Book 2 Chapter 18.3

Book 2 Chapter 18.3 - Conquering Through Fear

Inside of an unnamed little valley sat an ancient and somewhat decaying castle. The decorations and bricks on the outside were all eroded from the passage of time, and there were many vines and other plants coiling about its surface. Even during this extremely cold season, these plants were still green and replete with moisture as they grew robustly. However, because its growth didn’t match the season, these vines’ existence didn’t bring about a beautiful and heartwarming feeling, but instead made one feel even colder. 

A tall wall surrounded a spacious plaza and garden. The dark black, flower-patterned gates tightly surrounded this place. When the night wind blew past, wuwu whistling sounds would sound. 

Inside of the castle, there were many windows that were lit. The lights were bright and warm, but this was the only source of warmth in the entire valley. 

The decorations inside of the castle were rich with a late baroque style. The ceiling of the main hall that connected the three floors as well as the four walls around it were a light brown color. The gypsum designs of flames, flowers, leaves, and shells made this place appear extremely elegant and luxurious, sharply contrasting with the castle’s tattered exterior appearance. Around the third floor corner was a sitting room with the legend of seven apostles painted on the dome above and copper flowered branches curled around crystal wall lamps. A silver-haired elder was sitting on a couch inside of this room, and through an ancient golden framed monocle, he was fully concentrated on reading a book that seemed to carry just as much history as this ancient castle. 

His stature was rather small. Even though it was late into the night and he was inside of this cozy and warm little parlor, every part of him was meticulously groomed from his snow white hair down to his trousers and leather shoes. 

On the coffee table next to the couch was a delicate and fine porcelain tea set with pure and fragrant black tea. The elder turned the page again, and then he picked up the tea cup. As soon as he took a sip, he suddenly heard a wave of quiet yet somewhat messy footsteps. The elder’s eyebrows jumped, and then he placed the teacup back onto the coffee table. 

The parlor’s door opened, and three rhythmic knocks sounded, completely conforming with proper etiquette. The elder’s displeased expression was slightly eased. 

“Come in.” The elder said indifferently. 

The door of the room was opened, and the one that walked in was a middle-aged man in butler attire. He bowed slightly and said respectfully and cautiously, “I just received news confirming Lieutenant Colonel Kafen’s death. There are currently no news regarding Lieutenant Colonel Maria and Lieutenant Commander Lynch.”

The elder frowned slightly. He looked at the middle-aged butler and asked, “The verdict?”

The butler was clearly a bit hesitant, but under the imposing gaze of this elder, he had no choice but to say, “The first stage of the capture and bait operation has most likely resulted in defeat.”

The elder said indifferently, “Even if the other party had another Hanlon, Kafen’s three party group should have been enough to deal with them. Of course, one of the three might have died because of this battle, so this isn’t all terrible. Why did you come to the conclusion that the mission will most likely result in defeat even though we only received information about Kafen?”

The butler’s voice became a bit quieter. “No reason, just… intuition.”

The elder’s expression became a bit more grave. He nodded and said, “This reason is already enough. Then are they going to appear behind the northern battlefront?”

“There should be no reason for them to know where we arranged things, however… I feel like they will appear behind the battlefront.” The butler chose his words extremely carefully. He paused for a moment, and then added, “Perhaps we should add more power to the battlefront.”

The elder revealed a slight smile and said, “How great are the chances of something unlikely happening continuously? Don’t forget our main objective. You should go and make arrangements. Do not disturb my reading.”

“I will do as you ask, sire.” The butler bowed his head respectfully and withdrew from the parlor. When he left, he found that his entire body was covered in sweat. 

In the distant north, mountains stretched continuously, winding about for several hundred kilometers. The higher point was located in the middle closer to the north. A great lake that extended for more than a hundred kilometers rested there. The main peak extended directly from the lake upwards for two thousand or so meters, and three frozen rivers led directly into the dark green lake. If one removed the dark clouds covering the sky, the snowy mountain, frozen waterfalls, and desolate lake would have looked just like a scene from the olden era that had not been touched by the passage of time. 

Once one crossed this mountain peak that blocked one’s view from several hundred kilometers back, everything looked different. In this harsh winter where ice and snow should have covered the great earth, only batches of messy snow could be seen on many mountain peaks, and there were scorched black traces as well as disorderly bomb craters everywhere. 

Within a valley that wasn’t that big, there already wasn’t a single tree left. What replaced them were large numbers of simple houses that could be disassembled. A single road winded its way out from the valley. There were rows of cave entrances lining the sides of this valley, and extending out from them were steel rails that converged towards the valley entrance’s loading dock in a radial pattern. There were people bustling about within the valley, and from time to time, one would find men covered in smoke sit on top of ammunitions chests, smoking and drinking without any worry. It was as if they didn’t notice it at all, that the stuff underneath them could easily send them over hundred meters into the air if they exploded. 

There were some powered railway trains that were resting at the unloading station at the valley entrance. A dozen or so men that were quite robust were carrying the boxes of goods from the unloading area onto the trains. One of the trains was filled, and as a result, it slowly departed along the foot of the mountain into one of the cave entrances. The transport men by the pile of goods were all over two and a half meters in height. Every piece of flesh was bursting with terrifying and exaggerated power, with tendons and muscles coiling about their bodies like pythons. Those boxes that were a square meter in size and weighed over a hundred kilograms were like toys as they were carried with great ease. Even under this bone-chilling wind, many of them still exposed their upper bodies, showing off their great muscles. 

Above the various mountains peaks around the valley were cannons, guided missiles, and other types of weapons. On the highest peak, there were countless antennas of unclear uses continuously spinning about, keeping surveillance over a vast area around this valley. 

In the sky were clouds filled with radiation that seemed like they would never disappear. It was already deep into the night, but it wasn’t completely dark. The surrounding mountain peaks were all releasing faint glowing light, a sign of high levels of radiation. Meanwhile, the bustling valley was brightly lit with countless bright searchlights that covered every corner of the valley. 

There were bustling people everywhere, as if they didn’t need to sleep at all. In an area included in the battlefield like this, it was just too easy for such a glaring place to draw the attacks of enemies, and as such, it was quite strange for the valley to be so noisy and bright. 

An ear-piercing alarm suddenly rang through the sky, but it didn’t seem to affect the activity of the people inside the valley at all. Those that should be busily working were still working, and those that were chatting continued to do so. A fiery red orange light shone in the night sky, and those that were experienced knew that this was an incoming guided missile. The speed of the guided missile was extremely fast, drawing out a clear tail as it quickly descended from a high altitude. The machine cannons that were installed on these mountain cliffs roared simultaneously, their bright tracers converging to accurately form a web of bullets that intercepted the guided missile’s trajectory. 

The guided missile collided into the net of bullets head on, and as such, a sphere of dazzling orange flames erupted in the night sky, sending burning fragments raining downwards. Then, two guided missiles that were much smaller in comparison rose from two different mountain peaks before rushing murderously in the direction this attack came from. There was only a weak flame behind them, but their speeds were clearly much faster. 

Several veterans that were still chatting absent-mindedly looked into the sky. One of them said, “Why does this pointless shit have to come once a week?”

Another fellow whose face was covered in beard stubble laughed and said, “If they didn’t even have this little bit of work to do, then those fellows guarding the mountains would be bored to death.”

A faint whistling sound rang through the air at this moment. A small ball of flame wrapped around a missile fragment descended, and from its trajectory, it seemed to be heading straight for these veterans. However, they pretended as if they didn’t even see it and continued to chat among themselves. 

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