On the Forsaken Continent, there existed humans, dwarves, elves, demonic beasts, and devils. It was a continent where martial arts and magic ruled. This was where our story began.
In the eastern region of the continent was the country of Tianyan. A group of uninvited guests suddenly arrived by the entrance of a run-down orphanage. The orphanage wasn’t too big but was big enough to accommodate a thousand children. Some had been abandoned by their parents while others were probably sent to this anarchic place due to family reasons.
The director was at least 60 years of age, but he should not be thought of as old. Creatures who dwelled in the Forsaken Continent had a long lifespan. Even the shortest-lived human race was known as the warrior race. Their average lifespan was 160 with their prime-age range between 40-120. 20 was the coming of age and after that, they would bid farewell to their growth stage and enter their youth period.
As for this director who was in his prime, he was actually the leader of the most recently formed group of outlaws around the Nanshan area. His purpose of running this orphanage was to sell children. Here, the children could exercise their freedom and they also had teachers whose main tasks were to teach them martial arts and magic. The goal was to sell them to various prominent sects or family clans, cultivating them to become the next generational stars of the Forsaken Continent.
In the courtyard was a 4 to 5-year-old child, leading a group of 50 plus children, confronting another child who was about 10 years old, also leading another group of 100 children.
“Tao Xiaoting, today, there was a blanket hanging on the eastern wall. It’s yours, isn’t it? A spoiled brat who still wets his bed wants to fight with me for this spot here.” The leading child loudly laughed and the others behind him followed.
“Lin Dayu, I didn’t wet the bed!” Little Tao Xiaoting’s face flushed red. He walked up with his fists balled up and spoke, “Besides, you occupied the swings for many days already. It’s our turn now.”
Another child about the same age jumped out from behind Tao Xiaoting and shouted, “I was the one who wet the bed! So what?! Today, we’ll beat you until piss automatically comes out so that you don’t have to worry about taking a trip later!”
“Feng Yehan, you turtle bastard! If I don’t beat you crying ’til midnight, then my name isn’t Lin Dayu!”
A young one from behind tugged Lin Dayu’s shirt. “Brother Lin, stop talking nonsense! Once that turtle bastard Feng Yehan releases himself, all of us going at him might not even be able to win. Let’s just go for his boss Tao Xiaoting instead.”
“Alright already! Do you guys still want to fight or not?! Because here I come!” Tao Xiaoting didn’t like a war of words. He’d much rather prefer his fists do all the talking. He clenched them and a few bolts of lightning discharged from his hands.
Suddenly, from within the group whose oldest was no older than 10, a figure had burst forth in front of the 5-year-old leader. His speed was so fast that he had already run up to the opposite camp and knocked down two kids on the side with a sweep of his leg.
“Yin Yu, how could you sneak attack on us?!!” angrily screamed Lin Dayu. Around this time, the two groups had begun to battle each other. Different elemental spheres of fire, water, bolts of lightning, and whatever were chaotically thrown all over the place.
On the other hand, inside the main building, the director nicknamed Black Panther eagerly spoke to the ones who were observing the children. Their clothes indicated which sect they belonged to. It was the Forsaken Continent’s most powerful sect within its eastern territory ― City of the Skies.
His glance shifted to the courtyard. Next to the empty swings were a group of children who engaged each other with unskilled fighting techniques and magic spells. The scene can be described as highly dramatic.
Not only did Black Panther not fret over whether the buyers had witnessed it or not, he avidly introduced each child to them.
“The one darting left and right and helping them defend against the attacks is Feng Yehan. I picked him up at the nearby Fengqi Town on a cold night. Thus, I named him Feng Yehan. His affinity with wind elemental magic is especially strong, but he’s not adept at casting spells. He can only guard. I polished him up until he could somewhat cast a wind wall.”
Everyone turned to look at that child. Of all the children, only he was unscathed. The children knew that they couldn’t beat him so they chose to ignore him. He only helped his teammates defend and occasionally kicked someone from the opposite end.
“There’s also that one. He’s Yin Yu, another one whom I picked up as an outlaw at the foothills of Nanshan on a gloomy, rainy day.” After he had spoken, he was slightly dazed. Noticing that the buyers had no interest in his identity, it was evident that they had already done a background check on him. He then continued, “That little kid is extremely agile. He’s a water magic user. It’s like he’s a natural-born assassin. Every time he fights, he always ambushes.”
After Yin Yu kicked someone and distanced himself, he then ran to the other side, rushed in again, and punched someone. Just like that, he zigzagged his way out of the enclosure. A few from the City of the Skies nodded their heads.
The most eye-catching of them all was the child who took on three children, all of who were bigger than him. He was Tao Xiaoting. Each time his low voltage lightning bolts struck someone, his opponent would yelp in pain. For him, three against one was nothing.
“What about this one?” A young man from the City of the Skies couldn’t help but curiously asked.
This was the reaction which Black Panther had anticipated. He chuckled and replied, “This one here is our most gifted child. He specializes in the rare thunder magic, born with a warrior’s temperament. Originally, countless other people wanted him but I didn’t want his talents buried. Thus, I kept him until now.” The truth was that the price wasn’t right. Although Panther looked he was all brawn and no brain, he was actually very clever. He got wind of the wealthy and powerful City of the Skies scouting for fresh blood so he withheld the children.
It was a good thing that he had waited. As he pondered, Black Panther at the same time introduced him. “He’s Tao Xiaoting.”
A beautiful woman from the City of the Skies suddenly laughed. “This time, his given name sounds quite interesting. What’s the meaning behind it?”
Black Panther glanced at the woman and gulped but didn’t display any signs of discourtesy. Although his powers were pretty much on the same level as the woman’s since both of them were intermediate young grandmaster martial artists and intermediate master specialist mages, she, however, was the proud disciple of a large sect. The one leading this group was at his peak, an advanced young grandmaster martial artist and an advanced master specialist mage. On this continent, there were probably only about 500 or so elder grandmaster martial artists and elder master specialist mages. This, of course, included elves, dwarves, demonic beasts, and demons. In other places, one could rise to the top and control the life and death of all creatures. The only thing to fear was that anyone who showed slight disrespect would immediately be removed from this world.
“Nothing. This child was sent here to our orphanage. His name was sewn on his blanket,” replied Black Panther truthfully.
“Hm? Surname Tao and a thunder elemental. Could it be that he’s from the Tao family?” The young woman queried her leader.
The thunder elemental Tao family was mysteriously massacred a few years ago. Because of this incident, the imperial family of Tianyan was enraged. The Tao had always been loyal to the imperial family and to this day, the investigation was still undergoing but they were not a step closer to catching the mastermind.
“Director, name your price. I want these children.” The leader ignored the woman’s question and directly spoke to Black Panther.
“Hehe, sir, as you can see, these three children are all very talented. I originally wanted to train them further so that they can become members of my gang.” Even though this was what Black Panther had said, what he really wanted was to raise their prices.
“That’s enough. I don’t want to prattle on with you anymore. When I said ‘these children’, I meant all of them including those three.”
“This…. This…. Sir, you want them all?!” Black Panther knew that this was going to be an expensive deal but he didn’t think that it’d be worth this much. Not to mention, he knew the strength of the other side. If the time came where he lost both his children and wealth and he wanted to cry, Black Panther wouldn’t even have a place left to bury his head in. Just when he was internally struggling, the leader of the City of the Skies took out a hundred pieces of spiritual gems from his pouch and placed them on the director’s desk.
“There’s also a thousand bars of gold but I don’t have that many on me right now. I’ll have them delivered to you within the next two days.”
Black Panther was stunned. A thousand bars of gold wasn’t much since he had just as much. The key was those hundred pieces of spiritual gems. On the market, one piece cost ten pieces of gold. Most of the gems’ supply were controlled by the country, sects, and large-scale organizations. In the black market, they could cost as much as 15 to 20 pieces of gold per piece. Not only could these spiritual gems accelerate one’s cultivation, they were also used for either strengthening or maintenance of seal hexes, weapons, and the like. Even if they were converted to money, two thousand bars of gold was already a huge sum. This was a world where a copper coin was only enough to buy a steamed bun.
Why convert it into money? It was because the spiritual atmosphere in this world was very dense. Stored within the spiritual gem was energy that could increase one’s magic affinity. Even one with magic as weak as a 4 to 5-year-old’s could enter a sect. A spiritual gem was nothing but a tool merely used to break through cultivation limits or serve as a battery for charging seal hexes.
Black Panther no longer hesitated. He carefully counted the spiritual gems, not caring how those from the City of the Skies perceived him. His heart was already blossoming with joy.
Once the deal inside the room had been struck, the battle in the courtyard was also coming to a close. The only ones left standing were Tao Xiaoting the leader with four to five children on his side and Lin Dayu with twenty children on the other.
Feng Yehan: Feng means wind and yehan means cold night.
Yin Yu: Yin is a surname but it rhymes with another yin which means dark, as in yinyang. Yu means rain.
Tao Xiaoting: Xiao means to resemble. Ting means thunderclap.