The territory here was basically empty. It felt like the defenses had self-destructed before the enemy had even arrived. But this was a necessary wisdom required for ordinary civilians to survive.
In the face of an incoming enemy, they would scatter like startled rabbits and hide in the corners of the vast wilderness. Perhaps some people might land in the enemy’s way, but most of them would manage to conceal themselves. This saved them from being wiped out in one fell swoop. As for their homes, those simple nests could be rebuilt anytime.
Qianye had arrived at the borders of the battleground at this point and would soon leave Su Dingqian’s demarcation pretty soon. This border-line, however, had little restraint on Qianye’s activities. He kept on approaching the war zone in a bid to better understand the enemies’ movements.
Moments later, Qianye climbed atop a hill. This place was the highest point in the area and offered a great field of view.
He produced a powerful scope and began observing the surroundings, especially the areas beyond the warzones. At the same time, his figure appeared in a different scope. This pair of eyes, hidden in the shadows, was observing Qianye’s every move.
Qianye put down his scope after a moment of observation and ran toward a different hill to his front. The person hiding in the distance also put away his binoculars. This person possessed a chiseled face and clear-cut features—quite shockingly, this was the vice-commander of Port City’s army. He handed the binoculars to his subordinate and said, “This Zhao Ye moves like a veteran. He might actually give us a pleasant surprise.”
The subordinate sneered, “He’s only rank twelve, no matter how much of a veteran he is. This battle will still depend on the commanders.”
The vice commander said with a flash of gloominess in his eyes, “The battle this time won’t be that easy. It’s a good thing if people like them can kill a couple of enemies and reduce the pressure on us.”
The subordinate was astonished. He had never seen this vice-commander so serious.
The vice-commander left in a different direction, seemingly prepared to patrol the defensive line and, in passing, observe the performance of the newcomers. No small number of warriors had been recruited.
To these independent experts, cultivation required resources left and right. It was the same to whom they sold their lives. As long as the bounty was sufficient, this was just another mission for them. They might be standing on Port City’s side this time, but they might very well become enemies next time.
This was the same for Qianye. He was in this battle because of the Dreameater Bug. As for who was in the right or wrong, he made no distinction. There wasn’t a need to, either, because every party had a reason to fight in the neutral lands.
In Qianye’s vision, a small patrol group was traveling rapidly toward Port City. This unit was made up of a dozen-odd soldiers, including two rather powerful arachne. Qianye could see the Crystal-Spider Insignia on their armor even from several kilometers away.
Qianye jumped up lightly, almost as though his body was weightless. He circled around under the cover of the landscape and chased the Crystal Spider unit from an angle.
In the blink of an eye, Qianye had arrived less than a hundred meters away, but he was shocked just as he was about to take the next step. Instead of landing, his body floated upward and glided forward briefly. Only then did his feet finally strike the ground. There was a small, dirt-colored spider where he was previously going to land. If Qianye had stepped down instead, he would’ve killed this critter.
The arachnid blended perfectly into its surroundings, so much so that Qianye might not have noticed it if it were in the wilderness. However, past experience told Qianye that he couldn’t be careless about any kind of spider appearing near an arachne. There were simply too many kinds of servspiders, covering a wide range of functions. Some servspiders were actually part of the local wildlife. It was just that they had been temporarily taken over by an arachne.
That earthen yellow spider gazed at Qianye, its compound eyes pulsing with an intelligent glow. Then, it actually started crawling toward him.
Qianye immediately knew that this was a servspider, and that it had already noticed him. Since he had been noticed, there was no longer a need to hold back. Qianye stomped the creature to death with a pfft, drew East Peak, and charged toward the nearby scouting party.
The battle ended quickly. The two arachne in the squad simply had no power to retaliate and were knocked out in quick succession. Since even the arachne had been thus dispatched, there was no need to explain the fate of the others. A unit without an overseeing champion was useless against Qianye, no matter how big it was.
After dealing with this small unit, Qianye kicked one of the arachne awake. This arachnid was fairly violent and wanted to retaliate the moment it had woken up. Yet, the strength it was so proud of was insignificant before Qianye. A slap from East Peak sent him sprawling back onto the ground, barely able to move his limbs.
This time, it recognized the situation clearly, realizing that this small human was actually an expert he couldn’t contend with.
“Where are you from?” Qianye inquired.
The arachne pointed at the crest on his armor. “Can’t you see? This is the Crystal Spider! We’re the strongest corps under the Spider Emperor. You better think about the consequences of provoking us.”
Qianye broke into a laugh. “Consequences? All I have to do is silence everyone.”
The arachne immediately came to his senses. His expression became extremely awkward, and his heart was filled with regret.
Seeing the spider’s momentum decreasing repeatedly, Qianye asked, “What are you here for?”
“Of course, we’re here to fight the Wolf King!” The arachne blurted out, but he gradually lowered his head under Qianye’s gaze. “We’re here to investigate the area around Port City.”
Qianye nodded at the relatively reasonable objective. The first two questions were intentional and only seeing if the arachne was speaking the truth. The third question was the key. “Did you have any special orders for this mission?”
“What special orders?” The arachne looked a bit puzzled, but there was a fluctuation in his body during the reply. How could this escape Qianye’s notice?
“It’s fine if you don't want to speak, I’ll just ask him after a while.” Qianye pointed at the knocked-out arachne. “You do know what will happen to you if he decides to speak the truth, right?”
The arachne was fierce but not entirely without fear of death. He hesitated for a moment before saying, “The superiors asked us to pay attention to the human settlements and the number of people escaping toward Port City.”
“Human settlements? You mean the villages, towns, and cities?”
“Yes, including major hiding places.”
Not all people around Port City were scattered. Some villages and clans would construct strong forts in areas with easily defensible geography. These structures usually lay in remote areas and amidst dangerous landscapes. There was no value in conquering them, only wasted time and energy. That was why regular armies would usually let these small settlements be. They could take their time clearing them out after eliminating the enemy army.
Qianye noticed something off about this order. As he saw it, the villages surrounding Port City were just groups of crude shacks with no real value. What was the point of occupying them? Those forts had no tactical worth, either. It also wouldn’t quite make sense if the scouting party was here to study the local geography and collect intelligence. There was nothing special about the Port City area apart from a single large river. Besides, a squad wasn’t necessary to collect such information. A single wind-spider was much more efficient for the job.
He believed the arachne was telling the truth, precisely because he found it odd. Even so, he still knocked the spider out and woke the other up. After a round of threatening and intimidation, Qianye received the same answer.
As a scouting party of the lowest tier, all they needed to do was follow orders—they couldn’t and needn’t know anything else. Knowing that he could find out nothing more, Qianye knocked the second spider out again.
In the distance, a pair of eyes was observing Qianye once more.
A blue tinge emerged in Qianye’s eyes. He had sensed the spy but acted as if nothing was wrong. He searched all the members of the scouting party, cleaned up the spoils, and tied the captives together with the handful of grenades he had just found on them.
Qianye left in haste, leaving behind a violent explosion and a mass of smoke and flames that rose hundreds of meters into the sky. The ruckus was huge.
The vice-commander of the city guard lowered his binoculars with a gloomy expression. The subordinate beside him said with a frown, “This Zhao Ye is causing such a mess! Causing such a stir, does he want everyone to know about it? Besides, can’t he capture a few live prisoners?”
The vice commander said, “He’s gotten everything he needs. Besides, don’t you realize why he did this? Look at the place he chose to take action.”
“At the border of the warzone, hard to tell if it’s within the demarcation or not. But what does that have to do with anything?”
“Has the Spider Emperor declared war on us?”
The subordinate seemed to have understood. He inhaled deeply, saying, “We…”
“We can’t attack them proactively, at least not yet. That’s why Zhao Ye has erased all traces while dealing a blow to the enemy. Even though we saw everything, we can’t say anything because there’s no proof.”
That subordinate’s eyes rolled about all of a sudden. “He must’ve gotten something out of them just now. Why don’t we chase him down and make him cough up whatever he’s learned? This subordinate thinks whatever information he’s obtained just now must be very important.”
The vice-commander was moved, but he shook his head in the end. “Let’s go catch ourselves a scouting party.”
“Sir, you’re throwing away what’s near and seeking something from afar.”
The vice-commander hesitated for a moment but made no comment on this. In the end, he waved his hand, saying, “Continue patrolling.”
After running over ten kilometers, Qianye finally noticed that the gaze on his back had vanished. Only then did he turn back and mutter to himself, “Given up? My turn then.”
Qianye’s aura gradually faded away and became one with the wilderness. Unless there was a powerful expert scanning the area, the only way to spot Qianye was to spot him with the naked eye. It was just that there were all too many ways to deceive one’s eyes.
Qianye increased his speed and closed in on those who were spying on him. All this while, the peculiar orders of the two arachne lingered constantly on his mind.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Another catch-up chapter! A couple more to go :D Enjoy!
TL: Legion ED: Moxie