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Volume 4 - Perpetual Conflict, Chapter 61: Abrupt Change
The castle wasn't very big, but the environs were fairly beautiful. The towering old trees and the flower orchards that had already become part of the courtyard scenery indicated that this place had been established for hundreds of years.
Qianye pondered momentarily and then began to slowly approach the castle. He intended to observe this family's strength.
A number of airs.h.i.+ps were parked in a small plaza to the side of the castle, filling the small s.p.a.ce to the point of bursting. It was clear that such a large number of airs.h.i.+ps would never appear here under normal circ.u.mstances.
Qianye frowned slightly after counting in his mind—just the number of vampires he could see already far surpa.s.sed the scale of a single castle. Even if it were a marquis living here, there shouldn't be so many of them even after adding up his descendants and private troops.
It was clear that this castle had already turned into a transitional base.
As night gradually descended, squads of vampires walked out of the castle and swiftly disappeared deeper into the mountain range. At the same time, another vampire unit emerged from the mountainous region and entered the castle.
Qianye watched for a while, resisting the urge to capture a live prisoner for interrogation. The vampires were cautious creatures—they would immediately deduce that there was a hidden enemy nearby if one of their companions went missing, especially when they were all in distinct groups.
After some time had pa.s.sed, Qianye began to s.h.i.+ft his scouting position and, after familiarizing himself with the pattern of the vampire squads, followed one of them deeper into the mountainous region.
There were ten-odd members forming this vampire squad—all of them were clad in black trench coats with a blue flaming s.h.i.+eld insignia sewn onto their cuffs with dark red thread. Apparently, they were warriors from the same clan. The group, led by a knight, traveled silently through the mountainous woods and didn't utter a single word even after traveling for the greater half of the night.
The squad arrived at a valley when it was nearly dawn. There was a small camp erected here with everything they might need for rest and replenishment.
A number of vampires were already within the camp, all of them busy with their own tasks. Some were preparing food while others were cleaning their origin guns, weapons, and defensive equipment.
One of the two vampires preparing food was chopping some kind of meat while the other was dragging a man out from a cage and hanging him up on a nearby rank. After this, the vampire pierced some empty needles into the man's arteries, causing fresh blood to flow out of the pipe on the other end and into the pre-positioned tin cans.
Qianye was currently on a distant hill. He could clearly see everything going on in the camp with his night vision despite being far away. So much so that he could even make out the ornament attached to a certain female vampire's long fluttering hair.
Because of this, Qianye saw that the meat being cut up by the vampire was actually human meat! Fresh human meat!
There was a number of large cages at a corner of the camp, holding ten-odd captives with apathetic expressions and sluggish movements. These humans were bred by the vampires to be used as food. They had long since come to terms with their fate and had given up on struggling.
The man suspended on the wooden rack was nearly drained of blood. He was gasping for air with great difficulty and could no longer even utter a word. A vampire warrior came over and collected the tins of fresh blood. Afterwards, he picked up a dagger and began to cut the man up immediately.
The man who was on his last breath shook and let out a pained cry as his final struggle. Soon, he lost his voice. Pieces of his carca.s.s fell into the tray after a series of fine cuts and would soon become a dish to be served on the table.
These vampires belonged to the blood-banquet party, the cruelest and most radical among the primogenitor factions. They not only drank human blood but also ate human flesh. For these vampires, the pained expressions and mournful screams of the humans were the best accompaniment for their meals.
Qianye's expression was ashen as he gradually lengthened his breathing, strands of scarlet origin power surging up on his body from time to time.
This wasn't the first time he had witnessed a blood-banquet. He had even seen some that were crueler and larger in scale than the one before him. But every time he witnessed such a scene, the deeply ingrained anger and sorrow would well up from the bottom of his heart.
This was an irreconcilable enmity between the humans and the vampires, born from every aspect of their daily lives.
Qianye forced himself to slow down his breathing and s.h.i.+ft his hands away from the sniper rifle.  It wasn't a good time to take action because he wouldn't be able to save these livestock humans even if he could kill all the vampires in the camp. It would only serve to compromise his movements.
Additionally, there inevitably were dark race experts overseeing this mountainous region. Once they were alarmed, it would become impossible for Qianye to continue his search for the Eye of Truth, even if he could escape with his life.
The group of vampires became obviously relaxed after entering the camp. They unloaded their equipment in succession, sat down at the table, and began to wolf down the fresh human meat in large gulps.
Qianye was just about to leave when an unexpected incident occurred.
A vampire warrior heading towards the creek suddenly rose into the air!
He struggled with all his might and continuously scratched at his throat with both hands. However, he kept rising higher and higher as if he were held by an invisible rope.
The incident near the creek immediately alarmed the resting vampire warriors in the camp. They drew their weapons and began to search for the a.s.sailant. However, even more warriors were suddenly hoisted into the air, bound by an invisible force. Within moments, strands of blood began to appear on their bodies, splitting them into pieces of flesh which were sent flying through the sky.
Qianye finally discovered the countless transparent threads weaving through the air. It was these threads that had entangled the vampire warriors and carried their powerful bodies into the air. These transparent threads were incomparably resilient and possessed unimaginable cutting power, capable of dismembering a vampire's powerful body with relative ease.
The leader of this camp, being a vampire knight, reacted quickly and brandished his sword to cut apart the invisible threads in the vicinity. He then drew his gun and fired off a volley of shots toward the nearby woods.
Origin bullets whizzed through like a storm. Branches and leaves flew in every direction as a number of ancient trees fell with loud rumbles.
At this time, a gigantic figure slowly emerged from amidst the falling leaves. Unexpectedly, it was an arachne—its lower body was in arachnid form with natural blue scales covering its abdomen.
The scale armor seemed fine and delicate, but its defensive power was quite exceptional. The vampire knight's shot had struck the arachne squarely in the abdomen, but was only able to leave a meter-long wound that was as deep as a palm. This could only be considered a minor injury to an arachne.
He extended a hand and shot out dozens of spider silk strands which continuously entangled the vampire warriors. Additionally, large patches of spider web would appear around the arachne whenever it moved. A vampire warrior suddenly dashed in from the left side but was glued tightly the moment he stepped into the webs and couldn't extricate himself no matter how hard he tried.
The arachne laughed maliciously and hacked that high-ranking vampire warrior into two with a swing of its axe.
The blood knight was both shocked and furious. "What the h.e.l.l are you doing?"
The arachne smacked its lips and grinned. "What am I doing you say? I'm wiping you all out of course!"
The blood knight's eyes flickered with a red glow, and he roared in anger, "Then go to h.e.l.l!"
Blood-colored light erupted around his body as he activated his full potential and fired a rumbling barrage of origin bullets toward the arachne. Half of them were blocked by the spider webs, but a series of projectiles still found their mark. The arachne let out an explosive shout as he hurled the gigantic axe in his hand towards the blood knight, cutting him into two halves.
The arachne moved towards the blood knight's corpse, dug out his heart, and proceeded to eat it up.
This exceptionally powerful arachne's strength was close to that of a champion and he was proficient in utilizing spider silk for both offense and defense. With over half of the vampires either killed or injured during the sudden ambush, the situation collapsed after the blood knight's death—some of the warriors roared and charged towards the arachne while a number of them began to scatter in various directions.
At this point, Qianye secretly shook his head. Escape was probably impossible against an arachne who was so gifted in the control of spider silk. No one knew just how long he had been hiding in the vicinity and how many traps it had laid down.
As expected, the fleeing vampires were either hoisted into the air and torn to pieces or completely immobilized within spider webs that seemed to have come out of nowhere.
After killing each vampire, the arachne would immediately dig out the victim's heart and directly swallow it. At this time, Qianye noticed that there were many old scars mixed in among the criss-crossing patterns on the arachne's body, one of which extended across the arachne's entire abdomen and nearly cleaved him into two halves. These wounds weren't left behind by the warriors of this vampire camp.
Qianye was momentarily enlightened. This arachne was probably a viscount whose strength had fallen due to an unknown injury. Even so, he retained his special combat technique and, with it, finished off all the warriors in this vampire camp.
The arachne greedily devoured the vampires' hearts one by one as if the world would end the next moment. Apparently, he was eager to heal his injuries.
The hearts of vampires and werewolves, the demonic cores of the arachne, and the origin furnaces of the demonkin were the respective core organs for origin power convergence. Devouring large amounts at a critical juncture could, indeed, allow one to rapidly recover from injuries. But the problem was that this kind of absorption was extremely wasteful and a.s.sociated with a fair amount of sequelae. Apparently, this arachne's injuries were extremely critical, leaving him with no other choice but to use this kind of extreme method to seek recovery.
It seemed the dark races active within this vast mountainous region weren't exactly unified. On the contrary, they likely possessed deep hatred for one another.
A thought flashed through Qianye's mind as he began to approach the camp stealthily. The arachne was so focused on prying open the vampire corpses and devouring their hearts that he didn't notice the movements in the vicinity at all.
Actually, in addition to the unsprung traps it had set up around the camp, an area dozens of meters around the arachne was covered in dense spiderwebs. It was almost impossible to launch a sneak attack against it.
But Qianye had long since confirmed the coverage area of the webs with his night vision. He moved cautiously through the gaps and halted his steps just beyond the webs spread out on the ground behind the creature.
Qianye brought out the Twin Flowers and pressed a Mithril bullet of exorcism into it. After this, he activated the Wings of Inception as he merged the guns together and a loud boom echoed out as the Mithril Bullet of Exorcism tore a huge hole in the arachne's body.
The arachne suddenly let out a hysterical scream as the translucent white silk frantically wrapped around his body to form a defensive barrier. He turned around, stared fixedly at Qianye and let out a roar while attempting to pounce at him. However, his body had long since been drained of strength and his entire back was charred as if he had been scorched by intense flames. The strands of spider silk were immediately reduced to ash upon contact.
The arachne was only able to take two steps before collapsing onto the ground. However, it still managed to extend its right hand towards Qianye and shoot out a strand of spider silk.
Qianye took a step back, drew the Scarlet Edge, and hacked down into the air in front of himself. His hand shook from the impact as he cut the spider thread apart. It was as if he had just cut through a steel bar.
The shrill sound of cut threads echoed through the air as Qianye continued to brandish his blade and tear a path through the dense spider webs.
Qianye arrived within melee range, pointed the Scarlet Edge at the arachne's throat from a distance, and asked coldly, "Why did you kill them?"
The arachne stared at the dagger in Qianye's hand, then asked in a hoa.r.s.e voice, "Which clan are you from?"
 Author said Eagleshot here, but I think the current sniper is no longer an Eagleshot. Because of this, I've replaced it with sniper rifle for now. At least until I can confirm things.