Qianye bowed toward the elder attendant and said, “I’ll trouble you to thank the Princess for me.”
The elder attendant’s expression was respectful as he nodded with a smile. He then performed a grasping motion in the air, whereupon East Peak flew out from the mold on the press bed and landed in his hand. It took several strong men a great deal of effort to lift East Peak from the mold, but this process was as easy as drinking a cup of water for this elder attendant.
The elder attendant placed a strand of Dark Crystal Thread on East Peak’s blade and circulated a secret art, producing a strand of tangible blue flames on his fingertip. The Dark Crystal thread merged into East Peak as he rubbed the blaze along the material—it was incomparably wondrous. Afterward, the elder attendant followed the same method to incorporate the Dark Crystal Threads into East Peak one by one. By the time the last strand was completed, his face had turned pale and his aura was fairly weak.
Such a marvelous secret art naturally involved a great deal of consumption. Even with the elder attendant’s unfathomable strength, his vitality was greatly drained after performing the art several times.
Glancing at the current East Peak, there were many faint silver stripes akin to watery ripples. If one were to keep staring without turning away, he might just be able to make out a number of thin golden lines among them running all the way from the hilt to its tip.
The elder attendant handed East Peak to the strong men in order to continue the Heavenly Dew Silver Incorporation. He himself saluted Qianye and said, “The matter has been completed. This old servant should report back, so I won’t be accompanying Young Master Qianye any longer.”
“Take care.” Qianye was also warm and polite for this entire time.
After sending off the elder attendant, the press resumed its world-shaking rumbles anew as it continued incorporating the remaining heavy silver into East Peak. The sword also started to change somewhat amidst the repeated forging. Its original attributes were being reinforced continuously, and it was becoming even more indestructible.
Qianye felt that he had indeed benefitted after watching the forging process for half a day, but there was no longer a need for him to keep on watching. The rumble of the giant press was still echoing in his ears even after he left the factory doors. The strong men and workers around the press had to wear protective earmuffs; only the champion-level craftsmen could do without them.
The accompanying attendant began introducing the history of the Crafts Manor and the origins of this masterpiece among steam machinery.
After hundreds of years of blood-soaked struggles in pioneering new territory, the Zhao clan gradually established itself on the Western Continent and started expanding. It was then that they spent half of the clan’s wealth and several years of construction work to build this press. Then with this machine as the core, they gradually established the Crafts Manor which grew to its present state over two hundred years of development. This giant press had undergone several major modifications, and its performance was several times greater than when it was first designed—it was almost like a new steel beast.
With this press, they were able to process materials they had never been able to or could only rely on high-ranking champions to do so. For instance, the barrels of Mountain Splitter and Blue Firmament—not only could the Zhao clan produce them on their own, but they could even mass produce them if they had enough materials. For a high-grade origin gun, these were core components only second to the origin array in terms of importance. The Zhao clan was able to use them to trade for high-grade origin arrays.
Thus, the core descendants of the Zhao clan had never lacked a suitable weapon. For instance, young geniuses like Zhao Yuying and Zhao Junghong were already using weapons up to grade six or seven, abreast with the armaments of an imperial regular army corps commander. If someone from the clan was carrying a grade-five weapon, that wasn’t because the Zhao clan couldn't provide for him, but because he couldn’t use a better weapon just yet.
This press also had an additional important function, and that was to produce the core components for airships. Each airship structural component was several meters long and some of the larger ones could stretch over ten meters. Those forged as a single piece possessed higher holistic performance than the substitute products put together from smaller parts. As such, the Zhao clan’s airships were famous in the empire. Not only would they use it themselves, but they would also take on a large number of orders from the imperial military.
From this, one could see the difference between the various major clans.
The Song clan’s sky grade workshop had several master craftsmen working for them, solely focusing on origin weapons and armaments grade-eight and above. They would even produce grade-nine firearms from time to time. They produced only a small number of exquisite products in pursuit of the high-end route.
The Zhao clan invested a great deal on the Crafts Manor. Apart from that impressive Kuafu Press, there were several other giant machines each weighing over ten thousand tons. In this manner, they were able to produce a continuous stream of air battleships, combat vehicles, and even fortress components to bolster the Zhao clan’s core martial strength.
The Zhao clan private army’s equipment standards and combat strength were second to none in the empire. With the power of a single clan, they were able to defend against the dark race army up front, the rebel army at the back, and were even able to take territories from the dark races. It could be said that these accomplishments couldn’t be separated from the establishment of the Crafts Manor.
East Peak’s forging process required a total of three days. Presently, Qianye had already understood the basic significance of this ten-thousand-ton press. Occupying it for three working days was an extremely rare opportunity, and the price involved was difficult to calculate.
The Zhao clan’s craftsmen were capable of using this press to reforge East Peak and incorporate the Heavenly Dew Silver into it, raising its strength significantly. From another aspect, this ability was out of the ordinary—the person who had thought of this method must be a master-level character whose skills were not inferior to Elder Lu.
Qianye thought about a certain possibility while listening to the attendant’s introduction. If one day the Zhao clan’s craftsmen were able to combine traditional hand-crafted perfection with industrial mass-production—replacing masters with machines—they would be able to produce a steady stream of weapons grade-six and above. It would no longer be a dream for everyone to have such a weapon.
But Qianye soon shook his head with a smile because this notion wasn’t practical at all. Ignoring where the high-grade raw materials would come from, there first had to be people capable of using these high-grade weapons even if they were produced. A shot from the most ordinary of grade-six guns could drain warriors below the champion rank of all origin power.
Qianye only understood Zhao Weihuang’s intentions after returning from the Crafts Manor. This journey gave him benefits on the martial dao, but more importantly, he was able to see the craftsmen themselves and the industrial foundations of a major clan that had risen along with the empire. It was one of the pillars preventing the big building that was the Zhao clan from falling apart. The other pillar was the continuous stream of talented people.
That which Zhao Weihuang allowed Qianye to see was the core secret of the Zhao clan; it was also the operating mechanism of the clan’s generation. This broadening of experience and knowledge might not have any noticeable use at the present, but it might take Qianye farther in the future.
Upon his return, Qianye was immediately informed that Zhao Weihuang wished to see him.
The meeting this time was within a quiet and ancient-style room. Beyond the open door was a pool of jade-green water with brocaded carps shuttling through the aquatic plants. They would occasionally swim close to the door where one could easily scoop them up with a stretch of a hand.
Zhao Weihuang was wearing a dark, wide-sleeved robe as he sat behind a set of tea brewing utensils. The afternoon sun passed over him and cast his outline onto the floor, drawing out some ancient elegance from his tyrannical image.
Zhao Weihuang sipped a mouthful of tea after Qianye sat down. “Has your champion realm solidified?”
Qianye nodded. “It’s stable now.”
“Right, your origin power attribute is Venus Dawn, and you have also reached the border of origin crystallization. How can it not be stable?” At this point, Zhao Weihuang glanced at Qianye and said, “Brat, you actually drained the entire store of origin distillate. You used up a lot more than Jundu did. Now, the Marrow Cleansing Pond will be unusable for the next three months at least! I, your father, have received no small number of complaints from all the branches!”
Zhao Weihuang wore a proud and satisfied expression despite saying this. The ingredients of the origin distillate were all extremely rare. Even with the Zhao clan’s reserves and foundation, it would take at least two or three months for them to brew a new pond. The explanation given at the moment was that Qianye had encountered an accident in the Marrow Cleansing Pond, and even the origin distillate was wiped out because of it. However, this didn’t reduce Zhao Weihuang’s satisfaction in the slightest while receiving complaints.
Being able to devour such a large amount of origin distillate was also an ability on its own. Any other person would’ve exploded several times over.
Qianye also found it hard to describe the sensation. He had already been told of the visual phenomena he had produced during the advancement and what order the three dukes had issued.
He cleared away all distracting thoughts and said, “Really? But I thought it wasn’t quite enough back then. It would’ve been better if there was a bit more.”
“Humph, the nerve of you. Do you think origin distillate is water? Do you think there’s as much as you want? The amount you used up is enough to produce ten champions!” Zhao Weihuang glared at Qianye, but there wasn’t any sign of rebuke in his smile.”
As expected, he laughed out loud afterward and said, “My sons are indeed outstanding. Just two of them is enough to drain the entire Marrow Cleansing Pond, haha! Just let those fellows whine and complain. Let’s see them bear two equally awesome ones! Heh heh, Haha!”
Qianye sat silently on the side drinking tea, the high-land tea harvested at the end of the windy season emitting its characteristic dry fragrance.
Zhao Weihuang continued his enjoyment and satisfaction for a while before saying, “You should continue polishing your origin power and forge ahead continuously from now on. Do you have any plans? I’m not sure about the growth of your Song clan art. Do you want me to find you another Zhao clan cultivation art to try out?”
Qianye replied, “No need, this one is the most suitable for me at the moment. I plan to return to Evernight Continent after East Peak has been forged.”
Zhao Weihuang gave it some thought, then said, “That’s good, too. Seeing as how your origin power has already liquefied even before the advancement, the level of that secret art must be pretty high. The Song clan is also a thousand-year clan. It’s just that…” Zhao Weihuang didn’t continue. “Jundu doesn’t want you to join the Zhao clan combat squad. But if you want to head back into the bloody battle, I’ll assign a specialized squad for you. We’ll select the core members from the Fire Beacon Corps.”
Qianye’s eyes gazed down at the teacup in his hand. He had long since heard about how many of the Zhao clan’s squads had been wiped out under the Iron Curtain. Zhao Junhong had avoided discussing this matter even though he had accompanied Qianye to the Western Continent, but Zhao Yuying wasn’t one to hide her thoughts. Hence, he learned quite a lot of things in recent days.
He said calmly, “I don’t need a squad. I’m fine alone.”
Zhao Weihuang’s eyes narrowed as he scolded Qianye with a laugh, “What is wrong with you little bastards? It’s the same with Jundu. Back then, he charged alone into the encirclement formed by half a dozen aristocratic families.”
Qianye took a deep breath. These words coming from Zhao Weihuang’s mouth confirmed certain rumors. “Is the Fourth Young Master alright? That was before his advancement, right?”
At the mention of this, Zhao Weihuang’s expression turned gloomy. He said with a frosty tone, “Jundu was badly wounded, but our Zhao clan sons have always lived a life on the battlefield. A little injury means nothing! It’s just that those despicable people are ambushing our Zhao clan instead of fighting the dark races. We were unprepared at first and received great losses. Not to mention servants and side-branches, even our lineal descendants have fallen in large numbers. Jundu’s early ascension is so that he can return to the Iron Curtain and avenge the deaths of our Zhao clan scions!”
Qianye’s lowered eyes flashed with faint killing intent, but his tone was undisturbed. “So the Fourth Young Master advanced early. Won’t that affect his future?”
Zhao Weihuang sighed. “Jundu produced an ‘Extremes of Violet Yields Azure’ phenomenon and his future is boundless. It’s just that his advancement was early by a year, and his origin power purity was just a little bit short of perfection. Effects… there certainly will be, but the extent of it isn’t easy to guess.”
Afterward, Zhao Weihuang laughed while slapping the table. “But Jundu’s military contributions soared after returning to the Iron Curtain. Moreover, he was able to let those bastards see that our Swallow Cloud Zhao Clan isn’t so easily bullied!”
Qianye’s thoughts were aroused by Zhao Weihuang’s words. For a moment, all sorts of feelings welled up in response to the words Swallow Cloud Zhao Clan.
These days, he had also come to understand some of the Zhao clan’s history. This thousand-year-clan had produced talents in every generation, and its fame had always been like the midday sun. But all the clan scions would join the battlefield after coming of age. They were born in a guarded homeland but usually died wrapped in horsehide—all in order to open up a safe part of the sky for the clan and its civilians.
This brilliant major clan born along with the empire was famed for its outstanding bloodline, but flowing within their bones was, in fact, a stream of extremely valiant blood.
Qianye’s expression remained unchanged as he said, “Can I have a copy of the bloody battle reports?”
Zhao Weihuang frowned. “What are you going to do?”
Qianye said calmly, “I want to see just how capable these people are to challenge the Fourth Young Master instead of fighting the dark races.”
Zhao Weihuang pondered for a moment before saying, “So be it. I’ll have someone send it over to you. Just do what you want without restraints. You have your father to prop up the sky even if it comes tumbling down!”
Qianye nodded and stood up. “Then, I’ll leave after three days.”
After Qianye left, Zhao Weihuang clicked his tongue and mumbled, “Dammit, this little brat has my exact same temperament. So obstinate! Haha, as expected of my offspring!”
Three days passed by in a flash and the day arrived for him to leave. Qianye had long since packed his luggage. He took a car toward the Zhao clan airship port where a high-speed vessel was already waiting for him.
It was still Zhao Yuying who sent him off. No one else appeared, which was just what he wanted. Qianye had seen, heard, and felt too many things in the Zhao clan this time, and he still couldn’t calm down.
After one journey forth and one journey back, Qianye had gained a crystal fragment and an inscribed token representing his authority in the Zhao clan. The token could be used in any Zhao clan estate to allocate resources and military strength, and its privileges were only one level below that of Zhao Junhong.
Qianye had wanted to refuse it at first, but Zhao Yuying persuaded him to keep it. The token was authority in and of itself, but it also signified a responsibility. On the battlefield of life and death, the Zhao clan had always allocated resources in favor of the strong—one had to produce results that matched the resources utilized.
He suddenly recalled the token he had forgotten in a certain corner of Andruil’s Mysterious Realm. That was the one Zhao Jundu had stuffed into his hands when they had first met on the Silentflame Steppes. It hadn’t been too long since then, but the countless things that had happened in between made it feel like it was half a lifetime ago.
Zhao Yuying sent Qianye all the way to the airship doors and gazed deeply into his eyes. She grasped Qianye’s shoulders and shook them as she said, “This time when you go back, kill them mercilessly. Kill all those bastards for this mommy and don’t leave a single one behind!”
Qianye said helplessly, “That’s not too good, is it? Who’s going to fight the dark races if I kill them all?”
Zhao Yuying clenched her teeth and said, “This mommy knows! But don’t you feel that those bastards are even more hateful than the dark races?”
Qianye patted Zhao Yuying hard. “Rest assured, those who have moved against us can forget about running away if I ever encounter them. I want to see just where they can run to under the Iron Curtain.”
Zhao Yuying praised, “Now that’s more like a man! Go first. I’ll get there very soon!”
Qianye couldn’t help but say, “Be obedient and recuperate well. There are lots of opportunities to fight in the future.”
Zhao Yuying glared at him and said, “Oh? Now you’ve learned to lecture your sister?!”
Qianye sensed something just as he was about to board the airship and looked up into the distance. An ordinary-looking jeep had appeared in that direction at some point, and a man in full military attire and a pair of dark sunglasses was leaning on the car with a cigar in his mouth.
Although the combat shades covered up half of his facial features, Qianye was able to recognize Zhao Weihuang at a single glance. However, his gaze was attracted by a young girl beside him. That clear, elegant face and almost ephemeral temperament immediately stirred two segments of Qianye’s memory.
Their adventure in the valley and meeting back in Lighthouse Town rushed out from his heart. It was her—that young girl! But why would she appear here of all places?
Sensing Qianye’s abnormality, Zhao Yuying followed his gaze and saw Zhao Weihuang and Zhao Ruoxi.
Beside the jeep, Zhao Weihuang flicked the extinguished cigar on the ground and stomped it a couple of times. “It’s time for us to leave.”
Zhao Ruoxi pulled the door open and gazed once at Qianye before boarding the vehicle. Zhao Weihuang raised his hand to perform a gesture toward Qianye, then boarded the car and drove away.
That hand gesture was the imperial army’s military order to kill. From a distance, Qianye could still see the smile and faint trace of pride on Zhao Weihuang’s face.
The jeep sped into the distance and soon disappeared from sight.
“Who is that girl?” Qianye asked.
Zhao Yuying replied, “You mean the one beside the Clan Lord? That’s Zhao Ruoxi.”
“She’s… Zhao Ruoxi?”
“Of course, there’s no mistaking it. But this mommy doesn’t like her one bit. She has no other ability apart from being able to use that Red Spider Lily.” After saying that, Zhao Yuying felt somewhat embarrassed. She sheepishly added, “Actually, being able to use the Red Spider Lily is also an ability. At least, this mommy can’t beat her right now. But so what? This mommy still doesn’t like her!”
After speaking so much in one go, Zhao Yuying recalled that Zhao Ruoxi was still Qianye’s sister no matter what. It wasn’t too appropriate for her to badmouth the latter.
Qianye had already suppressed the waves in his heart at that moment. “No matter, I’ve only heard about her but never seen her before. So, she’s Zhao Ruoxi.”
At this moment, the airship had already finished its preparation and was waiting to fly. Qianye entered the cabin after the two of them said farewell once more and took a window seat.
As expected of a military use high-speed vessel, the airship only shook once before soaring into the air and ascending rapidly; it was fast and stable.
The ground scenery through the cabin window grew smaller and smaller. It was the same for the Zhao clan residence in the distance. The many people and matters he had encountered during this period—Zhao Weihuang, Zhao Ruoxi, Zhao Yuying, Princess Gaoyi, even Zhao Fenglei, and Zhao Xiuzhu—he had left everything far behind.
The airship turned in the air and began its acceleration after adjusting the direction.
Finally, the Zhao clan residence was out of sight.
Qianye withdrew his gaze and leaned back into the chair, thinking about certain things in silence. So it turned out that she was Zhao Ruoxi...
The airship traversed the mountains, over the land, and across the sea as it flew toward the eternal night.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Hello Everyone ^_^ Legion here!
Volume 5 has finally come to an end, and what an end it was! The story has developed in a fairly deep, unexpected, but exciting direction. I hope everyone enjoyed reading it as much as I did translating it. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone--you guys are the greatest source of motivation on my everlasting quest for quality and consistency. It's been a fun journey thus far, but let me tell you that the good parts are just beginning. So, without further ado, let's head into the next volume "Sorrow of a Silent Parting" together and further explore the intricately woven plots that inhabit this dark novel.
I would also like to especially thank all of MoE/MEN's sponsors. You guys are the best! Your support is a great boost for us in both material and spirit, and I can't begin to express how much I appreciate it. I'll just conclude this message by saying we'll keep on doing our best to bring you the best of Evernight. Cheers ^_^
TL: Legion ED: Moxie
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