Volume 2 – Bloom of the Other Shore Flower, Chapter 6: The Path of Darkness
The sheriff alone was in charge of one side, while Qianye and Cyclops were in charge of the other. The three of them, with a mighty shout as they simultaneously exerted themselves, was able to lift up the gate weighing an entire ton, pushing it towards the gate tower.
Although Cyclops had never activated his origin nodes, he also had been cultivating all along and wasn’t far from activating the first origin node. Furthermore, his innate skill was Strength Enhancement. Qianye, on the other hand, steadily displayed the power of a rank one fighter, not going any higher or lesser.
A seventeen-year old rank one fighter would at most attract people’s envy for a bit, but a seventeen-year old rank two fighter would be completely different. How could someone with the qualifications to join the Empire’s special forces come here to open a small bar in such a barren place?
At eight in the morning, the three of them were already exhausted, but only a small part of the repairs to the city’s gates were done. In order to assemble the generator that had an entire half its structure fallen apart, they would need to order parts from large cities.
The new parts would take at least a week to arrive. Despite bald sheriff’s deep worries, there was no choice for him but to continue living a life steeped in anxiety for another week.
At this time, the upper continents had long since been lit with the light of day. However, in the dark season of the Evernight Continent, several orbits of the upper continents just happened to converge above the Evernight Continent, blocking out the sun.
In a single day, only from ten in the morning to three in the afternoon would there be daylight on the Evernight Continent. The rest of the time, it was night.
The round, crimson-colored moon still hung there in the night sky. According to the legends of the Evernight Continent, as long as the crimson moon appeared, so would a disaster. When the blood colored moon was in the sky, the power of all of the dark races would increase, and the primal beasts in the wilds would also become more violent and ferocious.
Looking at the blood moon in the sky, Qianye suddenly felt blood energy stirring all over his body, his senses becoming incredibly sharp. What grew most of all was his sense of smell, which suddenly became hundreds of thousands of times more sensitive. He could almost smell the scent of all of the people in town. That scorching hot smell of fresh blood was almost driving him insane!
Qianye parted from the sheriff and swiftly returned to the bar, closing the door tightly, after which he collapsed head-first on the floor, howling out like a wild beast, rolling everywhere across the floor.
The thirst for fresh blood was an torture almost impossible to bear, and this feeling of pain and emptiness was even worse than that of the ‘Euphoria’ drug withdrawal acting up. If it weren’t for the fact that Qianye had already trained up the willpower matching that of a Red Scorpion Soldier King when cultivating the Combatant Formula, he would already have succumbed to his thirst for blood long ago, becoming a true blood thrall.
As Qianye lay there on the cold floor, he bit on a towel with his mouth in order to not let himself scream out loud. He held onto some steel railing that was welded to the wall with one hand, and used the other to repeatedly slam down upon the floor!
Dong! Dong! Dong!
The muffled thumps propagated out from the bar, and the entirety of the Red Spider Lily shook were slightly trembling with the sound. At this time, there were no guests in the bar, and the sound echoed across the empty halls.
A few scavengers happened to pass by, but hearing this strange, dull thudding, all of their expressions changed, and they all changed their walking routes, staying far away from the Red Spider Lily, as if this bar imprisoned a demonkin within.
A whole hour passed before Qianye finally managed to crawl back up. Staggering to the cabinet, he took out a blood bag from within, and carefully squeezed a few drops of fresh blood into his mouth. He then instantly sealed back the bag, and returned it to its resting place with enormous willpower.
After the few drops of blood entered his mouth, Qianye immediately broke into a sweat as though collapsing from exhaustion, continuously gasping for air while leaning onto the wall..
Nowadays, only by drink a few drops of fresh blood could he restrain the instinctual bloodthirst in his body. At first, Qianye could simply power his way through his bloodthirst without relying on anything, but starting from three months ago, he would need to taste a single drop of fresh blood to control his thirst. Now, Qianye needed close to a spoonful of fresh blood to deceive his body, and let the thirst abate.
The blood of animals was already gradually losing effect, while fresh human blood became ever more enticing. Continuing off of this trend, Qianye estimated that he could at best persevere for another year. Although the resistance he had been putting up all these days could already be considered a miracle, his future was still as dark as ever, without a single ray of light.
Qianye’s gaze fell upon the cabinet again, this time not on the blood bag, but rather the military knife that the blood bag sat on top of. It was the Red Scorpion’s standard multi-purpose army knife, and its silver-plating had already been utterly worn out. Qianye had left it there previsely for the time when he could no longer restrain his instinctive thirst for blood, so he could use it to end his own life.
Beside the blood bag, there was still that bag of black silk.
Qianye laughed self-deprecatingly as at least he had an additional option for suicide now. The Mithril Bullet of Exorcism would have a sure-kill effect even against a vampire noble, much less a half-blood thrall like him. As long as Qianye swallowed a single Mithril Bullet of Exorcism, all of his internal organs would be burnt into charcoal, while his outward appearance would look to be unscathed.
At least I can die in a more beautiful manner, Qianye thought.
This was another change to his body after being contaminated by the blood of darkness; he had come to intrinsically like beautiful things.
But just like how he hadn’t immediately committed suicide at the start, Qianye would never give up so long as the very last moment hasn’t come.
He walked to the generator room behind the bar, and fed a few shovelfuls of black stones to that metal beast half the size of the bar itself. This way the steam boiler would be able to combust for an entire day, not only providing the necessary power for the entire bar, but also maintaining the temperature of the wine cellar. The alcohols that Qianye was making needed to ferment for ten days at a temperature of sixty degrees celsius to achieve its greatest effect.
Although the town did have a public black-rock steam tower, there was no way it would support such luxurious usage. Thus, the Red Spider Lily, along with a limited few households in the town had their own independent power facilities.
Ten o’clock in the morning as the sky had just begun to brighten, the doors of the bar were pushed open, and a man covered in tattoos walked in.
Seeing Qianye, he walked over and enthusiastically patted Qianye’s shoulder, “Brother, you’ve got a gamble again! Sir Zhao sent me to find you. This time it’s a bit further away, so you need depart a little earlier. As per usual, I’ll watch the shop for you, so you go on over now!”
Qianye nodded and took down a bottle of strong liquor from the shelf, stuffing it into the muscled man’s arms. “As per usual, this is yours.”
The man laughed as his mouth formed a wide grin, and he gave Qianye a heavy fistbump to the chest.
Soon after, Qianye arrived at a forest of large factory buildings in the town’s north-eastern corner. This place was once an machinery component manufacturer of quite the scale after the War of Daybreak, and it was said that they also made military-use products. However, as the Empire’s upper class citizens moved to the upper continents which had better living conditions, the factories here were thereupon abandoned.
Now, the factory houses had become the place where Sir Zhao and his underlings occupied.
Sir Zhao was very young, not even thirty years old. He was incredibly handsome, and had the cleanliness and elegance that none of the indigenous wastelanders had. Rumors had it that he was the illegitimate son of one of the Empire’s great families, and that he had treked to the Evernight Continent for a certain reason. All of the residents refers to him as Sir Zhao, while his real name was unknown to everyone.
In the Empire, Zhao was a very special surname. The Zhao family was a thousand-year-old, influential aristocratic family. The Zhao ancestor had participated in the War of Daybreak, and was one of the seven great nation-founding Marshals. Up until this day, the power of the Zhao family had only risen; along with the Zhang, the Bai, and the Song families, they were ranked as the Empire’s four Grand Households. Their rank under no one but the Zhang house.
This was exactly why rumors couldn’t be trusted. Even if this Sir Zhao had the slightest relations with any of the Zhao family’s branches, it would be impossible for him to be reduced to the extent of coming to a destitute little town in the Evernight Continent to make a living by collecting protection fees.
Though, Sir Zhao did indeed have some real strength. As a rank one Fighter, it was more than enough to rule over those ten-odd hooligans. However, his ambitions didn’t seem to be restricted to the zone of Lighthouse Town, and recently, he had frequent correspondences with the factions from the surrounding small towns.
Where there was contact, there would be conflict, and gambling on fights was very popular among the various factions as a way to resolve conflicts; it was even considered one of the milder methods. After all, if the various powers actually openly fought one another, heavy casualties would be unavoidable. The loser would of course be doomed to perish, but if the victor paid too much of a price, they would also eventually be devoured by other powers.
Seeing Qianye arrive, Sir Zhao was immediately all smiles, hugging Qianye by the shoulder as he spoke affectionately, “You’ve finally arrived! Brother, the stakes are huge this time, you absolutely can’t lose! If we win, I’ll pay for Min’er to properly accompany you for three nights. If you feel that she alone is not enough, then you may pick any of the women around me other than my dear Yun!”
“Still Virtual Combat?” Qianye questioned.
“Of course! You’re the champion of the arena, you know!”
“Alright, let’s drop the talk of women. As the compensation this time, I still want those few kinds of medicine.”
“No problem! However, the next merchant caravan will only arrive in Blackflow City after ten days from now. I estimate that it’ll be half a month before you get them. If you win this time, I’ll buy you double!”
“One bottle is enough.”
Sir Zhao patted Qianye’s shoulder and laughed. “Matters that I, Sir Zhao, have promised will never be withdrawn. Double! That’s that! The fight this time is very important to me, so winning it is all you need to do.”
At this moment, the low, heavy roar of engines resonated as two heavy-duty off-road trucks stopped outside the factory floor. Sir Zhao pulled Qianye along and boarded one of the vehicles along with two others who had sinister faces and were shrouded with murderous intent, as the other twenty hired thugs boarded the other vehicle.
These were two steam-powered old-style trucks. Since they were very durable, hardy, and easy to maintain, they were more popular than origin power-based vehicles in the Evernight Continent. Their only shortcoming was that they were slow, and that the noise and odor they exuded simply weren’t tolerable at all to those of the upper class.
The two trucks traveled at the tortoise pace of thirty kilometers per hour for an entire four hours. To one’s surprise, no malfunctions happened during it, which could be considered a small miracle. By now, the silhouette of a large city had already come into sight. It wasn’t a small place like Lighthouse Town with a mere few thousand inhabitants; rather, it was the City of Blackflow with a population of well over a hundred thousand people.
Looking from afar, Blackflow City’s ten-meter tall walls were far more magnificent than those of the Lighthouse Town. The exposed limestone revealed the twisted looking metal frame. Every few hundred meters was a mounted cannon, as well as two ballistae.
When dealing with the dark races and some ferocious beasts of large body sizes, these old-fashioned ballistae had more way power than the cannons. Hence, they were very well-received on the Evernight Continent. The mechanical devices powered by steam and driven by gears and chains also allowed the ballista reset its position with greater ease, greatly improving its practicality.
Blackflow City also had a few smokestacks that reached a full hundred meters, continuously spewing out clouds of black smoke. Those was the city’s core power facility, the Perpetual Dynamo Towers.
Naturally, the most eye-catching of them all was of course the eternally-lit lighthouse. This wasn’t like Lighthouse Town’s mere toy that stood at twenty meters tall; this was a colossus which reached a height of one hundred and fifty meters. Other than acting as the most obvious landmark within the enormous span of space around it, it was also needed to prevent the airships traveling to Blackflow City from mistakenly traveling into the energy sector, and colliding with the smokestacks.
Compared to Lighthouse Village, Blackflow City was practically a giant beast armed to the teeth.
The two trucks heavily heaved as they drove Blackflow City. Sir Zhao was indeed a little famous in the surrounding area, to not even have to pay the city’s entrance fees.
I know I stated that I was going to China with mommychu to visit grannychu and was hoping to return sometime June or so, but mommychu struck again, pushing our flight to June 1st. My trip to China is also now extended from June to the middle of July. Due to this trip, the planned double daily month releases for MEN will now be even more delayed. They WILL still come out after my trip though! Any regular chapters for every one of our series will still be coming out when I’m there (MEN 7, ATG 7, SR *TBD by Patreon*). I will try my best to get them out according to schedule, but if any chapters are missed due to chinachu problems, all of them will be made up when I get home.
I know some people do not read the chapter posts in their haste to read the chapter so I’ll be leaving this message at the bottom of each chapter as a reminder!