Chapter 202: General Principles [Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]
Song Zining shrugged. “Who knows? Those dark races have all kinds of odd reasons. There’s really no way to guess how their brains work. It’s not like there wasn’t any precedent of them initiating a war just because favorable conditions that year had left them with an excess of cannon fodder.”
Qianye was still contemplating before the map. “It’s said that the appearance of that Evernight Council member is related to the Dark Monarch’s treasure.”
This kind of situation was actually even worse than an all-out war because the latter had to follow a certain sequence. Because most regions in Evernight Continent were limited in resources, the scale of war as a whole could be controlled unless one party was determined enough to breach the other’s core region. Many factors could be predicted such as the consumption of cannon fodder, the participation of experts, and the pressure upon the various regions.
As for matters regarding treasures—the human race would perhaps laugh them off as utter nonsense, but the dark races have an almost zealous adoration for these almighty figures lost in history. This news might attract extremely powerful experts. There was no way to predict the movements of these dark race experts. They might turn everything in their wake into uninhabitable wastelands. Civilians were mere bugs to them.
Song Zining said casually, “The dark race experts live too long and often do senseless things.”
He extended his hand and drew a circle around Blackflow City and the Four Rivers Military Base. “That chap, Wei Potian, is in deep trouble now. I thought he had already arranged everything since he decided to take down Wu Zhengnan so quickly but apparently, that wasn’t the case. With only a few months left to reorganize the 7th division, it wouldn’t be possible to reestablish its military power even if he invested hundreds of thousands of gold coins. Heh, I’m sure he’ll be receiving a torrent of abuses from his family.”
Qianye smiled ruefully after seeing Song Zining’s attitude of Schadenfreude. “You incinerated Wu Zhengnan’s remains to prevent my anomalous blood energy from being discovered, right? In the end, things wouldn’t be so troublesome if not for me.”
Song Zining raised his eyebrows. “What does that have to do with you? That Wei Potian is the idiot. You don’t need to worry about the Expeditionary Army Headquarters since I’ve long since negotiated with Xiao Lingshi. The reactions from their higher-ups are just a formality since, after all, they need to give the other division commanders an explanation. However, it’s his problem if he can’t handle the 7th division’s affairs.”
Qianye felt something was off after recalling Wei Potian’s rants from earlier that morning. “You haven’t told Wei Potian about the true situation at the Expeditionary Army Headquarters, right?”
Song Zining replied as if it was natural, “Those are my connections. Why should I tell him? Let him feel anxious for a while. In any case, the Wei clan will send some big shots over sooner or later to help him clean up the situation. It’s all fine as long as the Expeditionary Army doesn’t summon you as a witness.”
Song Zining shrugged and said, “Stop talking about that fool. What’s the use of a wild boar if his skin isn’t thick enough? What do you intend to do now? Do you want to follow me back to the upper continent?”
Qianye’s ears automatically filtered out Song Zining’s harsh words as he pointed to Blackflow City on the map with a serious expression. “I want to build a mercenary group here. On one hand, it’s to find a place for these seedlings, while on the other, it’ll help me realize my wish of joining the war against the dark races. One man’s strength is simply too flimsy.”
Song Zining looked at Qianye for a while and said with a laugh, “How will you arrange equipment, logistics, and personnel? Let’s hear your plan.”
Qianye listed everything he had been pondering on that morning. The training he had received in the past was targeted at individual elite soldiers. He had only considered a general outline of the other aspects apart from soldier training.
However, Qianye could be considered to have some resources in his hand. Just the 400 seedlings were already equal to a medium-scaled corps. Things should be more or less good enough after developing the basic officer structure and hiring a few free mercenaries. The seized expeditionary army equipment on the seedlings could probably be used for quite a while at least.
The most difficult part was the logistics. Although Qianye had a small town and mine to his name, they were both taken over from the 15th division. These assets couldn’t be counted as a source of stable income because the cost and output still weren’t quite clear.
Mercenary groups usually have two main sources of income. One was to complete various missions for remuneration, while the other was to kill dark race members and bring their body parts to exchange for rewards at certain imperial agencies. The empire had to issue huge amounts of reward every year for this purpose. It was precisely this money that had provided for countless hunters, adventurers, and mercenaries. This colossal number was accumulated upon the corpses of countless dark race members.
Qianye’s idea was to receive an assignment from the newly organized 7th division to assist its defense. The mercenary group’s initial scale would be sufficient to garrison a few outposts or guard a small town.
At this point, Song Zining lightly shook his head and laughed, “Hmm, that’s not a bad idea. You're certainly not suited to join the imperial army system with your condition. It’s not a bad choice to establish a force in the periphery.”
However, Song Zining didn’t quite approve of Qianye’s intention to buy military equipment and sell the produced minerals through the Far East Heavy Industries. He immediately criticized the unreliability of the Far East Heavy Industry’s Broken River Branch. However, Song Zining provided Qianye with two secret trade channels after he finished complaining. One of them was his private business, the Ningyuan Group. Additionally, he also assigned a number of high-grade smiths to the area around Blackflow City. His business in Evernight Continent saw a substantial expansion this time, and there was an emergent need to establish a branch office for management.
By the time a certain phase of their negotiation had reached a conclusion, Qianye had already added several details to the program document before him.
Song Zining suddenly remembered. “Qianye, you haven’t let the two girls drink your blood have you?”
Qianye was momentarily startled before he realized Song Zining was referring to Lil’ Seven and Nine. He wanted to say something but the latter had already walked to the door and admitted the girls who had previously excused themselves when Qianye and Song Zining began their discussions.
Song Zining laughed when he saw Qianye’s expression. “It’s been a week since they left Hidden Spring. Their first episode of withdrawal is about to begin. You can leave them to die if you really don’t want them.” With that, he grabbed their wrists at lightning speed and injected a stream of origin power.
Lil’ Seven and Nine’s breathing soon turned distressed. The twin girls were completely identical in stature and complexion. Their appearances were beautiful and their figures elegant. It almost seemed as if gentleness and docility was ingrained in their personalities, sufficient to cause everyone’s imagination to run wild.
They clearly heard Song Zining’s words. Their bright eyes became slightly red under the combined effects of the drug and the terror. Following which, a misty layer rapidly covered their eyes flowing like dazzling autumn ripples.
Qianye could only smile ruefully as he slit open his wrist and drip some of his blood into the two cups of wine Song Zining had poured for him. He intentionally restricted the blood energy within his body lest his blood taint other people.
Qianye only felt relieved when he saw no signs of contamination after the two girls finished the bloody wine and settled their addiction.
Following which, he recalled a problem he had been pondering for quite some time and that was how dark blood infected their victims? From his experience, the blood energy and not all of his blood played a key role in this. Did this mean that vampires might not necessarily infect their human prey as long as the blood energy was kept in check?
Song Zining was smiling rather meaningfully. “It’s time for me to leave. Enjoy the two little beauties, don’t let them go to waste.”
After Qianye saw Song Zining off and returned to his room, he found that the twins had actually crept into his bed obediently. It was evident from how they were stealing glances at him with embarrassed expressions that they had really taken Song Zining’s words seriously.
Qianye truly didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. The injuries he had sustained from the battle with Wu Zhengnan hadn’t healed and he couldn’t even cultivate the Combatant Formula because it was too vigorous. He simply had no way to accept the “fortune” which had fallen into his lap. And the two girls seemed to have been frightened by Song Zining’s words. To them, the only fate that awaits abandoned slaves was death. As such, the two girls seemed as if they wanted Qianye to truly “accept” them as soon as possible.
Qianye had to expend some effort to convince the two girls to leave. He retrieved the Song Clan Ancient Scroll from the headboard and prepared to continue cultivating it. The parts related to cultivating darkness origin power wasn’t a problem for Qianye. On the contrary, it had cleared away some of the doubts he had about his coexistence with the blood energy. For instance, blood energy was basically a manifestation of darkness origin energy. This was also true for his blood power.
It was just that the profundity and obscurity of ancient language were interfering with his comprehension quite a bit. Qianye casually flipped through the jade booklet and finally returned to the jade tablet describing the general principles. The previously activated words were beginning to fade away. It was this passage that was giving Qianye trouble—the words described therein had far surpassed his comprehension.
In the very beginning of the world, there were was no sun, moon, and stars. There were no mountains, rivers, and continents. There was only chaos. Only later when the heaven and earth first blossomed did the sun, the moon and the stars come into being along with myriad living things and the cycle of life and death. Cultivation is returning to the chaos from before the heaven and earth came into being. This method was the extreme of all great daos.
Conventionally, the general principles was the most concise expression of any cultivation art and was also its ultimate direction.
However, Qianye had never heard of anything regarding the time before the formation of the heaven and earth. Humans were only slaves of the dark races before the War of Daybreak—the dark races naturally wouldn’t allow livestock to record their history—consequently, everything was only passed down through word of mouth.
As for how the different layered world was formed and whether or not the two suns, planetary ring and the dozen-odd continents floating in the lower strata appeared at the same time with life, these things were laws decided by nature. They existed naturally and no one had ever questioned or studied them.
The words on the jade tablet began to dim down as Qianye vacantly pondered on the words written on the general principles and recalled the far-reaching sky he had seen on the Qin Continent. And thus, he once again injected a strand of origin power.
Suddenly, he felt heat at his fingertips. He felt as if something unknown had crashed into him, and in his consciousness, the whole world began to shake.
Darkness soon engulfed everything. At that time, a faint sound rang out from an unknown direction and Qianye couldn’t tell whether it was the sound of the wind or tides. Only when a thin beam of colorless radiance pierced through the world did Qianye reach a discovery—this was the sound of the sun’s first rays breaking through the dark night.
The eye of daybreak gently opened in the depths of evernight, instantly causing the world to rotate. Half light, half dark… they embraced each other tolerantly. The boundary was incomparably distinct.
Qianye woke up from the mystical world without prior indication just as when he had entered. His fingertip was still feeling slightly warm. He looked down and found that the greater part of the jade tablet containing the general principles had already shattered. What remained of the ancient jade was disintegrating into specks of lustrous light and merging into his finger.
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