Chapter 275 - Captured
Song He wasn’t the only person here. Next to him was a beautiful woman. And beside the woman were two gallant and bright young men who were particularly attentive towards her.
Just by looking at them, that beautiful woman was rather close to Song He. As for how she treated those two men, she was clearly somewhat icily arrogant.
Right now, Song He had called out to the two. Gongyi Tianheng halted his steps, and spoke together with Gu Zuo: “Brother Song.”
Song He made introductions very enthusiastically: “Brother Gongyi, Brother Gu. This is my Senior Sect Sister Yao Yao, who entered the Road of Heaven’s Chosen alongside us this time.”
Then, the level of his enthusiasm was lowered slightly: “These two are Senior Sect Sister Yao’s friends, Brother Jiang Qin and Brother Gao Peng. They are both very strong.”
In a moment, Gu Zuo distinguished the realms of these few people.
The realm of that beautiful woman, Yao Yao, wasn’t low. She was already a mid Immortal Realm martial artist. Jiang Qin and Gao Peng were the same. The one who was slightly weaker was the low Immortal Realm Song He.
The three of them didn’t seem to be members of a single organization. Otherwise, Song He wouldn’t have addressed them this differently.
Gu Zuo and Tianheng politely said: “These two sirs and Young Lady Yao — It’s nice to meet you.”
Yao Yao faintly smiled at the two. Like a hundred blossoming flowers, her smile was incomparably tender and beautiful. Her voice was also like the song of a black-naped oriole. Although it wasn’t that fervent, it still possessed a type of special quality that made it pleasant to listen to: “It’s nice to meet you, too.”
However, Yao Yao’s positive bearing wasn’t considered a good thing.
Off to the side, the complexions of Jiang Qin and Gao Peng both changed.
Just then, when their gazes swept over Tianheng, they originally couldn’t help but automatically reveal a trace of malice. And this kind of malice, amid Yao Yao’s gentle warmth, had reached even higher values. Their hearts were aggrieved. Thus, they only negligently nodded their heads. There weren’t any intentions of taking the initiative to speak.
Tianheng was unconcerned.
Meanwhile, Gu Zuo felt a little exasperated — Those two fellows wouldn’t happen to be jealous of his big brother because he was too handsome and that woman was paying too much attention to him, right? Greeting one another was a basic courtesy! And being unjustly attacked was a little uncalled for!
At this time, Jiang Qin’s tone of voice carried a hint of impatience as he reminded: “Brother Song, we should be entering the city.”
Song He responded in affirmation, and made a sincere invitation to Tianheng and Gu Zuo: “Crossing paths twice is being brought together by fate. These two sirs, why not enter the city with this Song?”
Yao Yao seemed to be a little surprised, but she didn’t voice any refusals after Song He brought this up.
This kind of scene made her two suitors even more displeased.
Although Gao Peng constrained his emotions somewhat, his words still unavoidably bore a trace of disdain: “There’s one crisis after another on the Road of Heaven’s Chosen. Mid Immortal Realm martial artists can also only barely protect themselves. If one’s strength is of no use, then one shouldn’t burden others… Brother Song, don’t you agree?”
Not a single word was spoken to Tianheng, but the implication was definitely to make Tianheng voluntarily refuse so that he didn’t become a nuisance to them!
Hearing this, Gu Zuo was very upset.
Gu Zuo thought about giving that guy a silver awl to make him nice and cold. What was he to do?
Song He’s smiling expression turned stiff.
Actually, he also didn’t have the slightest good impression of Gao Peng and Jiang Qin. Yes, their strengths were quite powerful and their martial skills were brilliant. They were counted as genius personages. However, his Senior Sect Sister was even more extraordinary. How could they be her match? What’s more, these two people looked down on him, so it would be strange if he was willing to let them act as his senior’s companions!
Now, they were even more done for, having ridiculed Tianheng to his face — In actuality, Song He’s confidence in Tianheng was far greater than his trust in these two fellows!
It really seemed that Tianheng’s realm wasn’t high, but his strength and his ability to persevere through prolonged combat far outlasted that of these two people! If these two individuals were considered geniuses, then Tianheng could still throw them eighteen streets over, becoming a peak existence among geniuses! Furthermore, there was Gu Zuo, the pharmacist whose psychic power was incredibly mysterious.
Song He had, with great difficulty, relied upon this tiny bit of friendship borne from two coincidental meetings, and had tried to journey together with Tianheng and Gu Zuo in the face of a “pleasant encounter”. In the end, just as he suggested this, it was ruined by those two fellows who didn’t have eyes to see! He was quite dejected.
Sure enough, Tianheng tactfully declined at the next moment: “This one appreciates Brother Song’s kindness. However, Brother Song isn’t by himself anymore, so I won’t interrupt you any longer.”
Song He’s smile became a bit strained. He hesitated: “Thisk2026; Since these two sirs don’t have any intentions, then this Song won’t force the issue.” Very quickly, his expression became solemn and respectful, “To be quite honest, these two sirs have done the favor of saving this Song’s life. Consequently, this Song has obtained some information that I’d like to share. If these two sirs aren’t willing to travel together, that’s no problem. But we’ll still be entering the city at the same time. This Song may as well share this information with these two sirs. After entering the city, it won’t be too late for you and I to go our separate ways.”
Tianheng pondered for a moment: “Many thanks for this.”
Gu Zuo also expressed his thanks to Song He.
Song He’s obstinance enraged Gao Peng and Jiang Qin. They opened their mouths as if they were going to continue berating him. Only, just before they started, Gao Peng saw a trace of unhappiness quickly flicker across Yao Yao’s face. He immediately closed his mouth. And since Jiang Qin and Gao Peng were love rivals, Jiang Qin also naturally paid attention to Gao Peng’s expressions at all times. The moment he saw Gao Peng stop, Jiang Qin no longer said anything else without the slightest hesitation.
Gao Peng discovered that Jiang Qin had learned about his matter, and was a little annoyed. However, in his opinion, the one who was even more dangerous than Jiang Qin was still Gongyi Tianheng.
A group of six people entered the city gates, each with their own thoughts. In order to build a good relationship with Tianheng and Gu Zuo, Song He didn’t keep them in suspense, and talked about all the things that he knew of: “Brother Gongyi should’ve also noticed those seemingly-ordinary commoners within several ancient cities. During the day, they live normally, but when night arrives, they transform into monsters that hunger for flesh and blood. They are a hindrance to people like us who’ve come to the Road of Heaven’s Chosen.”
Tianheng nodded slightly: “That’s right. They’ll tear and rend each other, but they’ll come back to life during the day. It’s very bizarre.”
Song He said: “Brother Gongyi might not know about this. After the continents separated at that time, these ancient cities and monsters are actually the originally founded cities and their inhabitants. Back when the landmass shattered into pieces, the strange energy brought about by that disaster turned the living people into monsters. However, their consciousness was preserved within the minds of those monsters, which made them feel that they themselves were still real humans. Thus, under the influence of their consciousness and the interference of the outside world, the monsters both reproduced and lived their lives like ordinary people. During the night, they liberate the evil thoughts in their hearts, and during the day, they maintain the awareness of humans. Gradually, they survived just like this…”
Gu Zuo listened up to here, and his heart felt a little upset.
Back then, there were still people here on this landmass, but they were truly quite unlucky.
Song He continued to speak: “As for why these monsters are ordinary in the day and have greatly increased attack power at night, it’s related to their origins. In those years that the disaster arrived, the powerhouses of this region bore the brunt of its devastation, and were the first to be erased. After that, the remaining martial artists weren’t strong enough. Although they could slightly resist the onslaught of the disaster’s powers in the beginning, whether they were gradually assimilated, or committed suicide to preserve their dignity, or died from old age, the ones who were ultimately left behind were just the monsters that never embarked upon the path of martial arts. Only the intent that was left behind by these martial artists was engraved into the blood of these monsters. This was passed down from generation to generation, granting them the capabilities to attack.”
Speaking up to here, he sighed: “Of course, the strengths of the first monsters weren’t that powerful. However, this place later became the Road of Heaven’s Chosen. More and more genius martial artists died here, and their intent was similarly left behind. After being absorbed by these monsters, it gradually became their own to use… Reaching the present day, the monsters have already become very powerful. As more time passes, the monsters will become even stronger. It’s just that, no matter how strong they are, they’ll never surpass the mid Immortal Realm. This place can also be considered a natural tempering site.”
He was very sincere with the things he knew about, and introduced everything one by one. This immediately answered the questions in Gu Zuo and Tianheng’s minds.
Tianheng inquired: “Where did Brother Song find out about these secrets?”
There was a hint of embarrassment on Song He’s face: “Speaking of which, it was also a coincidence. Previously, I…” He spoke a little vaguely, “…Encountered a dead body, and obtained a secret manual from that dead body. These matters were written inside it.”
Tianheng didn’t pry: “So it was like this. Many thanks for the pointers, Brother Song!”
At this time, Gu Zuo asked: “By the way, Brother Song, have you heard about the Third Prince, Prince Zhou, and Young Master Xin?”
Song He startled: “Brother Gu, is it possible that you’ve met them? Then, you—”
He spoke somewhat indignantly: “Those are people from the Central Continent. They came over to select talents for their own forces, to collect people like us from the Peripheral Continents, and to go back and order us about. If it was only this, then it could be glossed over as a pursuit for talents. However, those couple of people are very tyrannical. Prior to recruiting, they first send people to hold a great purge. Everyone who can’t escape from their hands are unqualified. It could be described as extremely arrogant and insolent!”
Many people hadn’t gotten very far and were already dead under the great purge. It could be said that they were truly small and weak, but it also could be said that they weren’t vigilant enough.
But, regardless of which type one was, the main culprits were still those three powerful people who came over from the Central Continent!
Gu Zuo confirmed his and Tianheng’s conjectures from Song He, and the worries in his heart bubbled forth.
How many people from the Southern Expanse had died during this purge? Furthermore, he didn’t know if his close friend, Xu Lingxiu, was still alive… He was a pharmacist, so he ought to have been shown mercy, right?
However, Gu Zuo also knew that this way of thinking was too naive. After all, as a pharmacist himself, none of his opponents had shown him any mercy during their journey. How could he have any extravagant hopes of Xu Lingxiu being let off easy by someone else? It was just that he didn’t know if he would still be able to meet Xu Lingxiu on the road ahead.
Tianheng first asked: “Brother Song, aside from us, have you met anyone else from the Peripheral Continents?”
Song He forced a smile and said: “Not yet. Even if I did, they’d either swiftly pass by or turn into corpses.” He was very frustrated, “I also just found out that there are a total of four Roads of Heaven’s Chosen, but it’s not that every two expanses share the use of one road. Rather, whenever we martial artists go in, we’ll randomly enter a certain Road of Heaven’s Chosen through the distortions of the thick fog. I’m someone from the Southeastern Expanse, but I don’t know if the Road of Heaven’s Chosen that I’ve come to is the road on the eastern side or the southern side.”
To put it simply, the people of every expanse would be warped to a nearby Road of Heaven’s Chosen. For example, Gu Zuo and Tianheng were members of the Southern Expanse. As such, the Road of Heaven’s Chosen that they entered might’ve been the eastern, western, or southern roads. Song He was from the Southeastern Expanse, so he either went to the eastern or southern roads. Thus, it was extremely unlikely that he had jumped to the western or northern roads.
Likewise, it was possible that the people Gu Zuo and Tianheng met were martial artists of any expanse. However, it was unknown which passage they were specifically traveling across.
Naturally, the possibility that the two were on the southern road was still the highest.
The group continued to move forward.
On this side, Song He shared information with Gu Zuo and Tianheng. On that side, although Jiang Qin and Gao Peng didn’t look upon them too favorably, they were also happy that Tianheng didn’t strike up a conversation with Yao Yao. As a result, they only surrounded Yao Yao and didn’t pay any attention to what Song He was talking about with Tianheng and Gu Zuo.
The situation in this ancient city wasn’t any different from the other cities. Only, there were more people in this ancient city. Suppose, for instance, those previous ancient cities were at the township level, then this one was at the county level. Perhaps, the following ancient cities would be even larger.
After entering the city, they were originally going to separate. However, after considering the issue of taverns, they went in search of one together.
Gu Zuo still had some doubts: “Brother Song, do you know the specific identities of those three powerful people? In addition, can they really act so unscrupulously on this Road of Death?”
Song He’s current information was fast and abundant, but most of it was obtained from that dead body. Song He recalled something, and said in a low voice: “This Song only knows that the Third Prince is actually a prince of a bronze-level empire on the Central Continent. In that empire, anyone who can be granted the title of ‘prince’ isn’t an ordinary genius. Not only does he have the support of many forces and clans inside the empire, he also has the backing of sects and other organizations on the outside. Of course, his own aptitudes and potential are certainly at the first rank.
He continued: “The Third Prince came here this time because he had accepted the royal family’s title bestowment trial. To pass this trial, he has to find the appropriate talents here and bring them back as battle slaves. Then, he can gain a true title. Otherwise, the Third Prince will only be a reserve member. Even with the name of a prince, he can’t obtain the unified recognition of the empire. Compared to those princes who’ve passed their trials, his position and treatment will be lower by half. The prince himself will also have no face.”
Gu Zuo was silent.
There was a lot of information in these words…
He hesitated for a moment before saying in a feeble voice: “How old is the Third Prince? After the mid Immortal Realm, he can’t enter this place, right?”
Song He despaired: “The Third Prince is only twenty-two years old.”
Gu Zuo was also discouraged.
He was even more outstanding than Huang Ji! And his age was about the same as his big brother…
Song He shook his head: “In addition, the purpose of coming here for the other two, Prince Zhou and Young Master Xin, are the same. In their competition with the Third Prince, their statuses and strengths ought to be equally matched. This time around, three great lords have come. Who knows what’ll happen in the end?”
At this time, Gu Zuo spoke one sentence: “In any case, this Gu would rather die than become a battle slave.”
Song He sighed and said: “This is natural, but anyone who is marked as a slave has no freedom of choice in life and death. Rather than living in this way, I’d rather go down fighting.”
Gu Zuo repeatedly nodded his head: “Right, that makes perfect sense!”
As the two talked and chatted, they had unwittingly arrived in front of the street which, after making inquiries, housed the best tavern around. If they were going to rest, they’d certainly pick the best and most comfortable place.
But just as the group walked to the street entrance, Gu Zuo heard shouting and cursing up ahead: “Who are all of you?! Why are you blocking the way?”
Then, another person lashed out: “If you’re sensible, you’ll quickly let us through. Otherwise, don’t blame me for being impolite!”
Gu Zuo listened to the owners of these voices. They were the ones who didn’t get along too well with his big brother — Jiang Qin and Gao Peng. These two thought very highly of themselves, and had an air of arrogance. They were reprimanding at this moment because they had been met with an unhappy matter. They were originally walking forward, but had been obstructed by others just now.
Song He hastily said: “Let’s go and take a look.”
Tianheng carried Gu Zuo on his back, and moved behind Song He with steps that were neither fast nor slow.
Gu Zuo was a little nervous: “Big brother, do you think we’ve come across some trouble?”
Tianheng was tranquil: “It’s more like trouble has come to us.”
Indeed… Trouble had arrived.
After Gu Zuo drew closer, he discovered that there were dozens of people watching over this street. They wore armor, and were just like soldiers. The commander who headed them was even more lofty and out of the ordinary. With an abundant height of three meters, bronze-colored skin, and sharp and chiseled features, he possessed the tenacity and intensity that was characteristic of a military man.
The ones who barred Gao Peng and Jiang Qin’s way were two soldiers. They both had the strengths of the low Immortal Realm. At this moment, they held their spears and crossed them horizontally in front of everyone.
It was clear that this path was blocked.
What was even more surprising was that, even with a beauty with such an excellent temperament and complexion like Yao Yao, their hearts were as cold and hard as steel. They didn’t glance more than once at her. From this, one could see their resolute willpower as well as how harshly they had been trained.
Then, the commander saw this group of people. He stalked forward like a predator, and said in a loud voice: “The Third Prince’s subordinate, the Fourth Commander, is present. By the order of the prince, I shall recruit you all. Report your names at once, and pay your respects as the prince’s subordinates!”
Gao Peng and Jiang Qin heard what was said, and their faces became furious: “What’s this about a Third Prince and Fourth Commander? We are heaven-sent prodigies. Why should we listen to someone’s orders? You all have no manners, so just get out of our way!”
The two’s performance was taken into Gu Zuo’s eyes. It felt very strange.
What kind of status did a personage like the Third Prince possess? Although he was recruiting with bad intentions, his influence was overwhelming and his strength was extremely high. They still needed to be respectful. Even if they refused, they also shouldn’t be this disdainful. If they really didn’t submit to force, it would immediately lead to a fight. As it happened, giving orders in such a way also appeared somewhat…ill-mannered and tactless.
A thought suddenly sprung up in Gu Zuo’s mind, and he furtively looked at Song He.
Could it be that, because Song He disliked these two people so much, he simply didn’t inform them about the matter of the Third Prince? This also wasn’t impossible…
Sure enough, Song He’s expression carried a bit of regret at this moment.
He actually wasn’t worried about these two arrogant fellows. It was just that these two had offended someone before he could respond the way he wanted to. Wasn’t this finding trouble for him? If he had known earlier, he would’ve explained the matter of the Third Prince to them first!
That Fourth Commander saw Gao Peng and Jiang Qin acting this way, but his complexion didn’t change. Soon after, he waved his hand: “Capture them!”
Unexpectedly, he didn’t intend on speaking with them seriously from the start. All those who resisted would be given the tough treatment!
Gao Peng and Jiang Qin completely failed to expect this. But in the end, their strengths were outstanding. They promptly defended themselves, but nine people abruptly leaped out from among those armored soldiers. Grasped in their hands was a golden rope. They crossed paths several times in the air, and seemed to transform into dozens of remnant shadows. The multitude of golden ropes formed a densely-packed golden net, which enveloped the two from every direction!
Although these two reacted quickly, they didn’t manage their defenses too well. During the attack, due to the other side’s crafty body techniques, and the formation and combined attacks of the nine people, Gao Peng and Jiang Qin simply couldn’t injure those Immortal Realm soldiers. They only saw the golden rope weave together a few times in front of them… And when they stopped, the two discovered that they had already been trussed up, with their arms bound behind their backs and the rope looped around their necks. The profound qi throughout their bodies couldn’t be utilized, and they were the same as ordinary people. They could only stand in position while staring ahead blankly.
Gu Zuo’s heartstrings tightened.
The formation of these soldiers and that golden rope were very strange. If dozens of people came to surround and capture them, would they be able to escape? If he released his psychic power, how many people could he kill? Could he tear open a gap to escape from this encirclement?
Off to the side, even Gao Peng and Jiang Qin’s mouths were bound shut. They couldn’t speak at all, and could only glare at the Fourth Commander. As for the Fourth Commander, he was looking at Yao Yao: “Please, young lady. Make your choice. Will you go together with us, or shall we tie you up and then go?”
A reddish hue appeared on Yao Yao’s face, but this wasn’t bashfulness. Rather, it was anger. Merely, she also wasn’t a person who couldn’t adapt to the current circumstances. Upon seeing Gao Peng and Jiang Qin’s tragic situation, she nodded straightforwardly: “I’ll go with you.”
Then, the Fourth Commander’s gaze turned to Tianheng, Gu Zuo, and Song He: “What have you three decided?”
Song He’s senior would be going, so he could only bitterly say: “There’s no need to trouble you. This Song will go.”
Tianheng and Gu Zuo also said: “We’ll go as well.”
The Fourth Commander nodded: “Very good.”
He waved his hand again, and ordered a dozen or so people to rush forward and surround the group. Like this, they half monitored and half escorted the group down the street. At the same time, he bared his teeth, and showed a smiling expression that nearly bordered on a ferocious snarl.
“You all don’t have much time to think it over. Before night falls, if you make the correct decision, then naturally it’ll be fine. But if you don’t… Hehehe. I advise that you don’t refuse a toast only to be forced to drink a forfeit. Although these two are tied up, they’re still alive. But if they make a few more foolish moves like before, then we’ll have a ‘Meat Viewing Ceremony’ at nightfall!”
T/N: Thanks for the corrections, Charysa.
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