Chapter 294 - Settling for Second
Nie Li’s cultivation was already considered extremely fast.
In his previous life, Nie Li had cultivated for several hundreds of years before he reached the Heavenly Fate Realm. However, this time, he only needed a little over one year -- almost two -- to reach the the doorway to the Heavenly Fate Realm.
The higher he climbed, the slower his cultivation speed would become.
However, right now, he was still too weak; he couldn’t even take control of his own fate.
Nie Li was pressured by the urgency of his own situation. Hard work and talent by themselves were useless upon reaching the Draconic Ruins Realm. He still needed to get his hands on large quantities of cultivating resources: in particular, spiritual stone essence!
Geniuses of lower realms were usually recruited by different families, and thus became their underlings. Those who were able to grow by themselves, without the support of such families, were extremely few. Nie Li didn’t want to join a family, since that would make his road much harder, later down the line.
Everyone around him, including Murong Yu, would stop at nothing to prevent him from obtaining more cultivating resources.
Hua Ling’s men had only provided him with an excuse. The most crucial thing was that Nie Li still lacked strength and had no one to back him up. That’s why Murong Yu dared to bully him!
Murong Yu scanned his surroundings, but still couldn’t find Nie Li. He briefly frowned. Did Nie Li use some sort of special technique that let him escape to another location?
By now, one of Hua Ling’s underlings — the one who’d spoken earlier — had also flown over and began searching the surroundings. However, they couldn’t find traces of Nie Li either.
This underling looked at Murong Yu and smiled. “That Nie Li kid must have run away. Senior Brother Murong, he couldn’t have gotten far. We can still chase him down!”
Murong Yu looked at him with a smile that wasn’t a smile. He walked up to that underling, then punched him in the stomach with a cold smile. “I’m not really fond of that kid called Nie Li, but the same goes for you. I hate being used by others!”
After being hit by Murong Yu’s punch, the poor underling’s back arched like a shrimp as his face twisted in pain.
“You…” He furiously glared at Murong Yu. Although he was at 2-fate Heavenly Fate Realm, he was still far from Murong Yu’s level.
“You dare to glare at me?” Murong Yu raised a leg and dropped it on the man’s head, smashing his head to the ground with a cold smile. “You need to show respect when you meet someone who’s stronger than you. Get it?”
“Senior Brother Murong…I apologise!” The underling finally spat those words from his mouth as he felt like his brains were about to burst.
“There we go!” Murong Yu snorted and took his victim’s soul scale bag, then said in an a disdainful voice, “You only managed to hunt a little over two thousand ghouls? Trash!” Upon finishing his words, Murong Yu tucked the soul scales away.
The nameless expert was filled with rage, but he could only remain on the ground, with his head under Murong Yu’s foot. He laughed in an attempt to placate his tormentor, “Ah, Senior Brother has seen an embarrassing sight of me. I only have these soul scales with me, but Senior Brother should take them!”
Murong Yu kicked him as he laughed along. “That’s right. Pretend to be a dog and give me three good barks. Then I’ll let you go!”
The man hesitated for a bit, but eventually gave in as he sensed Murong Yu’s foot pressing down harder and harder. In the end, he opened his mouth and barked three times, “Woof, woof, woof.”
Murong Yu laughed, “Not bad, not bad! Almost like the real thing!”
Although Nie Li was in his void-form, he still got a clear view of this scene. Murong Yu was an even more despicable person than the Long Yuyin from his previous life. Luckily, Nie Li had used the void-form to dodge Murong Yu’s attack; otherwise, he would’ve ended up worse than the guy over there!
Without strength, you will only be humiliated by others!
Nie Li tightly clenched his fists as he slowly moved towards the ruins. Under the cover provided by the ruins, he first deactivated his void-form, then immediately activated his Divine Stream combat ability. This turned him into a streak of light that flew off into the distance.
For a single moment, Murong Yu sensed a trace of Nie Li’s aura. He furrowed his brows briefly, then coldly snorted, “Who would’ve thought that you’d be so fast at running away? But if you want to escape from my clutches, it won’t be so easy!”
Just as Murong Yu prepared to give chase, a thought suddenly crossed his mind and he halted his steps as an evil smile revealed itself at the corner of his mouth. “Since you’re so good at hunting ghouls, I’ll let you continue hunting for a while. I’ll deal with you afterwards!”
If Murong Yu caught Nie Li now, the only thing he’d be able to do was give Nie Li a beating. If he acted too harshly, who knew if someone might step out to protect Nie Li? It’d be better for him to be patient now and reap the profits later.
Nie Li flew on for a few hundred miles. When he saw that Murong Yu wasn’t chasing after him, he knitted his brows. Murong Yu was strong. If he wanted to give chase, it’d definitely be tough for Nie Li to escape. However, Nie Li figured it out after pondering briefly.
“Trying to take advantage of me? Fat chance!”
He’d rather choose death over dishonor! Since Murong Yu was plotting against him, then he’ll just leave this place! If he continued hunting ghouls, there was a likely chance that all of his hard work would just end up benefitting Murong Yu!
It never crossed Nie Li’s mind that he’d suffer such a huge setback right after entering the Ghastly Ruins. It seemed like collecting spiritual stones by hunting ghouls wasn’t possible for him anymore. Aside from Murong Yu, there were still many others watching him. Even if he managed to collect some soul scales, the others might easily snatch them away. When Murong Yu was busy with Nie Li, Nanmen Tianhai and Huang Yu didn’t appear. Those two were probably not going to take action, as long as things stayed within somewhat reasonable bounds of the rules.
Furthermore, Hua Ling and Hu Yong’s underlings were also gathered in the Ghastly Ruins. Peaceful times in here were but a dream to Nie Li now.
Then how were Lu Piao and Xiao Yu faring? However, finding them would be difficult due to the size of the Ghastly Ruins. At least Lu Piao and Xiao Yu’s lives wouldn’t be in danger; at most, they’d suffer some setbacks. Remaining here would just be a waste of time for Nie Li, so he moved towards the exit of the Ghastly Ruins.
Nie Li emerged from the entrance of the Ghastly Ruins and into the outside world.
There was a crowd outside the Ghastly Ruins. They blankly stared at Nie Li when he came out. None of them had expected him to return so quickly.
“Did you guys hear? That Nie Li kid was hunting ghouls inside the Ghastly Ruins, but got beat up by Murong Yu. He even got his soul scales stolen from him.”
“At least he’s somewhat smart. He knows he’d only get humiliated again, if he stayed inside the Ghastly Ruins”
“It’s his fault he offended so many people.”
“Murong Yu is the genius of the previous batch. Nie Li’s got a deathwish in provoking him!”
Who knew how many people were rejoicing at the fact that Nie Li had suffered in the the Ghastly Ruins? Due to his shocking displays of talent, many students viewed him as a dangerous opponent. Only by preventing Nie Li from obtaining more spiritual stones, they’d be able to slow down his cultivation speed.
They couldn’t get in his way on the Saint Soul Board. However, Nie Li was left dreaming about benefitting from the Ghastly Ruins and the Yin Flame Wasteland!
If he wanted to obtain more spiritual stones, then he’d have to head to the outside world. However, the outside world was even more dangerous than the two testing grounds!
Nie Li sensed their enmity and understood that these people would stop at nothing to prevent him from getting more spiritual stones!
Without spiritual stones, he wouldn’t be able to cultivate. Furthermore, his level of cultivation required a large quantity of spiritual stones. Nie Li thought as he walked: how could he obtain more spiritual stones?
His current strength was still too weak, and there were many methods that couldn’t be used for various reasons. Even if he obtained spiritual stones by curing others’ illnesses, one problem was that it’d be very time-consuming. Another problem was that there’d still be people getting in his way.
He couldn’t afford it!
He thought back to the arrogant and overbearing Murong Yu, and the Demon Lord who was still growing stronger. He thought about the fearsome Sage Emperor and all the events that he might encounter in the future.
If he didn’t become stronger, he’d be at the end of his rope when the future came. And if something unexpected happened...
Nie Li thought over things carefully. He thought of the Nightmare Demon Pot. He’d always been unwilling to let someone else know of its existence; however, all the other ways of obtaining spiritual stones was now blocked. Even if he managed to reach the Heavenly Fate Realm and headed to the outside world, there would still be many people waiting to teach him a lesson.
Nie Li was out of options!
If he wanted to use the Nightmare Demon Pot, Xiao Yu and Lu Piao wouldn’t be of much help. The only one was Gu Bei!
From what Nie Li had seen of Gu Bei’s character, and the fact that Nie Li had cured his sister, it could be said that Gu Bei was someone who’d keep his promises!
By now, Nie Li noticed that he’d been wandering around the Skysoul Institute for quite some time. He decided to merge with the Shadow Devil and activate its void-form to dodge the prying eyes of passerby as he entered Gu Bei and Gu Lan’s courtyard.
Upon entering, Nie Li noticed Gu Lan sitting on the chair, quietly cultivating.
She wore a white silk dress with a blanket draped over her legs. She’d reached a crucial point in her cultivation as white mist rolled off her body. Her clothes were drenched in sweat, that her pearly white skin and light pink chest wrap could be vaguely seen.
Today, Gu Lan still had a pale face; however, her slender hands had gained more of a fleshy pink colour to them.
Nie Li awkwardly retracted his gaze as he attentively stood to the side and waited. Since Gu Bei wasn’t around, he could only wait for Gu Lan to finish her cultivation.
Roughly an hour later, Gu Lan finally opened her eyes. Upon seeing Nie Li, she lightly smiled and said, “Sir, have you been waiting for very long?”
Nie Li cupped his hands in a greeting and said, “It wasn’t that long. This mansion doesn’t seem very secure, since it was so easy for me to sneak in. But please forgive me for my lack of manners.”
Gu Lan smiled, “I’ve been crippled for so long that my enemies don’t see any worth in me. However, it’d still cause a huge ruckus if I did end up dead, so, no one would risk it!”
Nie Li understood Gu Lan’s meaning. He involuntarily swept his eyes over Gu Lan’s body, then immediately pulled them away. His voice slightly trembled as he asked, “I wonder if Sister Gu Lan’s health has improved any?”
Gu Lan lowered her head to take a look at herself. Only then did she realise that her body was covered in sweat. A flush smeared over her pale face as she mobilised her energy to evaporate all the sweat. “Thank you for your concern. After taking the medicine, I already feel much better!”
Nie Li nodded. “En.” With just the two of them, he couldn’t help feeling a sense of awkwardness. He wondered when Gu Bei would return.
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