Chapter 212: Harvest (Part 2)

Chapter 212: Harvest (Part 2) [Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict] 

“Naturally! But anyone who knows their stuff won’t dare touch such vehicles used by the imperial military.” Song Hu laughed mischievously.

“You dare go back and collect their things despite knowing they’re from the military? You must think I don’t have enough trouble on my hands.” Qianye revealed a spurious smile. 

A certain radiance flashed passed the depth of Song Hu’s eyes as he replied with a chuckle, “These troubles won’t mean much after you gain money, guns, men, and influence. Besides, you weren’t even worried about offending the Zhao clan during the Profound Heaven Spring Hunt. Why would you be concerned with a mere couple of bandits from the military department? These people who don’t seem to know the immensity of heaven and earth rely on their family background to act wantonly but have no matching strength. I’ve seen too many of them.”

Qianye’s gaze became somewhat attentive. “How do we handle this car. Will anyone accept it?”

“Of course they will. How could they not? The underground channels only recognize the goods and not the person. Who cares where it came from as long as it’s good stuff? Besides, finding someone to do some modifications on it isn’t difficult either.”

Qianye nodded. “Very well then. I’ll leave this matter to you. I plan to go out further and take a look at the situation around Black Clay Swamp.”

Qianye had originally wanted to go out of the city and familiarize himself with the situation of the surrounding areas but changed his mind after encountering Gu Liyu. He had a strong premonition that the war with the dark races was imminent and that he no longer had the time to explore the wilderness in leisure.

Additionally, the mercenary corps was already fully prepared—its only bottleneck was the lack of money. In order to halt the dark race’s advance through the Black Clay swamp with their current strength, they would have to rely on an advantage in numbers and firepower. Currently, the mercenary corps was still outfitted with standard equipment. Whether they wanted to bring out some heavy firepower or increase their ammunition reserves, gold coins were necessary for everything.

Hence. Qianye decided to head toward the Black Clay Swamp directly. On one hand, he would scout out the area in preparation for the imminent battle, and on the other, he could kill the local dark race members, more or less reducing the pressure of their future defensive duties.

Song Hu very quickly noticed Qianye’s sudden change in itinerary. He thought for a moment and said, “That’s also good. With the war being imminent, the dark races will definitely dispatch no small amount of advance guards. If you can remove a good number of them, the enemy might even shrink back from the difficulties and change their course. But Young Master, don’t force yourself. Your safety is the most important.” With that, he pointed at the map and patiently explained the situation around Black Clay Swamp once more.

Song Hu called out to Qianye just as he was about to leave and brought him toward the bungalow behind the drill grounds that was being used as a storehouse. He pulled open one of the iron doors with some force and revealed a bold-looking motorcycle.

The bike’s seat was half a grown man’s height above the ground and over three meters in length. It was like a graceful yet dangerous cheetah on all fours. With its beautiful flowing lines, sturdy metallic texture and brimming tension, it made one feel as if it would leap up from the shadows and pounce towards its prey.

“Where did this come from?” Qianye’s eyes flashed as he asked. There were very few single-seater vehicles in Evernight Continent since large trucks were the mainstream.

“It’s a second-hand merchandise I exchanged after selling that hunting hound. But this baby isn’t cheap at all, especially since it only eats processed energy sources.” 

The paintwork was black. At the moment, a certain mechanic was applying a coat of non-reflective lead grey paint to the originally eye-catching silver exhaust pipe while another was installing a weapons rack.

Judging from the worn bullet hole-shaped rims and the dented anterior suspension, it was definitely a second-hand item. However, all twin turbine motorcycles were equipped with origin array engines and those things had to be handcrafted. As a result, none of them were cheap goods.

Qianye felt somewhat excited—it took less than 20 hours from when Song Hu disposed of the goods to the time of purchase. This goes to show just how capable Song Zining’s secret trade channel was.

“The modifications will require some time but it should be usable by the time you return from Black Clay Swamp.”

Qianye went around the motorcycle a few times. He had always been fond of machines since his time with the Red Scorpions, but his contact with such things was greatly reduced after coming to Evernight Continent. He had the momentary urge to drag it out for a spin but came to after hearing Song Hu’s words. He then just patted the leather seat somewhat regretfully.

The two hadn’t walked out of the storehouse when they suddenly heard the rumble of engines through the ceiling. The vibration shook the whole row of buildings constantly.

Qianye and Song Hu glanced at each other and walked out swiftly. They found, upon arriving at the drill grounds, that a huge shadow had appeared in the sky. They glanced up and spied an airship hovering at low altitude, dozens of meters above them. The black cannon ports on its sides and the thick protective armor indicated that it was a military use gunnery airship.

Some Wei clan guards were hurriedly walking towards them from the direction of the main gates on the other side of the drill grounds. They were being led by a tall personal guard whom Qianye recognized as the elder usually accompanying Wei Potian.

The Wei clan personal guard walked over and greeted Qianye with a salute. Then pointing toward the sky, he shouted loudly through the deafening roar, “This is the present the heir left for you before he left! We hope you like it!”

Qianye was startled for a moment. “Present!? You mean this Gunnery Airship?”

“Correct!” the Wei clan guard replied proudly.

“But there should also be a captain and some gunners, right?”

“Everything has been arranged. We only flew it over to show you, and we will park it at the airbase immediately afterwards.”

Following which, the Wei clan guard waved his hand toward the air whereupon the airship proceeded to turn slowly, ascend and fly toward the Blackflow City air base.

The Wei clan guard didn’t stay for long. He left in a hurry, leaving Qianye and Song Hu standing at their original spot.

There was no delight on Qianye’s face but Song Hu beside him smiled rather insincerely and said, “Congratulations, Young Master!”

Qianye’s regained his composure and asked, “What are you congratulating me for?”

“For the addition of a new weapon of course! Additionally, Young Master will have to strive to earn more money from now on.”

Qianye let out a long breath with seemingly no intention of continuing on Song Hu’s topic. Having risen from an elite imperial corps and thus possessing a wide knowledge of various military armaments, he naturally knew these airships were toys that would burn through money.

This gunnery airship left by Wei Potian could be considered his personal property, and as such, it was quite small. The total crew capacity, including the bridge, wouldn’t exceed 30 men and there were only two multipurpose gun ports. But an airship was an airship no matter how small it was—its routine maintenance, fuel and ammunition requirements, as well as the remuneration for the professional gunmen and captain, would add up to a significant expenditure.

As far as he could recall, the total expenditure from various categories for such a military use gunnery airship should be at least 500 to 600 gold coins. This also meant that this large fellow would consume even more money than the operation of a whole mercenary corps, and this still didn’t include replacing worn parts.

It could only be said that military-grade airships were indeed effective weapons in Evernight Continent, but its use to Qianye wasn’t significant. If he could, later on, expand the mercenary corps to the thousands and independently defend Blackflow City, then owning an airship would be adding wings to the tiger.

In the end, Qianye could only laugh ruefully. He had no idea how to evaluate today’s harvests.

That chap Wei Potian seemed smart on some occasions, but sometimes he was sloppy enough to bring one between laughter and tears.

Qianye immediately packed up his weapons without delay. He put them all on a light off-road vehicle and drove out of the city.

The Black Clay Swamp consisted of several deep swamps which covered a wide area. In addition to slimes, there were poisonous bugs, various wild beasts, and hook-scaled alligators, all of which were deadly threats to humans. Only high ranking warriors would be able to traverse these swamps.

However, the dark races had various methods to evade these dangers. The demonkin and vampires could emit their dark aura to expel lower-ranked dangerous lifeforms, including those from the swamp. There was a subspecies of the arachne servspiders called the swampspiders. Only the werewolves were unable to adapt to the wetland environment but they could ride upon the swampspiders to pass through the swamp.

Hence, the Black Clay Swamp formed an almost unilateral passage between the humans and the dark races. The dark race army could pass through to assault human territory, but the human army could hardly penetrate the swamp to launch an attack.

It was already evening by the time Qianye drove into Black Clay area, and darkness was already encroaching upon Evernight Continent. Jolting all the way, he drove through a seemingly trailless forest—according to the map, the town was right on the other side of this grove.

But gazing from a distance, he noticed Black Clay Town was rather dark. There were almost no lights except for a few hazy yellowish flickers. One would easily mistake it for phosphorescence in the wilderness.

Qianye stopped and used his night vision to observe the small town but found nothing out of the ordinary. It must’ve been that Black Clay Town had entered a combat-ready status in advance and implemented a curfew—nothing could be said against that.

Black Clay Town was the most peripheral town in this war zone and a strategic location close to the Black Clay Swamp. Hence, there was an outpost here that couldn’t be considered small with over 100 expeditionary troops stationed here year long. Although they fell under Blackflow City’s jurisdiction, they were actually situated in a rather marginal area of the seventh division. Not only were they not influenced by Wu Zhengnan’s incident, but they were also quite cordial toward Qianye’s visit. 

After having his authorization documents confirmed, he entered Black Clay Town together with a few garrison officers. Mercenary corps, according to convention, would gain the highest command authority after taking over the defensive duty of locations at town-grade and below. In other words, these soldiers would fall under Qianye’s command from now on. Additionally, Qianye’s rank six fighter strength was far superior to everyone at present. Hence, the officers’ attitudes toward Qianye even bordered on flattery.  

Qianye didn’t head toward the mayor’s house immediately. Instead, he parked the car to one side of the town’s main street and strolled around the place.

The town walls were five meters high and were quite sturdy. Apparently, this place had always been a strategic location for many years. The population here was larger than Lighthouse Town while its area was only half of the latter. The houses in the small town were densely packed together, and the streets were abnormally narrow. Only the two main streets, one horizontal and one vertical, could allow Qianye’s jeep to barely pass through. 

After walking into the town, Qianye discovered that the low hanging light sources were still working—the depressing and lifeless lights illuminated the streets. Although one was spared from total darkness, it was certainly quite uncomfortable. At the same time, the air was suffused by an inexplicable odor so dense that it was nauseating. The smell here was even stronger and more pungent than the scent of decay from the swamp outside of town. 

There were scavengers lying haphazardly in every street, alley and vacant space. They loudly snored while laying on the ground and occupied all of the already cramped passages. There was hardly any space left to step on.

Qianye frowned at this scene. Judging from what he saw, there might be a thousand such scavengers and wanderers. This was a significant number compared to the registered residents of the town.

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

1/6 of the week. Enjoy ^_^

TL: Legion, ED: Moxie

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