The mercenaries of the neutral lands were famous for their bravery and bloodthirst, more so for these men who had fought their way from footsoldier to general. Each of them might be more capable than the next in battle, but they were mostly strangers to airship combat.
Even with Qianye’s experience, he felt that he would need at least two corvettes to maneuver in pincer formation to dismantle the enemy fleet safely. Otherwise, were these generals planning to tear the enemy airships apart by hand? Even if they could destroy small airships on their own, how would they stop them from escaping?
Nan Ruohuai was standing at a corner, listening with a smile. From the looks of it, he didn’t find it inappropriate at all that he was inviting the wolves into the house.
At this point, a general opened the door and entered the room. “Sire, all squads have been assembled, we only await your orders.”
Qianye pondered for a moment, then pointed to a couple of spots on the map. “Have half of our forces board airships and capture these three towns. The rest will follow me to Seclusion!”
One of the generals said, “Sire, don’t we need to leave anyone to watch over this place?”
Qianye glanced at Nan Ruohuai. “His Highness the Prince is here, isn’t he? Let him notify them, whoever rebels is committing treason!”
Nan Ruohuai’s calm face turned ever so pallid; this was a clear statement that he was going to fight for the throne. Before this, he had only ever dared to imagine the notion. Even though Qianye had come to him—forcing him to submit with threats and promises—he had never thought about actual rebellion.
However, this man’s actions were faster than he had expected. He had shed all pretenses after arriving on Fort Continent and, before his seat was even warm, began taking over nearby territory.
After some thought, Nan Ruohuai hardened his resolve. He walked out of the room, dragged the mayor and the guard captain to one of the side chambers, and returned after some discussion. Putting a document in front of Qianye, he said, “There should be no more problems on my side.”
Qianye picked up the document and found that it was something similar to a voting certificate, stating that the other party fully supported Nan Ruohuai inheriting the country. The paper was signed by the mayor and the guard captain. Signing this meant putting their entire lives and livelihood in Nan Ruohuai’s hands. If he were to fail the contention, this paper could lead to the execution of their entire families.
Qianye laughed as he passed the document back. “Not bad, how did you get them to agree so quickly?”
Nan Ruohuai glanced at Song Lun and said bashfully, “I learned from Mr. Song.”
Qianye understood that Nan Ruohuai had likely used the same trick he had suffered on the duo. These two were minor characters, to say the least, but they were local bosses who could help greatly in stabilizing the area. There was nothing special about Rivercross, but it just so happened to be next to the royal-family estate, allowing it ample space to maneuver without any bloodshed.
This Nan Ruohuai wasn’t weak. He was also a fast learner and adapted well to circumstances, a talent through and through.
At this point, Qianye had already assigned everyone’s missions. The support troops that had arrived behind the transports were constructing a temporary camp outside of the town, providing the soldiers with a place to rest.
The citizens of the town discovered after their initial panic that these fierce-looking soldiers might be full of killing intent, but they wouldn’t harass the civilians unless they were provoked. Word soon spread throughout the town that the prince’s maternal uncle had returned and that these were the lord’s soldiers.
As for when this character became a maternal uncle, there was no record to prove it. The townspeople were relieved, in any case, since the soldiers did not harass them, and they cared little about gossipy topics like how Nan Ruohuai’s maternal uncle would be a prince.
These people earned just enough to keep them clothed and fed, so there was little value in expropriating them. Qianye had also learned from Song Zining this time, reinforcing logistics and putting together an extreme-elite squad. Most of the transports were filled with provisions, so there was no need to commandeer food supplies. Although it took a bit more time to prepare, this strategy removed the biggest problem while occupying territory.
At dawn the next day, Qianye’s squad moved out in full force with one warship after the other whizzing off into the distance.
The occupation of this Eastern Sun Island went extremely well. The dispatched forces encountered no setback since these little villages and towns were no different from Rivercross. There were troops on paper, but the actual guards did not exist. Even though there were some men who weren’t afraid of death, they simply weren’t a match for Qianye’s elite soldiers and would turn into corpses in the blink of an eye.
With these thorns dead and Nan Ruohuai’s men stepping forward to explain things, the people understood the reality of the situation and submitted obediently.
The only trouble was Seclusion. There was an organized army and guard-fleet stationed there, and the city lord was someone dispatched from the royal capital.
When Qianye’s battlecruiser arrived above Seclusion, he couldn’t help but frown upon seeing the burning wreckage outside of the city.
A corvette approached, and the captain jumped into the battlecruiser without even waiting for the ship to dock. He knelt down immediately after seeing Qianye. “I failed in battle, please punish me!”
Seeing that the nearby corvette was damaged, Qianye glanced at the burning wreckage on the ground. “Didn’t you destroy the enemy?”
The captain said, “It’s no surprise that we destroyed these weak airships with three corvettes, but the defenders in the city have dug in and won’t surrender no matter what. I tried to attack the city but was pushed back.”
Qianye’s knitted brows relaxed. “Trying to attack a city with just three corvettes? That’s quite the wild imagination.”
Unlike gunships that specialized in air-to-ground combat, corvettes were fast and powerful, but weak in defense. Without enough cover or a powerful expert to hold the fort, it was only normal that they would be pushed back by such a big city with a standard defense system.
Qianye walked over to the bow of the battlecruiser and looked down at Seclusion. “Have you fought the city lord? How is his cultivation?”
The captain said with an embarrassed expression, “I never met him. I pulled back immediately after taking a big hit from the turrets.”
Qianye nodded. “It’s good that you didn’t force it.”
This captain was originally from the military, someone who understood airship warfare. He had charged in recklessly, underestimating the fighting power of the island city, but reacted immediately after taking damage. He wasn’t willing to risk casualties in exchange for face.
Qianye scanned the city and saw four main cannon turrets at each corner of the city. They were in range to cover one another and also cover the surroundings. This design was the work of a professional.
After careful observation, Qianye had formed a general idea. “Which turret hit you?”
The captain pointed at one of the corner turrets. “It’s that one.”
Qianye looked back at the battlecruiser captain and said, “Destroy that turret.”
“No problem, two shots at most.” The captain affirmed the order and returned to the bridge. In the blink of an eye, the battlecruiser made one circle and charged toward Seclusion. Almost immediately, the large airship jolted as a giant ballista bolt shot toward the turret!
The turret crumbled amidst an earth-shattering rumble, sending a ball of fire into the air.
The cannon shot was extremely accurate. It would seem the captain was just giving himself some leeway by saying two shots. With the example of the corvettes just now, the battlecruiser captain also became more alert. It would be an utter joke if he were to sink on this Eastern Sun Island after surviving the void continent. His colleagues might just die of laughter.
The battlecruiser then pulled back up, not losing out to a corvette’s agility and grace as it whistled over the city. The rumble of its engines and the heatwave from its exhaust produced a commotion down below. There was counterfire from the city, but the scattered arrows and origin bullets were all deflected by the airship’s hull. This was barely a scratch to the thick armor plates of the battlecruiser.
The battlecruiser flew past Seclusion, circled back, and began accelerating once more, clearly aiming for the next turret.
Meanwhile, the officer in the city’s main cannon turret was about to turn hoarse as he moved the ballista cannon with his men, hoping to catch up with the battlecruiser’s speed. Moving the heavy cannon with machinery was a bit faster than pushing it by hand, but it was too difficult to follow the battlecruiser, let alone aim.
The warship had just circled about when a figure flew up from the city, shouting in exasperation, “Stop! You are attacking Seclusion. Is this a declaration of war on Zheng?”
This person possessed a rank-fourteen cultivation, very likely the city lord.
Qianye raised his hand, instructing the battlecruiser to slow down and hover outside of the city. Their location was only a couple dozen meters away from Seclusion, just the right distance to pressure the city walls. The turret in this direction had just been destroyed, while the others couldn’t reach the warship. As for the attacks from inside the city, they posed no threat at all.
Qianye flew out of the battlecruiser and stood before the man. “Who are you? How dare you stop my fleet, are you trying to rebel?”
That person stared at Qianye in bewilderment. He simply couldn’t see through Qianye’s strength, but judging from that warship, he understood that this enemy’s background wasn’t simple. Ignoring everything else, for now, no airship in the entire Zheng could hold its own against this battlecruiser.
He performed a salute, his tone becoming more respectful. “This is Zheng, and I’m the city lord by appointment of His Majesty the King. How can you say I’m rebelling? May I ask who you are? Forgive my ignorance, but there are no legends about your distinguished self in Zheng and its surrounding nations.”
Qianye replied, “Who I am is not important, you’ll know once you see him.”
Qianye beckoned toward the battlecruiser. “Come.”
“Me?” Nan Ruohuai pointed at his nose. Qianye was standing in the air! He was still one step away from the champion realm and thus couldn’t fly.
Qianye called out again rather nonchalantly. Seeing no other way, Nan Ruohuai simply braced himself and jumped out of the cabin doors. He might cut a sorry figure falling from this height, but it was certain that he wouldn’t die. When he reached Qianye’s altitude, however, Nan Ruohuai felt something beneath his feet and he remained standing in the air.
He glanced down in alarm but found that there was nothing under him. The prince quickly realized that Qianye was keeping him supported with condensed origin power.
The city lord couldn’t understand the profundity within it. He looked at Nan Ruohuai in puzzlement, suddenly feeling that the young man looked a bit familiar, “Y-You…”
“I’m ranked thirty-first in seniority, so it’s normal that you don’t know me. I remember that the last city lord wasn’t you, did my fifth brother put you here?”
The city lord replied, “Yes, Your Highness, are you familiar with our fifth prince?”
However, this person’s expression and demeanor proved that there was no thirty-first prince in his mind. He probably hadn’t even heard of Nan Ruohuai’s full name.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie