Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Lu Ye checked one of the Storage Bags he obtained from the four dead cultivators. It wasn’t much, but it wasn’t nothing either. Roughly speaking, the contents were worth around thirty to forty Spirit Stones.
Not everyone could bleed Spirit Stones like him. Currently, his Storage Bag carried a couple hundred Spirit Pills and Spirit Stones, but only a few Spirit Talisman Papers. It was because the low level items were becoming less useful the stronger he became.
Amber and he both relied on Spirit Pills to increase their cultivation level, and they ate between thirty to forty Spirit Pills everyday. He was so tired of Spirit Pills that these days, the mere thought of eating them made him feel like throwing up. There were many times he wished that Spirit Pills could have different flavors, but alas.
What this meant was that Lu Ye’s stash of Spirit Pills wasn’t going to last long. It was also one of the reasons he came to the Inner Circle before ascending to the Eighth-Order. He was using up more resources than he was earning, so it was only a matter of time before he ran out completely. Hua Ci did have a lot of Spirit Pills, but he couldn’t leech off of her forever.
Of course, the large majority of cultivators were poor compared to him. The only stable income they had was the monthly salary they received from their sect, not to mention that most of what they received would be used to increase their own cultivation. Rarely would they have any savings at all.
Now, he could confirm that hunting cultivators in the Inner Circle was far more profitable than the Outer Circle. It did not hurt that their cultivation level was higher as well, meaning that he could earn even more Contribution Points.
“Lu Ye!” Yi Yi called out suddenly.
Lu Ye looked up and saw a man and a woman walking toward them from a distance. Judging from their Spiritual Light, they were a pair of Eighth-Order cultivators.
“Hail, fellow cultivator!” the man greeted and revealed his Battlefield Imprint when they were thirty or so meters away from them. “Hao Ren of Silverlight Island greets you!”
‘Hao Ren (good person)?’ Lu Ye raised an eyebrow.
Once he had come within ten meters of Lu Ye, the “good man” stopped in his tracks and pointed at the girl next to him. “She is my younger sister, Hao Qing.”
Lu Ye returned a polite nod.
Silverlight Island was a Grand Sky Coalition sect bordering the Sky Pillar Sect. Both sects were Tier Six and the closest Inner Circle sects to the Crimson Blood Sect’s Outpost.
There were two reasons Lu Ye had chosen the Sky Pillar Sect as his first stop in the Inner Circle. One, it was because the Sky Pillar Sect had tried to kill him in the Battle of Goldentip. Two, he was hoping to make the acquaintance of the Silverlight Island and, with luck, form an alliance with their Legate.
Assuming that everything went well, all future Crimson Blood sect disciples would have a much easier time entering the Inner Circle.
Unfortunately, there was a problem. He had never made contact with a Silverlight Island cultivator. He hadn’t encountered their Legate and prolegate on the Chess Sea either. They had probably been killed before they could meet.
He had been wondering what was the best approach to make contact with the Silverlight Island, but it would seem that Lady Luck was smiling upon him today.
Although Hao Ren and Hao Qing were both Eighth-Order cultivators, their behavior was very respectful.
They had just witnessed Lu Ye slaughtering a quartet of Sky Pillar Sect cultivators after all. Even if their cultivation level was a minor realm higher than the young man’s, they weren’t stupid enough to use it as an excuse to lord over him. Ultimately, strength was the basis of communication between cultivators, and Lu Ye clearly had plenty of strength.
Both brother and sister blinked. ‘Is it just me, or does that name sound real familiar?’
Unable to control themselves, they began looking Lu Ye up and down as if they were trying to ascertain if he was who they thought he was…
It was said that Lu Yi Ye was accompanied by a massive white tiger, but all they saw was a foot long cat.
‘Wait a second, that’s not a cat! That’s…’
‘Could this Lu Ye really be him? But how can this be? Lu Yi Ye was just a Fifth-Order cultivator when the Battle of Goldentip happened, and it had only been a few months since that day. He couldn’t have reached the Seventh-Order already, could he?’
Hao Ren thought it was a bit unlikely, but he still asked, “Do you hail from the Crimson Blood Sect, friend?”
“In fact, I do.”
Hao Ren’s pupils contracted. “Then… are you Lu Yi Ye?”
‘Not again,’ Lu Ye thought sadly to himself. Behind him, Yi Yi covered her mouth and snickered.
“Yes, I am Lu Yi Ye.”
“Heavens!” Hao Ren slapped his thigh, and his expression grew warmer instantly. “It really is you? I have heard so much about you, Brother Yi Ye! During the Battle of Goldentip, you won much glory for the Grand Sky Coalition! I only wish I can become like you one day!”
Hao Qing’s eyes were shining as well.
Hao Ren could not stop praising Lu Ye. In fact, many Grand Sky Coalition disciples would have done the same in his place. Since the Battle of Goldentip, the sects had spread the news far and wide not just because they were proud of it, but also to encourage their low level disciples to work harder. “If a Fifth-Order cultivator could do something so grand, then why not you?” That was the gist of the message.
In fact, Thousand Demon Ridge spread the news far and wide as well, though in their case the Battle of Goldentip served as a lesson and a reminder. Failure wasn’t scary, but to lose one’s drive after just one failure was.
As a result, one could say that there was no low level cultivator across the whole Jiu Zhou who hadn’t heard of Lu Yi Ye of the Crimson Blood Sect.
The only one who wasn’t happy with his fame was, ironically, Lu Ye himself. He wondered if he should make up a fake name or something. So long as he called himself Lu Ye or Lu Yi Ye, attention would follow him everywhere.
“Oh, look at me, I didn’t even give you a chance to speak! I hope you will forgive me; I wasn’t expecting to run into you here of all places,” Hao Ren said while slapping his own forehead.
“She is…” Hao Ren looked behind Lu Ye where Yi Yi was standing. Since he had witnessed that battle from the start until the end, he also noticed her performance as a matter of course. Her ability to go seemingly anywhere she wanted was similar to ghost cultivators, but far more superior. At the very least, he was certain that most ghost cultivators would be hard pressed to go underground as easily as her.
“She is my younger sister, Lu Yi Yi!”
“Now that is what I call a happy coincidence! Hahahaha!” Hao Ren guffawed.
They were a pair of brothers and sisters, and so was Lu Ye and Yi Yi. Not only that, they were both from Grand Sky Coalition as well. The commonalities between them immediately brought them closer.
Yi Yi was extremely happy with the way Lu Ye had introduced her. Her eyes curving into crescents, she gave the two Silverlight Island cultivators a deep bow and greeted sweetly, “Nice to meet you as well, Brother Ren, Sister Qing.”
Who doesn’t like honeyed words that came from the bottom of one’s heart? Hao Qing beamed and responded in kind.
“Forgive me for asking this, but may I know why have you come all the way to Sky Pillar Sect? Are you carrying out a mission or something?” Hao Ren suddenly turned serious.
“We’re just here to take in the sights per se. What about you two?”
Hao Ren did not believe Lu Ye’s words, of course. Or rather, he read between the lines and figured out that Lu Ye was here to cause some trouble. Why else would a Crimson Blood Sect disciple be roaming a Thousand Demon Ridge sect’s territory?
Now that he thought about it, Sky Pillar Sect was one of the sects who had dispatched a challenger to duel Lu Yi Ye during the Battle of Goldentip. It was said that Lu Yi Ye was a vengeful person, so this could only mean…
“Well, the two of us are here for the Purple Cloud Flower,” Hao Ren pointed at the purple flower that was still in the middle of achieving full bloom before launching into an explanation. The Hao brother and sister had accepted a mission to harvest a Purple Cloud Flower because one of their seniors needed it to concoct a kind of medicine.
Silverlight Island was literally an island in the middle of the sea. While their island grew many exotic plants that could not be obtained anywhere else, they were lacking plants that only grew on the continent as well. That was why Silverlight Island often asked their disciples to keep an eye out for plants that could not be found on their island.
After the Hao brother and sister discovered that their neighbor, Sky Pillar Sect had a maturing Purple Cloud Flower in their territory, they immediately hid themselves and waited. They were going to take action after the flower had achieved full bloom, but somehow Lu Ye had gotten ahead of them.
After Hao Ren was done explaining, he asked with embarrassedly, “Now that you know, can we convince you to part ways with the Purple Cloud Flower, Brother Yi Ye? We are willing to offer a hundred… no, a hundred and twenty Spirit Stones to buy it!”
“Fate has brought us together today. Since you need it for your mission, then you can have it. I do not require payment for this.”
Lu Ye was feeling generous because he needed someone to introduce him to the Silverlight Island. As mentioned before, he had zero contact with the sect until now, and it was weird to visit a sect you had no contact with directly. If he could convince the Hao brother and sister to introduce him to the sect, then he was more than willing to give up the Purple Cloud Flower.
“No, no,” Hao Ren turned down his offer immediately. “You want us to receive the reward for free when you are the one who did all the hard work? That is just unacceptable.”
It did not look like Hao Ren could be convinced, and he did understand that giving someone you just met a free gift was about as weird as visiting a complete stranger at their house. He himself would have felt odd if he had been in Hao Ren’s position.
“Very well. Let’s make it a hundred Spirit Stones then.”
“Awesome!” Hao Ren agreed without hesitation.
Their senior had offered a reward of one hundred and twenty Spirit Stones for the disciple who could bring him a Purple Cloud Flower. Had Lu Ye asked for the full sum, they would basically be giving up their reward entirely. However, completing a mission also rewarded Contribution Points, and Contribution Points could be exchanged for cultivation resources. Therefore, they were still going to profit either way.
After picking Hao Ren’s brain a little, Lu Ye learned that the Purple Cloud Flower was still a day away from achieving full bloom. There was no telling if more Sky Pillar Sect cultivators would show up after he killed the initial four guarding the flower, not to mention that the flower’s scent was only spreading wider and wider. It was almost guaranteed that someone passing through the area would notice the flower.
For the sake of insurance, Hao Ren, Hao Qing and Yi Yi all went into hiding. Lu Ye was the only one who remained next to the Purple Cloud Flower to act as a guard and a bait.
There was no need to fix what wasn’t broken, so the Hao brother and sister had gone back to the same hiding spot.
While waiting, Hao Qing asked suddenly, “Bro, why do you think he inquired about the location of the Sky Pillar Sect’s ore vein?”
Lu Ye had asked them the question because he thought that they, the neighbor of Sky Pilar Sect would know. And they did. Hao Ren had marked it on Lu Ye’s 10-point map for him.
“Why else? He’s planning to cause some trouble, of course!”
“I thought so, but there’s only two of them. Can they really…?” Hao Qing said uncertainly.
There were at least dozens of Sky Pillar Sect cultivators guarding the ore vein, and at least some had to be Ninth-Order. To head there with only two people even with their skill was, in the Hao brother and sister’s opinion, more foolish than courageous.
“I know. I’ll speak with them later.” Hao Ren sighed. It was true that Lu Ye had slaughtered that Eighth-Order cultivator like a chicken, but quantity was a quality of its own, not to mention that the cultivators guarding the ore vein weren’t necessarily weaker than Lu Ye. It wasn’t everyday the Crimson Blood Sect produced such talent, and it would be a shame to lose him over something as trivial as overconfidence.
“Someone’s coming!” Hao Qing suddenly cried out in warning. Their hearts leaped to their throats as they both stared at a point in the sky.
It was a beam of light. A cultivator was flying in their direction, though it looked like they were just passing through the area.
This was another thing where the Inner Circle was different from the Outer Circle. In the Outer Circle, cultivators were rarely seen flying in the sky because their cultivation level simply wasn’t at that level. On the other hand, the Eighth or Ninth-Order cultivators of the Inner Circle were pretty capable of flying around on their flying artifacts. That was why it was a far more common sight in the Inner Circle.
Of course, most of them didn’t dare to fly too close to the ground because that was just asking to be ambushed by enemies on the ground. The person in the sky clearly knew this and was flying about one to two hundred meters above ground. It was safe enough that few could ambush him from the ground, but not so far that he couldn’t respond to an attack immediately.