Chapter 692: Sincerity [V7C009 – In Life and In Eternal Rest]
The days that followed were filled with tranquility—Blackflow was just as lively, and the construction work in Wolf City was coming to an end. The numerous mines there have been completed and were starting to produce large amounts of ore. The number of large transport fleets coming and going from Blackflow City had increased from one a month to three.
It turned out that there was more than just black stone near the original Wolf City. They found black crystals and several more ore veins, including rare elements of tactical value and firearms-grade metals used to make powerful alloys.
With these resources, they could even set up a workshop to manufacture origin gun barrels. That was exactly what Song Zining had in mind. A steady stream of large machinery had been arriving in Wolf City in recent days, including four kinetic towers.
Song Zining had nothing better to do these days except drinking tea, reading books, and examining battle reports. From time to time, he would play a game of chess with Nanhua—he was calm, relaxed, and almost like an immortal. Perhaps due to the relaxed atmosphere, there was a noticeable change to Song Zining’s countenance. That handsome face was once again suffused with a lustrous glow.
Nanhua accompanied Song Zining almost all the time. She read, played chess, and even trimmed weeds in the courtyard with him. She would enter the kitchen herself during mealtimes, cooking porridge and a number of side dishes. As a princess, her skills in cooking weren’t exactly great. Yet, this seventh young master who had tasted all the delicacies throughout the empire didn’t fuss over it. He would finish everything delightfully and even discuss with her how to make the dishes tastier and the porridge more fragrant.
These days, to Nanhua, were like a dream.
The girl wanted to speak up many times, but she would change the topic whenever Song Zining asked her. He had encountered such a scene many times as the playboy was always surrounded by beauties. Not to mention having someone to accompany him day and night for such a long period, it was even rare for him to be with a single lady for the whole night. It was well-known among the noble ladies that he liked to sleep alone.
Hence, anyone the seventh young master especially favored would become somewhat unnatural, just like Nanhua. Song Zining didn’t pay particular attention to her behavior.
Several days passed in this manner. Song Zining finally collected his luggage and left for a couple of days, and then returned to Blackflow later to continue waiting.
He still didn’t feel at ease, so he went to check on all of his arrangements and confirm that all preparations were in order before returning to Blackflow City. With how strict his methods were, he really didn’t need to review everything as this only made his secrets more prone to leaking. Even so, Song Zining felt restless for some reason and couldn’t help but check everything once more.
Nanhua quickly prepared tea and snacks for him when he returned to his residence. Song Zining sat down under a tree and began slowly sipping his tea, yet his mind had long since wandered off to the distant Twilight Continent.
“What are you thinking about?” asked Nanhua.
Song Zining smiled. “Nothing, but this tea is a little bit over-steeped.”
“Ah, let me brew a new one.”
Song Zining stopped her and said, “No need, this is good enough.”
Nanhua glanced at him with complicated emotions. She wanted to say something but then hesitated several times. In the end, she only let out a long sigh.
Song Zining looked at her with a comforting smile, but his thoughts were all on Twilight Continent. A virtual scene had formed in his mind where Nighteye was rushing out of the dark race territory with vast numbers of pursuers and experts on her tail.
As she ran along the designated path, the spies and reinforcements Song Zining had set up would mobilize to obstruct, mislead, or split off the hunters, concealing Nighteye’s tracks as she escaped to the border of the continent. There, she would board the prepared high-speed airship and escape Twilight Continent.
This scenario had played out hundreds of times in Song Zining’s mind. Every detail, down to the movement of each spy and each variable, was carved deep in his heart. It was during these idle thoughts that Song Zining slowly patched up the openings, preparing for and formulating backup plans for all kinds of scenarios.
That was the impregnable truth as proved by the future god of strategy. Since his training at Yellow Springs, Song Zining understood that talent was only a stepladder toward the top and that one ultimately had to rely on himself to climb higher.
While Evernight Continent was enjoying tranquility and peace, the flames of war had once again ignited on the floating continent. After a long period of reorganization, the dark race army finally marched over the vast wilderness and formally entered the Zhao clan territory. They set up camp a hundred kilometers from Indomitable and began constructing defensive structures to contend against the imperial fortress clusters.
As both armies mustered their forces, the combined armed forces in and around Indomitable surpassed the million mark.
On the other side of the void continent, the dark race forces were finally free to turn their spearhead toward the Full Moon Plains. They routed the Song clan forces in a single battle and pushed them out of the plains. Moreover, they chased down the retreating forces until what remained of them was driven into Indomitable.
At this point on the floating continent, Li family’s Misty Wood base was the only other place that was barely hanging on. For some reason, Eden’s appearance frequency in the recent period fell sharply, allowing the tottering Li family and the aristocracy to breathe a sigh of relief. Yet, the Li family members couldn’t smile at all because, judging from Eden’s past display, his disappearance could only mean one thing—he was about to break through.
The original Eden had already forced them to the brink of collapse. Things would only get worse if he were to break through.
With war drawing ever closer on the floating continent, the void had long since become a scene of carnage with massive burning airships falling down every day from the sky.
In order to secure the supply chain to Indomitable and seal off the dark races’ reinforcements, the imperial fleet had moved out in full force. Even the first imperial guard fleet had finally moved out to clash against the Evernight Council’s own armada, forcing them into a 1:2 exchange on the first battle.
Following this heartening news, the other imperial fleets, as well as the combined vessels of the aristocracy, began moving out one after the other. All of them fought battles worthy of the history books and slowly began to tip the scales back in the empire’s favor.
Airship battles were usually followed closely by ground battles. On the verge of a decisive battle, countless reports flew into the imperial capital and split off into three channels, namely the military, the imperial palace, and the coalition of major clans.
The torrent of reports flowing into the military department would be sorted out according to their importance level and directed to the various departments in an orderly fashion. However, if someone were to observe the system as a unified whole, they would find that the battle reports from the floating continent weren’t flowing to the executive departments. Except for the battles taking place in the void, the intelligence regarding them wasn’t actually reaching the decision makers.
This could only mean one thing—in the eyes of those authoritative figures, the battle on the floating continent itself wasn’t the most important.
The top-floor conference room of the military department was suffused with lingering smoke. The scent resultant from the mixture of tobacco and tea was inexplicably odd.
The conference room had thirty seats, but only seven of them were occupied at the moment. The occupants were mostly old men—there was even one who was so old that his skin was covered in age-spots and the smell of decay pervaded the air around him. His eyes were half-closed, and his pupils were as turbid a stagnant lake. It truly made one suspect whether he was conscious at all.
But this old man with one foot in the grave was sitting at the very center of the conference hall. There were three central seats in total, and his seat was on the side while the other two were empty. This meant that this elderly person, at the moment, was the core character of this meeting.
Upon careful observation, the other six people were also major characters wielding authority over great domains. Together, they could basically decide the direction of the entire military department.
There was a thin folder, containing but two pages of text, in front of the seven men. The paper was covered in writings and notes. Just for these two papers, the true major characters of the empire had been engaging in an urgent discussion for an entire day and night.
The contents of the document couldn’t be simpler. It was just a list of names along with their respective age, gender, cultivation arts, accomplishments, and background.
The people spoke up one after the other and each had people they supported. Some of the names had been scratched off, while others have been highlighted. With the increase in highlighted names, the atmosphere in the conference room became increasingly serious—debates ensued, and there was even one instance of a quarrel.
After one quarrel, there was a second and the process quickly expanded, splitting all the major characters into two sides. The arguments sent sparks flying in all directions. Some started throwing out threats of war, but how could the other party be afraid? Neither side was willing to give in, and it seemed like a fight would break out any time soon.
It was at this moment that the drowsy old man at the center knocked lightly on the table. The rapping was fairly gentle, but it caused the entire meeting room to quiet down. The two sides, who were on the verge of a fight, sat down while glaring at one another.
The old man finally spoke, “We have obtained twice the expected quota for the Great Maelstrom. All of this is because those little brats did well. If you people can even quarrel over such a large quota, then wouldn’t you need to fight a couple of wars over the previous estimation?”
The hall remained deathly silent. Moments later, another old man let out a cough. He was fully clad in imperial uniform, but there was no rank insignia on it. This person had been smoking one cigarette after another while the two parties were in a heated argument just now. One could see just how addicted he was to tobacco.
He said slowly, “The opportunity is rare, and it also happens to coincide with the empire’s resurgence. Every family wants to take this opportunity to grow and expand so that they can work better for the empire. There’s nothing wrong with this. But the quota is limited, so not everyone can go into the Great Maelstrom. The only right way is for us to see just how sincere the clans and families are.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie