Chapter 27: The Empire’s Twin Paragons [Volume 1 – Between Daybreak and Evernight]
“I’ve seen such things many times before. The first time I ‘attended class,’ I performed even worse than you. Back then, I even vomited, and was mocked because of that for a long time,” spoke the veteran.
Qianye could feel the veteran’s good will and that he truly cared, as he smiled somewhat feebly.
The veteran pointed at the massive flame, and spoke in a heavy tone, “No one is to blame for this. Everyone died only because of the vampires. Did you know that I personally had to shoot my older brother through the heart? All because he was bitten by a bloodsucker! I vowed that from that day on, I would never retire before killing off all the wretched black-blood bastards in this world! Even if I am to die of old age, I will die of old age on the battlefield!”
The inside of the personnel carrier was silent. All the rookies were overwhelmed by the story, while it also evoked the old memories of many veterans. Every single one of them had a story to tell regarding blood thralls.
The burning city slowly vanished beyond the horizon, and yet, the raging flames remained inside Qianye’s heart.
After returning to the base, Qianye received a piece of good news and a piece of bad news.
The bad news was that Lin Xitang had just passed the Qin Continent two days ago, making a detour to the imperial capital to report his duties. When his vice officer was making contact with the Red Scorpion’s headquarters, Qianye was already on the battlefield.
The good news was that Qianye received his first family letter, if a letter from Wei Potian could even be counted as one. The envelope was made of dowling paper, while the stencils were actually pressed, thin strings of dark gold. Looking at it carefully, one could tell that it was the design of a headless, winged angel.
Nan Batian snorted out of his nose when he saw it. “Those bunch of cunts, their things are just utterly superficial.”
From the envelope, Qianye poured a silver-made, empty bullet, his expression instantly becoming somewhat ambiguous.
He only found out that this thing was personally made by Wei Potian after opening the letter inside. To be more precise, the shell itself was manufactured; the array inside it, used to compress origin power, however, was the first work Wei Potian had successfully engraved, and he immediately used it to show off.
These days, Wei Potian didn’t fritter away his time either, working at Broken Winged Angel. He had broken through to become a rank three Fighter. Furthermore, due to possessing secret family arts, he very quickly grasped the ability of origin engraving, and could make physical origin bullets with his own hands now. In the letter, Wei Potian did not forget to send out challenges, but he was also vexed about how to repay his debt, three times no less!
Qianye scruffed the letter and envelope into a ball and tossed it into the trashcan. He threw the shell high up into the air, silver light streaking across the sky, and with a parabolic trajectory, it landed back in his hand.
There was still half a year until the military’s great competition.
Over the next few months, Qianye continuously applied for missions, rushing about on various battlefields at almost all times. He rose up like a comet, and his style on the battlefield was renowned for being extremely cool-headed and merciless as he slaughtered his enemies.
The dark races’ forces who were felled by Qianye quickly increased, and his accomplishments in battle also soared until he finally reached the top, overwhelming countless brilliant prodigies in the Red Scorpion rookies, as well as the various youths of aristocratic families!
Qianye seemed to be a born warrior, while also an assassin. He performed amazingly in group coordinated battles, but would become even more dangerous when going at it alone. He could find things to exploit in almost any environment, constantly giving him the edge in battle.
After Qianye single-handedly killed a vampire warrior equivalent to a fourth rank Fighter, the part of his battle instinct that inclined toward being an assassin seemed to have awakened. From then on, wherever Qianye appeared, the dark race warriors’ casualty rate would soar.
Regarding this change in Qianye’s behavior, Nan Batian felt both joy and worry. He had no choice but to order Qianye to go on less missions. It was because Qianye wasn’t seventeen yet; he still had broader future prospects. At this stage, Nan Batian believed that Qianye needed more time to cultivate origin power and that was the correct path to becoming the strongest.
With regard to the orders of Tiger Scorpion’s battalion commander, naturally, Qianye obeyed without question.
Just like that, within this circle of newbies and rookies, Qianye’s name began to spread. It was said that he had already drew the attention of a few vice corps commanders.
In the eyes of many, Qianye was like a newly born star that was slowly rising and, in the future, would definitely blossom with splendid light throughout the Empire’s military world. His name had already been put on observation lists of some grand aristocratic families. Some families had even discussed about whether or not they should put him in their scope of solicitation.
A magnificent path was currently being laid out before Qianye!
The only regret Qianye had in his heart was that he wasn’t able to meet with Lin Xitang even now. During the numerous missions, Qianye slowly familiarized himself with the military that used to only exist in the form of information to him; only then did he slowly and seriously realize the weight behind that spoken name “Marshal Lin.”
Lin Xitang’s family background was not very outstanding. The Lin House had been in the army for generations, but most were mid to low ranking officers. Even his father’s generation was merely a hereditary viscount. Under the Empire’s feudal nobility system of Duke-Marquis-Count-Viscount-Baron, they merely brushed the outer circle of society’s upper echelons.
The help that such a family gave to Lin Xitang was no more than a starting foundation. After taking off, he had been on his own.
In nearly thirty years of army life, Lin Xitang had fought several hundreds of battles of various scales and had only rarely met defeat. Even when faced against the strongest dark races, his losses were so flawless that even the Ministry of Military Affairs could not find any way to nitpick.
However, not only did Lin Xitang possess talent in the field of military affairs, he was even more talented in handling regional government and political affairs. At the same time, because he cultivated the Art of Heaven’s Mystery, he also unearthed countless talents for the Empire. All in all, Lin Xitang could even be considered as an all-around talent.
Just like that, by amassing merit and achievements, he was promoted to Marshal after just reaching the age of forty, becoming the youngest of the Empire’s ten marshals. Joining names with Zhang Boqian, who was of the same age, they became known as the Empire’s Twin Paragons!
Zhang Boqian, however, was another type of person. He and Lin Xitang were of two extremes in almost every aspect. Zhang Boqian was born from a true grand household. His forefather accompanied the Founding Emperor in erecting the country, and had been bestowed the title of Grand Duke of Green Sun.
Now, the Zhang House sat steady in the top position of the Empire’s four grand households. The Green Sun Zhang House had four branches, and the patriarch of each family was a hereditary duke. The entire clan was accomplished in both scholar and martial fields, and their grandeur was second to none but the imperial family.
Zhang Boqian was a once in a blue moon prodigy in terms of military campaigns. Even Lin Xitang had no way to match him in this aspect. At the same time, Zhang Boqian himself was also one of the numerable powerful experts of the empire, his martial arts unparalleled in the world. This man’s style was bloodthirsty and ruthless, not matching with his name at all. Even the dark races trembled at the amount of blood he had stained his hands with.
However, Zhang Boqian was a complete wreck at politics and governmental affairs. He hated trouble the most, and his way to solve trouble was to kill. He often spoke this line, “If all the troublesome people were killed, wouldn’t there no longer be any trouble?”
Even though Qianye found out about Lin Xitang’s celebrated figure, the most distinct impression in Qianye’s heart was still that large, warm, and firm hand.
However, Lin Xitang had been pinned down at the Western Frontier from start to finish. It was said that the rebel army’s actions were quite hefty this time, and to people’s surprise, it was difficult to make any progress even after he went to personally take command.
Moreover, rumor had it that several generals of the Empire’s Ministry of Military Affairs had begun to stir, wanting to replace Lin Xitang themselves. Lin Xitang had already been called back to the imperial capital twice to debrief his duties. Both times the situation was turned around, but no one knew how the next time would play out.
The most recent news that Qianye had heard was that Northwest General Zhao Weihuang had already begun mobilizing his Fire Beacon Corps which shook the Western Continent with its fame.
Qianye was faintly worried for Lin Xitang, but he was also curious as to just how those rebels were likely to actually be able to go against the Empire for several hundred years.
Only after he joined Red Scorpion did he thoroughly realize just what kind of monstrous existence the Empire was! With Red Scorpion’s might, to one’s surprise, even forcing itself into the top three of the rankings was somewhat troublesome. Following this thought, it could be seen just how monumental the entire Empire’s military might was!
Perhaps the god of destiny had always been looking at Qianye; right after he became curious, a small mission fell upon Qianye.
It was indeed a small mission. Red Scorpion only mobilized five black scorpion-ranked veterans plus the rookie Qianye, not even enlisting the militia. Because it was not an intercontinental mission, the one responsible for this domestic flight was once again that bald captain.
Before the airship’s departure, the bald captain and the tentative squad leader responsible for conducting the operation verified the mission’s details. The bald captain’s chubby face instantly darkened as he spoke coldly, “Those old farts always do shit like this! Rebels? Who are they trying to fool?”
The tentative squad leader shrugged. “What can we do? Since the other side’s background was substantial to the point of mobilizing us, there’s no longer any margins of change regarding this matter. It’s an errand regardless, let’s just go and return as fast as possible!”
The bald captain suddenly raised his head and glanced toward Qianye, grumbling, “A rookie will grow up one day, it’s not a bad idea to let him participate! He needs to clearly see for himself the truth behind what’s bright and tidy.”
Qianye became somewhat befuddled by their conversation, and he couldn’t help but feel even more curious about the mission’s contents. This was probably not a simple mission.
The airship took off to the skies, and same as always, they flew with the style of a wild horse off the leash. However, it was only natural that Qianye wouldn’t vomit as he did before. Like the other veterans, he peacefully sat on a chair and rested his mind. Later on, he even let out the faint noise of being soundly asleep.
To preserve and rest one’s spirit as much as possible before battle was common sense that every single Red Scorpion soldier knew.
This flight lasted three days, and when they finally arrived at the mission site, it was night time.
This place was a border province of the Qin Continent, an extremely desolate location. However, this province contained several large aristocratic family’s territories, and not even half of the land was directly subordinate to the Empire. The political situation of the province was incomparably complex.
There was a small town in the mountainous zone. Because it was located right beside a gem mine, most of the townsfolk were miners. The mission this time was near this small town; it was said that a rebel army had assaulted this place and caused extremely severe casualties.
The rebel army was extremely shrewd. They hid deep inside the mountains where there were hardly any traces of human activity, even kidnapping the fiancee of a local viscount. This lord was helpless against the rebel army, and only then did they present themselves to the Empire, which mobilized a small Red Scorpion squad to resolve the matter.
The airship flew to the airspace above the town and slowly descended, then came to a halt at around thirty meters off the ground. The veterans opened the cabin door and straightforwardly leaped down, falling several dozen meters, and landed steadily.
Meanwhile, Qianye held onto a cable and plummeted down. At around ten meters from the ground, he pulled the cable rope with force, stopped the downward momentum, and then landed after letting go.
Over a thousand private soldiers were already garrisoned inside the town. A military officer galloped over on a horse while whipping it and couldn’t help but become baffled for a bit when he saw the landed Red Scorpion soldiers. “That’s everyone?”
The squad leader frowned as he spoke coldly, “No matter how great the number, trash will always remain trash!”
The officer was very young, seemingly not much older than twenty, his face full of arrogance.
The Red Scorpion squad leader’s words immediately made the officer fly into a rage, shouting, “Who are you calling trash? Do you know who I am? A mere soldier actually fucking dares to hoot around here!”
As he spoke, the officer actually swung the horse whip straight at the squad leader’s head!
Qianye unholstered his gunpowder-based automatic rifle without uttering a sound, unlocking the safety. He didn’t pay the officer any heed, and focused his attention on the noble’s private military.
Including the baldy, only seven people came from Red Scorpion. If they clashed with the local private military of over a thousand strong, killing them all would prove to be quite troublesome.
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