22 To Protect

Li Yan grabbed her bow and arrows, a dagger, and a sword as she held Shijie's hand and went outside the tent along with Fan Weijin and her bodyguards.

As she exited the tent, a horrible scene of the battlefield fell upon her sight. The screaming soldiers, the scattered blood stains, the bloody lake, the decapitated body parts, the fire ablaze, spreading through the tents, and the arrows raining down from all sides.

She saw this scene unflinching as if it was nothing, the people around here were the same but one person among everyone was not so calm.

It was Shijie who, despite his low age, was trying his best to compose himself and not scream out loud after seeing the horrid, ugly realities of conflict for the first time. Even though he was trying, his body betrayed him as his teeth clattered, his arms shook, and his eyes widened.

At the tender age of four, he was seeing the cruelty of the world where men died as casually as a leaf falling off a tree in fall. He was seeing the ugliness of humans as the men in black robes ruthlessly attacked the Li family's soldiers while laughing disgustingly as if they were having fun.

Shijie, who had only seen the kindness and tenderness of the world was shocked thoroughly as his immature mind could not fathom why would anyone have fun while committing murder.

Shijie was deeply confused and scared. Subconsciously, he tugged at his mother's robes while continuing to watch the battlefield.

Shijie's eyes were constantly moving all over the direction. His eyes would avert from the horrid scene a moment and then move back to the scene on their own.

As he watched more, Shijie remembered the stories he had heard from his mother about the dragon emperor as he thought inwardly, 'Did heโ€ฆ Do this too?'

Shijie desperately wanted to look away from the atrocious scene but deep down in his heart, something didn't allow him to look away from the people who were dying to protect him. They were crying out and screaming, fighting to keep him and his mother safe.

Suddenly Shijie remembered what the dragon emperor had said in his Chronicles.

"I am not just a ruler, but a protector. My people are not just subjects, but my children. And I will do everything in my power to defend and safeguard them, even if it means sacrificing myself in the process." - The Dragon Emperor

As Shijie remembered these words, tears flowed out of his eyes. He couldn't see the soldiers of his family die like this. But seeing them going as far as dying just to protect him and his mother, Shijie felt that it would be unhonorable of him to avert his gaze from them.

And so he persisted, Shijie clenched his fists so much that his knuckles turned white, but he watched the scene of battle nonetheless.

Li Yan, who had her attention on Shijie the entire time, could feel the conflict and agony going through her son's heart. As a mother, she was also in a cruel dilemma. On one hand, she felt monstrous for not covering her son's eyes, and on the other hand, she wanted to see this scene so that he would not live in ignorance of the world.

No one better than Li Yan knew just how cruel the world was. She knew that one needed the heart of stone to live through such a world. So even though it broke her heart into pieces, she let her son see what was happening.

Li Yan drew a long breath as she narrowed her eyes in determination and took off the bow from over her shoulder. She then tugged an arrow with her fingers and placed the arrow on the bowstring.

As Shijie watched her attentively, Li Yan stretched the bowstring as the distinctive rubber sound reverberated in the air. Seeing her valiant figure, Shijie forgot everything as everything became silent for him.

As the tension built up and Li Yan's gaze focused, her posture looked like a Phoenix stretching its tail and head in an arc in preparation for an epic soaring.

Suddenly, everything turned to normal as the bowstring twanged, its sound echoing through the battlefield as the arrow shot forward like a bullet making the string vibrate violently.

Seeing this, the image of the 'dragon emperor' in Shijie's head and his mother's magnificent visage merged into one. All of his fears and anxiety vanished into thin air as he simply watched Li Yan with an awestruck gaze and his mouth agape.

The arrow flew in a flicker disappearing into the forest in the darkness as no one could see who Li Yan was targeting. Without even knowing if her arrows were hitting someone or not, Li Yan's whole demeanor changed as she began shooting aimlessly in rapid fire. Just that her shots weren't aimless at all as the enemies on the other end witnessed.

Deep inside the forest, the enemy archers were sitting on the branches of the trees of great height shooting arrows at the Li Family's forces from above like skilled sharpshooters.

Suddenly, as one of the archers was about to shoot an arrow, out of nowhere, an arrow abruptly appeared in front of him in the blink of an eye. Before he knew it, the arrow had pierced through his body, nailing it to the tree he was on.

The surrounding archers saw this and immediately got cautious but then suddenly the whistling sounds rang again, claiming another life before everyone's very eyes.

Then more arrows followed, and even more, as the enemy archers scrambled to get down the trees or find cover.

As the enemy archers fell one by one, the influx of raining arrows and spontaneous collapses in the Li forces decreased significantly, giving them the freedom of mobility.

Old Huo saw this opportunity and commanded the army to launch an offensive as the furious Li Soldiers began a killing spree.

Behind the enemy ranks, a large bearded man in the same black robes gnashed his teeth as his eyes spouted the flames of fury. As the man saw his elite archers getting sliced like tofu one by one, the anger and frustration within him exploded.

The man's expression turned ugly as he saw his 'perfect' ambush starting to fall out like a sand castle. There was simply one thought in his mind that baffled him to no end, 'How are they so strong?'

Suddenly, he sighed and exchanged glances with his companions as his Qi surged, bulking up his muscles and his physical strength.

Then he and his three companions disappeared from the spot dashing forward towards the battlefield in mere obscure black streaks.

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