In the period that followed, the Black Grove of the southern wilderness became a life-devouring blackhole. It was a one-way trip regardless of how many people arrived here. The wooden stakes erected on the forest borders only grew in number, and the corpses flying on them seemed to be telling a tale of the forest’s terrors.
No one, from lone assassins to hundred-men mercenary corps, could escape this fate.
For a time, even the greediest and most bloodthirsty of criminals began to hesitate because one would need to be alive to receive the reward. Now that things had reached such a state, everyone understood that the two youngsters were fitting of the reward. Other famous characters couldn’t help but secretly weigh how much the Wolf King would be willing to offer if they were in Qianye’s shoes. The results weren’t always satisfactory—some were worth a few thousand and others, twenty. To be frank, those worth over fifty thousand wouldn’t be doing such risky businesses.
In the neutral lands, every gold coin of bounty was worth its value.
But these mercenaries and assassins were like hungry vultures. They were unwilling to give up despite being clear about the situation. They held onto the fantasy that Qianye would grow tired and make a mistake under the combined assault of the wolf pack. If they were lucky enough to encounter a heavily wounded Qianye, it would change their lives forever. This was worth gambling for.
Some shrewd people believed Qianye couldn’t have produced such accomplishments. They felt that the youngsters were only there as bait, while the true expert was waiting in the shadows.
All kinds of guesses and conjectures were made. It was just that all these mercenaries and assassins kept them a secret, unwilling to exchange information amongst themselves. Everyone was afraid of losing this vast amount of wealth to another.
The situation in the Dark Grove fell into an eerie calm as all squads deliberately maintained a fair distance from the forest. After all, those who could fight freely in the woods were rare—most of them had already entered the woods long ago and become hanging corpses.
Two weeks thus went by peacefully. Things were so calm that many realized that something was wrong. They began talking to each other and found that there hadn’t been a single battle in the recent period. Only then did they realize that Qianye might’ve left.
That was only a guess. They still didn’t dare act carelessly because they would become targets if this were a trap. As such, the cautious mercenary companies began exploring the area little by little. At this rate, their investigation would take half a day and still not cover the entire forest.
Qianye and Nighteye were already in Port City as the situation in the Black Grove fell into an impasse.
The old airship was puffing clouds of steam and emitting ear-splitting rumbles as it swayed toward the airship port. About ten meters from the ground, the unsteady descent turned into a freefall, and the airship slammed into the landing platform. The impact was no different from a crash, but the sturdy vehicle somehow remained intact even after such a landing.
The airship doors opened up and the passengers walked out of the airship one after the other. Despite experiencing this massive jolt, many of the passengers seemed fine and their expressions, unchanged. Apparently, all of them were used to riding such old airships. Some started vomiting after exiting the airship, desperate to squeeze their stomachs out.
The guards nearby glanced disdainfully at those who were throwing up. “More newbies.”
An old veteran said meaningfully, “Newbies are good.”
A couple of other soldiers broke into an evil laugh.
However, there were also some exceptions among the newcomers—Nighteye and Qianye for instance. Their physical strength allowed them to endure the rolling of advanced high-speed airships for an entire day, not to mention this little jolt.
After walking off the airship, Nighteye glanced into the distance. “That’s Port City?”
Qianye also looked over at the surroundings and said, “This should be it. There are only grasslands and farms in the surrounding areas.”
“This rundown city isn’t much better than that small town of ours. Well, there’s a small area over there that’s well built.”
Qianye smiled. “Interesting, half of it is built in the vampire style and the other in human fashion.”
“Let’s go and take a look.”
“Leave that for when we’re free. We need to find the old man first.”
The guards and passengers nearby were stunned upon hearing their casual conversation. Everyone looked in the same direction, but all they could see was a faint mist hanging in the air. Being able to see a couple hundred meters could already be considered great eyesight.
Port City was quite misty and would often be shrouded in it in the mornings and evenings. The mist rising from the Eastern Sea, regardless of thickness, possessed the ability to insulate perception. The stronger one’s cultivation and perception, the farther one could see through the mist. That was why the eyesight test had always existed throughout the history of the neutral lands. Numbered targets would be placed inside the mist when it arose. The further away one could see, the better one’s perception and eyesight. Many major powers would use this method to choose snipers and scouts.
However, this test was usually performed in a thin mist. Otherwise, no one could see very far, and it would be harder to differentiate the distance. The highest historical record for this test was only a thousand meters.
The airship port was covered in a thin mist at this moment. Port City was over a thousand meters away, and the city lord’s mansion and the noble district lay even further. Yet Qianye and Nighteye could both see them so clearly. Didn’t this mean that their visual acuity had set a new record in the Eastern Sea?
The two began walking toward Port City while chatting casually. Watching their receding figures, the soldiers were first shocked, and then their expressions became odd. One of the young guards spat loudly, saying, “They must’ve come here before and know what the city looked like. It’s probably an act!”
The veteran said calmly, “Their combat strength isn’t low. Why would these important characters need to act in front of small fries like us?”
“That’s hard to say. Maybe they want someone else to see their act.” The young soldier wasn’t satisfied.
“Makes sense.” The old veteran seemed lost in thought.
Nighteye’s surprise wasn’t unwarranted. Port City’s status was similar to Blackflow City in its later stages, virtually a nation of its own. It was located at the junction of many powers, and while nominally belonging to Zhang Buzhou, everything was decided solely by the hereditary city lord. They needed only to submit a set amount of tax each year.
Such a city with tens of thousands of citizens was actually quite run-down. A large area of the place was filled with small shacks, not even five-story buildings. Although the small town near the Black Grove had been destroyed, one could squeeze it into the shabbiest slums in Port City, and it would still fit in. Only the noble district, which occupied one-fourth of the city, was more or less presentable. Even there, the highest building was only six floors high. Be it in terms of empire or Evernight standards, this Port City was no different from a junkyard. No wonder Nighteye was so astonished.
Evernight enjoyed a long heritage that far exceeded the empire, with no lack of grand, ancient architecture. Take the vampire race for instance—even a castle built by the last-ranked among the ancient clans would be a magnificent sight to behold. Any small town in the core region of Evernight would be better developed than Port City.
Entering the city, Qianye was assaulted by a wave of liveliness. There were shops lining every road and street, with young staff everywhere welcoming customers into their stores. The stream of people was rather impressive, and the city, almost unbearably crowded. Everyone seemed to be in a great hurry, as evidenced by their body language.
Qianye had never encountered such a bustling place apart from a few of the most thriving imperial cities. He stopped a passerby and asked, “Is there any celebration going on? It’s so lively.”
The man sized Qianye up from head to toe and said with a snort, “What celebration? It’s like this every day, so ignorant!”
Qianye wanted to ask more, but that man waved his sleeve impatiently. “Are you done yet? I’m dealing with several gold coins with every wave of the hand. How can I have the idle time to answer your questions. My time is precious, country bumpkin!”
The passerby left hurriedly, almost as though he had an important duty on his shoulders—it seemed as if world peace depended on his style.
Qianye was left dumbstruck and only came to after a while. He took a look at himself. Doubtlessly, he was clad in warrior’s attire and sported a weapon belt as well as a backpack. That was the standard hunter’s outfit, a fashion that could be seen everywhere in the city. He looked about but couldn’t quite figure out what had made the other party look down on him so badly.
Perhaps that person was a hidden expert with outstanding eyesight who knew at a glance that Qianye was from a small town in the southern wilderness.
Just as he was thinking randomly, Qianye saw Nighteye giggling cheerfully.
As such, Qianye dispensed with the posturing and humbly asked her for guidance. Just what about him had given away his identity as a country bumpkin. Or was that person a divination master who knew he had grown up in a dumpster?”
Nighteye pointed at Qianye’s body while giggling radiantly.
Qianye observed his equipment once more but still couldn’t find the problem. As such, he had no choice but to ask with a thick face.
Seeing Qianye checking his attire, Nighteye bent over in laughter. “What I meant is… look at your origin power level.”
Qianye was immediately enlightened. To avoid unnecessary troubles, Qianye had modified his appearance and used Bloodline Concealment to retract his aura. In the eyes of other people, he was only a rank-three fellow. People of such rank made up the bulk of the imperial army, and it was the minimum threshold to enter the elite corps. In the neutral lands, however, they were a dime a dozen. There was only one reason for this—the weaker ones couldn’t survive here.
After all that fuss, that passerby was also one of those people who measured heroes in terms of origin power. Moreover, he could only see through the surface.
Qianye shook his head, not knowing whether to laugh or to cry. “Oh well, let’s find a place to stay and look for the old man.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Too weak to get into anyone's eyes, our MC.
TL: Legion ED: Moxie