I woke up in the middle of the night and quietly got out of my sleeping bag.
After that banquet, the tent was littered with crumbs of leftover food, causing a lingering food stench in the tent. The food stench mixed together with the pungent stench of sweat from the men sleeping to form a slightly nauseating smell. Combined with the thunderous snores, this place could be only described as a pig sty.
Due to the contact with the ground, heat was rapidly transferred from the sleeping bag to the ground, making the bag a terrible insulator.
Compared to the cold and nauseating night spent in this tent, life in the village was like a break in a five-star retirement home.
I quietly opened the flaps out of the tent and walked out. I needed some fresh air badly.
Di Qi Ju:……
As I stepped out, I bumped into a patrolling guardsman. He gave me a brief stare but didn’t say anything else. It seems like I have his tacit approval. I guess a certain amount of freedom was given as long as you didn’t leave the perimeters or try to escape.
I looked up at the black sun. The period of total darkness had passed and it was now time for a change of shifts. The sun peeked out from the corner, slightly illuminating the sky like a crescent moon.
Under the dim illumination of the stars, I spotted a silhouette of a giant in a distance. It seemed to be staring intently at something ahead.
A striking head of black hair extended down from his head all to the way to his tailbone. Connected to it was a bushy wolf’s tail that was gently swaying in the air.
It was that seasonal wolf.
Oh right, I still haven’t thanked him for helping me with the oral examination.
Di Qi Ju: That…hello.
A piercing gaze glimmered in the darkness of night. It was a wolf-like stare.
??: The officer’s crony
Di Qi Ju: Ah? Who’s a crony?
??: You. During the test of strength, you were given a direct pass. The officer even approached you during the banquet. It’s only natural that people would assume cronyism was involved.
Di Qi Ju: Huh? I’m innocent.
??: Is there even a point in doing so? Are you aiming for a supervisory or commanding post?
Di Qi Ju: Like I said—–I didn’t do it!
??: Alright. If there’s nothing else you should get some sleep. I heard humans loved to sleep.
This guy…I swear every word that comes out of his mouth is aimed at chasing me away. It’s rare to see such an antisocial person.
…Forget it. He did do me a favor after all. I should be more accommodating.
Di Qi Ju: I’m here to thank you. Thanks for helping me with the test.
??: When did I help you?
Di Qi Ju: Before the oral examination. I’m not really good with words so you reading it out really helped me.
??: Oh. So you weren’t looking for death when you approached my back.
This guy… I swear I should just undo my disguise ability and smack him to death!
Di Qi Ju: Anyway, thanks for the help.
??: What’s your name?
Di Qi Ju:…..Di Qi Ju.
??: My name is Mo Chuan.
??:…Hm? This name has a nostalgic feel to it.
Mo Chuan: This is the first time I’ve seen such a daring yet humble human.
Di Qi Ju: Ha…
I think he’s praising me.
Mo Chuan: Come over here and look at that.
Di Qi Ju: Oh, kay.
I sat down next to him and looked at the direction he indicated.
The vast scenery of the city extended before me. The uniform tent sections contrasted with the chaos of the under-construction buildings within the city.
Only the fields of larger buildings on the left and right gave the semblance of an actual city.
Further into the distance, the silhouette of the city wall was barely visible.
As I surveyed the wall, an opening abruptly came into sight. It looked like a hole dug out by a giant mole.
Di Qi Ju: That’s…
Mo Chuan: That’s the tunnel the expedition will use to leave the city. It was temporarily dug out in the direction of our target.
Mo Chuan: What do you know about the land beyond that hole?
I tried to peer into the distance but a thick fog hindered my vision, obscuring the scenery beyond.
Di Qi Ju: If I knew, it wouldn’t be an expedition.
Mo Chuan: What’s beyond that, from the good to bad, is merely power; money; sweat; blood and death.
Mo Chuan: Why did you join this expedition?
Di Qi Ju: Because…of survival, I guess. The work here looked better than hard labor in this city.
Mo Chuan:…Such a simple and easy to understand life.
Di Qi Ju: What about you?
Mo Chuan: Broadly speaking, I did it for survival as well.
Di Qi Ju: Is it common to find a season wolf making a living among the humans?
Mo Chuan: Nope. I haven’t seen another wolf do so. Our relationship is mostly limited to cooperation and trade.
Di Qi Ju: Oh…
There’s definitely a sad story behind this, but I’m not exactly the prying type.
Di Qi Ju: Well…good luck. At least misery isn’t waiting for us beyond these walls.
Mo Chuan turned around and looked right at me, his gaze visibly gentler.
Mo Chuan: Being the officer’s favorite must be really nice.
Di Qi Ju:——How many times do I have to say that I’m innocent!?
Come to think of it, if one had an ability, they could have joined this expedition with a soldier’s status.
Those who started from a laborer either had a really low social status or couldn’t meet the strict recruitment standards.
Bluntly put, they were the bottom rung of society. They didn’t possess any special traits or accomplishments. All they had was mediocrity.
For some, this was unbearable. They chased after excellence their entire lives. Looking for that one moment to soar into the air and make a name for themselves.
For others, mediocrity was enough for them.
The next day…
As the soldiers’ shouting filled the air, the people in the tent stirred.
After a simple breakfast, we were told to form a single file. Under the leadership of a soldier, we marched off to the wall opening.
Over there, the laborers from the different recruitment windows gathered. They formed a sea of non-uniformed personnel that numbered at least a thousand.
Just based on this supporting contingent, one could estimate the sheer scale of this expedition.
However, instead of awe, all I felt was a strange sense of sadness from being a part of this sausage festival.
I guess it would be stranger to see a female joining this expedition.
In front of me was the seasonal wolf, Mo Chuan. Between us was a shivering fellow.
I wanted to check out the situation in front of me but Mo Chuan’s towering body stood in the way. I ended up having to lean to the sides to circumvent this hairy barrier.
On an elevated platform ahead, I happened to spot an officer walk up onto the platform. It was the adjutant, Ethan.
Ethan: Gentlemen, the scouting party has already set off. An hour later, we will set off as well. Make sure to follow commands to letter and make sure to follow the rules.
Ethan: This expedition isn’t just some normal pioneering mission. For this expedition we will be venturing into virgin lands. If things worked out well, we might even set up a small city and a communications post.
Ethan: The mission for today is to pave a road that allows for carriages to pass through. It’s a simple mission but with an important purpose: to secure a supply line for our future endeavors.
Ethan: That’s enough talking for today. Did you guys get all of that down!?
A resounding yes echoed in response; in perfect unison.
Ethan: At this moment, there is a inquisitor from the Divine Hall stationed at the eastern gate. He’s in charge of inspecting everyone present to ensure there aren’t any troublemakers.
Ethan: Everyone, please form a single file and move through the inquisitor’s checkpoint in an orderly fashion. Once everyone has done so, we will gather at the tunnel.
Ethan: The right most file; Move Out!!
An inquisitor? Is this the last test Breman was talking about last night?
What’s the purpose of this inspection…
Di Qi Ju: Mo Chuan, Mo Chuan. What are we doing now?
Mo Chuan: Once is enough.
He snapped back at me without turning around.
Mo Chuan: Didn’t the officer just announce it? The inquisitor is here to weed out the troublemakers.
Di Qi Ju: How is he planning to appraise us?
Mo Chuan: With his wish ability, of course.
Mo Chuan: All the inquisitors possess a wish point level of at least a hundred. Each of them are monsters with abilities that most people wouldn’t have.
Di Qi Ju: Just for reference sake…what are they?
Mo Chuan: It could be an ability to read through a person’s memory details. It could also be an ability to see through a person’s lies or disguises.
Di Qi Ju:—–!!?
Mo Chuan: These are abilities that normal people wouldn’t wish for since they wouldn’t need it. However, they are a necessity for these inquisitors.
Mo Chuan: The Divine Hall’s decision not to interfere in politics meant that all their efforts were devoted to maintaining the faith. As such, their wish points had to be spent on these strange abilities in order to carry out their religious duties…what’s the matter, Ju?
Di Qi Ju: Huh…no, it’s nothing.
Di Qi Ju: Ah—-it’s time for our group. Let’s go.
Logically speaking, with my 200,000 wish point investment in my disguise ability, I didn’t have to worry about my disguise being exposed.
However, that ability did not cover my personal history. If he had an ability to look into a person’s history; there was a very high risk of my past being exposed.
By this time, our group had started making its way towards the eastern gate. Should I make a wish now? But there’s not enough time. At this rate, we will reach the checkpoint before the one minute is up. Plus, with my current mental condition, clearing my mind is virtually impossible.
After taking a turn, the checkpoint came into sight. It mainly consisted of the inquisitor with Ethan supporting him by his side.
That austere robes and hood…didn’t those men at the city gate wear that as well?
Those were inquisitors? Aren’t they…no, I don’t have the time to worry about this right now!
That monologue cost me dearly as we gradually closed in on the inquisitor.
As the laborers passed through the checkpoint, the inquisitor stared at each of them with a cold, impassive face. Her hooded face exposed a penetrating gaze that locked onto each laborer for a moment before moving onto the next. In that short span of time, it felt like one’s secrets were laid bare.
The only visible features under that hood, were the inquisitor’s nose and chin. Based on these and her facial structure, one could tell that she was a female.
Ahah…I guess there’s no choice. I’ll have to wing it.
Come on. Just let me pass through without any hassle.
Nothing to see here. Just a normal stroll in the park.
I withdrew my gaze and forced myself to maintain a natural expression as I faced forward.
Mo Chuan had already passed through. If that’s the case, I should be fine. Just like this, slowly walk forward…
Suddenly, a pale arm shot out and blocked my passage.
Di Qi Ju: ——-!?
This arm was definitely not able block me but it was able to give me a scare and cause me to stop walking.
This…you’re kidding me… It can’t be. It must be a mistake, this has nothing to do with me. Mhm.
She was definitely trying to block the guy in front of me but he walked off too fast…
??: Hold it right there…Di Qi Ju.
Di Qi Ju:……
Special thanks to 7STARDARK BLADE! The first ever patron of Catato Patch Translations.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.