Chapter 89: Going Back
Once the voice said 'this is your reward,' a small item appeared out of nowhere. This object seemed harmless.
Looking at this piece, Xu Min could not help but feel rather disappointed. It was the size of his fist. The object was made from a stone-like material with a smooth surface. It looked like fist-sized polished stone.
"What does it do?" Xu Min could not help but ask. However, the voice did not respond back. No matter how long he waited within the Blood Pagoda, there was simply no more words from the formless voice.
Xu Min gritted his teeth and picked up the round stone placed before him. He pocketed it casually. Though deep down, he knew this object was not as simple as it seemed on the surface. The first reward was an excellent and earth-shattering pill, which had changed his entire body and energy. That gift’s task was the easiest of the two task’s difficulty; it did not make sense that the harder trials possessed treasures less astonishing. Xu Min promised himself to take note of this item and examine it when he had the time. Being in the Immortal Valley was not the most suitable place to start various examinations of his questionable treasure right then and there.
Xu Min stayed in the Blood Pagoda for an extra three days to cultivate and steady his cultivation level. He sighed deeply, stood up, and went down to the first floor of the Blood Pagoda.
The moment he reached the first floor, he spotted a large tear in the middle of the platform where he had fought multiple battles. He found that he could see Ye Ling on the other side. Without worrying too much or waiting any longer, Xu Min rushed towards this tear. He jumped through, only to find himself suddenly standing right next to Ye Ling once more.
Xu Min had completely lost track of how much time he had spent within the Blood Pagoda. He glanced around at the forest. He suddenly felt as though all the time spent within that grim and dark place had been a dream. Were it not for the powerful surges of energy roaming through his body, he would not have believed that it was real.
"You are a five-star Warrior already?!" Ye Ling exclaimed the moment he saw Xu Min. Although they were at the same level, Ye Ling understood Xu Min had had more than one fortuitous encounter within this Blood Pagoda. His battle strength was likely to have increased even more than his rank.
Ye Ling suddenly felt that he had missed a great opportunity. He had been within the Blood Pagoda once before. However, he had given up after overcoming two battles. Still, he was excited for Xu Min. Xu Min was after all his new master and to have a strong master was a great benefit.
"So before you entered the Blood Pagoda, you said that you did not have enough strength to battle the entire lake area marketplace and steal the rewards from the Snow Mountain people." Ye Ling said with a cheeky grin on his face, and Xu Min could not help but laugh as well.
It was indeed true that when he entered the Blood Pagoda, even with Ye Ling on his side, Xu Min did not feel confident in challenging the Snow Mountain people, but now it was different. He had broken through two ranks, and he was also much better at fighting. His Qi had attained the quality of a sword and assimilated the element of wind, enhancing the damage done by this Qi and reducing the amount of Qi needed to execute certain attacks.
"I am going to give up on stances," Xu Min sighed to Ye Ling, "Although I have been able to do a few stances at the same time when I fight with my external strength, I am going to focus fully on my sword arts." Ye Ling was at first surprised. The stances had provided much-needed relief in many situations before. To hear that Xu Min was not going to use them any more showed he had gained something that could enhance his swords arts to a greater degree.
There was an air of confidence around Xu Min. He had a comfortable smile on his lips, and he rolled his shoulders, "I need to buy some things," Xu Min said, "Let us go to the lakeside marketplace."
The sentence was simple, but Ye Ling understood the meaning. He felt his heart speed up with excitement. His eyes gleamed, and his teeth displayed a toothy grin. "No reason to linger around here any longer then," he said. Together, human and beast started making their way towards the lakeside marketplace.
The Blood Pagoda was located rather far into the Immortal Valley, and one would never find it were they not familiar with the area. Consequently, Xu Min and Ye Ling met no humans on the majority of their return trip. They met a few beasts here and there, but these beasts quickly dashed away when they felt the aura of either one.
"We are getting closer to the areas where the participants of the Immortal Valley will start appearing," Ye Ling commented while they went through a small and unnoticeable crevice in a steep mountain side.
Xu Min nodded his head and gestured for Ye Ling not to say anything. The sounds of humans appeared in front of them. It was clearly humans who were fighting some demonic beast.
Sneaking forward, Xu Min looked at how the battle was unfolding. His eyes focused as he looked at the ones participating in the battle. One of the fighters were Shui Wu. He recognized her instantly. He also saw that amongst her group were two other members of Bu Huang's faction. However, the rest was a mixture of random experts from various families and sects, the majority of which were supportive of Snow Mountain. Xu Min knew that helping them by joining the battle would be the same as helping them kill him afterward.
"Ye Ling, restrain your aura like me. We are going to seem like we are three- or four-star Warriors. If they are to attack us, just kill them ruthlessly." Xu Min gave the order easily before he joined in the battle. He owed Bu Huang and Shui Wu quite a bit. This is why he decided to assist her now that she was in trouble.
The beast they were fighting was a Silver scaled Ice-Lizard. It was a five-star Warrior ranked beast. Although the human cultivators were an astonishing ten people, all on the third or fourth star Warrior rank, they were all being pushed back. Some even received serious injuries.
Seeing that someone was rushing to their aid made everyone excited. Nevertheless, once seeing who it was, they became tentative. This man was a young boy of the three-star Warrior level. Did he think that he was capable of doing any difference in this battle?
No one wished to owe this man anything as they already knew of the feud between Snow Mountain and Xu Min, yet no one said anything. If they were lucky, Xu Min would die. When he died, they could use his head to trade for some resources from the Snow Mountain. If he did not die, it meant he had been assisting them in getting rid of this beast. Since they never asked for his help, they would refuse to owe him anything.
Xu Min was fully aware of what these people thought of him and his help, but he snorted in contempt at them. He was here to show his gratitude to Bu Huang and no one else.
Xu Min jumped into the battle and instantly blocked an attack from the lizard that was aimed at Shui Wu. Although he had suppressed his aura, so he seemed as though he was a three-star Warrior, his strength was still that of a five-star Warrior. As soon as he withdrew his sword from its sheath, a powerful energy ripple appeared, forcing the silver-scaled Ice-Lizard to retreat; the previously fearless eyes turned fearful, and it retreated some more, shivering as it felt Xu Min's power, which far overwhelmed it.
The other experts were shocked. All of them stood there gaping at Xu Min as if he was some monster. He unsheathed his sword, blocked one attack. The beast noticed such fluid motion with an energy ripple emerging from Xu Min’s attack that even the beast was fearful of him.
They had all looked down upon him before, but now they quickly changed their minds. They felt that there was something hidden within him. Maybe some hidden strength Xu Min had not shown anyone else before.
"Perhaps he had experienced a lucky encounter during the Immortal Valley Rankings," someone guessed. This assumption caused the majority of the people to nod their heads. That was the most plausible explanation.
"I bet he has eaten some amazing treasure, which is why Snow Mountain is so adamant on getting him. They are going to make medicinal pills from his blood and use it to cultivate!" another theorized. The words caused Xu Min to feel a shiver run down his spine. Not even Snow Mountain was that ferocious, he thought to himself.
Xu Min did not follow up with any attack; he simply turned to look at the cultivators with a mocking look in his eyes, "Miss Shui, are you okay?" He asked. His words were not too friendly, nor were they hostile. Truthfully, although he asked the question, it sounded as though he did not care about the answer.
Shui Wu, hearing the tone with which Xu Min spoke understood why he had spoken like this. Xu Min was a hunted person. Anyone he showed interest in was likely to be used as bait to capture him. Therefore, he decided that there was no relationship between the two, except the fact that they were officially from the same faction.
Everyone present was uncertain of whether or not their relationship were friendly, but no one wished to insult Shui Wu who was a great talent and incredibly beautiful. Everyone decided to let go of the notion of using her as bait to make Xu Min turn himself in.
"What about the lizard?" Shui Wu asked with a sigh. Her tone incredibly polite and following all rules, but also containing some arrogance. "We have been fighting this silver-scaled Ice-lizard for a long time, but now that you arrived, who is going to get the core?"
Xu Min grinned. With a snap of his fingers, a light flashed followed by a bloodcurdling scream. After which the stench of blood filled the air, causing everyone to go pale in the face.
Behind Xu Min, where the lizard had been backing away, now stood a Golden-Furred Blood Lion, a large one with blazing eyes. Although it was only a four-star Warrior level, it was far more intimidating than the lizard. The bloodlines of the Golden-Furred Blood Lions were frightening, their fighting abilities even more so. Xu Min had truly been lucky to find Ye Ling wounded back then. Xu Min’s lion had gained even more strength after eating the medicinal pills Xu Min had offered him.
"Ye Ling, we're keeping the core," Xu Min said casually. The lion nodded its head, dug into the corpse of the lizard, and picked up the beast core before it moved towards Xu Min's side and dropped the core into Xu Min's hand.
Looking at the many questioning faces, Xu Min laughed in his heart. He owed these people nothing. Thus he had no intention of telling them anything either.
Shui Wu, on the other hand, was incredibly curious and could not refrain from asking, "this beast is...?"
Looking at her, Xu Min was not sure if he should answer or not. After a short while, he decided it was better to answer. He looked at her with a gentle smile on his face, "This is Ye Ling, my new companion. We found each other during this Immortal Valley Rankings and decided to do some traveling together."
This statement was a polite way of saying that he had tamed a Golden-Furred Blood Lion!