Chapter 381: Bloody Battle

Chapter 381: Bloody Battle [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]

Zhang Boqian stood with his hands behind his back. His gaze returned to and swept past Lin Xitang like a flash of lightning. “Do you really want me up there? I won’t pay you back if I accidentally smash your beloved ‘Bluebird.’”

Lin Xitang remained unmoved in the face of Zhang Boqian’s overbearing attitude and said, “Brother Boqian, now is probably not the time to settle whatever matters there are between us, don’t you think?”

“Are we supposed to wait until after the bloody battle if not now?” Zhang Boqian said indifferently, “It’s all fine that the empire wants to step in after the Iron Curtain’s appearance, but why did it become a bloody battle? Even if they want to engage in a bloody battle, why aren’t those four old fellows not coming out? Do you think you can stay in control on your own and snatch that thing under the iron curtain?”

Li Xitang’s brows knitted together ever so slightly as he slowly said, “This time, the imperial family truly intends to give up on that item in exchange for a bloody battle.”

Zhang Boqian’s gaze suddenly turned sharp. “They’re giving up just like that? Whose idea is it?”

Lin Xitang pondered momentarily and said, “It’s the Sky Demon at the center of this Iron Curtain.”

The present matter was a top-secret military intelligence. All of the army’s mobilization orders came from the emperor himself. This also meant that even the marshals only figured out the details after their units were mobilized. Secret orders for the major clans would only be dispatched several days later.

Zhang Boqian was also quite surprised. It was almost as though dark clouds were flitting across his countenance. “Why him?”

At the ends of the void dwelled several of the most mysterious and terrifying beasts, and Sky Demon was one of them. This name originated from the dark race records because they had dealings with him before the Thousand-Year War. However, no one knew its true appearance up until this day. Sky Demon would take on a different external appearance every time it appeared, albeit with identical origin power auras. It could even appear in multiple places at once and could be said to possess countless incarnations.

It was precisely because of such an ability that Sky Demon could bring out its full combat potential in any given environment. That was to say that there was no specific method to restrain him—the only option was a painstaking fight to the death.

Moreover, a void-entity like Sky Demon was different from the beast kings that lived on the various continents. The objects it took a fancy to were perhaps incomparably rare and invaluable, but there was also a good chance that the item was only significant for itself—it might be completely useless to humans and dark races.

Lin Xitang continued, “The Iron Curtain this time has a special rule: champions ranked thirteen and below on our side and warriors below third-rank viscounts on the dark race side are unaffected and allowed to move freely within. But those above that level will suffer the attack of Sky Demon’s incarnations. I’m only here to serve as a restraining force and boost morale. I neither have the intention to snatch the item nor take part in the battle.”

Zhang Boqian sneered, “It’s unlikely those old fellows from Evernight will have the same thought. Will they be willing to sit by and watch you take advantage from the side?”

“I’m quite capable of running away even if there’s danger,” Lin Xitang said calmly. His Art of Heaven’s Mystery was undoubtedly number one in terms of self-preservation ability.

Zhang Boqian realized after some thought. “You’re referring to the bloody battle?”

Lin Xitang replied slowly, “It’s indeed a bloody battle! But this time, it’ll be one between Evernight and the empire. Three out of the empire’s ten elite army corps will take part in this battle. Additionally, large military contribution rewards will be established, and the elites of all the major clans will be made to participate. The strength of our Great Qin Empire’s younger generation and that of the Evernight Council will be made clear under this Iron Curtain!”

Zhang Boqian sneered after hearing this. “A flock of sheep will never give birth to a lion no matter how much they train or fight.”

Lin Xitang smiled indifferently. Their difference in opinion wasn’t a matter of one or two days—there was little meaning in debating.

Zhang Boqian glared at him and said, “Such a large-scale business even involving the rising clan descendants, this doesn’t look like something you’re capable of doing alone.”

Lin Xitang lowered his eyes. “This plan not only mobilized the elites of the army, but even involved the nobility and bigwigs. It’s naturally His Majesty’s wise decision.”

A trace of gloominess flashed across Zhang Boqian’s face as he said indifferently, “But who doesn’t know that His Majesty takes your advice.”

Lin Xitang looked up, his gaze as deep and clear as a secluded pond. “Don’t tell me a stately Prince Green Sun believes such street talk?”

The imperial family had just conferred Zhang Boqian the title of Prince Green Sun. Although those of different surname couldn’t inherit their titles since Emperor Wu’s reign, this could be considered the emperor’s recognition of his strength as a heavenly monarch. With that, the Zhang clan was restored to its former glory, one that was comparable to the midday sun during the days of the Empire's founding.

Zhang Boqian snorted. “Lin Xitang, you understand very clearly whether this is your idea or His Majesty’s.”

Lin Xitang replied softly, “What difference is there? I’m fully devoted to His Majesty and the Empire.”

Zhang Boqian’s killing intent flared up, but he retracted it soon afterward and said indifferently, “I’ll be in Evernight for a period of time. I must see what exactly is within that Iron Curtain and what kind of people are coming from the Dark Races. You can lead your big plans and observe from atop the wall, but I just hope you and His Highness don’t trip over from being too smart.”

Lin Xitang said in a meaningful tone, “That’ll depend on how the bloody battle goes.”

On a certain nameless mountain peak stood an odd, elderly man. His long hair was disheveled and knotted—no one knew when he had last washed it. The clothes on him were also torn, tattered, and no different from that of a scavenger.

He was as thin as a match, and his eyes appeared muddled. This person looked through and through like he belonged to the lowest rungs of society, but a knowledgeable expert would find the darkness origin power boiling around him was so strong that it was almost tangible.

The old man stood atop the mountain peak and glanced up at the sky. The Iron Curtain had just reached the peak, and its grey-black line was exceptionally distinct.

There were dozen-odd figures on the mountain peak in addition to the old man, and most of them were demonkin warriors clad in magnificent black armor. There was also a number of vampires present, and the weakest among them was actually a count.

All of them appeared cautious. No one dared approach the sloppy old man’s side and made sure to avoid even a single strand of his overflowing darkness origin power. The mountain peak wasn’t very large, so these people had almost reached the edge of the precipice.

The old man gazed upon the boundless Iron Curtain in silence. No one knew what he was thinking about, or what he was waiting for.

It was at this time that a black dot suddenly appeared in the distance and shot toward them. It tore through the horizon in the blink of an eye and arrived before the mountain peak. This was a metallic ball enveloped in such intense darkness origin power that it appeared to be shrouded in lingering black mist.

The metallic ball suddenly unfolded into humanoid form and landed right in front of the elder. It was a middle-aged demonkin man—the external surface of the metallic ball was originally the armor on his body. Upon coming into contact with the rolling black mist around the old man, the middle-aged demonkin’s darkness origin power shrunk back immediately as though it had been scorched. It then remained on the surface of his body as a thin layer. Only then did it manage to block out the rolling black mist.

Even so, the middle-aged demonkin was the only one who dared approach the elderly man, and there was only reverence for him in the eyes of everyone else present.

“Any news?” the old man inquired.

The middle-aged demonkin only dared reply after the old man finished speaking. “I just received word from our agent that the empire’s Lin Xitang has arrived in Evernight. He should be here for the Iron Curtain.”

“Moreover, I have two pieces of unverified information. One is that the imperial family will issue a decree after assembling the army, enlisting the descendants of all the major clans for this campaign. They’ve even announced a generous amount of contribution rewards. The news, at this point, only coincides with this Iron Curtain. The second is that the empire’s new Heavenly Monarch Zhang Boqian has reportedly left the empire and is headed to Evernight.”

“How do you see it?”

A simple question made the demonkin fairly nervous. He pondered carefully and said in measured words, “I believe that the empire wishes for a bloody battle. The thing under the Iron Curtain might be secondary.”

The demonkin and vampires on the mountain peak became pensive the moment these words were spoken.

The old man questioned indifferently, “You really think so?”

The middle-aged demonkin tensed up, but he gritted his teeth and replied, “Yes.”

The old man glanced up at the sky and asked without looking back, “What do you all think? Do you believe this to be so?”

Everyone hesitated for a moment and finally replied, “Yes.”

The old man sneered. “In the end, this is just for a bit of experience! No matter what the thing under the Iron Curtain is, it’ll change the general situation between the two factions as long as it’s usable. So what if we win the bloody battle? It will either be a miserable victory or a small loss. How many such battles must we fight to change the present situation? What will you all amount to if you let small gains and losses cloud your judgement?”

The middle-aged demonkin’s forehead was covered in sweat. He replied only after a moment of silence, “Your teachings are true.”

The old man shot him a glance and said unenthusiastically. “It’s fine even if you remain unconvinced. I’ll be hesitant about killing you as long as you obey my orders. I still have to give that old fart some face.”

The elderly man asked again after a short pause, “Zhang Boqian has also come to Evernight? This is quite interesting. What exactly are the results of that Heavenly Monarch battle? If he was indeed the winner, it’s not quite enough with me alone. We must call a couple of those old fellows here.”

The middle-aged demonkin replied, “It’s said that they’ve already fought, but the results are not yet known.”

The old man spoke no more and only waved his hand. This time, he couldn’t even bother to say the word useless.

Moments later, the elderly man concluded his contemplation and said, “The item inside the Iron Curtain is naturally the most important, but the bloody battle must also be fought. It’s rare for the Great Qin Empire to lay down such a game of chess. We must play them properly. Hump! The empire’s resurgence? I must see what they have to back such a claim.”

With that, he waved his hand and said, “Go and make necessary preparations. Since it’s already certain that we have to fight this bloody battle, we must also prepare for a couple of months to put up a presentable fight. Naturally, those old fogeys will be responsible for that thing, but you lot must think things over if the bloody battle is lost.”

Everyone bowed in salutation and disappeared from the peak in the blink of an eye.

Outside of Blackflow city, Qianye was standing atop a highland and gazing at the surroundings. There were numerous violent beast corpses at his feet. These ordinary beasts should’ve run in fear after sensing the aura Qianye was intentionally releasing, but now they were rushing at him in waves as though they had lost the instinctive fear of death. He had no choice but to kill them one by one.

Killing these violent beasts was a matter of one slash, but it became extremely troublesome in large numbers.

The sky was still lead-grey, and the Iron Curtain had covered the entire Trinity River County. The expeditionary army’s reaction this time was much faster than their usual wars against the dark races. Orders had reached the divisions in the Trinity River County requiring them to contract their battle lines and guard their defensive regions tightly and without fail. It also stated that the regular army and imperial reinforcements would arrive within a few days.

The orders for Dark Flame, on the other hand, were no longer addressed to the seventh division. Although the same number designation was used, it was clearly written as Dark Flame independent division. It seemed the expeditionary army had no intention to tangle further regarding this matter.

Additionally, there was a piece of secret military intelligence attached to the new Division Commander Zhao Yuying’s appointment papers. It contained information related to the Iron Curtain’s master and its rules. It also stressed that they should hold fast to their original position and allow the major characters from above to handle the other matters.

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

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