Qianye had already recovered the ability to move at this point. He instructed some men to guide Li Kuanglan as she picked out suitable living quarters. This Young Noble had always adapted to the environment she was in—since she was insistent on playing the mercenary game here, he couldn’t let her live poorly.
Hearing that Qianye was preparing a room for her, Li Kuanglan pointed downstairs, saying, “I’ll just live downstairs.”
Qianye was startled. “That’s not too appropriate, is it?”
Li Kuanglan replied, “It’s fine as long as no one bothers me.”
Qianye had no special demands, so he simply picked a random place. Most of his things were in Andruil’s space, anyway, so his luggage was fairly minimal.
This little building was a residence for captain-rank officers, so the living environment was bleak and sparsely furnished. In any case, Song Zining couldn’t stand it—he started building a couple of elegant little courtyards for their residence, and Ji Tianqing fully supported this as well. Who would’ve thought the fussy and clean Li Kuanglan was actually willing to live with Qianye?
“Zining and the others are building new residences, and they should be done in half a month. You should move over once the construction is completed.”
Li Kuanglan replied, “I’ll go if you go, I don’t want to be neighbors with those two if you’re not around.”
Helpless, Qianye gave up on dissuading Li Kuanglan. He was just about to show her to her new room when two jeeps sped over at full speed and screeched to a stop outside of the building, kicking up a cloud of dust as their wheels ground over the tarmac.
A bloodstained mercenary jumped down and rushed into the building. “Commander, things don’t look good! The seventh young noble ran into an ambush and is now surrounded. Please go and save him!”
Only then did Qianye recognize that this person in mercenary clothing was actually one of the aides Song Zining had brought here.
With Song Zining’s command of strategy, how could he have been surrounded?
But this was clearly not the time to study the cause and effects. Qianye grabbed the man by the collar and roared, “Where’s Zining?”
“Seventh young master is… at the Hill of the Deceased.”
“Do you know who set up the ambush?”
“This… I heard its people from Tidehark.”
Hills of the Deceased was less than two hundred kilometers away from Southern Blue. He might still catch up if he were to rush over at full speed. After asking about the details of the area, Qianye ran over to the armory.
The soldier who had delivered the message couldn’t catch up with Qianye. He was left crying out from behind, “Commander, shall I prepare an airship?”
“Too slow,” Qianye replied without looking back.
He rushed into the warehouse and stuffed several crates of origin grenades into Andruil’s space, and then ran out of the city.
Li Kuanglan had been following him all this time. Only when they were out of the city did she put a hand on Qianye’s shoulder—a great force bore down on Qianye and nailed him firmly to the ground. He struggled a couple of times, but his feet simply couldn’t leave the ground.
“What are you doing?” A dangerous glint flashed through Qianye’s eyes.
“You’re just going to throw your life away.” Li Kuanglan held nothing back.
Qianye had just barely recovered, and the essence blood provided by the Book of Darkness was far from enough to bring him back to his peak. He was so weak that Li Kuanglan could immobilize him with just one hand.
“If only I go, there’s a chance. The greater the number of enemies, the faster I can recover.” Qianye’s voice was cold. The other party had touched the proverbial reverse-scale by seeking to kill Song Zining. Qianye was ready to use Life Plunder to recover his power, even if the enemies were humans.
“Take my airship, it won’t take much longer than running. It’ll give you some time to recover along the way.” With that, Li Kuanglan pointed toward the sky and shot a beam of aqua blue radiance from her sleeve. It burst into specks of blue light in the void, akin to a host of glittering stars.
Within minutes, an ordinary-looking airship appeared over the horizon and arrived at an extraordinary pace. The long, moving beams on either side of the vessel left blue trails as they pushed the airship several hundred meters forward with each stroke.
Without waiting for the arriving airship to descend, Li Kuanglan simply grabbed Qianye and shot onto the deck. The airship made a sharp turn midair and accelerated toward the Hill of the Deceased.
The Hill of the Deceased was a vast hilly region. The terrain here was complicated with a great many caves under the ground, the perfect area for mercenaries and bandits to hide. It was also an important location since it lay in between the major cities, and there were always merchant caravans willing to take the risk for a shortcut through the region.
The countless skeletons being buried here day after day gave the place its current name.
The airship was extremely fast, arriving above the Hill of the Deceased in mere moments. Li Kuanglan ordered the vessel to perform a low-altitude scan, and the captain obeyed immediately.
A low-altitude flight was extremely dangerous for an airship as hunters would turn to attack the tasty prey almost immediately. However, there was a certain air of arrogance in the captain and his sailors—as well as faintly discernible killing intent. They simply didn’t put the people of the neutral lands in their eyes.
The airship dived downward and only switched to level-flight a hundred or so meters near the ground. Even the most ordinary of mercenaries could use their worst origin guns to hit the airship at this distance.
Qianye frowned, wanting to have the airship climb higher—few enemies could reach them at around five hundred meters. Yet, Li Kuanglan gestured that it was alright, so Qianye gave up on saying anything. He simply stood at the bow, observing the vast hilly regions below in hopes of finding Song Zining.
A couple of hunters rushed out from the side as they were passing by a hillock, laughing maliciously as they hurled a couple of origin grenades at the passing vessel. The explosives shot toward the hull of the airship like cannon shells and, once struck, were sure to cause heavy damage.
At this point, an old man appeared near the airship. With a light wave of his hands, the origin grenades froze mid-air and broke down into countless fragments. The entire process was silent—the people below had no idea what the old man had done.
On the side of the airship, a bearded hulk of a man stomped open the firing port. A giant ballista bolt shot out at lightning speed, nailing three hunters to the ground.
The burly man let out a peal of sinister laughter, greatly satisfied at his work, and even raised a middle-finger at the group below.
The airship encountered several attacks along the way yet, be they humans or dark races, none of them were successful. No matter how crafty the assailants were, they couldn’t avoid the homing ballista bolts. This airship soon became a low-flying god of death that would kill all who dared to approach.
Qianye pointed at a certain direction, shouting, “Fly in that direction!”
The captain didn’t turn immediately. Only at Li Kuanglan’s nod did the airship shift its bearing and fly toward where Qianye had indicated.
Qianye glanced back with cold eyes. For some reason, the captain couldn’t help but tremble when he met that joyless gaze.
The airship was speeding past a certain valley when Qianye jumped down all of a sudden. Li Kuanglan followed suit. Meanwhile, the airship charged out for quite a distance before turning back.
It was clear that a battle had taken place here. There were corpses strewn about the area, most of them deprived of their equipment, but there was one soldier who still had his boots on. Those military boots were part of the Southern Blue city guard’s ensemble.
Dark Flame mercenaries were assembled from many different groups, and there was never enough time to provide them with uniform gear. The same couldn’t be said for the city guard—as Ji Rui’s lineal branch, they were provided with quality equipment and supplies. Song Zining had led both units into battle this time, so finding the city guard was the same as finding Dark Flame.
Qianye crouched down and flipped one of the corpses over to check his wounds. Li Kuanglan frowned, apparently disconcerted by the smell, but she still remained nearby.
Qianye looked up all of a sudden and stared at a distant cave. A small group of soldiers emerged, laughing and smiling as they hauled the spoils they had just collected. Shockingly, there were quite a few pieces of armor that belonged to the Southern Blue city guard.
Qianye’s figure flickered, appearing in their midst in the blink of an eye. Soon after, the power of his Oceanic Vortex descended before the soldiers could even react.
All the warriors were pressed to the ground. Sounds of crackling bones began to emerge from some of them.
A brave officer among them took a deep breath and forced himself back up. He looked like he was preparing to shout out to his comrades, but how could Qianye give him that chance? A kick landed ruthlessly on his face!
The officer’s face became unrecognizable. A mixture of blood and teeth flew out from his mouth as he fell down, eyes rolled back and unconscious.
Some other soldiers wanted to do the same, but after seeing the officer’s fate and Qianye’s icy glare, they fell into prostration and no longer dared to move.
“You keep an eye on them, I’m going to check inside.”
Li Kuanglan nodded. “Remember to leave some alive.”
“I will.” With that, Qianye’s silhouette vanished into the cave.
Soon, a furious roar echoed inside the cave and a bloody aura rushed out of its entrance.
Li Kuanglan broke into a frown. An icy blue glow spread out from beneath her feet and covered the prone soldiers in a layer of frost. These mediocre warriors had no way of stopping her frost energy and were soon turned into icy statues.
Having dealt with the nuisance, Li Kuanglan rushed into the cave.
In the depths of the cave, she saw Qianye standing at the center of a large hall with numerous sanguineous threads contracting back into his body. Dozens of soldiers lay lifeless on the cave floor. Only a pale officer remained leaning against the wall, holding his abdomen as he gasped laboriously.
There were several dozen people hung up on the cave walls, most of them dead. The mess of blood and gore was a testament to the cruelty they had suffered, and their clothing made it clear that many of them were from the city guard.