Within an open space in the forest, a group of battle-scarred men were laying around in shabby clothes.
It had been more than thirty hours since they heard the roars and cries of the barbarians and their animals. Those barbarians’ combat strength was definitely boosted in the forest. If not for Yan Bugui and his seven subordinates, who were beast warriors, together with Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng, who were both as the Xiantian realm cultivators, they would have long since been killed by those barbarians.
Under a huge tree, the last five right-hand men of Liu Suifeng were staring blankly at the ground. The naked dead body of Liu Suifeng was placed on the ground, while Wu Qi was working restlessly in mixing dozens of herbs he gathered from the woods, making them into a mixture that could prevent Liu Suifeng’s body from becoming rotten.
Twenty days had passed since they fled for their lives. Those right-hand men of Liu Suifeng just wouldn’t agree to abandon his dead body. They just wanted to bring it out from forest, no matter what. Wu Qi was afraid the stinking smell of Liu Suifeng’s dead body might attract those weird beasts that the barbarians used. That’s why he took the initiative and embalmed the dead body.
“Although your death was slightly related to me, I worked so hard for you, so you still owe me a big favor!” While applying the mixture paste onto Liu Suifeng’s dead body, Wu Qi thought in his mind, “To be buried with all the fragrance of these herbs,and not having to worry about stinking in the slightest... You owe me a big favor. In your next life, you have to work for me like a cow!”
After a few restless hours, the dead body was embalmed. Wu Qi found himself a thick tree vein and cut it with his hand. Fresh water immediately flowed down from the cut side. Wu Qi grabbed a handful tiny fruits, which could be used as natural soap, and washed his hands. Then he pulled the tree vein to his mouth and drank a few mouthfuls of fresh water.
Under a tree near him, Old Devil, who had become skinny, like a skeleton, let out a few moans. He looked at Wu Qi in anticipation, hoping he could feed him some water. Wu Qi hesitated, but in the end, he still made a small cup with a huge leaf and fed a few mouthfuls of water to Old Devil.
The thirsty Old Devil greedily drank up all the water. Almost in tears, he said, “Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends. Wu Qi, my friend, I sincerely appreciate your help!”
Wu Qi looked at Old Devil, who had experienced all kinds of hardship along their journey, then he breathed out a heavy sigh, “Don’t thank me for that. Even if there is a dog lying in front of me, I’ll also feed it with some water and food. Sigh, this is my weakness actually, I have a soft heart!”
Standing up while shaking his head, Wu Qi walked toward Lu Chengfeng, he murmured, “Old Devil, you’re not a good man, but why did I help you? I am just too soft hearted, I can’t stand to see someone suffering in front of me. That’s why I fed you some water. Also, your master, the Marquis, was the enemy of my young master. Since he is dead now, why do I still need to help him cover the stinking smell of his body? I am just too soft hearted...”
When Old Devil heard what WU Qi said, his mind filled with a mix of emotions. After all, Wu Qi was the one who had fed him water. He could only stare at Wu Qi’s back with a complicated look on his face. At the same time, he was cursing the last five guards of Liu Suifeng. These men were busying handling the dead body of Liu Suifeng along the way, but neglected Old Devil, who was still alive, and treated him like a baggage. If not for Wu Qi, who occasionally fed him some water and food, he would have long since been dead by now.
Gazed at the guards maliciously, Old Devil swore in his mind, “Even if I don’t survive, I’ll drag the five of you together with me before I die.”
Wu Qi hastily returned to Lu Chengfeng who was sitting with his leg crossed and eyes closed, then he took the stone tablets and placed them on his shoulders.
Along the way, Wu Qi kept trying to crack the secrets of these black stone tablets, but there was no writing or symbols of any kind on it. He also couldn’t sense any energy ripples from within, and his divine senses were unable to penetrate the stone tablets and check what was inside. After making many attempts, he still had no idea why these stone tablets were so special.
Something that could make the Cheif General of the Great Yan Dynasty desire it so greatly that he would reward a huge piece of land for those who got it for him, must really be something extraordinary. Without sufficient abilities to get the good stuff within, Wu Qi had nothing to complain about.
Wu Qi had learned something valuable from the Scroll of Stealing: There are countless valuable things in this world, but not all of them will be yours. In order to master the art of stealing, the first lesson you must learn was how to give up. Those who didn’t know how to give up would be attracted to everything in the world and end up causing themselves harm.
Patting forcefully on the stone tablets, Wu Qi jumped up from where he sat and said with a low voice, “Master Yan, I think we have spent enough time resting. Let’s continue our journey. Just two more days and we will be able to leave this deadly forest.”
Yan Bugui looked into the sky. The Sun was right over their heads and golden sunlight was peircing through the tree branches, turning into countless light beams, which brightened the forest. He nodded, stood up, and shouted, “Alright, if you don’t want to get killed by those barbarians, pack up and move your asses now!”
The right-hand men of Liu Suifeng stood up without saying anything. Two of them carried Liu Suifeng’s body with a simple stretcher, and another one roughly pulled up Old Devil and placed him on his shoulder. The group of men began their journey. The rude action of that right-hand man sent terrible pain throughout Old Devil’s entire body. He groaned painfully and was filled with a crazy hatred, which could be seen in his eyes.
Lu Quyuan, who had lost one of his arms, grabbed tightly on Lu Chengfeng’s sleeve with the other hand, scared that his elder brother wouldn’t bring him along.
The terror of this forest had scared the shit out of Lu Quyuan. Liu Suifeng was killed by some unknown poisonous bugs, and his right-hand men were killed by those barbarians one after another one, through all kinds of strange methods. If not for Lu Chengfeng helping him a few times, Lu Quyuan’s bone might have become a drum stick used by some barbarians. In this forest of terror, Lu Chengfeng was the only hope Lu Quyuan had to survive.
Wu Qi gazed at Lu Quyuan, who was trembling non-stop, then he walked closer to Lu Chengfeng and whispered, with a smile on his face, “I’ll bet you a silver coin that after we leave this forest, the sixth brother of young master will immediately turn on you. What do you say?”
Lu Quyuan’s body trembled, and he hastily spoke in a low voice, “No, how could I possibly do that! From now on, elder brother is my own blood brother. I’ll listen to whatever elder brother tells me regarding any matters in the family!”
Lu Chengfeng let out a few hollow laugh, but he didn’t say anything.
Wu Qi too laughed dryly, and dropped the topic.
The remainder of the return journey was smooth, except for one time where two giant vultures found them together. After a tough fight, and losing two more of Liu Suifeng’s right-hand men, the group had finally left the forest which had devoured so many lives.
After two days of waiting at the rendezvous point, which was known to the other Scouting Officers, only six of the ten groups of men left the forest safely. All of them were, at most, a third of their original size. There were only 17 of Yan Bugui’s subordinates left. As for the huge crowd of warriors, only sixty-five of them came out from the forest alive.
After counting all the men and confirmed all the rest of them were killed within the forest, Yan Bugui let out a long sigh, faced the forest and shed a few tears at their loss. After that, his stern expression returned.
“Let’s split up here! Record down the names of all the men, noting where they live. The rewards, which are based on your contribution, will be coming to you soon.”
Taking the three black stone tablets from Wu Qi, Yan Bugui stare at Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng, and said, “The eldest son of Liyang Lu Family, Lu Chengfeng. You are the top contributor to this mission. Return and just wait for it. You’ll be surprised soon.”
Lu Chengfeng bowed respectful toward Yan Bugui, who returned the bow. After that, he had his subordinates record the names of the surviving warriors, then they left with the black stone tablets. The return journey from the Lu Kingdom to the capital of Great Yan Dynasty was a long one. They needed to cross seven kingdoms and take a long winding road. No matter how fast they could travel, it would still take them half a year to arrive at the capital.
The reward would take an additional year of time to arrive.
All the warriors were finally able to breathe out sighs of relief. They turned around and, facing the forest, at the same time all of them started to scream and yell at it. Although they had survived this forest of many terrors, after forcibly recruited by Scouting Officers, but the same forest had buried many of their friends and partners.
Those who were still alive would get their share of rewards given by the Chief General of the Great Yan Dynasty. But for those who were killed, they were gone forever. At most, their family would get some pension, but nothing that was worth mentioning. However, the warriors who lived around in Little Meng City were mostly criminals, who lived their life at the edge of death. Many of them didn’t have family at all. Once they were dead, a pension meant nothing for them.
After waiting for those surviving warriors to finish their yelling and screaming, Wu Qi kicked forcefully at Lu Chengfeng’s leg, pointing toward those warriors and pushing Lu Chengfeng, who was having a foolish smile on his face, with his shoulder.
Lu Chengfeng quickly realized Wu Qu’s intention. He held his fist and bowed deeply toward these warriors, saying, “Brave warriors, I feel ashamed to be the acting Mayor of Little Meng City. It was a great honor to fight with you all this time. However, after witnessing the great strength of all of you, I felt really sorry that you haven’t found a place to achieve great things in life. Right now, I am in need of strong men that could aid me. I would gladly welcome you entering my service.”
Wu Qi took a step forward and stood firmly beside Lu Chengfeng. With a smile on his face, he unleashed his Embryonic Breath tier of Xiantian level senses. The faded innate water energy turned into white water vapor and swirling around his body, the light pressure of a Xiantian cultivator had sent a tremble to all the warriors in front of him.
“A Xiantian cultivator!” These warriors stare at Wu Qi in respect and envy.
These warriors were all smart guys. They heard what Yan Bugui told Lu Chengfeng just now. There was a surprise reward waiting for Lu Chengfeng? He was the acting Mayor of a city. What kind of reward would be a surprise to him?
Without much effort from Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng, the thirty-seven surviving warriors immediately agreed to become Lu Chengfeng’s men. As they were able to walk out from the forest of terror, these surviving warriors were either at the peak Houtian cultivation level or just step away from it. In an instant, Lu Chengfeng managed to increase his actual strength by gaining a few more powerful men as his servants. He was finally starting to look like a son from an influential family.
Laughing out loud, Lu Chengfeng happily lead all the men and returned to Little Meng City. They had been gone for two months. H wase really worried there would be something bad happened back in Little Meng City.
Proving his worry was true, when they were three miles away from Little Meng City, they saw Xiaohei was carrying his halberd. He was standing together with a large group of soldiers and were blocking all three city gates of Little Meng City, shouting and yelling for a fight.
Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng were shocked by what they saw. They immediately sprinted forward and asked what happened. When they heard what Xiaohei told them, both of them became furious.
Wu Qi let out a loud roar, and jumped up onto the tower of City Gate. With his leg, he kicked a few of Liu Suifeng’s guards off the gate.
“Xiaohei, attack the city! Those who dare to fight back, show them no mercy!”
The furious Wu Qi had given out the order to attack the city!
Translated by XianXiaWorld