TGL Volume 3, Chapter 20 (4)

There were supposed to be two more duels after the one against Hong Tian Ji, but the Holy Beasts Sect canceled it—most likely to save face. I overwhelmed my opponent, and even if she were substituted with any of the other quasi-immortals’ disciples, the result would’ve been the same. There’s a cruel truth in this world: Money is power. Lack of money is weakness. I had more money than Hong Tian Ji; that’s why I won. And since I won, I’m being treated extremely well. It’s not all thanks to my victory but the immortal of Pill Valley whose reputation I’m relying on. I think the immortal fox’s eye really shocked them.

However, in the end, my plan still failed. I couldn’t conquer the Holy Beasts Sect, and right now, we’re both taking steps back to prevent a conflict. They’ll definitely win if they fought me and my bodyguards, but they’ll pay a huge price. Maybe it won’t even be that huge, but if they suffer a decrease in strength, the other sects eyeing their land will eat them alive.

“What should I call you, fellow cultivator?”

Right now, I’m being accompanied by two people from the Holy Beasts Sect: the disciples of Old Lan and Old Hei. As members of the younger generation, we should get along with one another—that’s what the quasi-immortals said before putting us in the same room together. Hong Tian Ji was supposed to join too, but … she wants to murder me, so her master locked her up under the guise of secluded meditation. I don’t know why she hates me enough to want to kill me. All I did was squirt her with water a few times. Maybe it’s the fact she was defeated in front of her whole sect; Immortal Continent natives care way too much about face. It’s strange though. For some reason, I don’t think Hong Tian Ji had much face to start with, not with a personality that explosive. “You can call me Ilya.” I’ve been called Duchess Pentorn a couple of times back in the pocket realm and hearing myself addressed as my last name really disturbs me, like I’ve gotten old or something.

“It’s nice to meet you, Ilya,” the disciple of Old Hei said. It was easy to tell them apart because they wore different colors: blue and black. “I’ve never seen a sky-realm expert with defenses as strong as yours. Even with my specialization in defensive techniques, Crazy Hong can still hurt me. Oh, you can call me Brother Gwey by the way.”

Crazy Hong. It seems like Hong Tian Ji really did have a reputation thanks to her insanity. “Ah, you’re the one Hong Tian Ji mentioned during my duel with her.” Something about hiding like a turtle. It’s not surprising. The black tortoise is known for its defensive prowess, an unbreakable shield of sorts. It seems like this disciple is weaker than I expected if Hong Tian Ji’s able to break through his defenses. No wonder why they’d pass on the remaining duels.

The disciple wearing blue sighed and shook his head. Gwey glared at him and snorted. “What? Is something bothering his precious highness?”

“Don’t call me that, coward.” The man in blue turned his head away from Gwey with a look of undisguised disgust covering his face. “Two turtles hiding in their shells, patting themselves on the back, thinking they’ve actually done something. It sickens me.”

Gwey smirked and smiled at me. “His precious highness over here has the weakest attacking power amongst the four personal disciples. If he fought you, he’d have lost more face than Crazy Hong. All he’s good at is running away.”

And what was Old Lan’s disciple thinking about that? His eyes were closed, and his arms were crossed. It seemed like he used his qi to shut off his sense of hearing. Azure dragons were supposed to have unparalleled speed, but the effect of speed is greatly weakened during a duel. Guerilla tactics aren’t meant to be used during honorable fights. The only disciple that might’ve given me trouble would have to be the one that I haven’t seen yet, the one representing the white tiger. I suspect his attacks should be as strong as the past Lucia’s. “What about the fourth personal disciple? Is he around?”

“He? You…, did you really invade our sect without doing your research? Bai Hu Shen is our sect’s strongest disciple.” Gwey stared at me with a strange expression. “She’s the rising star of this generation. If you’re from Pill Valley, surely you must have heard of her.”

With a greater number of quasi-immortals than the Holy Beasts Sect, I didn’t think I’d be on the losing side, and I didn’t bother researching every sky-realm expert they had. Yes, yes, that was a little arrogant of me, but it’s not like I’ve lost anything from this failed venture. In fact, I’ve made a bit of pocket change from that gambling association. Anyway, the best way to not make a fool of one’s self is to simply stay silent.

After Gwey realized I wasn’t going to say anything, he shook his head. “Never mind.” He looked around the room before leaning forward towards me. “Big Sister Bai is on a mission with her master.” He glanced at Old Lan’s disciple, who wasn’t paying attention to us, and looked at me again. “Have you heard of the beast called a squirrel?”

…Sometime tells me this is related to Lucia. “I’ve heard of it. Haven’t they gone extinct?”

“A long time ago, yes,” Gwey said in a serious voice. “However, a suspected demi-squirrel appeared on the continent around ten years ago. Big Sister Bai is hunting it with her master. Even if it’s just a false lead, she’s still gaining experience in the outside world.”

Ten years ago…, that timeframe fits perfectly with when Lucia was going on a rampage, creating a name for herself. “Why would she hunt a squirrel?”

“To help her master become an immortal,” Gwey said and leaned back. He relaxed against the couch and sighed. “Beasts grow stronger by consuming one another. For those of us who have the bloodlines of holy beasts, we can also grow stronger by consuming beast cores. There’s actually a tempering formation beneath the sect that requires the blood of a squirrel to activate, and—”

“Should you be telling her that?”

Gwey rolled his eyes and ignored Old Lan’s disciple, who hadn’t actually blocked his sense of hearing. “She’s from Pill Valley. If she wants to find out, she’ll find out. Why not find out from me?”

Old Lan’s disciple snorted. “Two turtles,” he said, practically spitting out the words. “It looks like cowards really do stick together.”

Excuse me, I’m not cowardly. I adjust my strategies accordingly, and sometimes a cowardly strategy appears, alright? For example, if I ever have to fight Lucia, the only strategy that’ll work is distracting her with acorns before fleeing. Of course, I’m not going to tell him that.

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