Chapter 393: Commence

Chapter 393: Commence [V5C100 - A Distance Within Reach]

The imperial emissary’s arrival was akin to the silent tune of a bugle—it signified the raising of the curtains over the bloody battle. Crowds of young heroes swarmed over from all over the empire and charged into the Iron Curtain without a second thought.

The dark world also treated this matter as a distinguished gathering. The Evernight Council decided to offer similarly astounding rewards which included not only equipment and resources, but also nobility and land. Under the allure of the enormous bounty, young warriors from numerous tribes mobilized in great numbers, even bringing along the older children.

At this moment, if there were a pair of eyes in the sky, it would see that Evernight and Daybreak forces were like two tides approaching each other continuously.

Numerous imperial army units had gathered in a small, unassuming city at the border of the Iron Curtain. For a period of time, the number of warriors here even exceeded that of the city residents. The buildings at the center of the city had all been commandeered, and the city lord’s mansion had turned into a command center. This little city was the overseeing base chosen by Zhang Boqian and Lin Xitang.

There were rising hills and snaking rivers on the sand table which occupied a third of the entire room. The human-populated regions scattered throughout the land were arranged in picturesque disarray. The different hues to their brilliance represented the state of their combat-readiness.

A jet black arc passed through the human-controlled territory, and most of the models closer to the dark race territory had lit up. It was a sign that these strategic points had completed all preparations for war and was ready for mobilization.

As the final imperial envoy finished reading his report, the cities of the Trinity River County also lit up accordingly on the sand table.

The envoy closed the document folder—there was a thin layer of sweat on his forehead, and his spine was as tense as a drawn bow. However, this wasn’t because there was anything wrong with his report. In truth, most of the people in this crowded room full of military stars were similarly anxious.

The source of their tension originated from the man standing before the french window, clad in imperial clothing of black and gold. Zhang Boqian hadn’t spoken a single word since the very beginning and even his gaze had always been directed out of the window. However, an invisible pressure had enveloped the entire place since the very beginning.

Lin Xitang, who was sitting in the first seat of the sand table, looked up amidst deep contemplation. “Since this is the case, every general should pay attention to dark race activities at all times. Dismissed.”

The participants’ footsteps as they left the war room seemed rather urgent. These generals who belonged to the various imperial army corps and expeditionary army headquarters had all killed their way out of mountains of corpses and seas of blood. But with Zhang Boqian and Lin Xitang present at the same time, they were akin to a rookie facing his military instructor on the training field.

Many people exhaled deeply after walking out of the door, feeling rather apprehensive at heart. It was unknown what the imperial army headquarters was thinking to have dispatched two obviously antagonistic generals together to this battlefield.

The room was quickly emptied. Lin Xitang rose and walked over to one end of the sand table where he picked up a mountain model to fiddle with his hands. His gaze was fixed upon the large mountainous region in front as though he were contemplating something.

Zhang Boqian turned back from the window and, spying a major general who had remained in the war room, said indifferently, “Leave.”

The major general’s imperial uniform was somewhat different from the others’. Its golden edges weren’t in lines but, instead, cloud-patterned, symbolizing his status as a member of the imperial guard. This man actually refused to cower under the tremendous suppressive might of Zhang Boqian’s gaze and continued standing ramrod straight without the slightest of movements.

A tempest surged within Zhang Boqian’s eyes.

Lin Xitang’s gentle voice broke the tense atmosphere. “Wei Sang, there are no other matters here. You may retire.”

The major general performed a military salute and left without a word.

No emotion could be gleaned from Zhang Boqian’s voice. “I do wonder if His Majesty assigning you the Thunder Guard is out of fear that I’ll harm you… or in order to keep an eye on you?”

Lin Xitang had only brought a battalion of personal guards from the Northern Legion when he arrived on Evernight Continent. Apparently, this general from the Imperial Guard’s Thunder Guard Division had appeared only recently.

Lin Xitang said with a frown, “Brother Boqian, please speak cautiously regarding this matter.”

Zhang Boqian walked toward Lin Xitang and stood beside him at the sand table. He bent over slightly to briefly scan the landscape in front of him and then said, “Evernight has also mobilized in full-force, but there aren’t any especially powerful characters among the units entering the Iron Curtain. Does this mean the Evernight Council is uninterested in Sky Demon’s item? Or could it be that they’ve already realized what’s inside the Iron Curtain?”

Present imperial intelligence stated that the dark faction has responded proactively to the bloody battle. However, the standard of their invested fighting power and the number of already known big shots from the Evernight Council overseeing the occasion was even inferior to the previous, inexplicable battle on Evernight.

Lin Xitang spoke, “The empire’s real intention is only to fight a bloody battle. We’ll have it easier if the Evernight Council mobilizes less.”

Zhang Boqian pointed at the area in front of him. “Red Scorpion seems to have conducted some missions on Evernight Continent a while ago.” His finger drew a circle around the western part of Trinity River County and the opposite dark race territory. “Apparently, it’s within this area. There was also a Zhao clan unit there at the time. What could be in that region?”

Lin Xitang was silent for a moment. “I’m not quite sure. The seventh army was in charge.”

Zhang Boqian didn’t press this matter. He raised his hand in a brushing motion, sending the origin array on the sand table flickering.

At this moment, the dark race’s reaction was only secondary to the upper echelons of the empire because their major characters all had their eyes on the empire’s internal affairs. The present situation was tricky. The political structure surrounding the clans had been maintained for too long, and everyone wanted to shift it around a bit—the key was when and how.

But the political situation was something best left for the major characters to consider. To the present Qianye, it was more practical to fight tooth and nail for his own military contributions. Qianye made brief arrangements for Dark Flame’s military matters after seeing Zhao Yuying to her airship. Then, he packed his belongings and headed into the vast wilderness.

The bloody battle had begun. Under normal circumstances, cities like Blackflow that were fully equipped for defense wouldn’t be the target of a large-scale attack early on. As such, Qianye decided to take this opportunity to go around hunting. This would also allow him to gain first-hand intelligence.

His first target was naturally the territory of his old friend the arachne count. Count Stuka hadn’t yet recovered from the grave injuries he had sustained from Qianye and Zhao Yuying’s joint assault. Moreover, a third of his eastern territory had been seized by Qianye which led to a significant loss in resources. This was precisely a time where he had been greatly weakened.

From every perspective, the arachne count’s territory was the best target. Naturally, such a fatty piece of meat mustn’t fall into a bystander’s mouth.

Qianye headed due west and soon arrived at Silverflow Fjord. The defensive construction work was in full swing—a number of light cannons had been installed at the highest points and could now control the river running through the fjord, albeit barely. He didn’t stay for long and continued past the fjord toward the arachne count’s territory.

Qianye bypassed the werewolf habitat and made for the depths of the northeastern land. There was a first-rank viscount territory called Black Nest, where Stuka’s brother had supposedly entrenched himself.

Black Nest and Silverflow Fjord were separated by Count Stuka’s main territory and thus wasn’t within Qianye’s original plan. Due to the geography, it was impossible to seize his resources or territory unless Qianye could devour the entirety of Count Stuka’s lands. But things were different with the arrival of the Iron Curtain. With rewards coming from both the empire and the Zhao clan, killing a viscount had, in and of itself, become a very profitable endeavor.

Qianye withdrew his aura and traversed the mountainous woods at a steady pace. He kept himself in his optimal state at all times, ready to intercept the enemy. Before long, a bloody stench swept through the surrounding area as a giant wild beast rushed out from woods and pounced ruthlessly toward Qianye.

This ambush couldn’t threaten him. Qianye side-stepped the charge and plunged the Scarlet Edge deep into the giant panther’s side, sending the point of the blade into its heart.

A hazy glow of blood flashed on Qianye’s hand as intense essence blood flowed into his body through the blade. Within moments, the massive panther had collapsed to the ground as its dark fur lost its usual luster.

Qianye frowned after easily finishing off the giant panther. With his current ability to retract his aura and hide his presence, even a count would find it difficult to sense Qianye’s movements. However, this giant panther, with a strength of only rank-five even after going into a frenzy, had actually sensed him from far away. This made his heart tremble.

Under the effects of the Iron Curtain, not only had the panther grown significantly larger within half a month, but its fur had also turned dark, and its essence blood had increased severalfold. This was absolutely abnormal. Qianye checked the carcass and found that all the internal organs were showing signs of overgrowth. He had a vague suspicion that this giant panther had overdrafted its vitality to explosively increase its strength within a short period.

The road ahead wasn’t easy. Qianye was ambushed seven or eight times before he could pass over a single mountain ridge. All of them were grade five to seven beasts that had gone berserk. They threw themselves at him upon sight and fought madly to the death.

Beasts were naturally no threat to Qianye. On the contrary, they provided him with a fair amount of essence blood, the total amount almost catching up to a knight’s. However, such ambushes impeded the speed of his advancement. Qianye discovered that it was useless no matter how he tried to hide his presence. Be it ligers or mountain crocodiles, all of them seemed to discover him from a thousand meters away and proceeded to launch frantic attacks.

Killing beasts awarded no merits, and because of that, Qianye didn’t want to waste time on them. But for some reason, these beasts seemed to see through his every disguise. In the end, he had no other choice but to adopt the clumsiest and most direct method. That was to advance in a straight line and kill his way through.

Qianye chose the mountain region at the border of Stuka’s territory. This area was quite barren, and there wasn’t even a single dark race settlement here. The smooth journey he had originally planned became quite bumpy in the end. He finally walked out of the mountainous region after spending an entire two days killing almost a hundred beasts of various sizes.

But although there weren’t any contributions to be gained, the journey wasn’t without benefit. Qianye obtained a fair number of precious materials from the beasts, and the essence blood he had absorbed surpassed a third-rank viscount.

Qianye immediately felt the world open up before him as he walked out of the mountainous region. He couldn’t help but exhale deeply. Even the Iron Curtain above him no longer felt as stifling.

It was at this moment that Qianye heard a delighted sigh from some distance away, and this startled him quite a bit. He turned back to find a young vampire walking out of the forest. The original exquisiteness of his tattered clothes was barely noticeable, and his skin was full of injuries from claws and fangs.

It would seem that this youth had also endured the ravage of the vicious beasts within the forest. Originally, blood energy released by the vampires could force beasts and poisonous insects to withdraw, but apparently, it was no longer effective.

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

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TL: Legion   ED: Moxie


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