Monarch of Evernight - Volume 10 - The Flag of Evernight (1183-) Chapter 1226: Ceremonial Altar
That chief was just about to speak again when the great shaman, unable to hold back any longer, let out a deep cough. The shaman still held a prestigious position among the werewolves despite not having any bright feathers on his head. The chief glanced at the great shaman’s expression and decided to return to his seat quietly.
Qianye said after some thought, “Let’s discuss production later. Take out all the valuable items and precious stones from the treasury, then ask Zining to trade them for equipment. Buy werewolf and human gear… at the ratio of two-to-one.”
Xu Jingxuan and the mercenary generals looked somewhat dissatisfied, but they didn’t say anything. The werewolves, on the other hand, were delighted. Their numbers were several times greater than the humans, so even this ratio could be considered extremely low. Yet, Qianye’s willingness to outfit the werewolves meant that there was still hope of him keeping his promise.
The procurement of military supplies was a complicated process involving a large amount of subsequent work. Qianye pushed back the details for the moment and glanced at the werewolf nobles. “I already know the reason why Eiseka swore fealty to me. What I want to know now is why all of you are willing to recognize me as king.”
“You’re the son of darkness…” The great shaman spoke halfway before shutting up, his face pale. He realized that Qianye had his own intentions for asking such a question. He would not accept any excuse or lie.
The great shaman had never thought about how to put this into words, and some words, he simply did not know how to say. The other shamans and chiefs went silent as well.
Eiseka wanted to say something but seemed hesitant. Finally, he scratched his head and fell back into his chair. He was, after all, the representative of the great corridor werewolves. The two sides were enemies at war just a while ago, so it wasn’t his role to mediate.
“Because you avenged us!” A sudden voice shocked everyone out of their wits.
It was that bright-feathered chief again. He was also startled by everyone’s reactions, but he braced himself and said, “What’s there to hide? We’ve long since wanted to cut the Whitebone Duke up and feed him to the fishes. It’s just that no one dared to say it. Which one of us major tribes did not have ancestors, brothers, sisters, or even children who died in the Whitebone Duke’s hands? You, Shaman Auz, didn’t you just deliver your pup to the duke’s residence last month and never saw him again?
The shaman lowered his head and sighed deeply.
“What’s going on?” Qianye asked.
The shaman looked several years older in an instant. “The Whitebone Duke would demand that the tribes send their most outstanding youths to the residence every year to attend a certain ceremony. Many of them would forever disappear after that ceremony. The duke claimed to be selecting experts to cultivate in a secret realm, and those who passed the training would become stronger after their return. But from what we know, that is a sacrificial ceremony, and these missing youths are the sacrifices.”
“Did you not resist?” Xu Jingxuan asked.
The great shaman smiled wryly. “Who would dare to go against the duke? There were some tribes that refused or hid their outstanding children, but those tribes were massacred. The duke didn’t even need to act himself. Just his guards and the army he mustered from the other tribes was enough to rampage through everyone. Those who hid their offspring had no good outcome, either. For some reason, the duke would always find out if the child was the most outstanding genius of the generation. If he wasn’t, bad luck would befall that tribe all the same. After several such instances, no one else dared to disobey or deceive the duke.”
Qianye said calmly, “They didn’t dare rebel against the duke, but they dare disobey me!? It seems I can’t be too nice to these border tribes. Just kill them all.”
The great shaman said, “There’s no need! We’ll split up and head to these tribes after the meeting. We will convince them to swear fealty! It won’t be too late to kill them after we fail.”
Qianye nodded. “Fine, you better act fast then. Also, they will serve as slaves even if they do submit, and they can only redeem their status after proving themselves.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” The werewolf chiefs and shamans responded in unison, their attitudes even more respectful.
Qianye said with a nod, “Where did the duke conduct his ceremonies? Take me there.”
The great shaman said, “The altar is in the mountains to the north. I only know the general direction because the duke never allowed anyone near the place. The children from the tribes were all left at the base of the mountain, and the duke would lead them up personally.”
“Then we’ll take my warship, you lead the way.”
Affirming the orders respectfully, the great shaman stood up and followed Qianye to the roof of the residence.
Song Lun had already sent the signal, so the giant battlecruiser was already in the sky above the duke’s residence. It slowly descended and came to a stop a mere ten meters from the roof.
At this distance, the pressure brought about by the huge warship body was immeasurable. Even though these werewolf nobles had already heard about its existence, they still went completely silent. The city was in turmoil as countless werewolves poured out onto the streets to gaze at the massive object that they had never seen before.
Qianye rose into the air and landed on the deck. The werewolf nobles boarded the vessel after obtaining permission, fighting amongst themselves to be the first. They were thoroughly stunned as they looked around here and there on the airship.
“This thing can really fly!” One of the werewolf chiefs uttered subconsciously.
The shaman beside him said, “What’s so surprising about an airship being able to fly?”
The chief glared back at him. “Have you seen an airship this big? It’s even bigger than the duke’s demonic elephant! Even all the buildings in your tribe added together won’t be as big, right?”
The series of questions stumped the shaman.
It was at this time that the vessel trembled slightly and the warship leaped elegantly into the sky. Then, it flew toward the north after some adjustments to its direction.
Qianye stood at the bow, gazing at the mountains and rivers shifting backward below him.
To the east and south of the Jade Sea was a boundless grassland. The landscape rose and fell ever so slightly, producing the grassy knolls around which the werewolf tribes were scattered. The north of the Jade Sea, on the other hand, was more elevated and the beginnings of a mountain range could be seen. The mountains became steeper and steeper toward the north, with ice-capped peaks jutting into the clouds.
Strewn across the land between the mountain range and the jade sea were patches of farmland. They looked just like a green carpet upon the land, like a paradise in the mortal world. The crops were so well-grown that it was both delightful and surprising to look at.
Qianye had never imagined that the werewolves would be able to produce such farmlands, so he asked about them. The great shaman said awkwardly, “That’s a blessed land where everything grows extremely well, there’s simply no need for any extra care. What we have planted there is called cloud barley. It can grow even in winter and provides two crops each year. It grows back on its own after each harvest, so there’s no need to sow them again.”
Song Hui’s eyes lit up after hearing this.
Qianye nodded. “Not bad, it is indeed a blessed land.”
The great shaman said, “Unfortunately, only that strip of land is blessed, the other places are not as magical.”
The great shaman pointed to a snow-capped peak. “The duke’s ceremonial altar should be on that mountain. The land there is rugged, and the mountain is inhabited by deadly creatures, even people like us would find it difficult to ascend.”
The great shaman was a virtuous count, which meant that the Whitebone Duke had produced a natural defensive line that could stop count-rank experts. That was probably the reason why he had picked this place for his altar.
The werewolf counts might not be able to get through the natural barriers, but Qianye found it no different from flatland. He couldn’t even be bothered to observe what kind of dangers there were and simply ordered the battlecruiser to hover above the snowy peak.
The summit had been artificially flattened and was covered by a dark red barrier.
The mountain was extremely steep, covered in snowy mist and battered by raging winds. There were several grey silhouettes shuttling through the wind and snow at lightning speed. Just from their speed, it was evident that they weren’t ordinary creatures. An ordinary baron would easily become food for them.
No matter how treacherous the traps here were, Qianye paid little heed as the duke had long since passed and there was no one to take charge of them. He did bring Caroline along just in case, and the two of them flew together toward the mountaintop. With two divine champions working together, suppressing the duke’s setup would be fairly easy.
The grey figures in the snow cried out in warning as they approached, but Qianye suppressed them with his dark golden blood energy. The silhouettes immediately lost their ferocity, crying in fright as they rushed into the snow and never appearing again.
Qianye hovered above the defensive barrier and flicked some origin bullets at it. The barrier rippled violently and seemed as though it would collapse. Apparently, the barrier was mainly used to stop the wind, snow, and stray birds; its defensive capabilities were quite limited.
Those grey shadows were the Whitebone Duke’s last line of defense.
After some probing, Qianye passed through the barrier without further hesitation and landed on the peak. Caroline waited for a while, only following in after seeing nothing wrong.
The entire snowy peak was like a smooth stone surface, with oddly-shaped poles erected around it. These mottled dark red poles emitted a steady stream of origin power and served as the energy source to maintain the barrier.
There were at least thousands of such poles. Their individual output might not be great, but it was rather impressive when all of them came together to form the barrier.
Neither Qianye nor Caroline had seen this technique before.
Caroline was curious. “What are these?” She walked over and, wrapping one of the poles with her whip, pulled it out of the ground. A startled cry followed immediately as some unknown red material dropped out, revealing the white bones within!
The scene was so unexpected that even Caroline was shocked. She soon recomposed herself and went on to study the bone fragments. “I know now, these are the missing werewolf children!”
“What?” Qianye was surprised as well. Upon careful examination, the part Caroline had dragged out with her whip seemed to be a thigh. The excess portion had been cut off, and the thinner parts had been supplemented with more flesh to form a relatively even pole, which was then buried in the ground.