Chapter 1122 – Capture Slaves
Zhen Wanting brought Ye Qingyu around the entire village and through her, he learned that this village was named Bitter Hill Village and it was one of the hundreds of black-haired Dark Ones' villages that dotted the Luoshen Ridge. It fell under the control of Central City and the villagers were almost all black-haired Dark Ones.
He was shocked at the poverty and backwardness of this village.
Most of the villagers lived in thatched houses or primitive mud houses and their living conditions were considered relatively good if they could build their house in a stone cave, since it meant that they didn't need to worry about their roofs leaking when it rained and when they closed their doors at night, they didn't need to worry about dark beasts or serpents sneaking into their houses.
The amount of food they had was also incredibly scarce.
Most of the land throughout the Dark Realm was made up of sand and gravel, so it was not possible to grow crops on the land. The only area that had better conditions was the area that had been protected by an ancient wise Martial Emperor and crops could be grown on those land but these lands were already occupied by the Guardians and Luoshen Ridge was part of those lands. This also explained why so many black-haired Dark Ones lived around the fringes of Central City – nothing could be grown at all past the five hundred kilometer boundary of the city and for the black-haired Dark Ones who had such poor constitution and physical strength, entering that area was as good as courting death.
The Guardians' camp at Luoshen Ridge was a small stronghold and it could barely be considered to be the top ten armies throughout the Earth Nation. The Dark Realm was made up of hundreds of nations that were similar to Earth Nation, so it was obvious where Luoshen Ridge ranked.
However, those black-haired Dark Ones treated the Luoshen Ridge as though it was some kind of paradise and there were many legends and rumors that swirled around the village describing Central City as a paradise that did not lack food or water. Unfortunately, most of the villagers would never have the chance to enter Central City for the rest of their lives.
The Dark Ones received protection from and permission to live around the fringes of Central City because they were as hardworking as oxen and have always been planting crops around the area. Nonetheless, even during the years when there was a bumper crop, many Dark Ones still died from starvation since ninety-nine percent of the crops they grew had to be handed over to Central City and were for the Guardians' usage.
Those Dark Ones who lived here had never been able to eat till they were full – this was considered a luxury to them.
Their greatest hope was to be able to wake up the next morning knowing that they were alive, that the sun still shone in the sky, and that their family members were also still alive.
Survival was their greatest challenge each and every minute.
When night fell, the entire village was completely dark.
An atmosphere of desperation and despair hung over the entire village.
"Why don't they light their lamps?" Ye Qingyu asked.
He had already completely mastered the language of the Dark Ones and he did not find it a difficult language to master since there were some similarities between this language, the main languages of the Vast Thousand Domains and the words used during the Fiendgod Age.
"Everyone turns in early once night has fallen because they need to rest and recuperate…" Zhen Wanting said with her head bowed, "Moreover, we haven't got anything that we could use to light a fire."
"There's no kerosene?" Ye Qingyu asked.
Zhen Wanting shook her head and said, "I've only heard of this word through the legends that the adults have told us but I've never seen this product. No one can afford to use kerosene in the Bitter Hill Village and this is something that only the old noblemen at Central City can afford to use."
"What about firewood or dry twigs? Wouldn't you be able to use those?" he asked.
Zhen Wanting replied, "Of course not. Those are our food; we can't possibly burn them."
He was astonished.
Firewood and dry twigs were considered to be food? How could anyone eat those things?
The little girl continued, "Most people would be satisfied if they could build a house with straw and most of the plants could be grounded into powder even if they were withered, so that if we feel extremely hungry, we could mix this powder with water and consume them…"
Ye Qingyu was even more astonished after her explanation.
He suddenly felt like the questions that he had been asking were as foolish as an emperor who didn't understand the hardships of the world asking a starving roadside beggar why he wasn't eating meat.
As he walked around the village, he saw the new graves that had been created along the borders of the village.
He saw a thin young man sobbing in the night because his mother had starved to death, a family of four squeezed into a dark stone cave trying to share the last of their rations, a despairing young mother trying to softly coax her dead child who had died because of the lack of milk and food, as though her child was still alive, and a father who was so wrecked with guilt that he kept pulling at his own hair…
He was completely stunned by the scenes that he had witnessed.
The Human Race didn't even live in such poor conditions at the Ancient Sky Dragon Domain and their poor conditions at the Ancient Sky Dragon Domain had been caused by the decline of the domain. Before the domain had declined, they were still considered to be rather well-off. However, the Dark Realm had existed for an unknown period of time, but those Dark Ones had always led such lives for generations.
The Guardians were far too harsh to these Dark Ones.
As he walked around the village, he observed that the black-haired Dark Ones were rather similar to the Human Race. Other than the fact that their constitutions were weak, their meridians were far too narrow and their dantian too small that it was impossible to cultivate martial arts, their feelings, temperament and way of living were very similar to how the Human Race lived in the Vast Thousand Domains, so it was hard to believe that these black-haired Dark Ones were native to the Dark Realm.
The heavens truly cherished all living creatures.
No matter how harsh the conditions were, it could still produce life.
"The Bitter Hill Village is located at the edge of Central City, so we are the poorest village. I heard that there is a magical electric lamp that can be found in the larger villages closer to the city and this lamp doesn't require kerosene or fuel, and it only relies on an electric wire to give off light. This was something the wise men have invented…"
Did it rely on the power of electricity?
"The wise men you mentioned earlier, are they martial arts experts?" he asked curiously.
The little girl shook her head and said, "I heard from the adults that the wise men of our race are intellectuals who have a true understanding of the secrets of the universe and they have dug out many secrets from the underground that have the power to change the world. However, they are not martial artists and do not have the ability to fly like the Guardians of Central City."
He became even more curious after hearing her words.
Those men had dug out secrets from the underground?
According to Eleven, the Earth Nation was a broken shard of a planet once known as Earth that had since been destroyed. Did this mean that those wise men of the Dark Ones had discovered some ancient relics of civilization and thus, mastered some techniques that once belonged to that civilization?
If I have the chance, I should pay a visit to those wise men, he thought to himself.
A crimson blaze was suddenly reflected on Zhen Wanting's face and surprise filled her thin and pale face as she stared at the distance ahead.
He followed the direction of her gaze and saw that there were suddenly several balls of flame that skyrocketed into the air. This was exceptionally eye-catching sight in the dark night sky and the surrounding mountainous areas were instantly lit up beautifully.
"Ah, a fire must have broken out at the village ten-kilometers ahead. How could… there be such a big fire…" Zhen Wanting knew that something was wrong. This wasn't the first time a village had caught fire, but it was impossible for the fire to be so big.
Ye Qingyu stood on a mountain rock and released his divine sense.
Killing intent flashed across his face.
The villagers of Bitter Hill Village were all awakened by the bright flames in the distance and they ran over to take a closer look. Some were screaming as though they wanted to send others to put out the fire…
Then, a black airship flew toward the village.
"This airship belongs to the Guardians of Central City."
"The Guardians have arrived."
"Are they here to put out the fire?"
"Wait, that's not right. They came from the direction of the village ten kilometers away, and the fire had started there…"
The villagers chattered anxiously amongst themselves.
Eleven, who was in the stone hall, had also noticed that something was amiss and rushed over to Ye Qingyu at the first instance.
The airship quickly made its descent.
Several dozen figures clad in silver armor transformed into rays of flowing light and landed at the village. "Where is the village chief?" the leader yelled.
Chen Sheng, the village chief, walked out from their midst with a smile as everyone else stared at the soldiers in confusion and fear. He bowed respectfully and said, "Sir… I am the village chief. May I know what you are here for?"
"Gather all the villagers. Our Lord is carrying out an investigation," the soldier issued an order contemptuously.
Chen Sheng quickly nodded and said, "Yes yes yes, I'll see to it right away. Could you let me know what your Lord is investigating? I saw that a fire has broken out at the village ten kilometers away and since you have come from that direction, could you let us know what happened…"
Before he could finish his sentence—
The leader of these soldiers immediately kicked Chen Sheng so hard that he somersaulted in the air and when he landed, his face was swollen and bruised. Then, he scoffed coldly, "You'll know soon enough what my Lord is investigating, so how dare you as a lowly peasant, try to question his intentions? If you continue to ask any more questions, I'll behead you."
Chen Sheng quickly shut his mouth and a feeling of dread crept over him. He could only beat the broken drum in the middle of the village to summon all the villagers.
"These are the soldiers from the military camp at Central City," Eleven whispered into Ye Qingyu's ear.
He wanted to use this opportunity to see for himself what these so-called Guardians were like. From what he had gathered thus far, these soldiers all looked mean and vicious and did not look like good people. They treated the black-haired Dark Ones like they were beasts and it was clear that they had gotten used to pushing the Dark Ones around.
Soon, over a thousand villagers had gathered at the village square and they were all trembling in fear, the terror on their faces clear.
The black airship finally landed.
This huge black ship looked like a bloodthirsty beast of the night and struck fear into the hearts of the helpless villagers who huddled together in terror.
Zhen Wanting had also hidden herself behind Ye Qingyu.
However, these soldiers would not be able to detect both Ye Qingyu and Eleven's presence.
A ladder was lowered down from the deck of the airship.
They could vaguely make out the figures of many black-haired Dark Ones on the ship who were all strung together with metal chains in cages. They cried and wailed loudly as they struggled, like wild beasts in despair…
"Oh no, these fellows are here to capture slaves…" Eleven immediately understood what was going on.
"Capture slaves?" Ye Qingyu turned to look at Eleven.
Eleven hurriedly explained, "Several noblemen in the camp of the Guardians often secretly capture these foreign Dark Ones and sell them as slaves. Although this is illegal in the eyes of the law, there is no actual way of prohibiting it because there is a huge profit to be made from these transactions and it is essentially a business that doesn't require any capital… These soldiers must be acting on the orders of the noblemen at Central City and after burning down the nearby village earlier, they have come to capture the Dark Ones who live in Bitter Hill Village. No one will be spared from their rampage and after tonight, Bitter Hill Village will no longer exist. The healthy young men will be sold as slaves while the old and the young will all be killed to be used as fodder for their war pets in the military camp!"