Chapter 467: The Skin Flayers
As the group neared Great Wall City, they reached a certain point where a rippling fluctuation appeared, surrounding them and locking them in place.
It was impossible to detect with the naked eye, and almost immediately surrounded them with indescribable restrictive power that made it almost impossible for them to move. Even Zhao Tianjiao suddenly lurched to a stop and couldn't move a muscle!
The same thing happened to Chen Yueshan, Bai Xiaochun, and the others in the group. All of them were suddenly as stiff as boards, completely incapable of movement.
Next, the rippling power used some unknown method to examine their identity medallions and confirm that the medallions belonged to them. Even Chen Yueshan, daughter of three-eyed Chen Hetian, was examined thoroughly.
After that, another fluctuation passed through them, and they could sense their souls being examined!
It only lasted for a moment, but even that short bit of time left Bai Xiaochun and the others all trembling as if they had just had a brush with death.
After all, they had just been immobilized and scanned with divine sense; if they had harbored any ill intentions at all, they would have been killed beyond the shadow of a doubt!
After the rigid examination, the fluctuations locking them in place slowly faded away, and they regained the ability to move. Expressions flickering, they continued on toward Great Wall City.
Moments before, when the small group was being stopped and inspected, a door had opened somewhere in Great Wall City, and a middle-aged cultivator had stepped out, clad in a black suit of armor. He emanated the fluctuations of the great circle of Core Formation, as well as a bleakly murderous aura which grew more intense by the moment. The man took only four steps, and yet, that placed him right in front of the newly arrived group.
Even Zhao Tianjiao could sense that this man's murderous aura was unusual and unique.
When his eyes fell upon Chen Yueshan, he immediately clasped hands and bowed. "I am your humble servant, Colonel Li Hongming of the Skin Flayers.
"The inspection you underwent just now was merely protocol. Great Wall City's spell formation has a special function which strictly inspects every person who comes in. I hope you can forgive me for the unexpected inconvenience." From the way Li Hongming was speaking, it was clear that he didn't expect a response from any of them, but rather, wanted them to listen carefully.
"It is not permitted to tarry inside of Great Wall City, and in fact, the other trial-takers won’t even be allowed inside. They can only pass in and out of the Great Wall via a side gate, and must take no more than the time it takes an incense stick to burn to do so.
"However, the deva patriarch passed down orders that your group would be allowed in the city, albeit for only a single day. After that, you must leave…. I've been tasked with overseeing your stay, and therefore, you are not allowed to leave my sight. Please do abide by that arrangement." With that, he turned and began to walk off.
When Bai Xiaochun examined Li Hongming, he could tell that the man's cultivation base was only a bit higher than his own, and yet, his murderous aura was vastly more intense. Furthermore, his eyes seemed to radiate a feeling of blood, as though he had killed too many souls to even count.
The fact that a person like that was a mere colonel in charge of a thousand soldiers left Bai Xiaochun even more shaken regarding the five legions.
After a moment of silence, Zhao Tianjiao hurried after Li Hongming and asked, "Brother Li, why did the inspection from before even go as deep as our souls?"
Without even turning his head to look at Zhao Tianjiao, Li Hongming said, "One sixty-year-cycle ago, the vengeful souls outside the Great Wall devised a unique possession technique that allowed them to masquerade as cultivators. They used that technique to try to infiltrate Great Wall City and assassinate the generals. From that point on, we took precautions against such methods. Everyone who wants to enter the city must first undergo a soul inspection!"
Zhao Tianjiao nodded and didn’t ask any further questions. Bai Xiaochun followed along cautiously with the rest of the group as Li Hongming led them into Great Wall City itself!
He could instantly tell that the place was different from East Sea City or World City. First of all… there were no shops anywhere to be seen. Although there were a lot of people present, most of them wore suits of armor, and had cold, expressionless faces.
This wasn't really a city, it was… a huge military base!
The cultivators were all members of the five legions, each of which had their own section of the city to themselves. There was a harsh, stern atmosphere that weighed down everywhere, leaving Bai Xiaochun and the rest of the group feeling somewhat unsettled.
Even Zhao Tianjiao was affected.
When Li Hongming saw the reactions of Bai Xiaochun and the others, a cold smile appeared on his face, and a bit of scorn could be seen in his eyes. He obviously didn't have a very good opinion of them, and were it not for the orders of the deva patriarch, he would never have lowered himself to the point of giving them a tour of the city.
As far as he was concerned, his current task was simply taking him away from fighting or cultivation.
"They're nothing but a bunch of highfalutin kids from the sect, here to see what war looks like." Although his heart was filled with scorn, he kept his face expressionless as he led them through Great Wall City.
Along the way, various cultivators from the five legions looked over at Li Hongming, and when they saw the type of armor he was wearing, would clasp hands and offer respectful greetings.
"My respects, Colonel!"
Bai Xiaochun heard many such greetings being called out, and when he saw the looks of respect on the faces of the other cultivators, couldn't help but be curious about the rank of colonel.
Zhao Tianjiao and the others were all wrapped up in their own thoughts as they looked around at the violet walls of the city.
Everything in the city was violet, including the buildings, and emanated a reek of blood.
"Great Wall City is divided into five districts, corresponding to the five legions. We are currently in the district assigned to the Skin Flayers, which is itself larger than all of World City.
"The Skin Flayers' district is further subdivided into ten garrisons. As for that area over there… it belongs to General Bai Lin." Li Hongming was currently pointing to an area with a vast, 300-meter-tall building that looked like a violet coffin.
The coffin was emblazoned with the sigil of the Skin Flayers, and emanated a very sinister air. As he looked around, Bai Xiaochun could see the looks of zealous devotion in the eyes of the cultivators when they looked at the huge coffin. It was the same even with Li Hongming.
"The other areas are similar, so I won’t take you to look at all of them." Having led them on a rather circuitous route through the city, Li Hongming finally took them into a rather ordinary-looking courtyard.
Li Hongming looked up at the noon sun and then coolly said, "It’s getting late, so why don't you rest up a bit. There's a curfew at night, so remember that, and be careful."
Bai Xiaochun looked up at the sun, and could tell that it was actually very early, and not anywhere close to night time. Li Hongming clearly didn’t want to waste any more time showing them around.
"I'll escort you out tomorrow morning at first light." With that, Li Hongming turned to leave.
Zhao Tianjiao was frowning, and seemed to be on the verge of saying something when Chen Yueshan took a step forward and said, "Brother Li, please wait a moment."
Li Hongming stopped in place. If anyone else in the group had spoken up, he would have ignored them, but Chen Yueshan's status was different. Frowning slightly, he turned to look at her.
"Brother Li, would you mind taking us up to the Great Wall to look around?" she said lightly, giving voice the words that Zhao Tianjiao had just been thinking.
After a moment of silence, Li Hongming slowly said, "There's currently a battle going on, making it quite dangerous. If we go up, I can't guarantee your safety. Are you sure you want to go?"
"Yes, we're sure!" Zhao Tianjiao said, nodding his head.
Bai Xiaochun hesitated for a moment, but seeing how everyone else was nodding, he decided to go along. "We definitely want to go have a look!"
Li Hongming did nothing further to dissuade them. Turning in a different direction, he began to lead them toward the Great Wall itself.
Translator: Deathblade. (Follow me on , , , , YouTube, )
Editor: GNE. Memes: Logan. Tocsin. Chinese language consultant: ASI a.k.a. Beerblade. . .
This is another short chapter. Considering how many short chapters there have been in a row, I went back to check and see if there was a note I missed about why that might be. However, there were no notes, and all of these chapters came out as his usual rate of 2 per day. They’ll get back into the more normal range in a couple more chapters. So, I’m not really sure what exactly was happening around this time. One thing worth noting is something I didn’t notice until his end-of-book announcement. Throughout AWE, he didn’t ask for any monthly vote tickets from his audience, which was a big departure from previous books. In his first three major novels, he would end most chapters asking for the coveted monthly vote tickets, but not in AWE. He took a much more relaxed approach to this novel, and seemed to be doing it more for the enjoyment than for the money, so to speak. (Also interesting to note is that AWE was still at the top of the charts through its entire run on qidian, despite him not doing monthly vote ticket drives and the like)