Chapter 372: The Secret of the Werewolves [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
That person revealed a set of snow-white teeth. There seemed to be a shade of lingering haze between his delicate, upright brows. He said with an almost frivolous tone, “A mercenary head? A trivial matter.”
Nangong Yuanbo pondered for a moment and added, “It’s fine as long as you don’t offend the expeditionary army too badly. Additionally, bring Xiaoniao back if you get the chance. But you must get it done efficiently and without loose ends, understand?”
His smile grew even more peculiar. “Understood. I won’t take action before finding a good opportunity.” A regional expeditionary army division not under the command of a corps didn’t amount to anything. But the same couldn’t be said for Red Scorpion—even the Nangong family wasn’t willing to go head-on against an elite corps ranked within the top five in the empire.
Nangong Yuanbo wanted to say something after seeing this person’s expression, but he restrained himself and said, “Don’t hesitate to utilize the necessary resources. I only wanted this matter handled successfully.”
The young man smiled silently and said, “Should I deal with Zhao Yuying while I’m at it?”
Nangong Yuanbo asked with a frown, “Are you confident?”
“Two parts. That’s enough.”
“Two parts? Humph!” Nangong Yuanbo’s expression was furious. “Even if you manage to realize this twenty percent chance, how confident are you in hiding it from Zhao Xuanji?”
The man laughed. “None. But uncle, isn’t dealing with Zhao Xuanji your business?”
Nangong Yuanbo replied furiously, “If I can deal with Zhao Xuanji, then I would be Duke You instead of the Marquis of Yishui!”
Only at this point did the man take on an enlightened demeanor and said, “Oh, I see. Very well then, I’ll stay away from Zhao Yuying.”
“Enough, everyone withdraw!” Nangong Yuanbo waved his sleeves angrily and went back inside.
The man standing within the shadows had his back half-bent all this time and only stood straight after the marquis’ figure vanished beyond the doors. The level of etiquette was a bit too exaggerated, and almost contained a hint of mockery.
The room immediately turned silent. He suddenly turned around and glanced at Nangong Ling’s party with the same silent smile on his face.
Nangong Ling couldn’t help but shiver and her already bloodless face turned as pale as snow. She produced a smile with great difficulty and said, “Cousin Xiaofeng, I’ll take my leave now if there’s nothing else.”
The man nodded slowly. Nangong Ling immediately performed a salutation as though she had been granted a great amnesty and left hurriedly without even daring to look back.
Nangong Xiaofeng was the number one genius of the Nangong family’s younger generation, comparable to even the top descendants of the four major clans. However, his warped personality was just as outstanding as his talents. He was a double-edged sword—each side just as sharp as the other—and even Nangong Yuanbo had cut himself once. A younger generation descendant like Nangong Ling would, under normal circumstances, rather not bump into this cousin of hers.
But after withdrawing into the courtyard, Nangong Ling revealed a delighted expression as she gazed at the wisterias hanging from the flower canopy. That was because she knew that Blackflow City would, no doubt, become a living hell with Nangong Xiaofeng taking action. She was happy to let that woman who still dared to use the Nangong surname witness the destruction she had brought about!
She was even more hopeful that Nangong Xiaoniao would be secretly taken care of since killing young ladies slowly and sadistically was Nangong Xiaofeng’s favorite pastime. But she knew chances were slim since Nangong Xiaoniao was Nangong Yuanbo’s forbidden zone. Nangong Xiaofeng, despite his warped personality, was by no means a fool—he wouldn’t actually break such a taboo.
Within a secret Red Scorpion base on the Qin Continent, a calm young man was standing before a desk with a weasel-hair brush in hand. He was busy copying a certain martial scripture in tiny, carefully crafted characters. The vertical and horizontal strokes in each character appeared straight, neat, and without the slightest bit of deviation. However, they all appeared stiff and were completely lacking in character.
The long piece of calligraphy paper had been half-filled, and the characters written therein likely numbered in the thousands.
At this moment, a young female officer entered and whispered something into his ear. The young man’s hand trembled, and the brush in his hand immediately fell down, leaving a large blotch of ink on the paper.
“You mean Xiaoniao suddenly left? Do the old men know?” His expression was calm, but his voice was trembling somewhat.
“Judging from various signs, they probably didn’t know either. It’s highly likely that Colonel Nangong left secretly,” the female officer replied. There was a faintly discernible wisp of jealousy in her eyes.
The young man said slowly, “Go and check what Xiaoniao did before she left. For instance, what books she read, what information she checked on, and who she contacted. Then report the results to me.”
The female officer affirmed the instructions and was just about to leave when the young man called her back. “Prepare my Windchaser. I’ll leave once there’s the slightest news of her.”
The female officer opened her mouth as though she wanted to say something, but refrained from doing so in the end and withdrew from the room. However, she couldn’t resist the urge to peek through the crack in the door just as she was about to leave and witnessed the young man slowly tear the half-filled calligraphy paper apart from corner to corner. This caused her to tremble involuntarily.
Each of the countless, neatly-arranged little characters on the paper was a cage used to contain the beast within his heart.
And now, the cage had been destroyed.
Qianye was always feeling ill-at-ease in the recent days. He was distracted every now and then by a sense of agitation during cultivation and while handling official business.
Official matters fared much better. Everything was still progressing smoothly according to his plans and remained more or less unaffected. There was a small problem, however, with his cultivation. The cultivation rate of the two chapters, Mystery and Glory, had slowed down so precipitously because most of the essence blood obtained during the previous campaign had been absorbed by the Book of Darkness.
Qianye couldn’t find the reason for his restlessness, but the dark cloud in his heart was presently growing bigger and bigger. If not for Nangong Xiaoniao’s research on the large origin array showing constant progress and his eagerness to see the results, Qianye might’ve gone out to battle once again to calm himself down amidst blood and slaughter.
An extremely bored Zhao Yuying grabbed Qianye in the afternoon for some idle chatter, to which Qianye responded absent-mindedly.
The conversation eventually drifted to the dao of martial arts. Whenever they reached this topic, there would be an episode of Zhao Yuying’s self-praise followed by a bout of belittling the other geniuses of the same generation. She suddenly recalled something after completing this procedure and asked, “You’re already rank-nine at the moment. Why don’t you have a domain yet?”
“Domain? Isn’t that supposed to happen after becoming a champion? Moreover, only a small number of champions are able to comprehend a domain.”
Zhao Yuying immediately shook her head. “That’s a theory for useless people. According to normal standards, one should already have a fledgling domain by rank eight and it should become fully formed by rank nine. Everything will be too late if you comprehend it after becoming a champion!”
Qianye laughed wryly, “What kind of standard is that?”
“The Zhao clan standard,” Zhao Yuying replied as though it were all right and proper.
Qianye was speechless. “Then, how many people have met these standards in the Zhao clan?”
“Little Four and I have definitely surpassed it, and Old Two barely qualifies. There are also four or five more, but their potentials are lacking a little bit and even inferior to Old Two!”
“That also means that there are only seven or eight such people in the entire younger generation of the Zhao clan?”
“That’s already a lot. That’s why I say this standard is quite lax.”
There were tens of thousands of people in the Zhao clan’s younger generation, but only three of them had truly met Zhao Yuying’s so-called standards. Qianye could only shake his head at this. “My talents are inherently mediocre.”
“How is that possible?! How can anyone preferred by your elder sister be lacking? The form of your innate talent is quite unique and quite easy on the eyes. You’ll surely be very powerful in the future, so it’s also possible that your domain is taking some time to appear.”
Qianye felt somewhat guilty after hearing this. That so-called talent form was Andruil’s Wings of Inception. How could a relevant domain ever appear? Being powerful was a certainty, nonetheless.
“Some secret arts could produce their own domains after a successful cultivation. But unless the cultivation art was especially suitable for the cultivator, they are usually less powerful than the ones naturally awoken by one’s innate talents.
At this point, Zhao Yuying slapped Qinaye’s shoulder with great force and said heroically, “Don’t you worry though. Whether or not you have talent in domains is a small matter! I’ll give you a copy of the Three Taiyue Divine Peaks after we get back to the Zhao clan, and you’ll be able to cultivate a domain no matter what.”
Her brows suddenly knitted together. “You still seem to be cultivating the Combatant Formula. Although this thing is good for rushing ranks, it…”
Qianye, on the other hand, didn’t hear Zhao Yuying’s question. A flash of lightning streaked through his mind the moment he heard her mention the Three Taiyue Divine Peaks. “Green Peak Mountain!”
Zhao Yuying was baffled. “What mountain again?”
“You told me a couple of days ago about an important mining node in the area, remember? That is Green Peak Mountain.”
Zhao Yuying also recalled the matter. “Right, but isn’t that area the territory of the werewolves? Has the big dog shown any signs of movement?”
Werewolf strongholds were vastly different from the arachne’s, and the biggest distinction was the choice of foundation—they favored rocky peaks over earthen mountains.
This posed no hindrance to the werewolves who were known as the kings of the mountainous region. In their primitive form, even ordinary soldiers could run over rugged terrain as though they were on flat ground. Human warriors were different—ordinary soldiers could hardly scale the precipitous heights, to speak nothing of shipping heavy weaponry.
That was why Qianye had decisively given up on storming them after an entire night of scouting. He only left troops at the pass to seal off communication between the stronghold and the outside world. His original plan was to come back and deal with this isolated army after bringing the arachne count’s entire eastern territory under control.
Qianye stood up and paced around the room for a couple of times and said with a frown, “I have a bad feeling as though something is happening at the moment. This kind of uncontrollable development is very frustrating. I don’t want to wait anymore. Let’s take down the werewolf territory first and link up all the special nodes. Let’s see what kind of secrets are hidden in the ground beneath our feet. We’ll need to know more in order to decide what we should do.”
“It’s also a good idea to make plans in advance. What are your plans?”
“Take down the leader! I’ll go alone.”
Zhao Yuying nodded. “Okay, but you should stay here for one more day. I’ve just finished remodeling a new motorcycle, and it just so happens that you can use it. Xiaoniao also put in a fair bit of effort!”
“A new motorcycle? The type with a large amount of gunpowder hidden inside?” Qianye’s expression was fairly ugly. No one was willing to sit with a pile of explosive under their buttocks.
Zhao Yuying let out a dry laugh. “Rest assured, the only way to ignite this mommy’s special gunpowder is via the built-in mechanism. Otherwise, it won’t explode even if you shoot it with a gun.” She stole a few glances at Qianye’s expression and proceeded to guarantee while patting her chest. “This time, I’ll explain all the mechanisms on the bike!”
Qianye received his brand new motorcycle one day later.
This motorcycle with a dark-red paint job was heavier than the previous one, and its external appearance was even more exaggerated. As one can well imagine, there had been a performance upgrade with this mechanical monster. Zhao Yuying’s ostentatious portrait was painted above the fuel tank as usual but now with two adorable golden birds on each side.
Qianye stared fixedly at the mutated smith symbol and felt speechless. He glanced up at the immensely satisfied Zhao Yuying and Nangong Xiaoniao’s expectant countenance. Finally, he still got onto the bike and left the city.
The Dark Flame camp outside of the werewolf pass had expanded to the size of a regiment. After the battles in other areas came to a close, all the motorized combat units apart from the stationary garrisons at Black Ridge and the fjords had gathered here.
The commanders of the present camp were Duan Hao and Zhu Wuya.
Although Dark Flame had yet to receive an independent division designation, the expeditionary army headquarters had tacitly recognized the fact that the seventh division had been replaced. The military channels were still regularly delivering all kinds of official documents and military intelligence. It had never stopped, even during the week Dark Flame had taken over Blackflow City.
Not long ago, the seventh division’s half a year worth of rations, as well as the reward for killing dark races, were delivered normally, and with them was a batch of issued armaments. These weapons were grossly inferior to Dark Flame’s own equipment, but it was a strong message and a clear indication of the expeditionary army headquarters’ attitude.
With that, Dark Flame, which had incorporated the seventh division, was granted unprecedented stability. Both Blackflow City and the new regions cultivated during the western expedition were operating with great efficiency, and the disloyalty of the surrendered officers was also wearing away.
Accompanied by Duan Hao and Zhu Wuya, Qianye went up to the frontline position to observe the werewolf mountain pass.
It was made up of two screen-like mountains, with only a gap between them several dozens of meters wide. Additionally, this natural passage inclined upward, making it easy to defend but hard to assault.
The werewolves had sealed off the passage completely with the fort-like defensive structures and walls at the end of the passage. The positioning of these walls was fairly clever—artillery fired from the outside would have to pass through many layers of natural obstructions and could hardly strike the target directly.
Duan Hao passed over a pair of binoculars. “Sire Qianye, more and more weird things have been going on these days. Please take a look!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
7/7 of the week. Enjoy! And another artwork is coming up soon!
TL: Legion ED: Moxie