Chapter 173: A Storm Approaches [Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]
Li Yuanjia walked into the room and saw the various weapon parts scattered on the table. His gaze then fell on the strikingly long barrel. “It appears your Eagleshot is the latest custom-made version.”
“Yes, I also had the Resounding Strike installed.”
“Resounding Strike?” Li Yuanjia recalled what it was after some thought. He fished out the barrel from among the components and examined it closely before injecting some origin power into it. The arrays lit up in a sequence to form the outline of a small crystalline disc the size of a fingernail. “Great stuff!”
Li Yuanjia normally came across as a typical soldier. His secret technique focused on the sword, but he was quite fond of various firearms. Unfortunately, his talents didn’t encompass long range sniping.
Qianye was playing around with the half meter long ‘Radiant Edge’. It was a unique looking grade 5 origin power weapon only slightly longer than the empire’s standard issue military daggers. Its sharp tip was decorated with a number of reverse serrations which brought out a hint of fierceness amidst its elegance. It was indeed the vampires' style. Qianye tossed the dagger to Li Yuanjia after noticing the intense curiosity in the latter’s eyes.
The sword sank slightly after landing in Li Yuanjia’s hand. This ordinary looking fella actually weighed over a dozen kilograms! A swing of such a heavy blade would surely display much more power than its size would suggest.
Li Yuanjia smiled. “It really does suit your fighting style.” He had experienced the extent of Qianye’s pure strength before. He retrieved the dark scabbard decorated with dark red patterns and sheathed the Radiant Edge before turning to Qianye. “Are you leaving?”
“Why don’t you stay? The Yin family can provide you with the resources to advance to the champion rank. You already possess sufficient talent and aptitude.” Li Yuanjia’s eyes swept over the table full of Eagleshot parts and continued, “The most important point is that your strength and specialty can only be fully displayed within the army. One man’s strength is limited. Only the army can stand as the pillar of defense against the dark races.”
Qianye raised his head to meet Li Yuanjia’s gaze and inwardly sighed. This man, with his insight, had already discovered that Qianye’s fighting style originated from the army. It wasn’t too difficult to see that his greatest wish was to kill off as many from the dark race as possible. They might have actually become true comrades had they made their acquaintance in another setting.
“I still feel that being a hunter is more suitable for me. It allows me ample freedom without the need to consider too many things.”
Li Yuanjia’s expression dimmed. “If only I had been more attentive during the Earth Castle incident…”
Qianye shook his head and interrupted, “That’s not your fault.”
“It isn’t Miss Qiqi’s fault either.”
Qianye looked at Li Yuanjia with eyes like glistening obsidian and said coldly, “She’s indeed not to blame. This is all part of the Yin family’s general situation. But that’s really not my problem.”
Li Yuanjia momentarily froze before laughing wryly. He understood this discussion had reached a dead end. He had already talked to Qianye about this matter several times, however, it was destined to be fruitless as their original standpoints were vastly different. No matter how contradictory Qiqi and Gu Liyu was in private, the Yin family was a unified entity with regards to external affairs. Gu Liyu’s value to the Yin Family was, of course, greater than a battle company. The status quo might be broken in the future, but for now, it was impossible.
Qianye eased his tone, “I’m sorry, Yuanjia. The Yin family doesn’t suit me. I hope to do the things that I’m certain about—things I truly want to do.”
Li Yuanjia once again discerned the powerful determination from Qianye’s calm voice. He became silent for a moment and said, “Take care after leaving. Many people have noticed you during the spring hunt. The Song family’s seventh young master not only inquired about your background from us but also dispatched agents for further investigation.”
This was something he couldn’t explain, so he could only nod in acknowledgement.
Li Yuanjia momentarily hesitated before saying, “Miss Qiqi’s relationship with the Song family’s seventh young master has reached quite an adverse state after the spring hunt. The two families sent people to mediate this matter. He proposed that the young miss gift you to him as an apology.”
Qianye almost dropped the components in his hand and was at a sudden loss for what kind of expression he should wear. He had already heard from Song Zining about how Qiqi had reported him to the Song Clan. Hence, he understood how ambiguously Li Yuanjia had worded the first half of the message to hide the fact that he had been used as a target once again. But this condition for making amends reminded him of something else. Could it be that Qiqi was trying to protect him when she stopped dragging him to social activities?
Li Yuanjia also felt it to be somewhat absurd. However, he had always felt that this Song Zining was an extremely dangerous person. Additionally, Ye Mulan had already formed a deep animosity towards Qianye. He gave it some thought and added, “You have to be careful. The combat power of Song family’s seventh young master is absolutely not how it seems on the surface. I’m not his match, and even the Zhao family’s second young master might not necessarily win against him.
Qianye nodded. “Thank you.”
Li Yuanjia’s voice suddenly became gloomy. “Qianye, you’re pushing the young miss towards that man by leaving like this.”
“You’re wrong. The only thing that can push her over is the Yin family’s benefit.”
Li Yuanjia was stunned speechless for a while. “When do you plan to leave?”
“Tomorrow, after saying my farewells to Miss Qiqi.”
“No need. The young miss has already left.”
“Has she returned to the upper continent?” Qianye was somewhat surprised.
“Young miss has gone to the frontlines. Her desire is that you should seek her out if you intend to stay. Otherwise, there’s no need to say goodbye.”
For a moment, Qianye was inflicted by a multitude of complex emotions. He had recently seen a completely different side of Qiqi. Her exceptional talents, influence, and resources allowed her to lead a generally smooth sailing life. As such, she also possessed all the quirks common to aristocratic families such as indolence and egocentricity. But the most adverse aspect of her life involved her blood relatives—she was as helpless as a child in the face of these problems. This stark contrast was likely the cause of her rather extreme temperament.
Perhaps Qianye wouldn’t have come to realize the darkest and most chaotic facet of the aristocracy if his job wasn’t to act as cannon fodder. He might have even followed his earlier notion of searching for a foothold under the protection of a major power—to develop there until he was strong enough to find his own past.
But there were no “ifs” in this world. Qianye could understand the things that had happened but that didn’t mean he could accept them.
Li Yuanjia produced a jade document box and placed it on the table. “The young miss asked me to give this to you. This is your final reward for completing this mission.”
“Is this a secret art?” Qianye picked up the box. Three ancient words were carved upon the jade cover: Nurturing Rain Art.
“This is a secret art of the Yin family that can accelerate the body’s recovery and heal moderate injuries. It can also be used for the regular cultivation of origin power. What the Nurturing Rain Art lacks in cultivation rate, it makes up with the ability to heal internal injuries during cultivation. It’s a highly suitable replacement for the Combatant Formula.”
Qianye sighed. “Please thank Miss Qiqi for me.”
Li Yuanjia seemed as if he wanted to say something, but in the end, he shook his head and left after saying farewell.
The next day. Dawn over the Evernight Continent almost seemed like dusk. A military truck left the Yin family courtyard with Qianye on board. The incomparably vast arch of the Darkblood City came into view after a long journey.
The city was still bustling with activity just as before. Qianye arrived at noon to see the surging stream of people who had come out to enjoy a stroll in the clear weather. Qianye felt the city had become even more populated compared to when he left.
Old Two, who was sitting behind the counter, was somewhat startled when Qianye walked into the Home of Hunters. The book in his hand dropped to the floor with a flop.
Qianye nonchalantly walked up to the counter and put down his giant backpack before knocking on the counter. “Old Two, I’m back.”
Old Two slid over a small flask of liquor. “This is all that’s left, but it probably can’t compare to the good stuff you mix yourself.”
Qianye opened the flask and finished the contents in a few large gulps before exhaling in satisfaction. “Not bad! This is true liquor. I don’t want to taste any more stimulants. I’ve used so much these days that even my tongue has gone numb.”
“Have you finished your mission?” Old Two inquired.
Qianye seemed quite relaxed but the experienced Old Two saw a tinge of melancholy in the depths of his eyes. The latter didn’t pursue this matter. The commissioning party would soon notify them since the mission had already been accomplished.
“Any good missions these days?” Qianye placed both elbows on the counter, his countenance tinged with a shade of pink. His alcohol tolerance had always been like this. His face would turn red no matter how little he drank.
Old Two shook his head. “Nothing interesting at the moment. It’s been quite chaotic outside the city. The dark race population in the area has increased abnormally while their whereabouts have been rather difficult to pinpoint. Nowadays, there’s no longer a safe zone to speak of, and many hunters have retreated back into the city. The wilderness is simply too dangerous. No one dares to stray too far from the city unless they possess the ability to fight a small dark race squad.”
“Why are there so many from the dark races here?”
“Do you mean…”
“I meant Xichang. The dark race forces have suddenly increased severalfold over there. We’ve already fought several battles against the dark races within the war zone. The military strength of several field divisions would be mobilized each time.”
Old Two’s pupils lit up as he whispered, “This is quite unusual.”
“It's rare for the dark races to mobilize on such a large scale. The battlefront between here and Xichang spans well over a few thousand kilometers. Similar activity has been reported in between and even further out. I’ve heard of such news more than once in my lifetime. Looking back at the history of Evernight Continent, this either signifies something big is about to happen or an all-out war is imminent.”
Qianye, however, didn’t seem nervous at all. He smiled and said, “It sounds as if things won’t be boring for quite a while.”
Old Two wryly laughed, “Boring? You’re indeed a madman!”
“Perhaps!” Qianye laughed, “Shouldn’t you increase my hunter rank by now?”
Old Two glared at him when Qianye spoke of his rank. “Young man, why are you so impatient? I’ve always been fair and impartial. I only look at accomplishments and rank. You certainly have enough accomplishments, but your rank is still far from sufficient. Wait, wait! You’re rank… rank…”
Old two was stunned. “You’re already rank five?!”
Old Two stared at him as if he was staring at a monster. He clearly remembered that Qianye had just reached rank four when he left. Soon afterwards, he spoke delightedly, “You’re a true monster! Very well, take this and don’t lose it!”
Saying this, Old Two brought over a hunter’s badge with five stars carved on it. However, the five-star hunter badge wasn’t any better than the four-star one—it was still crude and made of inferior materials. It was evident that this cheap item was quite a sloppy piece of work.
Qianye said excitedly, “I want to buy some information.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter