I Shall Slay Immortals (ISSTH fanfic)

1356

Comments

  • This Immortal Slaying Art reminds me of the wooden swords of Meng Hao. 
  • He turned back into the white mist, dissipating and mergin with the world itself.

    Hahaha, mergin! I'm choosin' to believe this wasn't a typo and ISSI is entering a more folksy second act. 

    Great job yet again, both on 9 and 10. So I've been curious, how much of this is DB and how much is Caladbog? As in how much guidance is being given before Caladbolg takes off and does his own thing?
  • I would love if I could read this on wuxiaworld, under some new category like Fanfiction.

    Then maybe add something like polls in each fanfiction story if they should go on the main page, and if someone collects 50votes+ or something then they have some little space on the website to promote/write their fanfiction. It's kind of easier to track as well by creating Table of Contents something like other novels have on the website, soon this story will be over many pages in topic especially with comments enabled.

    So yeah please think about implementing this, it doesn't need to appear with main novels on dropbox but it would be nice if it could be more organised, and readers would have more participation in overall Chinese novels/promoting them by trying writing their own.

    As always on the end I would like to say thanks, keep going with this!
  • Hello, enjoyed reading your work.
    I just want to help a bit with a certain word I saw being misused.
    She was started...this means she was begun. Not surprised. 
    The correct expresion is, was startled.
    Here is some proof :P http://www.thefreedictionary.com/startled
  • Jamiro said:
    He turned back into the white mist, dissipating and mergin with the world itself.

    Hahaha, mergin! I'm choosin' to believe this wasn't a typo and ISSI is entering a more folksy second act. 

    Great job yet again, both on 9 and 10. So I've been curious, how much of this is DB and how much is Caladbog? As in how much guidance is being given before Caladbolg takes off and does his own thing?
    Typo fixed, thanks. For the collaboration, the general direction of the story was planned by me, but Caladbolg comes up with most of the details. He runs his specific ideas by me in advance and we talk about some of the specifics. After he finishes with a chapter, I edit it a bit.

  • sakusaro said:
    I would love if I could read this on wuxiaworld, under some new category like Fanfiction.

    Then maybe add something like polls in each fanfiction story if they should go on the main page, and if someone collects 50votes+ or something then they have some little space on the website to promote/write their fanfiction. It's kind of easier to track as well by creating Table of Contents something like other novels have on the website, soon this story will be over many pages in topic especially with comments enabled.

    So yeah please think about implementing this, it doesn't need to appear with main novels on dropbox but it would be nice if it could be more organised, and readers would have more participation in overall Chinese novels/promoting them by trying writing their own.

    As always on the end I would like to say thanks, keep going with this!
    Thanks for the suggestion, I'll mention it to RWX!

  • Hello, enjoyed reading your work.
    I just want to help a bit with a certain word I saw being misused.
    She was started...this means she was begun. Not surprised. 
    The correct expresion is, was startled.
    Here is some proof :P http://www.thefreedictionary.com/startled
    Hi, thanks for reading the story, but actually, you're wrong. Please look at definition #5 for started:

    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/start?s=t

    Furthermore, never in the story did we ever say anything like "she/she was started." The correct usage of "started" is "he/she started." To say "He startled" is incorrect, because startled is a verb used with an object. For example, "he startled her."


  • edited March 2016
    Chapter 11: The First Display of Power

    Scratching his head, Wu Chen approached Liang Nuan with a question. “Umm, where is Wu Bai? We were supposed to spar today, but he’s nowhere to be seen.” 

    He still felt a bit awkward seeing her in the mansion. Even after the three months that had passed since she started visiting so often, he hadn’t quite gotten used to her presence.
     
    “He came back in the morning to eat. He said something about a sudden enlightenment and then went back out to the forest to train…” Liang Nuan replied lazily. She was relaxing by the fireplace with an old scroll in her hands. “I planned to ask him to spend some time with me… but he looked so excited…” she added, giving Wu Chen a meaningful look and shrugging her shoulders. As far as Liang Nuan was concerned, she wasn’t too angry or disappointed that Wu Bai went off to train out of the blue. The two of them were a pair, true, but she also understood that there was no point in getting obsessed with spending all their time together. Wu Bai had his own hobbies that she wasn’t interested in and similarly, she had her own interests that bored Wu Bai to death, like reading about the ancient history. Getting frustrated because of one day they wouldn’t get to spend together? It wouldn’t be like her at all.
     
    “Why would he need to go to the forest to train? Can’t he just do it in the training hall in our mansion?” Wu Chen asked with a frown, not too pleased about being stood up after he went out of his way to push everything else for later just to have some fun with Wu Bai.
     
    “And how would I know?” Liang Nuan raised her eyebrows, a bit confused by Wu Chen’s annoyance. “If you want to know, then go look for him. He said he’s going to be somewhere in the safe parts of the forest outside the north-east part of the village,” she said somewhat impatiently. In situations like these, she couldn’t help but compare Wu Bai to Wu Chen. Although the two of them were close family and, at first glance, appeared to be similar in both appearance and character, they really were different, at least as fast as the latter was concerned.
     
    “Fine. I’ll go look for him. Thanks,” Wu Chen said sourly, then turned around and left, regretting that he ever asked Liang Nuan about anything. He honestly didn’t understand what Wu Bai saw in this girl. She was so annoying!
     
    “Whatever. I wonder what kind of insights has Wu Bai gained? Well, since he’s training in this low-grade ‘Immortal Slaying manual,’ it won’t be anything too amazing anyway.” Wu Chen mused to himself as he headed out of the mansion. It wasn’t that he looked down on Wu Bai, or that he was making fun of him for practicing martial arts with such diligence… He was simply being realistic. No matter what happened, Wu Bai would always be weaker than him, a true Cultivator who had reached the fourth level of Qi Condensation.
     
    “Sometimes, I wish he wasn’t training in this stupid manual… even I’m getting my fair share of ridicule because of it. Most of the time, they whisper and laugh behind my back and won’t dare to say it to my face, but nonetheless…” Sighing, Wu Chen hurried onward, intent on finding Wu Bai before it got too late and he had to go back to his own training.
     
    “Hmph, being the heir to our Crow Scout Tribe’s Greatfather is not an easy life…” he thought to himself, regretting that he didn’t have more free time to do what he wanted to do.
     
    ---
     
    “Incredible. The three Immortal Slaying arts are actually really powerful!” Wu Bai said aloud, clutching the twin swords in his hands and breathing heavily, his body covered in sweat. “If I’m lucky, I should be able to win against the third level of Qi Condensation,” he murmured with a smile, keeping in mind that he shouldn’t overestimate his own abilities.
     
    “The only problem is… I’m not too clear how the three techniques work in a real fight. They all feel different now than when I first started practicing them. Especially ‘Confine the Immortal.’ It seems to have evolved into something else…” Wu Bai continued to ponder these things as he sat down by a random tree and started resting. He wouldn’t do something as stupid as exhausting himself, not even in the relatively safe part of the forest. Sometimes, dangerous animals would even appear, and occasionally, a hungry neo-demon would take a chance to hunt in close proximity to the village. If he were to die in such an idiotic way after everything he had learned, he really wouldn’t deserve to have survived until this day.
     
    Breathing out and relaxing his muscles, Wu Bai smiled widely and left the thinking for later. He practiced to his limit, and even though there was still room for improvement, it would only happen with time and effort. A complete mastery over his newly gained abilities wasn’t something he could acquire in one afternoon, so he saw no need to go overboard and force himself into hellish training for no reason.
     
    “I think I’ll go ask uncle for a good set of protective items… maybe some kind of armor? It would need to be light, though,” he mused silently, looking forward to the future. With an appropriate set of items, he could possibly stand up to much stronger enemies. Assuming he could get close to his opponent, he would definitely have a chance to defeat someone of the fourth level of Qi Condensation, maybe even higher.
     
    “Well, that’s as long as he doesn’t have any powerful magical items…” Wu Bai quickly corrected in his thoughts, trying to not get too far ahead of himself. He had allowed himself to grow overconfident in the past, and had ended up acting rashly. How had that ended? He and Liang Nuan narrowly escaped death…
     
    “I’ll rest a little longer, than go back to the mansion,” he decided, feeling so nice where he was that he didn’t feel like moving at all.
     
    “I have the feeling I’m forgetting about something, though…” he murmured, then yawned, starting to feel quite tired now that all the excitement was dying down.
     
    ---
     
    Wu Bai flinched and immediately woke up, sensing that a neo-demon was approaching him. “I actually fell asleep here?” he scolded himself, quickly standing up and reaching out to his twin swords. He was becoming a bit too used the fact that he could now sense spiritual energy and recognize danger ahead of time…
     
    When he spotted the neo-demon, Wu Bai suddenly sighed with relief. “So it’s you. What are you doing here?” he asked the black wolf with a light smile and resheathed his twin swords. It wasn’t the first time he had met the black wolf after that fateful night, so by now, he wasn’t nervous in his presence at all and naturally felt no need to be overly cautious.
     
    The black wolf, having gotten closer to him, appeared to be surprised by something. “What, you can tell that I changed a bit?” Wu Bai asked with a laugh, approaching even closer to the wolf and showing him the palm of his hand.
     
    The black wolf sniffed him, then licked his hand with his rough tongue. With the greetings done, Wu Bai took two more steps forward and patted the wolf’s large head, then scratched him behind his ear. The wolf, however, seemed to be in no mood for being petted. He grabbed Wu Bai’s sleeve with his teeth and tugged, then growled quietly. There was no malevolence in the grow… rather, it seemed to be urging Wu Bai to stop fooling around.
     
    Just like back then, the wolf laid down before him and gave him a look with pair of mesmerizing, and somewhat frightening, black-red eyes.
     
    “So you want to take me somewhere? Uh, fine, I guess? Just nothing dangerous, okay?” Wu Bai said in a somewhat troubled manner, not sure if the wolf could understand him, or was just good at recognizing his intentions and moods. Nevertheless, he got on top of his neo-demon companion’s back and allowed it to take him… somewhere.
     
    ---

    As they proceeded through the forest, Wu Bai suddenly heard explosions and the sounds of shattering and falling trees, coming from a few hundred meters away. 

    “Somebody’s fighting? Five people between fourth and fifth level of Qi Condensation and… a level two neo-demon?”
     
    “Why would you bring me here?” he wanted to ask. He was getting a really bad feeling, and focused intently on the area up ahead.

    “Wu Chen! What is he doing here?!” Seeing Wu Chen desperately fighting off four opponents at once, Wu Bai was scarcely able to hold back from letting out a shout. “Crow Fighter Tribe?” From their clothing, Wu Bai could tell which Tribe the four youngsters belong to. Furthermore, the sight of a collapsed, dead-tired neo-demon off to the side answered all the question he might have had.
     
    Their group very likely chased after this neo demon all the way to this place… and as luck had it, they actually walked right into Wu Chen.
     
    “What do I do? Try to inform uncle? There’s not enough time.” Wu Bai clicked his tongue. He wasn’t confident in standing up to opponents at this level, but what could he do? He could only try to save Wu Chen and hope for the best! Perhaps, the two of them could somehow manage to flee if he created enough chaos.
     
    “Take me to the other side. We’re going to flank them,” he said quietly, putting the black wolf’s neck and hoping that he would understand. The wolf proved to be pretty smart, as he quickly retreated a hundred meters or so and then started circling around the battlefield, just as Wu Bai had asked him to.

    “It’s all up to us now, black one. Will you help me?” Wu Bai asked as they were moving into position, wondering if the black wolf would fight with him, or rather choose to remain in safety.
     
    In reply, the wolf released a low growl and his fur bristled. He seemed to be angered by the fact that Wu Bai ever suggested that he would be too scared to fight.
     
    “I see, that’s good,” Wu Bai said quietly, a smile appearing on his face. With the aid of this black wolf, his chances went up considerably. Now, the two of them only needed to choose a good moment to attack...
     
    ---
     
    “Damn it, why are you attacking me?! Just take this neo-demon for all I care!” Wu Chen cried out, trying to dodge out of the way from the wave of flames the four youths employed with joint effort.
     
    In the end, Wu Chen managed to avoid being directly blasted by the magical technique, but was still grazed by a portion of the flames. Once more, the green stone he was holding in his hand lit up with strong light, and a translucent barrier appeared around his body to protect it from harm.
     
    “That again? Just how many protective treasures does this guy have?” one of the four yelled angrily. Had it not been for the powerful items and treasures this kid from the Crow Scout Tribe had on him, they would have slaughtered him long ago. Instead, they had wasted a lot of time and strength and still failed to even wound him!

    “We started it, so we have to finish it, too. He must be someone important, so he probably has a lot of other nice items on him. Let’s use our formation to kill him for good,” the sixteen year old youth at the fifth level of Qi Condensation prompted the others. The three seemed to agree with him; they once again joined into a formation and began to combine the strength of their Fire-type totems.
     
    “If you kill me, my father will destroy your Tribe and exterminate your families!” Wu Chen shouted, left with no other option than to hide behind his father’s name. “My name is Wu Chen, I’m the only son of the Greatfather of the Crow Scout Tribe, Wu Ai!” he cried out, rotating his cultivation base and preparing to defend against the dozens of mid-sized fireballs that began appearing in front and around the four youths of the Crow Fighter Tribe.
     
    The three younger boys hesitated when they heard Wu Chen’s threat. However… “Hmph, anyone will start throwing out empty words around when he’s about to die! You’re just as much a son of a Greatfather as I am a neo-demon!” the sixteen year old, black haired youth shouted back at Wu Chen with contempt. He didn’t believe that the son of a Greatfather would be so stupid as to go walking around the forest alone, and even if he did… so what? If they killed him here and burned the body, no one would ever find out!
     
    “Kill him!” the sixteen year old roared, prompting his three companions to aid him and release the deadly magical technique. The next second, the over sixty fireballs shot out in every direction, surrounding Wu Chen from all sides. At one point, they changed direction and without fail, all headed right for Wu Chen, who was trapped in the very middle of the large-scale joint attack!
     
    Wu Chen cried out as he prepared to defend himself. He was painfully aware that his own strength coupled with the protective items he had weren’t enough to save his life. In a last act of desperation, he charged forward, trying to get past a portion of the fireballs and attack these four… However, the magical technique was just too fast compared to his running speed. The fireballs adjusted their trajectories; clearly they were locked directly onto him.
     
    Yet, just when Wu Chen was thinking that he was going to die, the fireballs suddenly went amok, a large portion of them straying from their paths. Seeing a chance to survive, Wu Chen crouched and tightened his grip on the green stone he held, causing a thick layer of wood to spring up around him.
     
    At the same time…
     
    “Neo-demon?!” The sixteen year old started, taken off guard by the sudden appearance turn of events. He had no time to turn around and look; he was in the middle of employing the magical technique. However, he was quite confident that against a level one neo-demon, his protective layer of spiritual energy would be enough.
     
    Riding on the black wolf’s back, and seeing that the four youths were leaving their backs open to him, Wu Bai chose to attack the most dangerous one. As he neared, he leaped from the wolf’s back and swung the sword in his right hand, slashing at the sixteen year old’s back.
     
    “Sever the Immortal!” The name of the technique surfaced in Wu Bai’s thoughts as his sword slashed into the layer of protective flames. Instantly, an invisible ripple passed through the spiritual energy of the youth’s technique. It surged through the boy’s body, spreading out three meters in all directions before dissipating. In the same moment, Wu Bai’s sword sank into the young man’s back.
     
    “Wha…?!” The sixteen year old was frightened, not because of the wound that was inflicted on his back… but because, in the moment that he was cut… He suddenly lost any connection with the surrounding spiritual energy! It was like his contact with the world was severed; he could no longer control his magical technique nor force any spiritual energy out of his body. It was as if the world itself was refusing his existence, rejecting his Cultivation base and denying him the right to employ it!
     
    The sixteen year old, due to how astonished he was, had his retreat delayed by a split second. That was more than enough time for Wu Bai, who thrust his second sword and pierced his opponent’s back with a soundless cry. "Slay the Immortal!"
     
    The sixteen year old gasped and began vomiting blood. His skin started to turned purple, reddish stains appearing all over his body, and blood seeped from his eyes, ears, and nose. However, the sixteen year old still managed to wrench himself free from the sword stuck into his back, and then retreat.
     
    “That wasn’t enough?” Wu Bai cursed, knowing that the effects of ‘Sever the Immortal’ would wear off in one or two breaths of time.
     
    It was then that the out-of-control fireballs smashed into the ground around Wu Chen. The explosion shook him to the core, and the flames easily destroyed the mediocre wooden shield he had set up. They even got past the protective layer of green energy… however, he was not seriously injured!
     
    Although he didn’t know what was going on, Wu Chen decisively seized the chance to sprint forward, jumping out of the cloud of dust with sword in hand. Normally, he would never carry around a sword, but because he had planned to train with Wu Bai, he happened to have one sheathed at his waist. He instantly slashed at the first enemy he saw, who just happened to be the heavily wounded sixteen year old youth!
     
    Unprepared for an attack from Wu Chen’s, let alone a physical attack, the youth didn’t even have the chance to react. His torso was cleaved by Wu Chen’s sword and he died on the spot!
     
    It was at this moment that Wu Bai’s and Wu Chen’s gazes met. Wu Bai smiled, while Wu Chen’s eyes opened wide from shock.
     
    “Wu Bai?!” Wu Chen shouted, not understanding what was going on. “Look out!” he wanted to cry out, but had no time. A surge of flames created by one of the three remaining young Cultivators from the Crow Fighter Tribe slammed into Wu Bai’s body. Or at least, that is what Wu Chen assumed would happen when he saw the flames bearing down on his cousin.
     
    Wu Chen eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw Wu Bai swing his sword at the mass of flames. Shockingly, the flames were instantly extinguished. This person... was he really Wu Bai?
  • Hey everyone, I'm a bit behind schedule today and worried that there are typos, let me know if you see any mistakes!
  • “If you kill me, my father will destroy your Tribe and exterminate your families!” Wu Bai shouted. 

    I may be wrong that might be Wu Chen instead of Wu Bai.

    Thanks for the chapter guys!
  • edited March 2016
    Chapter 12: The Lucky Outcome. The Unexpected News
     
    “Second brother!” the three youths called out almost simultaneously, seeing Wu Chen slay their brother with a sword. They no longer understood what was going on, having been completely unprepared for a closer quarters fight. To all of a sudden lose their leader and be scattered into disarray… they truly became incapable of making rational decisions!
     
    “Who is this guy? I can’t see his cultivation base!” the remaining Cultivator at the fifth level of Qi Condensation cried out, frightened. He had just attacked Wu Bai with all his strength, but his magical technique was actually cancelled out! For something like this to happen…
     
    “He must be an expert hiding his Cultivation base!” said the youth. He jumped to this conclusion because was no other explanation. Otherwise, his fire wouldn’t have been brushed aside so easily in such a bizarre manner.
     
    “First brother, what do we do?” the youngest of the four called out nervously, retreating as far as possible from these two sword-wielding freaks.
     
    The seventeen year old cursed, then yelled, “Attack this new guy! Kill him!” He roared at the top of his lungs, feeling much safer now that the distance between him and his enemies had widened to over one hundred meters.
     
    Seeing the three flick incantation gestures, Wu Bai cursed quietly. “If I dodge their attacks with black one’s help,” he thought, “they’ll get more confident, which will prolong the battle. Wu Chen doesn’t look like he has much strength left, we need to end this thing right now!” In an instant, he decided to take a gamble. He sent the black wolf away a quick look, telling him to put some distance between the two of them. Then, he abandoned his stance and intentionally put a look of contempt and disdain on his face.
     
    As the three balls of flame shot toward him, Wu Bai snorted. Looking calm and collected, perhaps even a little amused, he casually slashed at each of the magical techniques, without fail dispersing the three of them.
     
    “What…?!” The seventeen year old started in shock. This time he could very clearly feel the ripples spreading through the spiritual energy of Heaven and Earth in the area. This mysterious youth with the hidden Cultivation base repelled their attacks without even trying.
     
    “I’ll give you one chance! Screw off!” Wu Bai shouted loudly, yet without any sign of agitation in his voice.
     
    Normally, such words would have made these three youths furious… however, after they lost their second brother, they weren’t as inclined to continue fighting to death. In their minds, Wu Bai was, obviously somebody capable of casually concealing his Cultivation base and hiding it from their eyes. Not only that, he batted away their attacks as if they were the blows of children. The three of them knew that for another person to do that, he must have a vastly higher level of strength than them. Following this logic…
     
    “Foundation Establishment!” gasped one of the two youngest boys, staggering backward a few steps. “My mother told me that the Foundation Establishment Cultivators of the Crow Scout Tribe increase their Cultivation base by torturing captive children!”

    “That’s right!” said another. “The Tribe Elders even said that Crow Scout Tribe Foundation Establishment Cultivators keep a record of the children they kill from other Tribes! Whoever kills the most gets special magical items from the Tribe!”

    “Yeah,” said the first boy. “According to my mother, after they cut all the fingers off of the children, they turn their brains into a soup that they drink out of their skulls!!”

    The boys’ minds filled with a roaring sound, and their bodies began to tremble violently. Their terror only increased when they noticed Wu Bai’s cold eyes glaring at them across the forest.

    “F-f-fellow Daoist,” said the oldest boy, “what happened was… was only a misunderstanding! Please, spare our lives!”
     
    Wu Bai frowned and stared at them coldly. “I told you to screw off, not sit around chit-chatting!” he replied with an arrogant snort.
     
    The seventeen year old swallowed heavily. If he wasn’t thoroughly convinced of Wu Bai’s strength before, as of now, he was. Had he tried to smooth-talk him, the young man might have become suspicious… but to receive a short, blunt reply like that? He suddenly felt a coldness on his back. His mind began to reel as he thought to himself, “I’ve heard the other Cultivators in the Tribe talk about the coldness of the killing intent of the Crow Scout Tribe Foundation Establishment experts! He’s getting ready to kill me right now!!!”

    Actually, it just so happened that a cool breeze had sprung up moments before, although he was too focused on Wu Bai to notice.

    By this point all three of the boys were shaking in fear. Suddenly Wu Bai took a step forward, stamping his foot onto the ground loudly.

    The youngest boy was on the verge of urinating himself. “RUN!” he screamed.

    Abandoning all dignity, the three Crow Fighter Tribe youths turned on their heels, pushing and shoving to be the first to get as far away as possible. By this point, they had completely forgotten about the level two neo-demon that was still lying motionless off to the side.
     
    Only when the three disappeared in the forest did Wu Bai finally heave a sigh of relief. At the same time, however, his expression turned unsightly.
     
    “Wu Bai, that was amazing! How did you…?” Wu Chen began asking, but cut his own sentence off when he saw how with each passing second, the skin on Wu Bai’s hands turned more and more purple and painful-looking blisters started appearing on his hands and forearms. “Here, take this, quickly!” he called out, producing three medicinal pills and handing them over. Wu Bai gratefully swallowed them.
     
    “It’s good they didn’t stick around any longer, they would have noticed that they actually wounded me,” Wu Bai said with a helpless laugh. He was shaking inside, but just a little bit. After all he had been through, he was pretty used to stressful situations, which in turn helped him to keep up with a perfect act, despite being quite scared the whole time.
     
    “Whoa!” Wu Chen backed off, putting up his guard as the black wolf suddenly jumped toward the two of them. Instead of attacking, though, it started snuggling up against Wu Bai. Seeing his cousin pet the neo-demon and thank him for his help caused Wu Chen to raise his eyebrows. After a few seconds, he finally realized that this black wolf must be the same one that saved Wu Bai and later became his friend!
     
    “You know, you sure appeared in the nick of time. Was it because of him?” Wu Chen noticed extended his hand to pet the black wolf, however… He was forced to quickly withdraw his arm as the neo-demon growled and bared his fangs.
     
    “Ahaha… He loves you and can’t stand me, huh? Just like her…” Wu Chen murmured something strange, causing Wu Bai to look at him with a questioning expression.
     
    “No, never mind. Thanks for saving me… Although it’s kinda your fault in the first place…” Wu Chen brought up, making Wu Bai’s expression sink even further.
     
    “You got lost looking for me? Well who told you to do that? Just how far into the forest did you end up going, huh? As always, you have no sense of direction at all,” Wu Bai argued back, his worlds resulting in the two of them exchanging an angry glance. However, right afterwards, they sighed and smiled at each other, realizing how stupid of a thing they were about to start arguing about.
     
    “Do you think there will be any trouble because of what happened today?” Wu Bai asked, changing the topic and showing Wu Chen the blades of his swords with a meaningful look. Wu Chen quickly understood what Wu Bai meant and threw him a piece of cloth from his bag of holding. Content, Wu Bai started cleaning the blades.
     
    “Hmm, let me think about it. Any problems with these three?” Wu Chen followed up on the question. “I don’t think there will be any, really. At least, surely not for us. The Crow Divinity Tribes might not be at war with each other, but it’s not exactly uncommon for small skirmishes to happen on a regular basis,” he explained with a weak smile. “I’d say it will be less of an affair than the matter between you and Sheng Ren. The higher ups from the Crow Fighter Tribe will likely not get themselves involved over one random death, so you don’t need to worry about it.”
     
    After giving the matter some more thought, getting a bit too absorbed in his own world, Wu Chen continued on, “As for father, he would be reluctant to start a conflict, too. Although our Crow Scout Tribe is definitely one of the two strongest Tribes out of the five Crow Divinity branches, if not the strongest… the other Tribes aren’t far behind in power at all. What’s more, we’re both alive. Regardless of the circumstances, in the end the outcome is what matters the most in situations like these,” he mused aloud, not even looking at Wu Bai anymore. However, the moment he took a look at his cousin…
     
    “Hey, are you even listening?” Wu Chen cried helplessly, seeing how Wu Bai was playing with his black wolf neo-demon and was paying apparently no attention at all to what he was saying in the slightest.
     
    “Not really? I know all of that anyway,” Wu Bai said calmly and shrugged his shoulders, a playful smile on his face.
     
    “Then why did you even ask…?” Wu Chen released a long, resigned sigh. What was the point of him going through this detailed explanation anyway…?
     
    “Who knows?” Wu Bai pretended to be oblivious, faking an innocent look. Wu Chen could only roll his eyes, knowing that given Wu Bai’s character, it was probably a way of getting back at him for being unreasonable and blaming him for what happened.
     
    “Ah, whatever. Can we go back already? I’ve had enough of this stupid forest,” Wu Chen asked. Now that his nervousness was fading, exhaustion was setting in, both mentally and physically. After all, for him, it was the first experience of this kind. He wasn’t like Wu Bai, who could start fooling around with his neo-demon right after narrowly escaping with his life.
     
    “Sure. Are you going to take that… Ah, it ran away?” Wu Bai chuckled, searching for the level two neo-demon that had been laying off to the side up until about a minute ago. “Lucky fellow, he gets to be free,” He mused aloud, somehow making Wu Chen wonder if he really like this new version of his cousin’s character.
     
    ---
     
    “What did you two just say?” Wu Ai asked disbelievingly, massaging the sides of his head. Wu Chen and Wu Bai did what? Fought with youths of the Crow Fighter Tribe who chased after a neo-demon all the way to the borders of their Crow Scout Tribe? Wu Bai actually fought off and killed a Cultivator at the fifth level of Qi Condensation? This… made no sense at all.
     
    “How come no matter what you do, you always get into some kind of a trouble?” Wu Ai gave his nephew a helpless look. “Do you think you’re the main character in one of those stories my wife likes to read so much?” Wu Ai blurted out. When he noticed the look on Wu Bai’s face, however, he coughed and quickly dropped the matter.
     
    “How come you were able to fight against somebody so strong?” Wu Ai couldn’t help but ask Wu Bai, being most curious about this part of the story.
     
    “Umm… It’s pretty hard to explain, but I kind of… I’m not sure what it was, but I received the blessing of the ancient ‘Immortal Slayer’… probably? I’m pretty sure that’s what happened, although I can’t be sure. My techniques have gotten a lot stronger.” Wu Bai scratched his head as he tried to explain. To be honest, he had concentrated so much on training and experimenting with his newly gained powers that he hadn’t given much thought to the peculiar event from earlier, when a man bound by chains appeared before his eyes…
     
    “They really are a lot stronger, just like he’s saying,” added Wu Chen. “He easily stopped the fire-type magical techniques that were thrown at him by those guys… He burned his hands, though.” He was happy for his cousin’s increase in strength and, after thinking everything through, was very grateful to him for risking his life to save him from death at hands of those youths from the Crow Fighter Tribe.
     
    “Hmm, I understand what you mean, Wu Chen. It would be great if I could have some protective treasures. Perhaps some gloves and set of light, but sturdy armor?” Wu Bai quickly brought up, still pretty excited about his newly gained strength. He would surely love to be able to spar with Wu Chen for real at least once, instead of having his cousin go easy on him every time. He had accepted being weaker than Wu Chen, true, but it still hurt his pride as a man to be weaker than Wu Chen. He couldn’t help it.
     
    “Not everything at once, boys, please. You haven’t even explained everything clearly, and are already trying to change the subject…” Wu Ai moaned. Inwardly he was still considering what to do with the Crow Fighter Tribe. What he really wanted to do was go there and demand the heads of the three kids… and he would probably have ended up doing that, were it not for one thing this line of thought suddenly made him realize.
     
    “Wu Bai,” he addressed his nephew with a very serious expression on his face. “Do those three know that you are a mortal practicing the Immortal Slaying arts?” he asked, furrowing his eyebrows.
     
    “No. They shouldn’t, I think. We only fought briefly, I doubt they would be able to tell from the brief exchange we have had. It’s not like anyone can use the Immortal Slaying Arts as I do, anyway.” Wu Bai answered, towards the end allowing himself to be a little… more than a bit smug.
     
    Wu Ai breathed out, relaxing visibly. “That’s good,” he mused aloud, then returned his gaze to his nephew.
     
    “Listen, you can’t tell anyone that you succeeded in mastering the Immortal Slaying Arts! Forget the internal problems such news would have caused in our Tribe, the other four Tribes could very well join forces and attack us to get this information!” Wu Ai declared strongly, startling Wu Bai and Wu Chen.
     
    “What is going on with these looks on your faces? Do you realize how much undiscovered battle potential lies in the Immortal Slaying Arts? Even if it’s unknown how far can they raise the strength of a mortal, many Tribes, possibly other apart from our Crow Divinity Tribes, could seek this knowledge! Even other great Tribes in the rest of the Western Desert might be interested. It could be most dangerous if the information were to get out. They could just come here and demand to hand you over to them and we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.” As Wu Ai reasoned, he saw the look of understanding appear in Wu Bai’s and Wu Chen’s eyes, which quickly turned into nervousness. It was only natural, especially for Wu Bai, to be scared by the perspective of a great Tribe abducting him for the sake of learning the method of mastering the Immortal Slaying Arts.
     
    “So, am I supposed to keep this a secret for my whole life…?” Wu Bai couldn’t help but ask this question, which weighed on him quite heavily. He really looked forward to showing everyone in the Tribe that he truly wasn’t useless anymore, but… it looked like he wouldn’t be able to do even that.
     
    Wu Ai started, but then smiled warmly, guessing what was on Wu Bai’s mind. “No, not necessarily,” he said with a smug smile. The next moment, having around the curiosity of the two, Wu Ai boasted openly, “Recently, I’ve begun feeling that that I’m approaching a breakthrough. I’ve been putting it off for quite some time due to many reasons…” he paused for a second at looked at Wu Bai with a somewhat awkward smile, but continued saying merrily right afterwards.
     
    “I’ve been planning to go adventuring, and that’s what I’m going to do. Staying here won’t allow me to find this final insight and… make the breakthrough to the Spirit Severing!” He declared proudly, welcoming with joy the amazed looks of Wu Bai’s and Wu Chen’s faces.
  • I am beginning to like ISSI more than ISSTH
  • edited March 2016
    well, we know Wu Ai isn't going to reach Spirit Severing, right?  Because of what's happened in ISSTH
    Absolute Choice is the first novel that I've read on Wuxiaworld that I genuinely do not like.
  • well, we know Wu Ai isn't going to reach Spirit Severing, right?  Because of what's happened in ISSTH
    You're right, and that's no spoiler. Haha.
  • Chapter 13: Roaming the Western Desert
     
    “Spirit Severing?!” Wu Bai and Wu Chen cried out almost simultaneously, shocked by Wu Ai’s declaration. As children of the Wu family, they naturally knew what it meant for a Cultivator to reach the Spirit Severing stage and how large the power gap between Nascent Soul and Spirit Severing was. The two stages were incomparable, like Heaven and Earth; an immense distance apart.
     
    If Wu Ai were to truly become a Spirit Severing Patriarch… then he would instantly reunite the Crow Divinity Tribe and make it a truly supreme, great Tribe, just like in ancient times! The prospect of something so amazing caused the two youths to tremble with excitement and stare at Wu Ai in awe.
     
    “Spirit Severing…! Father, you’re incredible!” Wu Chen said very honestly, his eyes glistening brightly.
     
    “Mm...” Wu Bai nodded, just as amazed as Wu Chen, but not exactly willing to express himself aloud. That would be a bit… embarrassing...
     
    Wu Ai couldn’t help but grin happily, very much enjoying the reaction of his two dear boys. After all, what parent wouldn’t want to be adored by his children?
     
    “Okay, enough about me. Now, please start the story from the beginning and explain everything properly this time?” Wu Ai asked with a grin. At long last he felt as if alll his worries were gone and he could focus on the future and thoroughly enjoying every day of his life.
     
    Wu Bai and Wu Chen exchanged a glance, after which Wu Bai began to tell the story from the very beginning.
     
    “Today in the morning, I went to take a walk...”
     
    ---
     
    “I can’t believe you’re leaving…” Wu An leaned against her husband’s chest and rested her hand on his shoulder. “You only told us two weeks ago, can’t this wait a little longer?” she asked gently, hoping that Wu Ai would reconsider setting out on a journey.
     
    “If I don’t leave soon, there will always be ‘a little longer,’ won’t there?” Wu Ai chuckled pulling his wife close by her waist, pressing her tightly up against his body. “You’re always such a worrywart. Nothing will happen and before you notice, I’ll be back,” he reassured with a smile.
     
    “I certainly hope so…” Wu An sighed a little. Ever since she and Wu Ai were young teenagers, they rarely parted. This would be the first time he would be leaving her alone for longer than a few months. On any other occasion, she would have insisted on going with him, but was aware that this time, she would only get in her husband’s way. Although her own latent talent wasn’t bad, she was only at the mid Core Formation stage. Compared to Wu Ai, who had the power of a great circle Nascent Soul… she was just too weak.
     
    “I promise to return, so stay well and take care of the children, okay?” Wu Ai took his time convincing his wife. He understood her feelings, as separating from her wasn’t something that came easily for him either. However, if he wanted to have a realistic chance at stepping past that final barrier… then he couldn’t afford to delay any longer. What he needed was an experience that would allow him to gain the one piece of insight that he lacked. Surely, his chances of success would be drastically lowered if he had to worry about his wife at every step and during every fight he might encounter.
     
    “Ah, what do I do with you…? When you get stubborn like that, there is no helping you, is there…?” Wu An finally smiled a little and raised her head, looking deep into Wu Ai’s eyes. “If you don’t keep your promise, I won’t forgive you. Understand?” she said very seriously, tightening the grip of her hand on Wu Ai’s shoulder.
     
    “I do, I do,” Wu Ai assured with a laugh. He slowly closed the little distance that still was between them, then planted a deep kiss on her lips.
     
    Watching his parents, Wu Chen groaned silently and looked away. At the same time, Wu Ling smiled a bit awkwardly. Despite being nineteen year old, she had never had a boyfriend, so seeing her parents saying goodbye to each other in an intimate gave rise to some complicated feeling. Also, surely enough, it didn’t help at all that her younger cousin was standing there, exchanging a meaningful smile with his potential beloved.

    “I believe the farewells can be considered concluded…” Wu Ai said, gazing at the four youths. “Well then, take care of yourselves, okay?” he said with a chuckle, not sure what words to use. When he returned, the kids would probably be twice as old as they were now.
     
    “Take care of yourself, father,” Wu Ling said calmly and approached Wu Ai, then hugged him tightly. She didn’t say much else, having already spoken with her father about everything she had been concerned about.
     
    “Be sure to keep up with your training.” Wu Ai tousled his son’s hair and smiled at him, then after receiving a nod from Wu Chen, looked at Wu Bai.
     
    “You be sure to take care of yourself well, too,” he said lightheartedly. “When I come back, I will be looking forward to playing with my grandnephew or grandniece, so work hard, the two of you.” Wu Ai commented, causing Wu Bai and Liang Nuan to blush red and at the same time, receiving an elbow to the side from his wife. 
     
    “Well… See you later?” Wu Ai said humorously and exchanged one last glance with everyone, then to avoid making a scene, used a minor teleportation to leave the village and proceeded to fly onwards through the vast lands of the Western Desert.
     
    ---
     
    “I set off without much of a specific goal… so, what now?” Wu Ai mused, flying through the sky at somewhat leisurely pace. He wondered if he should try looking for some groups of bandit Tribes to face off against, or maybe go by the rumors and search for some treasures that supposedly were hidden in the countless desolate, secretive places that existed in the Western Desert?
     
    “Ah, it doesn’t matter right. I left the village three days ago and haven’t even left the ancestral mountains yet. I might as well look for something interesting for the time being,” he decided, wasting no more time on pointless thinking.
     
    “Although, I hope something will happen soon… I forgot how boring it is to be traveling alone,” he murmured with an ironic smile.
     
    “Oh?” Wu Ai slowed down and looked down toward where a simple caravan was apparently being assaulted by a group of bandits. “It’s not like I have anything better to do, I might as well help them!” he thought to himself and the next second, transformed into streak of green light, striking downwards at an incredible speed.
     
    ---
     
    “Hahaha, kill them all! Take the valuables!” The leader of the mid-sized bandit Tribe shouted happily, performing an incantation gesture which released three blades of compressed wind, slaying the three guards who, as a last resort, had attempted to break through the ranks of his subordinates and take his life. Unfortunately for them, he had just recently made his breakthrough to the Nascent Soul stage! Some trifling Cultivators who were only at the early Core Formation stage could only stand there and be slaughtered like flies!
     
    “We’ve found some nice prey this time, Chief. Barely two hundred Cultivators protecting so many treasures. I wonder if they encountered some trouble along the way and were reduced to this pitiful state?” A yellow-robed man who appeared to be the second-in-command retreated from the battle and chatted his old friend up, knowing that their five hundred men could easily finish off the few dozen remaining enemies.
     
    “Haha, whatever happens to them is none of my concern. They can only blame their bad luck!” The golden-haired man laughed wholeheartedly, observing the last moments of the massacre and licking his lips in anticipation. His gaze quickly wandered to the caravan itself and to the hundreds of weak men, women and even a quite a few children who were all gathered in the main, large carriage.
     
    “Selling them off as slaves will yield us a tidy profit,” he said with a laugh and licked his lips in anticipation. Suddenly, as he was gazing at the hundreds of cowering people, he spotted a attractive young girl, one that immediately aroused his interest. She had long blond hair, blue eyes, and was no older than fifteen. She was trying to look strong while hugging her little brother…
     
    Without saying a word, the golden-haired man flew forward and soon enough, landed amidst the frightened travelers.
     
    “From close up, you look even better,” he commented, a lecherous smile plastered across his face. The girl, horrified, tried to move away, but she was quickly rendered immobile, pinned down by the pressure of the man’s Cultivation base.
     
    “Don’t look so scared, I won’t kill you. You can cry out all you want, though. I love it when my women put up a bit of a fight,” the golden-haired man said very meaningfully, leaving the girl no delusions about the horrifying fate waiting for her.
     
    “Eh, what’s up with you, kid? You angry at me?” The golden-haired man laughed, seeing the little black haired, black eyed boy staring him dead in the eye. “Really, children are always so stupid…” he said resignedly, reaching out to grab the fifteen year old girl.

    However, before he could catch her…

    The golden-haired man stared in shock as the quiet battlefield was suddenly shaken by the sounds of repeated sonic booms. He immediately turned to look at what was going on, and the sight caused him to tremble. He watched as, in a single instant, a white-robed man waved his hands several times in succession. Each movement cause the bodies of dozens of his subordinates to turn into wood and crumble into tiny pieces. Those of course, were the ones with the lowest Cultivation bases, Qi Condensation and even some Foundation Establishment.

    The remaining Core Formation Cultivators stared at the man in shock. 

    The white-robed man turned to face a nearby mid Core Formation middle-aged man. He quickly performed an incantation gesture and then said, “Cypress Maelstrom.” Instantly, countless leaves appeared, which shot toward the Core Formation bandit. In the blink of an eye, the leaves surrounded the man and began slashing down onto him. His body was instantly shredded into a mass of blood and gore that showered down onto the ground below.

    “Zikang!” The golden-haired man’s expression fell as his old friend was killed in the space of only a few breaths. 
     
    “This is the power of… the great circle of the Nascent Soul stage!” the golden-haired man cried out in his mind, the almighty aura of the white-clothed man shaking his body and soul.

    His grief, however, didn’t last long, as the white-robed man’s gaze turned towards him. “This is bad!”

    Around him, the surviving members of his band were fleeing in all directions, terrified by the white-robed man’s onslaught.
     
    The golden-haired man only now regained his ability to think clearly. In the last split second, he employed a minor teleportation and moved behind the fifteen year old girl, grabbing her by neck in the very same moment the white-clothed man materialized in the position he had occupied moments before.
     
    “There’s no way I’m going to outrun him or win against him, so there is only one option left!” The golden-haired man came to quick conclusion. He then smiled a little, seeing that the white-clothed man was holding back, and hadn’t struck out at him yet. “Hah, as I thought,” he mused silently. “This is one of those idiots who cares for lives of ‘innocent people.’ Came here to play a hero, huh?” Although he looked down upon this white-robed man’s behavior, he wasn’t stupid enough to say it out loud and provoke him.
     
    “The moment you attack me, all these people will die. Is that what you want?” the golden-haired man asked bluntly, applying some force to the girl’s neck, which caused her cry out in pain.
     
    Hearing the golden-haired man’s words, Wu Ai frowned. Had the golden-haired man not been amidst these weak Cultivators and normal people, he would have been the first person he killed. He wouldn’t have made such a rudimentary mistake as to let the leader of the bandit Tribe live for too long, allowing him time to pull some dirty tricks. Regrettably, the moment he arrived, the golden-haired man was already here. Thus, Wu Ai planned to first get rid of the man’s subordinates and then quickly slay their leader… but that plan really was closer to wishful thinking than a ‘plan.’ From the beginning, it was virtually doomed to fail.
     
    “If you let those people go, I will let you leave and won’t kill you. If you don’t, then… hmph.” Wu Ai declared, seemingly indifferent, but in reality, feeling quite conflicted. As someone who had spent most of his life in the Tribe, he rarely faced dilemmas such as this and had never had a chance to develop a truly ruthless personality. For a Cultivator at his level, he really was exceptionally soft-hearted.
     
    “Hmm?” Wu Ai showed a little surprised expression, seeing that the girl was trying to push her little brother away, but the boy refused to let her go. Well, that alone wouldn’t have been so strange… but the kid was looking at him and, despite the situation and, contrary to the way he was acting, appeared to be perfectly calm. Even his black eyes had no fear in them, perhaps because the boy was too young to truly understand the situation he was in…
     
    “And how can I be sure that you won’t kill me the moment I try to leave?” The golden-haired man asked. It was a pity that his subordinates had been killed, now that he was at the Nascent Soul stage, he would be able to easily rebuild a Tribe around himself, as long as he could get away.
     
    “You can’t,” Wu Ai said grimly and shrugged his shoulders. However, the look in his eyes seemed to have betrayed him, as the golden-haired man smirked, appearing more confident than before.
     
    “Then, go ahead and kill me. I won’t be moving a step from here,” the golden-haired man declared brashly and waited, his expression one of the ridicule.
     
    Wu Ai’s face twitched a little, but in the end, he gave in to the threats of the golden-haired man. “What do you propose, then?” he asked bitterly, not bothering to conceal his anger anymore.
     
    “Simple. You move a thousand kilometers away from here. When you do, I will be on my way and everyone will be happy,” the golden-haired man said with a sly smile. “I will give you a jade slip, so that I can tell how far away you are, so don’t even think about cheating me,” he added, covering the possibility of Wu Ai deceiving him.
     
    Wu Ai frowned deeply, but in the end, reluctantly nodded his head. He could see how terrified all these people were. He could hear their weeping and could sense the silently pleading gazes upon his body. Even knowing that letting this man go could very well lead to him committing more slaughter in the future… he just couldn’t bring himself to abandon the people before his eyes.
     
    “Fine, take it and hold it in your hand the entire time. I will know if you let it go or make someone else carry it, so don’t try anything funny,” the golden-haired man said smugly, throwing a violet jade slip to Wu Ai. “What are you waiting for?” he urged arrogantly, knowing that his life was no longer in danger.
     
    “Fine. Just so you know, too. If you don’t adhere to your words, I will find you and make you wish you were dead,” Wu Ai warned, emanating a powerful killing intent.
     
    “Yeah, yeah, just screw off already,” the golden-haired man laughed. In his heart, he had already broken the promise to Wu Ai. Leave alone? And risk that by some chance, he could die? No. Surely he wouldn’t be so naïve. He even had a perfect hostage at hand, a girl that would protect him and entertain him along the way. Could there be anything better than that?
     
    “Don’t.”

    Just as Wu Ai was about to employ minor teleportation, a calm and resolute voice stopped him. It was the voice of a child. The same child who had been looking at him the whole time, but was starting to smile…
     
    “He’s lying to you.” The black-haired boy declared confidently. “He’s going to take big sister away, and he seems to be thinking about killing everyone else, too,” the five year old said in an eerily calm voice. He appeared to be completely sure what he was saying.
     
    “You damned brat, what are you…” the golden-haired man shouted, surprised, scared and angered at the same time. However, before he had any time to act, he senses the Cultivation base of the man in front of him surging and threatening to kill him in following split second.
     
    “If that’s what you want…!” the golden-haired man rotated his own Cultivation base and chose to self-detonate rather than be slaughtered. If he was to die this day, then at the very least, he would make that man regret for the rest of his life that he had acted against him!
     
    “Pipe down, won’t you?” The child’s voice suddenly resounded in everyone’s minds as the five year old turned his head to look over his shoulder. Instantaneously, the body of the golden-haired man turned to dust and his Nascent Soul perished. The man didn’t die, he was literally erased from existence!
  • 5 year old Spirit Severing?
    Lol
    Thanks for the chapter guys!
  • edited March 2016
    Chapter 14: Child’s Game. Part I

    Everyone stared blankly, unable to comprehend what exactly had just happened. The hundreds of mortals and the few weak Cultivators at the early stages of Qi Condensation, all of whom thought they were about to die, were now experiencing a peculiar mix of relief and shock. However, out of everyone here, perhaps the two most surprised people were Wu Ai and the fifteen year old girl, who was still holding the boy by his shoulders.
     
    “Ugh… Elder brother’s gonna be angry again…” the black-haired kid spoke aloud, scratching the back of his head and appearing to be a bit troubled. “Oh, well,” he smiled playfully, acting at his own pace paying no mind to the current peculiar atmosphere.
     
    “Say,” the black-haired kid looked at Wu Ai, asking. “I like you, so how about playing a game with me?” The five year old chucked a little, seeing how dumbfounded Wu Ai was by this situation. He smiled mischievously and, tilting his head in a charming manner, asked again, “You’re looking to do your First Severing, aren’t you? I’m sure that if you were to play with us, it would be quite helpful to you, too.”
     
    Hearing the child’s words, Wu Ai became speechless once again. The earlier display of power, the fact that he couldn’t feel even an ounce of spiritual energy in this kid’s body, these words from now… “This power, it’s beyond Spirit Severing…! Is he a Dao Seeking expert? Or somebody even above that, an Immortal?!” Wu Ai tried to keep his calm, but his thoughts were in a complete disorder.
     
    At the same time, the fifteen year old girl finally came to her senses and let go of the black-haired youth and took a step back, a complicated expression on her face.
     
    “Sorry, big sister. I didn’t intend to trick you,” the black-haired youth said with an apologetic smile, then shook his head, seeing that the girl was scared of him and also… “Why? Why didn’t you do something sooner?!” the girl yelled, startling everybody. “Why lie about who you are? Why watch everyone dying if you’re so strong?!” she kept shouting at the black-haired boy, giving everyone quite a fright. If she angered this mysterious hidden expert, then how could she be sure he wouldn’t kill them all on the spot?
     
    However, the black-haired child appeared to keep his calm, as he only looked at the girl with a bit of helplessness in his gaze. “You know, it was you who found me resting in the desert and wanted to help me. I only played along,” he declared straightforwardly, sighing a little. It appeared as if the girl wanted to say something else, but she only turned around and walked away in irritation.
     
    “Hunh. Mortals… always so much trouble,” the black-haired kid said resignedly, but quickly ignored the girl and looked at Wu Ai, smiling again. “So, what’s your answer? Want to play, or not?” he asked, reminding Wu Ai about his proposition.
     
    “Game…” Wu Ai was about to say, but managed to bite his tongue in time. “I set on an journey to train… I wouldn’t be a Cultivator if I refused an opportunity granted to me by the Heavens,” he pondered quietly, then he looked the black-haired youth square in the eye. “I will,” he replied very simply, in just two words.
     
    “Great!” the black-haired kid said merrily. “Well then, take this and then we’ll go. The game should be starting soon, so we have to hurry,” the youth raised his hand and produced an ancient-looking, pitch-black key. He waved his finger, sending the black key flying over to Wu Ai, who quickly grabbed it.
     
    The moment the key touched his skin, Wu Ai trembled as a small strand of energy forced its way into his body. At first, he was frightened, but then… the strange energy actually mixed with his own Cultivation base, causing it to surge even higher. Shocked, Wu Ai discovered that his power was now even closer to the Spirit Severing; it wasn’t of the great circle of Nascent Soul anymore, but rather, halfway to Spirit Severing! Now, the moment he gained his spark of insight, his chances of making a successful breakthrough would be even higher!
     
    “That’s a little special gift from me,” the black-haired youth snickered. “If you survive until the end, we’ll see each other again,” he said, obviously in a good mood. Then, as if considering something, he suddenly said, “You know, it would be a pity if you didn’t make it in time or arrived tired, so let me help you out a bit.” Before Wu Ai could say anything, he waved his hand. A moment later, the two of them were gone.
     
    ---
     
    Wu Ai blinked as the scenery before his eyes changed. He looked up at the sky, then gasped, seeing that the sun had moved quite considerably. “For the sun itself to be in a different position on the sky… This is obviously still the Western Desert, but obviously, the deep reaches of the North region!” Wu Ai breathed in, amazed that the black-haired kid wielded enough power to instantly transport him such a huge distance.
     
    “That was beyond greater teleportation. Just what Cultivation base does this kid have…?” Wu Ai couldn’t help but wonder as he carefully sent his Divine Sense out to examine his surroundings. He quickly found the place where the black key seemed to be pulling him to, only a few hundred kilometers away from where he was. 

    “Oh, somebody noticed my probing?” Wu Ai noticed with surprise, sensing the presences of few dozen of Cultivators. Among those people, there was no one weaker than the early Nascent Soul stage and apparently, there was also somebody who like him, was approaching the First Severing.
     
    Nodding to himself, Wu Ai kicked the ground and flew up into the air. After a while, he reached the place of the meeting and swept it with his gaze. He saw forty or so Cultivators, amongst whom around a third appeared to be from the Black Lands. There were a few groups of two or three people, but the majority stood alone, refraining from interacting with the others.
     
    The gathered Nascent Soul experts gazed at Wu Ai, but no comments or louder discussions could be heard.
     
    “I should have asked that boy when exactly will this whole thing be starting…” Wu Ai thought with a bitter laugh.
     
    However, just as Wu Ai was thinking about approaching somebody to ask questions, the black key in his hand heated up and began to emanate a black aura, which quickly engulfed his whole body. Looking at the others, Wu Ai noticed that the same thing was happening to them. He quickly counted the different colors, and noticed worrisome fact. There were only three other Cultivators covered with the darkness, while the rest were shining with either golden or silver light.
     
    “That might be troublesome...” Wu Ai chuckled helplessly as he got teleported away.
     
    ---
     
    Keeping his guard up, Wu Ai looked around at the place where he and the other Cultivators had arrived to. They appeared to be in something that resembled a humongous, rectangular cube. Of course, that was only the initial impression Wu Ai and many else got. They were actually in a strange corridor, the walls of which were many kilometers apart from each other.
     
    The walls themselves appeared to be fairly extraordinary, with a variety of neo-demons and Celestial beasts engraved upon them. If one looked carefully, it was possible to see that randomly placed doors on the walls, as well as gates and many different types of entrances.

    “Where do they lead?” mused Wu Ai. Since no one rushed ahead, it was very likely that everyone else was as clueless about this place as he was.
     
    Everyone was hesitant to be the first to move, but that was only until a powerful surge of heat and blasted against them from behind. They all turned to look, then gasped in shock, when they saw a great wall of flames surging in their direction. “Heavens…!” Wu Ai sped forward as quickly as he could, sensing a great danger from this mass of flames. He was sure that if he was so much as grazed by the wave of flames, his body and soul would perish!
     
    These flames… Whether one was of the great circle of Nascent Soul, or an expert of the Third Severing of Spirit Severing, the result would be the same! An inevitable death!
     
    As he was fleeing, Wu Ai continuously tried to expand his Divine Sense… Unfortunately, just as he had expected, he was unable to! He looked over his shoulder and saw how, one after another, the various early and mid-stage Nascent Soul Cultivators employed life-saving techniques or magical items, even burning life force to get away from the deadly flames that were closing in on them.
     
    “Luckily, I’m far faster than those flames. I shouldn’t have much to worry about them,” Wu Ai noted with relief. Another thought hit him, and he tried to employ minor teleportation. “Of course, doesn’t work, huh…” he smiled helplessly, then began looking around.
     
    “That old man back there must be the one who noticed me probing with my Divine Sense earlier. What a sly fox! He slowed down so that he wasn’t up in front with me. That way he avoids attracting so much attention.” Wu Ai chuckled, then quickly counted the remaining Cultivators who seemed to be able to outrun the flamesby  relying on their basic flying speed and not other special methods.
     
    “Fifteen, huh?” Wu Ai raised his eyebrows, knowing that at the meeting place, he discovered only ten people with late Nascent Soul Cultivation bases. From the looks of it, there were five people who could keep up with the stronger Cultivators even with their basic strength being quite a bit lower.
     
    “Apart from this old man, I should be careful of these five. They are likely to possess some powerful magical items and unique magical techniques and divine arts…” Wu Ai noted in his head, wishing that he had some time to properly remember everyone’s faces and Cultivation bases before everything truly started. By now, he could only be sure that the five dangerous individuals were somewhere among the fifteen, but not who they were exactly.
     
    After a while, some cries of despair began reaching Wu Ai’s ears. One after another, those who couldn’t keep up were being swallowed by the mass of flames. In a short amount of time, over ten Cultivators perished, causing the overall number of the group to shrink to around thirty.
     
    “How long is this going to keep up?” Wu Ai wondered, wondering what the point of this strange challenge was.
     
    Yet, just then, Wu Ai saw one of the many gates in the walls open. In front of their group, a few dozen of kilometers away, hundreds upon hundreds of neo-demons began pouring out. He couldn’t tell for sure, but judging by the looks of them, they were all level seven neo-demons or higher! Some among those neo-demons even appeared to be comparable to average Nascent Soul Cultivator!
     
    A swarm of neo-demons of this level was definitely capable of killing their little group, especially since the number of neo-demons was growing with each second, by now having reached well over ten thousand. By the time their reached these beasts, there could easily be over fifty thousand of them! Facing a horde like that with their numbers? It was a suicide!
     
    “The only way is to break through,” Wu Ai concluded, a confident smile appearing on his face. He rotated his Cultivation base and turned into a green beam of light, increasing his speed three times over. “If there ever was something I was proficient at, then it would be escape arts, movement arts and concealing techniques!” Wu Ai thought to himself, then used another secret technique. In but a second, just as he was about to clash with the horde of neo-demons, the green streak of light that he had been… disappeared!

    ---

    Behind Wu Ai, the old Cultivator sped along through the air. When Wu Ai disappeared, he marveled inwardly. 

    “What a powerful presence-concealing technique!” he thought. Only the most skilled of assassins were capable of erasing both their bodies and auras from the sight, and the white-robed man who rushed ahead did just that! “Even I can barely see a few ripples of energy. In that case, then those neo-demons…” the man shook his head, a bit envious of how the white-robed man effortlessly rushed past the tens of thousands of neo-demons, who were all dumbfounded at seeing their prey all of a sudden disappear.
     
    “It will be troublesome to get surrounded, which is exactly what will happen if I stay behind with these weaklings. I guess I should follow, too.” The old man laughed, then, seemingly without a care in the world, made use of his unique divine art. His eyes glittering with white light, the old man’s body exploded with lightning as he quadrupled his speed. Forcing his way through the fellow Cultivators, he crashed into the masses of neo-demons and pierced his way through with ease, slaughtering everything in his path.
     
    The three unlucky late Nascent Soul stage Cultivators who were in the old man’s way experienced the might of his divine art first-hand. Since they weren’t his real target, they escaped with their lives, but just this brief contact with the old man’s lightning injured them quite heavily. Naturally, as per the ancient agreement, the three of them coughed up three or four mouthfuls of blood to show everyone just how heavily they were wounded.

    ---
     
    After he got past the horde of neo-demons, Wu Ai slowed down to his normal speed so as not to waste his energy. He then glanced back to see what was happening behind him. When he saw the old man surrounded by wild streaks of lightning, erupting out from the back end of the neo-demon horde, Wu Ai felt a chill run down his spine.
     
    “He truly is powerful. He slaughtered his way through head-on and from the looks of it, he is faster than me… although, most likely, he didn’t show everything he has in his disposal, either,” Wu Ai mused. As he calculated his own chances in a direct fight against the old man… he didn’t think he was the one in the advantage.
     
    “If we were to fight, I’d say the chances are something like six to four in his favor…” Wu Ai frowned a little, his and the old man’s gaze joining for a second.
     
    “Look, they’re burning,” the old man said with a laugh, looking back. Indeed, the tens of thousands of neo-demons and the Cultivators who didn’t make it through in time, or were killed by the swarm, were all being devoured by the flames.
     
    “Pretty wasteful, if you ask me,” he continued, watching as high-level neo-demons perished by the thousands. Only a few were fast enough to outrun the wall of flames.
     
    “Yeah…” Wu Ai replied half-heartedly, suspicious of the old man’s reasons for suddenly striking up a conversation.
     
    “Not the most talkative one, are you?” the old man chuckled. Apparently not wanting to waste any time, he continued, “We both know that only one person can get the treasure that lies on the end of this path. Apart from those…” he stopped speaking for a second, taking another look at how many people were still following the two of them, then continued. “Apart from those seventeen kids who are still alive, we are the only two who have real chances of emerging victorious.
     
    “With that in mind… Don’t you think it would be a pity if some kids ganged up on us? With that many of them, they might actually be able to kill us.” The old man made it fairly obvious where this talk of his was leading. “Let’s make a temporary alliance and get rid of those pests. Then, it will be certain that there won’t be any unexpected developments. What do you say?” he proposed.

  • Immortals have a very strange sense of what constitutes a game. 
  • Laughed at that part  "Naturally, as per the ancient agreement, the three of them coughed up three or four mouthfuls of blood to show everyone just how heavily they were wounded"
  • edited March 2016
    Chapter 15: Child’s Game. Part II
     
    “Joining forces, huh…” Wu Ai said in a low voice, considering the proposition. Objectively speaking, it seemed reasonable. However, that was only if he could trust this man to keep his word. If he got tangled up in a fight with multiple late Nascent Soul Cultivators and then, was attacked by this old man… he would almost surely end up perishing without even being able to put up much of a fight.
     
    “I have nothing to gain from betraying you. If anything, the scenario where we don’t join forces would be more dangerous for both of us, don’t you think?” the old man argued, noticing Wu Ai’s hesitation. “You’re probably thinking ‘what if he attacks me when we’re fighting with the others and I end up dying,’ right?” the old man chuckled. Seeing Wu Ai’s expression change a little only confirmed his suspicions.

    “It’s not as if I trust you completely, either. I wouldn’t propose something where we risk the possibility of the other turning on us,” he explained with a sly smile on his face. “From what the golden-haired kid told me, there should be two more tests before we reach the treasure. You’re aware of that, correct? Let’s wait for a chance to eliminate these pests during those trials. Hopefully, by the end there will only be a few of them and we will be able to get rid of the remnants without much effort,” he continued, apparently considering Wu Ai as a valuable ally, that is, until the time came when only the two of them were left.
     
    Thinking about it that way, Wu Ai had to admit that the old man’s words held some truth to them. Even if he didn’t particularly like the viciousness of the plan, he couldn’t deny that it offered him the best chances of survival. After all, he couldn’t be too reckless, since his family was waiting for him to return. “Very well, I agree,” he confirmed verbally, causing the old man to smile contentedly.
     
    “Well you took long enough to come around. Look back there, those whelps have all started chatting with each other,” the old man pointed out. The two of them began to fly forward.
     
    After a moment, Wu Ai smiled weakly and said, “By the way… What were you planning to do if I refused?” he asked, despite already having guessed the answer.
     
    “Don’t you know? I would have attacked you instantly and then sent you flying back toward those kids. They would have done the job for me,” the old man answered with a laugh, not bothering to lie about something so trivial. “You might have tried to outrun them, but I would have blocked your way. Those whelps would surely have known I was using them to kill you, but they would still be more than happy to reduce the number of major threats by half,” the old man explained in detail, proving to be quite a talkative person.
     
    “Then, why didn’t you just do that to begin with?” Wu Ai asked. If this old man was confident that using such a method would keep him in check, then why bother allying now only to ensure a one-on-one duel later?
     
    “Well… There are two reasons,” the old man said with a smile, apparently happy to have a chance to monologue a bit. “The first one is that I don’t know if you wouldn’t be willing to use all your strength to attack me, even at the cost of burning your own life force and using up all the treasures you might have on yourself. No matter which one of us would win in this situation, these kids would finish the other off.” Looking at Wu Ai, the old man nodded, recognizing that this point had been understood by his companion.

    “The second reason is actually more important. I’m but a step away from Spirit Severing. What do you think will allow me to break through easier, fighting against a swarm of ants, or dueling someone of similar strength?” the old man laughed, seeing the look of revelation on Wu Ai’s face. “Of course, that will be helpful to you, too. But only if you win our duel, which I’m not planning on letting you do,” the old man added candidly.
     
    Wu Ai suppressed a heavy sigh. After speaking with this old man for a while, he began to realize that since he rarely faced situations where such detailed analysis was necessary on the spot, he unintentionally overlooked many important things. He wasn’t really a person suited to scheming and predicting what others would do… He could lead the Tribe to war, or be a commander in a great battle, but here? He felt as nervous and uncomfortable as a fish out of water.

    “An entrance, huh?” said the old man. “It seems that the second trial is not a test of raw power.” A few kilometers up ahead, a crude gate could be seen in the great wall.
     
    Upon reaching it, Wu Ai and the old man flew inside. Moments later, they found themselves in what proved to be a great, empty hall with a single door at the far end. Ten or so seconds later, the remaining seventeen Cultivators entered the hall one after another, each one looking extremely vigilant, clearly fearful of being attacked by Wu Ai and the old man.
     
    “Look at these whelps, so stressed, they look like they’re about to piss their pants,” the old man commented aloud, making sure that everyone could hear him. He chuckled, receiving a more than a dozen hateful gazes in return. “Now, we wait for some idiot to go first…” the old man said, this time in a quiet tone that only Wu Ai could hear.
     
    “This guy really is a sly fox. My first impression of him was spot on,” Wu Ai thought resignedly, glad that the old man didn’t end up becoming his enemy from the get-go. 
     
    Soon, it happened just like the old man predicted. A group of three Cultivators went forward and approached the door. Even as they neared, two of them were pushed away by an invisible force which, surprisingly, did them no harm. The one that was not pushed away was a young man in a black robe. As he looked around in surprise a portion of the wall above the door turned into a shapeless face. The young man edged backward, but didn’t flee.
     
    Suddenly, the face spoke in a strong, low-toned voice. “Only those who know themselves deserve to pass. Tell me, what is the most important thing to you?”
     
    The young man thought about the answer for a few seconds, then replied loudly. “My own life!” However, as his words resounded within the hall, the shapeless face’s eyes turned red . “Lies!” the face cried out and before the young man could do anything, his entire body was turned into nothing more than drifting ash. He was dead in both body and soul. As the face disappeared, deathly silence filled the hall.
     
    The old man looked at Wu Ai, then gazed at the others, obviously taking some pleasure in observing the misery of others. Surprisingly, no such look could be seen in Wu Ai’s eyes. 

    “Are you perhaps... confident?” the old man asked, curious as to whether Wu Ai would dare to attempt the trial after what had just happened. It would seem logical to most people that life is the most vaulable thing, and yet it had just been deemed a lie.
     
    “Yeah, relatively confident.” Wu Ai nodded, then went up ahead and approached the door, again surprising the old man, who up until now had sported a slightly condescending expression when interacting with Wu Ai.
     
    The face appeared once more and asked the same question in the same way. Wu Ai waited for the face to finish speaking, then answered with confidence. “My family.” The sixteen remaining Cultivators and the old man held their breaths in anticipation of what was about to happen…
     
    “You speak truth. You may pass,” the shapeless face said calmly as the door opened, allowing Wu Ai to enter the room beyond.
     
    Wu Ai gave the old man a confident look that seemed to say, ‘don’t get yourself killed,’ and then the door closed. The old man snorted. Before anyone else could approach the door, the old man walked forward and attempted to pass the trial.
     
    The moment the shapeless face finished asking its question, a look of disdain filled the man’s face and he shouted, “Power!” he shouted, a clear hint of disdain in his voice.
     
    ---
     
    “Well that was fast,” Wu Ai commented with a light smile. 

    “Of course,” the old man said with a laugh. He then proceeded to wordily explain himself as always. “Who in the world would be capable of reaching the great circle of the Nascent Soul stage without being so self-aware as to be able to answer such a stupid and obvious question?
     
    “Honestly speaking, that first kid was quite stupid. If he truly valued his life above anything else, why would he chose to risk his life in such a way?” the old man ridiculed. “Given the state of the junior generation nowadays, the correct answer was probably something like ‘money’ or 'women’ or some such stupid thing. He should have passed easily, the fool.”
     
    Wu Ai sighed a bit, finding the personality of this old man to be unexpectedly… childish? Maybe even a little annoying. “So… is there a trial in this room, too?” he brought up, trying to change the subject.

    “Possibly. Although, I don’t see anything so far. It will probably appear when the rest of them enter, or when the last one dies trying.” Without fail, the old man managed to caused Wu Ai’s headache to worsen. “It would be terrible if some of them decided to contemplate his inner self for a few years… Although, I doubt they will be granted more than a few moments to think before something ‘interesting’ happens in the room,” the old man added, at this point rather speaking to himself, as Wu Ai had stopped listening to his ramblings.
     
    ---

    It took some time, around an hour, but finally, it seemed as if the third trial was beginning. Apart from Wu Ai and the old man, thirteen other Cultivators managed to pass the test. From the looks of it, not that many of them were as clueless as the young man who took the test first… Wu Ai felt it was somewhat ridiculous that four out of seventeen Nascent Soul Cultivators had perished in such a ridiculous way.
     
    The moment the last one entered the room, five circles of light appeared in the five corners of the hall. As if that alone didn’t make the situation clear, a door emerged from the wall, above which one could see the words ‘Only Five Shall Pass.’
     
    “Oh, it looks like a perfect occasion has appeared,” the old man mused aloud, keeping his voice quiet. “So!” He called out loudly, attracting the attention of all the other Cultivators. “We will take three people with us. Everyone else dies. Decide quickly, before I run out of patience. Five, four, three…” he declared calmly, emanating a killing intent capable of freezing one’s blood.
     
    The unexpected words of the old man and the countdown to what seemed like their deaths made the thirteen cultivators panic. Would they be able to take on these two experts? Possibly, but the majority of them would probably end up dying in the process! Or even worse, they would all be killed! Compared to that, it was a much safer option to join forces with the two most powerful men here and move on to the next part of the challenge. Even if they failed to obtain the treasure afterwards, they would still have a chance to escape with their lives!
     
    “I will aid you, Fellow Daoists!”
     
    “I shall join you, Fell Daoists!”
     
    “No, the one who will be going with you is ME!”
     
    In a short instant, practically all thirteen Cultivators voiced their willingness to join forces with Wu Ai and the old man. Wu Ai himself could only watch on as his companion skillfully pulled the strings.
     
    “We can’t take all of you with us, can we?” the old man laughed. He then continued to speak without pause, refusing to allow the thirteen to regain mental clarity. “We will take these two portals, so whoever takes the other three will end up going along with us. The rest? Hmph, they can die for all I care,” he stated, raising his hands in a helpless gesture and gesturing toward Wu Ai to get moving.
     
    Had the thirteen Cultivators been in their right state of mind, they might have had some second thoughts and realized that simply ‘reaching’ the circles of light likely wouldn’t be enough to be teleported away, but as panicked as they were, they simply failed to realize this simple things. The moment the first one moved, everyone else followed, scared of being left behind. Instantly, a huge fight erupted. Magical techniques and divine abilities flew through the air as a vicious slaughter ensued.
     
    For the second time, a cold chill ran down Wu Ai’s spine. How could he not be impressed with the old man’s ability to scheme and manipulate people? In but a few moments, the number of their potential enemies reduced by itself to just five people. The fighting was so intense, that two of the five circles ended up being occupied by a single man. As for the fifth one, a group of three allied cultivators squeezed in together. They hesitated for a moment, but when they realized that nothing was happening, more slaughter ensued.
     
    “That went quite well, don’t you think?” the old man chuckled, giving Wu Ai an amused look. “Let’s get rid of the others the moment we arrive!” he then called out with a laugh as the five of them began teleporting away, causing the three unlucky Cultivators to moan in helpless despair.
     
    ---
     
    “What is this place…?” Wu Ai frowned, seeing flames surrounding him on all sides. He flew towards what appeared to be the center of a small sphere, where he saw a strange platform. As he approached, the displayed items became cleared in his eyes. There were three different cases made of what seemed to be glass. One had a black key lock, the other one a silver key lock and the last one, a golden key lock. Inside each case was something different… and as Wu Ai recognized the items, he nearly fainted from shock.
     
    The black case contained a small, sleeping dragon that emanated the aura of Spirit Severing!
     
    The silver case contained a fearsome, thin silver blade that was clearly part of an ancient legacy!
     
    The golden case, in turn, contained three Spirit Severing Pills!
     
    The old man instantly shot ahead, crossing the short distance of around one kilometer in a split second, only to clash against an invisible barrier covering the platform. 

    “So he can act like an idiot, too,” thought Wu Ai, trying to conceal his smile. “He mentioned that he was recruited by a golden-haired kid? He must want these Spirit Severing pills quite a bit.” Wu Ai approached the platform, taking up a position where he could see both the old man and the three remaining Cultivators at the same time.
     
    “Dear me, I got overexcited…” the old man groaned, giving Wu Ai a somewhat apologetic look. “So, we take care of those three and then fight?” he asked, aware of the problematic nature of this suggestion.
     
    “Who does it? And how can we be sure that we won’t turn on each other when dealing with them?” Wu Ai said aloud, having gotten accustomed to the old man’s way of thinking. Right now, neither of them would be willing to compromise his position, not when their duel would decide each other’s life and death. Thus, dealing with those other three men became one big headache.
     
    “Fellow Daoists!” one of the three men called out nervously, a middle-aged man wearing a black robe. “The three of us are willing to give up on this fight. We won’t compete with you for the treasures, so please, spare our lives!” He clasped his hands and bowed his head. The other two followed in suit, prostrating themselves before Wu Ai and the old man.

  • Chapter 16: Child’s Game. Part III
     
    “Spare your lives? Dream on, brats!” the old man roared back, his eyes filling with veins of blood. Leaving these pests alive? He would rather deal with them alone and bear the risk of having his temporary ally watch! What he wanted most was to focus on his battle with Wu Ai! If he was able to receive further enlightenment regarding Spirit Severing in the process, great! If not, he would kill Wu Ai and take the Spirit Severing Pills for himself! However, he wouldn’t lower his chances to gain natural enlightenment by having some annoying distractions loiter around while he fought Wu Ai!
     
    Hearing the old man’s merciless refusal, the three black-cloaked men trembled. Had they not been perfectly aware that the three of them stood no chance against these two, they would have already attacked in desperation… but, they were still hoping for some miracle to happen. They wouldn’t rush to their deaths; they would try to survive until the very end!
     
    “I’m sure there could be at least some benefit to sparing them, don’t you think?” Wu Ai brought up reluctantly, tired of the old man’s ruthless methods. True, this was a competition and everyone risked their lives, but if there existed a possibility to prevent needless slaughter, Wu Ai would prefer to do just that.
     
    “Did your brain fail to teleport in with your body?” the old man asked, finding it hard to believe that Wu Ai could be so naïve. “Well, it doesn’t matter, the treasures are protected by a barrier. I don’t think it will go down until there is only one of us left, so those three will need to die sooner or later. If you ask me, sooner is better than later,” he argued, set on getting rid of the three men before anything stupid could happen because of them.
     
    “Fellow Daoists, the three of us know that we have overstepped our boundaries by taking part in this competition. As long as a chance for us to live exists, no matter how slim, we are willing to do anything!” the same black-robed man declared strongly, worried that these two experts will come to an agreement and attack before they could try reasoning with them.
     
    “What a farce…” the old man shook his head, frowning repeatedly. If it were up to him, he would have already charged at these men, but because of Wu Ai, they were engaging in this ridiculous discussion.
     
    “Not only will we surrender our bags of holding to you, Fellow Daoists, we will drain all of our spiritual energy,” the black-robed man suggested pleadingly. “That way, even if we decided to burn our life force, we should be of a little threat to you,” he added, trying to reason with the two.
     
    “Why should I take such a pointless gamble? I can avoid any gambling altogether by killing you right now,” the old man refused flat out. Seeing that his companion didn’t seem to be able to come to a swift decision, he rotated his Cultivation base as prepared to launch an attack, but then…
     
    “Fellow Daoist!” said another black-robed men, one who hadn’t spoken until now. He suddenly produced a strange amulet from his bag of holding. “The three of us were all given Last Wish talismans from our Master. If we use them, the talismans will start feeding on our own lives and in the end, our bodies will turn into nothing but withered corpses. However, for the space of ten breaths, the three of us will definitely be capable of fighting against the great circle of the Nascent Soul stage,” the man declared, cold determination shining in his eyes. For obvious reasons, he and his companions hadn’t considered using those last-resort items until now. However, if there truly was nothing but death for them, then they wouldn’t hesitate anymore!
     
    “If you force us, we will all attack you and ignore your companion. We might not be able to kill you, but you won’t escape unharmed either! Then, your fate will be all but sealed,” the black-robed man declared sternly, eyeing the old man with a hateful gaze.
     
    The old man’s expression distorted with rage; his patience was approaching its limit. However, he wasn’t so impulsive as to do something stupid like attacking the three men out of anger. Earlier, before he had a chance to see actually see the Spirit Severing pills, he might have been more inclined to take a risk and lower his chances in the following fight with Wu Ai, but now, he wasn’t so sure if that would be a good decision anymore.
     
    “I think your proposition is pretty sensible,” Wu Ai spoke with a light smile. “As long as you give up all your items, deplete your spiritual energy and let me seal you off with an item of mine to ensure you won’t pose any danger to us,” he proposed contentedly, happy to reach some kind of compromise instead of taking any more lives for no reason at all.
     
    The three men exchanged a few quick glances among themselves and reaffirmed that everyone agrees to that plan. “We shall do just that,” they said, then threw their bags of holding to Wu Ai. The one of them who had already withdrawn his Last Wish talisman reluctantly sent it to Wu Ai right afterwards, then, along with his companions, began releasing his spiritual energy up into the air, effectively emptying his Cultivation base.
     
    “Hmph.” The old man frowned again, then reprimanded the three men, “You’d better have used up all your strength. I know very well that one of you is of the late Nascent Soul stage and two are of the middle Nascent Soul stage,” he warned, not trusting the three men to keep their word at all. Sealing them with some treasure? When he and Wu Ai would be fighting in such confined space? A few randomly thrown magical techniques or one strong divine ability would be enough to break such a ‘barrier’ anyway. He hated this idea of Wu Ai’s  completely and thoroughly
     
    “So strong, but so naïve,” the old man thought to himself, watching the three men approach the platform where Wu Ai intended to ‘seal them’ for the time being. “It looks like today, I will need to do a favor for both of us,” the old man sighed, then without any warning, exploded forth with lightning and charged at the three disarmed men.
     
    The three black-robed men weren’t expecting to the old man to be so dishonorable as to attack them; they were taken off guard and had no time at all to react.
     
    “Wait!” Wu Ai yelled, performing an incantation gesture and employing a divine ability of his own, releasing a countless amount of seemingly harmless leaves in pursuit of the old man.
     
    “Damn youngster!” the old man cursed and shot out to the side, giving up on clashing with the three men. Even if it was him, getting hit in the back with a divine ability from another Cultivator of the great circle of the Nascent Soul stage would be a bit too much to take.
     
    The three frightened men could only watch as Wu Ai’s divine ability bore down on them. They fully expected to be killed, however… amazingly enough, the leaves passed by them, leaving nothing but a few small scars on their bodies!
     
    “I hoped that he would get rid of them for me… What an amazing degree of control.” The old man couldn’t help but praise in his heart. “No way but to attack head on?” he smirked, seeing the leafs return to Wu Ai and gather around his body. “Well, that’s what I’m best at!” he thought with a laugh, choosing to leave the three men, who hurried to hide behind the platform.
     
    “Don’t die with the first blow, now!” the old man shouted mockingly, focusing and entering a state similar to a battle trance. As he shot towards Wu Ai, he suddenly crossed his hands and, shockingly, created two great swords of lightning, each over thirty meters long! He slashed horizontally, aiming at Wu Ai’s lower waist and torso, attacking with a speed that far surpassed anything below the Spirit Severing level.
     
    Wu Ai’s eyes went wide as he saw the old man opt for something similar to the physical attacks that his nephew was so fond of. There was barely any time to react; the two gigantic swords of lightning crackled through the air from both sides. Wu Ai acted intuitively, shooting upwards and, at the same time, leaned to the side, concentrating his defense in one spot.
     
    He gritted his teeth as he poured more spiritual energy into the barrier of green leaves, enabling him to just slide out of the way of the uppermost of the two lightning swords. This bought him a miniscule amount of time.

    “What frightening power and speed, I can’t afford to take any clean hits at all.” Wu Ai shivered, but kept his calm. “Well, my turn!” he said to himself and pointed his hand at the old man who, having swung completely wild just now, was wide open defesively and still flying in his direction…
     
    The old man couldn’t hide his surprise. “What a freak, he can actually dodge so agilely?” He thought. Up until this day, he had killed countless arrogant Cultivators in the same manner. Even those of the great circle of the Nascent Soul who he fought with all sustained heavy injuries with this one strike, but Wu Ai escaped it unharmed…?!
     
    “No time to be amazed.” The old man smirked as a maelstrom of leaves shot toward him. He didn’t need to think twice about what to do, instantly, he used his sword-like magical technique to dispel and the next moment, increased the output of his divine ability. His eyes shone brightly as the lightning covering his body roared and burst out in every direction, shattering Wu Ai’s magical technique into nothingness and expanding even further, all the way to the distance of one hundred meters.
     
    “With that, he should be…!” the old man readied himself to once again create swords of lightning, however… “Not here?!” he gasped, then frantically began looking around. “Damn it, his goal wasn’t to kill me with this mediocre attack, but to make me lose sight of him!” the old man cursed, realizing how much of a disadvantage he was now in due to forgetting about the restrictions this strange place placed on his Divine Sense.

    “Lotus Flower Bed,” a tranquil voice reached the old man’s earls along with a surge of and immensely powerful aura, which seemed as if it were… not suffocating him, but coiling around his body and suppressing his Cultivation base!
     
    “What ridiculous ability is this...?!” the old man shouted, sighting Wu Ai and the huge lotus flower blooming under his feet. However, the very next second, he understood. It wasn’t just any normal divine ability, it was a technique that attempted to manipulate natural law; in other words, it was a means of trying to break through and complete the last step necessary to start the Spirit Severing!
     
    “Since you’re going all out… then so shall I!” the old man roused his Cultivation base, pushing it to the limits. His strength started climbing, but contrary to what one might expect, the lightning surrounding his body grew more scarce and finally, disappeared. At the same time, the white glow in the old man’s eyes seemed to have stabilized, now only emanating a weak, white aura.
     
    “White Tiger…” the old man murmured as his body suddenly flickered, moving so fast that a hazy afterimage was left in the original spot he had been at.
     
    The side of old man’s lips quirked upwards the moment he appeared at Wu Ai’s side and chopped down with his hand, instantaneously creating a thin, two meter long blade of densely concentrated lightning. Yet, the old man noticed how Wu Ai’s gaze flickered and landed upon him; at the exact same moment, hundreds of small lotus flowers blossomed in the air and met the lightning sword.
     
    “Break!” the old man willed, pushing with all his strength. As the power of his aura surged upward, the old man again began losing control over his divine technique; hundreds of lightning bolts surged forth from his body, striking through the whole spherical dimension and disappearing in the walls of flames.
     
    “What incredible power! They’re monsters!” one of the black-cloaked men groaned, sticking as close to the treasure-protecting barrier in the middle of this otherwise empty space. He was frightened out of his wits. Thinking about his earlier notion of attacking these two, he realized that it was like some kind of bad joke. The Last Wish talismans? Even with them, he and his two companions would perish instantly in face of such indescribable power!
     
    The old man flinched when he realized that he was unable to break through Wu Ai’s defenses. To make matters worse, hundreds more lotus flowers started blooming in the air around him and began grinding against his armor of lightning. Of course, the petals weren’t strong enough to harm him, but they seemed to be regrowing endlessly and swarming around him in ever larger numbers, making him expend a vast quantities of energy to keep blocking them.
     
    “I can’t let this continue. If we go on like this, the fight will become a battle of endurance. The one with more spiritual energy and the most efficient method of employing it will win,” the old man quickly recognized that in this situation, such a conclusion would be unfavorable for him. Although he and Wu Ai were probably about equal as far as raw spiritual energy went, it was obvious whose methods were less wasteful.
     
    “No other way than to do THAT, and hope it will be enough!” the old man frowned, then withdrew his hand and then struck out with his palm. The lightning exploded once more, spreading in every direction. However, the result was the same; Wu Ai’s defense didn’t budge… despite that, the old man smiled. Slowly but steadily, he pushed onwards… he was actually gaining speed and driving Wu Ai into the sphere of flames!
     
    “This is bad…” Wu Ai said to himself, but at the same time, he noticed that he was surprisingly calm. “Lotus Flower Bed… My First Severing…” he began musing, the images of the time he spent with his family flashing before his eyes. “The lotus is an embodiment of severing mortality… but it will only help me, not control me. Many people believe that one needs to sever something precious, but again, that is truth and falsehood at the same time.” Wu Ai kept thinking silently, paying less and less attention to the world around him.
     
    “I shall never Sever something so precious to me. I won’t act against my character to gain power. That is a path that I would rather die than take… and also, a path that would ultimately lead to failure.” Wu Ai suddenly realized the simple truth. As he kept pushing his Cultivation base, the little bit of enlightenment caused a tremor to run through his body.
     
    “My First Severing may be somewhat selfish… It’s quite subjective… but nevertheless, THAT is what I shall Sever!” Wu Ai smiled, not even noticing that he had stopped moving but a few meters away from the sphere of flames.

    “I shall Sever… All that is evil within me…!” Wu Ai roared, his voice shaking the minor dimension, causing ripples in space to appear around him.

    “He’s breaking through…!” the old man stared at Wu Ai. Having used up all of his spiritual power in the earlier, desperate struggle, he was now breathing heavily. “Still, he won’t find it easy… he should be running on his last scraps of energy, too. He’ll definitely fail!” Almost as if in response to the old man’s thoughts, Wu Ai’s mind trembled. At this point, it was hard to say whether he would succeed in his Spirit Severing or not.
     
    “It’s lucky that he’s completely absorbed in his breakthrough. He didn’t even finish me off,” the old man chuckled, throwing a handful of medicinal pills into his mouth and at the same time, withdrawing his most powerful treasure from his bag of holding. “It’s a pity that I don’t have anything better, but this will have to do.” The old man’s fist tightened around the small ball of glass he had just produced. It shattered, releasing a mass of lightning which scattered around him, forming into a twenty meter long tiger.
     
    “Hmph, it’s not as strong as when I employ it myself, but this will need to do.” the old man frowned, directing the magical technique to strike at Wu Ai.
     
    The lightning tiger seemed to roar as it slammed into Wi Ai. The moment it collided with him, the old man intentionally caused the tiger to explode.
     
    The half-conscious Wu Ai didn’t resist at all, allowing himself to be pushed directly into the sphere of deadly flames. The moment he merged into the hellfire, the majestic presence of Spirit Severing disappeared from the dimension. These flames, after all, were something that only somebody at the Dao-Seeking stage could hope to resist… Wu Ai, who was only trying to complete his first Spirit Severing, was incapable of withstanding them for even a split second.
     
    “So in the end, the one who succeeded in gaining his insight is also the one who ended up losing, eh?” the old man mused, finding the result of this battle to be pretty laughable. Perhaps, had he not needed to pay attention to the three pests that were still alive, then he too would have gained some insights… then, the battle could have ended very differently.
     
    “This time, fate wasn’t on your side, my friend,” the old man sighed, feeling somewhat unsatisfied with the anticlimactic ending to this fight. He would have much more preferred an epic duel, but it ended up being somewhat disappointed. “I guess I need to console myself with a prize,” the old man smiled a little, gazing at the three black-cloaked men.
     
    Having recovered some of his spiritual energy, the old man flew over to the three weakened men. He was a bit worried that they might have hidden some treasures on their bodies, or even have some pills in their mouths… but, the three weren’t cunning or smart enough to foresee that they would end up in this situation. Although they tried to resist their deaths by burning their life force to fight him, killing them was as easy as strangling chickens.
     
    “So tired…” the old man moaned, feeling his life force grow considerably weaker. He didn’t have much longevity left to begin with and after going all out in his fight with Wu Ai, then finishing off those three weaklings, he didn’t have much more of it left. At best, he had around half of the sixty year old cycle left to live.
     
    “Oh, looks like it disappeared.” the old man murmured, finally able to enter the platform. “I wonder if I could have taken all three treasures if I had all three kind of keys?” he wondered, quite bitter about the fact that he hadn’t thought about getting one of the keys sooner. Regrettably, the black key of Wu Ai’s and the silver keys of the three men were all burned in the sphere of flames just now, there was nothing he could do about it.
     
    “I’ll just have to be satisfied with what I can get,” the old man told himself, putting the golden key into the corresponding lock and turning it, gazing at the three Spirit Severing pills he was about to obtain. Yet, the moment he tried to unlock the case, a surge of golden energy engulfed him, for some reason, mixed with a few strands of black…
     
    The next second, the old man was no more. The dimension became quiet, as if nothing had even happened. Of course, the three treasures, the Spirit Severing Pills, the thin silver blade and the little black dragon remained in their places, not taken by anybody.
     
    Suddenly, three young boys materialized on the platform. The golden-haired boy was smiling, the silver-haired youth had a little frown on his face, while the black-haired one seemed to not care at all.
     
    “With that, it’s four hundred and twenty-seven wins for me and only three hundred eighty seven for you,” the golden-haired boy teased, looking at his silver-haired brother.
     
    “Yeah, yeah…” the silver-haired youth replied, trying to make it look as if he didn’t care, but in reality, his brother was annoying him quite a bit.
     
    “Hey, don’t you think it’s about time you start trying a bit harder, little brother?” the golden-haired boy said to the black-haired youth, who wasn’t paying much attention to the conversation. “You’ve only won eighty-three times so far, you aren’t even trying!” he complained, but for some reason, spoke in a fairly careful tone.
     
    “The matter of who won the most and the least aside,” the silver-haired youth turned to look at his black-haired brother and questioned. “What was that, in the end? You broke the rules two times. You know that elder brother won’t be happy!”
     
    The black-haired youth’s expression changed as he raised his gaze and looked his silver-haired brother in the eye. “So, does that mean that you want to tell on me? You sure about that?” the black-haired kid asked with a little smirk on his face, appearing to be amused by the idea.
     
    “N-no! I didn’t mean…” the silver-haired youth’s confidence disappeared instantly. His little brother was rarely serious about anything, but when he made up his mind to do something, he could be quite frightening.
     
    “Good, then. See you the next time, eighth brother, seventh brother,” the black-haired boy laughed, taking the little black dragon into his arms and teleporting away.
     
    “Ai, you angered our little brother. Don’t you know better?” the golden-haired youth laughed, then waved his hand and collected the three Spirit Severing pills and similarly made his departure.
     
    “You don’t need to be telling me… This little monster, I hope he won’t pout at me for too long…” the silver-haired youth murmured, grabbing the thin silver sword and just like his two brothers, left the dimension.
  • Sorry for taking a while to post this update, the long weekend took its toll and I was unable to finish editing it until just now. Last chapter had tons of typos, so please feel free to point out any you see.
  • well, we know Wu Ai isn't going to reach Spirit Severing, right?  Because of what's happened in ISSTH
    You're right, and that's no spoiler. Haha.
    ... ^.^
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • honestly, I'm half-expecting that kid to have somehow saved Wu Ai, lol.
    Absolute Choice is the first novel that I've read on Wuxiaworld that I genuinely do not like.
  • Started out good. You can see the style of writing is more akin to an American novel than xanxia. Unfortunately the tone is completely different than the issth world. 
    1. Nascent soul experts have many kids, they are detached because they have lived many years. In this story wu ai is a loving father and uncle, something nascent soul cultivators don't have the time to be. He is too involved in village life, which an elder of this world wouldn't be. Even when it comes to taking care of  family. 
    2. Wu Ai is unsure of himself, which is weird because he is not just any cultivator, but an old experienced one: hence having reached nascent soul. 
    3. The western desert lacks resources, hence they have totems. Some how little kids life wu bai n the kid he kills seem to have lots of healing pills. 

    Just pointing out things that make the story inconsistent with the issth world. Overall still a great read, until we shift over to wu Ai arc. 

    Thanks for all your hard work Caladblog!
    Can't wait to read when we shift back over to wu bai
  • Hey man! Thanks for some feedback :) We are going back to Wu Bai in the very next chapter, so no worries about it. :)

    If you want to chat about the things you pointed out, write me a private message ^.^


    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • Chapter 17: The Mysterious Dragoneer.
     
    “Can’t you two just make up already? Really, it’s like your bodies have grown bigger, but on the inside, you’re still just kids…” Wu Hai moaned, stepping between the two young men who looked like they were about to start exchanging blows. He had been dealing with this annoying situation for more than three years now, but finally he couldn’t take it anymore. He hoped that if he made the two talk it out, they would at the very least try to get along, but apparently, the two were too stubborn…
     
    “Really, they are both over twenty, but are still so childish… I wish Greatfather Wu Ai and his wife were still around. After she left to search for his husband, there’s no one who can put these two in place or reason with them…” Wu Hai sighed inwardly, sometimes beginning to wish that it was someone else who would need to babysit these two.
     
    “’We’re kids?” Wu Bai asked sarcastically, the side of his lips quirking upwards into a smirk. Crossing his arms over his chest, he gave Wu Chen a scornful look. “We both know that Wu Chen is a complete idiot who instead of stepping down gracefully from the top to avoid trouble, he tries to keep his old venerated position and even goes as far as to rack up huge debts for ridiculous reasons. It’s because of his irresponsible behavior that other families are trying constantly trying to push as around, instead of just letting us be.
     
    “Who in the world cares whether or not you have a strong neo-demon companion to show off?” Wu Bai questioned, raising the tone of his voice. “Who cares if you’re slower in cultivation due to having less resources?” he pointed out, getting angrier with each word that came out of his mouth… however, he then sighed and bitterly said, “If not for Wu Ling, you would have ruined our family ten times over. Really, I don’t understand what you’re thinking. Can’t you learn to be happy with what you have?” he asked somewhat resignedly. He didn’t expect Wu Chen to come to understand his arguments anymore, not after they failed to resonate with him for well over three long years…
     
    “Be satisfied with what I have, eh? Says someone who nearly killed himself and the girl he liked because of the very same reasons, twice. What a hypocrite.” Wu Chen pointed out bluntly. Wu Bai suddenly lunged forward, only to be held back by Wu Hai. 

    “What, getting angry, you hypocrite?” sneered Wu Chen. “Want to fight like the last time? Come on, I’ll beat your ass up again!” Wu Chen provoked further, knowing that his cousin couldn’t compete with him, a Cultivator at the eighth level of Qi Condensation.
     
    “Oh, you so sure about that?” Wu Bai backed off a few steps, annoyed at being held back by Wu Hai. With an unsightly look on his face, he placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. “If I went for the kill, what do you think would happen?” he asked in a low voice, truly infuriated by those ridiculous remarks of his cousin.

    Responding to Wu Bai’s leaking murderous aura, the nearby black wolf rose to his feet and started growling, his gaze fixed on Wu Chen. After ten years, the wolf had grown considerably larger and was now quite a bit taller than an adult human and most importantly, he had also advanced all the way to level three neo demon! Being just a step from advancing to level four, the black wolf could effortlessly tip the scales if he joined the fight between Wu Bai and Wu Chen.
     
    “The same thing would happen as last time,” Wu Chen said with a laugh. “You would be stuck on the ground, defending my attacks until you fell,” he stated confidently, not fearing Wu Bai’s black wolf. As long as the beast didn’t advance to level four neo-demon, dealing with it wouldn’t be too hard for him. After all, neo-demons were inheritably weaker than humans of the comparable cultivation level.
     
    “Argh, damn it!” Wu Hai cursed, stomping the ground and displaying the strength of late Foundation Establishment, causing the two young men to tumble away by a few meters. “Whatever. I give up, it’s hopeless! Just screw off, both of you!” he shouted, caring little about whether his words were appropriate or not, considering his position in the Tribe.
     
    Wu Bai and Wu Chen exchanged a hateful gaze. Despite Wu Hai’s attempt to break them apart, the two of them were itching to start a fight at that very moment. As far as the two of them were concerned, it had been too long since the other started behaving in an unacceptable way. Both Wu Bai and Wu Chen were beginning to think that settling everything with one final fight wouldn’t be that bad of a choice.
     
    However, what ended up distracting them, was the sudden yelp of the black wolf, who cowered on the ground, seemingly in pain. “Black one, what’s wrong?” Wu Bai immediately stopped paying attention to Wu Chen and walked up to his neo-demon companion. As he approached, Wu Bai frowned when he noticed something that looked like a black-colored Qi nearing the wolf. He chopped with his hand and dispersed the few strands that were approaching the black wolf.
     
    When the black Qi disappeared, the black wolf stopped shaking. He looked up at Wu Bai gratefully and happily received a pat on his large head.
     
    “What’s going on in the village?” Wu Bai asked loudly, sensing a powerful aura engulfing the whole Tribe. The next second, he nearly jumped up in response to an ear-piercing roar of a powerful neo-demon.
     
    “That’s… the cry of the Outlander Beast!” Wu Hai shouted, recognizing the aura of a neo-demon who had grown to be as powerful as level eleven!
     
    However, that wasn’t end to the surprises. The next second, hundreds of thousands of neo-demons from the surrounding great forest began roaring, and all of them began heading straight towards the Crow Scout Tribe. Under an assault of hundreds of thousands beasts, even a great Tribe would be in a peril, not to speak of a relatively weak branch of the former Crow Divinity Tribe!

    The three men had little time to express themselves, as the situation kept escalating at a frightening rate. Just when they assumed that it couldn’t get any worse, the Holy Land of their Crow Divinity Tribes awakened and along with a five-colored light that covered all five Tribes. A black crow appeared and screeched, releasing an unstoppable outburst of energy that transformed into tempest, which in turn began subduing and slaughtering the countless neo-demons, turning the great forest into one large bloodbath.
     
    “It’s actually avoiding us,” Wu Bai sighed with relief, seeing how the winds didn’t harm the three of them, nor the black wolf at his side. “The legendary protector of our Tribes, the Crow Divinity… So that’s the power of Spirit Severing…” he mused quietly as he mounted the black wolf and set off to the village, leaving Wu Chen and Wu Hai behind, worrying that something might happen to Liang Nuan in amidst this chaos.
     
    ---
     
    “That black Qi disappeared,” Wu Bai noted to himself, riding straight to his residence in the village. He and Liang Nuan hadn’t felt comfortable living in the mansion of the Wu family, so four years ago, the two of them moved out and settled near the trading district, in one of the more peaceful and pleasant to live places in the whole Tribe.

    “Thanks, black one.” Wu Bai jumped to the ground, leaving his black wolf to rest in the fairly spacious courtyard of the residence.

    “Quite a ruckus, right?” Liang Nuan called out with a smile, waiting by the entrance. 

    “Yeah, but everything should be fine,” Wu Bai explained. “The Crow Divinity intervened so the neo-demon horde is being restrained in the forest.”
     
    “All good then. Since you’re here, want to have some tea inside? You can tell me how it went with Wu Chen, too,” she suggested lightheartedly, keeping her cool as she always did. She chuckled, seeing Wu Bai’s expression change at the mention of his cousin.
     
    “I don’t like him too much either, but he is family, right? Didn’t your uncle used to say that a lot, that family members needs to help each other out?” she reminded in a gentle voice, aware that Wu Bai had trouble accepting that his uncle was gone and would likely never return.
     
    “Or maybe, you want to talk about when we’re finally going to get married, huh?” she asked humorously, turning around and walking inside first.
     
    Wu Bai laughed helplessly, then follow Liang Nuan, wondering if he really should stop worrying about the future and consider having children of his own…
     
    ---
     
    “What did Wu Chen do?!” Wu Bai unintentionally raised his voice as he stood up and nearly knocked over the table.
     
    “You heard me. He gave the totem branding technique of our Tribe to some neo-demon Kennelist,” Liang Nuan explained, feeling both resigned and angered at the same time. “You hardly ever visit them anymore, so you probably haven’t heard about it, but Wu Ali tried to forcefully take the totem medallion that his father left behind before departing.” She smiled faintly when she saw Wu Bai flinch in response. Such a reaction meant that he still cared about his family and wasn’t pushing them away because of his conflict with Wu Chen.

    “The dispute will be settled by a neo-demon duel. Wu Ling made sure to get Grandmaster Shui Mu’s help, but Wu Chen refused to back down. He went so far as to beg that same deceitful Kennelist for help, and in front of all the vassals of the Tribe…” Liang Nuan completed the explanation, not getting into specific details as there was hardly any time for that.

    “If you want to watch, then you’d better hurry. The neo-demon duel is going to start soon.”
     
    Wu Bai frowned. For some reason, he thought back to the events from half a year ago and the strange black Qi that engulfed the village. He had tried to track the source of the strange Qi, but to no avail. Even after walking around the village, he no longer could feel any apparent trace of it. Yet, something told him that this Kennelist who impressed Wu Chen to such an extent must have had a part in the incident.
     
     “Yeah, let’s go. Thanks for telling me,” Wu Bai answered almost mechanically, somewhat lost in his own thoughts.
     
    The two of them instantly made their way out of the residence and up the mountain.
     
    ---
     
    Having merged with the large crowd, Wu Bai couldn’t help but sigh as he listened to the disparaging comments the fellow members of the Tribe were making about Wu Chen. 

    “Ten years ago, it was me who they called trash… now, you’re the target,” he thought resignedly. “That’s only because you keep refusing to back down, keep poking your nose where it doesn’t belong to…” He tied the strings of his hood, making sure that a random gust of wind wouldn’t whip it open and reveal his face.
     
    He watched the spectacle silently, not all that surprised by the loss of Shui Mu’s Greenwood Snake. As someone who had spent a long time around neo-demons, Wu Bai could tell at a single glance that the ‘horn’ which the supposed the ‘Grandmaster’ Shui Mu called a mutation was in fact an artificial addition. It probably would make the neo-demon weaker than it could be.
     
    “That some of those who dare to call themselves Dragoneers come up with such stupid ideas…” Wu Bai sighed, listening in to the angry conversation between Wu Ling and Shui Mu.
     
    “Eh, it’s not like I can’t understand Wu Chen… Had I been stronger, I would have loved to teach all those arrogant buffoons a lesson, be it Shui Mu or Wu Ali, even if only for Wu Ling’s sake… but our strength is limited. We need to grit our teeth and bear with it, until the day when we are powerful enough to tread our own paths!” Wu Bai tried to convince himself of what he was saying, but even still, he felt incredibly frustrated. No matter what, he owed a great debt of gratitude to his uncle. Whatever the situation may be, he really should have stuck with Wu Chen and should have done everything in his strength to help him…
     
    A sudden roar of many shocked voices brought Wu Bai back to reality. “Mutated Greenwood Wolf?” Wu Bai murmured, looking at the wolf who apparently, had just slaughtered Wu Ali’s Greenwood Bat in one blow? Even though both were level two neo-demons, one killed the other in an instant?
     
    “This Dragoneer… he must be one of the new Vassals of the Tribe. Can it be that he is somehow related to that black Qi from six months ago?” Wu Bai mused, getting interested in this scholarly-looking man. He observed the unfolding events with great interest, amused by the exchange of words between Shui Mu and the mysterious Dragoneer.
     
    “Poor idiot, he can’t tell that all of those five Greenwood Wolves are mutated even though he is a ‘Grandmaster?’ What a joke,” Wu Bai chuckled, making use of his unfair advantage of being able to sense Qi and spiritual energy without making use of Spiritual Sense. He didn’t need to worry about being discovered when probing Cultivators and neo-demons, or so he thought. Suddenly, the scholarly-looking man turned his head and looked directly at him.
     
    “He couldn’t have noticed anything! It must be a coincidence!” Wu Bai assumed instantly and simply nodded toward the mysterious owner of the mutated Greenwood Wolves, making sure that his expression remained natural.
     
    “What a strange man… he’s concealing his Cultivation base. What he’s showing everyone is only mid Foundation Establishment, but in reality, he is of the great circle of Core Formation!” Wu Bai was growing more and more interested in the scholarly man, who had just made another of his neo-demons kill Wu Ali’s poisonous bat and proceeded to display the power of his five wolves to everyone, destroying any face Shui Mu might have had in a loud, open discussion with him.
     
    “Haha, I have no idea who this man is, but it feels great to have Shui Mu and Wu Ali being trashed by him.” Wu Bai held back a laugh, smiling widely.
     
    “Those four Greenwood Wolves will be given to me, Mo Fang!”
     
    Wu Bai, just like everyone else, turned to look at the black-robed middle-aged man who was casually striding down the mountain.
     
    “A level five Dragoneer… Haha, it will be amusing to see him getting crushed, too. After that, I will need to have a chat with this mysterious man who can easily make his neo-demons mutate and grow in strength.” Wu Bai wondered if it was a safe idea to approach the mysterious Dragoneer alone.
     
    “With that man’s aid, maybe Wu Chen could regain the position within our Tribe that he so desires…” The thought surfaced in Wu Bai’s head, resulting in him releasing a long sigh. “No point thinking about it now. I’ll watch the neo-demon contest until the end, then decide what to do.” With that, he focused his concentration on the competition.
     
    “Oh, this is going to be interesting.” Wu Bai raised his eyebrows. From the looks of it, Mo Fang was about to start trying to make the mutated Greenwood Wolves abandon their Master to follow him. However, would he truly manage to do that? For one reason or another, Wu Bai sincerely doubted that Mo Fang would accomplish anything but making a fool out of himself.
     
    “If that huge outburst of strange, black Qi was doing of this scholarly Dragoneer here, then Mo Fang is doomed.” Wu Bai laughed quietly, watching how Mo Fang was taking one treasure after another to attract the Greenwood Wolves, so far without any success whatsoever.
  • Oooh, now we are getting there! I have to say that this is really exciting and interesting to read. I keep my eyes peeled for further chapters! :D
  • Chapter 18: A Cup of Alcohol
     
    “Poor guy, I’m starting to pity him a little…” Wu Bai thought to himself all the while trying to not chuckle too hard. Seeing someone as arrogant as Mo Fang embarrass himself in front of so many people was definitely one of the more amusing and funny things he had seen in the last few years. Even the supposed ‘Demon Nurturing Pill’ that Mo Fang pulled out with such great confidence ended up alluring only ordinary neo-demons, while the Greenwood Wolves of the mysterious Dragoneer payed it no attention and kept playing with each other.
     
    “The strongest of them is so bored that he’s sleeping, so unlike the black one. He won’t ever stay put and always want to play with me.” The random thought passed through Wu Bai’s mind as the scholarly Dragoneer demanded his turn at subduing Mo Fang’s neo-demons. “How is he going to do that?” Wu Bai wondered, anticipating some amazing development.
     
    “To become one of Meng Hao’s neo-demons can only be described as luck and good fortune. I’ll give you the space of three breaths to decide. If you want to follow me, come over here.”
     
    “So his name is Meng Hao…” Wu Bai mused with a light smile. The next moment, when he sensed the strange, black Qi being released by the scholarly Dragoneer Meng Hao, his eyes lit up. “So it really was him! Hah, good for Wu Chen to have quickly befriended somebody so powerful,” Wu Bai thought to himself, watching all the nearby neo-demons go crazy and try to join Meng Hao’s horde despite being restrained by their owners. As for Mo Fang’s neo-demons? They had long since rushed to Meng Hao’s side, abandoning their previous masters without a second thought.
     
    “This black Qi is apparently capable of making any neo-demon go mad. Since that’s the case, then this Meng Hao’s capabilities as a Dragoneer are definitely at the Grandmaster level. If he can control many neo-demons at once, too, then he could well be the most powerful Dragoneer in existence…” Wu Bai sighed a little, hoping that Meng Hao would take good care of Wu Chen.
     
    “He’ll probably help him out…” Wu Bai murmured quietly, but then he realized something, and the smile disappeared from his face. “That is, as long as Wu Ling doesn’t say something inappropriate,” he thought bitterly. “Heavens, from the Wu Ling has been treating Meng Hao, I wouldn’t be surprised if she already told him off… She has never been the type of person to pick her words carefully, especially when convinced she doesn’t need to…” Wu Bai worried silently, watching as Mo Fang released a level six neo-demon, which was quickly killed by the strongest of Meng Hao’s wolves.
     
    “White Wolf King. As expected, a really powerful neo-demon.” Wu Bai smiled a little, listening to the quick exchange of words between the Earth Priest and Meng Hao. “Frigid Snow Clan? They sure got convinced easily. Had uncle been here, he would have noticed that the tattoo is a bit different. Really, they focus on Cultivation so much that they don’t bother to study even a little…” Wu Bai shook his head. Seeing that Meng Hao left instead of sticking around, he also left the mountainside.
     
    “I guess I’ll talk with Wu Ling first, to get her take on the situation,” Wu Bai decided, trying to not do anything rash.
     
    ---
     
    “‘Don’t go talk to him,’ she says. ‘It’s dangerous,’ she says. But then, she goes to him alone just as night falls.” Wu Bai frowned as he rode the black wolf to the neo-demon Kennelist District. He hadn’t actually been paying attention too closely, but was so familiar with Wu Ling’s spiritual energy, that he had noticed the moment she left the mansion and headed out. Judging from the direction, she had to be going to Meng Hao’s residence.
     
    Knowing his older cousin’s character, Wu Bai was pretty sure that Wu Ling was going there with a really stupid idea in her head.
     
    “She’s inside,” Wu Bai noted to himself, stopping the black wolf a few hundred meters away. He proceeded forward on foot, assuming that no one would pay much attention to a mere mortal wandering around. Most likely, anyone who saw him would think that he was here to run some errand or deliver a message.
     
    It wasn’t as if many people would recognize him at the first glance either, since he had been keeping low profile for quite some years now. Most Cultivators in the Tribe had simply forgotten about his existence. To them, he was just another mortal living in the village.
     
    “I wish I could hear what they’re talking about, though,” Wu Bai murmured, trying to catch some words as he pretended to be fixing his shoe. He closed his eyes, concentrating on the scene developing inside the courtyard.
     
    Although Meng Hao’s place was protected by a barrier of energy, such a thing didn’t obstruct Wu Bai’s senses at all. As an Immortal Slayer, he reaped the benefits of staying hidden before any and all Cultivators. Thus, after a few seconds, he could already make out the figures of Meng Hao and Wu Ling quite clearly in his mind…
     
    Originally, Wu Bai didn’t suspect that anything too extreme would happen, but when Wu Ling unexpectedly removed her clothing, his expression instantly fell.
     
    “Did he actually demanded her body in exchange for whatever help she asked for?” As the question appeared in Wu Bai’s mind, he forced himself to hold back from slashing at the protective barrier. He well knew that somebody of Meng Hao’s level could kill him with a flick of his finger. Moreover, although he didn’t quite want to accept it, he also knew that it was Wu Ling’s choice. If she wanted to sell her body… then who was he to stop her? Here in the Crow Scout Tribe, one lone Dragoneer, no matter how powerful, wouldn’t be able to make her comply to his demands if she truly didn’t want to.
     
    However, as seconds passed, Wu Bai began to realize that Meng Hao wasn’t doing anything. He wasn’t even agitated or excited. It was as if there was no beautiful woman standing before him in her undergarments. “Don’t tell me she went ahead and stripped herself without being asked to… how far does she want to go for Wu Chen’s sake?” Wu Bai clicked his tongue, getting agitated for yet another reason.
     
    He was still crouching in the empty road, no longer caring if he appeared to be somewhat suspicious or not.
     
    “He took something from her…?” Wu Bai frowned, unable to tell what was going on inside in such a detail. “His internal energy suddenly roared up, but it looks like it’s trying to suppress something…?” The next second, Wu Bai started a little, realizing that Wu Ling had put her clothes back on and was about to leave.
     
    Yet, before he could even try to hide himself, she simply flew out and headed back to her mansion. She didn’t even notice him crouching besides the courtyard.
     
    “Lucky… She would have been furious if she found me out; it will be much better to talk with her later.” Wu Bai thought with a sigh. He was about to turn and leave, when the barrier surrounding Meng Hao’s courtyard disappeared and a calm voice spoke from inside.
     
    “You’ve been standing there and spying on me for quite a while. Why don’t you come in?” Meng Hao asked, apparently intrigued by Wu Bai’s peculiar behavior.
     
    “….!” Startled by the sudden words, Wu Bai swallowed and, having no other choice, entered the courtyard. As he entered, Wu Bai couldn’t help but recall the time when Meng Hao glanced at him during the neo-demon competition. He didn’t think it was possible, but could this scholarly man really have known that he was observing him? Could he have noticed the peculiar ‘Spiritual Sense’ of an Immortal Slayer, both back then and now?
     
    “No matter how I look at you, you seem like a normal human to me. Yet, you seem to possess some strange kind of Spiritual Sense, or perhaps Divine Sense…” Meng Hao mused aloud, taking a better look at Wu Bai. “You look a lot like Wu Chen, are you related to him?” he asked.
     
    “My name is Wu Bai, I’m Wu Chen’s and Wu Ling’s cousin,” Wu Bai replied straightforwardly. Meng Hao seemed surprised that he skipped all the honorifics like ‘Grandmaster’ and the like.

    Wu Chen suddenly felt his throat grow dry. Had he offended the man? 

    Meng Hao looked surprised for a moment, but then his face went calm. Wu Bai couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking.
     
    “If you don’t want to tell me more, it’s fine,” Meng Hao continued, seeing the awkward look on Wu Bai’s face. “I’ve already received something satisfactory from Wu Ling, so I’ll support your family. However, I am also interested in this ability of yours,” he explained unhurriedly. “If there’s anything you want in exchange for telling me...?” he asked, suggesting to trade for Wu Bai’s knowledge.
     
    Wu Bai was a bit confused by Meng Hao’s calm and collected attitude, but he quickly pulled himself together. For a second, he even wondered if there wasn’t something he’d really want to get for himself … but after all, it wasn’t worth it. He had too many things to lose in case his personal information got leaked out to other Tribes. His current life wasn’t bad; there was no reason to suddenly start speaking to others about his abilities.
     
    “It’s nothing really,” Wu Bai answered, regretting that he had been careless enough to let Meng Hao find out anything at all.
     
    “I see.” Meng Hao sighed a little. 

    Wu Bai swallowed again. Meng Hao seemed interested, but not to the point of being willing to force it out of him. Maybe it would have been a different story if Wu Bai made a move against him, or was fundamentally a bad person. Although Meng Hao seemed to radiate ruthlesss coldness, there was something about him that made Wu Bai sure that he wasn’t evil.

    “Is there anything else?” Wu Bai asked cautiously. He had a feeling that he didn’t need to fear Meng Hao, but there was also something telling him to be wary. He might appear to be a simple scholar, but clearly was holding onto many secrets. The strange black Qi that could make any neo-demon go mad, strange neo-demons that were capable of driving the Outlander Beast away, the totemic legacy he had received from their Tribal ancestor; and those were only the few things Wu Bai was aware of.
     
    “No… I was just thinking,” Meng Hao said with a quiet sigh. “You make me think about my past, when I was still just a scholar trying to pass the Imperial examinations...” Meng Hao explained with a smile that couldn’t be called happy or bitter. “What is it, you look so surprised?” he asked with a light chuckle.
     
    “No, it’s just... for somebody who started out as an ordinary mortal to reach your level without support of any powerful organization, it’s unthinkable,” Wu Bai replied absentmindedly. He thought he had gotten over his frustrations because his lack of strength, but apparently, he hadn’t yet forsaken dreams about shaking Heaven and Earth…
     
    “Who says there is no power behind me?” Meng Hao asked with a wry smile, giving Wu Bai an amused look. “You like jumping to conclusions,” he commented with a light smile, not revealing whether Wu Bai’s assumption was a correct one or not.
     
    “…” Wu Bai didn’t know what to say, so he asked instead. “Why are you chatting with me? You don’t seem like the most talkative person…”
     
    “Who knows?” Meng Hao replied with a light smile. “Maybe I just felt like having a normal chat,” he said truthfully and produced a jug of alcohol from his bag of holding, along with two small cups. “Stay? Leave?” he asked, giving Wu Bai an anticipating look.
     
    “I’ll stay,” Wu Bai replied after a brief moment of thought. If anything, building a good relationship with Meng Hao would be of benefit to him, so he saw no reason to refuse. He sat down in front of Meng Hao, feeling a bit awkward about the situation. He observed how Meng Hao poured the alcohol, then took a cup, nodding in thanks. As he took a sip, Wu Bai’s eyes went.
     
    “Good, isn’t it?” Meng Hao asked, drinking some of the alochol himself.
     
    “Yeah, it’s well-flavored,” Wu Bai replied stiffly, beginning to wonder if staying here really was a good idea after all. “So, you said you were a scholar?” he asked, trying to get the conversation going.
     
    “Yeah, I even failed the national exams three times in a row,” Meng Hao laughed, refilling the empty cups. “Luckily, even a failed academic can do something constructive with his live,” he added jokingly, trying to lighten up the mood.
     
    “You know, this behavior just doesn’t seem to suit you…” Wu Bai said with a sigh, sipping down more of Meng Hao’s alcohol.
     
    “What can I say? I’ve always been a loner. Leading a casual chat isn’t my strongest point.” Meng Hao shrugged his shoulders, seemingly unsure of he had decided to talk with Wu Bai in the first place.
     
    “A loner, huh.” Wu Bai tried to relax and stop worrying about appearances, but in presence of someone like Meng Hao, it wasn’t easy. “So you didn’t have any siblings or cousins?” he asked, hoping to get used to talking with the mysterious man sooner or later.
     
    “My parents died when I was young. My uncle brought me up alone,” Meng Hao stated clearly, getting into somewhat of a melancholic mood.

    Seeing that these few words weren’t a brief introduction, but the whole story, Wu Bai chuckled and said, “You really aren’t much of a conversationalist are you? Well anyway, it looks like we have at least one thing in common.” Wu Bai smiled grimly. “Both of us were raised by our uncles.” He downed the small cup of alcohol and then, instead of waiting for Meng Hao to speak up, started telling his story himself.

  • Ayy little Haowie enter's the fray
    Thanks for the chapter!
Sign In or Register to comment.