Chapter 176: Trading Camp

Chapter 176: Trading Camp [Volume 3 - The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]   

Qianye ran through the wilderness—his target was a human settlement about 200 kilometers out. Looking at the map, he noticed the place was similar to a sentry post. At most, one company of troops would be stationed there to serve as sentinels and perform initial defensive measures.

However, a mere company would be useless in a true skirmish with the dark races. As such, forward assignments like these had always been considered a dangerous undertaking. Those posted here were either guilty of serious charges or those who had badly offended people they shouldn’t.

That was also why such camps were mostly overlooked by the expeditionary army—no news meant good news.

One had to admit that the seventh division using such an ignored location as a camouflage for the trade with the dark races was a great way to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

Qianye wanted to head over and observe this outpost. It has been reported that a certain “merchant caravan” was stopping over here.

After leaving the city, Qianye moved according to the ways of the hunter—he withdrew his aura and advanced under the cover of the terrain, doing his best to leave as little traces as possible. It was at this moment that an indistinct rumble appeared in the air. A certain airship had appeared from the direction of Blackflow City and was flying in Qianye’s direction.

Qianye lifted his head and, observing the angle of its secondary wings and propeller speed, calculated its approximate bearing. “How unrestrained! They even dispatched an airship.”

He climbed atop a large tree and decided to rest while waiting for the airship to pass. The airship wasn’t large and was of a rather old model. Such antique models have long since been superseded by newer ones in the upper continent but were rare and valuable assets here in Evernight.

These airships would exhaust large amounts of fuel every time they were mobilized, equally expensive to use and maintain. Unless the situation was urgent, they wouldn’t normally be used for the transportation of troops in small-scaled skirmishes. The Red Scorpion Corps frequently used them for aerial surveillance but Qianye was quite certain these defensive divisions wouldn’t invest a lot of resources for this purpose.

Hence, the target of this airship was rather obvious.

Qianye rested for 10 minutes while he waited for the airship to fly past before resuming his journey.

The outline of the camp finally appeared over the horizon just as darkness fell. It was a group of buildings scattered throughout the top of a small hill, almost as big as a small village with enough space for about a thousand people. It was certainly bigger than the usual camps which housed around 200.

It was definitely unnatural for such a large settlement to be located where the dark race army could appear at any given moment. Qianye slightly frowned—the scene before him was sufficient proof that the trade had been going on safe and sound for quite some time already. The “merchant caravans” also seemed to be on quite a large scale, and the products being traded were of great quantity and volume. 

Qianye felt quite concerned. Uprooting such a well-developed operation wasn’t going to be easy. Wei Potian shouldn’t have much trouble since he had the whole Wei Clan behind him—at the worse case scenario, he would fail to remove Wu Zhengnan from his position. Song Zining, on the other hand, had gone to deal with the dark crystal suppliers backing Wu Zhengnan. Matters involving actual profits were bound to be incredibly dangerous.

Qianye collected his thoughts and proceeded to approach the outpost under the cover of the night and geography. Night time battles were usually his forte but since this place was a base of operations for trading with the dark races, there were a large number of them here. In addition, because many among the dark races possessed night vision abilities, he wasn’t at a particular advantage in this endeavor.

Qianye became even more vigilant after seeing a wide field just outside the village perimeter and a tower standing dozens of meters tall. It was a simple airship landing pad. It seemed they had been dispatching airships regularly for these forbidden transactions. One could easily guess how important this place was.

Such a large camp couldn’t have been built overnight—this also meant that it couldn’t be torn down within a short time. Qianye didn’t even need to go in to investigate. He only needed to return with this information and wait for the empire to perform a surprise inspection. They would surely be able to capture quite a lot of evidence.

Qianye, however, still decided to go in to take a look since he had already arrived. He wanted to personally confirm the contents of this trade. He wouldn’t mind dealing the bastards inside a heavy blow should the opportunity present itself.

He suddenly noticed some special sentinels within the camp after closing in. He smelled a peculiar fishy odor. It was the smell of wolves and they certainly weren’t typical military canines. Later on, he saw the animals patrolling the village streets. The gigantic wargs raised by the werewolves served as natural guardsmen and were so much better than the average sentry.

Qianye came prepared, though. He produced some white powder and sprinkled it all over his body before continuing his advance in the darkness. This special medicinal powder caused the wargs to feel imperceptible discomfort, encouraging them to avoid the source of the odor without agitating them.

Arriving under the walls, he found that they were made of logs and merely four meters tall. Watchtowers were located at the four corners, quite a distance from one another. He could clearly see some of the guards dozing off within them.

The lax security truly didn’t match the importance of the camp. Qianye became increasingly cautious. He didn’t believe this place would have enjoyed many years of peace—they had merely kept everything under wraps.

A red light flashed within his eyes, seemingly illuminating the sable night in his vision. Following which, he immediately discovered something unusual. Several sheets of silver-white spiderwebs covered the whole wall and the area around its base. It would’ve been quite difficult to notice them without prior knowledge.

These weren’t normal spider webs—each and every strand were linked together to form a gigantic web. It was likely that a number of mordoran hunting spiders lay waiting in deep pits within the camp walls. These calf-sized spiders were sentinels raised by the Arachne. These spider webs were akin to an extension of their antennae. Not even the slightest change would be able to escape their senses.

Qianye squinted his eyes. That even wargs and mordoran hunting spiders had appeared meant this village was hiding an unspeakable secret. After all, even some dark race military bases had only this much security.

Although these mordoran hunting spiders would pose a threat to most hunters, Qianye was anything but helpless against them. He casually grabbed a handful of common bugs and threw them onto the spider webs.

These palm-sized beetles and moths were exceptionally vigorous. They struggled continuously and tore at the spider webs, however, these spider webs were stickier and stronger than normal webs. The more they struggled, the more entangled they became.

Several wooden stakes shot through the air while the bugs were struggling, nailing them to the wooden wall. 

With resulting noises, several fist-sized ash-grey spiderlings appeared from their hiding places and swarmed toward their prey. They swiftly silenced the resistance from their helpless quarry and repaired the webs before returning to whence they came.

This was the greatest weakness of the mordoran hunting spider’s web network—their intelligence was simply too low. They only reacted to living creatures but failed to notice the wooden stakes sticking into the wall. 

Qianye appeared once again through the night. He ran with swift but silent footsteps and leapt toward the wall, landing accurately on the wooden stakes. With that, he crossed over the wall and silently entered the village.

It wasn’t yet deep into the night but the whole village was silent. The empty streets were virtually devoid of human activity and the buildings were sparsely lit.

Qianye stood within the shadows and took a deep breath. At this time, blood energy whirled around his body and withdrew into his heart. The golden blood energy had become progressively independent since the spring hunt. It would silently resonate when he mobilized it together with his daybreak origin power. The Venus Dawn formed from the overflow of origin power was also gradually becoming better developed, however, it would sometimes lose control when the external darkness origin power was too dense as if it wanted to swallow the person whole.

Qianye shook his head and pushed these concerns to one corner. Relying on the reaction of his blood energy, he had already sensed the intense odor of werewolves and arachne in the air. Furthermore, their numbers weren’t few. Only the vampires were missing but that didn’t come as much of a surprise after some thought. There existed a ten-thousand-year-old feud between werewolves and the vampires. They definitely wouldn’t be seen working with each other unless absolutely essential.

The sound of footsteps and indistinct conversations came through from the alley behind him. Qianye took a few steps back in silence and entered the blind angle of a winding path. He stood close to the wall within the shadows, activated the energy hidden within his vessels, and used a secret military technique to contain his aura.

Five people emerged from within the adjacent alley and walked past the street where Qianye was hiding. Their conversation was transmitted to Qianye’s ears.

“Goddammit, wolves and spiders everywhere! How annoying!”

“Pipe down! Have you forgotten how Old Li lost his life? These bastards don’t care who you are. They’ll find a way to eat you the moment they find a suitable excuse.”

“Sigh, Captain Zhou certainly won’t protect us if a mishap occurs. He would only tell us to endure it.”

A somewhat older voice spoke, “Stop complaining and just bear it for one more night. You know full well about the rewards we’ll get after this deal is concluded. Which well paying deal doesn’t involve a great deal of risk?”

“We only need to conclude this deal. Don’t let any accidents occur.”

“It’s been so many years now. When have we had any mistakes?”

“Enough about this. We’ll force Captain Zhou to treat everyone to a round of alcohol as long as we can pass the night in peace and complete this big transaction.”

The group gradually walked away, chatting all the while.

It seemed the dark race had stationed quite a number of troops in this village for the upcoming transaction. From the previous blood energy reaction and the presence of obvious dark race style arrangements in several places across the village, Qianye judged that there might be well over a dozen werewolves and four or five arachne. Although few in number, these Arachne could deploy various giant spiders in battle. There should be over a dozen giant spiders within those two web-covered buildings.

Such a lineup was sufficient to form a standard dark race patrol unit. The value of the goods must be extraordinary since they required such power to guard a transaction. The humans had closed their doors rather early precisely because so many from the dark race were present within the village. 

Nighttime was the domain of the dark race. The security of this tiny village wasn’t a problem, however, to the humans participating in this transaction, the threat they faced came precisely from these werewolves and arachne who came to trade with them. One might suddenly disappear while walking out at night—quite a few of such incidences had apparently occurred before—that was likely the reason why humans would band into groups when walking at night. 

Now the question was, what were they trading?

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

Hi everyone. Legion here! This is 2/5 for this week. We started on Tuesday last week and went 5 chapters. We'll be skipping tomorrow.

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