“The humans are amassing troops and their ground forces already hold the advantage. Just what are they planning to do? Are they really planning to fight an all-out war?” Noxus said.
Medanzo replied slowly, “Perhaps they’ve discovered something in Giant’s Repose.”
“If that’s the case, we should stop our retreat and summon back our troops.”
Medanzo shook his head. “Let those who have retreated be since the first batch has almost reached the higher continents by now. And we still have a fair number of troops on our hands. What game can these people play with the two of us here? Even if they have some schemes up their sleeves, Her Majesty Lilith will rush over immediately.”
Noxus’ expression was gloomy. “Humans have always been cunning. They have naturally prepared for anything we can think of. I fear Her Majesty won’t be able to arrive in time when something happens.”
Medanzo sneered, “All schemes will crumble before the power of the Queen of the Night.”
Noxus sighed with deep implications. “That’s not a certainty!”
Medanzo’s expression sank, but he didn’t flare up and only looked at Noxus coldly. All familiar people would know that the Lightless Monarch was truly angry. However, it would seem his anger couldn’t intimidate Noxus. The arachne warlord remained unmoved and kept on gazing contemplatively at the imperial camp.
Two small black airships were ready for takeoff at an imperial airship port reserved solely for high-ranking officers. They were rather small in size, but the sleek outline and metallic-looking sails made them look rather outstanding. Furthermore, the cloud atlas insignias upon them proved their status as warships of the Thunderous Cavalry.
At this moment, the entire airship port and its surrounding areas were in a state of high alert, guarded only by members of the Thunderous Cavalry. Even Zhang Boqian’s Ironclad Legion wasn’t allowed entry.
Lin Xitang walked out from the passage connecting to the main tent. He was clad in wide-sleeved robes with silver hair dancing in the wind. There was something transcendent and ethereal about him. Gu Tuohai boarded the airship with Lin Xitang and stood together with him beside the cabin windows. Meanwhile, Zhang Boqian was nowhere to be seen.
The airship slowly took to the skies with great stability. As the airship ascended, one could gradually see the entirety of the imperial camp, Giant’s Repose, and even the vague outline of the Evernight camp on the other side.
Gu Tuohai sighed with a worried expression. “I hope everything goes smoothly and that there are no more disruptive factors.”
Lin Xitang smiled. “It is an overt plot this time. Even if they’ve made a guess, they definitely won’t believe it. At that time, they’ll surely fall into my trap and the empire will seize control of the political situation.”
Gu Tuohai didn’t seem so happy and said with the same miserable look, “Even if that is the case, your trap won’t be able to kill her. There will be a time when she breaks out.”
Lin Xitang was apparently quite confident. “By the time she breaks out, it will be too late.”
Gu Tuohai stomped his feet. “Urgh! That’s not what I’m saying. Won’t you be affected once she breaks through?”
“No need to keep these small matters to heart.”
Gu Tuohai glared at him. “How is getting involved with the Queen of the Night a small matter?”
Lin Xitang smiled without replying. The airship continued its ascent and soon sped away into the distance.
Qianye was standing in the Zhao clan camp at that time, about to meet Zhao Xuanji. He suddenly looked up and saw two airships take to the air from Zhang Boqian’s command camp. With his eyesight as a long-range sniper, he was able to barely make out the cloud atlas insignia on them.
Qianye was slightly moved at heart. Others may think that the Thunderous Cavalry around Prince Green Sun’s main tent only represented the imperial court, but Song Zining had met Lin Xitang there. The imperial guard was here to protect the marshal. Qianye sighed inwardly at the thought of that person, but he kept moving forth and followed the guard into Zhao Xuanji’s tent.
Zhao Xuanji stood up upon seeing Qianye. “How went your business?”
“Everything has been handled, so I’ve returned to report back in.”
Zhao Xuanji nodded. “You returned at the right time, I have a matter I can’t quite decide on. Our Zhao clan private army, in addition to an airship fleet, is ten thousand strong at the moment. All airship fleets are placed under imperial command, so we’ll ignore that for now. The remaining forces are split into thousand-man battalions of three types, namely vanguard, field, motorized. Currently, Jundu is in charge of a motorized battalion and Junhong leads a fields battalion. I’m heading five battalions myself, but there are currently three battalions without a suitable leader. I was wondering if you wish to wield one of them?”
Qianye didn’t give an immediate reply and asked instead, “Why do we have to advance with the army this time?”
Tactics on a major battle were different from smaller operations. Normally, wars involving greater than ten thousand soldiers would be strictly differentiated into fights between experts and troops.
Champions like Zhao Jundu and Qianye—who possessed long-range sniping abilities and overwhelming personal combat strength—would usually roam the battlefield independently, seeking opportunities to assist the assault, behead the enemy leaders, or even to produce openings for more powerful experts. This is the best way to utilize their strength.
Moreover, only talented generals such as Zhao Junhong and Song Zining knew how to lead soldiers. Since even Zhao Jundu was keeping a battalion by his side, this campaign was apparently different from the norm.
“Good question, this battle is indeed unlike the usual ones.” Zhao Xuanji walked over to the military map on the wall and drew an advancement path with his fingers. Qianye was immediately astonished because the imperial vanguard was to charge straight into the Evernight Council’s main camp!
“As you can see, the target this time is precisely the Evernight Council’s main camp. The imperial army will mobilize in full-force and shan’t stop until the dark race army has been driven out of Giant’s Repose. Both sides will invest all the soldiers they have into this battle and the level of danger will be much higher than before. Marshal Boqian will also join the battle. Assigning troops to each of you serves firstly to strengthen our army and also to protect you from accidents.”
Qianye came to an understanding after listening to Zhao Xuanji’s explanation. Staying in the army would prevent them from running into duke-level experts who could easily kill them in passing.
In a war of this scale, the chaotic situation could change in the blink of an eye. Anything could happen with experts from both sides roaming everywhere. Even talented young geniuses like them might encounter a tragic death since their levels weren’t sufficient—and a dead expert would become nothing more than a fond memory.
Qianye pondered for a moment and said, “I’m willing to lead a vanguard battalion.”
It was Zhao Xuanji’s turn to be startled. “Vanguard? Are you sure?”
The vanguard will be assigned the important task of charging the enemy defenses. It was the most bitter, tiring, and dangerous position in the army. In addition to the true elites, the vanguard battalion would normally be formed of penalized soldiers and sometimes even cannon fodder.
Usually, the generals in charge of the vanguard battalions were either those lacking in background and advancement potential, or battle-crazed opportunists who had their eyes on the crowning contribution, seeking a rise to fame in one battle.
Qianye, at present, was already considered a core candidate for the clan to groom. It was somewhat inappropriate for him to join the vanguard.
Zhao Xuanji pondered for a while and said, “Qianye, your combat style is indeed suitable for charging the enemy camp. However, you have to look into the future. This duke feels that a field battalion will be more fitting. Your sniping abilities also make you a good candidate for the motorized battalion.”
“I wish to join the vanguard, please allow me!” Qianye clasped his hands and bowed.
Zhao Xuanji’s brows knitted tightly and only relaxed after a long while. “So be it, the young are indeed impulsive, and I can’t stop you by force anyway. This duke will allow it since you made such a request yourself. From now on, you’re allowed to enter the Zhao clan’s armory and withdraw whatever you need. The battle will start any time now, be prepared.”
“Thank you, Duke!” Qianye left to prepare after expressing his gratitude.
The Zhao clan was indeed a major clan with deep foundations. The temporary armory set up in the camp wasn’t small at all, and there was no small number of high-quality grade-six guns within. Qianye picked a grade-six sniper rifle, a grade-six assault rifle, and a multi-purpose military knife. He then picked out a grade-five armor and relevant ammunition before leaving the armory.
At this moment, Qianye was armed to the teeth and his equipment from head to toe was several hundred kilograms in weight. But Qianye walked back to his own room without the slightest hint of hindrance. The Zhao clan soldiers who had carried the equipment out for him were dumbstruck. After using East Peak habitually, Qianye didn’t mind this bit of weight at all.
Not long after he had returned, Qianye received the official assignment order to the vanguard battalion. This time, the Zhao clan private army had two vanguard battalions, each made up of a thousand men. One of them would be led by Qianye, while the other would be under the command of a champion from the Zhao clan’s side branch.
Qianye went forth to his assigned vanguard battalion after receiving the order.
The vanguard battalion barracks were located together in a certain corner of the Zhao clan camp. A jeep carried Qianye all the way to the camp gates, where he hopped off and headed toward the camp. Even from the outside, Qianye could hear the exceptional clamor within—incessant shouts, laughter, and curses—it would seem the soldiers within were performing their drills.
The major who had driven him here poked his head out of the car and said, “Sire Qianye, this is the place. Good luck!”
With that, the major drove away. His words clearly had a different implication, but Qianye didn’t take it to heart. He walked toward the barracks and presented Zhao Xuanji’s military order.
The two guards gazed at Qianye with peculiar expressions and even a hint of schadenfreude. One of them quickly led Qianye inside, but their respect was simply too artificial and insincere.
Qianye followed the guard in and saw two bare-chested warriors wrestling in a small, sand-filled wrestling ring in a corner of the drill grounds. The two fighters locked in battle possessed impressive combat strength, and their techniques were as polished as they were fierce—quite likely a high-grade secret art of the Zhao clan. The hundred or so warriors around them were cheering loudly and even placing bets.
There was a burly man beside the wrestling ring and the stubble on his face was like a bed of iron nails. He had his arms crossed in front of his chest as he watched the match with great interest. The burly man sensed Qianye’s approach and glanced up with an austere expression.
Qianye’s brows knitted together, puzzled as to why this burly man was so hostile. His temperament had clearly changed only after recognizing who Qianye was. Most of the Zhao clan private army was transferred later from the Western Continent, but there were several hundred veterans among them who had joined the bloody battle. Qianye believed that those who had fought under the Iron Curtain wouldn’t be so hostile against him for no apparent reason.Previous Chapter Next Chapter