The Godless One

Discussion in 'Original Stories' started by Shiranui_Shukumei, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    The continent of [Green Willows] is inhabited by cultivators using the blessings granted to them by the gods at birth to strive for the apex of power, aiming to one day become a god in their own right. In a small village situated in a far off corner of the continent lives a small child, Huang Ying, abandoned by both the gods and his kin, unable to cultivate. He is ostracized by the village and its inhabitants, but his body holds a heaven defying secret. It is inhabited by both him and the soul of an ancient cultivator.

    With the dream of finding his kin and reaching the apex of power but lacking a gods blessing, follow Huang Ying as he strives to break the shackles of this world and its gods.

    golden water dragon.jpg
     
  2. Shiranui_Shukumei

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    Chapter 1: Huang Ying



    The sun had just risen, and snow was gently drifting down from above, but the streets of [Azure Springs] were already bustling with the noise of activity. Today was the first day of the new year, which meant that it was also the day that [Golden Dawn Academy] would accept new students.

    At this time Huang Ying was also running through the streets, leaving behind small footprints in the snow, his houshold was to poor to afford shoes for all three of them so he had to run through the snow barefoot. His patched and off-colour clothes were sliglthy too small for him, but it did little to hide the elegant aura he was giving off, his shoulder length azure hair and jade like, limpid green eyes allowing him to catch attention no matter where he went.



    Huang Ying was already eight years old, so it was too late for him to try and enroll in the academy. It was also a well known fact that he did not have meridians like everyone else and was therefore a cripple. Weaving through the dense group of people flocking towards the academy subjected him to more than a few unkind gazes as well as a few filled with pity, but Huang Ying simply ignored them. He knew that no matter what he did these people wouldn't welcome him no matter what he did, all he wanted was to finish his errand as fast as possible and get back home.



    After weaving through the crowd for a little while, he came to a large circular plaza devoid off buildings. The plaza was even more crowded than the streets, no matter where you looked you would see nothing but people. The only two places that had some space were the large square shaped fountain encasing the public well that was placed in the middle of the plaza.

    This well was the place where most of the poor people of the town got their water every morning and evening. The other place that was nearly devoid of people was the area directly in front of a large golden gate that led to a courtyard attached to a majestic mansion painted in the purest shade of gold.

    This was [Golden Dawn Academny] not just the largest and best cultivation academy in an area of over 500 miles, but also the only building in the town made of stone whilst the rest are made from wood or bamboo collected from the nearest forest. [Golden Dawn] was called the largest academy for 500 miles, but [Azure Springs] was located at a deserted corner of the continent, so the name didn't mean too much.

    According to the history books in the public librabry it was erected as a command base used by visiting cultivaters during the last great war that took place in this [Mirrored Mountains] province, the books even say that there was a cultivator who had cultivated all the way to the 7th Heaven lodging there once.



    Huang Ying was gathering water from the well, and even though he didn't hold any type of hope of ever getting into the academy, even he couldnt help himself from taking a little break to gaze upon the glorious golden walls of the academy and getting lost in his own delusions.



    “You should stop looking and continue to gather the water.” As Huang Ying was just getting lost in his own delusions a raspy voice sounded out in his mind.



    “I know, I just like looking and imagining the what-if's that could have been” Huang Ying wasn't the least bit surprised as the voice rang out in his mind, this was a voice that had followed him since the day he was born, it was also the owner of this voice Li Jun that had given him almost all the knowledge he had and allowed him to posess intelligence and calmness above even that of his peers.



    “What-if's and things that could have been are useless in this world, if you have time to be dreaming of things that will never come to pass, you would be better of doing some excerise or gathering. Dreaming of the past and delusions for the future will never beat effort in the now.” The raspy voice rang out, delivering the same preaching it gave him every morning as he gazed upon that mansion.



    Huang Ying finished filling up his leather poach with water and quickly made his was through the snow and back to the outskirts of the town. At the outskirts, on a small hill stood a lone house made of old logs where all signs of paint and decorations had already disappeared due to age and moisture over the years. In this house Huang Ying lived with his foster grandfater Chen, the oldest man left in the village and his foster sister who is older than him by two years, Chen Chun.

    Huang Ying would usually not be in town this early, but rather be out in the forest either gathering what little usefull plants he could find or training, but since it was the first day of the new year, the older students of [Golden Dawn] would be allowed to take a trip home and stay there for a day while the new students got settled, this meant that his older sister Chen Chun could be coming home at any moment, so he had to be at home and make sure that the congee was constantly warm.



    The inside of the house is just as simple as the outside, consisting of three simple rooms, two small rooms designated for sleeping, partitioned by a simple grey cloth and one slightly larger one used as both a living room, kitchen and a dining room. The only furniture is a small round table, barely able to fit the three chairs stationed around it, a small firepit and a cauldron to make food in.



    “Ah, Chun'er, is that you? Have you finally come home for a visit?” As Huang Ying was pouring more water into the cauldron of congee, a hoarse, aged voice rang out from behind one of the bedrooms.



    Huang Ying walked over and gently moved aside the gray cloth, revealing a shriveled up aged man with vacant eyes and with barely any gray hair left on his head trying to sit up on a patch of hay covered by a brown blanket.



    “Sorry Grandpa Chen, it's just Ying'er, you should still try to get some more sleep, it's still early and the cold wind won't be too good for your body.” Huang Ying gently helped the old man to lie down again while speaking.



    “Ah, Chun'er, when will you come home my Chun'er, grandpa and grandma miss you oh so much.” The old man mumbled to himself as he closed his eyes again and started drifting off to sleep again. Seeing this Huang Ying couldn't help but sigh to himself.

    It had already been almost three years since Chen Chun had last come home for a visit, she had entered [Golden Dawn] when she was seven and had only come home to visit twice since then. After she stopped visiting, the condition of old man Chen had only gotten worse and worse. At the start he was still mostly lucid with merely some smaller episodes of forgetfulness, but as the times she visited grew sparser his condition grew increasingly worse.

    Now it had grown to a point where he did nothing but lay in bed all day and mumble about when his Chun'er would come home so he and his deceased wife could meet her again, there were some days where he would even forget who Huang Ying was and attempt to chase him out of the house.
     
  3. Shiranui_Shukumei

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    Chapter 2: Yin heaven bells.



    Although Huang Ying found it sad, there was nothing he could do against the powers of time, even the strongest of the men in the town, mayor Zhuo who was already at the 5th heaven could do nothing against the power of time and only had a lifespan of a short hundred years, just the fact that old man Chen could live for as long as he did without cultivating could already be considered good.



    Huang Ying spent the next few hours carefully keeping the congee warm, periodically feeding and checking upon old man Chen and doing some simple excersises while waiting for noon. As the sun rose to it's highest point and Chen Chun still hadn't come home, Huang Ying could do nothing but sigh as he threw his gaze towards that gray cloth cutting off the bedroom from the living room.



    “Sorry Grandpa Chen, it doesn't seem like Chun'er will be coming home this year either.” Saying this to the sleeping old man, he could do nothing but sigh once more while thinking about the past. Chen Chun was one of the few people who didnt ostracize him while they were children.

    While the children would hurl curses and the parents throwing glares and accusations of being a demon child at him, Chen Chun was the only one who stood at his side and played with him, spent time with him and encouraged him to keep up his training.

    Had it not been for her and Li Jun he would probably have already given up on himself and acceped the judgement and curses of the towns people. But ever since she went to [Golden Dawn] she had less time to be with him, and even the few times she came home she had started taking her distance from him, an act which confused him until Li Jun explained how important a persons social circle was, especially when they joined a sect or an academy.



    Huang Ying poured some more water into the congee and after making sure that the fire wasn't burning to high, he put on the lid and left the house. If Chen Chun wasn't going to come home this time either, there was no point in him waiting around for nothing, he might as well take a trip into the forest and see if he could find some good herbs that he could use to make some soup for dinner.

    After leaving the house, the closest forest was only a short fifteen minute walk away, which lead to the forest getting a large amount of visitors in the spring and summer looking for different mushrooms and herbs, this in turn led to the forest having very little wildlife, making it unsuitable for demonic beasts to inhabit the forest, thus making it a rather safe forest that even the towns children could frequent.

    Demonic beasts is used as a general term for all life forms other than humans who are able to absorb the qi from the heavens to cultivate, allowing them to gain an ever increasing power and intelligence, according to Li Jun once a demonic beast reaches a certain level in power it's intelligence will be no less than that of a human, if not greater.



    “What do you think Senior Li? Is there a chance of there being anything good in these parts of the forest?” Everytime Huang Ying entered the forest, he made sure that he entered a part he didn't enter before, he does this all the way until he has been through the entire forest and then starts from the first area once more.

    And each time he enters, he ask Li Jun if he is able to sense anything in the forest that might be usefull. He doesn't know how, but Li Jun told him that he is able to sense places where the qi is more concentrated, increasing the chances of finding herbs or other items capable of storing or attracting qi.



    “Hehe, it seems like your luck is rather good today, brat, there seems to be something good deeper into the forest, shouldn't be more than a few miles to the northeast.” The raspy voice of Li Jun rang out in Huang Ying's mind after waiting for a few minutes to allow Li Jun to get a good sense of the surrounding area.



    “Oh? Something good? Since it's coming from you im expecting something good now you know.” Huang Ying was evidently surprised at what Li Jun said, this wasn't the first time he entered this part of the forest, nor was it the first time Li Jun had found something, but it was the first time Li Jun had answered with anything but some bored and indifferent directions.



    “Just go, you little brat, never know when someone else will come by and take it. If you're going to do something, it's important to always act first and ggrab hold of the initiative.” Li Jun urged him on, with a preaching tone once more.



    “Yeah yeah, just a few miles to the northeast, got it.” Huang Ying started jogging through the forest with a short laugh.



    After a short jog, Huang Ying came upon a clearing in the forest with a small lake taking up the middle of it. The small lake was covered in a sheet of ice covered by a thin layer of snow. In the middle of the lake, a flower with petals shaped like small, deep blue bells was growing through the ice and snow.



    “Oh? Seems like your luck is slightly better than I thought brat, that thing is called a Yin Heaven's Bell, a type of yin herb that grows in cold areas. It's not all that rare, but it works wonders for mortals who want to expand their life by a few years, not a bad find for you, not bad at all.” Li Jun explained the flower to Huang Ying, allowing him to get a better understanding.



    After hearing what Li Jun said, Huang Ying couldn't help but get excited, wasn't this exactly what grandpa Chen needed? Something that could allow him to live a few more years would increase his chances of getting to see his Chun'er again. Huang Ying hurriedly made his way across the ice and gently picked up the flower and cupped it in his hands.

    Feeling the cold energy seeping into his hands, he quickly stuffed the flower into a small pouch before hiding the pouch in his chest clothing, doing a quick scan of the are and not finding anyone he quickly retraced his steps to go back home, unaware of several pairs of eyes keeping an eye on him from one of the trees around the lake.



    “Boss, wasn't that a Yin Heaven's Bell? Shouldnt we go get it from him immedeatly?” An anxious voice rang out from one of the trees.



    “No need to be hasty, he himself might just be a cripple, but if we simply resort to murder and robbery wantonly, not even my father will pardon us. We first return to the village and let my father know, a Yin Heaven's Bell will be very alluring to him. At that point, not only will we get to deal with Huang Ying however we want, we will even get rewarded for finding such a nice treasure.” A slightly childish, but also vicious voice rang out in response from one of the other trees, flattering voices quickly rang out from the rest of the trees after he spoke.



    Huang Ying quickly made his way back to the house on the hill, he wanted to make some soup with the flower immediately, but Li Jun warned him that it would exhibit a more potent effect if he waited with making the soup until the time of the day reached the point where yin energy was the most potent, midnight.

    Huang Ying didn't dare not believe the words of Li Jun so all he could do was sit down and do some light breathing excersises while waiting, he was unable to cultivate, but he never stopped doing the breathing excersises, hoping that one day something would change.

    He started these breathing excersises not long after he was born, when Li Jun gave him the practicing method and has been following the method ever since, culminating in almost eight years of ceasless training and meditation, giving him a staunch willpower and unwillingness to give up, even if he sees no results.



    Sadly, this time he would have to cut his practicing short, because barely an hour after he returned to his house, the clamor of stomping feet arose outside the door, followed by a rugged middle aged man clad in leather, the guard captain of the town, kicking open the door and shouting at Huang Ying.



    “Huang Ying! In the name of the mayor and the town defense force, you are under arrest for stealing from the mayors personal herb garden! Hand over the flower you stole and follow me, if you do not comply we are authorised to use force!” his voice reverberated like thunder through the house, stunning Huang Ying where he was sitting.



    “Huh?! Stealing from the mayors herb garden? I have done no....” Before Huang Ying could even finish his sentence, the guard captain interrupted him.



    “Silence! Hand over the flower or we will be forced to use force! Will you comply or not?!” upon finishing his sentence the guard captain pulled his sword halway out of it's sheath, signifying exactly how much force, they were authorised to use.



    “Fine, fine, i'll hand it over and follow you....” No matter how unwilling Huang Ying was, all he could do in the face of overwhelming power was begrudingly take out the pouch with the flower and follow the guard captain to the town dungeon, all the while mulling over who could have possibly seen and reported him finding the flower.
     
  4. Shiranui_Shukumei

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    Chapter 3: Ambition From Darkness



    All Huang Ying could feel was a pounding in his head, a debilitating headache threatening to split his head apart. He opened his eyes, but all he could see was the darkness of his cell, he had the taste of iron in his mouth, reminding him of the beating he got just before he passed out.

    What little scent his nose was still able to pick up was only the stench of his own excrements that littered the cell. Shaking his head to regain some clarity and trying to stave off the headache he tried to look for the entrance of the cell, but all he could do was give up, he probably wouldn't even be able to see his hands, if he even managed to lift them high enough to hold them in front of his face.



    “What time is it?.... nevermind, doesn't matter..... how long have I been here now?” Huang Ying tried to speak out, but all he managed was a hoarse exhale, so he had no choice but to ask Li Jun mentally, he had already lost count of how many times he had asked this question, time simply seemed to blur together since he got shoved into this cell.



    “It should be just past noon now, as for how long you have been sitting in this cell, in a few days it will be the sixth year.” The raspy voice of Li Jun was Huang Ying's only respite from the headache.



    “That fucking Zhuo Xian, I swear....if I ever get out of this cell I will make sure that he dies in unbearable agony...” Just remembering what Zhuo Xian had done to him and put him through these six years made Huang Ying want to go mad with rage. Six years ago it was also Zhuo Xian that had discovered that Huang Ying found a Yin Heaven's Bell and then decided to give the news to his father, the mayor.

    A few years of extra life, was too tempting, even for a cultivator at the 5th heaven, especially one that was already getting up in the years, so mayor Zhuo immediately put out an order for arrest and directly brought Huang Ying to the dungeon.

    Ever since then, the only visitor Huang Ying ever got was the warden who would visit him twice a day and deliver food and often chat with him, and Zhuo Xian who would make periodic visits to either hurl abuse or simply torture and beat Huang Ying. Had it not been for the warden sneaking in some medicine and extra food from time to time, Huang Ying would probably have died several times over.



    “....Hey Li Jun?” Huang Ying's weak voice resounded in his own mind, devoid of all the willpower and charm it had before.



    “...Yes?” Li Jun responded warily, this was the first time since he had started sharing the body with Huang Ying that he ever heard him this weak, not even when his foster grandfather kept forgetting him had his voice been this weak.



    “You used to be a cultivator right? A pretty strong one too I guess, how else would you be able to retain your memories and attempt reincarnation. What's it like? Up there, at the apex of power? Is it worth it? Is whatever you find there at the top worth all the dirty schemes and betrayal it makes people commit? Is getting to the top really worth becoming nothing but a beast in human skin?” As Huang Ying spoke, he started gritting his teeth, staring at the direction he assumed to be the door with overwhelming hatred.



    “..... It's hard to tell. I never managed to reach the top.... but the place I reached, where I was invincible against all but a few freaks..... it was great, it was fucking fantastic to stand tall like a lord. But.... whether or not what lies at the apex is worth it all, that all depends on the person who stands there and for what reason they reached the top.” After a short moment of thought Li Jun responded with his own experiences.



    “.... I see, depends on the person huh?.... say, you have the entire town covered with your spiritual sense right?” Huang Ying seemed like he just thought of something and asked.



    “....Indeed, it seems like you knew. What do you want to ask?” Li Jun responded with some surprise in his voice at being found out.



    “Grandpa Chen, when did he die?” Huang Ying asked a question that had been on his mind for quite a while, but that he was simply too scared to ask.



    “..... It seems you are more perceptive than I ever gave you credit for.... he died roughly six days after you were captured.” Li Jun replied while throwing in what could be taken as both a compliment and and insult.



    “It doesn't require a genius, he was already too weak to take care of himself even before I was captured, not being fed or taken care of had no other outcome, im even surprised that he managed to last for six entire days.” Huang Ying's voice sounded out, but this time it was colder and more indifferent than it had ever been.



    As silence descended on the cell once more Huang Ying just sat there staring at the darkness enveloping him, feeling the pounding of the headache as he went through all the memories he had of him and grandpa Chen. He had an eidetic memory, so not a single moment slipped by him, from the time when his parents dropped him off there, to the time they dropped off Chun'er at [Golden Dawn] and he saw him cry for the first time, all the way until his last memory of him.



    “Huh... now that I think of it, he only ever called my name while Chen Chun was there, seems like not even he wanted much to do with me.... hehehe” A weak laugh escaped Huang Ying's lips after he finished going through all the memories and noticed that the had less memories of being with grandpa Chen than he had of being with the parents that abandoned him, it had always been Chun'er who took care of him till he turned five, and after she went to [Golden Dawn] it was mostly just him.



    “Really, what a fucking joke this world is. Hey, Li Jun? The reason I was abandoned, the reason Zhuo Xian could simply take what was mine, the reason everyone looks at me with scorn and despise, it's because im weak isn't it? It's because those shitty god's never bothered taking a look at me isn't it?” Huang Ying spoke through the tears that were dripping down his face, trying to find a reason in all this madness.



    “....Indeed, in this world, the only defining factor for a persons worth is their strength, without it, they are nothing, they are worse than nothing.” Li Jun responded to Huang Ying, only furthering Huang Ying's current thirst for power.



    “If I become strong enough, can I kill all those who wronged me? Can I tear down those shitty gods and control my own life?.... can I protect that which I want to protect?” Huang Ying asked a question he already knew the answer to, a question he had asked Ji Lun several times in the past, but this time his voice carried none of his old childish naivness, all it carried was a chilling determination.



    “Of course, power decides all!” Li Jun responded loudly, as if to match Huang Ying's determination.



    After Li Jun responded, the thundering roar of galloping horses thundered through the dungeon, following the horses was a dreadfull symphony of bloodcurdling screams and shouts and the smell of smoke.
     
  5. Shiranui_Shukumei

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    Chapter 4: First Contact With Tragedy.



    The thundering sound of galloping horses slowly became louder and clearer as the walls around Huang Ying went from a gentle vibration to trembling hard enough to send cracks and debris cascading down from the ceiling.


    «Li Jun, what's going on out there?!..... Is the town under attack?» Huang Ying was shocked at the sudden occurrence and thought that the town might be experiencing an earthquake, but after just a little bit of thought he quickly threw that theory out off his mind. An earthquake would not be accompanied by galloping horses and such screams, and the only other reason behind the noise he could think of was that the town was under attack by bandits.



    «The town is indeed under attacks, it seems like they decided to come in force this time around, there are nearly 400 bandits out there, seems like they are really going all in this time around.» Li Jun responded with a chuckle after checking out the attacking force, this was indeed not the first time bandits had attacked the town, but it was the first time they came with such a massive force.

    Even though the town had around 1000 inhabitants, the only ones who had any fighting strength and experience were the town defense force, numbering around 250 individuals. If one were to include the children who went to [Golden Dawn] the number of fighters available could indeed be pushed up a fair bit, totaling almost 400 fighters, but the students were after all only that, students with no proper fighting experience.



    «Almost 400? Why would they come here in full force? Aren't they afraid of getting wiped out? This town doesn't seem to hold anything valuable enough to warrant such risks..... Maybe they are after something specific?» Huang Ying truly found it strange, the bandits might outnumber them by almost two to one, but the bandits were mere wandering fighters, whilst the town defense force consisted of well-trained warriors with a plethora of experience and higher quality equipment, in addition to all that, the town still had mayor Zhuo, an expert at the 5th heaven, so the odds of them being able to completely raze the town was less than 10%.




    «I hate to interrupt, but you should probably try to find a way out of this cell before thinking about the reason behind the attack, of course, that is unless, dying from being crushed by debris while locked up in this cell is the way you want to go out, it might even suit you, in that case i have nothing else to say.» Li Jun seemed to find this particular idea rather humorous as he gave a slight chuckle while speaking.



    «Fuck that, i refuse to die in a shit hole like this! Besides, i still have things i want to do, and dying before accomplishing even a single thing in life, that is one hell of a shitty way to go to the next life.» Huang Ying spoke with great determination as he looked up at the minuscule amount of light seeping in through the cracks in the ceiling.



    «Then today is your lucky day, rejoice, even someone abandoned like you still has people thinking about him.» Just as Li Jun finished speaking, the door to Huang Ying's cell was abruptly thrown open, followed by a rugged and well built young man clad in guardsman armor rushing in and towards Huang Ying, quickly unlocking the shackles chaining him to the wall.



    «You need to get out of here, bandits are attacking the town and things aren't going to good, once you are out of the prison, make your way towards southern forest, we are currently holding the bandits back at the northern entrance, but i don't know how much longer we can hold them there.» The guardsman spoke with great haste as he quickly put a dark crimson shirt and black trousers on Huang Ying, the clothing was slightly too large for Huang Ying, even after these 6 years of growing, they were obviously just clothing that the young guardsman brought in a hurry from his own house.



    «Why would you help me? If things are really going that bad, shouldn't you just hurry and head to the southern forest and leave?» Huang Ying was standing up slowly and unsteadily, but supporting himself against the wall he managed to stand up on his own, all the while looking at the guardsman. He had been locked in this cell for 6 years, and this guardsman had been kind to him all the while, talking to him, bringing him extra food, blankets and new clothes during the winter, and even medicine whenever he was ill. He always found it strange that this unknown guardsman who didn't know him would be kind to the renowned town cripple.



    What he got as a response was the guardsman shaking his head with a smile. «I can't leave, if i leave, who will be left to protect the retreat path of the other citizens? I became a guard because i wanted to do something better with my life than just be a farmer or craftsman, i wanted to protect people, if i flee, i will have betrayed my own dream, and at that point i could never live with myself, all of us guards are like that, that is why we can lay or lives down here, every citizen that manages to escape is another piece of our dream fulfilled. As for why i would help you? Aren't you one of the citizens yourself? Besides, you may not know, but i have seen you around the town, everyone always avoids you or scorns you, but i have never seen you let it get to you, you still ran around with the same smile, still greeted people and always did your everything to take care of your grandpa, you are a good person, who fell upon unfortunate times, so i want to help with what i can.» the guards face was full of soot, dirt and blood, but his eyes were clear and sparkling like the stars in the night, devoid of any falsehood.



    «.... What's your name?» Huang Ying asked the guard while slowly moving his arms and legs, regaining his mobility.



    «Im called Xiao Yan. You should leave now, i have to get back to the northern front.» the guard, Xiao Yan threw a small pouch filled with coins at Huang Ying and started to head out of the cell.



    «Xiao Yan.... I won't forget you, so do your best to make it out alive.» After a bit of hesitation and trying to find the right words, Huang Ying spoke out.



    Xiao Yan merely responded with a small laugh «Hearing you say that means that i have lived a worthwhile life, so even if i lay down my life out there i will have no regrets, you should go.»



    Huang Ying simply stood there, slowly rolling his shoulders and moving his legs, all the while staring at the entrance of the cell in silence, no one knowing what he was thinking in his heart, until his limbs regained most of their mobility.



    After his limbs regained their mobility, he made is way out of the cell and up a small flight of stairs before making it out of the dungeon and back into that familiar town. As he stepped out of the dungeon, he couldn't help but shield his eyes from the light, the sky was filled with grey clouds, ash and smoke, but 6 years in a dark cell had left their mark on him, his skin was now a pale white, his face covered in dirt and dust, his body so skinny that you could practically see the bones, his once azure hair had lost it's previous luster, turning a pale blue and hanging all the way down to his buttocks.


    «South, south.... the sound of fighting is loudest over there, so south should be the other way.» After quickly ascertaining which direction he should head, Huang Ying started slowly making his way in the direction he assumed to be southward, doing his best to stay in the shadows of buildings and back alleys and resting whenever his limbs started aching.


    Huang Ying had only just made it half of the way from the dungeon to the exit of the town when a cold laughter rang out from behind him and a burning pain started permeating his chest. «Huh, really didn't expect someone to actually make it this far, seems like we'll have to punish the patrol squads a bit later on.»


    Slowly turning his head, Huang Ying saw a scarred middle aged bandit wearing loose patched robes standing behind him, right hand holding onto the hilt of a curved sword. Huang Ying opened his mouth to speak, but the only thing that came out was a moutfull of blood and saliva.

    Looking down at his own chest, all he could see was the wide tip of the curved sword piercing through his chest. All Huang Ying could do was slowly turn his head again, hatefully glaring at the bandit, opening and closing his mouth again and again, trying to push out the words to curse at the bandit, but all that came out was mouthful after mouthful of blood.


    «Hoooh? Quite a hardy little child aren't you? Seems like it'll take a bit more to end you, i wonder, will you still attempt to talk without a head?» The bandit chuckled at the spectacle and extracted the curved sword from Huang Ying's chest and lifted it to make a final cut.


    «Fucking really? Seems like bad luck really runs in my veins.» This was the last thought Huang Ying managed to squeeze out before he closed his eyes to await the bandit's blade.


    After waiting for a short while and not feeling anything, Huang Ying slowly opened his eyes, what he saw was still the same town, he was still lying in front of the bandit and the bandit still held the sword high, he simply wasn't moving. Looking around, the first thing Huang Ying noticed was the silence, there were no more screams, no more clashing of weapons, nor thundering of hoofs. The next thing he noticed was that nothing was moving, the bandit in front of him, the clouds in the sky, nor the smoke of the fire, all stood still, as if time itself was frozen.


    «What is your desire» A booming voice thundered out across the town, echoing all over. Shocked, Huang Ying lifted his head, only to see two massive eyes in the sky. The eyes occupied a large area of the sky, two massive golden eyes with black, slit pupils nearly splitting them in half, staring down at Huang Ying.


    «Are you the one who did this? Who are you?» Huang Ying, still shocked to see such massive eyes observing him, couldn't help but call out.


    «What is your desire?» The only response he got to his questions was the same question repeated, slightly louder this time, the eyes seemed to look at him with some expectations.


    «.... I want to prove them wrong.» After gathering his thoughts and a bit of hesitation, Huang Ying responded, giving voice to his innermost desire. «My birth parents, the people of this town and those shitty gods, i want to prove them wrong. I want them all to know that i don't need them! Even without them i can still leave my mark on history, i don't need them or their pity! I want my destiny to be mine and mine alone! That is my desire!» Huang Ying's voice rose to a roar as he started talking, shouting out his innermost feelings while staring with determination at the eyes in the sky.


    «Very well, then so be it little one, i am Baku and i am you, just as you are me, i will give you the chance to grab your own destiny and live freely, do not disgrace the serpents blood.» As the voice spoke, Huang Ying was slowly lifted into the air and suspended in front of the eyes. Black smoke started seeping out of the eyes, before moving towards Huang Ying and entering his body through all of his pores and moving through his entire body, devouring all that it came across. As the black smoke started devouring all that it came across, all Huang Ying could feel was agonizing pain as his bones, veins, organs and flesh were consumed.


    «You must endure, the serpent will devour all and leave behind nothing but the strongest, only like that will you ever achieve your desire.» The voice sounded out again, but this time within his own mind, and several times weaker, it seemed like awakening this so called serpents blood took it's toll even on itself.


    Hearing this, all Huang Ying could do was grit his teeth and not allow his hoarse screams to leak out of his mouth as the black smoke started devouring faster and faster, until all that was left in his body was black smoke and a drop of pitch black blood.
     
  6. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 5: The Serpent Awakens.





    Once the drop of black blood and black smoke were the only things left inside Huang Ying's body, he was too drained off energy to even continue screaming, the force holding him floating in front of the eyes lowered him back down to the ground before loosening its grip on him and disappearing. The eyes in the sky looked at him crouching on the ground, heaving and panting seeing that he didn't faint or die, even upon having his entire body drained matter the eyes seems to squint in pleasure.





    «The devouring is complete, the next step will be rebuilding and reinforcing that which once was, never forget little one, don't disgrace the blood of the serpent that was left to you.» The voice boomed out one last time before the eyes slowly closed and disappeared. As the eyes disappeared, sound returned to the frozen world and time started moving again.

    The bandit that was frozen mid- movement completed his cutting movement, but was shocked upon discovering that Huang Ying who was right in front of him but a second ago, was crouching on the ground several meters away from him, panting and heaving, even the wound on his chest had stopped bleeding.





    «You... what did you..» Before the bandit managed to finish his sentence, the ground started trembling. The ground around the entire town started trembling and shaking, large cracks spreading across it's surface, even the sky itself seemed to tremble and quake.



    A sharp hissing sound started sounding forth from the cracks on the ground, the symphony of hissing started getting increasingly loud before resonating, becoming a single hissing sound that seemed to originate from the depths of the earth, attempting to break through the surface and piercing the heavens.

    The cracks on the ground started oozing a black liquid that started gathering together to form massive black tentacles, corroding and devouring all they touched. Tentacles started springing up all over the town before twisting together, assuming the form of a massive squirming serpent so black that it seemed to devour even the light shining down upon it.



    As the serpent loomed over the town, it's massive frame blotting out the light from above, seeming like the bringer of the apocalypse, all sounds of fighting had stopped, all that was left was the shocked gasps of the fighters and the crying of the children and remaining townspeople that had yet to escape.



    The serpent was made out of an uncountable amount of wriggling tentacles, but they blended together so well that it seemed like a single entity, a massive body cracking the ground and crushing all in it's path. Pitch black scales the size of a full grown man, a massive maw filled with teeth sharper and longer than a long sword, leading into what seemed like a bottomless black hole, and two massive yellow eyes, looking down upon all creation.

    As more and more tentacles came into existence and fused with the serpent, it kept growing larger and larger, until finally the tentacles stopped coming and the serpent stopped growing. It's tail broke out from the ground and coiled around the entire town, sealing off all paths of retreat before the tip of the tail settled down on Huang Ying's chest and fused together with the area where his heart would be.

    Huang Ying felt his senses fusing with the massive serpent as the tail fused with his chest. His eyes saw what it's eyes saw, felt the power coursing through it's body, the arrogance of a god overlooking it's subject, the rage stemming from being trapped in this place, and the hunger, hunger that threatened to drive him insane, hunger that threatened to devour him if he didn't find anything to sate it. He also felt it's desire, the desire to devour all, to break through this tiny sky and devour the gods themselves, devour fate and be free, the most primal version of his very own desire.





    «I see, so this is what you bestowed upon me, what you meant when you said that i am you and you are me, what you meant when you said you would give me a chance to grab my own destiny and live free.» Huang Ying looked to the serpent as he spoke the words in his heart, no longer feeling the emptiness he felt after having his insides devoured.

    Instead, what he felt now was determination, determination to not waste this chance he had been given. He had been given the power to grab his own destiny, to be truly free. As he looked upon the black serpent, the single drop of black blood in his body started thrumming, the serpent, as if beckoned by it's master, responded to the thrumming by raising it's head and hissing at the sky, a hiss that slowly turned into an earthshaking roar.





    Hearing this roar, Huang Ying's face rapidly changed color, since he was connected to the serpent he could feel what it was about to do, what the black blood had ordered it to do. «No! You can't! Sto...» Before Huang Ying had finished shouting, the serpent had already opened it's massive maw and plunged it's head downwards, the only thing that was spared from the serpents hunger was Huang Ying, who simply passed through the serpents body, all else was devoured in one single movement of the serpents head.



    Huang Ying was completely dumbstruck, aimlessly looking around, the town he had lived in for 14 years was completely gone, all that was left of the town was a massive basin. The little house on the hill where he lived, the glorious golden gates of [Golden Dawn], the public well where he fetched water twice every day, all gone. The deathly silence was only broken when the serpent raised it's head to give one last roar before abruptly charging at Huang Ying, all the while growing smaller. As the serpent reached Huang Ying's body it simply passed through his skin before charging through his empty body and into that drop of black blood, what followed after that is a pain that Huang Ying would never be able to forget.





    As the serpent charged into that drop of blood, the drop started rapidly swelling, sucking in the entire serpent and the remnant black smoke. As it continued growing, it started replacing what the smoke had devoured earlier, it started by building a new skeleton, then followed it up with new veins, flesh, organs and then the one organ Huang Ying always dreamed of having, but never got to have, meridians.

    As the black drop finished it's growing and had filled every part of Huang Ying's body, it started wriggling, digging into the newly formed flesh and organs, leaving behind small tunnels lined with the black blood that filled his entire body and took the role of his meridians. As Huang Ying was twisting around in pain at the bottom of the basin that used to be his town, the Qi in the world around the basin seemed to respond to a calling, gathering towards Huang Ying in a massive vortex before slowly being absorbed by his newly created meridians and his body.





    As his body and meridians started absorbing the surrounding Qi, another transformation was occurring within Huang Ying's body. His once azure hair and green eyes slowly started turning pitch black, taking on the same color as his meridians as well as the qi that was now coursing through his body, a clear sign of what element the god that gave him his blessing belongs to, although in Huang Ying's case, the element isn't the darkness element, but the element of devouring, the element belonging to Baku, The Great Serpent.



    Just as the pain started receding and Huang Ying thought it was finally over, a head splitting pain assaulted him as massive amounts of information started flowing into his mind. It started as simple information about what the element of devouring was and where it was born from, the element of devouring alone gave it's owner only a single power, and that is exactly devouring, the power to devour and assimilate everything weaker than you.

    The advantage the element of devouring gave it's owner is the ability to not only devour Qi of others to replenish their own, but also the ability to devour their blessing and element, taking their powers for your own use, this is also the only way to allow the power of devouring to evolve and grow stronger.

    The power of devouring originated from Baku, The Great Serpent, a serpent that came into existence alongside the world itself as the sole holder of the power of devouring, the only one the world would ever accept holding the power of devouring.





    What followed the information about his own powers were memories, so many memories. The memories of everyone in the town as it was devoured started flowing into Huang Ying's mind, with the pain threatening to tear his head apart, he could do nothing but grit his teeth and repeatedly hit his head again the ground, holding onto his last sliver of consciousness and sanity as hundreds of years of memories started flowing into his mind.





    When everything was over and the dust settled, the only thing left was a lone boy crouched over at the bottom of the basin, covered by his waist length pitch black hair, throwing up despite his stomach being empty, tears cascading down his face. As the influx of memories finished, he learned the reason the entire town was devoured, instead of just the bandits. It was because of him. Because rebuilding a human body to become strong enough to accept the power of devouring requires massive amounts of energy, and the easiest way to gain that energy is simply to devour all that is around.





    After Huang Ying finished dry heaving, he simply sat there, staring vacantly at the area around him, the memories of the townspeople kept on playing in his head. He saw the students of [Golden Dawn] going to their classes, the bakers waking up in the morning, housewives gossiping amongst each other, the guards doing their patrols.

    Every moment of every life in the town was constantly replaying itself in vivid detail, as if Huang Ying had been there himself. Huang Ying stood up and brushed his pitch black hair out of his face, revealing his black eyes which had become frighteningly deep and still like the ocean, revealing none of his thoughts.







    «Why is it like this?» He muttered to himself as he brushed of the dust from the clothes the guard, Xiao Yan, had given him. He found it strange, even though he had all these memories, all this knowledge that didn't belong to him but was taken from someone else, he didn't feel any different, he was still clear on who he was, clear on who was the owner of which memory, it was like the memories he took were simply stories he had read in a book and just so happened to remember.





    Huang Ying heaved a sigh at these thoughts and seeing as he couldn't come up with an answer, simply pushed them to the back of his mind, no need to waste time thinking about something he had no answer to.





    «You seem awfully calm about this, considering how you were sniveling and crying not too long ago.» The sarcastic voice of Li Jun resounded within Huang Ying's mind as he was gathering his thoughts to try and find out what to do next.





    «I'd say you seem awfully calm too, consider all that just happened, all that we just saw. Seems like you have heard of Baku before?» instead of answering Li Jun's question, Huang Ying asked one back instead.





    «....I have indeed heard about Baku before, mostly from books.» Li Jun's somewhat hesitant voice sounded out, the Huang Ying from before might not have noticed the slight hesitation in his voice, but the current Huang Ying had the memories of over 1000 different lifetimes, his mind calmer and more collected than ever before, and could easily discover that Li Jun knew more than he let on, but since he obviously didn't want to talk about it, he decided not to keep asking and simply change the subject.





    «I have the memories of everyone that was in the town as they were devoured, it can almost count as living more than a 1000 different lives, that's why i can stay calm, it wouldn't really be fitting to be the reason behind their deaths and then just sit around crying. They have died so that i can live, the least i can do to repay their sacrifice is live a good life worthy of their sacrifice.» Leaving the basin and looking eastwards, Huang Ying talked as if he was simply justifying things to himself. «It seems like the attack today wasn't some random attack, but rather planned. The mayor was assassinated before the attack even began, and it even took place when several of the teachers and students of [Golden Dawn] were in the capital, seems like there was someone pulling the strings behind it all.»





    «What will you do now? The town is gone, and you have nowhere to stay?» Li Jun seemed to simply not care about the reasons behind the attack and rather asked Huang Ying what he would do from now on.





    "Traveling around sounds pretty good, i finally have the chance to reach the apex of power, so not grabbing it would just be waste, besides, there are some questions i want answered, but it seems like i am still too weak to get an answer to them. So, i say it's about time to impart some of your cultivation knowledge to me." Huang Ying answered in an indifferent tone after thinking it over for a bit.
     
  7. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 6: Organizing Knowledge.







    “True, right now it seems like you cultivating is no longer just a dream, so it certainly seems like it would be appropriate to impart some knowledge to you, but in return I want you to answer some of my questions first.” After giving it some thought Li Jun found no reason to refuse, so he only put forth some simple terms, after all, no expert cultivators are willing to impart their experience for free.

    The only reason Li Jun, agreed so easily was partly because he had been with Huang Ying for his entire life and had a solid grasp on his character and personality, and partly because he had seen what had happened as the town was swallowed and the subsequent change in Huang Ying's disposition and wanted to know the reason.





    “Fair enough, equivalent exchange. Ask away, i'll answer to the best of my ability.” Huang Ying had no qualms about just answering a few questions if it meant that he could gain more knowledge about this world, something he was sorely lacking, even after absorbing the memories of everyone in the town, he only gained some elementary knowledge about the surrounding area and cultivation, after all, the one who had the highest cultivation amongst the swallowed people was only at the 3rd heaven.





    “Good, the questions won't be too hard, just answer me these, Firstly: You mentioned 'Devouring' I want to know everything you know about your powers. Secondly: You 'devoured' the memories of the people in the town, I want to know how these memories work, and Thirdly: What happened to you? I like to think that I have a pretty good grasp on you and your personality after spending these 14 years with you, so simply brushing off the death of everyone in the town and your current demeanor and cold indifference.... it just doesn't seem like you. Answer me these questions and I promise I will teach you cultivation, at least until you surpass me.” Li Jun fired of the questions and acted like him teaching him cultivation was a great favor he was bestowing upon Huang Ying, but only he knew that being able to teach Huang Ying cultivation would surely be a great blessing for him as well, after all, not even he had ever heard of the element of devouring, so in his eyes, Huang Ying's future would surely be unimaginably grand, allowing him to gain his own benefits at that point.





    Huang Ying responded to the questions by softly tapping the tip of his nose with his right index finger, a habit he often displayed as he was thinking and gathering his thoughts. “Very well, to answer the third question first, it is slightly hard to explain, the best way to phrase it would simple be to say that I haven't really 'just brushed it off'. The memories of everyone have suddenly been transferred to me, so it simply feels unreal."

    "It feels like everything going on around me right now is simply me reading a book or hearing someone narrate me a tale, so i'm not sure how to react to it. It's not that i've suddenly become cold and indifferent, it's just that after seeing all those things, i can't really think of any way to express my feelings and thoughts about it. Who knows, maybe after I find something I want to do with all my heart and soul i'll become able to express my feelings about it.” Huang Ying gave a self deprecating smile, it was truly a strange feeling, knowing how to feel, but being unable to express those emotions, instead only showing indifference.





    “Oh? ' Something you want to do with all your heart and soul?' What happened to your pursuit of the apex to prove the gods and your parents wrong? And wouldn't that Baku thing also count as a god? Negating your thoughts?” Li Jun caught on to some of the hidden meanings behind Huang Ying's words and fired off some new questions.





    In response to the new questions, all Huang Ying could do was give a bitter smile and respond. “Let's be honest with each other, some people would surely put reaching the apex as their sole dream and be willing to do anything to achieve it, but am I really such a person? Hoping to reach the apex to disprove the gods and my parents was and even still is nothing but a show of childish defiance and pouting."

    "It's simply me being unhappy with my circumstances and wanting to find a way to went my frustration, but for now it's all I have, so I might as well use it as a guideline for now. As to whether or not Baku counts as a god, it's hard to say. He doesn't fit in the normal category of whereas something existing because there is a god, it's more of a case where Baku exists because people believe it. As long as people believe that everything ends at some point, Baku will exist as the embodiment of that ideal.”





    “Ho? Seems like you are more self aware than I thought, you even know how childish your dream really is. Now go on and answer the other questions.” Li Jun simply snickered bemusedly in response to Huang Ying's bitter self-realization.





    Hearing the one who interrupted him by asking new questions earlier urge him on to answer the original questions, Huang Ying simply chose to ignore the shamelessness and do as he was told. “To answer the second question, the way the swallowed memories work, it's like my mind is split in half. On one side I have the memories I am sure are mine, memories that I see from my own viewpoint. While on the other side, are the memories I have swallowed, memories that I see from the viewpoint of a spectator, I simply stand aside and watch everything play out, like i'm reading a book."

    "So I get the memories and experiences, but actually utilizing what they show, like experience in forging or pill making, still requires me to attempt it and familiarize myself with it first. It truly feels rather surreal. Accessing the memories, even my own, feels like going through an index, everything is so neatly ordered suddenly, I even find myself remembering things I had previously forgotten."

    "And to answer the first question, what 'devouring' entails, it means just that. Depending on the difference in strength between me and the enemy, I can devour everything of his. I can devour his memories, his cultivation base, the cultivation art's he cultivated, the life energy, flesh, blood, organs, bones, even the element he was blessed with I can devour. "

    "Say I am fighting someone who is on equal power with me, it will be impossible for me to devour his everything without weakening him first, and devouring something he is currently using is even harder, but stealing a few memories here and there while fighting doesn't seem to be too hard, but without actually partaking in a fight it's hard to say.” After thinking and organizing his thoughts a bit and realizing he has explained everything he knows, Huang Ying stops his explanation.





    "Now, since I have upheld my end of the bargain, it should be your turn to tell me more about cultivating.” Thinking about finally learning about cultivation, Huang Ying couldn't help but let a faint smile appear on his face.





    "Ho? Index like memory huh, that is truly enviable, even some of the top cultivators of my time hadn't trained their mind to such an extent.” After enviously murmuring a few words, Li Jun started talking about his cultivation experiences.

    “Let's start with some basics, looking at the energy in your body, you should have reached the 3rd heaven after that entire spectacle, so i'll start there. The start of cultivation is called [The Nine Heavens of Houtian] signifying that 9 will always return to 1, it is also just used to build a foundation and prepare a mortal for true cultivating. Only someone who has reached the [Xantian] stage can call themselves a true cultivator, at least that is what it is like in the larger cultivation countries, in a tiny place like [Green Willows] a cultivator at the 9th heaven is probably a big shot and near godlike existence."

    "Now listen closely, the 9 different heavens are, in order: [The Mortal Heaven], [The Blue Heaven], [The Qi Heaven], [The Gathering Heaven], [The Condensing Heaven] [The Reinforcing Heaven], [The Pure Heaven], [The Trigram Heaven] and finally [The Tribulation Heaven].” Li Jun spoke the words lazily, as if to signal that to teach about something this basic was something far below his status. But despite his lazy demeanor, he still explained everything in great detail, not allowing Huang Ying to miss a single thing.





    “Every heaven plays a specific part in setting up the future path for a cultivator, [The Mortal Heaven] signifies the first step and is a mortal's first contact with the heavens, establishing a connection. [The Blue Heaven] takes a step forward and has the mortal use his connection with the heavens to notice the existence of the natural energy, the Qi, around him. [The Qi Heaven] is just that, the mortal establishes a connection to the natural energy and using that connection to draw trace amounts of it into his body. [The Gathering Heaven] simply consists of gathering enough of the natural energy into the mortals body, cleansing it from within to prepare it for and allow it to transcend the mortal boundaries."

    "[The Condensing Heaven] consists of gathering all the qi gathered in the body and condensing it in one point of the body, most often the dantian. [The Reinforcing Heaven] consists of reinforcing the qi that you have condensed, allowing it to take a more physical shape, becoming liquid. [The Pure Heaven] consists of taking the now liquid qi and condensing it even more, all the way until it becomes a small round crystal."

    "[The Trigram Heaven] is all about the element you were blessed with and allowing it to leave your body and manifest in the world around you, allowing you to shape and alter the Natural Energy in the world around you, summoning ice and fire with a mere wave of the hand."

    "The final heaven, [The Tribulation Heaven] is the final step before [Xiantian Builder] and consists of a single step, withstanding the heavenly tribulation and transcending mortal boundaries, once you have done that, the Qi crystal will shatter and form a core based on the element you have been blessed with. Talking about [Xantian Builder] and the stages past that is still too early for you, it will simply confuse you, it is more important to first build a solid foundation and make sure that you don't stray from the path. En, that should be all about the houtian stage.” Right after Li Jun finished talking, he seemed to have thought of something.





    “Right, you said you could even devour other people's elements? Does that mean that you currently have several elements residing within you? If you do you might have a different cultivation journey than others.”





    Huang Ying quickly turned his vision inward, following his newly built meridians and inspecting the little qi he currently had running through them.



    “Shouldn't be a problem, I think. I do indeed have several different elements in my meridians, but they seem to act more like supporters to the devouring element, so using it as the base for reaching [Xantian Builder] shouldn't be a problem?” Huang Ying answered the question, but even he wasn't quite sure about how it would end up.





    “Hmm, shouldn't be a problem for the foreseeable future, we'll just have to wait and see. But since you have several types of elements in your body right now, can you use them all?” Giving it a bit of thought and not coming up with anything Li Jun decided to ask a different question instead.





    “Not really, the only element I can currently separate from the devouring force and use freely seems to be the ice element, I can touch upon the other ones, but the moment I try to use them, it's like there is a force rejecting me.” After a bit of testing, Huang Ying came to an answer.





    “That's good, if people were to discover that you were in control of a completely unheard of power, it's hard to know how they would react, it's best if you exercise caution and use the ice element as a cover for now, if you ever become forced to use the devouring element, you must make sure to leave no witnesses.” Li Jun was sure that Huang Ying would think of this himself, but caution was a ship that would sail a ship for ten thousand years, so reminding him would never hurt.





    “En, I know. It's probably for the best to get used to both the power of the ice element and the devouring element, so im planning on heading to the bandit hideout for a bit, we'll need some money for traveling anyway, so using the few guards they have left behind as practice targets won't hurt.” Huang Ying nodded his head to Li Jun's reminder and turned eastward, heading to the currently almost empty bandit hideout.
     
  8. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 7: Bandit Camp.







    Two days east of [Azure Springs Town] lies a small chain of mountains, the most notable mountain being [Wolf-crag Mountain], a steep and large mountain in the shape of a crouching wolf, seemingly ready to strike and devour the sun at any time. On this mountain the [Wolf-crag Bandits] have carved their base, a natural fortress defended by mountains on three sides and with only one entrance, it has stood tall and proud for the last 50 years, bringing in wanderers and mercenaries from all around to slowly build up their forces, becoming the only bandit force in an area of 300 kilometers.







    Jin Ao Chin released a large yawn, today was already the third day in a row he had stood guard over the entrance to the hideout, the last three days he had been basically living at this guard post. The guard post was located a mere kilometer from the hideout, so even if the bell was broken, a simple shout would be able to alert the other guards of the hideout.

    The guard post was in the shape of a simple and inconspicuous wooden cottage next to the road. They were ordered to take turns guarding the entrance to the hideout, but ever since the main force had moved out to raze [Azure Springs] and only left behind six people to guard the hideout, they simply decided to place one person at the outermost guard post to keep a lookout for when the boss and the main force would return, and Jin Ao Chin being the youngest member at seventeen years of age ended up having to stand guard while the other five people got to enjoy themselves.







    “Just you wait you bastards, leaving me out here while you get to enjoy yourselves in the warmth with the women and the alcohol. I'll make damn sure that you have to suffer the cold just as much as I do after the boss comes back.” Jin Ao Chin was muttering to himself while rubbing his hands together to keep them warm, winter always hit the hardest here in the mountains, so even though he wasn't on the actual mountain, but just on the road leading to the mountain, after three days the cold had already seeped through the thin clothes he used as a disguise and seeped into his bones.







    Just as he was about to throw more firewood into the fireplace, he heard a knock on the door. Knowing that his five other companions would simply enter, and the boss and the main force would simply ride past this outpost, the only answer he could think of was that there was another hunter or forager that had wandered into the wrong parts of the forest after losing track of his path due to the snowfall.



    “Well, at least i'll be able to alleviate some of the boredom now.” While his mouth lifted into a sinister grin he tossed the firewood into the fireplace and headed over to the door to see what poor fool had walked into his hands while he was in such a bad mood.







    Opening the door, the first thing Jin Ao Chen noticed was the color black. What greeted him was a youth, marks of his young age still apparent on his face, showing that he couldn't have been older than fifteen, younger than even Jin Ao Chin himself. He was clad in a black robe with loose sleeves that covered most of his body, not allowing one to get a good look at his figure, but looking at his slightly thin face, he seemed to be a slightly skinny youth.

    His shiny black hair hung down to his hips like a waterfall while his deep black eyes seemed as deep and still as the ocean, divulging none of his thoughts or emotions. His face was skinny, pale and slightly immature, but he had a steady bearing and already showed signs of handsomeness, he would surely become an elegant, handsome man if he was fed and got to grow a bit more. His deep eyes and shiny black hair, contrasted nicely with his skin, attracting people and inciting a feeling of pleasantness from looking at him.





    “Excuse me, I was foraging for some winter herbs, but I can't seem to find my way back and the snow has already covered my tracks, would you mind if I stayed here for a while to warm up before setting of again?” The youth gave a polite smile and spoke with a strong and heroic, yet soft and gentle voice, charming whoever listened to it to put all their attention on him.





    “Ah? Of course, just come in, I just threw some more wood on the fire so it'll get nice and warm soon.” Jin Ao Chin moved aside and beckoned the youth in, but his eyes never left the youths back even has he sat down on a chair in front of the fireplace. “It's your lucky day little guy, if you had come later I probably would have headed home, I just stopped here for a short rest after attempting my luck at hunting, but it seems my luck isn't as good as yours, an entire day wasted in the forest with no prey.” Jin Ao Chen gave a light chuckle and gave a faint smile as he too sat down in front of the fire and threw another log into the fireplace.





    “It seems like this winter just isn't the season for you and me, but then again, maybe we wasted all our luck on this chance meeting out here?” The youth gave a pleasant laugh and leaned back into the chair, relaxing the muscles in his body.





    “Haha, maybe, they do say that no meeting is meaningless, but fate, seems like fate wanted us to meet.” Jin Ao Chen gave a low laugh and reached for another log, but just as he was halfway to the stack of logs, he quickly lowered his arm, grabbed the hilt of the sword at his side and directed it into a quick stab aimed at the youth's chest. Just as the sword was a few inches from the youth's chest, his arm suddenly stopped, the blade trembling slightly. When Jin Ao Chin looked down, all he could see was a pitch black serpent with a bloody maw filled with sharp teeth slithering up from his legs and up his body before resting it's head on the arm holding the sword.





    “Ho? I really thought I gave off the perfect impression, I wonder what ticked you off. Or could it be that you bandits simply kill everyone you come across?” The youth's pleasant voice rang out again, but to Jin Ao Chin the voice suddenly seemed to come from a demon as he looked at those deep black eyes.





    “You stupid little brat, no forager will travel during the winter in such light clothing, and certainly not without a pouch to store the herbs in.” Jin Ao Chin sneered and cursed at the youth to try and alleviate some of his own fear. Just as his voice faded, he lifted his left hand and quickly shot it towards the hilt of the blade in his right hand. Before his hand even made it halfway to the blade, the serpent on his arm bit down, and suddenly he lost all feeling in his arms and legs, powerlessly falling to the floor.







    “Wha? What did you do, what happened to my arms and legs?” Jin Ao Chen's voice was quivering in fear, all it took was one bit and suddenly he lost all feeling in his limbs, he tried to move them, but to no avail, it was like someone had simply cut them off.







    The serpent removed it's teeth from his arm and slithered away from him, instead slithering up the body of the youth, before slowly fading into the body of the youth, replaced by a black, smoke like aura that gave the youth a hint of fiendishness.







    “Ah, there's no need to worry, I simply devoured your memory of how to control your limbs, given enough time and training, im sure you would be able to learn it again. It's a shame you have information I need.” The youth stood up from the chair and gave a faint and gentle smile that simply looked like the smile of a demon to Jin Ao Chin before making his way over to the motionless body.







    “Now then, please allow me to get a good hang of exactly how these powers work, don't worry, your journey to the yellow springs river won't be lonely, all the [Wolf-crag Bandits] will be joining you.” The youth placed his hand on the chest of Jin Ao Chin and spoke in a comforting voice, like he was talking to a child who had gotten scolded.







    Huang Ying left the cottage with a frown on his face, the only thing left of Jin Ao Chin a frozen body. The last hour of experimenting on this bandit called Jin Ao Chin had allowed him to fully grasp to which extent his devouring and ice powers worked. He could summon a miniature Baku as a manifestation of his devouring powers, but it was too weak to be used against people that were on the same level of power as him, the only reason it worked on Jin Ao Chin was because he was someone who hadn't even stepped into the 1st heaven. The experimenting allowed him to ascertain how to control the devouring power and how to control what was devoured, sadly, Jin Ao Chin was simply too weak, so even after devouring all his energy and even soul, Huang Ying was still only at the peak of the 3rd heaven, just a small step away from gathering enough qi within his body to attempt to reach the 4th stage and immediately moving on to the 5th stage by gathering and condensing it all at once.







    “Seems like these bastards have simply lost all shred of humanity, seems like none of them need to return to samsara, i'm better off just devouring their souls for my own good.” Huang Ying spoke with a frown, after scouring all the memories of Jin Ao Chin, he had seen how they treated the servants and slaves, especially the women, at the hideout after the boss left to raze [Azure Springs.] Lifting his head and looking towards the [Wolf-crag Mountain], a faint smile crept up on Huang Ying's lips as he walked towards the entrance to the hideout. “I wonder, will the five of you allow me to reach the 4th heaven?”
     
  9. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 8: Removing The Trash.



    “Hey, little Ying, once you devour the rest of the trash in the hideout, you won't devour their everything right?” As Huang Ying was making his way towards the hideout, Li Jun's slightly hesitant voice rang out in his mind.



    “Hmm, I don't see a reason not too, devouring their bodies will help me increase my bodily strength, while absorbing their life force and energy will help me break through to the 4th and 5th sky quickly. I figured that since you said it was best to reach the 8th heaven and leave the [Green Willows] continent as fast as possible, it would be best to wring these bandits completely dry off life and resources. Why, do you need something from them?” Huang Ying responded absentmindedly, focusing most of his concentration on utilizing and training in a skill he had taken from the memories belonging to one of the bandits, [Breeze Steps] a skill focused on manipulating trace amounts of qi to remove all traces of presence belonging to the controller of the skill, removing scent, aura and sound, allowing the user to hide themselves.



    “I noticed earlier, when you were controlling the devouring process on that lookout, while you absorbed most of the energy from his soul, trace amounts of it got transferred to me, slowing down the decay and even slightly solidifying it, if I got a bit more soul energy, I should be able to stabilize my soul and prevent the decaying process from restarting for at least another 50 years.” Li Jun spoke eagerly while nonchalantly dropping some bombs on Huang Ying.



    “Decaying process? What is that and how come I have never heard of it before?” Walking through the gates of the bandit hideout, entering the hallways that had been dug out in the mountain and sticking to the shadows, making his way towards where the lookout last remembered the other guards being gathered, Huang Ying diverted some of his concentration towards Li Jun.



    “Haa, there wasn't really a need to tell you earlier, as there was nothing you could do to stop it from happening, but things are different now. You should know what a soul is right? The essence of a person, beast or even some powerful and rare magic treasures and ingredients gradually form a soul as they are born, but these souls can't exist without a body, the laws of heaven will not allow that, so once the soul leaves the body it will slowly start decaying, if it doesn't find a new body in time, it will decay and vanish, forever leaving samsara, the cycle of reincarnation."

    "Since my soul is at a certain level of power, the decay will be fairly slow, holding on for several thousand years is not much of a problem, but as long as the decay takes place, my power will slowly be drained, so when I eventually do get a new body, I would be much weaker than I was when I first left my body."

    "I can use the soul power of these bandits to induce a type of deep sleep, allowing my soul to slumber within the recess of your mind, staving off the decay for as long as possible. I can then either slumber until the absorbed soul power is used up or you wake me up in case of an emergency.” Li Jun heaved a sigh and spoke in detail about the plight that had been gnawing at him ever since he left his body in times long past.



    “I see, I didn't know you had it that hard, don't worry, i'll make sure to thoroughly drain their souls and allow you to...” Before Huang Ying had finished speaking, he felt a sense of danger coming from his right. Quickly leaning his body to the left while shooting his right arm upwards allowed him to barely dodge the blade that had come from the hallway to his right and even grab the arm of the assailant, but the small cut on his neck that was dripping a few drops of blood made the sense of danger still linger at the back of his mind, reminding him of how foolish it was to divert his attention while being in an enemy hideout.



    Huang Ying's eyes turned cold as he turned to look towards the assailant, from the memories he had stolen from Jin Ao Chin, there was indeed one of the remaining guards that had a fondness for one of the women residing in one of the rooms in this hallway. And indeed, just as he thought, once he turned his head, he came face to face with a short and chubby man whose brown hair covered large parts of his face, only showing off his long and thin lips, currently frozen in a stiff smile. Following right behind this chubby bandit was a trembling young girl dressed in a simple gray robe who that didn't look more than 20, slender frame, small eyes and a slightly upturned nose, black, unkempt hair flowing down all the way to her knees.



    Black smoke started seeping from the hand holding onto the wrist of the bandit, and the next thing the bandit knew was that he had lost all control over his limbs, he couldn't even talk anymore as it felt like someone had simply removed his tongue, all he could do was stare viciously at Huang Ying, seemingly wanting to eat him alive.



    “You should go back to your room and rest a little, i'm just here to deal with the remaining trash guarding this hideout, after today, the [Wolf-crag Bandits] won't be a problem anymore, so you can go wherever you want. Ah, if you could do me a favor and tell the other servants as well, that'd save me the trouble of going through with it.” Huang Ying glanced at the direction of the trembling girl and spoke a few words in a comforting tone to calm her down.



    “Tha...Thank you!” The girl spoke with a trembling voice as tears started welling up in her eyes, before she turned around and ran back into the hallway they had come from.



    As Huang Ying watched the back of the girl leave his vision, his eyes gradually turned cold, before they once again riveted onto the chubby bandit. “Really, seems like coming here to remove the trash truly was the right idea, can't you even follow one of the simplest of rules ' do not make sexual advances unless you are given consent'?” Huang Ying flashed the bandit a bright smile that sent a cold shiver up the bandit's spine, he opened his mouth to try to speak, but all that came out was a shrill exhale before Huang Ying's hand gently grabbed onto his face as his body started emitting black smoke, the last thing the bandit saw in this world was a demonic youth with a brilliant smile on his face.



    Huang Ying devoured everything, even the body of the chubby bandit, but simply organized the absorbed energy and stored it in different places in his body. He was currently at the peak of the 3rd heaven, any more energy may initiate his breakthrough immediately, and being in the midst of an enemy headquarter was not the ideal place to try and control a breakthrough.



    Huang Ying took out a small cloth from the breast pocket on his robe and wiped away the blood on his neck. As he wiped away the blood, he was slightly shocked to find that the small wound had already disappeared, not even leaving behind a mark, but he simply associated it with his absorbing of the bandit's body and the increase in his body's strength. Just as he was about to throw away the handkerchief, he was shocked once more as he discovered that within the crimson blood, there were traces of black lines, squiggling, like little water serpents stuck on dry land.



    “Please stop being so weird, at least try to look normal and not let me get into needless trouble.” In response to what he had seen, Huang Ying could only give a dry laugh before proceeding to make his way deeper into the hideout, from the memories of the chubby bandit he had found the location of the last 4 guards.



    “Since you have gathered such nice riches, I hope you won't mind if I put them to good use.” Walking deeper into the hideout and thinking about some of the wealth that was stored in the treasury of the bandit's, Huang Ying couldn't help but let his tongue run across his lips as his mouth lifted into a slight smile.
     
  10. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 9: The Bandit's Nightmare.



    The table was covered in food, alcohol was flowing freely and the mood was festive. The room was lit brightly by torches hanging on the walls, scantily clad women were dancing and there was a group of musicians playing a variety of instruments standing in one corner of the room.

    There were three large rugged middle aged men and one small, thin man sitting around the table filled with food, a women in each arm, their hands were roaming around the curves of the women and their faces were filled with large smiles. Once one looked closer one would be able to see that even though the mood was festive, the only ones who were happy were the four men seated around the table.

    The dances were constantly taking fearful glances at the four men, the musicians were teary eyed and gritting their teeth, while the women who were being caressed were trembling and seemed as if they wanted nothing more than to cry.



    “Haha, i'm never going to be able to understand how Fatty Fan is able to simply leave these festive occasions just to go and have fun with that little washer maid, truly, pigs only ever have eyes for pigs.” The largest man laughed loudly to the other men around the tabke as his hands dipped below the skirt of one of the women he was fondling.



    “Truly! We have so many pretty girls here and he goes for such a plain and dull one, one truly cannot compliment his tastes in women!” The small thin man was quick to flatter the rugged man while the two other men around the table simply followed the large man in his loud laughter.



    Hearing the words and seeing the actions of the men, one of the musicians couldn't help but look at them with disdain and let out a low snort. The skinny man seemed to have heard this snort however, as he snapped his head around to glare at the musicians.

    The one who entered his eyes was a little girl, looking no more than twelve, fair skin, large and clear emerald green eyes, chestnut colored hair tied up into a long braid that reached all the way down to her hips, small cherry red lips, thin eyebrows accentuating her eyes and a small cute nose blended together with her loose pink robe to give her a cute and adorable look. The only thing taking away from her loveliness was the look of disdain in her eyes as she looked at the men, especially the skinny man.



    “You seem to have something to say, little brat?” The skinny man spoke with a gloomy and slightly high pitched voice as he glared at the little girl in a threatening manner.



    “Humph, being so weak and useless that you were left behind here, yet speaking so grandly and proudly as if you are the kings of this world. I pity your parents who had to birth trash like you.” The little girl looked lovely, but her tongue was as sharp as a sword, cursing and demeaning the four men.



    “You should be one of the new people that was brought in just recently, it seems like there has yet to be anyone to teach you just who the bosses around here are, why don't you allow me this pleasure?” The skinny man narrowed his eyes at her words and slowly stood up while talking, a sinister grin creeping up on his lips.



    Just as the skinny man had walked three steps, one of the torches hanging behind the musicians went dark, leading to the skinny man stopping his steps in bewilderment for a second. Just as he was about to take another step, another torch went out, this time to his left, following this, the other torches quickly started going out, one by one, until the entire room was shrouded in absolute darkness and a cold chuckle rang out.

    “Haha, you are truly outspoken little girl, well said 'I pity your parents who had to birth trash like you', you really know how to hit where it hurts. Well then, allow me to clean up this trash.” As the voice rung out, everyone in the room felt a shiver crawl up their spine, the voice sounded so pleasant, but it's tone was so cold that it sounded like a demon had descended upon the room.



    The others in the room may not have noticed what happened, but Jing He saw it all from start to finish. Once the first torch went out, she already had a strange, ominous feeling creep up on her in the back of her mind. Then as the next torch went out, she managed to spot it, slithering along the wall was a serpent so black that it seemed to absorb even the surrounding light.

    All it did was slither past the torches, but every torch it past simply went out. After all the torches had gone out, all the hair on her body suddenly stood up and she felt an immense sense of danger from her left, turning her head, she saw a youth walk out from the dark hallway connecting the room with the rest of the hideout.



    A slightly pale face, a black robe, pitch black hair cascading downwards his back to his hips and eyes black like the night sky, but the occasional flicker of light that flashed past them made them seem like a field of stars. The robe was loose and slightly too large, but his face was slightly skinny and immature, showing that he couldn't be much older than her, maybe only one or two years, but his bearing was as steady as a mountain, his back straight as a sword.

    He was walking slowly and carefully, each step as steady as a mountain. Seemingly young and immature, yet his aura gave her an intense sense of danger. she knew clearly, that even though she was already at the 4th heaven, this youth who didn't seem like he had any cultivation at all could probably kill her if they were to start fighting.



    The serpent slithered down from the walls and brushed past the four men that had all gathered together, as the snake brushed past them, a sliver of black smoke started to seep out of it's scales before floating over to the group of four men and entering their bodies, after which they abruptly shuddered and stiffened, no longer moving.



    The youth simply slowly walked over, grabbed the four men by the collar and dragged them after him as he headed for the are where the treasury was located, as he left the room his voice echoed out in the darkness once more. “The [Wolf-crag Bandit's] are no more, you should all just leave and go do whatever it is you want to do, closest village is a three days march to the south.”



    while the other captives were rejoicing over their fortune and started making their way out of the hideout, Jing He couldn't help but follow after him, only to see him enter the treasury and lock the door, him and the four bandit's inside.



    Huang Ying let go of the four bandits and simply let them drop to the floor, their expression frozen in horror and fear. He locked the door to the treasury, making sure that no one would be able to interfere and stop his breakthrough.



    He turned towards the four men on the ground and gave them a slight smile and was just about to speak when the largest man unsteadily spoke out. “Yo-You...What did you...do to us...? Why can't.....we... move or.... talk?”



    “Ho? You can already talk again, seems like I truly underestimated you, I didn't expect you to be able to talk again so quickly with just a 2nd heaven cultivation.” Huang Ying spoke out in surprise, seemed like he really couldn't drag this out for much longer, lest something unexpected happened.



    “Don't... belittle me... like that.... some brat not even..... at the 1st heaven.... who can only use.....poison.... has no right to talk.” The large man spoke while gritting his teeth and glaring at Huang Ying, attempting time and time again to move his limbs.

    “1st heaven? Li Jun, why does he think i'm at the 1st heaven?” Huang Ying voiced out his question to Li Jun while grabbing the large man and activating his devouring qi.



    “Not sure, my best bet is that it has something to do with your devouring element, perhaps this is it's way of concealing itself. But this is good news for you, looking like a normal mortal will make you much more inconspicuous and make it easier to perform some tasks, after all, if you ever need to prove what level you are at, you simply need to activate a bit of your Qi.” Li Jun spoke out his theory as Huang Ying finished absorbing the last man.



    Huang Ying couldn't find anything detrimental about his idea, so he simply gave a quick sound of confirmation before he sat down and allowed his miniature Baku to roam the treasury, absorbing the herbs that contained some natural energy and would help him breakthrough.

    Feeling the surging energy within his body after he absorbed the last of the guards, Li Jun quickly transmitted some knowledge about how to break through the different stages in the [Houtian] realm before starting on his own task of absorbing the new soul power and enter his slumber.



    Huang Ying's mouth curved into a faint smile as he sensed the surging energy coursing through his body, the time to breakthrough had come.
     
  11. Shiranui_Shukumei

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    Chapter 10: Breakthrough.



    Huang Ying sat cross legged in the lotus position on the floor, a steady stream of energy entered Huang Ying's body through his connection with his miniature Baku and the energy he had absorbed from the final five guards of the hideout coursed through his meridians, constantly opening new paths and expelling a smelly gray goo through his pores until his entire body was covered by a layer of the filth.

    Thanks to the information he had gotten from Li Jun, he knew that these were the impurities that his body had built up over time, the expelling of impurities was a clear sign that he had safely entered the 4th heaven [The Gathering Heaven]. But Huang Ying never intended to stop there, if he wanted to simply break into the 4th heaven, there was no need to go through the trouble of traveling all the way to this hideout, he could simply have broken through while heading for the capital.

    No, what he wanted to do was use the resources that the bandits had gathered and use them to break straight through to the 5th heaven or even above. In addition to that, in the memories of the bandit leader, he had seen some items in the treasury that would be of help to him in his future travels.



    Leading the increasingly large amounts of energy through his meridians, Huang Ying started sensing an increasing familiarity and connection with both the natural energy around him as well as the Qi within him. He allowed to surging Qi within him to flow freely through his meridians while going through the memories of some of the bandits, organizing the items within the treasury, sorting them into what could be absorbed and what should be saved for later.

    After he finished sorting through the items he had memories of, he sent of the serpent to absorb and send over the energy from all the items he could currently safely absorb. The Qi within him had done over a hundred revolutions around his body, expelling nearly all the impurities within him, making him look more like a gray rock than a person.



    After allowing the energy to complete it's 999th revolution, he felt a saturated feeling in his body, the last six revolutions hadn't expelled anymore impurities, so Huang Ying decided that this was the best chance to breakthrough the 4th heaven.



    He quickly took control over the energy within his body and started making it all flow in the same direction, towards his dantian. The energy acted like soldiers under the lead of their general, rushing towards his dantian in a frenzied, yet orderly fashion.

    Once all the energy had settled in his dantian, it started to float around like black mist with intermittent flashes of differently colored light. The black mist was the element of devouring, while the flashes of lights were the other elements he had absorbed so far, the most dominant one among them being a cold white light.



    The internal energy settling as mist in the dantian was a sign that one had entered the earlier stages of the 5th heaven, [The Gathering Heaven]. Upon seeing how easily the mist formed in his dantian, Huang Ying couldn't help but heave a sigh.

    “Seems like Li Jun was right, the 9 heavens are simply the most basic of the basic in cultivation. Seems like I can accommodate more energy now, so I might as well see just how far I can push in one go” Finishing his murmuring, Huang Ying closed his eyes again and commanded the energy traveling towards his dantian and the energy in his dantian to converge and condense.



    As the mist gathered together and slowly condense, becoming smaller and smaller, Huang Ying continued to supplement it with a mixture of energy from the air around him and the energy sent to him by his Baku. Time continued to slowly pass while Huang Ying was condensing his qi more and more.



    “Does he not have any manners? Doesn't he know it's rude to keep an elegant lady like myself waiting like this?” Jing He was sitting outside the treasury, muttering to herself, sounding like a neglected housewife. She had already been sitting outside of the treasury for close 13 days, stacking a small hill of food next to the treasury, as if afraid that if she had to continuously leave to go gather new food that he might finish and simply leave, and that was something she couldn't allow, there was something in that treasury that she desperately needed.



    After getting over the initial shock she felt when she sensed the energy waves belonging to someone at the 4th heaven, and then the energy waves of someone at the 5th heaven, she had simply decided to give up on being surprised and had spent the remainder of her time simply sitting there in meditation and occasionally sulking.



    At the dawn of the 14th day, another energy wave spread out from the sealed treasury, prompting Jing He to be shocked once more, before quickly returning to sulking. “He broke through again? Does he not know how rude it is to break through so easily while others have to try several times just to succeed in sensing and absorbing the natural energy? Is he eating the herbs in there like candy? Doesn't he know that sharing is caring? Rude fellow.” Jing He puffed up her cheeks and pouted, murmuring to herself about the time she tried to break through the different heavens.



    Huang Ying opened his eyes and took a deep breath before gently exhaling and standing up, all the impurities and filth that had gathered on his body blew of him before turning into dust and vanishing, revealing his clean appearance. Eyes like a star field, hair like a black waterfall and skin now giving of a healthy light bronze luster. Breaking through to the 6th heaven had refined his body further, bringing him one step closer to the body needed for ascension.



    “Seems like i'll need to use a small period of time to get used to and stabilize my new strength before I can keep increasing it.” Clenching his hand and hearing the popping of his joints and feeling the surging power flowing beneath his skin, he couldn't help but smile. Turning his vision inward, towards his dantian, there was now a small black puddle with different colored dots floating around in his dantian, this was his qi compressed to a liquid state.



    Looking around the treasury that was now almost half- empty, Huang Ying couldn't help but give a bitter smile, seems like he really used quite a bit of resources this time around. Looking around once more he quickly spotted the two items he had come here for, placed securely on a pedestal, separating them from the rest of the items. The first item was a small, seemingly ordinary purple ring, but Huang Ying knew that this was a rare inter spatial ring, a ring containing it's own dimension, allowing for storage of items, one simply needed to insert some qi and one would be able to insert or extract items.



    Putting the ring on his right middle finger, he grabbed the second item, a silver colored double edged long sword with a blade length of 70 cm and a width of two fingers. This was the second item he came here for, this was a sword that the bandit boss had come across a few years earlier, but couldn't use since his cultivation was too low. Inserting your qi into the blade would allow you to not only strengthen and sharpen the blade, but also use it to manifest your element in the are around it. Huang Ying grabbed the sword and held it in his right hand, feeling the weight and getting used to the length.



    “Hmm, seeing as you don't have a name, how about I just give you one then? Seeing as I currently can only use the ice element and devouring element, how about [Tear of Ice]?” After thinking over the name a bit and not feeling anything wrong about it, Huang Ying casually settle for the name and attempted to make contact with Li Jun, but received no answer, so he simply assumed that Li Jun had already entered the slumber he spoke of earlier, meaning that for the first time in Huang Ying's life, he was truly alone.

    Once he thought of this, he couldn't help feeling pangs of loneliness and even a slight unease, but he quickly buried those feelings away and strode towards the door and opened it. Upon opening it, the first thing that greeted him was something flying into his chest, accompanied by a lovely voice shouting at him.



    “Hand over my hairpin you rude slowpoke!”
     
  12. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 11: To The Capital.



    Watching the youth clad in black, carrying an indifferent expression finally leave the treasury, and upon noticing that said treasury was now empty, Jing He couldn't contain herself anymore and jumped straight at his chest and started pounding it with her little hands.

    Had it been a normal person who she hit, that person would surely die, the punches of someone at the 4th sky, even if she was just a child, were nothing to scoff at. Luckily Huang Ying had just broken through to the 6th heaven and even absorbed the bodies of the bandit guardsmen, enjoying a significant increase in his bodily strength.



    Looking at the little girl that hid jumped into his chest and started pounding it while cursing at him, Huang Ying couldn't help but frown and gently push her away. “What do you want? It's already been several days, you should just leave here.”



    Huang Ying truly couldn't understand why such a little girl would stay behind and even wait outside the treasury, he really wanted to just leave and go on with his business, but he truly didn't dare to simply ignore this little girl. He may not have noticed it before, but now that he had reached the 6th heaven, he saw that she was actually at the 4th heaven.

    A 12 year old girl at the fourth heaven in these parts of [Green Willow] would surely not have a simple background, and Huang Ying truly didn't want to invite disaster upon himself while he was still so weak. Another thing that truly confused him was how this girl was even captured by the guardsmen in the first place, from the memories the absorbed he learned that she was only caught after the main force had left for [Azure Springs].

    She didn't even put up a fight, she just followed the bandits when they said they would take her somewhere fun. Not even the boss of the [Wolf-crag Bandit's] would be able to catch this little girl, much less the scraps that were left behind to guard the hideout.



    “My hairpin, they took my hairpin and put it in here, so since you took everything you must have it. Give it back!” Jing He looked at Huang Ying like a child whose sweets were taken from her,



    “Hairpin?” Huang Ying swept his senses through the interspatial ring, who he found to have a surprisingly large capacity of two rooms, and saw there was indeed a hairpin in the shape of a purple plum blossom stored away.



    “Is it this one?” Huang Ying's finger rubbed the ring and the purple hairpin appeared between his fingers, he flicked his fingers and sent the hairpin soaring towards the little girl who caught it with sparkling eyes.



    “Yes! This is my hairpin, thank you very much!” The girl fastened the hairpin slightly above and to the left from her forehead, making sure that everyone who saw her would be able to see it and then proceeded to dip into a bow as she thanked Huang Ying with an incandescent smile.



    “No need to mention it, it's not even mine, nor can I use it for anything.” Huang Ying was actually a bit reluctant to simply return the hairpin, although it wouldn't be of much use to him, it was obviously important to the girl, so he should have easily been able to exchange it for information, but it also didn't feel quite right to him to attempt to blackmail such cute little girl, so he simply decided to hand it over and be done with it.

    Huang Ying wasn't an indecisive person, once he had decided to do something he would do it, and none of the things he would do he would allow himself to regret. He wanted to reach the apex of power, but he wasn't depraved enough to do whatever he could to get there, killing and devouring bandit's was fine since they were scum, but he had a feeling that if he decided to blackmail this girl, he would regret it in the future, so he simply decided to not do it.



    After he had returned the hairpin he once more commenced walking, brushing past the girl and heading for the exit, it was time to head onward to the capital. As he walked through the entrance and down the road leading away from the hideout, he couldn't help but heave a sight and slightly turn his head, looking at the little girl who kept following him even after leaving the hideout.



    “Where are you going next?” Before he could even open his mouth, the little girl, seemingly noticing him looking at her opened her mouth first, all the while acting like a rabbit and casting her eyes all around the scenery.



    “The Capital.” Caught slightly off-guard, Huang Ying couldn't help but answer her question.



    “Why are you going to the capital?”



    “It has the best library in all of [Green Willows] and also houses the [Purple Flood Dragons Academy]”



    “Are you going to join the academy?”



    “Not permanently, but they have the best martial arts library.”



    “You don't know any martial arts?”



    “No cultivation techniques, nor good skills.”



    “And you still managed to reach the 6th heaven? In this desolate area? Well done. Why don't you know any techniques?”



    “No one ever taught me.”



    “then it seems like you must be very talented to make it this far. You seem very fun, so i'll join you on the trip, make sure to entertain me well, i'm Jing He, nice to meet you.”



    “.....Huang Ying.” Almost before Huang Ying could finish a sentence, the girl, Jing He would fire off another question, preventing him from doing anything besides answering it, she even went as far as to pat him on his shoulder and praise him while he was talking about his cultivation.

    Having a little girl who was only tall enough to reach his shoulders, pat him on the shoulders and praise him was truly a strange feeling to Huang Ying. It felt strange, but also rather comfortable to have someone acknowledge his achievements. Looking at the bright smile she had while talking about following him and feeling like it would be a shame to darken that innocent smile, Huang Ying could do nothing but heave a sigh and accept her unreasonable demand.

    It seemed like his travels were about to become a lot more noisy, but he also felt rather relieved, with Li Jun entering slumber, he was feeling rather lonely, having someone to talk to would help him relieve some of that loneliness.
     
  13. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 12: Traveling Through The Forest.



    Huang Ying was sitting on a rock in front of a bonfire, Jing He sitting in front of them, hungrily staring at the meat that Huang Ying was roasting on the fire. When they first entered the forest a few days ago, partly to look for herbs and other resources, and partly for Huang Ying to get used to his increased power.

    They had taken turns with the cooking, Jing He might only have been twelve, but Huang Ying was certain that she must at least be able to grill some meat. Once he found out that the girl didn't even know how to grill, the responsibility to prepare the food fell squarely upon his shoulders, in recent days he felt more like a personal cook for this unreasonable little girl than he did a fellow traveler.



    If he didn't take great care while cooking it and make sure that it was perfect, she would start pouting and ignoring him for hours on end, until he finally found something fun to appease her or cooked more meat, but properly this time. Huang Ying had once had an older sister, and thinking that he once acted just like this unreasonable little girl, he couldn't help but praise the patience of Chen Chun.

    At the same time he wasn't too annoyed at her, although she was unreasonable, he truly liked the feeling of having a cute little sister, it made a warm feeling flow through his veins, it made him feel like he was no longer alone in the world.



    “How much longer are we going to travel in this forest for? When are we going to enter a city, I want to sleep in a proper bed.” Jing He stopped looking at the meat and threw a pleading glance at Huang Ying.



    “Just for a few more days, in two days time we should reach the [Crystal Pond], after finishing our business there, we should be able to reach [Yellow Winds Town] within three days, we can take a rest there. Besides, you are the one who decided to follow me, so you can't really complain about where i go.” Huang Ying spoke while handing over part of the meat, he too had started grown weary of sleeping outside, but he also knew that to reach the apex of power, patience would be needed, so he simply saw this trip through the forest as a little tempering experience.



    “It's rude to point out a ladies fault, you need to be more delicate, otherwise you'll just end up all alone. And isn't it about time you tell me why we are going to this [Crystal Pond] place? It doesn't seem like there should be anything good in this forest.” Jing He nibbled the meat she got, leg of deer while asking Huang Ying about the [Crystal Pond] she didn't think he would spend several days in the forest for something small like some good water.



    “Since when is a 12 year old girl a lady? And do i really need relationship advice from a child?" Huang Ying murmured to himself under his breath before quickly changing subject, lest this little princess start pouting again.

    "Seems like you don't pay a lot of attention to rumors. Did you know that there is a legend that in ancient times, a great battle took place in this area, after the battle was over, no one knew what happened, but the only aftermath was the [Crystal Pond]a pond of water that has stayed frozen for several years. Some legends state that one of the fighters mount, a Bai Hu, a white tiger, fell and died there, forever frozen in the ice."

    "Other legends state that one of the fighters is buried there, some state that a weapon fell there, some that it is simply the remnant energy produced by one of the attacks that hasn't been exhausted yet. There are many different varieties of these legends, but they all pertain to the legend about the battle in ancient times.” Huang Ying explained about his main goal in entering the forest, in truth he was just using these legends to cover up his true motive for heading there.

    In the memories from one of the bandits, he got some information about the time the bandit himself accidentally stumbled upon the [Crystal Pond], at first the bandit wanted to see if there was anything special, but a debilitating chill forced the bandit to retreat before he even managed to get close to the pond, this chill was Huang Ying's true aim, devouring this chill would help his ice qi reach a new realm in power.



    “Eh? How come I have never heard of this before? Since the legend is so grand, why is this place so deserted? Is this legend really true?” Jing He tilted her head slightly while narrowing her eyes at Huang Ying, questioning the authenticity behind the legend.



    Huang Ying simply put out the fire and started heading towards the [Crystal Pond]. “The odds of the legends being true are close to zero, but the main reasons this area is so deserted is because this entire area is very far off from the center and capital of [Green Willows] so very few people ever go here. Another reason is that the pond is very well hidden and always surrounded by a bone piercing chill."

    "This chill is the main reason i'm here, i'm hoping to use it to break through to the 7th heaven.” Since they had entered the forest, Huang Ying had mostly just used the ice element, not daring to show off the devouring element freely, mostly just injecting small amounts into the animals he killed in an attempt to see if he could also absorb their physical power.



    The result of these experiments left him slightly disappointed, if the animals had any qi in them, he could absorb that, but absorbing their blood and bodies gave him no advantages, whether this was due to them being too weak or because they were simply normal animals with no special bloodlines would require more testing.



    “Eh? Didn't you just reach the 6th heaven? Why would you try reaching the 7th heaven so fast?” Jing He followed next to him and looked at him in bewilderment.



    “Why wouldn't I?” Seeing her look at him with such bewilderment made Huang Ying feel a bit of unease. While it was true that Li Jun had transferred some knowledge on how to break through the different levels, it was just that, how to break through the levels, nothing overly specific about the levels themselves.



    “Since you just broke through, the Qi ocean in your dantian should be pretty small right, maybe the size off a small lake? If you use that small amount to break through to the 7th heaven, won't you just have a tiny little Qi crystal? Is it worth breaking through if you are that weak?” Jing He explained, but suddenly seemed like she thought of something and flashed a smug smile.

    “Oh right, you mentioned that no one ever taught you, so just relax and let big sister explain to you! While it is true that the nine heavens are just the foundation building in cultivation, having a strong foundation is just as important as having a high cultivation."

    "The best way to build a strong foundation is by producing a large Qi ocean in your dantian during the 6th heaven, which will then allow you to produce a more condensed Qi crystal during the 7th heaven which will then in turn allow you to manifest more of your qi outside your body while in the 8th heaven.” Jing He spoke with a proud smile, acting like a proper big sister showing off her knowledge, but Huang Ying didn't have the time to remind her of who was older right now. He was currently looking at the tiny little puddle of Qi he had in his dantian and thinking about the words she spoke, 'size of a small lake', and couldn't help but be thankful that no one could see the amount of qi he had in his dantian.



    “Seems like I really do have a lot to learn still. Thanks for telling me, I almost made a huge mistake.” Huang Ying patted her on the head and watched as she squinted her eyes in happiness, this unreasonable little girl had a fondness for being patted on the head.



    Thinking about how she so casually spoke about the information that not even Li Jun had told him only further reinforced Huang Ying's belief that this little girl had a background that was in no way simple.



    As they kept walking and the days passed, the chill in the air slowly started getting worse, until they reached a clearing in the forest. In the middle of the clearing was a small frozen lake surrounded by white mist, they had finally reached the [Crystal Pond].
     
  14. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 13: The Crystal Pond.



    The little lake was nearly perfectly round in shape, completely covered in ice and white mist, the entire clearing around it a pristine and pure white without a single impurity, it was like a picture of heaven, like looking at a divine cloud. Looking at the scenery Huang Ying couldn't help but think about the time he found the Yin Heaven's Bell and how similar it looked, he could just hope that this time wouldn't end with him imprisoned and tortured for six years.



    The area was beautiful, but it contained a chill that threatened to turn anyone who attempted to enter it into an ice statue, forever guarding the lake at the center. Huang Ying and Jing He stood almost a hundred meters from the lake, but even here the cold was already bone piercing, the only way Huang Ying could endure it was by circulating his devouring qi through his body, slowly absorbing the cold and using it to strengthen his own ice qi.



    “Wah, it's so pretty here, no wonder it's called the [Crystal Pond].” Contrary to what Huang Ying expected, Jing He was completely fine despite the cold, she even looked like she was enjoying the cold, as if it was a nice bath.



    “You seem to handle the cold rather well. I guess you have Qi of the ice type?” Huang Ying stood still at the entrance of the clearing, he wasn't in a rush to enter, and was content to just look for a while, making sure that nothing unexpected would happen, so he took the chance to chat with Jing He a little.



    “Yup, mommy said that I was blessed with a powerful ice qi and that my body was special, so I would never have to be scared of the cold.” Jing He spoke with a bright smile and a slightly bragging tone, but Huang Ying was still able to see traces of melancholy in her eyes.



    “Are you going to eat all the cold here to find out what is in the lake?” Just as Huang Ying turned his eyes back to the little lake, Jing He spoke up and asked him a question that pushed his heart up into his throat.



    “You.....what do you mean?” Although Huang Ying was panicking on the inside, he still managed to feign a confused and innocent appearance on the outside.



    “Like you did in that bandit hideout and those animals, with that little black snake.” Jing He was unfased by his confused appearance and simply explained what she had seen, all the while looking right at him with a look that seemed to say 'I already know everything.'



    Huang Ying sank into deep thought for a while, trying to come up with an excuse, but seeing her look at him as if she knew all his secrets, all he could do was give a heavy sigh. “How did you see it? I thought I was stealthy enough, especially when I used it while traveling with you.” Huang Ying truly couldn't understand how she had noticed, he had at most just injected a tiny amount into the animals, he wouldn't have noticed it himself if he wasn't in control of the devouring qi.



    Seeing him give in and talk Jing He gave a triumphant laugh with a proud look on her face. “Others would probably never notice, but I can see the movement of energy in people and my surroundings! Mom said that it's part of my body being special. She also told me about that black Qi of yours.”



    “What? She told you about my devouring Qi?” Huang Ying narrowed his eyes as he spoke out in disbelief, the devouring Qi was part of Baku and was something born within him once he got the drop of black blood from Baku. It is something that shouldn't exist in nature, so hearing her talk about how her mother had told her about it almost made him question if the information he had gotten from Baku about the devouring power.



    “Mhm, she told me before she left that if I ever met someone using a black Qi that can eat things and give them to himself, that I should be nice to him and give him a message.” Upon mentioning her mom leaving, Jing He's eyes once more flashed with a hint of melancholy.



    “A message?” She had even left a message? Huang Ying couldn't help but feel like everything he had done might have been in the palms of someone else's hand. Upon reaching this thought he felt a chill go up his spine, was everything he had done so far and possibly even going to do in the future all part of someone else's plan?



    “Mhm, she told me to tell him that he shouldn't stress so much and just allow himself to enjoy life, there's no point in worrying about the past or stressing about the future, we can't change any of those anyway so just live life cheerfully.” Jing He recited the words her mother had once told her before she left the clan.



    “Was your mom special? Was she a seer?” Huang Ying, hearing advice that he found simply too fitting for the current him couldn't help but feel that everything he was doing was predetermined when he suddenly thought of something.

    In this world, not everyone got a blessing based on an element, some people got blessings based on concepts such as time and space instead, and people who had trained the blessing of time to a high enough level could even use their powers to scry the future and see the events that had the highest probability of happening.



    “Mhm, mom could use her powers to see the future, she used it several times for the clan and helped us get out of some troublesome times.” Jing He spoke with pride, seemingly very proud of her lineage.



    The fact that someone had scryed the future and even found out about his devouring powers made Huang Ying rather uncomfortable, once more feeling like his life and fate wasn't his to decide, but he couldn't make himself hate the person who did it, the message she had left him was sound advice.

    What use is there in grieving about the past? What use is there in stressing about the future? It's not we can change those, the past is the past and the future has yet to come to pass, so just live cheerfully in the present, not a bad way to live life.



    “Heh, seems like your moms a pretty great person.” Huang Ying patted Jing He on the head once more before heading towards the little lake.

    Since someone had already seen the future with the highest probability of happening, and then even went out of their way to deliver him a message to live life cheerfully, odds were if he kept living like he did, he would be heading for disaster, so getting stronger was now a must, not just to survive, but to grab hold of and control his own life and fate.
     
  15. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 14: The secret of the pond.

    Moving closer to the pond made the bone piercing chill permeating the area grow colder and colder, but since Huang Ying no longer had to hide the fact that he had the devouring qi he could now unleash it with his full power, manifesting as a black serpent slithering on the ground next to him.

    Compared to earlier, the serpent had clearly grown larger with his increase in strength, reaching almost 3 meters in length, in addition to it's increase in length, at the front of it's head, between it's eyes, it had grown a 30 cm long silver horn giving off a cold shine.

    Huang Ying knew that since this serpent was the manifestation of his devouring element, and that it was his devouring element which controlled all the other elements he had devoured, that this horn was his ice element manifesting with the devouring qi, signifying that they had truly started fusing together.

    Walking up to the pond and looking at the clear eyes, Huang Ying couldn't help but get a little absentminded, it truly did make for a beautiful scene. Huang Ying brought Jing He and sat down cross legged next to the ice and closed his eyes, absorbing all the cold energy would take some time, so he might as well use the time to cultivate as well, and since Jing He seemed to have a special physique based on ice, she might get some unexpected benefits from here as well.

    Time slowly passed as the two of them sat next to the pond. As time passed and Huang Ying's devouring Qi started absorbing the cold, the cold in the entire area started gathering around Huang Ying, forming into a slowly growing vortex around him.

    The cold in the surrounding area slowly started to decrease, and even the ice covering the pond started to slowly melt. The black serpent traveling around the area didn't grow any larger, instead it was the horn on it's head that slowly changed. It went from a single horn of 30 cm to several smaller spikes traversing along the backside of the serpent. Once the cold in the area completely disappeared the spikes traveled along the entire spine of the serpent, giving the entire serpent a cold shine.

    As Huang Ying slowly opened his eyes, a cold silver glint flashed through them, threatening to freeze the soul of anyone who looked into his eyes for too long.

    “Seems like the gains were better than I expected.” Feeling the power of the cold qi in his body, Huang Ying couldn't help but smile and mutter to himself. As he looked at the qi in his dantian, he noticed that it was no longer a black puddle with several differently colored dots, but rather that it had changed into a spiral pattern, with two different colors, one black and one silver, twinning around and each other perpetually.

    Standing up and stretching, Huang Ying noticed that not only was the cold air in the area gone, the snow on the ground, the mist and even the ice covering the pond was completely gone, all that was left was brown earth and a set of descending stone stairs where the pond used to be.

    Seeing the stairs, Huang Ying couldn't help but be shocked, he had spent some time thinking about what could be beneath this perpetually frozen pond, but stairs never came up as one of the options.

    Jing He who had been walking around in the periphery skipped back to Huang Ying upon noticing that he was done cultivating. “Your finally done, I thought I would have to end up waiting several days for you again. you should brush up on your manners, keeping a lady waiting is almost cause for getting the death penalty.”

    “Have you been down there yet?” Huang Ying rubbed her head a bit before expertly ignoring her narcissistic talk.

    “Nope, I figured if I went in without you, you would just end up rudely yelling at me once you woke up.” Jing He kept rubbing her head against his palm while talking, eagerly acting the spoiled little sister part.

    “Alright, shall we go then, im truly eager to see what could be hidden down there.” Huang Ying spoke with a smile as he spoiled the little girl for a bit longer before making his way to the stairs and slowly making his way down.

    The stairs were made out of a type black stone and it took about 10 minutes to reach the bottom. What opened up in front of them when they reached the bottom was a long underground passage lined with torches lit with a blue fire that gave of no heat. The walls of the passage weren't earth, but rather seemed to be a type stone that absorbed heat, cooling down the entire passage to below zero degrees.

    Huang Ying and Jing He slowly followed the passage for a few minutes until they reached a circular door engraved with motives featuring different high level demonic and celestial beasts. Opening the door lead them into a large round cavern dug out into the earth, the cavern was devoid of anything but the blue torches lighting up the area. Huang Ying and Jing He both stood still in the doorway, shocked gazes thrown into the cavern.

    In the middle of the cavern lied a beast, the body of a tiger but several tens of meters long and tall, pristine white fur intermittently covered in black stripes, claws longer than Huang Ying, gleaming with cold light and large yellow eyes filled with both grief and relief looking at Huang Ying and Jing He.

    “Ah, little black snake, finally you have come for me, I have been waiting for you for so many years already.” A dignified, tired, and aged voice echoed out in the cavern as the massive white tiger looked straight at Huang Ying.
     
  16. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 15: Baku's Duty.



    The massive white tiger was just lying there in the middle of the cavern, giving off an aura of death but Huang Ying could still feel the tremendous power hidden within it's body. It's eyes were half closed and it didn't even look like it could stand up. But even then, the chill it gave off was enough to freeze Huang Ying where he stood. It's eyes were dim and almost lifeless, but Huang Ying could still see the great pain mixed with relief hidden in the depths.



    “Ah, finally you have come for me brother Baku.... For so many years I have waited for you, so many years of pain. Finally you have come to take me home.” The aged voice rang out again. It sounded like it was simply murmuring to itself, but it still echoed within the entire cave and even made Huang Ying feel as if his bones were reverberating with the voice.



    “I'm sorry senior..... but i'm not Baku, I am Huang Ying.” Seeing the relief in the eyes of the beast Huang Ying truly didn't want to ruin it's hopes, but allowing it to think that he was Baku would surely lead to greater complications.



    “Ah, come over here my child.” The aged voice took on the tone of an aged grandparent looking after it's grandchild as it beckoned Huang Ying over.



    Huang Ying had no choice but to walk over and stand in front of it. Seeing it up close only made Huang Ying hold the beast in further awe, in front of this beast he simply looked like a tiny inconsequential speck of dust. As he stood in front of it, the massive pressure and chill the beasts power automatically put forth seemed to have grown a mind of it's own, avoiding him entirely.



    “Ah, so young, it seems like even brother Baku went ahead before me. I have truly kept them waiting for far too long. You seem confused my child, it seems that brother Baku not tell you anything?” The beast spoke again as it's eyes inspected every corner of Huang Ying's body.



    “When this junior got the drop of blood, the information I got only briefly mentioned that Baku was born as an aspect of the inevitable end of life.” Huang Ying gave a slight bow and spoke respectfully, he had thought that upon reaching the 6th heaven and getting the devouring element that he had become strong. Upon seeing this beast he came to realize just how much of a frog in the well he was.



    “Ah, truly brother Baku always was a very irresponsible man. Little child, as you are a descendant of brother Baku, you can also be considered a descendant of mine, allow me to explain to you about the duty you have inherited.” The white tiger spoke out with a sigh and turned it's eyes towards the heavens, seemingly reminiscing about times long past.



    “When a world is first born, born alongside it is Baku, The four guardian beasts and it's Three great gods. The four guardian beasts will protect the world from harm while the Three great gods will govern the process of Life, Death, and Reincarnation. The four guardian beasts are The white tiger, The black tortoise, The red phoenix, and The Blue dragon, each guarding their own corner of the world. In time the world will give birth to mortals and other life forms, these lifeforms will then begin cultivating to reach godhood.” As Huang Ying was listening to the white tiger talk, he couldn't help but notice that the way it spoke about people was like a person talking about ants, and felt a rather uncomfortable feeling.



    “They may call themselves gods, but not even they can escape the grasp of time and reincarnation, they will age, they will die, and then they will reincarnate. The only ones who can escape the grasp of time are The three great gods. Not even The four guardian beasts or Baku can escape time. We cannot escape the grasp of time, but neither can we be killed by outside means, n this world there is only one thing that can kill The Four guardian beasts and The three gods. But this does not mean we are invincible. In the great war eons ago, all four guardian beasts and even Baku was struck down, but since they couldn't kill us, all they could do was leave us in this wretched state, alive, but unable to even move.” Rage filled the white tigers eyes as it spoke about the great war, especially when it talked about whatever it was that was strong enough to strike down all four guardian beasts and Baku.



    “Ever since we lost that war us four guardian beasts and Baku could do nothing but rot away in our hiding places, forever trapped in the pain of our old wounds. The only one who could come up with a means to escape was brother Baku, he abandoned his status and power as a World beast and sent his own element and blood into the cycle of reincarnation, allowing a mortal to be born with both and take up his duty, once the mortal died, the blood would return to the reincarnation cycle and repeat the process until someone who could fulfill his promises and duty was born. And now you stand here before me to complete part of the promise and uphold your duty as the new Baku.” The white tiger turned it's eyes upon Huang Ying again and looked at him with gratitude and love, reminiscing about the times he spent with his good brother.



    “What is the duty of Baku? If possible i'd rather live without restraints...” The last part of his sentence was nothing but a low murmur that even he could barely hear, but it seemed that the white tiger managed to hear it perfectly as it started laughing.



    “You are indeed a descendant of brother Baku, he had the exact same thoughts about his duty. The duty of Baku is simple, to restore balance. While The four guardian beasts guard the world and the Three great gods govern it, Baku is the sword above our heads. Once something on the level of the Three great gods or Four guardian beasts threatens to abuse it's power or ruin the balance of the world appears, Baku will arrive and his duty is simply to devour the threat and return it to the cycle of reincarnation. So many years have passed without a proper Baku or Four great guardian beasts in this world, but now you stand before me and I can finally return to the cycle of reincarnation, allowing a new White Tiger to be born and guard the west.” The white tiger looked deeply at Huang Ying, allowing it's gaze to roam across his entire body once more.



    “As you are now, im afraid you are far too weak to be able to truly take up the role of Baku, so let me give you a little gift. You only need to devour my soul to return it to the cycle of reincarnation, this withered old body can still be considered to contain some traces of power and the white tiger bloodline, you can consider it my thanks for finally freeing me from this torment.” The white tiger looked on with expectant eyes, giving Huang Ying no other choice but to step forward.



    As Huang Ying put his hand on the body of the white tiger and circulated his devouring Qi into it's body, a content smile appeared on the face of the white tiger as it's entire body slowly started turning into a vortex of white dust spinning around Huang Ying, it's last words still echoing through the cavern.



    “Ahh, my brothers, I will go ahead first, I hope that when I open my eyes once more we will all be gathered again.
     
  17. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 16: Blood of the tiger.



    As the vortex of dust rotated around Huang Ying and more and more of the particles entered his body, he could see the Qi pond in his dantian slowly growing larger as the part of the lake that was silver in color started becoming more and more incandescent in color, until it turned a brilliant white, shining a cold light upon his entire dantian. His normal cold Qi had been changed by the power of the white tiger bloodline, becoming the ice Qi that the white tiger used.



    The sudden increase in power and changing of his bloodline brought with it tremendous pain, Huang Ying simply collapsed onto the floor, unable to keep himself standing.



    A searing sensation was flowing through his meridians and to his dantian, slowly strengthening his inner organs and bones, bringing with it pain that made it seem like someone was plucking out his organs and bones.



    While his meridians were filled with a searing sensation, an icy chill was running through his veins, strengthening his flesh and skin all the while making Huang Ying feel as if the blood in his veins had frozen and what was flowing was tiny ice needles instead of blood.



    The pain was so bad that Huang Ying couldn't even scream, it felt like his lungs were being pressed down, preventing the air from leaving them. The only thing he could do was grit his teeth and hit his head against the ground to keep himself conscious.



    Along with the pain came another surge of information, but most of the information was useless as the long time the white tiger had spent in this underground cave had fragmented and deteriorated most of the information that would have been useful to Huang Ying. The only thing he could take out from the information was some information about the personalities of the Four great beasts and the old Baku and information about how to activate his new bloodline power.



    Seeing Huang Ying hit his head against the floor, seemingly in agonizing pain, Jing He ran up to him, but after doing a quick check and seeing that the pain came from the changing of his bloodline and sudden increase in power, she realized there was nothing she could do but hold onto him and keep talking to him in a bid to keep him conscious.

    If he were to faint now, the power running through his body would lose it's controller and run rampant, ending in his meridians breaking at best or his body disintegrating at worst.



    “Stupid brother Ying! Didn't your parents teach you not to eat things you find on the floor?”



    “Just because you can eat so much doesn't mean that you should!”



    “You don't even know where that thing has been!”



    “Stupid brother Ying, you can't leave me too....”



    Jing He kept shaking and shouting jokes and witty sentences at him for an entire hour, subtly changing the way she called him, before her voice started turning hoarse and tears welled up in her eyes. She had only met him several days ago, but he truly acted like a good big brother and treated her like a little sister, she didn't want to lose that warm feeling.



    “Stupid little girl.... i'm older than you so you should at least call me.... big brother Ying....” A few minutes after she had stopped shaking him, a weak and hoarse voice rang out from Huang Ying as he slowly struggled to sit up.



    “Brother Ying! You finally woke up!” Jing He didn't waste any time before jumping at him, hooking her hands around his neck and burying her face in his shoulder and crying her heart out.



    “Stupid little girl, do you really think so little of me? That i'd just die here? I still have things to do you know.” Huang Ying had a slight smile as he patted her back and comforted her, he found that feeling like a proper good brother was a rather good feeling.



    After allowing Jing He to cry out all her tears and watching her sit down in front of him, he checked his body and was pleasantly surprised as he felt the power coursing beneath his skin. Looking at the Qi lake in his dantian he was shocked to see that it had grown from it's little puddle state into a large lake several kilometers across, divided into two different colors, one pitch black and one pure white.



    Putting his hand on the ground and circulating part of his ice Qi, he was shocked to see a layer of ice forming on the floor before quickly spreading out, this was simply him using a bit of ice Qi to coat his hand, how strong would it be once he reached the 8th heaven and could manifest his Qi outside of his body?



    “Are you better now brother Ying?” Jing He stared at the ice spreading on the ground with her large eyes before worriedly asking Huang Ying.



    “Yup, in fact, never felt better. We can just head to [Yellow Winds Town] immediately.” Huang Ying stood up with a smile before leading Jing He back to the stairs and out of the cave.



    Walking through the forest towards [Yellow Winds Town] Huang Ying couldn't help but wonder about some of the information he had gotten from the white tiger as he devoured it. According to the white tiger, in the world, there would always only be one white tiger at a time, but now there was going to be a white tiger as well as someone carrying the blood of the white tiger, and it was even the blood of the orignal white tiger, not one of his progeny.

    Was this not considered breaking the balance? Seemed slightly irresponsible that the one supposed to keep the balance would be the one to break it. Not coming up with an answer, Huang Ying simply decided to throw these thoughts to the back of his mind, no point in worrying about something you have no answer to.
     
  18. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 17: Yellow Winds Town.



    [Yellow Winds Town] was located much closer to the center of [Green Willows] than [Azure Springs], as such it had a much higher population count. In [Azure Springs], just being at the 5th heaven allowed you to be a mayor and leader of the entire city. In [Yellow Winds] The city lord of the town was at the peak of the 9th heaven, just a bit away from his heavenly tribulation. The town also had several clans that were almost equal to the mayor in power.



    [Yellow Winds] took it's name from a phenomena that happened yearly around the area. Every year during mid-summer a strong wind would arrive from the west, bringing with it large amounts of sand from the [Forgotten Desert], dying the wind a dry yellow color.



    Despite this yearly phenomena, the area around [Yellow Winds] was vibrant and full of life, this was mainly due to the city lord and the several different clans gathering to remove the sand every year, using it in the production of the town's specialty; sandstone.



    Huang Ying was sitting at a table by the window of his room in the inn and drinking tea, after robbing the [Wolf-crag Bandits] clean, he wasn't lacking for money, so spending some on a nice room and good food and drinks wasn't a problem. He was looking out the window, keeping an eye on Jing He who was currently running around in the shopping street outside the inn and buying everything that caught her fancy, with money provided by brother Ying under the excuse that "A proper lady must never lack money for amusement."



    They had already stayed in the town for three days, so Huang Ying warned Jing He that if there were still things she wanted to do she would have to do them now, as they would be leaving tomorrow. After a round of pouting and sulking she reluctantly agreed and proceeded to pester him for money to go shopping. It was only after a vigorous round of debating that he managed to retain his right to not go shopping with her and stay in the inn.



    He had good reason to stay in the inn, ever since they arrived at the town, he had a bad feeling in his gut. It was like his instincts were warning him that he should leave town, but after an entire day he had found nothing in the town that could warrant such a reaction so he mostly ignored it. But after the feeling had stuck with him for the entire duration of the stay, he had gradually grown more vigilant. He had decided that the moment Jing He finished shopping he would head out to get some food before continuing their travels. They had already stocked up on food and water, so the only reason they were still in town was Jing He's adamant stance on the need for relaxation and proper beds after the forest trip.



    After putting away all the things Jing He bought and telling her that they were going to head out to eat and then leave town, she adamantly refused to leave town before he followed her to check out a store.



    After reaching the store Huang Ying couldn't help but have a certain though, all women truly love clothes. Jing He brought him straight to a clothing store and dragged him inside, got him measured and forced him to wait outside as they were making his clothes. Once he was finally allowed inside again he was forced into a loose azure robe by Jing He and the store owner before finally being forced to bought it under the argument that “Brother Ying is always wearing black, it's so boring. You look much better in blue!”



    seeing himself wearing the azure robe, he couldn't help but think about the time in [Azure Springs] before he was imprisoned. He used to have azure hair back then, but it turned a pale blue after the imprisonment and then quickly pitch black after accepting the power of Baku.

    Thinking back on it, it felt like it was ages ago, but counting the days, it had only been slightly more than a month, yet so much had happened since then. As he was thinking back to the time after the imprisonment, a small headache started creeping up on Huang Ying as he felt like he was forgetting something. not coming up with anything, Huang Ying threw these thoughts to the back of his head and ignored them. After paying for the robe, under Jing He's behest they headed for the finest restaurant in town [The Western Moon].



    [The Western Moon] truly lived up to it's name as the town's finest restaurant, just to enter one had to prove that one had enough money to eat. Once one got inside, it was like a different world, ice based artifacts were used to continuously regulate the temperature, every tabled had a golden fold-able wall that could be used to isolate the table from the others, blocking out all sight and sound. There were musicians placed in every corner of the restaurant, playing a harmonized symphony that soothed the mind. Every waiter and maid exuded gracefulness and elegance.



    After finding an empty table and ordering several dishes, Jing He simply sat there and enjoyed the music and immersed herself in the atmosphere. Huang Ying simply sat there with narrowed eyes, keeping an eye on everything going down in the restaurant. The gut feeling he had since they entered the town still hadn't gone away, in fact it had only gotten stronger after they entered the restaurant, so Huang Ying was currently not daring to let down his guard, afraid of missing a single thing going down in the restaurant.



    After the food arrived the feeling still didn't go away, Jing He didn't seem to have the same feeling, but seeing Huang Ying being so tense and alert she too slowly started keeping her guard up while eating.



    As they were almost finished eating, the door to the restaurant opened and a handsome young man wearing a light yellow robe, holding a jade folding fan and followed by several other young men who seemed to be fawning over him walked in. Seeing these people the bad feeling Huang Ying had in his gut reached it's peak, and sure enough, just as he was thinking about simply leaving, the handsome young man looked over and spotted him and Jing He. A polite and handsome smile that gave Huang Ying goosebumps slowly spread on his face.
     
  19. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 18: Tao Cheng.



    Tao Cheng was walking through the streets, casually glancing at the stalls lining the street. As the only son of the city lord he could get any single item from these stalls if he simply opened his mouth. Being the son of the city lord, there is no shortage of people who want to flatter him in an attempt to build a better relationship.

    Tao Cheng couldn't be bothered with any of these people, even the four young masters hailing from this city's four great clans that were following behind him were beneath his notice. This was simply because they were simply too narrow-minded, the only thing they wanted was to inherit their clan and rule their own little piece of this town. But Tao Cheng was different, he had grown up reading book about the martial path and his father had constantly lectured him about how long the martial path was. Tao Cheng wasn't content with staying in this tiny town, he wanted to leave it and roam the world, eventually even leaving [Green Willows] and see the greater world.



    “Little lord Cheng, should we check out Old man Li's shop? I heard from my sources that he recently received some new leaves from the capital, supposedly a single one of those leaves is enough to last a man an entire day.” One of the young masters following behind him opened his mouth in an attempt to please Tao Cheng.



    “Hmm, let's not, with weather this good it would truly be a shame to not spend the day relaxing around the town.” Tao Cheng gave a gentle and polite smile, but on the inside he was sneering, this young master from the Shen clan only had decent talent, so he spent most of his day smoking all sorts of different herbs he got from around the continent, a true wastrel.



    [Yellow Winds Town] was under the control of the city lord, the Tao clan, but there were also four other prominent clans controlling their own parts of the city, the city lord rarely pried into their business. The four clans were respectively; the Shen clan, the Yuan clan, the Zhong clan and the Mo clan. The four people following behind him were the four young masters of the clans, constantly trying to build a better relationship with him.

    The Tao clan rarely intervened into the four other clans business, but they never doubted that the Tao clan was the strongest amongst the five of them, so there was no harm in building a better relationship with the next city lord early on.



    The four young masters following him were; Shen An, a short and chubby youth with a frivolous demeanor, Yuan Fen, a tall and sturdy youth with muscles that radiated power, Zhong Zhelan, a normal looking youth with a cowardly demeanor, constantly keeping his head down, and Mo Jingyi, a skinny but brash and reckless youth who enjoyed nothing more than fighting. All four of them were called the young masters, but that was only because they were the first sons of their respective clans patriarchs. Even the best one among them only had decent talent for cultivation and would never amount to much, so they were more than content to rule as little tyrants in their own little corners of the town.



    “Hehe, of course the weather is far too good to spend the time with some leaves, but little lord Cheng, Old man Li's shop recently got in some new 'maids', wouldn't it be a shame to let these 'maids' simply go unchecked?” Zhong Zhelan spoke and his words quickly incited the fire in the young masters hearts, prompting them to laugh with lusty smiles while licking their lips, Tao Cheng truly couldn't understand how people like these could be made the young masters of clans, or even call themselves cultivators, they were simply too unrefined.



    “Now now, you know my father has people all over town, if he found out that I went to a place like that he would never forgive me. How about we just go to [The Western Moon]? I heard that manager Yan got in some rather exotic meat.” Tao Cheng spoke with a smile and threw out a casual excuse, but only his clan knew the truth. The Tao clan cultivated a Yin-Yang cultivation technique, everyone who cultivated this technique could quickly increase their strength through absorbing the Yin or Yang of someone from the opposite sex through sexual relations, so every member of the Tao clan made sure that they only had sexual relations with people who had either a strong Yin or Yang physique.



    After spending some more time in the market street, they headed for the restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant, they were greeted enthusiastically by manager Yan, the owner of the restaurant and were just about to head to the top floor when Cheng noticed a table out of the corner of his eyes. The table was located in an inconspicuous corner of the restaurant, but what caught Tao Cheng's attention were the two people sitting at the table. One was a boy wearing a sky blye robe with pitch black hair cascading down his back to his hips, black eyes that flickered with light, seeming like a field of stars. His face was indifferent and cold, only occasionally giving a small smile to the girl he was talking to. Looking at him from afar and feeling the natural energy in the area around him simply vanish as it got close to him, the boy seemed like a black hole incarnate to Tao Cheng.



    The little girl in front of him was clad in a tight-fitting pink robe, she had large and clear green eyes, looking like emeralds and cherry red lips. Her hip long chestnut colored hair was tied up in a braid, but what caught Tao Cheng's attention was the cold energy she was unconsciously giving off. There was not a doubt in his mind that this girl surely had a powerful Yin physique, she would be perfect for him to break through to the 5th heaven.



    The boy with the black eyes seemed to have noticed something and raised his head and locked eyes with Tao Cheng. Seeing those cold and indifferent eyes, Tao Cheng almost lost all the strength in his knees, but he still put on a gentle and polite smile before slowly walking over. The four young masters were confused, but seeing their little lord Cheng walk over, how could they not follow as well.



    “Greetings, my name is Tao Cheng, I don't believe I have ever seen you around in town before. Could you perhaps be travelers? Would you like for me to show you around town, I like to believe that no one knows this town better than me.” Tao Cheng gave a small bow and made sure to put on his most gentle smile as he spoke.



    “You should leave. We have no interest in your 'good intentions', nor do I have the patience to bother with you.” Little did he expect that the boy wouldn't even lift his head, instead just casually sipping some tea while speaking to him in a voice dripping with disdain. Even the girl pretended like he wasn't even there, just eating her food with a mocking smile.



    “Excuse me, you seemed like you just recently arrived in town so I was hoping to show some of our good hospitality.” The corners of his eyes were twitching, but Tao Cheng still managed to squeeze out his polite reply.



    “She doesn't need your 'hospitality', now fuck off will you.” The boys disdainful voice rang out again, slightly shocking Tao Cheng. He didn't expect the boy to even know his intentions through just a slight moment of eye contact. This boy was a danger, it was best to leave quickly. Tao Cheng made up his mind to leave when the four young masters behind him acted.



    Zhong Zhelan acted first, grabbing hold of the girls hands, the other one to act was Yuan Fen, sending his fist straight towards the boy.



    “How dare you disrespect the little lord?!”



    “Come now little girl, the little lord will show you around town.” At the same time as they acted, they also shouted out, but the little girl was still just sitting there with a mocking smile, acting like she was looking at a show. Instead it was the boy who showed the greatest change.



    “Truly trash that doesn't know it's place. The world is better of with you dead.” The boy merely shifted his head slightly to the side, his cold eyes filled with incredible violence as he lifted his right arm and grabbed at the punch Yuan Fen sent at him.



    Seeing the boy grab at his attack Yuan Fen raised his lips into a sinister smile and laughed coldly, his cultivation technique was focused on improving the body, and this thin little youth wanted to grab his fist. But in the next instant his smile froze on his face. The boy had grabbed onto his wrist and Yuan Fen found that he no longer managed to move his hand, it was like it was stuck in an iron vice.



    The boy only looked at him with his cold and indifferent eyes as he clenched his fist. All Yuan Fen felt was a crushing pain as his entire wrist was destroyed, but before he even managed to scream, the boy's other arm shot out and hit him square in the chest. The arm didn't even stop as it hit his chest, simply going straight through it, in the next instance Yuan Fen felt a strange Qi entering his body, sucking up all his Qi and then his vision went dark.



    The people watching were horrified, it had simply happened to fast. But before they managed to speak, the boy moved again, appearing next to Zhong Zhelan and grabbing onto the arm that was holding onto the girl. The temperature of the room suddenly started to plummet after he was grabbed and before he managed to even squeeze out his voice, his entire body froze. The boy pushed the frozen body, and as it hit the ground and shattered, people were shocked to see that even the blood was frozen.



    “Who said you could touch her?” The boy's cold voice sounded out again, nearly freezing the blood in the spectators veins. Was this still a human?
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  20. Shiranui_Shukumei

    Shiranui_Shukumei Member

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    Chapter 19: Rapid Escape.



    Huang Ying pushed over the frozen body of the normal looking youth, he was in a rather sullen mood right now. They had just been enjoying themselves while eating, when suddenly a group of annoying flies showed up.



    They didn't even appreciate it when he told them to leave, truly obstinate people. Did they think he was blind and didn't see how the leading man was looking at Jing He? Seeing the fake gentleman greedily looking at her and the normal looking youth grabbing her arm truly lit a fire Huang Ying's belly.

    He could see that they weren't average people, if they were, the store manager wouldn't have come to greet them so politely. But even so there was no way he could let them leave alive, thinking they were worthy of touching Jing He, truly toads lusting after the swan.



    Huang Ying wasn't quite sure why seeing them act so frivolous with her angered him, all he knew was that he would never let people like these near her.



    “Really, trash like you should just stay in your little back alley with all the other trash, why try to make life difficult for other people?” Huang Ying spoke as he used a napkin from the table to wipe his hand, looking like he didn't even want to be in contact with these people.



    “We- we're sorry sir..... We-we'll leave immediately, we won't bother you again.” Tao Cheng stuttered out as he tried to slowly back away.



    “Leave? Aren't you the city lord's son? I can't think of anyone else who would receive such a nice greeting from the restaurant manager.” Huang Ying spoke to him in a manner-of-fact voice, but to Tao Cheng it sounded like the summons of the underworld.



    “Ye-Yes! Im the son of the city lord! And these people are the sons of the clan patriarchs! So if you let us leave there will be plenty of benefits for you!” Tao Cheng almost shouted out, wanting nothing more than to just run from there.



    He had just finished his sentence when he noticed a something pressing against his legs. When he looked down, all the color from his face drained. He, Shen An, and Mo Jingyi were originally standing very close to each other, and now there was a massive serpent slithering between their legs, restricting their movements. The serpent was three meters long, pitch black scales and golden eyes. It's entire backside was lined with cold silver spikes the length of a grown man's finger.



    “See, since you are the son of the city lord I really can't let you leave. I have already killed two of the sons of the patriarchs, so why shouldn't I kill you as well? If I let you go, you will surely keep plotting against us and might possibly harm us if we ever return here, so i'd rather just kill you now and save myself the trouble. It'll take the city lord and the clans a bit of time before getting the news, so I can just take that time to escape.” Huang Ying spoke with a faint smile, but on the inside he was on full alert and made sure that he could see everything happening in the restaurant. Being chased by several people at the 9th heaven was not going to be fun, so he had to leave fast.



    “Well, with that said and done, let's leave Little He.” Huang Ying clapped his hands and beckoned over Jing He. Ever since they came to this town she had pestered him to call her something other than just her full name, so he just assented to calling her Little He.

    He grabbed her by the hand and walked past Tao Cheng and out of the restaurant, as he left the restaurant, three dull thuds rang out and Huang Ying felt a warm stream of energy come to him from his connection with the serpent and make it's way to the Qi lake in his dantian, slowly growing it.



    “Seems like devouring the bodies of normal people is no longer good enough to strengthen my own body, seems like i'll need either strong beasts or people with stronger bodies than me.” Huang Ying muttered to himself as he took Jing He and started dashing away from the restaurant.

    He may have said that it would probably take a while before the city lord and the clans would receive the news, but upon devouring the memories of Tao Cheng he found that the city lord had made Tao Cheng leave behind a soul jade, a piece of jade containing a piece of his soul that would crack upon his death and leave behind a mark on the killers body for a little while, in his custody.



    “WHO DARES HARM MY SON?!” Just as Huang Ying had started running, a furious roar reverberated through the city, and what followed that roar was the city lord's perception rushing through the entire city, before locking onto Huang Ying.



    Once a cultivator reached the 8th heaven and learned how to send their Qi out of their body and manipulate the surrounding natural energy, they could also start learning how to send their perception out of their body, allowing them to see everything within the range of their perception.



    After the perception of the city lord, four more perceptions swept across the city before locking onto Huang Ying.



    “What the fuck, all five of them had soul jades?” Huang Ying was truly unreconciled, the main problem he had when devouring memories was that the only memories he could see where the things the people themselves could remember, so if something was done to them just after they were born, it would be next to impossible for Huang Ying to see those memories.



    “SO IT'S YOU, YOU LITTLE BASTARD!” The furious shout from the city lord rang out again, but this time it was accompanied by four other angry shouts.



    After the shouts rang out Huang Ying was sure that they had started chasing him, so he had to come up with an escape route, and fast.



    “Running along the road is obviously no good, hiding in the city would be even worse, is that place the only place I can go?” As the idea came to his mind, Huang Ying wasted no time. He hoisted Jing He into a princess carry and directed all his Qi into his legs, making a mad dash towards the east.



    Staying in town would be suicide. He couldn't guarantee that they wouldn't catch up to him if he followed the road north towards the capital. Heading to the west and trying to make it to the desert would also be suicide, and there was no guarantee that they would even make it to the desert. Heading south and going back where he came from wouldn't be too bad, he could hide in the cave where he found the white tiger, but there was no guarantee that they would make it that far. The only place he could think of that was within reach and that would ensure that they wouldn't be chased too far was to the east, to The Wilderness, Green Willows larges and oldest forest, a forest that existed even before the continent was given it's name.



    Huang Ying dashed towards the east end of town and simply jumped from the streets onto a house and then from the house over the city wall, running towards The Wilderness, he could already see the trees marking the entrance to The Wilderness on the horizon.



    Hearing a soft sound behind him, Huang Ying ddn't even need to turn around to know that his pursuers had made it over the wall and landed on the ground. He simply manifested the head of his miniature Baku on his shoulder to keep an eye on what happened behind him.



    “You little bastard, leave your head here!” one of his pursuers shouted at him and fired a stream of water towards him, signifying that he was at least at the 8th heaven.



    Huang Ying knew that he could attempt to freeze the stream of water, but since he couldn't emit his Qi into the outside world, all it would result in was that instead of a water spike piercing him, it would be an ice spike. And since his pursuer as ona higher cultivation level than him, the devouring Qi would only have a very small chance of working. Quickly going through his options mentally, Huang Ying knew that there was nothing he could do to stop it, nor was he fast enough to completely avoid it, so he decided to shift his body slightly to the side and quickly lower his shoulder, allowing the stream of water to pierce through his collarbone.



    Before the water beam shot out of his shoulder, he circulated his ice Qi to his shoulder, freezing part of the water stream in his shoulder to block the blood from flowing out.



    His pursuers kept firing attacks at him as they were slowly gaining on him. Huang Ying knew that if he wasted any Qi on defense, his speed would drop too much and they would catch up to them, so he simply abandoned all defense and put all his energy into his legs, focusing on his speed. Jing He was still carried within his arms, covered in blood. None of the blood was hers, it was simply the blood flowing out from Huang Ying's various injuries and onto her. Jing He wanted him to drop her so that she could run on her own, but Huang Ying knew that since she had only recently broken through to the 5th heaven thanks to the ice energy at the Crystal Pond her speed would not allow her to run fast enough to make it away from the pursuer. Huang Ying also didn't expect his pursuer to be kind enough to let her go, after all, she was with the boy who killed their sons.



    Huang Ying's vision was blurry and distorted, his head empty of nearly all thought and he could barely feel his body. But he could still make out the trees not far away, still feel the weight in his arms and pain in his legs so he knew that he had to run just a bit further, just a bit further and they would be safe. Not even the city lord and the patriarchs dared venture into The Wilderness, so once they made it inside they would be safe.



    “Little bastard, you think i'll let you set foot into The Wilderness?!” Huang Ying could barely make out the shout behind him as he was just a few steps from The Wilderness. He could barely make out the shout, but the large spike of water coming at his heart from behind was impossible to miss. Seeing the spike rapidly flying towards him, Huang Ying knew he couldn't dodge it completely. As he was trying to figure out a way to minimize the damage, an insane idea popped into his mind. Thinking through the idea, a grin with the flavor of madness crept up on his bloodied face.



    As the spike was right behind him, he used the remainder of his strength to raise his arms and life Jing He up to his chest and jumped slightly off the ground. He circulated all the Qi he had left in his body to make a simple shield of ice Qi on his entire back. As the spike of water hit his body, it instantly froze upon coming into contact with the ice Qi. As it froze and penetrated through his stomach, narrowly missing his dantian, all the power it had gathered up spread through his body and catapulted him forward, sending his body flying through the line of trees and into The Wilderness.



    Before he landed on the ground, he curled himself up into a ball and hit the ground with his back before rolling along. After rolling for a short distance, Huang Ying tried to raise his head a bit, barely getting it off the ground, and threw his gaze towards where they entered from. He saw that they ahd been catapulted nearly 200 meters into the massive forest that was The Wilderness. He could barely make out five people standing outside the line of trees, looking around for a short while before discussing something with each other and reluctantly leaving.



    “Ha... finally....safe...” Huang Ying barely managed to squeeze out the words with his hoarse voice before the world before him turned completely black and he passed out.
     

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