Chapter 176: Conflict Arises
An old man with his eyes shut sat behind the counter. Xiao Chen walked to the front and knocked on the counter. He said, “Stop pretending, I’m here to take a mission.”
The old man opened his eyes slowly. His eyes were dull, as though he had just woken up. He smiled. “I just dozed off, that’s all. Not pretending to sleep. This is your first time taking a mission, hand over your identity token to me first.”
The old man received the identity token Xiao Chen handed over. He took a look and said, “Qingyun Peak, Ye Chen. I have not gone out for a while… I did not expect that Qingyun Peak to have already recruited someone.
“Leave the identity token with me first, I will record it down. Go to the second floor to take the mission.”
Second floor? What second floor? Xiao Chen looked around but did not see any staircase. He could not help but look suspiciously at the old man.
The old man was holding Xiao Chen’s identity token and carving something on it. When he saw Xiao Chen looking at him, he remembered something and said, “I forgot, this is your first time here. Just push that door open, enter, and then you will see it.”
Xiao Chen looked in the direction of where the old man was pointing at. Behind the counter, there was a door hidden in the shadows. The door was very concealed, and if one did not look carefully, they would not notice it.
Xiao Chen walked to the door and pushed it open, then entering it as advised. Before he stepped on the floor, Xiao Chen felt a little dazzled. The scenery in front of him changed, and he stepped into a huge library.
There is actually a small spatial formation here, Xiao Chen thought in astonishment before he started to check out the place.
There was a row of people in front writing something down rapidly. Messenger pigeons kept flying in and out non-stop. This environment was clearly sealed, but Xiao Chen did not know how these messenger pigeons came in.
“The First Elder of Beichen Peak issued a mission. He needs the Spirit Core of a Rank 4 Spirit Beast. Record it down quickly. Ordinary mission level. Five contribution points.”
“Jade Maiden Peak, they need someone to watch the herb fields again. Just like before, simple difficulty. Five contribution points for half a month.”
“The Spirit Beast Hall’s people need to capture ten Rank 5 Spirit Beast’s infants. Mission difficulty difficult. Every infant earns 15 contribution points.”
The people receiving the messenger pigeons quickly read out the contents of the letters. Immediately someone would record it down. This was the how the Hall of Contributions operated.
These recorded missions would then be sent to the next level to undergo another approval, to see if the difficulty and the reward were appropriate.
After the second approval, there was still the final approval. However, this was only for the missions rated difficult. The missions rated below difficult could be issued after the second approval.
The sect missions could be sorted into three categories: basic-leveled, high-leveled, and special-leveled. Each level was then sub-rated as simple, ordinary, or difficult.
Xiao Chen walked up to the place where missions were issued—in front of a wooden wall. A Hall of Contribution staff member, the one in charge of issuing missions, was behind the wall.
That person looked through the window in the wooden wall and saw Xiao Chen. He asked, “Are you here to take a mission?”
This person clearly knew that aside from Qingyun Peak and Jade Maiden Peak, the other five peaks had set down rules. When he saw Xiao Chen’s face, he realized it was not one of the core disciples from the five peaks. Thus, he felt suspicious.
Xiao Chen nodded. “Pass me the detailed list of high-leveled missions.”
“Which peak’s disciple are you? Show me your identity token.” The man did not immediately agree to Xiao Chen’s request.
Xiao Chen was slightly stunned. He said, “I am a disciple from Qingyun Peak. My name is Ye Chen. This is my first time coming to take a sect mission. My identity token was given to the old man downstairs.”
“Qingyun Peak?” That person said in a strange manner, “wait for a while, let me go verify that.”
Xiao Chen felt slight angry in his heart. He finally understood why Liu Ruyue worked so hard. It is because as a Qingyun Peak disciple, wherever he went, people would make things difficult for him.
That person seemed to be discussing with the higher-ups. After a long time, he returned to the window and handed Xiao Chen a list, “These are the high-leveled missions that have been issued today. Take a look.”
Xiao Chen frowned slightly. He received it and looked at it carefully. There was a total of ten missions on the list, and their difficulty were slightly harder.
Using the process of elimination, Xiao Chen first got rid of the missions that were clearly impossible to complete. Such as killing ten Rank 6 Spirit Beasts within a week.
After eliminating those, there were only five missions left. Xiao Chen continued to filter out the missions that required him to work with someone.
After this, there were only three missions left: guarding the Spirit Vein for a month, 800 contribution points awarded after completion; killing a hundred Rank 5 Spirit Beasts, no time limit, no limit on type of Spirit Beast, 1000 contribution points awarded after completion; and picking a Rank 7 herb—Yellow Springs Grass, no time limit, 2000 contribution points awarded after completion.
No wonder these high-leveled sect missions would be monopolized by people, the rewards were too attractive; even the lowest one had a reward of 800 contribution points.
Xiao Chen thought carefully for a while before finally choosing the mission to guard the Spirit Vein. He had used the same method of elimination. Although there was no time limit on the mission to kill Spirit Beasts, it was definitely impossible to finish it within a month.
As for the mission to pick the Yellow Springs Grass, Xiao Chen could only shake his head and smile bitterly. Although the rewards were shockingly high, he did not even know where it grew. How could he pick it?
Guarding the Spirit Vein referred to the Heavenly Saber Pavilion’s Spirit Stone vein. Aside from guarding it for a month, there were no other compulsory objectives. All he had to do was guard it for a month.
Although the reward was not high, it was more than sufficient for Xiao Chen, “I choose guarding the Spirit Vein. This is my first time accepting a mission, what are the procedures?”
“Guarding the Spirit Vein? Just sign over here. Come over tomorrow morning, there is no limit to the number of people who can take this mission. When everyone gathers together, then we will set off. As for the procedure, just bring this wooden token down.”
The mission giver took out a contract and got Xiao Chen to sign it. Then, he handed him an exquisite wooden token.
Xiao Chen received it and took a look. Aside from a string of words carved on it, there was nothing special about it. However, when Xiao Chen scanned it with his Spiritual Sense, he could feel a strong strand of Qi in there.
A strand of Qi came from above the sky and went through the Hall of Contributions, entering into Xiao Chen’s head, “Do not act rashly!”
Xiao Chen was startled and quickly retrieved his Spiritual Sense. He looked carefully around his surroundings but did not discover anyone paying attention to him. He quickly left after that.
The owner of the strand of Qi was very strong. It could be possible he thought Xiao Chen was intending to change the Qi in it. Thus, he issued a warning to him immediately.
There were too many hidden talents in the Heavenly Saber Pavilion. Xiao Chen felt fear in his heart, and he no longer dared to release his Spiritual Sense. He opened the door he entered from and was sent downstairs immediately.
A silver identity token came flying at Xiao Chen. He caught it and took a look, noting that it was his own identity token.
The old man smiled at Xiao Chen and said, “Young man, you may leave now. Remember, don’t rashly touch the strand of Qi in the token. Otherwise, a disaster might unfold.”
Xiao Chen’s expression turned grave. This was an expert presenting himself as an ordinary person. So the strand of Qi was left by this old man in front of him. Xiao Chen nodded and prepared to leave the Hall of Contribution.
When Xiao Chen appeared, a group of people immediately rose up from their table. They all headed over to Xiao Chen in a menacing manner. Although they all wore different uniforms, they all had three golden lines on their collar.
Apparently, this was the mark of a Heavenly Saber Pavilion core disciple. These people were all at least peak Martial Grand Masters, only one step short of becoming Martial Saints.
Xiao Chen’s expression turned cold. He knew they did not have good intentions. However, he did not fear them; he stepped forward and greeted them. Currently, Martial Grand Masters, aside from those with inherited Martial Spirits, were not able to pressure him at all.
“You are Ye Chen!” One of them, who was wearing Wanren Peak’s uniform, walked forward and said sternly to Xiao Chen. He was emitting killing intent as he stared at Xiao Chen.
“Remember my name—Yang Qi. You can go and…”
Before Yang Qi finished speaking, Xiao Chen smiled and quickly drew his saber. An intense cold light flew at Yang Qi.
Seeing that Xiao Chen actually made the first move, Yang Qi’s lips curled up in a cold smile. Two fifty-centimeter-long short sabers appeared in his hand. His right hand swung in the air gently and deflected the light from the Lunar Shadow Saber.
The short saber in his left hand struck with the speed of lightning, piercing towards Xiao Chen’s chest. This was the first time he had met a person who wielded two sabers, and he was not used to fighting them.
Xiao Chen could only dodge first and then execute the Azure Dragon Cloud Soaring Art. He pushed his feet off the ground, and his figure seemed to turn into a flood dragon as he moved in an arc, dodging Yang Qi’s attack.
Xiao Chen landed firmly. However, just as he executed the Three Flowing Cloud Images, Yang Qi had already arrived before Xiao Chen. Yang Qi’s twin sabers attacked in a very smooth manner.
The two of them used one move each. Under the assistance of the Three Flowing Cloud Images, Xiao Chen normally could easily deal with the opponent’s attacks. However, the angle of this opponent’s attack was too strange. Furthermore, it was very fast. Soon, Xiao Chen was not able to keep up with his pace.
Xiao Chen felt like he was pulling down the east wall to repair the west wall, a task more than exhausting. Xiao Chen was forced to retreat repeatedly. He executed the Three Flowing Cloud Images to its limit and held on bitterly, stolid like a vast ocean.
[TL Note: Pull down the east wall to repair the west wall: This means to sacrifice something in order to accomplish something else.]
Suddenly, Yang Qi threw out a short saber. The short saber spun continuously in the air, flying towards Xiao Chen, its speed nothing to scoff at.
The instant the short saber left Yang Qi’s hand, another short saber reappeared in his hand. When Xiao Chen evaded one, another short saber came flying at him again.
Currently, there were two short sabers in the air. In each of Yang Qi’s hands was a short saber as well. Whenever the short sabers in the air returned to him, Yang Qi threw out the ones in his hands and caught the returning short sabers. Thus, there were two sabers spinning in the air continuously. Furthermore, Yang Qi did not stop attacking with the short sabers in his hands.
Xiao Chen, who was already struggling with his defense, found the situation hard to manage. There were several wounds left on his arms and legs.
Xiao Chen started wracking his brain for ideas. The Three Flowing Cloud Images could defend against very strong attacks, but the weakness of the Three Flowing Cloud Images was plain obvious once the enemy’s attack reached an excessive extreme in speed.
He had to think of an idea quickly. Xiao Chen slowly realized that something was wrong. These four short sabers were likely not the opponent’s best yet.