The mercenary generals were both quick and dirty with their attacks, using all sorts of unconventional but effective secret arts to break the target’s defense. The defending general was badly injured and actually needed support to stand. The mercenary generals pulled him onto the city wall and made him watch the handover procedure.
Seeing squad after squad of mercenaries driving into Pagoda City and making a beeline for the defensive structures and turrets, the general could no longer suppress the anger in his heart. “Winning with numbers is not true ability!”
One of the mercenaries broke into a laugh. “If you’re really capable, why don’t you put together a group of ten champions?”
The general was speechless. None of the clans and families in Zheng possessed that many generals. This went to show just how terrifying Dark Flame was.
A different mercenary general said disdainfully, “Your Royal Tutor didn’t last three minutes against our commander. You can keep on being stubborn if you can take a single slap from him.”
The general was once again speechless.
His social circle was naturally made up of similar experts, and they had come to a fair conclusion about the Royal Tutor. As they saw it, the old man had lost since the first move. After taking Qianye’s Shot of Inception, Liu Zhongyuan was destined to be crippled if not dead. The moves that followed were not necessary at all. Qianye had probably intercepted the man because he wanted him dead on the spot. Otherwise, with how old and weak the Royal Tutor was, there was no way he would be able to maintain his divine champion state. That was akin to being crippled.
These high-ranking experts possessed a different level of insight. Reportedly, one of them had sensed the terrifying might of that shot and claimed that anyone under the divine champion realm would die without a doubt. The general thus knew very clearly that Qianye could kill him in a flash.
It was just that he couldn’t figure out why this murderous god would come to such a low-level place like Fort Continent.
It was at this moment that a massive shadow drifted across the city wall, and the battlecruiser flew over Pagoda City at a low altitude. At less than a hundred meters away, the citizens saw the battlecruiser as an unprecedented colossus, almost as though an entire street block was floating in the sky.
The main cannon stinging out from its bow, the two rows of auxiliary cannons on each side, and the bullet holes that proved how thick its armor was—all of them filled the beholder with nothing but despair.
After gazing for a moment, the defending general lowered his head as his anger dispersed. From this distance, he was able to truly see the warship’s indefensible might. Its unusually stable flight and nimble maneuverability proved that this was a powerful weapon with no weakness. Not to mention the unknown fate of Zheng’s airship fleet, this battlecruiser would simply devour the fleet even if it was intact.
As for himself, he might be able to charge into the battlecruiser if he were a divine champion and perhaps find a way to deal with it from the inside. But at rank-sixteen, he still couldn’t do battle in the void, let alone confront this nimble battlecruiser. He simply couldn’t overrun the warship and would probably be shot into a sieve midway.
In his dejection, he never noticed that a person had arrived before him.
“You’re one of Liu Zhongyuan’s disciples?”
The sudden voice startled him. When he saw that excessively beautiful young man before him, he suddenly connected the dots. “You’re…”
Qianye replied, “Correct, I was the one who defeated Liu Zhongyuan.”
The defending general collected his thoughts and said respectfully, “The Royal Tutor did indeed instruct me for a period of time. Later on, he saw that I had no hope of breaking through to the divine champion realm, and it just so happened that someone was needed to defend the western region. Hence, I was let go. Strictly speaking, I can only be considered his nominal disciple.”
“You’re called Xu Jingxuan, yes?”
Qianye nodded. “I heard you have accumulated a fair bit of accomplishments against the dark races. Why are there so few soldiers in Pagoda City? Did you really think you can guard such a big region with what you have?”
Xu Jingxuan smiled wryly. “The princes have been fighting amongst themselves recently, so everyone has been coming to request troops. A commoner like me with no power or connections has no way to decline. It’s already a wonder that I was able to retain this much.”
Xu Jingxuan trembled as Qianye sized him up from head to toe. He felt himself being seen through entirely, and that all his secrets were being put into light.
The general felt easier only when the blue tinge in Qianye’s eyes faded away.
“Now that everything has been settled, would you be interested in following me on a westward expedition to drive the dark races out of this maple-leaf petal?”
Xu Jingxuan was excited but also hesitant. “Sire, this won’t be easy.”
Qianye smiled indifferently. “I know it’s not easy, so I’ll be at the van throughout the fight. You people can follow me from the flanks. Dying on the battlefield while fighting against the dark races is a much better fate than falling in a civil war. What say you? Do you dare?”
Xu Jingxuan’s blood began to burn. “Soldiers like us are born to fight and die on the battlefield. Why would I not want to seize territory from the dark races for our descendants? I would not have taken this post if I were afraid of death!”
But once the fervent episode was over, Xu Jingxuan said with a difficult expression, “It’s just that…”
“What troubles you? Speak freely.”
“My family is in the Royal Capital. All border generals like us leave our families and homes in the core region. If I follow you on this expedition, I will be considered a deserter, and that’s a crime punishable by familial execution.”
Qianye understood that this was a method the country employed to restrain border generals. It was the same for Great Qin in its early years. After a formal system was established for the major clans and families, the border regions were left to them to defend. The restraints placed upon border generals were relaxed thereafter.
The aristocracy located at the borders had to exchange the flesh and blood of their kin for every inch of land—land they planned to take root on. Hence, there were often examples of the defenders fighting to the last man during dark-race invasions.
Qianye said after some thought, “How about this? I’ll give you some time. Go to the Royal Capital and bring your family here. I will dispatch a corvette to send you back so that you don’t waste too much time traveling.”
“But…” Xu Jingxuan looked awkward.
Qianye said, “Nan Ruohuai will know that you’re one of mine when he sees the corvette. Whatever you do, he will agree. If he really doesn’t let your family go, I will have a good talk with him.”
Xu Jingxuan looked up. “Sire, are those rumors true?”
Qianye smiled. “I only needed a reason to come to Fort Continent. As for who sits on the throne, it’s not that important.”
“That’s true. If you can put the thirty-first prince on the throne, you can easily do the same with anyone else.”
After the emotional thought, Xu Jingxuan asked cautiously, “Sire, since you can put that person on the throne, why not just sit there yourself?”
Qianye shook his head. “Zheng is too small, I’m not interested. This place is good as a stepping stone, but that’s all it is.”
“Why would someone like you come to Fort Continent?”
Qianye shot him a glance, replying with a question, “Why do you think Fort Continent is so barren and poor?”
This question made it difficult for Xu Jingxuan, and he still couldn’t grasp the main points after some thought. “I guess the land itself is too infertile?”
All lower continents faced the same problem—the lands were infertile and lacking in minerals. It was common logic that a lack of grains meant people couldn’t survive. A small population in turn meant fewer experts.
Qianye stretched out his hand after listening to Xu Jingxuan’s explanation. A small origin vortex appeared in his palm, much like a miniature tornado moving around. There were strange wisps inside that were so dark that they resembled a bottomless abyss. Even Xu Jingxuan could feel his hair standing on end when he sensed the aura.
“Is this void origin power?”
“Correct, one that lies between the darkness origin and the midpoint.”
“No wonder.” Xu Jingxuan could feel some sweat forming on his forehead.
The closer to the darkness origin power was, the purer it would become, and the same applied to daybreak origin power. At the midpoint between daybreak and darkness was pure primal chaos. This chaos was actually very stable. Void origin power that deviated away from these three points would bear strong corrosive and destructive effects. Even the dark races would reject such origin power.
Seeing the origin power vortex in Qianye’s hands, Xu Jingxuan was filled with incomparable admiration. He was also puzzled as to why Qianye would mention this.
Seeing that he did not understand, Qianye said, “This is the reason why Fort Continent does not produce top experts, it’s also the reason why the werewolves are the dominant race here.”
Xu Jingxuan understood the meaning but found it rather unbelievable. “Are you saying this is Fort Continent’s origin power?”
Qianye nodded. “The void origin power here runs too thin, so you won’t sense it normally. You were able to see it more clearly after I condensed it.”
Xu Jingxuan opened his mouth and stared at Qianye as though he had seen a ghost. He had never heard of origin power being condensed, much less in such a manner.
However, this was all too easy for Qianye who cultivated the Profound Combatant Formula and the Song Clan Ancient Scroll, none of which Zheng had ever heard of or seen.
After his shock, Xu Jingxuan meditated on and gradually came to understand Qianye’s words.
Fort Continent was filled with the corrosive void origin power Qianye had demonstrated just now. Even a negligible concentration of that was enough to bring down the quality of the cultivation environment. The origin power cultivated under such circumstances would no doubt contain some impurities which, despite the small amount, would ruin the cultivator’s attempt at breaking through to the divine champion realm.
The ratio of divine champions on the Fort Continent was much lower than in the Great Qin. The Great Qin had fought its way up from the lowest continent, sacrificing countless lives until it reached a middle continent, where it stopped to establish an empire. Perhaps the environment was one of the reasons.
Seeing that Xu Jingxuan had begun to understand, Qianye said with a smile, “Do you understand now? This is why the werewolves can lord over the continent.”
Xu Jingxuan had fought countless times against the werewolves, but his understanding of the dark races wasn’t too deep. He remained deep in thought, unable to grasp the connection.
Qianye explained, “This void origin power is both beneficial and harmful to the dark races, it’s especially poisonous to the demonkin. Hence, the true experts of the demonkin and vampire races won’t come here for no reason. As for the arachne, they neither benefit nor suffer from it, but they have more important places to fight for, places where their race can thrive. Hence, they have no reason to fight with the werewolves.”
Xu Jingxuan understood now. “Fort Continent is so inferior that the other races don’t think highly of it. That’s why the werewolves are dominant?”
“Since Fort Continent is so poor, why would you come here?”
Qianye laughed out loud. “I can’t beat people from other places.”
Xu Jingxuan laughed along awkwardly, not expecting such an answer. The environment on Fort Continent was adverse. It was also barren and weak, only a bit better than the lowest Evernight Continent. Despite all that, it felt rather uncomfortable to have someone else point it out.
TL: Legion ED: Moxie