Chapter 710: Old Mate

Chapter 710: Old Mate [V7C027 – In Life and In Eternal Rest]

Absolutely furious, Wu Daoyu’s aura began to surge. “How dare a mere brigadier general act so unbridled before this seat?”

Zhao Chengyi, however, remained unmoved. “I am indeed a brigadier general, but I have a different identity at the moment. I’m a Zhao clan emissary! When did the military become so tyrannical that you can threaten to kill an emissary even before a proper conversation!?”

Wu Daoyu’s brows flew up in his flourishing anger. Nonetheless, what Zhao Chengyi said wasn’t wrong—wounding a Zhao clan brigadier general was completely different from injuring a Zhao clan emissary.

The brigadier general from the imperial military was fairly quick-witted. He stepped in swiftly to smooth things over, saying, “Let’s talk it over nicely! People from our military were injured after all, so it’s not wrong for Marshal Wu to be angry. Nonetheless, since General Zhao is an emissary representing the Zhao clan, we should listen to what he has to say and understand their intentions.”

With a snort, Wu Daoyu shook the letter in his hands and said, “Does your Zhao clan have no people left? Why must I defend this battlefront just to summon Zhao Jundu to court?”

Zhao Chengyi ignored the mockery in Wu Daoyu’s words and replied in a serious tone, “General Jundu is known as the number one genius of the empire, the one and only. Who can replace him?”

Wu Daoyu was petrified—he wanted to retort but didn’t know where to start. Zhao Jundu’s status as the number one genius was a publicly accepted fact. Some people were surely dissatisfied, but no one could find a genius on par with him.  

Wu Daoyu paid no more attention to this matter. Instead, he said, “Then, what’s the meaning of this clause? Why must this seat personally negotiate with the Zhao clan?”

Zhao Chengyi said in a clear voice, “What kind of status does our fourth young master have? He’s peerless in talents and has imperial blood running through his veins. How can anyone summon him at will? Not just anyone can decide such an issue. The Zhao clan’s highest authority in Indomitable is Duke You. If you wish to summon Young Master Jundu, you’ll need his consent.”

At this point, Zhao Chengyi revealed a cold smile. “With Marshal Wu’s status, it’s only proper that you pay a formal visit to Duke You.”

Wu Daoyu’s anger exploded once more. “This marshal represents the imperial military! Don’t tell me I can’t even compare to Duke You?”

Zhao Chengyi revealed yet another cold smile. “You? Representing the military? Haha! Calling you a marshal is simply a gesture of respect. I’ve never heard of an ex-marshal representing the imperial military.”

Wu Daoyu’s countenance became ashen, and killing intent spilled out of his twitching eyes.

Zhao Chengyi paid him no attention. “The empire is built upon hierarchy and seniority. If you don’t pay Duke You a formal visit, don’t tell me the duke should be calling on you instead? If I remember correctly, that spar between the marshal and Duke You back in the year didn’t go all that well.”

Despite Zhao Chengyi leaving him some face, the old man's expression grew even more unsightly. The spar back then indeed didn’t end well—it was an utter and complete loss on his part. His mood was far from good, now that his old wounds were being dug up.

Eventually, Wu Daoyu suppressed his embarrassment and said, “Is Duke You in charge of the Zhao clan? Why did this seat hear that Duke Chengen has also arrived?”

Zhao Chengyi replied, “You want to spar with Duke Chengen? But the duke will only remain for a few days before returning to his important duties in guarding the western region. Additionally, Princess Gaoyi has also arrived. Does Marshal Wu wish for an audience with her, too?”

Wu Daoyi’s expression transformed rapidly. “Since Duke Chengen is so busy, this seat won’t disturb him. Early tomorrow morning, I shall call upon Duke You.”

Zhao Chengyi said with a bow, “That’ll be for the best. This general shall withdraw then.”

After Zhao Chengyi’s departure, Wu Daoyu said to the brigadier general, “Invite Marquis Rong over.”

Moments later, a graceful middle-aged man with a thin beard entered the room. Upon seeing the marshal, he cupped his hands with a smile and said, “How come you suddenly remembered me today?”

Wu Daoyu was all smiles as he moved forward and held the man’s hands. “I have a matter I need your advice on. What are the imperial family’s movements regarding this matter?”

The middle-aged man’s smile became somewhat mysterious, and he merely smiled without speaking.

Wu Daoyu shot a meaningful glance at the nearby brigadier general, who quickly presented a palm-sized box. The middle-aged man glanced inside and found a finger-shaped gem within, a translucent blue stone without the slightest bit of impurities. He immediately became delighted and his smile became so much more cordial. “Oh my, I’ll feel bad about this.”

The man kept saying how bad he felt, but he was fairly swift in putting the item away. After stowing the item in his bosom, he said, “I’m only a small character in the imperial court, one who has to obey orders from the people above. This time, though, I did hear some news regarding his matter.”

“What news?” Wu Daoyu had a bad feeling about things.

“The lords won’t interfere in this case.”

This sudden news astonished Wu Daoyu. “How can it be?”

The middle-aged man sighed. “I also didn’t understand at first, so I asked about it. I was fortunately able to obtain the inside story since my relationship with the lords is quite good, and I pay my respects to them regularly.”

“Please elaborate, Marquis Rong.”

The middle-aged whispered, “Qianye is Qianye, Zhao Jundu is Zhao Jundu. Does Marshal Wu understand?”

Wu Daoyu frowned. “But that’s irrelevant, Qianye is clearly a vampire.”

The middle-aged man said with a sigh, “These things are both relevant and irrelevant. Whatever you do to capture a vampire, you’re in the right. But if you want to touch Zhao Jundu, that’s an entirely different issue, and a big one at that! Now that Princess Gaoyi has made an appearance, the lords are finding it hard to say anything. All they can do is stay out of this matter. Well, that’s all I can say. Farewell!”

Wu Daoyu’s expression sank after the middle-aged man left. “Damn this Zhao Jundu, he’s already thought this through!”

The brigadier general asked cautiously, “Are you still going to meet Duke You tomorrow?”

“Of course, I must go. Where will we put the military’s face if we don’t bring Zhao Jundu to court? So what if this marshal has to hold back my temper for a while?”

The brigadier general hesitated for a while before saying, “Marshal Wu, the Zhao clan is adamant that we take over Zhao Jundu’s defensive line. Do you think there’s anything fishy going on?”

Wu Daoyu sneered, “They’re definitely trying to scare us off, but this marshal has also killed his way through many bloody battles in the past, why should I be afraid of such a war? Go and make arrangements to transfer more troops over. This seat will see just how powerful the dark race assault is!”

The brigadier general left swiftly.

Only after his subordinate had left did Wu Daoyu reveal a downcast expression. He was no match for Duke You back in the day, just as he wasn’t confident about fighting Zhao Weihuang at present. The latter had been defending the western territory all this time, fighting bitterly against the dark races and rebel army throughout the years. His strength had increased exponentially and was probably well beyond the early divine champion level. If it wasn’t for the fact that the number of marshals in the empire was fixed and the Western Theater was being managed by Lin Xitang, Zhao Weihuang would probably have become a marshal already.

Additionally, the military was so full of impediments and factions that even the Longevity Monarch wouldn’t dare say he could command everything. Wu Daoyu was on the frontline against the Zhao clan because this Minister of the Right liked to control things from behind the curtains, rarely, if ever, appearing in the spotlight. Now that the imperial family had washed their hands off of this matter, the situation was now equivalent to the Minister of the Right contending directly against the Zhao clan. The old marshal immediately felt a great amount of pressure upon him. With just a single mistake in such a situation, other people from the military would jump out to cause trouble, without even waiting for the Zhao clan to take action.

In the vast expanse of the void, a rundown airship was traveling at a fairly sluggish pace.

Qianye walked into the control room and felt hopeless upon seeing that barely-moving dot on the flight map. He had grown used to the imperial vessels in the recent period as well as Song Zining’s incomparably fast airship. Now this ship was as slow as a snail and not much faster than a heavy cargo ship.

“How long until we reach the neutral lands?” Qianye had lost count of how many times he had asked this question.

The captain was a tall, sturdy man with a long beard, always with a shiny, dark red pipe in his mouth. According to him, it was just a common habit, but Qianye had heard before that the pirates who roamed the void liked this kind of pipe. A rare pipe was supposedly the sign of a pirate’s status.

Hearing Qianye’s question, the captain said with a smile, “In a couple of days.”

Qianye had heard this reply so many times that his ears were about to grow calluses. Since the day they had set out up until this day, the captain had always given him the same reply. According to the route map, it would take at least seven or eight days to reach the border of the neutral lands.

A loud bang rang out at this moment. Flames suddenly erupted from a corner of the console, followed by dense smoke. Once the control panel started to malfunction, one of the engines outside also stopped moving. The bearded man ran over with a frown and stomped on the malfunctioning machine, and then punched it a couple of times. Soon, the console miraculously recovered and the engine also began moving once more.

The captain turned back to Qianye and laughed. “Small problems like this can be solved with a few thumps, no need for repairs.”

Looking at the man’s footprint, that darkened control panel, and the empty void outside, Qianye felt that things weren’t really that safe after all.

The captain laughed awkwardly. “It’s fine, when has Red Pipe’s ship ever broken down? This old fellow has been following me for twenty years, there’s nothing more reliable.”

Qianye glanced at the rust-mottled cabin roof, the dozens of levers on the console, and then at the kinetic pipelines that had been patched repeatedly. No matter how he looked, he just couldn’t believe that the ship was only twenty years old.

The captain scratched his head a couple of times. “It’s like this, the ship was already 140 years old when I got her.”

Seeing the odd look in Qianye’s eyes, Red Pipe said, “She’s old but very sturdy, much stronger than those little ships with thin hulls. You really profited from buying this old mate, I tell you. Your silver ship may be beautiful, but it’s really no use in the neutral lands. It’ll go down with a single blast.”

Qianye simply couldn’t stand any more of this trumpet-blowing. “The ballista on that silver airship is enough to sink this antique thing.”

The captain laughed. “You can’t be so sure about that.”

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

modern steampunk and antique steampunk... hard to imagine :P


TL: Legion   ED: Moxie

     

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