The sound of orderly marching resounded. The echoes of their vigorous rhythm shook the earth. The clouds of dust soared into the sky. These factors could only signify the arrival of elite troops. A mushroom-like cloud of dust would’ve arisen due to all the confusion if it were an ordinary force. It was only because of the orderly march of properly organized troops that there was no confusion and the dust rose in the air the way it did.
That majestic sound of the army’s march gave rise to a subtle yet earth-shattering feeling. The sound of this army’s march was so formidable that it seemed as if no force in the world could stop it from advancing forward.
"Jun Wu Yi is genuinely worthy of the Jun Family’s name. He’s running a very tight force. One has no choice but to admire his work after looking at it," Dongfang Wen Qing was standing on top of a tree. He looked far into the distance and sighed.
"That youngster is quite remarkable." Dongfang Wen Jian and Dongfang Wen Dao stood beside him. They couldn’t restrain their sighs either.
One could see several cavalry-units ahead of Jun Wu Yi if they’d look into the distance. These units surged ahead like a powerful current. Even the horses seemed to raise and set their hooves in unison. No matter what side one would look at this formation from… whether it was at the front, or the back or the sides… everything progressed in a straight and uniform line. Their adjustment to uniformity looked similar to a knife’s cut.
However, this was just a product of firm discipline; nothing more. However, the face of each soldier in that army was filled with pride. This is what an army is characterized by. An army unit that lacked a spirit of internal cooperation would never have faces as proud as the ones in this.
Even the Young Master Jun jumped at the sight of such a grand and organized army.
One must know that only the troops under Jun Wu Yi’s direct control had been properly disciplined at the time of Jun Mo Xie’s departure from the main force. However, private troops from various families had also joined the ranks of this army. These private troops had been assigned as ‘guards’ for the many Young Masters who had enlisted in the army. However, these private troops weren’t disciplined like the rest of the soldiers. In fact, they were like untamed horses. So, it was a wonder that they had been disciplined and brought in-line within a month’s time.
[It seems that Third Uncle has great skills in supervising troops.]
The Young Master Jun wasn’t familiar with the military affairs in the least. But, he knew that this wasn’t very simple. So, the Young Master Jun was aware that he would’ve had a lot of trouble on his hands if his place had been exchanged with his uncle’s.
Jun Mo Xie led the 250 of his men to make a welcome party. However, he was greeted by a cold face. Jun Mo Xie was a wild and untamable beast. But, he smiled at this cold face because it belonged to his Third Uncle — Jun Wu Yi.
Jun Wu Yi looked at his nephew with a solemn expression on the surface. However, his heart didn’t know whether he should laugh or cry. [Has any Vanguard unit ever acted in this manner? Letting out your men wasn’t very different from letting out sheep in the forest. They basically disappeared without a trace. And, no news of your advancements was relayed to us at the back. I’ve never heard of a Vanguard unit to operate in this manner before. In fact, this is unprecedented…]
The Young Master Jun had actually done a good job in clearing the path ahead. The army hadn’t faced any inconvenience or latent problems. The Young Master Jun’s approach may have been improper and insensible, but he had completed his task nonetheless. Therefore, the army hadn’t faced even the slightest of problems. Jun Wu Yi was extremely satisfied with this point. Even the upper echelons of the command were quite satisfied with this since they were informed of his efforts; well… at least no one tried to nit-pick the problems.
The only problem was that he hadn’t stayed in contact with the main army.
However, what about those who didn’t know of his efforts? They had readily believed that the Jun Family’s brat had no sense of responsibility. And, they had credited Commander Jun for the fact that they hadn’t encountered any trouble throughout their journey. Even the Old Master Jun — who had stayed back in the Tian Xiang City — had somehow come to receive some of this credit.
However, the problem that seemed more serious was the fact that the count of people who were unaware of the Young Master Jun’s efforts was massive in number. To quote an example… if the army had only a hundred men… ninety-nine of them would say that it was the Third Master Jun’s or the Old Master Jun’s handiwork.
Therefore, this naturally gave rise to the issue of convincing the majority of the population. The Young Master Jun’s actions had seemed undisciplined on the face of it. So, how could the military’s order be maintained unless some punishment was meted out to him?
Therefore, Commander Jun was left with no choice but to rain down a tongue-lashing on Jun Mo Xie. The Young Master played his part well — he raised his eyebrows in shame, and looked down. He acted like a ‘yes-man’ in a bewildered manner. The Young Master pretended that his Third Uncle was praising his efforts. In any case, Jun Mo Xie didn’t listen to his uncle lecture properly, and had nearly fallen asleep by the time it ended.
The Third Master Jun was busy venting his anger on his nephew when he sensed the hint the latter’s droopy eyes were giving off. So, Commander Jun had no choice but to hastily explain the camp’s arrangements to the troops in a brief sentence. He then quickly ordered the troops to retire.
"Humph! Commander Jun has great authority and murderous aura! Your authority has increased many folds since I saw you ten years ago. You sent your nephew to lead the vanguard; and then, you actually gave him a tongue-lashing even though he completed the task very satisfactorily. But, I didn’t hear a single word of encouragement from your mouth. That’s truly a ruthless method of self-discipline. You’re genuinely an iron-blooded man!" a mockery-riddled eccentric voice echoed from somewhere.
A cold light flashed in Jun Wu Yi’s eyes as his sword-like eyebrows shot up, "Who is it? Come out!"
"We’re coming out, we’re coming out; don’t tell me that the Commander is afraid?" there was a ‘brushing’ sound as three people came out of their tents.
"Elder Brother Dongfang?" Jun Wu Yi exclaimed in pleasant surprise before he looked further, "Second Brother Dongfang… and Third Brother! It’s really you!" Jun Wu Yi’s eyes filled with an immensely guilty look immediately-after that pleasant surprise. His countenance also became extremely dispirited.
"Humph! Of course it’s us! You’re rushing towards Tian Fa so quickly, Jun Wu Yi. Do you wish to die? Are you tired of your life?" the words that came out of Dongfang Wen Qing’s mouth sounded harsh and taunting, but his expression wasn’t very grave. A person would have no problems in discerning a sliver of care in that speech if they used their perception ability.
The three brothers’ resentment towards the Jun Family didn’t run that deep. They had only vented their anger; nothing more. Moreover, their hearts were at ease since they had seen that the rumored ‘debauchee nephew’ of theirs was actually a promising young man. So, they felt even less resentment towards the Juns.
Ten years had passed since that tragedy. And, Jun Wu Yi was surely the source of it all… but, wasn’t he its victim as well? In fact, he was the biggest victim! He had lived the life of a cripple for ten years. And, he had lived a life of remorse for ten years. That one man was forced to bear the blame of the misery of multitudes. Worse of all… Jun Wu Yi wasn’t even aware of the situation in the beginning. And, things had already gotten out of hand by the time Jun Wu Yi came to know of Han Yan Yao’s identity…
They looked at Jun Wu Yi, and realized that these guilt-ridden ten years had exhausted him completely. They were suddenly overcome with guilt and shame since they realized that Jun Wu Yi had led the saddest and most difficult life over the last ten years.
They felt deeply for their sister. But, they had already given vent to their rage ten years ago by bringing about wide-spread slaughter. A long time had passed since then, and this time had long since worn-away their anger. It wasn’t engraved in their hearts in the same manner that it once used to be…
However, Jun Wu Yi was different. That entire affair had happened because of him. And, that fact would always remain even if hadn’t intended for it to happen…
Jun Wu Yi hadn’t intended it, but he was still guilty of it. He may not have intended for it to happen, but it had become the heaviest burden of his life…
Commander Jun had felt like his heart was being devoured by small ants every night; such had been his suffering for the past ten years. [We can still get drunk and use our bodies to get into crazy fights to drive away the pain in our hearts when it gets unbearable. But, Jun Wu Yi’s legs had remained disabled for so many years. So, he had no choice but to endure the pain in silence…]
The four men looked at each other, and felt a very strange feeling. It seemed as if they had been transported ten years into the past. However, they found it difficult to breathe since those memories had started to play on their minds.
The rim of Jun Wu Yi’s eyes slowly turned red and moist. He then opened his arms and smiled, "I have missed you over these years, Elder Brother Dongfang! We haven’t met for the past ten years, two months and seven days…"
He then looked at the color sky to figure out the time, and then spoke gloomily, "And two hours… I gave you the news of the Elder Brother’s death on that day about two hours ago from now…"
Jun Wu Yi’s eyes suddenly became blood red.
The four men at his side were heavily shaken.
He had been accurate to the very day and hour!
[Ten years, two months, seven days and two hours! Jun Wu Yi has actually recorded the time in such an accurate manner! What is the meaning of this?]
This showed that Jun Wu Yi hadn’t forgotten that deep-running blood-feud; not even for a single day. But, he could only endure. He clearly knew who the enemy was. However, he had no choice but to endure. Moreover, he had been crippled, and had to suffer the pain of being separated from his love.
Dongfang Wen Qing and the other two realized the plight of the life Jun Wu Yi had been leading for those ten years.
This short sentence was enough to determine all this…
"You’ve suffered too much, Third Younger Brother." Dongfang Wen Qing took a step forward, and tightly embraced Jun Wu Yi. The two men embraced in silence. Jun Wu Yi closed his eyes since he was on the verge of welling up. However, he was already crying ardent tears in his heart. His facial muscles twitched, and his jaw was clenched; but, he didn’t make any sound.
[These words which I had longed for… words of understanding and care from the Dongfang Family… have come after ten years! Ten long years! Even if it’s a little late…even if it’s a little late… they’ve finally come! Heavens know how many times I have fallen apart in all these years… How many times!]
Jun Wu Yi’s face was expressionless, but a bitter pain battered his heart like a flooding river.
Dongfang Wen Jian and Wen Dao thought about Jun Wu Yi’s ten years’ worth of suffering. They then saw this emotional scene. They were unable to stop their eyes from becoming red at this sight; the tip of their noses became sour, and they arrived on the verge of shedding tears. However, the only thing they could do was to exert the entirety of their strength to cough a little since they were afraid that they would gush fountains and cry themselves horse if they didn’t restrain themselves. They had managed those coughs with extreme difficulty in order to cover up. However, even these coughs had a tenor tremble to them.
[I don’t know how Jun Wu Yi managed for ten years! I would’ve already committed suicide in order to apologize for my mistakes if I were in his place. Yet, he continued to persist through all the torment for ten years…]
Everyone’s mood returned to normal after a good while.
"Do I not know that going to Tian Fa is perilous? Moreover, many other bitter enemies of our family have gathered there besides the terrible Xuan Beasts! I request that you three elders ensure that Mo Xie returns safely to Tian Xiang City if I’m unable to escape with my life! I sincerely request you!" Jun Wu Yi changed the subject after he returned to normal, and put forth this urgent request.