TGL Volume 3, Chapter 18 (5)

“I’m—”

“No, no, it doesn’t really matter who you are,” the man with black robes, Old Hei, said, cutting me off. “There is no one that our Holy Beasts Sect fears; don’t think you can rely on your background to avoid the consequences of invading our sect and attacking our people.”

“Let me guess, the consequences are execution?”

Old Hei’s eyes widened. “It seems like you know more about our sect than I first thought!”

It’s always execution, every single damn time. The Immortal Continent really doesn’t value people’s lives. The Holy Beasts Sect might be the strongest sect without fearing anyone stronger than them coming down to squash them, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely independent. “I’m from Pill Valley.”

“So what if you’re from Pill Valley? Didn’t I tell you that it didn’t matter what your background was? Either way—”

“Old Hei, shut up for a second,” the woman on top of the mast said. “Pill Valley is an exception.” Surprisingly, Old Hei shut up without another word. He even took a step back, and the lady in red jumped down, landing in front of him. She looked young even though I thought she was supposed to be the same age as the other two quasi-immortals. “It would certainly explain how you mustered up this ragtag group, but tell me, what does Pill Valley mean by invading our Holy Beasts Sect?”

“…I just came for a little chat.” I bit off way more than I could chew. I definitely should’ve started from the weaker sects first and incorporated their forces. Being the strongest person in the pocket realm for such a long period made me too arrogant. It wasn’t just that—all of my business ventures went far too smoothly as well.

“You destroyed our entry formation to have a little chat?” There was a small smile on the woman’s face—like a cat playing with a mouse. “Why would you do that? Pill Valley has other channels of communication with us. It makes me suspect you aren’t a part of Pill Valley at all.”

So, I’m being extorted, but extortion is better than execution at least. I took a pill bottle out of my interspacial ring and sent it towards the woman with the help of a wind spell. “Would a rare pill like this prove my connection to Pill Valley?”

“Just one?” the woman asked and raised an eyebrow. She took the pill bottle hovering in front of her and uncapped the top. Her eyes widened, and she slammed the lid back on in an instant, putting the bottle away. A bright smile appeared on her face. “Yes, you’re clearly from Pill Valley. My apologies for doubting you.”

“Little Hong,” Old Lan said from his spot on the bow. He cleared his throat and walked on the air towards the other two quasi-immortals. “That pill, did it happen to be…?”

“It’s just a pill meant for women,” Old Hong said. “There’s no reason for you to pry, is there?”

“Don’t you think I’m the one that should be in charge since First Brother Bai isn’t here?” Old Lan asked. His face didn’t show it, but he was clearly upset. The pill I gave Old Hong was worth a country, a small one, but still a country. It was a longevity pill that reverses one’s age by a thousand years—not particularly useful to me or anyone I know. In fact, using it to pay for my life extends my lifespan by over four thousand years; I think that’s very worth it. “You—”

“Let’s not argue amongst ourselves in front of our guests from Pill Valley,” Old Hong said while staring at me. “Can you tell me, dear guest, why you’ve taken our disciples hostage?”

“I was simply going to ask them some questions, but, you see, they ran from me when I approached, so I had no choice but to prevent them from leaving.” The excuse doesn’t have to be foolproof, not when this lady’s leaving me a way out. As long as it sounds plausible on the surface, she’ll cover it up or sweep it under the rug for me. In fact, it doesn’t even have to sound plausible at all. “There must’ve been a misunderstanding.”

“You’re right,” Old Hong said. “There was a misunderstanding between us. You—”

“Little Hong!”

“Quiet,” Old Hong said, glaring at the man dressed in blue. “I’ll have Big Brother Bai teach you a lesson if you don’t pipe down. Between the two of us, whose side do you think he’ll take?”

“Unless a second sun rises in the sky, he’ll obviously take your side, but you can’t let someone trample over the dignity of our sect for the price of a single pill!”

“Did I say I was going to let her go that easily?”

“But….”

Old Hong stopped bickering with Old Lan and smiled at me instead. “It’s a custom of our Holy Beasts Sect to greet each other with our fists.”

Of course it is.

“As our guest, don’t you think it’d be rude if you didn’t abide by our custom? My disciple has been practicing a new technique, and I’m sure she’d appreciate having someone help her perfect it in combat.”

“I’m not one to reject friendly competition.” Well, I am, but it doesn’t seem like she’ll let me go if I decline. Besides, dealing with this woman’s disciple is a thousand times easier than dealing with her. I might get beaten and maybe roughed up a bit, but it’s a small price to pay for staying alive; though, I don’t plan on losing that easily. Partaking in a fight myself instead of sending someone else to do it isn’t something I enjoy, but once in a while, it can be interesting.

Old Hong smiled and clasped her hands in front of her chest. “That’s great! While we’re at it, why don’t we throw in a tiny wager? A sense of loss will simulate a true battle even if it isn’t a fight to the death. What do you say?”

So, she wants to extort me some more. That’s fine. I have a lot of money. “What are we wagering?”

“We’ll have three fights against you, one for each of our disciples,” Old Hong said and gestured towards the two quasi-immortals standing beside her. “And for each fight, our side will bet some cultivation techniques that you may have been looking for. And your side”—her smiling disappeared, her eyes narrowing into slits—"will bet two of your quasi-immortal bodyguards.”

…It seems like I can’t afford to lose. Her appetite’s greater than I thought.

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