feizhen’s behalf because Sima Huai should’ve had the most knowledge on Six Evils.
“From Jiangnan to Wanyu, this one has travelled with everyone for several months, so he believes he has some insight worth sharing with you.”
Seeing as Sima Huai sounded serious, Emperor Yuansheng reciprocated the gesture. “I am keen to hear your wisdom.”
“It is nothing worthy of being called wisdom. It is merely an observation this one has to get off his chest. Although those bandits were tough, they are a notch below the most dangerous mountain bandits in the Central Plain.”
“… I shall not inquire why you know that so well. If you have something to say, feel free to voice it.”
“From Jiangnan to here, we have always had scouts up ahead and guards bringing up the rear. Your subordinates are accustomed to the Central Plain’s atmosphere and society, in addition to being elite fighters. Here, however, none of them are familiar with the environment. Secondly, this is only a small division of all your forces. If you do not strengthen your forces now, everyone will be at greater risk down the road.
“There is no one among your ranks who can be labelled weak. You do not lack competent men. You lack competent men who can work together. If you can overcome this issue, be it defence or offence, your forces will level up.”
Not a word that rolled off Sima Huai’s tongue was one he wanted to say. Two days ago, Ming Feizhen sent him a notification that a group would ambush them, instructing everyone from Mount Daluo to troll, stall or whatever as long as they didn’t get involved. Lian Zhuiyue was the only one not informed since he couldn’t tell a lie to save his life. As long as Lian Zhuiyue was cheering on the side or something, then the plan would work without a hitch. Sima Huai was told to point out the problem to Emperor Yuansheng post-ambush.
Emperor Yuansheng performed his signature thigh slap. “Brilliant! Do you have any strategy to help?”
You must be jesting. I’m just a messenger. How should I know what to do?
Tianfeng Xuanyuan: “Hahaha, too simple. Is there any other way?”
Sima Huai turned to Tianfeng Xuanyuan. “Yeah? How?”
“Uh… too simple. I shall let my representative answer on my behalf.” Tianfeng Xuanyuan turned to Xia’er. “How?”
“Hahaha, I left my answer with him.” Xia’er turned to Lian Zhuiyue.
Lian Zhuiyue started with a cupped-fist salute. “Hero Li, in this one’s opinion, the crux of the issue is the strong sense of group identity your factions have, rendering them bereft of chemistry. To resolve the division, the discrimination each faction harbours towards each other needs to be erased. Accordingly, teams should be reshuffled. Regardless of affiliation, they should dine together, sleep together and, if possible, practice together. As martial artists, we do not have reservations about sharing our thoughts. Spending time together, in addition to having a common enemy, is a fool proof method to encourage cooperation.”
“Excellent!” Emperor Yuansheng applauded.
Sima Huai: Thank god Zhuiyue does a lot of reading. I must admit First Brother decision to adopt him was absolutely right!
Emperor Yuansheng called Dugu and Long Zaitian over for a lecture; Long Zaitian even got a kick up the butt. Dugu and Long Zaitian subsequently worked with Beussent, Mountain Monster and company to reorganise the teams, ensuring personnel and work was divided fairly. Lian Zhuiyue was trusted with auditing their job.
After they were done, Emperor Yuansheng questioned, “By the way, where is Brother Bodhi?”
Long Zaitian replied, “We have not heard from him since he went back to protect our rear. Speaking of which, nobody from the rear has returned. There should not be anyone who would pick a fight with him given his level.”
Emperor Yuansheng nodded and had someone go summon Abels. Then, he scolded, “Yet you lot have the audacity to look down on Beijiang’s warriors? Brother Bodhi truly is a man who has gone to hell and back. Look how composed and steady he is. Meanwhile, the lot of you devolve into a motley crew as soon as you’re attacked.”
Emperor Yuansheng was going to wrench Long Zaitian’s ear to continue going off, but Abels came down from down above.
Abels, face bruised here and there, spat blood onto the ground and vigorously wiped his mouth: “Hits me and then legs it. The next time I run into you, I’ll leave you mangled. Oh, Brother Li, did you call for me?”