Chapter 255: The Grey City [Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict]
Qianye put the silk pouch away. He wasn’t that interested in the red crystal pendant, merely a bit curious. William’s tone didn’t seem that reverent toward the Evernight Council.
At this time, Qianye was hesitating whether or not to travel together with William.
Speaking geographically, the Tulip Bazaar was in the same direction as the recipient of the boulderheart jade letter, and the distance between them wasn’t that great. It would also be safer for Qianye to sell the items he had obtained from Zalen in this grey city. But even if this was likely a friendly gesture on William’s part, Qianye still couldn’t trust the former completely.
William handed the red crystal pendant to the female werewolf and softly said a few words to her. He then headed back to Qianye’s side after she left.
He seemed not to have noticed Qianye’s hesitation and said with a nonchalant smile, “Then let’s set out right away and leave this place as soon as possible. I don’t want to bump into those old fogeys from the Evernight Council. I doubt you do either!”
Qianye suddenly realized that William should also have some doubts about his identity. His suggestion to leave together probably wasn’t just on a whim but might also be to prevent his traces in this area from being leaked.
And thus, one man and one wolf, each with their own intentions, set out on the two-day long journey in each other’s company.
Owing to William’s presence, Qianye only cultivated Combatant Formula on the road. This was the first time he had circulated the Combatant Formula after absorbing the purple blood crystal and receiving an upgrade to his vampire constitution rune.
He began to feel some pressure after the origin power tides exceeded 38 cycles, but he clearly still had power to spare. Forty cycles was his previous limit—this time, he was somewhat overcome with excitement as he began to form the 41st cycle!
The rebound suffered by the body would increase almost exponentially in the later stages of the Combatant Formula, and the progression of each cycle had to be executed with great difficulty. That was why fighter kings were so rare. But behind such difficulties lay virtually unparalleled potential accomplishments because there was no upper limit regarding the increase in cultivation speed. Even though it was just in theory, it was still unlimited nonetheless.
A small part of Zhang Boqian’s great fame could be attributed to the Combatant Formula. He was the first ever warrior in history to push the formula past 50 cycles before adulthood. Moreover, he was only fourteen years old when he ignited nine origin nodes with astonishing speed and broke through the bottleneck to become a champion overnight.
Zhang Boqian switched to a different art after breaking through to champion rank. Even to this day, when talking about the past, people would enthusiastically discuss and guess just how many cycles Marshal Zhang would be able to circulate if he hadn’t switched cultivation arts.
And now, Qianye was currently on that very same path. The vague figure of Zhang Boqian’s back had begun to appear in front of him.
There was a fundamental difference between the advanced and intermediate vampire constitutions. Add to that the tenacious protective effect exerted upon his heart by the continuously growing dark golden blood energy, Qianye immediately charged past the 41st and 42nd tides to reach the 43rd within the blink of an eye.
At this time, his Daybreak origin power tides were like tsunamis. Even the defenses formed by the dark golden blood energy momentarily dimmed down! At this point, Qianye understood that he had arrived at his true limit.
As the tides gradually calmed down, delight gushed out from the depths of Qianye’s heart.
It seemed that, with the repeated evolution of blood energy, his constitution would continue to grow even stronger, and the number of origin power tides he could withstand would increase. Perhaps one day, he would be able to withstand 50 origin power tides and formally stand alongside Zhang Boqian.
Looking at this era, it was indeed a period capable of accommodating two apex characters.
These couple of days, Qianye was focused entirely on attacking the Combatant Formula. The majority of his body was filled with scarlet origin power with a smaller amount of condensed daybreak origin power mixed within.
Qianye suddenly realized something—this so-called Venus Dawn, one of the three greatest daybreak origin powers, was perhaps referring to the attribute closest to daybreak. That was to say, the condensed form of daybreak origin power.
What appeared before Qianye after leaving the mountainous region was a large area of wilderness. This place was different from the Silentflame Steppes; the coarse landscape was flourishing with vitality. Apart from the great trees with deep roots that could extract water from the underground water flow, there was also vegetation growing close to the earth’s surface.
There were weathered rocks everywhere, and at the end of one’s sight, there were several large stone pillars towering over the horizon. They seemed to be some ancient remains.
After traveling for the greater half of the day, an area filled with short buildings appeared before them. This was an oasis marked neither on human nor dark race official maps with a patch of verdant and lush trees growing upon it. Its tender green color formed a stark contrast with the grey-brown wilderness surrounding it.
The grey city had no walls and was filled with short houses. A three-storeyed building stood as its grandest building.
The sandy winds were strong in the wilderness. The night winds would sometimes grow so strong that even a camel might be blown up into the sky. The buildings here had to be exceptionally firm and couldn’t be built too tall. Otherwise, it would be difficult for them to withstand the might of nature.
Additionally, grey cities actually weren’t fixed as the Zhao clan would sweep the surroundings clean once every few years. Grey existences such as the Tulip Bazaar would then be rebuilt in a new place. There naturally wouldn’t be any beautiful buildings since they had to move around.
They were just like the wilderness lilies bearing little yellow flowers. Even when completely uprooted, they would grow out again from a certain crack in the ground after the sandstorm had passed.
Qianye was somewhat shaken after seeing this grey city and subconsciously reached for the gun and knife at his waist. People would die mysteriously every day in such a place where order and trust were almost nonexistent. Strength was the only dependable resource both for protecting the transaction and oneself.
William who was beside him began to laugh and said nonchalantly, “Relax, this place may be a little bit dirty and messy, but there’s no danger to speak of. We can totally walk unhindered here.”
Qianye ignored the man and proceeded to pull his traveler cloak over his head.
Such grey cities, similar to other human areas, would normally have a couple of champions overseeing them in order to maintain basic order. Those that had developed to the scale of this Tulip Bazaar before them would at least have three. William’s current rank of count made him a great noble, someone who had to be addressed as an excellency. Even the noble heads of lower and intermediate aristocratic families, who ruled over several regions, were merely at this level.
As the two walked into the grey city, Qianye saw scenes of vampires and werewolves happily chatting away, that of humans and arachne haggling, and even that of a servspider pulling a carriage with two humans sitting upon it.
Such scenes would be quite unimaginable had he not seen them with his own eyes.
The grey city neither had city walls nor guards. One could come and go freely. Only after entering the city did Qianye realize why the humans and dark races could coexist so peacefully here. The humans in this place were all extremely fierce and tough. Both their might and killing intent were superior to the dark races by a clear margin.
The occasional passer-by would sweep their eyes over Qianye and William as if they were evaluating how plump their prey was. Qianye wasn’t unfamiliar with such gazes. It was the same in every underground world and every land of disorder, that was to size up any unfamiliar faces.
Both Qianye and William were wearing the most ordinary of traveler cloaks. Qianye made no attempt to hide his own level—rank seven wasn’t the strongest in this place, but it definitely wasn’t too weak either. It should be enough to avoid a fair amount of unnecessary troubles. William, on the other hand, had, for some reason, completely retracted his aura and even his race was no longer evident.
Within this grey city, there was an inn, a casino, a bar, an arena, and even an auction house of considerable scale. Here, Qianye had seen almost all of Evernight’s races just by walking through a short lane. There was even one from the rare demonkin race, a grocery shopkeeper no less.
Qianye involuntarily paused his steps as they passed in front of a weapons store and began to size-up this unremarkable little shop with great curiosity. The store actually had two grade five guns laid out before its main doors, and one of them was a rare vampire sniper rifle.
This grade five sniper rifle appealed greatly to Qianye, especially since vampire weapons were known for their accuracy and craftsmanship. The only doubt he had was whether or not he could install the “Resounding Strike” array on it.
Qianye was shocked after shifting his gaze toward the price tag stuck beside it at a weird angle. This grade five gun was actually on sale for a whole 80 pieces of high-purity blood crystals.
This number was twice the normal price.
Qianye picked up the gun and observed it in detail. He found signs of refurbishment in many places. The technique was quite brilliant, but it still couldn’t escape the eyes of a veteran like Qianye. In other words, this wasn’t a new gun but a second-hand item. Adding depreciation to the equation, its asking price was more than three times the market price.
Qianye shrugged, put the gun down, and planned to leave.
After finding out about the real use of the Twin Flowers, he was no longer in urgent need of a high-grade sniper rifle. If, in the future, he was required to take up a long-range role in combat, a remodeled Eagleshot with the Resounding Strike installed would still be his weapon of choice. At least it could overwhelm this second-hand grade-five rifle in all aspects.
It was just that, after seeing such a random small shop being able to place two grade-five weapons on display allowed Qianye to gain a direct understanding of this Tulip Bizaar.
Qianye had just turned around when a fierce voice arrived from behind him. “Halt!”
Qianye turned around and found that it was the keeper of this small shop, a middle-aged man with a face full of scars. There were two tall and burly men standing to his left and right. From their undisguised auras, it seemed that they were werewolves. At this time, they were staring at Qianye with malicious eyes.
It would be an inconceivable sight, both in imperial and dark race territories, to see a human set up shop with werewolves acting as guards. But apparently, everything was possible in such a place as this grey city.
Qianye’s expression didn’t change in the least as he asked calmly, “What’s the matter?”
That shopkeeper spat on the ground and then extended his large hand toward Qianye, saying, “80 blood crystals! You looked at my gun and asked the price, so you must buy it!”
Qianye frowned. He knew such places were rife with all kinds of trouble, but he hadn’t expected trouble to come knocking so quickly and so directly.
Some people had already gathered in the vicinity. Most of them were standing in a leisurely manner and many revealed expressions akin to watching a play. But Qianye knew that once there were benefits or opportunities to exploit, nothing could stop them from turning into hungry wolves that would join the ranks of those sharing this meal.
Qianye swept his eyes over the shopkeeper and his two guards. The two guards were rank seven, while the shopkeeper himself was rank six. In this grey city and even in other places, this kind of lineup could already be considered quite powerful.
This could be considered a probe—these people were trying to sound out the foreigners. Merely, it belonged to one of the most serious types.
Qianye shot a glance at William and found him to be fairly relaxed. The latter was full of smiles as he asked quietly, “How can I be of service?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
5/6 of the week ^_^ Enjoy!