Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict, Chapter 50: Deals and Choices
Qianye wasn’t in a hurry either and turned his attention to the furnishings around them.
This was a lounge built so crudely that it appeared a tad miserable. A somewhat disorganized display of beast heads, hides, and blades decorated the walls in a true werewolf tribal style.
It was at this time that William let out a deep sigh and turned around to ask, “How’re your profits?”
“Significant,” replied Qianye.
Qianye glanced at the map and suddenly recognized a symbol resembling the insignia of a certain mid-rank vampire clan. This time, he noticed that the symbols on the map resembling that of military units seemed to represent a confrontation between the vampires and the werewolves. It was just that the situation on the werewolf side wasn’t looking very optimistic—the vampires had already begun to form a vague half-encirclement around them.
Qianye asked, “Anything troubling you?”
William laughed wryly. “A lot. Quite a lot, in fact. So much so that I’m not sure where to start.”
His gaze then fell back onto the map as he said in a dreary voice, “We werewolves, as a race, greatly revere our ancestors and traditions. A large part of our experts’ strength also originates from our ancestors’ protection. However, that doesn’t mean all their methods were correct, especially after a thousand years of war…”
Qianye listened in silence and didn’t say anything. Tradition or change—it was an extremely complicated issue. And even more political factors would come into play after reaching a level of nations and tribes. This certainly wasn’t Qianye’s forte.
On the other hand, as one of the four major races of the Evernight faction, the werewolves had always been a backbone of their military strength. They were more intelligent than arachne, somewhat less selfish than the vampires, while their numbers were much greater than those of the demonkin.
William knocked on the corner of the table, collected his thoughts, and resumed his usual demeanor. He then brought out a black tablet made of an unknown metal and tossed it to Qianye.
“This is our tribe’s token. With this, you can walk freely through werewolf tribal territory. It goes without saying that a basic level of caution is still necessary. There are no shortage of tribes like the White Claws.”
Qianye caught the metallic tablet and studied it in detail.
This tablet was the size of half a palm and had a rough and uneven surface. The image of a towering mountain peak decorated the front side and a werewolf totem was carved upon the back. The metallic tablet, from its craftsmanship to the images carved upon it, possessed a crude style characteristic of the werewolves and was emitting a vague aura of desolation.
Qianye asked in passing, “Has your problem with the White Claw Tribe been solved?”
A coldness once again appeared in William’s tone when he said, “Old Walker has been chief for too long. So long that he’s forgotten to revere the ancestral spirits of the Summit of Peaks. Since war is what they want, war is what they’ll get.”
Qianye raised his head in amazement. The expression on William’s face, at this moment, was extremely unfamiliar. A touch of incisive sharpness had emerged upon his handsome, viking-like countenance.
Qianye said while flipping the metallic tablet in his hand, “You’ve investigated me right? What do you want me to do?”
William suddenly giving him a tribal token was naturally not to just facilitate travel. A human might not need to head into werewolf territory in a lifetime, and those who do travel that deep into dark race territory were there either to trade or to kill.
If William hadn’t known about Qianye’s identity beforehand, why would he think that a lone hunter possessed the ability and qualifications to do business with a werewolf tribe?
William laughed and said, “I was only slightly curious about the person who made Ole Ross unhappy. Now that you have a mercenary band of your own, you’ll need money and resources. This business will benefit us both.”
Qianye maintained his silence. Before meeting William, he had never believed he could associate with a dark race member for several days. However, doing business was another matter entirely—it wasn’t as simple as buying and selling loot at the underground market, nor was it something he could accept just because both sides would benefit.
William retrieved a certain scroll from beside him and opened it to reveal a map of the Evernight Continent. “It’s very simple, you only have to help me with a couple of small things. First, when you go to war with the vampires, I hope you’ll go and give Marquis Ross’s descendants some extra ‘care’ whenever the situation permits. I might even be able to provide you with some extra information from our side.”
He paused for a moment and then pointed to the region around Blackflow City. “The other thing is… there are a dozen or so small werewolf tribes in the vicinity. They can trade you medicine and ores in exchange for armaments. Of course, it’ll be even better if you can provide some custom-made equipment. The price will definitely be satisfactory.”
Qianye’s frown became even tighter.
The werewolves weren’t proficient in crafting due to their innate characteristics. The vampires, on the other hand, were born masters of arts and crafts, while the demonkin were famous for their top-grade origin power equipment. The werewolves would habitually rely on raw physical strength to kill their enemies. To them, armor wasn’t essential, but their strength in combat would increase explosively should they get their hands on suitable equipment. This wasn’t something Qianye was willing to see.
William suddenly patted Qianye’s shoulder. While looking deeply at him with a pair of greyish-blue eyes, he said softly, “In truth, the matter is quite simple and it’s completely up to you whether or not you want to do it.”
Qianye gave it some thought and said slowly, “The first thing is something I would obviously do. As for the trade…”
William smiled. “Why not decide on this matter after you go and get in touch with them? Those tribes have close ties with my own and are also relatively friendlier. But just like in this place, you have to display enough strength when meeting them since werewolves have always revered the strong. This will make them recognize you with greater ease.”
Qianye nodded while heaving a sigh of relief in his heart. At this moment, he suddenly thought of Song Zining—the Ningyuan Group maintained certain routes of trade with the dark races. Just what were Song Zining’s thoughts when he decided on doing business with the dark races?
William added, “I still have some matters to attend to and will be staying here for a couple of days. You should also stay a while longer. Good stuff appear in this grey city every day.”
“No, I’m short on time. Actually, I’m going to set out in a while.”
“Worried about the situation back in Evernight Continent? There’s nothing to worry about right now. The war there has actually ended.”
Qianye was stunned.
That was a total war poised to sweep away half of the Evernight Continent. There were signs that the Evernight faction had mobilized a two digit line up of council-member-grade experts to oversee the situation there. According to Wei Bainian’s information, the empire had also transferred a number of regular army corps and almost half their elite forces to Evernight Continent.
Just the transportation costs would add up to an astronomical figure. According to convention, a war of such scale should drag on for the greater part of a year before a winner became evident. How did the war suddenly end?
William discerned Qianye’s puzzlement and said with a laugh, “It seems the reason those old Evernight Council geezers started this war was to search for a certain item. Now that the outcome is clear, there’s naturally no need to continue fighting.”
Qianye felt the first part of his words to be almost unbelievable. He couldn’t imagine just what kind of item could actuate a war of such scale. But his heart tightened after hearing what William had said after that. “Is the outcome good or bad?”
William shrugged and said, “Of course it’s bad. Those old fogeys are probably quite distressed right now.”
Later on, Qianye said his goodbyes to William.
William accompanied him out the door and warned him, “I don’t know why the Lone Ghosts are after you. I helped you kill two of them while a third unexpectedly died in Zalen’s hands. However, the Lone Ghosts never leave their commissions unfinished. You must be careful.”
Qianye nodded and, without further delay, left the grey city for Zhao clan territory.
He stuck close to the border along the road to Serenity. Unlike in the empty mountainous region or the open plains, the dark races and vicious beasts were quite active here. Thus, there were also quite a number of human hunters and adventurers. And these humans weren’t any less dangerous than the dark races.
Serenity was a major city within Zhao clan territory with a population of over 300,000. The situation inside the city was also quite complicated due to its proximity to the territories of both the dark race and the rebel army. The true danger probably lay not in the wilderness, but within Serenity.
Qianye set out in the afternoon and, unexpectedly, encountered no danger even while camping out that night. At that time, he ignited his eighth origin node after pushing the Combatant Formula past 43 cycles.
While Qianye was hurrying on his journey, the war situation on Evernight Continent had developed into an odd state—the great army made up of countless dark race warriors suddenly began to retreat like the ebbing tide. Even the strategic points they had captured with great difficulty were easily abandoned.
The empire’s side simply couldn’t determine the purpose of the dark races’ actions. Some valiant and impetuous officers couldn’t resist charging after them in pursuit. But this time, the dark races no longer abided by their previous rule of pre-selected battlegrounds. Several armies surrounded the carelessly advancing corps and devoured them whole.
An entire four divisions worth of elite soldiers were wiped out within three short days. Duke Ding, who was in charge of that battlefield didn’t even have enough time to send reinforcements before the corps had been completely annihilated. The empire’s losses in this campaign were now equal to those of the dark races. This caused Duke Ding and Marshal Luo Mingji’s expressions to turn extremely ugly.
After that battle, the empire’s side became fairly cautious in their troop deployments. They followed the retreating dark race army and fought them steadily, gradually reclaiming the lost territories.
In truth, the atmosphere on the dark race side was also quite heavy. Over ten council members were gathered in a nearby frontline castle. No one had yet spoken in the hour since the meeting had begun, allowing the stifling atmosphere to expand continuously.
Only after an unknown length of time had passed did a specter-like council member speak with an erratic voice, “Is there no news yet?”
An arachne marquis attendant immediately stepped forward and said respectfully, “All search parties have arrived at the Flaming Beacon Continent as instructed and have entered their designated areas. There have been no reports of new discoveries up till now. The only news worth noting is that Viscount Zalen of the Byrne clan has fallen in battle.”
A vampire council member asked in a stern voice, “Zalen? How did he die?” This veteran council member’s aura pressed forth like a black panther. Even someone as strong as the arachne marquis had to take a step back.
The marquis hurriedly replied, “We’ve already found Viscount Zalen’s remains. It’s said that he went deep into the mountainous region in pursuit of a suspicious human who resembled a vampire. The place where the viscount fell is quite close to Zhao clan territory. Judging from his corpse, the viscount likely died to… the Red Spider Lily.”
These words immediately caused a commotion within the meeting hall. Even these council members couldn’t control their emotions after hearing the Red Spider Lily’s name, and this was especially true for Ge Shitu.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
2/6 of the week. Enjoy ^_^