In the face of the netherworld river and flowers, the unwilling dark tornado hesitated for a brief moment, and then retreated over the horizon. He couldn’t find, in him, the determination to challenge the Red Spider Lily that had severely wounded Ge Shitu.
With the dark duke gone and its vanguard commander killed, the dark race army morale ultimately collapsed and their forces began to retreat. However, the tens of thousands of cannon fodder and low-ranking warriors had already been incited into a state of bloodlust. These soldiers were urged toward the Zhao clan formation instead of running back.
Without the support of high-ranking experts, no amount of cannon fodder could escape the fate of being slaughtered by the Zhao clan’s well-trained troops. In just a brief moment, the charging cannon fodder and low-ranking warriors had all fallen—they didn’t even reach the formation. But this obstruction allowed the dark race army to pull back completely and begin its gradual retreat. Zhao Jundu didn’t chase after them, either. In his eyes, clearing these soldiers out was only a matter of time, no matter how many of them there were.
Song Zining only regained his freedom at this point. “So you’ve already prepared the Red Spider Lily as backup. You really wanted to see me become a laughingstock, didn’t you?”
Zhao Jundu said unhurriedly, “Ruoxi just used the Red Spider Lily a while ago. She doesn’t have the power to use it again.”
Song Zining was astonished. It turned out that Zhao Jundu was bluffing all along. If that dark duke had thrown caution to the wind and stood up to the challenge, wouldn’t it be terrible?
Zhao Jundu paid no more attention to Song Zining and simply walked up to the front of the army to meet the returning Qianye. The latter felt his heart skip a beat, almost as though he had been seen through from head to toe. He halted his steps in astonishment and stood several meters away from Zhao Jundu.
Conventionally, Qianye’s contribution of charging into the central army and slaying the enemy commander was above Zhao Jundu’s. However, the latter, as the commander, didn’t offer him any praise; he didn’t even say anything. Only a wisp of violet energy flickered in his eyes as he nodded at Qianye and turned back to the army.
With a deep frown, Qianye followed Zhao Jundu back to the camp.
“Withdraw the troops and summon the airships.” After issuing these orders, Zhao Jundu sat firmly with his eyes closed. He spoke no more, almost as though he had fallen asleep.
The Zhao clan soldiers were puzzled as to why Zhao Jundu was like this. Could it be that Qianye’s slaughter of the enemy commander wasn’t efficient enough? But Qianye had cut down that virtuous count in one blow, so how much cleaner could it be? Even if Qianye could cut down two counts in one blow, there weren’t any more of them for him to kill. However, Zhao Jundu’s prestige in the army was significant and no one dared interrupt his silence.
Song Zining dragged Qianye to one side, flapping his fan continuously with one hand and doing something in his sleeve with the other. Every repetition would increase his aura by a bit.
Qianye frowned upon seeing this. With his keen eyesight, he had naturally realized that Song Zining was using a certain secret art to activate his origin power and combat strength. But the battle had already concluded; why would he need to raise his combat strength in such an expensive manner?
Song Zining moved extremely fast. Before Qianye could stop him, he had already finished his secret art and reached his peak state.
The silhouettes of the warships appeared over the distant horizon, and soon, they had arrived above the Zhao clan army. Several vessels slowly lowered themselves and loaded the three thousand Zhao clan warriors on the ground.
Song Zining followed Qianye onto the ship, picked a random room, and sat down with his eyes closed. Qianye sat down beside him, still puzzled about why he was activating his origin power even now.
At this time, Zhao Jundu walked past the door while patrolling the ship. He shot a glance inside and said as though he could read Qianye’s mind, “He’s afraid I’ll suppress him again.”
With that, Zhao Jundu left in a leisurely manner, leaving behind a fuming Song Zining.
After all of the warriors had been loaded, the warship slowly took to the air and flew back to base.
The dark races had destroyed the Zhang clan fortress and chased their army across thousands of kilometers. Countless battles big and small had broken out along the way, even destroying the nine fortresses the Zhao clan had built so painstakingly.
However, the sharp assault was thwarted by Zhao Jundu, and the war machine came to a screeching halt. This long-distance chase had finally come to an end—a phase of it at least.
Zhao Jundu’s fame rose once more following this battle, edging one step closer to the apex. When the distant Zhang Boqian heard about his words “heavenly monarch is too far off, while the enemy is right in front of us”, the marshal said, “The heavenly monarch realm is just beyond the door.”
The empire was sent into an uproar following this evaluation.
If Zhao Jundu could achieve the heavenly monarch rank and the Pointer King hadn’t fallen at that point, the empire would have six heavenly monarchs at the same time. Retracing history, the last time the empire possessed such an impressive lineup was during the founding war. Back then, led by the founding emperor, the seven heavenly monarchs ushered in a dazzling era. They opened up the land of daybreak in the darkness of Evernight, laying down a thousand years of foundation for the empire.
Would the empire see a second resurgence after the Martial Emperor?
To speak nothing of his combat strength, Zhao Jundu’s breadth of mind during that last battle had left all the other heroes in the dust. One simply couldn’t compare him at the same level.
Additionally, Zhao Ruoxi had arrived from the west with Red Spider Lily in hand and had scared a duke away without even firing a single shot. Her splendor wasn’t inferior at all to Zhao Jundu. It was just that no one knew why Zhao Ruoxi was capable of firing the Red Spider Lily and could only attribute it to her innate talent. Hence, she had never been used as a comparison to other young geniuses—it was simply impossible to do so.
Perhaps because Zhao Jundu and Zhao Ruoxi were too resplendent, not many people mentioned Qianye. However, those who had personally witnessed him break into the enemy central army couldn’t understand just how he had slaughtered the enemy commander.
The process of moving around the target thrice and ending him with a single slash was too unimaginable. No one could figure out how to praise him even if they wanted to.
In the blink of an eye, those paying extra attention noticed something. The three who had orchestrated this reversal—Zhao Jundu, Zhao Ruoxi, and Qianye—were all from the younger generation of the Duke Chengen lineage. Meanwhile, Zhao Junhong had long since revealed his talents in leading armies. Unknowingly, the Duke Chengen branch’s youngsters could already uphold great responsibilities and alter the flow of the battle in this war of national fate. How could they even be described as youths anymore?
If not for Prince Greensun of the Zhang clan being at the peak of his power, the Duke Chengen lineage would become the number one among the nobility. They might even be able to produce a fourth duke in the clan.
It was a well-known fact in the empire that the Zhao clan produced geniuses and heroes in every generation. However, the current generation was simply too outrageous.
Some people could no longer sit still.
Storms were brewing among the upper echelons on the empire, but it was completely unrelated to the soldiers returning from the faraway battle. It was just that the atmosphere on the airship was fairly odd, even though they were returning in triumph.
Zhao Jundu had spent this entire time in his room, sitting silently with his eyes closed. He wasn’t cultivating, either, and no one knew what exactly he was thinking. Song Zining was just as silent. The origin power in his body surged at full power as though he were readying himself for a big battle. One thing in common between them was that neither spoke to Qianye.
Qianye would be cultivating calmly if things were as before. However, he had broken through to the count realm in battle and connected with the River of Blood. The moment he calmed down, his brain would be filled with knowledge pertaining to the ancient vampire inheritances. The information was so expansive that his brain felt like it was about to explode—how was he to cultivate?
According to his past experience, he would need several days in order to store the inherited information and slowly digest them. This short flight thus became a fairly long excursion.
The airship reached base in half a day’s time, where it stopped briefly to resupply before flying toward the Zhao clan’s base of operations on the floating continent, the city of Indomitable.
Indomitable’s airship port was of massive scale, capable of allowing several airships to land and take-off at the same time. The sizeable fleet finished landing in just two batches.
After walking out of the airship, Qianye saw several combat-vehicles in the vicinity, along with hundreds of solemn-looking soldiers. However, there wasn’t such a scene near other airships. They were clearly here to protect something or someone. But who on this airship—be it Qianye himself, Song Zining, or Zhao Jundu—required such protection?
An officer wearing an eye-catching Li clan insignia walked down from one of the combat vehicles. With a shiny, silver box in hand, he walked briskly over to Qianye and performed a salute. “General Qianye!”
The brigadier general seemed both nervous and excited as he stood before Qianye. He raised the box toward Qianye and said in a loud voice, “General, your Storm Pearl!”
Qianye was startled. Although it hadn’t been very long, so many things had happened that it felt like an eternity. He had already forgotten the matter of the Storm Pearl almost entirely.
This Storm Pearl, Qianye remembered, was highly significant to the Li family. Whoever owned the Storm Pearl would have a profound impact on the Li family’s safety. Qianye had gone to battle on his own, fighting throughout the Misty Wood and crushing all of the aristocratic families beneath his feet to reach the top of the leaderboard.
The Li family had external experts among them, as well as those born of humble origins. The status of these people was the lowest in the family, almost like foundation stones. Now, all of them saw hope in Qianye, realizing that even commoners could achieve great things and suppress the nobility.
Later on, Qianye’s upbringing was also spread among the people. Countless commoners felt their fighting spirit reignited after hearing that he was an orphan who had grown up in the dumpster. That brigadier general was also of humble origins, one who had fought his way from a foot soldier all the way up to a general’s rank. Hence, he was also rather excited upon meeting Qianye.
Taking possession of the case, Qianye suddenly discovered a problem. He asked awkwardly, “This… just what is this Storm Pearl used for?”
That brigadier general couldn’t give him an answer. “General, you will be informed when the time is right. For now, I only know that the time isn’t too far off.”
That brigadier general respected Qianye, but they were still on the Zhao clan territory. The Zhao had never liked the Li family since Empress Li had reached her current position by stepping on the imperial concubine Zhao. A well-informed general said in a peculiar tone, “Is this pearl genuine or fake? In any case, we’ve never seen one. No one would know even if your Li family has switched it out.”
Another general laughed. “Even if they had swapped it, they still sent some kind of pearl over, didn't they? It’s much better than just confiscating it.”
The brigadier general from the Li family felt quite awkward. He wanted to retort but couldn’t find the right words. He was aware of certain secrets and knew that many people had indeed wanted to confiscate the pearl. When all was said and done, the leaderboards were in the Li family’s hands. It was a simple matter if they wanted to tamper the numbers. Anything was better than having the prize go to the Zhao clan.
The number of people with this idea wasn’t few. Naturally, these people all had aristocratic backgrounds. After all, some of the combat squads weren’t too far behind Qianye on the rankings—a couple of tricks would allow them to pocket the Storm Pearl. However, during these delicate times, the Li family lord announced that no one shall make any form of modification to the rankings, effectively curbing any and all disputes.
The brigadier general had nothing to say since he knew of all these things.
At this point, Song Zining said with a cold laugh, “Since the fourth young master has spoken already, who would dare touch his things?”
Zhao Jundu’s figure froze for a moment. He turned toward Song Zining and said through gritted teeth, “So noisy, it looks like suppressing you wasn’t enough!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter