Zhan Long - Volume 3 - The Grandmaster - Chapter 766
Chapter 766 - The World's Armies
After the Royal Army was settled down in their barracks, I followed the king to the palace. We entered straight into the inner halls. None of the officials were there, only King Rocklin, Pearl, Theodore and Owen. They were all among the most famous people in the city, and the entire Tian ling City Empire was within the palm of their family's hands.
After I slid off my horse, I carried my swords on my back as I entered the palace. I felt somewhat conflicted, and finally decided to formally greet them, ’’I pay my respects to his majesty, and their highnesses, the crown prince, the second prince and the princess!’’
Pearl smiled and nodded in acknowledgement, ’’Commander Li Xiao Yao, there's no need to be so polite!’’
King Rocklin also smiled to me, ’’Yes, no need to be so stiff!’’
I decided to not beat around the bush, ’’Just what does his highness want to discuss with me?’’
King Rocklin's eyes lit up, ’’General Li, you have exhibited great skill in leading troops. You managed to straighten up such a disorganized and messy army in such a short time, not to mention strengthen it enough to hold off the Hybrid Demon troops. You have killed two thousand Hybrid Demons with a rotten and rusty army. This is definitely an impressive feat!’’
I wasn't sure how I was supposed to respond. My thoughts were jumbled and I said, ’’It was all due to the will of my soldiers. Nothing else.’’
King Rocklin said, ’’Even if that was the case, you, General Li, are a superbly rare hero, even amongst the great heroes throughout history.’’
I furrowed my brow and said, ’’Your majesty, just what is it?’’
Pearl cut in, ’’Commander Li Xiao Yao, do you know why father has bestowed a Royal Flag onto the Royal Army?’’
’’Why?’’ I had actually not paid any particular attention to that.
The Crown Prince Owen coldly laughed, ’’Don't try to play ignorant. The reason Father gave you a Royal Flag is because he intends to make you into a Lord. As long as you remain loyal to father and properly perform your duties to the kingdom, becoming a Lord is not a far fetched dream.’’
I smiled, ’’So it was like that!’’
King Rocklin stepped towards me, a crimson sword in his hand, ’’General Li, this is a Sword of Knights. It was created by the empire's best weaponsmiths. There are only three Sword of Knights like this in the entire Tian Ling City. One is in the hands of Theodore, while the other is with Owen. And now, there is this one. Right now, I am planning on giving it to you. But, in order for me to do so, you must promise me one thing.’’
’’What is it?’’
King Rocklin waved his hand, displaying his grand attitude, ’’Kneel before me, claim yourself as a servant to the empire. From now on, you, Li Xiao Yao, must vow to be loyal to only I, Rocklin. Vow that you will place nothing above my orders and that you will execute every one of them. That you will protect the power of the royal family in the empire. If you vow to that, the sword is yours.’’
I stiffened. I could feel a sense of pride welling up in my chest and smiled, ’’Become a servant of the empire? To be honest, I was already one of the empire's citizens, and am naturally bound to the nation.’’
Theodore was starting to get angry, ’’Li Xiao Yao, are you declining?’’
I looked up at him and said, ’’Kneeling with one knee is a sign of respect in the military, but to kneel with both knees is something I will never do. I, Li Xiao Yao, will kneel before the heavens and my father and mother, but I will not bow before anyone else!’’
’’You impudent brat!’’
Rage was also starting to rise up in Owen, ’’Li Xiao Yao, you dare to show such disrespect to father. Are you suicidal!?’’
In a harsh tone, I replied, ’’In the beginning, when I joined Dragon City, I had already vowed to Frost that I will protect and guard Dragon City for life. And so, I will not show the same loyalty to another man. Your majesty, I hope that you will understand my difficulties. Even so, I will continue to perform my duties to the empire!’’
I could see a sliver of disappointment and killing intent in King Rocklin's eyes. He smiled, ’’General Li truly is a rare hero. Alright then... It will be as you wish. You will remain the commander of the Royal Army, and continue to fight for the empire!’’
I turned around and left.
I could hear the two princes arguing as I left
Theodore: ’’Father, how could you allow this disrespectful youngling to continue as the commander of the Royal Army? Sister, you actually praised this kid for us. Have you become confused by your feelings?’’
Pearl: ’’Brother, I haven't!’’
Owen: ’’Father, seeing as that Li Xiao Yao isn't willing to accept your gift, why don't you...’’
Pearl lowered her voice, ’’Second brother, you want to kill Li Xiao Yao? I ask that you put that thought away. Li Xiao Yao is the Dragon Knight of Dragon City, and he's also the direct student of Frost. Frost regards him as extremely valuable. If... if you really kill him, then you should also prepare for Frost's fifteen Dragon Knights to come knocking on your door for revenge!’’
Rocklin groaned, ’’Everyone, stop arguing. Just leave Li Xiao Yao as is....’’
Theodore angrily said, ’’Father, how could you be so soft? How could you allow him to be so arrogant?’’
Rocklin was starting to look annoyed, ’’Theodore, remember who you are talking to! Li Xiao Yao's strength is truly the top among the empire's armies. Right now, he's someone I need. Otherwise, did you think that relying on your Flame Dragon Army and those deputy generals, you would be able to hold off the Hybrid Demons? Don't think I don't know. There isn't a single one that isn't raising at least three women in the capital. Is there any of them that aren't alcoholics?’’
Theodore replied, ’’I did not manage my subordinates well, I admit it!’’
I didn't relax until I had made it out of the palace, and then my heart leapt with joy. I was a player, and so naturally I should live carefreely. If they want me to become a servant to some old fogey, dream on. I didn't want to spend the rest of my playing time stressing over pointless responsibilities.
I strolled along the streets of Tian Ling City. Suddenly, a bell rang in the air. The new update was released.
System Notification: Players, take note. The new update [The World's Armies] has been released. The entire continent will enter a chaotic state. Players will face attacks from Hybrid Demons and players from other countries. You may choose to enter any army within your home city and become a warrior. As players complete missions and quests, they will receive a set amount of Achievement Points, which can later be exchanged for higher ranked military promotions. We wish you the best of luck and fortune as you fulfill your dreams of becoming Generals!
Not long after the update was released, the Flame Dragon Army and the Xia Yu Army's recruitment was completely filled. After all, these two were the strongest within Tian Ling City. At the same time, they had the most number of soldiers, making them have the hardest difficulty to rise up the ranks. However, these two also had the highest wages and resource handouts. So many players in Tian Ling City were very content to join.
The guild chat was already blowing up with excitement
Li Mu: ’’Its finally here!’’
Wang Jian: ’’That pretty Dragon Knight Lieutenant in Dragon City, the one called Qing Luo, has dispatched a dozen or so recruitment tents. Should we start entering, as Brother Xiao Yao has said, and have 20,000 from [Zhan Long] join? Its best if we do it before anyone else comes to Dragon City.’’
I asked, ’’Is [Zhan Long]'s main forces within Dragon City right now?’’
Li Mu laughed, ’’Yup. We made sure to come here half an hour early. Ten thousand of our Steel Blade Cavalry are all here. There other ten thousand are all elites who rushed over.’’
I cheerfully replied, ’’That's good. Now that Dragon City is recruiting players as soldiers, I wouldn't actually trust it in the hands of any other guild. That's right, has there been any news from the other guilds?’’
Wan Er: ’’[Legend], [Judgement], [House of Prestige] and the other great guilds of Jiu Li City went and joined the Flame Dragon Army. [Prague], [Vanguard] and the rest are planning on joining Xia Yu. There's a lot of crisscross in between too, so the situation isn't entirely clear.’’
I smiled, ’’I wonder what kind of daily quests will be available after you join.’’
Qing Qian grinned, ’’I was the first layer to join the Dragon City army... Oh, no, actually, technically speaking, I'm the second. The first was Brother Xiao Yao. The daily quest today is... wu, it's to hunt a bear and bring it to the kitchen. Afterwards, I have to go to the Archery Range and practice my archery. If I hit the center three times in a row, I'll have completed the quest....’’
Wof was speechless, ’’Assassins have to practice archery too?’’
’’Yup, it's supposed to increase our overall strength...’’
I didn't ask for any more details and returned to the barracks on my own.
My Flying Scythe Horse slowly walked forward. The soldiers standing guard outside of the barracks bowed in respect to me. After the battle of the Dragon Graveyard, where I had demonstrated my strength and ability to command, the level of respect I received in the army camp had greatly increased. Not to mention my reputation. Originally, there was still quite a few people who weren't convinced of my abilities, but it looked like that was already in the past.
At the center of the camp, I could see the candles of the Strategy Tent still lit. I pushed open the door and saw Han Yuan, Xiao Lie, and Deputy General Song waiting for me inside.
Han Yuan raised the Royal Flag and excitedly said, ’’This is a treasure that King Rocklin himself had bestowed upon us! A Royal Flag, that is an honor that only royalty deserve. I never would have thought that our Royal Army would receive such an honor!’’
Xiao Lie looked over to me. Not only was he a brave general in the battle field, he was also fairly intelligent. While he may be a little less fierce than Han Yuan, but he was definitely more clever. He smiled to me, ’’Commander, his majesty didn't press anything upon you, did he?’’
I shook my head with a smile, ’’Not at all, why would he?’’
’’His majesty...’’ Xiao Lie lowered his voice, ’’He didn't try to make you a servant of the empire?’’
I stiffened, ’’How'd you know?’’
Xiao Lie smiled, ’’That has always been a political tactic. Especially in regards to talented Generals such as my lord. How could a king allow you to be free and not ensure your loyalty? Lord Commander, you must've not...’’
I shook my head.
’’Why?’’ Xiao Lie exclaimed, ’’Aren't you afraid of being punished, or executed?’’
I smiled, ’’What is there to be afraid of? I've long been used to acting carefreely. I do not like the sentiment of laying down one's life for another. Unless it was for a girl that I loved. Besides, I'm not completely a part of this world, and so there's not as many obstacles before me. Thus, there is no need to worry that much. What I want to do is to train the Royal Army into a troop that will dominate the world in the future. The rest is unimportant.’’
Xiao Lie nodded, ’’I have decided to follow my lord, and I vow my allegiance to you!’’
’’Good! We've suffered quite heavy casualties today. Will there be more recruits?’’
Xiao Lie looked outside the camp, a cold light shined from his eyes, ’’The Royal Army has always maintained a scale of around ten thousand people. After the Battle of the Dragon Graveyard, his majesty has dispatched five thousand people from each of the two armies, the Flame Dragon ARmy and the Xia Yu Army to replenish the Royal Army. He plans on making us a twenty thousand man army. However, this also means that... About half of the men here will not be completely loyal to you.’’
I could feel frustration welling up in my chest, ’’Why won't he let us recruit our own soldiers? He's clearly using these people to balance out my power in the army...’’
Han Yuan cut in, ’’General, don't be angry. Anger doesn't solve anything. We can only plan as we go.’’
I then made an effort to calm down, and softly nodded, ’’Ok.’’