The Demon's Gate

A cultivator is someone who can channel the natural energy through their body, strengthening their own body or performing almost magical feats. Cultivators are divided into Warriors and Mages. A mage is someone who uses the natural energy to power his inborn spell, manifesting it into the outside world to fight. A warrior uses the natural energy to strengthen his body and uses his own body to fight, often because their inborn spell is not suited for combat.  


Yao Jun was born in a small branch of the Yao clan, his inborn spell is considered a useless spell, a spell with no effect. Despite his useless spell, Yao Jun is steadfast and determined to cultivate, spending each day training his body to the limit.


All he wanted was to allow his parents to live an easier life, but fate makes a fool out of everyone, and his life would end up becoming so much more than he ever expected, taking him to the dark side of the world and beyond.


  • Chapter 1: Yao Jun.

    The morning sun had just risen, but Yao Jun's upper body was already drenched in sweat, his fists sore and aching. He had a handsome face with smooth features. His black hair cascaded down his back, sticking to his skin. His eyes were underlined by signs of sleep deprivation, but his black eyes still sparkled like the stars in the light of the morning sun. He wore an emerald robe that almost made him blend into the forest.

    He stood in a horse stance in front of a tree, the spot on the tree directly in front of him was devoid of any bark, instead only holding the faint outline of a fist. Every day, Yao Jun would wake up before the sun rose to take a light run through the forest, ending up in front of this tree. He would then take up his stance and rhythmically punch the tree, slowly strengthening his fist and increasing his endurance against pain.

    Yao Jun had been doing this every day for almost 7 years. He started when he was 8 years old and hadn't missed a day since he started. He had just recently turned 15, but he still kept up his habits.

    When he was 7 and his inborn spell turned out to be a dud, a useless spell, he was crushed, but thanks to the urging of his parents, he started doing physical exercise. If he couldn't become a mage, he should just become a warrior instead. It was less lucrative, but if he did good enough, the clan would still provide for his parents.

    Yao Jun had been training for 7 years, but all he had to show for it was a body that was slightly stronger than his peers, but if he fought with them he would still lose. The only reason for this was because their inborn spells were better than his, allowing them to use it in combat.

    Yao Jun had always found it unfair that he who worked so hard got worse results than others who worked less than him, but as he grew older, he simply came to accept it. All he could do was chalk it up to his own misfortune, if he had gotten a proper inborn spell, he would probably have it just as easy as the other kids of the Yao clan.

    His inborn spell was a summoning spell that manifested as a small gate located next to his heart, but it was defect, it couldn't summon anything, the gate was empty. Due to this Yao Jun could only go the physical route in training, using hard work and the Raw Qi in the air to slowly strengthen his body.

    “Jun'er, you should come home now, breakfast is ready.” Just as Yao Jun was about to continue his training, a warm voice rang out from behind him.

    Turning around, Yao Jun saw a middle aged man with a slight stubble head towards him. The man's head was covered in brown hair and was well built, his face carried a warm smile.

    “Just a few more minutes father, I feel like I can go a bit further today.” Yao Jun spoke politely. This man was his father, Yao He, the man who had taken care of him all his life.

    Even when his inborn spell turned out to be a dud, he wasn't disappointed, he simply showed Yao Jun all the other options he had available to him and encouraged him to chase after his dreams with his all, no matter how low his starting point was.

    “Now now, be patient, even the mightiest oak was once just a tiny seed.” The man gave a small laugh as he looked at his son, others may not know, but he had seen how hard his son always worked.

    “What you plant now, you will harvest later..” Yao Jun tried to give an excuse, but his father had already grabbed him by the shoulder and started dragging him back to their house.

    “Yeah yeah, stop being so cheeky and using my own sayings against me. Breakfast will get cold and at that point your mother will scold both of us.” Yao He gave a laugh as he dragged Yao Jun towards a small cottage a short walk out off the forest.

    Entering the house, the smell of warm soup and bread hit Yao Jun. After entering the door and heading into the kitchen, he sat down at the table that was filled with a fragrant soup, some bread, and some steamed vegetables.

    Already sitting at the table was a mature woman with long black hair, black eyes and smooth features. She wore a kind smile and poured a bowl of soup for Yao Jun. This woman was Yao Jun's mother, Yao Xun, it was from her Yao Jun got most of his features.

    They sat around the table eating their food in a tranquil silence. They were part of the Yao clan branch family located in Flying Fish Town, it was only a small town, so there was rarely anything happening. Yao Jun spent most of his time training or studying in the library, rarely being at home.

    The excuse he used was that he simply wanted to get in some more training, but how could he hide anything from his parents? Both his parents had inborn spells that could be used in combat, so they used to be part of the main clan's combat corps, only retiring when his mother was pregnant with him.

    Both his parents had good inborn spells and even had a glorious history of fighting for the main clan, but he himself only had a dud inborn spell, he was ashamed of his own inadequacy, so all he could do was train his body and study. But even then the results he got were barely on par with the results of the other kids who had good inborn spells.

    They never said it out loud, but his parents were always worried about him, for him they had even left the main Yao clan, coming to this tiny branch so that he wouldn't be bullied because of his inborn spell.

    Coming to the branch clan led to the quality of his parents lives dropping, no longer getting the same delicacies that they got in the main clan. This was another thing Yao Jun regretted, that his parents had to make their own lives worse just because of him.

    To him, all the encouragement his parents gave him were like hot coal, forcing him to walk forward faster and faster. He wanted his parents to have a better life, to no longer worry about him and be proud of him, so every single word of encouragement they gave him became both another one of their hopes that he had to fulfill, as well as another piece of motivation to work even harder.

    Finishing his bowl of soup and the bread, Yao Jun gave his thanks for the food before heading out again. There was no times for brakes, if he wanted to get anywhere, he would have to put in at least twice the effort of everyone else.

  • Chapter 2: Flying Fish Yao Clan.

    Flying Fish town was a small, almost negligible town located in an almost forgotten corner of Grand Quan continent. It was part of the Great Yan country, which in turn was located in the Bai Province.

    Being located in such a forgotten corner of the world meant that the town rarely ever got any visitors, so most of the residents had lived their whole lives here and everyone knew everyone. Barely any clan's would make branches here, the only reason Flying Fish town had a branch of the Yao clan, which was one of the major clans in Great Yan country, was because someone who belonged to a branch clan of the Yao clan had moved his family here hundreds of years ago and set up a new branch.

    Most of the buildings in the town were simple wooden buildings that were colored a faded red. The streets of the town were barren and silent, nearly devoid of life. Most of the residents were over the age of 30, once a child reached a certain age, they would be either sent out of the town to a larger clan, or head out on their own to adventure and experience life, making the town a quiet and boring place.

    This quiet and boring atmosphere was the reason Yao Jun's parents had chosen to move here when his inborn spell was discovered, hoping that the quiet town would allow Yao Jun to lead a life where he wouldn't be bullied for his bad inborn spell.

    At the start, this quiet life was indeed something Yao Jun enjoyed. But as he walked the empty streets now, he simply found this silence to be suffocating. It reminded him of the eyes the towns people, even the others of the Yao clan, used to look at him. Whenever someone saw him, they would look at him with pity in their gaze, some of the people in the Yao clan even looked at him with scorn hidden in their eyes.

    At the start, these looks had unsettled Yao Jun, but as time went on and he thought it over, he came to accept it. He could understand them, they looked at him with pity for having such a bad inborn spell when his parents were so outstanding and they looked at him with scorn because he was so useless that his parents were almost forced to move out to this forgotten corner of the world.

    Every time Yao Jun closed his eyes, he could see those looks of pity and scorn, and every time he saw those looks in his mind, he would open his eyes and return to training, pushing himself a little harder. With time, Yao Jun was ostracized by the towns people, partly by his choice, partly by theirs. Due to this, mixed with the shame Yao Jun felt whenever he faced his parents, Yao Jun was certain that he was the only one who knew just how hard he worked to change his circumstances, to allow his parents to return to their home.

    Yao Jun walked briskly through the streets, at his waist hung a longsword made of polished steel, a gift his father had gifted him once he turned 10. Yao Jun carried the blade everywhere with him, looking at it would remind him of how long his road still was, giving him the motivation to push on a little harder. Letting his parents return home wasn't enough, he wanted to let them return home in triumph, changing the looks of pity and scorn he got into looks of reverence and admiration.

    With these thoughts in mind, Yao Jun left the town. Not far from the town was a forest inhabited by normal animals and some low level Demonic beasts. Yao Jun would head into the forest every day as part of his training, hunting some normal animals to train his patience and concentration.

    Standing in their little cottage at the edge of the town Yao He could see his son leaving town and couldn't help but heave a sigh. Looking at the lonely back of his son he couldn't help but feel guilty. That day they left the main Yao clan, they never bothered to ask him how he felt about it, simply dragging him away and giving him some false encouragement.

    He could see how the atmosphere of this town was suffocating him, he could see how hard he worked every day, how hard he trained. He and his wife had long wished to tell their son to stop, no matter how hard he trained it wouldn't work, a Warrior couldn't become stronger than a Mage. But everytime they wanted to tell him, they would see his stubborn determination to keep training and their words would get stuck in their throat.

    Their son was ashamed to face them because he felt that he was inadequate and had betrayed his parents expectations, and they were to ashamed to face their son because they felt that they had given him false hope and then dragged him away to a forgotten corner of the world. And before they noticed, this vicious cycle had gone on for seven years, making it so that they didn't know how to break out of it.

    Yao Jun was walking through the forest silently, his footsteps not producing any sound even as he stepped on the fallen leaves. It was already autumn, so the entire forest was a colored in magnificent shades of red and yellow, leaves covering the entire ground. Yao Jun had spent seven years of his life in this forest, he knew the outer perimeter like the back of his hand, but today he wanted to go a bit deeper.

    In the outer perimeters lived nothing but normal animals, and they simply didn't pose a challenge to the current Yao Jun, he wanted to try to go a bit deeper and see if he could find a weak Demonic beast. If he managed to kill a Demonic beast, he could sell it's parts. Even though he didn't need any money now, once he saved up enough, he could head to a larger city and spend the money on medicine that would help him in his training, bringing him a step closer to returning to the main Yao clan.

    Steadily and stealthily making his way deeper into the forest, Yao Jun strained his perception to it's utmost, this wasn't the outer perimeter where the most dangerous animal was the occasional wild boar. In here he could meet actual Demonic beasts, getting caught of guard would most likely mean death.

    Before he noticed, the sun had already reached the edge of the horizon, slowly turning day into night. Noticing this, Yao Jun hesitated for a bit before climbing up the nearest tree and finding a large and solid branch that he could rest on. This wasn't the first time he had spent the night in the forest, but it was the first time he did it so deep into the forest.

    Laying on the large branch, Yao Jun barely slept, mostly just resting enough to keep himself in perfect shape. After switching between light resting and meditation to absorb the surrounding Raw Qi and circulate it through his flesh, the sun broke through the horizon and brought the dawn with it.

    The main difference between a Warrior and a Mage was that while a Warrior circulated and stored the Raw Qi in their flesh and blood, strengthening their body, a Mage circulated and stored the Raw Qi in their inborn spell, slowly strengthening it. Yao Jun had tried circulating and storing Raw Qi in his inborn spell, but it simply seeped out of it after he stored it there, seemingly completely dead.

    After dawn broke, Yao Jun continued through the forest, but he no longer dared venture deeper, instead traveling sideways inside the forest. After traveling without seeing a single animal, much less a Demonic beast, Yao Jun was slightly demotivated, but it also raised his caution to new heights. He had read about how some Demonic beasts would designate certain areas as their teritory, not allowing any other Demonic beasts or animals to enter.

    After spending a bit more time traveling, the sun started approaching the horizon, bringing with it the dimness of dusk. Yao Jun wanted to climb up a tree to rest again, but his eyes suddenly caught hold of something that shone with a purple light in the setting sun. After a bit of hesitation, Yao Jun moved closer to the purple light. After reaching the purple light, he saw that it came from a small rock that was located a few meters up on the slope of a small mountain.

    After thinking it over for a bit and checking the surroundings, Yao Jun calculated how much light there was left and how much time he would need. Gritting his teeth, Yao Jun quickly made his way up the small mountain, hopping up the rocks like a mountain goat, until he reached the purple light.

    Upon closer inspection, Yao Jun saw that it was a bit of purple fur that was stuck to the rock. Seeing that it was just some fur, Yao Jun gave a low self deprecating chuckle and was just about to head down again when he saw a purple blur out of the corner of his eye. Quickly reacting by putting his arms in front of his chest while jumping backwards, Yao Jun managed to dampen the impact, but the force of the collision still sent him tumbling down the slope.

    Tumbling down the slope and hitting the ground, Yao Jun quickly rolled backwards and into a crouching position, staring straight ahead. Not far away from him stood a beast that was a little smaller than him, with a length of about 1,75 meters, covered in purple fur with black stripes, a bloody maw filled with sharp teeth and claws that gleamed in the light of the setting sun.

    Standing face to face with this purple tiger, Yao Jun felt a chill go down his spine as fear started creeping into his heart, he finall found out what it felt like to come face to face with a true Demonic beast.

    The thought of escape slowly started to revolve around Yao Jun's mind, but he quickly threw out the idea and drowned the fear that crept into his heart. Looking at the Demonic beast in front of him, it was clearly not an adult yet, the power behind it's earlier attack wasn't too strong either, so Yao Jun was certain that his odds of victory were rather good.

    Yao Jun narrowed his eyes and placed his hand on the hilt of his sword, he had lost too many long nights training, heard too many words that cut him like knives, to simply give up the moment it seemed slightly dangerous. If he simply ran away now, it would only prove that his parents were right to take him away from the main Yao clan, that he wasn't someone who could handle pressure and stress, someone who could never amount to anything and fulfill their expectations. With these thoughts in mind Yao Jun drew his sword and stared at the tiger, figuring out his plan of attack.

  • Chapter 3: Garden of Eden.

    Yao Jun stood before the tiger, neither of them moving, slowly sizing up their opponents. Yao Jun kept his eyes squarely on the tiger, not daring to move them away or even blink for too long. The tigers eyes flashed with purple bolts of lightning as it slowly crouched, gathering it's strength in it's legs.

    Yao Jun found himself to be calmer than he had ever been, his heart beating a to a steady rhythm. But his blood was boiling, roaring in his veins, urging him to fight, to let loose the suppressed feelings gained from 7 years of training. Shouting at him to prove his worth.

    The tiger put a bit more weight into it's legs, and it's shoulders slightly moved. Yao Jun grasped the timing and moved immediately, stepping to the left and slashing out with his sword.

    Just as Yao Jun moved, the tiger shot out in a straight line, shooting straight for the place where Yao Jun had just stood. The tiger was caught off-guard by Yao Jun's well timed dodge and attack, but it wasn't slow to react.

    There was no place for it to leverage it's force in the air, so it chose to twist it's body slightly, using it's right shoulder blade to meed the sword. Yao Jun's sword flashed with a resplendent orange light in the sunset, slashing across the tiger's shoulder blade, drawing a line of blood through the air.

    Yao Jun wasted no time, he knew that he had hit the beast, but it was merely a slight wound, just enough to slightly impede it's movement. He quickly moved backwards, building up more distance between the two of them.

    The tiger twisted it's body, allowing itself to land steadily on it's feet. It quickly turned it's head and stared at Yao Jun with hatred in it's eyes, it had been wounded by someone it considered to be food, for a proud Demonic beast like it, there was no greater humiliation.

    The two of them returned to gazing at each other in silence, looking for the slightest flaws to exploit. Yao Jun noticed the light getting dimmer and dimmer as the sun was setting, he knew that if he continued to stay here for too long, night would fall and his vision would be too heavily impeded to properly fight. Thinking about ways to settle this fight faster, a slightly mad idea crept into his mind.

    Yao Jun moved his eyes away from the tiger for a slight second, pretending like something to the side caught his eyes. The tiger would obviously not miss a chance like this and lunged forward with all the might it had saved up.

    Yao Jun was already prepared for this, so he moved the moment he moved his eyes away. But instead of moving to the side to dodge the attack, he rapidly moved forward, welcoming the tiger's lunge with his own body.

    The tiger felt a slight unease as it saw him lunge towards it instead of dodging, but it was too proud to allow itself to change it's move just because of some human child that was supposed to be it's food.

    The tiger opened it's maw and slapped out with it's paws in an attempt to catch Yao Jun. Yao Jun took a step forward and leaned downwards, making the paws of the tiger clash with each other behind his back.

    The tiger was slightly taken aback but it quickly reacted, moving it's head forward and biting down with all it's might onto Yao Jun's left shoulder, a burst of electricity entering his body through it's teeth, numbing his left arm. Yao Jun gritted his teeth at the pain, listening to the sound of his bones shattering. He moved his right arm and stabbed the sword in his hand upwards.

    The sword sank into the tiger's chest and twisted itself, moving towards it's head, slicing it's entire chest open. Yao Jun fell backwards with the tiger on top of him, his sword had sliced open it's heart as it moved through it's chest, dimming the light in the tiger's eyes.

    Yao Jun used his right arm to pry the tiger's jaws out from his flesh, his entire body covered in cold sweat. If he had reacted any slower, he could have died in that earlier clash, but he couldn't draw it out either, every second longer would decrease his chances at survival, so he could only stake it all on that he would react faster.

    He gritted his teeth as he rolled out from under the tiger, he really wanted to scream out loud, but if he made too much noise, there was no telling what he would attract. He had spent seven years doing grueling physical training so he already had a high pain tolerance, but the pain of having his flesh lacerated and his shoulder completely broken still filled his eyes with tears as all he could do was crouch down and bend over, screaming in his heart.

    After spending a bit of time to calm himself down, Yao Jun stood up and turned towards the body of the tiger. He had just taken a step towards the body when it's entire body suddenly lit up with a purple radiance, forcing back the darkness that had settled in the area.

    Yao Jun was shocked and took a quick step back, but the purple radiance suddenly shrank into a small ball of light. As the radiance turned into a small ball, the corpse of the tiger disappeared, sucked into that small ball of light. The ball of light hovered in the air in front of the shocked Yao Jun for a short second, before violently shooting into Yao Jun's chest, merging with the little gate that was located next to his heart.

    Before Yao Jun had time to inspect his body, a hot stream of energy came out from the small gate, quickly spreading through his body. As the hot stream of energy moved through his body, Yao Jun lost all strength in his legs, falling to the ground while clutching at his chest. His mouth was wide open, looking like he wanted to scream, but no sound came out.

    Yao Jun thought the pain of having his shoulder crushed was almost unbearable, but only now did he understand what truly unbearable pain was. The hot stream of energy felt like liquid fire flowing through Yao Jun's body. Accompanying the agonizing burning pain was the crackling sound coming from his bones. All his bones felt like they were repeatedly breaking and displacing themselves, before the hot stream of energy passed by and pushed them back together.

    Even Yao Jun's shoulder slowly repaired itself, the broken pieces moving through his flesh and settling themselves back with the rest of the shoulder blade. The teeth marks swiftly disappeared, leaving behind nothing but a large scar from where the teeth had penetrated his flesh.

    Yao Jun endured the agonizing pain in silence for almost half an hour. It wasn't that he didn't want to scream, he simply couldn't. No matter how much air he pushed through his throat in an attempt to scream and give voice to the pain, the sound simply wouldn't leave his throat, it was like his entire throat was blocked.

    After half an hour, once the pain subsided, Yao Jun simply laid there on the ground, covered in sweat and trembling. After his trembling weakened he stood up and unsteadily walked towards a tree and sat down, using the trunk to support his body. Catching his breath for a few minutes to calm down and repress the last of the trembling, Yao Jun moved his thoughts towards the little gate located at his heart.

    It looked like a simple and unadorned gate made out of heavy black stones, almost no different from how it looked before. But Yao Jun noticed a small change on the edge of the gate, a small mark in the form of a purple tiger had appeared at the edge of the gate, looking exceedingly life like.

    As Yao Jun moved his thoughts closer towards the gate in an attempt to inspect the mark, the gate suddenly opened. A bright white light flashed as the gate opened and Yao Jun felt his entire consciousness dragged into the gate by that white light.

    When the white light disappeared, Yao Jun was shocked to find himself standing atop a large mountain, overlooking a small wilderness. From where he stood, he could see that the wilderness was only around five kilometers in size, consisting of only a large forest and the mountain he stood on.

    Turning around, Yao Jun saw that the gate was located right behind him, looming over the wilderness from the top of the mountain. Yao Jun turned his gaze back upon the wilderness below him, thinking how he should get down from the mountain to check out the wilderness.

    Just as the thought flashed past his mind, he found the space around him distorting, bringing with it a nauseating feeling. After the nauseating feeling stopped, Yao Jun found himself suddenly standing in that very wilderness.

    “Controlled through thought?” Yao Jun murmured to himself and tried it again, imagining himself standing atop the mountain once more. Just as he thought of it, space distorted once more and he appeared on the mountaintop.

    Seeing that his idea was right, Yao Jun tried something else. He imagined himself meeting whatever lived in the wilderness and as the thought passed through his head, space distorted and Yao Jun disappeared.

    Once he re-appeared, Yao Jun was standing in a small clearing in the large forest. In front of Yao Jun was a tiger covered in purple fur with black stripes, lightning dancing around it's fur. It was just a little bit shorter than Yao Jun and it's claws and fangs gleamed with a white light.

    Looking at the tiger, Yao Jun was shocked, it looked exactly like the tiger he had just fought and killed. As he thought of this, a few ideas about what the gate and that purple ball of light really were flashed through Yao Jun's mind.

    The tiger noticed Yao Jun's arrival and slowly sauntered over to him with a friendly look in it's eyes. As it reached his front, it laid down and rolled over, presenting it's stomach, looking like it wanted to be pet.

    Yao Jun carefully crouched down and slowly put his hand on it's stomach. When his hand made contact with the fur, a bolt of lightning ran through his mind, bringing with it a large amount of information pertaining to the Demonic beast itself, as well as how to use his power.

    His power had a very simple use, any Demonic beast he himself killed would be absorbed by the gate, allowing him to either summon the Demonic beast as a familiar, or utilize it's powers with his own body. If he killed two Demonic beasts of the same race, the first one he killed would devour the second one, empowering itself. The same would happen if he killed two Demonic beasts that were very similar.

    The tiger prostrating itself before him was from a race called simply Lightning Tiger. They were a type of Demonic beast that could utilize the power of lightning, but since the one before him was still a young child, it could only use the power of lightning through it's physical body, but not send it out over larger distances.

    As long as he used the gate to let the power of the Lightning Tiger flow through his body, he too could use the power of lightning, but to discharge lightning over larger distances would need him to strengthen the gate as well as the Lightning Tiger itself.

    Yao Jun finished petting the tiger and returned to the mountaintop. Looking over the wilderness he couldn't help but feel a bit giddy. He had been training for seven years, and every single day he cursed himself for having such a useless power, but it seemed like it wasn't truly useless, he simply hadn't unlocked it's true power yet.

    Looking at the large forest before him, a smile appeared on his face. Since this place was truly his Garden of Eden, why not just use that as it's name? Turning around, he pushed open the gate and disappeared from the large forest. It was time to return home and deliver the good news.

  • Chapter 4: Yao Jun's birth.

    When Yao Jun opened his eyes after leaving the Garden of Eden, he was shocked to find that the sun had already risen, covering him in morning dew. He had only been in the Garden of Eden for what felt like an hour at most, yet the sun had already risen. After giving it some thought, the only answer he could think of was that the sensation of time inside the Garden of Eden was twisted.

    Throwing the thoughts to the back of his mind, Yao Jun raised his right arm and turned his palm over, facing the sky. Circulating some of the Raw Qi in the air into his body and into the gate made him feel an exhilarating warmth that coursed through his body, making him feel completely comfortable.

    After circulating some Qi into the gate, he touched upon his connection with the gate, and the gate appeared above his palm, silently hovering there. Yao Jun looked at the simple black stone gate with a silly smile, this little gate was everything he had ever wanted while training.

    Looking closely at the gate, Yao Jun noticed that atop the gate were nine small spikes, like teeth. Under these nine spikes were nine indents, looking like compartments to store gems. The indent located all the way to the left had a small glow to it, like a tiny amethyst was growing in it.

    After going through everything he had read before, the only explanation Yao Jun could think of was that these spikes and indents were his power's indicators. Every inborn spell had an indicator that would allow others to see exactly what level the inborn spell had reached.

    These levels were simply called grades, from 1st grade to 9th grade. Every grade had 9 sub levels, reaching the 9th level would allow you to upgrade the spell to the next grade. The way to strengthen the level and grade of one's spell was by either absorbing the Raw Qi and circulate it into the spell, slowly storing Qi and upgrading it, or by eating some treasures that would strengthen it.

    Yao Jun returned the gate into his body and quickly stood up. Without even bothering to look around, he immediately began sprinting back home. As he ran, even though he was ecstatic, he still had enough mind to keep a careful eye on his surroundings, making sure that he wasn't attacked.

    While running he also noticed that he ran a bit faster than he usually did, towards the end he also noticed that he managed to last a little longer than he usually would. Thinking about it a bit, he was reminded of the pain he suffered right after the Lightning Tiger was absorbed by the gate. Thinking about how it felt like his flesh was melting and his bones creaking and displacing, Yao Jun assumed that when he absorbed a Demonic Beast, his body would gain a slight increase in power, a clear sign that one's inborn spell was of a rather high level.

    This thought only helped make Yao Jun even happier as he ran through the streets of Flying Fish Town, heading towards the small cottage where he lived with his parents. Yao Jun threw open the door and found his parents in the kitchen, eating breakfast.

    “Father! Mother! I have good news!” Yao Jun spoke as he panted heavily, trying to catch his breath.

    “Oh? Good news? I can't....” Before Yao He could finish his sentence, his voice got caught in his throat as he looked at Yao Jun.

    His once clean and elegant robe was covered in blood and dirt, the cloth on the left shoulder completely tattered and shredded. His face was dirty and his hair in disarray, it looked like he had walked out of a battlefield.

    “What happened to you?! Are you okay? Are you hurt?” Yao Xun rushed out of her chair and over to Yao Jun, grabbing him and inspecting every inch of him.

    “Don't worry mother, it's not my blood. Im perfectly fine, i'm even better than fine.” Yao Jun spoke with a bright smile as he snuck in a little lie, his mother would never stop worrying if he told her that it was his blood.

    “What happened Jun'er? Does it have something to do with the good news you mentioned?” Yao He managed to regain his calm upon seeing that Yao Jun seemed fine.

    “It does indeed have something to do with the good news, father.” Yao Jun nodded towards his father after comforting his mother for a bit.

    “I decided to walk deeper into the forest this time around. I found a heavily wounded Demonic beast, and after a short fight I managed to kill it. At that time my inborn spell activated and sucked in the beast's corpse, allowing me to gain control over it's power and to do this.”

    As Yao Jun spoke, he raised his hand and the little gate appeared in his palm. The gate opened and a purple light shot out of the gate, materializing into the Lightning tiger, standing on guard next to Yao Jun like his guardian.

    He had told his parents the main parts, but changed some details. If his parents found out that he had started a fight with a perfectly healthy Demonic beast, there was no telling how much they would yell at him.

    Yao Jun had a proud and brilliant smile while looking at the Lightning Tiger, but as he turned his eyes towards his parents, he noticed that their faces had gone pale with a shocked expression.

    “Father, mother, what is the problem?” Yao Jun hurriedly spoke as he returned the Lightning Tiger into the gate, and the gate back into his body.

    Yao He looked at his son as he was taking deep breaths, slowly calming himself down. “Jun'er, does anyone else know about this power of yours?”

    “No father, I haven't told or showed anyone else.” Seeing the grave face of his father, Yao Jun knew that something was wrong so he hurriedly spoke.

    “Good....good... that's good. Jun'er, take a seat, there are some things we must tell you.” Yao He beckoned Yao Jun over to the kitchen table as he himself took a quick glance out of the window. Not seeing anyone outside, he himself took a seat next to his wife as they looked at their son.

    “Jun'er, do you know why we moved to this tiny town?” Yao He started with a question that slightly surprised Yao Jun.

    “Because you were afraid that the pressure and bullying from the other children at the main Yao clan would be too much for me?” Yao Jun slightlty lowered his head as he spoke, but Yao He's next words gave him a slight shock as he raised his head again.

    “That is only a small part of the reason. Did you know that your mother and I retired from the Yao clan's army a few months before you were born? The reason we retired is because we suffered an ambush by the Demon Race in our latest skirmish, and your mother was hit by one of their attacks, infecting her body with the Demon Race's energy.”

    “Do you know why the Human Race and the Demon Race have been enemies for so long even though the two races look exactly the same? A person from the Demon Race may look the same as someone from the Human Race, but everyone from the Demon Race has a Soul Beast, instead of an inborn power.”

    “When someone from the Demon Race fights, they can either summon their Soul Beast to fight next to them, or draw upon it's power, relasing it as a foul miasma, this is what we call Demonic Energy, and it is fatal to humans.”

    “The reason I am telling you this is because when your mother was hit by the Demonic Energy, I tried to use my own energy to push it out of her body and save her life. But something went wrong, all the Demonic Energy went into her womb, and from there into you. Since nothing seemed wrong, we thought that maybe the energy had dispersed so we ignored it.”

    “We never told anyone, but when we saw that little gate appear on your chest as we were awakening your Inborn Spell and felt the slightly Demonic Energy radiating from it, we immediately decided to take you and leave the main Yao clan. Settling here in Flying Fish Town where no one had ever seen someone from the Demon Race or felt Demonic Energy.”

    “After spending some time here and not seeing any activity from the gate, nor any Demonic Energy radiating from you, we assumed that things were safe. But looking at it now, it seems like that Demonic Energy that entered your body back then has already become a part of you. While your power no longer radiates any Demonic Energy, it simply looks too much like a Soul Beast. Jun'er, you can never let anyone you don't trust see you summoning anything through that gate, and even if you trust them, think it over before showing them.”

    “You said that you could control the Demonic beast's power? Then you can simply pretend like your inborn spell is granting you control over lightning, as long as you don't summon the beast, no one will be able to tell.”

    As Yao He finished talking, he heaved a heavy sigh. The act of accidentaly pushing all that Demonic Energy into his unborn child's body had always been his greatest regret, and now it seemed like him doing that had caused a change in his son's body, making him neither Human Race nor Demon Race.

    Looking across the table at his son who was in deep thought, he couldn't help but feel guilty, yet another point where he had harmed his son, this time more physical than mentally.

    “I see, so my body contains both Demonic Race and Human Race energy... Since I now have a powerfull inborn spell, does that mean we can start working towards returning to the main Yao clan?” Yao Jun digested all the facts he had just heard for a few minutes before speaking up.

    “That's your question? Nothing about the Demonic Energy? You aren't angry at us for doing that to you?” Yao He was slightly shocked at how little his son seemed to care about not being completely human.

    “There isn't really anything I can do about the Demonic Energy, nor do I personally have any great hatred against the Demon Race, so why should I be angry about it? Besides, you did it to save mother didn't you? I can't be angry at you for something that simple, I would probably do the same.” Yao Jun gave a bright smile as he spoke his mind.

    Even though his power was based on the Demon Race's power, so what? Weren't they just like humans, just with different powers? Where was the need to hate them or their powers?

    “That's good... good....” Yao He had the slight urge to cry as he saw how little his son cared, and even forgave him. He had been afraid of his son hating him because of the past for so long, but now it all seemed like it had all been his own delusion.

    “Of course we can work on returning to the main Yao clan if you want, I can get in contact with some of my old friends, they will get us a nice house.” Since his worries were lifted, Yao He spoke with a happy smile.

    “If possible father, I would like to return to the main clan through my own efforts. In three weeks the branch in Flying Fish clan will hold a tournament to select the two candidates that will be transferred to the Golden Moon Town's Yao clan branch. I would like to participate in that tournament and win the right to head to the Golden Moon branch, and from there head on to the main Yao clan.” Yao Jun interrupted his fater and spoke with a solemn face.

    “Oh? Why would you want that?” Yao He spoke with a slightly confused face.

    “While we could simply return to the main clan through your connections, everyone will think that your connections are the only reason we could return. I want to prove to everyone who looked at me with pity and scorn that the son of Yao He and Yao Xun is not some nobody.” Yao Jun spoke with a determined voice, his eyes staring directly into Yao He's, showing his determination.

    “Good. Good. Indeed, the people here have truly not been looking at your properly. Then go, show yourself off, show them that the son of Yao He and Yao Xun is not someone who they are fit to look at.” Yao He spoke in a loud and proud voice, this son of his had never been someone who liked being beneath others.

    Yao Jun nodded his head in confirmation before quickly changing into a new robe and heading out into the forest again. He only had three weeks, so he had to take every moment he had to train.

  • Chapter 5: Repaying Debts.

    Three weeks passed by in a flash. To Yao Jun it felt like he had been training for only a few days, but as he woke up in the morning, it was already the day of the tournament. Yao Jun put on his green robe and quickly freshened up in the washroom before heading to the kitchen to eat a quick breakfast.

    “Jun'er, you mustn't forget, unless it is absolutely life threatening, you cannot let out the Lightning Tiger, just pretend like you can control lightning.” Yao Jun's mother repeated the words she had told him almost a hundred times these last three weeks once more, making sure that Yao Jun wouldn't get careless or complacent.

    “Don't worry mother, I won't be stupid.” Yao Jun responded with a smile before quickly finishing up the rest of his food and dashing out of the cottage, heading towards the town center.

    In Flying Fish Town, the Yao clan branch was the king, so using the town square for their own little tournament was no problem. The usually empty town square had now been replaced by a large square wooden arena surrounded by simple wooden benches.

    The main reason behind this tournament was to find two people who were qualified to be sent to the Golden Moon branch, but another reason was to showcase the Yao clan's strength to the rest of the town, solidifying their own position.

    The benches surrounding the square arena were filled with people. At first glance, it looked like almost 200 people had come to watch. To the residents of this town, seeing 200 people at once was a massive spectacle, but Yao Jun still had some memories of his short time in the Yao main clan, so he wasn't too shocked at seeing this small amount of people.

    There were a group of people standing on the arena, three withered old men clad in black robes embroidered with a large boulder, the mark of the Yao clan. A middle aged man with a scarred face, clad in the same black robes. And seven youths ranging from 14 to 18 years old, also clad in the same black robes.

    Flying Fish Town was a tiny town, and most of the youths would often head out on their own adventures, so even though the Yao branch was the king of this town, they didn't have too many youths, ones that were good enough to be sent to the Golden Moon branch were even fewer.

    The three withered old men were the patriarch and vice patriarchs of this Yao clan branch, so they held the highest authority in town. The scarred middle aged man was someone that was sent by the Golden Moon branch specifically to oversee this tournament and make sure that the quality of the youths sent to them would be of the correct standard.

    “Thank you all for coming, this old Yao won't stand on any ceremony with you, so why don't we just start with the tournament?” One of the three withered old men spoke in a hoarse voice. This was the patriarch of this Yao branch, but he and the vice patriarchs were brothers and looked virtually indistinguishable, so many people often mistook them for one another.

    “Wait, i'm going to join!” The withered old men were just about to leave the arena when Yao Jun called out and ran up through the benches and hopped up onto the stage.

    “Get down little Jun, this arena isn't a place for you.” One of the vice patriarchs spoke in a low voice to Yao Jun, wishing that he wouldn't make them look bad in front of the examiner from the Golden Moon branch.

    “Who are you? Are you part of this Yao branch?” The scarred man ignored the vice patriarch's words and spoke to Yao Jun.

    “Yes sir, im Yao Jun, just turned 15.” Yao Jun looked straight at the scarred man as he straightened his back and spoke.

    “Good, that'll make this go much faster. Now there are eight youths, we'll divide them into four groups of two. Each group will fight, the winner moves on, the loser leaves. Four groups will turn into two groups of two, and two groups of two will turn into one group of two. Let me see your combat skills, i'll take with me the ones I deem good enough.” The scarred man spoke in a loud, but bored voice, seemingly wanting nothing more than to leave.

    “Yes sir.” Yao Jun and the seven other youths responded in unison before lining up. The scarred man quickly divided them into four groups and sent three of the groups down from the arena, clearing room for the first group to start their fight.

    The first group just so happened to be Yao Jun's group. Yao Jun was up against a youth he had seen several times, Yao Hou. Yao Hou was a youth who was two years older than Yao Jun, tall and stout, light brown hair and blue eyes, he was considered prince charming by some of the girls in the Yao branch.

    Yao Hou only looked at Yao Jun with disdain, they had never talked to each other, Yao Hou felt it was demeaning to be part of the same clan as someone useless like Yao Jun, much less talking to one. Yao Jun always knew what Yao Hou was thinking, he had seen disdainful eyes like these many times.

    Yao Jun only gave him a grin. Since he disdained him so much, then why should Yao Jun bother with being nice to him? Yao Hou had disdained him for seven years, so it was about time to pay back that debt.

    The two took up their positions across each other and Yao Jun took up a stance. Weapons were forbidden in this tournament, so he could only rely on his fists. But that didn't matter to Yao Jun, he had trained his body for seven years, he had even spent a large portion of those seven years in the forest, hunting and fighting animals, his entire body was a weapon. Taking some steps back, even if weapons were allowed in this tournament, Yao Jun wouldn't use one, these youths simply weren't worth him using his weapon.

    Yao Hou was the first one to move, he advanced towards Yao Jun, his fingers taking on a gray sheen, this was his power, using the element of metal to coat his hands in a hard layer to increase his punching power.

    To the youths who were watching, Yao Hou looked like he was rushing at full speed, but to Yao Jun, compared to some of the animals he had hunted, he was simply too slow. He slightly bent forward and took the same approach he did when he fought the Lightning Tiger.

    He dashed forward to meet Yao Hou, moving directly past his open arms and into his chest. Before Yao Hou had time to react, Yao Jun delivered an uppercut to his chin. Right after the uppercut connected and disoriented Yao Hou, Yao Jun took a step back before delivering a full powered kick straight to his solar plexus. Yao Hou fell backwards and started vomiting, clearly not in shape to continue fighting.

    If it were in the main Yao clan or even one of the larger branches, Yao Jun had zero confidence in beating the other youths with just his physical body, but he had never put the lazy youths of this tiny branch into his eyes. They never once trained their bodies, so how could they ever amount to much?

    After kicking down Yao Hou, the spectators from the Yao clan were stunned. Was this the Yao Jun that they had always disdained and scorned? Didn't he ignore their gazes because he was too weak to fight back? Had he been deceiving them for all these years? Sadly, these youths would never know the truth.

    The scarred man looked at Yao Jun with slight praise in his eyes, he found this kid's quick reflexes and decisive actions to his liking. After getting someone to bring Yao Hou down from the arena, the tournament continued.

    The four groups swiftly turned into two groups. This time Yao Jun was grouped against a woman who was slightly shorter than him, standing at about 1.75 meters. If it had been earlier, this woman would be insufferably arrogant and stare at him with disdain, but standing before him now, she could only look at him with a grave expression. She was confident in her strength, but she was also uncertain about his full strength.

    This woman, Yao Lei, had black hair, healthy wheat colored skin with nice proportions, and brown eyes, she could be considered quite beautiful. But Yao Jun wouldn't be swayed by something as simple as beauty, he had been scorned and disdained by almost for seven years, he had long since stopped paying much attention to how people looked on the outside, choosing instead to look at their personalities and beliefs.

    Yao Lei took a slight stance as she moved towards Yao Jun with a special rhythm. The sound of her footsteps on the arena reverberated around the square, making it hard for people to concentrate. This was her power, she could use the sounds that she herself created to confuse her opponents.

    Seeing this power, not only Yao Jun, but even the scarred man couldn't help but give a slight mocking smile. A power like this could be considered good in this tiny town that wasn't used to strong powers, but Yao Jun had seen his parents powers, and the scarred man came from the much larger Golden Moon branch, they had seen the greater world.

    Yao Jun simply stopped thinking and acted on reflex, shrugging of the girls powers. A swift punch to her abdomen stopped her in her tracks long enough for Yao Jun to grab her arm and spin around and throw her over his shoulder. With her untrained body she fainted the moment she hit the ground.

    Seeing how easily Yao Jun was beating their youths, the three withered old men had ugly expressions, but the scarred man simply ignored them and flashed a smile, this kid sure was ruthless enough, not caring about beauty at all.

    The other fight didn't last long either, quickly giving way for the final fight. Yao Jun was just happy that it was almost over, a silly little tournament like this was really just a waste of time. But Yao Jun was still glad that he participated, the whole point was to show that he wasn't someone they could disdain as they please, and he had indeed managed to show just that.

    For the last fight, Yao Jun was up against Yao Jing, a youth who was almost 18, he had black hair, green eyes and a very normal face, but he was the oldest one among the youths of the Yao clan who hadn't already left. Even now, as he was facing him, Yao Jing still looked at Yao Jun with disdain.

    “You should just give up, you won't be able to get through my defenses.” Yao Jing spoke in a lofty voice as he straightened his back.

    “I don't think you will be the one to decided that. Besides, i'm sure that Yao Hou and Yao Lei also thought that they would surely beat me, now look at them.” Yao Jun gave a low laugh as he advanced towards Yao Ling. He knew the power that Yao Ling had, it was also the reason he dared speak so arrogantly.

    He slowly walked until he stood in front of Yao Ling and threw a simple punch towards his solar plexus. In response to the punch, a translucent membrane of water covered Yao Ling's body, this was his power, a shield of water he could deploy around him.

    Seeing this membrane, Yao Jun gave him a mocking smile, and as his fist made contact with the membrane, purple sparks of lightning flashed on his fist, traveling up his entire arm, covering it in small lightning bolts. As the lightning made contact with the water membrane, it swiftly traveled through it and around Yao Ling's entire body, resulting in him collapsing and spasming on the arena.

    “You should always make sure you know enough about your enemy before you start acting arrogant.” Yao Jun spoke a simple sentence to the spasming Yao Ling before turning to the scarred man.

    “Haha, seems like this Yao branch actually has someone that is pretty good. Kid, follow me, we can head to Golden Moon Town immediately, I don't wanna spend another second in this backwater town. I'll be waiting at the town entrance for two hours, if you don't show up within that time, i'll assume that you don't want to join me and simply leave.” The scarred man spoke rudely with a laugh. Heading directly for the town entrance.

    Yao Jun quickly made his way towards his home, not even sparing a single glance for any of the other Yao branch members. Once he reached the cottage, he was surprised to see that his parents had already packed all his things for him, storing them in a green interspatial ring.

    “Here, this is your father's ring, you can consider it a gift for winning the tournament. We will head out for Golden Moon in a few days as well, so we will come find you then.” Yao Xun put the ring onto Yao Jun's finger as she spoke with a loving smile. Their son was doing so much just so that they could return to the main clan in triumph, so how could she not be proud?

    “Thank you mother, I will certainly come find you once you settle down in Golden Moon.” Yao Jun didn't stand on ceremony with his own parents, accepting the ring before quickly leaving the cottage and heading towards the town entrance, his journey had just begun.

  • Chapter 6: Golden Moon Town.

    The Flying Fish Town's Yao clan was located close to the edge of the Great Yan country, but the Golden Moon branch was located in Golden Moon Town, which was located almost at the center of Great Yan country. Only a week's walk away from the capital of Great Yan country where the largest branch of the Yao clan in the Great Yan country was located.

    Getting to Golden Moon Town from Flying Fish Town would require Yao Jun and the scarred man, who had introduced himself as Ren Hong, to walk along the road for almost a week. The upper echelons of the Golden Moon branch had thought about this already, so they lent Ren Hong a carriage that was large enough to carry three people.

    The carriage was a very simple carriage as the upper echelons didn't expect there to be anyone too talented in such a small town. They were willing to lend out a carriage, but they couldn't lend out one of the better carriages. This way they could safeguard themselves in case there was by any chance someone talented in Flying Fish Town, ensuring that the talented person wouldn't be too annoyed at having to walk the entire way.

    Ren Hong was someone who integrated himself into the Yao clan at a late age, so he wasn't required to wear the clan mark on his clothing, but he still chose to wear the clan mark to show his respect for the clan. The younger generation would generally not need to wear the mark unless they were going out on official business or to tournaments, but they would still wear it most of the time as a sign of respect.

    Yao Jun had never worn the clan mark, the reason behind this was because after his parents had performed a meritious deed during a great battle, they were granted one wish that the clan would fulfill.

    The wish that they chose was for their family to be exempt from having to use the clan mark on their clothing in the future. They did this because, while they were part of the Yao clan, they were not born in the Yao clan.

    One of the elders of the main branch of the Yao clan had gone adventuring while he was younger, and when he returned to the clan, he brought with him two children from two different clans who he had been entrusted with by a friend on his travels. These two children were Yao He and Yao Xun, this was also the reason why Yao Jun and his parents surname was different from the rest of the Yao clan.

    While Yao He and Yao Xun were younger, they wore the clan mark to show their respect to the clan for raising them, but once they grew up and had dedicated a large portion of their strength to the clan, they wanted to spend the rest of their lives honoring the people who had brought them into this world.

    This was also another one of the reasons that his parents did not have a high position in the main branch, even after gaining many merits during their battles, the Yao clan was worried about what people would think if they had people with different surnames as elders.

    While they were traveling towards Golden Moon Town, Ren Hong spent most of the time simply steering the carriage in silence, but as they got closer to Golden Moon Town he started to tell Yao Jun about some of the information he would need to know before entering the Golden Moon branch.

    This information included everything from the miscellaneous jobs he would have to do, information on elders and disciples that were noteworthy, who not to cross while in Golden Moon Town, the state of affairs in Golden Moon Town, and some information about people from the Peng clan.

    The Peng clan in Golden Moon Town was like the Yao clan, they were a branch of the Peng Clan, once of the largest clans in the Great Yan country, as well as the Bai province. The Peng clan and the Yao clan divided Golden Moon Town into two parts, each occupying a half.

    On the surface, the relationship of the two branches was very harmonious, often co-operating and sending their youths in mixed parties to partake in Demonic beast hunts. Once one looked a little deeper, one would see that the relationship was far from harmonious, fighting between the younger generation being common, often ending in deaths.

    The two branches were also secretly competing between each other, each trying to steal resources and land from the other. Sending the younger generation out on Demonic beast hunts in mixed parties was also a type of competition. The youths sent out would often end up fighting against each other, more disciples dying to each other than to Demonic beasts.

    After riding the carriage for four days, only stopping for the occasional restroom break and to sleep at night, Yao Jun and Ren Hong finally arrived at Golden Moon town.

    Being located close to the center of Great Yan country, the city would obviously be larger than a small Flying Fish Town. The city was surrounded by a large stone wall, defending the buildings and citizens within from the occasional Demonic beast attack. The city was shaped like a large circle, being almost 50 kilometers across.

    The houses were mostly painted in a light yellow color, while the more grandiose houses were colored a deep golden, showing that they were more distinguished than other buildings. The entire city was interweaved by both small and large roads, but there was one large main road that split the entire city into two halves.

    The road went from the entrance of the city, all the way to the city lord's mansion which was located at the other end of town. This road was also the demarcation line, one side of the road belonging to the Yao branch, the other to the Peng clan.

    Yao Jun had spent eight years living in the largest branch of the Yao clan, the branch located in the capital, so even though this city could be considered large for someone from a small town like Flying Fish, but it was still not enough to shock Yao Jun.

    Yao Jun and Ren Hong followed the main road until they reached a road that split off to the side, going in a straight line towards a large gray colored mansion. This mansion was the location of the Yao branch. The mansion was surrounded by a large courtyard, the courtyard had a small stream flowing through it and was filled with small patches of trees and was vibrant with plant life, giving the courtyard a peaceful atmosphere.

    Behind the mansion were several small and simple houses, placed at even intervals between these houses were small training areas that would allow the occupants to spar with each other or test out their techniques.

    Ren Hong took Yao Jun into the main mansion and brought him straight to one of the external elders. Yao Jun was just a slightly talented person from a small town, he was not qualified to meet any of the internal elders, he wasn't even qualified enough to let any of the internal elders know that he had entered the clan. Internal elders were elders that had the surname Yao and had been born in the clan, they mostly dealt with clan affairs and the most talented disciples.

    External elders were talented people the clan had taken in, but who still had different surnames. These people mostly dealt with the normal disciples, taking care of the premises and other smaller miscellaneous tasks.

    Yao Jun was brought before an aged elder with a kindly face, the elder looked just like the kind grandfather type. This elder was in charge of taking care of the newest disciples, giving them their identification jade and assigning them with tasks that they would have to complete to receive their monthly salary.

    Yao Jun quickly went through the procedures, receiving a jade token that had his name and hometown inscribed, a key to one of the smaller houses located behind the mansion, and getting assigned the role of medicine boy.

    His job as medicine boy was to travel between the Yao branch and their medicine garden, which was located on a small mountain located in a forest a small distance away from the city, and make sure that everything was as it should, before reporting which herbs were ready for harvesting and which would need to be planted again. This task had to be done at least once a week.

    It would be a lie to say that Yao Jun was not a little disappointed with how unenthusiastic his entrance into this Yao branch was, but he consoled himself with the fact that he would sooner or later rise up, it just depended on how hard he worked. And Yao Jun had never lacked for determination to do hard work.

    Ren Hong led Yao Jun to the small house that was assigned to him. The small house was built out of grey stones and was located at the very edge of the Yao branch premises, this was to make it easier on Yao Jun to make the trip between the medicine garden and the house. The inside of the house was just as simple as the outside, only containing a bathroom and a bedroom, a small corner of the bedroom being used as a small kitchen corner.

    The bed was just a stone slab that was covered with some fur to give the disciples to have something to lay on. This was done for two reasons, one was to motivate the disciples to work harder, striving for getting a better house by getting better results during competitions, and the other was to make the kids forego sleep for meditation. Spending the night meditating would remove the disciple's tiredness, just like sleeping, but meditating would also allow the disciple to gather more Raw Qi, as well as bringing the student closer to nature and training their mind.

    Yao Jun didn't have many things, just having some clothes and books, so there was nothing for him to put away, so he just followed Ren Hong on a tour of the premise, learning where everything was located. After that he returned to his house to start his meditating, tomorrow he would head to the medicine garden to complete his task and be given his initial salary, allowing him to buy some necessities. 

    (The Yao clan uses the 摇 version of Yaò, which means rock. while our MC and his dad use 妖 which stands for demon, while his mother uses 要 which stands for Desire=

  • Chapter 7: First Day in Golden Moon.

    The sun had just risen above the horizon when Yao Jun opened his eyes. After spending the entire night immersed in meditation and absorbing the Raw Qi in the air around him, Yao Jun was surprised to notice just how filled with energy was. It was indeed just like they had said, substituting sleep with meditation was a very good idea.

    Of course, that was only if you managed to persist with your meditation throughout the night. Yao Jun found that he had no problem persisting the entire night, in fact, he completely forgot track of time as he meditated, completely immersing himself in the pleasant feeling of merging with the Raw Qi around him.

    After stretching his body for a bit, Yao Jun left the small house and headed to the provisions department. The provisions department was located in the main mansion and was responsible for handing out some necessities as well as giving the disciples their monthly salary.

    The provisions department was in fact just a long counter placed in front of the storeroom. You would go to the person responsible for whatever chores you were assigned, and then that person would head into the storeroom and fetch out the things you were entitled.

    The person in charge of the medicine garden chores was a seemingly middle aged woman clad in the standard black Yao clan robes. She had long flowing black hair with some shades of gray, a buxom figure and a pleasant voice. She seemed like a very pleasant and seductive woman, but what subtracted from her charm was that her forehead was very wrinkled. She also had a very bad temper, almost flaring up at Yao Jun for requesting his initial salary and the book that held all the information he needed to know about his chores.

    After some silent grumbling, the woman, who he learned was called Xuan Yijun, entered the storeroom and came back with a small leather pouch and a small green book.

    “You can keep the book for a maximum of one year, after that you have to return it, if it is damaged or ruined, you will have to pay for it.”

    The woman flicked her hand and the book and pouch landed on the counter in front of Yao Jun. After that she sat down and took out a small purple rock that she held in her hand as she started silently meditating, no longer paying attention to Yao Jun.

    The small purple rock was something called a Mortal Grade Spirit Stone. Spirit Stones were the crystallization of Raw Qi and were used as cultivation tools by lower ranked cultivators as well as currency by higher ranked cultivators.

    The lowest ranked ones were Mortal Grade, after that was Spiritual Grade, Earth Grade and then Heaven Grade. There were also legends that above heaven grade was something called Primordial Grade and Empyrean Grade, but Yao Jun was currently far too weak to even know if these legends were true. He could barely get his hands on Mortal Grade at the moment.

    The monthly salary came in the form of 1 Mortal Grade Spirit Stone, and 10 silver coins. Coins were used by non cultivators or low ranked cultivators as currency. 1 silver was worth 100 copper. 1 gold was in turn worth 100 silver. 1 spiritual gold was worth 100 gold.

    The book he was given was an encyclopedia of spiritual herbs. Spiritual herbs had the same classification as Spirit Stones, and were mostly used to make pills or other concoctions. The encyclopedia was not specialized for the Yao clan, so it contained information on every herb that had been discovered so far. Yao Jun's job was to study and memorize this encyclopedia and use the information within to maintain the medicine mountain.

    Yao Jun left the main mansion and the Yao clan area, following the main road to find a small miscellaneous store. Yao Jun entered the store and spent 5 of his silver, buying a small basket, a few tools, and a small book that he could carry with him.

    The tools and basket were to be used for the herbs, the tools would make it easier to pick some of the herbs and maintain others. The basket was a specialized herb basket that prevented the herbs from losing their accumulated medicinal properties and energy, while the small book was just so he could have something that he could use to write down any notes that he had.

    Ever since Yao Jun had absorbed the corpse of the Lightning Tiger and awakened his powers, he had acquired an eidetic memory, but the act of taking notes on things he felt that he needed to remember had already been ingrained in his body after doing it for so long, so he was incapable of stopping himself from doing so.

    After he bought what he needed, he returned to the Yao clan and entered his little house. Before he headed to the medicine garden, it would be wise to accustom himself to some of the more common herbs, so he started by reading the encyclopedia he had gotten.

    Thanks to his eidetic memory he had no problem remembering the information about the herbs, and once he had gotten halfway through the book, he heard a small knock on his door.

    Putting away the book and heading to the door, he was greeted by a slender girl clad in the standard Yao clan robes. She had raven black hair, limpid blue eyes, a rosy complexion, a nice figure and small dimples on her cheeks that were formed from smiling.

    “You should be junior brother Jun right? I'm Yao Pianzi and I can be considered your senior since im a year older than you.” The girl, Yao Pianzi, spoke with a bright smile as she grabbed Yao Jun's hand and forcefully shook it.

    “Ah, yeah i'm Yao Jun, nice to meet you.”

    Yao Jun spoke somewhat awkwardly, he had spent most of his life training alone, so he was not accustomed to being with others, especially beautiful girls around his age, so he was slightly at a loss, not sure what to do.

    “Hehe, I heard that out medicine garden group was getting a new member, so I came to greet you and take you for a tour around the medicine garden. If i'm not wrong you shouldn't have been there yet.”

    Yao Pianzi spoke with a large smile as she dragged Yao Jun out of his house without waiting for his reply. Yao Jun honestly just wanted to stay in his house and continue reading the encyclopedia, but he was unsure how to turn down Yao Pianzi. He was afraid that she would be a bit sad if he just suddenly turned her down, so he could only sigh in his heart and follow her to the medicine garden.

    Golden Moon Town was surrounded by forests on all sides, only being connected to the other towns by winding roads that went through the forests. The forests outside of Golden Moon Town were used by the Yao clan and the Peng clan to both train their younger disciples, as well as store their medicine gardens.

    The Raw Qi was thicker in the forests due to the gathering of Demonic beasts and herbs, so it was better to place their medicine gardens there than to place them in the town. The path leading to the medicine garden was protected by small array stones, beads injected with arrays, so no Demonic beasts would attack people as long as they were on the roads.

    The Yao clan medicine garden occupied an entire small mountain and was protected by a larger array formation that not only protected the herbs from Demonic beasts and trespassers, but also gathered the Raw Qi from the surroundings and converged it onto the mountain, promoting the growth of the herbs.

    To pass the protective array, all one had to do was hold one of the Yao clan's identification jades and the array would completely ignore you. Entering the array, Yao Jun took a deep breath, feeling the thick Raw Qi submerging the entire area gave him a carefree and pleasant feeling, like he was floating amongst the clouds.

    Yao Pianzi took him on a tour around the entire mountain, explaining to him what he had to be careful about and other things to keep in mind. With her explanation, Yao Jun got a much better understanding of what was expected off him and what he had to do.

    After they went around the entire mountain, they returned to Golden Moon Town and walked around town a bit together. Yao Pianzi showed him around town, showing him which stores had the best items and prices, showing him some of the better places where one could buy specialized goods or food. They walked around town for most of the day before returning to the Yao clan.

    “You should go rest early junior brother Jun, tomorrow we still have to head to the medicine garden to pick some herbs.”

    Yao Pianzi gave Yao Jun a sweet smile as she waved, returning to her own housing. And just like that, Yao Jun's first day in the Golden Moon Yao branch passed.
  • Chapter 8: Life in Golden Moon.

    When the first rays of sunlight shone through Yao Jun's window, he awoke from his meditation. He had already been in this Yao branch for a few weeks and it had become a habit to end his meditation this early. He and Yao Pianzi would head to the medicine garden in the morning so that they could wander around town during the afternoon, evening and night was strictly for cultivation, Yao Jun had made this very clear.

    Quickly freshening up in the washroom before leaving the house, Yao Jun met up with Yao Pianzi and a few other people at the town exit. The group consisted of Yao Pianzi, a tall and elegant youth with light yellow hair called Yao Mu, and a pair of twin sisters with chestnut brown hair and a lovable appearance, they were a bit younger than Yao Jun, but since they were born in this Yao branch, he had to call them Senior Sisters, they were called Yao Zhu and Yao Wei.

    “Little Jun! You seem to be getting more and more punctual, even we just arrived!” Yao Pianzi skipped over and patted Yao Jun lightly on the shoulder as she spoke in a praising tone.

    “Come on now big sis Zi, I only overslept twice, it wasn't that bad.” All Yao Jun could do in face of her praise was embarrassedly scratch his cheek.

    Big sis Zi was something Yao Pianzi had convinced Yao Jun to call her not long after they got to know each other. At first he found it rather embarrassing, but as he got used to it, he found it rather pleasant to be able to call a friend with a nickname.

    “Greetings Senior Brother Mu and Senior Sisters Zhu and Wei.” Yao Jun cupped his hands and gave the others a standard greeting. These people had also been rather good to Yao Jun so he was also quite fond of them.

    “Good morning Junior Brother Jun, since you are so punctual today, I believe that our luck should be rather good.” Yao Mu returned his greeting with a light chuckle, eliciting a small laugh out of the others.

    They left the Yao clan and followed the main road towards the town exit. Before leaving town, Yao Jun made a small detour to greet his parents, who had already settled down in Golden Moon Town, just not in the Yao clan. Yao Jun visited his parents every morning before he left for the medicine garden, partly to check up on them and ensure them that he is fine, and partly to pick up his breakfast and lunch, which his mother prepared for him every day.

    After picking up his breakfast and lunch, Yao Jun shared the breakfast with everyone in the group as they left the town and followed the path that would lead them to the medicine garden. He split his breakfast with them every morning, he also did the same with his lunch, mainly because the others only ate in the Yao clan cafeteria and always forgot to make their own food before leaving.

    After arriving at the medicine garden, since today was the last day of the week, they started harvesting some of the herbs that had a faster growth speed. Every week they had to harvest herbs on the last day and deliver them to the clan. They had to fill up a certain quota each week and month, if they harvested too little, they would lose some of their salary, but if they harvested too much, they would not get anything extra.

    Harvesting the herbs was rather strenuous work as it required them to walk all over the mountain, check all the herbs to see if they were ripe, then bend over and cut them above the roots to harvest them. They would then place them in specialized baskets and write down what they had harvested and how much, taking stock of what they had.

    After spending around two hours harvesting, they would gather again and eat lunch together. While everyone else had filled their books, noting down their harvest, Yao Jun's book was still empty. This was not because he hadn't harvested anything, on the contrary, he had harvested more than anyone else.

    Since he was new, Yao Pianzi had given him charge of the area with the most herbs. Since there were more herbs there, there were obviously more ripe herbs there as well. Yao Pianzi said that she did this so that Yao Jun wouldn't end up harvesting too few herbs and end up losing his salary.

    But Yao Jun noticed that Yao Pianzi and the others never managed to harvest enough, so he told them that they could just start harvesting from his area. The others adamantly rejected this proposal, stating that it was important to have borders and not encroach on other peoples area.

    After thinking it over for a little bit, Yao Jun came up with the idea that he could just harvest a bit more and then give that to the others, allowing all of them to reach the quota. The others spent some time thinking over it and couldn't come up with anything against it, so all they could do was accept with reluctant faces. This led to Yao Jun having to harvest almost twice as much as the others to keep up.

    “Little Jun, how come the food you bring is always so good? Much better than the food in the cafeteria, you should just come cook for me all day, I'm sure your mom taught you....” Yao Pianzi muttered under her breath while eating a small pastry.

    “Come on now big sis Zi, I already told you that I was too preoccupied with training to ever learn any cooking.” Yao Jun gave a wry smile in response to Yao Pianzi's words. She would often end up muttering under her breath while eating the food his mother made, complaining that no one would cook for her.

    “Junior Brother Jun, are these the herbs you harvested?” Yao Wei spoke up from the side and leaned her head over to peek into the basket placed next to Yao Jun.

    “Ah, yes I managed to harvest enough this time as well.” Yao Jun stretched his body and picked out some herbs from his basket, quickly handing them over to the others.

    “Thank you Junior Brother Jun, we really have inconvenienced you.” Yao Mu accepted the herb and gave Yao Jun a slightly apologetic smile.

    “It's no problem, no problem at all. It's my fault for hogging the best harvesting spot after all.” Yao Jun quickly waved his hands to stop Yao Mu.

    Just as he finished talking, a small flame flashed into existence in front of Yao Pianzi, illuminating her surprised face. This little flame was the mark of a transmission jade, signifying that someone had sent a message to Yao Pianzi. Yao Pianzi's face quickly went from surprised to elated.

    “The inner disciple tournament date has been decided! It will start in another week, all disciples are to suspend all chorse to focus on the tournament!” Yao Pianzi spoke with a happy smile as she sprung up.

    “Come, come, let's return to the clan, we have to start training!” Yao Pianzi stopped caring about anything, throwing the food aside before grabbing her basket and running back to Golden Moon Town.

    Yao Jun was the only one who didn't run back. The inner disciple tournament was only for disciples who had spent a certain amount of time in the Golden Moon branch, giving them a chance to become inner disciples, meaning that the clan would give them more resources and that they could stop doing chores.

    Yao Jun had not been in the clan long enough to participate in the tournament, so there was no need for him to rush back. He looked around the area where they just sat, overlooking all the food the others had thrown onto the ground and heaved a small sigh.

    “What a waste of food. Sorry mother.”

    Yao Jun stood up and cleaned away the food before heading back to his part of the medicine garden, he had picked enough herbs for the others, but he hadn't picked enough herbs for himself yet, so he had to finish that first.

  • Chapter 9: Inner disciple tournament.

    Yao Jun spent some time wandering around town, checking out various stores. It had been a week since Yao Pianzi had gotten news of the inner disciple tournament and he hadn't met any of them since. They could suspend their chores to focus on training, putting some finishing touches on their skills before the tournament.

    Yao Jun saw no point in doing this, he couldn't participate in the tournament, so taking the week off from the chores would only lead to him having nothing to do all day. Rather than spend all day doing nothing, he found it better to keep up his old habits, heading to the medicine garden every morning.

    But as he traveled to the medicine garden alone, he found it to be a rather lonely chore, so he had also gotten quite fond of meditating in the medicine garden. Since the medicine garden had a Qi Gathering Array, the concentration of Raw Qi was much larger on the mountain, giving people twice the result for half the effort.

    Normally people were forbidden from meditating in the medicine garden as it would take Raw Qi away from the herbs, but since Yao Jun was the only one in the medicine garden, there was no one to tell him off. Thanks to spending time meditating in the medicine garden and his daily meditating at night, Yao Jun had already managed to reach the 3rd level, close to the 4th.

    He hadn't managed to step into the first grade yet, but since he had only been able to train his Inborn Spell for a bit over two months, he was still rather pleased by the result. Ever since he had managed to reach the 3rd level, he had also felt more in tune with energy, giving him the feeling that he was almost capable of seeing the Raw Qi floating around him.

    In truth, Yao Jun felt very stifled in Golden Moon town. As long as he was in the town or it's surrounding area, he couldn't bring out or enter his Garden of Eden, so ever since he left Flying Fish Town, he hadn't entered it once. He could try to enter the gate while he was in the medicine garden, but he was worried that doing so would trigger some mechanism in the Gathering Array, alerting the clan.

    Thinking about the quiet forest and lovable Lightning Tiger located inside his Garden of Eden and knowing that he couldn't enter it, Yao Jun shook his head with a slight sigh.

    “Forget it, i'll just head to the clan and watch the inner disciple tournament. They are basically guaranteed to pass, but I can at least cheer big sis Zi and the others on.” Yao Jun stopped wandering around town and turned towards the Yao clan premises, making his way back.

    After arriving at the Yao clan, Yao Jun headed to his house to freshen up and put on some new clothes, his emerald robes had gotten a bit dirty while in the medicine garden. After freshening up, Yao Jun took out a black robe from his interspatial ring.

    In truth, Yao Jun felt slightly out of place in the Yao clan. Every disciple wore the black robes embroidered with the clan mark, every disciple except Yao Jun. Yao Jun still wore the same emerald green robes he had always worn, making him stand out amongst the other disciples.

    He had thought about changing to the standard black robes, but whenever he looked at them, he just felt that they looked so dreary and lifeless. Other than that, the green robes he wore were made by his mother, so he was did not want to simply stop wearing them.

    Throwing the thought to the back of his mind, he stored the black robe back into his interspatial ring, taking out another green robe. If he didn't want to wear the black robes, he wouldn't, Yao Jun did not want to live a life where he did things he did not want to do.

    Leaving the house, Yao Jun headed towards the largest training ground placed behind the main mansion, this was where the inner disciple tournament would take place. Clad in a green robe, sword hanging at his side, his black hair tied up with a piece of string, combined with his soft and elegant features, he looked like a scholar heading to war.

    But when he arrived at the training ground, no one paid any attention to him, all eyes locked onto the middle of the training field where the disciples that would take part stood.

    Yao Jun found an inconspicuous place to stand and watch the tournament. He wasn't too surprised at the others not paying attention to him, even if there wasn't a tournament today, they still wouldn't look at him. The only ones Yao Jun was acquainted with was Yao Pianzi, Yao Mu, Yao Wei, and Yao Zhu. Other than these four, no one else in the Yao clan had spoken to Yao Jun so far, so Yao Jun was very thankful towards Yao Pianzi and the others for making him feel so welcomed.

    There was not a lot to be said before the inner disciple tournament, only mentioning that weapons, intentional murder, and intentional crippling of the opponents were forbidden. The tournament followed a very simple formula, the people participating drew opponents at random, losing a fight meant that in the next fight you would fight someone else who also lost. Winning meant fighting someone else who also won their first fight.

    This went on until everyone had fought six fights. The clan would then choose the five people who had the best scores and nurture them as inner disciples. After being an inner disciple for a period of time, the disciple would then be given the chance to become a core disciple. After becoming a core disciple, the disciple could challenge one of the top ten ranked disciples. If they won, they would get that disciple's rank and an increase in the resources they would get, becoming a ranked disciple. Most clans would follow this set up, with some slight differences.

    The tournament quickly moved on, and it was indeed just like Yao Jun had thought, Yao Pianzi and Yao Mu went undefeated. Yao Wei and Yao Zhu each lost one fight, but that was only because they ended up meeting Yao Pianzi and Yao Mu.

    The last person who got a spot in the top five and became an inner disciple was called Yao Gu, he had pale skin and short ruffled black hair, looking very unkempt. He fought in a very frenzied way, resembling a wild beast. His power seemed to be the ability to use his Qi to enter a frenzied state, simulating a wounded wild beast, as well as giving him an increase in his physical power.

    Yao Wei also had a brutish way of fighting, she looked petite and lovable, but her power was a pure physical power boost. Once she activated it, her physical power would instantly double, allowing her to waltz over almost any opponent that didn't have any means of ranged attacks.

    Yao Zhu was more elegant while fighting, her power manifested in the form of wind transforming into the shape of strings. She could control the strings with her fingers, making it look like she was playing a zither while she was fighting. But her strings could not be underestimated for they were sharp and deadly.

    Yao Pianzi and Yao Mu stood undefeated and the main reason behind that was that their powers could be considered top tier. They had also managed to train their powers up to the 6th level, allowing them a greater range where they could manifest their powers. Their powers could also be controlled mentally thanks to this, meaning that one could not predict where they would strike.

    Yao Mu looked elegant, but his power gave him control over stone, allowing him to use the earth to shield him while simultaneously flinging large rocks at his opponents, giving them no chance to get close or attack him, he was truly a fearsome fighter.

    Yao Pianzi could control mist, allowing her to turn the humidity in the air around her into mist to hide her body and deceive her opponents. She was like a specter while she fought, it was impossible to get a lock on her. Her opponents could only fall for her tricks before being defeated by her swift and merciless attacks.

    And just like that, the inner disciple tournament came to an end. The next one would not take place before in around a year, it was also at that point that Yao Jun would be allowed to participate, giving him a chance at becoming an inner disciple.

  • edited October 2017
    Chapter 10: Pianzi.

    Yao Jun opened his eyes in the morning, ending his nightly meditation session. It had already been two weeks since the inner disciple tournament ended, so all the disciples that didn't become inner disciples had already returned to doing chores. Despite this, Yao Jun had still not managed to meet with Yao Pianzi or the others again, but he comforted himself with the thought that they were probably busy with being introduced to the inner disciple area.

    Standing up from the bed and stretching his body, Yao Jun heard a pleasant popping sound from his joints. After two more weeks of meditating, he had managed to enter the early stages of the 4th level, and was pleasantly surprised to see that reaching the fourth level had given his body a small boost in toughness and strength.

    Yao Jun quickly washed himself before slipping into a new green robe and leaving the house. He did not manage to meet with Yao Pianzi and the others, but he still had his chores to take care of. The only difference was that he was now the only one taking care of the medicine garden, instantly nearly tripling his workload. He had already talked about it with the external elder that was in charge of the medicine garden, and she had promised him that they would send over more people, but so far there was no one.

    Yao Jun slowly wandered through town, since he was now the only one taking care of the medicine garden most of his time was spent there, giving him little time to do anything but sleep and work. Due to this he would always walk through town very slowly as he was headed towards the medicine garden, enjoying the peaceful walk.

    As he was nearing the town entrance, he spotted a small group of people entering the town. Seeing these people, Yao Jun was pleasantly surprised. The group was exactly Yao Pianzi and the others. Yao Jun put on a smile and made his way towards the group.

    “Good morning Big sis Zi, Senior Brother Mu, Senior Sisters Wei and Zhu. I never did get to congratulate you on successfully becoming inner disciples. Congratulations!” Yao Jun spoke with a smile as he cupped his hands at the group.

    “Ah? Junior Brother Jun? What are you doing here?” Yao Zhu seemed rather confused at seeing Yao Jun.

    “Did you not tell him Senior Sister Pianzi?” Yao Wei looked towards Yao Pianzi while raising one of her eyebrows.

    “Tell me what?” Hearing their exchange and seeing how dismissive Yao Mu was, Yao Jun felt slightly uneasy, but even more confused.

    “Ahaha, yeah I didn't really bother to tell him, I just stopped thinking about it after the tournament.” Yao Pianzi spoke with a small laugh and shot a slightly apologetic look in Yao Wei's direction before turning towards Yao Jun.

    “Listen Junior Brother Jun, you should stop meeting with us.” Yao Pianzi still held the same smile as she spoke to Yao Jun, but her words hit Yao Jun like a punch, only increasing his unease.

    “....What?” After being dazed for a bit, Yao Jun managed to spit out the word, but after thinking about how they interacted in the past, he managed to draw some conclusions.

    “Listen, I know we may have been a bit close earlier, but that was only so that we could get more time to cultivate. If we didn't get that time to cultivate in the medicine garden, there was no way we could have managed to become inner disciples.”

    “But if we simply spent all our time cultivating in the medicine garden, people would be suspicious when we never came back with any herbs, so we all agreed that we needed someone to harvest the herbs for us.”

    “And then I was told that we were getting a new disciple in the harvesting group, it was the perfect chance. You got to have some friends for a while, and we got to get in more cultivation time, it was a win-win situation.”

    Yao Pianzi still wore that cheerful smile, but the others in the group had already looked away from Yao Jun, no longer paying attention to him. Yao Jun himself had a rather ugly face. His face was completely pale and he looked lost, like an abandoned puppy. He had made some conclusions upon seeing Yao Mu be so dismissive, but he found that actually hearing it was much worse.

    “So it was all just a lie? A little game you played to get what you wanted?” Yao Jun spoke in a slightly hoarse voice as he swept his gaze across the group. Yao Pianzi still looked cheerful and Yao Mu still looked dismissive. The Wei and Zhu twins were the only ones who looked slightly apologetic, but even that faded quickly.

    “Not everything was a lie, the food really was good, that wasn't a lie. And you shouldn't say it so harshly, look at it like a business transaction. You got some friends for a while and we got to cultivate, like I said, it was win-win.”

    Yao Pianzi seemed slightly annoyed at how Yao Jun phrased it, so she corrected him, but she didn't expect him to burst out into laughter.

    “Really, I can't fucking believe that I fell for it. Should have known not to trust something that seemed so simple and sweet. Fucking really, what a good lesson.”

    Yao Jun spoke in a self deprecating tone before turning his gaze to Yao Pianzi. His eyes had lost all the shine they used to have when he looked at her, all that was left was a dead gaze, like he was looking at air.

    “Pianzi right? Really should have known, the name itself tried to warn me. Fucking hell, never have I seen anyone whose name fits so well. Fucking hell.”

    As he was talking, Yao Jun had already started walking past them, heading towards the medicine garden as the sound of his cursing slowly drift away with the wind, leaving behind only his lone back.

    “He didn't have to be that rude did he? Who does he think he is?!” Yao Pianzi spoke with a cold snort, it was truly the first time someone had spoken so rudely to her. She was used to people fawning over her because of her looks and talent, but that mongrel even made fun of her name? After she had been so good to him ever since he arrived?

    “Never mind that Sister Pianzi, we should head back to the clan, the salary should have been divided by now.” Yao Mu spoke with an indifferent voice, but he still turned his head and narrowed his eyes at Yao Jun's back. He had been pursuing Yao Pianzi for a while now, and even considered her to be his woman, so hearing someone who came from such a tiny town like Flying Fish insult her made him quite angry.

    Yao Jun went to the medicine garden, but he didn't come back in the evening. He only showed up at the entrance of Golden Moon after the fourth day ended. He looked just like he did as he left, only a bit dirtier than normal, his hands were especially dirty, covered in dirt and blood. His face held a faint smile, looking like nothing had happened, only his slightly red and moist eyes betrayed his emotions.

    (Pianzi is chinese for deceiver)
  • Chapter 11: Root of all problems

    Yao Jun slowly walked through the town, his clothes dirty, his hands covered in blood. On his face was a faint smile. His hair was disheveled, his emerald green robe dirtied, but as he walked slowly and gracefully, he gave off a type of elegant bearing, making him seem like an immortal walking the streets.

    He had spent four days in the medicine garden. Sometimes he raged at how he had been used and lied to, when he was angry he would find a tree or a rock and simply start hitting it until he calmed down and started cursing.

    Sometimes he would be sad that he was the only one who thought that he had managed to make some friends, when he was sad he would either sit or lie down somewhere and just cry, cry until he could cry no more.

    Sometimes he would just laugh out loud, laugh at his own stupidity for believing them, laugh at how he ignored the obvious signs that he had been used. When he laughed, he would laugh until his voice was hoarse and he started to cry again.

    Sometimes he would start cursing and shouting, cursing the heavens for making him the target of their deceit, cursing himself for being unlucky enough to be the only one to transfer at this time. When he cursed, he would curse until he started laughing.

    As the time passed and he kept thinking it over, he slowly started to realize something. They left the main branch because his power was a dud and he would be weak. He was too ashamed to properly face his parents because he was too weak and thus was a disgrace. In Flying Fish Town he was scorned and pitied because he was too weak. Here in Golden Moon Town they took advantage of him because he was too weak and stupid to notice anything wrong.

    When his thoughts came to this point, he realized that all the things he had cursed and blamed his bad luck for, had all stemmed from his own weakness.

    If he was strong, would his parents feel the need to leave the main branch and move to a tiny town where they had no friends? Would he be too ashamed to look at his parents without feeling like a disgrace? Would the people in Flying Fish Town dare scorn him? Would the people in Golden Moon dare use him? The answer to all of these questions were no.

    Since the root of all his problems was his own weakness, then all he had to do was become strong, strong enough to where he could live his life just the way he wanted to. Of course, he realized that becoming strong was not everything, would Yao Pianzi and the others have been able to use him if he had been more suspicious and less eager to trust others? Of course not!

    Since it was like this, his future course of actions were clear. Become stronger, and less eager to trust. The more easily he trusted others, the easier it would be to be used, so trusting people without fully knowing them quickly became a taboo to Yao Jun.

    With his thoughts and mind having reached this point, Yao Pianzi and the others became a non factor to him, he simply removed them from his mind. Since they were not friends or trustworthy, there was no point in spending any energy on them.

    After walking for a while, Yao Jun found himself outside his house in the Yao clan compound. He entered the house and took a long bath, allowing the warm water to wash away all the dirt, blood, and negative emotions he still had left. He changed water several times, soaking in the warm water for almost three hours, just enjoying the peace.

    After he finished bathing, he put on a fresh green robe and packed everything that he owned into his interspatial ring. He wanted to get stronger, but he also knew that staying here would not allow him to cultivate with max efficiency. He left the little house and headed to the main mansion before heading into the section that dealt with what chores the disciples undertook.

    Normally, the only way a disciple could change what chores they undertook was by either becoming an inner disciple, or whenever new disciples arrived. But there was one exception, and that was signing up for the Cloud Wilderness Expeditions.

    The Cloud Wilderness is the name of the largest known wilderness on the planet, it is so large that only around half of it has been mapped. Most of the center parts have not been explored by humans, making the entire Cloud Wilderness a mystery.

    Joining the Cloud Wilderness Expedition meant that you were willing to join a team of disciples consisting of people from both the Yao clan and the Peng clan to explore the small section of the Cloud Wilderness that they controlled. The section they controlled was located on the periphery, but even then, only people whose powers had reached the first grade had a survival rate that exceeded 60%.

    Anybody could sign up to join the Cloud Wilderness Expedition, but to be allowed to go there, one had to sign a contract that stated that if one died there, the clan would hold no responsibility.

    Yao Jun quickly reached the counter that was responsible for managing the disciples that would head to the Cloud Wilderness. Behind the counter sat a wrinkly old man clad in a patched grey robe, his eyebrows were a pure white and hung loosely down his temples, his head was completely bald.

    “Hello, I would like to sign up for the Cloud Wilderness Expeditions.” Yao Jun cupped his hands and spoke in a polite tone.

    “Oh? Why would you join those expeditions? You are still young my child, there is no need to partake in such dangerous missions.”

    The old man spoke slowly and his voice was hoarse, but at the same time his voice was filled with warmth, it gave one the feeling that one was sitting in front of a fireplace during the cold winter.

    “I thank you for your concern, I know that it is dangerous, but I also believe that it is something that I have to do.”

    Yao Jun gave the elder a short bow as he spoke, but his eyes shone with determination.

    “Ai, If that is what you feel, then I would not be doing my job as your elder if I kept pestering you. Just be careful my child, I have seen too many young ones leave in high spirits but come back in coffins.”

    Seeing the determination in Yao Jun's eyes, the elder knew that there was nothing he could do to stop him. He had the feeling that if he blocked him from joining the expedition, the child in front of him would just wander off and find a way to enter the Cloud Wilderness alone.

    He took out an azure jade token that had the words Yao and Cloud inscribed on it and handed it to Yao Jun, explaining to him how to use the token.

    “You can go now my child, I will handle your dismissal from the other chores.”

    Yao Jun cupped his hands and thanked the elder once more before handing over his identification jade. The elder inspected the jade once and wrote down who was in charge of Yao Jun's chores before returning the jade and seeing Yao Jun out.

    “Ai, what does one have to do make a young child like him like that?” After Yao Jun left, the elder shook his head and sighed. Yao Jun had spoken politely and respectfully, even a bit cheerfully towards the end. But the elder had clearly noticed that while he spoke like that, he was constantly wary and guarded, keeping a slight distance between himself and the elder, both physically and mentally.

    Yao Jun left the Yao clan area and took a quick trip home. He explained to his parents that he would take a trip with the clan, leaving the town for a while. He didn't explain where he was going, he didn't even tell them the dangers, but how could his own parents not notice that he was hiding things from them.

    They knew that he was hiding things from them, but even then, they didn't ask him where he was going. They could see the determination in his eyes and they knew that their son was already 15 and had already started spreading his wings. As parents, it was their job to make sure that he could properly spread his wings, not clipping them, so they simply told him to be careful and forced him to bring some more food and water with him.

    After he was done, Yao Jun proceeded to head to the city center, the place where the spatial formation that would take him to the Cloud Wilderness was located.
  • Chapter 12: Cloud Wilderness Expedition.

    The spatial array located in the town center was owned by both the city lord, the Yao clan, and the Peng clan, so they all sent guards to protect it. If someone who was not part of either of the three factions wanted to use the spatial array, they would have to pay two Mortal Grade Spirit Stone per person who wanted to go.

    Of course, even those who belonged to either of the factions had to present proof that they were allowed to travel for free, if they could not, they too would have to pay. Yao Jun only needed to show the azure jade token before he was immediately and respectfully sent through the spatial array.

    The people of the clans were always respectful towards the ones who joined the Cloud Wilderness Expedition. The expeditions generated a lot of revenue for the clans, and the people who participated in the expeditions were under constant threat of death, so everyone who was part of the expeditions could expect the highest level of treatment.

    The spatial array was a simple array that was set up using the blood and bones of a high-grade Demonic beast. The blood was set down in one location, while the bones were set in a different location. A cultivator who specialized in arrays would then inscribe runes into the bones and blood, connecting the two. One could then use either Spirit Stones or ones own Qi to activate the array, transporting the one standing in it from one location, to the other.

    The other end of the array was placed in Golden Cloud Town, a small town built by the city lord, the Yao clan, and the Peng clan, outside of their section off the Cloud Wilderness. There were very few people living in the town as it was impossible to know when Demonic beasts would swarm out from the Cloud Wilderness and attack.

    Due to this, the town only held a few stores that sold necessities, a few hotels and some pleasure areas. The disciples would often stay in the pre-arranged housings that the clans prepared for them, but some disciples would use the hotels if they were going to associate with others that did not belong to the clan.

    Yao Jun arrived in the spatial array in Golden Cloud Town and quickly headed towards the Yao clan area. The Yao clan area was just a large gray building that was used to house the disciples that ventured into the Cloud Wilderness, and the elders that were stationed there to watch over them. After arriving at the building and notifying the head elder of his arrival, Yao Jun was brought to meet with the other disciples from the Yao clan that he would be traveling with.

    He was brought into a small lounge that contained a few couches and tables, allowing the disciples to relax and converse with each other. There were already three other youths sitting in the room chatting, upon noticing Yao Jun's arrival, the largest of the youths waved him over.

    “You must be a new kid, i'm Yao Min and can be considered the leader of this group.” The largest youth, Yao Min, looked almost 20, had a tall body and was sturdily built, almost resembling a bear. He had short black hair and a chiseled face.

    “That's Yao Qin, he is in charge of identifying herbs and other flora that we find. You'll be hard pressed to find a kid more knowledgeable about herbs in the younger generation.” Yao Min pointed towards a youth that seemed to be about 17, short brown hair and a simple and honest face.

    “That's Yao Xiang, he doesn't know too much about herbs, but he is good at fighting and if you need someone to help keep you alive in the wilderness, he's your guy.”

    Yao Min pointed to the last guy, a youth who looked almost 18, his head was clean shaven and he had sharp eyes. A scar that went across his chin made him look ferocious. As Yao Jun greeted them all, he noticed that all three of them had a few scars, whether it was on their arms or heads.

    “I'm Yao Jun, you can consider me a jack of all trades. I am knowledgeable about herbs, survival, and fighting. Pleased to meet you.” Yao Jun cupped his hands and gave a short greeting and introduction.

    “Alright, i'm going to call you little Jun since you are now the youngest. Let me ask you little Jun, have you ever killed anyone before?” Yao Min patted Yao Jun on the shoulder and gave him a seat as he spoke.

    “Killed? No Humans, no. Only some animals and Demonic beasts. Why?” Yao Jun sat down and asked in response.

    “As you may know, we often venture into the Cloud Wilderness alongside people from the Peng clan. The clans say that this is to foster friendly relations, but it is mostly to train the younger disciples.”

    “Whenever we venture into the Cloud Wilderness together and find something good, it always ends in the people of the Yao clan fighting the people of the Peng clan, which can easily result in death. If you are too soft hearted while fighting them, it can quickly lead to the death of people from your own group, so I need to know if you are capable of killing someone before I can bring you along.” Yao Min spoke emotionlessly as he looked at Yao Jun, awaiting his response.

    “No problem, as long as they attack us, I have no problem killing them.” Yao Jun responded just as emotionlessly as Yao Min.

    Yao Jun wanted to become strong in a world focused on cultivation, and cultivation required resources. Fighting over resources was as common as the clouds and the law of the jungle reigned supreme. His parents had long ago instilled in him the mindset that one could not show mercy to ones enemies, so Yao Jun would obviously not shy away from killing someone if they wanted to kill him.

    “If you say so I can be a bit more relieved, we will probably end up spending a long time with each other, so we can be considered brothers, it is always sad to lose a brother.” Yao Min smiled at Yao Jun's response and gave his shoulder a forceful pat.

    “But I must warn you, in two months we will be venturing into the Cloud Wilderness with people from the Peng clan again. Until that day we will try to teach you everything that we know so that you will be better prepared, but there is no telling what might happen in the Cloud Wilderness, always be focused and on guard.”

    “Yeah, I heard that one time, someone from the Peng clan walked a route they had mapped before, but a spatial node suddenly opened next to him and sucked him in, no one has heard from him since.”

    Yao Min spoke with a solemn expression as he warned Yao Jun, and Yao Qin chimed in with a rumor he had heard somewhere. It was like this that Yao Jun's stay in the Cloud Wilderness began. The next few weeks were spent taking short trips into the Cloud Wilderness, allowing Yao Jun to get used to the environment and improve his fighting capabilities by sparring with Yao Min or Yao Xiang. Before anyone had noticed, two months had passed and the day they would venture into the Cloud Wilderness with the Peng clan had arrived.
  • Chapter 13: Peng Group.

    Yao Jun spent two months alongside Yao Min and the others. Yao Xiang helped him with sparring and increasing his combat abilities and Yao Qin crammed as much knowledge as he could into Yao Jun's head. Yao Qin was pleasantly surprised to see that Yao Jun had an eidetic memory, saving him the trouble of repeating his teachings.

    Yao Min mostly only oversaw everything, but he would also comment on things, helping Yao Jun understand why he was taught these things. Most of the teachings took place just within the Cloud Wilderness. The reason behind this was that the Cloud Wilderness was special. The Cloud Wilderness is constantly surrounded by a type of natural array formation, making the Raw Qi more abundant within the Cloud Wilderness.

    While it made the Raw Qi more abundant within, it was also more chaotic and violent, making it harder to absorb Raw Qi to train or refill ones reserves. It was this chaotic and abundant Raw Qi that made the Cloud Wilderness the perfect place for Demonic beasts and certain plants and treasures.

    While they were helping Yao Jun get accustomed to the Cloud Wilderness, they also took the time to teach him about the people of the Peng clan and the state of affairs when they entered the Cloud Wilderness. Since their lives were constantly at risk when they were within the Cloud Wilderness, the bonds between the people of each group were especially thick, favoring to call each other brothers instead of clan mates.

    They could enter the Cloud Wilderness whenever they wanted, but if they entered with just the people from their own clans, they would stay close to the edge of the forest. Every two months, or whenever they planned it together, the people from both clans would get together and venture into the deeper parts together. The reason they entered together was because entering the deeper parts with just a group of four, especially people who were as weak as them, was practically suicide.

    When they entered together, they would often have specific goals in mind, either scavenging for treasures, or hunting Demonic beasts. To prevent there from being rampant killings between the two clans, the people from both groups had come up with certain rules between each other.

    They would take turns scavenging or hunting, so while one part of the group took all the parts from the killed Demonic beasts, the other group would take all the herbs and treasures that they found. These rules were set in place to prevent rampant killing, and they did in fact work most of the time, but it was impossible to know when one would stumble upon a treasure that both sides wanted. If that happened, all rules and agreements were made null, as Yao Min explained it “Birds die for food, men die for wealth.”

    On the morning of the day they were going to venture into the deeper parts, Yao Jun and the others were eating a hearty breakfast together. Yao Xiang was the one who stood for most of the cooking in the group, his parents owned a restaurant so he was the one who was most proficient in it.

    Most of the food he made often contained large amounts of meat, but whenever someone complained he simply laughed and stated that one can't accomplish anything on an empty stomach, and nothing fills a stomach like some good meat. They were too close to the Cloud Wilderness to rear any animals, so all the meat they ate was meat that came from the Demonic beasts that they hunted. Demonic beast meat was not only delicious and nutritious, but it also came with the added benefit of being full of Qi, so eating a piece of Demonic beast meat was the same as training.

    After training and eating Demonic Beast meat for two months, Yao Jun had reached the 6th level, resulting in six of the indents above the gate shining with a brilliant purple light, but he had yet to reach the 1st grade. Yao Min and the others had all already reached the 1st grade and started to increase their levels, but once you reached the 1st grade, it would get harder and harder to increase your power's strength, especially if you only had a weak power, so they had yet to break past the 5th level of the 1st grade.

    “Alright, the sun is already at it's apex, we should go and meet the guys from the Peng clan, lest they start nagging again.” Yao Min put down his chopsticks and stretched his waist as he stood up.

    Since Yao Min had already given the order, the others would certainly not tarry any longer, putting down their chopsticks and following Yao Min out of the building, heading towards the edge of the Cloud Wilderness. They had already stored everything they would need in their interspatial rings the day before, so they were prepared to leave at any time.

    The only thing they didn't store in their interspatial rings were their weapons. Yao Xiang was the one who taught them this, explaining that they would be able to react faster if they carried their weapons on them. Carrying the weapons on their body also helped them increase their familiarity with the weapon. Seeing as his logic was sound and reasonable, no one had any problem with carrying their weapons on them at all times.

    As they got closer to the edge of the Cloud Wilderness, Yao Jun saw that there was already a group of four people waiting for them. Contrary to the black robes that Yao Min and the others wore, or the green robes that Yao Jun wore, these four people all wore golden robes that seemed to shine beneath the sun. These were the robes of the Peng clan, their clan mark broidered onto the chest of the robe.

    The clan mark of the Peng clan were two large intertwined golden wings. The Peng clan took it's clan mark and name from their guardian beast, a massive golden Peng tamed by their first ancestor.

    “Really now Peng Yi, are you trying to get us killed? How many times are we going to get attacked by Demonic beasts because they are attracted by your garish robes?”

    Seeing the four people and their robes, Yao Min couldn't help but curl his lips into a taunting smile as he spoke.

    “Our golden robes are the sign of our glorious ancestor, why don't you take off your dull black robes instead?”

    The one who responded with an equally taunting voice was Peng Yi, the leader of the Peng group. Peng Yi was almost two meters tall and had such a strong build that he seemed more like a bear than a man. He had dark golden hair and black eyes, his skin was smooth and fair, showing that he went through great lengths to take care of it. Peng Yi carried a large gray claymore on his back and his strength was about the same as Yao Min.

    Yao Jun had already been told about everyone from the Peng clan, so he quickly identified the rest. The group of the Peng clan had a setup that was very similar to the one from the Yao clan. Peng Yi was the leader, Peng Dong was the fighter, he was very similar to Peng Yi, only he was a bit shorter and his skin was rougher and more scarred. Peng Dong was the younger brother of Peng Yi, so even though he stood for fighting, he spent most of his time at the back of the group, protected by his elder brother.

    Peng Shi had the same role as Yao Qin and stood for identifying herbs and treasures. He had pale skin and sunken in eyes, making him seem like a creepy person. His back was slightly bent, making him seem shorter than the other people present. He had short brown hair and blue eyes. Yao Jun knew that even though he looked like a creepy and sinister person, he was a surprisingly honest and nice person.

    The last person of their group was called Peng Yan and he filled the role of an extra fighter. He had healthy tanned skin, was only a slight bit shorter than Peng Yi, and had well defined muscles, looking like a chiseled rock. His head was completely shaven and polished, with two rows of dots tattooed onto his forehead, making him seem like a monk.

    “Tch, aren't you funny. Our black robes symbolize the Yao clans unity and strength.” Yao Min only clicked his tongue in response to Peng Yi's words.

    “So this is the new member you brought along, Yao Jun was it? I'm Peng Yi, that's Peng Dong, Peng Shi, and that's Peng Yan. We'll do our best to keep you alive as long as you do your best to keep us alive.”

    Peng Yi turned his head to Yao Jun and spoke with a polite smile as he pointed at the rest of the people of his group and introduced them one by one. The two clans were enemies, but the groups that entered the Cloud Wilderness would rather try to be friendly with each other unless there was a need to be enemies. Another friend would always be better than another enemy, especially when you had to spend prolonged periods of time together in a dangerous place.

    “I'm Yao Jun, you can consider me a jack of all trades, i'll be looking forward to working with you.” Yao Jun gave a polite smile and returned the introduction.

    “Heh, where did you find this one Yao Min? Finally a Yao clan member who actually has some manners.” Yao Shi spoke with a light chuckle as he spoke to Yao Min.

    “All Yao clan members are good people, there simply isn't a need to have good manners in front of brutes like you.” Yao Xiang was the one who responded, curling his lips into a slight smile as he teased the people from the Peng clan.

    “Sure sure, we'll be brutes, brutes get to live longer! Let's go, we're wasting daylight, I want to get a bit of distance in before we have to pitch the tents.” Peng Yi gave a loud laugh in response to Yao Xiang's words and waved the groups towards the Cloud Wilderness as he started walking.

    “What's the matter Peng Yi, you seem rather nervous?” Yao Min picked up on something unusual in Peng Yi's voice and spoke with a frown.

    “I'm hoping it's nothing, but we have gotten some reports about other groups hearing strange noises in the Cloud Wilderness lately.” Peng Yi knit his eyebrows as he replied.

    “Strange noises? What type of strange noises?”

    “Whispering. We have gotten reports of people hearing whispering and seeing things that shouldn't be there, so i'm a bit worried that there might be a psychic beast roaming the outer perimeter.” Peng Yi spoke with a solemn expression, psychic beasts were capable of using illusions to trick others, some of the stronger ones can even read minds and drag out a persons greatest fears.

    “You heard him guys, we need to be extra careful this time. I want all of us to be on full alert.” Yao Min wasn't stupid enough to think that Peng Yi would joke about something that could be this serious, so he made sure to remind Yao Jun and the others to be extra careful as they headed deeper into the Cloud Wilderness.
  • Chapter 14: Fang Xun.

    When they entered the Cloud Wilderness it mattered little which path they took. Every five years, the Qi at the center of the Cloud Wilderness would surge and roil, throwing everything within the Cloud Wilderness into turmoil and confusion.

    The herbs, treasures, and Demonic beasts from all over the Cloud Wilderness would find themselves thrown to all corners of the Cloud Wilderness. When this surge had just passed would be the moment where one could get the greatest harvest from entering the Cloud wilderness, but it was also the time where the Cloud Wilderness would be at it's most dangerous.

    Since everything had been thrown around at random, it was impossible to know what one would encounter. If one's luck was bad, they could even stumble upon Primordial or even Desolate beasts that were making their way back towards the center of the Cloud Wilderness. All form of maps and other things that had been prepared beforehand would also become obsolete, you would have to learn everything anew.

    The last time the Cloud Wilderness surged was a little over half a year ago, just before Yao Min and the others arrived at the Cloud Wilderness. It was common to send new people to the Cloud Wilderness after every surge. This was not because it would be easier for people who hadn't spent a long time in the Cloud Wilderness to adapt to the new Cloud Wilderness, it was simply because the mortality rate of the teams that ventured into the Cloud wilderness after a surge was over 90%.

    The last team of disciples that foraged the Cloud Wilderness before Yao Min had entered the Cloud Wilderness right after the surge, that was the last time they were ever heard from again. A month after they entered the Cloud Wilderness their Soul Jades all cracked at the same time, signifying that they had all died.

    A Soul Jade was used by even the smallest of clans, it was a type of jade that could store souls. A disciple would put a small piece of their soul into the jade, once the person died, the jade would crack and turn to dust, letting the holder of the jade know that the person had died.

    Yao Jun and the others slowly advanced into the Cloud Wilderness, it had only been a short half year since the last surge, so large parts of the area that was their territory had yet to be explored. Since large parts were unexplored, they had decided to travel slowly and double check everything that they came across, lest they accidentally walk past something valuable.

    “Little Lord, this is called a Ghost Vine, it only shows itself once the morning mist has set in and then camouflages itself once the morning mist leaves. The best way to spot it is to check around large damp trees and check if there are any suspicious dry spots. Ghost Vines are excellent for curing most poisons.”

    As they were walking, Yao Qin and Peng Shi took the chance to impart more of their experiences onto Yao Jun, giving him more actual experience by showing him the herbs they were talking about and supplementing the information from the encyclopedias with some of their own experiences.

    “You must never forget Little Lord, if you encounter a Demonic beast like the Three Headed Snake or the Twin Tiger, before you make any rash moves, you must identify which of the heads is the main head. You can identify the main head by looking at the eyes, the eyes of the main head will always shine brighter and contain more intelligence than the other heads. This is the head you must attack, the rest of the heads play a nearly negligible part.”

    Yao Xiang joined hands with Peng Dong and Peng Yan to impart their knowledge about fighting and Demonic beasts to Yao Jun, if they encountered a beast and Yao Jun did not know how to fight it properly, leading to deaths, that would be a great shame.

    After Peng Shi asked Yao Jun how he wrote his name, he made a joke that since his name was Jun, he must be a little lord. Ever since then, they had only called him Little Lord or Little Brother.

    They had already spent two days traveling deeper into the Cloud Wilderness, but they had yet to meet and Demonic beasts, only stumbling upon some herbs and smaller treasured plants. All the herbs and plants were taken by the Peng clan, it was their turn to gather the herbs, so Yao Min and the others could only grumble and murmur in jealousy.

    Yao Min and Peng Yi spent most of their time checking the surrounding area, scouting ahead of the rest of the group to find the best path to go. Yao Jun on the other hand spent most of his time with the other people from the group, listening to their lessons or occasionally sparring with them, he also started helping Yao Xiang with the cooking, slowly absorbing all his knowledge.

    It was during the afternoon of the third day that they stumbled upon something new, other people. Yao Min and Peng Yi had spotted a small group of people traveling through the Cloud Wilderness, and after making sure that they were not Demons or people from other areas, they invited them back to the camp.

    “Thank you for inviting us, i'm Fang Xun and these are my body guards, Zeng Tai, Zeng Hong, and Zeng Ping.”

    The leader of this group introduced herself and the people she was traveling with. The leader was a girl who looked like she was no older than 20, clad in tight fitting leather armor painted white, she had long brown hair and small dimples at the corner of her mouth. She had an enchanting face that seemed like it belonged on a temptress, but there was a heroic aura exuded from her entire body that made her seem like a great general.

    Her three body guards were tall and burly with completely shaved heads. Their bodies bulged with muscles and they had rough features. They looked more like bears than they did humans, but they all wore a silly, honest smile that made it hard to fear them.

    “Fang Xun? You are the city lord's niece?” Yao Min spoke as he looked the girl up and down, he had long heard about the city lord's niece. A proud daughter of heaven as proficient in fighting as she was beautiful, she was the pride of the entire Golden Moon Town and could do whatever she wanted. When she turned 19 she had left Golden Moon Town and came to the Cloud Wilderness to temper herself, a model child.

    “Indeed, it is nice to meet you all.” Fang Xun gave a small nod and a small bow as a greeting.

    “I'm Yao Min, the leader of the Yao group, that's Yao Xiang, Yao Qin, and Yao Jun, also from the Yao group. Those guys are people from the Peng group, led by Peng Yi, behind him are Peng Dong, Peng Shi, and Peng Yan. The pleasure is all ours.”

    Yao Min respectfully returned the greeting and introduced the others, facing this famous girl, even he could only sigh in awe as he experienced her heroic and elegant demeanor.

    “Are you traveling deeper into the Cloud Wilderness?” Fang Xun gave a small nod to everyone she was introduced to before turning back to Yao Min.

    “Indeed, we are scouting out some of the areas we have not explored yet to see what the last surge brought with it.” Yao Min gave an affirmative nod.

    “I see, do you mind if we join you? We are looking for a young Mist Eagle and have seen some signs that it is in this part of the Cloud Wilderness, we would like to get rid of it before it becomes a problem.” Fang Xun spoke with a solemn face, signifying exactly how big of a mission this was.

    “Tch, so it was a Mist Eagle, no wonder we got so many strange reports lately. I say we should help them Brother Min, as long as there is a Mist Eagle in the area, it's going to be hard to find anything good.” Peng Yi spoke to Yao Min and the others with a voice transmission, a skill where one could wrap their voice with Qi and transmit it to others. As long as there was not someone around that completely eclipsed you in strength, it was impossible for others to hear what was said.

    “I agree, a Mist Eagle is too large a threat, if it get's to grow and awaken it's bloodline, it could maybe even threaten our Golden Cloud Town.” Yao Min responded with a grim face, a fully grown and awakened Mist Eagle was not something they would be able to handle, so they had to kill it early.

    A Mist Eagle was a type of psychic eagle that could confuse people, making them hear voices and see things that were not there. A stronger Mist Eagle could even use it's psychic powers through it's eyes to see through everything, discerning peoples greatest fears and even see through their bodies.

    The Mist Eagle also had a faint bloodline in it, it was the descendant of the Illusory Roc, a Desolate beast that legends say could fade in and out of existence and use it's illusions to confuse even the gods themselves.

    “Very well, this Mist Eagle is too large a threat to leave alone, we will aid you in this quest to kill it.” Yao Min and Peng Yi turned to Fang Xun and spoke with solemn faces, a Mist Eagle really was too large a threat.

    “Really? You will even help us? Thank you so much.” Fang Xun's face lit up with a smile and she gave a deep bow as she spoke with a dignified voice.

    (Jun is chinese for King 君 )
  • Chapter 15: Campfire Dreams

    Fang Xun and her group of body guards joined Yao Jun and the others on their expedition, but the goal of the expedition changed from scouting the Cloud Wilderness, to finding the Mist Eagle.

    Fang Xun had seen some tracks and signs that implied that the Mist Eagle was in the area, but actually finding the Mist Eagke would be more difficult. Mist Eagles are adept at hiding themselves and confusing their pursuers, the closer one got to a Mist Eagle, the harder it would be to find it.

    A Mist Eagle could use it's psychic powers to confuse and bewilder it's opponents, but these psychic powers had a certain range, being too far away would make them useless, but if you got closer, they would only get stronger. What one thinks is tracks from a Mist Eagle might just be an illusion that the Mist Eagle set up to lure you away from it.

    “So Little Lord, how come you are traveling with the others, you seem to be a bit too young to travel in the Cloud Wilderness, no?”

    Fang Xun was walking next to Yao Jun as they were searching for more tracks to locate the Mist Eagle. Yao Jun had been put in charge of taking care and keeping an eye on her. Yao Qin and Peng Shi were too focused on gathering intelligence, so their strength wasn't too good, making them unsuited to protect her. Yao Xiang and Peng Yan were needed as the main fighting force since they were the ones that were most knowledgeable about Demonic beasts, so they were also unsuited to keeping an eye on her.

    The only other options were Yao Jun and Peng Dong, but since Peng Yi wanted to keep his little brother close to keep him safe, and since Yao Jun was a jack of all trades, he was chosen to stay close to Fang Xun. Yao Min and Peng Yi had heard about the niece of the city lord, but it would be foolish to simply start trusting someone you didn't know, especially when you were traveling in a dangerous place like the Cloud Wilderness. So they put Yao Jun in charge of keeping an eye on her while also protecting her.

    “The name's Yao Jun, they just came up with the nickname Little Lord, no need to use it. I travel with them because I want to.”

    Yao Jun waved his hand and gave a polite smile, but his eyes were constantly scanning the surroundings. Ever since they entered the Cloud Wilderness an uneasy feeling had crept up on him. He knew that this uneasy feeling was in fact the instincts of the Lightning Tiger placed in his Garden of Eden. Since the Lightning Tiger was a Demonic beast, it had a much better sense for danger than a human, so Yao Jun had been on high alert ever since they entered the Cloud Wilderness.

    “But it's rather nice isn't it? Having people that like you enough to give you nicknames? Being the niece of the city lord is so dull, everyone always keeps their distance from me, idolizing me like some kind of god. Just flying around here in the Cloud Wilderness is so much more fun.”

    Fang Xun placed her hands behind her head as she complained about her life, acting completely carefree and relaxed.

    “I guess I can't deny that it is rather nice to have people give you a proper nickname, it's a nice change of pace.” Yao Jun responded politely.

    This wasn't the first time this Fang Xun had complained to him about how she was idolized while living in Golden Moon Town. They had already traveled together for an entire day, and every second sentence out of her mouth was a complaint about her life in Golden Moon.

    It had already started grating on Yao Jun's nerves that she seemed to only be able to complain about the same thing again and again, but Yao Jun kept up his polite and elegant appearance. He had been put in charge of keeping an eye on and protecting Fang Xun, so it would not be proper to get angry at her for something as simple as complaining.

    “Alright guys, let's set up camp for today while we still have some sunlight. Yao Jun, you and Fang Xun will be in charge of making food. Zeng brothers, you can set up the tents. Yao Xiang, Peng Yan and Peng Dong, you guys watch the perimeter and place the Camouflage Powder.”

    Just as Fang Xun was going to open her mouth again, Peng Yi shouted out the order to set up camp. They had to set up camp early, before the sun started setting, otherwise it would be hard to see their surroundings and make sure that everything was secure. The Camouflage Powder was in fact just a type of powder made from dried Demonic beast excrement.

    Once the powder was placed around the camp, other Demonic beasts would smell it, making them think that a Demonic beast had already claimed that place as part of it's territory. The powder would work best in places where only low level Demonic beasts roamed, as getting the excrement of higher leveled Demonic beasts was simply too hard for them.

    If a Demonic beast of a higher grade than the Demonic beast who created the excrement that ended up becoming the Camouflage Powder came around, it would simply ignore it and trespass, so one had to make sure that one brought the appropriate Camouflage Powder to the appropriate place.

    After around 30 minutes, the camp was completely set up. Six tents were placed in a circular formation, with a campfire in the middle. The people from the Peng clan and the Yao clan each put two people in a tent, but the Zeng brothers all slept in the same tent, while Fang Xun had her own tent.

    After Yao Xiang and the others finished spreading the Camouflage Powder, everyone was gathered around the campfire, eating a stew made from dried meat and some vegetables that they had gathered as they were traveling.

    “Say, Zeng brothers. You never really talk too much, so it's rather hard to get close to you, but mind answering a question?” Yao Xiang was the first one to open his mouth and talk, throwing a glance at the always silent Zeng brothers. The Zeng brothers only gave a small nod, indicating him to ask his question.

    “So what drives you? What dreams do you have that you want to accomplish?” Yao Xiang had always found it odd how they always just followed behind Fang Xun and kept quiet. He himself always followed Yao Min, but he did it because he had dreams he wanted to accomplish, the Zeng brothers on the other hand seemed like empty shells that only followed orders.

    “We are orphans taken in and raised by the city lord, we only want to protect his niece to repay this great favor.” The oldest of the Zeng brothers, Zeng Tai spoke emotionlessly before continuing his eating.

    “This sounds like a fun topic! What about you Xiang, what do you dream about?” Fang Xun seemed to find this topic extremely interesting, so she jumped at the chance to ask the others about their dreams.

    “My dream? It's just a simple dream really. My parents own a restaurant, this restaurant has been in the hands of my family for several generations already, the oldest son of the family taking over once his parents retire. I have a younger brother who loves cooking, he loves cooking way more than I do. Originally, I was supposed to take over the restaurant, but it would probably be better off in the hands of my little brother, so I want to join the kingdoms army and become a great general. That way, while I can't take care of the restaurant itself, I can still protect the country where the restaurant is placed.”  

    Yao Xiang spoke with a smile as his thoughts drifted back to the restaurant where he spent his childhood. After reminiscing for a while he tilted his head towards Fang Xun.

    “What about you? What do you dream off?”

    “Me? I just want to fly freely, shackled by nothing and beholden to no one.” Fang Xun waved her fist around as she spoke loudly, gazing at the sky with a dreamy stare for a short while before looking at Peng Yi.

    “Your turn Peng Yi, what do you dream about?”

    “Sorry but I don't have any lofty dreams like you, I just want enough strength to protect the Peng clan that my family has protected for several generations, if I can do that, then I can close my eyes and rest peacefully when I die.” Peng Yi spoke silently, glancing at his little brother as he spoke. To protect his home and family was all he wanted in his life.

    “What about little brother Peng Dong, do you share your brother's dream?” Fang Xun turned her gaze towards Peng Dong as she spoke. She seemed determined to wrench everyones dreams out of them.

    “I don't have any large dreams, if I can ease my brother burdens a little, then I will be happy.” Peng Dong copied Peng Yi's way of talking as he spoke. He was the one who had been watching his brother the longest, so he was also the only one who knew how hard he worked.

    “What good brothers. What about you Peng Shi, Peng Yan ?” Fang Xun spoke with a smile and wiped the corner of her eyes before turning towards Peng Shi ad Peng Yan.

    “I want to travel the entire world, I want to make an encyclopedia containing all the plants in the world, wouldn't a book like that make it much easier to traverse the Cloud Wilderness?” Peng Shi was the first one to answer, throwing a glance at the trees and plants around the camp.

    “I don't have any large dreams, I'm just a fighting maniac, if I can fight stronger and stronger opponents, that will be enough to make me happy.” Peng Yan spoke with a boisterous laugh, loudly proclaiming his simplicity.

    Fang Xun cast her gaze towards Yao Min and Yao Qin, indicating that it was their turn to spill the beans.

    “I just want to learn what is located at the deepest parts of the Cloud Wilderness, maybe write a book about my travels through the other uncharted areas of the Cloud Wilderness.” Yao Qin gave a simple, yet ambitious answer. The Cloud Wilderness had existed since time immemorial, yet there were no records of anyone ever reaching the deepest parts, so his dream could be considered as ambitious as the heavens.

    “My family has protected Golden Moon for generations, so as long as I can keep the city safe from Demons and Demonic beasts, i'll be happy.” Yao Min gave an answer that was very similar to Peng Yi, an answer filled with determination and responsibility. Yao Jun couldn't help but think that this personality was probably what made him the leader of the Cloud Wilderness expedition team.

    “Alright Little Lord, you are the last one up, make it a good one.” Fang Xun grinned at Yao Jun, tossing him the responsibility of placing the finishing touches on this night.

    “Sorry to disappoint you, but my dream is so simple it probably can't even be called a dream. Because of me, my parents ended up having to leave behind all their friends, moving to a tiny town at the edge of nowhere. As long as I can return them to where they belong and give them a good life, I will be happy.”

    Yao Jun shrugged his shoulders as he spoke. The only thing he wanted was to give his parents the life he felt they deserved. He had spent too many years being too ashamed to face his parents to have any other ambitions, so he wasn't even sure what he would do once he returned to the main branch of the Yao clan.

    “Ho, you weren't wrong, that really is simple. Oh well, you are still young, who know, maybe you will find a proper dream in the future.” Fang Xun quickly finished the last of her food before standing up and heading towards her tent.

    “Im going to call it quits there, it's already getting late, and we seem to be getting closer to the Mist Eagle, so I want to be at my best for tomorrow. Who knows, we might end up finding it tomorrow.” With those parting words, Fang Xun entered her tent and closed the flaps.

    “You heard the lady guys, let's head to bed, we'll start searching again tomorrow morning.” Yao Min took the lead to stand up after Fang Xun left, putting out the fire and heading to his tent.
  • Chapter 16: Mist Eagle.

    The sun was positioned high in the sky, sending sweltering rays down upon the Cloud Wilderness. Despite the sweltering rays of the sun shining down, the Cloud Wilderness itself was dim and damp. The thick morning mist still lingered between the large trees, their canopy blocking out the sun and darkening the entire Cloud Wilderness.

    Yao Jun and his group carefully and slowly made their way through the Cloud Wilderness. No one talked, only a few scattered questions and orders broke the silence at times. They had already been walking for a few hours so their clothing was wet from the thick mist. The dark and damp forest, mixed with the ethereal mist gave the entire Cloud Wilderness an eerie feeling, raising the alertness of everyone in the group.

    Earlier in the morning, not long after they had gathered up their tents and started the days trek, they found a large gray feather stuck to a tree not far from the campsite. Gray feathers were found on very few bird type Demonic beasts, but the Mist Eagle was one of the few that had gray feathers.

    It's gray feathers were the sign that it had the bloodline of the Illusory Roc. The more it awakened it's bloodline, the grayer it's feathers would be. Legends had it that the Illusory Roc's feathers were as gray as the void itself, and that a single one of it's feathers, even after it was plucked, was still powerful enough to traverse the void and confuse your enemies.

    When they found the feather, instead of being overjoyed at finding traces of the Mist Eagle, they grew uneasy. Mist Eagles had intelligence, it was not at the level of a normal human yet, but it had enough intelligence to know who was an enemy, inspect it's enemy, and to make plans against it's enemy. Since the feather was so close to the camp, it was highly likely that the Mist Eagle had been watching them from a distance.

    They tightened up their formation, Yao Xiang and Peng Yi walked in front, Yao Qin, Peng Shi, Yao Jun, and Fang Xun's group walked in the middle. Peng Yan walked with them at the side, and Yao Min and Peng Dong walked at the back, bringing up the rear and keeping an eye out.

    As they walked deeper into the Cloud Wilderness, they also came upon more tracks left behind by the Mist Eagle. If there was anything comforting about their walk, it was that the feathers of the Mist Eagle all had traces of blood on them, showing that it had most likely been wounded. This would also explain why the Mist Eagle was only watching them, instead of attacking while they slept.

    The tracks left behind slowly turned from lost feathers to broken branches, upturned dirt, and streaks of blood on the leaves. The Mist Eagle was a strong bird type Demonic beast, but not even it could fly freely above the Cloud Wilderness., electing to spend a large amount of it's time either in the tree tops or on the ground. To fly freely above the Cloud Wilderness required the Demonic beast to either evolve into a Desolate beast, or become as strong as a Desolate beast.

    A weaker beast that could only absorb trace amounts of Raw Qi was called a Vicious beast. Once it absorbed enough Raw Qi and gained some rudimentary intelligence, it would evolve into a Demonic beast. After it cultivated itself further, either by absorbing Raw Qi or awakening it's bloodline, it could evolve into a Massacre beast. Evolving a step further would make it a Desolate beast.

    After Desolate beasts came Primordial beasts, but for a beast to evolve into a Desolate or Primordial beast required a massive amount of energy. This energy could either be absorbed as Raw Qi, gained from awakening it's bloodline, or gained by devouring cultivators and other beasts. Most documented Primordial beasts were beasts that had lived for a countless number of years, as evolving into one required passing a tribulation sent by the heavens, making it too hard to evolve for most beasts.

    After following the tracks for a short while longer, the group came upon an opening in the forest that gave way to a large hill. At the bottom of the hill was a large cave that seemed to have been dug out in haste, dried blood all around the cave entrance. There were scattered gray feathers spread around both within the cave and on the ground outside. The cave was too dark to see the end of it, but the group did not think about it for too long, quickly coming to a consensus that this was where the Mist Eagle was recuperating.

    “Let's stop here first, simply charging in can easily get us killed.” Peng Yi took the initiative to settle down at the edge of the clearing. The Mist Eagle might be injured, but caution sails a ship for ten thousand years, so having at least a semblance of a plan before they attacked would be wise.

    “If you don't mind, I might have a plan.” Fang Xun was the first one to raise an idea, her group was the one who had been following this Mist Eagle for the longest.

    “Little Lord, you are the weakest one here so if you fight on the front lines, it will only get you killed faster. You see that small ledge located just above the cave entrance? You can hide there while we lure it out of the cave. It is wounded, so it is bound to jump at the chance to eat us to help it heal. Once we lure it out, you jump down and drive your sword into it's neck.”

    “Wait! Isn't that a bit too risky? The Mist Eagle's neck might be it's softest point, but it's back and wings are it's most reinforced parts, won't the entire attack become pointless if he hits it's back or it blocks?” Yao Qin interjected while Fang Xun was talking about her plan. He was the one who had the most theoretical knowledge about Demonic beasts, so he knew which part of the Mist Eagle were strong, and which were not.

    “Indeed it is very risky, but it is much better than having him fight on the front line and die immediately. We will simply need to have some trust in Little Lord.” Fang Xun responded with a sweet smile. Yao Qin knew that she was right, Yao Jun would have a much higher risk of death if he were to fight on the front lines, so he closed his mouth and continued to listen.

    “Me and the Zeng brothers will be responsible for luring it out of the cave, Yao Min, Peng Dong, and Yao Xiang should hide next to the cave entrance and cover us once we lure it out of the cave. Peng Yi and Peng Yan, you should hide here with Yao Qin and Peng Shi by the trees, once we have lured it out of the cave and Little Lord has stabbed it in the neck, you can charge out and cut off all paths of retreat. What do you think?” Fang Xun finished talking and swept her gaze around the group.

    The group pondered over the plan for a bit, especially Peng Yi. He wasn't too comfortable with having his little brother join Yao Min and the others to take part in the first attack. After giving it some thought, he realized that it would indeed be the best setup. His brother was slightly stronger than Peng Yan, not to mention Yao Qin or Peng Shi, so he would be more use in the first attack, if they put both Peng Yi and Peng Dong in the clearing to cut of it's retreat path, the first attack group might be too weak to even force it to head towards the retreat path.

    They all assented to the plan and proceeded to silently make their way towards their locations. Yao Jun climbed up the large hill from a location that was a good distance away from the cave, before slowly making his way sideways until he was on the small ledge above the cave. Peng Yi and Peng Yan took Yao Qin and Peng Shi to a small hiding spot that Fang Xun pointed out. Yao Min and Yao Xiang hid on the left side of the entrance while Fang Xun and the Zeng brothers hid on the right side, preparing to enter the cave and lure out the Mist Eagle.

    Yao Jun crouched down on the small ledge, his sword was already drawn and ready, he knew that he would most likely only be able to get in one proper attack. He still felt nervous as this would be his first proper fight against a stronger Demonic beast. A Mist Eagle that had yet to awaken it's bloodline could be considered as strong as a human cultivator who had reached the 4th level of the 1st grade. It was considered slightly weaker than Yao Min and Peng Yi, but it had enough strange abilities that it made it very hard to fight it.

    More than just nervousness, Yao Jun also felt uneasy. The Lightning Tiger within his Garden of Eden was on full alert, even seeming to be afraid of something. Yao Jun would not dismiss these feelings, so he silently activated part of his Garden of Eden, allowing the power of the Lightning Tiger to flow through him. As he circulated the Qi from the Garden of Eden, his black hair gained some purple hues as lightning crackled around in his veins. Even his eyes changed, taking on a more feral appearance, like a tiger, increasing the strength of his vision.

    As Yao Jun slowly strengthened his Garden of Eden with Qi, he slowly discovered more and more wondrous changes. After he reached the 6th level of the 0th grade, he found that the Lightning Tiger within the Garden of Eden had grown slightly, now almost reaching two meters in length, slowly maturing as he fed it Qi. It was also at that point that he noticed that when he channeled the power of the Lightning Tiger, that his hair and eyes would subtly change while also increasing his attributes. He never told anyone else this of course, they still believed that his power was only to control lightning.

    Everyone else quickly got into position so Fang Xun took the Zeng brothers and entered the cave, quickly disappearing into the darkness. After waiting in silence for an entire minute, a loud screech sounded from within the cave. The screech echoed throughout the cave before sounding out from the cave entrance. The screech seemed to dig into peoples ear canals, reverberating inside their heads.

    After the screech came the sound of shouting and running. Fang Xun and the Zeng brothers came sprinting out from the cave, the loud sound of claws scraping against ground coming from behind them. Yao Jun and the others all tightened the grip on their weapons, sweat dripping from their foreheads. After Fang Xun and the Zeng brothers got a small distance away from the cave, the Mist Eagle came out after them.

    The Mist Eagle was much larger than Yao Jun first anticipated, reaching a little over two meters in length and over one meter wide. It's massive wings were tucked at it's side, he did not doubt that if it spread it's wings, it would have a wingspan of over four meters. It had long, sharp claws on it's legs, a large white beak hanging beneath two amber eyes. All it's feathers were a light gray and seemed to shimmer beneath the little light that came down from above the trees. The Mist Eagle was indeed wounded, a large scar that was still bleeding going from it's right chest to it's right thigh.

    The Mist Eagle had just moved most of it's body out of the cave as Yao Jun moved forward, plunging himself downwards. He was a little over a meter above the Mist Eagle, so he would reach it in less than two seconds. He had just hopped down from the ledge when his heart suddenly dropped in his chest. He saw the Mist Eagle raise it's wings, covering it's neck, only giving Yao Jun room to attack it's most reinforced parts. Yao Min and the others also saw this and charged out, hoping to distract the Mist Eagle and make it lower it's wings.

    To their dismay, the Mist Eagle simply ignored their charge. Yao Jun didn't have too much time to think as he saw the Mist Eagle raise it's head and look at him, so he simply allowed the Lightning Tiger's instincts to take over. He held onto his sword with one hand, channeling his lightning through the blade as he swung at the Mist Eagles head, aiming directly for it's eyes.

    The Mist Eagle evidently did not want to suffer damage to it's eyes, so it slightly tilted it's head to the side, forcing the blade to hit it's wings and bounce away, giving up the chance to bite at Yao Jun. Yao Jun took this chance. As his blade hit the wing, he used his other arm to grab hold of the wing, and before the Mist Eagle got the chance to shake him of, he swung himself at the Mist Eagle's chest.

    He grit his teeth and ignored the pain and numbness in his right hand and stabbed forward with the sword, driving it directly into the bleeding scar. He wasn't stupid enough to think that he would be able to slice open it's chest with his little power, so he aimed for the wound that was already there. As his sword stabbed into the wound, he circulated the Lightning Tiger's power, driving as much lightning as he could into the Mist Eagle's chest.

    The Mist Eagle let loose a loud screech as it howled in pain, before shaking it's body and throwing Yao Jun off, sending him crashing into the side of the cave entrance. Yao Jun spat out some blood as his back crashed into the wall and he slid down. The Mist Eagle wanted to finish him off, but at this time Yao Min, Peng Dong, and Yao Xiang had arrived to take it's attention.

    Peng Yi brought the others with him as he regrouped with Fang Xun and the Zeng brothers and headed towards the rear of the Mist Eagle, aiming for a pincer attack. Yao Jun shook his head a little as he swallowed down a mouthful of blood and tried to clear his head. He unsteadily stood up and just so happened to throw a glance into the cave. The others were unable to see into the cave, but as he circulated the power of the Lightning Tiger, gaining it's outstanding vision, he managed to see everything that was inside the cave. As he peered into the depths of the cave, he felt a cold shiver creep up his back as his heart started beating fiercely. He threw his head and shouted to the others.

    “Peng Yi, get away from her! The plan is a trick! She's not real!”

    Yao Jun shouted at the top of his lungs, warning Peng Yi. As he peered into the depths of the cave, he saw four corpses. Two of them were pecked apart and mostly eaten, but he could still make out the corpse of Fang Xun. If Fang Xun was already dead, and they had already seen signs that the Mist Eagle was watching them, that could only mean that the Fang Xun they were traveling with was an illusion. The Mist Eagle had been plotting against them all along.

    Peng Yi and the others were shocked at his words, even the Mist Eagle slightly stopped in it's tracks. The Fang Xun next to Peng Yi only gave a light laugh before she slowly turned ethereal and disappeared, leaving behind a stunned Peng Yi. The Mist Eagle took this chance, quickly turning it's body and opening it's beak, clamping down on Yao Qin. Yao Qin didn't even have time to scream as the beak clamped shut, directly crushing Yao Qin into two halves.

    The Mist Eagle threw it's head backwards as the top half of Yao Qin's body slid down it's throat. The Mist Eagle threw it's gaze at the rest of the people present, and Yao Jun could swear that it's beak emulated a mocking sneer.
  • Chapter 17: Bloody Fight.

    The rest of the group felt their backs drenched in cold sweat after seeing the expression of the Mist Eagle. Yao Qin's power was not completely suited for combat, it only allowed him to triple his speed for a short duration, but he had still reached the 4th level of the 1st grade, so he should still be able to at least put up a fight.

    The rest of the group had ugly expressions. The people from the Peng clan were better off, after all, Yao Qin was not from their clan. But Yao Min and Yao Xiang had spent the last seven months together, fighting and training together, building up a strong sense of brotherhood. To see him die like that, without even a whole body, not only filled them with sadness, it also filled them with rage.

    They were furious, but they still had to keep a clear head, lest they all end up dying here. Since the Mist Eagle managed to kill Yao Qin with a single attack, albeit being a sneak attack, it still showed that it had already started to awaken it's bloodline. Yao Min locked eyes with Peng Yi, and they both gave a heavy nod.

    The Mist Eagle was already wounded, and Yao Jun's attack had already worsened it's wound. If they tried to escape, the Mist Eagle was faster than them, so it would just take them down one by one, starting with the slowest. Since it was already wounded, and they couldn't run, they might as well stand their ground here and take it down.

    Yao Qin's death saddened them, but the moment they set foot into Golden Cloud Town and decided to scout the Cloud Wilderness, they had already come to terms with suddenly dying. They had even prepared letters and wills that would be sent out if they were to lose their lives in the Cloud Wilderness.

    Yao Min motioned for Yao Jun to take some distance from them. In a frontal attack, he was too weak to be off any use, he would instead just be a burden. They could not talk to each other, the Mist Eagle obviously understood human speech. The only way they could fight was by using their tacit understanding.

    This was Yao Jun's first time entering the Cloud Wilderness alongside the people from the Peng clan. So he would obviously not be able to understand their fighting style, aiding and supplementing them. It was much more likely that he would end up blocking and distracting them, thus, they decided to send him away and out of the fight.

    Peng Yi took his group and assaulted the rear of the Mist Eagle, while Yao Min and Yao Xiang assaulted it's front. Peng Dong used guerrilla tactics, dashing in and unleashing one or two attacks before quickly retreating. The Mist Eagle could indeed conjure up illusions, it even seemed like it could use it's strong mental powers to probe into peoples memories.

    But all this was under the precondition that it was given the time needed to focus and concentrate. While it was under the furious assault of Yao Min and Peng Yi's groups, it was simply too hard for it to conjure up an illusion of the same strength as the one it had tricked them with earlier.

    Yao Jun did not dare interfere in this fight, he was very clear on just how weak he was. He backed up into the cave, hiding out of sight in the darkness. In his hand appeared a small and unadorned black stone gate, 6 dim purple lights shining just above the gate. He was waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.

    He did not dare let the others see the gate, his fathers warning still ringing clear in his ears. Even if everyone else in the group ended up dead, he would not let them see the gate. He had spent a bit over two months with Yao Min and Yao Xiang, he also had a good impression of the people from the Peng clan. But if they saw the gate, there was no way of knowing who they would tell.

    If they told the wrong people, it could easily end up implicating his parents, branding them with the name of Demons. Yao Jun was unwilling to see this happen, in this whole world, he had no one but his parents, so he would not allow anything bad to happen to them.

    While Yao Jun was waiting for his opportunity, Yao Min and the others were slowly cornering the Mist Eagle. Peng Yi had a power that allowed him to instantly erupt with double his normal strength. Using this power, he managed to land a heavy blow on the Mist Eagle's right wing, shattering the bone and ruining the wing.

    Meanwhile, Yao Min had focused most of his attention on the Mist Eagle's chest wound, slowly worsening the wound through rapid attacks. Yao Xiang placed his focus on it's head, forcing it to keep moving it's head to dodge his attacks, but he still managed to take out one of it's eyes.

    Peng Dong and Peng Yan focused on one leg each, slowly hacking away at them and robbing the Mist Eagle of it's mobility. Peng Shi did not have a strong combat ability, he had the ability to produce small orbs of light that he could fling around. He mostly used these orbs to distract and disorient the Mist Eagle, flinging them directly at it's eyes and head.

    The Mist Eagle had lost most of it's mobility and was losing blood fast, but no one rejoiced. Peng Dong had lost an arm during a failed attack, Peng Yi could only use his right arm, his left arm ended up completely shattered after breaking the Mist Eagle's wing. Yao Xiang had lost a chunk of meat from his left shoulder and Yao Min had a large gash across his abdomen. Only Peng Yan and Peng Shi were still mostly fine.

    They didn't dare relax either, they knew that when the Mist Eagle was truly driven into a corner wold be when it erupted with it's most fearsome strength. They did not dare hope that they would all be able to return home. They only hoped to be able to allow at least one of them to survive to return and give them a proper burial.

    The Mist Eagle accidentally put too much weight on one of it's wounded legs, causing it to falter and stumble. Yao Min and the others decided to take this chance to rush in all together, not allowing the Mist Eagle to focus on any single one of them.

    Just as they were rapidly approaching it and letting loose their attacks, the eyes of the Mist Eagle bloomed with a ghostly light as it raised it's head skyward and let loose a deafening screech. A dim gray light burst out from it's body, rapidly engulfing Yao Min and the others within. As they were engulfed by the gray light, their eyes quickly lost their clarity, turning dull and confused. Their attacks moved slightly, no longer heading for the Mist Eagle but for each other.

    They seemed incapable of putting up any resistance under this gray light. Yao Min directly decapitated Peng Dong, while Peng Dong's blade sank into Peng Yan's chest, going straight through him. Peng Yan cleaved down on Yao Min's head, splitting it open like a ripe watermelon.

    Peng Yi and Yao Xiang both started hacking at each other with all their might, reducing each other to what could almost be considered mince meat. Peng Shi's situation was the one Yao Jun found the most eerie. Peng Shi simply walked up to the Mist Eagle and placed his head into it's beak, allowing it to bite of his head.

    The gray light quickly dimmed, and the eyes of the Mist Eagle also lost their luster, becoming murky and unfocused. Releasing the attack clearly drained it of most of it's power, but Yao Jun still couldn't help but shiver when he looked at it. Just that single attack from the Mist Eagle caused everyone else to start murdering each other. An attack like that was simply too dreadful.

    The Mist Eagle lowered it's head, chest heaving and body trembling, it was obviously at it's weakest point. Yao Jun took a deep breath, the heavy stench of blood almost making him throw up right there, and charged out. He could not miss this chance, if he did, he would probably be the next one to die.

    The Mist Eagle slightly raised it's head and looked at Yao Jun, it could not see him clearly, but it knew just who it was that was dashing towards it. Just as it was about to sneer at this human who didn't know it's place, a black light flew out of Yao Jun's hand, hovering above the Mist Eagle.

    The Mist Eagle raised it's head to look at the black light that materialized as a small black stone gate, it could feel a threat from this tiny gate. As it looked at the gate, the gate slowly opened. The Mist Eagle used all it's might to focus it's eyes and look at the gate. As the doors of the gate opened, the Mist Eagle saw a small forest, only around five kilometers in length, behind it's gate.

    Before it had time to process any of the information, a purple light shot out of the gate, quickly forming a ferocious Lightning Tiger that was almost two meters long. The Lightning Tiger crackled with purple lightning as it crashed into the Mist Eagle, it's jaws clamping down on it's throat and bringing it crashing down to the ground.

    Yao Jun was not far behind the Lightning Tiger, coming up next to the Mist Eagle just as it crashed into the ground. The Lightning Tiger clamped down on it's throat, preventing it from moving, but it still managed to figure out what was going on. The Mist Eagle moved it's eyes onto Yao Jun, the insignificant human it had ignored all along, it's eyes shone with an unwilling light.

    Had it died to Yao Min or one of the others, it could accept that as they were very close to each other in actual strength. But it actually died to an insignificant human it could kill in less than three seconds, how could it not be indignant? Yao Jun ignored the eyes of the Mist Eagle, sweeping his gaze around the bodies scattered on the ground.

    He was rather fond of all these people, so watching them die without being able to do anything made him feel a stifled feeling in his chest. Yao Jun heaved a deep sigh and shook his head, he was simply too weak, he was so weak that he did not even have the right to dream about protecting people he was fond of.

    Yao Jun turned his gaze back onto the Mist Eagle, this Mist Eagle would be his second step towards becoming stronger. He raised his sword and stabbed into the Mist Eagle's remaining eye, piercing directly into it's brain. Once it's brain was pierced, the Mist Eagle's trembling stopped as it's body lost all strength.

    Yao Jun pulled out the sword as he took a step back, beckoning the gate to return to his chest. The Mist Eagle started emitting a dull gray light as it slowly shrunk, turning into a small orb of gray light that followed the gate into Yao Jun's chest. Yao Jun felt a stinging pain coursing through his body as the gray light orb entered his chest.

    The pain was most notable in his eyes, almost going as far as making Yao Jun wish he could simply pluck them out. Yao Jun thought that he was well prepared this time, especially considering that he had already felt this pain once before. But as the pain coursed through his body, slowly strengthening it, he still found that he had underestimated just how painful it would be. Yao Jun curled up on the ground, clawing at the dirt as he waited for the pain to disappear.

    After writhing on the ground for a few minutes, the pain finally subsided, allowing Yao Jun to sit up. Yao Jun slowly made his way to the cave, sitting down within it. He did not want to sit amidst the corpses of Yao Min and the others, he was also interested in whether or not the Mist Eagle had hidden anything within the cave, so the cave would do as a temporary abode.

    Once Yao Jun entered the cave, he checked his body. Other than his body being slightly tougher and stronger than before, the most notable changes he found where that his eyesight was much better than it used to be. He could now see everything with much greater clarity, his vision range also increased greatly.

    The other change he found was that he could feel an energy source located within his head, placed just behind his eyes, integrating with them. Yao Jun realized that this was Mental Energy, also known as psychic energy. This was the power that the Mist Eagle used to produce illusions and scan people to learn their secrets.

    He could use this Mental Energy either like the Mist Eagle, discharging it from his body, or by using his eyes. If he discharged it from his body, the power would be weakened, but allow him more flexibility. Using his eyes as a conduit lacked some flexibility, but it greatly increased the power it could produce.

    These two changes where the changes he wanted the most when he first started thinking about absorbing the Mist Eagle. Greater eyesight would make it easier to wander around in forests and unexplored areas. While the Mental Energy would greatly help him in fights and with more covert tasks.

    “You are not allowed to eat him.”

    Yao Jun turned his gaze to the Lightning Tiger that was laying down next to him, head resting on this lap. He could strengthen the beasts he absorbed in three different ways. The first way was by slowly absorbing Raw Qi from his surrounding, some of this Qi would flow into the gate, strengthening the beasts. The second way was to feed them some herbs and natural treasures that contained a strong elemental power that matched their own element. The third way was by absorbing other Demonic beasts and letting them eat each other. He would lose the abilities of the devoured beast, but it would greatly strengthen the beast that ate it, shortening the time it took for it to evolve.

    The more he strengthened the gate, the more of it's wondrous mysteries slowly revealed themselves to Yao Jun, enthralling him with it's potential. If he strengthened his beasts enough, they could even evolve into Desolate beasts and above.

    The Lightning Tiger raised it's head and gave a low growl, signaling that it understood, before laying it's head down on Yao Jun's lap again. Yao Jun also leaned against the cave wall and closed his eyes. Tomorrow he would start looking for more Demonic beasts to feed to his Lightning Tiger and Mist Eagle, but now he just wanted to sleep.
  • Chapter 18: First attempt at Mental Energy.

    When the first rays of sunlight managed to slip past the canopy covering the Cloud Wilderness, Yao Jun awoke. When he fell asleep after killing the Mist Eagle, it had only been late in the afternoon. But ever since they had started wandering the Cloud Wilderness, they had only slept a few hours every day, often only around four to five hours. Coupled with the stress from the fight and the pain from absorbing the Mist Eagle, Yao Jun had no problem with sleeping all the way until noon the next day.

    Yao Jun rubbed his face a little as he looked around. The Lightning Tiger had at some point positioned itself behind him, acting as a sort of bed for him. It's eyes were clear and sharp, so it had probably been awake for a little while, standing guard for Yao Jun.

    Yao Jun turned his eyes towards the outside of the cave. There was light outside, but it was still dim and overcast. The Cloud Wilderness was formed like a massive forest, the only difference from a normal forest being the chaotic Raw Qi and the massive trees. The trees covering the entire Cloud Wilderness easily reached several hundred to several thousand meters in height. The deeper one went, the taller the trees would become.

    The trees were tall and their canopies covered large areas, blotting out a large portion of the sunlight. Even though their canopies covered a large area, the tree trunks were surprisingly narrow. There was easily enough space for both the Lightning Tiger and Mist Eagle to walk around on the ground between the trees.

    “Ah, thanks Little Thunder, we'll spend the next few days finding some good food for you and Little Gray.”

    Yao Jun stood up and stretched his body a little, removing the slight stiffness in his body from sleeping in such a bad place. Little Thunder and Little Gray were the names Yao Jun decided to give to the Lightning Tiger and Mist Eagle. He was connected to them mentally, so they could easily understand what the other's intentions were, but he still felt like they needed a name he could use when he was talking to them. Using Lightning Tiger or Mist Eagle every time would quickly turn dull and could even cause Yao Jun to feel like he was disconnected from them.

    The way Yao Jun saw it, to him right now, there were only two things he could trust completely. The first thing he could trust completely was his parents, he was certain that his parents would never do anything to harm him. The other thing he could trust completely were the beasts that he absorbed with his Garden of Eden. The beasts that he absorbed would be completely loyal to him, following every order he gave them, even if it could lead to their deaths. Facing this loyalty and trust, Yao Jun did not want to betray them or treat them like they were only dolls to be used, so he decided that the first step was to give them names.

    Little Thunder stood up after Yao Jun, shaking it's body from side to side before stretching itself, copying Yao Jun. It gave a low purr at Yao Jun's words before turning it's gaze inwards, towards the other end of the cave, before tilting it's head at Yao Jun.

    “Not just yet, there is something else I wanna do first.”

    Yao Jun knew what Little Thunder meant, it wanted to see what was deeper in the cave. But Yao Jun still had something he needed to do first, so exploring deeper into the cave would have to wait for now. Yao Jun left the cave, heading to where the bodies of the others were located.

    “Rest peacefully brothers, I will make sure that your families get your wills and letters.”

    Yao Jun grabbed some items from each corpse, whether it was a ring, pendant or hairpin, and stored them in his interspatial ring. These items were things that the others wanted to return to their families if anything ever happened to them. With Yao Jun being the only one left alive, this task naturally fell on him.

    Yao Jun dug some quick graves with the help of Little Thunder, placing each body into their own grave. The only thing he could use as grave stones were some branches. He had no choice but to bury them here, there was not enough space in his interspatial ring to store their bodies, and dragging them all the way back to Golden Cloud Town was out of the question. It would take him over a week to return to Golden Cloud, dragging these bodies with him for the entire way would only make them rot or attract Demonic beasts.

    After Yao Jun finished saying a small prayer for them, he took out a round, white jade bead from his interspatial ring. He spoke a few sentences into it before circulating his Qi into it. The jade lit up with a bright light for a short while before quickly dimming. This jade bead was called a Transmission Jade. Transmission Jade's always came in pars. He could say a few sentences into it and then charge it with Qi, the jade bead would then transfer the words he had said back to the other jade, it's Partner Jade.

    This allowed for long distance communication between two parties. Of course, each Jade only had a limited number of uses, rarely more than 10 uses, before it would become useless. This Transmission Jade that Yao Jun used was the Partner Jade of his parents Transmission Jade. Yao Jun had sent them a short message telling them that he was fine, but he would still spend a few more days in the Cloud Wilderness.

    Yao Min and the others would surely have Life Jade's located in the Golden Moon Yao branch, so they would quickly find out that they had died. Yao Jun had only sent the message to his parents so that they would not worry about him, thinking that he was badly injured somewhere. If he was only badly injured, it would explain why the others Life Jade's had broken, but not his.

    After Yao Jun finished with his business, he brought Little Thunder and returned to the cave. The interior of the cave was pitch black, making it almost impossible for normal people to see inside it. But Yao Jun had already absorbed the eyesight of the Mist Eagle and the Lightning Tiger, allowing him to easily see within the darkness.

    The cave was just a simple tunnel into the hill, Yao Jun could see marks on the walls that indicated that the cave was dug out using tools, so it was most likely dug out by humans who needed shelter from the weather in the Cloud Wilderness. It was impossible to determine just how long ago that was just from looking at the marks. The cave only continued inwards for a short 100 meters before it turned into a large circular room.

    Yao Jun could not help but be disappointed when he saw that the only thing in this circular room was a large amount of gray feathers and some scattered pools of blood. It was obvious that there was nothing in this cave, and that it had only been used by the Mist Eagle as a respite where it could heal from it's injuries, not a permanent residence where it would store some of it's treasures.

    “Tch, guess i'm not lucky enough to just stumble on some free stuff huh?”

    Yao Jun clicked his tongue and couldn't help but give a self mocking comment, what was he expecting from a small cave on the outskirts of the Cloud Wilderness? Yao Jun took Little Thunder and left the cave, since there was nothing there, there was no need to waste any time here.

    When they left the cave, Yao Jun was slightly startled to see that at the spot where Yao Min and the others had fought the Mist Eagle, something that seemed like a horned raccoon was licking up the remaining blood.

    The creature was less than half a meter long, it's body was plump and it's fur was a mixture of gray and black. It's head was shaped like a raccoon's, with black rings around it's eyes, two curved horns stuck out from it's temples. Seeing this little creature, Yao Jun came up with an idea and started to walk towards it.

    The horned raccoon quickly noticed Yao Jun walking towards it and started hissing as a warning. The horned raccoon was small and plump, but it's personality was irritable and fierce, it would not allow anyone to disturb it's meal. It raised it's head to glare at Yao Jun, but what met it where two eyes that seemed to burn with a ghostly gray fire.

    “Now now, don't worry. There is nothing to fear. Come over here.”

    Yao Jun spoke with a calm and soothing voice, beckoning the horned raccoon to come to him. The horned raccoon seemed to have seen something wonderful as it gave a loud and happy squeak, before charging over to Yao Jun, rubbing up against his leg.

    “It seems to work even better than I expected.”

    Yao Jun rubbed his chin as he thought about what he just did. He had used the Mental Energy he got from the Mist Eagle to delve into the horned raccoon's mind, dredging up it's most cherished memories and overlapping them with Yao Jun's appearance. The horned raccoon thought that it saw the things from it's most cherished memories, when all it really saw was Yao Jun.

    “Okay, Little Thunder. You can start with this one.”

    Yao Jun turned his head towards Little Thunder, who was still behind him, and waved his hand. Little Thunder hopped forward and bit down on the horned raccoon's head, completely crushing it's head, even the horns on the side were crushed. Little Thunder happily ate the horned raccoon as Yao Jun cast his glance around the clearing, it was time to head further into the Cloud Wilderness.
  • Chapter 19: Twisted Space.

    Yao Jun slowly made his way through the Cloud Wilderness. Including the time he had spent traveling with Yao Min and the others, he had already spent two weeks traveling deeper and deeper into the Cloud Wilderness. Despite spending so much time traveling deeper and deeper, he was still only considered to be at the very edge of the Cloud Wilderness.

    The strongest Demonic beast he had met so far was hadn't even reached the 1st level. The only reason they had stumbled upon the Mist Eagle so close to the edge of the Cloud Wilderness was because it had been injured during the most recent Surge and sought a safe place to recover.

    Yao Jun spent some more time familiarizing himself with the Mental Energy, experimenting on the Demonic Beasts they encountered. After experimenting for a few days he found that as long as the enemy was weaker than him, he could instantly make them lose all fighting capability.

    If they were at his level of strength, he would have to spend more energy while simultaneously looking for weak spots in their mind to exploit. If the enemy was stronger than him, he could at best make them see some small illusions that would distract them, completely enthralling them would be impossible.

    Next to Yao Jun were Little Thunder and Little Gray. After being absorbed by his Garden of Eden, all of Little Gray's injuries ended up recovering after about half a day. They had eaten a few Demonic beasts each these last few days, but there were no large changes in their appearance or strength.

    The most noteworthy change was on Little Thunder and on Yao Jun's gate. Little Thunder had gotten a tiny black growth on both sides of his head, it seemed like he would grow two black horns if he kept growing.

    The previously amethyst light shining in the nine indents on his gate had grown murkier, turning from a purple light, to a purple-grayish light. He had also ended up lighting up more of the lights, reaching the 8th level, almost the 9th.

    Yao Jun spent the days traversing and hunting in the Cloud Wilderness, plucking any special herbs that he came across. During the nights, he made a small camp and entered the Garden of Eden. He found that after he had absorbed the Mist Eagle, the Garden of Eden had grown slightly, reaching seven kilometers in all direction. A small chain of mountains had sprouted in one of the corners of his Garden of Eden, so it had changed from being just a forest.

    Yao Jun theorized that this change most likely occurred because the Mist Eagle could not live it's entire life in a forest. He wasn't sure if his theory was true, but he figured that he would find out next time he absorbed a new Demonic beast. He decided that the next Demonic beast he absorbs would have to be a Demonic beast with one of the five elements.

    Absorbing a Demonic beast with a different element would give him access to more options during a fight, if he only had his control over lightning, it would quickly get countered by the other elements that could solidify themselves. His newfound Mental Energy remedied some of this weakness, but Yao Jun also wanted to find a proper solution. After all, if his enemy was stronger than him, his Mental Energy would do next to nothing.

    Yao Jun also found that if he found herbs and natural treasures, he could bring them with him into the Garden of Eden and plant them. After absorbing the Mist Eagle, the Garden of Eden started to contain small amounts of Raw Qi. Planting the herbs would slowly gather more and more Raw Qi, slowly turning his Garden of Eden into a garden of both herbs and monsters.

    He had experimented with cultivating in the Garden of Eden during the nights. He could cultivate in the Garden of Eden, but there was less Raw Qi in the Garden of Eden than there was in the Cloud Wilderness, so it ended up being less effective.

    Yao Jun was slightly confused as to why he could bring herbs into the Garden of Eden, even going as far as being able to cultivate while in it. He spent some time thinking about it and came up with two theories that he thought sounded most reasonable.

    The first theory was that it was not just an incarnation of himself that entered the Garden of Eden, but instead his entire body. The only way he would be able to prove this theory was if he got someone to keep watch over him while he entered the Garden of Eden. If his body did not disappear from where he sat, it meant that it was just an incarnation that entered the Garden of Eden.

    The second theory was that the Garden of Eden was in fact a real location that the gate either lead to or created. To prove this theory would end up being a lot harder than proving the first theory, as Yao Jun wasn't even sure where to begin with proving this one. Yao Jun decided to set aside proving the theories for now, the only ones he could trust to watch over his body were his parents, but since he was unsure when he would end up returning to Golden Moon, it was pointless to think about it now.

    Yao Jun was seated on the back of Little Thunder while Little Gray was flying a bit above them. Little Gray's main responsibility was to scout ahead and find Demonic beasts, while also using it's illusions to confuse them during fights. Yao Jun and Little Thunder would be the ones fighting the Demonic beasts. Yao Jun was slightly disappointed when he found out that Little Gray had been weakened after being absorbed by the Garden of Eden. When he absorbed it, it was at the 4th level of the 1st grade, but after being absorbed, it had fallen to being at the 8th level of the 0th grade, just like Yao Jun and Little Thunder.

    They were travelling at a high speed right now, Little Thunder running at full speed. The sun was getting closer to the horizon as the night was approaching, but Yao Jun did not give the order to stop the pursuit. They were currently pursuing a Shade Monkey, a monkey type Demonic beast with jet black fur. The Shade Monkey was a darkness type Demonic beast that they had been pursuing for the entire day.

    It had reached the 9th level, so it was slightly stronger than Yao Jun and Little Gray, so their illusions were not enough to stop it, all they could do was chase it until it ran out of stamina and could run no more. If they ended up not being able to catch it before nightfall, it would be impossible to catch it. Since it was a darkness type Demonic beast, the night was it's domain, so it would be able to completely vanish.

    The Shade Monkey had already been wounded by Yao Jun when they ambushed it during the morning, so Yao Jun had several times already sighed in awe at it's persistence. It had managed to flee from them the entire day despite being wounded and bleeding. Such persistence and tenaciousness was truly admirable.

    Little Gray gave a low screech, informing Yao Jun of the terrain ahead. Yao Jun may have gotten the eyesight of the Mist Eagle, but he was stuck on the ground, so there was a limit to how much he could see. Little Gray on the other hand was capable of flight, allowing it to see the terrain much more clearly.

    Yao Jun's mouth curved up into a smile when he got the information from Little Gray. Up ahead was a hole in the ground that was concealed by several thick trees. The hole was not too deep, looking like it was a small crater, only around ten meters across and a few meters deep. But it was deep enough to stop the Shade Monkey for a short while. That short while would be enough for Yao Jun and the others to catch up to it.

    Just as Yao Jun thought, once the Shade Monkey got past the trees, it was too preoccupied with Yao Jun to notice the crater, falling directly into it with a surprised howl. Yao Jun and the others were right behind it and immediately charged after it into the crater.

    Yao Jun was shocked to see that the crater was completely empty, no sign of the Shade Monkey. Before he managed to look around to see if he had simply missed it, he felt the space around him congeal. Little Thunder and Little Gray gave shocked exclaims when they felt the space thicken and twist. Yao Jun's expression on the other hand was grim.

    With a quick thought, he returned Little Gray and Little Thunder to the Garden of Eden. The twisting of space around him quickly worsened as Yao Jun braced himself. He knew what this was, it was a so called natural Spatial node. A natural Spatial node was much like a Spatial Array, except that a Spatial node moved around at random. One day it could appear in Golden Moon and lead to Golden Cloud, the next day it could appear in Flying Fish Town and lead to a completely different province.

    Trapped by the congealed space, Yao Jun could only lament his own bad luck and hope that the Spatial Node didn't connect to the deeper parts of the Cloud Wilderness. With these thoughts in mind, Yao Jun's figure started blurring, before quickly disappearing from the spot.
  • Chapter 20: Unfamiliar Land.

    Yao Jun's vision was blanketed by a myriad of colors. His body felt like it was falling, tumbling forwards through a rainbow colored tunnel. The space around him felt thick and congealed, like he was traveling through mud. He had to take deep breaths, to the point where he was practically heaving, there simply didn't seem to be enough breathable air around him.

    He tried to connect his mind with the Garden of Eden, but whenever he tried to move his perception inwards, his mind was assaulted by a horrifying stabbing pain that forced him to abandon his attempt.

    Yao Jun continued to fall like this for a little over one minute. When his consciousness started getting fuzzy from the lack of oxygen, his body seemed to pass through some sort of membrane.

    The myriad of colors that blanketed his vision dispersed, the thick, congealed space around him disappeared, and the air around him turned abundant, he could finally breathe properly. He took a few quick and deep breaths to clear his mind and grasp the situation around him.

    He noticed that he was still falling, the ground quickly approaching. He moved his mind and connected it with the Garden of Eden. A gray light flashed out from his chest and Little Gray materialized below him, catching his body and preventing him from hitting the ground.

    This was something he discovered after his Garden of Eden absorbed Little Gray. If he wanted to summon more than one of the absorbed Demonic beasts at once, he would have to make the gate itself materialize and open. But if he only wanted to summon one Demonic beast, he could just directly materialize it from his chest, without having to summon the gate first.

    Little Gray slowly brought Yao Jun to the ground, before letting him down and standing guard next to him. Yao Jun scanned the surroundings, looking for any signs that would tell him where they had ended up.

    The area around him was still a forest, but the trees were much shorter and sturdier than the trees in the Cloud Wilderness. The trees in the Cloud Wilderness were tall and thin, with vibrant colors and fresh leaves that gave off a breath of life. The trees around him where short and thick, barely reaching above ten meters, with a blackish bark and dark green leaves that were long and narrow, looking like spikes.

    The climate was also different from the Cloud Wilderness. The cloud wilderness was dim because the tree crowns blotted out most of the sunlight, but the surrounding air was still warm and moist. Yao Jun cast his gaze upwards, the tree crowns here were not nearly as dense as they were in the Cloud Wilderness, so he could clearly see the blue sky and shining sun above the trees.

    Yet, no matter how much light the sun shone down on the forest, the forest was still dark and chilly, like it was in the dead of night. Yao Jun retracted his gaze from the sky, scanning the surrounding forest once more.

    He had memorized the encyclopedia of spiritual herbs that the Yao clan branch in Golden Moon town had given him. After that he had even been taught by Yao Qin and Peng Shi, learning about many of the plants that could only be found in the Cloud Wilderness and the surrounding area. Despite knowing so much about herbs and plants, Yao Jun found that he could not identify a single one of the plants he saw, he did not even know what the trees were called.

    “Just where did we end up Little Gray...”

    Yao Jun muttered to himself while he stroked Little Gray's head. Yao Jun stroked Little Gray's head like he wanted to comfort it, but the main reason he stroked it was to calm himself down. He had accidentally stumbled into a natural Spatial Node and ended up in a completely unfamiliar land, to say that he was not nervous, even slightly scared, would be a lie.

    But he also knew that no matter how scared and nervous he was, it was important to stay calm and composed. His father had spent a lot of his time lecturing Yao Jun, teaching him the things that were important to keep in mind while on the battlefield.

    Yao Jun took a few deep breaths to calm his heart, once his heart had calmed down and he gathered his thoughts, he climbed onto Little Gray's back and made him fly up above the trees. No matter what, the first step he had to take was find out exactly where he was, and staying in the forest would not help him with that-

    Little Gray flew out of the forest, but he only flew just above the trees. This way, if they got attacked by something from within the forest, they could quickly ascend to escape. And if they got attacked by something from the air, they could quickly descend into the forest to escape.

    Once they broke through the tree crowns, the darkness dissipated, giving way to a bright day. while the light from the sun removed the darkness, Yao Jun noticed that the air was still chilly, so it was more likely that they had ended up somewhere with a cold climate, rather than just the forest being cold.. Looking down, the forest still seemed to be perpetually dark, like it was pushing away the light from the sun.

    The forest was located at the bottom of a valley, hidden between two mountains that pierced through the heavens, their tops shrouded by clouds. One of the mountains was a strange light green, while the other mountain was a pale white. From Yao Jun's slight vantage point, he found that the forest was surprisingly small, only being slightly larger than his own Garden of Eden, reaching about 15 kilometers in all directions.

    On the wall of one of the mountains, Yao Jun saw a massive cave, the cave entrance alone had a diameter of at least two kilometers. Looking at the cave entrance, Yao Jun felt his entire heart go cold, a feeling of death creeping up on him. He hurriedly averted his gaze, he did not dare to look at the cave for too long, ordering Little Gray to turn around and travel in the other direction.

    It was only a small valley, so despite Yao Jun and Little Gray traveling slowly, they still managed to reach the other mountain in less than half an hour. The mountain was completely barren, devoid of even the smallest straw of grass.

    The mountain was a strange light green color, so Yao Jun initially thought that it was filled with plants and herbs. But as he got closer, he noticed that the light green color stemmed from the mountain rocks themselves. The mountain seemed to be carved out of one large piece of jade. Yao Jun even found that it was slightly warm to the touch.

    Seeing the strangeness of the mountain, Yao Jun was tempted to check out the other mountain and check if it was made out of the same material, only in a different color. Yao Jun shook his head and quickly wiped this thought away as he remembered the large cave located on the other mountain.

    Yao Jun and Little Gray quickly continued onward, flying past the light green mountain. As they passed the mountain, a vast plain opened up in front of them. The plain continued on for as far as the eye could see, small forests and hills scattered all around it.

    Yao Jun scanned the plain, looking for notable landmarks that could indicate where he was. He did not manage to find a notable landmark, but he managed to spot a small town in the distance, so far away that it was slightly blurry to his eyes. Yao Jun nudged Little Gray with his foot, indicating for him to travel towards the little town.

  • Chapter 21: The Desolate Plain.

    Yao Jun and Little Gray flew over the plain, they had not spotted any Demonic beasts in the sky or on the ground, but Yao Jun still didn't dare let Little Gray fly at full speed. The plain beneath them was a dry yellow in color, all vegetation that didn't belong to the few scattered forest seemed to have completely withered.

    The few forests that were scattered around the plain were all of the same type as the forest located in the valley between the two mountains. Short and thick trees with blackish bark and needle like leaves. Yao Jun could see that some of the scattered forests were covered in a strange white thread, but whenever Yao Jun looked at those forests, he would feel an uneasy feeling, so he did not dare investigate further.

    The small town was located quite far from the two mountains, coupled with Yao Jun's slow pace, it was already late in the afternoon when he finally arrived at the outside of the town. The town was even smaller than Yao Jun had originally thought, consisting of only around 30 houses.

    The houses were all made out of a mixture of wood and a type of gray mud that made the wood stick to each other. The roofs were made out of wood and covered with the yellow grass that covered the entire plain. The entire town was surrounded by a large wooden fence that towered above even the houses, seemingly acting like a wall around the entire town.

    The entrance was a simple spiked gate that could be lowered and raised with a rope mechanism that was located inside the town. Next to the entrance hung a plank of wood with the words ZhiZhu Town engraved.

    The town seemed to be completely abandoned. The gate was broken and bent inwards, the fence surrounding the town had been broken and even corroded at the top. The doors to all the houses were completely shattered, some houses even had large holes in the walls.

    Some places the ground had irregular round holes, the earth around these holes had turned a bony and powdery white. Dried bloodstains were spread throughout the entire town, signifying that the town had not been abandoned, but destroyed.

    Yao Jun slowly wandered through the town, Little Gray following right next to him. His eyebrows were knit together as he swept his gaze around the town, taking in all the sights. There were bloodstains all around the town, but he could not find a single body anywhere.

    The bloodstains had dried up long ago, turning a dull brown, so this obviously happened a long time ago. But even if it happened many years ago, there should at least be some bone remnants or decayed bodies, but where was neither. Not only where there no bodies or bones lying around, all the houses were devoid of even the smallest piece of food.

    If it were bandits that swept through the town, Yao Jun would be able to understand why there was no food in any of the houses. But if it were bandits who did it, it would not explain why there were no bones or bodies. If it were Demonic beasts that swept through the town, Yao Jun would be able to understand why where were no bones or bodies, as most Demonic beasts often brought their food with them back to their nests.

    But if it were Demonic beasts who did it, it would not explain why all the houses had been ransacked and all the food taken. Only the food was taken from the houses, none of the simple jewelry or other items that would hold some value were taken. Even the town's graveyard had been dug up, all the bodies removed from their graves.

    Wandering through the town, all Yao Jun felt was a sense of desolation, a dreary loneliness that seemed to seep into his very bones. He quickly finished checking out the rest of the town before climbing onto Little Gray's back and flying out off the town.

    Little Gray slowly brought Yao Jun out off the town and into the sky before it gave a few low chirps, even it felt a dreary sense of sadness and loneliness from that town.

    “it's fine Little Gray, we won't go to any places like that anymore, and besides, it's already too late for either me or Little Thunder to leave you, we are already connected for life.”

    Yao Jun sat down on Little Gray's back and stroked his head as he comforted it. He was connected with Little Gray and Little Thunder through the Garden of Eden, so he could easily understand what they wanted to say, even if they only chirped or roared silently. Yao Jun looked around the plain thinking about what direction to head towards.

    Yao Jun had spent some time wandering through the town, so the sun had begun sinking beneath the horizon, slowly darkening the entire plain. In this darkness, Yao Jun managed to spot a small source of light in the distance, it seemed to be a campfire.

    Yao Jun nudged Little Gray, and they quickly headed in that direction. They flew faster this time, so it only took them a little more than ten minutes to arrive close enough to the light source to properly see it. Yao Jun was rather surprised upon seeing the light source clearly.

    The light source was indeed a campfire, but it was who was sitting by the campfire that surprised Yao Jun. By the campfire sat a lone girl that looked like she was no older than maybe 15 or 16. She had waist long silky black hair, light blue eyes, and healthy skin.

    Her face had an elegant and graceful feel to it, the only word Yao Jun could use to describe her was: Beautiful. She had a slim figure with enticing curves, clad in a tight fitting, sleeveless, black robe that seemed to be made out of a strange type of leather.

    Just meeting someone on this desolate plain was not enough to surprise Yao Jun, but the girl had several special features that Yao Jun had never seen before. On her back she had two folded wings that were covered in black feathers. There were black scales growing on her arm and around her face, and there was even a black lizard tail growing out from just above her rump, going all the way down to the ground.

    Yao Jun didn't have to spend a lot of time thinking to realize that this girl must be from the Demon Race. Demon Race people mostly looked just like normal people, but some could inherit some of the marks of their ancestors. This girl had obviously inherited the likeness of her ancestors, most likely a lizard and bird type ancestor. Yao Jun was also slightly surprised that the scales growing on her body didn't detract from her beauty, but rather gave her a heroic charm.

    “Who's there!?”

    The girl seemed to have noticed that someone was closing in on her as she quickly pulled a sword out of her interspatial ring and shouted towards Yao Jun. She shouted loudly, but it seemed like she wasn't used to shouting at others as her voice was still very soft and pleasant.

    Yao Jun could see that her cultivation was nothing special, about the same as his own, so he had nothing to fear if they ended up fighting. Yao Jun made Little Gray slowly lower his altitude, landing not far from the bonfire.

  • Chapter 22: Wan Yi

    “Who are you? How did you manage to get here? Were you following me? A human like you should not be here, it's dangerous for you people.”

    Before Yao Jun managed to open his mouth, the girl spoke first, firing a small barrage of questions and a warning at him. Yao Jun was slightly at a loss facing her barrage of questions. He knew that Humans and Demons didn't have a good relationship, so he had already prepared to deceive her when he first saw her appearance, but now it seemed like he had already been seen through at first glance.

    “Before I answer anything, would you mind if I take a seat? I have been traveling all day.”

    Yao Jun gave a small smile as he spoke, already walking forward and sitting down by the campfire, face to face with the girl.

    “You can sit there, but you can't come any closer!”

    The girl slightly faltered when she saw him just sit down without even waiting for her to answer, so she waved the sword in her hand around and spoke in a slightly wary voice. She could not sense any ill intent from the boy in front of her, but Humans and Demons have been at war for countless years, so it was best to be cautious.

    “To answer your questions in order. I am Yao Jun, I ended up here by accident, and no, I was not following you. I simply saw the light from your campfire and figured I would ask for directions.”

    Yao Jun took some meat and a branch out from his interspatial ring, quickly creating a makeshift grill skewer that he placed into the campfire. He had yet to eat anything since he started chasing the Shade Monkey that ended up leading him into the Spatial Node, so he was getting hungry.

    “How could you possibly end up here by accident?”

    The girl spoke with an exasperated sigh when she saw him casually take out some meat and start grilling it, did he not know how dangerous this plain's was to humans?

    “I was sucked into a natural Spatial Node and ended up in the valley between those two mountains.”

    Yao Jun took out some more meat and tossed it to Little Gray as he pointed towards the mountains in the distance. As long as Little Gray and Little Thunder were inside the Garden of Eden, they would not need to eat, but if he wanted to keep them outside the Garden of Eden, they would have to eat like normal.

    “You came from ZhiZhu Shen valley? And you made it all the way here?”

    The girl's eyes widened like saucers at his words, before she quickly looked him all over, inspecting every corner of his body.

    “Are you sure you're human?”

    After a short while she couldn't help but ask him, her elders had long since told her about their holy land and how it was impossible for humans to set foot there.

    “I guess I can't really be called completely human”

    Yao Jun found her question rather strange, but once he remembered her earlier warning, it did not take too much thought to realize that this entire area was probably a place that did not allow humans to enter, or at least leave alive. Thinking about it like this, Yao Jun had no choice but to say that he was most likely not completely human.

    His parents had already told him about how his body had been infected with Demon Race energy while he was still in the womb, so from the perspective of humans, he was most likely not considered completely human.

    “Not completely human..... I see, that would explain it.”

    The girl rubbed her chin for a little while as she mulled over his words and studied him, before giving a short nod as she seemed to accept his words. He did indeed have the aura of a human, but there were also traces of Demon Race energy on him, they were simply so hidden that she had not noticed them before.

    “Now then, I have answered your questions, so it is only fair that you answer mine. Which continent is this? Where is the closest city? And what sort of place is this?”

    Yao Jun grabbed the grill skewer and broke it into two pieces, throwing one of the pieces to the girl, before quickly starting to eat his own piece.

    “This continent is called the Guanyu continent, the closest human city is about a weeks march towards the east, and this entire plain is called the ZhiZhu Plains. It is considered a holy place for us Demon Race, but a forbidden ground by the Humans. No human that sets foot into the ZhiZhu Plains gets to walk out alive. The only reason you are still alive is because you can't be considered Human.”

    The girl nibbled the meat as she spoke. She had brought food with her on the journey, but it was mostly dried meat and some vegetables, so some actual meat was a nice change of pace.

    “Guanyu continent? ZhiZhu Plains? Seems like I have no choice but to head towards the cities.”

    Yao Jun sighed and shook his head when he heard her words. He had never even heard of these places before, it seemed like that Spatial Node sent him very far away.

    “Are you looking for anything special? I might know a few things.”

    The girl didn't feel any hostile intentions from him, he even seemed like a rather good guy, sharing his food with her and all, so she didn't mind giving him a little help. Her elders had warned her never to associate with humans, but he wasn't quite human, so it should be fine.

    “Ah, have you ever heard of a place called the Grand Quan Continent? If not, just directing me to a place that sells maps would do. I don't believe I have gotten your name yet either.”

    If the girl had heard about the Grand Quan Continent that he came from, then he would at least know where to start this journey. If she didn't, he would have to first try to find information about the Grand Quan Continent.

    “Grand Quan Continent? It doesn't seem like you come from any of the surrounding continents, at that point, your best shot would be to head to the Xian Province and head to the capital there, Great Xian city, they might have the information you need. My name is Wan Yi”

    Wan Yi had never even heard of the Grand Quan Continent, so she felt slightly silly that she had even bragged that she might know a few things. She did indeed know a lot about the Guanyu Continent, but it was also limited to the Guanyu Continent.

    “Xian Province capital huh? Alright, thanks Wan Yi.”

    Yao Jun gave a short nod at her words before quickly finishing the meat on his skewer and climbing onto Little Gray's back, preparing to head off immediately.

    “You're leaving already?”

    Wan Yi was slightly shocked that he would leave immediately, night had just started falling, most people would at least rest for the night before leaving. Yao Jun came from a completely different continent, so she had also hoped that he would share some stories from that continent with her.

    “I need that information as soon as possible, there are still things I need to accomplish back home.”

    Yao Jun could only shrug his shoulders, he had promised his parents that he would let them return to the main Yao branch with their heads held high, there was no way he could fulfill that promise if he was stuck here.

    “I see, luck be with you then. If you encounter some trouble, you can come to my Geng Province and find me in Xieren City, I might be able to help.”

    Seeing how determined he was, Wan Yi decided that there was no point in trying to convince him, so she only wished him luck. She had a good impression of him, so she didn't see any harm in telling him where he could find her. If he ever did end up coming to her for help, she could even use it as an excuse to get him to tell her stories of the Grand Quan Continent.

    “Hah, don't speak to soon, I have a habit of getting into trouble, so you never know when i'll bring a massive headache to your doorsteps.”

    Yao Jun didn't stand on ceremony, he was in a completely unfamiliar land, so having connections with someone that seemed knowledgeable would be an immense help. He only mentioned that he had a habit of getting into trouble as a joke, but once he mentioned it, he realized that he indeed had that habit. The moment he absorbed the Lightning Tiger and activated his Garden of Eden, his bad luck seemed to pile on.

    “Just make sure you tell me some interesting stories about the Grand Quan Continent as repayment for the headache.”

    Wan Yi spoke the words just as Yao Jun had started flying towards the east, so the only response she got was him waving his hand at her.

  • Chapter 23: Vast Plains City.

    “What do you think Little Gray?”

    Yao Jun sat on the back as they flew away from Wan Yi. After flying a good distance away from Wan Yi, Yao Jun gently stroked Little Gray's head as he spoke. Yao Jun had no enmity with Wan Yi, nor did she give him a feeling like she was out to harm him. She gave him a very nice feeling, like she was someone trustworthy.

    But Yao Jun did not forget that he still had Little Gray and Little Thunder with him. As Demonic beasts, their sense for danger was much stronger than his own, so asking them if she was someone that seemed trustworthy was still something he would do.

    Little Gray gave a short screech, assuring Yao Jun that he did not feel anything off about her. Yao Jun gave a smile as he kept stroking Little Gray's head and indicated for him to increase the speed a little. He and Little Gray and Little Thunder were connected for life now, so he trusted them as much as he trusted himself.

    Wan Yi said that it would take about a week to get to the closes human city, but that was only walking speed. Yao Jun was certain that he and Little Gray could make the trip in only around two days if they sped up just a little.

    Time proved Yao Jun correct. After just over two days of flight, they spotted a city in the distance. Yao Jun beckoned for Little Gray to fly down and land. Once he landed, Yao Jun returned Little Gray to the Garden of Eden, proceeding on foot.

    He could not enter the city with Little Gray, a Demonic beast, following him. If he did, the people in the town would believe that he was someone from the Demon Race and probably end up trying to hunt him down.

    Yao Jun wanted to gather more information, so staying low-key for the moment was the best choice. While he did indeed contain the energy from the Demon Race, it was so well hidden that not even someone from the Demon Race noticed it without checking deeper.

    The city was surrounded by a large stone wall that inscribed with a myriad of different runes. These runes all connected together to form a defensive array that strengthened the toughness of the stone. The city only had two entrances, one on the north side and one on the south side. The entrances were in the form of large steel gates that were wide open during the day, but closed shut during the night.

    There was a large plaque hanging above the gates that read Vast Plains City. The city took it's name from the vast plain that stretched out in front of it, the plain that the Demon Race call ZhiZhu Plains. When Yao Jun arrived, it was only a bit after noon, so there were very few people outside the gate. A quick check by the guards was enough to grant him access into the city.

    The buildings in the town were packed closely together, the roads taking up most of the space. The roads here were at least twice as wide as they were in normal towns, easily fitting 15 men standing shoulder to shoulder. The city was arranged like this to make it easier for the soldiers to move around if the city was ever attacked by Demonic beasts or the Demon Race.

    Yao Jun slowly wandered the streets, focusing his ears and mental energy as much as he could, taking in all the information he could. He used his ears to gather the information that people spoke to each other, while using his mental energy to look at the thoughts that some of the non cultivators or weaker cultivators had. His mental energy was only strong enough to read the thoughts people currently had, and only if they were much weaker than him.

    The city turned out to be a very popular place to visit. Some people visited because they liked the thought that they were at the very edge of Demon Race territory and could see someone from the Demon Race at any moment. Other people visited because this city had something that very few other cities had, slaves.

    Slavery was banned on the continent, but that only meant that they were not allowed to sell humans, the Demon Race was not protected. Yao Jun had walked past several platforms where people who were from the Demon Race were lined up.

    The women were clad in revealing clothing and smothered in make up. The men wore ragged clothing and had obvious bruises and wounds. They were all slightly malnourished, so they were obviously not fed enough. Their gazes were all dull and lifeless, they had already accepted their reality, hoping for nothing but death.

    Every slave had a mark in the shape of a collar drawn around their neck. This mark prevented them from moving and acting freely, even preventing them from killing themselves. Once they were sold, their new owner would gain control over the mark, effectively becoming their god.

    Yao Jun would simply speed up a little as he walked past these platforms. He did not have any relationship with these people, but seeing someone deprived of their freedom and treated like something that was less than even an animal still made him uncomfortable.

    He wanted to help these people, but he wasn't stupid. He was weak, so very weak. If he tried to help them, he would only get himself killed or imprisoned. Many people visited this town for enjoyment, but the city itself still followed a very strict and militaristic set of laws.

    The city was run by a person called Zou Guanting, he was not only the city lord here, but also the commander of the Western Army. The western army defended the entire Shuren Province, the province Yao Jun was currently in, from the Demon Race. Due to this, Zou Guanting enjoyed a very high prestige and commanded a lot of respect.

    Yao Jun found an inn that was located not far from the city center and ordered a room for one night. He was only in the city to buy a map and gather whatever information he could, he had no intention of staying here for too long. After ordering the room, Yao Jun left the inn to buy a map.

    Maps were important no matter where you were, so Yao Jun quickly found a place that sold highly detailed map. The map he bought only the Shuren Province and the five closest provinces, but it was enough to located the Xian province. The Xian Province was the larges province on the Guanyu continent, so many maps would indicate where it was located, even if the map was of a different province.

    After having obtained the map, Yao Jun returned to the inn and sat down in the restaurant, ordering a light meal. He was lucky that this continent also used the same currency as the Grand Quan continent, but he was not considered wealthy, so he had to spend sparingly. The map alone was already considered a luxury that took a heavy toll on his remaining money.

    Sitting in the restaurant, Yao Jun once more strained his ears and mental energy, taking in as much information as he could. Most of the information was useless, often pertaining to things that happened within the town. But at times he would catch some nice tidbits of information.

    The only information Yao Jun obtained that he bothered to keep in mind were three separate pieces of information. One piece of information pertained to the most commonly used road that led to the Xian Province. This road was currently beset by a large number of bandits, so traveling to the Xian Province had become very dangerous.

    The second piece of information was about some ruins located not far from the Xian Province. There was no specific information about the ruins, only the news that some famous disciple from a well known sect had died within it. Yao Jun noted this information because these ruins had apparently been found many years ago, but were still not completely explored. Since so much time had passed without them being fully explored, there was obviously something special about them.

    The third and last piece of information that he bothered remembering were news pertaining to the situation between the Demon Race and the humans. It seemed that the Demon Race had initiated attacks on several cities that bordered their territory. A messenger came with a proclamation that if the humans did not evacuate the area within one year, the Demon Race would launch an attack with the intent to completely decimate the cities.

    After spending the rest of the day gathering information and going over the map he had bought, Yao Jun decided to call it quits. He was only two provinces away from the Xian Province, so if he was lucky he could reach it after a short half month.

  • Chapter 24: Yun Yantian.

    Yao Jun did not want to waste time, he had yet to tell his parents what had happened to him. He did not want them to worry, so unless it was absolutely necessary, he was not planning on telling them that he had been sucked in by a Spatial Node.

    Yao Jun also felt slightly conflicted. He wanted to return home fast, returning to his parents. But at the same time, he suddenly found himself transported to a completely unfamiliar continent. It would be a lie if he said that he was not tempted to take his time and explore this new land.

    In the end, Yao Jun forced himself to focus on getting home. Returning to his parents should be his first priority. At the same time he also comforted himself. If he managed to find a way back to the Grand Quan continent, it would be reasonable to think that there was also a way to return to this Guanyu continent.

    Yao Jun left Vast Plains City in the early morning, only grabbing a quick breakfast at the inn where he was staying. He followed the road for a little while, but after spending around an hour on the road, he stepped off the road and quickly traveled to the side, away from the road.

    Yao Jun quickly found a place that was far enough away from the road, completely out of sight, before calling out Little Gray. If he tried to walk through the two provinces that separated him from the Xian Province, there was no telling how much time he would spend on the road.

    Riding Little Gray would be a slight risk, but Yao Jun was not too worried about being spotted. Little Gray could fly high enough to allow him to escape most human eyes, and even if someone saw him, they would only think that it was a bird. Humans that could fly as high as a Mist Eagle were very few in number, so Yao Jun was also not worried about meeting anyone else.

    Riding on Little Gray, flying high above the world was an exhilarating feeling. Yao Jun could see everything beneath him, the cities and towns, the forests, lakes that shimmered like crystals, even the clouds were beneath him. While Yao Jun was flying, he forgot about everything else. All that mattered was the vast landscape beneath him, and the endless blue skies around him.

    This was the first time Yao Jun had ever felt this free and unrestrained. Up in the skies he felt like he was a king overlooking the entire world, he could almost get drunk on this feeling alone. Little Gray was also ecstatic as it was flying. It was after all a Mist Eagle, a Demonic beast that roamed the skies.

    While they were in the Cloud Wilderness, it was forced to either stay close to the ground or even on the ground. After they got transported to ZhiZhu Plains, it was also forced to fly close to the grounds, as there was no telling what could be lurking in the skies. But here, it could fly as high as it's heart desired, touching the dome of heaven.

    Yao Jun had gathered a lot of information, so he knew that the skies of Guanyu continent were nearly devoid of Demonic beasts. Even the forests and wildernesses were almost devoid of Demonic beasts. The reason behind this was that most of the Demonic beasts gathered in the locations where the Demon Race resided.

    People from the Demon Race had a connection with Demonic beasts, often stemming from them sharing a common ancestor. The only difference was that while the ancestors of the Demonic beasts were two Demonic beasts, the ancestors of the Demon Race were a human and a Demonic beast. When a Demonic beast cultivated to a high enough level, it could expend a bit of power to take on a human form, allowing it to integrate into society. A child born between such a Demonic beast and a human, would end up as a person from the Demon Race.

    Yao Jun rode Little Gray for several days, bypassing both provinces that separated him from the Xian Province, before finally landing a few kilometers away from the road and getting off of Little Gray. Little Gray was a Mist Eagle, continuous flying was no problem for it. It could even keep flying for several more days straight, bringing Yao Jun directly to Great Xian City.

    The reason Yao Jun made Little Gray land and then returned him to the Garden of Eden, was because the Xian Province was the largest province on the Guanyu continent. The Xian Province was a hot spot for cultivators and mortals alike, there was no telling who was hiding out here. If he accidentally got spotted by a strong cultivator, it would be far too late for regrets, so Yao Jun decided to walk the rest of the way.

    Yao Jun gently rubbed Little Gray's head for a bit, feeding him some of the meat that he had stored away. Yao Jun knew that Little Gray was capable of flying long distances without stopping, but that did not know that he enjoyed doing it. Before he sent Little Gray back to the Garden of Eden, he made him hold on to a little bit of meat and gave him explicit orders to give it to Little Thunder.

    Ever since they arrived on Guanyu continent, Little Thunder was forced to stay inside the Garden of Eden, while Little Gray got to spend large amounts of time in the outside world. The Garden of Eden could be considered rather large, but it was after all only so big. Little Thunder would probably quickly get tired of spending so much time inside it, so giving him some meat to keep him calm would be fore the best.

    Yao Jun did some stretches, loosening up his body, before he started the trek towards Great Xian City. After spending a bit of time walking, Yao Jun reached the road he had seen from the sky. Yao Jun knew that this was the main road, following this road would take one through all the major cities in the Xian Province. Yao Jun could just follow this road, and sooner or later he would end up reaching Great Xian City.

    Yao Jun walked with a brisk pace, stopping every few hours to get a bit of rest. Thanks to him meditating and cultivating while he was resting, he did not need to worry about getting tired. Cultivating would make his body absorb the surrounding Raw Qi, slowly improving his strength and refreshing his body. Like this, Yao Jun could keep a constant pace, even walking during the night.

    Yao Jun had only been walking for three days when he spotted a group of people fighting ahead of him. Yao Jun had already heard that the road to the Xian Province had a lot of bandits, so he was rather surprised that it took him an entire three days to find any bandits.

    What Yao Jun didn't know was that while the road to the Xian Province had a lot of bandits, the Xian Province itself did not have that many bandits, only a few groups that were spread out across the entire province.

    Yao Jun looked at the group that was fighting, weighing his options. On one hand, he was in need of money, so fighting the bandits and robbing them would solve that issue. From what he could see, none of the bandits had reached the 1st grade, so they were no threat to him.

    The only worry he had was the sheer amount of bandits. There were 13 bandits from what he could see, 13 bandits besieging one youth clad in a dark purple robe. The youth had only reached the same cultivation level as Yao Jun, but he seemed very proficient at fighting, so he managed to keep the bandits at bay.

    If he decided to join the fray, even if he teamed up with the youth, it was uncertain if they could kill all the bandits without taking some injuries. Yao Jun slowed his pace as he was weighing his options, uncertain whether he should join in.

    While he was making up his mind, he suddenly heard a loud laugh. Startled, Yao Jun looked ahead to see that the youth clad in purple was running towards Yao Jun at full speed, bandits right behind him.

    «Ahahaha! Sorry brother, but i could really use some help here!»

    The youth ran all the way to Yao Jun's side before stopping and catching his breath. The youth had a chiseled face, looking very manly and rugged. He had chestnut brown hair that was much shorter than Yao Jun's, only reaching down to his ears. His eyes were a bright green and his face carried a simple and honest, yet bright grin.

    «Names Yun Yantian. I'll treat you to some good drinks once this is over.»

    The youth, Yun Yantian spoke with a grin as he laughed and readied his sword, a sharp air radiating from his entire body. Yao Jun was stunned as he looked at the youth. He could do that? Just drag the trouble to him? He resisted the urge to curse at the youth as he pulled out his own sword and faced the bandits. Lightning crackled around Yao Jun's body, and his black pupils lit up with a dim gray light.
  • Chapter 25: Traveling Together.

    Yun Yantian was almost out of ideas. He just wanted to get to Great Xian City to explore the mystic ruins that were located not far from the city. When he first heard about the ruins, learning that it hadn't been completely conquered despite being found so long ago, it had ignited his fighting spirit. What if he managed to completely conquer them, grabbing whatever treasures were left over?

    He had set out almost immediately, traveling day and night to get to the Xian Province. But he found himself delayed time and time again, bandits besieging him wherever he went. He couldn't even shake them off, they just kept following him, growing larger each time.

    Today he had been surrounded by 15 of them, they had even brought their leader. Most of these bandits only had minor powers that were close to useless in combat. At best giving them slightly stronger bodies or senses, but their leader had a proper power, the power to strengthen and push his bones out of his body and use them as weapons and shields.

    Yun Yantian could kill the minor bandits, sustaining just a few injuries in the process. But if he had to fight their leader at the same time, the odds were much higher that he would sustain heavier injuries, forcing him to cut his journey short and return home.

    Yun Yantian was at wit's end when he suddenly spotted someone out of the corner of his eye. On the road not far from him stood a carefree youth that seemed to be around his age. The youth was clad in an emerald green robe and seemed to be a little over 1.80, with black hair that cascaded down his back. He had black eyes that seemed to see right through Yun Yantian, at his waist hung a simple metal longsword. The sword was full of small scrapes, but it was polished and cleaned, so Yun Yantian could see that this sword obviously meant a lot to this youth.

    Yun Yantian thought that the youth would rush over and aid him, but he was slightly stunned when he saw the youth standing there with a pondering expression. He was obviously weighing his options! Yun Yantian could see that the youth had almost reached the 9th level of the 1st grade, so if they worked together, these bandits would be no problem.

    Yun Yantian didn't need to think for too long, a grin forming on his face. He moved backwards, away from the bandit he was currently fighting, and started sprinting towards the youth while shouting at him.

    “Ahahaha! Sorry brother, but i could really use some help here!”

    Yun Yantian could see that the youth was shocked at his shout, even looking at him like he wanted to curse all his ancestors, but he still drew his sword. When the youth drew his sword, Yun Yantian silently drew a cold breath. The youth drew his sword, purple lightning crackling on his body, the air around him suddenly turning sharp. Yun Yantian even felt a sense of danger as he looked at the youth.

    “Names Yun Yantian. I'll treat you to some good drinks once this is over.”

    Yun Yantian gave a short greeting, the bandits were already closing in, so there wasn't time to do a proper greeting. The youth glanced sideways at him. His black eyes had gotten a gray tint, like they were filled with gray smoke. Seeing those eyes, Yun Yantian had the feeling that all his secrets were laid bare.

    “Names Yao Jun, those drinks better be the best drinks I have ever had.”

    Hearing the youth's reply, Yun Yantian couldn't help but laugh. He really liked frank and easy going people like this Yao Jun, they were people that were worthy of becoming his friends.

    The bandits finally caught up to them, attacking them all at once. Yao Jun didn't waste any more time talking, he simply dove right into the group of bandits, his sword shimmering with the power of lightning. The bandits around him seemed disoriented, their eyes glazed over, some of them even started attacking each other.

    Yun Yantian didn't waste any time either, his eyes quickly turning serious as he dove in after Yao Jun. Yao Jun dealt with over half of the bandits, so it was obviously Yun Yantian's job to take care of the bandit leader and the rest.

    Without the support of his minions, the bandit leader stood no chance against Yun Yantian. Yun Yantian fought swiftly and gracefully, Yao Jun couldn't help but exclaim in awe as he glanced over. Yao Jun had no trouble with the bandits, they were all to weak to withstand his illusion attacks, swiftly sinking into a disoriented state, he had plenty of time to check out Yun Yantian's fight.

    Yun Yantian fought with a sword, just like him, but Yao Jun had to admit that he was far inferior to this Yun Yantian. Yao Jun had no proper teacher, only some advice from his father and whatever he managed to learn on his own. His sword style could be called rough and clumsy. But this Yun Yantian, his blade flowed like the wind, bending and striking at blind spots with blinding speed.

    While he was looking at Yun Yantian's fight, Yao Jun simultaneously made short work of the bandits around him. They only had weaker powers that allowed them to temporarily enhance one aspect of their body, under Yao Jun's illusions, they could not even activate their powers before they died.

    Yun Yantian didn't have any problems on his end either, the bandit leader had a tough defense because of his bone armor, but he was too slow to threaten Yun Yantian. Without his minions to tie down Yun Yantian, Yun Yantian was free to attack and withdraw as he saw fit, quickly decimating the rest of the bandit minions, leaving only the bandit leader, who was quickly dispatched.

    Yao Jun observed the way Yun Yantian fought with the bandit leader, he could learn a lot from the way Yun Yantian fought. Yun Yantian also seemed to have a very interesting power. He would stab his sword through the openings in the bone armor, he would then let go of the sword and pull back. The sword that was stabbed into the bandit leader would then suddenly dissipate, a new one swiftly appearing in Yun Yantian's hands.

    ”Hahaha, Brother Jun I thank you for your aid, you have truly done me a great favor.”

    The sword in Yun Yantian's hand dissipated after he killed the bandit leader. He turned around and gave Yao Jun a wide grin as he laughed. He knew that Yao Jun could have simply chosen to run away after Yun Yantian brought the bandits over. But he didn't, he stayed and fought, this instantly gave Yun Yantian a good impression of Yao Jun.

    “You could have finished all of them yourself, so it can't be counted as me doing you a great favor.”

    Yao Jun gave a smile as he responded. He could see that Yun Yantian was an honest and frank person, saying whatever was on his mind. A person like this was very easy to get along with. He could also feel a strong power from Yun Yantian's body, so it was obvious that Yun Yantian could kill all the bandits without Yao Jun's help.

    “I could have finished them but I would end up rather injured, and that would force me to cut my journey short.”

    Yun Yantian sifted through the belongings of the bandits as he spoke, pulling out several leather pouches that the bandits had hidden away within their leather armor. He gathered up a total of 15 leather pouches, even picking up the pouches from the two bandits he had killed earlier, and threw them at Yao Jun. The pouches gave off a metallic ringing noise as Yao Jun caught them, they were obviously filled with coins.

    “These are yours Brother Jun. You seem to be heading to Great Xian city?”

    Yun Yantian frankly questioned Yao Jun, asking a traveler for their destination would be considered rude by some people, but he simply didn't care, he wanted to live his life doing whatever he wanted.

    “Indeed, I have quite an interest in buying a few things within the city.”

    Yao Jun took the pouches and stored them into his interspatial ring, he was indeed very light on money right now. Yao Jun didn't think that his destination was something that needed to be hidden, countless people traveled to Great Xian City every day. Compared to them, he was just a drop in the ocean.

    “Excellent. Then allow me to travel with you! We can drink and share stories as we walk.”

    Seeing him accept the pouches and nod his head, Yun Yantian grinned and patted him heavily on the back as he started walking. He had been traveling alone for several months already, finding someone who seemed very similar to himself that agreed to travel within was a great joy.

  • Chapter 26: Finding a friend.

    Yao Jun and Yun Yantian started walking, they only had to follow this road to get to Great Xian City, so there was no need to pay too much attention to where they were walking. Yun Yantian took out a waterskin from his interspatial ring and threw it at Yao Jun.

    “Here you go, that's the best wine in all of Endless Waves Continent. I promised you some good drinks, so I might as well take out the best.”

    Yun Yantian spoke about the wine with great flair and passion, seemingly very proud about it. Yao Jun brought the waterskin to his lips and drank some of the wine. The wine was light and fruity, drinking it made one feel like one was drinking the nectar of the gods. Yao Jun failed to control himself and quickly took several big gulps, he could easily see why Yun Yantian was so passionate about this wine.

    “Alright, alright. Calm down already, leave some for poor old me.... Fucking hell, one would think that you haven't had anything to drink for several years with the way you are chugging it. Have some finesse and grace, grace I say.”

    Yun Yantian quickly snagged the waterskin from Yao Jun's hands when he saw how he was chugging it. Feeling how light the waterskin suddenly got, he couldn't help but curse out and shoot a glance at Yao Jun. This wine was expensive okay? Can't you have some grace when you drink it?

    “Aren't you the one who told me that you would treat me to some good drinks, yet now you say that I can't even drink my fill, where is your heart?”

    Yao Jun put on a wronged expression as he looked at Yun Yantian. He could tell that Yun Yantian had a rather strange personality, if he didn't he wouldn't have dragged the bandits to Yao Jun. But he could also tell that Yun Yantian was a very frank and straight forward type of person. A person like this was very easy to get along with, so Yao Jun immediately felt a connection with him.

    “My heart is wherever my wine is. So what brings you to Great Xian City? Since you said that you had some things that you wanted to buy, it doesn't seem like you are planning to explore the mystic ruins.”

    Yun Yantian drank a bit more wine before passing the waterskin back to Yao Jun. Since they were going to travel together for a few days, getting to know each other was a good idea. Yun Yantian also had an interest in Yao Jun, Yao Jun seemed like a very carefree person that lived however his heart told him to, such a person would always make a good friend.

    “I need maps. I got sucked into a Spatial Node and transported to this continent. Without maps, I won't even know which direction I should head towards to get back home.”

    Yao Jun drank some more wine as he shrugged his shoulders and explained. There was no need to keep his origins hidden. There were many people who liked to travel the entire world, visiting many different continents. Yun Yantian's own words even implied that he was from a different continent, the Endless Waves continent.

    “How is your luck that shit? First you get sucked up by a Spatial Node, and then you get attacked by bandits, isn't your luck a little too bad?”

    Yun Yantian gawked at Yao Jun's words. Most Spatial Nodes were rather small, rarely growing bigger than one meter in diameter. They were also easy to spot as the area around them would be completely empty. Yet he was sucked up by one?

    “And just who's fault is it that I was attacked by bandits?”

    Yao Jun passed the now empty waterskin back to Yun Yantian as he gave him a glare. Yun Yantian simply stored away the waterskin and pulled out a new one, drinking his fill of wine as he nonchalantly looked away.

    Yao Jun and Yun Yantian traveled together, but they slowed down their pace, no longer walking through the night, instead finding a nice place to set up a camp and chat.

    Yao Jun told Yun Yantian about where he came from and about his life, while Yun Yantian told Yao Jun about himself. Yao Jun had indeed guessed correctly, Yun Yantian came from the Endless Waves Continent.

    The Endless Waves Continent was actually just a large group of islands that were located on the ocean next to Guanyu Continent. The continent was located in a very stormy part of the ocean, so the islands were battered by a large amount of waves, giving the continent it's name. The ocean surrounding the continent were also home to several types of underwater Demonic beasts, so many of the people that made their homes on the islands lived under constant threat, not knowing if their next venture onto the water would be their last.

    If they kept their original speed, it would only have taken them about five days before the arrived at Great Xian City. But since they slowed down after grouping together, they had only managed to travel a bit over half the way after four days.

    Yao Jun pulled his sword out from a bandits chest, the leather armor covering his body had offered him no protection from Yao Jun's sword. There were several other corpses on the ground around him. Some were hacked apart, while others had large burn wounds.

    Not far away from him stood Yun Yantian, sword in hand as he fought against a few other bandits, his blade flowing freely like the wind. He was surrounded, but his sword managed to keep most of the bandits at bay.

    Yao Jun had just finished killing the ones that were attacking him, but Yun Yantian was a bit slower. The main reason behind this was that Yao Jun had the advantage in power. He could use the Mist Eagle's illusions to confuse and disorient the bandits, while the Lightning Tiger gave him a massive boost to attack speed. In grace and fluidity he could not compare to Yun Yantian, but the lightning element was renowned for it's speed, so Yun Yantian could not compare to Yao Jun when it came to attack speed.

    Yao Jun looked on as Yun Yantian fought against the bandits. If it looked like he needed help, Yao Jun would interfere, but if he looked at ease, Yao Jun would just watch, that was the agreement they had made. Yun Yantian undertook this journey to grow stronger, so constantly being helped by Yao Jun would not be good for him.

    Yun Yantian managed to find an opening in one of the bandits defense, swiftly stabbing out with his sword. The sword pierced cleanly through the bandit's throat, ending his life with one swift stroke. Yun Yantian didn't notice that the stab had opened a hole in his own defense, giving one of the bandits a clear path to his back.

    The bandit obviously saw this, swiftly moving forward and slashing down with his saber. Yao Jun who was watching this from the sidelines would obviously not allow this to happen. His eyes lit up with a gray fog and the bandit's mind suddenly fogged up, his vision blurring. With his vision blurry and his mind cloudy, he suddenly moved his saber sideways, slashing open a large gash on the chest of the bandit next to him.

    The slashed bandit quickly fell backwards, large amounts of blood dripping out from the wound. With a wound like that, he would not be able to live for much longer than a minute. After slashing open his comrade, the bandit with the saber twisted the blade in his hand, burying it deeply into his own chest. When the bandit stabbed himself in the chest, Yao Jun's mind control stopped and the bandit regained his clarity. The bandit threw his terrified eyes towards Yao Jun, seemingly wanting to say something, but the words got stuck in his throat and he fell over dead.

    Ever since arriving on the Guanyu continent, Yao Jun had used the powers of the Mist Eagle much more than he did while in the Cloud Wilderness. His control over his mental powers quickly rose as he became more accustomed to using them. Controlling people weaker than him was no longer a problem for him. He could even use his mental powers to completely destroy a weaker persons spiritual sea, turning them into a retard.

    “Haha, I knew from the moment I saw you that you would be my lucky star Brother Jun, you saved my back once more.”

    Yun Yantian quickly finished the rest of the bandits. The bandits were already terrified and exhausted from just fighting with Yun Yantian, seeing Yao Jun standing at the side, they immediately gave up any more ideas of fighting and fled.

    “I'm your lucky star huh? Does that make you a malignant star? I managed to get all the way to the Xian Province with no problems, but the moment I meet you, I get attacked at every corner. Are you sure you aren't a jinx?”

    Yao Jun scavenged through the corpses, picking up anything valuable. What he said could be considered to be a joke, but he was starting to suspect it being real. He had been traveling with Yun Yantian for four days, and they had already been attacked by bandits five times already. It seemed that after Yao Jun and Yun Yantian killed the bandit leader a few days back, some other group of bandit had started targeting all the money they scavenged off of the corpses.

    “You can't blame that on me, you should blame it on you being so wealthy. If you look at it like that, it becomes positive.”

    Yun Yantian spoke with a laugh as the sword in his hand dissipated. Yao Jun had saved his life a few times during the bandit attacks, so he felt that choosing to befriend this man was a very smart choice. He had also seen Yao Jun fight several times, and every time he did, he could not help but sigh in awe. Yao Jun's fighting style was rough and unpolished, but Yun Yantian could see that his fighting style was growing more and more refined with each battle. If it kept going like this, it wouldn't be too long before Yao Jun was his equal in sword technique.
  • Chapter 27: My heart is clear.

    Yao Jun and Yun Yantian traveled together for a few more days, the frequency of the bandit attacks only increasing, until they suddenly stopped one day. When the bandit attacks stopped, Yao Jun couldn't help but feel that it was a shame. These past few days of fighting had worked wonders on his combat strength, allowing him to raise his proficiency with his powers.

    Yun Yantian explained that the bandit attacks stopped because they were getting close to Great Xian City. No bandits dared to attack anyone in the vicinity of Great Xian City, if they were discovered by the guards while attacking someone, their ending would not be pretty.

    The area around the road had also changed after these few days of walking. When Yao Jun first stepped onto the road, the surrounding area was mostly forests and tall hills as far as the eye could see. The forests and hills slowly gave way to a vast plain covered in smaller villages and some spread lakes.

    Since the area around them was now mostly flat, they could see much further than the could before, allowing Yao Jun to see the structures in the distance. In the distance straight ahead of them, Yao Jun could see large metal walls rising upwards into the sky. Yun Yantian knew that these walls were the defensive bulwark of Great Xian City.

    Yao Jun turned his head sideways, looking at an area to the east of the city. The area was dominated by a massive grey stone tower that stretched all the way into clouds. The tower was simple and unadorned, built out of what seemed to be normal stone. The tower seemed ancient and decrepit, but it still stood tall, it's spire proudly piercing the heavens.

    Yun Yantian had explained to him what this tower was. This tower was the old abode of an ancient cultivator who had had reached an unfathomable level of power. It had already stood outside Great Xian City for several hundred years, but it had yet to be completely explored and conquered, no one had managed to get that ancient cultivator's full inheritance.

    Getting closer to the city, Yao Jun managed to get a clearer look at it. The walls towered above the people walking below them, reaching around 50 meters in height and almost three meters in thickness. The entire outside of the walls were full of red and white markings that connected together at different points. These markings were defensive arrays, strengthening the walls and allowing them to resist most attacks.

    The entrance to the city was a massive gate that seemed to be made out of a strange type of black metal. The outside of the gate was mostly empty, only a few spread groups of people coming or going through the gate. Everyone who entered or left the city had to line up and pass through a gap between two bone pillars that towered almost five meters into the air.

    The bone pillars seemed to be made out of a single five meter long bone. Carved into the shape of a pillar and inscribed with a plethora of runes and arrays that twisted around the entire pillar, looking like snakes and dragons.

    “What are those bone pillars?”

    This was the first time Yao Jun had ever seen anything like this. Even when he was a child and lived in the main branch of the Yao Clan had he not seen anything like those bone pillars. The bone pillars seemed to radiate an ominous presence, he did not doubt that they came from a completely monstrous Demonic beast.

    “Those are the city's Anti-Demon Pillars. If any Demonic beast or Demon Race person were to try and pass through them, the runes would light up with a red light, alerting everyone.”

    Yun Yantian spoke nonchalantly, not noticing that Yao Jun's expression suddenly turned solemn. Yao Jun was uncertain if the pillars would react to him. His parents were humans, but his body had still been invaded by the powers of the Demon Race. The girl from the Demon Race, Wan Yi, said that he could not be considered completely human, so Yao Jun was worried that the pillars would react to him. If they did, buying the maps he needed would instantly become harder.

    Yun Yantian and Yao Jun were getting closer and closer to the bone pillars. Yun Yantian had his hands behind his head and had a carefree look on his face. Yao Jun did his best to look as nonchalant and indifferent as he could, but he was already circulating all his Qi into the Garden of Eden, prepared to call out Little Gray and flee at any moment.

    Next to the gate stood four guards clad in full armor. The armor was made out of a strange, dull gray metal that seemed to be rough and coarse to the touch. The guards looked at the bone pillars with a bored expression. To the guards of this city, guarding next to these pillars was one of the most boring jobs they could get. They could not leave nor move, standing next to these pillars for hours on end.

    Yun Yantian nonchalantly walked through the two bone pillars, even giving the four guards a short nod. He noticed that the sound of Yao Jun's footsteps had slowed down, so he turned around to check on him, only to see Yao Jun slowly stepping into the space between the pillars, a bit of sweat dripping from his forehead.

    “What's the matter Brother....”

    Before Yun Yantian could finish his sentence, he was shocked to see the runes on the pillars light up with a red glow that pierced towards the heavens. The red glow was blindingly bright, stabbing into Yun Yantian's eyes and heart. He had never expected that the person he had been traveling with and called brother was a person from the Demon Race, the enemy of the Human Race. For a second he didn't even know how to react.

    “Haah, so it really came to this...”

    Yao Jun only heaved a heavy sigh as he saw the pillars light up. With this, it was now impossible for him to enter the city and get his hand on the maps, he might even be hunted by the people from the city.

    “I'm sorry Brother Yantian, but it seems like this is as far as we can go together, goodbye.”

    Yao Jun cupped his hands at Yun Yantian, before a gray light shot out from his body and manifested as a Mist Eagle. The guards were stunned upon seeing the pillars light up and were a bit slow to react, but seeing the Mist Eagle appear next to Yao Jun, they immediately sprung into action.

    “Demon Race! Kill him!”

    “Prepare the net, don't let him get away!”

    Three of the guards immediately unsheathed their swords charged at Yao Jun, while the fourth guard pulled out a crystal and poured his Qi into it. When the Qi entered the crystal, a bright light was emitted by it and strings of yellow light shot out of it, forming a net that covered the sky above Yao Jun. The net was falling downwards towards Yao Jun, he calculated that it would probably only take it around 20 seconds before it completely blocked his escape path.

    Normally, 20 seconds would be nothing to Yao Jun. But right now he was being attacked by three guards that were blocking his path, he couldn't even use Little Gray to fly into the air to escape as the net was above him. Yao Jun tried to use his mental powers to disorient the guards, but when he did, a white cover of light appeared on their armor, completely shutting out his mental powers.

    Yao Jun took a deep breath and pulled out his sword, if mental energy didn't work, he would just have to cut his way out. Little Gray turned into a gray light and returned to his chest, a purple light flying out immediately afterwards. The purple light turned into a Lightning Tiger that followed Yao Jun to charge at the guards.

    Yao Jun clashed with one of the guards while Little Thunder clashed with a second. Yao Jun's heart sank when he clashed with the guard. The guard was only around his level of power, only reaching that level of power by training his body, but the guards armor was exceedingly strange. Yao Jun's sword couldn't even put a scratch on the armor, giving the guard free reign to ignore defending and focus on attacking.

    Little Thunder wasn't doing much better than Yao Jun. Little Thunder's lightning was incapable of piercing through the guards armor, and it's physical power was only enough to push the guard backwards. The third guard helped the second guard in suppressing Little Thunder, several large gashes quickly appearing on it's body, dying it's fur a bloody red.

    Yao Jun's heart bled as he watched Little Thunder bleed. Little Thunder was the first Demonic beast he had absorbed, it could even be said that it had followed him ever since he truly stepped onto the path of cultivation. Little Thunder and Little Gray weren't Demonic beasts to Yao Jun, they were brothers.

    Yao Jun grit his teeth and circulated his Qi into the Garden of Eden, forcing Little Thunder to turn into a ray of purple light and fly back into his chest. He didn't know what would happen to the Garden of Eden if he ended up dying here, but he could only place his hopes on the Garden of Eden being an actual place, not just a separate space created by his powers.

    The two guards immediately charged towards Yao Jun after Little Thunder disappeared. They would only need to hold Yao Jun down for another 10 seconds. After that, the net would fall down and trap him there, allowing them to capture and interrogate him. Yao Jun grit his teeth and allowed the guard that he was currently fighting to land a hit on his shoulder, giving Yao Jun the chance to deliver a kick to the guards legs, sending him tumbling to the ground.

    He had found that the guards had ridiculous defense, but their speed and flexibility left much to be desired. Yao Jun was just preparing to face the two guards and do whatever it took to open a path when he suddenly heard a sigh from behind him. After the sigh sounded, two swords flew past his head, going directly towards the eye holes in the guards armor.

    While the guards stopped to raise their swords and defend, Yao Jun felt someone grabbing his arm and dragging him away. Turning around, he saw Yun Yantian holding onto his wrist, dragging him away from the guards and the city, breaking away from the net.

    “Summon the Mist Eagle again! Our only chance is to reach the mystic ruins before anyone else comes after us!”

    Before Yao Jun had the time to say anything, Yun Yantian barked out an order, two more swords appearing in his hand. The swords quickly flew out of his hand and charged at the guards, floating in front of them and holding them back. Yao Jun shook himself out of his daze, he had no other choice but to trust Yun Yantian now, Little Gray quickly flying out of his chest. Yao Jun and Yun Yantian quickly hopped onto Little Gray's back and Little Gray flew up into the air, heading towards the large tower in the distance.

    “Haah, I've truly done it now. If Uncle finds out about this, there is no telling for how long I will be grounded.”

    While they were flying towards the tower at full speed, Yun Yantian sighed and shook his head. The guards wanted to chase them, but how could their running speed compare with a Mist Eagle's flying speed? All they could do was send a message to their superiors and await their orders.

    “Why would you help me, it'll be impossible for you to enter the city now.”

    Yao Jun was happy that Yun Yantian decided to help him, even though all signs pointed to him being from the Demon Race, but at the same time he could not understand why he would help him. Him helping Yao Jun could very easily end up with him being branded a traitor to the Human Race.

    “Well firstly, I never really needed to enter the city, I only figured it would be nice to stock up on some more provisions before I entered the mystic ruins. Secondly, I already called you Brother Jun, and you even called me Brother Yantian. You have even protected my life a few times over these past few days. I can also tell that you are very similar to me, serious, yet carefree. Vicious, yet kind. If I just abandoned a friend like that, I would be no better than a beast.”

    “I will live my life the way I want to. I will save those I want to save, kill those I want to kill. If people refuse to accept my choices, they are not people I need to care about. So what if I am branded a traitor, with a brother by my side, no enemy will ever stop me. I will live my life with a free heart and a clear mind.”

    Yun Yantian spoke passionately, even beating his own chest as he spoke. Yao Jun could not help but feel touched, Yun Yantian had after all practically abandoned his everything just to help Yao Jun.

    “It seems I really underestimated Brother Yantian's free spirit, having a brother like you can be considered my life's greatest fortune.”

    Yao Jun spoke with a smile, patting Yun Yantian as he spoke. He had said goodbye to Yun Yantian when the pillars lit up because he believed that Yun Yantian would certainly leave him to his fate. Favoring to follow the customs of killing everyone from the Demon Race instead of helping him.

    “It's fine, just treat me to some good wine and i'll forgive you. Good brothers need to drink good wine after all..... You should tell the Mist Eagle to go down over there, at the base of the tower.”

    As they talked, they had already gotten close to the large tower. There was no one behind them yet, but there was no telling if they were being pursued or not so they couldn't let their guards down. They landed in front of the large tower entrance. There was no one located in front of the tower entrance, the mystic ruins had been here for so long that it was mostly just a few people every year that entered it.

    The entrance to the tower was a simple wooden door with the carving of a sword decorating most of it. Yao Jun gave Little Gray a few herbs and meat that it could bring back into the Garden of Eden and give to the wounded Little Thunder. Staying inside the Garden of Eden would slowly heal him, but the herbs would help speed up the process.

    Yao Jun and Yun Yantian both entered the tower through the door. Passing the door, they entered a round room that was completely empty. The floor of the room was covered in many interconnected lines, forming a large array. Yun Yantian had already explained that this was the array that would lead them into the mystic ruins, it was also the only entrance.

    Yun Yantian took out a few Spirit Stones and placed them in certain spots on the formation. When the last Spirit Stone was placed down, the formation suddenly lit up with a pale white light that enveloped Yao Jun and Yun Yantian. Yao Jun felt the space around him congeal and twist, before the world in front of him turned black and he was transported away.
  • Chapter 28: World of Ice.

    When the world around Yao Jun finally turned clear again, it came with a flash of white. The world around Yao Jun was completely white. He stood next to Yun Yantian on a vast expanse, surrounded by hills and a few mountains. Every inch of ground was covered in snow, fresh snow falling from the sky.

    The air around them was pervaded by an intense chill, Yao Jun had to circulate the Qi in his body just to stave off the cold. With the cold gone, Yao Jun could finally gather his thoughts. While they were traveling, Yun Yantian had already informed him about this tower.

    The tower tested a persons skills as well as their luck, each activation of the Spatial Arrays sending you to a random floor of the tower. The only room you could not be sent to randomly was the top of the tower. To get to the top of the tower, you had to clear a certain amount of floors. How many floors one had to clear was unknown.

    “Ah, fucking hell, why did we have to get sent to a place like this?”

    Yun Yantian stood at the side and complained while he circulated the Qi within his body, he was not pleased with the cold evidently.

    “So, what's your Soul beast? Is it that Mist Eagle or the Lightning Tiger?”

    Yun Yantian turned his head to Yao Jun and asked him a question he had been wondering about ever since he saw Yao Jun fight. He had heard about the Demon Race before, but never seen any. But the books he read had never said anything about people from the Demon Race being capable of having two Soul Beasts, nor that they could use the powers of their Souls Beasts.

    “Neither of them, I don't have any Soul Beasts. My parents are humans, im not from the Demon Race. They are Demonic Beasts I killed and absorbed using my power.”

    Yao Jun explained his power to Yun Yantian, even telling him about the circumstances around his birth, as well as the thoughts he had about his Garden of Eden. Since they had already reached this point, with Yun Yantian basically throwing everything away just to protect Yao Jun, not telling him everything would be wrong.

    “What the fuck is that?! Isn't that a bit too good? Doesn't that mean that you can essentially form your own army and constantly carry it with you? Why does yours sound so much more freakish than mine?”

    Yun Yantian couldn't help but curse as he heard Yao Jun explain his power. Sure it started out weak, but the speed at which it grew would just become more and more terrifying. If he had been in a large clan that managed to understand his power, they could help him kill his first Demonic beast immediately after his power was awakened.

    They could them help him kill Demonic beasts, quickly growing his army and power. If they managed to keep it a secret, they would have a massive army in no time. The army could even be called an undead army, just returning them to the gate would allow them to heal.

    “What even is your power? Is it the power to create copies and control them?”

    Yao Jun ignored Yun Yantian's obvious envy and asked a question of his own. Yao Jun had seen Yun Yantian conjure swords into his hand and even let his swords simply dissipate after stabbing people. At first he thought he could copy certain weapons to attack with, but while they were escaping, he had clearly seen Yun Yantian control the weapons from a distance.

    “My power is surprisingly simple. You called yours Garden of Eden right? I call mine World of Swords. I can conjure up a small space around me, currently I can only make the space cover about two meters around me, and within that space, I can summon and control an unlimited amount of swords. The more swords I summon, the harder it is to control them. I can also slightly move the space, but it has to be within one meter of me.”

    Yao Jun couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at Yun Yantian's power. Yun Yantian hadn't even reached the 1st grade, but the small space already covered a distance of four meters in total. Every grade one reached was a qualitative change that gave your powers a strong boost. If it was already that big, didn't it mean that it could cover a simply massive area in the future? At that time he might even be able to kill people in a different province without even getting close to them.

    “How is that not freakish? That is literally a world of swords huh?”

    Yao Jun couldn't help but click his tongue. His power could indeed summon an army after he trained it enough, but couldn't Yun Yantian do the same? An army of swords and an army of Demonic beasts. Upon thinking to this point, Yao Jun couldn't help but let out a little chuckle. It really seemed like birds of a feather flock together.

    “Anyway, we should probably focus on what's ahead of us. If we can't escape from this place, we'll just end up freezing to death here.”

    Yun Yantian's voice returned Yao Jun to reality. Indeed, there was no point thinking about what their powers could do in the future if they could not even break out of this world of ice. Yao Jun turned his head a few times, taking in everything around him, but all he saw was the vast expanse of snow and ice, without anything special.

    “There should be a message around here somewhere. It will tell us what we need to do to get to the next place.”

    Yun Yantian had prepared extensively before this trip. It was impossible to know about all the locations within the tower, but he could prepare for some of them. Those he could not prepare for, he could use the standard that the other locations used to find some patterns. This message was one of those patterns. Without those messages, everyone would just be running around blindly, something that the creator of this tower obviously did not want.

    Yao Jun followed Yun Yantian as they started slowly making their way through the world of ice. The wind howled around them, the snowflakes hitting their face like tiny needles. To constantly circulate their Qi drained it at a rapid pace, so Yun Yantian had already prepared several pills that could rapidly restore their Qi.

    They kept searching for a few hours before they finally found a message written into the side of a mountain. No matter how much snow fell onto the mountain, the message did not vanish, so Yun Yantian and Yao Jun were certain that this was the message that they should follow.

    “To break the world of ice, only pierce the eye.”

    The message was written with large letters, each stroke looking like someone had carved it with a sword, bringing with it a pressuring and tyrannical feeling. Yao Jun had heard about this before. When someone reached a high enough level in their cultivation, every action they took brought with it a hint of their intent, their belief. Whoever wrote these letters, had obviously reached this level.

    “It seems like we are going to have to find the eye of this world to break free.”

    Yun Yantian murmured to himself as he looked at the words. To find the eye of the world was easier said than done. The eye of the world was often placed in the center of the world, also called it's heart. But they had no idea how large this world of ice was, finding it's eye would be a tough challenge.
  • Chapter 29: Sword Mountain.

    Yun Yantian and Yao Jun started wandering the frozen expanse, closely examining every hill and mountain. They did not dare split up to search a wider area, after all, there was no telling what else was lurking within this frozen world.

    Yao Jun had tried to bring out Little Gray and Little Thunder, but the cold winds were too much for Little Gray to manage, he could at most stay outside for half an hour.. Little Thunder could hold on for longer, but he was after all still just a young Lightning Tiger, so there was a limit to how much he could handle.

    After they had wandered the frozen world for a few more hours, without finding anything, Yun Yantian spotted a massive mountain in the distance. The mountain was pure white, almost blending perfectly into the surroundings. The mountain was so tall that it's peak pierced through the clouds above, completely shrouding it.

    “That should be it. We haven't found anything that resembles the eye of the world so far, but the peak of that mountain could very well be it. I suggest we climb it”

    Yun Yantian looked at the mountain from the distance in silence for a while. Yao Jun had very little experience with adventuring, so he had no problem with letting Yun Yantian make some of the decisions. Yao Jun also carefully looked at the mountain from the distance.

    The mountain looked like a massive sword had been lodged into the ground, it's tip piercing the heavens. The mountain was slightly tilted, so climbing it wouldn't be too hard as long as they were a bit careful. Lacking any better options, Yao Jun nodded his head to Yun Yantian's words.

    “Alright. It does indeed seem to be the most likely place for the eye to be located.”

    Yao Jun and Yun Yantian made their way towards the mountain, reaching the foot of it after walking for around half an hour. Standing beneath the mountain, they could not help but take a deep breath.

    They had seen the mountain from afar, and it was already plenty majestic then. But as they were standing beneath it, the entire mountain seemed to radiate the majestic pressure of a monarch overseeing all life. It was truly an awe inspiring feeling. The snow on the mountain was the purest white, shimmering with an almost ethereal glow, untainted by the world.

    “We need to be careful. We haven't encountered any obstacles yet, but there could very well be some traps on this mountain.”

    Yun Yantian took a deep breath and calmed his mind, putting his focus on the task ahead of them. After reminding Yao Jun, he started climbing the mountain with slow steps. Since the mountain was slightly slanted, he only had to lean his body forwards to move steadily, occasionally using one of his arms to steady himself.

    Yao Jun took his eyes off of the mountain peak and followed after Yun Yantian, quickly catching up to him. Yao Jun brought out Little Thunder, allowing him to walk next to them. Little Thunder could not stay out in the cold for too long, but climbing this mountain would not be a problem.

    They had only managed to climb for a short quarter of an hour when the ground around them suddenly trembled slightly, the snow quickly forming into a small human shape.

    The snow human looked just like a normal human, only shrunk down til it was around one meter in height. The features on the human were blurry and indistinct, not allowing anyone to clearly see what it looked like.

    “Oh? New people have come to undertake my trials? How fun, maybe you can reach the end. I've got some good treasures you know, it would be a shame if they just wasted away.”

    The snow human spoke with a slightly childish voice, but it seemed to take great joy in being able to see other people, even going as far as jumping around Yao Jun and Yun Yantian.

    “What are you?”

    Yao Jun couldn't help but ask as he inspected the snow human. He could not feel any signs of life from it, nor had he or Yun Yantian sensed anything when it arrived. It seemed like it had been created by the world around it.

    Listening to it's words, it seemed to either be the creator of the tower, or the creator of this world of ice. But it spoke with such a childish voice. The owner of these ruins could not be some child could it?

    “Hehe, i'm an incarnation of the tower master. I was put in charge of this section of the tower. In here, I am the boss.”

    The snow human pranced around them. As it spoke it's last sentence, it's voice suddenly changed, sounding like it came from all around them at once, bringing with it an almost crushing pressure.

    “Is this mountain the eye?”

    Yun Yantian straightened his body after the pressure disappeared and looked towards the snow human with an expectant gaze. Since it had shown itself before them, it either meant that they were headed in the right direction, or that it had taken a fancy to them. Either one was good for them, as it could maybe help them save time.

    “Hehe. Nice try little one, but i'm not allowed to give any hints. All I can say is that all you have to do is pierce the eye and you can leave. I only popped in here since it has been ages since anyone was sent to this world of ice, I was terribly bored.”

    The snow human snickered as it looked at Yun Yantian with a slightly mocking gaze. Did this human really think that they could get his help just because he showed himself.

    “Just keep on climbing, i'll just be watching you.”

    Before they got the chance to say anything else, the snow human waved it's hand and urged them forward, clearly not interested in talking any longer.

    Yun Yantian and Yao Jun had no choice but to sigh and shake their heads, it seemed like it wouldn't be that easy to get this little thing to give them hints. They could only continue climbing the mountain, hoping that the peak was the eye.

    They continued to climb in silence for almost an entire hour, the snow human leisurely following behind them as they walked. Yun Yantian was just about to take another step when the snow human suddenly spoke up from the side.

    “I wouldn't set my foot there. If you put your foot there you will trigger a small array that will increase the strength of the wind.”

    Yun Yantian was shocked at it's words, but he also felt some joy at it's words. Since it had warned him about the array, it obviosuly had some good feelings towards them. He quickly shifted his raised leg to the left and put it down.

    When he put down his foot, the snow around them suddenly lit up with a myriad of blue lines. The snow around them started to slowly rise, forming several bulky apes made of snow. The apes stood tall, almost reaching two and a half meters in height, their arms as thick as a normal man's thighs.

    “What the fuck, you said the array was where I was about to put my foot!”

    Yun Yantian couldn't help but shout at the snow man. The apes around them started to slowly take form, easily numbering above 30. He could not feel any life from these apes, so they were clearly formed by the array he had stepped on.

    “Indeed, had you set your foot down where you planned to set it down, you would have triggered the array and increased the strength of the wind. But I never said that there wasn't an array where you moved your foot.”

    The snow human smirked as it looked at Yun Yantian, and Yun Yantian finally understood. This snow human wasn't there to help them, it just wanted to use them to relieve it's boredom.

    “Fuck, Run!”

    Yao Jun didn't need Yun Yantian's reminder. There was no way they would be able to fight these snow apes once they fully formed, escaping was their only option. Yao Jun returned Little Thunder to the Garden of Eden and started sprinting up the mountain. Since there were arrays hidden beneath the snow, this mountain obviously held something of great importance to this world.

  • Chapter 30: Eye of the world.

    Yun Yantian quickly ran after Yao Jun. Since they had already climbed so far up the mountain, just running down and escaping would leave a bad taste in his mouth.

    Yao Jun and Yun Yantian ran up the mountain, more and more snow apes forming around them as they ran. As they got closer to the peak, there were already so many snow apes chasing them that the entire mountain slightly shook each time they took a step.

    The only solace they could find in this situation was that the snow apes were incredibly brittle. A single slash from either Yao Jun or Yun Yantian was enough to completely destroy the snow ape, returning it to the snow around them.

    Even though the snow apes were incredibly brittle, Yao Jun and Yun Yantian could not stop and fight the sow apes. They had considered fighting earlier, but when they saw that the snow apes could simply reform themselves after being shattered, they quickly gave up that idea.

    The snow man also walked next to them, looking like he was taking a leisurely stroll in his own garden. He would occasionally shout things at them, warning them not to step here or there, advising them that if they just killed the apes a few times, they would stop regenerating. The two of them simply ignored him and continued running, they could already see the peak not far ahead of them.

    As they ran, Yun Yantian continuously controlled his swords to slice open any snow apes that got too close to them. Yao Jun could not use his lightning to attack at a distance yet, and since the snow apes were not living beings, his mental powers were also useless on them. Because of this, Yun Yantian was forced to divert some of his attention to attacking, slowing them down.

    After running at full speed for almost an entire hour, activating several arrays on the way, they finally broke through the clouds and reached the peak of the mountain. The wind below the clouds had been howling, the snowflakes almost moving fast enough to slice open their skin. But once they breached the clouds, the world was oddly still.

    The snow apes stopped chasing them, there was no wind or snowflakes. There was only a flat mountain peak lit up by a warm stream of sun light. Yao Jun and Yun Yantian couldn't resist the tiredness, quickly sitting down and panting, catching their breaths.

    “Congratulations, you broke through the cover of the clouds. Your reward is a bit of rest.”

    The snow man broke through the clouds not long after them, swaggering over to them with a slight smirk.

    “Fucking hell, I never want to have to run like that again. Let's get the hell out of here Jun.”

    Yun Yantian glared at the little snow man as he stood up and started exploring the peak of the mountain. The peak was flatter than they had expected. The mountain was shaped like a sword, so they expected the peak of the mountain to be shaped like a sword tip, but it was just a round and flat surface.

    Yun Yantian and Yao Jun spent half an hour examining every inch of the peak, but they still found nothing that resembled an eye. Yun Yantian even used his swords, stabbing them into almost every inch of the peak, yet nothing happened.

    “It's not here.”

    Yun Yantian spoke with a grim face and glared at the small snow man. He had stabbed every inch of the mountain peak, but there had been no reaction. This could only mean that this mountain peak was not the eye that they had to stab to escape from this world.

    “I never said that this mountain peak was the eye did I? I only said that your reward was a bit of rest.”

    The little snow man couldn't help but grin when it saw Yun Yantian glare at it. It had indeed never mentioned that this mountain peak was the eye, not even when they broke through the clouds.

    Yao Jun stood at the side and looked at the little snow man grinning at Yun Yantian. He had also realized that this mountain peak was not the eye that they were looking for, so they would have to climb down the mountain and look for other places that could be the eye.

    As Yao Jun was looking at the little snow man grinning and teasing Yun Yantian, he was suddenly struck by an idea. Thinking about this idea, Yao Jun felt like cursing loudly, but he forced himself to not show any signs, lest the little snow man get any funny ideas.

    “Come here Yantian.”

    Yao Jun beckoned Yun Yantian with his hand, summoning Little Gray at the same time. When the little snow man saw Little Gray, his expression suddenly turned solemn. Yao Jun ignored his change in expression and jumped onto Little Gray's back. Yun Yantian realized that Yao Jun had probably noticed something and followed him onto Little Gray's back.

    “You. Why do you have that?”

    The little snow man pointed at Yao Jun and spoke in a solemn voice, but Yao Jun was not in the mood to play along with whatever joke this little incarnation had planned now. He patted Little Gray on the head and ordered him to take off.

    Little Gray flew up into the air before breaking through the clouds, flying down the mountain at full speed. Yao Jun knew that Little Gray would only be able to fly in this cold weather for at best a half an hour, so there was no time to fly slowly.

    The little snow man followed after them, floating not far behind them as they flew through the sky. The snow apes quickly noticed them after they broke through the clouds, resuming their pursuit. Yao Jun patted Little Gray on the head once more, indicating for it to slightly raise it's altitude to escape the snow apes.

    The snow apes quickly realized that they would not be able to reach them if they just continued to run after them. They stopped their pursuit and quickly gathered together into a massive group.

    Looking at them grouping up, Yao Jun and Yun Yantian couldn't help but feel uneasy. Their unease was quickly proven right as the snow apes started merging together, forming a snow ape that was quickly growing in size.

    Yao Jun pat Little Gray on the head, urging him to raise his speed as much as he could. The snow apes quickly gathered together to form a snow ape that was several hundred meters in height, towering above Yao Jun and Yun Yantian.

    Yao Jun only heaved a sigh of relief when he noticed that the massive snow ape was much slower than the smaller ones. With Little Gray flying at full speed, they were barely able to stay ahead of the snow ape. Yao Jun looked at the world around them, quickly figuring out where they were and giving Little Gray directions.

    With Yao Jun's directions and Little Gray's max speed, they managed to reach the mountain Yao Jun had been looking for. When they had left this mountain, it had taken them several hours before they managed to travel from here to the sword like mountain. But now that they were no longer examining every inch of their surroundings, they managed to retrace their steps after only 20 minutes.

    Yao Jun quickly ordered Little Gray to land, the snow ape not far away from them. Yun Yantian still didn't know why Yao Jun had made them come back here, but he also knew that now was not the time to question his actions.

    Yao Jun hopped down from Little Gray's back and returned him to the Garden of Eden, landing in front of the message carved into the mountain. Yao Jun quickly walked up the words and pulled out his sword, stabbing it into the word 'Eye'.

    When he stabbed his sword into the word, the wind around them completely vanished, the massive snow ape dissipating into dots of white light. The only thing that was left was the little snow man that was staring at Yao Jun.

    “Really. Such a shitty sense of humor you have.”

    Yao Jun couldn't help but curse at the little snow man as the space around them started congealing. They had spent over half a day running around in this icy wasteland, looking for any hint about what the eye of the world was. Yet it had been in front of them the whole time, all they had to do was follow the orders as they were written.

    As the space thickened around Yao Jun and Yun Yantian, the world in front of their eyes turned white as they were sent away from the frozen world.
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