Chapter 430: News
The waters were muddy enough with the Monroe clan and the empress’s family, but now, there was another Bai clan. Qianye had no idea what they were scheming, but he certainly had no wish to be a part of it. It was just that he had been hunted by Bai Kongzhao over thousands of kilometers, and he wasn’t one to stay silent after being bullied—these two Bai clan squads could be considered a tiny bit of interest taken in advance.
But Qianye’s heart sank when he heard Bai Longjia’s name and recalled Wei Potian saying this person knew about his possession of blood energy. Presently, Qianye was confident that he could hide the fact with the Combatant Formula and Bloodline Concealment—Bai Longjia had also let him off back then. That being the case, Qianye decided to refrain from making this matter any bigger.
After some calculations, he realized that his hunting expedition had gone on for too long and couldn’t help but wonder about the situation in Blackflow City. Qianye quickly figured out the direction and soon left the Bai clan war zone and Iron Curtain far behind.
Bai Longjia appeared at the scene before half a day’s time had passed. At this moment, not only were his eyes occasionally releasing a lightning-like radiance, but the aura around him had also retracted entirely—it was almost non-existent. His temperament no longer possessed the blade-like sharpness from back then and had instead become deeply profound.
Although this area was close to the Iron Curtain’s borders, Sky Demon’s avatar could still appear at any moment. Bai Longjia being able to stand under the curtain with his high cultivation attracted gazes of admiration and envy from the surrounding Bai clan soldiers.
Bai Longjia checked the corpses one by one, not sparing even the most ordinary of warriors. Over an hour had passed by the time he had finished examining everyone. He finally arrived before the captain who had been embedded into the big tree and stood there silently for quite a while.
This captain had long since perished, but there was still some lingering vitality in his eyes. The man loosened that last breath he had been hanging onto as Qianye left, unable to endure any longer.
Bai Longjia pondered for a moment before peering deep into the captain’s pupils, lightning blossoming gradually within his own eyes. With that, he spied a certain figure in the depths of those lifeless pupils.
The figure was somewhat blurry, but it was clearly a human. At least, his basic attributes had no dark race aura to them. That person was fairly young and, despite the tactical mask, his handsome qualities were visible through his silhouette and posture.
Bai Longjia observed for a while before shaking his head in secret. The assailant was exceptionally cautious and had kept the mask on all along. Moreover, the shadow was really too fuzzy to be of any help.
After a moment of silence, Bai Longjia asked, “Has Qian Bo returned?”
“Captain Qian is missing. He didn’t leave any items or messages at the scene, either.”
Bai Longjia said coldly, “He’s likely divulged our Bai clan’s secrets and doesn’t dare return for fear of being punished. Men, issue a wanted notice for Qian Bo.”
“Yes, sir!” his aide responded. “General Bai, have you found the murderer?”
Bai Longjia glanced at the corpse embedded within the tree and said indifferently, “What’s the use even if I find him? I can’t take action under the Iron Curtain, and you lot will only be throwing your lives away even if you catch up to him. Unless my sister comes over, we can only wait until the Iron Curtain ends.”
The aide was startled momentarily because he hadn’t expected Bai Longjia to assess this person so highly. He asked after a moment of hesitation, “Then, shall we have Miss Bai Konghzao take a look?”
Bai Longjia immediately sneered, “Her? We’ll have to thank the heavens if she doesn’t make more enemies for the Bai clan.”
The aide lowered his head and didn’t dare say anything else. Seeing that Bai Longjia had no other instructions for him, the man left to oversee the cleanup of the scene and collect the remains. Meanwhile, Bai Longjia remained motionless in front of the captain’s corpse for a long while.
Qianye, at this moment, had already left the Iron Curtain and entered human territory. His aim was to reach a city with an airship port. The land he was on belonged to the Sky River County, and the closest traffic hub city was the county capital. He was unexpectedly able to buy a second-hand motorcycle from a passing merchant caravan which allowed him to hurry toward his destination at lightning speed.
Only then did Qianye knew the definite time—it turned out that he had slept for an entire five days. But from the clues he had found in the valley, he wouldn’t have arrived in time to help the Ningyuan Heavy Industries caravan even if he hadn’t slept at all. Moreover, the caravan seemed to be a trap of some sort, and he might’ve ruined Song Zining’s arrangements if he had really taken action.
The walls of Sky River City soon appeared in his vision. The defenses here were reinforced due to its proximity to the Iron Curtain, but the overall atmosphere in the city was much calmer. Qianye didn’t go to the airship port directly. Instead, he went around the city to collect the latest news and replenish his supplies.
The Ningyuan Heavy Industries’ matter was tainted with oddities. After finding out the identities of those involved, Qianye couldn’t help but worry about Song Zining’s situation even if the entire business were a set-up. But he simply had no idea where his friend was. As the city closest to the scene, there would surely be some news here about major incidents in the vicinity.
Qianye passed by a certain side street and noticed an unremarkable little tavern at the corner.
Home of Hunters!
This immediately evoked countless memories. The Hunter’s Home was undoubtedly one of the best places to start if it was news he wanted.
Qianye pushed open the tavern doors and walked in. The establishment wasn’t very big, but the main hall, which also served as the lounge, was pretty big. A dozen or so hunters were sitting around the few tables on the side, drinking and chatting. Several among them were bandaged, and their injuries had yet to heal—it was apparent that they had just returned from the wilderness.
The hunters’ topic of discussion naturally involved the popular bloody battle. They were either boasting their accomplishments or discussing the contributions they had just exchanged. The rewards in this bloody battle were indeed quite generous, and they were open to everyone. It would seem these hunters had gained quite the profit.
Contrary to mercenaries, most hunters focused on killing dark race members and possessed higher combat strength.
All eyes fell upon Qianye as he walked into the tavern. A number of them started whistling as they gazed at the exceptionally beautiful youth.
Qianye ignored them and headed straight for the counter. There, he produced a vampiric fang and placed it on the counter. “I want some supplies and news.”
The entire tavern was filled with gasps as the fang was brought out. The hunters all had fairly good eyesight and immediately realized that the fang belonged to a blood esquire—that was not an enemy ordinary hunters could deal with. In any case, it was not a problem for such a person to beat up ten of them.
The expression of the middle-aged man behind the counter shifted ever so slightly. He calmly put away the vampiric fang and gestured to the apprentice behind him to retrieve the goods from the storeroom. He then asked Qianye, “News from which field?”
“The most recent, and the most important.”
The middle-aged man nodded as he passed over some papers.
Qianye was startled the moment he started reading. The papers recorded some of the most important events that had taken place in the recent period. The most eye-catching piece of news was that the empire had, for some reason, decided to officially announce the bloody battle score rankings and update it once a month.
Even one as insensitive as Qianye knew that the rankings would immediately produce big waves throughout all levels of the empire. There was bound to be something deeper behind this act.
Announcing the scores of the major clan to the public was tantamount to letting everyone see the relative superiority between them. The bloody battle was limited to those below the count level, but no matter the excuse, a low ranking would at least prove that the clan’s offsprings were lacking, and that their foundations were empty.
This no longer had anything to do with tactics and trickery, but the prestige of the aristocratic clans.
The word prestige was incomparably important to the major clans. On the short term, it would affect the number and quality of the people joining them, whereas in the long run, it would affect the balance of power and distribution of benefits.
A grand, high-ranking clan failing to perform as expected would immediately draw the attention of ambitious people. After all, aristocracy and titles weren’t just empty nominations—especially those of the direct branch—each signified thousands of kilometers of land, boundless wealth, and even influence in court.
This was especially true for clans with feuds. They were even less willing to lose out to their rivals.
The various major families actually had their own rankings in people’s eyes, and it would greatly damage their fame once a significant deviation was seen. Thus, after the publication of rankings, the aristocratic clans could no longer hold back just to save face. Even if they wanted to save their powerful hidden aces, they would still have to keep up appearances quite proactively.
Under such situations, establishing one’s might would become the more viable option. It was just as Zhao Yuying had told Qianye—the Zhao clan planned to prove their power in this bloody battle and intimidate the petty thieves.
Qianye continued reading and found the latest version of the rankings, listed up to the one-hundredth rank.
These rankings were quite unexpected. The Song clan was still leading the board but was merely a few thousand points ahead of the Bai clan in the second place—only a few hundred warriors in difference. The four major clans and the imperial family were all in the top-ten, but the Zhang and Zhao were ranked pretty low at seventh and ninth respectively.
Qianye’s heart leapt slightly when he recalled the points he had handed in. Judging from the numbers, it seemed his contributions made up one-fourth of the clan’s score. Without that portion, the Zhao clan might have dropped out of the top-ten by now.
As one of the four major clans, they couldn’t let themselves drop out of the top-ten no matter how much they wished to conceal their strength. Did something happen on Zhao Jundu’s side?
Among the other aristocracy, the Kong family had emerged as a new power and secured the third place with the Nangong family following close behind.
Qianye’s gaze became more focused as he flipped through the other pages. The waters of the imperial upper echelon were truly muddy. Registering his contributions under Zhao Yuying’s name was only to help her realize her wish—Qianye had no interest in the Zhao clan’s rankings.
The contents of the next page immediately shocked him out of his wits because most of it was related to Blackflow City. News from such a small border city reaching this place across thousands of kilometers meant that something big had happened.
Qianye read the first line and couldn’t help but sigh in relief. Song Zining was actually back in Blackflow.
During the outset of the bloody battle, fights between the humans and dark races would mostly take place in the wilderness. The battle at Blackflow City was the first large-scale battle between the two armies. Moreover, it was incomparably brilliant. Information regarding the generals from each side, First-Rank Demonkin Viscount Luther and Song Zining, the seventh young master of the Song clan, were being dug up continuously.
Qianye had no time to ponder why Song Zining was in Blackflow City during the Ningyuan caravan’s mishap as the information that followed made it difficult for him to contain his anger—the results of the recent battles and the comparison between their current military strengths.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
This is the second chapter for the day and the additional chapter for this week. In case anyone is wondering, we're going 8 chapters per week now!
TL: Legion ED: Moxie