Chapter 230: Total War [Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict]
Qianye looked up at Wei Bainian’s expression—some thoughts flashed through his mind as he realized what the latter meant.
The expeditionary army headquarters was still deploying troops according to routine, but the dark race army’s strength had far surpassed their estimation. The several divisions garrisoned across the whole Trinity River County would suffer heavy damage in the face of such an onslaught. A couple of divisions might even have their numbers canceled.
Wei Bainian would be able to preserve his strength to a large extent if his concentrated defense strategy was able to hold out. With such a trade-off, Wei Bainian’s 7th Division would rise as a major power of the post-war Trinity River County. With Qianye’s contributions in the war, he would then have the qualifications to hold a city given that he was able to grasp the opportunity to expand his mercenary corps.
Qianye let out a long sigh—he felt a great deal of respect for Wei Bainian. Song Hu had once told him that Wei Bainian’s lack of fame was simply because his specialty was in defense. Within this fiercely martial empire, it was mostly stories about brave generals who charged through enemy lines that people frequently spoke of. Only today did Qianye truly comprehend the meaning behind the word “defense”.
Song Hu himself was no saint either. Once a chief-of-staff in a regular army corps, he was able to guess most of Wei Bainian’s intentions just from small clues. According to his previous tone of voice, it seemed he quite approved of Wei Bainian’s vicious arrangements.
Indeed, none of these characters who had reached such a position were easy to deal with.
Qianye suddenly felt somewhat distressed—if he moved forward along the current trajectory, occupying a city after the war wasn’t impossible. He might be able to gain more lands thereafter or even a whole county. At that time, the people he would have to deal with, whether friend or foe, would be characters like Wei Bainian and Song Hu. Compared to them, no wonder Song Hu felt Gu Liyu wasn’t impressive at all.
Although he knew and understood the nature of such arrangements, he still felt an inexplicable sense of depression.
In the entirety of the empire, perhaps only Zhang Boqian was free from such circuitous activities. His character was absolutely unrestrained and would do whatever he wanted—most times, he wouldn’t even care about the Imperial Household. But whatever he did, he would only garner overwhelming applause because all those who dared risk their lives to criticize Zhang Boqian had already lost their lives.
Qianye didn’t know why at this moment, he was thinking about an unfamiliar character like Zhang Boqian, whom he had only ever heard of. Perhaps he was just like the many other hot-blooded youths of the empire who subconsciously admired Zhang Boqian’s style before their passions were ground away by reality.
Marshal Zhang never thought twice about killing.
The situation was just as Wei Bainian foresaw. The unstoppable dark race army swept through all the towns and cities between the border and Blackflow City. The army consisted of tens of thousands of cannon fodder and thousands of regular warriors from every primary dark race, from werewolves to demonkin. Such a force had no weaknesses and was impervious to ambushes and sneak attacks. One could only meet them head-on.
Wei Bainian had withdrawn the battle lines in advance, collecting all moveable men and materials into Blackflow City. Citizens who were willing to follow the army in its retreat were taken into the city but there was no time to convince those who weren’t. All of them were left in their original locations. The fate of these people need not be explained once the dark race army passed through.
The whole of the 7th division had withdrawn to defend Blackflow City. Even the deployment of scouts were few and limited to the area around the city.
Every corner of the city was undergoing urgent construction. Large machinery which hadn’t been used for a long time began to puff out steam which covered the greater part of the city from dawn to dusk. With that, a fort gradually took shape.
Daily life revolved around defensive matters. All resources, as long as it was required for war, would be acquisitioned unconditionally. Naturally, there were people in the city who depended on their identities to defy the expropriation. There were even some who wanted to hoard certain resources and take advantage of the unrest to amass great profits. At this time, Wei Bainian revealed some thunderous methods—he killed off a number of young masters and effectively intimidated everyone else.
The current population in Blackflow City had exceeded 100,000. The whole of the 7th division was garrisoned here, and an additional 20,000 temporary warriors were conscripted. Blackflow City was now like a curled up hedgehog, waiting for the fierce beasts to come knocking on the door.
Wei Bainian’s move was a tactic of using weak forces to defend against the strong. It was almost invincible but not without consequences. The duty to defend was among the first ten clauses of imperial military law. His method of allowing the dark races to pass through would draw heavy criticism and might even result in his immediate removal from office.
However, Wei Bainian was quite calm. His contribution of killing two enemy champions was enough to cancel out the penalty for his withdrawal. This was also why he had concentrated the line of defense on Black Clay Town.
The great dark race army arrived at Blackflow City seven days after the wine reception.
When the massive dark race army, tens of thousands in number, appeared outside the city walls, those people who had been hooting about charging out into battle and fighting for every inch of land immediately shut up. The numbers didn’t make one feel absolutely hopeless—what truly made one afraid to stare directly was the massive layer of clouds which had formed a gigantic vortex above the densely packed formations, rotating slowly with the army at its center.
At the center of this vortex, one could see five vague pillars of light surging toward the sky and connecting with the center of the vortex. The emanation of the dark race experts’ aura had caused an abnormal alteration of origin power between the heaven and earth, resulting in this shocking scene. This also meant that there were actually five champions leading this army!
At the center of the formation, the uneven figures of five experts possessing similar surging auras slowly rose toward the sky and gazed at the well-fortified Blackflow City.
“It’ll be a bit troublesome.”
“What trouble? It’s just a small city.”
“But how many of our warriors will die?”
“They only have a single champion.”
“Don’t forget that Brahms and Sades both fell to this man. You can’t hold him back and neither can I. The despicable human will escape as soon as the battle is unfavorable. It’s meaningless if we capture the city but let him escape.”
Four dark race champions quickly began to exchange ideas but felt that it was a thorny task to tackle Blackflow City which had been armed to the teeth.
As they couldn’t come to a unanimous decision, their gazes fell on the petite figure at their center who hadn’t spoken a word since the beginning.
This mighty count of the Monroe clan had already lived for 700 years. He easily overwhelmed the other four champions both in terms of bloodline origin and personal strength. He spoke with a hoarse voice after a period of silence, “Our road ahead is still very long. This is but the first stop.”
The other four champions immediately turned silent. It would undoubtedly affect their later battles if they lost too much troop strength here. They all knew the true reason behind this battle and were also aware of the lip-smacking strength that had been mobilized. Not to mention others, even the Evernight Council had dispatched nine members!
None of them would be able to assume responsibility if a battle of such scale was delayed because of them.
At this time, the count continued, “Additionally, we shouldn’t forget that our mission this time isn’t to occupy cities or land.”
The other four champions nodded in succession. This circumstances surrounding this battle were special. As for why they had received such an order, even they didn’t have the qualifications to know the inside story.
Seeing that none of the others were protesting, the vampire count said slowly, “Then it’s settled. Let’s head toward the next city.”
The dark race army hadn’t stopped over for too long before they received new orders. However, it wasn’t to attack but to retreat. This made many of the violent dark race warriors dissatisfied. The human city was already before their eyes and it was filled with fresh meat. Why weren’t they attacking such a small city?
Many races from the evernight camp were inherently violent and impatient. However, they had forgotten that the vampires, with their calm and refined appearances, were just as vicious and cruel. And the Monroes, whose emblem was the dread flower datura, were better known for their bloodthirst. Several dozen uproarious soldiers were dragged out from their squads and beheaded on the spot.
The count’s bloody ruthlessness finally suppressed all dissent and brought the great army back under his will.
The countless people in Blackflow City couldn’t believe their eyes when the dark race army left in the end. They finally understood that they should hold the new master of the 7th division, the seemingly gentle and refined aristocratic champion, in greater respect.
The dark race also left a medium-sized garrison, obviously to monitor activity in Blackflow City. At this moment, it seemed those in the city had regained their “rationality” as no one suggested going out to eradicate this squad.
From that moment on, the fires of war ignited across the whole of Evernight Continent. The dark races mobilized armies of unprecedented scale and assaulted the human territory from dozens of routes. Tens of expeditionary army divisions collapsed within a short period. Nearly ten counties were lost in succession, and more or less the same number in imminent danger—their defending armies had suffered severe damage and the defense lines could collapse at any moment.
The expeditionary army, as a whole, suffered a serious setback within a short period of time. At the current rate, the imperial expeditionary army would be completely defeated within two more months, and human powers would be completely driven out of Evernight Continent for the first time in history.
The empire finally responded—one month after the war began, the 9th legion entered Evernight Continent. The leading squads of the 17th and 21st legions landed a week later. After two months, elite corps such as Broken Winged Angels, Red Scorpion, and Arms of War were dispatched toward Evernight Continent in succession.
Among the four great clans, the Bai and Zhao clans began to dispatch experts to Evernight Continent on a large scale and launched a desperate attack against the dark race experts. During one of the most bitter battles, a total 11 champion rank experts from both sides were killed.
This was a total war—the whole empire and even the whole of the Daybreak and Evernight factions were involved, all of them showing some signs of activity.
The Northern Legion, under the command of the normally gentle Lin Xitang, suddenly mobilized on a large scale and launched a fierce attack on the rebel armies on the western frontier. Additionally, they imposed a coercion policy for the first time on the rebel-active regions, and night curfew was uniformly put into effect in all cities. Those going outdoors at night without explicit approval were shot on the spot.
The thunderous methods naturally produced abundant results. Tens of thousands of rebels were captured and executed within a few short days, almost more than the whole of the past year. Accidental injuries were unavoidable during this process. Hence, a cabinet minister attacked Lin Xitang during a court session, saying the latter treated human life like grass. But before long, the man was thrown behind bars for cases such as corruption and fraud from five years ago.
Once the western frontier was stabilized, the Fire Beacon Corps guarding the area immediately began to move. Almost half of them rushed over toward Evernight Continent.
The other of the Empire’s Twin Paragons, Zhang Boqian, had always hated such circuitous and complicated methods. He led a small elite corps and charged off on his own. Reports arrived days later about how he had actually launched a brazen assault on the vampire headquarters on Twilight Continent.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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TL: Legion, ED: Moxie