Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach, Chapter 27: Occupation
The armed jeeps jolted over the steel plate which had been riddled with holes and charged straight into the division headquarters.
The anti-aircraft machine guns mounted upon them possessed great firepower. Wherever there was resistance, they would spit out a stream of red-hot flames and crush the people along with their bunkers. Within an instant, all soldiers of the entire seventh division had been pushed back into the barracks.
Bursts of origin power flickered in different colors as the numerous seventh division officers charged out through the hail of bullets. They wanted to use their advantage in rank to quickly enter melee range and stop the armed jeeps from pushing in. Under Duan Hao’s orders, Dark Flame experts charged out in succession to intercept the officers and entangle them in melee combat.
A loud boom suddenly rang out as one of Dark Flame’s armed jeeps was engulfed by a massive ball of flames, the violent explosion sending the passengers flying dozens of meters away. This was the result of a high-ranking officer of the expeditionary army launching a sneak attack with a high-firepower origin gun. He had finished off one of Dark Flame’s armed jeeps in a single shot.
In the distance, Qianye’s eyes turned a deep blue. His sniper muzzle shifted rapidly and locked onto the enemy sniper hiding within a certain part of the main building. It was a rank-nine colonel. The man was moving rapidly within the building, but in Qianye’s eyes, his intense origin power aura was like a lighthouse—there was simply no place to hide.
The sniper rifle in Qianye’s hand shifted continuously. No matter how the colonel tried to evade, he was still locked down at the center of the crosshairs. The colonel finally picked a new sniping position—he had just set up his sniper rifle and revealed himself when he spied a dark red beam of light through the corner of his eyes.
Warnings went off within the colonel’s mind. He immediately fell flat on the floor and spread out his origin power defenses. An origin bullet whizzed toward him almost at the exact moment that he lay down. Not only did it completely destroy the wall he was hiding behind, but it also blasted apart his origin gun and a corner of the balcony.
The colonel curled himself into a ball, rolled back into the room, and shrunk into a corner. His entire body was numb and almost immobile. He had only been struck by the residual waves from the explosion, and yet, his origin power defenses had almost collapsed. If that shot was just a bit lower and had struck him directly, it would have definitely torn his body apart.
How could that be called an origin bullet?! It was practically a handheld cannon!
After two or three minutes had passed and his numbness subsided, the colonel discovered that he was drenched in cold sweat. At this moment, he suddenly recalled that Dark Flame’s commander was a sniper whom Wei Bainian had praised before.
The rumble of origin guns and explosions outside were still intense. A clear and resonant shout rang out once again across the battlefield. This was the last call for the seventh division to surrender. If they chose to resist, Dark Flame would begin to use heavy firepower.
Several minutes passed by yet again.
Duan Hao pushed back his opponent with a slash of his sword. He then turned back to shout, “Launch an all-out attack! Kill!”
The sound of snipers rang out once again across the battlefield. The Dark Flame snipers no longer had any misgivings and began to go all out in taking down the seventh division officers who were still resisting. Very soon, the seventh division snipers also began to retaliate.
It was at this time that the rumble of heavy cannons suppressed all sounds on the battlefield. An artillery barrage fell toward one of the positions where numerous seventh division snipers were holed up in, tearing both men and bunker into pieces.
The call for surrender echoed once again on the battlefield a short while after the bombardment. At this moment, the expeditionary army’s resistance had already weakened significantly. After the numerous officers fighting with Duan Hao’s unit were killed, the rest lost fighting spirit and pulled back into the main building while covering each other’s retreat.
Meanwhile, the colonel who had just survived a calamity under Qianye’s muzzle lay on the cold floor as he struggled continuously in his heart.
He was the highest-ranking officer in the seventh division after Wei Bainian’s departure. That was also the reason why he was the first to be contacted by Dong Qifeng, and the two parties had already reached a rather generous agreement on the distribution of benefits. Dong Qifeng’s aristocratic family background also moved him quite a bit. Not only did it signify resources, but also a status which many Evernight Division Commanders lacked. It would serve as a substantial safeguard of sorts.
Almost a thousand meters away, Qianye was frowning. He had repeatedly scanned the battlefield in the seventh division headquarters with his True Sight, and he could already confirm the colonel’s identity from his origin power aura. However, the other party still seemed to have no intention to surrender and was even secretly moving to a new position.
Qianye circulated his origin power and shouted at the top of his voice, “Zhu Wuya! You’re still not surrendering. Are you courting death?!”
Zhu Wuya was that colonel’s name. At the same time, he was also the seventh division deputy commander and commander of the first regiment. He was also a veteran who had been in service since Wu Zhengnan’s government. He had retained his position after Wei Bainian took office due to his timely submission to the Wei clan. Regardless of the reign, this person’s combat strength had always been ranked within the top five in the seventh division.
Despite the long distance, Qianye’s voice still reached the seventh division headquarters with great clarity. So much that it even suppressed all the explosions.
Zhu Wuya had found a new sniper rifle and was in the process of moving to a new position. He was greatly astonished to hear Qianye address him by name. He hesitated for a moment but then continued to move toward a side corridor.
Although Dark Flame’s surprise attack came abruptly and the battle situation was extremely adverse, he still held onto some hope of winning by a fluke. The seventh division still had two units stationed outside the city, and many of Dong Qifeng’s men had already seeped into the Blackflow defensive region. Perhaps there would be reinforcements if he held on for a while longer.
Qianye waited ten seconds in silence but finally lost patience with this obstinate fellow. He locked onto the man with his sniper rifle and, once again, applied Heavy Caliber and Elemental Shot. An entirely yellow bullet accompanied by a trail of dark red flames flew out from the barrel and whistled into the distance.
Elemental Shot was even more practical than Heavy Caliber in many situations since one could apply various types of destructive attributes as needed over the former. This time, Qianye had added an elemental attribute capable of penetrating metallic alloys, increasing the origin bullet’s armor penetration.
Zhu Wuya immediately pressed his back against the wall right next to a window. He had long since observed the place and knew that this would be a relatively good sniping position. From here, he could see the two extremely threatening Dark Flame heavy cannons. If he could crush them, Dark Flame would’ve lost its fiercest firepower, and the seventh division’s morale would rise dramatically.
However, just at this moment, a sudden sense of extreme uneasiness arose in Zhu Wuya’s heart. Without even the time to think, he tossed the sniper rifle in his hand and leapt to the side with all his might.
He had just left his original position when the wall he had been taking cover behind suddenly shattered. An origin bullet flew out amidst the dust and debris to blast a huge hole on the opposite wall of the corridor. It seemed to lose momentum only after shooting through four walls.
The limestone walls and their metallic frames were easily broken through like paper, and the cool dawn breeze poured in from the large hole in the front wall of the main building.
Zhu Wuya couldn’t catch his breath for a short instant. That shot just now would’ve taken his life were it not for the powerful upgrade to intuition he had received when he ascended to rank-eight as well as the instinctive reactions he had formed through many battles both large and small.
In the distance, Qianye was quite surprised to find that he had miscalculated. This staunch seventh division colonel could be considered a great talent. It was truly unfortunate. Qianye locked down the target once again and began to apply his abilities.
Zhu Wuya hadn’t even caught his breath when a sensation of grave danger once again crept up to him. This time, he could no longer endure. He rushed to the window and shouted while raising both hands, “I surrender! I surrender!”
Qianye had already pressed the trigger to its boundary point. He hadn’t expected Zhu Wuya to suddenly rush out and surrender. He rapidly shifted the muzzle away, and the very next moment, an origin bullet whizzed out.
The bullet swept past Zhu Wuya from several meters away. It struck an expeditionary army soldier who was continuously sweeping the area outside with a machine gun and blasted him away along with an entire segment of the corridor.
After Zhu Wuya’s surrender, the seventh division’s resistance finally crumbled, and only sporadic battles remained within the division headquarters.
Qianye walked down the hotel building, bringing Du Yuanze, who had been staying quietly in the room, along with him. He then headed toward the seventh division headquarters which had already fallen into Dark Flame’s hands.
Duan Hao and Song Hu were leading individual teams to clean up the battlefield. After being disarmed, the expeditionary army officers and soldiers were placed under watch in separate areas. The officers were placed in an intact warehouse with heavy weaponry like cannons and armed jeeps keeping guard outside, while the soldiers were all made to sit down in the drill grounds; no one was allowed to stand.
Qianye left 500 men to watch the headquarters and allocated two companies to monitor the situation in Blackflow City and adapt as needed. He himself led a unit toward the other two base camps. The scale of the other two bases was much smaller and each of them only had a single regiment garrisoned within.
It was precisely ten past nine when Qianye arrived at Cloud Sail City, and the sky was gradually growing brighter.
Those in the camp had already discovered something wrong with the situation outside and were getting restless. However, Wu Shiqing and Lil’ Seven had mercilessly ambushed any soldier who had dared leave the barracks. The airship, on the other hand, had kept the heavy weaponry in Cloud Sail City suppressed. Although it wasn’t easy, they had still managed to keep the situation under control.
A battle commenced immediately after Qianye arrived, and his call for surrender fell on deaf ears. He sniped and killed the regiment commander who refused to surrender with a single shot, then, with the momentum of a thunderbolt, rapidly flattened all of the enemies’ defensive positions with heavy firepower. When Qianye rushed into the enemy camp with experts like Duan Hao, there were still five or six officers who came out to meet them in battle. However, they were all slaughtered within the blink of an eye, and the remaining forces surrendered.
Qianye only left behind a single company to monitor the captives and rushed toward the Four River Military Base with the main force. At this time, Lil’ Nine and the other captain could no longer hold the expeditionary army in their barracks. The enemy had charged out and was pressuring them into a gradual retreat.
Qianye finally arrived with the main force just as they were falling into a precarious situation. The airship and mobile artillery fired continuously, inflicting severe casualties among the expeditionary army troops. They were forced to fall back into their camp and depend on the barriers therein for defense. However, Qianye had rushed into the camp alone under cover-fire and brought the entire regiment under control in one go, forcefully pressuring them to surrender.
At this point, the main battles had already been concluded. However, the cleanup work was still not done. Dark Flame had to spend another half day to completely occupy all the important locations in the city, especially the kinetic tower, the city defense structures, and the airship port outside the city. Only then was their control of Blackflow City considered complete.
Afterward, Qianye dispatched orderlies toward the dozen small towns within the Blackflow City’s defensive region, demanding the immediate surrender of the local garrison and mayor.
Approximately one day later, Qianye received news from the individual parties in succession. Most of the dozen-odd small towns had surrendered, but there were also those who had ignored Qianye’s orders. Those from a town named Rocky Ridge had even directly killed the Dark Flame warrior who was sent to deliver the message.
Qianye didn’t even bother to find out whether there were Dong Qifeng’s men hiding within that small town. Right in front of Du Yuanze, he ordered Duan Hao to lead a special company toward Rocky Ridge, aided by the just-surrendered Zhu Wuya and half of the heavy weaponry.
His only order was to kill!
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