Volume 3 – The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace, Chapter 86: Foreboding Winds
Old Two fumbled about within the drawer and slapped the list of five-star hunter equipment down in front of Qianye. He slightly slid his spectacles down the bridge of his nose and looked over the frame when he heard Qianye speak of buying information. “Related to?”
“The Seventh Division of Blackflow City.”
Old Two’s eyes turned sharp. He immediately pushed the spectacles back in place and said slowly, “You’re asking for some dangerous stuff.”
Qianye browsed through the contents of the list which contained almost 100 pieces of equipment. He had just recently upgraded his gear. The equipment offered here, while considered quite good for hunters, had little use for him. In the end, he selected a set of tight-fitting light armor and some blank origin bullets.
Qianye placed the list in front of Old Two after completing the selection and replied with a smile, “Danger? How so? I just want some ordinary information.”
Old Two replied pensively, “Wu Zhengnan was promoted to major general just last month. What’s more important is that even if Wu Zhengnan isn’t the most troublesome among the many division commanders of the Expeditionary Army, he’s certainly ranked within the top three. Although he’s surnamed Wu—the same surname as the Weiyang Wu Clan—it’s common knowledge that he was of civilian origins. It’s unnecessary to explain his temperament and methods when you consider how he managed to rise into such a position. The seventh division is almost like his personal army. The whole region around Blackflow City and the Four Rivers Military Base is like an independent nation. In fact, even the expeditionary army headquarters can hardly exert any influence.”
After that, Old Two paused for a moment and squeezed out a faint smile of ridicule on his skinny and wrinkled countenance. “That’s all... if what you wanted is only ordinary information.”
Qianye looked up and saw Old Two’s gaze piercing through from behind the spectacles. The two looked at each other for a moment before Qianye laughed, “Very well, what I want are his recent trade movements.”
“One hundred gold coins for every piece of news.”
Qianye’s brow twitched. A hundred gold coin per piece of information was quite steep compared to the market price, however, they both knew what Qianye wanted wasn’t information about on-the-table trade like supplies and weapons. Obviously, what he wanted was information regarding their underground trade. But 100 gold coins was the price of two origin power guns—even the rewards from four-star missions wouldn’t necessarily reach this amount.
Qianye spoke slowly, “Old Two…”
Old Two waved his hand. “It’s useless no matter what you say. This price is already at a 50 percent discount out of consideration for your status as a five-star hunter. You just had to go and choose none other than Wu Zhengnan. In order to collect this information, I’d have to be prepared to lose all my assets in the Blackflow City Region. Do you still think it's expensive?” Old Two withdrew his probing gaze and adopted a resolute stance.
Qianye refrained from speaking further and asked directly, “How long will it take?”
“Five days, I estimate. It’s difficult to mobilize since the world outside is not peaceful.”
Qianye nodded. “Very well. I’ll go and find a place to stay for the time being or perhaps I’ll take a walk outside the city.
“Yingnan’s room is still unoccupied. You can stay there if you wish.”
Qianye gave it some thought and replied, “That’s fine too.”
Old Two watched Qianye’s figure disappear through the door of the Home of Hunters before adjusting his spectacles. He was pondering, “Did I make a mistake? Whose child is this?” He had long since known that Qianye’s origins were definitely problematic. But then again, who in this abandoned land was free from unspeakable secrets?
Whenever Wu Zhengnan was mentioned, he couldn’t help but recall Yu Renyan who lost his life at Darkblood City. Back then, he was quite surprised that the two were acquainted. Yu Renyan was the captain of the Dark Blade Warriors, a special force under Wu Zhengnan’s command. How exactly were they related?
Old Two picked up the flask Qianye was drinking and gave it a shake—there wasn’t even a single drop left. Hence, he threw it back onto the table and began to write in his mission record book. He was already too old to meddle with these things. In any case, Yingnan had already left for the upper continent and wouldn’t be returning anytime soon. The Home of Hunters was only a place for accepting and dispatching missions. What the commissioner wanted to do wasn’t his business.
Qianye walked along the familiar yet somewhat alien streets. He recalled his little room as he walked past the South Bank District and that little girl who was as pure as the grass after the rain. He had returned even before a year had passed, however, Qianye had no intention to go over regardless of whether she was still there or not.
His conversation with Old Two was still echoing within his mind. When he told Song Zining that he would return to the Evernight Continent, he hadn’t given much thought about what he would do next. Qianye’s had originally believed that getting rid of the ringleader was the only effective method. There was, of course, no way for him to kill a champion at his current stage. However, not only would he continue to grow and develop, but he also possessed the patience to wait until the time was ripe.
He soon realized, however, that things weren’t as simple as he thought. It seemed killing Wu Zhengnan would hardly be of any significance if his ultimate goal was to stop the human and black crystal trafficking. Another representative would simply fill this gap as long as the network of profit and trade channels remained intact. Today, Old Two had also hinted that the military zone was almost like an independent nation—not even the expeditionary army headquarters could control them—something of this scale was absolutely not built upon Wu Zhengnan’s benefits alone.
He soon reached the end of this winding street. Some feelings of reminiscence surfaced as he glanced at the familiar door.
Yu Yingnan’s residence had been maintained in its previous state. Nothing had changed even after such a long time had passed. The fact that it actually hadn’t been cleared out by thieves meant someone had been looking after it in secret. Merely, a thick layer of dust had settled due to the long period of disuse, prompting Qianye to do some cleaning in order to clear out some sleeping space.
Qianye duly set up layer upon layer of traps within the room and stowed away his luggage. It could be said that he had finally settled in. He ran over to Black Copper Street quite a few times and returned with quite a few bags of ammunition and various components with which he filled the warehouse and storage rooms. Origin weapons weren’t the only option in battle—their role in battle was confined by the limited number of times they could be used. It was sometimes more efficient to use gunpowder weapons when fighting against cannon fodder and low-level warriors.
Qianye ate something after finishing his preparations and waited in silence until the midnight bell started ringing.
He faced the mirror and changed his appearance. Putting on a heavy trench coat and hiding the Twin Flowers and Radiant Edge inside, he left the house and vanished into the night.
An hour later, Qianye appeared within a gloomy alley of the Northern District. There was a small rundown tavern without a signboard at the end of this alley. A number of muscular men sat idly in front of its doors, sweeping their violent eyes over all the passersby.
Qianye walked straight toward the tavern. One of the muscular men sitting beside the door suddenly extended his hand to block his path.
“Not just anyone can enter. You have to buy a ticket first!”
Qianye extended his hand and flashed something at him before inquiring indifferently, “Is this ticket sufficient?”
When the burly man saw the item in Qianye’s hand, his expression immediately straightened up. He jumped to his feet and said respectfully, “Please enter! I hope you find what you want inside.”
“I also hope I won’t be disappointed.” Qianye’s voice, at the moment, was somewhat deep and hoarse, sounding as if he was older.
After Qianye entered the tavern, the other ferocious-looking men crowded around the burly man. “Who is that person?”
The burly man’s eyes swept over them before replying coldly, “This isn’t for you lot to know! Ask less about such things if you want to live longer!”
Behind the mottled single-leaf door was an area more spacious than one would expect. The walls were made of plain undecorated limestone and so was the floor, which was meticulously polished to a glossy smoothness. The style was simple and clean.
The atmosphere could be considered quite peaceful for a tavern. A dozen customers sat scattered in different areas, occasionally speaking to each other in hushed tones as if they were discussing something. Some sat alone with their heads lowered, drinking away their sorrow without even sparing a glance at their surroundings.
However, as Qianye entered, the whole tavern became silent and all eyes fell on him. He understood their gazes—they were on guard after seeing an unfamiliar face.
Any establishment with a relatively fixed social circle would react the same way toward outsiders. It was rather odd, however, to see such a reaction in a tavern that does business as soon as its doors opened each day. As such, Qianye was able to confirm that he had come to the right place.
A plain-looking old man greeted Qianye from behind the counter, “What would you like to drink?”
“Three glasses of plain water.”
The old man’s expression changed slightly as he replied with a nod, “Certainly. But you’ll have to wait here for a while. Find a seat first!”
“This bar is good enough,” Qianye replied as he walked toward the old man.
As Qianye walked past a certain table, a short and wretched man suddenly approached him. The latter proceeded to sniff at him before screaming, “Aha, guess what I smell? The stink of a bloodsucking vampire! As pure as an entire piece of black crystal!”
The temperature within the whole tavern seemed to have dropped as everyone’s hands moved to their weapons.
Qianye halted his steps. He glanced over at the man and replied indifferently, “It’s no use keeping such a worthless nose!”
Origin power suddenly erupted from Qianye’s body before everyone’s eyes. A scarlet haze lined with specks of golden light rushed swiftly toward that person.
However, the small wretched man sensed things differently—what he perceived was an oddly alluring fragrance. His subconsciousness urged him to take a deep breath, and soon, he had inhaled all the golden grains of light.
During the latter part of this process, the man’s face was full of terror and spite. He had probably already discovered that these golden specks were fatal, however, he couldn’t resist their temptation and continued to breathe in deeply. He clutched his throat and tried to scream but no sound came out.
The man’s large nose immediately turned black and rotted away, leaving a terrifying cavity in its place! At this point, the wretched man fell on his back and passed out.
The whole tavern was overcome by silence, broken only by a couple of astonished gasps—their gaze toward Qianye was full of fear.
The peculiar fragrance only existed within the short and wretched man’s senses. What the others saw was the radiant origin power flowing out from Qianye’s body. Releasing origin power and killing formlessly, such abilities belonged to warriors at the champion rank and above.
Qianye’s gaze swept through the vicinity as he spoke nonchalantly, “Who else can’t control themselves?”
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