Chapter 8: Red Spider Lily [Volume 1 – Between Daybreak and Evernight]
From that week onward, a tall, wiry, man that seemed gloomy yet ordinary replaced Zhang Jing on the stage. Big men brought a few heavy, rectangular-shaped metallic boxes into the room. After they were opened, the kids discovered that there were actually several hundred types of firearms within!
“You can call me Shadow,” the man said coldly. That single line was the end of his introduction.
Immediately afterward, Shadow walked to a weapon box and took out two handguns, the models of which looked nearly the same. He raised them, showing them to the kids.
Up close, there were some differences between the two handguns. One of the guns had a barrel that was polished, as bright and smooth as a mirror, whereas the other gun had a barrel that was covered in all sorts of patterns.
“This is a model from the famous Eagle series, the signature weapon of the Empire’s Imperial Frontier Army. It is renowned for its impressive firepower.” While the man spoke, he pointed directly at a wall of the classroom and pulled the trigger of the gun that was as smooth as a mirror.
A loud bang caused a ringing sound to buzz in everyone’s ears, and a deep hole the size of a bowl appeared on the sturdy wall. The damaged frame and foundation were now visible.
Qianye was immediately shocked by its power! If it could do this much damage to a wall, then it would probably be able to open a huge hole in the human body with a single shot. If it struck hands or feet, that one shot would completely destroy them.
“Is this powerful? Of course not!” Shadow’s cold voice rang out.
The other handgun glowed, the patterns on it suddenly lighting up. There was the sound of a slamming hammer and a massive object piercing through the air as the muzzle of the gun discharged a green light at the wall. A sudden crash resounded!
A tremendous blast of air mixed with countless shrapnel struck the kids, preventing them from lifting their heads.
When Qianye lowered his arms that had been protecting his head, he was shocked to discover a huge hole in the limestone and metal frame of the thick wall! The outside scenery was visible through the hole!
Qianye hadn’t realized that this ball of green light would be so powerful!
The man waved the still glowing handgun, saying, “This is a firearm powered with origin power. Its power is unrivaled by common firearms. Just this low grade origin gun has enough firepower to equal a cannon. It was exactly because we had these origin firearms that we were able to beat back those abominable dark race bastards during the War of Daybreak, laying the foundation of the Empire as it exists today!”
Shadow then gave a detailed explanation of the theory behind origin firearms.
Origin firearms and traditional firearms might be similar in appearance, but the theories behind them were completely different. The mechanism used to load gunpowder and bullets was replaced with an energy compression device. The user needed to inject their own origin power and condense it into origin bullets before being able to fire.
While the ammunition capacity of the energy device and firearm materials differed, the firepower of origin firearms obviously differed by a significant amount as well. Some origin firearms were even imbued with powerful special abilities, and only those types of guns were qualified to be counted in the ranks of legendary guns.
There were also guns that stood out among the legendary guns.
There were ten Grand Magnums in the world, and every one of them wielded unparalleled power. Any of the ten Grand Magnums had the ability to turn an entire continent upside down!
For hundreds of thousands of years, there had been countless open and secret conflicts over the ten Grand Magnums, and only god knew how many supreme individuals of peerless talent had died for them. Even then, people continued to relentlessly struggle for them, like an unruly crowd on a wild goose chase.
Three out of the ten Grand Magnums were currently in the human race’s possession, five had fallen into the possession of the dark races, and two were unaccounted for.
From this distribution of the ten Grand Magnums, one could see that the power of the world of elites had been split into three factions: Daybreak, Evernight, and Neutral.
From the beginning of the training camp to the present, this was possibly the most that the class of children had paid attention. Even the children of distinguished families were completely fascinated by the lecture.
Shadow reached out with his hand to open a teaching board and revealed a stereogram of an ancient, but beautiful handgun.
It was an old, flintlock-style handgun. Its hammer stood vertically behind the barrel of the gun, it was silver-white in color, and it was shaped like a ceremonial scepter. The barrel and handle of the gun were covered in gold and were engraved with complex patterns of beautiful flowers. An eye-catching, sanguine flower was on the body of the gun, and its petals spread in every direction like tendrils.
Shadow subconsciously straightened his body and wore an extremely solemn expression on his face. In fact, obvious fanaticism leaked from his face as he enunciated, “This is one of the ten Grand Magnums currently in possession of the human race. Red Spider Lily, also known as the Other Shore Flower, is also the first Grand Magnum that the Empire ever owned.”
Qianye quietly repeated the name, “Red Spider Lily,” several times in his heart. He felt that there was an indescribable sense of mystery and beauty to this name, so he etched it deep inside his heart.
A child worked up the courage and asked, “D-does it also have a special ability?”
“Great question!” At this moment, Shadow was completely excited. With a face full of fanaticism he said, “According to the oral legends of the human race, the Red Spider Lily grows on the shore of the Nether River in the Void Abyss. Every time a life vanishes from the world, a small flower blooms on that river’s shore. The Red Spider Lily is capable of igniting the world’s origin power and lighting the star path to the Nether River. That is the ultimate skill known as the ‘River of Forgetfulness!’”
From that week onward, there were three more classes related to origin firearms in Qianye’s schedule. Respectively, they were energy fluid mechanics, gun dismantling and maintenance, and marksmanship.
Qianye’s results sat solidly in the top five of these three classes. This boosted his ranking considerably, enabling him to enter the top fifty in one go. When the results were announced on the weekend, he was in 49th place.
49th place and 51st place were only two numbers apart, yet the difference between them was like the difference between heaven and hell. Qianye already knew that every rank after 50th fell under the disqualification zone. Those who were disqualified from the training camp would only be met with one fate—death.
Monday quickly arrived, and Qianye was incredibly excited when he stepped into the cultivation room. As expected, the black slave placed two portions of Vermillion Countenance Blood inside of the incense burner!
With senses that had grown ten times sharper, Qianye once again experienced the resonation of origin power as if it were a symphony. Using he circulated the Combatant Formula, the origin power inside Qianye’s body began to surge, and each shocking tide seemed larger than the next! Without the Vermillion Countenance Blood, his origin power would have already subsided due to the lack of subsequent strength.
Qianye’s senses and the process of deriving origin power were extremely slow without the assistance of this special incense. He would have only been able to accumulate them bit by bit, guiding them to fuel the next tide only after accumulating enough force.
However, with two portions of Vermillion Countenance Blood, the rate at which Qianye absorbed origin power was greatly increased. Origin power poured into his body endlessly, causing the origin tides to become taller and taller.
Once the origin tide finally reached its peak, Qianye heard an uproar of tidal echoes. Then, following the current, the origin power just... faded.
His first origin tide was finally complete!
Before the first wave of origin tide faded completely, it ran into a new wave of emerging origin power, then began a new origin tide. This second tide was even taller and stronger than the first. Just when it was a hair’s breadth from reaching its peak, it ultimately receded due to the lack of origin power.
Dong! A long, drawn-out bell jolted Qianye awake. The time for this session of cultivation had run out.
The most difficult part of the Combatant Formula was the formation of the first origin tide. After that, the formation of the second and third tides would be much faster. When the origin tide surged, it also created a powerful vacuum that pulled even more origin power from the surroundings.
If it weren’t for the assistance of the two portions of Vermillion Countenance Blood, Qianye would have needed at least another two weeks to form his first origin tide. If that were the case, there was no telling if he would have been able to cultivate nine origin tides within the three-month limit that Zhang Jing had set for them.
In the next few weeks, Qianye’s cultivation went incredibly well. With only one month of Zhang Jing’s three-month time limit remaining, Qianye was already capable of summoning five origin tides. The cultivation rate of the Combatant Formula got progressively faster. Qianye estimated that he would need only another half a month to completely form his first nine origin tides.
Most of the time, everyone was busy doing their own thing inside of the training camp, but rumors and news leak every so often. Just as they entered the third month of cultivating the Combatant Formula, a kid beside Qianye had cultivated nine origin tides! It was said that the most talented fellow in this group of kids, out of all of the Yellow Springs Training Camp, had already begun attempting to ignite his first origin node!
That boy, who was called Xu Lang, was said to have been born in an influential family of the Empire—and he even had a first-grade talent!
When he heard this news, Qianye’s small heart could not help but feel bitter. For as long as he could remember, the wound on his chest had been there. Furthermore, life in the training camp constantly reminded him of his scar’s existence. If it weren’t for his scar, he would have also had a first-grade talent.
Every time Combatant Formula was activated, and origin power surged and raged violently, the energy would become unusually sluggish upon reaching his scarred region. Therefore, Qianye had to accumulate even more origin power before being able to summon a complete origin tide.
Qianye did not know who had left him this scar. He hadn’t even been three years old when he was injured!
This was fate. Qianye had no choice but to accept it.
Training still continued, and during the third month, there was yet another new knowledge-based class. This time, it was the theory of machines.
This was an all-inclusive course. Not only did it have mathematics and physics, it also included many other kinds of knowledge. Only then would they be able to understand the workings of the gigantic machines that people relied on to change the world.
The first generation of machines was powered by steam engines that relied on black stones as fuel. After being minimized successfully, the first generation of steam machines continued to operate in every corner of the continent. It had a lot of strong points, such as stability, great power, and so on. Its strongest point, however, was its low cost.
It was cheap to manufacture and cheap to repair. In a place where black stones were everywhere, and steel reserves were plentiful, steam machines would still be the most preferred choice in most situations even if another hundred thousand years passed.
This new knowledge class quickly boosted Qianye’s ranking. He even made it into top twenty, with the hope of gunning for top ten.
In March, the exam arrived. Qianye had cultivated his origin tide two weeks ago, so there was obviously no doubt about his success. Three students in the same group as Qianye failed to meet the requirements. They were whipped by Zhang Jing as a result, suffering grievous injuries before someone was called to drag them away.
No one had died for three months. It had been so long that the kids had nearly forgotten that this was the Yellow Springs Training Camp— the training camp famed throughout all of the reserves of the imperial army for its overwhelmingly cruel process of natural selection!
When April arrived, there was yet another new course—combat.
From this moment onward, their easy life of cultivation had ended. Most of the time, the combat classes started with the instructor’s teachings, then ended with the students practicing against one another.
All of the first week, most people went to bed with bloody noses and swollen faces. Qianye’s injuries, however, were exceptionally severe.
When the students practiced, they would attack with all of their might, lacking any thought of holding back. Out of all the students in the top rankings, Qianye had the weakest physique. He naturally received special attention for it.
If they were able to beat Qianye enough that he would be unable to climb out of his bed, they would naturally have one less person to compete against for the Vermillion Countenance Blood.
This was the Yellow Springs Training Camp, not a compassionate noble academy.
When the rankings were announced during the weekend, Qianye’s ranking had fallen all the way down to 48th, just barely managing to stay in the top fifty.
After the children looked through the rankings, it was time to go to sleep.
Qianye had barely entered the barracks before the door behind him suddenly closed. A few dark shadows then rushed over and gripped him tightly. A hand locked tightly around his neck, preventing him from breathing or speaking.
This was the combat technique they had just started learning. It was now used on Qianye in the blink of an eye.
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