The situation in the neutral lands was complicated and difficult to unravel. All schemers were extremely excited, hoping to fish some benefits from the confusion. Nothing they did could affect the general outcome, but their habit of sowing chaos sent them scuttling back and forth, muddying the waters everywhere.
The Moonlight Demons were also an important target of these schemers, but to their great disappointment, this power had no intention of joining in the power struggles. Their leader never appeared and no one knew where he was.
As more and more troops gathered in Southern Blue, the day of the battle was quickly drawing near.
Qianye heard a clear jingle near him as he sat amidst the blizzard. He slowly opened his eyes, emerging from the endless cycle of simulated fights. The bell didn’t really exist, but Qianye could hear it very clearly. This was Song Zining summoning him—the battle was about to begin.
Qianye stood up, shook the thick layer of snow on his body, and then jumped down into the boundless wind and snow.
No one knew what he had gained or lost that day.
Southern Blue had already turned into a massive military camp. A large number of soldiers were gathered here, and the airship port was full of fierce warships. Within the city, all the plazas had been refashioned into drill grounds, where thousands of mercenaries were changing out their gear and accepting new designation numbers, formally joining the ranks of the imperial army as they did so.
The recently constructed factories were running day and night, pouring out vast amounts of gear and ammunition. All the major traders had made steep investments to increase their output to the max and arm every mercenary to the teeth.
This was a dangerous gamble which, once lost, would be unsalvageable. Even if they were victorious, they would still have to face off against the Evernight reinforcements. But Song Zining had lured them to his side with promises of long-term profits. By the time they had realized that this was an imperial camp, everything was already too late. The factories had been constructed and the raw materials had entered the warehouses. They had even transferred skilled workers from other branches to Southern Blue.
The moment Song Zining was defeated, everything they had in Southern Blue would be completely forfeit. Even a big merchant wouldn’t be able to accept such a loss. As for what would happen to the empire after being defeated, that was too far away. The losses at hand, however, were very real and close.
In the face of long term pain and short term losses, most companies decided to latch onto the empire’s war machine.
As far as they were concerned, they would have to see what they had started to the very end. Hence, they provided overwhelming support for Song Zining’s war efforts, going so far as to outfit the troops first and delay the payment for after the war had been won. Tidehark was a big fat cake, enough for everyone to have a slice after it had been taken down.
After returning to Southern Blue, Qianye headed straight to Dark Flame Headquarters to meet Song Zining.
Song Zining immediately assembled all leaders to a meeting after Qianye’s arrival. This would be the last meeting before the war, and this group was the final lineup that would decide the fate of the battle at Tidehark city.
The heads of each faction were garrisoned inside Darkflame Headquarters. The group was completely gathered in less than half an hour, filling the command room to the brim.
Song Zining hung a military map on the wall, upon which was marked the advancement routes for the various squads, the rendezvous time at the frontlines, and the direction of attack. A force numbering in the tens of thousands would advance along four different routes and attack Tidehark from different directions.
The strategy was meticulously planned and reasonably distributed. There was really nothing out of the ordinary at first glance, but knowledgeable people could see the competence in the planning. At least, in terms of strategy, Song Zining had reached an extremely high standard. Hence, all parties nodded in secret admiration and brought up no complaints.
Next up, Song Zining listed out the experts from each party and briefed them on their missions. Most experts would follow the main force in this operation, acting as the core nodes that would support the battle. A small number of experts would form a group of mobile reserve forces. This arrangement was in accordance with the rules and hence no one expressed objection either.
The final key component of the plan was restraining Luo Binfeng. Song Zining gestured with a raised hand, dismissing most unrelated personnel and leaving only a small group behind.
In response to Song Zining’s indication, two elders from the imperial family stood up. The two men were identical—well-groomed, clean, and friendly-looking. Their smooth chins and magnificent apparel indicated their status in the imperial palace.
“Stewards Yun Zhong and Yun Hai will work together with Qianye to restrain Luo Bingfeng. This key battle will be led by the imperial family, with Qianye acting as support. Elder Li will provide support from the side and attack at the necessary moment. This Young Master will be paying attention and will help out as needed.”
Hearing their own names, Yun Zhong, Yun Hai, and Qianye all stood up.
Song Zining said, “The two stewards are twins who have been serving in the imperial household since childhood. Due to their unwavering loyalty, they were taught the Draconic Defense Art. Cultivators of this art can support one another, divide damage, and heal injuries, perfect for endurance battles. Hence, the two stewards will be in charge of restraining Luo Bingfeng head-on.”
Yun Zhong and Yun Hai replied at the same time, “It is our duty to work for the empire with our lives, we will do our best.”
Song Zining bowed toward the two men and then continued, “I’m sure everyone is familiar with Qianye, so there’s really no need for further introduction. Although he’s left the empire temporarily for various reasons, he remains our most dependable ally in this battle. Apart from this, Qianye possesses great destructive power capable of wounding Luo Bingfeng. That is why he’s the greatest threat to the city lord in this battle.”
Everyone nodded. Many people gave the situation some thought and came to see Qianye in a new light. Only Yan Ding was looking away with an ashen face. At least on the surface, both the imperial family and the Li family seemed to be ignoring Qianye’s vampire identity. The only one who cared about that was the military representative.
Yan Ding's resentment toward the other parties’ attitudes probably surpassed his hatred toward Qianye himself. It was just that both powers were such massive entities that a small character like him was powerless against them.
The current Yan Ding was just a commander without any followers. He knew quite well that Song Zining might’ve done him in if it weren’t for his meager value as a rank-sixteen expert. None of these divination people were saints.
Having reached this point with the introduction, Song Zining no longer went on with the explanation. Apparently, he had no intention of elaborating on what Qianye’s ultimate move was nor its characteristics. Yun Zhong and Yun Hai stood up and addressed Qianye: “We hope General Qianye can support us in the battle to come.”
Qianye bowed slightly. “As I should.”
The war meeting ended there and each party went on to engage in their own preparations. Qianye noticed that Ji Tianqing and Li Kuanglan weren’t present for the conference. According to reason, it was only natural that people of their strength and status would have a seat here.
Song Zining caught up from behind as Qianye left the room and dragged on his hand. “Follow me, I have something to give you.”
“What?” Qianye was puzzled.
“You’ll know if you come.”
Qianye was dragged to a small warehouse guarded by two Dark Flame mercenaries. After going in, he found that there was a door inside. Song Zining was much more cautious this time around, unraveling a total of three origin arrays before opening the steel door with a sigh of relief.
Qianye found himself sweating because he had only noticed one out of the three origin arrays here. And even that he didn’t know how to dismantle. It was easy to imagine that he would have to suffer a round of fierce attacks from the arrays in order to charge in.
The warehouse wasn’t big, and the furnishings were also fairly basic. The inside was only as big as a bedroom, equipped with an armor rack and two crates. How was such a room worth locking behind three origin arrays? One had to know that this type of array was extremely expensive.
There was a set of battle armor hanging from the rack. The internal armor looked fairly thin at a glance. It was seemingly greyed and old without many special characteristics. However, it was naturally an extraordinary item since Song Zining had placed it here.
As expected, Song Zining pointed at the armor, saying, “Try it on and see if it fits you. I’ve already had the craftsmen adjust it to your size, but you need to try it out. We still have a night’s time to fix it if you find it uncomfortable.”
Qianye took off his robes and got ready to don the armor. He had just picked up the armor when he found his hands sinking. To his great surprise, he found that the upper part of the armor alone was several hundred kilograms in weight. Who knew what material it was made from?
But several hundred kilograms was nothing now that he was prepared. He wore the jacket, then the pants and boots, before donning the pair of gloves that revealed his fingers. The entire set weighed over a ton in weight.
The armor was a good fit for him. Apparently, Song Zining remembered his figure very clearly as there was no place that needed adjustment. Additionally, the finger portions of the glove seemed to have been clipped off recently to allow for Qianye’s Life Plunder. After his blood energy had reached the marquis realm, Qianye’s degree of control over Life Plunder had risen sharply, allowing him to shoot out sanguineous threads from his fingers.
Qianye tugged hard at the jacket to try and tear it, but the armor remained completely unaffected. His tugging action could even break steel threads but could do nothing against this set of internal armor. This made him curious about the material and also its origins.
Song Zining walked around Qianye and said in satisfaction, “Not bad, it’s a fairly good fit. You can wear another set of battle armor outside during battle. This level of defensive power should be enough to give Luo Bingfeng a surprise. Apart from that, this internal armor was weaved from the membrane and skin of a void colossus. It will serve to defend against spiritual attacks and suppressive might, the best type of armor to counter Luo Bingfeng. Most importantly, it’s been imbued with the power of a void colossus, so most divination powers will be rendered ineffective against it. This also means that no one can scry your location as long as you wear it. Naturally, it’s another matter if Marshal Lin takes personal action.”
If everything was as Song Zining had said, this armor was a priceless treasure. The only problem was where had he gotten his hands on such a thing?
As he was folding the sleeves, he unexpectedly noticed an unremoved insignia inside. It was the emblem of the imperial family.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie