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Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict, Chapter 1: Old Friend
Night was the eternal theme of Evernight Continent.
The whole vast and barren continent was enveloped by the endless night and shadows, leaving only a brief gap for sunlight.
Within the several deep gazes cast upon the many, or perhaps even all continents, Evernight was akin to a shadow at the very edge of their fields of vision—it was simply not worth investing any attention. The changing of a mere expeditionary army division commander from this dark corner region wasn’t even worth appearing as an article on the Imperial Bulletin. The establishment of a tiny mercenary corps was paid even less attention.
Over this great land hidden within the shadows, there crawled a vast and profound darkness. It crossed over the lands beneath, sketched in many shades of grey and eroding all that was bright.
Even the daytime sky was similarly murky on the eve of this tempest.
An airship was flying along the dense layers of clouds near the Evernight border. It was swaying due to the occasional gusts of strong wind and would, at times, suddenly veer dozens of meters off course. The airship’s metallic framework creaked and moaned in the strong gale. Some parts of it were obviously twisted and seemed as if they would break at any moment.
This definitely wasn’t a suitable day to fly an airship. The strong wind still wasn’t its greatest enemy—the flashes of lightning jumping within the pitch black layer of clouds were the true danger. This intercontinental stellar airship would undoubtedly fall burning to the ground once it was struck by lightning.
A tall and sturdy captain was personally steering the ship at the bridge. His head was drenched in sweat as he stared fixedly at the front. However, all he could see were dark clouds and lightning arcs. The the sound of whistling wind filled everyone’s ears like the cry of a gigantic beast.
Two origin power lamps lit up at the top of the airship. These powerful lights that could illuminate a whole drill ground on the surface seemed particularly dismal at the moment. It could only penetrate a small portion of the clouds to shine upon the host of hair-raising lightning serpents. Beyond that was a seemingly endless and tempestuous inferno.
The bridge door was suddenly knocked opened as a pale youth rushed in and cried, “We can’t keep flying. The power furnace is at its limits and the support frame has started to distort. Land, land quickly! We’ll fall apart if we keep flying!”
“What did you say!?” the captain roared. However, his cry was akin to the buzzing of a fly amidst the wind and thunder.
The young man rushed over to the captain and almost shouted into his ears, “I said, the airship is about to fall apart! We have to land immediately!”
The captain hollered, “Impossible! That man will tear us apart if we land now!”
“But…” The youth wanted to say something, but in the end, he only cursed resentfully, “Lunatics! All of you are madmen!”
He left the bridge and no longer demanded that the ship land. It seemed his fear towards “that person” was still far greater than the wind and lightning.
The airship was like a leaf upon the stormy sea. It strove to move forward through the raging waves although t might be crushed at any moment.
Two rows of warriors sat with their backs to the walls within the inner compartment. Their strength was astonishing—all of them were at rank seven and above—but their expressions weren’t looking good at the moment. They could only tie themselves tightly to their seats amidst the intense jolting to avoid being thrown out accidentally. Crashing into something within the cabin was a small matter, but people being flung out of the cabin door, or even the side windows, wasn’t unprecedented.
There were three people who were actually able to move unhindered within the rather spacious cabin. The group of warriors gazed at them with eyes full of reverence. The soldiers knew full well how terrifying these people were as they could not only move about unaffected but also engage in combat training in an environment where they could be suddenly jolted hundreds of meters in any direction.
A soldierly young man stood to one side of the cabin door, the stars on his shoulder especially eye-catching. As the youngest general of the Broken Winged Angels, Bai Longjia had always been the center of attention wherever he went. However, at this moment, he was no different from the average bystander.
The stars here were the two ladies, one younger and the other older, at the center of the cabin.
The woman always dressed in light-colored ancient clothing appeared ordinary at a glance. However, her sharpness could wound anyone who glanced at her for a moment longer. She was the woman who could make the arrogant and incisive Bai Longjia as obedient as a kitten, Bai Aotu.
Opposite of her was a young girl whose large eyes flickered with an innocent radiance. She appeared only 12 or 13, but her child-like countenance could already be termed stunningly beautiful. With a short knife in her hand, she was encircling Bai Aotu while launching a flurry of continuous attacks.
The airship was still shaking fiercely and the little girl staggered and swayed. However, she did not fall no matter how unsteady her gait was and would even grasp the opportunity at every turn to launch fatal attacks at Bai Aotu. She was like a cunning and ruthless viper—no matter how badly beaten she was, she could still deliver a fatal bite the moment the enemy became careless.
Bai Longjia, who was looking from the side, rubbed his face. He was unwilling to admit the cool sensation which came from his palms. This wasn’t a discomfort brought about by the rocking airship but an involuntary chill which arose within his heart after seeing the little girl’s training.
He had long since realized that, if it was him in the ring, any carelessness or hesitation would have resulted in several slashes on his body. This little girl was able to launch dreadful counterattacks no matter how disadvantageous her situation was.
The lass had only ignited five origin power nodes and couldn’t be considered very talented. Even this level was only achieved after Bai Aotu had used no small amount of medicines on her. But sometimes, rank and and origin power strength wasn’t everything. Her powerful combat instincts were evident when compared to those rank six or seven soldiers who could only tie themselves to their seats.
Furthermore, this little girl still seemed quite young. Although Bai Longjia knew that her true age was somewhat older than how she appeared, her tested bone age was only about 15 years old. 15 years of age—even if one were to train since birth, it would be impossible to reach her current state.
It seemed there really were geniuses in this world. Even the Bai clan’s next-generation military leader, Bai Longjia, couldn’t help but think so.
This little girl was an inherent combat genius. It almost seemed as if she was born proficient both in her judgement and intuition toward danger. At the thought of this, Bai Longjia even felt somewhat jealous. The only pity was that although she possessed great talent in one aspect, there were defects in the other—her gift in origin power cultivation was mediocre—she had no chance of becoming a champion even if large amounts of medicine were used.
The lass’s origin power was limited while the expenditure during battles in such an adverse environment was especially great. She had already come close to collapse within moments.
Bai Aotu evaded her stab and said, “That’s enough. We’ll stop today’s training here. Go rest and recover.”
The little girl saluted Bai Aotu in all seriousness, ran toward a corner of the cabin and proceeded to consume her rations. She appeared to be concentrating on the food as if she was tasting the most delicious food on earth. In truth, what she had in her hand was only a military ration made from compressed meat, vegetables, and grain. Both its texture and taste were far from the word delicious.
Bai Aotu stood leaning on the cabin wall with her eyes closed and began to recuperate. Bai Longjia walked to her side and glanced at the little girl before saying, “Sis, don’t you feel that we might not necessarily be able to keep Kong Zhao?”
Bai Aotu didn’t bother to open her eyes and just replied indifferently, “Kong Zhao is a double-edged blade. She’s very powerful when used properly, but if not, she might bring you harm. What? Have you no confidence in yourself?”
Bai Longjia laughed ruefully. “Kong Zhao is simply a monster. I really wouldn’t be so confident if not for her mediocre talents in origin power cultivation.”
“Don’t forget that Kong Zhao is now surnamed Bai. Her name will gradually become known starting from the moment we let her into this battle. She’ll always be surnamed Bai whatever feats she performs.”
“But… could it be that you feel the Bai clan’s name will have any binding effect?” At this point, Bai Longjia hesitated for a moment before asking, “Sis, how much confidence do you have in suppressing her in the future?”
Bai Aotu sank into a rare moment of silence before replying, “Half.”
The airship was still moving with great difficulty, bouncing up and down like a pond-side frog hopping to evade the rain. Miraculously, it hadn’t crashed and was still pushing toward the distance in the wind and lightning.
Silence still reigned over Blackflow City. The commotion brought about by Wu Zhengnan’s case had completely disappeared. Even the dark races active outside the city had lessened greatly. However, to some people, this wasn’t a good sign. The dark races would only withdraw their forces before the eruption of a great battle.
Hence, the upper and basic classes within the city were split into two different groups. The upper classes were all anxious—those who could leave had already left—the others bound here by their duties were all nervous and restless. The basic classes, on the other hand, welcomed this rare period of relaxation, enjoying life’s pleasures to their heart’s content. Their expectations weren’t high; some lousy wine would allow them to get by for a couple of days.
As the captain of a newly established mercenary band, Qianye could now be considered as someone of status in Blackflow City, albeit barely. It had to be said that Wei Potian did possess the keen senses befitting of an aristocratic scion—as flamboyant as he usually was, he didn’t make his relationship with Qianye known. This spared the latter from inheriting the resentment of Wu Zhengnan’s old subordinates.
Thus, as the leader of a mercenary corps with only a few hundred members, Qianye was only a third-rate character within a city with many such powers. No one paid much attention to him apart from similar small characters.
Wei Bainian removed the current barracks—the reconstructed encampment of the 7th division was also at the four rivers base of Cloudsail City. There used to be a troop strength of two regiments stationed year-round in Blackflow City, however, these soldiers were the first to be affected by the confusion after Wu Zhengnan’s death. Now, only an empty frame was left of the two regiments and the remaining soldiers numbered less than 300.
There were recruitment posters all over Blackflow and over a dozen recruitment centers had been established throughout the city. All recruits would receive a silver coin upon enlisting. Wei Bainian hoped to mass recruit soldiers this way, however, those recruited through such methods were naturally not very useful. Their combat strength wasn’t any better than Qianye’s newly established mercenary corps.
Qianye had been standing near a recruitment station close to the north gate for a while, observing his surroundings. He was dressed in an ordinary hunter’s attire and had a large field backpack on his back.
Qianye had originally planned to go out of the city to observe the situation in the wilderness. Unexpectedly, he felt as if someone was watching him as he left the courtyard at dawn. He immediately became vigilant—how could he be targeted so soon? Could it be a local of Blackflow City or one of Wu Zhengnan’s former subordinates?
But soon afterwards, Qianye crossed out these two suspicions.
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