The old man’s robes looked ordinary and without any outstanding characteristics. However, being so ordinary was what set this man apart from everyone else. There was a clear distinction between everyone in the camp—they were either from the Moonlight Demons or the imperial military. Only this old man was without any characteristics.
A gloomy-looking man in his thirties arrived beside the old man. “Elder Wei, we’ve waited here for an entire day. The longer we wait, the greater the chances of the Earth Dragon recovering, Let’s move out now if possible.”
The old man replied calmly, “The pacification method I taught you is much more useful than your original method. There won’t be any problems as long as you do things according to my instructions. But if that fellow insists on provoking the Earth Dragon, that’s well beyond our control. Then again, it’s not that easy to provoke the dragon, either.”
“What you say is right, but more problems might arise if we drag things out. It’s not wise to stay here very long. What are we waiting for?”
“Opportunity.” Elder Wei was calm.
The middle-aged man felt a bit awkward, but he braced himself to inquire further, “This… what exactly is this opportunity.”
The elder responded with a question, “Anderfel, you’re usually quite patient, why the rush now? Don’t tell me there’s something wrong with the pacification rite?”
Anderfel hesitated for a moment before finally revealing the situation. “We don’t have much flesh and blood left. At this consumption rate, we can maintain it for three more days at most.”
Elder Wei replied calmly, “Kill some more people, you’ll get your flesh and blood.”
“But we’ve already slaughtered all the people in Port City, even the slaves and servants. There are no more humans in the surrounding area.”
“Then go farther, there are a lot of human cities in the surrounding area, Southern Blue for instance. You can do a lot of things in three days.”
Anderfel said helplessly, “That’s Zhang Buzhou’s domain, we can’t extend our reach that far.”
“Isn’t that Wolf King Zhang Buzhou’s man? Let him think of a way.”
The old man smiled spuriously. “Since this is a cooperation, he must make some sacrifices, too. There are so many humans in his territory, losing a few thousand or even ten thousand of them won’t make a difference. If he can’t even do that, what’s the point of having him on board? Or would you rather sacrifice your own tribesmen? I’ve told you before that vampire sacrifices are more effective than human ones.”
Anderfel’s expression changed sharply. In the end, he said helplessly, “Then, we’ll continue according to your instructions.”
He summoned three subordinates and gave them their orders, “You three go back and relay Elder Wei’s words to Sir Kimberly.”
The three soldiers left swiftly and without delay.
Having finished his business, Anderfel approached the old man. “Elder Wei, what exactly is this opportunity?
Elder Wei laughed. “You’ll find out when the time is right. This is a great fortune. As long as you do this well, the empire won’t go back on its word. After the territories of Serenity Province fall under His Excellency’s rule, it won’t be difficult for someone of your contributions to obtain half a county’s land.”
Anderfel was beaming with joy. “It’s all because of Elder Wei’s guidance. But isn’t the Western Continent a tad too poor?”
An indiscernible shade of mockery flickered in the elder’s eyes. “The Western Continent is indeed barren compared to the Qin continent, but that’s only on the surface. In truth, the Western Continent is rich in resources, many of which are essential in warfare. The only reason for its underdevelopment is that the Evernight side has always viewed this place as a place to fight for. The flames of war have never died here for hundreds of years.”
At this point, Edler Wei paused for a moment. “Why else would the Zhao clan, with its thousand-year inheritance, abandon their estate in the empire and transfer to such a desolate place? It’s only because of your irreplaceable role and contributions in this matter that you have the opportunity to get your hands on the Western Continent.”
“Yes, yes, rest assured, Sir Mask’s resolve is firm. We’ll not only put in our best efforts here but also field troops when you lay siege to the Zhao clan.”
Elder Wei laughed. “Let’s get this matter done properly first. Once the item is in our hands, it’ll be an easy matter to destroy the Zhao clan. Speaking of war, your troops are all quite odd and lacking in valor. I don’t see how they can be of help in a frontal assault against the Zhao clan.”
Anderfel was livid. Being mocked right to his face was an uncomfortable feeling. However, the old man’s pressure was so great that he didn’t dare say anything.
The atmosphere in the camp was heavy, but the old man didn’t seem to mind. He finished warming his hands before going back into the tent to rest.
On the outer borders of the camp, Qianye’s mood was in disarray. Who would’ve thought that the imperial military’s reach extended even to the neutral lands. Judging from the elder’s words, it would seem the military was planning to deal with the Zhao clan and the key to it lay in the Earth Dragon’s lair.
Qianye naturally recalled his past at the mention of the Zhao clan. He sighed secretly in a surge of killing intent. Now that they were here, this Elder Wei and the people from the military had better forget about going back alive. As for the Zhao clan’s peril, Qianye wasn’t that worried—it was no easy feat to shake the solid foundations of a thousand-year clan that ruled over two provinces.
Having made his decision, Qianye drew back and found a good spot to wait in hiding.
Before long, footsteps echoed in the tunnel as a group of soldiers emerged and arrived at the camp. Soon, an officer delivered a crate to Anderfel who seemed rather delighted upon observing its contents. He went to the elder’s tent and said, “Elder Wei, we’ve gotten one more drop of blood.”
The elder walked out and said with a nod, “Three drops of Earth Dragon’s blood in total, that’s enough. The time is also just about ripe, let’s set out.”
The camp flew into action at Anderfel’s urgent order. Moments later, they were all packed and equipped to move out.
There was a rectangular crate in one of the tents, the contents of which had been firmly covered up by a cloth. This container was three meters long and would need at least six high-ranking soldiers to move forward. Judging from how much effort these warriors were putting in, it was obvious that the crate was at least thousands of kilograms in weight.
Anderfel left ten men to watch over the camp while the rest followed the main force.
Elder Wei took the lead. The map in his hand was flickering with origin power, clearly not just an ordinary object but a powerful secret treasure. He would refer to it at every crossroad and pick out the path to advance along.
With hundreds of soldiers traveling together, there was no way they wouldn’t leave traces. Qianye only needed to follow from far behind since there was no way he could lose them, but he took a risk and followed from a distance where he could see the elder. This would prevent the enemy from splitting up or throwing him off the trail.
The troops walked for an entire half a day toward the depths of the cavern, resting only once along the way. Judging from the distance, they had likely traveled hundreds of kilometers. Qianye had long since lost his sense of direction and depth, so his only choice was to follow the squad ahead.
They ran into several swarms of insects and beasts along the way, but Anderfel’s subordinates made short work of them. This hundred-strong force was made up of elites—all of them at least rank-eight and possessed powerful combat strength. Even a dozen pegmatite crocodiles couldn’t last ten minutes against them. In addition to their fighting power, the black swords in their hands were also incomparably sharp, capable of tearing through the pegmatite crocodiles’ defenses and impaling them in one blow. A group of ten subordinates could contend with the giant reptiles while two such groups could easily kill the enemy.
Elder Wei never made a move since the very beginning. Judging from his calm demeanor, it looked like these giant beasts and insects were nothing to him.
The group raised its rate of advancement after the second rest, passing many crossroads at a brisk pace. If it wasn’t for Qianye’s proficiency in tracking, he might’ve lost them by now.
A vast world suddenly appeared before Qianye as he emerged from the tunnel once more.
This was an incomparably wide space, with an arched ceiling that was over a thousand meters tall. Pillars hundreds of meters in diameter seemed to be propping up the sky and supporting this mystical underground realm. There were several rivers weaving through the uneven landscape with a number of lakes occupying the low-lands.
There was neither sun nor moon in the underground space. There were, however, faint specks of light coming off of the mosses on the stone pillars, and the trees and leaves on the ground were also glowing luminously. Together, they lit up this immortal-like realm.
Naturally, such a beautiful place was not lacking in danger. Qianye immediately noticed a mountainous silhouette at the center of the cave, belonging to a monstrosity that looked like a pegmatite crocodile. It was just that this creature was over ten times larger and its hundred-meter body occupied an entire mountaintop. Its back was covered in crystalline spikes, glimmering eerily under the faint illumination. Despite their inexplicable beauty, these crystals were extremely hard and far sturdier than the alloy armor installed on imperial combat vehicles and airships.
This crystalline crocodile’s armor alone was over a meter in thickness, and that was discounting the crystals upon them. According to Qianye’s calculations, an ordinary grade-seven gun might not be able to pierce its armor; perhaps only a grade-eight weapon would stand a chance. But grade-eight firearms were sufficient to punch holes through airships—how could ordinary people even use them?
This crystalline crocodile was slow and clumsy under normal circumstances, but its movements were like lightning when on the hunt. Additionally, there was no telling how long this creature had lived or if it could be classified as an ancient crocodile. It likely possessed abilities that ordinary pegmatite crocodiles didn’t have, an extremely difficult opponent through and through.
But Qianye was currently hidden in the darkness, so he simply left the worrying to Elder Wei and Anderfel.
He continued to observe and found that there was a bug hive on each side of the nearby cliff, and they were even larger than the one from before. The insects crawling out of them were also considerably bigger than the ordinary ones and covered in a faint silvery hue. It would seem that there was Earth Dragon blood in these nests.
Since there was Earth Dragon’s blood in the insect hives, it was quite likely that the crystalline crocodile nest would have one, too. Those giant beasts like the rhinoceros from before were also related to the dragon. That meant the Earth Dragon had been nurturing these beast and bug hordes with its blood.
Now that was somewhat odd because void colossi weren’t known to be saints. Why would they use their own blood to nurture these things?
Qianye trembled from head to toe as his gaze fell toward the distance. At the end of this land, in the depths of the curling mist, stood a giant door.
Qianye rubbed his eyes and observed carefully once more to confirm what he had just seen.
A door hundreds of meters in height stood at the other end of this realm. Although it was only faintly discernible, he could confirm that this was a man-made architecture and not a natural object.
There had never been signs of human habitation in this underground world, why would there be such a grand, almost-miraculous door here?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie