Chapter 334 – Lifeline Canyon
It was not only Zhao Hai who hadn't gone to Rosen Empire, Laura and the others also hadn't gone there. So no person on their group had any understanding of the situation inside the empire.
The exception was Shue, he wandered around Rosen Empire for a period of time. When he arrived at Aksu Empire, he already had basic knowledge of the place.
Zhao Hai made Shue brief them about Rosen Empire's situation. Rosen Empire was the continent's most powerful nation, in Hundred Battles fortress, there would be 150,000 soldiers stationed every year, 50,000 of which were magic beast cavalry while the other 100,000 were normal soldiers. Their infantry were also deemed to be a first rate soldier all throughout the continent, even if they defend against a cavalry charge, they could still hold their ground securely.
Mages are prevalent inside Rosen Empire, so there would be mages positioned in the fortress all year round. And there would be Dark Mages among them. It was because unlike other nations, Dark element magic wasn't being suppressed in the empire.
Rosen Empire was worthy of being called the continent's most powerful nation. They were connected to the sea, of which their navy had gained their fair share of fame, to their north was the Aksu Empire, while they have the Lyon Empire to the south. And it's territory was seven times the size of Aksu Empire, one could imagine how enormous the empire was.
The Rosen Empire's territory was also gifted when it came to terrain. To their south was the Accra Mountain as well as the Magic Beast Domain, having a single route towards Lyon Empire. To their north was Kolan Mountain Range, with also a single road towards Aksu Empire. Such geographical advantage made it hard to invade the empire.
It was because of these advantages that the citizens of the empire developed their prideful personality. They think that since their nation was the best in the continent, the citizens of the other nations were inherently inferior. They even call the people from the Aksu Empire barbarians while those in the Lyon Empire were called southern barbarians.
From these names, one could see their attitude towards the citizens from the other empires. It can be said that the Rosen Empire citizens were born with an arrogant heart, looking down on people from other nations.
Therefore, for people like Zhao Hai who obtained their titles inside Aksu empire, respect wouldn't be something that they'll receive in the empire. Even commoners won't give them a salute.
After knowing these circumstances, Zhao Hai couldn’t help but frown. He thought that his noble title would act as his self-defense, that he would be received with good intent. Now it seemed like that was false.
After a two-day rest inside Cold Wind Fortress, Zhao Hai's group finally embarked on their journey across Lifeline Canyon, heading towards Hundred Battles Fortress. They didn't encounter any big problems when they started out, but it was said that Lifeline Canyon would place among the top ten busiest roads in the continent. Although the fortress gate was very wide, the volume of people lining up to go in and out of the fortress was very long, there were a lot of people present.
Zhao Hai was well-mannered while lining up to leave the fortress. He also learned that the distance between Cold Wind Fortress and Hundred Battles fortress was about 300 li(150 km), although the Kolan mountain range was very long, Lifeline Canyon's width only amounted to a couple hundred li.
At this time, Zhao Hai saw many convoys along the way. On the carriages on these convoys were insignias of nobles, some were even of famous Great Nobles. These convoys filled the entire scene, some even comprising of several hundred to a thousand carts and carriages, with guards reaching thousands. With each and everyone talking and shouting, the entire scene was very lively.
Comparing Zhao Hai's convoy to these huge ones would be like comparing a single drop to a huge ocean. Basically nobody paid any attention to them, much to Zhao Hai's delight.
It wasn't known whether Ruyen was afraid, but she became quite behaved these past few days. When she wasn't in her room, she would stay inside her carriage and didn't come out. This situation made Zhao Hai feel even better.
Despite being low-key, there were still some people who took notice of Zhao Hai's carriage, especially the giant-horned bull pulling it. After all, this magic beast was quite rare in the continent, it was unavoidable that it attracted a few pairs of eyes.
But as time passed by, nobody cared anymore, this was because in addition to the giant-horned bull, there was also another bull pulling Zhao Hai's other carriage. People thought that the giant-horned bull was just a variant of the other common bull.
Traversing 300 li would take a bull-pulled carriage more than a day's travel. So in the evening, the group had to camp inside Lifeline Canyon. And it was clear that the other travellers were very prepared as they built their tents and made a temporary camp.
Zhao Hai was also looking for a place for their camp. After their camp was constructed, Shue found Zhao Hai and said, "Young Master, we have to be careful tonight. In Lifeline Canyon, small convoys disappearing suddenly is a common occurrence. Here, no matter if you're from Aksu or Rosen Empire, bandits wouldn't care, thus the amount of robberies were also high. Moreover, magic beasts would also find opportunities to attack during dark.
Zhao Hai froze for a moment then nodded, "Good, we'll pay extra attention. Also, go remind Ruyen about this as well to keep them on guard. Grand Duke Evan provided us with help. So we still need to keep Ruyen in mind." Shue nodded, then turned away.
Laura looked at Shue's back and sighed, "I must say, Ruyen is quite a pitiful. A single girl going to an unknown place to study. Also her status would be demoted from a young lady to a commoner, and may even get looked down. This wouldn't make anyone feel better."
Zhao Hai also sighed, but Ruyen's situation was only brought upon by herself. She was intelligent, but she didn't know where to use it, therefore she reached her current situation.
She thought that her father was incompetent, that he wouldn't be able to provide her with a good life, so she gave her father sarcastic comments often, never giving him face. She thought that Adam wouldn’t live a good life, so she wanted to break their engagement. She thought that with her wit, all men would submit to her, therefore she acted as though she was an empress, ending up discrediting herself. Finally, Grand Duke Evan made her go far away to study, one could say that she brought this upon her own self.
People say that hateful people end up in pitiful situations. These words were fully reflected on Ruyen. She's currently very pitiful, but she did do some hateful things.
Because they were camping outdoors, the other people were very vigilant of each other, so there wasn't much contact between fellow travellers. In fact, this situation was present all along Lifeline Canyon. Except for those extremely large convoys, general convoys were alert, afraid of being attacked by others.
Like what Shue said, convoys regularly vanish in the canyon, so people were very wary of their surroundings.
After Zhao Hai and the group entered the tent, they immediately went to the Space. Tonight, it was Blockhead who was assigned to watch the night while Rockhead drove the carriage outside. This was also Zhao Hai's plan, to have Blockhead and Rockhead switch places from time to time. Today. It was Rockhead's turn to drive the carriage while Blockhead stayed inside the Space.
This made it so that one of them could be assigned to be the night guard, making Zhao Hai relax. Shue also told Shun and Rockhead about the situation. So the three prepared their weapons and didn't take off their armor, so that they would be prepared to battle at any time.
In the middle of the night, Blockhead noticed some shadows closing in around their camps, but their goal didn't seem to be them, instead it seemed to be Ruyen.
Zhao Hai's camp was near Ruyen's, but they still had quite a distance between them. This made the other travellers inside the canyon confused whether they were travelling together or not.
Seeing the situation, Blockhead didn't know what to do. He wasn't sure if he should wake Zhao Hai up or not. In the end, he decided to wake Zhao Hai, he was afraid that those outsiders would also attack them.
Deciding on his action, Blockhead stood up and walked outside Zhao Hai's room. He knocked at the door and whispered, "Young Master, Young Master, something's happening."
Zhao Hai was a light sleeper, so when Blockhead knocked on his door, he immediately woke up. He wore his clothes and opened the door, "What's the matter?"
Blockhead lead Zhao Hai to the living room and pointed to the monitor. Zhao Hai looked at it and nodded, he turned to Blockhead and said, "Go wake Shun, Shue, as well as Rockhead. No matter what, Ruyen is with us. It isn't good for her to suffer an accident now. I wouldn't have any words to tell Uncle Evan if Ruyen gets into harm."
After that, the two went out from the Space. They didn't wake Laura and the others, they couldn't help them anyway. They would only worry if they woke up.
In order to keep them secure, Shue, Shun and Rockhead didn't go to the Space to rest but just slept outside.
Zhao Hai directly appeared on the three men's tent. When the two appeared, Shue and the other two woke up. The trio was surprised to see Zhao Hai, Shue whispered, "Young Master, did something happen?"
Zhao Hai nodded, "Some people encircled us, they're probably after Ruyen. Shun, go inform Ruyen, make them prepare."
Shun complied then vanished from the tent. Zhao Hai didn't notice how he left, the tent's curtain didn't even move.
Zhao Hai brought up the image projected on the monitor and the group looked at it seriously. The team that came seem to not belong to any convoy. It looked like they had come down from the mountains, they number about 700 people.
Looking at their appearance, it was possible that they were mercenaries. They wore leather armor with varying types of weapons that looked like they were used for a long time. Some weapons even seemed to be damaged but not even replaced.