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Chapter 2261 Surplus Generals!
In the capital in the Empyreal Terminus Sector, the heart of the Imperium of True Human Beings was like the frozen lake in early spring. While undercurrents were flowing rapidly below the ice, the river, enshrouded in frigid mists, still looked dead and silent when looked at from the sh.o.r.e. All the fish and shrimps were sealed in the ice, and there was no sign of thawing at all.
The rebellious troops loyal to the reformists did not attack the capital as the intelligence said. Instead, with the trick of distraction, they marched into the heartland of the Li family on a large scale. Such an attack was too huge and noisy to escape the attention of the other three families.
However, the Divine Rain Sector was a very sensitive place after all. The Li family blocked all the messages, announcing that they would gather the elites and settle the rebellious troops on their own. Naturally, it was inappropriate for the troops of the other three families to march to the heartland of the Li family without being asked to. They could only stand by and watch.
Besides, the rebellious troops’ mysteriousness and rapidity left a deep impression on the four Kurfürst families. Small riots and rumors never stopped in the capital. Who could tell if it was a strategy of the rebellious troops and that when the four families loosened the wariness in the capital, they would cause even greater trouble here?
Therefore, the elite troops of the four Kurfürst families were still stationed in the capital. Only the Li family dispatched some of the main troops back.
If truth be told, the other three families might be secretly chuckling and hoping that the rebellious troops churned up the guts of the Li family, in which case the Li family would have to offer them enough benefits for them to lend a hand!
The situation would certainly escalate later.
But in the recent couple of days, a subtle balance and stillness were still maintained in the capital.
On the other hand, the Imperium of True Human Beings was simply too huge, so huge that the consequences of any serious riot could not affect every corner instantly.
The Imperium was like a dinosaur hundreds of kilometers long. Even if its tail was set on fire, it would take a long time of transmission for the signals of pain to be pa.s.sed to the brain. Or rather, the cells on the dinosaur’s body might not know that the tail of the dinosaur had been burnt up at all.
It was even more so for the germs and bugs living on the wrinkles all over the super dinosaur that was the Imperium.
All the conspiracies and schemes of the upper cla.s.s, their talks about triumphs, the civilization of mankind, and all the other fancy phrases, meant nothing but the germs and bugs. For them, the most important thing was how to pay yesterday’s bills and how to find today’s food so that they and perhaps their family could manage to survive.
The thirty-sixth district in the underground area of the Blackstar Continent, the main continent where the royal palace and the Council of Elders were located, was a dark corner that the radiance of the Imperium never reached.
It couldn’t have been more accurate to describe such a dark corner as a “wrinkle”, because the gorges caused by the fierce battle between the Supreme Emperor and the Mad Armageddon in the past were narrow, long, and deep, frequented by all kinds of people. They indeed looked like interconnected, grime-containing wrinkles on the body of a behemothic beast.
Every wrinkle was a district. On the fractures from top to down, spanning a distance of almost ten thousand meters, lived millions of people. Such districts had a population larger than many metropolises in the peripheral worlds.
During the day, intense smoke and steam were released from the “wrinkles” to the ground. At night, dim and hazy light would pop up nonstop like glittering dust, which was the only sign that the ants living deep inside the dark wrinkles showed that they existed and were still alive.
The thirty-sixth district was a district relatively close to the royal palace and the Council of Elders, with a reasonably good and safe environment.
The area one to two hundred meters into the ground, on the other hand, was still close to the surface and could be bathed in sunlight for a while at noon. In the entire underground city system, it was one of the high-level neighborhoods.
There were mainly two kinds of people who were qualified and wealthy enough to live in the district.
The first kind was the most distinguished hominoids. They were mostly the foremen of the underground factories, the few lucky dogs who started their own business successfully, and the family or lackeys of the Immortal Cultivators.
The second kind was the Immortal Cultivators—the losers among the true human beings, the bankrupts who had run into desperation, and the garbage who had been heavily wounded in training.
In the world of Immortal Cultivators where survival of the fittest was a self-justified truth, the race for survival was extremely cruel. The cruelty was not just manifested in the oppression of “true human beings” over “hominoids” but also in the ruthless compet.i.tions among the Immortal Cultivators.
When one wanted to win, one would have to advance into higher levels through whatever means possible. When one tried to break into higher levels without caring about one’s personal conditions, the odds of being heavily wounded could be very high. Then, when something went wrong in their training, or when they failed in the cruel compet.i.tions and lost all their values, their outcomes could be extremely miserable.
When one Immortal Cultivator soared to the sky, perhaps ninety-nine Immortal Cultivators had already fallen into the abyss. It was even more so for the battle-type Immortal Cultivators who made a living through fighting.
Because of their profession, the odds that they were wounded were multiple times higher than other Immortal Cultivators. Besides, after fighting every day, there tended to be a lot of hidden health problems in their body, and they might have made many sworn enemies too.
When they were at the peak of their Cultivation in their prime years, they could naturally enjoy the best entertainment and relish the reverence of other people. But when they were sick, wounded, or grew old, and they did not have a few strong disciples or enough savings, it was very possible that they would hit rock bottom from the summit, breaking into pieces.
Changing their names and fleeing to the underground world was almost their only way out.
The splendid experts in the past, in dest.i.tution and desperation, became muscles, mercenaries, a.s.sa.s.sins, and the lowest gladiators in the underground arenas. Such examples were not rare at all.
Exhausting their life and soul, exploiting their last drop of blood and sweat, in exchange for a few coins, which would be traded into high-intensity medical and painkilling drugs or the excitants with powerful paralyzing and narcotic effects immediately. The drugs were then injected into their abnormally expanded veins, before they leaned against the dark, damp wall, collapsing and fantasizing that they would rise again in hallucinations until their bodies turned cold and rigid. That was the pathetic and yet unavoidable outcome for many Immortal Cultivators.
From a certain point of view, those Immortal Cultivators were even more miserable than ordinary people.
Ordinary people could work in the factories. They could live on a tiny bit of synthesized food despite its bad taste. If there were a few “ham slices” made of condensed oil in their porridge, it would almost be a delicious meal.
But the Immortal Cultivators, even the old and heavily-wounded ones, would never demean themselves by working together with the “hominoids” as a common component on the a.s.sembly line.
Besides, the money they earned by working was not even enough to fill their stomach that was like a bottomless hole, much less paying for the astronomical medical fees.
Once a person became an Immortal Cultivator, they would be setting off a path full of thorns, never to return. They could not press forward until they were destroyed, but they could never turn back and become an ordinary person again.
The thirty-sixth district was teeming with such devastated Immortal Cultivators, the useless garbage that no sects, forces, groups, or families were willing to take in.
In the recent half of the year, the population of the garbage had been increased by ten times, turning the underground world, which had been crowded enough as it was, even more chaotic and obstreperous.
The losers who were exiled to the underground world were the officers of various levels eliminated from the expedition army. Most of them were the mediocre commanders in the miscellaneous troops who had lost most of their Cultivation because of heavy wounds and who had lost all their troops in the battles.
Thirty years ago, when the Imperium decided to launch the largest strategic counterattack so far, an unprecedented general mobilization was implemented to expand the army. Even the miscellaneous troops from the peripheral worlds, which were usually forbidden to have strong fleets, were permitted by the central government and increased like balloons.
In order to allure the b.u.mpkins from the miscellaneous troops to sell their lives for the Imperium, or rather, for the four Kurfürst families, all kinds of ranks, destinations, medals, and t.i.tles had been offered to them besides the military aids.
A few hundred years ago, the Imperium was rather rigorous in terms of the accreditation of military rank and knighthood. When there was not any major war for hundreds of years, it was not rare that a Nascent Soul Stage expert worked hard for their entire life before they were finally accoladed as a vice admiral in the end.
However, the previous standard had been completely shattered this time. Any random expert in the Core Formation Stage from the peripheral worlds, as long as they could summon a team—even if the team was nothing but a group of half-armed carriers modified from civil carriers—would be given the honorable t.i.tles such as “vice admiral” or “knight of the Imperium”, not caring if their head was big enough to wear those hats.
Those people were all known as “surplus generals” in the upper-cla.s.s circle of the capital. They were all worthless jokes.
Some of the unsophisticated Immortal Cultivators from the peripheral worlds, and those who were ambitious enough, hoping to win wealth and glory for themselves, did lead the men from their hometowns to the frontline, charging in the vanguard, with the honorable t.i.tles above their heads.
Those guys with more brawn than brains were, naturally, no match for the cunning weasels of the four Kurfürst families. They were manipulated easily as other people’s chess pieces and cannon fodder.
The more lucky ones of them, who were dispatched to the command of “G.o.d of War” Lei Chenghu in the Third Battle Area, were perhaps able to preserve the lives of their troops and themselves. Even if they died, they would die a hero’s death.
But for most of the “surplus generals”, they did not know how or why they were killed even after they died. In only a couple of years, the troops that they led to the frontline were wasted, and their Cultivation plummeted because of the heavy wounds they suffered on the battlefield. Some of them were even crippled, their spiritual root and internal organs messed up.
What they earned, however, was nothing more than a few fancy medals, or an upgrade of knighthood, or the elaborate empty promises, such as the rewards or the fiefs that would be given to them after the “final victory”.
As to what the “final victory” was, well, it had to be defined and announced by His Majesty… or the four Kurfürst families behind.