Be it humans or the dark races, everyone possessed reflexive responses no matter how strong or skilled in control. For instance, a blade stabbing into one’s vitals would definitely elicit a minute physical reaction, no matter how well-controlled they could keep their auras—the corner of their eyes would twitch or there would be some muscle contraction in response to the nervousness.
Yu Mingkang was so close to Qianye back then, so even the smallest of the latter’s reactions couldn’t have escaped his eyes. That was what shocked him the most—Qianye had shown no response at all as he pushed East Peak firmly into the opponent’s abdomen.
If it wasn’t for the fact that he had never seen a machine coming to life, Yu Mingkang would’ve suspected whether Qianye was made of cold steel. Even a machine would be affected somehow, but this person wasn’t.
The conference hall went entirely silent. No one made a sound as the atmosphere chilled down to a freezing point. After a long while, one of the generals said, “Perhaps he has some secret art that allows suspended animation.”
No one paid him any attention.
A person in suspended animation would see his combat strength fall to rock-bottom. How could he heavily injure Mingkang?
The lower-ranking generals were still puzzled as to why Mingkang was so scared, but Du Yuan and the other vice-commander looked serious. Restless, Rui Xiang grabbed the hilt of his sword subconsciously.
Du Yuan said, “Enough. Mingkang, you sit down. You don’t need to go to battle for a while. Just cultivate and adjust your mental state. Now, then…”
His words came to a sudden stop midway.
Many of the seats on the city guard’s side were empty, almost half a dozen less than the last time. Almost all of the accompanying officers had been wiped out in this battle, and that came as a huge blow to the city guard.
The report had long since arrived, and it was clear that Mingkang had made no major mistakes up until the end. He had actually taken advantage of the opening to launch a powerful attack. Any other enemy would’ve been defeated long ago, but unfortunately, his opponent was Qianye. These empty seats stood proof that Qianye was unbeatable even after using up Heartgrave.
Du Yuan hesitated for a moment. “Mingkang, what are your thoughts?”
Yu Mingkang hadn’t expected the topic to fall onto his head. He struggled internally for a while before pointing at Rui Xiang. “Qianye said he won’t stop until we release the prisoner. This person has boundless future potential and will no doubt become a divine champion. He can already torment us so right now—how are we to stop him after a couple of years? How many of our brethren have given up their lives? Many of them didn’t even know the reason for their sacrifice, yet this old bastard hides here like a turtle! As I see it, we should either release the prisoner or let this old man deal with Qianye, we’re done!”
Rui Xiang’s face was livid. He banged the table, roaring, “Insolence! This is a disrespect to the heavenly monarch! If he comes out of isolation...”
Yu Mingkang cut in, “When he comes out of isolation, the first thing he’ll do is slaughter you! You cowardly, debaucherous, and greedy thing! You’ve lost all of the heavenly monarch’s face!”
Rui Xiang shot to his feet and grabbed the hilt of his sword, ready to take action at a moment’s notice. Yet, he felt a cold murderous intent from the side, forcing him to focus his full attention on guarding against it. Rui Xiang turned slowly toward Du Yuan and said in a cold voice, “Commander Du has made great progress these years. I feel ashamed at my inferiority.”
After forcing Rui Xiang back to his seat, Du Yuan retracted his killing intent. “Steward Rui, there’s really no need to mind me. I’m already at death’s door and can’t last very long in battle. In my opinion, since Qianye is so difficult to deal with, why don’t we just release Song Zining?”
Rui Xiang banged the table furiously, saying, “How can we do that? Releasing the prisoner is akin to throwing away the heavenly monarch’s face. Do you not feel embarrassed being frightened by a kid?”
Yu Mingkang ridiculed, “The nerve of you! You don’t even dare step outside the city.”
Du Yuan stopped Yu Mingkang with a raise of his hand. He then stared at Rui Xiang and said slowly, “Steward Rui, you will neither release the prisoner nor explain the reasoning behind things. What are your intentions? Are you trying to clip the city lord’s wings?”
Rui Xiang was somewhat astonished because this crime wasn’t small at all. Luo Bingfeng’s status was special, and even Zhang Buzhou would treat him with a degree of respect. As the old man was currently stationed in Tidehark, he wouldn’t even be able to escape if the city lord was angered. “Commander Du, that’s going overboard. All of us are subordinates of the heavenly monarch, weakening the city lord is equal to weakening the heavenly monarch’s power. I definitely won’t do such a thing.”
“Oh? Does that mean Steward Rui has selfish motives?”
“Fine, then. You and I will leave the city at the same time. Let’s see what other abilities that Qianye has.”
Rui Xiang waved his hands in shock. “That’s not a good plan. I still have some business, so I don’t have time to go out and fight.”
Du Yuan’s eyes flickered with a mysterious glint. “What business? Pray tell. If you’re not willing to speak, then I can only run to the heavenly monarch’s manor and ask about it myself.”
Rui Xiang’s expression transformed drastically. In the end, he said with a treacherous expression, “Fine then, I’ll leave the city with you! You had better take care of your health, though, Commander Du. You’ve been in this high position for a long time, so you probably have a lot of enemies. If some mishap befalls you, there’s no telling what will happen to your family members.”
The city guard generals looked over with ferocious glares, but Rui Xiang glanced at them with undisguised disdain. “How dare a group of rag-tags bark so loud?”
Du Yuan wasn’t angry, though. “If we don’t destroy that Qianye now, it’ll be Steward Rui’s turn to worry about his family members after a few years.”
Rui Xiang’s expression became unsightly.
The meeting was thus dismissed unhappily with both parties agreeing to fight. They reported this matter to the city lord at the same time, but the result was no different from the last instance. The audience-seekers were duly intercepted by the lady and never had the chance to meet Luo Bingfeng. Even after hearing about the grave casualties, she only responded with a curt “understood”.
Yu Mingkang didn’t leave immediately after the meeting. He remained in the courtyard gazing up at the sky with a sigh. A general walked over and whispered, “Why doesn’t that old bastard dare to fight Qianye?”
Yu Mingkang’s state of mind had calmed down quite a bit by now. “He’s afraid of dying.”
“Afraid of death? That Qianye isn’t Steward Rui’s match, is he?” That general was clearly puzzled.
“The key here is, what if he fails to dodge that shot?”
The general scratched his head. “Fails to dodge? How can that be? That shot comes from over a thousand meters away. Even I can evade if I’m cautious, let alone him. He’s still quite powerful despite the horrible character.”
Yu Mingkang laughed wryly. “You can dodge at a thousand meters, but what about eight hundred?”
The general was quite frank. “Then I can only wait for death.”
Yu Mingkang nodded. “Exactly, even I can’t dodge within five hundred meters. The old man’s limit is around two hundred meters, with completely no chance of evasion within a hundred.”
“But Qianye can only fire once.”
“Don’t forget that his shot once heavily injured the Wolf King. So, what we both saw isn’t the gun’s full power.”
The general finally understood. “Doesn’t that mean the old man will die if he suffers an all-out attack from Qianye?”
Yu Mingkang nodded. “That’s why he’s hiding inside the city.”
Outside of Tidehark, Du Yuan was clad in a full set of armor as he walked alongside Rui Xiang. After donning his battle attire, this kind old man had turned into a fierce general, his fair, well-groomed face was mostly hidden behind a sinister mask.
Rui Xiang, on the other hand, was expressionless. His eyes were like lightning as they scanned the surroundings constantly, one of his hands never leaving the hilt of his sword. Apparently, he was in a state of full alert.
Du Yuan pointed at a nearby forest. “If that Qianye was hiding there, his shot will probably kill me on the spot. Would you agree?”
Rui Xiang remained utterly silent and his expression turned rather unsightly. As Luo Bingfeng’s gear back in the year, Du Yuan’s armor was of extraordinary quality and at least a couple of times stronger than Rui Xiang’s internal armor. If even Du Yuan couldn’t take a shot, then the old man’s fate would be even worse.
Seeing Rui Xiang’s refusal to reply, Du Yuan added, “I wonder who Qianye will target if he’s around.”
Rui Xiang’s expression frosted up. He fished out a metallic tube from his chest and flicked it into the air, producing a wisp of fire that rose into the clouds.
Once the signal was issued, numerous jeeps drove out from the city and rapidly fanned outward. Several indistinct human silhouettes also rushed into the wilderness, traveling even faster than the vehicles.
Du Yuan observed the numbers and realized that Rui Xiang had dispatched all of his elite subordinates to occupy key positions and restrain Qianye. Having achieved his objective, the commander stopped provoking the old man and duly hastened his footsteps toward the wilderness.
At this moment, Qianye wasn’t outside of Tidehark. Instead, he was on a mountaintop several dozen kilometers away, gazing at the distant horizon. Scarlet flames danced around him as his aura gradually rose, and all parameters of his body were now close to their peak. Some of the bottleneck hurdles he could only sense vaguely before had become much clearer this time.
Pushing back Yu Mingkang was only an appetizer, and the true struggle was yet to come. Qianye had to keep himself in his peak state in order to heavily injure the enemy and still make his escape. Only then would he have enough chips to force his opponents into releasing the prisoner.
After a moment of silence, Qianye felt someone watching him from the side. He looked over but found the place completely empty—not to mention a human, there wasn’t even a bird there.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie