Chapter 383: United [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
This demonkin master machinist had never made himself useful since he was captured. The most important point was that there was nothing in Blackflow City for him to display his qualities.
Percy’s daily life here could be considered quite free, but there was always someone keeping an eye on him. He was, after all, a demonkin—his underlying rank would still afford him impressive combat strength in battle no matter how little he knew about fighting. Now, Percy had actually appeared on the cannon tower and even seemed quite busy. How could Qianye not be astonished?
He looked around and found that there was indeed a fair number of dark races among the smiths. These people were all familiar faces—they were those he had captured at the mine.
A small figure poked its head out of the stronghold cannon’s interior after hearing Qianye’s furious roar—it was Nangong Xiaoniao. She was smeared in grease, and her little face was a mess of white and black patches. She held a module in her hand which she had just taken down, and judging from the label, it was the cannon’s core origin array control module.
Qianye’s brows twitched. “Xiaoniao, what’s going on?”
“It’s like this. I saw that these cannons are all very old, and there are also numerous problems with their design. So, I wanted to modify them a bit and upgrade their performance.”
Nangong Xiaoniao’s voice became softer and softer. She felt indescribable tension whenever she was standing in front of Qianye. However, her words came as a pleasant surprise to Qianye.
“It can be upgraded? Isn’t this stronghold cannon a military model?”
“There might not be any room for improvements if it’s the newest model, but this one is already seven to eight decades old.”
“What kind of upgrade are we talking about?”
Xiaoniao’s speech became more fluent while talking about professional matters. She tossed the black metallic module in her hand and said, “This is the core origin array of this cannon. I’ll design a new array and switch out some components. This will grant the stronghold cannon an overdrive mode. When required, we can increase its firepower by 50% and firing speed by 20%. But the only problem is that the cannon’s lifespan will decrease.”
Qianye’s eyes lit up. “Then wouldn’t the firing parameters almost rival the empire’s newest models?”
“It’s only equivalent to the smallest models.”
“That’s enough!” Qianye was delighted.
A small stronghold cannon was still a stronghold cannon—it was already an overkill to use it in a place like Blackflow City. Nangong Xiaoniao was able to use these old components to remodel the stronghold cannon to such a degree. No wonder those old men from Red Scorpion treated her like a treasure.
Qianye glanced at Percy’s group and asked, “What’s going on with them?”
“Those technicians under you aren’t very useful. I have to teach them too many basic things and they learn too slow. These fellows are much better, especially Percy. He’s quite smart.”
Percy was immediately furious after hearing this. “What do you mean quite smart? I am a great demonkin born of the Dark Abyss and known as the metallic wizard!”
Nangong Xiaoniao’s expression was one of disdain. “You have the cheek to call yourself a metallic wizard with your level? You’re just trying to swindle people who don’t know better! The demonkin I’ve met before is so much better than you.”
A trace of astonishment flashed across Percy’s face. “Better than me? In the field of mechanical design and metals?”
“Of course. Not just these two fields, he’s also so much better than you in origin kinetics and arrays.
“What’s his name?” The excitement on Percy’s face was unsuppressed.
“Barbarossa!!!” Percy almost jumped up and pounced toward Nangong Xiaoniao.
Qianye was watching from the side, so how could he let the demonkin succeed? East Peak didn’t leave its sheath either—a mere horizontal wave was enough to block Percy’s advance. The sword refused to budge in the slightest no matter how Percy pushed.
Percy clung unto the heavy sword, stretched his neck forward, and shouted, “Barbarossa is my master’s master, a first-generation of machinist of the great Dark Abyss! Where is he now? I want to go and meet him!”
Nangong Xiaoniao was startled and said with some hesitation, “This… won’t be possible. He’s locked up at the Red Scorpion Headquarters, and it’s already been some time. You’ll all be caught without a doubt if you go to Red Scorpion, and you might not necessarily be placed in the adjacent cell.”
Percy’s face immediately dimmed down and let out a sigh only moments later. He erased the thought, returned listlessly to the cannon’s side, and continued his work.
Qianye stood on the side and watched all of this in silence.
Percy could ignite a faint black flame in his hand. With it, he could rapidly smelt any type of metal and mold it into the desired component. This method was quite similar to Zhao Yuying’s, but Percy was able to produce a comparable effect despite his vastly inferior individual strength. There was indeed something original about him; it seemed his name as a metallic wizard wasn’t undeserved.
Qianye called Nangong Xiaoniao over and asked in a whisper, “How did you make him obey and work? Won’t there be a problem?”
Nangong Xiaoniao shook her head and said, “There won’t be a problem! I split up the work into many different parts, and everyone is in charge of a small section. It’s easy work for them and it’s not quite possible even if they wanted to play tricks. I do the final inspection and acceptance. Moreover, I told them that they will be paid as much as they were on the other side, and that they were free to spend the money as they wished as long as they didn’t leave the city.”
“They… agreed just like that?” Qianye felt that it was inconceivable—the conditions were too simple—he would’ve dealt with them long ago if these technicians could be settled with money.
“Why not? Sister Yuying said we can chop up whoever disagrees and feed them to the dogs.”
Qianye was momentarily rendered speechless.
What Nanong Xiaoniao brought was a delightful surprise. Four stronghold cannons with firepower comparable to the newest models would serve as a big killer weapon. This kind of stronghold cannon was extremely powerful and would even heavily injure a viscount if struck directly. Ordinary heavy cannons simply couldn’t compare.
Qianye let Nangong Xiaoniao go about her business but transferred a number of high-ranking guards for protection. He then returned to headquarters with Song Hu. He had just sat down in the study when a personal guard entered to deliver a report. “Sire, those from the expeditionary army have arrived.”
“Invite them into the war room.” Qianye was apparently in a great mood.
Waiting in the parlor outside wasn’t just a single person, but a dozen or so people. In addition to the field and dispatch divisions within the Trinity River County, even those from the neighboring counties had dispatched people. Moreover, all of them were high-ranking officers at the rank of colonel and above. Even that brigadier general, the 10th division commander of Broken River City, had arrived in person.
It could be said that all the warzones adjacent to the Blackflow City theater had dispatched forces over.
Qianye invited the guests to take their seats and proceeded to sit down at the main seat himself. He forewent the exchange of conventional greetings and got right to the point. “Everyone arrived at more or less the same time, so I take that you’ve all talked things over amongst yourselves?”
The expeditionary army officers all glanced at one another, but it was the brigadier general who spoke, “Commander Qianye, I have a question first. How confident are you in holding Blackflow City if the dark races make their way here?”
Qianye lifted his teacup and took a slow sip before putting it down calmly. “This will depend on everyone’s support. Blackflow is at the van and will suffer great losses in the war. But as long as everyone supports me well, I’m quite capable of blocking the enemy outside of Blackflow City even if a count arrives.”
Everyone was visibly moved. On the dark race side, the total strength of a viscount was roughly equal to an expeditionary army division. A count was a big monster to these division commanders who ruled their separate lands.
The officers exchanged glances amongst themselves. They understood that news of Dark Flame’s western expedition and how they had forcibly seized significant territory and resources from the hands of the arachne count had to be true. Otherwise, Qianye wouldn’t have such confidence.
These high ranking officers were all important characters from their respective divisions. They weren’t young anymore, and there were even two white-haired men among them—this was made especially evident since such a young person like Qianye was sitting across from them.
However, Qianye’s every action was collected—his speech was mild and contained not a single superfluous word. Were he not sitting before them, these people wouldn’t believe that the person truly in charge of this independent division was only in his twenties.
This should perhaps be attributed to Song Zining. While the two were chatting about the styles of major characters, he had playfully demonstrated the proper appearance one should have when in a discussion with important people—every action had to be solemn and dignified. Not only must one speak unhurriedly, but the words should also be rehearsed in the mind before speaking. No mistakes must be made even if one had to speak slower.
Qianye was currently applying what he had learned. It seemed the results weren’t bad judging from how these expeditionary army officers were listening attentively and pondering in earnest. Moreover, Qianye’s surging origin power and powerful physique came into play after obtaining East Peak. His bearing was now as grave as the mountains, and his every movement possessed a transcendent strength about them.
At this moment, the expeditionary officers found that the longer they sat in front of Qianye, the more they sensed a vague pressure descending upon them. Moreover, it was growing progressively heavier, and even their breathing no longer felt smooth. The 10th division commander laughed wryly in his mind and completely abandoned what little discontent he had before.
He had felt that Qianye wasn’t treating him, a general, with proper respect. Even though Dark Flame was now on equal standing with the 10th division, he felt that he was still slightly above Qianye since the latter wasn’t yet a champion.
The strong were respected—that was the empire’s creed from top to bottom.
The brigadier general let out a cough and said, “We came to help Sire Qianye stabilize the city defenses. It’s just that we’re not yet clear which area you need help with.”
Qianye smiled faintly and extended a single finger. “I want one battalion from each party, replete with necessary trucks. That’s all.”
Everyone glanced at each other, dumbfounded.
There were seven or eight divisions here. If each of them forked out a battalion, it would reach a total of three regiments, and Dark Flame’s combat strength would suddenly increase by half. These units were certain to never return after they had fallen into Qianye’s hands. Moreover, in such a special period, the soldiers delivered would all be from their main force—no one would play tricks here. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be here for an alliance.
Another colonel coughed with a rueful smile and said, “Sire Qianye, your request is a bit too steep. Reportedly, the empire will be issuing exceptionally high rewards for this battle. It should be more than enough to cover your losses. Would you consider…”
Qianye replied with an indifferent smile. “It’s precisely because the rewards are high that you have all come to find me, is it not? Since you’re all so interested in the contribution rewards, then why not go and earn them yourselves? How about that?”
The colonel was instantly at a loss for words. The high rewards indicated greater risk. The imperial military would never act foolishly in this regard. But no matter how high the rewards were, one had to be alive to earn them. It was exactly because of this dangerous signal that the neighboring divisions had sent people to Blackflow City, hoping Qianye could withstand the frontline pressure for them.
The 10th division’s brigadier general pondered for a moment and said while clenching his teeth, “Then one battalion it is! Rest assured, all those delivered will be from the main force.”
“It’s fine as long as their combat strength and equipment are up to standard. I don’t care about their designations or even their military ranks.” Qianye scanned the surroundings and, as expected, saw some peculiar expressions on a number of officers. As veterans, they all understood the meaning behind Qianye’s words.
There were rebellious soldiers in every division who were capable in battle but failed to gain the favor of their superiors due to their nature. Every time, they would be dispatched to the most dangerous and arduous of missions—Qianye wanted such men.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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TL: Legion ED: Moxie