Lord Fifth said:@RWXI was wondering if there are novels here you have your eye on.
@RWXI was wondering if there are novels here you have your eye on.
Mooncake said:Thanks NightQuil52, yogorojo, and Ren for stopping by. @Ren: Thanks for the luck. I'll be back writing on these forums once this current novel is done ^.^ @EliteHaz: I really hope what you said is true Caladbolg is really the guy on these forums who deserves a front-page spot the most (no offense to any other writer) but I just think that Caladbolg has the best combination of writing skill and punctuality in releasing chapters. I've said in one of my streams before that he'd be my pick to go through.If you're tricking me by any chance, then I'm gonna be really sad Also Ren, if you stop by again, could you close this topic? I don't want to take up valuable front-page forum space that could be used for someone's novel.Thanks everyone I'm not gonna respond to this topic anymore. I'll still be lurking around the forums though I love this space.
The teacher led Jia Yuan to a far building in the estate. Although it was far from the pool of water, it was by far the largest building in the estate.
Walking into the building, Jia Yuan was simultaneously filled with awe and a feeling of foreboding.
Jia Yuan cleared his throat. “Umm…teacher. I won’t have to read all of these, right?”
The teacher nodded. “Nope, only the first 40 shelves of them.”
Jia Yuan paused, feeling as if he was about to faint. “Teacher? 40??? Shelves???”
The teacher nodded. “You better get a move on.” Upon saying this, the teacher left the building, whistling an uplifting tune as he strolled away.
Jia Yuan shouted. “Ya! What if I burn all of your books and scrolls???”
The teacher shouted back. “Then I’ll kill you!”
Jia Yuan sighed and accepted his fate. He walked toward the first shelf that the teacher had pointed to.
He reached up and pulled out the first book on the shelf and brought it to the center of the building, where a reading table had already been set up.
Hmm…History of the Water Kingdom.
Well, what the hell.
Jia Yuan began to read the book. During their time at BlueFire City, Guo Huo had taught Jia Yuan how to read a little. Although he had some trouble with some of the words, he was able to understand the book for the most part.
The book was actually more interesting than he had thought it would be!
He read about the rise and fall of kings and queens, how various generals had dominated the continent, only to fall as yet another general rose to take their place.
However, when he got to the history from about 500 years ago, there was a sudden lack of information until about 50 years after. Jia Yuan didn’t think much of it. Maybe there was just a lack of interesting things happening in that time period.
Jia Yuan finished the book, then moved on to the next one.
Hmm…History of the Fire Kingdom. Interesting…
Jia Yuan read through the book. For the most part, the history written in this book similar to that of the Water Kingdom. It spoke of kings and queens, generals, wars won and lost… (mostly won)
But yet again, when he reached the time period of 500 years ago, suddenly there was a lack of information.
Jia Yuan was somewhat confused and felt a headache coming. He mumbled out loud. “Oh come on, did ANYTHING happen 500 years ago? Or did everyone just decide to band together and plant flowers?”
He continued to grumble as he read on.
After a bit, he returned the book to the shelf.
The next thing on the shelf was a scroll titled “Brief History of the Air Kingdom.”
Jia Yuan nodded happily.
Brief! Short! Yesss this will be faster read.
After about 5 minutes, he wanted to burn the scroll.
He complained out loud. “Goddammit! In what world is this brief this stupid guy even writes about what each person did in their personal time. I don’t care how many wives King Tian Chen the 13th had! I don’t care what he had for breakfast the day he died! Goddamn!”
This shout of frustration could be heard from far away. The teacher’s ears pricked up. “Ahh, seems like he’s met the first scroll, hehe.”
In truth, not only did the teacher want to educate Jia Yuan on the history of the Continent, but he also wanted to give Jia Yuan some practice in controlling his feelings and temper. The books had, for the most part, been written by actual historians. However, the scroll on the Wind Kingdom was actually written by himself in his youth for a Water Kingdom School’s professor.
He didn’t even know how much of the “personal information” was actually true. Some of it was made up of some random facts he had picked up through research, while the rest of it was simply stuff he had added to make the scroll longer.
Unfortunately, the scroll was still a bit shorter than the requirement put forth by the professor, so he had shamelessly titled the scroll as a “brief” history.
A few hours later, Jia Yuan had read through the histories of the four Kingdoms.
Staggering out of the building, Jia Yuan rubbed his throbbing head. Looking up, the teacher and Xue Jing were both standing in front of him.
Jia Yuan addressed them by saying, “What’s for dinner today?” After all, Jia Yuan hadn’t eaten all day and was starting to get hungry.
The teacher smiled. “Well we have apples and pears, some figs, lettuce, and cucumbers.
Jia Yuan was beginning to lose hope. “Is there uh… any meat?”
The teacher smiled as Xue Jing shook her head with a smirk on her face.
“No… no meat? What about the chickens? Can I eat those?”
Xue Jing shook her head again.
Jia Yuan shrugged. “Can I go into the mountains and hunt for meat?”
The teacher laughed. “Of course you can, but you’ll have to cook it yourself."
Jia Yuan shook his head and activated his Song of Water, flying out of the estate into the wilderness.
Xue Jing turned toward the teacher. “Since when were there edible beasts in this mountain range? Didn’t the pool of water make all of the plants in the area dangerous for beasts to eat? Didn’t the beasts all leave?”
The teacher nodded. “Yep.”
Jia Yuan flew around the mountain range, stopping now and then to replenish his energy.
Even though he’d been training to have the stamina needed to use his Song for extended periods of time, he was still unable to use it for as long as he wanted, especially when it came to something as strenuous as flying.
Despite flying around for so long, he didn’t see a single beast. All he ever saw were plants and rocks.
After a while, Jia Yuan finally gave up. He still had some food left in his ring, some of which was some salted meat. It would have to do for now…
Jia Yuan flew back to the estate. Upon reaching the front doors, he saw that Xue Jing and the teacher were nowhere to be seen, but he could sense their auras in their respective houses. Shaking his head, he descended and walked toward his own house. He took the salted meat and a pot out of his ring, then proceeded to light a fire under the pot, cooking the meat.
After a bit, the meat was ready and Jia Yuan gorged himself. After doing so, he thought about the things he’d learned during the day.
Apparently, his mental state was what had been holding him back. Jia Yuan’s Dance was accurate, his Song was used properly, but it was his mentality that had kept him from improving his control over his Song of Water.
Then there was the matter about the histories of the Kingdoms. Each Kingdom apparently had a rich history that for some reason paused around 500 years ago.
There wasn’t any mention of the Sword Kingdom in any of those histories either. All of them mentioned conflicts against the other Kingdoms, but the Sword Kingdom wasn’t mentioned at all.
Jia Yuan paused.
Could it be that the Sword Kingdom was destroyed 500 years ago?
500 years was a fairly long time. It was completely possible that all traces of a Kingdom were completely destroyed in that time frame.
Why would anyone go through the trouble of changing history so that a Kingdom apparently never even existed in the first place?
Jia Yuan thought about it as he continued to shove food into his mouth.
Guess I’ll have to read more…
After he finished eating, Jia Yuan walked back to far building that housed all of the books and scrolls, and once again began to read.
Not only did Jia Yuan learn about the history of the Continent, but he also learned tips and tricks associated with cultivating each Kingdom’s Songs, as well as some ways to use the Songs effectively. For example, one could forcibly create crescendos to draw forth more power from one’s Song at a dire point, or they could lower their Song to a soft volume so that the Song would still be active, but would be less effective and use less power.
This, in a way, was tied to how one could temporarily “lower” their level of cultivation. If the Song is muted, clearly the cultivator would have less power.
The more Jia Yuan read, the more questions he had. Eventually, it was around midnight and Jia Yuan was too mentally exhausted to continue, so he walked back to his house and slept.
The teacher sat in his own house, meditating. Sensing that Jia Yuan had finally chosen to rest, he smiled.
Seems like the kid liked reading more than he thought.
The next day, Jia Yuan woke up and walked back to the pool of water, where the teacher was yet again waiting for him.
“Today, you’ll actually be meditating. Try and keep yourself as calm as possible…”
The teacher continued on and on about how Jia Yuan should meditate. After a while, Jia Yuan began to meditate, while the teacher looked on.
After a few hours of meditating, Jia Yuan felt much more at ease, and even felt that in terms of his mental state, he was ready to enter the 10th level of Absorption.
It seemed that meditating with the pool of water was very effective!
Of course, only someone like Jia Yuan who was able to cultivate multiple elements was able to repeatedly take advantage of these elemental pools.
After meditating, Jia Yuan began to ask the teacher some of the questions he had kept in the back of his mind.
“Teacher, what happened 500 years ago? Why did the books just stop recording information at that point in time?”
The teacher smiled. “As a descendant of the Sword Kingdom, you have the right to know.”
“500 years ago, the 4 minor Kingdoms rebelled against the nation that controlled the Continent. The Sword Kingdom.”
“As for why all history from that time isn’t found in any of those books and scrolls… The truth is the matter is that there are very few books detailing the history of that time that are still in existence. The four Kingdoms banded together and destroyed all information regarding their rebellion against the Sword Kingdom. Those who wrote the true history were found and killed. Those who dared to speak of the Sword Kingdom were brutally murdered as well.”
“After a while, people stopped talking about the Sword Kingdom. After a few centuries, most people don’t even understand why this continent is even called the Continent of the Five Elements.”
Jia Yuan’s blood boiled at this newfound knowledge. The four Kingdoms didn’t think it was enough to destroy the Sword Kingdom, to slaughter and enslave its citizens, but even did their best to cover any information that the Sword Kingdom had ever existed.
Countless heroes, Kings and Queens. Cities, achievements. An untold amount of wonders and legacies had been completely destroyed by the Four Kingdoms. And for what purpose?
The teacher could see that Jia Yuan was currently in a state of hatred.
“Calm yourself, Jia Yuan. It is not the fault of the people, but rather the governments. Remember that, if you plan on taking revenge. While most of the history has been eradicated, some of us still know how the continent used to be. Some of us know the true history of the Continent.”
“Some of us wish for the Sword Kingdom to be reformed, if only because the Continent is too weak without it.”
Jia Yuan couldn’t help but feel some curiosity upon hearing this last line, so he asked the teacher. “Why? Is our Continent really that weak? How strong are the other continents? How many are there?”
The teacher smiled. “With the Sword Kingdom, the Continent of the Five Elements could be said to be a medium tier continent, but ever since the Sword Kingdom was destroyed, we’ve basically been a bottom feeder. In all honesty, we’re in a rather dangerous position. If a high-tier continent decides that they want more land, they could very easily send some experts to conquer another continent and take it as their own. It’s happened many times in the past… and it is not something that I would like to see happen here.”
He didn't answer Jia Yuan's last question, as he didn't want Jia Yuan to miss the main point of the conversation.
Fortunately, Jia Yuan began to understand why the teacher was so willing to help him now. “So you want me to recreate the Sword Kingdom.”
The teacher shook his head and began to walk as Jia Yuan followed. “That is too hard of a task for a single person. For now, the continent just needs an expert who is capable of defending the continent against any potential invaders. As for recreating the Sword Kingdom… I suppose it is possible. After all, there are still some out there who are, you like, descendants of the Sword Kingdom. It would take a large amount of time and effort to have the Sword Kingdom return to its former glory, but I guess it is possible.”
With this, he paused.
“So, Jia Yuan. Train hard.”
Upon saying this, he motioned forward, where the far building containing the books and scrolls stood.
With that, he walked away. “Jia Yuan, keep reading. Only by learning from the past, can we avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Only with strength, can we protect our home continent. Whatever dreams you have for yourself, you have to understand that you have responsibilities to those around you as well, or countless people will suffer.”
“I’m very sorry to have to drop this on you, but it’s simply the truth. Inside lies the true history of the Continent. Learn it.”
The teacher continued to walk away as Jia Yuan stood there in a daze.
The responsibility of being the future protector of the entire continent had just been dropped on Jia Yuan’s shoulders.
As the teacher walked away, he knew that it was truly unfortunate to have to burden a child with such responsibility, but he didn’t have a choice. The child needed to be ready when the time came. He knew how strong the other continents were…
After a while, Jia Yuan calmed down. His repeated meditation training had really served to temper his mentality in the past few years.
After standing in a daze for a while longer, Jia Yuan walked into the house and began to read again.
Standing in the front courtyard of the estate, the teacher smiled. Xue Jing walked up to him. “Was it really okay to spill so much on him? He’s still a kid.”
The teacher nodded. “He’s a kid, but he was able to see the terrors of war without being affected. Tell me. How many adults can so easily recover from being on a battlefield? This kid needs to grow strong, and fast. I can’t believe those governments chose to fight a war at such a bad time. Judging from my estimations, we could be invaded in less than 10 years…”
Xue Jing “We have over ten True Disciples on the continent. We should be fine, right? The neighboring continents can’t send many people or they’d be vulnerable.”
The teacher shook his head, a woeful look on his face. “We have a decent number of True Disciples, but while we are viewed as the peak of existence on the continent, I don’t have any confidence in us being able to fight against those of the Dragon Continent, or even the Continent of Light.”
“Only someone with a Sword of Song would have any chance against those monsters. But they’ll need backup.”
The teacher turned towards Xue Jing and put his hands on her shoulders. “Xue Jing. We need to hurry and make sure you’ll be able to become a True Disciple soon.”
Xue Jing nodded. “Let’s go and train.”
The two flew out of the estate, trails of water falling behind them. At the same time, Jia Yuan steeled his nerve and dove into the many books and scrolls surrounding him.
And so, Jia Yuan would meditate and read every day, until he finally finished the all of the books and scrolls on the first 40 shelves.
Occasionally, he would leave the estate to fight against opponents in an arena or other competitive venue. Once, he even happened upon a bandit camp and destroyed it.
Along the way, he progressed to the 10th level of Absorption, and had been stuck at the 10th level for quite some time.
Today, Jia Yuan had just woken up, and was about to practice at the pool of water for the last time.
Upon reaching the pool, Jia Yuan flew to the center of the pool. The building above the pool had long ago been deconstructed by the teacher. As such, Jia Yuan hovered over the pool, feeling chilly on one half of his body, overheated on the other.
Jia Yuan took a few breaths and sat in the lotus position, meditating. Around him, a torrent of water flew up into the air, 20 meters high. After crashing up and down for a bit, the torrent of water stabilized to a height of around 15 meters.
At this point, Jia Yuan opened his eyes and drew the black sword out of his ring. Spinning diagonally, he chopped the water into spirals. After doing so, he wreathed his sword in flames and again spun diagonally. After doing so, he was surrounded by a pillar of fire and water made up of one continuous spiral of fire, and one continuous spiral of water.
Upon seeing this, the teacher and Xue Jing both applauded, and Jia Yuan let the water crash into the pool and the fire burn out of existence.
As Jia Yuan flew back toward the ground, he had a happy smile on his face. He was 16 now, with a rather wild look which was in stark contrast to the dignified looks of the teacher and Xue Jing.
He sported a head of messy hair and wore a slightly frayed robe, inside of which was a set of armor just like the one Xue Jing had worn.
“Good, good.” The teacher said. “Your control over Fire and Water is exquisite. You should be ready to practice your Song of Air and Song of Earth, you just need to improve your body to a level where it can support them. I understand that you must go elsewhere to progress your Song to the Manipulation, but when you are ready to assume the responsibility of the Sword Kingdom and need allies, remember that Xue Jing and I will be here.”
“And during this war and future wars, remember. This war, and the war in which the Sword Kingdom fell, were both caused by the monarchs, the nobles. Not the common folk.”
Jia Yuan raised his hands and clasped them in Xue Jing and the teacher’s direction. They had helped him a great deal. They had not only taught him how to properly utilize the Song of Water, but they had taught him much about the history of the continent. They had sparred with him until he was able to properly fight with the way of the sword.
All that was left was for him to find some real battle experience to fulfill the last requirement needed for raising his cultivation level.
Jia Yuan flew away from the rising sun as it rose up behind him.
Xue Jing turned toward the teacher. “I’m surprised he was able to learn so much in such a short amount of time. His speed of learning surpassed even that of mine.”
The teacher laughed and raised his head to watch Jia Yuan fly away. “We’ll learn soon enough whether his progress is fast enough. It’s rather unfortunate that his Song requires him to fight in a life-or-death situation in order to progress, or he’d already be in the 3rd level of Manipulation by now.”
Xue Jing nodded. “It’s a pity he wasn’t born in the Water Kingdom…he would’ve been a perfect swordsman. Alas, his sword style has already been tainted by those aggressive Fire Kingdom barbarians.”
Upon hearing this, the teacher laughed again. “Perhaps you’re right. But if he was born in the Water Kingdom, would he be able to act so wild and carefree with all of the responsibility on his shoulders?”
Xue Jing hesitated. “Hmph.”
With that, she turned around and walked toward the pool of water. “Teacher. We haven’t been able to spar here for a long time. How about we test our skills?”
The teacher drew his sword and followed. “Anything for the princess…”
A few days after, the entire Water Kingdom army moved out, and Jia Yuan got a taste of what it was like to march in file.
He hated it!
He was someone who loved freedom, being able to run about. As a Battalion Commander, he hadn’t needed to walk in file. All he needed to do was stay somewhat close to his Battalion and everything was okay.
Here, if he stepped even a bit out of line, he was immediately reprimanded.
As such, he promptly became rather annoyed and sullen. Despite this, he also gained a certain amount of respect for foot soldiers. They had to do this for endless miles, all while carrying their equipment! Most of the soldiers hadn’t even cultivated a Song, which meant that they needed to do this all based on the strength of their own body.
For someone like Jia Yuan, wearing the armor didn’t hinder him at all. To him, it was just as if he was carrying a small rock.
But a single set of armor could weigh, based on size and style, anywhere between 10-50 pounds.
While carrying that much weight for a short amount of time would surely be easy for any of those in the army, to be able to carry that weight through endless miles was truly an impressive feat.
After a bit, the Water Kingdom army had reached a forest.
At this point, the Water Kingdom General in charge ordered the army to set up camp and to set up defenses facing the forest.
Perfect!, thought Jia Yuan. I’ll just go help with setting up defenses making the forest, tell the others I’m gonna take a piss, and then I’ll just leave. Ha!
At that very moment, the Platoon Leader came up to Jia Yuan. “Hey kid, help us set up camp. We’re gonna be near the back, away from the forest. We’ll be pretty safe!”
Jia Yuan grumbled and followed the Platoon Leader to the back end of the camp and began to help the others set up their tents.
After finishing, the Platoon Leader turned to them. “Okay pals, you’re free to do whatever you want until sunset. At that time, report back here. Don’t cause any trouble for me or I’ll have you shoveling dung for the next week.”
Jia Yuan walked over to the side of the camp facing the forest and most graciously volunteered his services. In return, he was told to dig a meter deep hole so that others would be able to erect a temporary defensive perimeter.
As Jia Yuan dug, some of the soldiers around him started chatting to relieve boredom. One even pulled out some alcohol he had hid in his armor.
After a while, the other soldiers around him simply stopped shoveling and let Jia Yuan do all of the work. They simply sat at ground level and watched Jia Yuan from above, which caused resentment to build in Jia Yuan’s heart.
After a bit, the soldiers sitting above the ditch even began to insult Jia Yuan for the sake of sport. Some of the neighboring soldiers didn’t react, but they began to grin as they heard the insults being thrown in Jia Yuan’s direction.
Jia Yuan was starting to get pissed off, but he did his best to keep his cool.
Just dig a little longer, and just walk off a bit so you can escape. No need to cause a scene here.
After a while, Jia Yuan had finished digging out the section he had been instructed to. As he climbed out of the ditch, the other soldiers pushed him back down and laughed.
“Alright, kiddo. Now get on with it, keep digging. We don’t have all day.”
Back at the bottom of the ditch, Jia Yuan seethed with anger.
Well, alright then. I guess we really don’t have all day.
Jia Yuan had been taking the relatively safe route back to the Fire Kingdom. After all, walking toward the Fire Kingdom amongst an army of a hundred thousand could be considered to be extremely safe, considering that Jia Yuan had no intention to actually fight for the Water Kingdom.
Even though he didn’t really identify as a true Fire Kingdom citizen, he still felt more attached to the Fire Kingdom than he did the Water Kingdom.
The Fire Kingdom was where he grew up. The Water Kingdom was no more than a detour.
Jia Yuan had been feeling grouchy ever since the soldiers had stopped doing their assignments. However, he could’ve stomached it. Until the soldiers were blatantly trying to take advantage of him.
He didn’t like being taken advantage of. Jia Yuan took a deep breath.
Well then, I guess it’s the more dangerous path to the Fire Kingdom, then.
Jia Yuan began to take off the pieces of armor.
Up above, the soldiers began to laugh. “Hey kid, what’re you taking the armor off for? Your bums gonna get shot. Hey, you guys! Get a load of this kid, I think he’s pissed! Ha!”
The other soldiers who had been digging stopped and looked over. They were bored as well, and this altercation seemed like it would be entertaining to watch.
After taking off the heavy armor, Jia Yuan felt rather refreshed. He stretched a bit, then to the surprise of those around him, he directly jumped out of the meter-deep ditch, performing a backflip in midair over the lounging soldiers.
Jia Yuan waved his right hand, and a black sword appeared. Behind him, the soldier’s heads slowly slid off of the bodies, which in turn began to slump.
A grin formed on Jia Yuan’s face. Even if he didn’t want to admit it, he’d missed the feeling of standing on a battlefield in front of hundreds of thousands of enemies. It seemed that in this life, his soul thirsted for bloodshed. Maybe it was in him all along, and had only awoken after Jia Yuan had first experienced the battlefield. Or maybe it was just his Song affecting his soul. Did it matter?
It wasn't something a bit of bloodshed wouldn't fix!
Everything around Jia Yuan paused as people stared in shock. A split second later, the surroundings erupted as people finally realized what was going on.
“Rogue soldier! Rogue soldier! Soldiers have been slain!”
Jia Yuan stood in place, seemingly unaffected by the commotion he had caused.
In mere seconds, an officer had arrived on the scene.
“Soldier! What the hell are you doing? Why’d you kill those men??” The officer was positively livid.
Jia Yuan smiled. “I’m not one of your soldiers.” He activated his Song of Fire and allowed the aura to surround him.
The officer’s face paled. “Shit! He’s from the Fire Kingdom! Alert the General! Everyone, to arms!”
Jia Yuan’s face was full of a crazed glee. He’d really missed this!
He stomped his right foot on the ground and a wave of fire spread out from the point of impact as the ground below Jia Yuan sunk a foot into the ground as he dashed toward the officer.
The officer only had time to widen his eyes before he and the soldiers behind him all fell to Jia Yuan’s strike.
Everyone in the area grabbed their weapons and readied themselves. At the same time, Jia Yuan bizarrely began to dance in place as a torrent of fire surrounded him, reaching toward the heavens.
When the fire reached a height of 50 meters, Jia Yuan abruptly chopped his sword downwards and the torrent of fire spread and crashed down on those around him, instantly burning everyone and everything in a 50 meter radius to a crisp.
It felt good to let loose! It felt good to not have to suppress his active nature! This... this was what it meant to be alive!
In all honesty, Jia Yuan’s current actions were rather unfair to the Water Kingdom soldiers. They’d just insulted him a little and now they were all being massacred for it.
Alas, does it matter what is fair and what is not? Jia Yuan was far stronger than them, so he could do what he pleased! Jia Yuan didn't even care about the war. He was just slaughtering because he felt like it!
This is what strength is.
Jia Yuan continued to dash throughout the camp, wreaking havoc along the way.
Some distance away, the Water Kingdom General was lounging around in his tent when he heard the sounds of fighting. He panickedly began to dress himself in battle armor; he’d been planning to settle in and relax for the night.
The Fire and Air Kingdoms were losing! Would their dare assault his entire army? Apparently, he’d predicted wrongly.
Soon after, a soldier ran into the tent and knelt in front of the general. “General, report!”
“Speak! Are we under attack?”
The soldier stuttered. “uh…I…well, we’re not really under attack but uhh... *ahem* sorry General. We’re not currently under attack by any large division, but a random Fire Kingdom cultivator popped up at the forest side of the encampment and has begun to slaughter our troops.”
Hearing that there was only a single cultivator fighting his troops the General calmed somewhat.
After all, as long as his losses weren’t too high, they could be explained. If he was under attack by a massive army, however, he would likely have had to order a very swift retreat, which would have damaged the Water Kingdom’s overall morale.
“Oh, a single soldier? How strong is he?”
“Commanding officer reported that this person’s cultivation seems to be at the 9th level of Absorption but his actual strength seems to be far higher.”
“I see, I see… probably a noble then, with a high level Song. No matter. If he really is in the Absorption realm, then he won’t be a problem for me. Have all of the troops retreat and have them wait for me. No need to take more casualties than needed. Double the amount of guards posted at the perimeter. This may be a distraction for a bigger force.”
He continued the line of commands as he continued to dress himself in battle armor.
Finally ready to do battle, the General picked up his sword and walked out of his tent. As soon as he did so, he saw a fiery blur rush past and he felt a wave of heat overcome his senses.
The Jia Yuan who was slaughtering his way through the encampment suddenly stopped and turned.
Eh? Someone actually survived my attack? There’s a cultivator in the Manipulation realm here! Should be the General. Looks like we’ll have some fun!
Jia Yuan dashed back toward the General and chopped downward as the General raised his sword to defend himself.
A clash of auras exploded at the scene of impact and a giant blade of fire cut through 30 meters behind where the General stood, while the ground beneath and around them sank several feet into the earth.
The General’s face blanched. What force!
Despite being intimidated by Jia Yuan’s strength, the General was a seasoned veteran and promptly recovered.
The two began to trade blows. Faster and faster they attacked and counterattacked, without each person taking an advantage.
Jia Yuan could fight against those in the Manipulation realm, but the General was at the 5th level of Manipulation and was a seasoned warrior. One doesn’t exactly rise to the level of General from the millions of foot soldiers by being weak.
Jia Yuan was only able to keep even by relentlessly using the power of his Song to a high degree.
Unfortunately, that was his weakness. Despite all of his training, he still wasn’t able to exert so much energy without consequence.
Soon enough, Jia Yuan was beginning to be forced back. By this time, he was completely surrounded by Water Kingdom troops. However, they merely created a circle around him and the General; they knew that this was not a fight they would be able to contribute in.
Jia Yuan was not worried by his increasingly disadvantageous situation. Instead, he changed his sword style from one of strength and aggression to the more agile one he had learned from Xue Jing and the teacher.
This was a more conservative way of fighting, and as such, wouldn’t use as much energy.
With the abrupt change, the General was taken aback. He swung his sword forward with all his might expecting his opponent to do the same, but when the sword didn’t hit anything, he realized that he had slightly lost his center of balance!
At the same time, he saw his opponent twirl in midair and kick his sword into the ground with his foot.
The surrounding soldiers’ faces turned pale white. It was clear to anybody with fighting experience that their General was in trouble!
However, before they could react, Jia Yuan completed his midair spin and stabbed the black sword into the General’s neck.
A powerful Water Kingdom General, in command of over a hundred thousand foot soldiers, had actually been killed by a youth who looked to be less than 20 years old who was still in the Absorption realm!
At the same time, Jia Yuan’s aura exploded outwards, instantly killing hundreds of soldiers surrounding him.
He’d actually stepped into the Manipulation realm! His Song was complete! From now on, each time his cultivation progressed, he would achieve a different benefit. In the Absorption realm, one is able to absorb more power from their Song and “hear” more of their Song, granting them more power. In the Manipulation realm, they gain control over their Song, leading to more effective usage of their Song, along with many other benefits.
The few cultivators around him were shocked! A person less than 20 year old had actually entered the Manipulation realm!
This was a monster. Nay, a demon! It defied common sense! Only royalty would be able to afford the pills and teachers to progress that fast. Was this person royalty? Or was he just a genius?
Even as those around him panicked, Jia Yuan stood, unmoving.
If it could be said that Jia Yuan was forced to adopt the lifestyle and bearing of a fighting scholar for the past year, then his current bearing could be said to be that of a fearless warrior who was born to fight on the battlefield.
At this moment, Jia Yuan was surrounded by almost a hundred thousand soldiers, since he’d already killed many thousands during his earlier rampage.
Yet, it was the hundred thousand soldiers that had fear in their hearts, not Jia Yuan.
This is what it meant to be an ordinary fighter in a world of cultivation! On the battlefield, they could only contend against other non-cultivators or weak cultivators.
True, non-cultivators far outnumbered the number of cultivators on the Continent of the Five Elements, but after a certain point, a cultivator would be too strong for human wave tactics.
True, if the entire army were willing to sacrifice their lives to kill Jia Yuan, they would probably be able to kill them.
But who was willing to? Archers couldn’t fire in fear of hitting fellow soldiers. Swordsman were only able to clump together to fight Jia Yuan, at which point they would just all be instantly killed by some skill!
“Retreat! Retreat!” Some of the officers began to command the troops to retreat. It didn’t matter if they could kill Jia Yuan; it would cost them a huge amount of manpower. It was better to retreat and keep their soldiers alive. Perhaps some Storm Sentinels would be able to deal with this cultivator in the future, but if their entire army was decimated, how would that impact the Water Kingdom’s morale?
Watching the troops run away, Jia Yuan had an aggressive smirk on his face. While the troops ran away, he swung out his sword a few time, and each stroke killed hundreds of Water Kingdom soldiers.
Within moments, the gigantic army had left, leaving basically all of their supplies and tents behind. This was perfect for Jia Yuan! He walked around the tents until he found where the chefs had been cooking up food for the soldiers.
To cook for a hundred thousand soldiers, there was quite a lot of food lying around, some of it cooked, some of it fine to eat raw.
Jia Yuan rummaged through, picked out some of the tastier looking things, and walked back to the location where he began his slaughter.
He walked into the forest and cut a tree down, then carried it over to the encampment, then sat on it, waiting.
It’s impossible for an army of a hundred thousand to not be tracked by their enemy.
It’s even less possible for so much chaos to happen at an encampment and not be noticed and reported by enemy scouts.
All Jia Yuan had to do now, was to wait for someone to come. It didn’t matter who he met anymore, as long as they were from the Fire Kingdom. The plethora of dead Water Kingdom soldiers surrounding him would be his “ticket of truth” so that he would be able to return to the Fire Kingdom.
Sure enough, he felt some reasonably strong auras creep toward the Water Kingdom encampment. However, he didn’t pay them any mind. With his mental perception, he could tell that even the strongest of those approaching him were in the Absorption realm.
Why would Jia Yuan ever worry about those in the Absorption realm anymore?
After a few minutes of waiting, the food Jia Yuan had scrounged had mysteriously disappeared. At the same time, hundreds of soldiers poured out of the forest in his direction.
They charged toward him but didn't attack him. Instead, they surrounded Jia Yuan. After a bit, murmurs started to spread throughout the crowd.
Jia Yuan had been pretending to be cleaning his sword and hadn’t looked up to observe those who surrounded him, as he'd been able to sense that the soldiers weren't strong enough for him to worry about. However, he now lifted his head and was surprised by what he saw. “EHHHH? Hey, so it’s you guys! How’ve you been?”
It was actually the 31st Battalion!
The brothers Lin Pei and Lin Xuan walked up to Jia Yuan. “Hey, Battalion…errr, well I guess you’re not technically the Battalion Commander anymore. Let’s just call you Leader haha... you seem to still be far stronger than us.”
The two of them looked at the surroundings and Lin Pei whistled. “Leader, you really managed to drive off an army of a hundred thousand by yourself? Goddamn you’re strong. Oh, right. After you disappeared at the Shining Plains, Zeng Bao was made Battalion Commander, but later at the siege of…”
Two figures walked out of the crowd at this time, and Jia Yuan’s eyes lit up, for these were the two people he had interacted with the most during his time as Battalion Comannder.
It was Dou Di and Fan Meng!
Jia Yuan stood up and pulled the two of them into a tight hug.
“Ahh, it’s so nice to see you guys!” Jia Yuan was truly glad that Dou Di was safe and unharmed
At this point, Lin Pei cut in again. “Er, Leader. As I was saying, earlier, Zeng Bao was killed in battle so Lin Xuan and I became the leaders of the 31st Battalion. Now that you’re back, we just need to meet with the General and you can be reinstated as Battalion Commander.”
Jia Yuan nodded. “Thank you very much Lin Pei, Lin Xuan, all of you. It must have been very hard for all of you.”
He noticed that there were only about 700 soldiers left in the 31st Battalion, and that even many of these soldiers were new faces. Clearly, they had suffered many losses over the course of the war.
The 31st Battalion brought Jia Yuan back to their camp, and along the way he learned more about the dire situation the Fire Kingdom was facing.
In the time Jia Yuan had been gone, the Fire Kingdom had lost over half of its territory, and its officials were panicking, looking for a way to survive.
The Air Kingdom was doing slightly better, but was also in a rather dire situation and was unwilling to send reinforcements to the Fire Kingdom any longer.
After reaching the camp, Jia Yuan was given his own tent while Lin Pei and some others squeezed into a tent on their own. Upon entering his tent, Jia Yuan called Dou Di and Fan Meng to enter.
Fan Meng saw Jia Yuan’s slightly awkward mannerisms and commented. “Hey bud, you’ve been acting a little weird since you invited us into your tent. You wouldn’t have reached that age and discovered that you like men, eh?”
Jia Yuan scowled. “Oh, shut up. I had something serious to bring up. Fan Meng, Dou Di. If it comes between following the Fire Kingdom or following me, who would you follow?”
Dou Di instantly responded. “Of course I’d follow you. Family over all.”
Fan Meng hesitated. “Hm. Guo Huo assigned me to be your strategist, so I guess I’d follow you, but if Guo Huo were to keep me from doing so, as my benefactor, I would have to listen to him.”
Jia Yuan laughed. “Of course, of course. Don’t worry, that won’t be a problem. I just need some allies by my side.”
Fan Meng’s eyes glinted. “Oh? It’s not like you to actually plan for something. What’s the big deal?”
Hearing Fan Meng’s words, Dou Di chuckled.
Jia Yuan tried to scowl again, but ended up smiling instead. It simply felt too good to reunited with his brother. As for Fan Meng, Jia Yuan trusted him enough to call him brother as well. He’d really missed them!
Jia Yuan’s eyes glinted and he leaned towards Dou Di and Fan Meng. “I’m going to create a new Kingdom.”
Dou Di was rather shocked. “Whaaaaat?? How? Wait, when the hell did you get this stupid idea? Stop.”
Fan Meng, on the other hand, was already thinking through Jia Yuan’s actions.
“I see… you’re going to take advantage of the Fire Kingdom’s desperation and the fact that most of the powerful cultivators of the Kingdoms are concentrated at the front lines…but do we have the backing to pull off such a plan?”
Jia Yuan’s face lit up. “I knew you’d be smart enough to figure it out. I think if everything goes well, we’ll have the backing of at least two True Disciples. That should be enough, yeah?”
Fan Meng’s eyes glinted. “That should be more than enough.”
Jia Yuan let out a long sigh. “Dou Di and I have always called each other brothers, but we have never actually done anything to solidify our status as sworn brothers. Fan Meng, come join us! The three of us, today, in this tent. We will become sworn brothers!”
Jia Yuan looked toward Dou Di and Fan Meng, who both resolutely nodded.
Jia Yuan pulled out his black sword and cut open part of his hand, then handed the sword to Fan Meng and Dou Di, who did the same.
The three clasped their bleeding hands together.
“From today on, we three are sworn brothers!”
After the pact was made, Fan Meng and Dou Di returned to their respective tents.
Jia Yuan stayed behind, thinking about the road ahead.
He now had the two allies he needed most. Now was just a question of if he would be able to get the external support he needed.
In the middle of the night, Jia Yuan woke with a start.
He could feel large force, thousands upon thousands of people approaching the 31st Battalion’s camp at a distance of about a mile away… from the Water Kingdom’s side.
He quickly geared himself and ran over to Lin Pei’s tent. “Ya, Lin Pei. Ya. Wake up.” After a few nudges, Lin Pei woke with a start.”I’m sensing thousands of people approaching from the direction of the Water Kingdom. A mile out.”
Lin Pei’s face instantly hardened. “You’re sure?”
“Do I look like an idiot?”
“Ye-..Alright.” Lin Pei stood up in his tent and shouted. “Brothers of the 31st Battalion! Gear up and pack up. Blue alert! Prepare to move out in 2!”
As if a magic show had started, everyone in the Burning Legion quickly packed up and geared up. In two minutes, they were all lined up, ready to move.
Lin Pei looked back toward the direction of the Water Kingdom, then shook his head and faced forward.
“Troops! Move out!” The troops began to jog toward the direction of the Fire Kingdom capital, away from the incoming Water Kingdom troops.
Jia Yuan moved next to Lin Pei. “Why aren’t we fighting?”
Lin Pei shook his head. “Our current orders are to engage in guerilla warfare if possible, but to retreat otherwise. Land isn’t really important for the Fire Kingdom right now. They don’t have the manpower or the morale to properly defend the amount of land they still have. We’re going to retreat until we can form a concentrated defense.”
Jia Yuan nodded. “I see. How far are we from the Capital right now?”
Lin Pei thought for a bit. “We’re about 2 days of hard running from the Capital. About 10 days worth of jogging.”
Jia Yuan’s face blanched. “What? And its already the front line? I didn’t think th e Fire Kingdom was pushedthis far back.”
Lin Pei shrugged. “Well, what can we do huh.”
Jia Yuan bit his lip, thinking. “Do you mind if I bring Fan Meng and Dou Di with me to the Capital? I want to meet with the King.”
Lin Pei eyes blinked several times as he tried to figure out what was going on. “Hm, I guess you can since we shouldn’t be fighting anytime soon. We’ve already practiced quite a few formations anyway. We should be fine without them.”
Jia Yuan clasped his hands towards Lin Pei. “I’ll take my leave then.”
He quickly sought out Fan Meng and Dou Di and pulled them aside.
Fan Meng was in a rather impatient mood. “What’s going on? Why’d you pull me here? What’s going on?”
Dou Di, on the other hand, waited patiently.
Jia Yuan started sprinting. “Follow me! We’re going to the Capital so that we can set the plan in action!”
Fan Meng responded. “What about the 31st Battalion?”
Jia Yuan shouted back over his shoulder. “They’ll be fine!”
Fan Meng and Dou Di still didn’t move, so Jia Yuan came to a halt. “Why aren’t you guys moving??”
The two of them glanced at each other. “Uh…you’re going the wrong direction.”
Upon hearing this, Jia Yuan’s face burned. “Alright, alright. You guys lead the way.”
In this manner, the trio sped their way to the Fire Kingdom Capital.
After a few days of travel, the trio arrived in front of HuoShen City. However, Jia Yuan and Dou Di were rather unprepared for what they saw. Instead of the usual illustrious landscape around the City, there were instead miles upon miles of slums.
Jia Yuan cried in shock. “What? Why are there so many run down houses around here? Some of them don’t even have rooftops!” Dou Di nodded his confusion as well.
Fan Meng sighed. “It’s because of the Water Kingdom. All of the Fire Kingdom citizens who live closer to the Water Kingdom migrate this way as the Water Kingdom forces advance. They settle down around here because they know that even if the nobles were to allow the entire Kingdom to fall, they would still defend this city to the last.”
Jia Yuan and Dou Di nodded. It made sense.
Upon reaching the city gates, Fan Meng, Jia Yuan, and Dou Di were stopped by a bored looking guard. Jia Yuan pulled out his golden currency card and the guard immediately straightened his back and backed off with a look of respect on his face.
It didn’t matter what city on the Continent it was, everyone would know about the Black Wing Merchant Guild. Even more so, everyone knew just how prestigious one had to be to receive the ridiculously exquisitely gold engraved currency cards from the Black Wing Merchant Guild. However, the currency card the youth had pulled out wasn’t simply engraved with gold. The entire card was made of gold!
The guard didn’t dare speak, but in his mind he was in shock. It seemed quite a special fellow had just arrived at HuoShen City!
Now inside the city, Jia Yuan and his sworn brothers looked toward the center of HuoShen City: HuoShen Palace.
Given that the city was also packed full of people, the three brothers made their way to the HuoShen Palace by jumping from rooftop to rooftop.
In this manner, they were able to reach the palace in the short time of twenty minutes.
Jia Yuan and his brothers hopped down into the street and walked up to the Palace gates.
Here, the HuoShen Palace guards surrounded them and raised their weapons at the trio.
A royally dressed guard walked in front of the formation. “Speak. Who are you and why are you here?”
Jia Yuan waved his hand towards Dou Di. Upon seeing the signal, Dou Di unsheathed his sword and handed it to Jia Yuan. Upon seeing this, the surrounding guards tensed up even more. However, Jia Yuan didn’t attack with the sword and only slowly placed it on the ground.
“I’ve come here to talk to his Majesty. He should recognize the sword, as well as my name. Former Battalion Commander of the Burning Legion’s 31st Battalion, Jia Yuan. I have urgent business with his Majesty.”
This first guard picked up the black sword and backed out of the formation.
“I’ll let his Majesty know. Wait here and don’t do anything rash.” He eyed the guards surrounding the trio. “You guys, keep a steady eye on them.”
At this point in the war, the Fire Kingdom’s King was rather worried about being assassinated. As such, security around the palace had been tripled and everyone was continuously on high alert. Normally if some random people showed up at the palace, they would be forcefully turned away, but never surrounded and guarded this tightly.
But dangerous times had led to the current situation.
After a short wait, the guard came running back with Jia Yuan’s sword in hand. Upon reaching the encirclement, he quickly motioned for his fellow guards to back off. He walked up to Jia Yuan and politely handed the blade back. Jia Yuan took the blade back and used a bit of his soul to place the sword back in the ring.
“Ah, honored guest. Please, come this way. The King would very much like to see you.” As he led Jia Yuan toward his destination, the guard felt a single bead of sweat forming on his forehead. For even the King to have a reaction toward a guest, just who was this youth?
Jia Yuan was led into the Main Hall of the palace, where he saw the King sitting upon a throne. They walked up with Jia Yuan in the lead and at about 50 feet away, the trio came to a halt.
“We greet his Majesty!” The three brothers shouted in unison as they lowered their heads and clasped their heads toward the King.
The King himself stood up and quickly motioned his hands upward. “Haha, please! Please! Don’t bow your heads! It’s very good to be able to see you again, Jia Yuan! How are you?”
At the same time, the strong and unusual aura that had Jia Yuan had encountered long ago at the Burning Legion tournament again descended upon him.
Jia Yuan smiled and spoke. “Hello, your Majesty. I have been fairly well off. After I encountered Huang Yin at the Shining Plains, I felt incomparably weak. As such, I’ve been spending the last year or so learning and training. It was only recently that I felt strong enough to return. I hope your Majesty will forgive me for this.”
The King cursed in his mind, but how could he let himself show that? What he needed right now was strong soldiers. Loyal soldiers! Did it matter at this point that this Battalion Commander had gone missing in action for over a year? He needed manpower now!
Jia Yuan continued to speak. “However, there are two reasons why I came here today. The first reason is to tell you that I am planning on creating a new power on the Continent of Five Elements. The second reason is that I’d like some support from you.”
His Royal Highness was about to burst like a balloon. His subject actually had the audacity to tell THE KING HIMSELF that he wanted to leave the Fire Kingdom? As simply as that? And he even wanted HELP??”
The hidden guards in the Main Hall heard this “traitorous” talk and instantly Jia Yuan and his brothers were surrounded by almost 50 guards clad in ninja-like attire.
Jia Yuan tilted his head slightly to the right and calmly stared at the King “So…is that a no?”
The King looked very exasperated and frankly quite mad at this response. “Tell me, exactly why should I accept you leaving the Fire Kingdom. Furthermore, why should I help you create a new power on the Continent of the Five Elements? I have enough problems on my hands as is”
At this point, Jia Yuan motioned for Fan Meng to walk up. In response, Fan Meng walked forward two paces and clasped his hands toward the King.
“Hello your Majesty, my name is Fan Meng. First, you should accept us leaving the Fire Kingdom because the only alternative is to kill us. Rest assured, two of us are not very strong, but I do believe that Jia Yuan would be able to kill many of your guards. If that were to happen, you would be more vulnerable to assassins. If Jia Yuan were to go all out, I wouldn’t even doubt that he’d be able to harm you.”
Fan Meng was preying on the King’s protective instinct. First, frighten the King. Then, give him a way out. “However, if you were to let us leave, we would for all intents have the same ending, but you and your guards would be left unharmed.”
“Now, why should you help us create a new power on the Continent? We plan to create our Kingdom somewhere near the middle of the Continent. Who currently owns that land? The Water and Earth Kingdoms are the ones who possess the most land on the Continent now. They have the most to lose. If we were to suddenly capture a city or two in the midst of their Kingdom, not only would they likely send troops to face us, which would lower the pressure on both the Fire and Air Kingdoms, but it is likely that one of two of their supply networks would be cut off.”
“Do you understand? You have much to gain here, and we are not asking for much.”
After saying all of this, Fan Meng backed off. It was time to see if the King would take the bait.
The King sat back and pondered the offer. Even though he was still slightly angry from before, he had been the King of the Fire Kingdom for many years. He knew that in order to be a good ruler, he needed to keep a clear mind.
This even concerned his own personal safety! After a while, the King look back toward Jia Yuan. “What kind of help do you need?”
Jia Yuan nodded. This was a good sign! It seemed that the King was willing to collaborate. “We don’t need much. We want 1 million large fire shards, 1 million large water shards, 1 million large air stones, and 1 million top-grade jewel shards. Oh, and 5 thousand sets of top-notch armor. “
The King blinked a few times. At first glance, this request was ridiculous. 4 million units of top-tier currency! 5 thousand sets of top-notch armor! This was madness!
However, the more he thought about it, the more he realized that it wasn’t all that bad. His Fire Kingdom was on the verge of being destroyed. What he needed was a powerful ally! Someone to divert attention away from him!
It wasn’t that the Fire Kingdom was running out of resources to fight against the Water and Earth Kingdoms, it was that they didn’t have the manpower to. They didn’t have the soldiers. The soldiers they did have, were a level less than those of the Water and Earth Kingdoms.
Resources? What were resources compared to the existence of the Kingdom? There wasn’t even any real risk of Jia Yuan making a clean getaway with so many resources. If time went by and Jia Yuan hadn’t done as promised, he could use the validity of the Fire Kingdom to call Jia Yuan out. A single person with 4 million units of top-tier currency? All of the experts of the continent would instantly pursue him!
The King stood up from his throne and opened his arms. “Of course, you can have all of the resources you asked for. All I ask is that you treat this transaction seriously. I have agreed to your demands, and now I have demands of my own. Otherwise, I’ll let everyone on the Continent know about the resources I have agreed to give you.”
“Within 2 months of the transaction, I expect the Water and Earth Kingdom’s ability to wage war against my Kingdom to have dropped by 20%. I trust that this isn’t out of your reach?”
20% doesn’t seem like much, but in truth, every bit matters in a war. That one soldier who kills an additional enemy soldier before dying. That one slightly better aimed arrow who killed the strategist. A 20% decrease in the enemy’s strength wouldn’t just be enough for the Fire Kingdom to save itself, it would even be enough for the Fire Kingdom to potentially counterattack!
Jia Yuan smiled and clasped his hands toward the King. “Of course. Then, if you don’t mind, we’ll be taking our leave. Could you have everything ready by tomorrow? Every day we have to wait is another day your forces are being pushed back by the Water Kingdom.”
“Haha, of course, of course.”
“Could you also prepare some food for my brothers and me? We’ve been travelling at top speed the last few days and we haven’t been able to eat much.”
“Of course! How could I ever let my guests have an empty stomach?”
“Uh… could you also get some nice clothes for us? We’ve been on the ro-“
The King’s eyes bulged as he struggled to contain his anger. “OF COURSE. WE WILL PREPARE EVERYTHING!”
“Ah, then thank you very much.” Jia Yuan struggled to hide his laughter. It was too fun to play around with the King.
The trio of brothers clasped their hands toward the King and walked out of the Main Hall, out of the HuoShen Palace.
Outside HuoShen Palace, the three brothers looked toward each other and laughed boisterously. It was quite fun, playing around with someone who was used to having absolute control.
After laughing for a while, the guards at the HuoShen Palace gates were beginning to look at them rather suspiciously, so Dou Di spoke up.
“Ok, let’s go. They should have everything by tomorrow. Let’s find a place to spend the night. Jia Yuan, you’re paying!”
Jia Yuan grinned. “Let’s stay somewhere nice! We’ve really made a profit this trip. We can order all the food we want haha! It’s been a while since I’ve had a good meal.”
Fan Meng smiled. “It would be nice to eat somewhere nice for once.”
After all, he and Dou Di had only been able to eat some army rations for the last few years.
They slowly made their way through the wealthy district of the city and looked around at some of the restaurants. Even though their clothes were rather worn out, Fan Meng and Dou Di were both still wearing the uniform of the Burning Legion. Just the prestige of being Burning Legion soldier would let them eat at any restaurant of their choosing without reservation. Given that Jia Yuan was leading the trio, passerby determined that he was a rather important figure.
To have two Burning Legion soldiers by his side at this time of war? It would have to be a very influential noble. All of the restaurants politely gestured for the trio to enter their establishment, but Jia Yuan and the others passed them all by.
Eventually, the trio stopped in front of a restaurant. Outside the restaurant were the following words. “THE BEST MEAT IN HUOSHEN CITY”
The three brothers looked at each other. This was the spot!
The three were quickly ushered into the restaurant and were given a private room as well as the menus. After a bit, a waitress came to take the order.
“What would you like, sirs?” The waitress was a beautiful young woman dressed in a red dress. Many of the restaurants in the wealthy literally paid their waitresses extra so that they would be able to afford beauty enhancing pills. However, this waitress was rather surprised: none of the guests looked at her.
Finally, Jia Yuan looked up. “Can we just have one of everything?”
The waitresses stammered. “T-this… uhhhh… y-you do realize there’s more than 30 items on the menu for tonight’s dinner… right?”
“Yep.” Jia Yuan handed his gold currency card over to the waitress. “You can just deduct whatever it costs off of this.”
“Okay sirs!” The waitress quickly ran out of the room to cash in. She’d found a gold mine! There were 34 items on the menu, and each dish cost more than a large fire shard each, resulting in a final bill of 42 large fire shards! Given that the restaurant gave a percentage of the revenue to waitress, she’d just made 4 large fire shards!
Soon after, she returned to the room with a bright smile on her face. “Thank you sirs. To thank you for honoring our restaurant so, we will also be providing you with a 35th dish that is not on the menu.”
With that, she handed back the gold currency card and backed off to the side of the room.
After a bit, dishes began to pour into the room, and the trio began to eat. The smell of the dishes quickly permeated the air, but the more important thing was that the trio of brothers were eating like madmen, stuffing their faces!
For the most part, they still had a bit of decorum, but the food…simply disappeared too quickly!
The waitress waited on the side, observing as each dish was brought in. However, her eyes started to glaze over somewhere around the 10th dish, a beef dish, was brought in.
Did these people have stomachs? Or did they just have a black hole somewhere in their body? It was as if the food simply disappeared off of the plates!
Eventually, the 35th dish came around. By this time, the waitress was in a complete daze as she brought the dish into the room. It didn’t make sense! A short while later, the trio of youngsters exited the private room, bidding farewell to the waitress as well as the host.
The waitress waved goodbye and mumbled, “I’m not having kids anymore…they eat too much…”
After a while, the trio found a hotel to stay at and rented a large room for themselves. Fan Meng even suggested that they should order some alcohol and try it out—feeling giddy, they did.
Some hours later, a few hours past midnight, the brothers finally had their fill of alcohol and drunkenly fell asleep.
Soon after, some shadows appeared on the rooftop of the building across.
“Guo Wei, you wouldn’t be lying to us right?” A person clad in all black asked the person beside him.
“Why would I? You guys are paying me so well, I have no reason to. These three audaciously barged into the HuoShen Palace and weren’t kicked out. They were given an audience by the King! Furthermore, as they left, they were all laughing as if they’d shared a good joke. They must be important to the Fire Kingdom just to have been given an audience. For them to be in high spirit after such a meeting? Who knows what happened.”
The first person’s name was Mo-Ri Jaio, an assassin. He was not a descendant of any of the Kingdoms on the Continent of the Five Elements. He found out the hard way growing up by finding out that wasn’t able to cultivate any of the Songs. The family he had been adopted by cast him out, and he had been forced to live on the streets.
One day, he had been directly recruited by the Water Kingdom to be an assassin. Looking for a way to make a living, Mo-Ri had agreed.
Over the years, he’d assassinated various people for the Water Kingdom. Recently, he’d been sent to the Fire Kingdom’s Capital, HuoShen City, with a simple mission. Assassinate those who seem important to the Fire Kingdom’s King. If you can’t assassinate them, create trouble for them.
And so here he was, across the street from where Jia Yuan, Dou Di, and Fan Meng were sleeping.
He wasn’t a cultivator, but did one need to be a cultivator to kill someone? There were a variety of poisons that could easily kill cultivators. He could, like in this scenario, wait until their guard was down and then slice their neck open. He could try to poison any food or drinks that were likely to be consumed by the target. However, the fastest way was the oldest way; go and put some cold hard steel in the target.
For his current targets, since they were still youths, Mo-Ri Jaio had decided to have some fun. He would sneak into the room with his troops and slit the targets throats.
He handed a currency card to Guo Wei, an evil smirk on his face. “Your contributions to the Water Kingdom are truly…appreciated. The bigwigs back in the main Kingdom are very happy with our results. When the time comes after we’ve taken the Fire Kingdom, you’ll be remembered.”
Guo Wei’s face lit up at this news. He was a fallen noble – that is to say, he was born of a noble family, but because of his ineptitude, his family had eventually kicked him out of the family.
The worst part about it was that there was a True Disciple of the same family name in the Fire Kingdom. Guo Huo! However, Guo Huo wasn’t an actual part of the Guo Clan, but instead was born out of a side family.
Why couldn’t Guo Huo have been born into the main Clan? Why were they stuck with a talentless Guo Wei? They felt like they had lost out on a True Disciple
So everyone knew how special Guo Huo was. But what about Guo Wei? Soon after he was provided with a high level Song, it was discovered that he basically didn’t have much talent for martial cultivation. He was strongly gated at the 5th level of Absorption. His skill with an axe was barely passable. For a noble family, this was simply a disgrace.
He’d lived with this shame for decades. Now, finally, he had been given a chance to change his luck, so to speak.
If the Water Kingdom was truly able to destroy the Fire Kingdom, his status would instantly become far greater than that of the Guo Family. At that time, he’d be able to vent this anger and shame inside his heart.
Soon! He would be able to have his revenge.
Mo-Ri Jaio motioned to Guo Wei. “Your work here is done. Leave.”
Guo Wei jumped off of the rooftop and quickly ran off. Meanwhile, Mo-Ri Jaio and his fellow assassins stayed on the rooftop. Mo-Ri Jaio started to give out orders. “Two will enter through the main entrance. There’s only one guard. Take him out before he can sound an alarm. Once you are in position, give the signal. The rest of us will breach the room right of the target. We’ll then cut out an entry point into the wall. When the signal is given, we’ll all make our way into the room and kill them. If by some chance they wake up, retreat through the breached entry point. Am I clear?”
The assassins around him all nodded.
Mo-Ri Jaio breathed in, adrenaline coursing through his body. The feeling of hunting prey was magnificent! The assassins prepared to move off of the rooftop and set their plan into action.
However, at this time, an explosion sounded through the air and the wall of the hotel that was facing the assassins burst out in flames. Pieces of wood and metal flew through the air, along with a giant blade of fire.
From behind the blade of fire, three figures jumped out of the hole created in the wall. It was Jia Yuan, Dou Di, and Fan Meng!
Mo-Ri Jaio dodged the blade of fire, but the rest of his assassins didn’t have the reflexes required to dodge, and were instantly decapitated by the blade of fire.
As for Mo-Ri Jaio, he wasn’t in a good predicament either. As the only member left alive, he was now in a rather dangerous position. After all, he wasn’t a cultivator. In direct confrontation, all he could do was run!
And run he did. He quickly threw a flask down on the rooftop he had been standing on. When the flask made contact with the rooftop it shattered, releasing a strange black fume into the air. Of course, since it was during the dead of the night, the black fume was incredibly hard to see.
However, it wasn’t a poisonous smoke; It was simply there to obstruct one’s view. After the first flask, Mo-Ri Jaio threw another flask right at the trio pursuing him.
Jia Yuan was about to try and catch the flask when Fan Meng reached out and stopped Jia Yuan from doing so. Instead, Fan Meng took out a piece of cloth and threw the cloth at the flask. Upon touching the piece of cloth, the flask disappeared.
A few seconds later, Fan Meng reached the piece of cloth and shoved it back into a pocket.
Jia Yuan was confused. “What was that? Why didn’t you let me touch it? What was that cloth?” He threw out these questions as the trio continued to pursue Mo-Ri Jaio, who was running away by jumping from rooftop to rooftop.
Fan Meng replied, “Given that it is nighttime, I can’t be too sure about what was thrown, but the assassins of the Water Kingdom usually only have two types of flasks. One is the first, which is used to secure getaways by obstructing the chaser’s vision. The second type they carry is usually some sort of offensive flask, usually a “Water Bomb” of sorts.”
“The user puts a certain pill into the flask and then they throw it at their chaser. The flask explodes violently on impact, releasing a blast of water that quickly coalesces into ice. The result is that people surrounding the exploding flask are impaled with shards of ice that are flying at up to 100 miles per hour.”
At this point, the trio stopped running. During Fan Meng’s explanation, Mo-Ri Jaio had thrown down several more flasks, completely blocking the trio’s view.
Jia Yuan wanted to continue to chase. After all, he didn’t have to rely on sight to sense his enemies. While most cultivators were able to use their spirit to sense things around them, very few cultivators, even in the Manipulation realm, were able to track individual people. Even less were able to track people over a large amount of distance.
Even if they were able to, a momentary lapse of concentration would probably result in them losing track of their target, especially in a populated area.
However, Jia Yuan was different. Meditating near the pools of fire and water didn’t only enhance his training, but it had improved his focus as well. There was no chance for Mo-Ri Jaio to escape Jia Yuan.
Fan Meng, however, had other plans, and pulled Jia Yuan back. “There’s no need to chase him. Sometimes, it’s more about sending a message. Let’s get the bodies of the assassins we killed and we’ll bring them to the Palace tomorrow, get them to throw us an additional gift, yeah?”
“You’re the strategist.” Jia Yuan said, as Dou Di nodded on the side.
The three headed back to the rooftop to recover the assassins. They took the bodies and bundled them up in a bag, then looked down into the street.
At the same time, Guo Wei stood at the end of the street, his face pale. Was his cover blown? What happened to Mo-Ri Jaio? He quickly turned and sped away.
Meanwhile, the hotel’s residents and personnel were shouting at each other in the streets, trying to pin the blame on someone. The hotel’s workers were trying to blame the residents, while the residents were shouting that the hotel had malfunctioned, and that they wanted their money back.
The three brothers looked at each other. “Do you want to deal with that?” asked Dou Di.
Fan Meng and Jia Yuan both promptly answered, “Nope.”
Dou Di gave a lopsided grin and grabbed the bag full of dead assassins. “Guess we’re staying somewhere else for the night.”
The three jumped from rooftop to rooftop until they reached the end of the street, then jumped down into the street itself.
Soon enough, the yelling and screaming was far beyond their ears.
Jia Yuan suddenly remembered something. "Hey, Fan Meng, you never ended up telling me what that cloth was! What does it do?"
Fan Meng cleared his throat. "Well..."
A few hours later, the sun rose and the trio made their way toward HuoShen Palace again. This time, however, the guards didn’t stop them and instead promptly escorted them into the main hall.
As they walked into the main hall, Jia Yuan spread his arms out and loudly announced their arrival. “Ah, my dear King. How are you? We’ve come with a gift today!”
Dou Di threw down the bag of dead assassins and spoke up. “This bag contains the body parts of 7 Water Kingdom assassins who came after us last night. From what I’ve heard, some of the nobles and royalty have been found dead recently. Pretty sure these assassins are the reason why.”
The King stood up from his throne with a large smile on his face. He indeed had heard of these assassinations, and he had been somewhat worried for his own life. After all, some of those who had been assassinated had very high levels of security.
“Ahh, thank you, thank you. Now, we have everything we promised here.” The King waved a hand, and a line of servants appeared.
“Here we have some special currency cards filled to the brink with the currencies you mentioned.” He reached into his sleeve and pulled out another card. “Here is another card as thanks for killing the assassins…”
The King looked at one of the guards surrounding him and motioned toward the bag. The guard walked down and picked up the bag, then opened it, confirming what Jia Yuan had said.
The King threw the card through the air toward Jia Yuan, who snatched it and handed it to Fan Meng.
Under the eyes of everyone else in the hall, Fan Meng walked toward the servants and picked up the four Currency Cards. The last servant presented a necklace imbedded with a large ruby.
The King spoke up. “The necklace costs a small fortune, but it was the easiest way for us to give you 5,000 sets of armor. Otherwise, the two month deadline we gave you would be spent lugging the armor across the Continent. The armors contained within were actually imported from the Earth Kingdom at a high price many years ago… and therefore are not imprinted with the emblem of the Fire Kingdom.”
The King paused. As royalty, he didn’t want to directly a bunch of youths to give the necklace back after they didn’t need it anymore… but the fact of the matter was that the necklace was worth a gigantic sum of money. In fact, 4 million large fire shards probably wouldn’t be enough to pay for it.
But what could he do? He knew that without drastic measures, it was likely that his Fire Kingdom would soon no longer exist. All he could do was trust in these…youths.
It’s quite ironic how things work in life. Just a few years ago, he’d been praising Jia Yuan in order to get into the young genius’ good grace so that the youngster would protect the Kingdom in the future.
But now, he was forced to pay a huge fee for the young genius to give indirect help. In the future, this young genius might even challenge him for control over the Continent! But what could he do? That would be a problem in the years to come, but his Fire Kingdom was being destroyed now.
Instead, the King kept his face simply wished the trio good luck and dismissed them from the main hall.
The trio walked outside of the palace and looked at each other, gazes solemn.
Jia Yuan finally sighed. “Alright, brothers. Crunch time is here now. Fan Meng, do you reckon that letter has reached Guo Huo yet?”
The day the three brothers had met, Jia Yuan had requested Fan Meng to send a letter to Guo Huo, detailing his plans for the future.
Fan Meng nodded. “It’s been several days. Judging on the distance between our camp at the time and RockFire City, Guo Huo should’ve received the letter yesterday. It’d take us another two days to reach RockFire City, and then another two weeks with the troops to reach that city… Giving us less than a month and a half to divert 20% of the Water Kingdom and Earth Kingdom’s combined forces on us.”
Dou Di had a worried expression on his face. “Do you think this is really possible? We’re counting on a lot of variables to work in our favor.”
Jia Yuan grinned. “Don’t worry about it! If it works, we’ll soon be the youngest government on the Continent! If it doesn’t work, we’ll be written into history as a bunch of fools. That’s a win-win situation in my book.”
Fan Meng sighed. “I’m beginning to doubt your plans now…”