It just so happened that a new batch of goods from the aristocratic families arrived in the next couple of days. This expedited the repair of the Martyr’s Palace's interior.
Qianye modified the internal compartment structure according to the flow of origin power and built dedicated vents for the energy flow. With the help of thousands of technicians, the entire remodeling process was completed in less than a week.
The aristocratic families did their utmost, holding back neither in terms of manpower or money. The chance to tour the interior of the Martyr’s Palace was a rare opportunity, something they couldn’t miss even if it was just for intelligence.
At this point, the aristocratic families had fully accepted that Qianye was extremely powerful. With the addition of the Martyr’s Palace, he would be unmatched in the void unless the Imperial Guard dispatched two of their three biggest fleets.
The current Qianye was already quite established. With the Martyr’s Palace around, it could be said that he could dominate both the land and the air on Fort Continent. There were simply no openings. It would take a great dark monarch or heavenly monarch to completely defeat him.
The aristocratic families were fast to pull out all the stops once they had figured out this truth. Countless secret reports were relayed back to the Empire through various channels, followed by numerous reply missives.
Qianye reacted differently to the secret correspondence depending on their destination. He ignored all those going to and from the Empire but routinely captured all people communicating with the Evernight faction. The captured agents would suffer grave misfortune. Those dealing with Zheng under the table were punished severely without reservation.
When the secret letters from the Empire returned, the representatives duly forwarded them to the private army commanders. Having fought shoulder-to-shoulder for so long, the aristocratic alliance generals had become close comrades. Hence, they were fine with some minor secrets being known.
One of the commanders blurted out when he received the missive, “What? We are to heed Qianye’s command entirely without exception? There’s even a note that we should listen to him even if there’s a conflict between his orders and the main family’s.”
“Isn’t this asking us to swear loyalty to Sire Qianye?”
After the discussion, an old veteran said with a cold smile, “Isn’t it clear? What’s the surprise? There are others who want to join Sire Qianye’s banner but aren’t qualified to do so.”
“Makes sense, but… do we still belong to the main family in the future?”
“Let it be, isn’t our role in the main family already clear when they sent us here? Would we meet here if we had done well in the family?”
The other generals agreed and broke out in laughter. After the tension eased and the initial surprise was gone, they slowly began to reflect on it. One of them said, “Say, is this a good thing?”
“Should be… I guess?”
“What do you mean should be!? It is! Just think about it. All of us were dispatched to the lower continent because we were difficult people, and the reason we were difficult was because those lousy people in the leadership role were not worthy of obedience. Now, we’ve finally met Sire Qianye, and there aren’t many people like him who are worthy of following.”
“Not many? How many do you think there are? Sire Qianye has always been a genius on par with Zhao Jundu of the Zhao clan, the one and only apart from Prince Greensun. He has to proclaim himself king on Fort Continent. Won’t we become his pioneering subjects then?”
A burly man with a cold expression said, “This daddy doesn’t care if we’re his first subjects, but I’m happy to serve him! Just how old was he when he gained fame on the battlefield. I was just a brat at that age.”
The discussions went on in excitement. Halfway through, however, everyone was silenced by the arrival of a certain general. This person was fairly young at just about thirty years of age, but one could see that he enjoyed a fairly high level of respect. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to intimidate these fearless generals.
This person was Kong Su, a general hailing from a branch of the Kong family. He had followed Kong Yu here during his last visit but was never transferred back. Since the Yin family hadn’t left behind an expert of the same status, he became the commander of the aristocratic alliance.
Kong Su didn’t get there just by relying on his background. He was indeed quite powerful, having reached rank-sixteen at his age and still showing some breakthrough potential. It wasn’t easy to convince everyone with fighting prowess alone, but this Kong Su knew how to do things and eventually gained everyone’s trust after leading them through numerous victories.
The generals stopped speaking when he appeared. They all came from lesser aristocratic families or rather pushed out of them. They didn't feel a strong sense of belonging. Kong Su, though, was from a high-ranking aristocratic family. Although no one in his lineage was Qianye’s match, their overall foundation wasn’t something Qianye could compare to. This was obvious from the resources they had forked out and how they had equipped a hundred thousand soldiers.
The alliance generals wanted to change their allegiance, but Kong Su might not share the same sentiment.
Seeing everyone’s expression, Kong Su said, “I heard what you were talking about just now.”
Everyone exchanged awkward glances. That burly man from before said, “Then what does General Kong think of this?”
Kong Su smiled. “The aristocratic army might be an allied army, but that’s just in name. The only reason we had to pick a commander was for victory in battle. Changing allegiance will leave you with a bad name if you were in the Empire.”
Many looked worried, edging backward and assuming a vigilant stance.
Kong Su pretended not to notice. “But as I see it, you might not be able to claim this bad name even if you wanted to.”
“Why is that?”
Kong Su pointed in the direction of Cerulean Wave City. “Sire Qianye’s top priority right now is breaking ground in the new world. Fort Continent will be his sooner or later, anyway. We still cannot step into the new world with him and are instead being tasked with fighting a group of tribal werewolves. Do you think we’re that important to him?”
These words were ugly, but they were the truth. These generals didn’t feel that their subordinates were lacking in skill, just that they didn’t have enough time to build trust. The lack of trust also proved that they weren’t that important.
An impatient general asked, “What do we do then?”
These generals were no match for Kong Su in terms of strategy. All of them looked to him in silence, waiting for an answer.
Kong Su said, “We’ve known each other for only a short while, but we’ve fought together in several battles, and battles are exactly where we can best see people’s characters. I’m guessing you were all difficult people back in your clans?”
Kong Su said, “I’m no troublemaker, but my situation in the family isn’t any better. The reason is simple, it’s because I was born of a concubine.”
A series of “oh” echoed from the crowd. The status of a concubine-born was vastly different from a direct descendant, sometimes even inferior to the children of the main family’s generational servants.
If a vassal family could produce a genius with divine-champion potential, the main family would go all out in promoting them. For instance, the newly promoted marshal Wu Yazi came from a landowning household under the Far East Wei Clan’s banner.
However, these aristocratic families weren’t willing to split their clans because an uncontrollable branch would only serve to dilute the family’s interests and take up available resources as well as survival space from the lineal descendants. They might even seek to overthrow the clan lord. Replacing the main branch with the son of a concubine wasn’t a good thing as this proved that the clan had already suffered a fair bit of internal strife. Everyone could refer to the Great Qin Imperial family as an example.
Kong Su laughed self-deprecatingly. “Calling myself the son of a concubine is me trying to look good. My mother was just a maid.”
In the aristocratic world where bloodline was everything, this man was telling everyone about his inferior lineage. Many of the generals exchanged glances, feeling the gap shorten quite a bit.
Kong Su said, “We aren’t that well-liked in the Empire. Are we going to be treated as unimportant people here, too? The reason Sire Qianye hasn’t taken notice of us isn’t because of our backgrounds, but because of trust and combat strength! He has eight hundred thousand werewolves under his command. What do we have? Only twenty thousand men. But is that important? Not really. Someone of his character will only look at the results! In order to gain his trust and recognition, we must produce more accomplishments. If we use twenty thousand soldiers to hammer out results equal to two hundred thousand werewolves, he will surely recognize us. We will then have a share in the pioneering efforts in the new world!”
Everyone felt their blood boiling. These people were troublemakers simply because they had no opportunity as their superiors from the main family had them firmly suppressed. Now that they had a chance to prove themselves, these people were poised to become the enemy’s nightmare on the battlefield.
Seeing that the morale was something he could use, there was a gleam in Kong Su’s eyes. “What do you call awe-inspiring? Easy, we will push forward. We keep going past the warfront set by Sire Qianye and the Storm Duke, all the way until we beat that Flame Duke out of his hiding place! Now that’s awe-inspiring.”
“What if the duke is shameless enough to attack us?”
Someone else said, “What’s there to fear? Don’t we have the Storm Duke? It’s just that some of us might die if Flame sneaks up on us. What, are you afraid the blame will fall on you? Go to the rear if you are. I’ll stand in front of you!”
The first person was furious. “When have I ever been afraid? When have I killed fewer werewolves than you have?”
Kong Su finished drafting the missions while the others were busy quarreling. Just like that, the aristocratic army soon left their position and killed their way into enemy territory.
Qianye hadn’t noticed the little interlude. At this moment, he was on the Earth Dragon’s head, gazing into the distance. A forest with two holy trees was still smoking behind him, and there were beast corpses strewn across the ground. Several thousand soldiers were cleaning up the field and building new structures.
This base was much smaller and didn’t even have a kinetic tower installed. It could only be considered an outpost occupied by a couple of thousand soldiers.
The Martyr’s Palace functioned as a mobile fortress, so there was no need for him to build forward bases every time.
The airship contained enough space to easily transport a hundred thousand men. This meant that they only needed to build outposts outside of each forest.
Qianye and Caroline had discussed the size of the bases. They both felt that a couple of thousand men were the right garrison-size for each point. That number was enough to maintain a steady fire-concentration and should be enough to deal with ordinary beast squads. They would also be able to hold out for a while against large beast hordes, enough for them to send word of the attack.
This meant that Qianye’s expansion speed was much faster than before. He would sweep through one forest every two to three days. In the blink of an eye, he had conquered three forests with dual holy trees.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie