Chapter 111: Breakthrough

Hei Gou was exhausted, but he was still energetic enough to make fun of their hopeless situation. 

Xue Wei could not help but snicker when Hei Gou gave him the thumbs up, shaking his head in amusement. 

He moved towards the figure that had appeared in their vicinity with the Forbidden Rush technique’s ghostly movements, and he used the Inner Might technique to create a sword from Qi. 

Kill first, ask question later was Xue Wei's current state of mind. Although the humans they encountered on the way might not try to kill them, it was possible they would inform the Primordial Beast Hunters of their location should they encounter each other – and then their chase would be never-ending. 

It was better if no one noticed them, and those who did were better off dead. 

It was a lie to say that he was not nervous. He was a simple fourth layer Earth Warrior, an expert so weak that he was not able to withstand a single strike from a Heavenly Warrior, and even Sky Warriors would give him no other option than to flee. 

Although he might be able to fight those a bit stronger than him, he was not confident in being able to fight Sky Warriors. 

He possessed the Forbidden Rush, an amazing movement technique that allowed him to move with unprecedented speed, which was now what he used to launch an attack on the person who was moving towards them. 

The sword in his hand was thin and made from Qi. Xue Wei was ready to attack with it, and his eyes turned sharp. His mouth curved up into a slight smile that conveyed his excitement at the prospect of fighting someone.

Although he was worried, he was also excited. He had been hunted for so long now without the ability to fight back, so for him to be able to fight this figure meant that he could vent some of his frustrations. 

The distance between them vanished in mere moments before Xue Wei saw the person who was on his way towards them.

He looked to be in his mid-twenties, and it appeared that his cultivation had stagnated at the sixth layer of the Earth Warrior rank. 

This individual was clearly someone who had just gotten out of the army the previous summer; his age was just about right. 

When one ended their military career, they returned to their homes and had to find a new place in their lives. This particular man had most likely chosen the life of a mercenary and was out hunting for the weaker Fierce Beasts and searching for herbs he could sell for some easy cash.

"Lucky person, to survive the army," Xue Wei thought to himself, "but his luck ended the moment he started heading towards us. I wonder if it is his good luck or his bad luck to have lived a little longer!" 

Xue Wei’s personality was genuinely gentle and friendly, but he felt something arise within him. A primal feeling of wanting to kill and this feeling was incredibly hard to suppress. In fact, it surfaced and completely changed his emotions, making him feel no sadness and no empathy towards anyone else. To him, the only thing that mattered was himself and his close ones.

Xue Wei felt no remorse about the fact that he was about to kill a man who had done him no harm, but when he thought about the fact that this man staying alive might prove to be dangerous to Hei Gou, and also himself, he felt that there was no other option than to kill him. 

The strong survived in this world, while the weak would become enslaved or killed. 

The person who was on the way towards them was still unaware of the danger that was fast approaching him, and Xue Wei intended for it to continue in this fashion. 

Just as Xue Wei was about to descend upon the person, the latter of the two finally noticed that something was wrong. 

He lifted his head, and his eyes widened in surprise when he saw that a light beam was heading for his neck. 

Xue Wei's Inner Might sword was so fast that only a beam could be seen. When the mercenary lifted his head, a puzzled look on his face, he suddenly felt confused. 

His eyes showed bewilderment, his body tensed up, and moments after it no longer mattered. His head had been cleanly severed from his body. Even in death, this young man never realized what had happened to him. In fact, he never even managed to close his eyes, as they kept staring into the distance with a puzzled expression. 

Just as the person died, Xue Wei felt that his body shook. The last couple of months, where Xue Wei had been on constant alert, it had been difficult for him to find time to cultivate, which hindered his progress past the fourth layer of the Earth Warrior rank. 

On the other hand, the constant vigilance had caused his spiritual energy to undergo an evolution. It had become stronger on a daily basis, making his mind and soul much more powerful than that of a normal Earth Warrior. In fact, his soul was currently as strong as Hei Gou's, a beast with a strength equivalent to a Sky Warrior. 

At the same time, his mentality had also undergone a series of changes. He had gone from being a naive young man with a bit of knowledge to now know what the world was like. 

He had been forced to look at what his own morals were like, what he believed in, and what goals he had in life, which tempered his martial heart and made him that much more certain in himself and his path in life. 

Xue Wei was currently incapable of being consumed by heart demons because his foundation of the soul was strong and his belief stronger. The fact that he kept fighting for what he believed in caused the foundations of his martial heart and his soul to become as firm as they could be. 

When Xue Wei had been unconscious for those three weeks to regain his memories, his body had perpetually absorbed energy on its own, but that energy was not the refined type he could produce while awake, and Xue Wei had been too focused on the foggy world with the many memory shadows to even feel his body. 

But now that he had returned to his body, now that he was once more utilizing the Azure Dragon Scripture and his martial arts techniques, he felt as if he finally was close to a breakthrough.

Rightfully so, after his body shook, all the essence of the heaven and the earth in the surrounding area flooded into Xue Wei's meridians, where it was being refined at a frightening pace. 

The breakthrough to the fifth layer of the Earth Warrior rank was imminent. 

"Since I started cultivating up until now, the slowest layer was without a doubt getting from the fourth to the fifth layer of Earth Warrior," Xue Wei contemplated. 

"This is not because of the increase in difficulty, but because I simply haven't had the time to cultivate. It was impossible to refine the energy when i was unconscious but every cell in my body was absorbing energy that has been overflowing until now when I have finally refined myself. It has finally broken through to the fifth layer!” 

Xue Wei knew that this was but a minor breakthrough, but it was the first real breakthrough his cultivation base had seen in the past few months, and it made him eager to work harder at improving his cultivation. 

"Although I wish to increase my strength soon, I cannot afford to risk my foundation," he muttered to himself as he walked back to Hei Gou after searching the corpse for anything of value. 

"I know that speed is good, but my body needs to be able to keep up. Fortunately, my soul is already at a level above the Earth Warrior stage, and my foundations are as solid as can be because of the experiences I have been through and the Azure Dragon Scripture, but I need to continue with my cultivation seriously. If I make any wrong decisions, my prospects will go out the window!"

Xue Wei felt a shiver run down his spine. He was far from being alone on the path of cultivation. In fact, every human and beast within the continent cultivated, but where most peerless experts had someone to guide them, Xue Wei was now all on his own. No one would go out of their way to give guidance to a criminal who was known to collude with Primordial Beasts.

Previously, Xue Wei had the support of the Heritage Ring that his uncle had given him, but when he had been taken prisoner back in the capital, all his possessions had been confiscated, including his ring. 

No one knew it was a Heritage Ring, but they did not allow for him to keep it, and when he fled it was impossible for him to recover it. 

Since he had lost his Heritage Ring, he had also lost the guiding light that supported his future cultivation progress. He would have to gain everything on his own from now on. He would have to rely on fortunate encounters to get his hands on any new techniques. 

Fortunately, he had some very strong techniques at his disposal already. He had a steady foundation of those as well, and it should keep him satisfied until he reached the realm above the Warrior ranks. 

Deep in thought, Xue Wei reached Hei Gou, who looked at him with surprise in his eyes. "You dealt with it quickly!" he praised him, "and you even managed to break through at the same time. Not bad, not bad at all."

Hei Gou was weak at the moment, so weak that he had not even been able to observe the swift assassination earlier, so he did not know how overwhelmingly one-sided Xue Wei's actions had been. All he had done was sit calmly and try to restore his Qi and blood essence. 

The Qi was replenished at a much more rapid pace than the blood essence. 

Whereas Qi was constantly flowing into one’s body from the surroundings, the blood essence relied on the body itself to restore it, and he was acutely aware that the process might take up to a full year before he was fully healed of the blood essence he had used. In fact, the only reason it did not leave everlasting effects on him was because of the mutation his body had undergone. Without such a sturdy and formidable body, he would have succumbed to his wanton use of blood essence, and his body would have fallen apart with nothing left to support it. 

Xue Wei was bursting with energy after the breakthrough, so when he saw the haggard Hei Gou, he almost felt embarrassed. It was truly two different ends of the scale. 

Again, Xue Wei supported Hei Gou, and the two of them once more moved towards the border. Once they crossed the border, they would shake off the majority of their pursuers save for the truly stubborn ones, which would afford them a less stressful time. 

Their advance was slow, but together they stubbornly continued to move forward. They journeyed through forests and fields, mountains and valleys. 

They continued to avoid the human settlements. And every time a human crossed paths with them, they would instantly kill the person in cold blood. Fortunately, they had not encountered any strong opponents so far.

The further they traveled, the better Hei Gou's condition became. His body was no longer hunched forward, his wax-pale face had recovered its original complexion, and his body had stopped trembling. 

Although he was still feeling feeble and knew that it would take a long time to recover his blood essence, it was much better than before. He started moving around again, helping Xue Wei taking care of the experts that came their way. 

Like this, they traveled for a full month. During this month, they did not stop to rest more than absolutely necessary. On the other hand, since their speed of travel was slow, it was possible for them to cultivate at the same time, and both Xue Wei and Hei Gou experienced a rapid growth in strength.

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