Only the emperor knew that Lin Xitang’s return to the capital was mere pretense.
After returning from the battle with Sky Demon, the Pointer Monarch confessed that they simply had no chance at obtaining the ancient essence had Lilith not obstructed Sky Demon. This went to show just how powerful the Queen of the Night was. She was still unchallengeable.
When Sky Demon’s main body left Evernight Continent for the void, the Council recruited numerous experts and brought along the Grand Magnum, “Blessing of Darkness”, to challenge it. The group was led by Lilith, an ancestor of the demonkin Masefield family, and Crassus of the Eternal Flame.
At this point, the empire had actually decided to contract their defensive lines and continue lying low. They only interfered with the ancient essence operation around “Giant’s Repose” to prevent them from easily obtaining the fragments.
Lin Xitang’s plan after his return indeed proved effective. Those proud Evernight Council big-shots invested their full scrying powers and incurred huge losses against the void colossus’ will.
However, Lin Xitang suddenly changed his mind after hearing of the Evernight Council's results. He quickly entered the Heaven’s Mystery Pavilion and arrived at the same shocking conclusion. Against the will of the heavens, one can only sigh that all living things are too insignificant to make assumptions.
The other side of the “Giant’s Repose” was actually the Ascension Stairway!
Lin Xitang was able to catch a glimpse of the other end of “Giant’s Repose” via a thread of heaven’s mystery. It was a continent floating upon the void, and one could even see a certain upper continent near it.
That floating continent wasn’t very big, but it was a rare land capable of accommodating life. Moreover, its position was close to several upper continents, a strategic point the empire had always yearned for.
It turned out that the so-called Ascension Stairway—the omen of the empire’s resurgence—was here.
On the second day, the empire introduced a formal reply to the war around “Giant’s Repose” of Evernight Continent—a full-scale war.
The lords of the major clans and aristocratic families were summoned in succession, and the transfer of regular army corps proceeded with greater frequency. The true motive of this war was still a secret kept within the core circle of the empire, but the mobilization of troops spread like wildfire among the 300 provinces of the empire.
As troubled times arise on the eve of resurgence, the decade of peace shall come to an end.
The Evernight Council reacted swiftly to the empire’s war movements and mobilized all their spy channels in an attempt to figure out Lin Xitang’s deductions. At the same time, the Lightless Monarch Medanzo and the Arachne Warlord Noxus continued to invest great military power toward “Giant’s Repose”. On the empire’s side, Duke Greensun Zhang Boqian held the military authority for Evernight Continent.
As such, Evernight held the two versus one advantage against the empire. This was the most common situation in wars—Evernight held the upper-hand, but it wasn’t overwhelming. That was because surrounding and killing a Heavenly Monarch level expert was beyond difficult. This was especially true for Zhang Boqian who possessed the special ability to cross the skies in an instant. He could run away calmly even if he was no match.
Apart from that, the two great monarchs weren’t just there to deal with Zhang Boqian. They also served to restrict one another. Otherwise, the werewolves would most likely suffer in Medanzo’s presence, while the vampires casualties would increase if Noxus were to appear alone. The outcome was more or less the same with any other great dark monarch, perhaps even worse. The situation might be even more chaotic if more great monarchs were added to the mix.
Blackflow was among the first expeditionary army cities to receive a mobilization order. Along with it came a full share of military supplies and funds. This was a clear message that the “Giant’s Repose” would soon turn into a battlefield for an all-out war between the empire and the Evernight Council.
Qianye started packing things in his room. As expected, the scope of recruitment for those entering the “Giant’s Repose” was indeed expanded after the empire announced the total war. Qianye had decided to sign up for it, but Song Zining seemed to have no intention of participating.
After the two had concluded their discussion of military arrangements for Blackflow and Dark Flame, Song Zining said in an enigmatic tone, “Qianye, go without worries. There is a fortune you must seek, while I have my battles to fight.” He leaned back in a languid demeanor. Zhuji was sitting obediently on his lap with one of her little hands grabbing onto his wide sleeve.
Qianye shot him a suspicious glance. “You didn’t do any scrying, did you? It’s said that divination arts demand a significant price from the performer. The Evernight Council took grave losses this time. Are you sure you’re alright?”
Song Zining smiled. “Firstly, I never calculate the fate of the nation. Secondly, I never go against heaven’s will. I only check the fortune of those around me, so what’s there to worry? Those fellows have simply enjoyed a high position for far too long. They’ve long since forgotten how unpredictable the might of the heavens is, and don’t know when to back off. Who’s to blame if they seek their own death?”
It was just that no one knew who the term “fellows” encompassed.
Qianye was already used to his ambiguity. Seeing that all matters had been well-arranged, he simply picked up his tactical backpack, boarded an airship, and left.
Song Zining watched Qianye leave with Zhuji in his arms, and only looked down after the airship turned into a black dot. He then lowered his head with a smile as gentle as the spring water. “You see? Your sire is a human. If you don’t learn to act like one, he won’t want you anymore.”
Should any other person hear his words, they would find it fairly odd because Song Zining had used an ancient word. The term specifically referred to the parent of an origin blood descendant.
Zhuji’s little face revealed a mature dejection. She suddenly turned her head around and buried her face in Song Zining’s chest.
Qianye was welcomed by a busy scene upon arriving at the Zhao clan base. Virtually everyone was rushing about, and every corner of the base was undergoing construction. The western wall had expanded quite a bit after the demolition and reconstruction. Moreover, there was a large scale airship port—several times larger than before—under renovation.
Qianye was astonished. This was clearly a sign that the Zhao clan was about to transfer its main army over. Could it be that the war had already escalated to such a degree? The Zhao clan had their own battles to fight on the Western Continent, and their borders weren’t peaceful at all. Despite that, they were actually going to transfer their main army here!
The guards at the gates apparently recognized Qianye. They quickly ran over and performed a salute. “Young Master Qianye, the elder duke wishes for you to go and see him immediately upon arrival.”
Elder duke? Qianye was slightly shaken. He was even more astonished after finding that the one waiting for him was actually Duke You. Along the way, he saw some familiar faces among the busy soldiers running about their duties. After seeing Qianye, they quickly made way and saluted him, their words full of respect.
One could see that their reverence for Qianye came from the depths of their hearts and had even reached the point of idolization.
Very soon, Qianye arrived at the command center at the core of the camp and followed his guide into a certain guest room.
There, at the center of the room, was an old man standing as straight as a pine tree with his hands behind his back. He was observing the sand table in complete silence.
Qianye went in and stood silently without interrupting the old man’s thoughts. He had never seen this old man before, but he could actually feel a faint stifling sensation in the latter’s presence. Even his origin power circulation had been suppressed and turned somewhat sluggish.
This was no small matter. Qianye’s origin power purity had already reached the level of crystallization, not to mention his Venus Dawn was one of the three top origin power types. But there were signs of it being suppressed as he stood behind this old man. This could only prove one point—this elderly man’s cultivation was far above Qianye’s. Among the experts he had seen throughout his entire life, even Nangong Yuanwang was inferior to this duke.
The old man didn’t move and neither did Qianye. A fair length of time passed by in this manner before the old man finally turned around. He sized Qianye up with a nod and praised, “You possess this level of combat strength at such a tender age and, what’s more, a rare, calm temperament. I’ve heard about your achievements before, but gossip often tends to be exaggerated and shouldn’t be trusted completely. After seeing you today, however, I find that you are even above those rumors. How rare, how rare.”
The old man pointed at the chair beside him. “Sit.”
After taking his seat, the old man said slowly, “This duke is Zhao Xuanji.”
“Elder Duke.” Qianye bowed in salutation. His stay at the Zhao clan had been fairly rushed and spent mostly in Zhao Yuying’s Mountain Splitter Courtyard. He never saw the elder generation of the Zhao clan.
After meeting this time, Qianye came to a clear understanding of how unfathomable Duke You was—he might even be above Zhao Weihuang. But why had the number one expert of the Zhao clan suddenly arrived on Evernight Continent instead of overseeing the Western Continent?
As though he had guessed Qianye’s question, Zhao Xuanji replied, “Since you’ve already come, you ought to know some things about the general situation on Evernight Continent. In truth, the circumstances are even graver than outsiders believe.”
For some reason, Song Zining’s words as he was about to leave emerged in his mind. He thus proceeded to pay detailed attention to Duke You’s words.
Zhao Xuanji said, “The battle with Sky Demon was for the ancient essence of the void colossus. This matter is known to all. The empire mobilizing in full force is also supposedly to seize those fragments of ancient essence. The object has already shattered, but even a small shard contained the profundities of heaven and earth. Fated individuals can take advantage of it to eliminate the bottleneck before the divine champion level and forge a path toward ascension. This time, the generosity of the empire’s recruitment terms are unprecedented, so much so that everyone will be allowed to keep a single shard they have obtained for personal use. There is no need to hand it over.”
Qianye nodded. Even he was moved by these terms. The ancient essence fragment was a divine item for cultivation and also a strategic resource. There was no method to obtain them barring special periods and circumstances. Once one had obtained the fragments, the rewards would be significant whether they were left for personal use or handed over to the empire.
The humans could use the fragments to achieve the divine champion level and the dark races, a duke. Moreover, the latter commonly lived longer than humans and their inheritances were mostly reliant on bloodlines. A duke was already capable of establishing a clan on his own, so how could such power be easily given up? This went to show that Giant’s Repose was sure to become a scene of bloody massacre.
However, he had also noticed the hidden intent in Duke You’s words.
As expected, Zhao Xuanji continued, “You’re no outsider, so we should let you know some things about the actual secret behind this battle. You must be curious about why this duke is here. The truth is that there’s a different world behind Giant’s Repose, related to several hundred years of our Great Qin’s national fate, and the empire has decided to go all out and take it. This duke is here to lead the great army and restrict the Evernight side’s power. An arduous battle can’t be avoided should the need arise.”
Qianye couldn’t help but feel astonished. The empire had risen for a mere thousand years—what concept was several hundred? Zhao Xuanji had sketched this matter in light shades, but Qianye could hear the dense aura of murder in his words. A battle that would be overseen by the number one expert of the Zhao clan—how could such a battle be small? Since even the Zhao clan was moving in this manner, the other clans naturally wouldn’t be too different. It would seem the entire empire was mobilizing in full force.
Qianye asked, “Where is the Fourth Young Master?”
“Jundu entered Giant’s Repose with the first batch. He returned two days ago but went back in yesterday night. This time, it should take longer.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter