I like this a lot.
I like this a lot.
Thanks for the update Grundle.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates!
Man this chapter is long...but it is also epic. Here is the first installment. Enjoy!
Chapter 9 - Bloody Battle at the City Gates
Ma Yuan and Hua Qian were both equally stunned, the true answer was already written in the expression of grief on my face, but I couldn’t bring myself to say it.
I pointed at Hua Qian and said, “She is Her Highness the Demoness.”
With a foolish expression Hua Qian replied, “What?”
I calmly swept my eyes over everyone before I cooly said, “This is not the time to be grieving, not when we are on the brink of war. There must not be the smallest leak of the Demoness’ death, otherwise the city will be overthrown in a bloody massacre.”
Being the most astute Ma Yuan suddenly spoke up, “I understand. So you want Hua Qian to disguise herself as her Highness the Demoness in order to maintain military order while also causing the imperial demons to be unclear about what is really going on.”
Another generally wearing a full suit of armor nodded, “Yes! Right now this is the only solution, otherwise our army will collapse without putting up a fight. Because we so highly revere her Highness it is best that they have no idea what has happened.”
Hua Qian stammered, “Her Highness is the commander of Mo Nu army, I’m afraid...”
I firmly responded, “Dont’ be afraid! All you need to do is make an appearance.”
Ma Yuan clapped his hands and two maids whose eyes were still swollen and red from crying immediately ran in and led Hua Qian to another part of the palace. Ma Yuan pulled me to the side and said, “Her Highness left something behind for you, I want to personally leave it in your care.”
Surprised I said, “What is it?”
Immediately someone approached holding a long rectangular box. When I opened it I immediately gasped in admiration, “My god! This is a fine sword.”
When it comes to swordsmen even if they just glimpse a great sword they can’t help feeling extremely excited, but even more so when the enigmatic Demoness personally presented me with a good sword.
The sword itself was simple and unadorned, without any decorations, but it had an unusual curvature. From the body of the sword it appeared as if layer upon layer of a strange rippling radiance emerged. Although it was very hard to describe, the sword seemed as if it must be a thousand times quicker than a normal sword.
I reached into the box and grabbed on to the hilt.
A strange sensation spread from the cold sword into my hand. It was an indescribable feeling as if this once dead object was now infused with the limitless power of a mighty weapon.
Ma Yuan said, “This has been her Highness’ sword since ancient times until now. She used this sword to slay devils and defend justice. Since she left this sword to you it is important that you carry on her legacy.”
As I thought about the sword I realized it wasn’t simple at all and was most likely a treasure from the ruins. I hung it at my waist.
To the side Ma Yuan exhaled an “Ah!” sound before saying, “God! This is really hard to believe.”
Looking up I glimpsed a white shadow.
From head to toe Hua Qian was disguised as the Demoness and besides a somewhat inferior light radiating from her eyes, her gestures and posture were perfectly deceptive. It was still possible to keep Mo Nu from learning the fate of the Demoness.
Outside the city, as far as the eye could see were the besieging Black Helmet Warriors. More than a dozen huge tree trunks on wheels were being pushed forward by hundreds of people. Like a poisonous dragon they were working their way to the city gates.
There was smoke everywhere.
On the city walls the “Thunder Gods” were fed thunder balls and with a “boom” they would spit a gout of flame as smoke and fire together billowed up into the sky. Soon after a fire would flash deep in the enemy’s position while flesh and blood flew through the air.
Like a swarm of locusts, arrows darkened the sky as they were exchanged.
The Mo Nu General pointed towards the huge unmoving mass of soldiers in the distance and said, “That is the empire’s most elite battalion comprised of 100,000 soldiers and represents one fifth of the Empire’s total military strength.” Pointing to the left and right of the main force he continued, “On the left Ge Zhan is leading the second and third legions and on the right is Lady Li Qin Jun leading the fourth and fifth legions. Each legion contains 50,000 soldiers so their total number added together is 200,000.”
Ma Yuan said, “Right now the siege is being executed by Black Widow and the sixth and seventh legions. We estimate the total Imperial strength to be between three and four hundred thousand, whereas our total strength is only seventy thousand soldiers strong.” After losing the leader of Mo Nu, this military strategist revealed his inner fear.
Bai Dan appeared, running to my side and whispered, “Hua Qian disguised as Her Highness has already arrived to the city gate tower. All you have to do is give the order and she can go up and begin issuing orders to the people.”
I replied, “It still isn’t time yet. My instructions are that you wait and keep a careful guard.” Bai Dan respectfully retreated to the side. Since they were leaderless I became their new leader. A loud rumbling erupted. It was the sound of their war drums beating. “BLURP!” The noise of a blasting horn came next. Both my father and Qi Bei were once imperial Black Helmet soldiers, so I was already familiar with their fighting and marching methods.
Sure enough the drums from Ge Zhan’s army began to beat a “Dong Dong Dong” sound in response to the emperor’s order to attack.
Both legions, one hundred thousand soldiers, began moving slowly prepared to assist Black Widow’s two legions already besieging the city.
Of the seventy thousand Mo Nu soldiers half of them were distributed around the city walls and inside each of the twenty eight watch towers. On every bow was a sharp arrow while we waited for the enemy’s attack. Large boulders, black oil, and the Thunder Gods were all ready to respond.
The quick strike cavalry unit sat in the square within the city gates waiting for the order to leave the city and attack.
My father said that the only way to ensure success when besieging a city, is for the attackers to have a force at least twice as big as the defenders. Right now the imperial army was six times greater, and the black helmet warriors were also veterans of many campaigns. The outcome was unsure.
Ever since the empire’s foundation there is nothing they have more experience in than besieging and conquering cities. It is no wonder that the people of Mo Nu were frightened, plus the Demoness already died from their poisonous trap. Fortunately the news did not spread, otherwise we wouldn’t even be fighting this battle.
I stared at the giant tree trunks approaching the gates, which they were going to dump into the combustible oil-filled moat to build a wooden bridge. They were already within three hundred yards of the wall.
Curious I asked Ma Yuan, “How are we going to ignite the oil?”
Frustrated he replied, “We already lost the opportunity.”
Ma Yuan continued, “The past few days Her Highness was critically ill, which threw everyone into confusion. Our communication deteriorated and before we knew it the enemy had already appeared and occupied the fire pit....so....”
I creased my brows as I stared at the fire pit in front of the city walls. If it really did burn for a long time, then it was an extremely powerful defense mechanism. Too bad the pit was out of the Thunder God’s firing range, not to mention how impossible it would be with a bow and arrow. Suddenly I understood everything. Mo Nu was designed to have the entire army outside of the city walls with the burning moat as protection against the enemy, but once things went wrong with the Demoness Ma Yuan holed up like a turtle inside the city to sit and wait for death. For no reason at all he caused them to be weak.
Bai Dan said, “What is that?” We looked out only to see the thousands of soldiers carrying the large tree trunks placing them to the side and thousands of donkey carts behind them trying to catch up. The carts were carrying bags.
I suddenly trembled as I shouted loudly, “Not good! Those are sandbags they are going to use to fill the moat so that they can put down the tree trunks and cross over.”
Ma Yuan shouted, “Show them the thunder’s might!!”
From the top of the city wall dozens of thunder gods simultaneously spat out tongues of flame, and smoke and fire together traversed the space between the two opposing armies before falling into the positions of the opposing force. The sound of the imperial army horn blasted again and just as before Ge Zhan moved his cavalry from the left wing, which quickly arrived at the moat.
It was the empire’s elite “Crossbow Cavalry” who used a special crossbow that had a shooting range that was three times farther than a regular bow and arrow.
The crossbows shot out their bolts like blazing rockets that rained over the moat to sprinkle down on the wall. Repeated screams came from the Mo Nu defenders and in several places debris began to burn. The sharp arrows had just greatly diminished the influence of the defender’s thunder gods and the donkey carts carrying the sand bags took advantage of the cover to press on to the edge of the moat. The imperial soldiers were grabbing sandbags and had already thrown thousands into the moat, yet the donkey carts still bravely faced the fires of war to bring them more.
I coldly watched as things unfolded and surprisingly there was a place in my heart that was completely at peace. Like a good swordsman, after facing countless death sentences before going to battle my heart did not waver. I could not afford to allow the smallest amount of fear to creep in, but instead calmly search for the enemy’s weak point that would lead to their defeat.
My calm disposition began to influence the other Mo Nu soldiers, who didn’t seem to be as disorganized and at a loss as to what to do as before.
Like flying locusts the sandbags were tossed into the moat. The clumsy yet exceptional method was very effective and in no time at all they had already filled half the moat. The level of the oil rose and began to pour out.
From outside the city walls black smoke boiled into the sky. Hundreds of thousands enemies advanced encircling me in a death trap. Ge Zhan’s two legions kept launching bolts at the walls, in two waves to pin down the defenders while Black Widow’s legions continued to pave the way across the moat.
Li Qing Jun’s two legions and the Emperor’s personal elite troops were still held in reserve. In terms of momentum and strength, we were currently under a great amount of pressure.
The design of Mo Nu was all hinged on attacking from the walls and the arrangement outside, but this was overcome by the besieging imperial army’s ingenious methods, which not only wiped out the advantage of the thunder gods, but the pit of fire became useless as well. Now they had lost any advantage they once had and Mo Nu was now fighting a losing battle.
From the side Ma Yuan anxiously said, “What should I do?”
Grabbing on to the hilt of the sword that the Demoness gave to me I said firmly, “How many quick strike cavalry soldiers do we have?”
Ma Yuan replied, “We have three regiments of cavalry. Each regiment contains ten thousand soldiers.”
“I will take ten thousand of with me out of the city to try and ignite the fire pit to cut off General Ge Zhan’s and Black Widow’s lines of retreat by carving the imperial army into two sections. At the same time you will use the thunder gods to bombard both sides of the moat so that the enemy cannot organize to eliminate me and the cavalry. Understand?”
“This is too risky”, said Ma Yuan.
I replied indifferently, “It is better than sitting still in here and waiting for death. We have no choice but to fight and take back the initiative.”
The city gates opened and waved my sword in the sky as I shouted, “Charge!”
Last edited by Grundle; 12-15-10 at 09:40 PM.
The transition from chapter 8 to chapter 9 seems rather abrupt. I actually re-read the end of chapter 8 thinking that I missed something.
HK47: Now do you understand the travails of my existence master? Surely it does not compare to your existence but still...
You: I survive somehow
HK47: As do I. It is our lot in life I suppose master. Shall we find something to kill to cheer ourselves up?
what an exciting update.. i dont believe demoness is dead.. lets c.. thanks grundle
Thanks for the update bro
Oh wow, this story is so interesting. Can't wait for the next part.
Thanks for translating!
Is this story as long as Step into the past?
Wow, I have been away for so long, it is good to be back. Furthermore, just found this awesome translation.
Thanks Grundle!!! Loving this translation!
Just wanted to keep you guys posted. This next update will take a little longer. I want to give you the rest of the chapter and it is a long one. It is pretty exciting though so I can't wait to finish.
Oh and by the way, I have been working on a little Christmas surprise. Just make sure that on Christmas day you all come and check the forum. I promise you won't be disappointed MUHAHAHAHA
A surprise?!? Grundle please tell us you are also translating "A Step In The Past!"
How much is left in Step anyways? If it is getting close and the other translators agree I just might feel benevolent and finish it out.
UPDATE: I just checked and holy crap! There are still about 89 chapters left. That novel is HUGE!
Last edited by Grundle; 12-14-10 at 01:30 PM.
yeah there's still about 1/3 of the novel left (or 40%...something like that). We used to have Jean but then she got preoccupied with work and her new baby. Justin was translating after that, but I think he got recalled to military service...and Ren WoXing is very busy with rl and only had time to translate 4 or 5 chapters....
Nothing since then
I know a lot of people like myself are getting a bit stir-crazy and desperate. If you can consider translating this....your efforts would be enshrined and worshipped by the SitP zealots (like myself)
Actually I'd prefer you stay with Legend of the Longsword Master. SitP has had a lot of love and development (including the days Justin was releasing 2-3 chapters a day), which I think this book needs.
@bchin - Although it is an intriguing idea, I think that step has a very devoted group of translators already working on it. I am also a step zealot, but if I put my efforts into it, then this work would suffer. Even though it is not quite so popular as step I do know of several guys that would probably hunt me down if I did that (yikes!)
@CNProf - I agree with you. When step stops, many have jumped to fill the gap, but I don't think anyone would bother with this one if I stopped. I think this one has tremendous potential given more plot development. Besides I have a much greater goal in mind already.
Note: Still not the rest of the chapter. Seems to be about 3 times longer than the last one.
Like a whirlwind the ten thousand cavalry and I rushed out only to see the moat was already more than have filled with sand. We made an impressive display of force when we galloped over the drawbridge in order to rush in and kill the enemy. “Boom, Boom!!”
We continued across the bridge without looking back. I knew that Ma Yuan would respect my command and begin firing the thunder gods and the two wings of the enemy at the moat were now being heavily bombarded. Like a razor’s edge, the ten thousand cavalry and I were slicing straight towards the heart of the enemy.
I waved the sword I received in Mo Nu and it danced around wildly in the air as I used it to block the incoming arrows. I took the lead as we approached the enemy ranks.
Assaults from both legions continually came.
I indignantly snorted, “Heng!”, as the tip of my sword slashed forward.
After a crisp noise two shafts of sharp wood were suddenly split like rotten wood and fell to the ground. The two black helmet soldiers that shot the arrows and I all suddenly had a stupid expression on our faces.
Was it even possible to create a sword as inconceivably sharp as this one?
I was still the first to recover from the shock. The sword flashed, and both men grabbed their throats. Blood splashed out as they toppled to the ground.
Three infantrymen holding shields approached from the right. They were going to try to kill my horse first.
“Heng!” I coldly grunted as I bent over the horses head and sent my sword out like lightning hacking at the shield of the closest enemy. My original idea was strike hard and halt his advance, pushing him back into the others. How could I have known that the shield wasn’t even an obstacle for the sword as it sliced right through it. Like small grains of corn being tossed, my enemy’s head flew up into the air. The two parts of his shield went “Cheng!” when they fell to the ground shortly after.
All of the nearby enemies were suddenly petrified with fright.
When the cavalry following me saw that I was able to move through the battlefield unhindered like a God their morale began to soar. To my left and right they surged forward throwing Black Widow’s siege army into confusion.
At that moment a group of enemy cavalry was approaching from the left. When I saw the banner I knew that Ge Zhan was personally leading the cavalry’s charge. I thought to myself that he was near the top of my list of people to kill, ranking second behind the Emperor. It was clear that Ge Zhan was extremely cunning. He was going to attack us right in the middle in order to cut our group in two and then eliminate us one by one.
How could I let him have is way? I turned the horse around while my sword continued to weave unimpeded. Enemy swords snapped while flesh and blood flew around as I cut a bloody path through the battlefield towards Ge Zhan’s legion to meet his charge head on. I heard the sound of the bugle blowing beside me with commands for the armies to advance and retreat. “HONG HONG HONG!”
The thunder gods lived up to their fame as they continued to decimate the entire battlefield.
In the blink of an eye the head of Ge Zhan’s cavalry met mine. I was leading out in front of our cavalry and just like the sharp point and indomitable edge of an invincible blade we struck. With my own transcendent sword skill along with the amazing sword, I unexpectedly had no response to my attack. By this time, as I rushed to meet the enemy they all moved to avoid me.
Ge Zhan’s soldiers were much stronger, but they still had a hard time holding back the awesome might of my precious sword.
I began to kill everything. As long as it looked like it had a black helmet the precious blade would penetrate without any hesitation. My body was covered with blood and the deafening roar of battle made me feel both numb and excited.
Suddenly a sword thrust came from my right. The wind whistled and it was obvious that the enemy was an extraordinary master. I felt a cold shiver of fear as I slashed my sword in response.
The enemy probably knew the precious sword’s sharpness was unparallelled and avoided the blade entirely. His blade dropped instead, slicing towards my thigh.
I yanked the horse’s head at the same time and the horse turned around allowing me to seize the chance to avoid my opponent’s cunning strike. When I finally met my opponent face to face it turned out to be none other than Ge Zhan. It was exactly the hated enemy who I wanted to meet.
I roared, “Ge Zhan! Don’t think you will leave this place alive!” I nudged my horse’s belly and the horse rushed forward while I ingeniously shifted my sword through the air, but I was quickly surrounded. On both sides of me three black helmet soldiers were suddenly decapitated and I quickly followed by thrusting straight towards Ge Zhan’s throat.
All around me the black helmet warriors were scrambling to get away as they trembled in fear.
In this situation I didn’t expect Ge Zhan to respond so bravely as he took one of the large black shields and swung it’s edge to meet my sword. It was an extremely clever move because if he tried to block my unstoppable sword, it would slice through and he would be dead, but by using the long edge of the shield, even with my sword I couldn’t reach him. Still, it wouldn’t be so simple to deal with me. Even without the precious sword he is still not my match.
As he waved the shield it obstructed his line of sight. I ducked and as my body bent I noticed his sword wouldn’t be able to cover his blind spot in time. The precious sword stretched and spit out diagonally to sting his right rib, while the faint sound of wind and thunder began to rise.
Ge Zhan was worthy to be called a master swordsman. The shield sweep came up empty he already knew he was in trouble so he pulled back hard on his horse’s reigns. The horse was also a one in a million horse and unexpectedly with a “clop clop clop” it retreated three steps and avoided my sword. I let a laugh escape as I urged my horse forward and chased the retreating enemy. Ge Zhan unleashed a chop using all of his skill and backed by his full strength.
There was nothing fancy about this move but it carried with it a powerful energy full of desperation. The victory between thousands of cavalry would be decided on this battlefield. Ge Zhan knew that he had no more room to retreat because if he retreated again how could he regain his momentum again. Raising up the shield he tried to stop me again.
All around me people retreated like a flood as the might of my sword became so intimidating it broke their courage.
Before long it looked like everyone else disappeared.
Now only Ge Zhan remained before my eyes and the slightest movement he made didn’t escape my scrutiny. “DANG!” The precious slammed into his shield.
Ge Zhan thought he could use the same trick twice and tried to overwhelm my sword with a swipe of the shield, but I cleverly shifted my sword in a circle before slanting it at an odd angle that would be difficult to predict where it would go next, even as he chopped with the shield. “DANG!” The shield revealed a network of cracks like a spiderweb, then it seemed to disintegrate and sprinkle to the ground like falling sand and gravel. It was clear that this one strike of his carried tremendous force.
Immediately Ge Zhan let out a miserable shriek as the hand he held the shattered shield with had also been ripped open and was drenched in blood. As he screamed he quickly retreated.
I immediately nudged my horse to pursue while shouting, “Ge Zhan, that day when you tortured my father did you ever think a day like this would come?” A look of fear spread across Ge Zhan’s face as he looked to his left and right only to see that the men who once pledged oaths of loyalty to him had all retreated far away leaving him to fight alone.
My sword chased him again and whistled loudly as it sliced through the wind.
Like a trapped beast he roared and moved to block with his sword. In his desperation he already forgot that my precious sword could cut through metal like butter. “Clang!”
I withdrew my sword.
Ge Zhan immediately slumped back into the saddle as a look of disbelief appeared on his face.
His broken sword fell. Blood appeared and began to drip down Ge Zhan’s face. Starting from his forehead it moved down to his eyebrows and this dripped down to the tip of his nose.
The expression in his eyes suddenly went blank before he crashed to the ground.
This cruel person finally died miserably on the battlefield.
My great hatred was finally vindicated, but I didn’t feel any joy. Ge Zhan was only a tool used by the Emperor, who is the main culprit. When the Mo Nu cavalry saw me defeat Ge Zhan their morale swelled even more which completely shifted the momentum. On the other hand Ge Zhan’s troops had no more heart to continue fighting and were defeated like a landslide. From the city gates came the sound of new fighting. In a timely move, Ma Yuan sent out the rest of the cavalry to follow up the victory and pursue the retreating enemy. “DONG DONG DONG” The Emperor’s battle drums began to beat.
Lady Li Qing Jun’s legions immediately began moving to the battlefield.
Out of all the people I feared to face the most, it was Lady Li Qing Jun. No matter how cruel she is, she still had deep feelings for me, but I used all kinds of tricks to deceive her people and her heart.
Black Widow and Ge Zhan’s four legions began to retreat.
I thought it was awfully strange that Black Widow was also retreating since both of her legions were still intact. There were only about seven or eight thousand of my cavalry left and if she crossed over it was possible that she would completely overwhelm us. Retreating like this will only cause their army’s morale to drop even more, which was basically like granting me a huge favor.
Black Widow’s behavior defies all logic.
She was mysterious and full of charm, but also like a poisonous scorpion. As soon as you became careless she would sting you without any hesitation. I originally planned to ignite the moat, but now I changed my mind. Since it would only trap the retreating armies inside without any escape, they would begin to fight bitterly like a caged beast. They were currently still much more powerful than we were and currently neither side had gained an advantage, so what am I supposed to do?
The thunder god’s were still putting on an impressive display of might.
Whenever a thunder ball would fall there would be a shower of enemy blood and flesh. It was a sight almost too horrible to endure.
I stopped chasing the enemy on the plain outside the city. The other two regiments also stopped chasing and fell back to join us as we lined up to wait.
From the walls of Mo Nu an explosive cry shook the battlefield, “Long live Lan Te! Long live Lan Te!”
I was now their hero. The tide of defeated black helmet warriors retreated back as they slowly crossed the wooden bridge hastily constructed over the fire moat. Since it was so crowded many people fell into the black sticky liquid. Because the black liquid was so thick and sticky once someone fell it was almost impossible to move. The heart rending cries of people drowning and begging for help filled the air.
Between the two armies was a wide empty space.
Fifty feet between the two armies was the fire moat. Lady Li Qing Jun’s army separated into two groups and approached from the left and the right. The emperor’s elite troops moved to fill the gap in the center and they all came to a stop before the fire moat. Fighting would break out at any moment.
The emperor, surrounded by his red ring guardians rode out. He was a tall and powerful looking figure and his formidable armor made him look like a devil. Everyone around him was intimidated by his mere presence.
Even the soldiers in the Mo Nu army began to show an expression of fear.
I have to reverse this psychological blow, otherwise everything will be lost.
Lady Li Qing Jun appeared to his right while someone behind her opened up a large umbrella and held it up high, shading her from the sun.
At the moment the sun was at it’s apex in the sky. It illuminated the corpses littered and strewn about the battlefield that ran red with rivers of blood.
Four legions retreated in defeat and withdrew to the rear to resume standing in a battle formation. The large wooden trees and sand bags that were carried by the many donkey carts lay abandoned, and were scattered chaotically at the edge of the moat. Under Ma Yuan’s command the rumble of the Thunder Gods being moved to new positions could be heard as the mouths of the great cannons were pointed at the enemy, ready at a moments notice to once again display their awesome power.
Ma Yuan arrived at my side. I didn’t need to say anything. I already saw the respect he held for me in his eyes. One after another the other Mo Nu generals joined me.
The emperor advanced a little more, right up to the edge of the fire moat. There was now only about three hundred yards between us as he shouted loudly, “Lan Te! Well done! I underestimated you!”
I laughed saying, “And I overestimated you!”
The emperor snarled and bellowed an angry response, “Arrogant child, today I will make sure you die without a proper burial.”
I said offhandedly, “I should be saying the same thing to you.”
I deliberately belittled him in order to reduce the Mo Nu army’s fear of him.
The emperor emitted a long hissing sound before erupting into laughter, “The Demoness is dead, what can you hope to achieve?”
His words were like a sudden clap of thunder to everyone that heard it.
A confused undercurrent burst through the Mo Nu army and like an epedimic fear spread like a plague as everyone remembered that even up to this critical moment the Demoness still hadn’t appeared. The only explanation was that she was already dead.
Without wasting any time the emperor screamed, “Attack!”
Last edited by Grundle; 12-15-10 at 06:14 PM.
Talking about cliffhangers... What happened next??
Thank you so much for the translating, it has been great reading so far... I can't wait to see what happens with this battle.
hee he hee... everytime you comment on this thread I check for the update... at the moment... you had 4 falls starts...
hmmm but this update was well worth all the clicking and stuff... :P
thanks heaps grundle.
Just a note to say 'Thanks!' for your work and pls don't stop translating this novel.
It's an awesome story and quite unlike JY and GL stories and I would love to see it completed.
I'm also following SITP avidly and really appreciate the effort and time of all the translators to bring these stories to us non-chinese reader.
Wishing all translators and forumers here 'A very Blessed and Joyous X'mas!'