Chapter 242: Silentflame Steppes [Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict]
The hundreds of people in the lower cabin turned completely silent in fear. Many who frequently traveled between the continents had heard of the past deeds of this captain known as Ole Bearded Blade.
It was said that this fellow was a veteran pirate before he got into the imperial airship business. Even without bringing up his past, Ole Bearded Blade could settle everyone in this cabin with his strength alone.
“Who fired his gun?” Ole Bearded Blade asked again.
“It is I,” Qianye replied calmly as he cleaned the Butcher with a square towel and restored it to his waist.
The corners of Ole Bearded Blade’s eyes couldn’t help but twitch after looking towards Qianye. He walked over to the fellow who had been injured, flipped the man over with his foot, and gave him a once over. “He won’t die.”
“Send these troublemakers to the fuel cabin.” Ole Bearded Blade got up and swept away the burly man’s group with a wave of his hand, including those collapsed on the ground. With that, he actually turned around and left.
Even those sailors were stunned. Someone pointed towards Qianye and asked, “What about him?”
Ole Bearded Blade glanced at Qianye and said, “He’s unrelated. Just do as I say!”
Ole Bearded Blade pushed open the door and left. One of his aides followed him to the gangway and said after looking left and right, “Boss, that brat broke your rules!”
Ole Bearded Blade snorted. “If you can shoot an explosive shell from the Butcher like that, you can also ignore my rules.”
The aide was startled. His expression gradually changed as he realized the meaning behind those words.
The Butcher possessed great firepower but was notorious for its bad control. Qianye had fired two explosive shells but didn’t wound anyone nearby. The two unfortunate fellows were wounded but still very much alive. This feat was much more difficult than blasting them to pieces.
This meant that either the Butcher was a disguised high-grade origin gun, or Qianye’s control over origin power had reached near perfection. Regardless of the actual circumstances, this wasn’t a person they could afford to offend.
As for why such a person had gone to stay in the lower cabins, this aide had no desire to investigate. People in their line of work tended to die earlier the more they knew.
The airship was peaceful thereafter, all the way until they reached the Qin Continent.
Ole Bearded Blade stood at the cabin door, watching the passengers leave in succession. As a rule, the lower cabin passengers were the last to alight. But this time, there were a couple of passengers from the fuel cabin behind them, the chaps who slept on piles of black stones.
Just as Qianye was about to disembark, Ole Bearded Blade tossed him a dagger and said, “Half price if you ride my airship on the way back.”
Qianye caught the dagger, checked it, and glanced towards Ole Bearded Blade with a smile. “Any other benefits?”
“I ship anything,” replied Ole Bearded Blade.
“Sounds good. What routes?”
“You decide the origin and destination. I’ll draw up the route.”
Qianye pulled out a box of cigars and tossed it towards Ole Bearded Blade. “Very well, I’ll come find you when the need arises.”
Ole Bearded Blade opened the box of cigars only after Qianye left. His expression changed slightly as he brought one to his nose and sniffed at it.
The aide suddenly inhaled deeply. He then stared fixedly, unable to take his eyes off the cigar. “Boss, something’s odd about this cigar!”
“Bulsh*t, this is good stuff. It’s got military-use stimulants added into it.”
The aide’s eyes lit up as he rubbed his hands. “No, there’s a slightly different scent.”
Ole Bearded Blade immediately put away the box of cigars into his innermost pocket and glared firmly at the aide. He then tossed the cigar in his hand towards the latter, albeit reluctantly.
The aide placed the cigar under his nose and took a long sniff. “This scent, it’s different from the usual stimulants.”
Ole Bearded Blade stared at the man and said, “Of course it’s different. This is an exclusive product from the elite corps.”
The aide was immediately shocked out of his wits and nearly dropped the cigar. “Boss, does this mean he’s someone from one of those places?”
Ole Bearded Bade only snorted without replying.
The aide immediately squinted his eyes into a straight line, his thoughts unknown.
Qianye didn’t stay long in this airship port city. He boarded another airship the following day and headed towards the Western Continent.
Unnoticed by the passengers, this airship began to secretly veer off course not long after it left the Qin Continent borders. It met up and docked with another airship in the void whereupon a batch of passengers and goods boarded the second airship. The whole process was carried out rapidly and secretly.
Then the two airships separated and each flew towards the Western Continent.
At this moment, Qianye had already boarded the second airship. There were rust and patch marks all over this airship. It seemed to be at least 50 years old if not 100. Its only advantage was its absence from imperial official records. The target of this flight was also a small empty port unmarked on the official map.
The gasping airship finally landed after a whole day of travel.
Qianye jumped out of the hold and landed firmly on the ground, kicking up a cloud of red dirt from under his military boots. This made him cough a few times.
At this time, sunlight was pouring down from above like surging waves of flames. Qianye felt his skin being scorched the moment he stepped out and even the air was suffused by a burning sensation. The surface temperature was close to 60C—the environment made it impossible for ordinary people to move about. Even Qianye felt somewhat unwell.
Blocking the sun with his hand, Qianye gazed into the distance. The airship had landed in a plain. This so-called landing pad was just a manually leveled area amidst the wilderness.
There was red soil as far as the eye could see, and the air was extremely dry. Sheets of fine dust would be kicked up by the occasional wind to produce a scene akin to leaping flames, most fitting of its name, the Silentflame Steppes.
There was a small town nearby. The buildings therein had square roofs and were built of a mixture of wood and clay. It seemed the region was arid and rarely experienced rain. There was wilderness all around with almost no vegetation whatsoever. The most eye-catching were a number of solitary giant trees standing nearly 100 meters tall. They were quite far from each other—each of them seemed to be ruling over a kingdom of its own.
A wild gust of wind blew past at this time, drowning the whole landing pad in a cloud of red dust. Qianye frowned after the wind had passed as he spat out a mouthful of sand. He then proceeded to shake out large amounts of red dust from his head.
“Young man, wear this. This is a necessary equipment for this damnable place.”
Qianye glanced over to see the airship captain handing him a hat with a face towel attached.
“Thank you!” Having just experienced the might of the sandstorm, Qianye immediately received the hat and donned it.
The captain then said, “The car and items you requested have been prepared. I’ll take you to see them.”
Qianye thus followed the captain towards the small town.
The town didn’t look very large from the outside and but it was unexpectedly lively within. The streets were mostly filled with strong young men. They seemed like fugitives—their cold eyes brimming with killing intent indicated the amount of blood on their hands.
After seeing Qianye’s unfamiliar face, many of them revealed expressions akin to hungry wolves eyeing their prey. But their expressions immediately became much more gentle after seeing the dagger at Qianye’s waist. A person with Ole Bearded Blade’s dagger was obviously one of their own.
Within a small warehouse, Qianye was shown a two-wheel motorcycle. No one knew when this one-ton vehicle was manufactured. It seemed extremely old on the surface, but Qianye noticed that the engine and important components were pretty well maintained. Additionally, there was an origin array interface on the engine.
The captain patted the almost three-meter-long bike and said, “Thunderous Tiger, it’s a good brand! At least it was 150 years ago. Now, youngsters aren’t too fond of vehicles like this that only tough guys can operate. Look, I even had an expert modify it. It’s more powerful than it actually looks!”
Qianye looked around the warehouse and found piles of abandoned components but no second motorcycle. It seemed this big fella was his only choice. But gazing at this motorcycle several times his own age, Qianye felt it wasn’t worth 50 gold coins at all.
The captain, on the other hand, didn’t care that much and tossed the keys over to Qianye without even asking.
Afterwards, he walked closer to Qianye and said mysteriously, “As for the other thing you wanted, I can only say that your luck is good! Recently, there’s a true master in town and he should have the goods you need. Of course, good things also come with a corresponding price.”
The captain gestured and said, “Come with me, you lucky little fellow!”
Qianye wasn’t feeling too lucky after seeing the Thunderous Tiger. However, people making their living in grey zones were just like that. They seemed capable of finding almost anything, but if they could really obtain truly “good” things, why would they need to hang around in such places?
Besides, Qianye didn’t have much of a choice either. If he traveled via the empire’s common route he would have to land at the human airship port city located in the northeast of the Western Continent. Not only would he have to spend time and money passing through several provinces, but it would also be easy to track his whereabouts.
Although he wasn’t too clear about Song Zining’s situation, it wouldn’t hurt to be cautious. As such, he could only choose these underground channels. However, Qianye knew nothing about the Western Continent. Ole Bearded Blade proved to be an unexpected bonus—his connections were certainly much more reliable than the ad hoc agents Qianye would otherwise have to find on the Western Continent.
But moments later, Qianye was standing before a small, dark clay house with broken windows. He was having a hard time imagining what kind of “master” would live in such a place.
The captain wiggled his bear-like body and squeezed into the small lodge. Qianye could only follow him in.
The originally small space within the lodge was lined with shelves holding all sorts of odd items. Basically, they were all broken scraps and components. Qianye recognized some of them but he had no idea what most of them were used for.
There was a beast skin spread out in one corner of the room and there was also a rolled quilt nearby. Apparently, this was the “master’s” bed.
There was a table against the wall littered with tools and various materials, where a thin, withered old man, about 1.6 meters tall, was currently working busily. This was his workstation.
There was a crystal lamp installed upon the wall casting a clear and cold beam of light onto his workstation. This was probably the only modern item in the whole house.
The old man raised his head to reveal an aged countenance akin to dried tree bark. He glanced at the dagger on Qianye’s waist and said, “Since you have Ole Bearded Blade’s dagger, then you’re one of our own. Everything can be discussed since you’re one of us.”
“Young man, show me the gun you usually use.”
Qianye hesitated for a moment, then retrieved the right-handed Twin Flower revolver from his tactical jacket and placed it on the table.
A light flashed across the old man’s eyes after seeing the gun. He stared deeply at Qianye and said, “Not many people use vampire weapons!”
“There are some who do,” Qianye replied calmly.
Intentionally or otherwise, the captain’s hand slowly extended towards his pocket.Previous Chapter Next Chapter