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First Disaster Within the Western Foothills
|Jiang Ziya Visits Mount Kunlun →|
|Xu Zhonglin or Lu Xixing|
This chapter is titled "First Disaster Within the Western Foothills". As Chao Lei arrived before Capital Morning Song a few days following his departure, he presented himself before Grand Old Master Wen Zhong, stating that Commander Han Rong's lack of support with rations and fodder led to his army's decay—thus forcing him to flee back to the capital and plead for reinforcements. Knowing clearly that Han Rong could have easily supplied Chao Lei with full rations with a single lifting of his finger, the commander must have had quite a rational resolution as to not heed such a call—especially considering his reputation could falter through such an action. Assigning Chao Lei 3,000 soldiers and 1,000 piculs of rice nonetheless, the general set out for the Western Foothills shortly while secretly taking along his family in addition. As Wen Zhong still pondered quite some time following Chao Lei's leave, he performed divination to find out that Lei only intended on bringing his family to the Western Foothills during his return. Knowing that Chao Lei was too far away to be harmed, Ji Li and Yu Qing, the disciples of Wen Zhong, approached their master and suggested that Zhang Guifang, Commander of Green Dragon Pass, should be chosen to lead an attack upon the Western Foothills. With Zhang Guifang's immediate departure, with Qiu Yin taking the former's place as commander over the pass, Chao Lei meanwhile arrived within Phoenix City to report his success before Prime Minister Jiang Ziya. Giving an account of his conversation with Wen Zhong, Jiang Ziya clearly realized that war with Shang is very probable, considering the current circumstances with Yellow Flying Tiger's rebellion and his own image of being a man of great trickery and deceit. With Zhang Guifang's arrival before the southern gates of Phoenix City after seven days of march, Jiang Ziya obtained word of such—and thus asked Yellow Flying Tiger for his knowledge on the enemy commander's ability level. Informing the prime minister that Zhang Guifang possesses a strange technique that allows him to control each specific movement of his opponent after calling out their name, Jiang Ziya became rather worried over such an unexpected summary. As many general of the Western Foothills believed Yellow Flying Tiger's words to be nothing more than nonsense, Commander Zhang Guifang meanwhile sent forth General Feng Lin for the first challenge. Placing scorn over rationality, Ji Shuqian charged from Phoenix City's gates to do battle with the enemy general, no matter what technique he may have possessed. Realizing that the man standing before him is commander of the vanguard under Guifang, Ji Shuqian stabbed his lance at the former with great precision and renown.Unfortunately for Shuqian however, a large red ball of light suddenly shot from Feng Lin's mouth, causing him to be blinded while beaten to death by the enemy general's tooth-fanged clubs at the same time. As Zhang Guifang mounted the fallen warrior's head atop his camp gates in satisfaction over Feng Lin's victory, Jiang Ziya gnashed his teeth in anger at such a report. Once Zhang Guifang had personally led his forces before the enemy gates in high morale, Jiang Ziya wrathfully approached the former with soldiers standing to his right and left. With the forces of Jiang Ziya clashing blades fiercely against their foe, Zhang Guifang could not restrain the great anger that arose within his veins at the very sight of Yellow Flying Tiger fighting against His Majesty in full resolve—and thus yelled the name of the former, sending him crashing to the ground in a state of paralysis.
With the immediate assistance of Yellow Flying Tiger's two brothers, and Zhou Ji, the prince managed to escape any potential capture. Realizing that his true intention has been slipped from his grasp, Zhang Guifang fled, but happened to obtain Zhou Ji in the process of his retreat. In additional ill-fortune, General Nangong Kuo's aggression overcame him during his pursuit of the fleeing Feng Lin—thus resulting in his capture. As Jiang Ziya led his forces back to Phoenix City in great distress and rage over the reality of the situation, Zhang Guifang had meanwhile placed both captured generals within prisoner carts to await their eventual return back to Morning Song following the Western Foothill's fall. Challenging the city the following morning as usual, a board of truce was hung before the gates, convincing Zhang Guifang that a short rest for his soldiers would be the best choice at hand. At this same point in time, Fairy Primordial had personally observed the current happenings at the Western Foothills through divination. Calling forth Nezha at once, Primordial thoroughly elaborated the current and future happenings that shall befall the west, declaring to his disciple that he should thus immediately assist Jiang Ziya as a showing of his celestial renown. Being very delighted at a chance to unleash his prowess upon impulse, Nezha kowtowed to his master before setting off to the Western Foothills, arriving shortly. Once Nezha had approached Jiang Ziya at the Prime Minister's mansion, while elaborating his reason for appearance and obtaining word on Zhang Guifang's strange ability, the former asked the prime minister if he could challenge this foe at once. Being convinced by Nezha's celestial attributes and great vigor, Jiang Ziya ordered the board of truce to be removed at once. With Feng Lin's immediate departure before the city gates to offer challenge upon the realization of the board's disappearance, Nezha approached the enemy commander while lashing violently with his renowned lance of fire. Clearly realizing that Nezha is more than likely a celestial being due his uncultured manner of battle and strange revolving wheels of fire, Feng Lin retreated a grand distance less he received immediate death, while shooting forth his ball of red flames at the former's face. Being naturally well acquainted with such sorcery, Nezha negated his technique, while forcing Feng Lin into retreat after being gravely injured with the Universal Ring. Following the injured general back to his camp, Nezha anxiously yelled for Zhang Guifang to show his face at once. Appearing before the celestial and attacking him with great renown, Zhang clearly showed signs of severe fatigue—and thus called forth Nezha's name—and set order—without any success whatsoever. Realizing that the situation was inveitably in the enemy's favor, Zhang Guifang resolutely charged his blade at the former with the furiosity of a great dragon.