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Chapter 352.1: Sacrifical Offering

    Bei Bei met Elder Xuan's eyes and continued, "If one person has to be blamed for this, then I am the one to blame, because I was the one who approved this operation. Elder Xuan, I'm not trying to take their responsibility away from them, but I will not attempt to lessen my own. No matter how and why this thing happened, I was still the one who made the final decision. The outcome and consequences have far exceeded our judgments and expectations, and it's true that we have taken many lives. Nobody wished to see this happen, because these citizens are innocent even though they reside within our enemy's territory. We will take full responsibility for this. I can only say that over at the Academy, the entire Tang Sect will pull out of the inner courtyard except for Huo Yuhao. This way, the Tang Sect can take full responsibility if word of this incident does get out, and the Academy's reputation won't be affected.

    "However, Huo Yuhao cannot leave the academy. You should remember that Elder Mu has instructed us that Yuhao is to be the subsequent generation's Master of the Sea God's Pavilion. This mistake happened because of my inadequate command and leadership, so he shouldn't be the one to bear all the responsibility. Furthermore, you've seen the things he can do with your own eyes; he is the academy's future! If Yuhao is allowed to truly grow up, Shrek will always be the Continent's number-one Academy."

    Elder Xuan shook his head and said, "Alright, I know how everything happened, and I trust you guys. Get some rest. We'll get going in fifteen minutes."

    Elder Xuan surveyed everyone with calm eyes after that before turning and leaving without saying anything else.

    ---

    Xu Sanshi came up beside Bei Bei. They were both quite severely injured, and these two brothers exchanged a look as Xu Sanshi couldn't help but ask, "What's this? Is that it?"

    He Caitou touched his round and bald head as he said, "I think there was nothing much to this in the first place, and you guys are overthinking things. What else can happen? Everything has already happened.

    "Furthermore, nobody knows that we were the perpetrators. The truth is, I think Dong'er's speech swayed Elder Xuan the most. How many people would have died if such frightening weapons had been used on the battlefield instead? This enormous explosion occurred underground where it was sealed off, and even then it had such a tremendous effect on the surface. What if this explosion went off on the surface instead? I calculated the explosion's force, and I can tell from its impact that this explosion was equivalent to ten or more Class 9 stationary cannon shells going off at the same time!

    "What are Class 9 stationary cannon shells? A single one can destroy an entire small city, and it can wipe out an entire legion out of existence! This explosion was intense and violent, but I believe the death count isn't as high as it seems, either."

    "Why?" Xiao Xiao asked doubtfully. "That explosion seemed to sweep across the entire city. Dust and smoke billowed throughout the sky, and there were also terrifying shockwaves! It felt like the apocalypse was upon us!"

    He Caitou answered, "Trust the professional. Little junior brother was involved, so he couldn't calculate as calmly as I did. Let me ask you, little junior brother... how thick were the warehouse's walls, and what were they made of?"

    Huo Yuhao replied without hesitation. "The walls were constructed mainly of alloys and granite. The alloys were more than two meters thick, and the granite behind them was at least fifteen meters thick. Their design during construction probably relied on the alloys' toughness and the granite's thickness and hardness for perfect underground support and defense."

    He Caitou nodded. "That's it. Since that's the case, the first instant after the great explosion in this large underground warehouse would have released enormous amounts of heat that would have expanded outwards. However, that expansion process would have been barricaded by so many tough blockades. How much force could leak onto the surface?

    "I believe your calculations are correct. The release of high temperatures that were compressed within the underground warehouse from this vigorous explosion would definitely destroy those soul tools, while most of the rare metals would melt, and some would be mixed with stone and gravel and thus would no longer be usable. I believe we have perfectly achieved our goal, and the only problem that we didn't think about was that the expanding heat caused some Class 9 stationary soul cannon shells stored in another nearby warehouse to detonate!

    "That warehouse was used to store Class 9 shells, so that means its defenses and layering must have been a lot tougher and stronger than the warehouse you guys were in. Illustrious Virtue Hall had been robbed before, so they've learned their lesson from that experience. How could they not be careful?"

    "Therefore, if the underground defenses were so strong, the explosive impact wouldn't shift horizontally. Instead, it would be pressed to explode upwards, and the explosion caused those vigorous tremors and a minor earthquake, just as Huo Yuhao had predicted. However, those Class 9 stationary soul cannon shells increased this earthquake's magnitude. The hurricane of sand and stone that we saw earlier came from the sand and stone that this explosion carried into the sky, and it swept across the entire city. But the region at the explosion's epicenter suffered the heaviest losses, and that region is far smaller than one-third of Radiant City.

    "People will die, and the number won't be small. However, claiming that one-third of the entire city's population will die is impossible. Destroying those underground warehouses was the real blow that we have dealt the Sun Moon Empire this time."

    Huo Yuhao nodded continuously as he listened to He Caitou's analysis. He felt a lot better with his second senior brother's reminders, and his train of thought cleared up. Some of He Caitou's words were shots in the dark, but not everything he had said came from pure conjecture. Huo Yuhao dug into his memory and confirmed He Caitou's analysis.

    Xiao Xiao laughed and said, "When did you become so smart, Caitou? Why haven't I felt this way before?"

    "Uh..." He Caitou immediately felt as if he had spoken a little too much today. He smiled sheepishly and said, "I was worried that little junior brother would overthink things. I want to take this opinion to Elder Xuan, and I think he will find this matter a lot easier to accept if I do that." He Caitou instantly tucked his tail in and ran away.

    Jiang Nannan heaved a faint sigh and said, "War is the cruelest thing. I hope our actions will delay the war, and it would be better still if the war didn't happen at all."

    Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, "That'll be very difficult. The Holy Ghost Church is strong, and Xu Tianran is wildly ambitious. They will sustain heavy losses from this, but what we have done is far from enough to extinguish his wolvish ambitions."

    I'm sorry, Radiant City. Fourth senior sister is right; war is the cruelest thing, and what I have to do as an Ultimate Soldier is to rely on just myself in a war against my enemies. Even though many people have died this time, I will not regret my actions, because I have prevented more from being sacrificed in a war, and now we have more time to prepare.

    Bei Bei chimed in. "This matter will have nothing to do with the Tang Sect as long as the Academy doesn't speak about it. After all, we are not the Sun Moon Empire's only suspects. The Body Sect is adept at moving through the ground, and they are lot more suspicious than we are."

    Xu Sanshi mused, "Pushing the blame to others... that sounds a little evil." He paused for moment before he continued, "But, why do I feel like I like it...?"

    Jiang Nannan snapped, "That's because the two of you are equally thick-skinned!"

    ------

    ------

    "Who was it!? Who was it!?" Xu Tianran roared furiously, and his indignant voice echoed throughout the Imperial Palace.

    Many people were helping out with the wounded and treating them at this moment, as numbers and data continued pouring in.

    Just as He Caitou had predicted, the death count from this incident wasn't that serious. However, the Sun Moon Empire's financial losses were immeasurable!

    Uncountable structures inside the Imperial Palace had collapsed, but the servants were all working because it was daytime, and thus hardly anybody was buried in the rubble. Furthermore, the interior structures of soul tools were tough. Even so, voluminous amounts of money would be required to repair and restore the Imperial Palace. Many of the Imperial Palace's soul tools were damaged by the intense shockwaves, let alone its various structures.

    Other than that, enormous patches of structures had collapsed, with the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy at the epicenter. The city's death count and injury count continued to rise, and the loss of life and livelihood was severe, even though the losses weren't as high as the mighty explosion should have inflicted.

    Xu Tianran wouldn't wince at some of his citizens' deaths. What made him feel so much pain and agony was that the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and Illustrious Virtue Hall had vanished from Radiant City. Large amounts of the resources that were stored in those underground warehouses were gone too!

    They represented the basis of his invasion plans. Everything was gone... what did that mean? It meant his plans had been pushed back indefinitely! Furthermore, the Sun Moon Empire had trouble sustaining these losses, even though they were exceptionally wealthy!

    ---

    Jing Hongchen almost vomited blood when he discovered that the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy was at the explosion's epicenter, and nearly fainted on the spot. The Illustrious Virtue Hall was the basis of everything that he was, and this explosion would push the Sun Moon Empire's research progress back years. There was no need to mention the number of people from Illustrious Virtue Hall who had perished in the explosion.

    The only reason why Jing Hongchen didn't pass away from anger was because he had been keeping his grandchildren beside him this entire time, because he had felt that the recent situation was a little unstable. Xiao Hongchen had been heavily wounded, and Xu Tianran took the initiative and brought him into the Imperial Palace for treatment. Because of that, Jing Hongchen's grandchildren survived the blast peacefully.

    If his precious grandson and granddaughter had died in the blast, Jing Hongchen would have expelled every single ounce of his life energy in a mouthful of blood.

    "Your Highness, Your Highness! It's not good!" A vigorously trembling voice was carried from far away as a servant scrambled towards Xu Tianran. He was clearly grieving and despondent.

    Xu Tianran retorted angrily, "What's not good? Everything's happened because of you bastards calling out ominously!"

    "Your Highness, the Emperor... the Emperor... he has passed away..."
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