Chapter 373: Through the Mountain Pass [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
Qianye took the binoculars and, sure enough, saw a number of lifeforms resembling giant crocodiles crawling over the precipitous cliffs. Their bodies were several meters long with dark scales growing over them, and they were crawling slowly over the almost vertical cliffs as though on level ground.
The scene before him caused Qianye’s heart to tremble because there weren’t as many vicious beasts when he last came here. Most of the ones here preferred hiding in the dark corners and rarely climbed out into the open. Moreover, there were already hundreds of such crocodile-type beasts on the two sides of the cliff—who knows how many more were hiding in unseen places.
“Do you know where these things come from?” asked Qianye.
“According to our observation, it’s very likely that they crawled out from the southwestern forest. But it’s indeed quite odd because these animals don’t look like woodland creatures at all. Our scouts tried approaching the area, but had to give up on investigating deeper because the beasts there are too powerful,” said Zhu Wuya.
“Oh? How are their strengths?”
“Their power is proportionate to their size for the most part. The weakest ones among them require rank-three warriors to deal with, while only rank-four soldiers can hold back the bigger ones. Those especially large ones over there are probably leaders. Only I, Old Duan and a couple of other lieutenant colonels can handle them.”
Qianye nodded. “What is their relationship with the werewolves?”
Duan Hao took over the conversation and replied, “They seem to be completely unrelated. Just a while ago, I saw an impudent werewolf guard being torn to shreds after charging into their territory.”
But even if these mountainous crocodiles were unrelated to the werewolves, their area of activity happened to occupy the mountainous cliffs on each side of the mountain pass. This was equal to granting the werewolf defensive line another layer of natural fortification.
Qianye assessed the surrounding landscape and pointed toward an area where the mountain crocodiles were the most concentrated. “Fire a few cannon rounds at that area.”
Duan Hao and the rest hadn’t made such an attempt because there was a risk of enraging the entire population of mountain crocodiles. But there should be no problem at the moment since it was Qianye’s orders. The orderly flew toward the nearby firing point, and moments later, the sound of heavy cannons began to rumble. Shells rained down continuously on the concentrated group of mountain crocodiles.
Several of them fell over a hundred meters from the cliff side and smashed heavily onto the ground. But unexpectedly, they only swayed a bit afterward and managed to clamber up. Apart from a number of unlucky victims that were directly struck and killed, the rest within the area of the shockwave were relatively unaffected.
The crocodile horde became restless, and the ones within the coverage of the heavy cannons seemed to have sensed the source of the attack. They turned around in quick succession and were seemingly intent on moving toward Qianye’s base. Like the first tidal wave in the great ocean, their movement gradually spread to and began to affect the other crocodile groups.
“Cease fire!” Qianye ordered.
The mountainous crocodiles suddenly lost their target after the cannons stopped rumbling, and their movements were thrown into momentary confusion. After a while, the entire herd gradually calmed down and proceeded to divide the remains of the dead crocodiles for consumption.
It seemed these mountainous crocodiles weren’t very intelligent but were quite sensitive to external assault. A couple more cannon shots would’ve incited the entire herd to charge at the Dark Flame base.
Qianye pondered for a while and said, “You lot remain on standby and keep an eye on the werewolves inside. Don’t let them charge out no matter what.”
“How about you?”
“I’m going to visit that Viscount Brudo.”
Qianye didn’t stay any longer since he had already made the decision. He left the motorcycle within the Dark Flame camp and headed into the steep mountains on his own.
The mountainous landscape posed little hindrance to Qianye. He had brought sufficient supplies inside Andruil’s Mysterious Realm, especially various types of grenades. The battle at the mine had allowed him to experience the tremendous might origin grenades afforded the lone raider. As such, they became his first priority when replenishing arms.
Qianye traveled swiftly through the mountainous woods and shot straight into the pass. He was prepared to ascend the western cliff, circle around the barrier at the end of the passage, and head straight into werewolf territory.
He came to a sudden halt while running as an agile shadow scuttled out from beneath the pile of leaves in front of him. The mountain crocodile opened its mouth wide and bit down with great ferocity. Its endeavor, however, was rendered fruitless by Qianye’s sudden stop.
Up close, the mountain crocodile was indeed a huge monster. Its body was over five meters long, and the scales on its back were as solid as slabs of rock. The most dangerous part was that this massive body was as agile as a mountain wolf. After missing its aim, the bite landed on a large tree behind Qianye—splintered wood flew out in all directions as a large defect as deep as the tree’s radius appeared on it.
Qianye stepped to the side, performed a half turn, and stomped down on the mountain crocodile’s back. At the same time, Scarlet Edge pierced deep into its neck at lightning speed. That was the mountain crocodile’s vital area, and its hard scales could do little to block the grade-five Scarlet Edge. The strike sank with relative ease, all the way down to its hilt.
Large amounts of essence blood rushed up from the Scarlet Edge. It turned out that this rank-three crocodile was able to provide even more essence blood than a rank-five dark race warrior. Qianye stood up from atop the corpse and continued forward. Very soon, he had killed yet another crocodile looking to ambush him.
The current Qianye finally understood why Dark Flame’s scouts dared not go deeper into the southwestern forest. Although these crocodiles weren’t high in rank, they were strong, agile, and possessed far greater destructive power than the ordinary beasts of the Evernight wilderness.
Qianye had killed off ten-odd mountain crocodiles within the short distance of several hundred meters. He finally stopped advancing after finishing off a ten-meter beast and left the mountain crocodiles’ active region.
Qianye found a quiet place to calm down his somewhat boiling blood energy. These beasts contained several times the essence blood compared to a dark race warrior of the same level. He had already filled a small part of his capacity after killing only ten-odd crocodiles.
However, the situation here was clearly abnormal. Even a small group of vicious beasts like the mountain crocodile would require a large hunting area. Otherwise, their consumption rate would destroy the ecosystem of the entire region. Presently, there was already such a large number of them in sight—there was surely a reason behind this unnatural phenomenon.
Qianye cultivated the Mystery chapter in silence, consuming a part of the essence blood. He then continued in the direction of the werewolf settlement.
But before long, he discovered the mountain crocodiles possessed extremely keen senses and were able to sense a person’s movements from far away. It was impossible to pass through this area without alarming them unless Qianye expended large amounts of origin power to keep himself concealed.
Qianye could think of only one strategy: let loose and kill his way over. These crocodiles were originally hunters of the mountainous woods, but they became prey through and through after losing the advantage of concealment before Qianye’s Eye of Truth.
Afterward, Qianye proceeded to hack his way through the horde of mountain crocodiles until his body was almost full of essence blood. He then found a hiding place and began cultivating the Mystery Chapter. Little by little, the essence blood transformed into darkness origin power which nourished the blood energy in his body. He set out once again after he had digested a good part of his essence blood, hunting and cultivating in turn.
It seemed the adequate supply of essence blood had allowed the Book of Darkness to complete a full cycle—its cover had almost lit up completely, and Qianye would soon be able to open it once again. Meanwhile, the greater half of that feather on the Wings of Inception had also materialized. In addition, the three types of blood energy had seen different developments, and the Dark Golden Blood energy was on the verge of welcoming its third evolution.
When Qianye set out once again, he realized that the mountain crocodile horde had thinned out significantly, signifying that he had left their area of control. He scaled a certain cliff and looked down to find that he had already arrived at the other end of the natural mountain pass. A series of hillocks rose and fell behind the mountain ridge, dotted with verdant trees, and there was even a small, crystal-clear lake halfway down the mountain.
The scenery atop the distant mountain was somewhat different. Qianye released his extraordinary eyesight to its maximum range and saw that it was a vast, crude, but majestic castle. The large pieces of greyish-white wallstones were completely unadorned and almost blended seamlessly with the windswept cliffs.
A flag depicting three claw marks was fluttering atop the castle—this was the insignia of the werewolf Viscount Brudo. The claw marks symbolized his comprehension of the ancient werewolf traditions: speed, power, and destruction.
A lush forest stretched from the base of the rocky peak and far into the distance. There was yet another beautiful mountain peak past a natural rift valley—that was Green Peak Mountain, the territory of the Sharp Fang tribe and also where Zhao Yuying had speculated the ore vein node would be.
At this moment, Qianye was overlooking the entire area and could see the mountain pass. The werewolves had also built fortifications here to block the end of this passage, and there were a number of wooden huts and tents scattered nearby. Judging from their number and scale, Brudo seemed to have deployed hundreds of elite werewolf warriors here—this was over half of the viscount’s fighting power.
Qianye’s gaze didn’t linger here for too long and fell back onto the distant castle. The viscount’s defensive line would naturally disperse so long as he could capture or kill Brudo.
Werewolf castles were mostly built atop rocky peaks, and the basic materials were large pieces of rock which looked extremely sturdy at a glance. However, the werewolves advocated nature, and many of their tribes didn’t even like using weapons in battle. As such, there were very few origin arrays and defensive mechanisms within their strongholds which, compared to those of other races, were primitive both in terms of decoration and function.
It was undoubtedly much easier to raid such a castle as one would only require warriors capable of dealing with the werewolves.
Qianye pulled out a large pack from Andruil’s Mysterious Realm and began his pre-battle preparations. He equipped and properly positioned his standard military knife, Scarlet Edge, the Twin Flowers, and other gadgets used for climbing and stealth. At last, he brought out a bottle of medicine and sprayed himself from head to toe.
This was a drug specifically used to deal with the werewolves’ keen sense of smell. The scent would cause the werewolves instinctive discomfort, and thus made it easier for them to overlook the wearer’s aura.
Qianye checked the equipment on his body once again and jumped down the cliff. He would hang onto the rocks and pause for a short while after every ten or so meters before continuing his descent; this repeated for several times until he had landed quietly on the ground. Afterward, he entered the forest and sped toward the viscount’s castle in the distance.
Qianye finished off two more mountain crocodiles near the cliff. It seemed their area of control had already stretched from the screen-like mountain pass to this region.
Although their numbers here were negligible, Qianye still broke into a frown. While killing crocodiles all the way, he had discovered that the beasts that should’ve been living in the mountainous woods had almost been wiped out—this wasn’t a good omen at all. Once the natural balance of the ecosystem had been destroyed, the next to be encroached upon would likely be the living space of intelligent creatures like the dark races and humans.
Qianye pierced the Scarlet Edge into the neck of a leader-rank mountain crocodile and felt a rolling gush of hot blood flowing into his body. Meanwhile, the giant creature was still struggling continuously and only stopped moving after a few minutes.
Qianye only felt warm and comfortable from head to toe. His limbs and bones were overflowing with energy, and his heart was beating with exceptional power. The essence blood provided by this large beast was already equal to an ordinary baron.
This was the depths of the forest. Qianye glanced back at the position of the cliff which he had climbed down from and formed an estimate of the distance. He then pulled out the Scarlet Edge and made his way forward, quickly disappearing into the woodland shadows.
A faint mist suddenly appeared over the forest as a barely discernible figure walked out from within. Her entire being was blurred, and her facial features weren’t clearly visible—one could only judge, from the graceful outline of her silhouette, that she was a woman.
She stopped and slowly bent over the corpse of a mountain crocodile. She then sniffed the wound briefly and covered it with her hand.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
1/7 of the week. Enjoy!
TL: Legion ED: Moxie