Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict, Chapter 25: Inexorable Restraints
Qianye calmly admitted, “My mind is indeed a mess these days. That’s why I came to see you, General, and ask you about future war plans.”
Wei Bainian was somewhat surprised. He smiled faintly and said, “This doesn’t sound like you at all. What’s the matter? Are you anxious to fight? Quite a few people have come to visit me already, some from the expeditionary army headquarters and others from among the hot-blooded youths of the city.”
The situation outside was changing as time went on. Wei Bainian’s withdrawal tactic was once again being questioned both from outside and within. There were quite a number of hot-blooded youngsters in Blackflow City who wanted to fight to the death against the dark races.
However, Wei Bainian’s administration was extremely strict. Neither regular nor conscripted warriors of the 7th division were allowed to move out alone. The commotion became so big that a number of them had to be handled on the spot before the opposing voices died down.
Wei Bainian gave it some thought and said, “I don’t mind telling you some things since it’s you asking me about this.” He stood up, pulled out a map from the bookshelf, and spread it out upon the table.
Qianye saw a small seal at the corner of this map—it was the ancient character for “Wei”. He had seen this seal on many of Wei Bainian and Wei Potian’s equipment. Apparently, this map didn’t come from the expeditionary army but through the Wei clan’s channels.
Wei Bainian lightly patted the map and said, “This is the true situation of the war on Evernight Continent. It comes from the imperial military, given only to the clans and upper-class nobility taking part in this war. Even in the expeditionary army headquarters, only a few have seen this.”
Qianye walked over to the table and looked over attentively. There were, indeed, much more details here than the one on the wall. Apart from the distribution of the dark race army, there were also various numbers and predictions of enemy troop movement. On the empire’s side, there were several additional symbols on the current locations of the expeditionary army and the various reinforcement units. Apparently, there were important characters among them.
Looking further, all the dark race armies were tagged as mechanized corps.  This signified that the strength of each unit was comparable to an imperial regular mechanized corps—this was absolutely shocking news. One had to know that each army normally had only two regular mechanized corps.
There were over 20 such dark race units!
Qianye couldn’t help being startled. “How is the expeditionary army going to block all this?”
Wei Bainian nodded and said, “In truth, the expeditionary army has already lost over a third of its military strength and half the territories. However, the current situation can still be maintained, albeit barely. Currently, two regular armies from the empire have arrived in Evernight Continent and more reinforcements are on the way. A large number of experts from both Bai and Zhao clans have also been mobilized and are arriving in succession.”
Qianye studied the map in front of him and suddenly said, “The movements of the dark race army are a bit odd. Why are these armies moving toward this direction?”
Qianye’s fingers traced along the several troop movement prediction lines. The direction of these dark race armies was inconceivable. They deviated from the cities and headed toward the wilderness whereupon they stationed themselves without further movement. It was as if they were waiting for the imperial army to attack them.
Wei Bainian also said, “This area is indeed quite odd. I can’t make heads or tails of it, either. From their movements, it seems that the dark races have chosen those areas for the final confrontation. But, most of them are indefensible.”
When two sides engaged in a great battle, the party choosing the location would normally gain a significant initial advantage, provided they could use various methods to force the other side to enter. However, those with the initiative would usually choose strategic locations. Here in these flat plains, the two parties could only engage in a head-on battle. What benefits would it give to either party?
Qianye suddenly recalled what Nighteye told him last night, that this battle wasn’t what the humans thought it was.
Wei Bainian patted several points on the map and said, “Currently, the imperial army has reached an initial consensus. They will meet the dark race army in combat at these locations. As for troop strength, they will only dispatch enough troops to gain a small advantage.”
Qianye felt even more suspicious. “It sounds very much like one of those knight duels greatly revered by the vampires. When did those great characters become so honorable?” Humans and dark races had fought countless battles over thousands of years. Humans had always held the advantage in tactics, while the dark races were superior in military power. If the two were to meet in a head-on clash like so, it was almost certain that the casualties on the empire’s side would be greater.
Wei Bainian laughed wryly and said, “You misunderstood. It’s not that they don’t want to raid and take out a number of enemy units first, but it’s just that they simply don’t dare.”
“The dark race military power currently amassed in Evernight Continent is far superior to the empire’s side. Since they’ve already taken such an obvious stance, the military is concerned that the situation will deteriorate rapidly if we don’t play by their rules. The dark race army has been fully assembled. If they were to launch an all-out attack immediately, almost all territories apart from the major cities in the interior would be lost.” This also meant that it was only a matter of time before isolated cities were taken down.
Qianye immediately understood Wei Bainian’s intention. Since the empire and the dark races were about to meet in an open battle, it made little difference to the general situation whether or not Blackflow City would go to battle. Entrenchment wasn’t without its merits—their location at the rear was like a chokepoint—they could easily block off the enemy path of retreat once their frontlines had taken too much damage.
“So, we just have to wait for the battles to end?”
“Correct,” Wei Bainian said with a nod, “but we can’t relax our city defenses in the slightest. Otherwise, the dark races certainly won’t mind uprooting us in passing.”
Qianye deliberated in silence before saying, “Since that’s the case, I want to go out and look for some opportunities. Maybe I can kill some of those dark-blooded bastards.”
Wei Bainian gazed deeply at Qianye and said, “Qianye, you’re a dear friend of Young Master Huyang, so let me give you a veteran’s advice. How can hunting solo compare to leading soldiers into battle? Just look at Black Clay Town. How many accomplishments did you amass? This isn’t something you can do alone. The young should learn patience and restraint. You have to look at the bigger picture.”
Qianye nodded and replied sincerely, “Thank you, general, for the advice. However, my individual strength needs more tempering. That’s why I hope to fight and practice more.”
Wei Bainian exhaled deeply and waved his hands. “Nurture strength in battle. Another one of Zhang Baqian’s theories. You, youngsters, are all the same! Sigh, why does no one stop to think how many people are just overflowing with innate gift like Marshal Zhang? There’s only one Zhang Baqian in the empire.”
However, Wei Bainian didn’t stop Qianye. He only asked the latter a few questions about certain arrangements regarding the Dark Flame Mercenary Corps and about his representative commander.
Qianye began to collect his equipment after returning to his residence. Without further delay, he directly left Blackflow City by motorcycle and headed into the vast wilderness.
Subconsciously, he wanted to leave this war zone as quickly as possible. The excuse he kept giving himself was that there shouldn’t be any battles around Blackflow City for the time being and that he wanted to find enemies in order to nurture strength through battle. However, he didn’t realize in the depths of his mind just what he was running from. If he met Nighteye once again, what reason would he have to avoid fighting her?
The wilderness was still shrouded in unchanging twilight. The time had yet to arrive for sunlight to fall upon Evernight Continent, and even then, seeing the sun wasn’t a certainty due to the recent gloomy weather. Glancing as far as the eye could see, the great land extending toward the distant horizon was seemingly blanketed by a faint layer of mist.
The cold and moist wind was blowing from the front. The crossover between the light and dark seasons would soon fall upon Evernight Continent. As such, even the wilderness was filled with a rare aura of such intense vitality.
Qianye lowered his body until he was almost leaning over the motorcycle and pushed the power output to the maximum. The motorcycle engine let out a rumble like rolling thunder as flames burst out from its four large exhaust pipes. The bike shook violently like a horse freed of its reins, sped up rapidly, and flew off into the vast wilderness.
The incoming winds were as sharp as blades and would produce a stabbing pain as it struck Qianye’s face. The surrounding scenery became somewhat blurry, and the sensation of extreme speed made the blood in his body boil. He was beginning to fall in love with this kind of stimulation.
Many existences were alarmed as Qianye rumbled past through the hazy mist. Their eyes fell on the brilliant flames emerging from the rear.
“A reckless little brat…”
“Shall we catch up and kill him?”
“Let it be. It’s too troublesome.”
Such conversations took place repeatedly. The wilderness was full of danger, but it was currently a period where both humans and the dark races were minimizing scattered outdoor activities. This tranquility was just an illusion.
Qianye naturally sensed these malicious gazes and was actually hoping for enemies to appear. As long as the other party wasn’t a champion, the outcome could be managed. There was a certain flame burning in Qianye’s heart, and it was being fanned violently by the fierce winds he faced at his current speed.
What made him disappointed was that not a single dark race warrior had caught up to him despite having traveled hundreds of kilometers. Even vampires, known for their speed, hadn’t appeared.
A mountainous region lay before him. Qianye found a cave, hid his motorcycle there, and camouflaged the opening before dashing into the continuous mountain range. His target was the closest dark race war zone. He still couldn’t direct the general situation of the battle with his current strength, but he planned to go around the vicinity and see if there were any opportunities he could exploit. He could still cause the dark race army to suffer some minor losses.
This part of the journey was extremely peaceful. He met no enemy whatsoever except some wild beasts. Apparently, the dark races have truly entered a total combat-ready status and had placed restrictions upon their subordinate warriors. This was a rare circumstance for the relatively undisciplined dark race soldiers.
A level valley appeared before Qianye’s eyes as evening arrived. The valley was very wide and filled with luminous grass. This kind of wild grass was common in the predominantly dark Evernight Continent. They would absorb the sunlight during the few hours of daytime and emit a faint luminescent glow as they swayed in the night breeze.
However, luminous grass usually grew sporadically and rarely appeared in such a large patch. What Qianye witnessed was like a sea of luminescence wherein ripples would appear one after another in the wind. This kind of beautiful scenery was quite rare. And on Evernight Continent, an abnormal phenomenon usually signified a special reason. For instance, there might be certain mineral resources under this valley.
At this moment, there were two groups engaging in a desperate battle. One side comprised an alliance of vampires and arachne, while the other was made up of human warriors. Judging from their uniforms, the latter seemed to be private soldiers from an aristocratic family.
Qianye stealthily approached the battlefield without hesitation. Both sides were engaged in a battle of great momentum, and it seemed the bitter struggle had gone on for quite some time. There were few scouts in the vicinity, allowing Qianye to easily arrive at a distance of a few hundred meters.
Qianye propped up the Eagleshot and observed the battlefield through its scope. The dark races were led by two vampire barons and the highest ranked on the human side was a rank nine fighter.
But this private army, as a whole, wasn’t weaker than the dark race warriors. Judging from the way they fought, it was evident that they were well trained, adept at group assaults, and well-versed in regular army tactics despite being a private army. As such, they were slowly regaining the upper hand.
Qianye observed for a while before making his move. His crosshairs firmly locked onto a certain vampire. This blood esquire was the leader of a section of the battlefield and a perfect target for the firepower of the Eagleshot.
He calmly began to charge the gun and add special effects one after another. What Qianye wanted was to kill in a single shot.
Just as the origin power bullet took shape within the gun chamber, the figure of a certain girl leapt into his sights. Her movements were somewhat shaky and wild in nature. It was evident that she had received formal combat training only recently, and as such, a large part of her instinctive fighting habits still remained.
 The PLA works with Group Armies as a unit which is roughly equal to a US corps. I think I’ll go with corps so as not to confuse everyone.
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