Chapter 270: The Second Fragment [Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict]
Qianye waved the Scarlet Edge around and said indifferently, “That’s none of your business. Answer me or I’ll plunge this blade into your demonic core.”
How could a dark race expert not recognize a blood absorption weapon, a symbol of the vampires? Having one’s essence blood absorbed while alive was a slow and agonizing way to die.
But the arachne didn’t seem terrified. His legs began to twitch and his expression turned vacant as he muttered while gasping for air, “I won’t live much longer, so what does it matter how I die? My only regret is that… I obtained it with much difficulty and yet… yet…”
Qianye waited for a moment to make sure the arachne’s voice had completely died down. After a moment of hesitation, he took two steps forward and pierced his blade into the arachne’s demonic core.
The pure essence blood flowing through the vampiric blade signified that the arachne was indeed a viscount and was likely just one step away from becoming a count. It was just that his injuries were so severe that his strength had been reduced to that of a rank-nine fighter.
Afterwards, Qianye quickly searched the arachne’s body but found nothing special apart from a number of crystal coins. The battle axe was a grade-five weapon, but unfortunately, Qianye would be unable to hide while carrying such a big piece of equipment.
Qianye got up and took note of the surrounding movements. He then carefully recalled the arachne’s dying words and felt he had missed something.
He checked the arachne’s carcass once again, and this time, he found something.
One of the wounds on the arachne’s abdomen appeared somewhat abnormal—it seemed to have closed much faster than the others and was almost fully healed. A thought flashed through Qianye’s mind as he cut open the scar and revealed a glittering crystalline light.
There was actually a crystal fragment within!
Qianye brought out his own fragment and held the two together in his palm. He found that they were made of the same materials, possessed similar patterns on them, and were more or less of the same size despite the difference in shape. After pairing them side by side, he found that there was, indeed, a segment where they could be connected together seamlessly.
Qianye had never expected that he would discover this crystal fragment on the arachne’s body. It seemed the battles he had experienced before were likely related to this item. Could it be that the gift Andruil left behind for his servant was no longer a secret?
Qianye frowned as he picked up the origin gun which belonged to the blood knight and fired at the wound in which the crystal fragment was hidden. The projectile thoroughly destroyed the flesh around the wound and also wiped away all traces of the crystal fragment’s existence. He then observed the surrounding scene of battle, cleared away traces of his own movement, and left swiftly.
Qianye didn’t dare stay here too long and continued deeper into the mountainous region. He ran for one whole day and night, cautiously avoiding the dark race patrols along the way.
A number of vampires appeared outside of the camp not long after his departure. They were wearing copper masks and each of them possessed deep and powerful auras.
“Grote actually died here. This is terrible,” one of the vampires said slowly.
“More importantly, where is the item he took away?”
“Perhaps it’s still on his body. Grote is notorious for his craftiness.”
“A slim hope at best.”
A vampire at their center raised his hand and sprayed out sheets of blood-colored mist from his fingertips which immediately burst into flames upon contact with the arachne’s corpse. Within moments, only a pile of white ash remained of the gigantic carcass.
The atmosphere among the vampires suddenly became quite depressed as they glanced at the pile of white ash and then at each other.
One of them said, “Grote was sucked dry of all essence blood, and judging from the traces on the carcass, it was done by someone from our race.”
“But the lethal injury was caused by a Mithril Bullet of Exorcism.”
“It’s not that rare to see a human bullet being used. One must know that the Mithril Bullet of Exorcism’s damage against our sacred-blooded races is truly commendable. Also, didn’t you notice that the bullet was fired from a vampire origin gun?”
“This means that the key disk should be with Grote’s killer.”
“It might be wise to initiate a large-scale manhunt…”
The vampires in the group immediately shook their heads and said with lowered voices, “That won’t do. We absolutely can’t let other people get wind of this! The key, as well as Andruil’s treasure, must be kept completely under our control.”
After scanning everyone with his eyes, a vampire said, “This camp belongs to the Fargus clan. You, immediately investigate their members dispatched within this area. I want a complete list, and not one of them must be missing. Do I make myself clear?”
The vampire affirmed the order and immediately left.
At this time, the vampire leader waved his hand and said, “We’ll split up and search. He shouldn’t have gotten far. Let’s comb through a radius of 200 kilometers from this point.”
This search perimeter wasn’t small. Even these powerful vampires would have to expend a considerable amount of origin power in order to accomplish this. But they silently turned away to execute the orders without a shred of discontentment.
The key fragment was too important. Even if they couldn’t get their hands on it, they must prevent others from combining them into a complete key.
The masked vampires moved like the wind and pushed through the mountainous woods like specters. Within moments, they had flipped over numerous mountain ranges and inspected every deep ravine. They passed by many other dark race patrol squads but remained completely undiscovered.
Qianye’s intuition was correct—the mysterious vampires were no farther than ten kilometers from him at their closest. But at that point, they had already reached the boundary of their search perimeter.
From the vampires’ point of view, Grote’s killer couldn’t have fled so far in such a short time. Additionally, if that person had indeed left their search radius, it signified that he either possessed a special gift in speed or was exceptionally powerful. This meant that there was no way for them to deal with this assailant on their own and would have to report this to their higher-ups.
Qianye was still running even after the mysterious vampires stopped giving chase. He ran for nearly 400 kilometers before finding a well-hidden spot to rest. On the way, he found some odd things worth pondering.
The dark races were stretched too thin in this mountainous region, and their numbers were too few. Their average levels weren’t high enough either. It already seemed pretty good if a small squad had a high ranking dark race warrior like a knight leading them. There were even units without any high-ranking warriors. Comparatively, the average strength of the vampire forces was of a higher level.
In addition, the dark races here were continuously fighting amongst themselves. Just along the way, Qianye had encountered at least half a dozen ongoing battles or traces of them. Their situations weren’t similar to the one-sided slaughter at the vampire camp—the battles were small in scale but in no means inferior in intensity, most of them ending in the complete annihilation of one party.
According to Qianye’s previous experience, this kind of deficiency in operational unity usually meant that they were lacking a powerful leader. It could also be that the alliance agreement between the higher-ups didn’t put much emphasis on restraining them, allowing the dark races to settle personal feuds while performing their missions.
All in all, this probably meant that the dark races still hadn’t found the location of Andruil’s treasure. So much that they might not even have any solid clues regarding it.
After observing these battles, Qianye felt that it was time to capture someone and ask them some questions since he no longer needed to worry about compromising his movements.
After several hours, Qianye silently followed a search party comprised of some arachne and their servspiders, ambushing them as they entered a short and narrow valley. There was no longer any suspense in the ensuing battle after Qianye grievously wounded the arachne knight leader with his sniper rifle. The remaining two arachne and the dozen or so servspiders were only able to hold out for minutes before they were wiped out completely.
Qianye brought out a Mithril Bullet of Exorcism and waved it in front of the dying arachne knight. “Answer my questions and I’ll let you die easy. Otherwise, I’ll stuff this into your mouth.”
The arachne knight’s eyes had just moved away from the Scarlet Edge when it clearly saw what that origin bullet was. It was immediately overcome by a mixture of rage, terror, and perplexion. However, it finally nodded.
“Where are you lot from and what are you looking for in this place?”
The arachne struggled somewhat before replying, “We hail from the Hanging Silk Kingdom of the Western Continent, and our mission is to search for a certain historical remain which might exist. Murals, antiques, and tombs are all within the search criteria. As for what the actual goal of this search is, I’m also uninformed.”
Qianye frowned slightly. He knew, from the current clues, that the arachne knight was telling the truth. Such an all-encompassing search covering a vast area only went to say that the dark races had no idea regarding the specific location of their objective. So much that they might not even know in what form Andruil’s treasure existed.
Qianye asked a number of questions from different perspectives and, after confirming that the arachne knew nothing more than he had said, slashed its throat apart. After the arachne stopped moving, Qianye plunged the Scarlet Edge into its demonic core.
The blood energy within Qianye’s body was nearing its maximum capacity after absorbing the arachne patrol squad’s essence blood. But even after transforming such a large amount of essence blood into darkness origin power, he still wasn’t able to let the dark golden blood energy to upgrade again.
Qianye cleaned up the scene and wiped away the traces of his position. However, he left behind traces which showed the corpse was drained of its essence blood.
Later along the way, Qianye took the risk to ambush two more search parties. Finally, he squeezed out some information from a vampire baron and discovered that the person in charge of overseeing the operation on Fallen Star Mountain Range was Duke Bellini of the vampire race.
After hearing this news, Qianye’s taut nerves relaxed somewhat.
Presently, there may be great monarchs from the dark race comparable in strength to Andruil and could possibly break the Black-Winged Monarch’s arrangements. However, this character definitely wasn’t a mere vampire duke. Putting a duke in charge of this operation and not someone of higher standing meant that the dark races hadn’t found out further clues.
This was good news. It meant that as long as Qianye was careful enough, he wouldn’t encounter especially large forces at the entrance of his destination.
Qianye climbed onto a tall peak and gazed into the distance. He compared the current topography against the one he had seen in Andruil’s consciousness and found that the Eye of Truth should be located in a central region of the Fallen Star Mountain Range.
Qianye traveled for the next three days without attacking any more patrol squads along the way. This went on until the familiar silhouette of a towering solitary mountain appeared in his eyes.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Tomorrow is possibly the last skip day we have on MEN/MoE. I've yet to confirm this month's sponsorship total, but it should meet our milestone. So it's very possible that we'll be going 7 chapter per week starting next week. Cheers, ^_^ This is 2/6 of the week.
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