Monarch of Evernight - Volume 10 - The Flag of Evernight (1183-) Chapter 1227: Blessed Land
On the snowy peak, there was only a patch of solidified black soil surrounded by thousands of poles. Nothing else.
As Qianye walked to the edge of the rocky area and looked out, he felt that some areas of the mountaintop weren’t normal. He swept away all the snow with a wave of his hand, revealing a shocking pile of white bones beneath. Some of the skeletons could be barely recognized as belonging to werewolves, while the others were just fragmented pieces. There was no way to tell what they were if they weren’t located in the sacrificial grounds.
Seeing white bones was one thing, but the sheer number of them was shocking. Just the visible portion was several meters thick. Who knew how many more skeletal remains were hidden beneath the snow?!
“Qianye, I’ve found the entrance!” Caroline cried out.
Qianye’s figure flickered over and found that she had moved a giant rock several meters in diameter, revealing a wide tunnel below.
A strong odor rushed at their faces after stepping into the tunnel. Caroline immediately covered her nose while Qianye erupted in sanguine flames, which burned away the stench. The tunnel wasn’t long and they arrived in a large hall just after one turn.
The hall was dozens of meters tall and extremely wide, carved from a natural cave within the mountain. There was a bone torch every ten meters on the four walls. It was unknown what fuel was being used, but the torches were flickering with jade-colored phosphorescence, painting the hall with a wave of eerie green.
This darkened the areas beyond the range of the light. Caroline could see in the dark, but her vision amidst the specks of phosphorescence was even more blurry than in the dark night. The eerie environment and the stench that filled every corner of the chamber made her greatly uncomfortable.
Seeing her turn pale, Qianye raised his right index finger and a speck of light lit up at his fingertip. This speck of light burned with incomparable ferocity, almost like a newborn sun, filling the entire hall with light and heat.
Miserable screams erupted from several corners as werewolves fell out of their hiding places. Their hide began to emit wisps of black smoke upon contact with the light of Venus Dawn, quickly filling the hall with a burnt smell. Their dark silhouettes could be seen rolling on the ground in agony.
Qianye weakened the origin power from his fingertips and restrained the light. It was enough to illuminate the hall but no longer burning destructively. Caroline dragged all the werewolf-like creatures over with a swing of her whip. Upon careful examination, the duo found that they were indeed werewolves—very young ones that hadn’t matured. Their bodies were riddled with injuries, holes, and defects. These injuries didn’t look like they were sustained in battle.
Eyes closed and bleeding, the young werewolf pups howled in anguish. Qianye’s origin flames were too scorching for these creatures of darkness. These werewolves looked straight into the light without knowing how powerful it was and were thus blinded.
Caroline observed them for a while. “They seem to have lost their intelligence.”
Qianye was also puzzled. Their current state wasn’t caused by burns from daybreak origin power. After inspecting their injuries, Qianye sighed, “They’ve lost a fair number of organs. It’s already a miracle that they’re alive.”
“These are werewolves for god’s sake. What did the Whitebone duke do to them? Did he like torturing people so much?”
Qianye shook his head. “He probably… had uses for them.”
“Uses!” Caroline was stunned. She couldn’t help but tremble when she recalled the poles on the summit and the unknown energy permeating the place.
Qianye scanned the entire hall and found a dark purple stone altar at the center. He found after moving closer, that the color was brought about by the prolonged accumulation of coagulated blood.
There was a round basin protruding from the center of the altar, covered in origin arrays. These arrays served to activate vitality and muscular growth. Applied to this altar, they also served to let blood.
The altar was silent and devoid of reaction. Qianye looked around and found rows of tall cabinets on the surrounding walls—his expression shifted slightly when he opened them.
The cabinets were filled with all kinds of organs—some fresh, some rotting. Who knew how many werewolves they were harvested from.
There were a number of laboratory workbenches. Qianye had no idea what these strange apparatuses and complicated pipelines were for, but he could tell that some of them were from the Empire. The labels told him that these were equipment used for tissue extraction.
At this point, Qianye realized that this was where the Whitebone Duke refined the young werewolf geniuses’ bloodlines and transplanted them into his own body. Although he still had no idea what role that altar played in the process, he could tell from the setup of this hall that the secret art wasn’t all that brilliant. Most of the equipment on the workbenches were fairly old, only one of them being a newer model. That new one didn’t quite fit in with the other equipment either.
At this point, there was an answer to the status of those young werewolves. They might have suffered other forms of torment and lost their minds from the pain. They also could not maintain their external appearance and were in a perpetual half-human-half-werewolf state.
Not letting these victims die even after removing the organs, this Whitebone Duke seemed to recognize the state of his own body. Rather than simply transplanting their bloodlines, it could be said that he just wanted to torment them. This was probably born of his natural, deep-seated jealousy toward the young.
An origin flame erupted from his fingertip, which flicked out into sparks. The embers of Venus Dawn ignited the young werewolves into a living torch upon contact.
At this point, Qianye came to understand more about the Whitebone Duke and why the werewolves of the Jade Sea were so quick to turn. In the past hundred years, the duke had killed countless young werewolf geniuses. This weakened the overall level of the Jade Sea werewolves by about two ranks.
As primitive as these tribes were, they weren’t lacking in knowledgeable individuals. These people understood the source of the Jade Sea’s plight and hated the duke to their bones. The only problem was that the difference in strength was too overwhelming, and this gap only grew wider as time went by.
Considering their lacking technology, the Jade Sea—with its scarce shallow mines—was a barren land. All they could produce were small amounts of grain and meat from hunting. Hence, no expert came forth to fight the Whitebone Duke for this piece of land. Otherwise, the chieftains and shamans of the Jade Sea would never be able to hold onto such a big territory.
All these reasons added together gave birth to the three centuries of the Whitebone Duke’s rule.
Reaching the end of his life and with no one to restrain him, the duke gradually went mad. Judging from his actions, he might just be planning to take the entire Jade Sea to the grave with him.
This altar had no other value, except as a testament to the Whitebone Duke’s ruthlessness. Qianye wanted to burn everything to the ground but after some thought, he decided to leave this as proof and let the werewolves see the duke’s actions.
After walking out of the hall, Qianye went swiftly around the peak and killed off the beasts lurking within the snow. Then he leaped into the sky and summoned the generals and nobles down.
Seeing the countless limb poles and the sacrificial grounds below, some of the werewolves closed their eyes in pain, and others burst into a howl. One of the chiefs broke down into sobs, hugging a corpse that hadn’t yet rotted beyond recognition. That was his pup, whom he had sent away just a month ago.
Their keen senses of the werewolves allowed them to discern the aura of their tribal bloodlines. As long as those limb poles weren’t from too long ago, the nobles could tell whether they were from the same tribe.
Qianye led the werewolves back to the battlecruiser after they had calmed down and issued a temporary order to seal off the altar. They would come back to collect the remains only after the dust had settled. The nobles had no objections to that.
There was something else on Qianye’s mind. Did the Whitebone Duke pick this location by chance or was there something special about it?
After leaving the snowy peak, the next location was the blessed land. The large area of farmland and its bountiful crop of cloud barley looked rather delightful from a distance. Up close, however, the farms were quite messy. Those barleys were left to grow naturally, with little signs of maintenance and protection.
The only characteristic of a farmland was that there was very few wild grass. As long as they were willing, pulling weeds was a fairly good manual labor job that suited these werewolves.
A new idea popped into his head as he looked at the cloud barley. Not all werewolves were suitable for war, but most of them were great at manual work and especially physical labor. They were so much better than humans in this regard.
It would seem that the werewolves could provide enough manpower to excavate the resources here.
Qianye crouched down and grabbed a handful of earth. The soil was loose and fertile, even slightly oily in his hands—no wonder the cloud barley grew so well here. Despite that, these werewolves did not know how to apply fertilizer or maintain the soil. It was quite the miracle that the land had remained fertile for so long.
Qianye placed his hand on the ground and spread his senses to the depths of the earth, feeling a slow stream of origin power therein. This origin power was overflowing with vitality, which seeped into the soil. This stream of energy was enormous, almost like an underground river of origin power flowing beneath the blessed land.
That was likely the reason behind this landscape. Qianye went to many different locations to sense the flow of origin power and finally discerned its direction.
Qianye stood up and glanced at the land, drawing the river of energy in his mind. He discovered that it formed a giant arc, with its center at the Whitebone Duke’s altar.
He walked along the blessed land to further investigate the flow of origin power. This underground river didn’t quite fit into the natural landscape. A part of it went into the Jade Sea while the other extended into the mountains, but only the flatland between the two would manifest as this blessed land.