Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict, Chapter 24: Distance
Qianye glanced at his surroundings. Not to mention the so-called head, there was nothing else but grey mist here. It was at this moment that he felt the world spin and his surroundings rapidly darken. He could no longer see anything.
The next moment, Qianye woke up on his own bed. His whole body was dripping with sweat and his clothes, completely drenched. He felt a certain emptiness within and found that his origin power had been completely exhausted. It was as if he had just experienced a great battle and used up all of his energy.
Touching his sweaty forehead, Qianye began to ponder about the strange dream world. Intuition told him that he would be able to go further into the dream realm and find the source of this voice if only his origin power was deeper.
Following which, he shook his head and shook off this seemingly ridiculous thought. However, the existence of this voice was simply too realistic. He couldn’t just dismiss it as a meaningless dream.
There were a plethora of things going through his mind. Finally, he focused his thoughts on the three special things he had encountered recently: the Song Clan Ancient Scroll, the dark golden blood energy, and the rune fragment. Which of them was related to this incident?
After lying there for a while, he got up and retrieved the fragmented crystal disk he had acquired from Baron Deryl. He observed it in detail but found nothing else apart from the indecipherable runespeak characters. If there really were any secrets waiting to be discovered, perhaps the chances were much greater in Deryl's hands.
Qianye then tried to recall the details recorded in Baron Deryl’s notebook once again but found nothing of note. After returning to Black Clay Town back then, he wanted to ask Hu Wei if there were any single old men who had passed away recently or shown unusual movement. But after inquiring about the circumstances, he decided against this method of investigation. There were simply too many old single men among both the residents and the scavengers. No one truly paid any attention to their fate.
Perhaps the only clue was the forgotten mountain range in Flaming Beacon Continent.
Flaming Beacon Continent was the name given by the dark races. The continent, on the empire’s territorial map, was called Western Continent. This was an upper continent where the two factions were evenly matched, each occupying half of the territories. There had been victories and losses for both throughout the years with no single side gaining any great advantage.
The Western Continent was also where the Zhao clan of the four great aristocratic clans had its foundations. The famed Fire Beacon Corps under the command of the new clan master, Zhao Weihuang, was also stationed here. Additionally, the power of the rebel forces on this continent wasn’t small either. They operated openly in several provinces, two of which had once declared independence at the same time.
It just so happened that the dark races had stirred up a new war at that time. Under the combined assault of the dark race army and the rebel forces, the local forces including the great general of the northwest, Zhao Weihuang, were forced to run for their lives. The empire had no choice but to call in Lin Xitang from the northern regions to hold the fort. Although the general situation was calmed down in the end, the military deadlock remained till this day and had Lin Xitang bogged down in the Western Frontier.
The flames of war were burning brightly in the current Western Continent, fanned by a disorderly mess of powers, big and small. The only relatively peaceful regions were those under the firm control of imperial clans. The situation surrounding the dark race and rebel territories, as well as the newly reclaimed provinces were exceptionally chaotic. The situation wasn’t any better than that of Evernight Continent.
At the thought of this, Qianye decided that he would go to the Western Continent to have a look once everything in Evernight Continent had been settled. The Black-Winged Monarch was a great monarch of the vampire race, and it so happened that vampire items were suitable for him. This was, perhaps, an opportunity for him to become stronger. After experiencing the two battles against Brahms and Sades, Qianye came to a deep understanding that only a battle between experts could determine the outcome of a battle.
He wanted to obtain greater power. Strength was the only cornerstone in this chaotic world, whether it was for survival or to protect things that were important to him.
Qianye recovered slightly from his state of extreme exhaustion but he no longer had any feelings of sleepiness. He properly donned his clothing and opened the door to take a walk outside.
Deep at night, Blackflow City was somehow different from before. The greater half of the city was still brightly lit, and the giant machines were puffing out wisps of steam which enshrouded several city blocks. It seemed they were still reinforcing the city fortifications. There weren’t many citizens on the streets at this hour, however, the city didn’t feel deserted at all because many of the conscripted reserve soldiers were camping out and the expeditionary army patrols squads would pass by every quarter of an hour.
Qianye aimlessly walked through the streets and alleys. Just as he walked past a certain lane, his eyes fell on a figure standing on the other end of the alley. His whole body jolted as he immediately halted his steps. After a moment of hesitation, Qianye slowly walked back and glanced in that direction.
The person was still there. They stood gazing at each other, separated by a ten-meter long alleyway.
Her countenance was hidden deep within her hood and veil. But her figure, her temperament, and especially those eyes capable of accommodating the whole world were things Qianye could never forget.
Qianye stood there for quite a long time—the other party, just as patient, also stood there in silence. When he finally walked into the small alleyway, he found that the hooded lady was also moving toward him. Finally, the two came to stand in the middle of the small pathway.
“It’s you.” Qianye thought for a long time. There were things he wanted to say but also felt that his words wouldn’t be appropriate. In the end, only these two words came out of his mouth.
“It’s me.” She slowly removed her veil to reveal a perfect countenance.
It was Nighteye.
Qianye’s expression was cold and stiff. His tone betrayed a strand of helplessness which he himself wasn’t aware. “You shouldn’t have come now.”
Nighteye gazed calmly at Qianye and replied with a voice containing no fluctuations, “But I’m already here.”
At this moment, at this place, they were reunited.
“What do you plan to do? Kill me?” Speaking thus, she glanced at the Twin Flowers and Radiant Edge on Qianye’s waist.
Qianye habitually pressed his hand on the handle but his fingers hesitated slightly as if he was feeling ill at ease. To a veteran warrior, such small extra movements might be lethal on the battlefield.
“You…” Qianye stopped after saying a single word.
There wasn’t a need for Qianye to ask why Nighteye would appear here. She was obviously someone who had been conscripted. With her perfect bloodline concealment ability, she was capable of operating in human territory without fear, the perfect candidate for undercover and spy work. At this moment where the dark race army had swept through the whole of Trinity River County, her appearance in Blackflow City was obviously to assess the defenses. She would then provide information to the dark race commander to decide whether or not they should swallow this city whole.
Qianye inhaled deeply and said, “Go, don’t come back.”
The corner of Nighteye’s lips curved up slightly into a spurious smile. “What? You don’t intend to kill me?”
“Aren’t you here to spy on the defenses? As you can see, Blackflow City doesn’t fear a battle.” Wei Bainian actually wanted the dark race spies to see the defensive arrangements in the city, making them think twice about the price of attacking this place.
Qianye’s expression was calm, frosty, and exuded an unquestionable resolution. “I will kill you when we meet on the battlefield.”
Nighteyes slightly lowered her gaze and found Qianye’s hand wandering aimlessly around the gun’s handle.  She revealed a faint smile and said while gazing into Qianye’s eyes, “Very well, I’ve seen what I came here to see. I’ll take my leave now.”
She turned around and walked a few steps before saying, “Leave this place quickly if possible. The war on Evernight Continent is completely different from what you think it is.” With that, she hastened her steps to leave.
Qianye’s voice suddenly reached her from behind. “Don’t let me see you on the battlefield next time.”
Nighteye’s elegant figure paused momentarily. She turned her head ever so slightly and replied with incomparable confidence, “We will definitely meet again on the battlefield.” After saying this, she continued forward and vanished into the darkness of the night within the blink of an eye.
Qianye stood there wondering why he had spoken those last words
Nighteye shouldn’t be too far from the champion rank, but her strength was mostly based on her powerful eye ability. Qianye had a hunch that he could suppress those vampire bloodline abilities and that his destructive powers against vampires would become stronger especially after his successive increase in rank. If they were to meet again when Qianye was rank eight or nine, she would likely fall to his blade as long as she hadn’t reached champion rank.
The wind blew in from the wilderness. It passed over the sturdy city walls and through the fortifications on the streets, rushing into Qianye’s chest—he felt a deep coldness permeate into his bones.
Qianye was no longer in the mood to keep on walking. He returned to his room and immediately went to bed. However, he couldn’t fall asleep even after lying there for several hours. Numerous thoughts were running through his mind in a tangled mess. It felt as if there was a defect in a certain corner of his mind and things were continuously falling through like a bottomless hole—without rest, without end. He couldn’t grasp what it was. Only a lingering sense of uneasiness remained.
He and Nighteye were in the same war zone. They would definitely meet in battle down the road.
Scenes from the battle of Earth Castle where the origin power bullets from the Twin Flowers exploded on Nighteye’s body kept replaying in Qianye’s mind. At that time, she actually wasn’t able to evade. Would it be even more difficult for her to evade the next time?
There was a whole world’s distance between daybreak and evernight.
Qianye went to find Wei Bainian as soon as he woke up the next day.
Wei Bainian was apparently in a good mood as he practiced calligraphy in the study. The piece of ink handmade by King Ji lay quietly in a corner of his desk. Qianye had never seen Wei Bainian use it before. The few times he had opened the box was simply to admire it.
Wei Bainian moved his brush very slowly. From the posture of his hands, it seemed as if he was moving a mountain instead of a brush.
Qianye didn’t disturb the general and instead waited for him to finish writing.
Wei Bainian put his brush away and checked his writing several times. With great satisfaction, he then said to Qianye, “Look, what do you think of this word scroll?”
Written on the scroll were four large words, “Immovable as the Mountains”. Its grandeur was dignified and resounding as if four mountain peaks were towering over the paper.
Although Qianye didn’t understand calligraphy, he could still feel the magnificence being emanated therein. “The grandeur is indeed profound.”
Wei Bainian laughed contentedly and said, “The late stages of the Wei clan’s Thousand Mountains requires one to comprehend concept more than cultivate arduously. If one cannot achieve the towering intent of the lofty mountains, it will be difficult for him to attain greater success in this secret art. However, the great dao is boundless and everyone walks a different path. I suddenly chanced upon this enlightenment back in the year and found that I could only advance by tempering the mind with calligraphy. But at this point, I’ve also reached my limit.”
He paused momentarily before he pointed at the scroll and said, “This word scroll is a piece I’m most proud in the recent years. Why don’t I give it to you?” With that, he laughed loudly and joked, “If one day you’re short on money, this will sell for at least several dozen gold coins!”
Qianye also liked this scroll very much. He immediately thanked Wei Bainian and put it away without being overly modest.
Qianye stood waiting while Wei Bainian spent quite a lot of time carefully putting away his writing equipment.
“Come, Qianye. Sit.” Wei Bainian only invited Qianye to sit after he finished with everything. He brought over a cup of tea and took a sip before saying, “There’s some confusion in your mind. What happened?”
 It was actually “aimlessly stroking the gun’s handle”... but that made me think of certain other things… so I modified it slightly.
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