Chapter 384: The Winds Rise [V5C91 - A Distance Within Reach]
An agreement was quickly reached, and the various divisions promised to deliver the troops within a week. This was equivalent to paying Qianye protection fees—the price seemed high, but it was nothing compared to having their own defensive regions wiped out.
But the more protection fees Qianye accepted, the greater his responsibility became. Everything would be off if he couldn’t halt the dark race’s advance.
Qianye received a special guest after sending off the group of officers.
It was a man in his forties. The plump middle-aged man wasn’t very tall and possessed an obviously bulging belly. However, Qianye felt a vague aura of danger emanating from the man when he sat down across from him. This feeling was much stronger than it was with the previous expeditionary army officers.
The middle-aged man took his seat on the sofa but maintained a cautious, upright posture. His hand, resting on his knees, was subconsciously rubbing his hat. Apparently, he was feeling rather restless, almost like a small merchant who had suddenly met a senior officer.
Even Qianye had to admire his acting. Had he not clearly seen the person’s complex origin power fluctuations with his True Sight, he might’ve been fooled into thinking that this was an ordinary fatty.
Qianye waved his hand and gestured for Song Hu to leave. Now, only Qianye and the fatty remained in the living room.
“Just speak directly. No need to act anymore. No matter which family you’re from, you should be an elder at the very least.” This also meant that the man before him who had assumed the identity of a little merchant was, in fact, a champion.
The middle-aged man looked deeply at Qianye; his gaze had suddenly become as sharp as a blade. “Sire Qianye has good eyesight indeed. You’ve seen through my identity and still dare to remain alone in the same room. That’s an extraordinary level of insight and courage.”
Qianye smiled faintly. “Actually, this is unrelated to courage. I’ve killed a fair number of viscounts and elders in the past. I also plan to keep on killing more in the future. I don’t mind killing one more or one less.”
The middle-aged man’s expression froze momentarily. He suddenly withdrew his imposing manner and restored his friendly fatty demeanor. “Sigh, I’m old now and encumbered by family and career. It’s true that I no longer have the courage to rush and take risks like the youngsters. If it were fifty years ago, I would’ve insisted on receiving pointers from you.”
Qianye only smiled without replying—such matters were meaningless in words. Only taking action would prove who was stronger or weaker.
The middle-aged man took on a serious expression and said, “My surname is Zhou and given name Caiguang, a veteran elder from Lone Ghosts who was just transferred here. Hereafter, I’ll be in charge of business in the six northwestern counties under the expeditionary army’s control. I came over just to call upon Sire Qianye and see if we might have the honor of working for you in the future.”
His words were pleasant and tactful, but in reality, there was no telling what kind of words he would say had Qianye not torn off his disguise immediately.
Qianye’s brows rose after hearing the name Lone Ghosts. He reached out to pick up his teacup and took a sip before glancing at Zhou Caiguang. “Lone Ghosts? I heard your group has always operated on the Western Continent. So you also have a branch in Evernight?”
Zhou Caiguang replied, “The Western Continent is the Zhao clan’s domain, so the Lone Ghosts can only hold so much power. Evernight is the real place for unlimited development.” These few words were enough to completely display this fatty’s ambitions.
Qianye said calmly, “But there are many other organizations like yours, even some that are bigger. Even Evernight itself has its fair share of such groups, and they’re at least more familiar with the lay of the land. Why should I choose you?”
Zhou Caiguang replied with a smile, “No matter how Lone Ghosts fare on the Western Continent, it’s a new phase after entering Evernight. The powers you mentioned have been here for a long time, and thus, they might be stronger than us for the time being. But it’s impossible for them to have various types of connections like we do. They may be convenient for handling certain matters, but there’ll also be a lot of hindrances. So much so that you might not even know who’s actually standing behind them.”
Qianye raised his brows. He hadn’t expected this unassuming fatty to be such a smooth-talker. The various powers in Evernight were tangled and complicated—the biggest obstacle in the way of cooperation was usually trust between the two parties. That was because, in some fields, profits weren’t everything.
“We, on the other hand, are different. Lone Ghost is as clean as a newborn baby on Evernight Continent and thus more trustworthy. Your Dark Flame is fairly powerful, but I heard that it was also just recently established. I believe there are many aspects in which we can cooperate. You’ll know as time goes by that killing isn’t all that Lone Ghost can do. This is also the reason why we chose to visit you first. Additionally, we also prepared something for you. Please take a look.”
With that, Zhou Caiguang produced an envelope and passed it over. Qianye opened it to find a letter of certification inside, and on it were numerous estates listed as collateral. What surprised Qianye most was that the certificate was signed by Wei Potian.
Zhou Caiguang was watching Qianye attentively and observing his every expression. At this time, he smiled and said, “Please take a look. This should be enough proof of our sincerity. All the estates on the list have been given to the Wei clan heir as security. With the relationship between you and the Wei clan heir, you can contact him and take them as compensation should any problem arise in our future cooperation.”
Up to this point, Qianye couldn’t help but admire this fatty’s methods. It seemed Zhou Caiguang still wasn’t aware of the past matters between Qianye and the Lone Ghosts. He was only doing this in order to break new ground with his business. Furthermore, in order to facilitate this, he had intentionally visited Wei Potian and got him to serve as an endorsement of trust. This also meant that Zhou Caiguang had invested some effort to understand Dark Flame and Qianye’s background.
Qianye pondered for a moment and inquired, “What can you do for me?”
“We can start from the basics like intelligence for instance. For a set monthly fee, we’ll provide information at regular intervals. I guarantee you’ll see some things that interest you that other people do not.”
Qianye laughed—this was a tailored service—it seemed Zhaou Caiguang was intent on taking Dark Flame’s market.
Zhou Caiguang brought out a thin stack of documents containing only a few pages. The papers were split into numerous columns, namely major world events, imperial movements, and important matters of Evernight. There were over a dozen pieces of information listed at each level, and two of them were even about the movements of the imperial family. Every article was around a hundred words and only contained simple introductions.
Zhou Caiguang spoke while Qianye was flipping through the papers, “You’ve opened up such prospects at such a young age. Your future will be boundless after you break through to the champion rank, that’s why the things you hold in your hands are absolutely necessary. One must have a broad view in order to do big things.”
Qianye put down the summarized report and said, “These things are a bit too simple.”
Zhou Caiguang said with a laugh, “This is only an entry level report worth 100 gold coins a month. There are two types of higher level presentations should you require them, but the prices are also different—more than 10 times the cost. If you have certain areas that interest you, we can also provide an in-depth investigation and report. As for Lone Ghost’s primary line of work, that’s also within the scope of orders we accept.”
The so-called primary line of work was murder. In truth, assassination was Lone Ghost’s actual livelihood. To have used information as his main selling point, this Fatty Zhou was indeed an interesting character.
Qianye nodded and put down the report in his hand. “That’s good enough. Leave this report with me along with a mode of contact. I’ll contact you when the need arises in the future.”
Zhou Caiguang extended his chubby hand and said with a smile, “It’s my honor to be able to serve you.”
Qianye reached out to shake Zhou Caiguang’s hand. All of a sudden, he felt a terrifying force from the man that might even crush steel if there were no resistance. It seemed this kind-looking fatty couldn’t resist testing Qianye’s strength in the end.
Qianye circulated origin power throughout his body and abruptly applied force from his hands. Origin power surged out together with the formidable strength of his vampire constitution.
The sound of rolling thunder echoed throughout the empty living room. Zhou Caiguang’s face turned pale and sweat began to drip down from his forehead as his entire body trembled. The origin power he had attacked with was actually flushed back at him.
Qianye slowly withdrew his origin power and relaxed his grip after seeing Zhou Caiguang couldn’t hold out much longer. The man’s right hand was swelling up rapidly, and the purple fingerprints upon it were incomparably clear.
Zou Caiguang’s face turned pale from the pain as he tried moving his fingers. He took a deep breath after finding that his fingers were fortunately still able to move. Apparently, Qianye had shown him some mercy by not crushing all of his bones.
Zhou Caiguang couldn’t help but laugh wryly. “Sire Qianye’s strength truly makes one sigh in admiration. Although my skills are rather disappointing, I’ve never placed ordinary rank-ten champions in my eyes. Unexpectedly, I couldn’t even last a couple of minutes in your hands. Thunder rang out in empty air the moment your origin power stirred. Even among champions, not everyone is at such a level.”
At this point, Zhou Caiguang couldn’t help but ask, “When do you intend to advance to champion?”
“There's no rush.” Qianye didn’t feel obligated to answer this question.
Zhou Caiguang also understood that he had spoken inappropriately. He left his contact details with a bow and excused himself.
In the days that followed, people like Zhou Caiguang visited one after another—there were all kinds of them, and they came in a never-ending stream. This was proof that Dark Flame’s swift, decisive methods after devouring the seventh division and the success of their westward campaign were finally showing their effects. They had received the recognition of Evernight’s powers from top to bottom—only now could their foothold be considered truly stable.
Among the visitors, there were organizations like Lone Ghost proposing cooperation, and there were also certain aristocratic families and powers with dubious backgrounds looking to develop business in Blackflow City. There were even arrogant representatives of minor nobility who looked upon Qianye as though a high-class person would a commoner, and demanded that Qianye switch allegiances. Moreover, they acted as if they were doing him a gargantuan favor.
Qianye was simply too lazy to pay such people any attention at all. He beat them up on the spot and kicked them out of the city. As for cries like “you’ll definitely regret this” or “you can’t afford to offend the person behind me”, even the Dark Flame soldiers only treated them as dog barks.
Once or twice was fine, but similar matters repeated too many times. Only then did Qianye realize that not everyone was well-informed enough to understand the rules.
Now that he thought about it, he would’ve been entirely ignorant of things outside of the war zone were it not for Song Zining and Zhao Yuying’s channels. Qianye couldn’t help but recall Hunter’s Home from back then. The price for information there was quite expensive relative to the mission rewards.
Now, it seemed that Zhou Caiguang’s report was indeed important. At least, he wouldn’t be completely ignorant of the things happening in the world. The other topic Zhou Caiguang had brought up caused some waves in Qianye’s heart, and he began to seriously consider the possibility of advancing to the champion rank.
Human champions and dark race viscounts were both a threshold, the doorway separating the upper-class society and the lower ones. No matter how strong Qianye was or how many champions he had killed, the respect he received would be somewhat lacking in meaning unless he broke through to the champion rank.
The human race’s secret to advancement could be described in a single term: Condense Qi into a Vortex. After origin power had been condensed to a certain level at the nine nodes, they would naturally become a vortex. This would increase their origin power absorption by many times, allow them to draw upon the origin power in the surroundings, and, at the same time, improve their constitution to a certain degree.
Advancing to the champion rank was a holistic upgrade process. It was a watershed which the difference in strength would be akin to the difference between heaven and earth.
Even among champions, the size and purity of the origin power vortices would determine how far the person would be able to go. The purer one’s origin power was—the closer it was to the origin—the greater his might and potential for advancement. Ordinary champions were only slightly superior to fighters in terms of origin power condensation. That was why geniuses would find ways to suppress their rank and invest great effort into purifying their origin power.
At the thought of this, Qianye recalled Song Zining’s words about how every major family had their own secret methods to boost in champion advancement. Not only would they greatly increase the chances of an upgrade, but certain top-grade methods were even capable of raising one’s origin power purity by a level.
The top-grade cultivation chamber Qianye had used back at the Song clan was one of them. Its consumption rate was a colossal number to ordinary people. Qianye was somewhat curious as to what the Zhao clan’s methods were.
Now that the Iron Curtain was fully formed and war could break out any moment, Qianye felt the urge to stop suppressing his rank and advance to champion rank. This might perhaps affect his future prospects, but what future would there be if he died in the bloody battle?
The endless stream of visitors finally died down after a couple of days, and Qianye was allowed some free time to cultivate in peace. Thus, Qianye began preparing for his advancement—all of Dark Flame’s officers received instructions not to disturb him unless it was extremely urgent. All matters related to daily operation were handed over to Song Hu and a number of high-ranking officers.
On the second day of Qianye’s isolated cultivation, an unassuming little airship arrived in Blackflow City. It appeared fairly mediocre at a glance, but the fact that it was able to arrive in Blackflow City through the Iron Curtain spoke volumes of its extraordinary qualities.
Under the Iron Curtain, not only were the land animals berserk, but the birds in the sky were also in a similar state. Ordinary transport airships had all stopped running, and only those escorted by military airships dared take to the skies.
After the airship descended onto the landing pad, the cabin doors were opened, and the ladder was lowered. Out walked an elderly man with clear, handsome facial features and a head of perfectly groomed silver hair.
He was dressed in plain clothes with no decorations whatsoever. However, knowledgeable people would see that the materials and craftsmanship were the work of a master and every detail was flawless. His clothes alone might be able to buy several houses in a poor, remote place like Blackflow City.
There was a handsome young man behind the elder along with a number of followers.
The old man’s eagle-like gaze swept across the place as he said indifferently, “So this is Blackflow City?”
“Yes, we have arrived,” the young man beside him replied.
The old man was noncommittal about the cityscape before him and only said, “Since this is the right place, then let’s go find the young miss first.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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TL: Legion ED: Moxie
Teaser Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind_Rises