Chapter 124: Signing Up
“Hello,” Xie Lan said as she entered the courtyard where she was met by the three other black cloaked figures. She worked for Xu Piao for a very long time and she was perfectly aware of why she had been sent to the courtyard with the unknown cloaked men and because of this she insisted on doing her very best to gather useful information for her master.
While she was gathering information she also had every intention of fighting within the tournament, hopefully being the one to have the most astonishing performance within the group so that the odd black cloaked cultivators would feel even further indebted to Xu Piao.
As soon as Hui Yue arrived, he gestured to everyone that they should enter the small house and they rushed inside, eager to see who this new person was.
Once inside, all four people instantly took off their cloaks and heaved heavy sighs of relief. Although they had all agreed on hiding their appearance for as long as possible, none of them enjoyed the stuffy world inside the cloaks.
Hui Yue was perfectly aware of the fact that their faces were hidden, and it was something which attracted a lot of attention, however he, personally, would rather be known as a hooded figure than a white haired youth because of the attention it always drew.
Coming to that conclusion, Hui Yue decided that although he did not wish to stand out, he had no other option than to make a name for himself within this cave and use that reputation to enter the next tunnel system.
“Everyone,” Hui Yue called to order as all of them were seated inside the room, “Please welcome our newest member in the group, her name is Xie Lan. You saw her yesterday and she is a King ranked expert so we have some very good odds of winning first place in this tournament.”
Hearing that she was a King rank expert, Deng Wu seemed to back away slightly, his eyes quickly masking his previously unconcealed interest as this handsome young man felt no reason to risk insulting a King ranked expert.
“We will do our best to win it with just the four of us, however if we are in too much trouble then Xie Lan will jump in and assist us.” Hui Yue said with stern expression on his face, “We are here to train and improve ourselves, if we can’t even win a silly competition on our own we don’t deserve to be considered successful cultivators.”
Hearing Hui Yue’s words his friends solemnly nodded their heads and Xie Lan was slightly stunned by what he said.
The King ranked expert had expected that the group of cloaked people would have abused having a King ranked expert in their midst, but instead they treated her as a backup rather than a means to win easily.
Another thing which shocked Xie Lan deeply was how young all the cloaked people seemed to be. The one who seemed the oldest was a young man with black hair, but even he seemed to be only a little more than twenty years of age while the other two had clearly just reached adulthood.
The final member of their group was a half demon beast, half her body was a snake-tail and although it was something Xie Lan had noticed once before already she was greatly shocked to see the beauty of her upper body and the intelligent silvery eyes.
Having been in the same room with these people for only a short time, Xie Lan understood just why her master paid so much interest to these four people. She understood that it would be great if they carried favour towards the Mercenary Guild.
“You all remember that to enter the tunnels one needs to either have a specific cultivation base or do something amazing to make the Dragon Corps acknowledge us.” Hui Yue said with a sigh as he sat down on a chair. Hearing Hui Yue’s words, everyone within the room nodded simultaneously.
“If we wait to reach a higher rank it might take us years to be allowed entrance. It seems that our only way is to make the Dragon Corps acknowledge us, so let’s start with proving ourselves in the tournament. Afterwards we’ll start doing some missions for the Dragon Corps. Eventually they will notice us and we will be allowed passage.”
A few glances were thrown through the room and Hui Yue understood the doubt that he saw in their eyes. Interacting with the forces they wished to escape from seemed daring, but at the same time they all wished to move further into the tunnels, far enough that they would eventually have the ability to leave this underground world.
Determination was seen in everyone’s eyes as they agreed with Hui Yue. The sudden tension within the house did not pass by Xie Lan unnoticed and she understood that there was something between the Dragon Corps and the cloaked group.
“Today we need to train, the tournament begins tomorrow so we better be ready for it.” Hui Yue said with a sigh. He noticed the keen gleam within Xie Lan’s eyes and he knew that the latter had not allowed the atmosphere to go unnoticed. At least it would not be possible for the Guild Leader to find any information of Hui Yue’s connection with the Dragon Corps.
Hearing the words from Hui Yue everyone quickly entered meditation, not wasting even one moment.Xie Lan was yet once again astonished by the efficiency of this group.
The sun rose in the cave the following day, replacing the gentle rays of moonlight which had been cascading down hours ago with the morning sunshine and with it came the promise of a new day.
This was a day which was very much looked forward to and the entire city was bustling with life as mercenaries were walking around in groups, ready to sign up for the tournament which only came once a year.
This tournament was linked to pride and every group within the area had arrived, leaving the roads filled with people. With so many people it was almost impossible to move around without using one’s elbows to push their way through.
It was in this kind of environment that Hui Yue was using force to get himself and his team through the busy streets, aiming for only one thing, the tournament signup.
Hui Yue had to use force most of the time to make his way through and there was always a loud commotion every time people saw that the black cloaked group had appeared. The shock seemed to increase as the previous four man group had turned into a five man group, one capable of signing up for the tournament.
While some dreaded meeting these mysterious strangers, others were secretly pleased with the outcome as they wished to fight them Their aim was not to win, but to try and grasp the storage stones owned by these cloaked men.
One thing everyone had in common was the assumption that the cloaked group would not be wearing their cloaks for the final battle. They all firmly believed that these cloaks absorbed all energy emitted making it impossible to act while wearing them.
Ignoring the people who once more stared at Hui Yue, the young man made his way towards the counter where an employee from the Mercenary Guild was present.
“Hello,” Hui Yue’s voice sounded the same as it had when he was pretending to be the King of the Forest back at Cave’s End. Hearing the slightly low but powerful voice, the employee quickly paid his full attention to the registration.
“Excuse me sir, you need to have at least five members in your group. Can you please call the other four members here?” The employee, although shocked at first, handled everything perfectly.
Hui Yue moved slightly to the side and behind him four cloaked people appeared, all of them silent as a grave giving off a daunting and mysterious air, making the previously upbeat atmosphere tense and uncomfortable.
Although the cloaks were effectively hiding their entire cultivation base, it was also obvious that the cloak was working overtime as it had a hard time masking Xie Lan’s rank, causing Hui Yue to want them to hurry away from the square filled with people.
Looking at the four cloaked figures, the employee nodded his head. “Hand over your mercenary badges,” He ordered, as he named the group number one hundred and seventeen.
Just as the employee asked for the mercenary badges another turmoil appeared as five golden coloured emblems appeared at the same time.
The correct way to get a golden emblem was by finishing an immense amount of missions or having done some very dangerous missions previously. For these people to arrive with golden emblems within a low ranked cave such as the Demon Dwelling Cave was truly astonishing.
“Did they arrive for the sake of the tournament?” One voice sounded out from the crowd and while some nodded others shook their heads.
“I bet they are here for the sake of an ultra rare mission and they decided to join in on the fun.” Once again some people nodded while others shook their heads.
Multiple theories started to spread through the area, however Hui Yue showed no interest in it, instead he waited patiently for the employee to mark down their rankings. Even the previously calm and collected employee was quite ruffled as he saw five golden emblems in front of him.
Finally he finished all the paperwork needed and handed a small wooden plate to Hui Yue, a plate saying group one hundred and seventeen.
“Over there, you will see a schedule. Your group fights later today at the time when the sun reached its highest position. Your group is seeded so your fight will be within the main arena.”
Having said that, the man quickly leaned towards the next group of mercenaries who were getting ready to sign up for the competition, and Hui Yue turned around going towards the place which the man had pointed out.
A big wooden board filled the entire wall of a street opposite from the employee who dealt with registrations. Looking at the board Hui Yue found that it was split into three sections. One was when the sun was rising into the sky, the morning. The other was when the sun was high in the sky, and the final part was when the sun was slowly setting in the horizon, only to vanish before the following day commenced.
The morning had the lowest ranked mercenary teams fighting each other, while the highest ranked and the seeded teams would battle during the middle of the day. The final part of the tournament consisted of those who were neither high ranked nor low ranked. The average mercenary parties which resided within the city or its surroundings.
Each group would have one fight per day and these fights would alternate between personal duels and team fights. The reason they alternated was not only for the sake of seeing whether or not all members knew how to fight, but was greatly for the sake of keeping the audience interested.
Looking at the schedule, Hui Yue located a wooden tablet saying group one hundred and seventeen and next to it was group twenty three. Right between the two wooden tablets was a small mark which resembled the arena.
Throwing one last glance at the map, Hui Yue once more prepared himself to fight his way through the masses of mercenaries, but what he found made him chuckle slightly as all the mercenaries in the surroundings were moving aside, pressing against each other ensuring that a path was available for him and his followers.
Not showing any attention to the many mercenaries around him, Hui Yue moved down the path which had been carved through the horde of people, making his way towards the arena in the city. The place where his first real exchange of pointers in a long time would take place.