Chapter 184: Returning Favors
Gold River Basin.
The human and Ferocious Race armies stood opposite each other, the pile of rubble in between them.
Xiao Feinan stood not far from the pile of rubble, his expression solemn.
Not long before this, one of his Origin Formations masters had informed him that the void space of the ruins had experienced a massive fluctuation of energy, drastically decreasing the stability of the space. The ruins were collapsing rapidly, indicating that the expedition was going to end today. He had been standing there solemnly and alertly since early that morning.
The Ferocious Race wasn't nearly as informed as the humans about the situation in the ruins, but they had their own way of figuring things out – by keeping a close eye on the humans.
Once Xiao Feinan appeared on the basin, Mo Lihan also appeared.
Very quickly, the space above the pile of rubble began to ripple vigorously, the fluctuations gradually increasing in intensity.
"They're here!" one of Xiao Feinan's subordinate officers said anxiously.
The Ferocious Race camp also realized something was happening.
This was the Ferocious Race. They never pursued discipline, only bravery and strength.
While the Ferocious Race's organizational capabilities were the lowest, their heroism and morale were always the best.
It was a Ferocious Race youth.
"AWOO!" all of the Ferocious Race individuals present howled in celebration. Xiao Feinan and the other humans felt their hearts sink ever so slightly.
However, the next figure to emerge was a human. It was Wu Xiao.
This time, the humans celebrated, while the Ferocious Race individuals were subdued somewhat.
The Ferocious Race youths and humans appeared in this alternating fashion one after the other. However, very soon, the number of humans returning began to edge out the number of Ferocious Race youths returning.
Upon seeing He Yuandong, Qi Weiyan, Su Chen, etc. step out of the void one after the other, Xiao Feinan's face was filled with joy. In contrast, Mo Lihan's expression only grew uglier.
When the last person stepped out of the void, the space above the pile of rubble trembled violently before the portal disappeared. Everything returned to its former calm. Next, the armies that had been waiting for their return began to rush up to meet the returnees.
"That's it?" Mo Lihan stared at the Ferocious Race youths in front of him, his eyes widening.
Only seven Ferocious Race youths had returned alive.
What about the humans?
Twenty-nine humans had returned alive.
Without question, the Ferocious Race side had suffered serious losses this time.
"How could this happen? How could this happen!?" Mo Lihan yelled. He grabbed a nearby Ferocious Race youth by the neck and howled, "Where are your other brothers? Where are the other Ferocious Race youths?"
"They won't be returning, captain," Danba said, his face deathly pale.
"That's not possible!" Mo Lihan stumbled backwards.
Five Temple Warriors!
They had sent five Temple Warriors into the ruins, but only one had returned.
On their end, Xiao Feinan was also learning from He Yuandong and Qi Weiyan that there had been five Temple Warriors within the ruins.
His face paled. "Five? You're sure there were five?"
He Yuandong and the others were just about to confirm it when Su Chen suddenly said, "Actually, we can't be sure about it."
"What?" Everyone stared at Su Chen in shock.
Su Chen said clearly, "The reason why we assumed they were Temple Warriors was because our opponents were incredibly powerful, but power doesn’t necessarily imply that they were Temple Warriors. For instance, though Bloodline Nobility Clans are usually more powerful, there may be one or two individuals without bloodlines that are able to surpass the normal limits. With the Ferocious Race's potential, producing one or two exceptionally powerful individuals wouldn’t be out of the ordinary; thus, we can’t confirm that they were actually Temple Warriors. Personally, I don’t think they were Temple Warriors at all."
Upon hearing this, Xiao Feinan sighed in relief. However, Tang Ming began to grow agitated. "How could they not be? Feng Yigu even ingested that set of medicine, and the guy he was fighting had already been injured. However, they both perished together in the end. And that Ferocious Race youth I fought – do you think that we'd need both me and Leader He to deal with a normal Ferocious Race youth?"
"Tang Ming, shut your mouth!" He Yuandong said. "I also think that those two weren't Temple Warriors."
"I second that thought," Qi Weiyan said.
"What?" Tang Ming froze.
He glanced around him, only to find that most of the people around him were nodding.
Even though his personality was arrogant, he wasn't an idiot. He suddenly realized that if he continued to maintain that there were five Temple Warriors, there wouldn't be any effect on the Ferocious Race group assembled. After all, they were all dead, and there was no way that they could verify the truth of the matter. However, it wouldn't have a small effect on Xiao Feinan. At the very least, he would be accused of having been too lax while supervising the situation.
Everyone was familiar with Xiao Feinan. If he was just an arrogant, haughty general, they might not have said anything, but Xiao Feinan was a pretty good person. No one wanted to see him get in trouble. In addition, the method that the Ferocious Race had used to sneak two Temple Warriors in was still a secret. No one could say for sure whether Xiao Feinan had been too lax or the opponents' tactics had been superior. There was no point in dragging him down over this.
That was why Su Chen maintained that there were two additional suspected Temple Warriors. This could be considered giving Xiao Feinan an extra opportunity.
Most importantly, they could use this to get on Xiao Feinan's good graces.
In this way, Xiao Feinan would owe everyone present a favor.
How much value getting in someone's good graces varied from person to person and was hard to estimate. At the very least, however, Xiao Feinan's impression of Su Chen increased significantly because he was the first to mention that the Temple Warriors might not actually be Temple Warriors.
Upon realizing this, Tang MIng didn't say anything.
Xiao Feinan also understood what was happening. He clasped his hands and said, "Everyone has worked hard on this expedition to the ruins. I, Xiao Feinan, recognize the blood, sweat, and tears you all have poured out. I believe I can say on behalf of Long Sang Country that you all will be justly rewarded for your contributions!"
Naturally, Xiao Feinan was expressing his gratitude.
Of course, gratitude was still just gratitude; the inspections still needed to be done. The resources within the Origin Rings still needed to be collected, and the students themselves were also inspected to make sure that they didn't conceal anything. Finally, they needed to interview each student to determine what exactly had happened in the ruins by comparing everyone's testimonies, then making an evaluation.
Under these circumstances, the spirit board couldn't possibly remain concealed.
Within the main tent, an officer was interrogating Su Chen, writing down everything that he had done within the ruins.
The officer's attitude was very cordial. Nothing happened to make Su Chen unhappy.
After asking precisely about the matter of the ownership of the spirit tablet, the officer said amicably, "I've already written down everything that's happened. Overall, there aren't any issues with your testimony. As for this spirit tablet, even though it's already recognized a master, it should still remain here with us according to the rules until the higher-ups are able to take a look at it."
This…… Su Chen hesitated.
When he was answering the officer's questions, Su Chen had downplayed Patelocke's value intentionally. Though the officer knew that the spirit of an Ancient Arcana Master was within the tablet, he didn't know that the spirit was actually a Chief Arcana Master, and one that could use consciousness techniques. Without question, this would cause his valuation of the spirit tablet to greatly decrease.
However, if Su Chen were to turn the spirit tablet over to him, the outcome would be hard to predict – if Patelocke were to secretly try and foil his plans by spilling everything, Su Chen might not be able to hang onto the spirit tablet.
"Since it's already recognized a master and isn't something incredibly valuable, just return it to him. I'll explain the situation to the higher-ups." At this moment, a voice came from outside the tent. Xiao Feinan walked in, his hands behind his back.
"Many thanks, General Xiao!" Su Chen stood up and said.
He knew that this was Xiao Feinan returning his favor from earlier.