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Chapter 1313: The Greatness of the Twenty-ninth Place
Translator: Exodus Tales Editor: Exodus Tales
Xia Fei was somewhat taken aback. He walked over to the door beside the registration point and peered in, only to see a sloppily dressed old man, who was currently stretching listlessly, at the center of a narrow and dimly lit room.
“Xia Fei?” the old man glanced up at him once and asked.
Before Xia Fei could answer, that old man laughed and said, “Come to think of it; who else could it be but you? You have yet to arrive and are already causing trouble. That young man is Kane, the nephew of Furnace Citadel’s head steward, Deng Wen.”
Xia Fei replied, “He’s the one who picked a fight.”
“Was there a need for you to be so heavy handed with your retaliation?” the old man shot back.
“At least I didn’t deal a fatal blow.” Xia Fei did not feel like he was in the wrong.
The old man pouted and rummaged through the drawers for some time; he retrieved a grubby form, including a metal badge to be pinned on someone’s chest, and handed it over to Xia Fei.
“Someone already came in advance and made prior preparations for you. Since you were permitted to join the Devil Shadow Dragoons, it’d be in your best interest to keep a low profile from here on. After all, this is the Annihilation Universe.” The old man shut his eyes after dispensing this sagely advice.
Xia Fei left the Furnace Citadel. He moved to meet up with Shane, but just as he took a step into the sands, he heard someone behind him shout his name.
“Block him off for me; don’t let him get away!”
Three men came cutting in on an oblique path, all of them dressed as the garrison guards of Furnace Citadel, intercepting Xia Fei’s way forward.
He turned around and saw that it was none other than Young Kane; now with a middle-aged, dark-skinned man at his side, Kane was glaring at him. A large crowd of neophyte Dragoons had gathered and was now watching this confrontation, seemingly excitedly awaiting to witness a spectacle.
“Who are you?! Where did you come from and where are you off to?!” the dark-skinned man shouted as he pointed to Xia Fei from the distance.
Xia Fei furrowed his brows slightly and answered, “I came here to register as a Devil Shadow Dragoon; the formalities have all just been completed.”
“Nonsense!” That middle-aged man gave him a severe rebuke. “How could there still be anyone registering to become a Devil Shadow Dragoons at this time?! The entire legion has been disbanded!”
Young Kane, who was supporting his broken arm with his other hand, hissed viciously, “No need to question him further. He must be a spy; take him down for me!”
The tone Kane had used sounded as though he were Furnace Citadel’s actual owner. The warriors in the vicinity exchanged looks with one another. What Xia Fei held in his hand was indeed a certified doc.u.ment any recognized Dragoons would have, and that badge was unique to Dragoons, too. Every one of them hesitated, uncertain on what they should do.
The middle-aged man moved to approach Xia Fei as he stretched his hand and demanded, “Who registered you? Devil Shadow Dragoons? Who’re you trying to fool?!”
Xia Fei calmly handed his registration paper to the middle-aged man, but the moment the latter opened it and glanced at the content, he became rooted to the spot. There was no faking this type of doc.u.ment; no doubt that the name displayed on it read ‘Devil Shadow Dragoons’. The approver, whose name could be seen stamped on the doc.u.ment, gave him even more fright. To think that it was actually Dark Soul!
This middle-aged man’s face instantly got drenched in sweat. There was, of course, no way for someone of his status to be aware of the Devil Shadow Dragoons’ name being retained; also, Dark Soul was the covert operations division of the Annihilation Universe’s New Hero Alliance! It was the uncompromising powerhouse of this universe!
What did a covert operations division do? Conduct clandestine operations and perform sleuthing! It had the prerogative to act first and ask questions later! On top of that, Dark Soul was the most secretive out of the entire operations division and was directly under Five Ancient Apex!
“Uncle, what’re you staring into s.p.a.ce for? Just grab him already!” Kane savagely pointed at Xia Fei with his one usable arm.
Just as those words left his lips, a purple handprint appeared on his cheek. That middle-aged man had given him a swift backhand!
“This is the Furnace Citadel! Who do you think you are? When is it your turn to speak?!” The middle-aged man glared.
“…But uncle… I-I’m…” Kane stood there all innocent, looking completely dazed.
This was when Xia Fei extended his hand and asked, “Can I have that doc.u.ment back now?”
The middle-aged man respectfully handed the doc.u.ment back to Xia Fei with a wide smile, as the hearts of those watching were left wondering just what sort of background Xia Fei had for Steward Deng Wen to bow his head in such an obsequious manner.
Smiling, Xia Fei suddenly remembered what Shane had told him, and so he pretended to pull out a notebook from his spatial ring and jotted down some random words on it.
As he wrote, Xia Fei voiced, “You’re Furnace Citadel’s Deng Wen, right? 8AM tomorrow, you’re invited for a cup of tea at 29th Place.”
The moment those words were uttered, Deng Wen was dumbfounded!
Deng Wen’s nephew shuddered!
The three warriors, who had been blocking Xia Fei’s path, felt chills run down their spines, and they swiftly stepped away to clear his path, as though they had just grown wings on their backs!
“Remember: 8AM,” Xia Fei told Deng Wen very casually before departing unhurriedly.
“If my memory serves me right, 29th Place is where the New Hero Alliance conducts their covert operations, isn’t it?”
“Not just their covert operations; the 29th Place is THAT Dark Soul!”
“Good heavens! Dark Soul? What’re we still waiting for then? This isn’t a spectacle we should be watching.”
The onlookers instantly dispersed in different directions sans a trace. It was almost as though the mere mention of ’29th Place’ had deadly deterrence, leaving just Deng Wen and his unlucky nephew on the desolate outskirts of Furnace Citadel.
“Look at your incompetence! Your nosiness! Now I’ve gotten invited to have tea at 29th Place!” Deng Wen vented his anger as he twisted Kane’s ears hard several times.
Shane came running from afar, shaking his head at Xia Fei as he mused aloud. “No wonder the head wanted me to come and fetch you myself. You rascal sure are quite the fuel-efficient lamp; just a registration and you already caused such a huge commotion.”
Xia Fei did not answer but wondered out loud, instead, “I only invited Deng Wen for a cup of tea, yet that old man got so scared his soul seemed to have fled his body. Makes me wonder just what kind of magic 29th Place possesses to have elicited such a reaction.”
Shane smiled. “I don’t know about others, but a tea at 29th Place isn’t a welcome invitation. Here in the Annihilation Universe, Dark Soul is in charge of internal investigations, so anyone who finds themselves being invited over for a cup of tea will likely leave with peeled skin if they don’t die at all.
“Of course, it isn’t unheard of for us to invite people over just for a simple tea. It’s just that I didn’t actually expect you to use our trump card after a casual mention from me of it.”
Xia Fei understood everything from Shane’s explanation; he also became aware of Dark Soul’s awesomeness. It was comparable to the Disciplinary Inspection Team, where anyone in the Annihilation Universe suspected of being a traitor would immediately be brought over for some tea, which was a euphemism for an interrogational torture.
Annihilation was a dark place; people who often abused their authority had of course taken several lives. There was no way to extract information in this universe without using some shady methods; what those residing here feared the most was having the covert operation division getting a hold on them and getting interrogated to death with it!
This was especially true after Xiu Zetian had taken over Dark Soul several years ago. He had worked tirelessly for the Annihilation Universe’s sake for years, only to be betrayed and killed by his own people, causing him to be separated from his family and filling his heart with rage.
Now, Xiu Zetian viewed anyone he encountered as similar to the ones who had ambushed him all those years back—a traitor of the Annihilation Universe. This was why he was both vicious and fatalistic whenever he struck, like a rabid dog that randomly bit people, and this further amplified the notoriety of Dark Soul!
Others would do everything in their power to avoid Dark Soul, yet Deng Wen had actually provoked one to be invited over to 29th Place. This was no different from courting death, which was why his expression had been so ghastly just then.
A black wars.h.i.+p lifted off, with Xia Fei and Shane on board.
Standing before the s.h.i.+p’s two-way observation mirror, Xia Fei quietly lit a cigarette.
“Did you do all that on purpose earlier? Did you intentionally reveal your ident.i.ty as a Devil Shadow Dragoon, including the fact that you’re with Dark Soul, to others? Why?” Radix asked, curious.
“You could tell?” Xia Fei asked back.
Radix sighed. “You’re someone who sleeps with a hidden knife under your pillow. How could you just provoke that Kane person for no rhyme or reason, even going as far as to reveal your ident.i.ty and to invite Deng Wen for a cup of tea? Besides, you’ve never been the type tobreak someone’s arm; if you really wanted to take action, you’d bestow death upon him, nothing less.”
Radix understood Xia Fei all too well, so he could easily see through his trickery, but as for what Xia Fei had been actually thinking earlier with that brain of his, Radix was entirely clueless.
“Do you think that anyone whom G.o.d wishes to eradicate will first have to go mad?” Xia Fei waxed philosophically.
Radix got puzzled. “Did what happened today have anything to do with the question you just asked?”
Xia Fei chuckled. “It’s obvious that Xiu Zetian’s about to go crazy. Knowing clearly that I’m one of the Fiends, he wanted to bring me into Annihilation. In fact, I could go as far as to say that he’s not in the least bit concerned about how much trouble I would bring him.”
Radix was startled and mulled over Xia Fei’s words.
Moments prior, Shane did not seem to care that Xia Fei had invited Deng Wen for tea, allowing Xia Fei to drop Dark Soul’s name freely. Clearly, he had gotten instructions from Xiu Zetian, and even more apparently, 29th Place had offended every possible person in the Annihilation Universe at this point.
“Are you saying that the circ.u.mstances you find yourself in now are extremely dangerous?” Radix asked after some thought.
Xia Fei shook his head; the corners of his mouth curled into his strange smirk. With his eyes s.h.i.+ning, he said, “Many times, danger is also an opportunity.”
The wars.h.i.+p was parked on a landing pad by a crater with flowing lava. Just like its name, Dark Soul’s location was somewhere perilous.
They came across a scant few people on the way, but a whole suite of facilities were all around, places that provided meals and training .There was even a sauna room people could use; everything anyone might need was available for all.
Shane brought Xia Fei to a conference room and had the latter wait outside as he went in to make his report.
Shane returned shortly after, opening the door as he gestured to Xia Fei to enter as well.
He saw approximately seven to eight men seated inside this small conference room. There was a big and bald man, an elderly individual with a repulsive gaze, a young but charming lady… All in all, many of those people present are Dark Soul and look different from each other.
Taking a seat at the base of the table. Xia Fei discovered that they were formulating tactical arrangements. Their screens had starmaps, topographical maps, and even comprehensive energy a.n.a.lysis tables.
Xia Fei was the one in charge of such tactical arrangements in Skywing, so he was of course very familiar with all these. From the present map, it looked like they were in the middle of preparing a search plan.
Swallowing saliva, Xiu Zetian excitedly introduced Xia Fei to everyone; he did not hide the fact that Xia Fei had been registered as a Devil Shadow Dragoon.
Everyone was a little astonished but restrainedthemselves from showing it. Not one of them asked why Xia Fei registered with the Devil Shadow Dragoon.
“Since everyone’s already here, we’ll set off tomorrow! Those traitors Yabu is leading are the scourges of Annihilation, and we members of Dark Soul must be the ones to take care of them, eliminating each one of the traitors!”
“Xia Fei had experience tackling Yabu and his men in Alpha, so I received special concessions from above, allowing Xia Fei to join Dark Soul and go on this operation with us!”
Everyone gasped in surprise. No one had expected that the una.s.suming Xia Fei would have actually crossed swords with Yabu and his group of outlaws. Everyone nodded their heads, appearing to have approved of their leader’s arrangement.
Xia Fei was also a little surprised, but this could be explained easily enough; the reason why he had been arranged to join Dark Soul turned out to be a ploy of replacing men so as to deceive others. Xiu Zetian had apparently used the excuse that Xia Fei had previous experience dealing with the Devil Shadow Dragoons to pull him into Annihilation right under people’s noses.
Xia Fei grew more and more curious the more he looked at the map displayed on the main screen. As a strategist for the Skywing Clan, Xia Fei did not believe that someone would hide in such a strange location as shown on the map.
From a structural point of view, the coordinates pointed toward a temporary fortress, which had been left in disuse for a very long time. Furthermore, it was something built urgently along an army’s march, with traces of slaughter found all around. As such, unless Yabu and his men were fools, who would choose to hide in such a conspicuous place?