AN: Next chapter, woo~ Hope you enjoy as much as I enjoyed discovering how the plot is progressing while editing the chapter.
Per usual, if you have any constructive criticism or suggestions, feel free to comment!
Lao Wu nodded and said, “I’m afraid this is indeed from inside our own army, and it’s probably…”
However, just when he was going to mention who he suspected, Lao Wu hesitated a little.
Yuan Jianzhe immediately said, “Lao Wu, if you have any ideas, just say what is on your mind. We have worked together for so many years, so why wouldn’t I be able to trust you?”
Lao Wu said: “Commander, I think the most suspicious person is Ding Ming. Of course, Ding Ming would not have done this personally. Either he asked his subordinates to publish the forum post or he asked someone else to leak the news to others and they, in turn, did it.”
“Why do you suspect Ding Ming? Yuan Jianzhe frowned, but did not doubt Lao Wu, but wanted to know the reason.
Lao Wu said, “Do you remember some time ago when Ding Ming sent someone to lay mines outside Cheng Yang’s village. At that time, I still thought that this guy really only used the high-explosive mines to test the opponent’s strength. But now that something like this has happened, I doubt his intention to plant mines in the first place was not to test Cheng Yang, but something else.”
Yuan Jianzhe frowned and said, “Your suspicion is reasonable, but Ding Ming still has some abilities in commanding our operations. However, when it comes to using conspiracies, he can’t even be considered as I’m afraid he cannot think of such an idea to provoke a war between us and Cheng Yang, right?”
Lao Wu said: “I’m thinking the same as I suspect Ding Ming is also connected to another person who is not only in the main city, but also more powerful than Ding Ming. However, there are very few who meet this condition.”
Yuan Jianzhe is definitely an old fox, so after careful deliberation, he eliminated the possible suspects one by one and said, “You said it was one of the mercenary team leaders?”
“They are the most likely.”, Lao Wu was silent for a while and said.
Yuan Jianzhe said, “Then what do we do next? Do we arrest and torture Ding Ming to find out who the guy he is working with or should we take other measures?”
Lao Wu said, “It depends on what you plan to do, commander. If you want to avoid conflict with Cheng Yang for the time being, then you can test Ding Ming’s attitude first. With his attitude, it is not very difficult to ask something. After the matter is confirmed, the commander can order Ding Ming to be arrested, and then torture him to reveal who they are. But if the commander intends to take Cheng Yang’s villages as soon as possible, you can use another way of doing this, such as sending Ding Ming’s group and all the mercenaries to participate in the attack on Phoenix Village. If we can defeat Cheng Yang in one fell swoop and take the village, the commander can slowly settle the account with Ding Ming. If it fails, it will not be a big loss to us.”
Yuan Jianzhe frowned and asked: “What is the chance of us defeating Cheng Yang with our current strength?”
Lao Wu said, “Fifty-fifty! Our side has a larger quantity of Professionals, but Cheng Yang’s side has more Professional experts.”
“What about Cheng Yang… how sure are we that we can kill him?” Yuan Jianzhe expressed his biggest worry.
Lao Wu said, “It depends on how much of a risk you are willing to take, commander. The last time we clashed with Cheng Yang, we were indeed one-sidedly crushed by the opponent, and our fighters were unable to cause any damage to the opponent at all. But now the situation is different as our subordinates have cultivated a large amount of Standard-Grade Apprentices. Although these people are still far away from reaching Cheng Yang’s strength, it is not impossible for them to harm the other party. If a few people can’t beat him, we will send dozens of them. If dozens of them don’t work, we will send hundreds of them, and maybe even send all the thousands of Standard-Grade Apprentices under us, which will grind Cheng Yang to death.”
Yuan Jianzhe’s eyes lit up, and he realised that he had indeed thought too highly of Cheng Yang’s strength before. Now these Standard-Grade Apprentice Professionals under him are not weak. For archers or magicians, 10 points of their own attack power plus a full set of equipment to increase their attack power can enable them to reach 14 points of attack power. If you are lucky enough to have a black iron-level equipment, your attack power can directly break through to 15 points. In Yuan Jianzhe’s opinion. No matter how strong Cheng Yang is, it is impossible to have a defence stat higher than 15 points.
Although Lao Wu persuaded Yuan Jianzhe, he was not particularly optimistic and said: “But what I just said also has a condition, that is, to limit Cheng Yang’s ability to move and let him fight head-to-head with us. Otherwise, if he is able to move around and shoot at us, our military force is probably not enough to kill him.”
Yuan Jianzhe was taken aback, and said with a wry smile: “I’m afraid this is not easy. If Cheng Yang’s movement on the battlefield can be restricted, we don’t need to use people to fight him head-on and instead directly use our artillery to destroy him. Yesterday, the transformation of our artillery was completed. Although the calibre of our artillery in the Cloud City Military Region is not the largest in China, its power cannot be underestimated. After testing, the largest calibre artillery we have, which is 152mm* artillery, did almost 40 points of damage in the centre of the explosion. If we can accurately determine Cheng Yang’s location and ensure that he does not move, our artillery can completely wipe out the opponent dozens of kilometres away. But these prerequisites are all based on the fact that the opponent cannot move and we have to use precise positioning methods.”
Lao Wu immediately said with joy: “If you use artillery, there is a method for your subordinates.”
“Oh?” Yuan Jianzhe quickly asked, “What is the method?”
Lao Wu said: “There are also a lot of combatants in Phoenix Village. If we can instigate a rebellion and make one or two in the village betray Cheng Yang, they will provide us with the exact location of where Cheng Yang cultivates. Then we will use artillery as cover for the attack. I think that no matter how capable Cheng Yang is, he cannot escape.”
Yuan Jianzhe thought for a long time with a cold face and said, “Okay, let’s do it this way. As for Ding Ming, let’s drop it for now and wait until we have determined where Cheng Yang cultivates and get rid of him before making a decision.”
Lao Wu said, “Commander, there is one more thing. Now that the news of these villages has leaked out, I think someone in the capital will contact us soon. What will we do then?”
Yuan Jianzhe snorted softly and said, “Just answer to whatever they want to ask, but delay the other things first, such as wanting to remotely instruct us to do certain things.”
Lao Wu said, “I understand.”
Cheng Yang didn’t know that he had been identified by Yuan Jianzhe as a target that must be eradicated. However, even if he knew about it, he would think much of it. First of all, it is not easy for Yuan Jianzhe to instigate a rebellion in Phoenix Village. After all, the Professionals from Phoenix Village are outside of the village at the moment. He is now preparing to return to Phoenix Village from Crane Summit Village after finishing his business there.
As for Liu Xiyue and the others, they stayed in Copper Tomb Village as the amount of demonised beasts attracted to the village will increase tomorrow due to the distance increasing. There will be another wave of attacks by the demonised beasts due to this. Instead of walking a long distance during the wave of attacks, it’s better to stay in the village over the night.
Cheng Yang used a return stone and returned directly to Phoenix Village.
As soon as he walked to his Meditation Hall, Cheng Yang saw Li Wanshan walking over quickly. Looking at his face, he guessed that there was something urgent which had occurred.
“Lao Li, why are you in such a hurry?” Cheng Yang spoke and stopped Li Wanshan.
As soon as Li Wanshan heard this voice, he knew it was Cheng Yang. He walked over quickly and said, “Lord, this matter is a bit troublesome. I don’t know who posted the news of our village on the forum. Now it is highly probable that people all over the world know of the existence of our village.”
Cheng Yang was taken aback at first, then replied calmly: “This is not a big deal. As more and more people in Cloud City’s Main City get to know about our existence, it is only a matter of time before the news will be leaked. Now that the news has been leaked, it is estimated that it has only been leaked now due to Yuan Jianzhe deliberately blocking the news from being released on the forum. Besides, even if someone leaks the news out on the forum, people all over the world may not know it. After all, there are not many people domestically who pay attention to the domestic news of the forum and even fewer people globally pay attention to the global news. According to my estimates, the people who now know the existence of our village are only some of the large and influential forces in the Main Cities.”
Li Wanshan did not feel at ease about this, and said: “Lord, it is precisely because Yuan Jianzhe was blocking the news about our Phoenix Village before that I am worried. In your opinion, why did he block these messages?”
Cheng Yang was very calm and said, “It’s not difficult to guess his intentions, he wants to take our village for himself. But the idea is just that, an idea. Whether it can be realised does not depend on if he has a big appetite, but if he has the ability to defeat us.”
Seeing that Cheng Yang could guess Jianzhe’s intention, Li Wanshan was not so anxious anymore and said: “I always think this is not that simple. It’s not that Yuan Jianzhe doesn’t know the strength of the lord. If he dares to have such an idea, he must rely on it and his supposed ability. And now that the news has been leaked on the forum, I am afraid Yuan Jianzhe has been forced to speed up his plans.”
Cheng Yang said: “Yuan Jianzhe relies on nothing more than those artillery pieces, but what you said about them having to speed up their plans is one thing that has to be considered. It seems that I have to talk to Tan Chao later.”
Li Wanshan knew who Tan Chao was so when he heard what Cheng Yang said and immediately said, “Lord, are you going to let Tan Chao go to the Main City to spy? This is indeed a good idea. If Yuan Jianzhe really has any actions that are not beneficial to the Lord, I hope that the Lord will not be kind to him and try to nip the danger in the bud before it has time to sprout to become too large.”
Cheng Yang sighed in his heart. He knew why Li Wanshan said this. After all, he had many opportunities to get rid of Yuan Jianzhe before, but in the end, Cheng Yang did not do it. Perhaps Li Wanshan thought this was due to Cheng Yang’s kindness. However, only Cheng Yang knew that he did this because of Yuan Jianzhe’s influence in his previous life. In Cheng Yang’s previous life, Yuan Jianzhe was considered a good leader because he did not let Cloud City’s Main City become a lawless place where the strong oppressed the weak. Even the people who were weak, old, and sick, the ones who were at the very bottom of society, received a designated living space. It was precisely due to this that Yuan Jianzhe received a lot of admiration from the public and, in turn, Cheng Yang was infected by this, thus not being able to do it.
However, Cheng Yang also knew that if he was one hundred percent sure that Yuan Jianzhe would act against him and his village, he would never be merciful again towards Yuan Jianzhe.
*- In the RAWs it said 152cm, however I changed it to 152mm so it would be more realistic. This is because 152cm calibre artillery is ridiculously big and the largest artillery calibre to exist, iirc, was like 800mm, that being the Schwerer Gustav.