Chapter 928: Fourth-Rank Official

The moment that mysterious demonkin escaped, Qianye understood that he had encountered a true problem. This person was highly talented and not below Zhao Jundu in terms of combat techniques. He was also of noble birth, as proven by the two secret treasures that were destroyed during the fight. Never had Qianye really seen anything like them.

What’s worse was the fact that this demonkin seemed lacking in actual battle experience. After his loss, however, he would surely be motivated to temper himself. Without a doubt, a brand new opponent would appear for Qianye before long.

In this regard, this fellow was even more terrifying than Eden. Although Eden was also talented, there was still a ceiling to what he could do. This demonkin, however, looked like a rare genius with boundless potential.

This time, Qianye had managed to ambush the opponent but still couldn’t kill him. Their next encounter on the battlefield would probably end up with Qianye taking a loss.

Hence, Qianye hesitated a while after Anwen’s departure but ultimately decided to go after him. The man was injured in many places, so there were traces of him to be found no matter how far he had run.

He hadn’t gone far, however, when he felt an icy chill creeping up his neck!

Qianye stopped and turned back slowly. Despite the speed, however, there were no openings in his movements and East Peak was ready to launch a strike anytime.

Bai Kongzhao was standing less than a hundred meters away.

Qianye frowned. “What? Have you changed your mind and decided to fight me?”

“No, I’m here to think about some things.”

“Thinking?” Qianye felt that this reason was beyond clumsy. It seemed she wasn’t even putting in the effort to find a passable excuse.

She had appeared at such a critical juncture that it was hard to believe she wasn’t scheming anything.

However, the young lady pointed into the distance at a fire burning beneath a large tree. There was a simple tent hanging from the nearby branches, a setup that could barely stop the wind and rain. This camp was simple but not crude, and it was easily noticeable that they were prepared to pass the night here. Qianye was also sharp enough to notice that the fire had been burning for quite a while, not something she had made up on the spot.

“Fine, take your time then. This area isn’t peaceful recently, perhaps you can look for a safer place.”

Qianye was trying to drive her away tactfully. He didn’t want a variable like Bai Kongzhao near him with the demonkin around.

The little girl didn’t seem to get his intention, however. “I want to think about things for a while. Perhaps I’ll come to ask you if I can’t find an answer.”

“What exactly are you thinking about?” Qianye was a bit curious.

“I’ll tell you in the future.” 

Qianye shrugged. He didn’t press on with this matter and merely glanced at her camp before turning to leave. This delay had wiped away all hopes of catching the demonkin, but the odds were slim even without her appearance.

After some thought, Qianye decided to head back to Southern Blue and tell Song Zining about the young demonkin. Eden’s presence might be a big problem, but this young demonkin’s status was likely above Eden’s own. Such a person had to have bodyguards, so he had to warn Song Zining to be careful.

Half a day passed by in the blink of an eye, and Southern Blue could already be seen over the horizon. It was at this point that Qianye suddenly recalled a peculiarity that had been clinging on the edge of his thoughts—ever since he met Bai Kongzhao, the girl had never really set up camp before. She was like a wild beast, capable of utilizing the natural landscape to her advantage while not leaving any man-made traces. This was the reason she was so hard to track. Back then, Qianye had chased after her only to return empty-handed.

When did she start making camps?

Qianye laughed self-deprecatingly. Perhaps it was a tent left behind by some unlucky mercenary, which she had used as an excuse.

Southern Blue was just as busy as before. The mercenary camps had almost been completed, and only the workshops and stores remained. The original layout of Southern Blue wasn’t enough to support the new development, so a new area had been marked out on the northwestern side of the city for this purpose.

There was nothing in this area when Qianye left; there were only a couple dozen people surveying the land. In just a few days, the outline of four cannon towers had risen from the ground and thousands of workers were leveling the land. Apart from ordinary laborers, there were almost a hundred mercenaries working day and night to accelerate the process.

Song Zining was standing on a vantage point, holding a thick stack of blueprints and glancing between the paper and the site in front of him. After seeing Qianye, he immediately started waving from afar.

The latter hastened his steps and swiftly arrived next to him. Song Zining pointed to the front with a smile. “How is it? You don’t even recognize the place, right? This will be Southern Blue’s new industrial zone from now on.”

Looking at the thousand-meter area in front of him, Qianye asked in surprise, “What exactly are you building over such a large area?”

Song Zining laughed. “An airship factory!”

“You can build airships?” Qianye was really surprised.

“Ningyuan Heavy Industries can already build them, but only the most ordinary models. After I fully grasp the new alloy’s utilization, we can start building warships.”

Building even the most basic airships was a capacity sufficient to shake the entire neutral lands. Before this, there was no party capable of building airships in the entire region. Important components like kinetic sails, engines, and flight arrays had to be imported from Evernight or the Empire. The two factions, on the other hand, would limit exports in order to keep the neutral lands’ fleet in check.

“Wait a minute, are you going to build an airship factory just like that? Will the other powers just sit back and watch?”

Song Zining closed the blueprints and flipped open his folding fan. “What else can they do? I’ve already spread word that I’ll accept orders from all major powers after completion. Why would they fight if they can just buy it? Even if there are people who want to stop us, the other powers won’t agree. Whatever they want to do, they’ll have to wait until the construction has been completed. Otherwise, they won’t get anything if I just stop.”

Qianye frowned. He still felt that this entire thing was rather difficult to believe. “Will the empire just turn a blind eye to this?”

Song Zining pointed at the lot in front. “I’m not building an airship factory, I’m building an airship repair workshop. There are dozens if not hundreds of them in the neutral lands, how is the empire going to control us?”

“You… fine.” Qianye was speechless.

“Humph! Playing petty tricks with terminology. You’re guilty of deceiving the emperor!” A dignified voice appeared behind them.

Qianye looked back to find a stately, dignified man in his middle ages walking over. His demeanor was extraordinary and impressive. Clearly a man who had been in court for a long time, this official’s gait was already at the point of perfection.

Such a character was common among the many ruling departments of the empire, but it was quite strange for one to appear in the neutral lands.

As someone born of the army, he had never seen eye to eye with civil officials. He turned to Song Zining and asked, “Where did this fellow pop up from?”

The fairly impolite words caused the other party’s face to turn ashen. Song Zining chuckled with his fan over his mouth. “Qianye, your words aren’t appropriate. Sire Li Fang is a fourth-rank official. Posted on the field, he’s only two ranks away from being a county administrator.”

Qianye understood the basics of the empire’s ruling structure. Normally, it would take a second rank official to oversee a province. There was only a two-rank gap between the second and fourth ranks, but it was actually a massive gap. Not to mention two, even a one-rank difference was rarely surmountable. Song Zining was merely being polite with his words.

Li Fang was just about to raise his head in pride when Qianye asked, “What exactly is this Sire Li’s position?”

Song Zining replied, “Sire Li is in charge of writing official advice in court, a work related to the empire’s future.”

Qianye said in surprise, “Oh, an idle position with no authority?”

This time, Li Fang was absolutely furious. “Y-You, ignorant youngster! What do you know? This is a sign of decline, back then…”

Qianye didn’t have enough patience to listen to the man’s past. Judging from his current state, there was no way there would be any glory in his past. Hence, Qianye cut him short and asked Song Zining, “How did this guy pop up?”

Unable to hold back, Li Fang said, “Don’t think you can breach the norms just because you’re in the neutral lands. It’s fine if I hadn’t seen anything, but now that I know, there’s no way I’ll let this matter be. Once I get back to the imperial court, I…”

At this point, Li Fang could no longer continue. Qianye and song Zining were now sizing him up with evil expressions. Li Fang felt a chill run down his spine. “You two, what are you planning to do?”

Qianye paid him no heed. He merely turned to Song Zining and said, “Say, how can a fellow who’s not even a champion return to the imperial court?”

Song Zining said seriously, “He has his escorts, it’s fine as long as they’re strong enough.”

Qianye asked humbly, “Can a fourth-rank official have powerful escorts?”

Song Zining replied, “In the imperial system, it’s fine for a fourth-rank official to be assigned as a general’s aide. It’s just that the military rules state that he should be a champion. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to die on expeditions.”

Qianye nodded. “It seems Sire Li has no need for general-level escorts. But guards around the level of lieutenant generals and counts, we have killed quite a few, haven’t we?”

Song Zining replied unceremoniously, “That’s you, it has nothing to do with me.”

Li Fang was livid as he kept on listening to the conversation. He finally understood one thing—these two young men really might keep him from returning to the empire.

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-Legion-'s Thoughts

Sorry for late chapters, I'll make up next week for the one I missed yesterday.

TL: Legion   ED: Moxie


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