"So you tell me that this is a place where blood flows as regularly as water?" Hei Gou asked with a slight smile on his lips. He looked around, but no matter where he looked, all he saw was mortal animals and empty prairie.
"We want to avoid humans," Xue Wei reminded him, and Hei Gou just nodded his head absentmindedly.
"I know, but I have heard famous stories about the Flowing Blood Prairies and how it is so dangerous to enter it – that only a select few make it out alive – but we have been traveling for a full day, and we have not even encountered a single person."
"I don't think that people are traveling alone here in the prairie," Xue Wei said hesitatingly. "I think they move in groups of hunters together; hunters that hunt Fierce Beasts, other humans, and Primordial Beasts."
"If we encounter such a group, I fear that we might be in serious trouble, so for now let us be grateful that we have not encountered anyone."
"That's true," Hei Gou agreed, but secretly he was curious about these tribesmen that lived in the prairie.
"This is my first time leaving the Heping Kingdom," he commented after a bit of time. "I wonder how different the world is outside of this small kingdom. Do you think these people look the same as you, someone from Heping Kingdom?
"Maybe they are taller, more muscular, or perhaps their skin is different?"
Hei Gou was excited, and Xue Wei just snickered. "I read a book on the people of the tribes here, once. The tribesmen look the same as us, though they are likely to be more muscular since this area is even more of a dog-eat-dog world than the rest of the continent."
"Oh, they look the same as everyone else?" Hei Gou was disappointed. "I thought I would get to see someone who looked different. Maybe I will see that when we travel further into the continent."
"I think everyone on this continent more or less looks the same," Xue Wei said with uncertainty as he remembered the books he had read before. None of them had stated anything about different bodies or skin colors.
"On this plane there are other continents besides ours, too," Xue Wei continued. "I don't know much about the other continents, though. They were just briefly explained in the books, but there was nothing on the environments, the races living there, or even where they were located."
Xue Wei sighed. He had been very obsessed with the other continents when he had been reading the books in Xiao Lei's library. However, no matter how much he read, he could not find anything related to these things no matter how much he digged.
"I haven’t really ever read a book," Hei Gou said with slight embarrassment. "I was busy playing with the other cubs when I was a child, and as I grew up, our play turned into fighting practice. Then I became old enough to cultivate, and all my energy went into that."
"I did know about our continent and the things in it, but I never really imagined that there would be more continents out there. Did you call it a plane? What is a plane?"
Xue Wei smiled, "I just call it a plane because I imagine the world as one big plane. I don't know much about the outside world; everything I know is hints and explanations in books I have read in the past, but they never explained much. I still think that if you want to see other races, then the other continents are your best shot."
"I also wonder what the other continents are like," Xue Wei sighed. "Are there fights between Primordial Beasts and humans there as well? Are there other races that we have never seen before? Are there other cultivation methods? What are they like?"
"I read a legend once," Xue Wei continued about what he had read while they were walking. Hei Gou listened intently. Even though they were deep in conversation about the other continents, neither of them allowed for their taut bodies to relax, and Xue Wei had his spiritual energy spread to its limits, observing everything that was happening around them.
"The legend said that there was a time when all the continents were one piece of land." Xue Wei began. "Beasts and humans were created by the creator, and they lived side by side in the world. They would fight one another occasionally, but neither held the upper hand."
"Then peerless Emperors and Saints appeared. War broke out, and the fighting was so intense that the piece of land was cleaved into thousands of pieces, creating continents all over the plane."
"That is the most I have managed to learn about the other continents. As to whether or not it is accurate, I do not know," Xue Wei said with a sigh. "I do not know if the Saint-ranked experts are capable of cleaving the world apart and causing it to shatter into thousands of pieces of land, but I’m guessing that since someone was strong enough to create a world, there has to be someone with a cultivation base strong enough to do so."
Hei Gou was breathless as he listened to Xue Wei; his eyes were glistening, and his head was nodding like a chicken eating grains.
"We will go to the other continents at some point!" he exclaimed. Xue Wei laughed. "Of course we will," he replied.
"On this continent, we are hunted by the Heping Kingdom. No matter where we go, we will be seen as a troublesome pair; a human and a Primordial Beast together is simply the same as asking for trouble. Maybe things are different on the other continents. We will see," Xue Wei grinned.
"But first we have a lot of things that we need to do here on this continent of ours. We have a lot of grudges that need to be repaid, and we have a few favors to pay back as well."
Hei Gou nodded his head, and his eyes turned slightly red from the excitement that he carried within.
"Anyway, how are you feeling?" Xue Wei finally asked after a bit of time. He had been observing Hei Gou, and he was surprised to see that the blood essence was restoring itself at an unprecedented speed. He had never imagined that it would be this simple for Hei Gou to restore his blood essence, but it seemed that he was going against nature.
"I am feeling great!" Hei Gou grinned and flashed a fanged smile to Xue Wei. "The mutation seriously changed my body for good. Even the blood essence that should take me a year to recover has almost recovered in a week's time. I still need around thirty percent, but that's about it. In another week, I will be completely healed."
"That's so fast!" Xue Wei had already guessed that he was doing well, but hearing it from Hei Gou’s own mouth still shocked him.
"Something is approaching us!" Xue Wei suddenly said in alarm, and Hei Gou caught on a split second after. Although Hei Gou was a beast with a strength equivalent to a Sky Warrior, Hei Gou and Xue Wei had equal spiritual energy.
They noticed the approaching group of experts at the same time, and their hearts started beating rapidly.
"They are five experts, and they are heading straight for us," Hei Gou said. Although he had wished to encounter the people from the Flowing Blood Prairie, he was suddenly aware that this encounter could result in their death.
The group of five experts that was rushing towards them traveled at a rapid speed. They were mounted on Fiery Horses, mortal beasts that lived exclusively on the Flowing Blood Prairie, which were incredibly fast.
"Halt!" someone called out, and Xue Wei and Hei Gou stood back to back and looked at the five experts that all surrounded them.
The speaker was a young woman; her face was covered behind a veil, but the veil could not hide her beauty. Her body was curvy and full, her eyes bright like the stars, and her black hair cascaded down her back and framed her face.
"You are in our Chaos Vultures' territory – state your reason to be here," she said, her voice cold and rife with killing intent. She was glaring at Xue Wei at first, but her eyes shook the moment she turned to look at Hei Gou.
The other four experts were all men. All of them had very muscular bodies. Their upper bodies were bare, and they wore baggy black pants.
Belts with weapons, canteens, and other items were strapped around their waists, and they looked at Xue Wei and Hei Gou with hostility.
The woman dismounted her Fiery Horse and started walking towards them. She raised her arm and reached out towards Hei Gou. The coldness she had displayed before was gone and her eyes were filled with disbelief.
The four men brandished their weapons and looked at Hei Gou and Xue Wei for some time with bewilderment, but after a bit of time they did not take action.
"Should I deal with her?" Hei Gou whispered lowly with confusion in his voice. Xue Wei contemplated for some time before he shook his head. "Let us see what she wants first," he said after making a decision.
"Little Lao, is that you?" The woman asked, shocked as her hand reached Hei Gou and stroked his handsome face, but Hei Gou was not pleased with the fact that she touched him and his hand shot out, slapping her hand away, while a low growl escaped his lips.
The gesture was fast, and it caused the four experts on their Fiery Horses to advance with shouts of anger, but the woman just lifted her hand and stopped them.
The woman was stunned. Her eyes displayed disbelief and her hand that retracted the moment she felt a steady body instead of a phantom withdrew rapidly while shaking.
“You… You are real?” the woman’s voice trembled, and she shook her head as if she could not believe it. The four experts accompanying her also revealed looks of disbelief, but their faces also contained traces of distrust, incredulity, and hesitation.
The woman’s face displayed multiple emotions. First it was joy, then it was sadness followed by her lips tightening, and finally she seemed to awaken from a stupor.
"You are real, so of course you cannot be Little Lao,” the woman said with a sigh. It seemed as if she had come back to her senses, but a tinge of pain was evident within her eyes.
"You look exactly like my childhood sweetheart," she explained after having paused for some time. "His name was He Lao. He died when he protected our tribe against the Crimson Salamanders."
"Please return to our tribe with us," she suddenly said and mounted her Fiery Horse once more. "We will treat you well, so don't worry."
Xue Wei and Hei Gou looked at one another. They saw indecisiveness in one another's eyes, unsure of what to do. They knew it would be difficult to escape if they entered their tribe, but considering their current strength, they were pushing it if they wished to fight their way out.
Not only this, having a place to relax for a bit with no need to constantly fret about their pursuers would let their exhausted minds get some much needed rest, and it would also allow them to focus on their cultivation.
"Don’t decline," the woman noticed their hesitation. "If you decline, I will be forced to kill you. The rules of the Chaos Vulture Tribe is to kill anyone who is seen on our territory with no exception. However, because of your appearance, I am genuinely inviting you to come stay at our tribe."
There was a crafty smile on her face.
"Little Lao’s parents have been filled with loneliness after his death, and they have so many things they wished they could have told him. Although you are not him, you look like him, and it will soothe their aching hearts. Think of it as doing a good deed in life."
Hei Gou was about to refuse, but Xue Wei nudged him with an elbow. "It’s good to do good in life," he grinned, "so why don't we take this miss up on the offer? Let us go to their tribe and see what it is like."
Hei Gou looked completely lost when he heard that. He looked at Xue Wei when a chill suddenly ran down his spine. This companion of his had an innocent smile on his face and his eyes were filled with wonder and gratitude. This was the exact expression that Xue Wei had displayed while tricking the many pursuers when Hei Gou had first met him, and he knew that this young man was about to pull another trick.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Betareader: Soultorrent & Norwegian Viking