Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict, Chapter 66: City of Death
Qianye listened attentively for a moment. Hearing no movement within, he walked in slowly and cautiously after a moment of hesitation.
However, the scene that came into view made him break into a frown.
The room and hallway were fairly spacious, but there was no furniture or decoration of any kind. The whole of the first floor was absolutely empty and contained nothing else whatsoever—even the walls were made up of raw stones.
The interior of the building was also suffused with a thin mist. One could hardly make out the wall on the other side of the hall while standing at the sizeable doorway.
Qianye arrived at the wide spiral staircase and gazed upward. He slowly walked up amidst the deathly silence and found that the second and third floors were in the same state with absolutely no traces of people having lived here. By the time he was on the third floor, he could no longer hear anything from the first.
He gazed out of the curtainless window and found mist as far as the eye could see. Only the silhouette of a large building across the street could be vaguely discerned.
The clammy grey mist made it feel as if the world were limited to a small area around the beholder. This reminded Qianye of something and his heart was suddenly jolted. That dream! The two dreams in which he had heard the mysterious voice—once after he had obtained the crystal fragment from Baron Deryl, and the next after entering the Fallen Star Mountain Range.
Qianye pondered for a moment and then quietly went back downstairs. He then entered a number of buildings and found all of them empty regardless of the size and structure. There wasn’t a single valuable thing to be found.
At this time, an uneasy sense of frustration rose up from the bottom of his palpitating heart. He was first astonished, but then came to realize the source of this uneasiness.
The city was too silent, so silent that only one’s own footsteps could be heard. Every little sound seemed to have become magnified within this environment of extreme stillness, and after some time, one could even hear his own heartbeat and blood flow. Walking alone in such a city made Qianye feel as if he were the only one left in this world. This kind of loneliness gradually became difficult to endure.
Qianye inhaled deeply and made an effort to relax his tense nerves.
The city wasn’t small at all and, judging from its scale, could probably accommodate tens of thousands of residents. But, although the buildings had been maintained fairly well, he wasn’t able to find any traces of people having lived there. The city was simply too clean—there was neither trash nor dust, and even the metals hadn’t rusted.
It seemed as if time had stopped at the point where the city was newly constructed.
Fortunately, the Wings of Inception weren’t obstructed by the mist and could still sense the location of the Eye of Truth. But this was also what bewildered Qianye—the Eye of Truth was constantly changing locations. Every time he closed in on it, he would sense the eye in a different location.
Additionally, the eye’s new positions were erratic regardless of his own movement speed. It would sometimes move farther and farther away or suddenly appear nearby. It had no regular pattern and seemed to be moving almost randomly.
After realizing this, Qianye stopped attempting to chase down the Eye of Truth. He instead entered a random building nearby, sat down on the ground, and began to regulate his breathing and replenish his origin power, all the while pondering his present predicament.
Qianye had already lost his sense of direction within this mist-enshrouded city. After being led in circles by the Wings of Inception, he realized that he could no longer even discern the city entrance. All the buildings around him seemed rather similar, and although there were some unique details, it was difficult to find any striking landmarks with such limited visibility.
After realizing this issue, he also tried leaving marks on the buildings. However, this was actually a terrible idea because there were two enemies on his tail and more of them would definitely appear. He would have revealed his movements once the marks were seen through.
Those enemies were still an unknown factor, but Qianye actually discovered something overwhelmingly odd about the city. It was that any mark he had left behind would gradually disappear within the mist. He even tried carving a deep notch on the metallic decoration patterns with his Scarlet Edge but found that the mark would gradually fill up and later disappear.
Unwittingly, Qianye had completed a full cycle of origin power circulation. He became greatly spirited after the abundant daybreak origin power inundated his vessels. He pushed away all distracting thoughts for the moment and proceeded to check his equipment and items. He even took the Twin Flowers apart and performed some maintenance on it.
Afterwards, he lay down and silently counted to a thousand with his eyes closed. This was a method which forced him to rest. After reaching a thousand, Qianye leapt up and walked out with his blade drawn.
He could neither find the Eye of Truth, see through the secrets of this deathly still city, nor even leave this place. But there was at least one thing he could do at the moment, and that was to kill the enemies chasing after him.
He would soon go insane if he had nothing to do in this kind of environment. Additionally, killing seemed to be the only thing he could do at the moment.
At this time, dozens of vampires and a group of Li family warriors led by Li Zhan had gathered outside the city. Their entry points into this world were indeed different, but regardless of the topography they had walked out from, everyone would see this city towering over the plains.
Several vampire viscounts wore grave expressions and were somewhat hesitant. It wasn’t because some of their companions had gone missing, but because the city before them was apparently the core of this space and was most likely where the Black-Winged Monarch Andruil’s treasure was kept.
But how could the Black-Winged Monarch’s palace be so easy to enter?
Upon closer inspection, one would find a faint layer of bloody radiance enveloping the viscounts, a clear sign that they were circulating their blood energy power constantly. Strands of faint white mist which occasionally appeared through the air would be neutralized by the bloody glow upon contact. The viscounts had suffered from such restrictive pressure on their way through the spatial gate. They had believed that the worst had passed since their ensuing journey was rather uneventful. Never did they expect to encounter this restriction just by standing outside of the city doors.
After standing silently for a couple of minutes, a certain viscount said, “Let’s just go in. We’re short on time.” He then shot a glance at Li Zhan.
The viscounts all glanced at each other and nodded with pained expressions.
This human’s strength wasn’t weaker than any of the viscounts here, but they couldn’t discern from Li Zhan’s expression whether or not he was subject to a similar spatial restriction force. If the viscounts refrained from entering the city out of fear and the great monarch’s treasure fell into human hands, their fate after returning would be more terrifying than death.
The vampires and human race warriors entered in a straight line and were soon engulfed by the mist within the city.
Qianye was walking down an empty street. Not only had he lost track of his direction, but he had also lost the sense of time. The frustration and uneasiness in his heart would have expanded several times if he didn’t have the goal of ambushing his enemies to cling on to.
After an unknown period of time, Qianye was overcome by a certain illusion and felt that he could walk to the ends of the earth this way. After turning into a street corner, he suddenly halted his steps and listened attentively. He still couldn’t hear anything, but he recognized this trembling sensation as one that would emerge right before a battle, an indication that someone or something was approaching.
Qianye calmed himself down, leaned quickly against the wall, and waited.
A certain vampire warrior, wielding a sword and pistol, rushed out of the mist. He assumed a stooped posture as he cautiously scanned the surroundings.
The vampire had also noticed Qianye by the time the latter saw him clearly. The two were less than ten meters apart.
The vampire warrior reacted swiftly. He let out a roar and pounced toward Qianye at full strength—there was no time to shoot at this distance, and melee fights were largely decided by the initiative.
This was precisely what Qianye wanted.
He arched his body slightly and suddenly exerted strength, shooting toward the vampire warrior head on. The two immediately slammed into one another.
The vampire warrior flew backward with a loud bang as a cold gleam flashed in Qianye’s hand. In truth, the Scarlet Edge had already delivered three slashes during this short exchange.
The vampire was flung over a dozen meters away and crashed into the building across the street. He then slid downward and collapsed on the ground with fresh blood flowing out from under his body. He would never rise again.
Qianye walked toward the vampire warrior who had already stopped breathing and was planning to look through his belongings but swiftly retracted his hand midway.
He noticed that the fresh blood gushing out from beneath the vampire warrior was gradually vanishing after flowing a meter or so. The street surface was paved with a virtually seamless arrangement of highly polished stones, so how did the fresh blood seep in so easily?
It was at this time that the body of this lifeless vampire moved slightly.
He had collapsed while leaning against the wall and even left a shocking trail of blood upon it. But currently, the body was actually beginning to sink into the ground and wall right before Qianye’s eyes.
Before long, the vampire corpse was swallowed up completely, and not even a single trace of blood was left behind on the ground or wall as proof of this warrior’s previous existence.
Qianye instantly felt his blood run cold.
This silent and empty city had just quietly revealed its sinister side.
Qianye slowly crouched down and reached out to touch the ground. There was a puddle of fresh blood here just a while ago, but now he could only feel the cold stone blocks.
He stood up with a sigh and headed toward a random direction with the Scarlet Edge in hand.
This time, he reached a small plaza after passing two street blocks. The mist was relatively thin in this open space, and as such, he was able to make out a number of shadowy figures within. Qianye was quite familiar with this silhouette. It was Li Zhan whom he had ambushed along the way.
Qianye had his aura withdrawn this whole time—he immediately restrained all his actions and maintained complete silence. He then drew the Twin Flowers and aimed them at the figure in front of him.
Li Zhan seemed to have felt something the moment Qianye pulled on the trigger. He suddenly stepped sideways and turned around like the wind, drawing his gun and firing at lightning speed.
A scarlet origin bullet brushed right past Li Zhan’s chest. At the same time that Li Zhan turned around, Qianye had also flashed away and similarly evaded his shot.
The two bullets disappeared into the mist—they might have struck the buildings or something else. But in any case, no such sound was heard.
The two opponents had no time to take note of this bizarre detail and were completely focused on each other.
Li Zhan glanced at Qianye with a solemn expression. He then revealed a sinister smile and said, “We’ve finally caught you.”
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