Chapter 200: Lords of the Forest
Arriving at the village chief’s home, Hui Yue was taken aback as he saw how many demon beasts were working hard on preparing a banquet. One after another was bustling and rushing about, either setting the table, collecting food, or in any other way ensuring that the gathering they were preparing would be perfect.
Everyone was so busy that none of them noticed the white-haired young man who was leaning against the chilled walls in the shadow of one of the village houses. A smile was on his face as he observed everyone.
Although Hui Yue was in a rush to get information about the Lords of the Forest, he had no intention of interrupting them while they were busy preparing a celebration for him. It had been a long time since he had last interacted with any other person and the friendliness he encountered here was enough to touch his heart.
Although the bustling villagers had not noticed Hui Yue straight away, it did not take too long before he was noticed. When he was the preparations came to a halt and they all bowed deeply towards the young man; fear and veneration were both present within their eyes.
Seeing the fear, the young white-haired man could not help but sigh. Having been noticed he straightened up and headed towards the village chief who welcomed him earlier. He gestured towards the village chief’s home and the chief instantly understood as he led the way; his hands were slightly trembling and his throat suddenly went dry.
Knowing that he was intimidating the village chief, Hui Yue quickly wanted to get the facts straightened up. He quickly entered the house where he was shown towards the living room with a few wooden chairs.
Taking a seat, Hui Yue gestured for the village chief to do the same. As he did the two were now seated across from each other.
“Lord, have mercy,” The village chief instantly said as his trembling increasing, “No matter what we have done to offend you, master, please take out your anger on this humble servant!”
Hearing his words, Hui Yue didn’t know whether to laugh or cry and he quickly placed a hand on the chief’s shoulder, a calming hand.
“Don’t worry I am not unhappy,” He said quickly. Some of the man’s trembling stopped as the chief lifted his head in surprise. His eyes were round and full of disbelief as they met Hui Yue’s big blue, honest ones.
“You’re not unhappy?” A meek voice sounded out and Hui Yue nodded his head with a gentle smile on his face.
“I think there has been a major misunderstanding,” Hui Yue said with a sigh, “I am not one of these lords you speak about. I am a newcomer to this entire area,” He continued, “I was born within the Taiyang Kingdom, and I grew up and used to live there. Some things happened which caused me to enter Shenyuan, but I am very new to this area.”
“You are not a Lord of the Forest?” The chief was now completely stunned. His eyes were unable to widen any more than they already had; his face filled with disbelief.
“That is correct, but perhaps you could tell me about them?” Hui Yue asked politely and the stunned and confused village chief nodded his head.
Although Hui Yue was not a Lord of the Forest as they had at first assumed, he was still a Saint ranked expert. A saint ranked beast capable of taking complete human form meant that he was incredibly strong. The village chief had no wish, whatsoever, to anger the man.
“Shenyuan is split into sixty-four prefectures and each are controlled by a Lord of the Forest. The entire Shenyuan is one large jungle with a few clearings, valleys, gulches, and so on here and there. The lord of this Thousand Fang’s Ravine is Lord Yen Zhiquang. He is a Black Breathed Razor Wyrm, one of the strongest beasts we have within the forest. I’ve heard that once he even defeated a divine beast!”
Having started speaking about him it was almost impossible for the village chief to stop. His eyes shone with pride as he mentioned the lord of this prefecture. Taking a quick breath, the elderly man continued his explanation of the place in which Hui Yue had arrived.
“The Lords of the Forest are the strongest Saint ranked beasts within Shenyuan. Anyone who feels confident can challenge these lords, however, it is really rare for a Lord of the Forest to lose such a duel. Most of these lords have sat on their thrones for eons already.”
“Although these areas are prefectures, there is one person whom even the lords have to respect. Within the deepest parts of the jungle is a prefecture which is controlled by a woman whom everyone respects. She is known as the strongest of all. She is a Single-Horned Jasmine Eagle and she has devoured many men throughout the years, both men and beasts alike. Her name is Wan Qiao.”
As soon as the name was spoken, Hui Yue felt a change in Lan Feng’s soul; his emotions turned into a mixture of panic and dread. These unexpected emotions affected Hui Yue causing the young man’s face to turn unsightly in front of the village chief.
‘Explain it later,’ Hui Yue told Lan Feng before he steeled himself causing a smile to reappeared on his face.
“I’ve been traveling by the side of this ravine, did you call it the Thousand Fang’s Ravine? I’ve spent a very long time traversing it now. How is it possible for me to exit Shenyuan and return to my own home back in the Taiyang Kingdom?”
Hearing his question the man was quiet for some time before he finally spoke, “Entering into Shenyuan is hard,” He started, “However, even though it is hard to enter, it is even harder to leave. Only the Lords of the Forest are allowed to leave Shenyuan’s borders, and only if Lady Wan Qiao is in a good mood. Usually, anyone who enters Shenyuan will stay here for the rest of their lives.”
Pausing slightly, the man pondered for a moment before he continued, “I think it is possible to leave if Wan Qiao says yes and helps you, even if you are not a Lord of the Forest. But who has any connection with such an exalted creature such as lady Wan Qiao.”
Having heard the words, Hui Yue quickly thanked the village chief before he went back to the house which had been lent to him. As he arrived the children once more came to look at him, however, this time Hui Yue had no time to play around with them and he quickly passed by them into the house. He sat down with his legs crossed and his consciousness slowly entered the dantian cave where he saw a shocked and horrified Lan Feng seated.
‘I take it that you know this Wan Qiao?’ Hui Yue asked. In spite of being a question, it was much more a statement but Lan Feng still nodded his head.
‘I never expected that old hag to still be alive,’ He murmured. His face currently devoid of all colors, and his feathers were disheveled as though he had rustled them but not managed to make them lay as they should afterwards.
‘Who is she?’ Hui Yue asked after waiting for a moment. He wondered how any woman could bring the usually loud and arrogant phoenix to such a terrified state.
‘Who she is? Who is she? You want to know who she is? She is a monster. I know no one stronger than her apart from my father and the other gods. She is undefeated and her methods to get things done are rough, to say the least.’ A high-pitched voice escaped Lan Feng as his eyes were filled with dread.
‘I understand, but who is she to you?’ Hui Yue pressed further curious to know exactly what could cause this kind of reaction from the bird within him. To be honest, Hui Yue already looked upon the woman with veneration. It was the first time ever that Lan Feng had seemed terrified.
‘She was my nanny!’ Lan Feng almost screamed in desperation. ‘When I was small, father did not have the time to look after me so he found a strong woman who he knew could handle a small chick easily. It turned out she was not suited to look after children at all.’
Hearing his words, Hui Yue was deeply astonished to see the shocked bird who had been traumatized by this woman.
Although Lan Feng was traumatized, Hui Yue did not know any of the memories which were currently haunting the bird, instead, he found the whole thing rather amusing.
Having thought about it for some time, Hui Yue understood that although it might have been traumatizing for the bird, it was definitely certain that both Lan Feng and this Wan Qiao had a relationship which was exactly what he needed right now.
A smile spread across his face as he came to a conclusion about what to do. Although Lan Feng was still reminiscing about bad memories, he instantly became aware of Hui Yue and the white-haired young man’s plan.
“No, no, no, no, no!” Lan Feng continued saying but Hui Yue just smiled in reply. He had decided that the two of them were to go to this inner area of the Shenyuan jungle, somewhere where he could meet Wan Qiao. Hopefully, he could manage to escape this jungle with her help.
‘Blame yourself,’ Hui Yue said with a shrug, ‘If you were stronger and were able to fly then we could have left long ago, but even if we use my Wu Wei wings and the Wu Wei you have refined we will most likely not be able to exit the mountain range. The distance is simply far too vast.’
‘It’s not that I don’t acknowledge that there is a relationship between me and her,’ Lan Feng started frantically, ‘But she would not be very keen on seeing me again, her and I have had quite a bad past. I am quite certain that she would never help us!’ Lan Feng continued, but Hui Yue more or less ignored him.
‘She is our only hope. If she won’t help you for old times sake then we’ll have to challenge one of these Lords of the Forest.’
‘Let us just challenge a lord first,’ Lan Feng said, completely confident in his own ability to fight other Saint ranked beasts, but Hui Yue just shook his head. ‘Imagine if we won then we would have to return to this place time after time.’ Hui Yue pointed out, ‘If someone challenges us then we will have to fight them; win or die.’
Frowning slightly Lan Feng in the end had no other option than to accept the decision which Hui Yue made. He sighed deeply as he feared a reunion with his nanny, the only woman within this world whom Lan Feng truly feared.
Having agreed on visiting the inner regions of the forests, Hui Yue sat down and started cultivating until he heard someone knocking on his door. Standing up and opening it he found that all the children from earlier were standing outside in their finest garments. Their small faces were beaming with smiles towards the human in front of them.
“Come with us!” One of the bigger children said and Hui Yue chuckled as he followed behind the children towards the village chief’s house; a house filled with the entire village. They were at a long table where they were waiting for Hui Yue to come sit at the seat of honor.
Hogs were spit roasted and many kinds of fruits and berries were placed on the table alongside cooked stews, vegetables, and roast meat. Although these creatures were magical beasts, they all lived their lives very similarly to that of humans and Hui Yue felt the same atmosphere that his home had.
Letting go of his worries of the future, Hui Yue decided to spend the night partying with the villagers which had gone to such lengths to make him feel welcome, something which he could not help but feel very flattered about.