Chapter 141: Start

Chapter 141: Start [Volume 3 - The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]  

The following evening, Qiqi’s team stopped at a hillside and made camp.

This place was already deep within the Profound Heaven Mountain Range, and only nine members of the Yin Family hunting team were left within the camp. The rest had split up into several squads. One squad would carry supplies with them and head towards the agreed spot to set up a supply dump, whereas another squad would head to the landowning households’ hunting area and enter the hunting grounds as independent participants.

The rest of the aristocratic families also had nearly the same arrangements: middle troops, logistics, and scouts. It was just like a small scale military expedition.

Qianye was tidying up his equipment inside his own tent. He had lost his original Eagleshot, but it was a minor issue to Yin Qiqi. The new Eagleshot Qianye had gotten was an enhanced version retweaked and remodeled by the hands of an expert.

Its origin array had two modes it could switch between. One of the modes cut the normal shooting power by half and reduced its shooting range to six hundred meters. This mode was good for conserving origin power and improving its long term use ability. There were plenty of targets who couldn’t withstand a hit from Eagleshot at all, so that extra power was wasted.

The other mode enhanced Eagleshot’s shooting range, and its maximum shooting range was increased up to a thousand and two hundred meters. Lastly, the origin array added inside the rifle was of a higher level. It utilized many designs that only a grade five origin gun would use, and thus it was capable of holding even greater berserk origin power. To Qianye, who had already reached rank five, this enhanced Eagleshot would only be more powerful in his hands than before.

Ji Yuanjia’s voice came from outside the tent. He walked inside and saw Qianye equipping an omnidirectional sight onto Eagleshot, and so he asked, “Are you departing tonight?”

Qianye nodded. This was his own request to Qiqi. He was going to leave the main team and operate on his own. Only then would he be able to bring out his abilities to fight in mountains, snipe from a super far range and great mobility to their maximum effectiveness.

Ji Yuanjia sat down on the opposite side of Qianye, put a box holding military stimulants onto the table and said, “In that case you’ll have to watch your own back. Before the main team arrives at the black circle, it is best if you avoid entering the other families’ hunting areas by accident.”

The rules of the spring hunt dictated that entering another family’s hunting area was the equivalent of invading another country’s war zone. Whoever did this would immediately draw the other party’s attacks, and while wild beasts could hardly pose a threat to Qianye with his firing range, it was a different matter entirely if he were chased by other hunting teams. The bodyguards who were selected into the hunting teams by aristocratic families were generally at rank six or rank seven, and their strength were absolutely incomparable to an average fighter of the same rank. For example, Ji Yuanjia was definitely not the only person who could ignite his eighth node at any time, but had forcefully suppressed his ascension so he could participate in the spring hunt.

The black circle represented the highest danger zone, and the zone where dark race soldiers showed up. From this point onwards, every family’s hunting area would largely overlap with one another. Not only would conflicts to snatch prey from each other happen frequently in this place, tactics such as wounding and even killing unimportant team members, cutting off supplies from the back, etc. would happen as well. This was the final zone Qianye and Qiqi’s hunting team had agreed to meet at.

Qianye smiled and gave his word of promise, “I will be careful.”

As someone who had walked out from the Yellow Springs Training Camp’s examination alive, he was wary enough of his own kind.

“I received news that the seventh young master of Song was investigating your background and identity for the past two days.” Ji Yuanjia said again.

Qianye’s hands came to a pause as he abruptly looked up to Ji Yuanjia. He saw that the man was also frowning.

“The Song Household’s hunting area is only one Zhao Family away from us. We will probably cross paths with each other the moment we enter the grade six zones. You absolutely must be careful.”

It was obvious that Ji Yuanjia thought that the matter might have further repercussions.

The file attached to the back of the Seventeenth Corps’ captain letter of appointment was fake to begin with. After Qianye had escaped from the the fatal ambush Gu Liyu laid for him, Ji Yuanjia had guessed some of Qianye’s secrets even though he’d said nothing about them. Later on, he supplemented Qianye’s credentials to include the province where he was born etc, but there was no telling if they’d made a mistake somewhere in his credentials, especially if someone were to investigate him to the end.

Plus, the matter of “Qian Xiaoye” was supposed to be superficial work used to fool the Yin Family elders in the first place. It was a gamble on the common sense of unrelated ordinary people who would either pay no attention at all to one of Qiqi’s many new darlings, or choose not to disclose even if they did notice something amiss. After all, this wasn’t a matter of Qiqi’s reputation alone. Even if the Yin Family might deal with the matter in private once it was over, they still would not be happy to make a matter like this public. Unfortunately, not even Qiqi herself had expected that a variable like Song Zining would be drawn to the matter.

Regardless of how the outside world criticized the seventh young master of the Song household, he was absolutely not as genial and harmless as he showed himself to be.

Qianye sent the man away after he had briefly discussed the matter with Ji Yuanjia. Then, he continued to tidy his equipment by choosing his close combat equipment. Twin Flowers was an excellent weapon already, and Qianye took an additional origin power crossbow for himself. While the crossbow was only slightly more than half a meter long, its power was comparable to a rank three gun within thirty meters of range, and it was a fine work to use when assassinating lives soundlessly.

His backpack became filled with another fifty crossbow bolts, a large caliber firearms sniper rifle, and one hundred sniper bullets. He didn’t bring much of other outdoor equipment with him, and even the food he carried was enough for two days only.

After night time had arrived, Qianye left the Yin Family camp and headed towards the deeper regions of the Profound Heaven Mountain Range. There were all kinds of wild beasts in this great mountain that spanned over several thousands of kilometers. Sometimes, there would even be some ferocious foreign beasts moving about the area.

After a day and a night of sleepless march, Qianye figured that he had shaken off the aristocratic family teams by a huge distance. There shouldn’t be many lone hunters who could travel as deeply as he did as well.

He climbed up a mountain peak and began getting a firm grasp of his surroundings. After he had made labels on his map, he hid a portion of his ammunition and equipment and turned this place into a mini supply dump. Then, he began to explore the area horizontally.

Suddenly, a series of urgent hoof sounds rang inside the forest. A two meter tall Armored Bull charged out of the forest towards Qianye with its head lowered. This monster shared about the same size as a wild bull, but it was clad from its forehead to the back in tough armor. The unusually tough ones would even grow large bone thorns on their body. The tough armor on its body was a premium material to create armor of main corps.

Normally, a rank four or five Fighter would be hard-pressed to deal with an Armored Bull like this. However, Armored Bulls were a commonly seen species in the deep regions of the Profound Heaven Mountain Range.

Qianye retreated to avoid a direct confrontation before he gathered his strength and charged forwards. He curled up and rammed fiercely into the Armored Bull, and he actually knocked the giant beast off balance, causing it to collapse sideways.

With a bang, Twin Flowers blasted a huge hole at the soft spot beneath the Armored Bull’s neck. The Armored Bull collapsed and stopped moving after writhing for a few times.

A tiny light flew out of the corpse’s body and flew straight up to the sky. It was intercepted by an airship circling at high altitude and shot towards the far distance as an origin power light beam. The light beam was then intercepted again by the origin array of another airship, strengthened and shot towards the distance once more.

After several relays, the transmission was finally delivered to a grand hall inside Duke Wei’s side residence.

There was a giant-sized origin formation setup inside the grand hall empowered by several hundreds black crystals. The origin formation shone and drew a hologram table of ranking in the air. The ranking list was a name list of all of the great aristocratic families and independent landowning households. Moreover, the names rolled up and down constantly as the rankings kept changing.

When the tiny light shot out of the Armored Bull’s corpse had finally been delivered to the origin formation, the number behind the Drinking Horse Yin clan’s name jumped up by twenty five points. The Yin Family’s ranking had increased by one place and jumped up to the thirty-seventh spot because of this.

An Armored Bull was considered a rank five wild beast. Killing it would give the killer the square of five points. The higher a prey’s ranking was, the more points its killer gets. Moreover, killing a dark race warrior would multiply the points obtained once more.

Right now, Duke Wei was standing at the grand hall and looking upwards at the ranking list. He couldn’t help but nod in satisfaction, stroke his beard and smile faintly as he watched the nimbly fluctuating ranking list. During every yearly spring hunt, he would personally execute the Countless Wonders Art and plant a mark on every living being within the Profound Heaven hunting ground. That was how this swift and fair score ranking list was made.

Whoever killed the prey would be attributed a certain amount of points. There was no fairer calculation than this. Anyone who wanted to rig the competition would have to fool Duke Wei and the power he wielded first, but then again, how many people were there in the world who were capable of doing this? This was not to mention that an expert at that level wouldn’t be senseless enough to do such a thing. Moreover, the summer spring hunt was the equivalent of an extremely grand social event of the empire’s upper class. Cheating in the summer spring hunt would result in a scandal of extreme proportions.

Although the preparation took an entire month’s time, the second Countless Wonders Art was executed, it could envelop a radius of several thousand kilometers at once. From this, one could see just now unfathomably powerful Duke Wei was. Of course, there was no way Duke Wei’s supporters would let go of such an opportunity, and words of flattery immediately rolled like tidal waves towards him.

Duke Wei smiled contentedly. The crowd’s skill in flattering was impressive, hitting just the right spot with every line. Moreover, the Countless Wonders Art was one of the rarest ancient arts in the world, and it was equally famous as Marshal Lin Xitang’s Art of Heaven’s Mystery. Therefore, one could not say that the crowd’s flatteries were overly ridiculous.

Right now, most of the names at the top of the ranking belonged to landowning households. This was a normal occurrence during the first two days of the hunt because the real aristocratic families were progressing towards the deep regions of Heaven Profound Mountain Range and hadn’t officially begun hunting just yet. Normally, the lone members of landowning households wouldn’t travel as deep into the mountains. Contrary to the aristocratic families, their main hunting areas were the outskirts of the zone, which was why they had already begun hunting for points already. The first few days were also the best opportunity for landowning household members to present themselves.

Duke Wei just happened to see the Yin Family’s points increasing by twenty five points at once. He immediately smiled faintly, “Yin Family’s Qiqi is a pretty amazing child. I’m surprised to see that she has charged that deep into the mountains already. It would appear that she has quite the confidence to succeed this year!”

Someone immediately echoed his words, “It is said that Yin Qiqi has already taken the lead in the great examination to select the Yin Family’s successor. Moreover, she is the only person to have mastered the Moonlight Flowing Cloud Art before reaching Champion rank. It would appear that her chances of victory are quite big this time.”

Another person said, “I heard that Qiqi has a wedding engagement with a landowning household member since a long time ago. That will be a shame if she really did become the Yin Family’s next generation patriarch.”

Duke Wei nodded slowly and said, “That is true.”

Someone immediately tried to figure out Duke Wei’s intentions and said, “Actually, it is not a bad idea to inform the Yin Family to turn down this wedding engagement, or have another girl replace Yin Qiqi directly. Qiqi’s appearance and martial arts are all top class. If she does control the Yin Family in the future, she will be a good match for lord duke’s young master.”

Duke Wei stroked his beard and said nothing. He was obviously moved by the suggestion.

If Yin Qiqi were to become patriarch, then his son would in effect become a member of the Yin Family instead. However, the Yin Family was an upper rank aristocratic family, so it wouldn’t be a smear to his family’s reputation. Moreover, the marriage between a patriarch and the first son of Duke Wei was different from your usual family marriage. The two families of different surnames would become incredibly close with each other.

The biggest determinant that decided the gap between grand households for an aristocratic family like the Yin Family was the lack of top level martial strength. This was especially obvious for the past twenty years with Lin Xitang being the only aristocratic son to ascend as the empire’s new marshal. Duke Wei happened to be a person who could fill the gap in top level martial strength within the Yin Family. The marriage would be an act that benefited both parties.

While pondering, the Yin Family’s points jumped yet again. This time, it was thirty-six points. The Yin Family progressed by two places because of this and jumped to the thirty-fourth spot.

Duke Wei was slightly surprised by this and said, “Has Qiqi run that deep into the mountains already?”

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