Chapter 144: An Escort Mission
”You are going to be delivering information to Dragon Corps’ main office?” Xu Piao asked agape as he looked at the young man in front of him.
Seeing the surprised expression on Xu Piao’s face, Hui Yue could not help but chuckle slightly and he nodded his head, handing out his mercenary emblem.
Seeing the emblem Xu Piao carefully took it and placed it on his forehead, the shining light that was iconic of memory stones fluctuated out, enveloped everyone present. Xu Piao’s eyes were closed as he saw the mission description.
Unlike Hui Yue, Xu Piao was perfectly aware that Zhou Long was capable of reaching the final cave much quicker than Hui Yue. It was also incredibly rare for information to be sent with mercenaries, especially since there was no way they could be rely on.
Thinking about it, Zhou Long had been showing favouritism towards Hui Yue, as though he knew something about the young man which Xu Piao did not. The Guild Master pondered slightly as he gave Hui Yue a searching look as if he hoped whatever it was Zhou Long saw in the young man would become aware to him as well.
Although he spent some time looking at Hui Yue causing the white-haired boy to feel oddly uncomfortable, he finally sighed and gave up the endeavor.
“Looks like the mission is pretty good,” Xu Piao said with a sigh as he handed back the golden emblem, but his face showed an expression of not completely comprehending why Hui Yue had been given such a task.
Seeing his expression, Hui Yue somewhat understood what Xu Piao was thinking, and although the Guild Master said nothing, the white-haired boy quickly understood that the mission was not as simple as he had expected it to be.
Before Hui Yue had the time to ask any questions, a telling gaze landed on him from Xu Piao who very slightly shook his head signaling that this was not the location to chat. Seeing his gesture, Hui Yue did not continue the conversation, instead he smiled happily as he heard cheerful sounds from his friends; all of whom were thrilled with the idea of finally leaving Mercenary City. Mercenarythis Ccity.
Walking to the side, Hui Yue gestured for Xu Piao to follow him which the other man did willingly.
“What do you think about this mission?” Hui Yue asked in a very low voice, ensuring that no one close by would be able to hear what was being said.
Scratching his head, Xu Piao gave a wry smile showing his helplessness as he asked, “What is your relationship with Zhou Long? Giving you a mission of such importance should make you someone he has known for years and trusts unconditionally.”
Hearing that Hui Yue nodded his head. It was indeed odd how Zhou Long treated him as if he was a long lost friend when they had not know each other from before. Could it be that Hui Yue reminded him of someone he knew?
Both Xu Piao and Hui Yue were quiet as each contemplated in why Zhou Long trust him so much, but both were unable to find an answer.
“So what are your plans now?” Xu Piao asked as he looked at how his friends were drinking and eating, playing around the bonfire they had started in the middle of the courtyard. Smiling Hui Yue answered, “I don’t think Zhou Long has any malicious thoughts against me.” He stated , his words making sense to Xu Piao.
“If he wanted me dead I would have died long ago,” Hui Yue continued, “but instead of killing me he constantly finds situations which are beneficial to me.”
“I think this mission is the same. He wishes to have control of how and where I travel, but at the same time he knows that I would declined the offer, if we were to travel together.” Hearing this Xu Piao was the one who nodded his head.
“Would you mind if I were to tag along?” Xu Piao suddenly asked, as he scratched his chin with a somewhat embarrassed expression on his face. “I have delayed a trip to the Dragon Core, final cave, for quite some time since I enjoy the leisurely life within the Demon Dwelling Cave. I have gotten quite a few orders about travelling soon, but I did not go. Perhaps if I could journey with you it would be much more interesting.”
Xu Piao gave a hurried explanation before Hui Yue had the time to answer, and the suddenness of it caused Hui Yue to laugh a little as he considered the situation.
In the cave they were at right now Hui Yue was seen as a strong man, and in the previous cave he had been the strongest. Yet he was aware that he would not be considered strong in the caves to come, yet if his group consisted of Hui Yue’s friends along with the two King ranked experts then it would be a lot safer.
This mission was highly lucrative for everyone as it dealt with the Dragon Corps. Although the Dragon Corps was seen as the highest power within this tunnel and cave system, other factions also existed.
Although these factions were not fighting against the Dragon Corps outright, they would pay a hefty sum of money to gain access to the information Hui Yue was carrying making the lucrative mission dangerous as well.
Currently the only ones aware of the details of the mission were Hui Yue, Xu Piao, and Zhou Long. Bringing along Xu Piao would also make it so that he could not sell the information. Although Hui Yue highly doubted that it was something Xu Piao would do, it was still a possibility.
Considering all the pros and cons Hui Yue slowly nodded his head, “It’d be a pleasure to have you join us.” He said in a quiet voice as he looked over at Deng Wu teasing Wang Ju Long by the campsite. A sad smile appeared on his face as he remembered how Wang Ju Long lost her Little Poppy whom she had spent a lot of time raising.
Little Poppy died a heroic death, as it managed to inflict severe damage to the face of the Horned Snake. It was, sadly, too slow in retreating, yet it had gone out in a blaze of glory.
After Zhou Long left the battleground, Hui Yue and his friends stayed behind where they created a grave for the flower.
The loss of her Little Poppy was hard on Wang Ju Long, but after some time Deng Wu and Hui Yue managed to break through her expressionless exterior and they once more saw the beautiful girl’s embarrassed smile.
Seeing Wang Ju Long smile like that made the heaviness vanish from Hui Yue’s heart and cheerfulness welled up in its place. It was as though his heart ached together with Wang Ju Long, yet it had been for another reason.
Seeing that Deng Wu managed to make the still slightly depressed Wang Ju Long smile, Hui Yue could not help but let a smile appear on his own face, relief flooding his senses and happiness shining from his eyes.
Xu Piao noticing his change of expression looked in the direction Hui Yue was gazing at and a knowing smile appeared on his face along with laughter.
The laughter could be heard throughout the entire courtyard and with a red face Hui Yue pretended that nothing happened.
Their secretive meeting was interrupted by laughter, but they both knew that they would be comrades, and with their eyes did, they agreed upon meeting the following day to plan out the details of their trip.
Laughing out loud, Hui Yue and Xu Piao together reentered the party which was ongoing in their courtyard. Although everyone knew that the two had been conversing with hushed voices about important matters, no one asked any questions instead they accepted that they would not to be told before the matter before it was settled.
Walking to the bonfire in the middle of the courtyard Hui Yue smiled as he grabbed a stick with some meat which was being grilled. Looking at the freshness of the meat, Hui Yue could instantly tell that it was not his dried wolf meat, nor was it dried Horned Snake meat, and with a slight harrumph he ate the fresh food.
Hui Yue liked saving money. He never knew when he would need it and as long as he had dried meat he would have preferred to eat that. In spite of this, as soon as the tender meat entered his mouth the white-haired boy was stunned by how it melted in his mouth, exploding with flavor. A satisfied and relaxed expression appeared on his face.
This was not normal meat, this was meat from a magical beast which had been seasoned with medicinal herbs for the sake of defeating fatigue. Creating food like this was something which Wang Ju Long wished to learn, however, no teachers could be found within Riluo City.
Seeing that the meat was right in front of them and that Xu Piao was clearly not the creator, Hui Yue was even happier now than before. Because this meant that Xie Lan was a cultivator with affinity for Wood and that she specialized in something Wang Ju Long was eager to learn.
Xie Lan was a great benefit to Hui Yue and he could not help whistling the rest of the time while he was eating the delicious food. Afterwords, he moved closer towards Sha Yun who was talking with Xie Lan and Xu Piao at his side.
“So we will be leaving in three days,” Xu Piao said as he looked at Hui Yue. The two of them were standing within Xu Piao’s office and the older of the two had been packing items into storage stones getting ready for their trip.
Hui Yue nodded, three days was a perfect amount of time. This gave them time to purchase the items they would need and at the same time also give them enough rest to be ready for their journey out of the Demon Dwelling Cave. After all they had only left Mercenary City once, to slay the Horned Snake, and they were not familiar with the terrain.
Looking into the horizon and up at the sky it was hard to believe that this was truly just a cave. Everything looked as if they were in the world above and not underground.. Only if one looked carefully they would see a stone ceiling above the sun and in the distance, if one strained their eyes to the limit, one would be able to see the cave wall enveloping this world, locking everything inside as though it was a prison.
Hui Yue completely understood why Xu Piao was tired of this world, and maybe if he kept following the white-haired boy and assisting him when he was in trouble Hui Yue would be willing to bring the older man out of this underground world. Friends helped each other after all.
Standing up, Hui Yue nodded to Xu Piao who nodded back, and with steady steps Hui Yue strode towards the courtyard where all his friends were waiting, curious to hear what it was that they had been conversing about.
Although they trusted Hui Yue’s judgement they could not help but be curious. They previously discussed what they thought the conversation was about and they all expected Hui Yue had invited Xu Piao to join them.
Strictly speaking they were wrong, as Hui Yue did not asked him to join, but Xu Piao suggested it, still as soon as they heard that the latter would be accompanying them and that he would bring Xie Lan as well happiness was visible on their faces, and everyone was overjoyed to hear the news.