Chapter 171: Discussion (part 2) [Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]
The expeditionary army adopts a similar administrative model to govern their various subordinate forces. Divisions comprise the most basic strategic units and were divided into field divisions and dispatch divisions. The field divisions were in charge of defending the battlefront like the 55th and 58th divisions who fought against the dark races in the battle of Earth Castle. Dispatch divisions, on the other hand, were tasked with the defense of fortified cities like Blackflow City and Darkblood City. Wu Zhengnan’s 7th division belonged to the latter type.
The humans and dark races of the Evernight Continent fought frequently and changes in territory were rather common. The gain or loss of some villages wouldn’t affect the overall situation. The cities, however, served as cornerstones of the human race’s defensive perimeter. Unlike the territories in the vast wilderness, they were crucial for the transport of supplies and the distribution of stationed troops.
Therefore, if they wanted to eliminate Wu Zhengnan, they would have to find a way to take over the 7th division’s defensive duties and prevent the area from falling into the hands of the dark race. This wasn’t simply to avoid negative consequences. Every human was duty-bound to avoid harming the safety and interests of the empire, regardless of the infighting. Only this way, in addition to Wu Zhengnan’s involvement in the smuggling of strategic resources and the pressure from the aristocratic families, would the higher-ups of the Expeditionary Army be willing to turn a blind eye.
Additionally, black crystals are strategic resources tightly controlled by the empire. The fact Wu Zhengnan was capable of smuggling them proved that a profitable organization had already formed behind him. If they failed to uproot the whole smuggling chain, another agent would appear after they got rid of Wu Zhengnan—inevitable retaliation and repercussions would soon follow.
Qianye laughed wryly after hearing all of this. “Killing Wu Zhengnan is no different from dissolving the 7th division since nearly half the troops were recruited by him through various means. Doesn’t it mean that the 7th division is already half his personal army?”
Song Zining nodded. “The case is indeed quite troublesome but not entirely impossible. Wu Zhengnan’s smuggling of humans and black crystals is something the imperial military absolutely wouldn’t tolerate. There shouldn’t be anyone willing to speak up for him as long as we can take care of the matters regarding defense.”
Qianye frowned in silence. It would be impossible for him to defend a whole city even if he advanced to become a champion.
Song Zining said, “Don’t worry about the matters regarding the black crystals. There are subtle differences even among crystals of the same cut and size. Professionals are able to discern the differences between the crystals produced from different ore veins, thus, every piece of black crystal can be traced to their source after some appraisal. We can then follow the clues to find their channel of distribution. I’ve been involved in the industry for a few years now and have some contacts. We’ll first suppress the people behind Wu Zhengnan to avoid a counterattack.”
Qianye shook his head. Song Zining’s words made it seem simple, but he knew it wouldn’t be so easy to deal with the powers associated with the massive profits brought by the black crystals. The risk was self-evident. “In the end, this is my personal matter. How can I let you expose yourselves to such danger?”
At this time, Wei Potian slapped his thighs. “This daddy doesn’t believe he can’t destroy a tiny division commander!” He straightened his posture, cast a sidelong glance at Song Zining, then said, “Little Ye, you should know that I’m the heir of Marquis Bowang! The amount of resources I can mobilize is only second to my grandmother and the clan head. But the clan head is my father, so his authority is also mine! Rest assured, I’ll definitely think of a way to deal with that coward. I’m going to have to return home anyway. Just wait for the good news!”
Wei Potian then got up, said his farewells, and walked out heroically. It almost seemed as if he would go and drag Wu Zhengnan down overnight.
Qianye was astonished by Wei Potian’s sudden words, but the highly enthusiastic Wei Clan heir could no longer be dissuaded as he swaggered out on his own. After closing the door, a troubled Qianye asked, “Why did you do that?” He had naturally seen through the fact that Song Zining’s words had hidden implications. The latter had grasped Wei Potian’s character and effectively manipulated him.
Song Zining laughed. “I know you won’t give up on this matter, so it’s better I find some other methods instead of letting you take this risk. Besides, killing Wu Zhengnan really isn’t a big deal. The difficult part is dealing with the aftermath. Neither of us can accomplish this on our own, but it’s possible if all three of us work together.”
Qianye was never good with words and was momentarily at a loss for what to say.
Song Zining smiled faintly as if he had seen through Qianye’s troubles. “This fellow, Wei Potian, likes to brag and is inflexible when handling matters, but he’s anything but dumb. He’ll find a way to get things done since he has given his word. Regardless of whether he throws a tantrum or acts coy, as long as he’s able to mobilize his family’s connections in the army, Wu Zhengnan will get his just deserts. As for the price, his father is the regional lord who rules over an entire province and has no lack of money or resources. You don’t need to help him conserve the wealth of his family.”
Qianye forced a smile. “Zining, Potian isn’t such a bad person.” He was puzzled about the increasing hostility between the two.
Song Zining only shrugged his shoulders and walked toward the door. “I’ll be leaving tomorrow. You should return to Evernight Continent first. I’ll also head over before long. I’ll find a way to get in touch with you when I arrive.” He paused for a bit when he passed by Qianye and said, “Qianye, stop worrying about other people’s matters while shouldering your own in solitude. Friends are there to be used.”
Qianye smiled faintly and replied, “You take care too.”
Song Zining winked. “That settles things. It’s getting late and Miss Qiqi is waiting for you to sleep with her!”
Qianye’s expression suddenly turned dark. His touched mood from just now had completely disappeared. Song Zining only laughed out loud and left swiftly.
After seeing the two off, Qianye sat down to go through the list of firearms and equipment provided by the Duke Wei Residence. He only explored the documents related to origin firearms, tactical accessories, and melee weapons because the contents were simply too expansive and he had already formed a general idea of what he wanted.
The upper limit of the custom-made grade 5 gun was 3000 gold coins. Its design options required the user to first choose a primary attribute such as power, range, or special abilities before having a master craftsman perform the fine adjustments according to the user’s actual attributes. Every modification had a corresponding price list attached to it. Even among origin arrays, the prices would differ between different gun types. For instance, it would cost several times more if one wished to extend the range of a pistol by 10 meters than it would a sniper rifle.
Qianye, however, put away the documents after obtaining a general understanding of the various design options. He then took up the list of tactical accessories and browsed through the whole catalogue. He was satisfied by the contents as they were all exceptional grade six accessories.
The other document was a list of melee weapons, most of them at the fourth grade. Grade four melee weapons usually cost more than normal grade six firearms as they were far more demanding in terms of material quality. After all, the standards of human-built weapons were still far below that of the dark races.
This also reflected the different directions in which the humans and dark races had developed. The Great Qin Empire focused on origin firearms that could be adequately utilized by low ranking warriors. Naturally, this was also influenced by demographics. In contrast, the dark races traditionally worshipped the strong and most of them enjoyed killing with blades. In addition, the role of ordinary origin firearms would diminish greatly as they reached higher ranks.
Not so surprisingly, Qianye found several weapons produced by the dark races within the list of melee weapons. There was no shortage of quality items among them, and even a grade five weapon appeared in the list. However, the weapons produced by the dark races required darkness energy to draw out their full potential. In the hands of a human, a grade five weapon would only be able to unleash power equal to a grade four weapon at best.
Someone suddenly knocked on Qianye’s door. Qiqi’s maid smiled charmingly and said, “Miss Qiqi instructed me to come over and take a look. She asks that you go to her room immediately when you’re done here.”
Qianye gave it some thought, collected the documents, and proceeded to follow the maid toward the main building.
The lights in the external study were still on at this time. Qiqi’s voice came through from inside, “Lock the door and come over.”
Lock the door? However, Qianye knew, from his experience, that it was useless to voice his objections and might lead to even more flirtatious remarks.
Qiqi was dressed in an old-fashioned robe tied at the waist by a silk belt, accentuating her elegant figure.
She was leaning lazily on the chair. The moment Qianye entered, her gaze was immediately drawn to his hand. “You’ve finished selecting the items?”
Qianye nodded. “The prizes amount to a total value of 5000 gold coins and I’m allowed to choose two items. I chose the ‘Resounding Strike’ and ‘Radiant Edge’.”
Qiqi was somewhat surprised as it was obvious that they were pre-made armaments. “I thought you would choose a custom-made grade five origin gun.”
“I already have the ‘Twin Flowers’ and the burden from using a grade five gun is still too great at my current level. I don’t want to be exhausted after firing a couple of times in battle.” Qianye paused slightly before adding, “Additionally, the uniqueness of a custom-made weapon lies in the origin array. We should be wary of the items from the duke’s residence after what happened with Steward Wen.”
Qiqi nodded. “Indeed. It’s quite troublesome to ascertain whether or not the origin power array has been tampered with. The pre-made items would be relatively safer. Speaking of origin power, won’t you be ranking up in the future? You’ll be able to fully utilize the might of a grade five weapon by the time you’re at rank seven. You can also get a premade rank five gun instead if you don’t want it custom-made.”
Qianye shook his head. “The future is distant and uncertain. It’s best to raise my current strength first.”
Qiqi went silent for a while before saying, “Perhaps it's just my misconception, but I feel that you’re oddly uneasy for some reason.”
Qianye was indeed feeling somewhat odd after seeing Qiqi talking to him seriously.
Qiqi took the documents and spoke while flipping through them, “The ‘Resounding Strike’ is a grade six tactical accessory and the ‘Radiant Edge’ is a vampire dagger. What a peculiar style, do you plan to continue working as a hunter?”
Qiqi replied without raising her head, “Actually, you now have the opportunity to learn some skills regarding troop training and tactics. The value of a commanding officer is higher than an expert who slaughters foes in the battlefield.”
Qianye replied calmly, “I remember we had a deal that this will be my last mission under your command.”
The smile Qiqi had been maintaining until now suddenly froze. She kept her eyes on the documents without looking up. “Do you… do you not plan to reconsider it?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter