For many days now, there had been a steady stream of guests at the fortress—all kinds of them. There was a certain black-robed person who looked fairly inconspicuous among the furtive visitors who liked to keep themselves hidden.
Despite that, he did catch a fair bit of attention because the Wolf King himself came out to meet him.
In the guestroom in one of the side halls, the Wolf King was warming his hands on the brazier in front of his sofa. He stared intently at the flickering blaze, almost as though there wasn’t a visitor in the room.
The guest removed the hood and bowed. “Luo Yun greets the Wolf King.”
Luo Yun could only remain standing since the Wolf King said nothing. A wisp of anger flickered through his eyes, yet he chose to restrain his anger.
Moments later, the werewolf raised his head. “Sit.”
Luo Yun picked a chair and sat ramrod straight upon it. This was an expression of respect toward the Wolf King, as well as a sign of his unyielding character.
The Wolf King kept on warming his hands as he uttered calmly, “How come Luo Bingfeng isn’t here?”
Luo Yun’s expression look angered. “The city lord has great responsibilities and cannot leave the city so easily. You should know that very well.”
The Wolf King’s tone remained the same. “How come Luo Bingfeng isn’t here?”
This time, Luo Yun could no longer remain calm. “What is the meaning of this?”
The Wolf King looked up. “Do you really not know what I mean?”
Luo Yun felt stifled and didn’t know how to reply for the moment.
The Wolf King said, “Considering how you dared to act out in front of me, I’ll stop making things hard for you. You didn’t receive instructions from Luo Bingfeng for this trip, did you?”
Luo Yun was shocked. “How did you know?”
The Wolf King said in a carefree manner, “You lot might not know what kind of person Luo Bingfeng is, but I’ve been contending against him for so many years. How could I not know? That person is willing to break but not to bend. The greater the enemy, the less willing he is to submit. Not to mention the fact that he and I never got along well, he wouldn’t even ask for help from an ordinary friend.”
Luo Yun fell into silence because the Wolf King was right.
The king scoffed. “The city lord is a great genius who has forced himself through many a dire situation and came out stronger from them. His cultivation is only below a heavenly monarch. If things were like in the past, his habit of growing stronger by fighting against powerful adversaries can’t be considered a mistake, but things are different this time. The neutral lands cannot compare to Evernight or the Empire. Now, there’s no telling how many experts are here from the Empire. Even if he can survive this hurdle, he won’t be able to get through the next when the Evernight reinforcements arrive.”
Luo Yun turned increasingly pale. He sat down slowly, gradually lowering his raised head. “The Wolf King is farsighted. That’s also why I came to seek your help, please lend us your assistance.”
The Wolf King replied, “Since Luo Bingfeng intends to fight to the death on the holy mountain, why must I step into these muddy waters? Besides, something as serious as this should be left to the heavenly monarch.”
“He’s in isolation.” Luo Yun gritted his teeth.
The Wolf King broke into a laugh. “Isolation? The enemies are at the gates and he’s still in isolation? Screw that! Do you still not understand? There can only be one heavenly monarch in the neutral lands, and he’s surnamed Zhang. There cannot be one surnamed Luo!”
Luo Yun was sent into a daze. He came to moments later and said with an indignant expression, “I thought she was lying to me, turns out…”
The Wolf King waved his hand. “Leave. What’s the use of coming to me if even Zhang Buzhou isn’t stepping in? Do you really consider me one of your race?”
Luo Yun didn’t leave. He fell to his knees with a plop and said, “Please help the city lord! If the city lord can survive this ordeal, I’ll forever be loyal to you!”
Surprised, the Wolf King shot him a deep glance. In the end, he shook his head and said, “You’re brave and intelligent, a truly talented person. I would’ve agreed if it were any other matter, but this one, I cannot.”
Luo Yun finally understood that the Wolf King wasn’t willing to help no matter what. All he could do was get up and leave. Just as he was about to depart, the Wolf King said, “You lot really don’t understand Zhang Buzhou, neither does Luo Bingfeng.”
These words came out of nowhere, and Luo Yun didn’t quite understand, either. It was just that the Wolf King had no intention of elaborating. He only kept on warming his hand, evidently asking the guest to see himself out. Luo Yun still needed to visit the Spider Emperor and the Moonlight Demons, so he left in a hurry.
At the center of the Spider Emperor’s ancient castle sat a small crystal spider atop a high pedestal. Its compound eyes flickered with a complicated glint as they studied the person in front. This was an old man clad in ragged clothes—his jaded countenance was covered in deep creases, and his murky eyes had sunk deep into their sockets. At a glance, he looked like a beggar who could be found anywhere in the city. But currently, he was standing tall in front of the Spider Emperor’s avatar. His emaciated frame was straight as a spear, and his speech was fairly confident.
“Your Majesty, this is a great opportunity! If you move out in a timely fashion before the Evernight reinforcements arrive, you can break the power balance in the neutral lands. With our help, even if Zhang Buzhou does exit isolated cultivation, he won’t dare act rashly. When the Evernight army arrives, a high arachne like you will definitely gain the attention of the Evernight arachne race. At that point, even the vampires and demonkin will have to take you seriously. The power balance in the Eastern Sea Continent and your name will be discussed alongside Zhang Buzhou.”
A shade of mockery appeared in the crystal spider’s eyes. “Haven’t you always been trying to topple the four major races? Why should I trust your group?”
The old man replied, “Our objective is to topple the Sacred Mountain and not the four races. There’s no way we can do that with our own power, and we can’t reach out to the people inside Evernight. So our only choice is to seek out powerhouses outside, and the neutral lands is the most ideal place. You, on the other hand, will you give up the chance to be the new ruler?”
“Very intriguing, keep talking. If you have nothing more to say, then please go back,” the crystal spider ridiculed.
The old man wasn’t about to be discouraged, however. “Your Majesty, the foundation of the Sacred Mountain is balance and not absolute power. The current Sacred Mountain has only three seats, and its balance hangs by a thread. It’s no longer as supreme as people believe it to be. If the arachne race can secure two seats, then the Sacred Mountain will collapse. That is what we ultimately want.”
“I’m very clear as to the gap between a Duke and the Sacred Mountain. Go now, I’m tired.” The Spider Emperor wasn’t charmed.
The old man clenched his teeth. “We have a final show of sincerity. The Umbral World!”
“The Umbral World!” The Spider Emperor trembled, almost losing his footing. This time, he was no longer able to keep calm. “How come you have the Umbral World?”
The old man replied, “The Umbral World is the arachne race’s supreme secret art, one can cultivate it all the way to the peak of the Sacred Mountain. We were only able to piece together a small fragment of it despite a thousand years of accumulation, and it’s been passed down as our ultimate treasure. Unfortunately, we have never produced an arachne of royal blood, so the art simply remains there.”
The spider emperor found the old man’s explanation believable and became even more excited. “My ancestor was once a member of the arachne royalty. Although we’re separated by several generations, I still have royal blood in me.”
“We know of Your Majesty’s bloodline, and that’s why we have no doubt of your potential. Perhaps this fragment of the Umbral World was destined for you.”
The crystal spider spun about on the octagonal platform. Apparently, the Spider Emperor was greatly distracted and moved by the notion. As the arachne race’s supreme inheritance, even a minuscule fragment of it was enough to make any spider go crazy.
Despite all that, the Spider Emperor was still a celebrated expert and managed to calm down after a while. “You people won’t give it to me that easily, will you?”
The elder replied, “Once you prove, on the battlefield, that you have the qualifications to become the next ruler, we’ll arrange for you to head to Evernight. There you will be granted an hour’s time to comprehend the Umbral World fragment.”
“One hour? Comprehend?” The Spider Emperor sneered.
“One hour is enough time, this world fragment won’t last very long. The moment it leaves the secret chamber, the mother world will summon it back constantly and drain its power. So, it cannot leave the headquarters.”
The Spider Emperor said slowly, “You speak the truth, looks like you really have obtained a fragment of the Umbral World. Then, how do you plan to help me become the new ruler?”
The old man’s face was filled with joy. “In addition to providing intelligence, we will send out an independent unit and place it under your command. Ten of our instructors will also arrive in quick succession. These men are talented military instructors from different Evernight races, and they will help you train your men using the most modern methods. I believe you’ll have the strongest army in the neutral lands before long, one not inferior to Evernight.”
The spider crystal waved its forelimbs. “Haha, the stingy crawlers are actually dispatching a squad, now that’s unexpected. Fine, I’ll trust your sincerity this time, but I’ll warn you not to have designs on my troops. They belong to me!”
The old man bent down. “That’s only natural. Even our unit will obey your commands, and the people we send will only give you suggestions. But these are people who have proven themselves as outstanding instructors, so I hope you’ll consider their ideas.”
The spider emperor hesitated for a while. “I’m not the best at strategy… if they can win the war, there’s nothing wrong with giving them authority to command.”
The elder replied, “Your Majesty is wise!”
As the conversation came to an end, the Spider Emperor asked, “Why me?”
The elder said hesitantly, “Because you have the purest bloodline among the outlying arachne royalty, and also because we happened to have the Umbral World fragment.”
The Spider Emperor replied calmly, “I’m guessing most of the fragment have been reabsorbed by the mother world. How long will it last without me?”
The old man was surprised. “About three more years.”
“... One actually.”
“Very well! We’ll work together!”
The old man looked dejected at first, but he was suddenly overcome with joy. “What made you change your mind?”
“Because I don’t want to see the Umbral World become complete, either.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
8th Chapter of the week. Expect extra chapters in the coming days, will make up for some of the releases I missed recently.
TL: Legion ED: Moxie