Chapter 12: West City Gate
Travelling through the city, Xu Min felt as though everything was different from how it used to be. Although everything looked the same, small changes were apparent. The world seemed brighter in front of his eyes because the rising sun colored the sky purple and shined various rays of light down upon the buildings.
The city gate was located in the west area of the city. This was the wealthy area where the majority of the land was owned by various powerful families. This gate was mainly used by the families who went out to practice their martial art skills in the real world because there was a forest filled with demon beasts not too far from the city.
The outside edges of the forest mainly contained low grade demon beasts. Only rank one and two demon beasts would be seen in this area; however, the deeper into the forest one ventured, the stronger the demon beasts became.
Xu Min was well aware of his strength, and his aim was to camp on the outskirts of the forest, where he could focus on tempering his personality, perfecting his Shattering Palm, and learning Radiant Jade Shower.
Arriving in the western part of the city, Xu Min could not help but suck in a breath of air. He had never actually explored Honghe City, he only stayed at the docks and the poorer area where he and Wang Li lived. He never considered the other areas to be worth his time because all his spare energy was spent on cultivating.
Seeing the massive family compounds rise high into the sky made Xu Min aware of what a real successful family was. He had previously thought that the Zhong family was a family far above the others, but now, he saw mansions that were constructed from pure jade and marble, and some even inlaid with pearls. He finally understood that the Zhong family was truly nothing but a small family with merely one Advanced Stage Warrior.
Seeing these families, Xu Min felt relief in his heart. At first, he thought that the Zhong family was immeasurable, a force that he would find extremely hard to fight; however, after seeing the other families, he quickly understood that the Zhong family no longer dominated his mind.
Feeling liberated, a smile adorned this youth’s face as he traveled through the final part of the city. His eyes shone with confidence as he saw the west city gate ahead.
As he was about to exit the gate, Xu Min thought back to all the things which he experienced in the past five years. Five years… It had been a whole five years since he arrived at Honghe City. Those five years were spent training hard. As long as the sun shone, he would be working hard at the docks, moving crates to and fro. He constantly challenged his limits of how many he could lift, while at the same time, he increased his speed and efficiency with which he moved the crates.
Each night would be focused solely on cultivating. He would refine the essence of the heavens and the earth into Qi, which allowed him to train the Shattering Palm and increase his rank.
All these years, Xu Min worked incredibly hard, never once complaining about the work he was given, nor about the small chores he had to do at home. Everything was accomplished so that one day he could get his revenge.
Xu Min reaching the one star rank by the age of fifteen was an astonishing feat. It was enough to call him a genius, but it was not unprecedented in Honghe City.
Every major family had at least one or two young masters who would also reach the Warrior rank by the age of fifteen each year; however, they were born into a wealthy family. Their parents and clan would often give them medicinal pills, herbal baths, acupuncture, and various stimulants to allow their cultivation speed to soar.
For someone to become a one star Warrior by himself and not rely on medicinal pills, herbs, and the like was very rarely seen. Such a youth was, without a doubt, a true genius.
As he walked through the west city gate, Xu Min’s face had a smile. His heart was beating slightly erratically as he looked around observing his surroundings. When he had entered the city through the east city gate, he still remembered how the road had been filled with farmers and other commoners who were heading to town to sell their harvest.
The west gate was completely different from the east gate. A few caravans were visible. Each caravan belonged to merchants who traveled between the major cities of the continent. A few mercenaries and even fewer entourages that contained guards and what seemed to be young masters of the highly esteemed families within Honghe City were seen on the road leaving the city.
Xu Min was, without a doubt, the most poorly-dressed person of all the people at the west gate. Everyone around him stared at him with puzzled looks. His aura was that of a one star Warrior, but his face was still youthful. No stubble could be seen on the face, it still had the softness of youth.
Looking at the young man, many determined that he was a young master, who, for some reason, enjoyed dressing like a commoner. The rich youngsters in the city each had various hobbies, and seeing one dressing up like a commoner was amongst the least eccentric ones.
Xu Min was excited as he made his way through the gate. His eyes scanned the surroundings, and his smile remained on his face as he saw the desolate landscape in front of him.
In front of him was one large road. Everyone left the city by this road, caravans and mercenaries alike.
The landscape was much like the barren land Xu Min encountered the first time he had left the forest in which he lived for two years. Looking closely, Xu Min noticed the top of a forest far off in the distance. Although he could see the forest, it was clearly quite a distance away. Finding his destination, the young man started walking towards the forest, following the road upon which everyone else also traveled.
It was early morning when he departed from Honghe City. He knew that at this time, Wang Li was currently busy at the docks. He could feel how his body was bursting with unused energy, his body almost screaming with the urge to move.
Grinning broadly, Xu Min could no longer hold back, and with an explosive step, he started running towards the distant forest.
As soon as he started running, a comfortable humming sound spread throughout his body as every muscle was being used. He rushed down the paved road, overtaking one group after another. The explosive speed with which he was running was enough to make the overtaken groups and caravans stop and look up. They were surprised to see a lone figure moving as swiftly as the wind down the road, showing no signs of slowing down.
Xu Min spent five years running around the docks. At first, he carried one crate at a time, but as time went on, he carried two, then three crates. During the last year, he moved up to four crates at once, each weighing around fifty kilograms.
Now that he was running down the paved road and not lifting anything, his movements were filled with strength. His speed was unprecedented amongst his peers. He was as swift as the wind, and his movements were fluid. No sound could be heard, and the majority of the warriors who saw him were incapable of seeing how he moved. All they saw was a blur rushing past them.
Feeling his legs growing tired, Xu Min forced himself to keep running at the same speed as before, squeezing every single drop of energy from his body to his legs to keep his pace up. In the end, he managed to run straight ahead at the same pace he had started at for thirteen hours. By the time he stopped, the sun was setting far off in the distance, setting behind the forest that was much closer now.
Looking around, Xu Min noticed that the further he walked along the road, the more deserted it became. Looking around his surroundings, he saw that some caravans had set up camp a few kilometers away from the road in the barren landscape. Seeing this, Xu Min decided to follow suit and kept walking until he found a suitable location to camp.
What he was looking for was a location with some vegetation. However, the land was barren. Small bushes were seen here and there. He ultimately picked out a location in one of the weatherbeaten bushes.
Getting closer, Xu Min could not help but celebrate as he saw that the bush was bigger than he had expected. He quickly climbed under the branches until he entered the inside of the bush, where he slowly but gently moved the branches away until a small cave was created.
If one were to look at the bush from the outside, it would be impossible to tell that someone was camping inside. Although he had the aura of a one star Warrior, Xu Min knew that someone had to be close to him to feel his aura.
Seated in the bush, Xu Min was satisfied with his shelter. He quickly crossed his legs and closed his eyes. Although he was alone and on his way to the wilderness, he still knew how important cultivation was. Within moments, golden specks of light appeared in the air. Some of the specks were absorbed by the young man who was breathing heavily while others were expelled every time he took a new breath.
The night went by quickly, and no one noticed the young man who was hiding in the bush. As the sun rose in the sky, his closed eyes instantly opened, and Xu Min left the safety of his bush as he returned to the road. He started running once more as swiftly as he could, running quickly towards the forest.
Although Xu Min was running fast, he ended up having to camp in the bushes two more times before he finally reached the outskirts of the forest. Looking around, the young man was deeply taken aback because nothing was how he had imagined it.
This forest was known for its demon beasts, and many families used it as a training ground for their young masters and guards, while mercenaries used it as a way to make money. Xu Min was shocked when he saw that right in front of the forest, there was a small town that seemed to be flourishing with business.
The town had more than one inn, and there were merchants selling everything from food and drinks to weapons and armors.
Apart from merchants and inns, there were smithies, pharmacies, and even a shop that rented out carriages. Looking at all these things, Xu Min could not help but feel slightly numb. The sight was anything but what he expected to see.
Although there was civilization right in front of him, Xu Min quickly decided to move the other way. Even though there was some appeal to the town, the only things that the young man brought with him was his sword that he had in a sheath on his back and a small bag bound around his waist. In the bag were food and drinks; the young man had brought no money with him.
Even back when he worked at the docks, Wang Li never once paid him a salary. The young man never once asked for it. The two of them found a great balance where Wang Li bought everything he needed and Xu Min did all the chores and followed the orders he was given in return.
Seeing a town that required money for him to purchase goods, Xu Min could do nothing but sigh as he turned around and walked in the opposite direction. He preferred to enter the outskirts of the forest somewhere without too many people watching. When everything was said and done, Xu Min was still only a Warrior, and based on his previous experiences, he knew very well that animals were not the only thing to be feared in a forest.