Chapter 134: Join Us?
Hui Yue was unable to enter a calm state of mind after Zhou Long visited. No matter how much he thought about it, something did not add up. It was as if everything was going too well, and that never happened unless something was behind it.
Hui Yue’s ice-blue eyes were shining with doubt as he considered the pros and cons of a battle with the dwelling demon beast. It had been resting for an entire millennia, if not more, and it was obvious that it would be visibly weakened when it woke up, but how did they know it would wake up soon?
Why would the Dragon Corps’ captain personally invite Hui Yue and his group of friends before the final had commenced? Many questions were swirling within his mind as he was thinking about whether or not to take Zhou Long up on his offer.
As Hui Yue was considering his decision he noticed that Xie Lan returned, easily able to tell where she had been and an idea appeared in Hui Yue’s mind. This was, however, very risky so Hui Yue decided to talk with the others about the plan first. He felt as though they should have a say when there was a large possibility of it being a trap.
At the same time, Hui Yue could not help but wonder if he was overthinking things. Although it was quite a coincidence, he could not think of any way for the Dragon Corps to know about their actions earlier in the tunnels and so he slowly calmed himself down.
Standing up, Hui Yue patted Sha Yun on the head waking her up from her training. At first a grumble was visible on her face, but it quickly changed to a smile as she saw that it was Hui Yue who woke her up from her trance-like state.
Seeing that Hui Yue interrupted her during her training, Sha Yun knew that he had something important to talk with them about. She rushed into the house and rounded up Wang Ju Long and Deng Wu, leading them outside where Hui Yue was seated.
None of them invited Xie Lan, this was a decision the four of them needed to make. At first, Hui Yue quickly went over the details of what happened. His recount was quick and precise, pointing out his doubts but also how tempting the endeavor seemed.
Looking at each other, smiles appeared on the faces of his friends as Deng Wu opened his mouth, “You say that it’s dangerous but you’ve already decided have you not?” He laughed, Sha Yun and Wang Ju Long nodding with smiles on their faces.
“I will follow you no matter what dangers we face!” Sha Yun continued, proudly pushing her chest forward seemingly very satisfied with herself. The sight was so reassuring that Hui Yue could not help but laugh out loud.
Wang Ju Long said nothing, but a small smile was playing on her face and her eyes were glistening with excitement. She enjoys a life filled with adventure, how could she bear to say no to such a tempting offer?
Seeing the faces of his friends and their determination mixed with excitement which shone towards him caused Hui Yue to feel great satisfaction deep within. He felt lucky to have friends who were willing to go through thick and thin together with him; real friends who knew that although their lives were on the line, they would always support one another.
Thinking things through, Hui Yue stood up and let out a loud whistle which got the attention of Xie Lan who was meditating at the other end of the courtyard. The sharp sound caused her to wake up and she saw Hui Yue was looking at her. She also noticed how he made a beckoning gesture, asking her to join them.
Frowning her brows, Xie Lan did as she was told, but she was curious as to why she was suddenly being invited into their group discussion. Because when it came down to it Xie Lan was still an outsider. She worked for Xu Piao, not Hui Yue. In reality she had absolutely no loyalty towards Hui Yue, everything she did was just following orders to assist them in the tournament.
“I need you to fetch Xu Piao,” Hui Yue said as soon as she entered hearing range, and anger flashed within Xie Lan. Was Xu Piao someone who could just be summoned like that? He was the Guild Master of the Mercenary Guild, not some message boy rushing about the way people wanted him to run.
Hui Yue, looking at Xie Lan, quickly understood her hesitation and heaved a heavy sigh as he was reminded just how much this King ranked expert reminded him of Sha Yun.
“Don’t worry, he’ll feel like this trip is worth his time,” Hui Yue continued, assuring the woman that he was not calling the Guild Master for some small task.
Even though Hui Yue assured her that it was worth his time, Xie Lan still felt as though it was too presumptuous to call him over. Despite this she did not dare go against the request as he knew that Xu Piao valued Hui Yue highly.
Donning her black cloak, Xie Lan made her way out of the courtyard and once more strode towards the Mercenary Guild’s office, grumbling the entire way there.
“You called for me?” Xu Piao said with a playful voice as he appeared in the courtyard entrance, his eyes twinkling with undisguised curiosity and a smile adorning his lips.
Seeing that Xu Piao arrived so quickly, Hui Yue let a small smile appear on his face, before he gestured with his hand for Xu Piao to hurry over next to him.
“Zhou Long came visiting,” Hui Yue said said with a casual voice, “He invited us to hunt a big dwelling demon. Perhaps you know something about this?”
Every word Hui Yue said caused great surprise to be evident on Xu Piao’s face, and after a short time the expression turned from surprise to slightly confused to an expression of revelation.
“I see!” Xu Piao exclaimed, a smile once again evident on his face, a brilliant smile even. “So this explains why old man Zhou decided to be the judge in this year’s tournament!”
Looking at Hui Yue, Xu Piao was contemplating for a short while wondering why he was told about the meeting. It was as though Hui Yue was testing him.
Xu Piao was not wrong. Hui Yue had been closely observing every move and expression seen on Xu Piao’s face throughout the final few minutes. If it was a trap then it was obvious that Xu Piao would be a part of it too, however his expressions just now had seemed incredibly genuine. Either he was a perfect liar or he truly knew nothing about it previously.
“Why don’t you join us?” Hui Yue said suddenly. Although he somewhat trusted this Xu Piao, he also felt as though he would prefer keeping him close. If he saw Xu Piao and Zhou Long working closely together, then they would have the opportunity to quickly escape.
Seeing the astonished expression on Xu Piao’s face, Hui Yue almost started laughing, however the expression quickly changed to happiness,
“I’d love to join,” He said while looking as excited as a small child ready to open Christmas presents. The expression was a sharp contrast to Xu Piao’s normal expression and even Xie Lan was taken aback by his eagerness to join.
“You are more than welcome to join my party after the tournament,” Hui Yue said, his attitude showed that he had no doubt about who would win the following day, and the certainty in some ways caused Xu Piao to feel as though they had even bigger secrets waiting to be discovered.
Hui Yue had so far been fighting with the purpose of keeping his opponents alive. Defeating someone without killing them was far more difficult than to use all one’s abilities to kill. This was one of the reasons why they had struggled so far, however, Hui Yue felt a very dangerous atmosphere coming from the masked men, and his attitude changed from ‘allow them to survive’ to ‘kill on sight and let their ability tell whether or not they will survive.’
The final battle was nothing like the other two Hui Yue participated in so far this tournament, no instead it was a three group battle where all three groups would have to fight the two others. Only one group was allowed to stay within the stage to become the winner.
Battles like these were the most bloody and the most sought after battles within the arena. It was also the reason why nine groups fought in the tournament, instead of only eight.
The other two groups, the lowest ranked mercenaries and the middle ranked mercenaries were to end their match the same day, however none of their battles drew in even half as much attention as the final of the black cloaked group.
“Well, I would love to join you,” Xu Piao said, with an embarrassed scratch of his head, “But you are cultivators and you are about to enter the final of our yearly tournament.”
“Although you might feel safe and sure of survival you can never forget that you are cultivators. You are martial artists and a martial artist knows that death is always looming. You might die today or you might die tomorrow, but one thing is certain the chances of you dying from old age are very slim.”
“Even if you do have something that can help you survive, it is never certain that it will work. But should you survive tomorrow, even if not all of you, then I would like to join you for the slaying of the Dwelling Demon Beast.”
Hearing Xu Piao’s serious words a wry smile appeared on Hui Yue’s face. He was perfectly aware of the dangers his new lifestyle brought with it, but it was exactly because of this that Hui Yue sought greater challenges to improve himself. If he was not strong enough to protect himself and his friends, how would he ever be able to defeat the expert whom he and Lan Feng were looking for?
“Then we will see you tomorrow,” Hui Yue said with a smile, his face not revealing any expressions at all, and with a polite bow towards Xu Piao Hui Yue once more started meditating.
As soon as they saw Hui Yue meditate, Deng Wu, Sha Yun, and Wang Ju Long all bowed politely before they followed suit.
Upon seeing this, Xie Lan’s face was twisted in displeasure. Although she knew that Hui Yue was not to be underestimated, Xu Piao was still the Guild Master and he deserved a lot more respect than what these youngsters showed him.
What made her equally frustrated was the fact that Xu Piao showed no signs of displeasure with this casual treatment! He was a revered person, the most important person within this city usually, and now his words were second to Zhou Long. For him to be treating these youngsters with such respect and interest, Xie Lan could not help but feel that there were some hidden aspects which she had not been informed about. She dared not ask any questions, nor comment on any of the behaviors she saw.
In the end, Xie Lan ended up leading Xu Piao back to his office after which she bowed deeply before she returned to the courtyard where she saw how none of the youngsters had moved even the slightest.
Looking at them for some time, Xie Lan let out a harrumph before she entered the house heading for her room. Even if she disliked Hui Yue and his group she has still been given the order of assisting them in the tournament, and she had no intention of not doing her job well. This caused her to also slip into meditation, improving her stressed out condition to a much more balanced one, readying herself for the battle to come.