This was ordered by someone last month. Sorry it took so long, but I do ask people contact me first so that its known I’m ready and available.
“How could they be here first?” Qi Liqui spoke weakly. “I did everything that I could.”
“Don’t take it personally. You appeared nearly a day away from the entrance you ended up taking, correct? Furthermore, you were delayed by the beasts you couldn’t defeat. If you had arrived closer to your entrance and didn’t have to find help, you would arrived hours earlier, if not the entire day. By my estimation, we started near the edge. This could be considered quite the shortcut for those unlucky enough to end up with such a bad starting point.” Bao bi whispered to her while considering what to do with the enemies in front of him.
It wasn’t just the robes of the Shadow Destruction clan that he was familiar with. One of the people, in particular, was a boy he had seen once before. Bao bi had left him in a particularly perilous trap while he went to rescue Liao An. The boy had managed to escape. Bao bi never would have imagined that after her blood escape, he’d come back and continue his violent ways. Perhaps, the spear that pierced his behind had only made him walk farther down such a horrible path. It seemed like Liao An’s words to him had been right. He should have just killed him. He had felt sympathy because he was younger than the others, but such a horrible tendency did seem to spread from generational abuse.
Of course, if the disciple who had needed to piece his behind to escape from the trap heard Bao Bi’s thoughts, he would throw up blood in anger. He had been particularly traumatized after that event, and it was one of the reasons he had volunteered for this one, hoping to get revenge by killing Xaoi recruits. After all, in his mind, Bao bi who appeared in a Xaoi hunting ground had to already be a Xaoi disciple, so there was no chance he’d run into the same demon who inadvertently took his anal purity.
After Bao bi’s comforting words, Qi Liqui relaxed a bit as well. She truly had been terrified, but now she felt more relaxed. At the least, it was two on three, and she wouldn’t be alone if they happened to be seen by her peers. Just because they were in the same clan did not mean they were friends, and this was especially true when it came to the opposite sex. If Qi Liqui wasn’t certain Bao Bi was a muscle head, she would have had her guard up for him as well.
Either way, the pair of them just needed to remain hidden until these guys moved on. As long as they kept their distance and moved quietly, they’d be able to advance without issue.
“Huh?” She blinked, realizing Bao bi had stood up and was walking toward the three boys.
Qi Liqui’s eyes widened and she panicked, but it was already too late. Bao bi had walked out from cover, and the group had their eyes on him. The three of them brightened as if they had just been provided a gift.
“Our first target?” One of them asked.
“It seems you’re targeting other disciples.” Bao bi spoke up as he approached them. “That doesn’t sound very fair. I’ll give you a chance to move on.”
Two of the boys grinned while thinking that Bao bi must be an idiot, but the remaining guy started to feel a bit of pain from his behind. The boy seemed somewhat familiar. That shouldn’t be too surprising. There were countless new disciples every year in every sect. He could have seen Bao bi’s face during their recent tournaments, which happened to be very similar to the Xaoi sect tournament, if not a bit bloodier. So, why did seeing this familiar face make him so uneasy?
“You must be an idiot.” The one leading the group of three declared. “It’s three on one.”
“It’s three on tw- eh? Where did she go?”
Bao bi glanced back, expecting Qi Liqui to come out of hiding. She wanted to curse him. She was only in the third tier of the second realm. She had yet to break into the mid-tiers of the second realm. Meanwhile, Bao bi was only in the first tier. This was one of the reasons she had been willing to work with Bao bi.
As someone two tiers lower than her, she could easily defeat him in a battle. This was different than having a weapon sufficient enough to break the high armor of those spiritual beats. Fighting people required a completely different skill set than fighting beasts, and typically, without a few exceptions, the one with the high tier was guaranteed to win. This held even truer for those in the first couple of realms. After all, they knew few skills and techniques at levels that could truly alter the results of a match.
That said, the jump from the third tier to the fourth tier brought someone from the lower tiers to the mid-tiers. There was a small bottleneck there, and while it was as difficult to overcome as increasing by a realm, it meant that these three boys, two of them in the mid-tiers and one of them in the high tier, were far more than they could take. Even in a one-on-one fight, Qi Liqui would be pressured by them. With them outnumbering them, their only chance was to keep their distance and hope they weren’t seen as worth the effort. Yet, Bao bi was the aggressor here, which left Qi Liqui trapped.
At first, she contemplated continuing to hide. However, once Bao bi was killed, they would inevitably check where he had looked. Once they found her, she’d fall into dangerous straights as well. If she was lucky, they would just rob her. If she was unlucky, they would claim their hundred strokes using her as their cultivation incubator. At that point, she didn’t know if it’d be better if they killed her after, or spared her life.
Knowing how cruel her clan could be, it was likely they’d use a recording jade to film her in lewd situations, and then blackmail her into being their servant. If she ever displeased them, they would release the photographic evidence, causing her to lose all of her respect and pride. At that point, death would be merciful.
She stood up, moving out from behind the rock. She didn’t want to, but she had a greater chance of facing them two against three than she did facing them alone. She had hesitated so long that the boys had started to think that Bao bi was making it up, but when they saw a young, pretty girl stand up from behind the rock, their eyes were immediately filled with crude desires. Using females as cultivation furnaces occurred everywhere, but it was even more common among the dark path, whose philosophy favored cultivation from external sources.
While Qi Liqui was panicking and trying to figure out what to do, Bao bi remained confident, pulling out the spear Liao An had given him. When they saw the quality of his weapon, their eyes couldn’t help but sparkle at that as well. When it came to these guys, they already assumed they’d win. In his mind, he could only see them growing excited over the appearance of a couple of young kids. It should be noted that they were a few years older, likely fifteen or sixteen. Adding to Bao bi’s already low opinion of these guys, he already decided they had to be killed.
This was especially true upon seeing the one he had seen before. He had spared the guy’s life, and yet he didn’t seem to learn and appreciate it. Instead, he continued his wicked ways and merely found a new group from which to victimize others. Liao An had told him that he couldn’t trust other cultivators. He now understood why she said that.
“Hehe… we’re fellow cultivators. You seem intent on fighting us.” The one in the lead stated as he drew his sword. “It’s too bad you don’t have the ability. I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you a single shot if you can… wha-!”
Bao bi grew in range of the three and immediately launched a strike. Qi Liqui jumped, not quite sure what to do. The leader was a seventh tier in the Mortal Origin realm. That meant he had seven of his spiritual points open, and could absorb energy far more quickly than the lower tiers. Thus, he was able to react fast enough, moving his sword over and knocking the spear away. It still had more physical force than he was expecting, and he ended up getting stabbed in the shoulder.
He jumped back, and his two companions moved with him. He felt rather annoyed because neither of them had tried to attack Bao bi when he stabbed him. If they had reacted as fast as he had, they might have been able to land a strike on that brat. Unfortunately, in that brief exchange, only he was left injured. Grabbing his shoulder wound, he glared at Bao bi.
“What’s the big idea?” He shouted. “I was still talking!”
Bao bi couldn’t help but cock his head. “What’s the point? You intend to kill me, and I intend to kill you. Let’s fight.”
He took another step forward, but the three retreated a step. Bao bi felt slightly helpless. Were they talking about killing a bunch of people earlier? He attacked first hoping to take one down before they realized it. How could he expect them to be so standoffish?
“Hey! We have things to say!” The guy cried out.”
Bao bi sighed. “Okay, what?”
“First off, you’re just a lowly lower tier. You have no chance against us.”
“I seemed to stab you pretty good there.”
“Geh… you…” He looked like he had eaten something unpleasant. “I wasn’t ready yet. That doesn’t count.”
Anyway, I was going to say that I was willing to give you a single attack. If you can defeat me, then my friends and I will surrender-”
“Naw, I’m good.”
“I already just fought in a tournament. It was one on one. I’m kind of done with that. I’d rather just get this over with. We don’t have a lot of time and I want to see what’s in the tower.”
The boy’s lips twitched slightly. “You seem pretty confident. It appears no one has taught you the difference in power between tiers. It might have been possible for a strong or skilled fighter in the mortal purification realm to fight a few tiers above their ability, but the higher you cultivate, the more difficult that becomes. In the mortal origin realm, you couldn’t possibly fight someone six tiers higher.”
“Really?” Bao bi asked. “You don’t seem that tough though. I didn’t feel any pressure when I attacked you earlier like I do when I fight Liao An. I wouldn’t even fight you except that I’m afraid you’ll hurt others if I allow you to remain.”
“Hurt others? Do you think you’re some kind of hero?” His forehead showed a vein at this point.
Even Qi Liqui looked at him strangely. What was this kid going on about? It was like he was speaking a different language. Well, maybe not that extreme. She understood his words, but he didn’t make a lot of sense.
“Hero?” Bao bi blinked and then waved his hands. “No, nothing like that. I just want to keep things fair.”
“Fairness…” he chuckled, bringing his sword in front of him. “There is no such thing as fair in the world of cultivation. The only thing that matters is strength. The one who strikes definitively first will be the victor, and the one who hesitates- kerk!”
“Ah… I got you this time.” A spear was sticking through the boy’s neck.
He was staring wide-eyed in shock. I had struck again, and he had been so busy doing something with his sword that he didn’t even block when I stabbed his throat. As blood flowed down his chest, he quickly passed away, an unwilling look in his eyes.
This didn’t happen necessarily because Bao bi was particularly that much stronger. If all three of them had attacked Bao bi with their full strength from the beginning, it was hard to say who would win. However, the leader had wanted to mock Bao bi and see the despair in his eyes as he realized his helplessness. Thus, he was full of openings, and the impatient Bao bi just wanted to end the fight. He hadn’t used any spiritual energy yet. If he had, Bao bi’s blade wouldn’t have been able to pierce his throat so easily.
It was more than that though. A mortal origin cultivator in the late tiers couldn’t be underestimated. His skin was like steel. If Bao bi had used a normal spear, even a surprise attack where he didn’t defend at all would have only sunk in a few centimeters and not caused a fatal strike. It was because he was using a weapon created by Liao An that it showed its effectiveness. Suffice it to say that the leader’s humiliating death had several causes.
“You killed him!” One of the other two shouted.
“You cheated! That wasn’t a fair fight at all?”
“Are you serious?” I looked at the two incredulously. “Didn’t he just say there was no fairness in the world and whoever strike first… you know what, never mind.”
I attacked the other two. They let out screams and then started running away. I watched helplessly as they took off down the pathway they had come. I thought about chasing after them, but then I decided against it.
“You managed to kill a 7th tier.” Qi Liqui finally got over her shock enough to speak. “This is bad. He was probably someone’s disciple. When they find out you killed him, they’ll make your life a living hell!”
“Really? But he was going to kill me and hurt other people in our clan.”
Qi Liqui opened her mouth and then closed it again. She didn’t know how to communicate with him. On one hand, she felt a strange warmth inside her. She had never met another cultivator who seemingly cared about others. Even clans on the light side tended to be selfish and only feign their altruism. As for the dark cultivators like herself, they would rarely lift a finger if there wasn’t something in it for them.
“He’s got a ring!” Qi Liqui was looking for a war out of the conversation, and when she saw a storage ring on his finger, she couldn’t help but exclaim.
This was bad news for Bao bi. If he managed to get a ring, then he must be someone important. At the least, he was the leader of two lackeys. Then again, Bao bi seemed to have a storage ring too. She hadn’t noticed it before, but when he pulled his spear in and out of it a few times, she had to recognize it. He might have an abnormal status too. He’d have to so easily kill a seventh tier. It was still difficult for Qi Liqui to believe, that she had witnessed it.
“Oh?” Bao bi leaned down and pulled the ring off the dead boy’s finger, and once he looked at it, he tossed it to Qi Liqui. “You take it.”
“Ah!” She was barely able to catch it, but as soon as she felt it in her hand, it felt like she was holding fire. “How could I accept this?”
“I have my ring.” Bao bi shrugged. “You can have that one.”
“This…” Qi Liqui felt a bit strange holding it.
It was more than just the ring, but the cultivation resources likely held within the ring. Every cultivator had their supplies, and someone who had a storage ring likely had far more supplies than a normal person. Why would Bao bi give up such wealth? Qi Liqui could only come up with two reasons. Either he was trying to win her heart, or he was trying to bribe her silence.
When she thought of this as a betrothal gift, her heart couldn’t help but flutter, but she knew that was impossible. It was more likely the second option. He wanted me to keep these deaths quiet. The ring and whatever else that the lead cultivator had in it would be hot items. If anyone found out she had the ring, it could spell her death. In a way, by taking it, she became his accomplice. For some reason, that didn’t repel her as much as it might have prior.
“Okay…” She finally agreed, pocketing the ring for now. “Shall we go into the tower now?”
Bao bi looked around, and then let out a soft sigh. “You go on without me.”
“What?” She asked in confusion. “Why?”
“I’m going to stick around a bit. Those boys might be back to cause more trouble. Also, I want to make sure all of the other people in my sect make it here. I’ll just stay the rest of the day. I’ll probably head in the morning.”
There was still a good six or seven hours before the day ended. Bao bi could still spend all day tomorrow looking through the tower before he was sent back. That would have to do. It wasn’t like he felt the need to compete against the other children anyway. This was all just a formality and a pretense for him to find his mother.
Qi Liqui didn’t know why, but she felt very reluctant to leave Bao bi. “Are you sure? I can stay with you.”
She wasn’t sure why she offered that, but she couldn’t help herself. Bao bi gave a gentle smile which caused her heart to speed up a bit.
“It’s fine. It’s just my personality. You don’t have to waste your visit. Have fun.”
Going into a dangerous tower to try to find opportunities to help obtain immortality was something Qi Liqui wouldn’t call fun. Bao bi was probably the oddest boy she had ever met. Yet, it seemed like their destiny ended there. He was part of some small sect she had never heard of, so once they left, she’d probably never see him again. Even though their time together had been short, even she surprised herself by how reluctant she felt.
“G-goodbye then.” She gave him one last glance, her hand touching the ring he had given her.
A small blush appeared on her cheeks, and then she ran into the tower. Once she disappeared, Bao bi grabbed the body and hid it. It was best if other kids didn’t stumble across a dead body on their way to the tower. Such a thing could be traumatizing. Thus, he found a hidden alcove and continued to watch. He’d make sure everyone stayed safe. Just because cultivation could be dangerous didn’t mean that danger couldn’t be mitigated. He felt that was his duty. He was the only adult they sent in, after all.