Chapter 150: A Warm Bath
Walking under the gate, Xu Piao was entertained to see how astonished the rest of the group was. Mercenary City had previously been large enough to be compared to Riluo City, however, this capital was much larger. The tall black brick walls were taller than anything they had seen before and the gate was made from black iron, making it almost impossible to penetrate once closed.
The wall was five meters thick and the top was filled with guards who kept a vigilant eye on everything that was happening constantly observing their surroundings, watching new arrivals to see if they were making trouble.
Looking around, Hui Yue furrowed his brows as he stopped and waited for Xu Piao to catch up to him.
“I was under the impression that you don’t have demon beast attacks on cities here,” He said with surprise, as they made their way through the thick city gate, “What is the purpose of building such a heavy fortress in this cave?”
Hearing the question, the older Guild Master nodded his head approvingly. For someone who did not grown up within the Dungeons of the Divine most of the things they did were likely to be confusing or curious.
“Long ago, according to legend a great war occurred. Men whose origins were unknown appeared from the, at that time, uninhabited Cave’s End. Many strongholds were made since then, but we have never seen any of these unknown men from Cave’s End again, that was not before you arrived.”
Hearing this made Hui Yue’s mind buzz with information. “Do you know how long ago?” He asked with bated breath, but unfortunately the Guild Master shook his head, “Can’t say I remember it off the top of my head.” He said disappointing the white-haired young man, “But, if we have the time you could go and read something about it at the library later on.”
Hearing that hope returned to his ice-blue eyes and he was once more energized. The reason he cared was because this certainly had something to do with The Great Sin or perhaps even the Dark Age.
Learning about the Dark Age and The Great Sin was something which Hui Yue needed to put on hold while he had been living on the surface and while in the Dungeons of the Divine he had never expected that he might come across clues to these events.
Although he was filled with excitement he reminded himself that it was not certain he would find anything and he once more focused on his surroundings.
The group was swept along with the horde of new arrivals who all moved towards the markets, moving in the stream of people making it almost impossible to break free from the crowd.
Instead of trying to fight the stream, Hui Yue and the others followed along their eyes flickering from one side to another as they took in everything which happened around them.
The first thing which caught the eyes of the young boy was multiple tall houses with more than one level. The houses were all connected to each other and only had a few alleyways hidden between the dirty walls.
Following the stream of people they quickly reached the markets, and much like Riluo City’s markets, these were placed at different locations and managed by different families.
Walking through the marketplaces, the roads suddenly became much easier to travel on. There were no longer a massive amount of people pushing their way forward, instead, a few well dressed people were seen walking back and forth, children and youngsters were seen running about.
Now that they no longer were being led forwards by the mass of people, everyone followed behind Xu Piao as he was the one with most experience within this city and he walked with steady steps towards a house not far from their current location.
Unlike the houses near the entrance to the city, these buildings all had their own courtyards and some of them were up to five stories high; the Guild Master moved straight towards one of these courtyards, one where guards were posted at the front.
Upon seeing Xu Piao, these guards all straightened their backs as they saluted him, none of them saying a word, but it was clear that they recognized him.
Entering the courtyard, Xu Piao continued towards the massive four story building at the back, his steps steady and determined, his expression casual and bored as though he had been to this place often in the past.
Xie Lan and Xu Piao felt comfortable walking into the house, Hui Yue and his friends were more curious about why they were entering this kind of building as it looked nothing like an inn.
“Li Shao greets Guild Master Xu!” A voice suddenly boomed out from the entrance and a large man became visible. The man was as round as he was large, he was built like a big hog and the young group of friends all had eyes widening from shock as the large man, double the size of even Deng Wu, was looking at Xu Piao with reverence in his eyes.
“I’m back,” Xu Piao sighed heavily as he moved into the room, “Li Shao, I need you to prepare a room for each of us in the mercenary quarters. All of the rooms need to be first class and close to each other. I’ll be bringing my guests with me to the meeting room, pick us up when you have accomplished the task.”
Hearing Xu Piao’s order, Hui Yue guessed where they were and what was happening. The giant man did not wait for any other orders, instead, he quickly bowed to the Guild Master and turned around barking orders to the men around him.
Xu Piao smiled at the efficiency with which his men worked and without waiting any longer he brought Hui Yue and the others towards a room which seemed to have been closed.
“Li Shao is my second in command of the Mercenary Guild,” Xu Piao said on the way, “Since we have a whole city filled with mercenaries it is common for the leader of the Mercenary Guild within the Demon Dwelling Cave to have a main office in Mercenary City, and sometimes I need to travel to the capital for business, as even in the capital mercenaries can be found. So the vice-president has to do the job here.”
The explanation was not needed, as everyone already guessed what was happening, but even so they valued the fact that Xu Piao was open about everything. The six of them needed to be able to trust one another when it came to the trip they were about to embark on.
“I suggest we stay here for a few days,” Hui Yue said while he looked at the elaborate carvings and beautiful surroundings of the Mercenary Guild. “I have an idea,” He continued, his words instantly making everyone curious.
“Currently we are on a mission and if anyone is to check our emblems they’ll show that we are on a mission for the Dragon Corps and that the mission is delivering information.”
“My suggestion is that we see if we can find another mission here in the capital, a mission where we protect someone travelling to the next few caves, or perhaps transport some items.”
“If we have another mission like that, someone seeing our emblems will not leak the information about the Dragon Corps mission since the newest mission is the one shown.”
“Moving with other people will also limit the possibility of having someone attack us. In every way I think an escort mission would be the best, but let us spend a couple of days to relax and reenergize ourselves before we find a mission like that.”
Hearing Hui Yue’s suggestion everyone slowly nodded their heads. They remembered looking at the billboards earlier and there was an immense amount of escort missions, but at that time none of them wished to travel with others, back then they were certain that they could move on their own.
Now the situation was somewhat different and an escort mission was exactly what they were in need of. After thinking it through a smile appeared on everyone’s faces.
“While you are in the capital, you ought to spend some time shopping,” Xu Piao continued, “The capital has every delicacy you can imagine. We get items imported from the other caves. Be it food or precious materials, even medicinal herbs, everything can be bought as long as you have enough coins or cores.”
Hearing this smiles were evident on all the youngsters’ faces, but there was one thing they wanted far more than to go shopping. Having been on the road for a long time, stuck within an illusion for even longer, with no warm water where they could wash themselves and clean off the dirt from their travel, not to mention warming their taut muscles which had been on constant alert fearing a second attack sent by Zhou Long this was something they longed for.
Seeing their faces, Xu Piao was instantly able to tell what they were thinking and laughter escaped his lips, spreading throughout the conference room in which they were seated. Just as Hui Yue was about to retort, knocking could be heard from the door and Li Shao entered inside his large frame humbly bowing down to the seated Xu Piao.
“The rooms have been prepared,” He said with a gentle voice, “Let me take Guild Master and his esteemed friends towards their rooms, warm baths have already been prepared for everyone.”
Hearing the words warm baths was enough to release a collective sigh of longing and swiftly everyone stood up, none of them interested in waiting longer than needed. Even Xu Piao, himself, felt as though his tired body became light and they all moved quickly as though floating towards the way Li Shao led them.
The giant was shocked to see how everyone was desperate for a warm bath. He was aware that they came from Mercenary City and although the trip was a week long, it was not something so draining that the Guild Master and his friends would be exhausted to this extent.
Of course Li Shao was unaware of the challenges they faced on the way, instead he imagined that they finished a mission. The gentle giant admired Xu Paio and he could not believe that his Guild Master would be tired from nothing more than a simple trip to the capital.
Li Shao stepped forward and led the group of people through the main hall once more, and as they entered the hall they left the big house through the back walking to another building close by. This building was much larger than the one they had just left. He entered and took the staircase to the top floor, still followed by Hui Yue’s group of cultivators.
“These rooms are only available to Gold ranked mercenaries,” Li Shao said with an serious voice and he gestured to the ten doors in front of him, which lead to their respective rooms. “Chose a room you like, they all have adjourned bathrooms where a heated bath is awaiting you.”
Hearing this, everyone quickly thanked Li Shao before they rushed into the rooms, none of them caring much for which rooms they took, as all that mattered to them was the warm bath. Rushing into their rooms they all quickly stripped their clothes off before they collapsed in the warm water, enjoying how their muscles were screaming in delight.
The bath took long and no one was willing to leave the soothing waters, yet after an hour Hui Yue was the first to leave the bathroom. He was now dressed in some of his finest garments and looked out of the window in his room observing the many men who were walking down the street. A smile appeared on his face as he quietly exited the room and made his way down to the bustling streets.