Chapter 92: Ouyang Xiu
Donning a black cloak and a bamboo hat, Xu Min started moving towards the dense population that was gathered around the lakeside marketplace. Although he looked odd, he was not the only one who was dressed like this; and actually, quite a few people had masked their appearance. Some used bamboo hats while others had cloaks that hid their faces.
Looking around, Xu Min was surprised to see posters with a hand-drawn portrait of himself. This portrait resembled him very accurately; beneath it was written his name, Xu Min.
A group of young experts was walking around with a copy of this portrait. They were looking at every person they came across, clearly trying to single out Xu Min. It appeared many still believed Xu Min was as weak as he had been at the start of the Immortal Valley Rankings. Thus they imagined that he would be easy to overcome, easy to kill and get the treasures from.
More people, especially those who had managed to reach a higher cultivation, were aware that Xu Min was not such an easy target. If he was truly easy to deal with, then the Snow Mountain would already have done so. Nevertheless, from his long absence and other facts made it seem as though Xu Min was dead. So far, no matter how many people Snow Mountain came across, they were not Xu Min. ,
No one fully knew what Xu Min's power was like. Only a select few could claim to know. However, this group of people also claimed that he had tamed a Golden-Furred Blood Lion, and he was able to kill Ji Tian as simply as one would kill a fly. No one wished to believe either of these rumors. Nonetheless, when a cloaked person with a Golden-Furred Blood Lion appeared in the crowded areas of the Immortal Valley, many still chose to stay clear of him.
"Are you Xu Min?!" Someone suddenly yelled out. Without hesitation, a group of around twenty cultivators surrounded Xu Min and Ye Ling. Their weapons were drawn, and their attitude was hostile. Looking at the Xu Min in front of them, they could not help but laugh silently. The strongest was a four-star Warrior, while the majority were three-star Warriors.
Xu Min was not hiding his aura anymore, but due to it being as high as it was, the four-star and three-star Warriors could not possibly grasp his true strength. All they could guess was that it was a little higher than theirs. However, they had numbers on their side, how could they possibly lose?
"Why do you suspect I am Xu Min?" Xu Min asked curiously. He looked at the leader of the group, but the person just snorted and spat on the ground. "Everyone knows that Xu Min tamed a Golden-Furred Blood Lion, and, well, as you can see, there are no other of those beasts present. So obviously you are Xu Min. Now come with me, and I will spare your life,"
The arrogance in his voice made Xu Min burst into laughter. This act caused many of the experts surrounding him to be stunned but also agitated. Did someone dare laugh at them? Especially when they were in such dire straits?
The sudden commotion had caused many people to appear around the area, but none of them interfered. Some looked at Xu Min with pity, while others looked at the four-star Warrior with pity. Others were just curious, and some had greed in their eyes.
"Okay. So, what if I am Xu Min?" he asked as he removed the bamboo hat on his head. A loud gasp could be heard from everyone present. "I am Xu Min, and I dare anyone here to come and take my head. If you try, do not blame me for being ruthless. Anyone who tries to take my head can kindly leave their head behind."
Xu Min's words were domineering and challenging. Many experts were instantly grasping their weapons and getting ready to attack. However, all those who were interested in attacking Xu Min were four-star Warriors and below. The five-star Warriors and above hesitated. Some hesitated because they could feel an utmost danger being emitted from the young man and his beast's bodies; others because they felt that they were supportive of this young man and his crusade against the Snow Mountain.
"You are too arrogant!" The four-star Warrior had not noticed that many of the high-ranked experts stayed behind. He charged forward, yet a shadow appeared behind him and, with a swipe of the claw, before he could even reach Xu Min, Ye Ling ended the his life. He had not used internal energy; he had only exerted a tiny fraction of his strength and had appeared behind this expert moments after, but he was gone again before they could react only to reappear behind another expert.
Although Ye Ling was fast, he had only managed to kill five of the experts by the time they reached Xu Min. However, before any of the warriors could touch him, a whirlwind started spinning around him. The whirlwind tossed every one of them into the air and whirled around Xu Min until it vanished. When it dispersed, they all heavily fell to the ground, sustaining some injuries in their fall.
"Oh, you guys are truly fragile," Xu Min said, but another wave of experts had rushed forward. This time, the strange whirlwind did not appear, but Xu Min did nothing to defend himself either.
A loud boom sounded out as the many weapons collided with Xu Min's body, and everyone who had participated in the clash cheered in joy only to be completely stumped moments after.
Many weapons had landed directly on Xu Min's body, but out of the seven weapons, only one had managed to break through his skin. Even though the cut was so shallow, it hardly bled.
"That itches," Xu Min said. With a stomp on the ground, a strong shockwave erupted from his body, sending the seven experts tumbling back. All of them landed in the group that was now rushing forward.
"Boring!" Xu Min called out, "this is too boring. All of you attack together and use your strongest attacks, or you will just die one after another!"
It was not until now that these experts turned around to look at the ground behind them. They noticed that many of the experts had died, their bodies strewn across the floor. All of them had terrible endings in which they had been swiped to death by strong claws.
Only now did the participating survivors understand just how stupid they had been. The majority stopped their advance and pulled out their storage treasures, "Here!" They called out as they threw it to Xu Min, "We regret our naive decision. Take our things, and we promise never to cross blades with you again. Please forgive us!"
The ones speaking were mainly the twenty experts who had surrounded him at the start. Xu Min just shrugged his shoulders. Killing these people or not killing them did not matter to him as they could never pose a threat to him. Consequently, he accepted their things and allowed for them to leave.
Complete silence descended upon the area. No one dared to say anything as Xu Min slowly went by each and every corpse and picked up their storage items and their Immortal Valley Ranking emblems. Without any hurry, he placed them all within his robe before he beamed a smile at the surrounding people.
"Sorry for the mess," he said happily, "I didn't intend to cause such drama, but some people just never learn."
The way Xu Min spoke clearly made the skulls of many grow numb. Only a few people laughed and clapped their hands as they approached him.
Among these few people were five groups. The first group obviously had malicious intents towards him. Although a smile was on their faces, their smiles did not reach their eyes and it was slightly stiff. Their clapping was more sarcastic than anything else.
This group, Xu Min completely ignored as he glanced at the other groups. The second group he looked at was a lot more friendly. Smiles were playing on their lips as they laughed together. Their eyes shone with excitement. Xu Min instantly understood that these people were not ordinary.
The rest of the groups were all a mixture of sarcastic people who wanted to test his strength or learn some of his weaknesses. They were people who wished to get closer to him just to kill him. Xu Min had already revealed himself. This show of strength was something he had not planned on doing this early, but his display earlier was enough to force the many factions out into the open. This made him feel that the change in plans was worth it.
"Brother Xu," the second group was led by a young man who had an imposing aura. He was clearly at the five-star Warrior rank much like Xu Min, but unlike the young Xu Min, this man was quite a few years older than him.
Looking at this older man, Xu Min acquired a good impression. He clasped his hands and slightly bowed. Xu Min did not know the name of this person. Thus he was incapable of knowing what to call him.
"I am Ouyang Xiu. From the Ouyang family of the Broken Peaks of Sword Mountain." He carried with him a noble air; Xu Min instantly understood that this Ouyang family was not as simple as it might seem. Still, he was new to the Immortal Ruins, and he had no clue just how powerful these families were.
Seeing the carefree expression on Xu Min's face, Ouyang Xiu was at first rather shocked, but then he laughed to himself.
"Why don’t you introduce yourself?" He asked. Xu Min shrugged his shoulders and replied casually, "I am Xu Min. I am not part of any family, nor do I come from some sect. I grew up in Honghe City where my teacher took care of me. After leaving Honghe City, I have been traveling around while seeing the world and experiencing its dangers."
The introduction was brief. Xu Min was well aware that none of these people knew what Honghe City was, but even so, he decided to mention the name. This Ouyang Xiu had been polite towards him; it was only fair that Xu Min treated him with the same sort of respect.
Hearing Xu Min's introduction of himself, everyone felt shocked to their core. He was not a part of a sect or family, yet he had still managed to gain such outstanding strength. Just what kind of monster had taught this kid how to cultivate?
Although some felt fear upon thinking like this, Ouyang Xiu felt excited. If Xu Min was not part of a family or sect already, it meant that it was possible to get him to join their family, as such an addition would surely benefit them tremendously, but he had to go around and do it the right way. He did not wish to scare Xu Min away.
"Why don't you come with us to the Lakeside Marketplace?" he offered, "I am in a mood to drink some fine wine and have a great time. Don't you worry about those Snow Mountain people, as long as you are by my side, no one will try to assassinate you." he assured Xu Min. Whereas, Xu Min, who was wanting to build a relationship with a hegemon of the Immortal Ruins, just smiled and agreed happily. This proposal was of great benefit to him as well as Ouyang Xiu.
While Xu Min left with this group of people, the ones left behind were standing still for quite some time. They were uncertain of what to do. Some considered if they had made the wrong move in trying to hunt down Xu Min, while others were scheming on how to bring him down. The group of people who had been trying to approach Xu Min with ill intent pondered for some time on what course of action to take. They decided to look for the Snow Mountain warriors before they rushed recklessly towards the Lakeside Marketplace. They had a lot of information to deliver