Chapter 63: Lady or Beast?
Excitement filled Sha Yun’s eyes as she saw the pagoda in the distance, yet the excitement slowly changed to a yearning which caused a small smile to appear on Hui Yue’s face. Although he did not have a mental connection with this female beast, it was incredibly easy to understand how she felt as she displayed everything on her face.
The group sped up as they finally saw their home within distance, and they raced towards the city gates hoping to make it in time before they closed for the night. The training trip had ended up taking slightly longer than expected, and they all longed for their warm beds and fluffy pillows, rather than one more night sleeping on the cold hard ground.
Still a slight nostalgia had descended on them all and they were quiet as they made their way towards the city gates. Although all of them had previously been together at the academy, they had never been together in such a close proximity before and especially not for such an extended period of time. To go back to their previous lifestyle would be somewhat unfulfilling now that they had been used to playing around all day.
Although they had seen the pagoda on the horizon, it still took a couple of hours to travel that far of a distance, and they even had to pass through few villages on the way. The sun was setting at the time they all managed to reach the city gates and creaking sounds could be heard as the heavy wooden doors were about to be sealed shut.
“WAIT!” One of the sentries called from atop of the city wall. “I see the young lord and young lady coming this way. Do not close the gates before they arrive!”
As soon as the voice sounded from above the gates, the creaking sounds stilled and a cheer was heard roaring to the sky. Lord Rong Liang was a very well-liked city lord and his heir was similarly popular as he would mingle with the guards as though they were equal. This young man had been gone for some time, and now that he returned, it was obvious that the guards wished to give their best welcoming him back.
The loud cheering was a pleasant surprise for Hui Yue and the others as it meant that the city gates would stay open, yet Sha Yun did not know that cheering was a joyous thing, instead she became alert and a loud hiss resounded in front of the gates causing the cheering to instantly stop and the guards to become alert. This was definitely the sound of a troublesome magic beast, yet shock spread amongst the guards as they saw the beast which was a part of the entourage.
Sha Yun had lived within the Magical Forest her whole life and cheering was a sound which she heard every time humans managed to slay a beast. They would cheer much like this so cheering turned into a sign that someone had slain a magical beast. How could she not become alert in such a situation?
“Relax.” Hui Yue laughed to the snake-woman who had moved to his side, ready to defend him against the cheering men on top of the towering building in front of her. “They are cheering.” He explained, “cheering is something you do when you are happy. Those men are happy to see us.”
The beautiful silver eyes were narrowed with doubt, and she refused to move from Hui Yue’s side. Still a small growling sound emerged from her throat, and she was no longer poised to attack.
“The cheering did not resurface, instead a thick and heavy atmosphere appeared which felt as though a knife was needed to cut through. The many guards on the ground had their spears raised, in attack formation until the entourage neared and the first guard noticed the silvery eyes.
A huge shock appeared on his face as he dropped his staff, causing others to follow his gaze and see the silvery eyes. Some gasped in shock while others just stood there frozen and confused, as they saw the woman who was a half snake.
Although Sha Yun from the Magical Forest was a humanoid beast who rarely met humans, she and her sisters were fairly well known by the mercenaries. If a mercenary group were to enter one of their domains they were likely to have some casualties. It was true that these three sisters were not the match for many mercenaries, but with using tactics, such as ambushing people , paired with their relationship with the Saint ranked king of the forest, it was obvious that no one wished to engage in combat with them.
Yet this humanoid beast which everyone would normally try to stay away from was now entering Riluo City, clearly under the bond of a beast pledge. Within the hearts of these guards, a feeling of veneration grew towards Hui Yue. This young cultivator was indeed worthy of their respect and worthy of being the student of an esteemed expert because he was able to subjugate the snake-woman.
Other guards did not feel veneration, instead they felt jealousy. Hui Yue was but a young boy, more than ten years their junior, yet he had managed to become the student of an expert not to mention now he even was the master of such an attractive and fierce magical beast.
Step after step, every metre that they traversed within the city caused more and more citizens to gape in astonishment by seeing the beautiful and tall woman. Shock, however, evident as they noticed that this beautiful woman’s skin was adorned with scales and her lower body was not two shapely legs, but instead a long snake-tail which seemed to be longer than her entire body; while making her way through the streets it was curled underneath her alluring figure as she swayed.
Everywhere the seven youngsters went, sounds stilled and eyes widened as they discussed the group’s members. It was obvious that some of them knew a little about magical beasts as they stared at the woman, a few whispering the words, ‘human shape’ and ‘Saint ranked’.
No one knew for sure what rank this magical beast was, however anyone could see that it was far from average. The human shape was something only beasts of very high cultivation could assume, much like only strong cultivators could turn into beasts.
Just as they had walked a hundred metres into the city, Deng Wu said his farewells and with an awkward smile turned his steed around, moving towards the Deng family complex. It only took a few intersections within the city before Ma Kong, Gao Yan, and the Rong twins had done the exact same, leaving Hui Yue alone with Sha Yun.
“Mother, why does that woman have snake-legs?” A small boy asked his mother as his eyes were glued to Sha Yun, amazement was evident all over his chubby face. Although the mother quickly hushed him and pushed him away, Hui Yue could not help but smile at the direct boy and chuckle slightly. Only the children were unafraid of the snake-woman by his side as none of them knew the dangers of magical beasts. To them, Sha Yun was nothing more than a beautiful and slightly more exotic woman, yet not more dangerous than any other citizen.
“Follow me.” Hui Yue sighed as he dismounted the magical beast he had been riding on for the entire journey. With the reins in his hands, he quickly found a city guard whom he offered two gold coins to ensure that the mount be returned to the City Lord’s mansion safely.
After finally getting rid of the mount, Hui Yue walked on the ground and showed Sha Yun the sights in town. He had noticed how her silvery eyes were filled with astonishment as she kept turning her head right and left, looking at anything from simple stone buildings to elaborate horse carriages.
Hui Yue chuckled as he brought her to the crowded marketplace where they visited stalls that sold a variety of food and candy, wrapped in colourful paper. Although the bustling streets had quieted down, it was impossible for such a big marketplace to completely stop their business just because of one magical beast. Soon Sha Yun managed to experience the bustling marketplace, where Hui Yue bought her a long sand-coloured cloak which, although could not cover up the fact that she was a snake-woman, at least made it less obvious.
After traversing the marketplace for a couple hours the sun had set and the roads were now solely lit up by the moon and lanterns hanging from the house walls. Walking from the marketplace, Hui Yue walked by the elaborate family compounds, and he could not help but enjoy looking at the excitement within Sha Yun’s now silvery eyes, a feeling of fondness appeared within Hui Yue’s chest.
Hui Yue felt as though Sha Yun had changed from a nuisance to a friend. She was still not as close to him as the Rong twins and the others, but she was without a doubt someone who Hui Yue would be able to rely on in the future.
Smiling happily while thinking about the excitement shown on Sha Yun’s face caused Hui Yue to decide that now it was time for the two of them to find an inn where they could rest.
“I…. I am truly sorry sir.” The manager said with a trembling voice, as he kept sending frantic glances towards the intimidating Sha Yun who was standing behind Hui Yue.
“You will not accommodate us because Sha Yun is a magical beast?” Hui Yue disbelievingly repeated what had just been said to him, yet the words made the manager shake his head so vigorously that it looked as though it might fall off if he shook any harder.
“No sir, not at all” The manager quickly replied, “we would love to accommodate the two of you, yet we cannot give you separate rooms. Although this…. Lady…. is very humanlike she is nevertheless a beast, and we do not allow beasts to have their own rooms.”
A sigh escaped Hui Yue, and although he had been in a great mood earlier, his head started aching once more as he thought of the possibilities ahead of him. He could easily go and look at another inn, yet he had a strong premonition that anywhere he went the information would be the same.
“Then give me your biggest room.” Hui Yue sighed, as he handed over a few gold coins before accepting a memory stone which worked as the key to the room.
Walking up the stairs Hui Yue could not help but feel satisfaction with his choice of inn, as the quality was much better than any he had been in before. The staircase was not narrow, but wide and the walls at the sides were decorated with flowery wall paper in great condition.
Everything was lit up with beautiful lights, and during the day sunshine would be shining through the windows which were currently hidden behind curtains. Every door along the way was painted in beautiful white with small brass signs that indicated the room numbers.
Opening the white door, Hui Yue noticed a scent of dried flowers wafting out, enveloping the two as they moved into the room. The headache grew to a thunderous degree.
As Hui Yue took off his shoes, he noticed the room’s floor had a soft carpet, allowing for Hui Yue’s worn out feet to feel some luxury as he walked into the room. The bed was giant and had one shared blanket together with two pillows. The entire room was filled with the scent of dried flowers, and fresh roses had been placed on the two bedside tables together with small snacks.
Although Hui Yue had known that it would be a double bed, he really did not wish for it to be true, and yet now nothing could be done about it. He heaved a heavy sigh, as he slumped onto the soft mattress allowing for the softness to smoothly wrap around his exhausted body.
Closing his eyes, Hui Yue waved his hand as he spoke to Sha Yun, “You take a bath first, I’ll go after.”