Chapter 158 – When a wave settles, another one rises again.
Translated by: Sephilia
Edited by: Shiroyukineko
TLCed by: Shiroyukineko
When they returned to Hope Town, it was already midnight.
Before they had even arrived at the town, Yue Yang could smell a dense smell of blood.
In the darkness, a large group of low leveled flesh-eating beasts came out upon smelling the blood in the air. Under the light of the fire, the eyes of these beasts flashed with a faint green colour. From time to time, sounds of quarrels and conflicts burst out. The distinct sound of laughter from hyenas were heard one after another echoing through the town. It was a horrific and strange atmosphere, causing people’s hairs to stand on end hearing it. The town was ablaze. Aside from some houses that were burning, there were countless foot soldiers who were patrolling the area with torches.
All of the mercenaries and civilians who had survived were sitting on the floor, being surrounded by foot soldiers in a circle.
“Are you survivors?” A burly Platoon Leader from the patrol came out from the line and asked Yue Yang and the others warily. “Are there any other survivors on the valley floor? What’s the situation below?”
“We’re all Ivy Academy’s students, we are here to train.” Yue Yang gave the academy-approved Training Application Records and academy badge to the Platoon Leader.
“A student from the Da Xia Empire?” The Platoon Leader furrowed his eyebrows. If he did not manage these students from Da Xia Empire well, this situation might escalate into a dispute between countries as a serious diplomatic incident. After confirming again that there was no mistake, he quickly nodded his head and inquired, “Are there any casualties in your group? No? Then, that’s really good, you’re really lucky! Please come over here to rest. Don’t worry, after you’ve rested up, we’ll send you as quickly as possible back to your country. Before that, we hope that you could help us. Could you tell us about the situation at the Settlement Camp at the valley floor? Are there any survivors below?”
(Shiro: This was previously translated as Camp, Army Camp, Gathering Camp, Mercenary Camp because I lack the better name to translate it and felt one name sounded better with each chapter (apologies :X). But Sephillia managed to find the perfect translation – Settlement Camp. I’ll change the previous chapters to this)
“I don’t know, they’ve probably all died. We escaped the chaos by hiding inside the Ant Hole. After we came out, everyone had died, and there were even meteors falling from the sky! The whole valley floor was in ruins, we were almost buried!” Yue Yang spoke a few sentences in a fleeting manner.
“This situation seemed to be caused by the Golden Ant Eggs.” Ye Kong chipped in.
“Those mercenaries have gone crazy!” Fatty Hai acted as if the incident was haunting him.
“We’re came back to search for our companion. Her name is Yi Nan (Sephillia: He/She in Chinese sounds the same, Yue Yang can’t differentiate between gender with this phrase). She departed two days after we did. Please help us to check if she’s already here.” What Yue Bing was most worried of was still Sister Yi Nan’s safety.
“Alright, I thank you for the information that you have provided. We will record it in your training Training Records to score a few points for you! As for your companion, we will follow up on it. If your companion is still in Hope Town, we will bring the person back as fast as we can!” The Platoon Leader brought Yue Yang and the others into an intact house. Then, he ordered some people to bring hot water and steamed buns for them. After recording the names of Yue Yang and the others, the Platoon Leader hurriedly went out.
After around half an hour, a male dressed up as a general came in.
The Platoon Leader was following behind him respectfully. Seeing the wary expressions on Yue Yang and the others, the Platoon Leader hurriedly waved. “Students, it’s fine! Our general just wanted to understand the situation on the valley floor better. This situation may not be that simple. We need you, Da Xia Empire students, to help us. Everything’s fine. Let’s all sit down and discuss!”
The general whose face was completely stern with his eyebrows furrowed also tried his best to show a smile. “Students, I’m Ma Xing Kong, you may call me Old Ma.” (Sephillia: Ma = Old Horse, Ma Xing Kong = Flying Horse)
“Old General Ma!” Ye Kong and Fatty Hai were in perfect sync as they called him with this name.
“We do not have any records of your companion. Your companion should be as lucky as you and averted this disaster. Perhaps she have not even arrived at all. Students, could you tell us what happened?” That Old General Ma extended his hand and patted the Fatty Hai’s shoulder. Then, leisuredly sat opposite of Yue Yang. He could see that within this team, this low-profile masked guy was the core of the party.
Old General Ma did not doubt this boy’s ability to survive, having a Silver-ranked Level 4 Twin-headed Demon Wolf as his pet.
With him around, it was normal for this party to arrive here safe and sound.
Even if this young lad was laying low and acting normally, but the crescent blade on his back imperceptibly exposed the fact that he was a strong person. This was, after all, a weapon usually used by Demon Generals. Within the weapon shops of the Soaring Dragon Continent, not a single store sold this kind of magic weapon…
Old General Ma knew that if he wanted to learn more about the circumstances leading to this event, this young man would perhaps offer him the best answer.
Ye Kong sipped his hot tea and acted as if he was trying his utmost to cooperate. He started to describe the situation passionately. “Originally, we wanted to cultivate and improve within the Ant Hole. But suddenly, we heard a cry for help deep within the Ant Hole sounded out by an SOS Scroll. We wanted to delve in and save them, but the Ant Hole was in chaos. There were countless Fire Red Ants around and we were instead trapped there.”
“I’m their boss, so I’m most clear on this. It was a desperate situation then, so I decided to get out of the Ant Hole and return to the surface.” Fatty Hai acted as if he was the boss.
“When we came out, we found out that the mercenaries had all gone crazy. They were killing every single person within their sight!” Li Qie talked about the horrific scene that unfolded that time.
“After that, we were embroiled in battle as well. But luckily, we found a crevice and hid in there.” Li Ge nodded his head.
“After that, what happened?” It was not that the Old General Ma did not trust what they said, but he felt that they were only scratching the surface. The one person who knew the truth would probably still be this masked lad who had not spoken a single word. He believed that he was the leader and the true boss of this party.
“I didn’t leave the Ant Hole, so I was not clear on how the battle outside happened.” Yue Yang felt that if he did not say anything, he would be unable to hide the truth from this Old General Ma, who seemed rough on the surface but had an extremely cautious mind. Obviously, Yue Yang would not speak of the battle between him and the Marquis of Zi Jin. However, he told him what happened in the Ant Hole that time. “I entered the Ant Nest and found that the thousands of ants were in chaos. On the second floor of the Ant Nest, countless mercenaries and Fire Red Ants were fighting each other. Some of the mercenaries even killed their own kind… Those mercenaries who had the Golden Ant Eggs were trapped on top of a platform. The situation was really desperate. Being an upright human, I went forward to assist them and gave them teleportation scrolls. Not only that, I opened a path for them and escorted those mercenaries into the Ant Tunnel… Their leader was called Zhong Hao. If you find him, then you will be able to prove that what I said was the truth.”
Yue Yang tried to probe and see if that mercenary group’s Zhong Hao was still alive.
He was 90% sure that Zhong Hao had died.
This was because if Zhong Hao was still alive, then the Old General Ma would know that he had obtained the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruits. He wouldn’t ask about the matter of the Golden Ant Eggs, much less of not being clear on why the mercenaries went crazy.
Old General Ma confirmed it. “There was indeed someone called Zhong Hao before. He had managed to escaped to Hope Town and sought refuge from our garrison. But, there was an attack carried out by some thugs shortly after. All of the soldier from the garrison died in battle. Zhong Hao and his companions were captured as prisoners by the enemy. Following that, a battle broke out between them. All of the mercenaries seemed to know about the matter regarding the Golden Ant Eggs, and started to kill everyone on sight… However, I suspect that the enemy released some kind of poison that would make people crazy. Otherwise, the mercenaries would not completely lose their sanity just for the Golden Ant Eggs. Something more suspicious was that the space of Hope Town and the Settlement Camp seemed to be disturbed by some kind of Artifact*, and so people were unable to teleport out. There were very few people who managed to flee… Little student, could you talk about the meteor explosions?”
(Shiro: *Artifact was translated as Sacred Item before because lack of better words)
He felt that Yue Yang’s party was definitely related to the meteor explosions. Perhaps the enemy had found a few more survivors who had great power, and so they decided to summon meteors to rain down upon them.
In order to cover up for the matters regarding the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit, the Marquis of Zi Jin, Grandma Chi and the Medicine Encyclopedia, he decided to tell Old General Ma about the last battle to divert his attention.
(Shiro: I think I forgot to explain this in previous chapters. Grandma Chi = Lake Grandma. Not sure if that is her name or her nickname. I’m gonna leave it as Grandma Chi for now.)
Using a calm tone, he described the battle. “At that time, I had killed my way out of the Ant Nest that was packed with thousands of ants. When I was outside, I realised that my companions had been surrounded by the enemies. There were even two Level 5 [Grandmasters] and a Level 6 [Elder] amongst the enemies. They hid themselves in the group and rallied the mercenaries to surround and attack my companions. After that, when I came back, I found out that they had summoned a Jungle Boa, a Bronze-skinned Lion and a Metal-bone Leopard. Not only that, they summoned a Gargantuan Mammoth to attack us as well. After a bitter fight, the Level 6 [Elder] hidden within the crowd even summoned five meteors. I took risks and dispelled his summons. Finally, the meteors backfired and were directed towards him. As a result, even the mountain peak was destroyed, and we got knocked out from the impact. When we came to afterwards, the enemies had already been rescued by their companions in the air… There were many flying beasts in the sky, at least two hundred people, who left after the meteors struck the valley.”
“Could you tell us how that [Elder] who summoned the meteors looked like?” Old General Ma furrowed his eyebrows.
He could hear that although this young lad had described everything quite simply, it did not seem like he was lying.
If there was a Level 6 [Elder] involved in this who even summoned meteors to kill everyone, then things would become complicated.
This situation would be ten times as bad as what he had imagined it to be.
Yue Yang sighed in relief inside. He knew that the Old General Ma would not doubt or notice what happened to him in the Ant Hole for now, but rather focus all of his attention on that Level 6 [Elder].
This was precisely the sideroad that Yue Yang led Old General Ma to take. He borrowed it to divert his attention.
It seemed like this matter was not just as simple as enemies trying to kill him.
Since it was unrelated to him, Yue Yang decided to stay out of this matter. He was too lazy to bother with the matters of the nation and conspiracies. It would be better for him to devote himself towards developing relationships with women.
Since the Old General Ma wanted to know how that Level 6 [Elder] looked like, Yue Yang was extremely generous. He completely described that Level 6 [Elder]’s, along with the two Level 5 [Grandmasters]’ looks. Yue Yang had even pretended that he did not know that there were two Level 6 [Elders]. He only spoke of the little Level 6 Beginner-ranked [Elder] who summoned the meteor. All of the mercenaries called that man “Master”.
When he spoke of this, the Old General Ma’s expression changed.
Evidently, the Old General Ma knew of those two [Elders]. Not only that, he was extremely familiar with them.
“I must thank you very much. You have uncovered a terrifying plot for our Tian Luo Kingdom. We will definitely report this to His Majesty and request him to specially award you. Now, We suspect that the enemies are still trying to cover up and blot out this matter. Please don’t leave for now. We will gather more experts and notify your academy’s teachers to come and fetch you back. Of course, you can relax. We will definitely keep you safe. We are an army, we have the strength to do it!” Before Old General Ma could finish, an explosion could be heard from outside. The giant shockwave from the explosion blasted the wooden door open. The entire floor was shaking and the dust on top of the ceiling pillars constantly fell down.
A sharp alarm blared out.
Old General Ma’s eyes burned with anger as if they were volcanoes on the verge of eruption.
He stood up resolutely. Before he left, he did not forget to appease Yue Yang and the others. “Don’t be afraid. No matter what happens, we guarantee that we have the ability to protect you. For now, stay in the house and don’t come out of it. I’ll go out and see what’s happening!”
Yue Yang felt that this turn of events was a little unimaginable. The Tian Luo Kingdom had even already mobilised their army. How could those thugs still had the guts to launch another attack?
Who were these desperate criminals?
What great secret did the Despair Abyss hold, causing them to do this at all costs?
For a period of time, Yue Yang was extremely curious… Could it be that there was still something even more valuable than the Golden Ant Eggs and the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruits here?