Chapter 59: Prosperous and Thriving [Volume 2 - Bloom of the Other Shore Flower]
The ability to build such a stronghold was prime evidence of the Empire’s prosperity. No wonder humans ultimately escaped their slavery after killing descendants of the dark races and fighting their way to freedom throughout the Evernight Continent.
The Empire was established over a thousand years ago. It was born in the glory of innumerable powerful soldiers, like a rainbow illuminating a road to the stars. They tore through the endless darkness that bound human history and carved out new space for humans to live.
The twenty-third emperor of the Empire once said full of pride: “If our world does not have sunlight, then we will construct a sun!” He was the only human expert to have reached the deepest parts of the dark races’ upper continent, though he ultimately disappeared into history along with the derailment of the False Valley Star.
Even though the Empire was currently in control of four continents and had become more defensive, no longer invading, there were still plenty of talented individuals.
The two pillars of the Empire, Lin Xitang and Zhang Boqian, controlled the overall situation in the imperial court. One did so from the inside, while the other did it from the outside. One controlled politics while the other controlled the military. Within the military, eight Marshals guarded the Empire in all directions. There were four Heavenly Kings who were the strongest in the human race, but they did not interfere with daily matters. They were existences like the Ocean Stabilizing Needle (1), standing in opposition to the lords of the dark races. Every one of their names was legendary and worthy of looking up to!
Currently, it was already past midnight. A great number of people was walking through the gate of the large, old city. A cool breeze blew through the air, its breath was unlike the desolation of the wasteland as it brought along a vigorous and proud spirit.
Something was pounding inside Qianye’s chest. It wasn’t a thirst for blood and flesh, but rather the boiling of blood that had been suppressed for a long time.
Occupying his entire vision was the legendary Gate of Eternity!
Unless humans were having their final battle against the dark races, the gates of the city would never close. No matter who, as long as they were able to take out a silver coin to pay toll, they could enter the city whenever they wanted. Even if a guard knew that the person was a member of the dark races under their disguise, they would still let them in as long as they paid toll.
This arrogant tradition originated in the year 700 from the mayor of Darkblood City, Peng Huaiyuan.
That brigadier of the Empire was born from the wilderness and lived for the army. He had experienced an innumerable amount of both large and small battles. At the time, Darkblood City had been invaded by an alliance between demonkin and werewolves. All of the generals chose to close the gates and guard the city, but Peng Huaiyuan instead pounded the table and yelled: “Today, I will open all four gates and see just who dares to fight!”
Peng Huaiyuan did as he had promised and opened the gates. He personally led three hundred deathsworn to charge into enemy soldiers and killed the chief commander of the alliance. He then cut down the enemy’s flag in one go! Twenty thousand dark race soldiers were defeated and retreated quickly.
After this battle, Peng Huaiyuan had suffered heavy injuries and was not treated, so he died seven days later in the mayor’s mansion.
When the emperor of that era heard about what had happened, he personally wrote: “Who dares to block enemies on horses with only a knife, only my General Peng!”(2)
From then on, Peng Huaiyuan was well-known throughout the Empire.
No one in the military was unaware of General Peng, so Qianye naturally was familiar with him as well. Peng Huaiyuan wasn’t actually extremely strong and couldn’t be considered top level within the military. He was barely even a first-rate existence. However, in this battle, his courage to fight despite the massive numbers of the enemy forces earned him the respect of every soldier.
Darkblood City rarely closed its gates, but the dark races were still unable to do anything to it. In history, the city had only fallen three times, but had been quickly recovered by the Empire each time. During each counterattack, it wasn’t just the imperial expeditionary army taking action. Hunters, lonewolves, adventurers, and even rebel forces that had never been fully destroyed in the last hundreds of years were uncontrolled, but they still supported the effort to retake the city.
After Qianye had heard about the Gate of Eternity in history lessons with the Red Scorpions, he always wanted to see it when he had the chance. It was said that every stone that made up the tower was engraved with many names. These were brave spirits that had been sacrificed within the last thousand years for the creation, prosperity, and existence of this city.
However, the shadow of death was gradually dissipating. In the battle against Tiger Yan and Qi Yue, Qianye virtually did not feel any bloodthirst. After the battle at the garbage dump, the sliver of light and hope he was shown had gradually gotten bigger. Thus, the persistence of youth, and the courage of a soldier that he had previously suppressed in his heart began slowly lifting their heads again until they were ignited by the deal between Qi Yue and vampires.
Thus, Qianye gave up his previous goal of finding a small town and living a quiet life. He had once lost everything, even the source of his pride, the surname Lin. He was also burdened with the Red Scorpion captain’s last order that was almost impossible. Now, he saw the opportunity to start anew so how could he not go all out!
Within this legendary, yet real city full of chaos and evil, the most valuable things anyone could ask for were freedom and opportunity.
There was no order, but also no power. In this place, power reigned supreme, but was also another form of justice. In Darkblood City, anyone could make quite a name for oneself as long as they had talent, diligence, and a little bit of luck.
Maybe Qianye still wasn’t very clear on how to uncover the faraway upper continents’ plot, but he knew that his first step must be to return, to return to the people that once left him filled with dread.
Qianye prepared simply and turned himself into an average scavenger. He then blended into the crowd and entered Darkblood City. When paying a silver coin as gate toll, he had originally been afraid that taking out a silver coin as a scavenger would bring about a lot of attention, but instead, he found the guards were too lazy to even glance at him. Their faces wore an “already knew you were disguised” expression.
At this time, behind Qianye approached a crowd of beggars. Each person casually paid their silver and flocked into the city. This being his first time at the city, Qianye was stunned.
In Lighthouse Town, beggars were beggars. They barely even had a few copper coins. They were completely unlike these beggars, whose pockets even glittered when they pulled out some money.
From the look of this, people who left the city to run errands would have all different types of disguises. No wonder the guards didn’t react at all to these weird occurrences.
Qianye entered Darkblood City and gathered some information before staying in a small hotel in the slums of the Southern Bank District.
This location was very convenient. Its surroundings had everything. A bar, a mercenary guild, and two comparatively large gangs were scattered in this district. Walking two streets over towards the center of the city would be the famous Black Copper Street, a street full of weaponry.
Qianye researched maps of the city inside his room then decided to first dispose of the contraband he had.
Hornet was Qi Yue’s personal gun, so it was best to get rid of it. Light of Daybreak and that rank one origin gun were too weak, so Qianye didn’t really value them. Flowing Gold Rose, however, was definitely good stuff, but its extravagant adornments made it more suitable to be sold for money. If he accidentally scratched the patterns on the gun in the middle of battle, its price would immediately drop to a third of what it was. That would be wasting meaninglessly.
As for the black crystals, he couldn’t sell those since those things had many problems. Usually, items in underground trades with vampires would not leave any traces, but there were only a few forces in the entire Empire that could smoothly circulate these manufactured black crystals. Qianye couldn’t tell, but that didn’t mean the traders couldn’t. He only feared alerting the people behind the scenes.
Before leaving, Qianye decided to change his appearance again. In a city with every kind of person and a large population, constantly changing details in one’s appearance was a very practical trick. One did not need to modify a lot. Slightly altering brow shape, eye shape, adding facial hair or changing hairstyles would make someone feel as if major changes had happened.
Qianye took out a small bag of disguise supplies, stood in front of a mirror, then began concentrating on changing his appearance. The first thing he needed to do was alter his eyebrows and eyes. He felt his eyebrows weren’t dense enough, so he carefully made a few marks. The style of his entire face instantly changed.
Now that his eyebrows were adorned, like two longswords, his entire face became more heroic, changing him into a valiant… beauty.
Qianye wasn’t satisfied with the last noun, so he washed his eyebrows and made new marks. These new marks were much softer and his entire person became strangely charming, and very… beautiful.
After Qianye tried a few more times, his face turned black.
He had discovered something terrible. If he had a complete makeover, then there wouldn’t be too many problems, but if he wanted to just change a few details to influence other people’s judgement, he would end up with many strange results. In other words, the effect was similar to that of a woman’s makeup, to become more beautiful, and it was to the point that his gender was no longer clear.
This was an effect that many women chased in their dreams, but Qianye was frustrated by it instead. He punched the mirror and furiously spoke, “Son of a bitch! Why would it change like this!” He almost wanted to return and take the disguising course again.
Qianye’s look truly did change drastically. It was even very different from when he had initially entered Lighthouse Town. He originally had a delicate look and had taken up the masculine style of the Tiger Scorpion. He was considered a handsome youth. However, after being contaminated by the blood of darkness, his body had become stronger and stronger, but instead looked thinner and frailer.
When Qianye just entered Lighthouse Village, he had been harassed frequently because of his appearance. Later, he had harshly taught a few blind guys a lesson to finally end the trouble. However, he had never thought that one day, his appearance would become so beautiful after just a few adjustments!
Now, even if he stood in front of his former comrades in Red Scorpion, there would probably be very few that could recognize Qianye.
“Whatever, this isn’t bad. There won’t be anyone that could recognize me right? Goddamn, if worst comes to worst, I’ll just dress as a woman!” Qianye consoled himself as he took out wigs and other disguise equipment, deciding that he wouldn’t be lazy and completely change his look.
At this time, Yu Renyan and a few Dark Blade warriors also appeared at the gates of Darkblood City. Since he no longer needed to track odors and traces, this specialist would naturally treat himself well. He took his gun and gold, and hitchhiked. This time, the distance between him and Qianye had been shortened to only two hours.
Yu Renyan wore a hooded cloak often seen on lone adventurers, only revealing his two eyes.
He looked at the stream of people in the street, and suddenly laughed coldly. He harshly muttered to himself, “No matter how your appearance changes, I will be able find you. When I find people, I never look at their face!”
Yu Renyan waved his hand. The Dark Blade warriors who had disguised themselves as average adventurers and hunters scattered around the city and concealed themselves to wait for further orders. In contrast, Yu Renyan calmly walked towards the middle of the city and looked for a place to stay.
The prey this time was extraordinarily cunning. Yu Renyan had already prepared for a long stay. Such an amusing game definitely could not be passed up. Between predators and prey, what decided victory or defeat wasn’t power, but patience.
Yu Renyan selected Darkblood City purely from intuition. Even though there were no longer any tracks for him to follow, he had identified the other party had been heading in the direction of this city. The car he had hitchhiked on had been on its way to ship goods to this city, so he felt that fate was truly guiding him in this direction.
Qianye walked out of the small hotel, completely unaware that his pursuers were so close.
At the moment, he had on a standard adventurer’s garb, a beard on his face, and a ponytail with the tips of the hair dyed brown. On his shoulders was an old broken backpack. He calmly stepped into Black Copper Street and glanced at each shop.
(1)The Ocean Stabilizing Needle is the original form of the cudgel used by Sun Wukong (Monkey King). It was in the possession of the Dragon King of the East Sea until Sun Wukong came and took it. This might help: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruyi_Jingu_Bang.
(2) A famous quote Chairman Mao said in honor of a general named Peng Dehuai.Previous Chapter Next Chapter