The curtains to an epic of a continental power struggle are pulled open. There’s an entire empire in Dane’s heart!
Churches, tribes, prisons, forests, castles, graveyards, abysses . . . He controls the bases of all seven races in the fantasy epic war game, [Heart of Dynasty]; right before his eyes is the throne of a monarch!
Elf rangers pull your bows, the heavy-armoured knights are charging!
The Caesar Empire has collapsed. An era of war for the new ruler arises. The Kingdom sends endless expeditions; the Northern Alliance is unwilling to be excluded; the abyss and death begin to stir as they gaze upon the continent. Plots, tricks, religious wars. . . amidst these battles, only the victor can be called powerful!
Dane, holding a blade dripping with blood, says with bared teeth, “Fuck! Let me use my ass to see whether that seat at the top is comfortable or not!”
Chapter 1 – Ghostblade
Dane awoke from his dream. Finally, he could no longer hear the noises he barely understood.
High-rise buildings? Virtual reality game? [Heart of Dynasty]? What a mess. He didn’t know what these terms were at all.
He had been bedridden for the afternoon. The shaman in town said he was plagued by an evil spirit and this illness required only a simple exorcism and an afternoon’s sleep to resolve.
Indeed, the shaman’s words were absolutely correct. After receiving the exorcism treatment, he had lain in bed for just two hours and now felt he had completely recovered.
“Thank you for your patronage! The fee this time is three hundred and seventy gold,” said the half-beastman shaman with a smile towards Dane as he uncovered his yellowed, incongruous teeth. His countenance was sickly, as if it were all skin and bones. On him were all sorts of messy creature parts of unknown origin and usage.
Dane felt his scalp go numb as he sat himself up on the filthy bed; his bare upper body was incomparably strong.
But even though he had such strength, he was still quite stunned by this treatment fee. He said, “Three hundred and seventy gold? Damned Old Borg, you might as well go rob me!”
The old shaman named Borg said, “My robbing skills aren’t as professional as your Phantom Mercenary Group. Pay up! Exorcism is a two-ring spell. The casting materials are very expensive.”
As he spewed out curses, Dane had no choice but to take out three hundred and seventy gold coins to him from his clothes by his side. It couldn’t be helped. As a mercenary who often tasted blood—or, to bandits—this old shaman was the only shaman in Rotten Wolf Town. He could not be offended.
Dane Ghostblade was a mercenary. To be more precise, a vice-leader of mercenaries. The Phantom Mercenary Group had quite some reputation in the Rotten Wolf Town. As the second-in-command, Dane had acquired a well-known title—[Ghost Blade Hand]. As a result, he had rather comfortable days. Especially within Schindler, this chaotic country formed by half-beastmen settlements and human armies, he was like a fish in water with his fearless nature.
In this place of disorder, there was always blood splattered. Half-beastmen, beastmen, humans, merchants, mercenaries, pirates . . . Various forces were mixed together atop this loess earth. As a mercenary group, they never worried about a lack of business. Moreover, the Phantom Mercenary Group was a large band of people over two hundred in number. In this place, there weren’t many who dared to anger them. Even the mayor of Rotten Wolf Town, the big-bellied human merchant Baba, would retract his greedy complexion whenever he came across Dane.
It was just that . . . recently, Dane was a bit unlucky.
He was a berserker. With his bold temper and his veins flowing with half-beastmen blood that came from his grandfather or grandmother, granting him great power nonetheless, he racked up a body full of scars after joining the Phantom Mercenary Group for just a few years. In addition to the countless heads sliced off by his blade, he gained the title “Ghostblade”, and stood stably on the position of second-in-command in the mercenary group.
However, one must know in this world, to the leader of any group, there was a very terrifying thing: surpassing one’s head with achievements.
The leader of the Phantom Mercenary Group, Baines Ghosttooth, was Dane’s good friend for many years. However, time was cruel; Old Ghosttooth was already fifty this year. Judging by typical half-beastmen life spans, he could life for another ten years at most. He wanted to hand the mercenary group to his son, but Dane, who was similarly young, held just a bit too much power within the group. His fool of a son simply stood no chance.
Thus, the suppression came in various waves. If it weren’t for factors such as Dane was quite widely known and he had many followers within the mercenary group, therefore too big of a commotion would arise if he were attacked directly, Old Ghosttooth would have likely killed already. Dan believed this “good friend” of his who he had known for many years would do a thing like this.
But he wasn’t a person who allowed himself to be fettered. Since the suppression had come, naturally he would resist.
Two days ago, he had his eyes on a merchant group. With his own team, and without informing Old Baines, he struck the merchants on his own accord.
One must say that Dane was quite capable. With a specially made super-long blade, his strength as a berserker, and his soldiers, he led a team just a bit over thirty people and thoroughly robbed the merchant group that had over a hundred guards.
Large amounts of wealth were brought back to Rotten Wolf Town by him and his subordinates. This was a very good opportunity. With these achievements, he would have no problem laying down his cards to Old Ghosttooth with his trusted men. When the time came, no matter driving Old Ghosttooth off the stage or starting his own group, both were within the realm of possibility.
But . . . fuck. In such a critical moment, he fell to an illness!
He even had a deep impression of the moment he returned to Rotten Wolf Town with his plundered riches. In the instant he stepped into town, he felt a chill invade his entire being. Then, he had an unrelenting high fever for two days, causing immense weakness to befall his body. Simultaneously, within these two days, he even felt large amounts of foreign memories that surged into his mind, straight towards his soul.
Amongst these memories, there were high-rise buildings that invoked disbelief, and there were virtual reality games he couldn’t comprehend. Of those games, there was a famous one—Heart of Dynasty.
These unfathomable and inconceivable memories brought forth many disturbances in his brain, bringing him great pain.
He himself had no clue what to do in a situation like this. Thus, he was left with no options but to request the town’s shaman for help. Old Borg said there was an evil spirit that wound around him and a spell was required for treatment, leading the scene earlier to occur.
Old Borg had a very black heart—that was something the entire population of Rotten Wolf Town knew. For a two-ring spell, even the scrolls themselves would be at most a hundred and fifty gold coins, and it would even typically be much less. However, before this black-hearted old shaman, an exorcism spell required three hundred and seventy! It was over two times the original price; that was simply infuriating.
Moreover, not only did this old bastard demand a hefty fee, his skills weren’t any impressive either. Although the evil spirit had been dispelled and it no longer had any way of disturbing Dane, the mysterious and random memories it brought still remained fresh in his brain. That made Dane a bit depressed.
Normally, if someone dared to rip Dane off like that, he would have taken his blade and give them a lesson in life. However, Old Borg . . . whatever. He hadn’t been cheated by this old thing for a few number of times. However, there would never be anyone who’d be able to do anything to him. After all, only Old Borg had the abilities to cast two-ring, three-ring spells in such a crappy place. Dane could only bear through it as he pinched the roof of his nose.
After paying, Dane said amidst curses, “You old bastard, some day, you’ll be cut to death by someone who won’t take this exploitation!”
Old Borg simply paid him no heed. Thus, Dane could only walk out with a twisted face from the shaman’s broken thatched house located at the border of the town.
Standing outside, Dane looked around.
Schindler was situated on the Eastern Wastelands. It was a normal sight to see a sky filled with yellow sand, and that in addition to a poor land like this wasn’t any life-supporting place. The Rotten Wolf Town nearby in his field of view was in an even worse condition in other areas within Schindler. This town was akin to a barely surviving Sand Wolf within the desert: filthy and run-down. Along with the wind was even some fetid stench.
However, a place like this was an important commerce town in the south-east area of Schindler.
Various goods transported over from the heart of the western human world through the southern crossroads were unloaded at a nearby sandy harbour. Then, they were carried inland with camels. Of the areas they passed, the Rotten Wolf Town near the harbour was an important transfer point.
There weren’t many people living in Rotten Wolf Town; there were roughly three thousand people. On the other hand, the number of merchants, guards for said merchants, mercenaries, and even pirates and bandits were more than the citizens here. It was now autumn, the most prosperous time for commerce. By Dane’s estimations, there was a population of over ten thousand right now in the Rotten Wolf Town.
Dane furrowed his brows. As he stood within the dust, he considered his next plans.
He had been in a daze for two days due to his high fever. He even slept for an entire afternoon today. As a result, he had absolutely no clue what had happened in these two days. He felt quite worried in his heart. He had planned to lay his cards to Ghosttooth with the achievements he had! But who’d thought in such a crucial moment he was afflicted by an evil spirit! He had failed even before he began initiating his plans. He was currently very worried whether something out of his control had occurred ed within the mercenary group.
So, he planned to find several of his trusted subordinates to quickly control the situation.
Just when such a thought arose in his heart, a person with a bow behind his back ran over from afar. As he approached, he was even yelling, “Boss! Boss! This is bad!”
Dane recognized him. He was the Phantom Mercenary Group’s [Quick-witted Ghost], Tommy Jerome.
Tommy was one of his close subordinates. He was a person very worthy of trust, and he was quite clever and quick-witted as well—that could be seen too from his title. However, his cowardly and unstable appearance always made Dane feel disappointment and a bit of anger.
Dane cursed, “You retard! How many times must I tell you? Stay firm! Don’t panic whenever something happens! You never listen to me! Speak slowly; what’s the matter?”
Tommy ran up to him. Bending his waist, he put his hands on his knees. After taking two deep breaths, he said, “Grobe and the others have been locked up by Nasha! The loot we got two days ago has also been seized!”
Dane’s heart burned with fury upon learning of that.
Grobe similarly was one of his trusted subordinates. He was a brave half-beastman warrior and in the battle two days ago when they plundered the merchant group, he was a good companion who fought by his side. As for Nasha, he was the third-in-command of the mercenary group and also a firm supporter of Old Baines.
Nasha imprisoned Grobe; his intentions were clear—Old Baine had already started making his move in the past two days when Dane was unconscious!
“Then what are you waiting for? I’ll go save Grobe, you’ll go find our brothers. Fuck, that old bastard Baines started already. We can’t just stay here and wait to die!” Dane raised his blade, and with an aggressive atmosphere, he prepared to slaughter a way back into the Phantom Mercenary Group’s base in Rotten Wolf Town.
However, just after he took a single step forward, he suddenly felt his heart beat violently.
Instantly, he had a bad feeling. Something like this happened at such a crucial moment again!
But before he had a chance to do anything, his vision went dark and he fell!
When he opened his eyes again, he was dumbfounded by the scene in front of him. Where the hell is this place with blue skies and lush earth?
Dane was not only an orphan, he was a “bastard”. According to his mother, his father was a half-beastman bandit. He was born because his father raped his mother. However, afterwards, he had no clue where his father went; he had likely died. As for his mother, she had died from an illness when Dane was just five years old. So, the reason Dane was able to live up until now was thanks to his father’s half-beastman blood, granting him quite some strength during his youth. At least, he was able to raise himself.
He had been a dock worker. He had been a thief. He had gone through street gangs. In short, when he was growing up, he had seen all sorts of ugly things. However, he had never seen a blue sky with white clouds, nor large grass plains and forest.
Taking a deep breath, the smell of grass penetrated deeply into his lungs, making his nose that had gotten used to the dust a bit uncomfortable.
Right now, he felt very anxious. The last time he fainted was due to an evil spirit, forcing his initial plans of laying down his cards to be forcibly terminated. This time, his subordinates were being held by someone else. He was going to save them, yet this happened again!
But being anxious was useless. Right now, he was clearly not near Rotten Wolf Town. Being in that town for so long, he had never seen a place with such rich soil nearby—or, even the entire Schindler region.
Schindler was a new country; it was a combination of half-beastmen tribes, human merchants, and armies. This country was situated at the west side of the Eastern Wastelands. There were sandy dust gales; there were eternally dusky skies; there were poor ruins. What there weren’t were blue skies, white clouds, and green grass plains.
He raised his head and looked forward. He saw a tall stone tower in the distance within his field of view.
Dane was certain he had never seen such a high stone tower. Yet, why was there such an unfathomable familiar feeling in his heart?
In an instant, there was a memory that surfaced in his mind. “This is an Imperial Tower?!”
That memory was obviously not his own. It was from before, when an evil spirit wound around Dane. That memory was quite fragmented as there were many incomplete areas. However, there was a memory regarding a game that was quite complete—[Heart of Dynasty].
This was a so-called virtual reality game. Dane, of course, had no clue what the hell that was. In his perspective, it seems more like magic. It transferred a person from one world to another, yet it wasn’t really that.
In that other word, the owner of the memory became a lord. With various methods Dane couldn’t comprehend, that person ruled a large piece of land and endlessly fought his enemies. In that place… it seems that battles weren’t anything to fear. It seemed more like entertainment between these so-called “players”.
As for the tall tower before his eyes, it was the beginning scene to the game, [Heart of Dynasty].
The Heart of an Empire (帝國之心) is a Chinese web novel by Big Airship (大飛艇 Da Fei Ting). It has over 350 thousand characters, and is listed, on Qidian, under the category of “Game” and the subcategory of “Game World”. There are currently 160+ chapters; the novel was started on 20th June, 2016, and is still ongoing.