Chapter 371: Danger From Behind [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
Qianye couldn’t help being startled after hearing this news and immediately instructed her to invite the man in.
His emotions were fairly complicated when he received Song Zining’s letter back at Black Ridge. Qianye had completely changed in terms of identity, appearance, and aura, and those who had fought alongside him had mostly fallen in that battle. He had no reason to worry about his identity being exposed even if he met those from Red Scorpion once again, but there was a lingering sense of frustration and loss in his heart.
Qianye had never met this Brigadier General An Shaonian in person, but he had seen the man’s data. He was yet to become a general, but his experience was comparable to a scorpion king. With Red Scorpion’s casualty rate and the tradition of higher-ups acting as rear-guards during retreat, scorpion kings who had been in service for over a decade were as rare as qilin horns and phoenix feathers.
At the thought of this, another name popped up in his memory, Wei Lishi. Colonel Wei was one of the scorpion kings who had stood shoulder to shoulder with An Shaonian back then, and it was he who had brought Qianye into Red Scorpion. However, he was buried within that conspiracy. Qianye had to take a deep breath in order to calm down his almost boiling blood.
The door was pushed open following Lil’ Seven’s clear announcement, and in walked a lanky man with an astute countenance. As expected, he was a typical military man, a model Red Scorpion member.
“General An, please take a seat. Please don’t hesitate to tell me if there’s anything I can help.” Qianye stood up to welcome the man with a level of intimacy which he, himself, wasn’t aware of.
An Shaonian simply returned the courtesy but didn’t sit down immediately. He sized Qianye up with incisive eyes and suddenly shouted, “Forgive me!”
His voice hadn’t even trailed off when origin power surged over his entire body and a punch was shot toward Qianye’s fist!
An expression of astonishment flashed across Qianye’s face, and a deep blue radiance emerged in the depths of his eyes. He saw, in his True Sight, that all the origin power in the vicinity had flared up at this moment and numerous threads were aggregating toward An Shaonina’s fist.
This fist strike appeared simple and was but the basic stance of the military combat technique. However, every square inch of its force was solid after drawing upon the origin power in the vicinity, and there was not a single weak point to be exploited.
Utilizing this basic straight punch from the military combat technique to such a level was a sign of a grand dao simplification.
Qianye had let out a low roar and threw a similarly simple punch which crashed into An Shaonian’s fist!
A thunderous explosion rang out from the study as a gust of qi rolled upward from the point of impact, quietly cutting a bowl-sized hole in the ceiling and almost piercing through the roof. However, the other objects in the room were undamaged—even the tea-table between them and the sofas weren’t displaced in the slightest.
An Shaonian seemed completely unfazed after the exchange of fists. Meanwhile, a flush of redness emerged on Qianye’s countenance, but he recovered immediately afterward. Apparently, he had suppressed the origin power impact and backlash during this short moment.
The astonishment on An Shaonian’s face was clear. He was a scorpion king and, although only a brigadier general in rank, even an imperial regular army general like Zhang Zixing wouldn’t dare slight him in terms of combat strength.
Even though he hadn’t exerted his full strength with that blow, Qianye hadn’t used any evasive movements or secret arts to dispel it either. He had forcefully received the assault head-on and yet he wasn’t struck down. This was already the standard of a scorpion king in Red Scorpion.
Moreover, An Shaonian’s champion-level talent was Origin Power Precision which allowed him to wield combat strength surpassing his own rank. The very little overflow with that strike just now was a clear indication of his exquisite control over origin power. What was abnormal was that Qianye had managed to do the exact same thing, and he wasn’t even a champion yet.
An Shaonian sighed in admiration and said, “I heard that Commander Qianye, born a bounty hunter, had built the Dark Flame Mercenary Corps from scratch and devoured the expeditionary army seventh division even before a year had passed. I originally believed this news to be overly exaggerated, but your combat strength is actually far above the rumors. The victor isn’t a certainty if we had gone all out against each other.”
“General An has overpraised me. You’re not just any general either.” Qianye smiled. The combat strength of Red scorpion soldiers was far above what their ranks implied. The more complicated their environments, the better they could reflect this point.
“You aren’t an ordinary corps commander either.” An Shaonian also smiled, but his expression turned solemn soon afterward as he said, “Commander Qianye should already have guessed the intention of my visit. I come to discuss the matter of Colonel Nangong.”
Qianye nodded slightly. Qianye had already guessed, upon hearing of his visit, that the man was here for Nangong Xiaoniao.
An Shaonian pondered for a moment as though he were carefully choosing his words and then said, “I’m sure Commander Qianye has more or less heard about Colonel Nangong’s importance to Red Scorpion. But Xiaoniao is rather obstinate and we can hardly persuade her once she decides to stay. Moreover, her circumstances will be even more dangerous if she ran off on her own.”
Qianye was also quite distressed about this matter, but he couldn’t help but become soft-hearted when he recalled the little girl’s manner as she said, “I’ll make myself useful. Please don’t send me away.”
An Shaonian added, “I came to Evernight Continent on an important mission and will have to leave very soon. I suggested leaving some men with Colonel Nangong, but she refused me. In truth, the number of men I can spare is fairly limited even if she didn’t.”
Qianye naturally understood the other party’s situation very well. The mission level of An Shaonian’s unit couldn’t be inferior to the one that had mobilized a third of Red Scorpion back then. This also implied a higher level of danger.
Qianye gave it some thought and said, “General An, you probably know that we’ve been campaigning against the dark races recently. But I’ll do my best to ensure her safety as long as she stays within the city.”
An Shaonian’s expression showed some relief after hearing Qianye say so. “There’s probably no problem with Colonel Nangong’s safety with you and Miss Zhao Yuying around. However, some people might come to trouble you, and these people might not be limited to the Nangong family.”
Qianye nodded. “I understand. Thank you for General An’s warning.” This didn’t come as much of a surprise either. Red Scorpion itself had a lot of enemies within the army and government. An important character like Nangong Xiaoniao leaving the headquarters would definitely draw the attention of those lying in wait for an opportunity.
“The Nangong family won’t dare do anything to the colonel in the open, but this is the Evernight Continent, and the imperial army’s deterrence here is that much weaker. There’s nothing much I can do either. I’ll just leave this little thing here. Perhaps there’ll be an opportunity to make use of it in the future.” An Shaonian placed a box on the table.
Qianye’s heart was slightly moved after seeing its familiar lead-sealed style. He opened it and found a Black Titanium Bullet of Annihilation within. This was a clear implication that the danger An Shaonian had just mentioned very likely involved humans and not the dark races.
An Shaonian laughed in self-deprecation. “Life in a military post is poor and full of hardship. Many years of accumulation was only enough to buy a single bullet. I hope it can be used to good effect in Commander Qianye’s hands.”
Qianye suddenly felt the box in his hand grow exceedingly heavy. An Shaonian was also of civilian origins. Even though Red Scorpions accumulated more merits than the ordinary army corps and were granted higher priority in exchanging them for military supplies, he had still expended a significant amount in order to advance to a champion.
Qianye pushed the box back. “General An, it’s better you take this back. Truth be told, I also have a Black Titanium Bullet of Annihilation in my hands.”
An Shaonian shook his head and said, “The duty of the Red Scorpions is to fight against the other races. I have little use for such an item. But the same can’t be said for you. There are many enemies in Evernight Continent, both in front and behind.”
Qianye heaved a heavy sigh in his heart. He was, of course, all too clear that Red Scorpion missions didn’t always target the dark races. In truth, certain missions related to internal affairs were even more rewarding and involved less danger. This was likely An Shaonian’s personal choice.
The general added with a smile, “Fighting dark races is simpler. My talents are limited so I tend to be lazy and choose simpler work.”
With that, An Shaonian excused himself. The figure of his back was as straight and tall as a pine tree.
North of the Transcendent Continent was a river called Yi which spanned across three provinces and meandered for thousands of kilometers.
The Yidong Province was one of the three, located at the nine bends of the river’s middle segment. It was most prosperous with tens of kilometers of fertile lands. The Nangong family’s fiefdom was within the Yidong province, and six out of ten in the province had their surname.
The empire had conferred three marquis and eleven counts along the Yi river, and only the Nangong family was able to use the title Marquis of Yishui. This went to show the imperial favor and authority they enjoyed. The Nangong family was already one of the three marquis hundreds of years ago when the empire was fighting the dark races for control over Transcendent Continent. Later on, they proved themselves time and again with outstanding military accomplishments and went on to become the only regional marquis around the Yi River. This allowed them to develop their private army without any restrictions.
Presently, the Transcendent Continent had long since been taken over by the empire, and there were no longer any wars. The Nangong family’s private armies were mostly dispatched to the battlefields on the Eastern and Western Continents as well as to guard their resources outside of the fiefdom. The private army left to guard their lands had grown smaller over the years due to the growing peace, but even so, it was far greater in scale than that of the other two marquis.
The Yishui Provincial government was located within the Transcendent North City, half of which was occupied by the Nangong Manor. As such, the successive lords of the Nangong family had privately given it a nickname: Half-Nangong City.
One could imagine the depth of the marquis’ manor just from how it was known as half a city. The primary manor was constructed halfway up the Wei Mountain to the north of the city and extended all the way down to the foothills. As for the wide residence at the base of the mountain, it was where the various branch families lived.
At this moment, within the study of a big residence, Nangong Yuanbo’s expression was ashen. He roared furiously, “Useless! All of you are useless! What use are you if you can’t even deal with such a small matter properly?”
Several people were kneeling in a wide room the size of several ordinary family courtyards. In addition to Nangong Ling, her maid and guards who had gone with her were also present. At this moment, Nangong Yuanbo was in a fit of rage—everyone had their head lowered and dared not make the slightest movement, lest they attract the flames of his ire.
Nangong Yuanbo’s wrath calmed down after cursing for a while. “Ling’er, stand up.”
Nangong Ling stood up with her head still lowered, not daring to glance at Nangong Yuanbo’s expression.
Nangong Yuanbo paced back and forth a couple of times with his hand behind his back. Then, he suddenly stopped in front of Nangong Ling and said, “You said it was Zhao Yuying who slapped you?”
Nangong Ling trembled slightly and replied, “Yes. And in front of all the noble ladies, she said… she said…”
“What did she say?”
“She said I shouldn’t hesitate to report her and that it's useless no matter where I take this matter!”
“Bang!” Nangong Yuanbo crushed the jade lion he was fiddling in his hands into fine powder and roared, “How arrogant!”
“Yes! She’s simply a female hoodlum.”
Nangong Ling hadn’t even finished speaking when a slap landed on her face once again, whipping her onto the floor. Nangong Ling covered her swollen face and glanced blankly at Nangong Yuanbo.
The marquis snorted deeply. “Even if she’s a scoundrel, she still has her grandfather, Duke You! Humph, female scoundrel? I, on the other hand, hope I have such a female scoundrel for a daughter. Zhao Yuying is a character with the potential to become a divine champion. What about you lot? How far will you go past champion rank? Rank two? Three?”
No one dared speak a word in the face of his thunderous wrath. Nangong Ling had already served as an example, and the others here were all stewards and servants. Who would dare provoke Nangong Yuanbo?
“You can’t even deal with a mere Nangong Xiaoniao and the engagement with Wei Qiyang has probably been slapped away too. Tell me what use are you?!”
After the fit of anger, Nangong Yuanbo took a deep breath to suppress his rage and called out, “Xiaofeng!”
A man walked out from the shadows of a bookshelf, “I’m here.”
Nangong Yuanbo said in a deep voice, “You go and wipe out that Dark Flame or whatever. A group of lowly civilians dares interfere with the internal affairs of our Nangong family. They can hope for a better next life!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
6/7 of the week. Enjoy! More trouble brewing...
TL: Legion ED: Moxie