As the war on the Western Continent was reaching its peak, the ancient castle on Twilight Continent was enjoying a rare moment of peace. Although no one knew for sure the scale of this attack, Qianye could venture a rough guess from the scattered pieces of intelligence that had arrived yesterday.
The enemy deployment was clearly intending to settle things quickly and aggressively. They had led the council’s troops into Twilight and launched an assault on numerous targets at the same time. Most of their objectives were castles at the marquis grade or above, as well as the important strongholds of the twelve major clans. They also targeted important characters like Howard.
An operation of this scale required a significant mobilization of troops. Even with traitors working on the inside, they would still need experts to oversee the operation. It would be safe to say that the demonkin wouldn’t want to fight a protracted battle on the vampires’ home continent.
This also meant that Qianye’s group would face a lot of pressure. It was only because of their headstart that they hadn’t run into council reinforcements and great dark monarchs. Progia was, of course, an exception.
News of Qianye and Nighteye disrupting the council’s operations should’ve reached the enemy command by now. The council also happened to be searching for the Book of Darkness, so they would surely hunt him down once they knew his whereabouts.
Qianye and Nighteye might be able to flee, but it would be impossible to do so with so many vampires in tow.
Howard rummaged through the study and found a map of the Twilight Continent, which he hung on the wall. He and Nighteye then marked out all the castles along the way that had been attacked.
After marking everything, his expression became even more unsightly. The group had traversed half of Twilight Continent since their first encounter with the enemy. Almost half of the castles along the way had come under attack, and there was no telling how many of the survivors had surrendered like Van Cleef.
The places they had passed by were in such a state, so it was likely that the other locations were no different.
Looking at this collapsing situation, Howard let out a long sigh. “Who would’ve thought the demonkin would strike so fast and so ruthlessly? Many of those sleeping fellows will never wake up again.”
The Twilight Continent was the main base of the vampire race, so most core families of the major clans were located here. Experts who had reached the end of their lives would also choose to go into hibernation here.
It was no exaggeration to say that every castle had an expert hibernating inside. Normally, the experts left to run the castle affairs were marquis-rank characters. The major clans would have dukes taking on this role. These people weren’t weak by any measure, but they simply couldn’t defend against a targeted attack from the Evernight Council.
These sleeping experts were the race’s true losses. If they could be awakened, they would surely form a formidable fighting force. The Demon King had used the new world as a pretext to mobilize the Evernight Council’s forces, and Medanzo helped keep the operation covered up. The demonkin would never leave these hibernating experts an opportunity to wake up.
Even the Dark Gospel Howard would’ve fallen if Qianye and Nighteye hadn’t arrived on time and injured the Masefield Clan Lord.
Qianye walked over and observed the map with a frown. “I’m guessing most of the secret hideouts have been compromised as well.”
“Very likely.” Howard looked rather worried. Medanzo knew about most of the shared secret realms. The private ones didn’t need to be reported, but they wouldn’t remain hidden for long if there were high-ranking traitors in the clan. This meant that the secret realms were no longer safe.
“Retreat from Twilight,” Qianye said all of a sudden.
“Why?” Howard and Nighteye were puzzled.
To the vampire race, Twilight wasn’t just their home but also their totem and religion. Every clan possessed their own territory here where they would build a castle to enshrine their glory. And yet Qianye was asking them to pull out.
Qianye said, “All the secret realms here are probably unveiled. Even the ones controlled by princes and great dark monarchs. Also, there aren’t a lot of vampires left for us to save. Among the ones we have left, half of them are of an ambiguous stance, and there should be quite a few who have surrendered like Van Cleef. The survivors we’ve saved might not be a lot, but they still number in the tens of thousands. They’ll become a massive target no matter where we put them.”
Howard nodded thoughtfully.
“Twilight is located at the heart of all middle continents, a hub that connects various others. That’s also the reason why it’s not suited for defense. The demonkins possess great mobility and assault capabilities. They can amass a big army any time, and we cannot hold them off on Twilight.”
Even Nighteye was nodding this time. Qianye understood the demonkins’ strategy quite well after fighting them for many years.
If this were an upright war, the vampires were confident they could hold their own against the council’s allied army. With Medanzo around, however, the vampire race’s hidden cards would easily be disrupted.
“The enemy’s weakness is clear, they don’t have enough manpower. That’s why they’re using an elite force strategy. Every soldier, every warship, and every expert has better equipment, gear, and training compared to the other races. This results in a superior fighting force at a much higher cost. For the same number of soldiers lost, they will suffer more and have a harder time replenishing them. In short, they aren’t built for a protracted war of attrition.”
Back in Blacksun Valley, Song Zining’s exchange tactics were mostly targeted at the demonkin. They did not have the werewolves on their side at the time, which deprived them of high-quality cannon fodder. Now that Qianye was mentioning this, it was evident that he had pinpointed their weakness.
“We can’t afford to exhaust our forces, either,” said Howard. The vampires they had gathered were only about the force of a single vampire clan. That was comparing them to a clan like the Carltons, which had members with no combat experience.
“Of course, we can’t fight a large-scale battle of attrition. That’s why we need to rely on geography to lock down the demonkin with a smaller force. We’ll find such a place and fight a defensive battle against them.”
“There is such a place, but what will you do about air attacks?”
“I can lock down the air with my Martyr’s Palace.”
Howard’s brows relaxed a bit. “Things will be a lot easier if they cannot fly their airships in. I know a suitable place on the Dawn Continent.”
“Dawn? Isn’t that a higher continent?” Nighteye said.
“Correct. I accidentally discovered the flight route to a half-concealed region while exploring the upper continents. The environment is adverse, but the mountains on every side serve to block out the scorching wind, so survival is not a problem. At first, I planned to hand that region over at the end of my life and exchange some resources for my descendants. Who would’ve thought it would come in handy now?”
“Is the void route stable?” Qianye asked.
“It’s stable, but the paths are winding and complicated, so high-speed flight is impossible. This is exactly what we want under present circumstances.”
Qianye pondered for a while. “Then we can set up an asylum on the Dawn Continent for the direct descendants of the clans. The ordinary vampires and some vassal families can head to Fort Continent. My territory there views every race as equals, they can find work and shelter there. If possible, we should discuss this matter with William and find out the Summit of Peak’s attitude. I’m curious whether the werewolves and arachne will see themselves as the next target after the demonkin have wiped out the vampires. I think the Summit of Peaks will have to think hard about this.”
“That’s settled then. I’ll head off to save some people and make arrangements for transportation,” said Howard.
“What about the Perth clan?” Qianye asked. This problem was a headache for both Nighteye and Howard.
Nighteye gestured for Howard to do the explanations. Howard said, “The Perths are the descendants of the Queen, so their status is special. The clan’s internal affairs are managed by one of the active great dark monarchs or crowned princes. I also managed their family for a couple of decades.”
Qianye was surprised. “This system is rather interesting. Does the Perth clan not fear outsiders interfering with their clan?”
Howard said, “They say manage, but in truth, we’re just there to protect the clan. I would never meddle in their true internal issues. I even had to supply some resources when they needed them. Who would really dare to touch their family with the Queen around?”
Qianye finally understood. It turned out that this management role wasn’t a fun job. Not only would they have to put in the effort and money, but they also couldn’t even make any real decisions.
“Currently, Medanzo is the one managing the clan. After all, Reynold woke up fairly recently, and it wasn’t even his active period. What we don’t know is how deep Medanzo has his hands in the clan. We also don’t know if the Perth clansmen have turned.”
Qianye nodded. “I understand now. We definitely can’t remain on Twilight anymore.”
“Let’s split up here. I might not be very useful in my current state, but I can take care of myself. I’ll wait for you at the designated location after I round up the other families.”
“Very well.” Qianye nodded.
The Dark Gospel Howard was a crowned prince. Even though his blood seal had faded, he wasn’t a character ordinary dukes could match. There would be no danger for him unless he was unfortunate enough to run into great dark monarchs like the Masefield Clan Lord.
Qianye and Nighteye would move together. The trio thus divided the territories to work on and left the ancient castle. They decided to spend only three days on search and rescue. Once the time was up, they would meet up at a designated secret realm to start moving the vampires away from Twilight.
By the time of Qianye’s departure, Van Cleef had more or less finished rounding up the captives and stripping the castle. Perhaps because he wanted to recoup the losses of his castle, he took everything in this one, even Eir’s funeral objects. Even some of the murals and sculptures were taken away.
After his departure, the entire ancient castle was completely barren, as though a locust swarm had just passed by.
In the castle’s destroyed blood-pond chamber, long after everyone was gone. A coffin slowly opened up in an inconspicuous corner, and a viscount climbed out from within.
The coffin here was only a half-finished product without any origin arrays. The coffin material wasn’t copper, so Van Cleef found no interest in it. That was how the viscount managed to remain hidden.
After confirming that there was no one in the castle, he left in a hurry.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie