Chapter 236: Conspiracy

Chapter 236: Conspiracy [ Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict]    

One of them had three rows of crystalline scales on its back, each the size of a palm and extending from the head to tail.

The crystalline scales on the giant python sparkled with a faint luster under the curtain of the night, making it seem like a wandering beam of light as it roamed about. It was both mysterious and beautiful. 

This was a crystal python. A type of wild beast native to Evernight Continent notorious for its poisonous mist. A fully mature crystal python with three rows of crystalline scales on its back was equal in strength to a rank seven or eight human fighter.

Qianye was still glancing at the two crystal pythons and considering whether or not to go in when the smaller of the two serpents noticed the intruder outside. It rose tall, open its wide mouth, and spat out a sparkling mass of poisonous gas.

Qianye sidestepped the incoming toxic mist and jumped down the precipice without further hesitation. Within moments, he had thrown himself into the crystal python’s nest.

A scarlet blade radiance flashed through the air as the Radiant Edge pierced through the head of the python with three rows of scales on its back. Qianye had to use almost 80% of his strength in order to pierce the dagger into the gap between its skull bones. This proved just how hard its skull was. With such hardness, even the Eagleshot wouldn’t be able to blast its head apart in one shot.

The giant python possessed extremely strong vitality and was rolling about even though its brain had been pierced through. It came pretty close to swatting Qianye against the cave wall. At this moment, Qianye had finally found an opponent with which to try his strength. He grasped the Radiant Edge tightly with one hand while latching firmly onto the crystal python with the other. He would occasionally warp and leap between the cave walls as the python continued to roll its huge body in vain—no matter how hard the python swung, it simply couldn’t throw Qianye off its back. 

The crystal python only fell down immobile after the struggle went on for quite some time.

The other python with a single row of crystalline scales was almost forced out of the cave by the force of this rampage. It only found an opportunity at this point and suddenly scuttled in to launch an attack at Qianye. However, at approximately rank four or five, its strength was simply too lacking. It died to the Radiant Edge in the blink of an eye.

Qianye had, once again, climbed to the top of the cliff by the time the night reached its peak. His backpack was now bulging quite a bit, filled with palm-sized scales.

The crystal python’s scales had long since been confirmed as a type of crystal. It would emit a beautiful halo after activation with origin power, thus, the crystal python’s scales sold for a rather high price. It was popular as a raw material for low-grade origin arrays and as a component of fashionable jewelry in the upper continents. It was just that, these two crystal pythons were so big that Qianye couldn’t carry away all their scales. He could only select those with the highest quality to fill his backpack which wasn’t even a third of the total.   

When Qianye returned to the cave he was staying in, his face was suddenly flushed by a layer of dark red and even began to puff out faint red mist when he exhaled.

Just now when he was killing the three-striped crystal python, he had stabbed into its heart to prevent it from retaliating on its deathbed. Vast amounts of blood energy had rushed into his body through the Radiant Edge. The power contained within was comparable to a rank nine dark race warrior but of a lower quality and a great deal more impurities.

Qianye discovered for the first time that he could actually draw blood energy from darkness attribute beasts like the crystal python. The darkness origin power contained within was even more abundant than a dark race warrior of the same rank. And with the Song Clan Ancient Scroll’s mystery chapter, the purity of the blood energy obtained from these beasts became an insignificant factor.

However, Qianye was somewhat uncertain as he recalled a detail which he had previously overlooked—it seemed most of the strange beasts on Evernight Continent leaned toward the darkness attribute.

During the period which followed, Qianye’s journey took him around several battlefields. He followed the labels on the Wei clan map to personally observe the dark races’ designated battlefield. At the same time, he also surveyed the troop strength of the expeditionary army, the imperial regular army, and the private armies of the participating nobility.  

Situations like the one in which he had encountered the Bai clan private troops also occurred a number of times. Qianye used his long range sniping ability to help the imperial soldiers hasten their victory or recover from a loss, but would leave hastily after the outcome of the battle was clear. He avoided all unnecessary contact with these aristocratic clans.  

One ordinary morning, an intense battle had just ended on the Silverlight Plains near the northern border of Evernight Continent.

In the past, this boundless plain was filled with luminous grass that emitted a faint silvery glow under the velvety curtain of darkness. Gazing from a distance, this whole plain looked like a gigantic glowing lake with layers upon layers of silver ripples. This used to be a scenic location of Evernight Continent. But later on, the dark races began to appear on the Silverlight Plains after the expeditionary army lost several important strongholds nearby. From then on, people no longer visited this place for sightseeing.

At this moment, the whole of the Silverlight Plains had changed beyond recognition. There were traces of corrosion and burns everywhere. There were also gigantic craters caused by the explosions reaching almost 100 meters in diameter. The luminous grass had all been burnt clean, and thin streams of green fluid were flowing on the exposed brown soil. The arachne body fluids, possessing highly corrosive properties, would destroy all life in the soil—nothing would grow again thereafter. 

Squads of expeditionary and imperial army soldiers were cleaning up the battlefield. They cleared out each corpse of its belongings and moved them to a designated location. Judging from the control of the battlefield, the humans had probably come out victorious in this bitter campaign. However, there wasn’t the slightest bit of joy to be found in the expressions of the generals standing to one side of the battlefield.

Standing among the group of generals in martial attire, Bai Aotu seemed almost eccentric in her usual wide-sleeved gown. However, she possessed outstanding qualifications as the most powerful expert of the Silverlight Plains which consisted of three counties. When necessary, she could directly take over the commanding authority of the whole war zone.  

Although the Silverlight Plains was but a second class war zone, there was a battlefield selected by the dark races in this region. Additionally, there were very few experts among the empire’s younger generation who could watch over a whole region independently.

There was blood all over Bai Aotu’s white clothing which had been torn in many places over her back and shoulders. Through them, one could vaguely see some badly mangled wounds. Her face was completely pale and her aura, weak and unstable. It seemed she had been injured quite badly.

The imperial generals around her were over twice her age but all of them glanced at her with eyes full of admiration and reverence. This wasn’t merely out of respect for the Bai clan but because of her substantial military accomplishments. During the battle just now, Bai Aotu had killed the strongest expert from the opposite party almost on her own and thereby reversing the tides.

Gazing at the bitter scene of the battlefield, an old general with grizzled hair sighed deeply. “Is this… considered our victory?”

Another general smiled ruefully and said, “The dark races lost but they retreated in an orderly fashion and didn’t fall into confusion. This can only be considered a small victory.”

The old general said with a dark expression, “My unit has been completely wiped out and will likely have its unit number canceled upon our return.” 

Another person consoled, “That won’t happen. You’ve contributed so much. The empire will surely reform the 133rd Corps.”

“I hope so.” The old general sighed as he helplessly shook his head.

These generals naturally knew that, although the unit was reformed, it would be reduced to a third-rate lineup. How could new soldiers compare with a unit brought up over the years?

Bai Aotu’s drooping eyelids suddenly opened and said, “Our casualties should’ve exceeded 100,000, right?”

A general beside her replied hurriedly, “We’re still running the numbers, but from my own estimate, it should be over 110,000.”

Bai Aotu spoke seemingly to herself, “Almost 10,000 dark race regular warriors and over 100,000 cannon fodder were killed. Just what reason did they have to fight such a war?” 

All the generals glanced at each other but none were able to answer. This campaign was extremely bitter. The dark races swarmed over like tidal waves. They were dauntless and were completely unafraid of death. Most were able to take down imperial soldiers with them, so much that they were even prepared to sacrifice regular warriors. It almost made one suspect whether they were simply trying to achieve mutual destruction.

The generals didn’t dare say too much because none of them were very confident.

Bai Aotu’s body suddenly flashed and reappeared dozens of meters away. She crouched down beside the corpse of an expeditionary army soldier, drew her dagger, and tore open his chest.

The generals were stunned by her sudden action but soon followed over in succession. Bai Aotu wouldn’t do anything meaningless. It was obvious that she had discovered something abnormal.

Bai Aotu pointed at the soldier’s corpse and frowned. “Look. He died after being pierced through the forehead by a high-ranking vampire noble, and as such, his body wasn’t affected at all. However, his life force was drained especially fast. Don’t you all feel this is abnormal?” 

This warrior had died not long ago, but even his innards were showing signs of withering. Additionally, such changes were still ongoing in all his other organs. At this rate, he would likely turn into a dried corpse before two days had passed.

A certain general with sharp senses suddenly pushed his hand into the ground and scooped up a handful of soil. Following a forceful squeeze, fresh blood flowed out from between his nails! 

After seeing this scene, that general said with a solemn expression, “It seems this land is able to absorb blood energy. No wonder I feel my movements have grown somewhat heavy. We can’t stay here for long.”

But there wasn’t much to fear if only the environs were so—all present here were experts with firm and powerful blood energy. The insignificant absorptive power of the Silverlight Plains wasn’t enough to affect them.   

Bai Aotu’s frown locked even tighter as she said slowly, “Perhaps it isn’t that simple. Don’t forget those old bastards from the Evernight Council. Mad they may be, but they are anything but foolish. Let me see the intelligence map.”

A certain major general brought out the map with the latest military intelligence and opened it in front of Bai Aotu. There were a total of 15 battlefields marked on this map, including the Silverlight Plains. Battles had already occurred in seven of them. The humans were at a slight disadvantage, having won three of them and losing four. 

These were battlefields designated in advance by the dark races. As such, the humans held a slight advantage both in the deployment of troops and experts. Even so, they had lost more than they won.

Bai Aotu stared silently at the 15 battlefields, frowning all the while.

In truth, the imperial army had long since analyzed these 15 battlefields thoroughly. They had also studied various connection diagrams but found absolutely no meaningful pattern. Many people had also used secret inference arts. Even Lin Xitang had rushed back to the imperial capital from the Western Frontier, but as it happened, the Art of Heaven’s Mystery revealed nothing.

However, this result wasn’t too odd. It was said that many Evernight Council powerhouses had personally arrived to command. With those old fogeys around, how could they let human secret arts infer their conspiracy?

The old general said at this moment, “Miss Bai, we’ve already fought seven battles and have eight more to go. Perhaps we’ll only find more clues after additional battles.”

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

This is chapter 4/6 of the week. Enjoy ^_^ We have completely moved to in-house. There will be no more advance chapters on patreon. It will remain open for those wishing to donate out of kindness. Don't forget to unpledge!

TL: Legion, 

ED: Moxie