Chapter 130: Reaching the Vermilion Forest

With the backing of Xue Wei's soundwaves from the zither, Hei Gou was finally able to gain the upper hand against the opponents. 

Defeating them was one thing, but killing them was something else entirely. If it was someone significantly below yourself in strength, then killing your opponent would be easy to do, but these two bandits were not that much weaker than Hei Gou. Killing them became much more difficult. 

Especially when these two experts were doing all they could in their power to flee. They had long since understood that their lives could be forfeit in this match. So they could not help but feel their intestines turn green from regret, yet regret could not help them now, and they were forced to see it through. 

The claws on Hei Gou's hands gleamed in the sunshine that shone down from above. The claws were made from Black Star Metal, a metal that was exceedingly rare in the human world and could only be found in the danger zones of the continent. 

Since it was native to the danger zones, it was naturally incredibly rare for humans to get ahold of it, yet now it appeared in Hei Gou's hands. 

Xue Wei pondered on it for a time, but then he realized that just because it was rare to humans did not mean it was unique to the Primordial Beasts. 

A set of claws made from this precious and hard metal in the human world would cost a fortune, but for the Primordial Beasts who lived in the danger zones, it might be as ordinary as iron was to humans. 

The eyes of the two remaining bandits did not even notice the metal these claws were made from. Instead, they were distracted by the pain of the many cuts on their bodies made by those claws. 

Every swipe of Hei Gou's claws caused new wounds to appear. Meanwhile, Xue Wei was harassing them with his sharply cutting soundwave attacks by playing the zither of Qi, which meant they were caught between a rock and a hard place. 

It was impossible for them to retreat, and it was also impossible for them to advance. One side held deadly claws, the other supported with disturbing sound attacks that, albeit weak, made the two bandits leave openings for the black dog to bank on. 

The two bandits felt like crying, but they had no tears. They fought desperately, but their faces displayed despair. They had already realized that it was too late for them to turn the battle around and all they could do was hope for a miracle.

Unfortunately for them, no miracle occurred. After fighting for a few more moments, a flaw was displayed by the middle-aged man, and Hei Gou seized the moment to slash out with his claws, tearing open the man's throat. 

The man’s eyes were filled with despair and unwillingness. Blood gushed out of the three slashes that were evident in his throat before he slumped to the ground. 

The last man was trembling. He knew that since his companion had died that he had no chance to survive, so he stopped struggling. He wished for nothing more than an easy, painless death. Hei Gou calmly obliged. 

He slashed his claws down. Three gashes appeared on the body of the burly man from his shoulder to his waist in a diagonal line, making his body seem as if it had been split into thin slices of meat. 

Even Xue Wei, who was rather cold and indifferent, could not help but feel that this was an extreme way of killing. The bandit was not even left with a complete corpse. 

Xue Wei and Hei Gou both hurried over to the dead bandits. They rifled through their pockets and took the three bandits’ valuables.

Neither of them had storage treasures, so most of their valuables were held in pockets and small bags they had around their waists. 

Xue Wei was ecstatic. He found the Windwolf Sword Slash amongst the items of the young bandit. And although the bandit did not have much else of value, this martial art technique alone was already a great help since Xue Wei lacked martial art techniques that focused on weapons. 

Hei Gou did not even glance at the martial art technique. He was a Primordial Beast, and thus his abilities were all innate abilities. He had no interest in these martial art techniques. 

"There is no real value in their purses," Hei Gou complained. "I thought they were great bandits since they are relatively strong considering the country we are in, yet their value is this low?" He could not believe it. 

"They likely left their valuables back in the village," Xue Wei guessed. "The village is their lair, and thus their valuables are likely to be left there. We cannot return right now since we have been chased for some time. We were careless. We cannot afford to be careless again."

"If we manage to become much stronger during our time in the Vermilion Forest, we can pass by the village on our way back, but our main aim is not to kill and rob – it’s to become stronger before we head towards the center of the continent."

Hei Gou smiled embarrassedly and rubbed his nose. He said no more. He just accepted what Xue Wei had said. Together, the two started moving towards the Vermilion Forest again. 

Neither of them had been in the Vermilion Forest Kingdom before, so they were unaware of what way to go, but they pressed forward. 

When they encountered people, they would pretend to be a couple of brothers that came from the Blood Flowing Prairie with the aim of tempering themselves. Coincidentally, no one assumed that they were deserters from the army, or criminals in any way.

In fact, most of the people they came across were incredibly helpful. Although a few groups attacked them, most of them were friendly and helped to guide them towards the Vermilion Forest. 

Xue Wei went by the name of He Jie, and Hei Gou was He Lin. They had taken the family names from the Chaos Vulture Tribe, and just two random given names. 

What shocked Xue Wei was that he heard the name Crimson Devil a few times on people's lips alongside the name of the Ice Harpy. 

"The Ice Harpy has eradicated yet another Wayfarer caravan," someone would gossip to Xue Wei. "It happened in the Kingdom of Heping, actually a lot of things happened there recently. A new Primordial Beast that is known as the Crimson Devil has appeared. Now the Kingdom has sent all their Primordial Beast Hunters to capture him, yet they failed!" 

Xue Wei frowned. The Ice Harpy had eradicated a wayfarer caravan? A sudden fear arose in his heart. Could it be Wang Xiaoyun's caravan? She had told him that they were chasing the Ice Harpy.

His eyes blackened for a moment and everything went cold. He suddenly felt as if something had left his life as he staggered, before quickly collecting himself again.

Xue Wei felt uncomfortable. He felt worried and sick within, but he knew that he could not return to the Heping Kingdom to find out whether or not it was Wang Xiaoyun's caravan that had been eradicated. 

"Were there any survivors?" Xue Wei asked. His voice trembled slightly, but the only one who seemed to notice was Hei Gou. He looked with worry at Xue Wei before he remembered the stories that this friend of his had told him about his sweetheart, a Wayfarer he had met in the Kingdom of Heping who was hunting for the Ice Harpy.

"We do not know, but if there were no survivors, how could the rumor about the destruction spread?" one of them asked with a frown on his face. Xue Wei nodded his head. 

He knew instinctively that there were many reasons for it to be public information: One, someone could have come across the corpses and spread the news; two, a survivor; three, it could be that Chu Huiyin was deliberately sharing the news. 

Still, Xue Wei desperately hoped that it was the second option and that Wang Xiaoyun was one of the survivors. He did not believe in God, but he could not help but pray for her safety. 

Hei Gou and Xue Wei bid their farewell to the ones that they conversed with and started walking towards the direction they had been pointed towards.

Although Hei Gou and Xue Wei were asking for directions, never once did they let down their guards. They had learned that not everyone could be trusted. Some of the experts they encountered led them to remote areas in an attempt to rob them. 

New wounds and scars littered their bodies. Their clothes were in tatters, and they looked miserable, but at the same time their gazes became much more chilling, their bearings extraordinary. 

When someone looked into their eyes, it was as if they looked into the eyes of a dormant, yet very dangerous beast that might awaken at any moment. 

Many were deterred by these eyes, but a few continued to challenge them. 

Finally, after traveling the roads of the Vermilion Forest Kingdom, Xue Wei and Hei Gou arrived at a small village.

This was a village belonging to mercenaries with only a few shops. It was the mercenaries' families that lived in this place, and the men and women would venture into the Vermilion Forest to hunt Fierce Beasts.

Some left for a day at a time, others went deeper into the forest and spent up to a week before they returned to the village. 

Merchants and caravans went through the village on a monthly basis where they would stop and buy the things that the mercenaries had for sale. 

Because of this, many experts were walking in and out of the village. Although it was a small village, it was a rather bustling place. 

Hei Gou and Xue Wei, who were still under the disguise of two tribesmen called He Jie and He Lin, walked into the village under the rays of a burning sun. 

Behind the village, these two experts could see the Vermilion Forest proudly towering. 

It was a beautiful sight as the vermilion leaves were glistening under the sun's shining rays. 

This Vermilion Forest seemed so tranquil from the outside. The trees were all tens of meters tall, and the village bordered straight up to the forest, allowing the youngsters to hide under the shade of some of the trees while chatting. 

It was in the afternoon, and all martial art training had finished for the day. All the adolescents aged fifteen and below were in the shade relaxing their exhausted bodies that had been working hard in the middle of the heat and under the sun's rays all day. 

Although many experts entered the village, few looked like Hei Gou and Xue Wei who wore fur clothes, which were so warm that one would feel hot just looking at them. 

Their peculiar appearance alongside their age made many observe them curiously. 

Xue Wei and Hei Gou had a few silver coins, and they went straight to the small inn that was in the village. 

This inn served as both an inn and a restaurant for the small village, and since it was in the afternoon, the ground floor was so bustling with mercenaries and merchants that even Hei Gou and Xue Wei had problems making their way to the counter.

Many of the patrons of the restaurant looked at Xue Wei and Hei Gou with curiosity. A few had a bit of wariness in their eyes, but most of them did not seem to feel threatened by the two and were mostly curious about their out-of-place, strange clothes.

They instantly determined that the two came from the Flowing Blood Prairie, and were very curious as to what kind of news they could give them. 

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Tinalynge's Thoughts

I hope to return to normal release schedule now. I am sorry for the inconvenience. 

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Author: Tinalynge

Editor: Melinum

Betareader: Soultorrent & Norwegian Viking

Proofreader: Tue