Since Blue Qilin Village had no direct connection with any major city, it seemed abandoned by the Divine Mountains. At the same time, though, its relaxed, uncompetitive atmosphere was highly appealing.
There were no schemes or fights. The villagers were simple and good-hearted. It had been like that for thousands of years.
A mighty boom reverberated throughout the village. A group of men in the uniforms of Upheaval stood atop the village’s sacrificial altar.
A youth lay sprawled on the ground in front of them, blood dripping from the corners of his lips. Quite a few villagers had gathered around him.
Quite a few other villagers puffed up their chests and strode forth. Although they weren’t even half as strong as the gang members, they showed no signs of fear.
“Hah? What, do you still want to attack us?” said one of the gang members with a ferocious yet disdainful snort. He reached out and created a suction. The villagers immediately felt themselves pulled towards him.
“What do you think you’re doing?” A silk ribbon flew through the air, stirring up howling winds and cutting through the air as it slammed towards the gang member. He narrowed his eyes, nimbly somersaulted backward, and dodged. The ribbon blasted a deep pit into the ground where he’d once stood, scattering chunks of rock.
This new arrival was none other than Zuo Mo, who’d just hurried over from the herb gardens. Little Ting and the young messenger followed after her, medicine baskets still on their backs.
“Zuo Mo.” The villagers all called out her name. They helped the wounded villager to his feet. He then glanced at Zuo Mo meaningfully.
Zuo Mo nodded, then pushed. “What on earth are you trying to do?” she asked, narrowing her eyes as the gang members.
“What else could we be doing? We’re here to collect taxes.” A gang member walked through the gates, narrowed his eyes, and chuckled. “Don’t you know that your village is now a part of our Upheaval Gang’s territory? If you want to live here, you have to pay taxes, the same way you would if you lived in a city. We will also take a cut of your profits from mining and growing herbs as taxes. We already sent someone to notify you, so this time, we’re here for the money.”
“Why didn’t I know about this?” Zuo Mo’s expression darkened, and she turned to one of the village elders. He was the noblest, most respected elder in the village, as well as its mayor. “You just told me that Upheaval had come.”
“At the time, they asked for an amount of money we could afford to pay, so I didn’t say anything. But now that they’re back, they’re asking for even more.”
“Of course we’re asking for more. Last time we came was almost six months ago. Now that we’re back, you ought to pay taxes to make up for that whole six months, shouldn’t you?” The gang members burst into laughter.
Zuo Mo pursed her lips. “Don’t push us too far.”
She wouldn’t ask how much money Upheaval was asking for.
For one thing, even if she asked, she knew she didn’t have the resources to solve the village’s problem.
For another, based on what the mayor had just said, they were obviously asking for a sum that crossed the village’s bottom light.
Finally, these people were clearly hooligans. If the village gave them money, they’d just push even harder next time, and with fewer reservations.
Her eyes flashed with cold light, and the soft silk ribbon instantly stiffened, becoming as hard as steel. Immortal power billowed and surged around her, forming whirlpools in the surrounding air as her immortal king aura spread outward.
“Not bad, not bad. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a pretty female immortal king,” said one of the Upheaval members, a youth. His hair was close-cropped, his eyes tilted upwards, his cheeks jutted out, his eyes were sunken, and his lips were a little purple. He had a silver circlet in the foreigner of his lips, and his uniform was different from the other gang members.
“He’s a probationary inner sect disciple,” murmured one of the villagers. Although Blue Qilin village was isolated, they weren’t completely cut off from the outside world.
They’d leave the village every year to do business, and although they didn’t spend long in the cities, given the extent of Upheaval’s influence, it was inevitable that the villagers would learn of them.
Zuo Mo knit her brows. The minimum standard to become a probationary inner sect disciple was immortal-king-level strength.
Although she was also an immortal king, her equipment and magical techniques weren’t on par with the youth’s. If they really came to blows, she feared she had less than a forty percent chance of victory.
“Hey, pretty lady, I’m acting in accordance with our regulations. It’s not that we want to force you to pay taxes; the gang demands this of us. If you can provide three hundred thousand celeste, we’ll leave right now. If you can’t, we’ll be forces to resort to emergency measures.”
The probationary inner sect disciple rubbed his lower jaw, his eyes scanning her exquisite figure up and down.
“Of course, if you were willing to follow me…. I could pay on your village’s behalf. It’s just three hundred thousand celeste; I can afford such a pittance.”
“You’re taking this too far!” roared the injured man.
“Wang Nan, back down. Leave this to me.” Zuo Mo narrowed her eyes. “If you’re acting in accordance with regulations, please show me your orders. If you can, we’ll give you every last coin you ask for. If not… I’m sorry, but we have nothing to offer you.”
“You backwater commoners really are unruly!” The probationary inner sect disciple snorted, and his violent immortal king energy surged forth like a geyser. “I already gave you people a chance. Either give me the money now, or….. Your entire village can give up on living any longer. But wait, pretty lady. You, I can let live.”
A mid-stage immortal king.
As soon as the youth revealed his full strength, Zuo Mo understood.
The prerequisite to undergo divine tribulation and ascend to the God Realm was becoming a peak immortal king. Zuo Mo was no exception.
However, during the ascension process, power condensed. Zuo Mo was now nothing but an early-stage immortal king. Besides, she wasn’t much of a fighter. Her odds of winning against a mid-stage immortal king weren’t even forty percent; they were ten percent at best.
The surrounding villagers’ eyes blazed with fury, and quite a few cried out, “Is this really the righteous group we heard stories of?”
They’d lived and worked here, in Blue Qilin Village, for generations. They had no strife with the outside world, yet Upheaval was here to wreck their peaceful lives.
Even Zuo Mo couldn’t help but clench her fists.
Was such a disappointment.
“You jerks had better hurry up and scram! Let me tell you, my Big Sister Zuo Mo’s dao partner is none other than Ye Zichen. Ye Zichen! If he founds out you’re bulling us like this, her dao partner won’t let you guys off!” said Little Ting. She stood behind Zuo Mo, her basket still on her back, and peeked out as she screamed at the gang members.
When she brought up Ye Zichen, the gangsters froze, but an instant later, their eyes flashed with wanton arrogance and disdain.
“Grandmaster Ye? You dare say such a thing? Fine then, in that case, Grandmaster Ye is our Big Brother Hao’s master. If what you’re saying is true, why haven’t I heard of Grandmaster Ye having a dao partner like you?”
But at that moment….
A black-robed youth suddenly appeared in the village. His cold, handsome face looked indifferent, and his dark pupils were so deep, it seemed like you could sink right into them.
Everyone present, villager and gangster alike, even that probationary inner sect disciple, felt their hearts tremble.
This trepidation rose from deep within their souls; they all felt terror, but also awe. They didn’t dare so much as look the youth in the eye.
“Who is this?” Everyone, from the villagers to the gang members, wondered the same thing. That probationary inner sect disciple’s pupils violently constricted.
As soon as the black-robed man appeared, he sensed his immortal energy surging out of control.
“I’ll acknowledge her as my dao partner, but you say you’re my apprentice…..? Then why have I never seen you before?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter