Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach, Chapter 59: The Mine Raid
The four airs.h.i.+ps from Red Scorpion entered their vision in the blink of an eye. Among them was a high-speed troop transport s.h.i.+p, and its size could fit two Red Scorpion battalion, which meant that its combat strength had surpa.s.sed that of an imperial regular army division.
Zhang Zixing’s brows bunched up into a ball after seeing this lineup. Red Scorpion, having mobilized at such a scale, was a clear indication of how difficult the mission was. It so happened that he had a group of untouchable n.o.ble ladies to take care of—if Red Scorpion were to engage in a combat mission nearby, it was hard to say whether or not Blackflow would be left unaffected.
The Red Scorpion battles.h.i.+ps drove straight in and hovered in the sky above Blackflow’s airs.h.i.+p port. However, they didn’t land—the cabin doors opened hundreds of meters in the air, and batches of Red Scorpions jumped out with rapid descent cables in tow.
Their descent was fairly close to a free-fall, and they only tugged on the cable slightly when they were close to the ground to reduce their speed. Thus, over two hundred Red Scorpion warriors reached the ground in a flash. Many of their high-ranking fighters were holding gigantic weapons and supply crates in their hands, some of them even larger than the person.
Just this alone was enough to fully display Red Scorpion’s elite qualities.
Despite his mental discomfort, Zhang Zixing had to admit that the warriors of the third imperial corps weren’t just a little bit inferior to those of Red Scorpion. Such an elite unit formation was a force capable of tipping the scales in the battlefield.
The two battalions of Red Scorpion warriors spread out in all directions and quickly took control of the strategic points around the airs.h.i.+p port facing Blackflow City. In the end, a man jumped out from the cabin without any cable and proceeded to hover in the air, the general star on his chest sparkling brilliantly. He was actually a brigadier general!
After everything was in order on the ground, the high-speed transport s.h.i.+p’s cabin doors opened wide. A dozen-odd giant metallic boxes were pushed out and slowly lowered to the ground via cables.
Zhang Zixing’s eyes froze. Could it be that two Red Scorpion Battalions had arrived to escort this thing?
Song Zining suddenly spoke, “Hey, Mister Heir, aren’t you from Broken Winged Angels? Go and ask which camp they’re from.”
Unexpectedly, Wei Potian didn’t mock Song Zining’s unceremonious instructions and only asked, “Which camp is Qianye from?”
“How should I know?” Without waiting for Wei Potian to act up, Song Zining said, “These are all minor details, and there’s really nothing we can do. I only wanted to give him the news.”
Wei Potian turned silent with a solemn expression, and Song Zining didn’t speak again. They watched the busy Red Scorpion warriors outside the city. It was fairly easy to identify the special elite corps—scarlet embroideries on the collar and lapel of the standard black imperial army uniform and an eye-catching red scorpion design on the arm.
A storm was gathering on the Blackflow war zone.
Qianye sat atop a giant rock and looked down at the valley below.
The ravine was man-made, and there were layers of winding paths on its borders for cargo trucks to drive through. Meanwhile, at the bottom, there were numerous metallic monsters dozens of meters in height, spitting out steam. Giant shovels as tall as multi-storeyed buildings were being pushed into the earth, and each of them would push out tons of black stones.
This was an open-air black stone mine, one of the top-three mines in the count’s territory. Its greatest value lay in the fact that its transportation was convenient, and it could be extracted in the open. As such, it was easier to use large steam machinery. There weren’t many slave miners here despite the size of the mine, and most of the staff here were technicians for the operation and maintenance of the mining equipment.
An important mine like this was definitely Count Stuka’s favorite. Even though it was within his own domain, the count had a.s.signed his own nephew, a third-rank arachne viscount to stand guard here.
Qianye observed the place in silence, memorizing the geography and troop distribution here before vanis.h.i.+ng into the boundless hills.
Dark Flame had already set up a secret camp in a valley several dozen kilometers away where hundreds of elite soldiers were either resting or cultivating.
Qianye returned to the camp and instructed, “We eat in four hours and set out afterward. We attack at 12 noon.”
In the short daytime of Evernight Continent, it was said that daybreak origin power was strongest at noon. It was also break-time for many of the dark races, especially those lower-level citizens who hadn’t separated themselves from their b.e.s.t.i.a.l forms.
Noon arrived, and the originally noisy mine became somewhat quieter. The mining cars had all stopped, and only a small number of slaves were still performing some odd jobs. It took at least a rank-three fighter to operate such metallic monsters.
The guards in the vicinity of the mine had grown lazy, and many of them were lying in the spiderwebs without moving. In truth, they were already sleeping.
This mine had been peaceful for ten-odd years. The period of uneventfulness was so long that the guards had already forgotten what it was like to fight.
A two-meter tall servspider was lying between two rails with its limbs folded. There were spider webs underneath and all around its body—the hazy white patch covered an area hundreds of meters in diameter. It was the master of this defensive region, and everywhere the spiderweb touched was under its control. All of the important paths leading the mine were guarded in this manner.
Qianye’s figure appeared atop a nearby hill. He weighed the origin grenade in his hand, took a deep breath, and hurled it out.
The grenade flew hundreds of meters through the air and landed right in front of the servspider—the explosion was clearly reflected in its compound eyes.
The grenade landed, shot through the spider webs, and smashed onto a rock.
The grenade which had been set to detonate on impact exploded violently and flung the arachne’s giant body into the air. Afterward, a ring of flames spread out in every direction.
This was an incendiary grenade. The flames produced by the ignition of compressed origin power fuel reached extreme temperatures and was difficult to extinguish. Spider webs were especially weak against flames and began to break apart in the blink of an eye. Dancing threads of still-burning spider webs scattered, facilitating the spread of the flames.
A dozen-odd Dark Flame elites appeared behind Qianye. Under his orders, a portion of them charged from the front, while others began to set up heavy firepower like anti-aircraft machine guns.
Qianye wasn’t in a rush even after the arrangements were complete and proceeded to delegate command authority to each combat unit. He himself lit up a cigar and inhaled deeply, immediately raising his spirits.
This was a pure military use stimulant and a medium-quality one at that. But Qianye still missed the taste of the counterfeit products he had made back then and was distracted while thinking about how he would make some for himself.
Qianye had just finished half the cigarette when he suddenly hoisted the Eagleshot, aimed briefly, and pulled on the trigger. Hundreds of meters away, an arachne who had just clambered out of his lair was badly shaken as half a head flew off.
Qianye tossed the half-finished cigarette onto the ground and advanced in large strides with the Eagleshot in hand.
Only at this point did the alarm start to ring. From this, it was obvious just how lax the defenses of this mine.
A continuous stream of guards emerged from the caves and thousands of crawling servspiders, big and small, covered the entire mountain. However, the hundred Dark Flame warriors actually advanced through one layer of defense after another, pus.h.i.+ng the guards back continuously.
Those Qianye had brought along were all elites, and this a.s.sault unit’s firepower was extremely fierce. Incendiary grenades were tossed out one after another as though they didn’t cost any money, and the anti-aircraft machine guns never stopped roaring.
Although such standard firearms had no great effect against high-ranking warriors, they were fairly powerful against the large number of fragile cannon fodder.
An earth-shattering roar suddenly rang out in the mine as an arachne charged out of its underground lair. He was in a half-man-half-spider form but almost one and a half times as tall as the others—he looked just like a spider-shaped tank.
Amidst loud roars, the arachne began to charge through the hail of bullets and toward the Dark Flame soldiers. The high-caliber bullets striking his body were all deflected by his thick, st.u.r.dy armor, and not even the anti-aircraft guns were effective.
A certain dark flame lieutenant colonel tossed an origin grenade with excellent accuracy which landed right where the arachne viscount’s next step would fall. After the explosion, the lieutenant colonel watched, dumbfounded, as the terrifying arachne landed firmly after rising only one meter into the air. His limbs moved swiftly as he charged over as though nothing had happened.
The arachne held a long battle-axe in one hand and an origin gun in another. But apparently, he wasn’t very proficient with a gun. He only fired a couple of random shots while charging, and there was really no aim to speak of.
At this time, he was less than a hundred meters from Dark Flame’s front line. As such, he abruptly swung his four-meter long battle-axe and sent an arc of dark green origin power sweeping forward, kicking up numerous shockwaves on the ground.
The few high-ranking Dark Flame officers at the front hurriedly produced their origin power defenses, while the weaker ones retreated swiftly. However, the multicolored origin power s.h.i.+elds actually collapsed at first contact. Fortunately, the two parties were still quite a distance from each other and, although the soldiers were all pushed back, no one was injured.
This was the arachne viscount guarding this mine. Although he was only third-rank, a viscount was still a viscount. He wasn’t something normal human fighters could handle.
Qianye let out two whistles, signaling the warriors at the front to withdraw. He tossed the Eagleshot to one of his personal guards, drew East Peak, and charged straight toward the arachne viscount with large strides.
He ran faster and faster, with every step causing the earth to quake. Merely judging from his running posture, it was evident that Qianye’s slender and somewhat frail-looking body was even heavier than the arachne viscount’s.
The two met each other midway in the blink of an eye. Qianye let out a shout, leapt up, and performed a sweeping slash with East Peak.
The arachne roared loudly and held the battle-axe straight up in a bid to block East Peak with its bowl-sized handle. Comparatively, Qianye and his sword combined was only half as long as the battle-axe, and it seemed as though he would be knocked flying the moment they came in contact.
But when the sword and axe actually crossed blows, the arachne viscount was shaken, and his ma.s.sive body was unexpectedly flung into the air. He only felt the earth-shattering impact transmitted through the battle-axe before the weapon actually began to warp right in front of his eyes. At this time, the arachne heard the crisp sounds of his shoulder bones breaking continuously.
A shade of red appeared on Qianye’s face. He was actually surprised to find that he hadn’t been able to snap that battle-axe in two. With a loud “Ha!”, he spat out a stream of white mist and moved his hands once again. East Peak shot up once more and slashed down diagonally.
The arachne viscounts arms were wounded anew, and the battle-axe flew out the moment it struck against East Peak. He could only watch as the heavy sword cut through his waist, completely separating his human upper body from his spider torso and sending it flying onto a distant mine shaft.