Chapter 135: At the Border
The caravan met up after three days. During this time, Xu Min had found a room in an inn where he stayed all the days they waited for the caravan with Cao Cao and Ye Ling.
Xu Min ensured that Ye Ling and Cao Cao could eat anything they wanted to. He felt bad that they had to stay within the jade satchel for as long as they did, so offering unlimited food choices, he felt, made up for it. Nonetheless, this jade satchel was the only way he could think about a way for them to exit the Immortal Ruins without waiting for a very long time.
The three days went by fast. Soon the time to meet up at the caravan arrived. Xu Min placed his two companions in the satchel before he left the inn. He used his face-altering mask, but even so, he was vigilant as he walked around. He constantly observed everything around him, only to realize that no one paid special attention to him.
The caravan he met up with was a large one. It had employed a hundred mercenaries at the same time even though they had another two hundred guards. More interestingly, the caravan belonged to the Alluring Treasure Pavilion.
Realizing this, Xu Min was even more excited. Although these major families of the Immortal Ruins wished to cause trouble, the Alluring Treasure Pavilion was a large faction on the entire continent. Causing problems for them was not an option. Thus it was possible that he would be able to get through without too many problems.
Even though he thought like this, Xu Min did not slack on his vigilance even the slightest. He understood if he wished to survive this, then he truly needed to be either incredibly lucky or able to cheat the people at the border. He could not drop his guard.
Taking a deep breath, he steadied himself as he reached the caravan. "I'm here to sign up. I accepted the task to be a guard for your caravan previously," Xu Min's voice was hoarse and rough. It sounded nothing like his usual voice, but a voice which suited his current appearance.
"Name," the person asked. Xu Min gave him the name he had used earlier at the mercenary guild when signing up for the task, "Xiao Ping."
The man scanned the list in his hand and found the name, Xiao Ping, alongside all his information. He nodded his head in satisfaction before he hoisted up a back filled with coins.
"This is your advance pay. The rest you will get when we arrive safely at our destination. If you run away during the task, we will put out a warrant for your arrest." he continued, stating the rules of their caravan. Xu Min listened with only one ear. The other ear focused on what was going on around him.
"Usually our caravan is quite safe," the man continued as he looked at Xu Min seriously, "but if anything should happen, then we will depend on you."
Xu Min nodded his head and spoke as little as possible. The man then led him towards the other mercenaries.
The outer guards were made from mercenaries while the inner guards were the personal guards of the Alluring Treasure Pavilion. The caravan had ten carriages. Though the majority of their wares were stored in storage treasures, there was a lot of people who needed to be following these goods. Consequently, the caravan counted a total of four hundred people. A hundred mercenaries, two hundred guards and a hundred people who did not cultivate or fight, mainly merchants and their families.
There were ten people in each carriage, and every carriage was surrounded by thirty people. As soon as everyone had fallen into formation, the group started moving out.
Because the group was as large as it was, it was impossible to move at a very fast pace. The only beasts there were Nightmare Horses, a kind of horses with spikes on their backs and up their mane. They were black with red flames on their hooves and looked very ferocious.
These had been bred in captivity. They were not as strong as those that could be found in the wild; even so, they were strong and could walk days on end without a break.
These horses were used to pulling the caravan forward. None of the guards had a steed though. All of them had to rely on their legs. Although the speed was slow, it was a steady pace. Everyone walking were cultivators. As such it was not impossible for them to walk a few days without stopping and their advancement could be considered significant.
The caravan had only walked for three hours when they reached the border. As they did Xu Min felt more and more nervous. Nevertheless, looking at his face, no one would notice. He was as cold and cynical looking as ever.
While most of the mercenaries were having fun chatting with the ones by their side, no one approached Xu Min; everyone could feel the atmosphere around him saying that he needed to be left alone; they did not wish to get too close to cause any trouble. This Xiao Ping felt dangerous to even these men who had risked their lives time and time again and gained a keen sense of danger. All their instincts told them to stay away from him.
The guards, however, did not have as keen senses, so they could not sense a threatening air coming from Xu Min. Even still, none of them would dare consider mingling with a simple mercenary.
Many guards looked down on the mercenaries. They had to risk their lives time and time again to earn their living while guards had the protection of a sect or family. Having the protection of others was enough to allow them to live a comfortable life. Moreover, they also had a steady income without having to risk their lives often. As such their conditions were many times better than those of mercenaries, giving them a sense of arrogance.
Xu Min could not be bothered with anyone. His heart was beating fast as he kept a watchful eye on his surroundings. The closer they got to the border the more nervous he became.
He had hidden the jade satchel in one of his storage devices and then hidden the storage device in an inner pocket of his robe. He hoped that these guards were not going to be too forceful in their search. As long they were not, then it was possible for him to easily escape the Ruins of the Immortals.
The closer they came to the border the tenser the atmosphere of the entire caravan became. Although the caravan was not the one which this border control was after, everyone felt pressured by so many experts; especially when all these experts were gathered on one line, and even eight-star warriors were present.
The closer they came, the more uneasy Xu Min became. He sensed something was wrong, but he was incapable of putting his finger on exactly what it was. As a result, he had no other option than to continue forward. If he turned around now, it would be clear that he had something to hide, and then his situation would be even worse.
Step by step they closed in on the border. While Xu Min prepared himself, the front of the caravan reached the checkpoint.
"Halt!" one of the men from the checkpoint called out. Everyone stopped in their tracks, uneasy with what was going to happen.
The leader of the caravan emerged from the first carriage. He moved towards the soldier who had spoken. He wanted to know what needed to be done for them to leave the Ruins of the Immortals.
"It is very simple," the soldier said with a sneer as he looked at the weak merchant, "all you need to do is to allow us to look at everyone in your entourage. If we find nothing amiss, then you can continue forward, but Xu Min must stay behind!"
"We did not hire anyone known as Xu Min," the leader of the caravan exclaimed, "we do not have anyone looking remotely like him either, nor do we have mercenaries which possess beasts. I cannot imagine that Xu Min, who is an eight-star warrior according to the rumors, would be in my caravan!" The leader took great pride in his caravan. He was not in the mood to spend a full day having all of his men checked.
He was from an influential family from all across the continent, but, it seemed, it was impossible for him to go against the words of the United families as long as he was within the Ruins of the Immortals. In the end, these people were the law here. Of course, as long as the guardians of the Immortal Valley did not interfere.
"Although you say he is not there, how do you know for sure?" the soldier retorted angrily. "He stole a lot of money from the innocent youths he killed in the Immortal Valley; it is possible for him to have purchased a face-altering mask and a jade satchel. Because of this, we need to be extremely cautious with everyone who wishes to travel through the border, especially in a large group like yours where it is easy to blend in."
"But we don't have anyone who is at the eight-star level!" the owner of the caravan continued, but he then realized that a cultivator could suppress their cultivation base. Although it happened very rarely, it had indeed happened before when one needed to put on a disguise.
Xu Min was uncomfortable listening to the conversation between the soldier and the leader of the group. It was clear that they had reached an agreement. Every member of the caravan was to be examined, but only if they found Xu Min could they take any action. No matter what else they found, they had to back off.
While the discussions were ongoing, a figure came moving towards them, a figure that made Xu Min's hair stand on end. This person was clearly an eight-star warrior, and he was going to watch over the entire process. He wanted to ensure that if Xu Min was present, they had someone who could counter him.
"Well as long as it is just one eight-star Warrior, then I should succeed in fleeing," Xu Min mumbled to himself as he looked around. No more experts seemed to be coming closer.
Xu Min observed the people who were being searched. The more he observed, the more he felt discouraged. They were incredibly thorough, and they did not seem to be letting down as time went on.
"I seem to have no chance of getting through this peacefully," Xu Min sighed to himself and raised his arm. Spiritual Energy had swirled around him before it consolidated into a bow and arrows in his hands.
Without wasting any time, he armed the bow with all his strength inside an arrow, took aim at the eight-star warrior and released his cultivation base.
A whistling sound could be heard as the arrow flew through the air at the speed of light before it collided head-on with the eight-star Warrior. He was filled with shock; blood started bobbling from his mouth since he had sustained heavy internal injuries.
Xu Min no longer had his cultivation base suppressed. He stood like a shining star on the ground. He did not waste any more time and darted forward like one of his arrows, heading straight for the people who were blocking his escape.
His eyes shone ferociously. He was willing to do his best, so he could escape, even if that meant carving a road paved with corpses. He would escape this place, so he could finally gain his revenge.