Chapter 1 – Travelling by Night
Rebirth calendar, winter 1465, night.
The cold wind of the Odin Ice Origin blew from the northernmost lands, across the five big islands, invading the Western Continent. Borali, the capital of the Seventh Empire of Gaul, was enveloped by darkness and chilling winds. Throughout in the city, there were no signs of life except for the Imperial Household’s Dragon Cavalry. Short black cloaks draped over their shoulders, and hands held silver-colored pikes as they rode their horses in formation. The clear sounds of horses’ hooves frightened wandering nocturnal creatures.
The cold wind was like a whip in the hands of a giant, ruthlessly lashing the entire city. Most of the city was deeply immersed in darkness, and all residents who followed the rules rigidly had already entered the land of dreams, accompanied by the sound of whistling gales.
Going west of Borali’s Central Victory Palace, past the fragrant pavilion on the main street known as ‘Pearl of the Continent’, then straight along Greenshade Street and Whitelake Street, and to the very end of Fleet Street, however, one would find a large area with many brightly lit buildings. Ten of the best specialized schools were gathered here, starting from the First to the Fifth Borali Universities in addition to the Imperial Army Academy, the Imperial Navy Academy, the Imperial Engineering Academy, the Academy of Imperial Administration, and finally, Borali’s Divine Academy. These ten highly specialized schools had gathered here, making the city known as ‘Borali’s University City’ as well as making it the center of attention of the entire continent.
30 years ago, after exhausting the Western continent’s last sliver of strength, the century long Land Island War quietly ended at last. Later on after the war, a rarely seen hero king, Sheng Luyi the Thirteenth, rose abruptly to the throne as Emperor of Gaul, the Seventh Empire. Having been the main battlefield, the Gaul Empire obtained every country’s economic support and a significant amount of monetary compensation at the end of the war. Exploiting their assistance, Sheng Luyi the Thirteenth rapidly developed education in the empire. In the span of only 30 years, he established this University City, unprecedented in history.
During these 30 years, it had nurtured countless elite talents. So after the war, the decimated empire had already replenished its population, and it now had a steady flow of fresh blood. Huge empires had fallen behind in these aspects. Perched high on the westernmost part of the continent, just like an awakened lion, the formidable power of the Seventh Empire made the whole continent tremble.
It was both the empire’s best and worst age, the empire’s most aggressive and extravagantly corrupt era.
Lights were flickering in each of University City’s buildings, where people were diligently studying in classrooms and libraries. Occasionally, warhorses whinnying and sounds of lances colliding came from the military school’s training grounds. From within the college’s staff office, continuous ear-piercing sounds of metal pounding reverberated at all hours, constantly irritating the eardrums.
Given that in this time they lacked nighttime entertainment, the citizens usually went to sleep at nightfall. But here in University City, this kind of liveliness continued until midnight, when it would gradually stop. In such a big University City, just like a heart brimming with energy, hot-blooded youths people were being tempered. The elite students passionately gathered their strength for the future of the empire.
But wherever there was light, there would inevitably be shadows. Given this kind of cordial University City, there would inevitably be several extraordinary characters gathered here.
While his classmates were working hard for the empire’s development and success, Lin Qi was swaggering from the Fifth University’s main gate with a gloomy face. When the fourth year middle-aged guards by the school gate saw his rigid face, they adverted their gaze simultaneously, pretending not to notice this third year Finance and Accounting student who was defying the curfew.
The previous month, Lin Qi had just completed his 18-years-old adulthood ceremony. He had undertaken courses at the Fifth University’s Finance and Accounting Faculty for three full years. Black hair, black eyes, yellow skin, he possessed the typical appearance of oriental people. The sole difference was Lin Qi’s physique, which was not inferior to that of the most robust youngsters of the Western continent. Whether it was his height or his broad shoulders, his physique exceeded those of ordinary people.
However, according it was rumored by outsiders that all Finance and Accounting students of Borali’s Fifth University were the empire’s parasites. Lin Qi was not in the least an exception; he was a parasite who absorbed nourishment as he pleased, so much so that his body was not just sturdy, but rather slightly obese. When he walked around, he looked like a black bear that had just awakened from hibernation to distant onlookers as he rocked back and forth in an extremely eye-catching way.
Enzo stood on the corner of the street across the Fifth University, using an acacia tree to conceal most of his body. He was wearing the most fashionable triangle hat with broad eaves embedded in metal, the most fashionable short brown cloak imitating the style of the Dragon Cavalry, and a pair of black-colored oriental satin skintight pants which wrapped tightly around his two long legs, distinctly bringing out his leg muscles. Without a doubt, this pair of black-colored satin skintight pants was part of the most popular clothing style in Borali in the last three months.
Enzo’s powerful jaw was chewing vigorously on a gum made of a mixture of tobacco and betel palm, its intense flavor filling him with energy. Just like the hat, cloak, and skintight pants on his body, the mixture of tobacco and betel palm was also the trend among the lower middle-class of Borali city.
Looking at Lin Qi, who was walking out very slowly just like a big black bear, Enzo hastily spit out a mouthful of blood-red saliva onto the ground, failing to suppress a depressing whistle. He stretched out half of his body from behind the big tree, waving towards Lin Qi and saying: “Boss, here, here!”
While greeting Lin Qi, Enzo’s left hand tightly gripped on a black rolled cloth. It was more than a meter long and bundled very tightly. Enzo occasionally touched it, and he also looked around vigilantly from time to time, while greeting Lin Qi.
Lin Qi also checked the surroundings. He quickly walked past the main street. Soon, his sturdy figure was swallowed by the shadow of the acacia tree.
With the help of a distant light, Lin Qi took a quick glance at the clear outline of Enzo’s face, and then he pinched the black rolled cloth under Enzo’s armpit, which was hiding a hard metal object. The distinct sensation and shape he felt through the cloth proved that it was precisely the thing he wanted. Lin Qi grinned and laughed noiselessly before he made a gesture with his hand.
Enzo nodded. He took out a mixture of tobacco and betel palm and stuffed it into his mouth, carefully looking around and sticking to the wall. He then quickly walked north along the main street, Enzo’s tall and robust figure advancing without making the slightest sound. He creeped about just like a ghost, his figure occasionally surfacing from the shadows.
Lin Qi turned his head to look at the several fourth grade students standing at the school gate, laughed noiselessly, and silently caught up with Enzo. Two people, one in front and one at the back were walking, separated by a distance of almost 50 meters, choosing to go through particularly complicated winding alleys. Not long after, they had already left the brightly lit University City area, arriving at Borali city’s most chaotic, old northern district.
When passing a certain courtyard door in a nameless alley, Lin Qi called out with a practiced cat-like sound.
The courtyard door opened noiselessly, four robust figures joining this small team. They went 10 meters behind Lin Qi, following Enzo, who kept on walking, not too briskly, nor too slowly.