Chapter 21: The Definition of Genius [Volume 1 – Between Daybreak and Evernight]
Everything about the conference room was simplistic in style, like a typical, brand new military camp. Even the walls were made out of raw, uncovered limestone and bare metal frames.
The only decoration was a hand-drawn map of the Empire’s territory that took up an entire wall, seemingly in an art style from at least one thousand years ago. Back then, the False Valley Star was still in the planet belt at the highest layer of the world, but over seven hundred years ago, it derailed from orbit and fell, bringing hell to the two upper layer continents. In spite of that, the remains that floated through the void became the most abundant source of precious ore for mankind.
The conference room’s windows and doors were wide open, but that didn’t do much. The entire room was filled with smoke. Most of the ten-odd soldiers that sat around a long conference table were puffing out smoke while arguing from time to time. Most of them were very young, yet their military ranks were all very high—even the lowest were lieutenant colonels or colonels at the very least.
Even a brigadier general sat in the main seat of the conference table! However, this young brigadier general’s features were handsome and gentle, and didn’t look older than thirty from any angle.
Over one hundred profiles of examinees were laid out on the conference table. They were currently being passed around by the officers, different marks on the cover of each one. Sometimes two officers would even fight over a profile until their faces turned red.
These officers were representatives of the various special forces responsible for this round of enlistment, and these examinee profiles were all specifically chosen according to the established standards. Examinees whose profiles were not here had already been disqualified from joining the special forces.
Although the conference room seemed chaotic, there was actually an imperceptible order. Two people at the end of the long conference table viewed all of the profiles first before they were passed down to others that followed.
The young brigadier general sat at one end of the table, while a soldier with a sturdy build and sharp, square features, appearing to be around thirty-five or thirty-six years old, was at the other end.
At this very moment, there was a profile placed at both ends of the table. Each of them was stamped with a special insignia. One insignia was a headless angel with broken wings, while the other was a vivid, life-like red scorpion.
The young brigadier general held another profile. It was Qianye’s. After looking at it for a bit, he tossed it onto the table apathetically and said with disdain, “Almost seventeen and only able to endure twenty origin tides with his life on the line. We of Broken Winged Angel have no interest in the kind of junk that barely passed!”
Upon hearing this, the other officers immediately looked at Qianye’s profile, their eyes lighting up. That was twenty cycles of origin tides! It needed to be understood that people who Broken Winged Angel had no interest in could be considered trump cards in other special forces.
Right when this profile fell onto the table, large hands already reached over impatiently. The fight to determine where Qianye would belong was about to begin.
However, at this moment, a modest, yet exceptionally dense origin power enveloped Qianye’s profile. The middle-aged soldier who sat at the other end of the table grabbed at thin air, and Qianye’s profile immediately slid across the long table on its own, arriving right in front of him.
The middle-aged soldier’s large hands slapped onto Qianye’s profile with a bang. “We of Red Scorpion will be taking this person!”
Numerous sighs echoed within the conference room.
Yet that young brigadier general just sneered, “It’s so surprising that the renowned Red Scorpion would actually want such garbage nowadays! No wonder Red Scorpion could only rank 3rd in three consecutive military competitions.”
That middle-aged soldier did not get angry, and instead spoke in an indifferent tone, “Red Scorpion wants warriors who can slay enemies for the empire, not experts who just make up empty statistics.”
Standing up in a flash, the brigadier general angrily asked, “What are you trying to say?!”
The middle-aged soldier calmly said, “The Empire’s military achievement rankings have already explained what I’m trying to say.”
In the military rankings of the Empire, Red Scorpion had firmly thrust Broken Winged Angel, who placed 2nd place in three consecutive competitions, below them. The dazzling military achievements were obviously earned with piles upon piles of bones belonging to Red Scorpion soldiers.
The brigadier general was extremely furious, his complexion going pale. He then let out a heavy snort and picked up that profile that had already been stamped with an insignia. Firmly displaying it, he sternly said, “Look here! Wei Qiyang, born of an aristocratic family of long tradition and secret combat arts profound and refined. This is what a genuinely strong expert of the future is! What part isn’t better than the garbage in your hands!”
The middle-aged soldier chuckled. “Then why have I heard that he seems to have lost to the garbage in the arena?”
The brigadier general snorted disdainfully. “That’s just because Wei Qiyang doesn’t have combat experience. The potential of that garbage of yours has already been fully unearthed by the Yellow Springs Training Camp. What potential improvement is there? Hmph. He’s just a little bastard that was picked up from a junkyard. Even if your Red Scorpion wants to curry favor with Lin Xitang, there’s no need to pay such a price!”
The expression of the middle-aged soldier became somber as he coldly said, “You better show some respect for Marshal Lin!”
“We don’t fear him!” The brigadier general was not the slightest bit polite as he knocked on the conference table. “How about having them fight after a year? Let’s see if that garbage can beat the person chosen by us, Broken Winged Angel!”
The middle-aged soldier responded without hesitation, “Fine by me! What are the stakes?”
The brigadier general leaned forward as he revealed a fake, exaggerated smile. “How about a grade six origin gun?”
Upon hearing the words “Grade six origin gun,” all of the officers immediately gasped! A grade six origin gun was the type of weapon that only the vice corp commanders of regular special corps were allowed to possess!
The middle-aged soldier took a deep breath as he slowly nodded. “Alright, I’m in!”
“I await your gun!” The brigadier general guffawed as he strutted out of the conference room, his voice echoing from outside. “This entire round of examinations is filled with utter garbage!”
It was already noon of the second day by the time Qianye awoke.
A female military nurse who was beautiful, but had an expression as stiff as a rock in a tundra walked into the recovery room, threw Qianye’s clothes over by the handful, and dumped a torrent of words onto Qianye’s head like a waterfall.
“Put your clothes on as fast as possible and disappear in three minutes! Many people are still waiting in line outside! Why haven’t you started putting on your pants yet? How long do you plan on dangling that thing in front of me? You think it’s big? If it doesn’t disappear from my sight within thirty seconds, I will cut it off, soak it in formalin, and put it on my desk as a decoration!”
Although Qianye had already seen a lot in the Yellow Springs Training Camp, he was still completely defeated by this demon on earth. Putting on his clothes faster than he ever had in his life, he escaped in a hurry.
When Qianye fled from the hospital, he suddenly had a bizarre thought. Why hadn’t he asked that beautiful demon for her contact information?
The moment that Qianye thought that, he startled himself. He wasn’t certain whether or not he had stayed in the training camp too long. Having left so suddenly, even his mental processes were currently somewhat off.
Just when Qianye walked out from the inner barracks, he saw Shi Yan, who had been waiting for him all along.
Seeing Qianye, the man who was normally as silent as a rock grinned as he laughed, then slapped Qianye’s shoulder. “Nicely done, kid!”
Qianye instantly felt confused.
Shi Yan slapped himself in the head. “Ah! Look how forgetful I’ve become! You got accepted by Red Scorpion!”
“Red Scorpion?” Qianye didn’t immediately realize what that meant. He carefully recalled the names of the special corps that were recruiting this time around. There didn’t seem to be any lower or mid ranked corps named Red Scorpion, and there also weren’t any upper ranked corps with that name.
Suddenly, Qianye’s heart throbbed intensely, moving to the extent that he kind of stuttered, “Y-you’re talking about that Red Scorpion?”
“Exactly! That Red Scorpion. The Red Scorpion Corps that has always ranked in the Empire’s top five!”
Qianye held his breath. An immense amount of joy had entirely overwhelmed him! He never expected that he would be able to join either of the two top-notch elite corps, Broken Winged Angel or Red Scorpion. His performance in the origin power test couldn’t be considered all that great, after all. Twenty cycles of origin tide was just the minimum prerequisite.
“You will need to check in at Red Scorpion’s headquarters three days from now. The time frame’s a little tight, but that should be enough for one night of preparation. Let’s go, I’ll take you out to drink!”
Shi Yan was excited to the point that he seemed like a different person than normal, immediately dragging Qianye out of the camp. Just as the two were taking a few steps out of the exit, Wei Potian came out of nowhere and blocked Qianye’s way.
Qianye sized Wei Potian up from head to toe with a somewhat strange expression and suddenly asked, “Do you like getting beaten up?”
Wei Potian was trying to look cool by crossing his arms over his chest, and his expression immediately became astonishing when he heard what Qianye said. He even felt the urge to puke blood. Qianye’s expression, however, was entirely serious, and he did not seem like he was ridiculing or teasing Wei Potian.
Even though they have only met very briefly, Wei Potian had roughly figured out Qianye’s temperament. Qianye clearly had actual suspicions about that, and was especially blunt about them.
That was what really drove Wei Potian mad!
“Lin Qianye! I’ve been chosen by Broken Winged Angel. At this examination, I’m the only one who joined Broken Winged Angel!” Wei Potian boasted.
Qianye smiled. “And? Do you want to go another round? From my perspective, you just like to get beaten up.”
The color of Wei Potian’s face was green at times and red at others as he spoke angrily, “If you have what it takes, let’s change the way in which we compete! Come, come, come... true men are also heroes of liquor. Tonight, let’s compete over how much we can drink. How about it? Do you dare?”
“What else do you have to lose?” Qianye wasn't impressed.
His voice one octave higher than it usually was, Wei Potian shouted, “If I lose, I’ll immediately undo my belt!”
Once these words were spoken, the entire area around them suddenly went quiet! The movement of the bustling crowd seemed to become a beat slower as everyone focused all kinds of odd looks onto Wei Potian.
A few men with brawny bodies and masculine faces became interested in Wei Potian, their gazes full of lust A few young men with fair skin even threw sultry glances at Wei Potian.
Qianye was momentarily speechless. Thanks to Wei Potian, he had also become the center of attention.
The corner of Shi Yan’s mouth twitched slightly. The number of times that his expression had changed today was probably greater than it had in the past year. His gaze fell onto the insignia on Wei Potian’s belt buckle, and he instantly recognized it as the insignia of the direct line of Far East Wei clan. He also discovered that Qianye had something on his neck that he didn’t have before—a necklace with an eagle’s head inscribed on the plate.
Connecting this with the bet that Wei Potian had proposed, Shi Yan vaguely understood the sequence of events.
The Wei clan was a large aristocratic family with a long history and tradition. They came from the far east, having intermarried with the Jadestone Wang clan for generations. Their forces and influence permeated two provinces. The Wei family was neither close to nor distant from Lin Xitang. There weren’t many friendly ties, nor were there any grievances. Concerning this kind of rich and powerful family, even if one were unable to become allies with them, they should at the very least avoid becoming their enemy.
“Let’s get out of here first!” Shi Yan promptly dragged Qianye away, rapidly leaving the scene that had such a strange atmosphere.
Once night fell, Shi Yan took Qianye to a bar in the city. Not long after they sat down, Wei Potian suddenly appeared without being invited.
He brutishly sat facing Qianye, slapping the table forcefully and shouting, “Lin Qianye! Did you think that I wouldn’t be able to find you if you hid here? My Wei family has quite a few people in the city of Xiangyang.”
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