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Everyone at the scene was a core character of their family, manager-level characters at the very least. They possessed great experience and knowledge beyond the scope of many ordinary people. The moment they saw Qianye’s divine champion power, especially the ability to stack with other secret arts, even those who weren’t proficient in cultivation realized how powerful it was.
News of Qianye’s ascension had spread across the upper echelons of the Empire like wildfire. People began digging up whatever they could about him. It could even be said that they were examining him through a magnifying glass.
Although he did possess Venus Dawn, cultivating the Combatant Formula should’ve exhausted his potential much earlier. Hence, everyone found it difficult to believe that it was Qianye who had broken through among the younger generation. His traceable history only involved major factional conflicts, beginning from the war on the Evernight Continent, the Iron Curtain, Giant’s Repose, the Great Maelstrom, etc.
This seemed to support the “nurturing strength in battle” school of thought, represented by Zhang Boqian. Then again, which clan descendant apart from the Song clan had not walked through fire and blood? Which family had not experienced the pain of losing a genius?
Among the younger generation, Zhao Jundu had ascended earlier than Qianye. He had to take this risk because his foundations had been damaged. Although his terrifying Trueshot ability remained and had become even stronger, many people felt that he would come to a standstill since his path to the heavenly monarch realm was now dim.
This caused Qianye’s successful advancement to draw even more attention. Especially since he had revealed his Shot of Inception in public back during his fight against the Demoness. Some had already discovered back then that the ability posed a threat to divine champions. That was why Qianye wasn’t just the number one character among the younger generation, but many also believed that he was the most powerful lesser divine champion.
If Qianye’s divine champion ability could stack with the Shot of Inception…
The crowd couldn’t help but feel a chill down their spine.
Some from the group began discussing the Bai clan in whispers. They felt that they had come to understand why the Bai clan would endure the humiliation.
Qianye felt a bit dizzy from the crowd and commotion, but he maintained a friendly smile all the while. Even his face was starting to feel stiff from all that effort. He had to maintain a basic level of decorum since the number of gifts he had received wasn’t exactly small.
Gifts were fine since Qianye had to pay them back, at least in name. Dispatching their private armies was an entirely different matter since it was tantamount to granting them land in Qianye’s territory. No matter how it was explained, they would be tied together almost permanently.
This was an advance bet, a gambit. Once Qianye broke through or became a heavenly monarch, these families would find themselves attached to a giant tree. Their status would also improve exponentially.
Those who had come to him probably possessed a certain level of accumulation. Qianye heard that some of these surnames used to be high-ranking aristocracy or even major clans hundreds of years ago. However, they weren’t exactly influential anymore in recent generations. The only high-ranking aristocratic family with true power and status was the Yin family. Their representative retained a basic level of reservation, only offering grains and funds. He never made mention of troops or even sensitive resources like military supplies.
The smaller families weren’t powerful enough, and even the strongest among them could only fork out a thousand elite soldiers. After pooling together in great numbers, however, they managed to put into Qianye’s hands fifteen thousand elite soldiers.
This unit’s initial equipment and transportation costs would be covered by their individual families. All Qianye needed was to shoulder their funds and provisions after arriving on the Fort Continent. With this unit of elite Imperial soldiers, Qianye would be able to rampage through all the local mobs there.
The two merchant managers decided to offer a thousand of their mercenaries in total. It would seem that they weren’t too optimistic about the potential profits of this pioneering mission, yet they also had no intention of missing this opportunity to latch onto Qianye.
One of the aristocratic family members mocked, “Short-sighted!”
The two managers weren’t offended, either. “Our small businesses can only rely on making quick trades. We’ve incurred your ridicule.”
Now, the other families felt bad about beating them up any further. Besides, these two merchant groups possessed important backgrounds as well, so the conversation ended with some polite exchanges.
The aristocratic families were different from the merchants. Many of them had to look hundreds of years ahead for the family. A piece of land would pay for itself in a couple dozen years, and everything thereafter would be pure profit. It would eventually become the foundation for continuing their bloodline. In the eyes of the merchants, however, an investment that could only be recouped after dozens of years wasn’t worth it. It was hard to say who was right or wrong; the only difference was how far people were looking.
Pioneering new land and racking up contributions was how the aristocracy maintained their status. Territory was fairly important for any and all advancement. This was especially true for those located at the heart of the Empire. They enjoyed peace, but expansion was beyond difficult for them. Now that Qianye was presenting them with a good opportunity, they felt that Fort Continent was a bit better than Evernight Continent at least.
After everyone had quieted down, Qianye cupped his hands and said, “I understand everyone’s passion and sincerity. I will wait here for seven days before departing.”
Realizing the meaning behind those words, everyone voiced their agreement.
“Our family’s sincerity will arrive in seven days!”
Fortunately, Qianye’s powers of identification had improved greatly with his advancement. He managed to remember everyone’s “sincerity,” and all he needed now was to wait seven days to receive them.
With everything proceeding delightfully, the group dispersed after agreeing to meet again for dinner and promising not to go home until they were drunk.
When they were alone, Song Zining grabbed Qianye by the sleeves and said, “Well, well, look at you! You never told me how capable you were!”
“I just succeeded in cultivating it. I couldn’t manage it back at the Bai clan!”
Song Zining said, “Come with me!” He dragged Qianye into the airship command center and dismissed the idle staff. Then he picked up a piece of paper and started writing rapidly.
Qianye saw that it was a list of names. Some were familiar and others, he had never even heard of.
“What is this?”
“An enemy list! Now that you’re powerful, I can get my revenge!”
Qianye didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. He pointed at one of the names and said, “This person is from the Kong family, no? When did he offend you?”
“Have you forgotten the Profound Spring Hunt?”
Qianye really would’ve forgotten about it if Song Zining hadn’t mentioned it. The Spring Hunt was set up to select talents from the younger generation. Thinking back on it, it was truly a child’s game. Duke Wei, that heavenly character from back then, was now on par with Qianye after suffering injuries and sickness.
Thinking about the past, Qianye glanced at Song Zining’s serious face. “You’re serious?”
“What did he do to you later on?”
“Later? Who cares about later?”
“So did you put him on the list just because of the Spring Hunt?”
“This…” Qianye was speechless.
Song Zining finished the long list of names before saying calmly, “You know how vengeful I am.”
“Is this even vengeance?” If this were the standard, Qianye would have countless enemies and he would never finish killing them.
Song Zining paid him no need. He went through the list once more and put it carefully away. “With this list, I now have more motivation. It’s fine even if you don’t help me, I can do it myself when I become a divine champion.”
“Are you going to ascend now? Isn’t it too early?”
Song Zining’s Worldly Prosperity was one of the top three daybreak origin powers, but compared to Qianye, it obviously needed more time to mature. He would need to reach the extremes of purity if he wanted to assail the heavenly monarch realm one day. His current hopes were fairly slim, so it would be best to build a stable foundation before advancing to the next rank.
Song Zining shook his head. “It’s too late.”
“What’s too late?”
“The new world is about to open, and I must become a divine champion before that.”
“Why? Does the Empire really lack divine champions?”
“You’ll know when the time comes.”
Qianye frowned. Song Zining might speak frivolously out of habit, but he was never one to act recklessly. Who would dare act carelessly for such an important matter? Just like when Zhao Jundu had chosen to face the dangers of breaking through, Song Zining’s resolve couldn’t be shaken, either.
The duo spent most of the following days in cultivation, up until the seven day period was up.
The airship port was extremely busy and packed to the brim with transport airships. The first batch of supply transports had already set out to make space for the troop-transports. The private armies of the aristocratic families had to be organized into groups before making for Fort Continent.
Organizing soldiers from dozens of private armies was a complicated process that took three days even with Song Zining at the helm. After the troops were finally organized and grouped, a massive transport fleet took to the skies and left the Qin Continent.
The moment they left the protective layer of the Qin Continent and leaped into the void, Qianye’s heart was filled with an icy chill, a feeling of pain and loneliness so intense that it sapped the desire to live on. By the time he wanted to search for the source of that sensation, it was already gone.
Qianye spread out his perception, but there was nothing in the boundless void. He paid it little heed because, as a new divine champion, his perception could’ve deviated somewhat.
Thus, the massive fleet slowly left the Qin Continent and made for Fort Continent. Song Zining remained in the Empire to continue hatching his unknown plans. As he saw it, Qianye was currently peerless on the Fort Continent, and at least no one would be willing to provoke him easily.
There were close to thirty champions in the flagship, all of them leaders of the private army squads. Perhaps it was to prove their foundations, the two merchant groups actually dispatched three champions each.
Every one of them treated Qianye with great respect. Today, he was no longer a young genius with an unknown future, who hailed from a lower continent. He was a powerful divine champion, an important character at every power class.
Qianye’s sparse words and his suppressive aura caused everyone to fear and respect him. They didn’t even dare breathe loudly in front of him.
Qianye led this army to the western fortress of Zheng, where he completed the next step of troop organization. He had no intention of moving them into the great corridor before everything was ready, lest they see his relationship with the werewolves.
As the new batch of resources arrived, the Zheng territory became fairly lively. The people in charge of transporting equipment were professionals. Seeing the geographical distribution of the land, they delivered the mining and prospecting equipment to Eastern Sun Island. Such islands close to the protective layer would usually produce rare ores.
This kind of resource distribution was an important matter. Even Song Hui couldn’t make the decisions on her own, so she had to ask Qianye for a lot of things. This kept him extremely busy for a while.
A month went by just like that, with Qianye drowned in trivial matters and no time to pay attention to anything else. He had finally set things on track when the Werewolf Count Eiseka sent good news. The rebellious tribes of the Jade Sea had been quelled entirely.
This progress was much faster than Qianye had imagined. From the reports, Qianye realized that Eiseka had worked together with the great shaman to dispatch several shamans toward each tribe, convincing them to surrender.
The shamans produced much better results than the chieftains and generals would have. Many tribes submitted. Eiseka then focused his military power on the larger rebellious tribes, mobilizing inside assets to launch pincer attacks on each of them. Every tribe was defeated in a single fight.
After removing the major tribes, the others lost their backbone and either surrendered or moved away.
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