Chapter 571: New Battles [V6C101 – Sorrow of a Silent Parting]
Fortunately, Song Zining had also established an efficient management system. Song Hu and Duan Hao were both adept in general affairs. Those who had been following Qianye like Lil’ Seven, Lil’ Nine, and bloodline seedlings like the Wu s.h.i.+ying siblings were also maturing by the day—they had a perfect command of their duties. All of this saved Qianye from too much embarra.s.sment.
The days of peace didn’t last very long. An imperial emissary soon arrived to deliver the recruitment notice. Qianye’s name wasn’t in the military department’s register since he was still registered in the expeditionary army system and hadn’t officially joined the Zhao clan private army. As such, the recruitment order was of a voluntary type.
The recruitment offered a fair degree of freedom—should Qianye choose to go, he would have the freedom to choose a warzone to fight in. He would also be allowed to join any of the major army corps, or join an aristocratic private army to fight in their name.
Presently, the geography of the void landma.s.s had been more or less ascertained and divided into seven warzones. Moreover, these areas were currently unoccupied. According to imperial tradition, a third of all the land conquered and held onto until the end of the war would become the pioneer’s property.
A new, empty territory was a highly attractive prospect for any aristocratic family. One had to know that opening up new territory was at the top of military contributions. Toward the end of this war, new aristocratic families might spring up, landowning households could be promoted to aristocracy, and even a major clan might emerge.
To those with ambitions, this seven-province-wide void landma.s.s was a stairway to heaven.
Qianye was already well-prepared by the time he received the recruitment order. He had already made ample preparations in Blackflow City and had nothing left to worry about. As such, he boarded a military airs.h.i.+p with the emissary that very evening.
The airs.h.i.+p didn’t travel straight toward imperial territory. It made several stops and detours to pick up other people on Evernight Continent before heading into the void.
There were seven pa.s.sengers on the airs.h.i.+p including Qianye, each and every one of them possessing profound auras. These people had also received similar recruitment orders since they didn’t belong to any aristocratic clan or regular army corps. Two of them were reportedly from the expeditionary army, but Qianye had never heard of their names before. Even their garrisoned warzones sounded rather unfamiliar.
The atmosphere inside the airs.h.i.+p was gloomy, not unlike the lull before the storm. No one in the cabin exchanged pleasantries and only scanned each other with sharp gazes from time to time.
It couldn’t be seen on Qianye’s face, but Qianye was secretly on-alert since stepping through the cabin doors. He could smell, from these people, an aura similar to his own—it was the strong scent of slaughter. There was actually a rank-fifteen champion among them. Solely in terms of origin power-level, he was already at the level of a lieutenant general, right up there with the vice-commander-in-chief of the expeditionary army.
In a barren land like Evernight Continent, a champion was enough to lead a division and act as the pillar of a city or warzone. Surprisingly, there were so many unknown experts here. This went to show that the expeditionary army and the local landowning cla.s.ses weren’t as weak as they seemed. This discovery caused Qianye to become more vigilant.
The airs.h.i.+p flew several days amidst the stifling atmosphere, traversing the remote void and finally arriving at the imperial mainland.
Qianye walked out of the airs.h.i.+p into an incomparably bustling world where the roar of engines almost drowned out all the other sounds. There were dozens of airs.h.i.+ps around him with soldiers currently moving in and out of them. In the distant sky, hundreds of war vessels were shuttling about.
“Get off! Stop tarrying!” A lieutenant colonel howled from the ground, waving his hand frantically at Qianye’s group.
The man was using his maximum volume since, otherwise, his voice would’ve been drowned out by the engine sounds. Qianye was rather understanding of this fact and didn’t mind the lack of manners. He simply walked over to the designated location to report in.
But not everyone was as easygoing. The one who had come out from behind Qianye was a rank-twelve champion, a rank capable of leading two army corps in the expeditionary army. That person stood in front of the lieutenant colonel with narrowed eyes and glared at the latter’s throat with a cold, venomous gaze. It was as though his hand would pierce into those green veins at a moment’s notice.
But the lieutenant colonel wasn’t afraid at all, and there was even a hint of disdainful provocation in his eyes. He spat loudly and sneered, “What? You wish to attack me? You’re welcome to try!”
That champion flew into a rage, and even his expression grew rather twisted. He produced a wisp of origin power from his fingertips amidst the sizzling sound of corrosive venom. However, he decided against taking action in the end and only shot a fierce glance at the military emblem on the soldier’s chest.
The lieutenant colonel had no intention of stopping at all. He spat again, and this time, it almost hit the other party’s glistening shoes. “So you do have some sense! Your entire family will die without a burial if you dare touch me!”
The champion’s face was livid as he glared deeply at the lieutenant colonel and left in large strides.
The latter’s rank wasn’t high, and his combat strength was also mediocre. But his ident.i.ty was quite sensitive since he was an officer in the employ of the imperial military. No matter how powerful people like Qianye were, there would always be reasons as to why they were hiding on Evernight Continent.
Qianye had neither the intention of getting himself involved nor did he want to watch the liveliness. He simply walked away on his own to the report-in area reserved for generals. There were only a handful of people there, so Qianye’s turn arrived very quickly.
The plump lieutenant colonel behind the desk flipped through the register for quite a while after Qianye reported his recruitment number. He eventually found Qianye’s data with some difficulty and scanned through it briefly. Then, he shot up from his desk and asked in a delighted voice, “You’re General Qianye?”
“It is I.”
The lieutenant colonel was all smiles as he said, “s.h.i.+duo is my brother! He’s mentioned more than once about how you saved him on Evernight Continent. Please tell me if there’s anything you need during your stay here, our Zhang clan does have some say here.”
Qianye was somewhat startled. This lieutenant colonel was clearly not so young and already looked to be about fifty years old. If he hadn’t broken through the champion rank at this point, there was very little hope for it afterward. It would also appear that he was clear about his situation. Just from the clear outline of this belly, it was quite clear that he had already given up on cultivation.
Who would’ve thought that valiant Zhang s.h.i.+duo would have such a brother? And their age difference wasn’t small. either.
Regardless, Qianye naturally wouldn’t refuse a friendly gesture. With the war looming over the horizon, every bit of help—even if it was just providing information—was a good thing to have.
That lieutenant colonel introduced himself as Zhang s.h.i.+ming. He had served the imperial military for over twenty years. His combat strength was mediocre and his future was limited, but his Zhang clan background and tactful personality opened many doors.
Zhang s.h.i.+ming recalled, after talking for a good while, that he hadn’t finished his main business. He quickly registered Qianye’s information and pa.s.sed him a booklet, as well as an ident.i.ty token. Afterward, he brought out a simple map of the camp and said, “General, your residence is here.”
Qianye checked the location and found that the generals’ residences were in a fairly good location. The barracks was built around a small lake, and there was also a forest to the side.
“Thank you.” Qianye put the things away and left for his own barracks.
The dormitory’s location was quite good, with a wide view and the gleaming lake surface just outside the window. But as this was a military camp, the facilities inside weren’t luxurious at all—everything was limited to the bare necessities. Qianye had never paid much heed to these things since he would only be here for a couple of days. He would have to go to war as soon as he was a.s.signed to a mission.
Qianye put down his small luggage. All the miscellaneous items apart from East Peak and Thunderbolt had been packed into a single tactical backpack. Naturally, his real stash of rations was in Andruil’s Mysterious Realm, and it was enough to last him an entire month out in the wild.
Afterward, Qianye opened the small booklet and began reading in detail. This pamphlet was printed quite recently and contained the map of the void landma.s.s. Although a lot of the details were missing, the main regions had all been drawn in.
It was easy to accomplish this. Expansion and exploration on the void landma.s.s never stopped even after the imperial army withdrew from Giant’s Repose. Later on, they had dispatched a number of small elite squads to scout out the land. This rough map was the fruit of the reconnaissance units’ extensive efforts and sacrifice; the casualty rate among them was as high as thirty percent.
The empire had destroyed the tunnel connecting Giant’s Repose to the void landma.s.s, so the only way to get there was via airs.h.i.+p.
The pressure sapping constantly at the experts’ origin power vanished after Prince Greensun destroyed the remnant will of the Void Colossus Chaos. Now, airs.h.i.+ps could finally land on it.
The floating continent was located between the upper and middle continents, closer to imperial lands. The Dark Nation continents were quite a distance away. This also meant that the empire held a distinct advantage in landing airs.h.i.+ps on it.
At this point, Qianye suddenly realized the reason behind the capture of Giant’s Repose and why the empire was so interested in the strange world behind it. All of his questions were answered at this moment.
It would seem the well-prepared empire had gained the upper-hand over the Evernight Council with its apparently inferior information system. Their bases on the floating continent were destined to be lost after the destruction of the tunnel behind Giant’s Repose.
The gap in airs.h.i.+p technology between the Evernight Council and the empire wasn’t that big to begin with. Evernight’s four major races emphasized on training experts for war—when needed, the vampires would produce blood thralls and the arachne would use their servspiders. As for demonkin, they rarely ever ama.s.sed soldiers. Werewolves, on the other hand, would appear in the form of tribes. Under such situations, the dark races paid little attention to low-ranking warriors. They were even less inclined to invest resources on large machinery used specifically to a.s.semble these inferior fighting forces.
Qianye flipped to the next section of the booklet. Their objective this time was to clean out the aboriginal lifeforms on the floating continent and defend against dark race attacks.
Apart from the border defenses forces, all of the other imperial army corps would take turns to ascend this continent and join the war. At the same time, the major clans had been a.s.signed corresponding primary attack positions in order to maximize combat strength—the four major clans would be responsible for one warzone each. Several other aristocratic families, like the Nangong, would be a.s.signed together to one warzone.
As for the other aristocracy, they would be allowed to choose whichever warzone they wanted.
Qianye put down the booklet slowly and walked to the other side of the room. There, he saw a hundred-meter long airs.h.i.+p descending slowly at the extremes of his vision. Mountains of supplies had piled up beside the airs.h.i.+p port, and even the endless, snaking motorcade couldn’t quite s.h.i.+p them away on time.
The ma.s.sive airs.h.i.+p was the empire’s largest Roc-cla.s.s airs.h.i.+p that could transport thousands of soldiers in a single run. And there were seven or eight more of such vessels circling in the air, awaiting their turn to land.
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