Chapter 22: Trip through the Skies [Volume 1 – Between Daybreak and Evernight]
“Seeing who can drink more, of course!”
Wei Potian clapped his hands with a very confident air about him.
Busy footsteps came from the stairs as a dozen beautiful girls approached in a single file, every one of them embracing a bottle of strong liquor. Just by looking at that exquisite packaging, one could tell that they were all high-grade stuff.
Wei Potian took two bottles and just broke both of them at the neck. Passing one to Qianye, he said, “Down half a bottle first! How about it? Do you dare?”
Qianye took the bottle, his expression looking extremely complicated.
He silently poured half a bottle into his glass, then began to slowly purse his lips.
However, in front of Wei Potian was a wide bowl. Throwing back his head, the bowl of liquor already went down to his stomach. Half a bottle would be gone if he drank another bowl. Qianye had merely taken a few sips up to this point, which was at most the amount of a shot glass.
“Oh well, I’ll drink this bottle first. You can go slowly, there’s no need to hurry. I can wait!” Wei Potian said in a grand manner. Throwing back his head a second time and then a third, the first bottle of liquor was gone just like that.
Qianye had finally finished two cups by then. However, this face was already flushed, and even his vision became somewhat blurry. If he drank a little more, he would definitely slide underneath the table.
Wei Potian finally felt ecstatic!
Although he couldn’t beat this kid in the arena, drinking him under the table was the same thing, wasn’t it? Wei Potian did not feel as if he were consoling himself as he thought this.
Qianye drank slowly, even supporting himself with both elbows against the table. Holding the glass, he had begun to teeter on the verge of collapse. Yet he remained on the edge until he had drunk the entire bottle glass by glass.
“You’ve got guts!” Wei Potian exclaimed in praise, then wickedly looked at the strong liquor being warmed by the embrace of the beautiful girls.
After a short time, another empty bottle appeared before Wei Potian while Qianye was still drinking slowly, wobbling like usual.
At this moment, Wei Potian’s eyes were already getting kind of blank, and his speech had also begun to slowly become incoherent. However, Wei Potian immediately smashed open another two bottles of aged liquor when he saw that Qianye had finished drinking. He took the lead, throwing back his head repeatedly and downing a bottle without pause.
In the meantime, Qianye was the same as always, seeming like he would fall away from the table at any second. Many meddlesome people were currently in the bar, standing around them in a circle to spectate. As they watched Qianye, their initial gazes that had been full of mockery became strange.
The liquor they were drinking was tequila that had been distilled in the extremely cold province of Plain West. Its strength could be ranked amongst the top three of the Empire’s famous alcoholic drinks. It would usually be mixed into cocktails, and even if someone were to drink them plainly, it wouldn’t be in such enormous quantities. Men who could stomach two large bottles and still remain upright were definitely a rare sight.
Sitting at the table an hour later, Qianye blankly looked at the empty liquor bottles that were scattered across it, then looked at Wei Potian and Shi Yan who were unconscious on top of it. Qianye couldn’t recall when they had fallen.
This was especially the case for Shi Yan. How did he get knocked out? This drinking competition had nothing to do with him!
Qianye rubbed his forehead and slowly began to recall what had happened. Although Qianye didn’t know when, Wei Potian, whose head was already muddled from drinking, suddenly taunted Shi Yan.
In reality, Shi Yan also had a fiery temper and naturally wouldn’t be polite to Wei Potian, joining the fray without hesitation. The one on one match suddenly became a war between three kingdoms, and then Wei Potian and Shi Yan were both defeated by Qianye.
Qianye was currently on the verge of collapse. However, it was only the edge, so no one knew just how close he was to actual collapse.
After recalling the sequence of events, Qianye helplessly forced a smile. What was he going to do with these dead, pig-like men? In the end, Qianye had no choice but to grab one with either hand as he teetered toward the hotel. He actually managed to miraculously return to his room without messing up.
Qianye booked another room and tossed the two men onto the bed, ruthlessly flipping them off before finally wobbling to his own room. Falling onto his bed, he fell soundly asleep.
Qianye hadn’t slept for long when he sat straight up on his bed, looking blankly at the surroundings. His head hurt quite a bit—the feeling of being hungover hadn’t entirely passed yet.
The time had just passed five o’clock, yet the sky wasn’t even starting to brighten. However, at the training camp, this was already the time to get up and start the day’s training. The repetitious lifestyle had already formed an instinctual reaction in Qianye’s body.
Qianye got up and showered, but he suddenly didn’t know what he should do.
He would occasionally feel this way ever since he graduated from the Yellow Springs Training Camp. The schedule that was originally filled to the limit and the pressure to survive that had existed at every moment had suddenly vanished. Large stretches of free time were now his to do as he pleased, yet it just felt unfamiliar to Qianye.
He silently practiced some combat techniques for a while, as the ray of dawn shone into his room.
Shi Yan finally appeared at noon. When this soldier who didn’t know how to smile saw Qianye, his face became a rarely seen red.
As for Wei Potian, he had secretly disappeared long ago. What face did he have to come meet Qianye? However, he did keep his promise and left his belt, adding on a note that indicated his unwillingness to give up. There were only four large words on the note—We’ll battle again someday!
Oh, there was also a huge exclamation mark!
Qianye didn’t really take this note to heart as he balled it up and tossed it into a trashcan. Whenever Qianye remembered why Wei Potian provoked him the first time, he would feel the urge to beat him up some more.
However, after Shi Yan explained the Wei family’s background, Qianye thought about it. He then packed the necklace, the bracelet, and the belt, and had someone send them to where Wei Potian lived. There was also a note inside with eight large words on it—Three debts to pay before we battle again.
After lunch, Shi Yan sent Qianye back into the inner barracks and handed him over to the middle-aged soldier.
The middle-aged soldier sized up Qianye up from head to toe, then smiled and extended his hand. “Welcome to Red Scorpion, rookie!”
Qianye reached out and shook hands with him. This hand was wide and firm. It was warm, yet had the stability of the earth. It felt very similar to Lin Xitang’s hand.
Qianye didn’t understand what the term “rookie” meant, but he could feel a sense of affection from the words of this middle-aged soldier.
The middle-aged soldier looked at Shi Yan and said, “Brother Shi, it feels like it’s been ten years since we last met.”
“It’s only been nine years and eleven months.”
The middle-aged soldier of Red Scorpion didn’t mince words with Shi Yan and said, “Why aren't you at Marshal Lin’s side guarding him?”
“As a matter of fact, I’m here for this little fellow. I couldn’t help but run the errand myself. If it were someone else, I wouldn’t feel good about it.”
“Are his circumstances special?” The middle-aged soldier raised his brows.
“A little bit. You’ll understand once you see this. Qianye, let Colonel Wei see your wound.”
Qianye undid the clothing near his chest as he was told, momentarily revealing his enormous scar.
The corner of middle-aged Colonel’s eyes twitched, a layer of murderous intent already emerging on his face. He grunted heavily.
“Now do you understand why I had to come personally? However, this child is exceptional. You won’t be disappointed.”
The time to part ways arrived in a flash. These two, who graduated from the same military academy in the same year, were busy with military affairs and had only met three times after graduating nearly twenty years ago. After parting ways this time, both of them knew that there was no telling when they’d meet again.
The next time they met, perhaps they would see remnants of the deceased covered by the Empire’s flag. This was the fate of soldiers. Yet they did not hug, nor did they shake hands. Instead, they saluted each other, then immediately turned around and left.
This was the epitome of the military. It was not the slightest bit sloppy or slow . Even a camaraderie as vast as the ocean and as deep as the abyss would only be placed at the bottom of their hearts.
After Shi Yan left, the middle-aged soldier said to Qianye, “My name is Wei Lishi.”
“Colonel Wei!” Although it wasn’t perfect enough, Qianye gave him a military salute.
Wei Lishi took Qianye onto an airship and flew in the direction of Red Scorpion’s headquarters. This time around, Wei Lishi had also chosen two others aside from Qianye. One was male while the other was female, and they were more or less the same age as Qianye’s.
This airship was very different from the aerostatic airships that Qianye had seen before. Instead of an enormous egg-shaped steam balloon floating above it, a large stretch of film resembling the wing of a bat was supported by a metal frame.
All of the joints on the outer shell of the airship’s components were painted a striking red, and there were no other features. The mechanical cabin was in the rear section like usual, but there were twelve groups of cross-shaped propellers. Large puffs of steam flooding from numerous dense pipelines were the only things that remained the same between the two types of airships.
The interior of the cabin was very spacious, and the floor was covered in shock and sound canceling tapestry. The back of the seats were facing the sides of the ship, and would probably fit around twenty people according to a visual estimate. In the middle of the cabin was a row of shelves used to store weapons and backpacks, while the leftover space was enough for unhindered movement or even close combat. Using such a warship that could carry two squads to ferry four people, Red Scorpion was definitely impressive and wealthy.
Wei Lishi properly sat in a seat and fastened the seat belt while Qianye and the others also followed his example.
At this moment, the door leading to the front cabin opened as a large bald head stuck out and said in a rough voice, “Sit tight, young’uns! We’re in a rush!”
Deafening as always, a powerful rumbling soon began to reverberate through the cabin’s walls. The cabin also started to shake violently, then suddenly soared into the air as if it had been grabbed by a large hand.
Qianye and the others were pressed tightly into their chairs, the feeling of sharp ascension almost made their hearts jump out of their throats. The discomfort was indescribable. After the ascension finally passed with great ordeal, Qianye looked through the cabin windows and shockingly discovered that clumps of white clouds were floating by!
In such a short time, they were already piercing through the clouds!
Qianye’s experience in riding airships was limited to the light-boat styled “Green Bird” and military freighters. Not much needed to be said of Green Bird. As its name suggested, Green Bird’s gliding and descending capabilities were as natural as moving clouds and flowing water. Even though a freighter was noisy and rough, it needed a long buffering period to both gain and lose altitude.
The speed of this Red Scorpion airship practically overturned the principle of steam propulsion. Qianye recalled that there was another energy source above black stone steam called black crystal. However, Yellow Springs didn’t teach anything about it because it was currently the highest ranked power source—the Empire’s strategic resource.
Qianye had not even recovered from the stunning sight in front of him before the airship suddenly began to shake violently. Qianye saw the propellers outside the window begin to abruptly accelerate, and he soon couldn’t see the blades at all. Then, as if it were being violently kicked by someone, the entire airship flew into the distance with a bang.
For the first time, Qianye got a taste of being on a lone boat in a storm.
The bald captain’s voice echoed from the copper pipes without stopping.
“Sit tight! We’re going to accelerate!
“This cross-wind is breathtaking! How is it? Does rolling around feel good?
“Aha! That’s a thundercloud up ahead, let’s go straight through it! Y’all can see the lightning up close!
“What kind of bald eagle is that? Damn, that’s really huge! Let’s try running into it!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter