Chapter 69: Forsaken Land
Happy Late New Year!!! To start off the Year here's a new Chapter :D. Thank You Nick H. For proofing/Editing :D I wish you all a great year full of joy and good health. Because without joy life is dull and without good health you wouldn't be able to enjoy life.
As the thousands of soldiers under Zhang’s banner marched through the empty roads of the Black Wind province, they passed by what could only be called desolate. There were no signs of life left after the entire province was mostly wiped out by the countless heart borrower worms.
No people nor animal stirred as they continued their march toward Black Wind city. Only the eerie howling of the wind, the rhythmic marching of the soldiers and the rocking of carts loaded with villagers could be heard.
Over the last couple of days, Zhang sent his men to comb the surrounding area of the Black Wind Prison, looking for more survivors. Amazingly, there were actually a few pockets of villages who had been able to fend off the undead. After gathering them up, the army moved to the next area and then began the search for survivors once more.
By now, Zhang had gathered thousands of civilians who were going to follow him back to Red Mist City. The Black Wind Province could not be rebuilt or sustain a large population due to the devastation the worms caused. Fields were littered with dead bodies and the water was not safe to drink due to contamination.
Without a ruling government, many of these people would suffer. Knowing this, Zhang tried his best to convince all of them to follow him and move to Red Mist City. At least there they wouldn't have to fear bandits or lack food.
“Brother, is that Black Wind City?” Ai asked as she pointed into the distance at a large expanse of walls. Behind these walls were high towers that reached into the clouds.
“It used to be Black Wind city.” Zhang replied as he looked off into the distance.
“Lu Xun, order the men to clear out the city. We will be staying inside for a few days to recuperate.” Zhang ordered.
“Yes my lord!” Lu Xun replied.
Moments later, Zhang’s army and the civilians entered the empty city through a pair of massive gates that were wide open.
The inside of the city was left in shambles. Blood was splattered everywhere, buildings broken down, some even burnt down to the ground.
Once inside everyone broke into groups to find places to sleep in. Since they were staying inside an abandoned city, there would be plenty of places to sleep in.
Zhang, the three beauties, and a group of people were currently headed toward the city lord’s mansion. Their goal was the provincial vault where most of the riches of Black Wind City was kept.
“My lord, this is the city lord’s mansion.” Zhang Liao said respectfully as he stood in front of a pair of exquisite looking gates.
“Alright quit with the jibber jabber let's go inside!” Gan Ning said with a laugh as he kicked one of the gates in.
“Okay let's go. Zhang Liao lead the way.” Zhang said as he gestured to Zhang Liao.
Once inside the former lord’s mansion, they walked passed hundreds of empty rooms. Although the city was only abandoned recently, it seemed like it had been ages since anyone had set foot inside.
Unlike other abandoned cities or mansions, where all of the valuables had been looted, every room they walked pass was filled with valuables.
The infection had happened on an unprecedented scale and at an unbelievable speed, which did not allow people the time needed to pack their valuables. That is to say if anyone even survived the outbreak.
Almost the entire population of Black Wind City had been wiped out due to the infection. Be it man, woman, or child everyone turned into undead.
“We are here my lord.” Zhang Liao said as he pointed to a very plain looking wooden door. This door looked extremely ordinary and almost exactly the same as the rest of the doors in the hallway.
“You shitting me? How does that look like a door that leads to the treasury of a province?” Gan Ning said with furrowed brows.
“You rogue! Are you saying I’m lying to our lord? Had I not gone with the previous lord to the treasury once before, I wouldn’t have even known it was here.” Zhang Liao yelled back at Gan Ning as he put his hand on the hilt of his sword.
“Both of you shut up! No bickering. We will know if it’s the treasury or not once we open the door.” Sun Ce yelled toward the two.
“Open it…” Zhang said in a displeased tone. The last thing he needed was conflict between his two new generals. Honestly Zhang did not want to promote these two so quickly but if he didn't then the men under them might start complaining and he did not wish for there to be strife within the ranks of his army.
The plain looking wooden door was opened and behind it was another door. The second door was made entirely out of metal and looked extremely solid.
“Move out of the way.” Zhang said as the Slaughterer blade appeared in his hand. The crimson blade glinted beneath the light that shone in through the window as Zhang plunged it into the door. With a single stab, the blade sliced cleanly through the lock and the door creaked open.
Behind the second door was a flight of stairs that spiralled downward. Glowing crystals illuminated the walls as the group began descending. Much like the treasury of the Heilong Kingdom, the stairs spiralled downward as if they went on endlessly.
“I’ll see you guys at the bottom.” Zhang said with a smile as he jumped off the spiralling staircase with his chained daggers in hand.
“Wai-wait my lord!!” Zhang Liao yelled out as Zhang jumped off the ledge.
As he shot downward, Zhang anchored his daggers to the walls around him and used the chains attached to them as a tethers to stop his fall. The chains rattled as Zhang continued plummeting downward until the bottom of the staircase could be seen.
Once Zhang landed, he noticed there was a huge set of silver gates with delicate looking carvings engraved into them.
“Hmmm I wonder what these carvings are depicting.” Zhang said while scratching his head as he tried to decipher the carvings on the two gates.
One of the engravings showed an image of a small boy wearing a long black cape that flowed behind him. Another engraving showed the same boy defending his village from many monsters. The last engraving Zhang could make out was of the boy commanding an army of monsters to follow him in battle.
“Interesting.” Zhang murmured as his hand traced the delicate engravings. Oddly, after being touched by Zhang’s hand, a few of the engravings began lighting up and sounds of clicking gears was emitted from within the two silver gates.
Moments later, the twin gates parted and a river of gold coins flowed out onto Zhang’s boots. the room behind the gates was filled to the brim with gold and sparkling jewels, but, of course, Zhang paid no mind to these things because he had plenty of them within his interspatial ring.
After walking over a mound of gold coins, Zhang’s attention was caught by a large altar off in the distance.
As he ascended the white marble steps and reached the top of the altar, Zhang saw an exquisite looking chest made of silver and lined with gold. that appeared to be within arms reach.
“What do we have here?” Zhang murmured as he reached his hand out to open the chest. As Zhang pushed the lid of the chest open, he could feel something wasn’t right and jumped back, landing at the bottom of the altar. As soon as he landed, dozens of needles shot out from inside of the chest and lodged themselves into the room’s ceiling.
“Phew…. that was a close one. I almost had to go see father in law…..” Zhang thought as he made his way back up the altar.
Once Zhang was back at the top of the altar, he looked into the chest and saw what could only be described as a black torn up rag.
“What the…?” Zhang murmured as he picked up the rag and looked at it.The rag had a raggedy texture and many loose threads showing that it had seen a lot of use. Oddly, he could not recognize what material the rag was made out of, but Zhang knew that this rag had to have some sort of significant importance to be placed on top of the altar in aboody trapped chest.
While holding the rag in his hands, Zhang noticed faint trails of purple energy traveling from the Underworld Heart in his robes, to the rag. The trails of purple energy continued streaming into the rag until a strange phenomena happened.
“Strange…” Zhang thought as a purplish glow enveloped the entire rag, and it began mending itself. The tattered threads began growing and intricately crisscrossed each other.
Soon, the tattered rag weaved back into a seamless piece of cloth. However, it did not stop there. The cloth continued growing until a long black cape laid in Zhang’s hands. That was when Zhang remembered the engravings on the gates of the boy wearing a cape.
Without a thought, Zhang tossed the cape into the air and then draped it over his shoulders onto the floor.
“This cape should be a magical item, but I wonder what it does?” Zhang thought to himself as he felt silky smoothness of the cape with his fingers.
After a short while, due to his lack of interest, Zhang decided to try to figure out the ability that the cape possessed later and thought it was wiser to spend his time looking for other useful things in the treasury.
“Ling will like this.” Zhang said as he picked up a choker from a pile of jewelry on the ground. Despite looking around the treasury for a while, he could not find any magical items. So Zhang decided he might as well pick out gifts for the three beauties.
“A gift is never wasted on a beauty!” Zhang snickered as he continued picking out things for the three girls.
“Hey brother, what do you have there?” A voice rang out in the distance as Zhang was picking up a beautiful looking anklet with intricate looking flowers carved onto them.
Looking back Zhang saw Ai waving at him from afar with a broad smile on her face.
“Took you guys long enough.” Zhang said with a chuckle as he saw Gan Ning off in the distance tossing gold coins into the air while laughing.
“My lord I’m amazed you got the silver gates to open.” Zhang Liao said as he walked out from behind a mound of gold.
“There was only one way to open the gates without destroying them and that was to activate the the inscription patterns on the gate.” Zhang Liao added.
“They sort of just opened by themselves.” Zhang stated as he began searching for magical treasures once more.
“He’s one lucky man… Luckily he didn’t trigger the explosive mechanism in the gate. That would have set thousands of kegs of black powder off.” Zhang Liao thought to himself.
After searching the treasury for a while longer and not being able to find anything useful, Zhang stored away all of the treasure into his interspatial ring with the promise of sharing it with his soldiers.
“Despite being allies with the Aurora province, the Black Wind province was not very power from the look of things. However, they may have an interspatial ring or two filled with magical items.” Zhang murmured after storying away the gold and jewels. There was a chance that all of the magical items that was owned by the province was within the provincial lord’s interspatial ring, but that ring could have ended up anywhere within the province.
Once the treasury was emptied it was time to find places to sleep for the night, within the city lord’s mansion, of course. After making their way up the spiral staircase, Zhang and the three beauties broke off from the rest of the group and decided to roam about in the lord’s mansion.
While walking through the mansion, Zhang and the three beauties stumbled on a huge room with an extremely large bed within it.
“This most likely was where the lord of Black Wind City slept.” Zhang stated.
“Well this will be where we will be sleeping.” Ai pointed out as she hopped on the large bed and rolled around while stretching her limbs.
“Waaaa look at all of these clothes!” Ling yelled as she opened a closet door that was located in the corner of the room.
Due to it’s size, it would be more accurate to call this closet a room filled with clothes. Within the room there were hundreds of expensive looking outfits for women. Dresses made out of all kinds of materials were neatly hung within the room and ready to be worn at anytime.
“Brother I’m guessing this wasn’t where the lord of Black Wind City slept since there are so many women’s clothes here.” Yuying said with a chuckle as she picked up a beautifully sewn dress.
“Maybe you're right.” Zhang chuckled as he walked into the closet.
While standing at the entrance to the room, something caught Zhang’s attention. On the wall at the far end of the room, a few extremely revealing dresses were hung. One could even go as far as to say that the material that these were made out of was transparent. Without a moment’s hesitation, Zhang made his way toward the wall at the far end of the room and picked out three outfits that were hung on the wall.
“You guys should wear these dresses.” He blurted out as he held up three transparent dresses for the three beauties to see.
“Can you even call that a dress?” Yuying asked as she looked in disbelief at the dresses that Zhang held up.
“More like pieces of invisible cloth. Who would wear those outside?” Ling said with a laugh.
“Might as well wear nothing if you're going to wear those.” Ai added.
“I’m not asking you to wear it when going outside. I wouldn’t want anyone else to be able to admire such a beautiful sight. Wearing these in a bedroom at night might be a good idea.” Zhang chuckled; trying to send hints to the three beauties.
Ling, being the first of the three beauties to realize what Zhang’s words meant, soon found herself blushing. Not a moment later, Yuying and Ai followed her and also began blushing .
“If you really want to... then maybe just once.” Ling said shyly as she walked up to Zhang and took the one of the nearly transparent dresses from his hands.
“Big sis, you couldn’t possibly be thinking of wearing that… Are you?” Yuying asked Ling with a startled expression as she looked at the dress in Ling’s hands.
“I-if brother would like it, then why not.” Ling said shyly with crimson cheeks as she gripped the transparent dress.
“Me too! Me too!” Ai yelled as she rushed forward, grabbing a dress from Zhang’s hand.
“Hehe. You guys realize I was kidding, right?” Zhang chuckled as he scratched his head while a wide grin could be seen on his face.
“Yo-you... you are sleeping on the floor tonight!” Ling yelled as she left dressing room then jumped into the large bed and covered herself with a blanket.
“But I wouldn’t be against it if you wore the dress.” Zhang murmured.