Chapter 294: A Call For Help [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
The Silentflame Steppes remained just the same, no matter how much the world had changed.
The occasional gust of wind would kick up clouds of fine dust akin to leaping flames, just like Qianye’s emotions at the moment.
He walked forward almost mechanically. Replaying in his mind were not only Zhao Jundu’s words but also a plethora of past memories, memories that belonged only to him.
Now that he thought about it, he had probably formed a vague premonition since the day he learnt, from Song Zining, that his scar was due to origin power theft. Fortune and coincidence could hardly explain how he had survived such a forbidden incidence.
As such, he had long since given up on wanting to know the answers as nothing else but more deaths, conspiracies, pain, and blood would come of this.
Qianye had never wanted to return to Evernight Continent so urgently. At least there, he had a small shelter and people waiting for him to return—those were things that truly existed.
Only when Dog Claw Town appeared in the distance did he suddenly realize that a whole day and night had passed by.
Dog Claw was just as simple and crude. That “great master” was still working busily in his run-down workshop—no one would’ve associated this little store, set up in such an uninhabited land, with the extremely powerful “bullet”.
When Qianye opened the door and entered, the great master was processing some unknown item on his semi-automatic worktable.
That which he was working on was an extremely exquisite silver component. It was only the size of a fingernail and covered with openwork patterns. Qianye finally recognized that it was a component of a bullet. The materials used by the great master were mostly common goods, but he was actually able to process them into such a precise component.
The great master exhaled deeply after he was done with the processing. He glanced up at Qianye and said, “Are you here for the ‘bullet’?”
Qianye replied respectfully, “Yes. I also brought some of the necessary raw materials.”
The great master rubbed the sheet of silver which was as thin as a cicada’s wing, checked its patterns against the origin power lamp, and said slowly, “I only owed Ole Bearded Blade one favor and I’ve already returned it with the last bullet.”
“I understand.” After personally witnessing the astonishing transformations after the bullet was fired, Qianye understood that the price tag of a hundred gold coins was far too cheap.
The great master asked, “Where did you use that last bullet?”
“A viscount of the Byrne vampire clan.”
The great master nodded. “That’s good enough. It can be considered tolerable that this old man’s masterpiece was used on a viscount. Let me see your materials.”
Qianye brought out two small boxes—one contained the fingernail-sized piece of mithril he had exchanged from Tulip Bazaar, and the other contained four vampire fangs.
The great master swept his gaze over the mithril and said, “Mn, enough for three bullets.”
He picked up the vampire fangs and said after observing it in detail, “The fang of a vampire viscount. This thing can also be made into bullets, but it’ll only be effective against daybreak creatures. The effects will be significantly inferior against the dark races.”
The great master put away the materials and handed two finished mithril bullets to Qianye. This time, the crafting fees alone amounted to 400 gold coins for each bullet discounting the materials. That was the true value of the “bullet”.
Qianye only stayed half a day at Dog Claw Town before boarding the smuggling airship back toward the empire. The great master would deliver the special origin bullets crafted from the vampire fangs via Ole Bearded Blade.
The airship shuttled through the void and traversed imperial lands. Only after several more flights did Qianye arrive back at Blackflow City.
The great war had already ended. One could still see soldiers bearing the insignia of the imperial regular army in Weiyang City. Blackflow City, on the other hand, had completely recovered its normal order.
There were many traces of battle left behind outside of the city. However, the dark race army ultimately decided not to launch a large-scale attack against Wei Bainian’s withdrawal tactics. As such, Blackflow City immediately recovered its vitality as soon as the dark races withdrew.
After entering the city, the first place Qianye went to was the Dark Flame Mercenary Corps. But as he walked into the encampment, he almost couldn’t recognize this exceptionally lively place.
Back then, the Dark Flame Mercenary Corps had signed over an abandoned factory at a corner of the city. The land was large and fairly underutilized, making it seem extremely empty. But now, what stood before Qianye was a bustling construction site.
A number of large construction machinery were excavating deep trenches, and a heavy crane was slowly lowering a steel pipe, as thick as an ancient tree, into a completed segment of the ditch.
Qianye couldn’t help but become alarmed after seeing the picture of a kinetic tower carved upon the steel pipe. Apparently, they were installing an energy channel used specifically for the transport of kinetic steam. This wasn’t a small project at all! Additionally, only major military camps would require such energy pipelines.
He surveyed the surroundings and saw a number of other buildings under construction at the same time—a barracks, a fort-style compound wall, and two watchtowers. Judging from the scale of this project, one might be able to stuff an entire division into it after completion.
Although Qianye inevitably had certain ambitions for the Dark Flame Mercenary Corps, they hadn’t inflated to such a degree.
At this time, Song Hu immediately rushed over after receiving news of Qianye’s return. Behind him were a number of unfamiliar mercenaries—apparently, they were in the middle of a business discussion.
The group of leaders from other mercenary corps greeted Qianye and then left. Only then did Qianye point at the construction site and asked, “What’s going on here?”
Song Hu replied indifferently, “Increasing our speed of development.”
Qianye, of course, knew this would speed up development. But weren’t things going too fast?
Originally, the Dark Flame Mercenary Corps had also suffered some losses during the war. However, the merits accumulated during the two major battles amounted to a large sum in rewards. Additionally, the expeditionary army hadn’t subtracted a lot, and Wei Bainian definitely wouldn’t take a cut like the other expeditionary army generals.
As such, after this sum of money was paid out, Song Hu began to expand on a large scale without holding back. The current mercenary corps had expanded to two thousand men, and this camp was built according to the standards of a light division.
The group of mercenary leaders who had arrived with Song Hu just now were the leaders of mercenary groups from the cities that fell in the war as well as those originally from Blackflow City. Song Hu was currently negotiating an annexation which would formally raise the troop count to three thousand.
But no matter how abundant the empire’s rewards, the payout couldn’t be that high. Not only did Song Hu spend all the rewards, but he also borrowed all the money he could borrow. As such, the debt on Qianye’s head was already as large as 50,000 gold coins!
For a moment, Qianye had no idea what to say.
Song Hu saw Qianye’s unsightly expression and consoled him, “Rest assured, Sir Qianye, we still have some money in our coffers, and it’s enough to pay for the next two months of our operating costs.”
Qianye exhaled deeply. He currently had no need to worry about the debt because, although he hadn’t acquired that many rare materials from Andruil’s space, the piece of high-purity solid mithril alone was valued at 30,000 gold coins.
But Song Hu’s decision was simply too risky. What would he do after two months if Qianye hadn’t returned with Andruil’s rewards? Was he planning to disperse the mercenary band?
Song Hu produced a letter from his pocket and passed it over without waiting for Qianye to form his words. “This is a letter for you from Young Master Zining. There were special instructions to hand it to you directly.”
Qianye was somewhat startled and suddenly recalled that there was a score he needed to settle with Song Zining. He opened the letter immediately and saw that the first words written there were, “Qianye, save me!”
Qianye was momentarily shocked. Song Zining had never lost his composure like this even during Yellow Springs Training Camp where there was only a thin line between life and death.
He asked immediately, “When did this letter arrive?”
Song Hu saw something wrong with Qianye’s expression and was also surprised. “Only two days ago. Young Master Zining’s messenger said that you should be returning around this time, so I was waiting for you at the camp without doing outside work.”
Qianye continued scanning the letter as he listened to Song Hu. The letter made no mention of the cause of danger. It only said that Song Zining was at the city of Hope in Clear River County, and that Qianye should go to meet him immediately after receiving the letter.
Qianye crushed the letter to shreds with a twist of his hand and said with a gloomy expression. “Help me secure a flight to the city of Hope in Clear River County. You’ll be in charge of everything here. As for the other matters, just let it be. Just maintain the expansion as is and we’ll see what we should do when I return.”
Qianye was extremely busy during the following period and had no time to rest. He went to meet Wei Bainian and learnt of the most recent situation on Evernight Continent. He even brought back a pile of reports from the Imperial Bulletin. He had no time to read through them all and only browsed through the headlines.
Qianye then went to find an underground trade channel and sold off the piece of mithril which he failed to exchange at the Xinglong Trading Company. This would be left as funds for the mercenary corps.
Song Hu’s eyes immediately became quite different after seeing the large sum of money. Unfortunately, Qianye had explicitly ordered him to restrict the expansion. Otherwise, with such a sum of money in the former’s hands, it was likely that Qianye’s debts would increase instead of decrease.
Of course, Qianye didn’t forget to dispatch some men toward Black Clay Swamp to secretly gather information on Lu Jianan. Finally, he got back to his residence at night and was warmly welcomed by Lil’ Seven and Lil’ Nine. Only then did Qianye recall that he had already left for several months and it was time to let them drink his blood.
After recalling the twins’ origins, Qianye became even more worried about Song Zining’s situation. That fellow dared to deal with the rebel army and even had his transaction zone flipped over in Zhao clan territory. But what kind of problem could Qianye possibly help him with?
After a night of interwoven anxiety and passion, Qianye woke to the lightless dawn of Evernight Continent—Lil’ Nine was still huddled up beside him, and Lil’ Seven’s light footsteps could be heard outside as she prepared the rinsing water.
Qianye pulled the thin blanket over Lil’ Nine’s naked body before walking out of the room. A joyous smile emerged on Lil Seven’s small blushing face when she saw Qianye.
Qianye smiled as he rubbed her head and then dressed himself with the clothes neatly folded on a nearby chair.
And this was how many restraints were formed—some of them he had forged willingly, some came to be unintentionally, while others had emerged out of responsibility. There were also some he was determined to undertake. In this world where tomorrow was always an uncertainty, Qianye felt more and more strongly that he had to build up his own little paradise, a place where he could shelter the people around him from the wind and rain.
That morning, Qianye boarded the airship toward the city of Hope just as the first light of dawn cast its rays upon the airship port outside of Blackflow City.
His destination was Clear River County in the hinterlands of human territory. There were few wars there, and it wasn’t even affected by the most recent war on Evernight Continent. And that was where the true headquarters of the Ningyuan Group was located.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
6/7 of the week. Enjoy the new volume! ^_^
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