The vampire duke’s expression sank. “Don’t forget that I’m the leader here!”
The demonkin and werewolf merely snorted. They didn’t retort, but that didn’t stop them from expressing their displeasure.
It was at this moment that three figures appeared behind the Martyr’s Palace. Their human silhouettes were negligible against the vastness of the void, but their powerful auras stood out conspicuously. The Minister of the Right and the two commanders of the Imperial Guard seemed determined to fight.
The vampire duke’s pupils shrank as he looked past the three divine champions. The airships were falling into a battle formation behind the Martyr’s Palace, affording the dragonship protection on its flanks and rear. It was no longer possible to surround and attack the target.
The vampire duke stopped tapping on the armrest. “The arachne are done for, let’s retreat.”
The demonkin and werewolf dukes appeared in projection-form. The former yelled, “Retreat!? If we pull back, the soldiers on the battlefield will fall into human hands!”
“I’m in charge here! You can issue orders when you have the authority!”
The demonkin was almost roaring at this point. “I will report you to the council!”
“As you wish, I’ll be waiting.” The vampire duke revealed a meaningful smile. “It’s also fine if you want to keep fighting. You’ll be in charge of facing that big fellow, how’s that?”
The demonkin duke was startled. “Do you think those humans will stand by while we switch formations?”
“They’ll surely agree if we communicate your intentions clearly. It’s also okay if you want to challenge that monstrosity one-on-one. What? Are the demonkin afraid?” The vampire duke mocked.
The demonkin duke was livid, his eyes filled with killing intent, but the vampire duke paid him no heed. The latter’s expression and words were brimming with provocation. Between the two of them, the younger demonkin was indeed a bit weaker. Why else would the vampire get the right to command?
Challenging the dragonship to a one-on-one was pure idiocy. The Martyr’s Palace had just destroyed two duke-grade vessels, and they didn’t even have the power to retaliate. Although the vessel looked like a half-completed product, it already possessed the characteristics of a legendary warship.
The demonkin duke ran every scenario through his mind, but he ultimately felt that the only way to defeat the Martyr’s Palace was to board it with top experts. However, the arachne duke’s example was still fresh in his mind, and he knew that his strength was just on par with the former’s. There would be no good outcome if he had to board the airship instead.
Who knew how many experts were hiding in the Martyr’s Palace?
At the thought of this, the demonkin duke softened his tone. “Fine, I agree to withdraw, but you should think about how to explain your actions to the Evernight Council.
The vampire duke sneered. “And you need to explain why your duke-grade main cannon is on the enemy ship. The custom-made artillery cannot be mistaken, and it should be on Linken’s flagship if I remember correctly. Back then, the cannon couldn’t quite exert its full power, but it seems to be a complete version now. I wonder who made the adjustments for the humans?”
The demonkin duke was furious. “The cannon fell into human hands because Linken’s flagship was destroyed. That’s something everyone knows.”
“Oh, is that so? I’ll believe you then.”
The vampire duke cut off the projection without waiting for the demonkin’s response. The stunned werewolf duke hesitated for a moment before his projection turned dark as well. With nowhere to vent his anger, the demonkin duke broke his throne into two halves.
The vampire duke stared at the empty receiver. “Idiot! Too bad he’s not that dumb, though.” After some thought, he said, “The arachne have changed their formations. Interesting! It’s rare for these bastards to act smart for a change, but it makes no difference in the end.”
The retreating Evernight fleet began to turn about at its rear, followed by the mid-section. The three duke-grade flagships slowly edged back until they were a good distance from the Martyr’s Palace before turning about.
The Imperial warships broke into jubilant cheers as the final Evernight ship vanished over the horizon.
This was the Empire’s most glorious victory in ten years. They had only lost one battleship and a dozen or so warships. Meanwhile, they had destroyed two enemy duke-grade warships, killing one arachne duke and heavily injuring the other.
Although only a handful of people knew the true power of Qianye’s last attack, it wasn't too difficult to imagine the damage it had brought about considering the pain and anguish in the arachne duke’s howls.
With the Evernight reinforcements gone, the Empire was now in full control of the battlefield. Many of the enemy vessels here were only damaged, and there were dark race survivors within them. Cleaning up the battlefield alone was enough for the Empire to recoup half its losses. And those captives weren’t just ordinary soldiers; they were experienced crewmen as well. This would deal a heavy blow to the Evernight faction.
With the enemy coalition beaten back, the Empire had officially gained control of the airspace outside of the void continent. Judging from past records, it would take at least a year’s time for the enemy fleet to restore such losses. This meant that their current victory had earned the Empire control over the void for a year.
Compared to this outcome, the losses were almost negligible. This was a great victory by any measure.
The victory was closely related to the minister’s decisive tactics. The Imperial flagship had dived into the enemy formation in an almost suicidal manner, sowing confusion and the seeds of quick defeat among the enemy ranks. If they had dragged on any longer, the Evernight reinforcements would have arrived on the battlefield, and there would no longer be a chance to destroy the two duke-grade vessels.
However, the true deciding factor was still the Martyr’s Palace. If the dragonship had not appeared when it did and destroyed the two flagships, the Imperial fleet would’ve been forced to retreat. The two duke-grade flagships would then retreat safely, and the enemy fleet would have preserved most of its fighting power. What was the use of destroying some of the smaller warships?
Many of the warriors felt complicated at the thought of this, especially those who knew the entire story about Qianye and the Empire. Him jumping into the battle and single-handedly turning the tables on the enemy left everyone with an indescribable aftertaste.
At this moment, the Martyr’s Palace leaped into the depths of the void and vanished within mere moments.
Seeing the Martyr’s Palace leaving, the two Imperial Guard commanders glanced toward the Minister of the Right. They shifted their positions ever so slightly, blocking the minister’s path toward the palace. Ordinary people might not notice the subtleties of the upper echelons, but people of their stature knew quite a bit of secret information.
The Minister of the Right glanced at them, and then at the distant Martyr’s Palace. “It seems he doesn’t want to confront us directly. That’s a good thing, otherwise, things will get awkward.”
He smiled when he noticed the expressions of the two Imperial Guard commanders. “Following this battle, the Empire owes him a debt of gratitude, as do the Imperial Guard and myself. It’s best we keep these thoughts to ourselves, there’s no need to say it out loud. If we have the intention, there will come a time when we can repay the debt.”
The two commanders’ expressions improved after hearing this.
The minister then said, “The battle is over, and I can finally relieve myself of this heavy responsibility. I shall hand over the command rights to you two.”
The two commanders were startled. “Why is that? We still need to clean up the battlefield and meet up with the first fleet before the fight can be considered complete. Your vanguard commander post was assigned by the Emperor himself. How can it be transferred at will?”
The minister smiled. “Let’s talk after we return to the airship. Have someone invite Song Zining over. Qianye might not want to see me, but he will.”
Moments later, the entire upper echelon of the vanguard forces had gathered in the new flagship. The main seat was occupied by the Minister of the Right, with the two Imperial Guard commanders on either side. Next down the line was Song Zining. This was an important seat, exceeding all the other veteran generals, but no one was dissatisfied.
The Minister of the Right glanced around as he said, “It can be said that this victory has established the foundations of our war on the void continent. This might just be the beginning of the Empire’s resurgence, but the war here is far from over. We’ve merely laid down the first brick, and going forward, it will take everyone’s concentrated efforts to fight for the Empire’s prosperity and the existence of our human race.”
Everyone rose up and chanted, “We shall give our lives for the cause!”
The minister raised a hand and gestured for everyone to sit down. “The biggest contribution to this battle shall go to Qianye and Song Zining’s Dark Flame. Does everyone agree with me?”
The generals weren’t blind. They had seen everything very clearly just now, so no one objected.
Song Zining remained calm in his seat, waiting for the continuation of the speech. Normally, the Minister of the Right would surely say something else after such an announcement. Song Zining wanted to see what plans this merit-hungry minister had in mind.
The Minister of the Right said, “Now that the battle is over, I can finally transfer this responsibility to the two commanders. I’ll trouble you with the miscellaneous matters that follow. I’ve already asked my men to prepare an airship that will take me to the void continent. It’s rather embarrassing, but the frontlines are really not my forte.”
He paused for a bit before saying, “Actually, I did have some selfish motives in this battle. That is, I wanted the world to know that I’m not a coward who’s afraid of death, that despite being a civil minister, I also know some military tactics.”
These words elicited nods from the generals. Even Song Zining had to admit that the Minister of the Right had performed perfectly in terms of courage and command. His luck was quite good as well.
Seeing this, the minister smiled radiantly. “Okay, now that I’ve said what I wanted to say, it’s time for me to go.”
With that, he left despite everyone persuading him to stay. Moments later, a high-speed airship left the main vessel and flew toward the void continent.
Even Song Zining was a bit surprised. He was gone just like that? Could it be that the minister had no other schemes?
The first Imperial Guard fleet arrived after the cleanup was completed and combined forces with the vanguard. Song Zining and the Dark Flame vessels left to meet up with Qianye, as well as the arriving troop transports.
The Imperial Guard had to deploy immediately to patrol the void continent, weeding out the remaining Evernight vessels and removing potential threats. Only when the void was in full control would Dark Flame set out to land.
In the depths of the void, Song Zining arrived at the designated location to rendezvous with the Martyr’s Palace. When Qianye walked into the command room, he saw Song Zining standing in front of the void continent map with a serious expression.
There was a dense array of markings on the map, enough to make ordinary people dizzy just by looking at them. Yet, Song Zining was still adding more strokes to the diagram.
Qianye didn’t disturb him, either. He merely stood to the side, slowly deciphering the meaning. This was a different version of the battle on the void continent. It was fairly similar to Lin Xitang’s, but there were many different details. It could be considered Song Zining’s own version. The two plans used similar troop power and resources, but there was some difference in the attack.
This version was still in the works and had reached mid-game at most, while Lin Xitang’s was a complete battle plan.
After moving his forces behind two enemy squads, Song Zining fell into deep contemplation.
Qianye was drawn into the observation and had long since forgotten the time. Song Zining was also silent due to the difficult problem he had encountered. The two thus stood there until it was night.
Qianye suddenly remembered. “Where are the heavenly monarchs and great dark monarchs?”
There was no consideration or planning for those powerhouses in this battle. They didn’t even exist on the map.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie