Blood spilled from the corners of his lips, but since he was soaked in seawater, it wasn’t all that obvious.
Ares’s gaze looked like a lion who had calmed down after going on a rampage. After staring at Yang Chen for a while, he asked, “Was this the work of Chinese internal energy?”
“Yes.” Yang Chen nodded. “I myself, am surprised at the result. I wasn’t aware that it had the potential to ignore the laws of space until just now.”
Complex emotions surfaced in Ares’s eyes. After quite a while, he said, “You win.”
Yang Chen was stunned. Smiling, he said, “You do not disappoint the legends. You’d always claim victory before the fight, but you’ll also admit defeat without hesitation.”
Ares looked annoyed. “I am not a coward to the truth. If i lose, I lose. After losing, I’ll ensure that I will once again be victorious using my fists the next time we meet! Although you managed to win me today, you couldn’t end my life. Although your Chinese martial arts can deal damage to me, you should be aware that you’re incapable of killing me.”
“I know.” Yang Chen nodded. “It wasn’t my intention kill you. You’ll just reincarnate for a few hundred years if I killed you. That alone seems like it’s pointless to me.”
“I’m glad that you know.” It could be seen from Ares’s eyes that he was struggling on something. “Since you won, the God’s Stone will still belong to you. However, once I find a way to counter you, I’ll still challenge you to a duel! I’ll snatch God’s Stone sooner or later!”
Gloomily, Yang Chen asked, “Why do you want it so bad? You already have eternal life. Why do you have to obtain the God’s Stone?”
“For the same reason as the bitch.” Ares let out an evil smile.
Yang Chen recalled what had happened in the past. Frowning, he asked, “Are you still finding it hard to accept this world after tens of thousands of years? Other gods have long adapted to this world; why can’t you and Athena do so as well?”
“It’s because I don’t want to lose the meaning of my existence. Although I hate the bitch Athena, I like it when she adheres to our belief.” Ares chuckled before coughing. He continued, “I’ll leave now with the people from Sandstorm. Keep the God’s Stone with you and don’t lose it. I’ll be coming back for it.”
As soon as Ares finished speaking, he disappeared in midair upon turning around.
Yang Chen sighed. He had grown a small liking toward him. Yang Chen was impressed by his persistence on his belief, having stuck to it for tens of thousands of years.
He tidied up his emotions and took a deep breath. Yang Chen then slowly descended to the abandoned site.
Waiting there was, Cai Ning, Abbess Yun Miao, Gray Robe, in addition to the awakened Lin Zhiguo, who were all waiting for him with high hopes.
“What happened? Has the God of War left yet? Is the God’s Stone fine?” Cai Ning couldn’t help but ask, despite being usually calm and cold.
Yang Chen smiled at her faintly and answered, “He was unable to defeat me so he escaped, which means that the God’s Stone will stay.”
“Really? Phew…” Cai Ning smiled in delight while Abbess Yun Miao and Yu Jizi looked at each other in satisfaction.
However, Lin Zhiguo didn’t look too happy about it, as if he was troubled by something.
Yang Chen walked towards Lin Zhiguo and stared straight into his eyes. Expressionlessly, he asked, “Is there something you would like to explain to me?”
Lin Zhiguo was stunned. He retorted with another question. “What is it?”
“About what you have done this time,” Yang Chen said as killing intent leaked from his eyes.
Lin Zhiguo’s face turned dim. Smiling bitterly, he replied, “So you’ve found out.”
“I’m waiting on your answer,” Yang Chen said coldly.
“I was thinking since Orinos, no, he should be called Ares now, has been lying to me from the start, he would’ve exposed me already,” Lin Zhiguo said. Being aware that Yang Chen was told about his doings, he decided to be honest.
“What did you do?”
“What are you guys talking about?” Abbess Yun Miao asked.
Yang Chen didn’t answer her, but instead waited on Lin Zhiguo to continue speaking.
Lin Zhiguo hesitated for a bit. Using a deep voice, he said, “That’s right. What was done was planned by me after all.”
Their audience got even more confused by his statement. They anxiously gazed upon Lin Zhiguo, while Gray Robe painfully shut his eyes.
“Yun’er, do you still remember where our son and daughter-in-law died?” Lin Zhiguo asked Yun Miao.
Yun Miao was shocked at first, before sorrow surfaced on her face. She quivered, “Kashmir…”
“Yes, Kashmir, the junction between India and Pakistan…” Lin Zhiguo said. “It was me, I sent them there.”
“Why bring this up?”
“I’ve wanted to tell you that, the people who had ambushed our son and daughter-in-law were the people of Brahma,” Lin Zhiguo said.
Yang Chen and the others were shocked after listening to him. Yang Chen frowned as he started to contemplate. He still remembered that when he was in Tibet, Abbess Yun Miao mentioned Lin Zhiguo’s ‘crime’, something about their son dying in Kashmir. But he no reason to pay attention to it then.
The eyes of Abbess Yun Miao reddened. “Really?”
“That’s right. I have been investigating this case for more than two decades now. It was only last year that I could confirm their killers.” Hatred and grief filled Lin Zhiguo’s eyes. “If it wasn’t for them, our son and daughter-in-law wouldn’t have died. Hui’er would’ve grown up with her parents, you wouldn’t have left me, while your family didn’t have suffer so much.
Abbess Yun Miao looked away to wipe the tears leaking from her eyes. “How does it help if you mention it now… It’s all in the past.”
“No, not everything is in the past. I want to talk about the root of the matter from more than twenty years ago…”
Next, Lin Zhiguo started narrating the story, while the people present were repeatedly surprised from Lin Zhiguo’s revelation after revelation...
Last month, Yellow Flame Iron Brigade received a secret report that Brahma wanted to hinder the construction of the nuclear aircraft carrier of China. Moreover, they hired the first-class mercenary corp Sandstorm to cooperate in this war.
Lin Zhiguo had been deeply stressed over this information. He knew that the situation was terrible, as their opponents were unnaturally strong.
Lin Zhiguo had underlying hatred towards Brahma because of what had happened to his children. He didn’t want to watch them to go against his country as well.
As he pondered over a response, Lin Zhiguo thought of lending Yang Chen’s power. As a result, a bold idea emerged in his mind…
Lin Zhiguo secretly teamed up with the leader of Sandstorm, Orinos, which happened to be Ares. Lin Zhiguo offered to pay twice of what Brahma had paid Ares, for his cooperation of putting up a show.
The plan was really simple. He wanted to get Yang Chen and Sandstorm to destroy the the people from Brahma at the aircraft carrier site.
At the same time, Lin Zhiguo had his eyes set on the God’s Stone in Yang Chen’s hands.
Lin Zhiguo had always had his attention on the God’s Stone, but hadn’t found an opportunity to snatch it over. Going against Yang Chen publicly would force him to face severe consequences.
Therefore, his cooperation with Sandstorm also became an opportunity to obtain the God’s Stone.
Firstly, Lin Zhiguo made contact with Sandstorm and offered them twice the amount Brahma paid to have them cooperate.
Next, after Sandstorm had agreed, Lin Zhiguo contacted Brahma and gave them an offer—to exchange the aircraft carrier using the God’s Stone.
Lin Zhiguo told Brahma that he was willing to help them obtain Yang Chen’s God’s Stone, since he was able to provide sensitive information on Yang Chen in detail. At the same time, he could shift the people from the Yellow Flame Iron Brigade away from interrupting Brahma in obtaining the God’s Stone. His condition was that Brahma couldn’t destroy the aircraft carrier together with Sandstorm.
Brahma was an organization with more knowledge about the God’s Stone compared to the other interested parties. After comparing the pros and cons, they decided to partner up with Lin Zhiguo to put up the show of forcing Yang Chen into handing in the real God’s Stone.
When Brahma and Sandstorm had arrived at Zhonghai, Lin Zhiguo pretended to have been ambushed by Brahma. He then baited Yang Chen to the aircraft carrier site while ignoring the safety of Lin Ruoxi and the other people at Yang Chen’s home.
Lin Zhiguo had told the coordinates of the Sea Eagles to Sandstorm, so he managed to gain control there as well.
Lin Zhiguo’s preparations were meticulous. As long as Brahma obtained the God’s Stone through Sandstorm, Yang Chen wouldn’t suspect Lin Zhiguo as the one who stole the stone, but Brahma instead.
Moreover, Brahma would most likely take Lin Ruoxi and the others as hostages, which would certainly provoke Yang Chen.
It would already be too late when Brahma finally realized that the Sandstorm mercenaries would refuse to pass the God’s Stone to them after getting it, while the true person who secured the God’s Stone would be Lin Zhiguo himself.
As long as Sandstorm agreed to go undercover and rescue Lin Ruoxi and other hostages, Yang Chen would slaughter Brahma with no hesitation.
When Yang Chen failed to retrieve the God’s Stone after killing Brahma, he still would have no reason to suspect Lin Zhiguo no matter what.
Unfortunately, Lin Zhiguo missed a key person—Ares!
Ares himself was the God of War. His true intentions were obtaining the God’s Stone and killing Yang Chen.
To Ares, Brahma and Yellow Flame Iron Brigade were just toy-like tools. Being someone who was addicted to battles, he was glad to partake in such a battle.
From the beginning to end, Brahma was the pathetic worm who got taken advantage of by both sides. Lin Zhiguo was the mantis hunting a cicada, while Ares was the oriole behind.
[TL note: 螳螂捕蝉，黄雀在后 (Chinese proverb): Literally means the mantis which is hunting a locust is unaware that it is being hunted by an oriole (bird); to covet obvious benefits without being aware of the associated dangers.]
After Lin Zhiguo finished narrating the story, everyone had looked at him in a different light. Abbess Yun Miao was shocked, distressed, and disappointed. Yu Jizi, on the other hand, was angered.
Gray Robe appeared to be aware of all of it. He quietly stood beside them in silence.
Yang Chen didn’t know what to feel. He said, “No wonder the aircraft carrier was suddenly relocated. No wonder you would miscalculate the time of arrival of the enemies. Moreover, they even knew where we were having just arrived in Zhonghai…
“Oh yeah, Yang Lie suddenly came to my house a while back to pull Hui Lin away. You were the one who told him where Hui Lin was, weren’t you? You knew from the start that the women at my house would be taken away as hostages. You were worried that your granddaughter would get harmed, so you used Yang Lie to take her away. Am I right?”
Lin Zhiguo smiled helplessly. “How you managed to get that right is beyond me. Yes, I indeed secretly informed Yang Lie that Hui’er lived with you. Unfortunately, the idiot Yang Lie wasn’t able to bring her away. Even I couldn’t plan against the heavens. My plan failed, but Hui’er stayed safe.”
Yang Chen smiled and said, “There are actually more loopholes in your plan than you originally thought. I have to say, I am impressed by your effort. Your plan is certainly sophisticated. The only reason you failed is because of bad luck. No one expected the leader of Sandstorm to be Ares. He was born out of battles and wars. He is not the scheming type, but he isn’t dumb.”
“Humph. He’s also a guy who doesn’t keep his promises,” Lin Zhiguo said in dissatisfaction.
Yang Chen burst into laughter. “Do you really think he exposed you?”
“What?!” Lin Zhiguo finally came to realize the truth. With a shivering voice, he said, “Yo—you were testing me?!”
The other few looked at Yang Chen strangely as well.
Yang Chen nodded. “That’s right. From the start, I suspected you may have been the mastermind, but I wasn’t able to confirm it. So I tried to trick you into telling the truth. To my delight, you actually fell for it. Ares left without saying anything. I wouldn’t find out the truth so quickly if you weren’t guilty.”
Lin Zhiguo staggered backwards as he felt dismal.
“You made so many arrangements, and even allowed your subordinates to get injured. Sky Dragon almost lost his life. At the end of the day, the situation is still the same. I have absolutely no idea what you were thinking. It’s no different from digging your grave for yourself,” Yang Chen sighed.
Lin Zhiguo started laughing coldly. Soon, his laughter became louder and louder, causing him to look like a madman. “What do you know?! What do you know?! Do you know how much suffering I’ve been through?!”
“Let me tell you, Yang Chen,” Lin Zhiguo said, “I’ve been the clan master of the Lin clan for almost thirty years. I was assigned as the leader of the Yellow Flame Iron Brigade, but I had to stay out of the spotlight for obvious reasons, which is why the Lin clan has been stuck as a second-class clan in Beijing. I became the head of the organization protecting the country, but I had to face the insufferable fools who roll their eyes at me, or insult me behind my back… But there was nothing I could do!”
“It has stayed this way for almost three decades. I have been enduring all this silently, but what have I gotten in the end? The Lin clan couldn’t get stronger. My son and daughter-in-law both contributed their lives to the country! My wife and granddaughter both moved out to live in the mountains! I’m the only one at home, a lonely old man! To top it all of, I have to face my relatives who mock and shun my capabilities to grow the clan!”
As Lin Zhiguo yelled, Abbess Yun Miao slowly got watery. It could be seen that she was sorrowful and regretful. Gray Robe painfully shut his eyes. He obviously knew how bad Lin Zhiguo’s life had been.
Lin Zhiguo couldn’t calm himself down. Veins popped out on his forehead. He continued, “Other countries have been continuously strengthening their hidden safety organizations. Blue Storm from America, Soviet Medal from Russia, even unofficial organizations like Yamata Sect, the Vatican and Jaguar… They’re all growing at a much, much faster rate than us at the Yellow Flame Iron Brigade! We have the most members, but the quality has been declining non-stop! We have to sacrifice more than ten warriors to defeat one member from other special forces. We can’t even protect ourselves. How are we supposed to protect a country?!
“We’ve been craving for growth, but who’s there to help us?! All the morons know how to do is take credit. They have no clue that they would’ve been split into eight pieces without us guarding the country!
“If it’s not for this country, why would you assume that I have to please you every time I talk to you, when I’m your elder? Do you really think I have to shut my mouth every time you insult me or talk sarcastically?!”
Yang Chen remained silent. What Lin Zhiguo said made sense. Although he had walked the wrong path, it was rather understandable.
“I’ve had enough of being looked down upon. I’m also done with pleasing people inferior to me,” Lin Zhiguo said coldly. “Since I’ve been exposed today, I don’t plan to continue holding this position. Yang Chen, if you have the slightest bit of conscience, keep today’s matter a secret. I just want to resign from my position and be an ordinary old man at home.”
Before Yang Chen replied, a man’s charismatic voice echoed from the small slope behind him…
“Every mistake made comes with their consequences. Avoiding responsibility means you don’t realize what you did wrong…”
Astonished, everyone turned their gazes to the direction the sound came from.
Yang Chen was dumbfounded. At such a short distance, why haven’t I noticed someone else’s presence?! How is this possible?!