Chapter 368: Untitled [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
Qianye said, “Let’s leave Nangong Xiaoniao’s matter at this. I already have a lot of troubles on my hand, so what’s one more?”
Song Zining lowered his gaze with a silent frown.
Qianye continued, “Let’s get back to important business. Count Stuka’s movements during this Western Expedition are too odd. Additionally, there are also signs of abnormality in the werewolf territory. In any case, Dark Flame has taken three viscount territories and the strategic point of Black Ridge; these profits should take us a while to digest. As such, I’m prepared to pause our expansion and figure out what exactly the dark race is up to before deciding on our course of action.”
He glanced at everyone and asked, “What are your plans? Potian, you’re leaving the day after tomorrow, right?”
Wei Potian scratched his head and said in a deflated tone, “The old man sent a letter asking me to return.”
“You should indeed go back. Earnestly practice leading troops in battle.” Song Zining wasn’t polite at all.
Qianye turned to Song Zining and asked, “Zining, what about you?”
After a moment of silence, Song Zining said, “Upgrading Silverflow Fjord to a stronghold is a major project. Now, we also have Blackridge. Both of them are strategic locations that must be held onto. I’ll return to the Ningyuan Group to reorganize the military construction bill. I’ll dispatch a merchant caravan as soon as possible and ship over a part of the materials and equipment for the stronghold construction. According to Miss Zhao Yuying, the underground ore veins in the region are peculiar and might be hiding a rare type of ore. I must also deploy some specialists in that area. It’s clearly not a good idea to rely on dark race technicians completely.”
Qianye nodded and then glanced at Zhao Yuying. The young miss replied lazily, “I’ll stay here since I have nothing better to do anyway. Just don’t forget my share.”
Qianye pondered for a moment and said, “I’m lacking a division commander at the moment. Why don’t we register you first?”
“How convenient for you! You want to tie this mommy here? Impossible! Not doing it!”
“I’ll pay you ten percent of the surplus profits.”
Zhao Yuying immediately leaped up and arrived beside Qianye, beaming. “I’ll definitely help you since we’re family.”
The party dispersed after dinner since everyone had a pile of things on their hands.
Qianye returned to his study and continued processing the stack of documents on his desk, the task ending only deep at night. He rubbed his tired eyes and strolled over to the military map hanging on the nearby wall.
The present situation was more or less clear-cut. Presently, the arachne viscount Musk had fallen in Zhao Yuying’s hands. The werewolves were holed up completely, and many vicious beasts had suddenly emerged in his vicinity. Qianye cautiously decided against storming the region and only dispatched the army to block off the werewolf domain’s external passages. They would have to climb over the mountain range on the other side if they wanted to come out.
So far, a large portion of the count’s southeastern territory had fallen into Qianye’s hands.
During the following period, he only needed to wait for Song Zining to transport the machinery and materials required for construction work. The first step of his pioneering would be complete once they finished building strongholds on the Silverflow Fjord and Black Ridge. However, there was a lingering shadow in Qianye’s heart—just what was that origin array for?
But to crack that origin law array was no simple matter. Dark Flame’s array specialists weren’t worth a mention. They were highly-ranked in the Trinity River County, but they wouldn’t be considered anything on the Qin continent.
But the specialists Song Zining had transferred over from the Ningyuan Group were also helpless. They had also studied the array for several days without any progress. The prisoners were all technicians in charge of assembly and maintenance, but they had no knowledge regarding its specific function since the core of the origin array was sealed within the metallic sphere. As for that demonkin, he was a master machinist who had nothing to do with arrays.
Regardless of what this origin array was for, one thing was obvious—this wasn’t something the arachne count could set up on his own. So much that he probably couldn’t afford to do so. Something Qianye had always been worrying about had happened; an external power was beginning to interfere with the situation in his region.
Under such circumstances, it was indeed a wise decision to have spared the arachne count. Qianye was currently rejoicing that his two Refined Silver Bullets of Extreme Yang had struck Stuka’s arachnid body and not his human-shaped upper half.
After a moment of pondering, he decided to first prospect the mines within his occupied territory and see what kind of profits they would yield. Song Zining intended to invite a true array specialist via the Ningyuan Group during his trip back. Perhaps there might be some progress at that time.
Qianye walked out of the study only after concluding his thoughts.
Qianye saw Zhao Yuying as he pushed open the door, standing alone with her back against the wall and smoking a cigarette.
“Were you waiting for me?”
Zhao Yuying nodded. “About Xiaoniao, thank you.”
Qianye said with a smile, “There’s no need to say such things between us.”
The ice in Qianye’s heart shattered the moment Zhao Yuying decided to stay behind and cover his escape during the battle with Stuka. It was only toward her, however. Since Zhao Yuying hoped Nangong Xiaoniao would be able to enjoy a period of relative freedom in Evernight Continent, it was only a slight effort on his part to accept.
Zhao Yuying exhaled a ring of smoke. “Xiaoniao is very pitiful, but she’s also very strong. The first time I met her was on the Red Scorpion drill grounds, I had never imagined a little girl could train so madly as though her life depended on it. Even I hadn’t tried so hard during that time. Later on, after we became friends, I asked her why she was trying so hard. She said that it was all so that she would have the ability to go and meet a certain person.”
Qianye was silent.
“I’d never expected that person was actually you.” Zhao Yuying shot out a straight line of smoke and watched it slowly disperse. She then turned to stare fixedly at Qianye and revealed a mischievous smile. “Are you really not considering bedding her? She’s really big!”
Qianye said unceremoniously, “Probably not as big as you.”
Zhao Yuying’s eyes lit up immediately as she straightened her chest. “Your elder sister here is indeed hiding some impressive goods, and that little girl is not my match at all. You have good eyesight! But Xiaoniao has a different attractiveness to her. You’ll know once you sleep with her.”
Qianye didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. “How can there be a friend like you? Trying to push her onto my bed.”
Zhao Yuying said with great confidence, “That is how a true friend should be. She’ll sleep with someone sooner or later. Isn’t it better to find someone she likes?”
Qianye had no way to refute Zhao Yuying’s distorted logic. He only pushed her from the back and said, “That’s enough. Go and rest!”
“Call Xiaoniao out for some late-night snacks and wine! It’s better to act when she’s drunk!”
“Go and sleep!”
He sent Zhao Yuying away with great difficulty and returned to his bedroom, indicating Lil’ Seven and Nine to follow him in. Unexpectedly, the moment he stepped into the room, there was a leaf floating to and fro in front of his eyes. It was inexplicably irksome.
Qianye pondered for a while and then activated his True Sight. At the same time, he attempted to project his origin power. Strands of daybreak origin power rose up to form a misty network. The fallen leaf was emitting a faint mass of light in the world of black and white origin power. Upon closer inspection, he discovered that numerous threads of light were extending from a certain point in the air.
Qianye waved his hand and sent the network of origin power sprinkling toward the strands of light.
As if it had detected the dangerous situation, the leaf turned around rapidly and evaded Qianye’s slap. Then, it immediately reverted to origin power and vanished.
“Qianye, you’ve learned bad things!” Song Zining’s exasperated voice came from outside the window.
“When did you start engaging in voyeurism?” Qianye watched as Song Zining jumped in through the window and added with a smile, “And when did you start becoming fond of climbing through windows?”
“This is the only way to prevent being discovered.” Song Zining wasn’t ashamed at all. He tidied his clothes and once again recovered his confident demeanor. “Qianye, I’ve important business to discuss.”
He raised two fingers and said with due seriousness, “Firstly, you must find a way to send Nangong Xiaoniao away. Otherwise, I’m sure Nangong Yuanbo will find someone to deal with you. Secondly, my departure this time might take a while. I have some personal business to attend to.”
“Let Nangong Xiaoniao stay. As for the Nangong clan, they’ll regret it if they target me.”
Song Zining’s expression was solemn. He sighed after a moment and said, “Let it be. I won’t dissuade you anymore. You have to be careful during my absence. The Zhao clan… just as I said before, don’t trust them too much,” he hesitated for a moment before whispering, “including Zhao Yuying.”
Qianye was slightly startled. He looked up at Song Zining and nodded only after a while. “When are you leaving.”
“Early tomorrow morning.” At this point, Song Zining broke into a laughter. “That fellow Wei Potian won’t be satisfied if I don’t leave.”
After saying farewell, Song Zining left from where he came.
Qianye sat down beside the bed. His sleepiness had now disappeared, and he felt even more distressed after recalling Nangong Xiaoniao. He simply threw all these things to the side and entered the cultivation chamber to digest the essence blood in his body.
He hadn’t cultivated properly since the beginning of the western expedition. As expected, the Book of Darkness continuously absorbed the essence blood just as he started circulating the cultivation art and only stopped after consuming more than half of it.
One of the three ancient runes on the cover had almost materialized.
Qianye continued his cultivation and began feeding the Wings of Inception. The blood energies in his body got their turn only after the Book of Darkness and Wings of Inception had had their fill. Qianye sighed silently—he had a vague feeling that his future path was going to be full of slaughter. This was the path of survival on Evernight continent.
It was in the dead of the night. Nangong Xiaoniao was in her room fiddling with a metallic sphere. This was the one Qianye had gotten from the origin array on Green Peak Mountain.
Numerous array specialists had worked on it for many days but still failed to open this metallic ball. They could open it by brute force, but that would likely destroy its core and, along with it, any chance at figuring out the dark race’s secret.
After Qianye had agreed to let her stay, Nangong Xiaoniao ran back to her residence and started opening her packed luggage. Only then did she recall that her main reason for visiting Dark Flame was because she had heard that there was an uncrackable origin array there. She ran back to Dark Flame immediately and happened to bump into Zhao Yuying. With this young miss’ endorsement, the metallic sphere arrived in her hands without much effort.
Suddenly, a light knock came from the door as the voice of a young man rang out, “Colonel Nangong, may I come in?”
Nangong Xiaoniao was first startled. Although her room was a single room, there were Red Scorpion warriors in both adjacent ones—there seemed to be no signs of movement coming from them. How did this person manage to arrive without alerting anyone?
But she noticed that the voice sounded rather familiar and quickly recognized that it was Song Zining whom she had met during the day.
 I'm not exactly sure why it's titled so. It might be referring to the "untitled" poem series by Li Shangyin. I have limited knowledge of verse structures but here's a rough translation of it:
The time since our parting was hard to bear, the flowers have withered in the east wind.
Spring worms stop weaving only in death, Just
As candles cry themselves into ash.
Clouds in the early morning mirror reflect the changing color of his hair, and
the night sings under the cold moonlight.
His paradise is near. Oh, Green Bird! Pray listen, and bring his message to me.
PS: There was actually no indication of gender in the poem.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
3/7 of the week.
But what is Song Zining doing in Xiaoniao's room?
TL: Legion ED: Moxie
Teaser Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Shangyin