“Didn’t the Emperor just specifically say not to cause trouble? Really? Not even going to give him some face?” Baiyi murmured, then he began to read the news underneath the headline.
After reading the story, Baiyi froze for a bit, then with a ‘scrump! scrump! scrump!’, he ripped the newspaper into shreds.
The story had turned out to be about a local brawl involving some drunkards, who pummeled each other till they ended up suffering minor injuries.
‘Who the hell is your editor?!How dare he use such a clickbait title?!1‘
Nevertheless, this went on to show that the visitors who had ventured the city last night, due to an inability to control their anticipation, had not caused any trouble.
“Frankly, I kind of hoped that they would rip each other apart. Ah, well. I really have to move fast,” Baiyi ruefully said, as he took to walking around in the city.
The Capital City did not have an eye-catching history. In fact, it began as an unimpressive town and had only risen up in ranks purely because someone who was born in this town became the emperor who founded the Walthart Empire. After that, with royal patronage, the town developed exponentially, until it became the grand Capital City it was known today.
The city had not suffered the viciousness of wars, and it was now a bustling and prosperous metropolis.
It was still early in the morning, but a massive crowd had already gathered at the horse-racing stadium in the south of the city. Baiyi only had to walk a bit closer in that direction to hear loud cheers and gleeful cries a much more supportive ambiance than what could be found at theWorkers’ Stadium in Beijing2.
“ Richard! You heard me; bet on Richard! I bet everything I had on Richard! Show hand; Richard is the best!”
‘Tsk, tsk. Beginning your day by betting on horses? People of the Capital City must have a surplus amount of passion to burn?’Baiyi grinned and quietly left the scene.
After taking a walk around the city, Baiyi found himself back at the stadium, just in time to witness a pretty shocking scene. The specially-built watchtower in front of the racetracks was filled with people, and these spectators did not hesitate to leap down from the tower, like dumplings being dunked into a pot, resulting in a series of loud crashes.
‘Is it me or those guyswaaaaytoo passionate?’
Baiyi turned around and watched as city guards and men dressed in the Church’s uniform rushed to the scene. They quickly carried those who had jumped to somewhere else. No one could tell if those being carried were already dead or still alive.
The rescuers performed their duty with nonchalant expressions; it was as though they had long since gotten used to events like this. Even the spectators quickly dispersed after the bodies were carried away.It was just another day for all of them.3
‘That’s why you should love your life, kids; don’t gamble!’
Baiyi shook his head silently and walked away. He kept walking around until he came across a square that was quieter than the rest of the city.
He sat on a bench opposite a fountain and extended the range of his psychic scanning, trying to detect the energy fluctuations within the city.
Astonishing! If one was to describe what Baiyi had just sensed with an image, they would describe it as ‘a painting depicting a galaxy.’ Baiyi sensed various strong energy fluctuations from every corner of the Capital City. The power levels ranged from Master-level all the way up to Holy-level. They were bright dots all over the city.
A lot of bright dots were within the royal palace, local cathedral, and the outskirts of the city, where the manor was. There was another spot contained a lot of energy pulses; the energy pulses belonged to a third force that had just entered the game.
If Baiyi was not mistaken, these bright dots were the warriors from the Northern Land.
Although some had deliberately hidden their own strength, there were many who deliberately released their power; no doubt to show off their affiliations and their forces. Even those who had formed teams of three and teams of five were not to be ignored; even those who were alone had to be taken seriously.
If people like this were already being taken seriously, what could one say about those who masked their own energy fluctuations? What if diabolical forces, like demons, had joined the fray?
“All it took was one day for this city to turn into something akin to a jungle. Looks like the Church wasn’t being paranoid, after all,” Baiyi retracted his psychic energy and sighed quietly. While he was his walk, he had spotted city guards and other patrol units patrolling every corner of the city, in teams of two or three. Under the facade of a normal day,the entire Capital City was in a state of high alert.4
“Everyone’s all ganged-up, and yet I’m all alone! What the hell must I really join those nerds from the Doors of Conundrum? They’re only going to get in my way,” Baiyi lamented to himself, mulling the situation he had found himself in while asking the Voidwalkers for opinions.
The Voidwalker, however, could not do much to aid Baiyi since it wasn’t a problem rooted in technicalities the latter being the Voidwalkers’ specialty. Furthermore, Baiyi had just applied for approval to start up his academy, so he definitely could not attempt to deploy Void Energy and proceed to forcefully ransack the city, causing mayhem.
Only the Thane seemed to have a viable solution to his current predicament. He suggested that Baiyi joins one of the three largest factions so that he could gain some help from the team, then, later on, he could stab his benefactor in the back.
“For now, you’re on good terms with the royal family and the Church, so if you choose to join them, they will welcome you with open arms. However, since you have to rely on these two groups for the future of your academy, I don’t suggest you join them; that way, you don’t attract their ire after you ditch them. The evil forces will be good factions to join; when you’re done using them, you can just turn around and kill them all, and earn yourself some accolades. The problem with that is that you have yet to find such a faction,” the Thane explained his opinion carefully. “So the only force left would be those Northerners, who are most likely neutral and hold a limited influence over the Southern Lands. Hence, at this moment, they are the best faction for us to use.”
“Hmm, I agree with what he said. This is especially useful when we remember that some of these Northerners actually have connections with the Godsfall cultists. So even if you were to, say, be a little mean to them after you’re done using them, it would not be seen as immoral,” the Explorer Walker chimed in.
Even the Warrior Walker, who rarely participated in discussions like these, had something to add. “It’s not hard to form an alliance with them. Just use my techniques as an exchange for their trust.”
Although Baiyi thought that the suggestions were good, he was not keen to use them that quickly. This was because he had no relations with these evil organizations; thus, a sudden display of goodwill would surely be seen as a cover for an ulterior motive. He had no choice but to wait and watch.
When Baiyi turned his attention outwards, he discovered a flock of white pigeons perching on him. Because he had not moved at all for a while, the pigeons had been fooled into thinking he was a statue.
Most of them landed on him and watched him curiously, but one brave pigeon, which had been perching atop his helm, began to peck at it with a rhythmic “Ding! Ding! Ding!”
“Hmm. Looks like I’m quite popular… among critters,” Baiyi murmured, with a chuckle. He was about to stand up from the bench and head towards the Northerners, for more information, when a loud, thundering crash rang from the north of the city.
It sounded like something terribly heavy had plummeted to the ground from the sky. The pigeons quickly took off. With him as the center, from which the pigeons were simultaneously taking off, Baiyi felt like he was a character from aJohn Woo5film.
“What’s going on? Is it an invasion?” Curious, Baiyi asked no one in particular. He raised his head and saw a falcon soaring across the azure sky.
“Be careful not to be taken by that one,” Baiyi quietly said to the remaining pigeons, then he hurried towards the southern gate of the city.
The sky above the Capital City was a no-fly zone, so Baiyi could not take into the air without permission. Hence, he could only walk on foot. On the way, he spotted a few soldiers and guards rushing in the same direction. The wide streets became much narrower as many cavaliers atop their steeds took to the streets in droves. He also spotted several sorcerers streaking through the sky towards the same location.
“Man, look at how fast they reacted… It looks like everyone’s nerves are wired tightly wired,” Baiyi muttered under his breath.
He counted the days and was relieved to note that there were no upcoming festivals.
Baiyi soon covertly reached the location of the incident, without alerting anyone. Along the way, he had made sure to cover his tracks using Umbra’s stealth techniques. He noticed that the city guards had formed a sturdy perimeter around the gate. Heavily-armored soldiers, who were armed with large pavises, stood at the frontline, while the calvaries were situated by areas with enough room for them to charge if they needed to. Flying sorcerers had formed a wide ring in the sky, and they had their staffs out, aiming at the area within the defense perimeter. A few soldiers could be seen evacuating civilians from the area, taking them as far away from there as possible.
Both the soldiers and whatever was within the secured perimeter were yet to make a move. It seemed as though they were both engaged in a standoff. A guard, who had a badge that read ‘Centurion’ was riding a huge horse forward. When he got closer to the perimeter, he yelled, “You’re surrounded; put down your weapons and surrender now”.
The southern city gates could be spotted in the distance, on the ground; this was no doubt the source of the explosion Baiyi had heard only minutes before. From the force of the explosion and the intensity of the aftershocks, Baiyi could tell that the gates had really been sturdy, but someone had somehow managed to send the massive gates flying away from its hinges and into the distance, all at once!
Just what kind of monster had come to the city?
Baiyi remained invisible as he climbed up to the roof of one of the resident’s houses.
From up there, he finally saw what was being surrounded: three men and three… things as big as hippopotamuses.
A closer look revealed the men to be about seven feet tall, and their upper bodies were so muscular, they almost ceased to be a human’s. There were squiggly lines, which might have been their veins, protruding from their inhumane muscles. The man in the middle had so many squiggly lines of varying colors that he could pass off as a colorful turkey.
As for those three things, they were actually gigantic mountain goats!
These three men were actually Baiyi’s acquaintances. They were none other than the three Divine Warriors who were at his side when he conquered the Steppes. The leader of this three was the chief himself,the Huskar of the current generation!
“Howthehellare you people here?!?” Baiyi asked in shock. ‘Don’t you people always stay at home in Harrogath, serving your Ancestors? Why are you people here suddenly? Don’t tell you guys just joined for the heck of it!’
Not only was their unplanned arrival out of Baiyi’s calculations, but the way they arrived was already too problematic! The only man across Harrogath who was most fluent in their common language, Zar’Zar, was doing his best to communicate with the city guards, telling them that they had come in peace.
However, his terrifying accent had butchered the language so much, not a single person could understand a word he said.
“What the hell are you even trying to say? This sounds like the devil’s pillow talk!” The centurion scratched his ears in frustration, and then he raised a hand, as though he was ready to attack them any moment from now.