Chapter 1259 - 1259 The darkest hour (Middle of The End)
1259 The darkest hour (Middle of The End)
On the battlefield, before Ren Xiaosu returned.
Yan Liuyuan started recalling in a trance the first time he met the Wolf King.
When he woke up in the endless darkness of Laboratory 39, he heard the angry roars of the trapped Experimentals who had awoken earlier than him.
The young Yan Liuyuan could feel the Experimentals’ hunger for him. They craved his flesh and blood badly, and it was as though they could complete their transformation to Neo-Humans instead of staying as walking corpses if they devoured him.
He quietly left the laboratory. Unlike the Experimentals, Ren Xiaosu and he had been placed in a ward in the lab, not the cages that imprisoned the Experimentals.
It started snowing. Yan Liuyuan walked in the snow in a daze until he smelled the warm scent of blood.
The young Liuyuan trembled in fear as he tried to escape through the snow. But when he turned around, he heard the whimpering of a young wolf pup.
He slowly turned around and discovered an injured wolf cub in the snow. He checked the wound on its abdomen that had been inflicted by a wild boar.
After its pack completed its hunt, the young wolf could no longer keep up with their pace.
Yan Liuyuan inexplicably felt that this young wolf pup who was abandoned by its pack was just like him. He had also been abandoned by that glorious era of the past.
He found a rock and made an incision on his wrist. Then he dripped his blood into the wolf pup’s mouth bit by bit.
Even Yan Liuyuan himself did not know what he had set in motion for the future.
As such, after Yan Liuyuan appeared in the town of Stronghold 113, the legend of the wolf pack began spreading in the vicinity of the stronghold. It was a pack of wolves that even humans were helpless against.
The first time Ren Xiaosu was attacked by the wolf pack, when the Wolf King tore through the flesh on his arm, the familiar smell of his blood triggered the Wolf King’s memories.
And then, Ren Xiaosu became known as the ruthless person who had survived an attack by the wolves.
Later, when Ren Xiaosu first ventured into the Jing Mountains as a team guide, the Wolf King kept trailing behind him. However, the losses suffered by the team were caused by the Experimentals and face bugs. The wolves had not actually attacked them at all.
The Wolf King’s attempts at tailing Ren Xiaosu were mistaken as a pursuit by the team.
The Wolf King could sense a familiar aura as Ren Xiaosu and Yan Liuyuan had the same blood flowing through their veins.
Actually, Yan Liuyuan already knew what was going on when he first saw the Wolf King. It had been ten years since the day he fed the Wolf King his blood. The Wolf King repaid those ten years of his kindness and ultimately sacrificed itself.
Sometimes, Yan Liuyuan would lament how the Wolf King was capable of doing some things many humans could not.
“Farewell, my friend,” Yan Liuyuan murmured.
He turned around and left with the 1st Military Corps and never looked back again.
Before the Wolf King rushed off onto the battlefield, it turned around and took one last look at Yan Liuyuan’s receding figure. As though it had made the decision to let go, it turned back around and advanced in the opposite direction of Yan Liuyuan.
The wolves charged at the artificial intelligence’s troops. Just before they were about to clash with the enemy, the wolf pack actually split into groups to avoid the enemy’s firepower blockade.
However, the artificial intelligence displayed its extremely strong micromanagement ability again.
When the wolf pack split up and dispersed, the infantry troops, using the mechanized troops as cover, actually executed a sophisticated suppressive fire strategy to stop the wolf pack’s attack.
With a loud explosion, Yan Liuyuan’s receding figure froze for a moment. He knew he had heard the sound of the enemy’s RPGs firing.
The artificial intelligence’s army of millions gradually relied on their strong firepower advantage to firmly surround the wolf pack and force them into immobility.
After surrounding the wolves, the artificial intelligence army did not stop advancing. That was because it only needed to use several tens of thousands of troops to finish off the wolves. Meanwhile, these several tens of thousands of people were just a drop in the bucket for the artificial intelligence.
There were three hours left in the countdown.
At this moment, it seemed like it had been some time since Ren Xiaosu left.
No one knew where Ren Xiaosu had gone, nor did they know that Ren Xiaosu was rushing over on foot at this moment. They only knew that their 1st Military Corps would soon have an inevitable clash with the artificial intelligence’s troops.
The artificial intelligence’s army behind them fanned out in a formation of eight columns.
In its huge army, the armor always acted as mobile fortresses at the front line. Behind these mobile fortresses, there were even people carrying fuel on their shoulders. Once the tanks and armored vehicles ran out of gas, special logisticians would immediately refill them.
All armies had always regarded the supply line as a lifeline. However, the artificial intelligence did not need one because it controlled a large number of people. Its two armies in the northwest numbered nearly 10 million in total, so it could advance together with its supplies at any time.
As for food, it had always depended on whatever could be found on the spot. Most food humans knew could be eaten but were unwilling to was food to the artificial intelligence.
The artificial intelligence army was getting closer and closer, with its two flanks even forming an encirclement formation.
P5092 said, “Wang Yun, take the wounded and leave first. Don’t let them bog down the battle here.”
Wang Yun did not know whether to laugh or cry. Even at a time like this, P5092 was still as ruthless as ever.
At this moment, Hu Shuo, who had been listening to everything, patted off the dust on himself and said with a smile, “You guys evacuate first. I’ll help to hold off the enemy for a few more minutes.”
A few minutes might sound fleeting, but when disaster struck, those few minutes would become precious.
After that, Hu Shuo strode towards the artificial intelligence’s army decisively.
The sight of Hu Shuo facing nearly 10 million people all by himself was a stirring and solemn moment for everyone.
A hero might have aged, but an aged hero was still a hero.
Hu Shuo’s old and slightly hunched back straightened up. The Great Hoodwinker said behind him, “Actually, you shouldn’t be the one to sacrifice yourself. It should be us, the soldiers of the Northwest Army.”
Hu Shuo laughed and waved it off. “I don’t have any cares left in the world, so it’s time for me to leave.”
Hu Shuo was already aware of what had happened. When he realized the two AI-controlled fighting forces in the southwest did not appear on the battlefield here, he understood that his grandson might already be dead.
Hu Shuo did not want Li Shentan to be too lonely on the road, so he was in a hurry to join him.
The moment Hu Shuo made contact with the enemy, 24 flying swords as thin as cicada wings appeared from his sleeves and circled around him.
The 24 flying swords moved like comets in the sky, destroying everything in their way with ease.
Hu Shuo did not stop in his tracks. He walked straight into the enemy’s formation like he was strolling into an off-limits area.
The artificial intelligence army completely surrounded him like an isolated island engulfed by a tsunami.
Zhang Xiaoman watched Hu Shuo’s figure disappear and suddenly said, “I’ll lead the remaining comrades of the 6th Field Division. If an old man with no relation to the Northwest can step forward bravely to fight, there’s no reason why the 6th Field Division should cower. Although I firmly believe we’ll win in the next three hours, although it’s a pity to die in the darkness before dawn breaks and not witness the moment of victory, I, Zhang Xiaoman, can’t say I’m great at other things. But as the ex-commander of the Razor Sharp Company, this is the right time for me to step up. Seeking death? That happens to be what I excel at! P5092, you’re the most rational person, so you should know that continuing the retreat is the best choice. Don’t squander the time we’ve earned you.”
He did not care what P5092 had to say and brusquely roared at the soldiers of the 6th Field Division, “Do you dare to head with me into battle and sacrifice yourselves? I don’t have much I can say, but I can guarantee I’ll die before you guys!”
The soldiers of the 6th Field Division suddenly chuckled. “You’re finally fucking acting like a division commander. If you didn’t say what you just said, I’d have almost forgotten that you’re our division commander!”
Zhang Xiaoman mocked, “Fuck, haven’t I just been keeping a low profile in Future Commander’s presence?”
“Don’t fucking brag…”
More than 10,000 soldiers of the 6th Field Division chatted as they charged at the oncoming enemy. Zhang Xiaoman had chosen to do battle at a location in the wilderness, but there wasn’t actually much of a choice anyway. It wasn’t even easy to find a bunker on the flat terrain. He had purely chosen the location because he found that spot pleasing to the eye and felt it would make an auspicious burial ground.
P5092 looked calmly at them leaving before ordering, “Continue with the retreat.”
But before Zhang Xiaoman and his men could get far, a steam locomotive sped towards them from afar.
Even from a distance, everyone could clearly hear the steam locomotive’s unmistakable whistling.
“Future Commander came back?”
“Future Commander came back!”
Everyone perked up.
“No, wait!” Wang Yun looked at the steam locomotive from afar and said, “This steam locomotive only has six cars, and the body of the train is gray in color, not black. The smoke that’s spewing is also gray, not black. It’s Wang Congyang!”
Everyone was puzzled. Wang Congyang? Wasn’t he the one Future Commander had been pursuing? Why did he suddenly appear on the battlefield? Wasn’t it said he had gone into hiding in the Kingdom of Sorcerers?
Amid the confusion, the gray steam locomotive drove directly from the north towards the artificial intelligence’s troops.
A tank from the armored forces slowly shifted its cannon and fired precisely at the front of the steam locomotive.
But just as everyone thought Wang Congyang was done for, a black cauldron several dozen meters wide suddenly appeared in front of the train and forcefully blocked the cannon shell.
Amid the loud explosion, the black cauldron remained unscathed.
The steam locomotive continued driving forward with the black cauldron at its front. When it was only a kilometer away from the enemy, the Northwest Army’s soldiers saw a flash of light go off inside the steam locomotive.
The ground started rumbling as it swept towards the artificial intelligence’s mechanized troops like a wave.
The earthen wave was terrifying. It moved like a tidal wave caused by the gravitational pull of the moon.
In that instant, a huge meteorite suddenly appeared in the sky. It fell diagonally down with a huge trail of flames and made a huge pit in the middle of the enemy’s mechanized troops. The ground was also trembling.
“This is… sorcery?” The Great Hoodwinker was stunned. “Why have the sorcerers come to the Central Plains with Wang Congyang?”
No one could think that on the final day of this war, everyone they were expecting and not expecting would step forward to help.
Everyone might have their own reasons for coming forward, but the only thing on their mind was to fight for that last glimmer of hope for others.
Li Yingyun, Qin Sheng, and the other Riders looked quietly at the sorcerers on the steam locomotive. Ren Xiaosu had mentioned to them before that he had encountered another legacy of his father’s in the Kingdom of Sorcerers.
Now that they thought about it, Ren Xiaosu must have been referring to the sorcerers.
In that instant, Chen Jiu locked eyes with Li Yingyun and the others.
Somehow, they could feel they all shared the same faith. It was a mysterious kind of telepathy. Although they had just met, it felt like they were already old friends with each other.
However, the steam locomotive did not turn the battle into a fight to the death with the enemy. After temporarily blocking their advance, it immediately turned tail and drove towards the Northwest Army.
At this moment, it no longer exuded the indomitable spirit it had earlier.
When the steam locomotive arrived in front of the 1st Military Corps, Wang Congyang hollered from aboard at everyone, “Don’t shoot, we’re friendlies!”
When the train came to a stop, Wang Congyang said, “Hurry and load the wounded. I’ll evacuate them first. There’s too many fucking enemies! We can’t defeat them, so we can only buy you all some time!”
The Great Hoodwinker looked at the people on the train. He knew all of them. There was Summer, Mel, Chen Jiu, and Chen An’an. Of course, there were also other new faces he did not recognize.
He wondered, “What are you all doing here?”
Mel answered, “You all left in a hurry, so I kept getting the feeling that you might have encountered some kind of trouble. Since Xiaosu has helped us, we naturally have to return the favor. We’re also here this time because of… the Prosperous Northwest? Xiaosu often says those words.”
The Great Hoodwinker sighed. “The Prosperous Northwest” goal could be considered to have completely shone in Ren Xiaosu’s hands.
He did not expect Ren Xiaosu’s charm to be so great the other party would come all the way here based on just a hunch.
Everyone felt an inexplicable throbbing in their hearts. Perhaps this was what the pride of humanity was.
The Great Hoodwinker looked at Wang Congyang. “What about you? Why did you come back to the Central Plains?”
Wang Congyang snapped back, “When you all see Ren Xiaosu, tell him for me that we’re even now and stop fucking trying to hunt me down. Also, I want all arrest warrants for me to be rescinded!”
Zhang Jinglin laughed. “No problem, I’ll speak to him for you.”
“Alright then.” When Wang Congyang saw that the wounded were all loaded up onto the steam locomotive, he immediately set off for Fortress 178, leaving Chen Jiu and the others to fight alongside the Northwest Army.
Wang Congyang did not intend to perish together with the Northwest Army. His priority was to flee.
Zhang Xiaoman watched the steam locomotive depart and felt a little helpless. He thought Wang Congyang was probably the most cowardly superhuman anyone had seen before. If he had plucked up his courage even once, he might have departed from this beautiful world. It had to be said that cowardice was indeed a survival trait suitable for this era.
“Let’s continue withdrawing.” P5092 took a deep breath and said, “Zhang Xiaoman, join back up with the larger group. Don’t waste the time others have bought for us.”
Every minute and second they had now was exchanged with the lives of others.
Even though the enemy at their rear was temporarily stalled, the flanks of the artificial intelligence’s army were still gradually closing in. The two flanks about to engulf them were like the huge jaws of a monster that sought to swallow the Northwest Army whole.
There were two hours left in the countdown.
Led by Chen Jiu, the sorcerers tried their best to blight the terrain to stop the artificial intelligence’s army’s advance.
All of the Northwest Army’s troops felt stifled. After being pursued by the enemy for so long, and with so many of their people sacrificing their lives to hold off the enemy, it felt like a fire was burning in their hearts and making their blood boil.
But their rational side told them they just needed to retreat and be patient.
Wang Yun kept observing the flanks of the artificial intelligence’s army. He said to P5092 in a low voice, “The enemy has already made four attempts to surround us. I noticed from the looks on those sorcerers’ faces that they’ve run out of steam. I’m afraid we can’t survive the next wave.”
P5092 slowly stopped in his tracks. This seemed like a hopeless situation. No matter how hard they tried, they just could not shake off the pursuers behind them.
They were going to die here, right? In that case, should they die pathetically, or should they die while preserving the last bit of their dignity?
Everyone looked at P5092. They did not know why he had stopped in his tracks.
At a moment like this, coming to halt seemingly meant they would lose their lives.
But on second thought, they had already lost so many of their comrades, so what else did they have to lose by fighting back?
P5092 suddenly laughed. “Why not die with our dignity intact?”
As he spoke, the artificial intelligence’s army’s flanks carried out their fifth encirclement attempt.
The Northwest Army’s soldiers disengaged the safety of their guns and checked their ammunition one last time.
Zhang Xiaoman suddenly asked, “Hey, do you all think I’ll still get to the copper bell in the memorial square if the battle gets too intense and my molars get knocked out?”
P5092 said nonchalantly, “You can pluck out your molars in advance and place them in your pocket.”
Zhang Xiaoman snapped, “What kind of awful idea is that? Are you making fun of me?”
P5092 looked at him calmly. “You started the joke first.”
Xun Yeyu, who was with them, suddenly shouted, “Hey, wait! I haven’t been using my superpower. But now that we’ve stopped moving, I suddenly realized a lot of strong signs of life resembling superhumans are coming over from Fortress 178!”
“How many are you referring to when you say there’s a lot of them?” The Great Hoodwinker was stunned. “I do know of some superhumans who didn’t declare themselves living in Fortress 178, but there should only be five or six of them.”
“It’s not just five or six people.” Xun Yeyu got extremely excited. “There’s hundreds of thousands of them!”
Everyone was stunned when they heard this number. Hundreds of thousands of superhumans? Could a miracle have happened?
A moment later, the front row of the Northwest Army’s 1st Military Corps retreating towards Fortress 178 froze. They watched in shock as Ren Xiaosu came charging out of the horizon with countless golden martyred spirits following him.
That torrent headed towards them. It got closer and closer until it whizzed past the retreating 1st Military Corps.
The soldiers of the 1st Military Corps were all stunned on the spot. Zhang Jinglin looked at a particular figure amid the army of martyred spirits and suddenly muttered, “It’s the old commander, General Wang…. They’ve been brought back to life!”
Ren Xiaosu gripped his black saber and silently led the golden torrent against the flow of the 1st Military Corps. It wasn’t until this moment that everyone understood why Ren Xiaosu had left by himself earlier.
So it turned out that it was for this last glimmer of hope.
The battle had already progressed into the evening, and the golden torrent and the setting sun made for a spectacular sight to behold.
P5092 watched all of this quietly. He finally understood that Ren Xiaosu had not lied to him. So it turned out the future commander could really summon that many martyred spirits. It turned out the future commander could really turn a hopeless situation around and show him a miracle.
A message from weirdo and Legge:
Thank you all for being such patient readers in this tale of Ren Xiaosu. It has been fun translating and reading your comments, and I hope the quality was up to expectations. Every word chosen, and every character’s motivations were analyzed to reconcile possible “out of character” behavior. It is my belief that translations should bring across the author’s intended message in its most original form.
I know I took a long time clearing up at the end, but I know you’ll understand. Yes, we’re really reaching the end. My thoughts are that The Speaking Pork Trotter had planned out the story very well, and most side characters were not forgotten. Their backstories also endeared to me as I translated their parts. My personal favorite has to be P5092, depicting how everyone has two sides to them. Sometimes, you just can’t judge a person if you don’t understand their motivations. Who can forget Hu Xiaobai and Wang Yuexi, two side characters who aren’t extraordinary in strength but made a difference in the Prosperous Northwest goal. Zero’s story affected me pretty deeply as well.
If you’re feeling empty after this, do check out my other translated work: I’m Really a Superstar on ReadNovelFull. (disclaimer: the story might not be for everyone)
Alternatively, you can support me on patreon/legge if you like and appreciate the work I’ve done.
Also, please check out weirdo’s work by searching @ wxw “the grandmaster strategist”. He has been a great editor, and I often consult him when parts of the story did not add up.