Chapter 263: Exposed [Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict]
The lady in black shivered, and her lips trembled slightly before saying, “Will you spare me if I tell you everything I know?”
The lady in black had some misgivings. “How can I trust you?”
Qianye smiled coldly and said, “You have no other choice than to bet on it.”
The lady in black clenched her teeth and brought out a map, on which she pointed out the location of their headquarters. Additionally, she also explained the distribution of personnel and guards.
Qianye frowned slightly as he listened. There were three other resident experts in addition to the chief of Lone Ghost’s regional headquarters, Fang Tianlun. Although the number of experts above rank five was limited, they were still a fairly powerful force.
After the lady in black finished speaking, Qianye brought her back into the great hall to wake up the gunman in the hall and the badly wounded middle-aged man upstairs. The gunman and the lady in black were roughly the same in rank and knew little about the details.
That badly wounded middle-aged man, however, was the person in charge of the Lone Ghost base in Serenity. Qianye had to put in a fair bit of effort interrogating him. Consequently, the lady in black witnessed Qianye’s precise and almost surgical interrogation methods.
The lady in black huddled up on one side until the moment the middle-aged man breathed his last—she would have probably vomited midway if only her body weren’t frozen in terror.
Qianye got up and slowly wiped his hand with a square towel. This manager was a middle-ranked character in Lone Ghost, but his knowledge was fairly limited and knew little regarding the identity of the client or the purpose of this operation.
But the middle-aged man’s confessions did explain a number of questions Qianye had in mind.
As it turned out, Lone Ghost was rather doubtful about the operation and had no intention to cause a big commotion in Serenity. They set out to lure and capture Chen Lu after seizing Ma Zhong. At the same time, they dispatched the best assassins of the regional headquarters to obstruct Qianye in the wilderness.
However, the situation on both sides didn’t progress quite as planned.
Chen Lu was indeed lured to the receiving area in advance, but, during their assault, Lone Ghost encountered intense resistance which far surpassed their expectations. They were able to take down the base in the end but suffered fairly heavy casualties. Meanwhile, those on Qianye’s side had gone completely silent until, suddenly, they received news that he had already entered Serenity.
As such, Qianye encountered this last-moment trap—not only was it extremely coarse, but the participating personnel were also quite weak. Of course, this was only Qianye’s feeling. To Lone Ghost, a line-up consisting of the lady in black, Lu Yalan, three rank-six sharpshooters, and two ran-seven assassins was already considered quite powerful.
At this point, the matter was even more complicated than he had expected. Lone Ghost only obtained the pattern with which to connect with the courier from Ma Zhong, while the courier’s appearance, distinctive features, and the information that he was a rank-seven hunter came from the client. From this, it was apparent that Song Zining’s side had also been compromised.
Actually, Song Zining had said in his letter that Qianye should immediately destroy the boulderheart jade letter and leave the Western Continent in due haste if he encountered any accidents. He had also told Qianye not to proactively contact him after returning to Evernight Continent, and that he would deal with the aftermath himself. Back then, Qianye had thought this to be merely a routine instruction, but now it seemed Song Zining also had a premonition.
Fortunately, not all was bad news—it was clear from how Lone Ghost was acting so cautiously regarding this matter that the mastermind behind this wasn’t the Zhao clan. In addition, the information regarding Qianye only contained his outward appearance, which meant that the compromise on Song Zining’s side only involved the outer circle and could still be reversed.
At this time, Qianye suddenly realized that he owed William a great favor because Lone Ghost’s most powerful assassin, barring their regional chief, was rank nine and possessed a special concealment ability. Add to that the two rank-eight assistants and the fact that Qianye hadn’t fully recovered at that time, it was highly possible that he might have fallen into their hands had he not met William.
Qianye ignored the lady in black who was cowering in the corner and proceeded, with due haste, to search through every floor of the building. After confirming that there were no other survivors, he reappeared before Lu Yalan with a large bag. She hadn’t moved at all and even her posture hadn’t changed. It seemed she was so shocked that she didn’t even dare think of running away.
Qianye tossed her an injectable origin power medicine and said, “You have half an hour to recover. Afterwards, we’ll head to the regional headquarters.”
Lu Yalan suddenly came to and cried, “You’re insane! The chief is at the headquarters and he’s a champion! We’ll all die!”
Qianye calmly replied, “I’ll let you drive to save some time. Otherwise, I only have to spend a bit more time finding the right place.”
Lu Yalan trembled momentarily. She then injected the medicine into her arm, sat there cross-legged, and began to circulate her origin power.
Just by looking at Qianye’s style of handling matters, she was clear that she had no opportunity to resist. Qianye took no precautionary measures against her at all and seemed as if he wasn’t, in the least, worried about her running away or launching a surprise attack. The more he acted this way, the more afraid Lu Yalan became because only those with sufficient strength could act so confidently.
Qianye casually pulled a chair over, sat down, and began to recuperate with his eyes closed.
His heart wasn’t as calm as his outward appearance. As things stood, the best way for Qianye to deal with this matter was to leave immediately as per Song Zining’s instructions and not wade into these muddy waters. That was because he had no idea who was actually behind Lone Ghost, and neither did he know how big the entire tempest was nor what proportion of it the link in Serenity occupied.
But after hearing of Chen Lu’s other identity from Ma Zhong, Qianye immediately realized that he couldn’t let her fall into Lone Ghost’s hands since this person was a direct witness who might perhaps implicate Song Zining. It was imperative that he assess the situation and decide whether to save or silence her.
Qianye laughed wryly in silence—now wasn’t the time to argue about Song Zining’s trade with the rebel army, but what should he say once he met his good friend again after everything was settled smoothly?
The half-hour swiftly passed by and Lu Yalan had recovered over half of her origin power. She no longer struggled pointlessly and obediently drove out a light jeep from the garage behind the building.
Qianye jumped onto the front passenger seat and tossed the large bag in his hand towards the back seat, producing a series of rustling sounds.
Lu Yalan’s heart momentarily skipped a beat. There was something wrong with this sound—she immediately went through all the items from the base’s armory in her head and was overwhelmed to discover that the bag was stuffed full of grenades!
In addition to ordinary gunpowder grenades, there were also a number of powerful origin grenades originally prepared for use at the recipient base. Later on, their chief decided against using them for fear that the huge commotion would attract the Zhao clan in full force.
Qianye was casually tossing such a bag around! Although the grenades normally wouldn’t go off on their own, what if they did? If by any chance the bag of grenades was to go off accidentally, the force would most definitely blast the car along with the two passengers into smithereens.
Lu Yalan’s back was immediately drenched in cold sweat but she refrained from speaking after seeing Qianye’s silent and almost hazy face from the side. Afterwards, she started the car’s engine.
The city of Serenity was surrounded by the dark race’s Forgotten Mountain Range and the rebel-controlled Serene South Province. Despite being surrounded by enemies, the city gates weren’t closed during the night and allowed people to enter or leave. From this detail, one could see the Zhao clan’s confidence and arrogance.
The light jeep exited the city without a hitch and drove along a branch of the First Sun Highway into the boundless night.
Lone Ghost’s regional headquarters was located in a certain manor about an hour’s drive from Serenity. Even near cities, the roads through the wilderness were still quite dangerous—ferocious beasts and bandits were both lethal threats to the night-time traveler.
The jeep didn’t have any lights on. Lu Yalan advanced relying only on the dim moonlight. As a rank-six sharpshooter, she possessed a certain level of night vision capability and could see the road ahead with some effort. However, she would also slip up occasionally.
Whenever this happened, Qianye would immediately tell her to turn either right or left. Nothing on the road could escape his eyes whether it were stones, pits, or corpses.
Apart from this, Qianye mostly kept silent, leaning on the door with his head propped on his hand as if he were pondering deeply about something.
As the jeep advanced through the night, there was almost no other sound apart from the rumble of the engine. The night seemed especially quiet—not to mention encountering beasts, not even a single living creature scuttled past the side of the road.
Eventually, this deathly silence turned into a huge boulder which pressed down on Lu Yalan’s heart and gave her the urge to let out a frantic scream. Additionally, the jeep was terribly cold and it was unknown just where this eerie chill was coming from. This caused her to start trembling uncontrollably toward the end.
Lu Yalan became faintly aware that this abnormal sensation was arising from Qianye. There was one moment where she actually felt the illusion that the person sitting in the passenger seat wasn’t a human youth but a terrifying beast.
A faint strand of aura was indeed being constantly emitted from Qianye’s body. Lu Yalan only felt extreme danger from it but couldn’t discern the specific details. The beasts in the wilderness, however, easily sniffed out an arachne at the level of a viscount or even greater.
This was Brahm’s aura. The powerful suppressive might declared the region as its domain and caused even the most powerful of wild beasts to not dare take a single step over this minefield.
Qianye ordered Lu Yalan to stop the jeep at an approximate distance of five kilometers from the destination. He then tossed her an origin assault rifle and a dagger before bringing her toward the manor.
The fear in Lu Yalan’s heart had reached its highest point as she obediently followed behind Qianye. At this moment, she wasn’t willing to stay alone in the wilderness even if Qianye let her leave. Comparatively, the regional chief within the manor didn’t seem so scary anymore.
The few kilometers passed by in silence, and the silhouette of the manor was already appearing before their eyes.
Qianye gestured toward Lu Yalan and said softly, “Fire at anyone who comes out of the manor.” With that, Qianye left without waiting for a reply and continued to advance alone.
Lu Yalan hesitated for a moment as she gazed at Qianye’s back. Of course, she wouldn’t dare to fire at Qianye. She understood, after seeing the grade-five vampire sniper rifle in his hand, that she might not necessarily be able to hit him even if she launched a sneak attack.
Lu Yalan was actually hesitating whether or not to fire some warning shots, but she lowered the muzzle after recalling the strict rules of the organization. She had already failed her mission completely, not to mention all her companions were dead. Not only was she the only survivor, but she had also brought the enemy to their regional headquarters. The only fate awaiting her was a cruel punishment even if Qianye were to be captured or killed.
A faint scent of blood suddenly pervaded the dense night air as Lu Yalan heard an almost undetectable groan mixed amidst the wind. Apparently, Qianye had dealt with the hidden sentry of the manor. It was just that his actions weren’t very clean.
An odd sensation flitted across her heart—how could this cruel, precise, and orderly youth compromise his movements at the external sentry post? However, her doubts were immediately answered.
The scent of blood and the muffled groan could perhaps be hidden from ordinary people, but it definitely couldn’t escape the senses of the experts. A loud roar suddenly rang out from within the manor, “Who dares come here to court death?!”
An ear-piercing alarm then rang out as several figures rushed out from within.
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