Book 5: Sect
Chapter 1: Flat Mountain Garrison
Flat Mountain Garrison was the busiest in the springtime.
At this point in time, the Vicious Beasts became more active, making it a great time to go hunting. The nearby hunters would form groups and set out into the mountains, beginning hunting expeditions that would often last months.
Flat Mountain Garrison was a township that was made to provide hunters with what they needed. The shops sold basic living necessities and bought the Beast hides, bones, and meat that the hunters brought back from their expeditions.
If they were lucky enough, they might be able to kill a high-tier Vicious Beast, in which case they wouldn’t need to worry about surviving for the rest of the year. Of course, for safety reasons, the hunter groups that entered the mountains needed to be at least capable of killing a high-tier Vicious Beast. That was the standard that had been set.
If they were unlucky and ran into a Demonic Beast, then they could only run and pray that their luck was good.
Every year, not all of the hunters who entered the mountain would return.
They would forever remain in those hunting grounds, their bodies becoming the food that supported those Beasts. Either they hunted the Beasts, or they were hunted.
Such was life.
As per usual, Little Sweet arrived at the wine tavern a little past noon.
The tavern was filled with people already.
Upon seeing Little Sweet enter, a man holding a cup of wine in his hands yelled, “You’re late again, Little Sweet! It’s already the afternoon! You’re always late!”
“So what? This place is owned by my grandfather,” Little Sweet replied brusquely as she walked through the crowd of patrons.
A pair of black, furry hands reached out for Little Sweet’s butt. Just as they were about to make contact, Little Sweet suddenly danced to the side as she slung the wine jug she was holding into the face of the owner of those hands.
“You never pick up good manners, He Lang,” Little Sweet harrumphed. “The wine is going on your tab.”
“Hahahaha!” The tavern’s patrons began to guffaw and cheer raucously.
“I told you you wouldn’t be able to touch her.”
“He Lang, you’ve lost!”
“Hand over my ten copper coins!”
The crowd began to talk over each other.
“How boring.” Little Sweet walked away, her hips swaying. The hunters all lived in the present and liked to pull stunts like this. Little Sweet basically experienced something like this every day, so she was not caught off-guard by it in the slightest.
“I’ll get you to bed one day or another,” the man called He Lang said as he licked his lips, leering at Little Sweet’s slender waist and ample behind.
“In your dreams! My body goes for a high price. You wouldn’t be able to afford me, you bastard.” Little Sweet’s reply wasn’t sweet in the slightest. Actually, it was quite spicy.
It was impossible to survive in this kind of place without some cruelty.
The crowd once again burst out into laughter and jeering.
Suddenly, the clamor died down, and the atmosphere became eerily peaceful.
Little Sweet, who had reached the front counter, turned around to see what had happened.
She found a young man standing at the doorway.
This young man was obviously different from everyone else present. He was dressed in a long azure robe which was obviously made from high-quality fabric. The robe was spotless and without dirt, and every strand was exquisitely woven. His face was pale and clean, quite handsome in fact, and possessed no trace of crudeness. In comparison, the men in the tavern seemed like they had gotten here by rolling through the mud. It was obvious that this young man was far more refined than them.
It was this different aura that caused everyone to notice him immediately, and what had caused the clamor to die down momentarily.
Of course, the background chatter very quickly resumed.
The young man ignored the gazes of the crowd as he walked towards the front desk and glanced at Little Sweet.
“May I ask, how much wine does this place have?”
His voice was quite pleasant to listen to.
“Oh.” Little Sweet froze for a moment. “Uh, a jug is fifty coins. How much do you want?”
Little Sweet realized at that moment that the other party had not asked about the price but the quantity.
“Yes, how much wine do you have here?” the young man repeated again.
An old man walked over from nearby. He was Little Sweet’s grandfather.
“Esteemed guest, are you planning on buying all of the wine that I have here?” the old man asked.
“One jug for one tael of gold.”
“How many jugs do you have?”
“I’ll take them all.”
The young man pulled out ten taels of gold.
The old man’s eyes lit up when he saw the gold. “My apologies, dear guest. I suddenly remembered that we have a total of thirty jugs.”
“Fine, I’ll take those as well.” The young man pulled out another twenty taels of gold.
“I’ll go and fetch the wine for you right now.” The old man took the gold with excitement.
“Hey, old man, you can’t sell all the wine to him. What will we drink?” one of the hunters yelled as he stood.
“That doesn’t matter to me. If you don’t have wine to drink, you can drink your own piss,” the old man replied bluntly.
“Damn!” A few of the hunters stood up.
Little Sweet frowned, and she leaned in to the young man and said, “You’d better leave here quickly from the back door. Otherwise, there might be trouble.”
The young man glanced around at the tavern, noticing the hostile gazes directed at him, and said with a slight smile, “It’s fine.”
Little Sweet sighed. “I know you have some skill, but there are a lot of them here.”
No one who participated in this hunting expeditions was weak. Once the bloodline-less cultivation techniques had spread, the hunters here had also gotten much stronger. All they lacked was time, which they needed to use for cultivation in order to fully demonstrate this benefit. Even so, the hunters had already managed to successfully escape a Demonic Beast’s pursuit a number of times.
Given how many hunters were gathered here, even a Yang Opening Realm Origin Qi Scholar would need to be careful. This was why Little Sweet had cautioned the young man.
In her view, this young man was just a young man from a wealthy clan who wanted to see the world around him.
“A lot of them here?” The young man’s eyebrows jumped humorously. “Then they’d better go take a look outside.”
As he spoke, he walked out the door.
The hunters then realized that thirty jugs of wine was in fact too much for one or two people to finish off all by themselves.
“I don’t believe this sly bastard.” One of the hunters strode forwards upon seeing Su Chen walk out the door. As he reached out to grab Su Chen by the neck, he walked out the front door.
All of a sudden, he stood frozen in place like a statue.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” the other hunters asked. They saw the hunter standing at the doorway trembling slightly.
The hunters glanced at each other before all standing up and walking out the door. They pushed aside the hunter, who was still frozen there in fear. When they saw what was waiting for them on the other side, all of them were totally dumbfounded.
At some point, Flat Mountain Garrison had been occupied by a large group of people.
They were standing there in neat formation on the street, not uttering a single word. There were so many of them that the lines actually extended all the way to the garrison’s front gates.
Everyone present was badly startled.
Most importantly, despite the fact that so many people had entered the garrison, none of them had made any noise. No one in the tavern had any clue that such a large procession was headed their way.
Were these guys ghosts?
No, they weren’t ghosts, but their discipline and formation were both incredibly strict!
This thought flashed through all of their heads.
The hunters weren’t complete bumpkins. None of the annoying soldiers stationed here to keep the peace gave off such a terrifying aura. These men were definitely elite soldiers. And given that they were able to get so close with thousands of people without making a sound not only indicated that they were incredibly disciplined but also was a clear demonstration of their personal strength.
Why would this kind of a battalion suddenly appear near Flat Mountain Garrison? And why were none of them wearing military uniform?
No one understood what was going on.
At this moment, the old man had already begun to bring out the wine from the back. When he saw so many people standing before them, he was also badly startled.
The young man waved his hand, and the jugs of wine disappeared.
After stowing away the wine, the young man said, “Right, senior, do you know how far we are from Heaven-Upholding Peak?”
The old man replied, “You guys are heading to the Heaven-Upholding Peak? The mountain pass is hard going, so it will probably take you two days. The path is also quite confusing, so it would be best for you to find a guide.”
“Guide?” The young man glanced around.
All of the hunters simultaneously took a step back. None of them seemed willing to lead the way for this large group of soldiers.
No one knew what would happen after they entered the mountain. If they happened to be exposed to some top-secret military information, then they might......
The young man understood what they all were thinking. After a moment of thought, he was about to speak when Little Sweet suddenly said, “I’ll go!”
“Little Sweet!” The old man was badly startled.
Little Sweet said, “Grandpa, if these men were up to something, they would be able to destroy the Flat Mountain Garrison ten times over. I have faith that these people won’t do anything to me.”
The young man said, “Are you familiar with this mountain path?”
Little Sweet puffed her chest out and said, “I grew up here ever since I was young. No one is more familiar with the Ten Thousand Swords Mountain region than I.”
The young man smiled. “Your name is Little Sweet?”
“That’s right. What’s yours?”
“Su Chen,” the young man replied as he tossed over a handful of Origin Stones. “This is the fee for guiding us.
This handful of Origin Stones was tossed out so carelessly, but there were at least dozens of them. Everyone who saw this was dazed.
Little Sweet giggled as she caught the stones. “Thanks.”
“Little Sweet, give Grandpa the Origin Stones!” the old man said. He wasn’t after her riches; he was just worried that the little girl would bring trouble on herself. What if these guys were just pretending to be generous and wanted to kill his granddaughter in the mountains, then take back the Origin Stones? If she didn’t have money on her, she might actually be safer.
Of course, this kind of thinking was totally unreasonable. After all, if Su Chen and his group were people like that, they could have chosen to immediately start slaughtering them. However, prudence and apprehension usually did not follow the rules of common sense.
Little Sweet seemed to not care in the slightest as she stowed the Origin Stones away. “It will take two days to reach the Heaven-Upholding Peak. Do you want to prepare some rations before we set out?”
Su Chen replied, “We already have prepared our own rations. In any case, it won’t take us two days to get there.
Su Chen motioned as he said, “Death’s Shadow of a Youth!”
The white paper beast floated out into midair and said, “Master!”
Upon seeing this strange creature, which seemed to be completely made out of paper, everyone was stunned.
Su Chen said, “You’ll be responsible for her.”
White strips of paper weaved together to form a small white boat that floated in midair.
A moment later, the paper boat shot downwards, crashing into Little Sweet and sending her tumbling into the boat.
“Little Sweet!” everyone yelled.
Little Sweet sat up from inside the boat. “Ha, this paper boat is too interesting!”
Upon seeing that she was fine, the others sighed with relief. However, their apprehension towards Su Chen and his strange techniques only grew.
Only the Death’s Shadow of a Youth felt incredibly wronged. He was a Demonic Lord, but now he was being forced to carry a commoner girl. He felt like it was such a waste of his talents.
“If there’s nothing else, then let’s go,” Su Chen said faintly.
The boat began to rise as it flew forwards.
Su Chen and the others followed the boat into the mountain. It seemed as if they weren’t moving particularly fast, but they soon disappeared from view, not leaving behind even a speck of unsettled dust.