Chapter 171: Comrades
”How long do you plan on pretending to be friends with these people?” Xie Lan asked with a heavy sigh following the creaking sound of someone sitting down on the bed.
The previously alert Hui Yue instantly turned rigid. His entire body stopped moving and instead of moving through the door as his first intended, he paused next to the it.
“Don’t be harsh.” Xu Piao’s voice was laughing and unserious, it seemed that he had heard Xie Lan asking the question many times before. “This is our job,” He continued, this time his voice was a little bit more serious than it had been before. “We were given a mission and we will finish the mission. Do you dislike spending time with these youngsters? I find them fun.”
Hearing Xu Piao’s voice, Hui Yue’s eyes narrowed slightly. He heard how Xu Piao moved around within the room on the other side of the door. To be honest, had Xu Piao used his Wu Wei to sweep over the area he would long since noticed Hui Yue, however, the Guild Master never believed that Hui Yue would be within his room and for once he did not check his surroundings before he started talking.
Standing still within the bathroom, Hui Yue felt quite uncertain as to what the words he had heard meant. One thing was certain, though, the reason that the Guild Master was on the team was not because he had to get to Dragon’s Core Cave, but he seemed to have a completely different agenda.
Standing still, Hui Yue waited till all sounds within the room quieted down, hoping to hear more, but he heard nothing and eventually the young man no longer dared risk being found, so he went to the window in the bathroom and jumped out. He Landed on the ground with the same gracefulness as a cat.
Landing on the ground, Hui Yue’s thoughts were a mess and he quickly went back to the trainings room where he sat down to meditate.
He did not enter meditation for the sake of training for once, instead, he wanted to get his thoughts organized to decide what he should do.
Trusting Xu Piao was something which Hui Yue did for quite some time. The Guild Master was an easy going man, but also very straightforward. Having traveled with him for more than half a year the man had seemed trustworthy throughout the entire trip. Not just during the trip, but even before they embarked upon their journey Hui Yue trusted the man who now seemed to be less of a friend than before.
Now it turned out that he was not in their group for the sake of having interesting company to travel with, but instead was on a mission, a mission which had something to do with Hui Yue and his friends.
Xie Lan had asked about how long Xu Piao planned on staying friends, however, the Guild Master, himself, said that they were friends. To be able to consider himself their friend at the same time he was doing a mission concerning them must mean that the mission was not hostile in nature; however, the fact that the man did not tell Hui Yue about it was enough to make him feel uncomfortable.
The options they had were to continue the travel together with Xu Piao and Xie Lan while constantly being on guard, or running away from them which could turn into an ugly situation fast pitting the four middle dantian cultivators against two Kings.
Thinking through the options, Hui Yue could not afford to allow for Xu Piao and Xie Lan to suddenly turn against them and the only way to avoid that was to keep going the way they had been. Knowing that things would not change, he decided to see if he could learn more about exactly what kind of mission they were on. Because of this, he decided not to tell his friends about any of the information he obtained.
Having washed himself, his body was no longer covered in grime and the silk robe was gently resting on his skin as Hui Yue stopped thinking about their problem and instead decided to start cultivating.
Usually, he would have taken a break as soon as he managed to break into a new rank, but knowing that they could possibly be in danger at any moment he no longer had the luxury of time Gritting his teeth and clenching his hands he pushed his cultivation technique into the highest possible speed.
“Why is Yue training so hard?” Deng Wu asked curiously, as Hui Yue had sat still for three days in a row, not moving at all. While the group of friends spent some of their time within the room each day they were unable to train constantly like the young man was. They needed to rest, eat, and enter the city from time to time.
They had seen Hui Yue train like crazy before, but they had never seen him completely ignore the necessities of the real world in such a way.
Seated still, Hui Yue was not aware that three days had passed. In fact he had completely lost track of time, the only thing he was paying attention to was the steady dripping of spiritual energy which flowed into his spiritual energy sea.
A drop at a time took forever and looking at the thinned out lake, Hui Yue was aware that it would take him at least a year or two of constant meditation if he wished to break into the Duke rank. Constant meditation for a year or two was definitely impossible for him.
While the cultivation technique was focused on refining spiritual energy Hui Yue spent his time merging with his elements.
Fire, Metal, and Earth were three incredibly strong elements even when used on their own, and Hui Yue could not forget the elemental flame he had seen being used by the formation specialists. He now wanted to createing a flame which would not rely on all five flames, but three of them. A flame which had the affinity of three elements would be incredibly strong as an attack.
The main reason why Hui Yue lost track of time was because he was completely caught up in thoughts about the elemental flame. It was one thing was to come up with the idea, but quite another to actually merge the elements.
Hui Yue was able to switch between the elements he was merging with and on the fourth day his body was constantly switching between Earth, Metal, and Fire irregularly. A few nanoseconds the body would be merged with two elements then switch from one to another and very slowly the time with which the two elements were present increased.
By the seventh day, Hui Yue had still not managed to be with two merged elements for more than a few seconds. This was something which made it impossible to summon a merged flame and he finally opened his eyes. His deep focus was still evident as he felt the dense energy around him.
“You finally opened your eyes!” Sha Yun said as she was seated next to him. She had been staring at his face during the whole afternoon hoping that he would open his eyes because she had been tremendously bored.
“I’m sorry Yun.” Hui Yue said as he patted the snake-woman’s hair, “I am sorry for being busy, but I really need to understand this. Perhaps we will be able to deal with Scarface if my new attack is as strong as I expect it to be.”
Hearing that he might be able to deal with their adversary, Sha Yun could not help but be shocked. She knew that he was a King ranked expert and Hui Yue was only a Grandmaster. Although he had broken through to a higher rank, it had to be remembered that the white-haired boy still did not have access to Wu Wei on his own. The difference between a middle dantian cultivator and someone who broke into the upper dantian was as big as the difference between the heavens and the earth, still this young boy said that he might be able to deal with him. That alone speaks to just how dangerous the attack he was training was.
“That’s all fine, but you still spent far too many days sitting here by yourself,” Sha Yun pouted as she looked at Hui Yue, “Come to town with me and see the most beautiful city in the dungeons.” She insisted and the white-haired young man could not help but laugh at the pouting expression on his friend’s face.
“Give me a moment to take a bath and get something to eat.” Hui Yue waved his hand at Sha Yun as he stood up and made his way towards the building where their rooms and the water was.
This time, Hui Yue made sure not to go into the room which belonged to either Xu Piao or Xie Lan, instead, he knocked on the doors until he found one which was unoccupied. He walked in quickly and undressed before he stepped into the warm water once more. His thoughts pondering as to how he could increase the time in which he was merged with two elements.
Lying in the water, Hui Yue quickly cleaned himself after which he found yet another robe in his storage ring and quickly wore it. After that he pulled out some strips of dried meat and slowly ate them while sitting on the bed in the main room.
Sitting on the bed and chewing the dried meat strips, Hui Yue’s eyes were vacant. He thought about how elements could merge with one another in nature; how fire and metal when combined could create new gemstones, how water and wood could produce new plants. Everything worked together to form the balance of life.
Perhaps what Hui Yue needed was to understand what would happen if these three elements fused with one another instead of just trying to force them into combining.
Shaking his head, Hui Yue stood up and went out the room and walked directly into Xu Piao who was walking by his door.
“Oh little Yue!” Xu Piao said with a smile on his face, “Good to see you not training. Are you going to look at the beautiful landscapes and lavish shops in the city?” He asked with a smile on his face. Normally Hui Yue would have not thought much of such questions, yet today was the first time he saw the Guild Master since he heard the fateful words days before.
“Yeah,” He said slowly as he looked at Xu Piao with strange eyes which caused the older man to furrow his brow.
“Is something wrong?” He asked confused, unsure as to what could have transpired that would result in the white-haired young man being so vacant while conversing with him.
“Oh it’s nothing,” Hui Yue quickly said as he shook his head, “I was just thinking about how great it is to have reliable comrades like you,” He continued while he turned around and walked down the corridor, walking towards where Sha Yun was waiting for him.
Leaving behind Xu Piao with an expression on his face which was ugly to behold. The older man felt gratitude in his heart for Hui Yue feeling grateful to him, but at the same time he was unable to completely handle the guilt he felt. The guilt he felt for deceiving his new good friend.