Qianye did not fire a second shot, but the caravan did not move forward, either. The group’s purpose was to bait Qianye out, to begin with, but who would’ve thought Qianye would attack from almost a thousand meters away and kill the vice-commander, Du Yufeng. Now that the ambush had failed, there was no need to continue this operation.
The merchant caravan turned around and rushed back into the city. The city guards and mercenaries in their escort didn’t split off to chase Qianye—they even summoned back the scouts operating along the way.
The surviving leader of the city guards understood that the shot just now had likely consumed a significant amount of power. Perhaps Qianye wasn’t waiting out of benevolence but simply in order to recharge. The entire group could forget about fleeing once he had recovered.
Qianye slowly opened his eyes as the caravan moved away. He nodded to himself, acknowledging that the other party was experienced enough to deny him further kills. As for that rank-sixteen expert, he was flaunting his power despite keeping his location concealed—he hadn’t withdrawn his aura at all while seated in the car. Perhaps other people couldn’t see him, but he was like a torch in the darkness in Qianye’s True Sight.
Qianye recovered his origin power with a brief period of meditation and then vanished into the night.
At this moment, Tidehark City was drowned in solemn tension, and the atmosphere was fairly close to freezing point. There were only a couple of people on the streets, most of them hurrying about with worried expressions.
News of Du Yufeng’s death couldn’t be kept secret, and the entire city soon came to know of his passing. The traders who were thinking about trying their luck quickly gave up on the notion. They had, at first, wanted to leave with a large number of mercenary escorts, but now, even Du Yufeng had been killed in a single shot. Even the most powerful experts available for hire were around the vice-commander’s level at most, so what was the use?
As the vice-commander of the city guard and a rank-sixteen expert, Du Yufeng was not weak at all in terms of martial prowess and secret arts. The top commanders of Tidehark had received one or more suitable cultivation arts from Luo Bingfeng, so they were noticeably stronger than their peers. Du Yufeng’s arts could somewhat suppress Zhu Meng’s own, so he had always been eager to take over the latter’s elite squad.
Following this major incident, all of the high-ranking officers and important characters assembled at the city lord’s manor to formulate a countermeasure.
The Tidehark city lord’s manor had become more of a meeting place because Luo Bingfeng hadn’t lived here for a fair length of time.
There were a dozen or so people seated on one side of the table and twenty more behind them, all characters with the right to share in this secret information.
There were two unoccupied seats of honor. One of them was naturally City Lord Luo Bingfeng’s, and the other was reserved for that mysterious lady. Since her appearance, no one really knew about her origins or even her name for that matter.
The person sitting next to the seats of honor was a fair, well-groomed middle-aged man. He looked quite mighty despite being a bit plump. His slender eyes were only half-open, almost as though he hadn’t fully woken up just yet, but there would be lightning flashes in the room whenever he opened them wider.
This person was the commander of the city guard, Du Yuan. He rarely interfered in the guard’s affairs under normal circumstances, appearing in public only once every few weeks. Hence, the actual power in the city guard was shared between the three vice-commanders and Zhu Meng.
Even though he rarely made appearances or exercised his authority, he was widely accepted as the number one expert in the city guard. He was only inferior to the city lord in the entirety of Tidehark. In Du Yuan’s presence, all those unyielding officers sat upright and still, their slippery attitudes nowhere to be found.
Rui Xiang was seated across from Du Yuan. The old man was silent and expressionless, only scanning the hall occasionally with eyes of disdain.
There were evidently fewer people sitting on Rui Xiang’s side, probably half the number compared to the other side. The two parties were glaring daggers at one another, and their auras were clashing in secret. Apparently, the crowd had split up into two parties.
It was at this time that a capable-looking man from the city guard looked around the room, his gaze finally landing on Zhu Meng. “That person sniped Yufeng from over a thousand meters away. He must have a powerful weapon in hand. I heard he had also killed General Ma in the same manner back then. Zhu Meng! Why did you not report such an important matter?”
The man’s voice was stern and full of killing intent. He was also one of the three vice-commanders, and his position was even higher than Du Yufeng’s. The interrogation looked fierce, but in truth, there were clever implications hidden behind it—Zhu Meng was still on Du Yuan’s side, after all.
The latter replied emotionlessly, “I only saw things from afar that day. I didn’t actually experience it myself, so I really don’t know how powerful that shot was. What I do know is how capable General Ma is. It wasn’t that he couldn’t defend against the attack, but he was actually caught off-guard because he thought someone would block the shot. That was how he died.”
The burly man’s sword-like brows knitted tightly together. “He thought someone would block it? Report every detail or face punishment according to military law.”
Zhu Meng replied at a steady pace, “Back then, the person had fired not at Old Ma, but at Sire Rui Xiang. It’s just that the sire dodged immediately, and so the shot struck Old Ma instead.
The guard officers’ expressions shifted, most of them revealing expressions of utter contempt. According to Zhu Meng’s testimony, this Rui Xiang had committed an act of cowardice. He didn’t even dare to block a sniper round, causing the death of a comrade as a result.
Killing intent flashed through the old man’s eyes. He said while stroking his beard, “That shot was really too sudden. I hadn’t sensed it in advance, so I just dodged reflexively. As for how powerful it is, I never received the blow, so I can’t say for sure.”
A friend of General Ma said furiously, “It’s enough to kill Old Ma from a thousand meters away, how hard can it be to judge? If you had just talked to us about this, Commander Du wouldn’t have been so careless, nor would he have fallen to this person’s gun!”
Rui Xiang laughed coldly. “Is killing a mere general so impressive? As I see it, there’s really no need to announce this business wantonly. There’s even less of a need to report to you about it.”
That general’s face turned red in anger. The old man’s words meant that he had no right to demand anything. That was the case as well in reality—a general of the city guard was nowhere close to Rui Xiang’s status. Even so, having it spoken out loud was rather unbearable.
The eyes of many other generals fell upon Du Yuan. He was the only one here who could stand on equal footing with Rui Xiang and suppress him.
The room lit up as Du Yuan opened his eyes. Shaken, Rui Xiang no longer dared to press on with the matter.
Du Yuan didn’t even glance at Rui Xiang. Instead, he said to Zhu Meng, “Yufeng is my cousin. My failure of an uncle died fairly early, leaving only a single offspring. I know you haven’t been on good terms with Yufeng, but I have never shown him any favor regarding military matters. Do you agree with that?”
Zhu Meng lowered his head. “The commander has always been just, all of us know that.”
Du Yuan said with a nod, “Okay, then let me ask you, why did you not report this news to your comrades?”
Zhu Meng replied, “This matter is complicated. I originally wanted to see the city lord immediately to report this matter, but he remains in isolated cultivation and refused to see me. Steward Luo Yun was also turned away. There was a period of delay while I was doing all of that. Who would’ve thought Commander Yufeng would head out during this time?”
Du Yuan replied slowly, “This matter is indeed a result of Yufeng’s rashness. Then, let me ask you, why do you think this case is complicated? Why must you see the city lord? Can you tell us here?”
Zhu Meng hesitated for a short while. He shot a brief glance at Rui Xiang, but the latter remained wooden in his expression, his eyes suffused with killing intent.
Seeing this, Du Yuan said in a gloomy tone, “The city lord hasn’t discussed official business for a long time. Even Steward Luo Yun and I can’t meet him without any good reason, but I still have some deterring power. Zhu Meng, you may speak without fear.”
Zhu Meng shot up from his seat, raising his voice. “Very well, what else should I say if you put it that way? During this skirmish, a person charged into our camp and killed three hundred brothers in a single move, the same person who sniped Old Ma and Commander Yufeng from over a thousand meters away. If that person hadn’t seen through the fact that we had been left to die, my brethren and I might have never made it back to Tidehark.”
These words shook everyone. Everyone knew how powerful Zhu Meng’s group was. Not to mention these officers, even Du Yuan couldn’t kill three hundred of them with a single attack.
There was an unwritten rule in the neutral lands. Experts above a certain level wouldn’t slaughter ordinary soldiers or make things difficult for them without a good reason. For instance, even if Tidehark were to change owners, the city guard would remain the same. So, killing them was equal to killing one’s future subordinates.
Zhu Meng continued, “This person asked me to deliver a message. If we don’t release his brother, no one in Tidehark will be safe outside the city, that he will hound us until we release the prisoner. If his brother dies, he will hunt down every high-ranking member of the city.
The officers responded furiously. “Insolence!” “He doesn’t know the immensity of heaven and earth!” “We should teach him a lesson!”
After the string of curses had died down, people quickly noticed that the ones shouting were all lower-ranking generals. Du Yuan, Rui Xiang, Zhu Meng, and the other two vice-commanders were solemn and silent.
Only then did the people realize that something was wrong, and the cries faded away.
Du Yuan said with a frown, “What else did he say?”
Zhu Meng lowered his voice. “He said… that even divine champions shouldn’t think they’ll be safe.”
Du Yuan’s eyes opened wide and then gradually closed back. Even someone as calm as Rui Xiang could feel his brows twitching.
Moments later, Du Yuan said, “This person’s name is Qianye, reportedly a famous character in the empire. Judging from his past actions, he seems to be a fairly tolerant person. What made him hate Tidehark to the bones?”
Zhu Meng glared at Rui Xiang. “I don’t know why some people must attack Southern Blue for no reason. And the prisoner is also nowhere to be found. This battle is simply too confusing, won’t Sire Rui honor us with an explanation?”
The words named him specifically, so Rui Xiang had no way to escape. He looked over with eyes full of disdain and said, “What gives you the right to question what I do?”
These words were quite rude. Zhu Meng turned livid and looked like he would flip out on several occasions. However, a gentle but powerful energy suddenly engulfed him, stopping all of his movements. At this point, Du Yuan said, “He can’t, but I have that right, don’t I?”
Rui Xiang scanned everyone in the room with narrowed eyes and said coldly, “So all of you plan to suppress me? Don’t forget that the true master of Tidehark isn’t Luo Bingfeng but Heavenly Monarch Zhang! You shouldn’t abandon your future by following the wrong person!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie