Chapter 18 - Young Hero, Please Leave Your Name

Clear Water City was the most prosperous city in the Aquasky Nation. It was a commercial hub full of shops and auction houses that sold almost anything you could think of. The amount of money that changed hands here on a daily basis was more than some families had seen throughout their ancestry. The goods sold here attracted sect disciples, clan practitioners, and lone cultivators from all over.

The amount of foot traffic meant Clear Water City was also the best place for gathering information. Anything you needed to know about the Aquasky Nation could be learned here for the right price. If a rumor was spreading, there was a good chance it started in Clear Water City. 

On the second floor of an inn in the western part of Clear Water City, a hooded man sat near a window as he listened in on nearby conversations. Despite the inn's unremarkable appearance, it was filled to the brim with guests. This inn wasn’t large, only having three floors. The first floor was where most people gathered. It was completely packed, full of noise and clamor. The second story was somewhat quieter, and the tables were more spaciously placed. However, the cost of using the second floor was much higher as well. Anyone who could spend enough to go to the second floor possessed extraordinary strength and were typically much more alert than their first floor counterparts.

“Have you guys heard? A disciple from the Mad Blade Sect killed Qiu Yunpu!”

“Now that’s some news. Qiu Yunpu had been committing atrocities in the Aquasky Nation for years. His cultivation was unfathomable. I never imagined that he would die to the hands of a younger generation.”

“Oh yeah! I heard about this! It’s rumoured that the disciple from the Mad Blade Sect beat him in only ten moves. The Mad Blade Sect finally has a successor now, some guy named Zhang Ye.”

“Yeah, the Aquasky Nation has really started cracking down recently. I mean, tons of people die at the hands of bandits each year so who can blame them. But what I don’t understand is, how is it that, of all the bandits, Kuang Yan always manages to get away? His cultivation is mediocre at best! How can no one catch this guy? I heard that even a disciple from the Profound Sun Sect fell at his hands not too long ago.”

“I’ve heard he’s pretty strong, actually. At the very least, the man’s bold. If he wasn’t, he’d make for a terrible bandit…”

When the hooded man overheard their conversation, he looked out the window to the street below, a sinister smile hidden under his hood. This location wasn’t bad. He could be on the street mixing into the crowd at the first sign of danger.

“Out of the Mad Blade Sect, Azure Sky Sect, Profound Sun Sect, and Violet Ember Sect, which one do you guys think is the strongest?”

The topic in the inn shifted to the four sects.

“Azure Sky Sect, hands down. Their young sect master, Bai Yufan, is one of the four young experts of the Aquasky Nation. Throw in Su Ziyao, who can compare?”

“Oh yeah! Su Ziyao is scary, man. Have you seen her? She isn’t one of the four young experts, but I heard that even the strongest of the four, Liu Yunfei, couldn’t beat her.”

“Eh, I think it’s too early to say. She’s the hot new thing right now. It’s probably just hype. How long has her name been in the mix, a year? The reason the four young experts are the four young experts is because they’ve proven themselves over time. Sure they’re still young, but they’ve been consistent. It’s all about the longitudinal data! There just isn’t enough longitudinal data on her!”

“Either way, it looks like the Azure Sky Sect will be the star of the show during this year’s competition.”

Everyone on the second floor had something to add about the four sects and the conversation continued on for some time. While they were chatting happily, a new face made his way upstairs.

The person wore a sky blue robe with a piece of cloth covering his forehead. No one knew if the cloth was meant to hide something or if he wore it because he thought it looked cool. Unfortunately for them, Lin Yun intended to keep that secret to himself. The bustle of the second floor died down as more people directed their gaze at him.

It was uncommon to see someone walking around in the Azure Sky Sect’s uniform this far from their territory, but the people on the second floor had been around for a long time and seen many things. After their initial appraisal, they ignored Lin Yun and went back to their excited conversation.

Lin Yun preferred it this way. It would have been annoying if they kept staring at him. It had been about three weeks since he left the Azure Sky Sect and he had fallen out of practice socializing. He swept his gaze around the second floor before stopping on the hooded figure. Nodding his head, he walked over. He leaned Flower Burial against the table and took the seat opposite the man.

Beneath the hood, the man frowned when his keen eyes saw the Azure Sky Sect’s emblem on Lin Yun’s uniform. But shortly after, he regained his composure.

“Buy you a drink?” Lin Yun asked.

“Heh, most people can’t afford my taste,” the hooded figure revealed a sinister smile while refusing Lin Yun. He looked around to see if Lin Yun had any companions with him.

“It’s a good thing I’m not most people then. Waiter, bring me the finest wine you have.”

The waiter responded much faster than normal and returned in short order with an ornate jug.

“They keep some good stuff around here! I feel sorry for your wallet,” the hooded figure laughed after seeing the wine.

“I don’t mind,” Lin Yun said with a smile as he filled their cups. “After all, a man about to die should enjoy his last drink.” 

“Hahaha! I like sect disciples like you, so confident and yet so green. You’re trying to hunt famous criminals without any back up? I should be buying you a drink!” the hooded figure laughed while unleashing his aura in the sixth stage of the Martial Path.

He drew a blade from his sleeve as he leapt across the table. He had been expecting this outcome the second Lin Yun walked up the stairs. While they were talking, he’d been accumulating his energy while stalling to see if Lin Yun had any companions. He made his move as soon as he confirmed Lin Yun was alone.

This sudden commotion startled everyone on the second floor. The outer disciple from the Azure Sky Sect remained seated despite the hooded figure lunging for him from across the table. Judging from its momentum, the blade couldn’t be blocked. Even if the outer disciple put up a defense in time, he would be crippled immediately.

They couldn’t help be disappointed that another naive sect disciple was about to die over something stupid. Who in their right mind would sit opposite your target, defenseless, and allow them to take the initiative? When experts fought, those who lost the initiative lost half the battle. It seemed that this poor boy would be learning that lesson a little too late. He stupid kid hadn’t even stopped smiling.

It was at that moment Lin Yun spat out a jet of wine from his mouth. Cheers rang out as the second floor was sent into an uproar.

The hooded man scowled. It was too late for him to avoid spray.

Splash!

“My face!” the hooded man cried out in pain. His skin burned wherever the wine touched. The disruption to his momentum sent his strike wild.

In the time it took a droplet of wine to fall from the hooded man’s face to the table, Lin Yun stood and drew his sword. A blinding flash of light illuminated the room for only a fraction of a second, but, by the time it faded, Lin Yun was standing on top of the table, his blade covered in blood.

Flummp!

Lin Yun sheathed his sword as he watched the hooded man’s corpse slide off the table. He jumped down only after he was sure the hooded man was dead.

“Well done. Here’s your reward!” Lin Yun said as he tossed an ingot of gold to the waiter.

Ignoring the stunned looks on the faces of the other patrons, Lin Yun began looting the hooded man’s corpse. Aside from the man’s weapon, Lin Yun was surprised to find an interspatial pouch tied to his waist. It probably belonged to a rich sect disciple who had died at his hand.

Killing Kuang Yan marked the completion of his second spiritual stone mission! In the end, his hard work over the last fifteen days had paid off. 

Relying mostly on the sect for information, he caught wind that Kuang Yan was looking for a buyer so he could offload some spoils of war.

Rather than rush in, he decided to take things slow. Bandit’s were known for their strength, but it was their cunning that kept them alive. Kuang Yan had killed many disciples. It would take an incredibly cautious man to go this long without capture.

Lin Yun took extra care while laying a trap for Kuang Yan. What he did was risky, but the payoff was well worth it.

Lin Yun grabbed the interspatial pouch and headed straight for the exit. The sect would take care of it.

Lin Yun had enough time to jump out the window before people started recognizing the hooded man.

“It’s the guy we were just talking about! It’s Kuang Yan, the bandit!”

“Holy shit... but he died so easily! Who was that kid?”

The patrons clamored to the window just as Lin Yun landed.

“Hey, kid! What’s your name? Who are you?”

“Yeah! Please, tell us your name!”

As he faded into the crowd, he called out, “Azure Sky Sect’s outer disciple, Lin Yun.”

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Thyaeria's Thoughts

Thyaeria: Plot Armor - Defeat someone so much stronger than you.