Chapter 122: Losing Freedom

The entire sparring field was silent. No one said anything. They just looked at Xue Wei and Hei Gou with shock evident on their faces.

These two experts were from the backwater Kingdom of Heping, the most primitive kingdom in the entire continent, yet they were capable of fighting and dominating other experts at their own level and even those above them despite their humble roots. 

Hei Gou remained in the field in the hopes of someone stepping up to challenge him. However, the strongest experts in the younger generation were second layer Sky Warriors, and thus they all gave up stepping forward after seeing the fate of the last person. 

Hei Gou shrugged his shoulders, but he noticed that everyone looked at him with displeasure.

"This ought to be our end of the trip to the Chaos Vulture Tribe," Xue Wei smiled wryly. He had wanted to stay for longer, but things were not too suitable for them to stay.

Initially, they had been invited because of Hei Gou, and now they were being alienated because of the black dog as well. 

The Little Tribe Chief's face was filled with reluctance when she looked at Xue Wei, and Elder Zhang was also rather unhappy with how things had went down. 

"You like him, right?" Elder Zhang asked in a low voice to the Little Tribe Chief. Although her face flushed red, she understood that now was the time to be honest. "I like Xue Wei," she acknowledged after hesitating for a moment. 

"He can become a great tribe chief alongside you," Elder Zhang nodded his head as he looked at Xue Wei with greedy eyes. "Unfortunately, that young man who looks like Little Lao is not suitable to stay in the Chaos Vulture Tribe. He is far too arrogant." 

"I do not think that they will split up," the Little Tribe Chief said hesitatingly, but she too felt that this Hei Gou was too arrogant and brazen to fit into their village. Arrogance was okay, but being respectless to the tribe was not allowed. 

"Little Tribe Chief, lead them back to their tent and make sure they do not leave the tribe for now," Elder Zhang gave her the final order before he turned around and left with the other Elders, heading for the central tent where they could discuss their plans. 

Xue Wei sensed that something was not right. He saw the Little Tribe Chief coming towards them, which made him protectively stand by Hei Gou's side. 

"You want to protect me?" Hei Gou laughed slightly when he saw Xue Wei's actions. Xue Wei snorted, "I know I am not strong enough to protect you, but we are on this journey together so I might as well try." 

"Relax, both of you," the Little Tribe Chief said, having overheard their conversation. A sad smile appeared on her lips. "We are not here to judge you; we just wish to guard you on the way back to your tent so that no one attacks you out of anger."

"So basically we are prisoners now?" Xue Wei asked wryly. The Little Tribe Chief did not answer this question.

"This way, please," she said as she gestured for the duo to follow her. 

"Should we make a run for it?" Hei Gou asked. Xue Wei could not help but stagger when he heard Hei Gou state that out loud without bothering to lower his voice.

"Idiot, if we make a run for it now, we will not even get to the other side of the training field."

"Glad you realized that," the Little Tribe Chief sighed as she nodded her head. 

"Following me back to your tent will be your best solution. From there on, just do what you are being told." 

Hei Gou shrugged his shoulders and followed Xue Wei, but he noticed that Xue Wei was observing the surroundings with a tentative expression on his face.

When they returned to the tent, Xue Wei found that four guards of the ninth layer of the Sky Warrior rank had been positioned around it, all of which were looking very menacing and fierce.

His expression turned sour, but he knew that right now there was nothing he could do against the Chaos Vulture Tribe and their menacing attitude. 

"Sorry, it seems that I made the wrong decision when we entered the Chaos Vulture Tribe," Xue Wei said to Hei Gou as they were seated in the middle of the tent, finally alone. 

Inevitably, he knew that every word he spoke would be heard by the Sky Warriors. 

Hei Gou looked at Xue Wei and saw the former place a finger on his lips and wink at him before using his compressed voice to covertly speak to Hei Gou.

"We are going to escape this place as soon as we can," the concentrated voice said, a compressed booming resounding in Hei Gou’s skull. "It will not be easy considering the strength of those old men guarding the tribe, but it should be possible."

Hei Gou snickered and nodded his head. He said nothing, but his eyes were lighting up. 

"I think that the tribe will turn hostile towards us the moment we try to leave," Xue Wei continued through compressed-voice communication. 

"But first, let me teach you how to compress your voice," Xue Wei said and started guiding Hei Gou. 

"I guess we should start cultivating for real this time, yeah?" Hei Gou said out loud as he stretched, his words reaching the guards outside. One of them glanced inside the tent and saw the two youngsters seated in meditation position before he grunted, “good, you better behave!” 

These guards were all secretly puzzled. They had heard about Hei Gou being arrogant in front of the younger generation and how he had completely besmirched the Chaos Vulture Tribe’s face, but to only take the two young men prisoners for something of this severity seemed extremely lenient. 

Not only did it seem extreme, in case someone had tarnished the name of their beloved tribe, was it not best to kill them on the spot? Why keep them alive like this? 

As long as he was a prisoner, not only were four of their influential members forced to act as guards, they also had to feed them and always be on high alert to ensure that they did not escape. 

In the Flowing Blood Prairie, another group of experts was hurrying along. This was the company from the Kingdom of Heping that was currently chasing Xue Wei and Hei Gou. 

"We have been capable of following the two beasts through the Kingdom of Heping because of the trail of corpses they left behind. It was truly stupid of them to not dispose of the bodies. In fact, killing them and not killing them made no difference since we could easily locate their trail, but now, despite us having a spent some time here in the Flowing Blood Prairie, it’s like they have simply vanished!"

"I guess they could have been killed by a tribe and perished in this vast prairie," someone commented. However, Captain Yuan Chao’s expression remained rigid, immutably stern, and his voice boomed as he called out, "We will not think them dead before we see their corpses with our own eyes! Either we find them, or we find their dead bodies. Even if we have to turn this prairie upside down, we will do so!"

The group of a hundred experts continued onward. Underway, they would sporadically encounter a few scouting teams from the local tribes. They, as a large procession of powerful cultivators, could not move through the prairie unnoticed unlike Xue Wei and Hei Gou, so they ended up killing these scouts every time they crossed paths.

Before killing them, they would take out a painting of Xue Wei and question the tribesmen on whether they had heard or knew anything related to the person in the drawing, but the answer was the same every time. No one had seen him.

The company consisted of old soldiers, and they had slain magical beasts time and time again while being in the army, yet this was the first time they had to kill humans on such a large scale. Many of the experts felt terrible about it, but eventually the frequency of these encounters desensitized them to the act. 

The people who they encountered became buried in the prairie forever, their blood joining the rivers of blood that had once flowed in the Blood Flowing Prairie in its most bloody days. 

The soldiers also sent out scouts to avoid the tribes. Everyone knew that the tribes in the Flowing Blood Prairie were hostile towards other people and it was, in their eyes, impossible for Hei Gou and Xue Wei to have entered a tribe to find shelter. 

The majority of the soldiers held disdain in their hearts towards these two experts. They were merely two young whippersnappers in their eyes, and the strongest was equivalent to a Sky Warrior. For a Sky Warrior to move through the Flowing Blood Prairie was incredibly risky already, and the other was merely an Earth Warrior, who could be considered useless baggage. 

For them to have survived was unlikely, but the Captain never wavered. He did not give up or say that they should retreat. 

"The Crimson Devil is a true danger to our kingdom," he said solemnly when he noticed the morale fall to an all-time low. "We cannot give up before we know for sure that he has perished. This is the order given to us by His Royal Highness!" 

Yuan Chao was not willing to go back on the order he had been given. He would hunt Xue Wei to the ends of the earth if he had to, but he knew that their task was not as simple as it seemed. 

After all, had someone already killed him and disposed of his body, then they might as well spend the rest of their lives on this search for someone who had long ceased to exist.

Yuan Chao was indeed in a dilemma. He too thought that it was impossible for Xue Wei and Hei Gou to stay alive in the Flowing Blood Prairie, but they had only been in the Prairie for a month. If they returned to the Kingdom now without proof of the Crimson Devil's death, it was likely that his company would be sent out once more.

The fact that they were killing scouts from every tribe was something that eventually would cause everyone in the Flowing Blood Prairie to band together against them, but at the same time Yuan Chao knew that if they did not kill these scouts, the entire tribes would come facing them. 

If they were to face an entire tribe they would die, and all he could do was hope that these tribes would not realize that their scouts had been killed by humans and would blame Fierce Beasts. 

He knew he was gambling with his and his men’s lives and because of this he wished for nothing more than to return to the kingdom, but just as he was about to give up, a man appeared in front of him.

"Captain, a group of youngsters is up ahead!" A scout returned to give information to Yuan Chao. The captain nodded his head and sighed. "Let us go and see whether or not they know the Crimson Devil," he said with exhaustion. 

He did not enjoy killing other humans; in fact, he felt it was deplorable to kill them since all of them fought against Fierce and Primordial Beasts just as they did, but he was of the opinion that not doing this would only invite unwanted attention to his company, potentially concluding with it being completely wiped out. This was something he could never allow to happen. 

The group moved towards the youngsters. When they were close enough, they saw that it was a group of seven Earth Warriors.

These youngsters quickly realized that something was wrong, but they had already lost their window of opportunity to escape. 

"Excuse me," Yuan Chao politely called out, stepping towards them. He was polite and refined and went straight to the youngsters with a painting in hand.

"We are looking for this primordial beast named Xue Wei, also known as the Crimson Devil. He has gained the nickname from a murderous streak that once left him bathed in the blood of his enemies, regardless of whether a beast or human stood before him."

The captain handed over the painting to a young man who accepted it hesitatingly. He knew that it was likely that they would die here today, but he would cling to anything for a shot at survival. If he played this right, then they would be able to get out of it alive. 

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