Chapter 534: Afterword

Chapter 534: Afterword [V6C64 – Sorrow of a Silent Parting]

Qianye was greeted with the intense smell of gunpowder as he entered the Zhao clan camp. Everywhere, there were soldiers performing drills or changing guard duty. The various military vehicles parked in the open had traces of recent fighting, and countless technicians were working on and around them.

Qianye had noticed a certain detail—at least half of the camp in front of him was made up of light-armored mobile barracks. Additionally, the military engineers were in the process of converting the rest of the field army tents into mobile barracks. Qianye turned toward the other private army encampments nearby and found the situation to be more or less the same.

War was inherently akin to burning money, and these semi-permanent defensive structures cost significantly more than temporary ones. It seemed not only did they expect the war to last fairly long, but they would also continue to garrison here some time afterward. This meant that the empire might’ve changed its policy of not garrisoning the regular army on Evernight Continent.

Qianye’s heart was full of doubt as he followed the soldier leading him into the core area of the Zhao clan camp. The circle of tents in front were the residences of Duke You and the other high-ranking Zhao clan leaders. They looked rather plain and unadorned from the outside, almost the same as an ordinary barracks.

Duke You was handling some official documents when Qianye knocked and entered. There was a tall pile of already-processed documents to his right, and an entire two stacks of documents to his left.

Zhao Xuanji put down the pen and glanced at Qianye. A happy expression appeared in his eyes as he stood up and said, “It’s good that you’re back safely. It looks like your journey this time went smoothly.”

Qianye performed a salutation and said, “I have indeed gained some rewards. I was fortunate enough to accomplish a mission but was wounded in the process. I was in dire straights at the time and I never found the eldest and fourth young masters, either. So, I had no choice but to come back first...”

An astonished Zhao Xuanji walked out from behind the desk and beckoned Qianye to sit down. “You completed a mission?”

“I killed a Sky Demon avatar.” This was the answer Qianye had prepared.

Even the duke who had experienced countless winds and waves throughout his life couldn’t help but become startled.

The main objective of the empire’s recruitment of experts to enter Giant’s Repose was to explore the area and kill those from the Evernight faction. They were guaranteed contributions as long as they came back with relevant intelligence. That was why Duke You was already quite happy to see Qianye return safely. As for the two missions, one could still try his luck in finding an ancient essence fragment, but killing Sky Demon’s avatars was the job of those marquis level experts who had gone in later.

Zhao Xunji said with a serious expression, “This matter is extremely important. Can you confirm it?”

Qianye replied calmly, “I wouldn’t lie about such an important matter.”

Zhao Xuanji’s expression relaxed as he nodded. “It’s not that I don’t believe you. I only ask because killing a Sky Demon avatar would be quite difficult for you. Do you have any proof?”

“Sky Demon’s avatar left behind a scorching crystal after it died. I didn’t know what it was, so I accidentally absorbed it.”

Zhao Xuanji asked in concern, “You absorbed it? What did you feel? Was there any discomfort?”

“I felt rather unwell during the absorption process, but after that, my perception toward void origin power increased greatly. I also saw some memory scenes, most likely related to Sky Demon.” Regarding this, Qianye spoke the truth.

Even the subtle Zhao Xuanji was visibly moved after hearing this. “You actually obtained Sky Demon’s memories? T-That’s a perfect absorption! Good, very good!”

Qianye focused his mind to search for Sky Demon’s remnant will within his body. Soon, a mysterious fluctuation spread out from his body—vast, distant, and suffused with the sorrow of the vicissitudes.

Zhao Xuanji suddenly waved his hand. Strands of sharp origin power shot out from his fingers and pierced into the vital points on Qianye’s body. The five origin powers were of different attributes. Three of them were purely daybreak, but one was a dark purple energy which actually contained neutral origin power. The last one was true void origin power—it was formless and invisible, yet it was the most powerful, even more so than the remaining four combined.

The five wisps of origin power shot out at lightning speed and without the slightest of warning signs. Qianye only noticed something was wrong when the sharp energy reached his body. He reacted almost instinctively by lowering his elbow to meet the incoming void origin power. As for the other four, he could only rely on his body to defend against them.

A sound akin to muffled thunder echoed within the room as Qianye flew backward along with the sofa, his face flushed red. Four large holes had appeared on his combat robes to reveal the red skin underneath.

Qianye seemed quite miserable, but the truth was that he had broken down the lethal void origin power. Zhao Xuanji had held back with his sudden attack, but even so, it would be quite shocking if people were to know that these four finger strikes hadn’t torn through his skin.

Zhao Xuanji nodded in delight and couldn’t help but offer praises. “Not bad, not bad at all! Being able to figure out the finger with true power behind it means that your perception of void origin power is extremely sharp. With this kind of awareness, you’ll get twice the results for half the effort. The aura you imitated just now was Sky Demon’s, right?”

Qianye nodded.

“Then there’s no problem. Those who have completed a mission in Giant’s Repose must go and meet Grand Marshal Zhang Boqian for a final confirmation. Marshal Zhang has taken part in the battle against Sky Demon, so he can confirm it just from that aura.”

Meet Zhang Boqian? Qianye’s heart skipped a beat, and it took him some effort to maintain his calm. Could the Bloodline Concealment hide his secrets from the eyes of a heavenly monarch? Moreover, the current Qianye possessed not only blood energy but also had condensed a blood core. There was no way to explain this with mixed darkness origin power.

Zhao Xuanji spoke again while Qianye was deep in thought, “Actually, it’s not important whether you killed the avatar on your own or you happened to encounter a badly wounded one. The most important thing is the comprehension you received during the battle and the perfect assimilation of the essence. This is a rare opportunity that hardly comes by even in a hundred battles.”

Qianye remained silent because he knew what Zhao Xuanji would say next.

As expected, the duke said with a solemn expression, “Qianye, since you have this fortune, our Zhao clan will nurture you without holding back. As long as you serve wholeheartedly, the clan will provide all the resources you need before the divine champion rank!”

Qianye glanced at Duke You and said in a deep voice, “I’ll try my best.”

This wasn’t an answer Duke You expected. He couldn’t help but sigh. “Qianye, I know you may still be holding a grudge for what happened back then. It’s not too appropriate for me to talk about Weihuang’s familial matters, but you’re such a superior candidate both in terms of talent and character, so this duke will speak a bit. Qianye, blood always runs thicker than water. This familial relationship can’t ever be broken. Moreover, Zhao Weihuang wasn’t wrong back then.”

Qianye remained silent because Duke You’s opinion would align with most people—only he himself knew that it wasn’t so. He had completely put down his grievance after coming to know the reason for his origin theft. Meanwhile, he had gained certain things in his difficult life that were more important than familial relationships—people he would live or die with—a lover, brothers, and comrades.

Qianye didn’t want to explain much. “Duke, that may be the principle, but everything needs time. No matter what, I will try my best. Of this, you can rest assured.”

Zhao Xuanji laughed happily. “That is indeed the case. You don’t need to rush, either, just let nature take its course. Oh right, Weihuang is careless in nature and usually forgets everything once he starts fighting. You can also come to me if you can’t find him in a hurry. This duke is still able to handle some minor matters.”

Qianye sighed in his heart after hearing this. He could only say, “Thank you, Duke.”

Zhao Xuanji waved his hand. “There’s no need to thank me. You earned everything by bathing yourself in blood.”

The duke didn’t detain him much longer and ordered some men to lead Qianye away to rest.

Qianye received a single room in the officers’ barracks. There, he requested some food, pen, and paper to start writing his battle report. The world under the void colossus’ suppression—its geography, flora, fauna, weather, and its effect on foreign individuals—every bit of intelligence was crucial to the empire.

After filling up three papers, Qianye started feeling somewhat restless. He couldn’t help but feel afraid when he thought about his meeting with Marshal Zhang Boqian the following day. The person he was most worried about was Nighteye who would be waiting for him, all alone, outside Blackflow City. If he failed to return after a long period, what would she think? What would she do?

But Qianye couldn’t let other people send a message. Even if he could send a message, what would he say? There was no way to foretell what would happen on the morrow.

Qianye’s heart was in chaos when a guard outside called out loudly, “Young Master Qianye, General Song Zining seeks a meeting!”

“Zining?!” Qianye stood up, recalling what Li Kuanglan had said in the cavern. Had Song Zining really come to fight at Giant’s Repose? When did he become a general?

Qianye pushed the door open and, as expected, found Song Zining standing outside. He was clad in a black and gold general’s uniform which added a martial tone to his handsome countenance. There were two beautiful female officers beside him, and both were majors with impressive figures.

The Seventh Young Noble never changes. He still had beauties beside him even in the imperial camp.

Qianye was startled as he looked at Song Zining. “That’s an imperial army uniform.”

Song Zining smiled. “I hold a temporary position in the imperial military, so it’s only natural I wear their uniform.”

“But when did you join the imperial army?”

Song Zining broke into a laugh. “It’s only a temporary post. I’m helping Marshal Zhang Boqian do some odd jobs, and this identity facilitates things. That’s why the marshal gave me this uniform.”

He was given a brigadier general rank and staff-officer status after a casual request? Qianye was speechless.

The latter shot a glance at the two female officers beside Song Zining and said, “Zining, you arrived at a good time. I happen to have something to talk to you about.”

Song Zining said with a smile, “I also have some things to say to you.” He then slapped the two girls on the butt and said, “You two go back and rest first, I wish to talk to my brother here.”

The two female officers glanced coldly at Song Zining, then shot flaming glares at Qianye. It seemed as though they wanted nothing more than to devour Qianye on the spot. Afterward, they left unwillingly along with the Zhao clan soldier who had led them here.

Speechless at their bold actions, Qianye glanced at Song Zining in puzzlement. The latter had always been a romantic, but this was a real battlefield and an army under Zhang Boqian’s control. How could such characters appear here?

Seeing Qianye’s gaze, Song Zining explained with a shrug, “This has nothing to do with me. They were already in the army when I joined, and I only got to know them later on. Actually, they’re both from aristocratic families, and their backgrounds are quite impressive. They only joined the army to get to know some young heroes and settle a major life event. Are you interested? I’ll ask them out tonight if you have any ideas.”

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

Everyone, I'm back!!! I'll be making up for the 8 chapters I missed during my 7-day absence, so expect double chapters in the upcoming week. As usual, one chapter will come out at the usual time while the make-up chapters will be posted with no set schedule.

TL: Legion   ED: Moxie


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