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With that, he took a step forward, creating a series of afterimages as he charged right at the metal pillar, pressing one palm on it.

Job skill Shadow Coffin activated.

Immediately, black shadows encompassed the entire metal pillar. In the next moment, Anderson took out a dagger. It was the level 19 Inferior Divine Weapon Weapon, Shadow Tooth. His academy had specially prepared it for him.

Killing technique – Piercing Sun.

Like a shooting star cutting across the sky, or like the sun piercing through the clouds, Anderson focused all his energies onto the Shadow Tooth. Then, with a spinning and piercing force, he thrust out.

The Shadow Coffin weakened the sturdiness of the targeted material, the Divine Weapon Shadow Tooth turned an enhanced force into a spinning one, and Piercing Sun allowed the user to instantaneously and explosively throw out this force.

After three consecutive explosions, Anderson’s explosive prowess was brought to a whole new level.

With a crisp Kacha! sound, his whole arm and elbow sunk into the metal pillar. A tremendous cavity appeared on that metal pillar, almost boring halfway into it. It looked like a huge drilled hole.

Withdrawing his arm and looking at the metal pillar which had started to wriggle and recover slowly, Anderson’s mouth twitched, “Tsk, I didn’t get through it?”

With that, he left without turning back, as if he was not concerned with his grades in the least.

Other than giving their scores, it was also rare to see the few examiners commenting.

Governor Devitt said, “Focused strength into one point, great mastery of his job skill. Even a level 20 Conferred Knight would not dare to face this attack easily. 48 points.”

The Commissioner of Education, who was so old that it seemed as if he was bound to die anytime was, just as Edger had said, one who had always been supporting academies to be self-sufficient and get their own sponsorships.

He opened his mouth and weakly said, “It’s a killer move. In the future, after you move on into the second transition, there’ll definitely be a spot for you in the Imperial Capital. 48 points.”

The capable-looking Yaris smiled and said, “Not bad, lad. When I was your age, I was probably incapable of facing even a single attack of yours. Your ending movement is still a little bit off. I’ll give 47 points.”

Armstrong, fully covered in scars, said coldly, “Fast, accurate, vicious. It’s a move purely intended to kill, and it’s put in too much of an unfavorable position when used in Slashing the Heavenly Pillar. I’ll give you 49 points.”

Finally, under everyone’s astonished gazes, Anderson received a score of 48 points. Chapter 144: An Escort Mission

“You are going to be delivering information to Dragon Corps’ main office?” Xu Piao asked agape as he looked at the young man in front of him.

Seeing the surprised expression on Xu Piao’s face, Hui Yue could not help but chuckle slightly and he nodded his head, handing out his mercenary emblem.

Seeing the emblem Xu Piao carefully took it and placed it on his forehead, the shining light that was iconic of memory stones fluctuated out, enveloped everyone present. Xu Piao’s eyes were closed as he saw the mission description.

Unlike Hui Yue, Xu Piao was perfectly aware that Zhou Long was capable of reaching the final cave much quicker than Hui Yue. It was also incredibly rare for information to be sent with mercenaries, especially since there was no way they could be rely on.

Thinking about it, Zhou Long had been showing favouritism towards Hui Yue, as though he knew something about the young man which Xu Piao did not. The Guild Master pondered slightly as he gave Hui Yue a searching look as if he hoped whatever it was Zhou Long saw in the young man would become aware to him as well.

Although he spent some time looking at Hui Yue causing the white-haired boy to feel oddly uncomfortable, he finally sighed and gave up the endeavor.

“Looks like the mission is pretty good,” Xu Piao said with a sigh as he handed back the golden emblem, but his face showed an expression of not completely comprehending why Hui Yue had been given such a task.

Seeing his expression, Hui Yue somewhat understood what Xu Piao was thinking, and although the Guild Master said nothing, the white-haired boy quickly understood that the mission was not as simple as he had expected it to be.

Before Hui Yue had the time to ask any questions, a telling gaze landed on him from Xu Piao who very slightly shook his head signaling that this was not the location to chat. Seeing his gesture, Hui Yue did not continue the conversation, instead he smiled happily as he heard cheerful sounds from his friends; all of whom were thrilled with the idea of finally leaving Mercenary City. Mercenarythis Ccity.

Walking to the side, Hui Yue gestured for Xu Piao to follow him which the other man did willingly.

“What do you think about this mission?” Hui Yue asked in a very low voice, ensuring that no one close by would be able to hear what was being said.

Scratching his head, Xu Piao gave a wry smile showing his helplessness as he asked, “What is your relationship with Zhou Long? Giving you a mission of such importance should make you someone he has known for years and trusts unconditionally.”

Hearing that Hui Yue nodded his head. It was indeed odd how Zhou Long treated him as if he was a long lost friend when they had not know each other from before. Could it be that Hui Yue reminded him of someone he knew?

Both Xu Piao and Hui Yue were quiet as each contemplated in why Zhou Long trust him so much, but both were unable to find an answer.

“So what are your plans now?” Xu Piao asked as he looked at how his friends were drinking and eating, playing around the bonfire they had started in the middle of the courtyard. Smiling Hui Yue answered, “I don’t think Zhou Long has any malicious thoughts against me.” He stated , his words making sense to Xu Piao.

“If he wanted me dead I would have died long ago,” Hui Yue continued, “but instead of killing me he constantly finds situations which are beneficial to me.”

“I think this mission is the same. He wishes to have control of how and where I travel, but at the same time he knows that I would declined the offer, if we were to travel together.” Hearing this Xu Piao was the one who nodded his head.

“Would you mind if I were to tag along?” Xu Piao suddenly asked, as he scratched his chin with a somewhat embarrassed expression on his face. “I have delayed a trip to the Dragon Core, final cave, for quite some time since I enjoy the leisurely life within the Demon Dwelling Cave. I have gotten quite a few orders about travelling soon, but I did not go. Perhaps if I could journey with you it would be much more interesting.”


Xu Piao gave a hurried explanation before Hui Yue had the time to answer, and the suddenness of it caused Hui Yue to laugh a little as he considered the situation.

In the cave they were at right now Hui Yue was seen as a strong man, and in the previous cave he had been the strongest. Yet he was aware that he would not be considered strong in the caves to come, yet if his group consisted of Hui Yue’s friends along with the two King ranked experts then it would be a lot safer.

This mission was highly lucrative for everyone as it dealt with the Dragon Corps. Although the Dragon Corps was seen as the highest power within this tunnel and cave system, other factions also existed.

Although these factions were not fighting against the Dragon Corps outright, they would pay a hefty sum of money to gain access to the information Hui Yue was carrying making the lucrative mission dangerous as well.

Currently the only ones aware of the details of the mission were Hui Yue, Xu Piao, and Zhou Long. Bringing along Xu Piao would also make it so that he could not sell the information. Although Hui Yue highly doubted that it was something Xu Piao would do, it was still a possibility.

Considering all the pros and cons Hui Yue slowly nodded his head, “It’d be a pleasure to have you join us.” He said in a quiet voice as he looked over at Deng Wu teasing Wang Ju Long by the campsite. A sad smile appeared on his face as he remembered how Wang Ju Long lost her Little Poppy whom she had spent a lot of time raising.

Little Poppy died a heroic death, as it managed to inflict severe damage to the face of the Horned Snake. It was, sadly, too slow in retreating, yet it had gone out in a blaze of glory.

After Zhou Long left the battleground, Hui Yue and his friends stayed behind where they created a grave for the flower.

The loss of her Little Poppy was hard on Wang Ju Long, but after some time Deng Wu and Hui Yue managed to break through her expressionless exterior and they once more saw the beautiful girl’s embarrassed smile.

Seeing Wang Ju Long smile like that made the heaviness vanish from Hui Yue’s heart and cheerfulness welled up in its place. It was as though his heart ached together with Wang Ju Long, yet it had been for another reason.

Seeing that Deng Wu managed to make the still slightly depressed Wang Ju Long smile, Hui Yue could not help but let a smile appear on his own face, relief flooding his senses and happiness shining from his eyes.

Xu Piao noticing his change of expression looked in the direction Hui Yue was gazing at and a knowing smile appeared on his face along with laughter.

The laughter could be heard throughout the entire courtyard and with a red face Hui Yue pretended that nothing happened.

Their secretive meeting was interrupted by laughter, but they both knew that they would be comrades, and with their eyes did, they agreed upon meeting the following day to plan out the details of their trip.

Laughing out loud, Hui Yue and Xu Piao together reentered the party which was ongoing in their courtyard. Although everyone knew that the two had been conversing with hushed voices about important matters, no one asked any questions instead they accepted that they would not to be told before the matter before it was settled.

Walking to the bonfire in the middle of the courtyard Hui Yue smiled as he grabbed a stick with some meat which was being grilled. Looking at the freshness of the meat, Hui Yue could instantly tell that it was not his dried wolf meat, nor was it dried Horned Snake meat, and with a slight harrumph he ate the fresh food.

Hui Yue liked saving money. He never knew when he would need it and as long as he had dried meat he would have preferred to eat that. In spite of this, as soon as the tender meat entered his mouth the white-haired boy was stunned by how it melted in his mouth, exploding with flavor. A satisfied and relaxed expression appeared on his face.

This was not normal meat, this was meat from a magical beast which had been seasoned with medicinal herbs for the sake of defeating fatigue. Creating food like this was something which Wang Ju Long wished to learn, however, no teachers could be found within Riluo City.

Seeing that the meat was right in front of them and that Xu Piao was clearly not the creator, Hui Yue was even happier now than before. Because this meant that Xie Lan was a cultivator with affinity for Wood and that she specialized in something Wang Ju Long was eager to learn.

Xie Lan was a great benefit to Hui Yue and he could not help whistling the rest of the time while he was eating the delicious food. Afterwords, he moved closer towards Sha Yun who was talking with Xie Lan and Xu Piao at his side.

….

“So we will be leaving in three days,” Xu Piao said as he looked at Hui Yue. The two of them were standing within Xu Piao’s office and the older of the two had been packing items into storage stones getting ready for their trip.

Hui Yue nodded, three days was a perfect amount of time. This gave them time to purchase the items they would need and at the same time also give them enough rest to be ready for their journey out of the Demon Dwelling Cave. After all they had only left Mercenary City once, to slay the Horned Snake, and they were not familiar with the terrain.

Looking into the horizon and up at the sky it was hard to believe that this was truly just a cave. Everything looked as if they were in the world above and not underground.. Only if one looked carefully they would see a stone ceiling above the sun and in the distance, if one strained their eyes to the limit, one would be able to see the cave wall enveloping this world, locking everything inside as though it was a prison.

Hui Yue completely understood why Xu Piao was tired of this world, and maybe if he kept following the white-haired boy and assisting him when he was in trouble Hui Yue would be willing to bring the older man out of this underground world. Friends helped each other after all.

Standing up, Hui Yue nodded to Xu Piao who nodded back, and with steady steps Hui Yue strode towards the courtyard where all his friends were waiting, curious to hear what it was that they had been conversing about.

Although they trusted Hui Yue’s judgement they could not help but be curious. They previously discussed what they thought the conversation was about and they all expected Hui Yue had invited Xu Piao to join them.

Strictly speaking they were wrong, as Hui Yue did not asked him to join, but Xu Piao suggested it, still as soon as they heard that the latter would be accompanying them and that he would bring Xie Lan as well happiness was visible on their faces, and everyone was overjoyed to hear the news. Chapter 145: Departure

The morning dew was falling from the plants as Hui Yue and his party made their way past the fields outside Mercenary City. Three days had gone by quickly and Hui Yue spent the time refining even more materials, while his friends stocked up on necessities.

Light stones were much cheaper in this underground world than they were in the world above, and Wang Ju Long took the chance to purchase them in large quantities.

Light stones were not the only thing that they purchased before the group was ready to set out once again. Medicinal plants were bought in large quantities along with inscription paper, other scrolls, and simple memory stones.

Purchasing memory stones had become a much simpler task after breaking into the Master rank as they could now use spiritual energy, and it was now possible for the cultivators to refine the stones on their own.

Memory stones were small black gemlike stones which were as numerous as the stars in the sky, and these stones in their original shape were only able to hold short messages or imprints of skills which could be used just a few times before they would collapse.

It was these memory stones which Hui Yue had bought back when he sold the martial art skills in Riluo City.

All memory stones had a suction force inside of them which could be activated by qi. As soon as the suction force had been activated, these stones would capture what was transmitted into it, whether that was a message, a skill, or a scene which was occurring in front of it.

Apart from low grade stones were middle grade stones. These stones were refined slightly more making them able to contain longer messages and hold the martial art skills for longer. Depending on the size of these stones, and the purity of them, it was possible to refine them into storage stones.

Purity of the memory stones could be determined by its color and size. The blacker it was the purer it was.

Storage stones were memory stones of high purity which had been refined past the point where they could hold only messages and were able to hold items instead.

Above the middle rated memory stones where the high rated ones. These were the purest stones which were refined to contain large quantities of items, contain large messages and long recordings.

These were what standard memory stones were like, yet some of them were refined for special things such as the student emblem which Hui Yue was given at the academy.

Those memory stones were of the finest quality and were refined by specialists who constantly created memory stones for students. Memory stones which recorded everything, worked as a key, and also worked as a storage stone, allowing for coins to be deposited within.

So far, the memory stone which Hui Yue had gotten at the academy was by far the most amazing refinement he had seen, and it was impossible for him to refine stones to such a degree.

Although Hui Yue could not refine those memory stones he was still adept in creating storage stones and high rated memory stones, causing him to buy a large quantity of unrefined stones of various qualities.

Having purchased all the items they needed, Hui Yue ordered the final two days to be spent in cultivation. Even though he knew that Xu Piao and Xie Lan were going to follow them he could not help but remember just how dangerous the task was going to be.

Everyone understood his worry and no one complained. The excitement about moving on was growing within all of them and even Hui Yue could not help but feel impatient, excitement almost overflowing by the morning on the third day.

The morning mist was still hanging in the air the third morning, but the small courtyard was already bustling with life. The sun had yet to rise in the horizon, but none of the youngsters were able to keep put any longer, even Hui Yue sprouted an excited smile on his face as he went through his room packing up everything that belonged to him.

Everyone packed their items within minutes, and they had soon gathered outside the house fidgeting as they waited for Xu Piao and Xie Lan to arrive.

Hui Yue sat down and started cultivating. Deng Wu found some paper and started writing an inscription pattern, Wang Ju Long leaned against the house wall, and Sha Yun just stood there, staring impatiently at the gate, her tail tapping the ground showing her current emotions.

What seemed like an eternity later, Xu Piao and Xie Lan finally appeared in the gateway, both of them surprised to see the group of four ready to go, and a smile appeared on Xu Piao’s face as he realized that he had made them wait. They all were busy with something, but it was clear that what they were doing was only to waste time.

Sensing that Xu Piao entered the courtyard, Hui Yue opened his eyes and a smile appeared on his face as he gracefully stood up and dusted off his robe.

None of them said a word, instead Hui Yue and Xu Piao nodded to one another before Hui Yue beckoned with his hand pointing towards the exit.

Smiles were evident all around as they finally set out on their journey as the sun was rising in front of them, showing them the world in which they were to step into.


….

“We’ve been here before,” Hui Yue said with a sigh as he pointed at the tree in front of him which was marked with an x that had been carved deeply into the tree trunk.

Seeing the mark, everyone in the group was startled and had a look of shock on their faces as they could not understand what happened.

“This shouldn’t be so,” Xu Pioa mumbled, uncertain about what just occurred. “We are guiding our path with the sun and constantly moving towards the West, how can we have returned to our original position?”

….

Having set out on the road, Hui Yue and his friends were all extremely excited and were happily conversing as they started traveling down the dusty road leading towards the capital of Demon Dwelling Cave.

According to their estimation, it should be possible for them to arrive at the capital within a week, but three days after departure something unexpected happened.

The road which Hui Yue and his friends were travelling on suddenly led into a large forest, a forest which Xu Piao claimed did not belong there.

“I am certain,” Piao said again, slightly annoyed, not just at the fact that Hui Yue did not believe him, but also that he himself had a hard time believing it.

The usually straight road, which should have been surrounded by farmland was now going straight through a large and relatively dark forest which seemed to have been growing for centuries.

Seeing that the road went straight through the forest, Hui Yue and Xu Piao decided on entering, but now that seemed like a bad decision.

At first, as they entered the forest they saw ruins of old farmhouses which were swallowed up by the trees and the plants from within the forest. Strangely when one went to observe these ruins they did not seem old, rather, they seemed to be fairly well looked after and many items were left behind within the houses, items which seemed to have been used frequently up until few days ago.



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