Chapter 380: The Iron Curtain [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
The surroundings turned oddly dark as the black tide line pushed swiftly over Qianye’s head. It was just as though dusk had fallen over the land. He turned to gaze as far as his eyes could see and found the light over the wilderness growing farther and farther away. It was as though the dark tide were traversing the firmament with unstoppable momentum.
A blue glow flickered in Qianye’s eyes as he glanced at this own hands. His slender fingers were surrounded by threads of darkness origin power. At this moment, they were exceptionally lively as they flew and danced about. He could feel a very mild sting when they came into contact with his skin occasionally.
The sable world governed by darkness was separated into blocks of dark and light colors.
Qianye discovered that there was darkness origin power seeping out through the air continuously. They spread out like ink-stains until they encountered a different mass of energy, whereupon they would soak up and change shape. Upon closer inspection, these rapidly changing forms were, in fact, the projections of various beasts, and all of them were roaring and killing each other.
An unexpected and ineffable frustration welled up within Qianye’s heart. He suddenly felt the urge to throw himself in and massacre everything. He came-to soon afterward and felt his back drenched in cold sweat. The sensation was familiar—it was as though he had returned to the days where his dark blood would flare up, inciting in him a craving for fresh blood and slaughter.
At this moment, an indescribable shudder emerged from the depths of Qianye’s heart as he realized what this black tide was.
It was a domain, one so inconceivably big that he couldn’t see its end even with his extraordinary eyesight! An unknown existence was using its domain to cover the earth and sky.
Qianye stood in place and took a couple of deep, slow breaths before jumping back onto the bike and heading back to Blackflow City. After getting through the initial phase of restlessness, Qianye realized that the black tide was somewhat different from the effects of the dark blood. The black tide caused the natural darkness origin power to suddenly become active, and this, in turn, brought about the restlessness in the creatures. On the other hand, dark blood corroded the assimilated creature’s intelligence.
However, this discovery only served as some consolation and couldn’t completely put his mind at ease.
Presently, Blackflow City and its surrounding area, or perhaps even the entire Trinity River County, had been covered by the black tide. Evacuating the civilians on a large scale was practically impossible. The city was still safer than the wilderness in any case since no one knew how big this black tide was and where it was safe.
By the time Qianye returned to Blackflow City, the black tide had already passed over, and it was now extending deeper into human territory. The world had been plunged into darkness, and even the few hours of sunlight each day was no more.
Such a peculiar phenomenon caused incomparable terror among the citizens. But Qianye found, upon reaching the city, that everything was exceptionally tranquil. This was a result of Zhao Yuying’s iron fist. She had summoned Dark Flame’s high-ranking officers and Song Hu to announce a city-wide martial law as soon as the black tide appeared.
Dark Flame’s garrisoned soldiers were all dispatched onto the streets and began setting up precautionary measures at every intersection. They set to work with thunderous methods, killing a dozen or so people—some were inciting panic after losing their heads, while others were looking to profit from the misfortune by engaging in murder and arson. Finally, they were able to intimidate the hunters, mercenaries, and adventurers flocking into the city.
As for the native residents of Blackflow City, most of them had become incomparably obedient during those noble ladies’ half a month of stay.
Immediately after returning to Dark Flame headquarters, Qianye called on Zhao Yuying nad asked, “Is it a beast tide?”
Zhao Yuying was rarely ever so solemn. “No, it’s even worse than that. If I remember correctly, that’s probably an Iron Curtain.
“Iron Curtain?” Qianye was startled. He had always thought this term was a mere comparison and not an actual object.
“It’s not surprising that you’ve not heard of it. The iron curtain only appears in the Dark Nation under normal circumstances. It will, at most, extend to distant imperial borders and engulf small regions. News of previous instances were suppressed by the empire. It’s a top-level secret, and even I was only able to catch wind of it because of my grandfather.”
Qianye glanced out of the window and gazed at the dark sky. However, it wasn’t completely dark like the night—there was a lead-grey glow in the sky which instilled an incomparably stifling sensation in the beholder. It was truly as though a boundless iron curtain had covered the entire world.
There was neither sun, moon, nor star in the world beneath it.
“What exactly is that thing?”
“You must’ve felt it too. This Iron Curtain is, in fact, a domain—one that is inconceivably large. The smallest Iron Curtain recorded by the empire was half a province large. As for the large ones, no one had ever been able to ascertain their borders.
“Since it’s a domain, there must be someone releasing it. This kind of energy is unfathomable. Just what kind of existence possesses such might?”
Zhao Yuying smiled wryly. “Perhaps they can’t be considered people. The empire has its heavenly monarchs, and the dark races have their grand princes. Similarly, the beasts have their own regents. In terms of pure strength, they are the true experts who stand at the peak of the realm. Moreover, there are some unimaginably powerful existences that roam the void. Perhaps it’s not wrong for ordinary people to consider them gods.
Qianye felt that it was unimaginable. “The iron curtain is a beast king’s domain?
“That has always been the case as far as I know. There are no exceptions.”
Qianye was astonished. He opened his mouth briefly but knew not what to say. He only spoke after a long while, “The iron curtain wouldn’t have appeared for no reason, right?” Such an astonishing phenomenon signified a vast consumption. Even the king of beasts wouldn’t do it meaninglessly.”
“This is only hearsay, but it’s possible that those kings have discovered a rare object or a special region that they’re determined to obtain. The release of the iron curtain is a declaration of authority. It’s said that the gun spirits of two of the ten Grand Magnums were born within an iron curtain.”
This time, Qianye turned completely silent. At the level of the Grand Magnums, all battles were fought between grand princes and heavenly monarchs. Not to mention the Blackflow war zone, even the entire Trinity River County and the expeditionary army were as insignificant as insects. These major characters might find it troublesome to even spare them a glance.
However, that was also precisely why the bystanders were bound to suffer. Dark Flame couldn’t afford to to suffer even the residual shockwaves.
This was also Zhao Yuying’s first time coming into contact with the Iron Curtain, and she wasn’t quite clear about what would follow. But both of them had similar ideas—a mass evacuation was impossible. It would cause quite a stir even if they abandoned the residents of Blackflow City and move the entire Dark Flame Mercenary Corps. Who knew what kind of situation they would trigger?
The only thing they could do was to quietly await new developments.
Neither Qianye nor Zhao Yuying enjoyed being completely passive. After reaching an agreement on the strategy, they split up to take a stroll within the city and in the wilderness in hopes of getting a better grasp of the situation.
As time passed, Qianye gradually acclimatized to the pressure and violence of the Iron Curtain. There were no abnormalities apart from that. However, a domain was still a domain, and it was a fairly dangerous business to be within one—Twilight had just proven this point to him.
At this moment, a light barge dozens of meters long was gliding through the void just outside of Evernight Continent. Enveloped by a layer of faint origin power radiance, its external appearance was like an ancient boat with numerous sails billowing atop its tall masts.
The most eye-catching part of this blue-grey flying boat was the solemn and majestic bronze vajra image carved into its bow. There was no other visible kinetic system on it apart from the propellers installed on each of its wings. It was astonishingly simple for an intercontinental airship.
This light barge was unusually fast, so much that it had surpassed some of the most famous high-speed models used by the imperial military. It arrived near Evernight Continent in the blink of an eye and, without slowing down, transformed into a beam of blue light which sped into the distance.
Below the light barge, the edges of the void were rapidly disappearing as great mountains and rivers blurred past.
During its swift advance, a gentle voice rang out from the topmost room of this two-storeyed vessel. “An honored guest has arrived. Stop the ship.” The person’s voice wasn’t very loud, but it reached every corner of the barge in an instant.
The light barge decelerated rapidly and came to a hovering stop in the air. The entire process was as smooth as the moving clouds and flowing water; there wasn’t the slightest jolt. This wasn’t solely due to the superiority of the airship’s performance—apparently, the operator was also a top-grade expert.
Someone in the air let out a clear laughter. “It seems I can’t hide it from you.”
A sudden flash of lightning tore through the air. Soon, the wind and clouds rapidly converged, rolled, and spun together to form a thousand-meter cloud as a person descended atop a small canoe.
That was a genuine boat. It was only a couple of meters long and shaped like a sailless boat used by river anglers. The sole difference was that its entire body was emitting a metallic luster and had runes flickering across from time to time.
The person was tall, sturdy, and possessed a pair of vigorous phoenix eyes that exuded an unparalleled momentum. Who else could it be but the Imperial Marshal Zhang Boqian?
Lin Xitang walked onto to the deck. “How have you been doing Marshal Zhang? What a coincidence to see you here.”
Zhang Boqian snorted. He sized-up Lin Xitang from head to toe and then scanned the light barge. No one emerged from the two-storeyed vessel, but all the soldiers within who gazed upon Zhang Boqian shivered at the same time. It was as though the latter’s sharp gaze could pierce through the cabin walls and see them clearly.
Zhang Boqian’s expression was gloomy. “Come down and talk.”
Lin Xitang smiled faintly. He neither moved nor spoke.
Zhang Boqian sneered, “A stately imperial marshal doesn’t dare take half a step off of his ship? How unexpected.”
Lin Xitang’s expression remained unchanged. His eyes flickered ever so slightly as he said, “Marshal Zhang must’ve met the Grand Duke of Profound Order recently, right?”
The battle appointment between Zhang Boqian and the Grand Duke of Profound Order was an event which received the most attention in the recent days. The odd thing was that the appointed time had passed, but not the slightest related news was heard from both the imperial family and Zhang clan. The only thing that could be confirmed was that the imperial family and the other heavenly monarchs had already recognized Zhang Boqian’s status as a heavenly Monarch. This also meant that the Great Qin Empire now had five heavenly Monarchs.
That was why Li Xitang was, in truth, fairly surprised when he discovered that the person who had arrived was Zhang Boqian. It was almost impossible to come out unscathed from a battle between experts of that level—even several years of convalescence wasn’t out of the question. So why was Zhang Boqian here on Evernight Continent so soon after his big fight? Why wasn’t he recuperating in properly?
Zhang Boqian said modestly, “I have indeed seen it.”
A spiritual gleam flashed through Lin Xitang’s eyes. “How is it?”
“Come out if you want to know.”
Lin Xitang broke into a laughter and stepped aside. “Why not Marshal Zhang board my little vessel instead? We can discuss the scenery and people over a cup of tea. What say you?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Chapter 1/7 of the week. Enjoy ^_^
TL: Legion ED: Moxie
Teaser Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Curtain