Chapter 13: Building a Lair
Xu Min skirted around the outskirts of the town for a few days; however, just as he decided on a location, he saw yet another town, much like the previous one that had been established. This city seemed to attract mercenaries and young masters from cities other than Honghe City. As soon as it came into view, Xu Min grumbled slightly as he turned back and moved towards the forest between the two towns.
Standing there, he looked to both sides. Seeing that no one was around him, he finally moved into the forest. Being in a forest somehow caused Xu Min to quickly calm down. Previously, he had been excited and worried about the many men he could come across in the forest, but now that he had finally entered the forest, he felt as though he had returned home.
Walking with stealthy, silent steps, Xu Min ventured further and further into the forest, moving from the areas where the trees were sparse to the wilderness where even the sunlight was blocked by the trees above.
As soon as he made it to the thicker parts of the woods, he instantly stopped, took his sword from off his back, and wielded it in his hand, ready to take on any beast or human that decided to stand in his way.
As Xu Min looked around, his eyes didn’t look for a demon beast, nor were they looking for other humans, instead, his eyes were constantly looking at the treetops as he tried to determine the best location to build his stronghold. After travelling through the forest for a few hours, Xu Min finally came across an area that lived up to his expectations.
The trees were tall, growing into the sky. Xu Min quickly sheathed his sword before he climbed to the top of these trees. At the top, the branches and leaves were weaved together, blocking the light from above and the eyes from below. Looking at the trees on which he was currently seated, a satisfied smirk appeared on his face as he started to rearrange the branches. He started to make a small nest-like structure. After finishing his construction of the nest and ensuring that neither anyone from below nor none of the beasts that could fly could see him, Xu Min was finally satisfied.
As soon as he had finished his lair, Xu Min sat down for a moment and took a deep breath before laying the sword by his side. He took one deep breath after another, and the golden specks started to appear in the air around him. After only a few moments, Xu Min managed to enter a deep trance-like meditation.
The sun was setting by the time Xu Min woke up from his meditation, and he quickly stood up, stretching his body that had been sitting still for quite some time as his muscles were slightly sore. Standing up, he picked his sword up and sheathed it on his back before he slowly climbed down the large tree in which he had created his lair. He then decided to go looking for some dinner.
The light was already dim when he started walking around the forest. Even the final rays of sunshine were unable to break through the heavy canopy created by the trees that were close by one another. The tree tops were blocking out even the rays of the rising moon.
Xu Min looked around for a moment; however, he quickly found that within the dense forest, the night descended quickly. As the night descended, sounds of the demon beasts increased, and in the forest, bonfires were lit as mercenaries and young masters stopped their daily hunts to start relaxing.
Seeing this, Xu Min quickly retreated back to his lair. Although he was here to fight demon beasts, he had no wish to fight them during the night as they had the advantage when it came to familiarity with the forest, and their night vision was definitely better than that of a human, even a warrior ranked cultivator did not have as good of a view of the night as a demon beast.
Moving back to his lair, Xu Min picked some dried meat out from his bag along with a bottle of wine that he enjoyed while lying down in his nest.
Xu Min relaxed for a moment while listening to the sounds of the forest. Although the forest he had lived in before had neither as many demon beasts nor as many humans as this one contained, the scent and the feel was exactly like what he had been used to. For a moment, he was overwhelmed by nostalgia as he remembered the forest that had been his world for two years.
While thinking about this, he once again remembered the Zhong family. It was impossible for him to go through a whole night without thinking about the Zhong Family, and for once, his mood turned sour. He sat up, no longer lying down in the nest and relaxing. Instead, he sat up again and started to cultivate, allowing the golden specks to replace the other specks within his body. He became enveloped by a comfortable feeling.
Being at the top of the trees, he was able to see the morning sunshine from his nest, and the pale green light that shone onto the young man caused him to open his eyes as the golden specks in the air instantly dissipating into nothingness.
Seeing the morning green light, a comfortable feeling appeared in Xu Min’s heart as he slowly left his lair. When he landed on the ground, he looked up towards the nest, satisfied to see that it was completely impossible for anyone to notice it.
Even though Xu Min was cultivating, his aura was not large enough to reveal his location to any humans or beasts on the ground, just as the demon beasts flying above the forest should be unable to sense him as well.
Satisfied to see that his lair was of range from the others, Xu Min started moving soundlessly through the forest, his keen eyes constantly alert as he expected an attack coming his way at any moment.
His alertness soon paid off as he noticed movements to the side, and by reflex, his hands twisted the sword, allowing it to block the two horns that were aimed straight at his stomach.
The force behind the horns was nothing to look down on, and Xu Min felt that he was tossed backwards as his eyes instantly rested upon the beast in front of him.
The beast was unlike anything Xu Min had ever seen. The body was no larger than one meter tall and it was a meter and a half long. It had a long rat-like tail and its face was like that of a wild hog. He soon noticed that what he had assumed were horns were in fact large tusks.
Seeing the beast, Xu Min’s heart skipped a beat. A smile appeared on his face. The beast in front of him was an ordinary Pest Hog. It was a hog species that was as numerous as rats, and they were considered pests as they usually came in large hordes and took over the farmland.
Seeing one of these hogs, Xu Min now understood why the ground between the Honghe City and the forest was barren. Even if they tried to plant crops, it would all be eaten by the Pest Hogs.
It took Xu Min by surprise that he met only one of these beasts; however, he did not allow himself to be too shocked as he lifted his sword with both hands and chopped downwards at the beast.
A boom sounded out as the sword landed on the ground. The beast had swiftly escaped the sword blow and it was currently charging towards the young man in front of him, its tusks protruded as it’s face was lowered slightly.
Seeing the beast running towards him, Xu Min had moved the sword and once again managed to block the tusks. The contact between the hard tusks and the large sword caused a metallic sound to be heard, followed by Xu Min being sent flying away from the impact.
Although he was being thrown backwards, Xu Min did not fall onto the ground. When he saw the beast assaulting him again, he threw his sword to the side and took up the stance that he had been taught when he was a little boy. Above his head, a big white hand that was neither illusive nor transparent appeared in the air.
The hand was as white as the colour of the Qi within his body. Although Xu Min was tempted to increase the size of the hand, he was perfectly well aware of the dangers in the forest. Using all his power in one attack was very risky.
Another risky thing was that this battle had already gone on long enough, so every human and demon beast in the area would have been able to feel the ripples of their battle or hear the sounds of the collisions.
Seeing this, Xu Min no longer paid attention to defeating the beast with the sword. Instead, the large hand descended from above, the speed much faster than that of the sword, and then suddenly, a squealing sound could be heard, a sound that loudly spread through the forest and put a grimace on Xu Min’s face. He quickly picked up the demon core from the head before he rushed away from the ground where he had fought the beast.
Xu Min was still curious as to who might be around, and although he understood the dangers of staying close by, he quickly jumped into the treetops close to his previous location. His disappearance was not a moment too soon as a group of four mercenaries broke through the bushes and entered the very small clearing where the fight had taken place.
The four mercenaries walked around in the clearing, looking at the beast before they shook their heads. The four mercenaries all spoke together, but Xu Min was out of range to hear the words that were being spoken. Soon after, another group burst through the bushes that surrounded the clearing. However, as soon as they laid eyes on the four mercenaries who were already there, the men quickly turned around and escaped into the surroundings.
As to whether they felt inferior when it came to fighting or did not wish to start a brawl over a simple Pest Hog, it was impossible to tell. However, they quickly vanished into the distance, leaving behind no answer for Xu Min.
One of the four mercenaries looked at the Pest Hog and quickly gave it a harsh kick, causing it to fly far away. Looking at this, Xu Min’s eyes narrowed, as he determined that the man who kicked the Hog was at least a Two-Star, if not a Three-Star Warrior.
Seeing this, Xu Min hid further up the tree. If the man was a Three-Star Warrior, then he was likely to be much stronger than the usual warriors who were moving around in the outskirts of the forest. It was also likely that he was capable of sensing Xu Min because his spiritual sense was much stronger than that of a warrior of the First or Second Star.
Spiritual Sense was something that grew alongside rank. It was the sense that one could utilize to feel what went on around them, and in their mind, they could even see something as small as an ant. Even Xu Min had this spiritual sense, but because he was a warrior of the First Star, his spiritual sense was limited to twenty meters away around him.
Currently, he was seated in a tree thirty meters up and around fifty meters away from the site. If the third ranked warrior truly wished to find him, it would not be a problem to do so.