Time flew by like an arrow, and three years had quickly gone by like the snapping of the fingers…
Four figures trekked through the silent mountains. The only sound to be heard from them was from their feet when they stepped on top of a particularly crunchy leaf. They came from the south and were heading for the north.
They were all robust young men with the oldest being around the age of thirty. The other three behind him were in their twenties and all wore black robes. They held nothing in their hands and they carried nothing else on their person. With how they were leisurely sauntering through the place, it didn’t seem like they were afraid of the beasts on this mountain.
They were very clearly not here to hunt, and neither were they from the village.
“Senior Feng, we’ve been looking through this place for five whole days already, shouldn’t we go report to master Yang?”
A short-haired person on the left spoke up to their leader. He wasn’t tired of the mission, but he was sure as hell was bored.
Feng Mingxu glanced to him and then back to the forest up ahead. “Fine,” He nodded, “It wouldn’t be convenient for us if we split too far away from the others. We’ll regroup with the others and then see what else master Yang has planned for us.”
The three males were pleased to hear that their search was over. One of them couldn’t stop himself from cheering at the fact, in fact. “Finally! It’s been an entire month since we got here and we haven’t even seen a single shadow! Where in the world did that information about the Alchemy School being here come from? They’ve been gone for two thousand years, what’s the chances that they’d be here in this heaven-forsakened land?”
“Yeah…It’s not one of the three danger zones, but the Qimang Mountains are still a dangerous place to be. How could anyone live here? There’s plenty of dangerous soulbeasts here, anyone would’ve been eaten up by them a long time ago! And…wouldn’t one of the elders just have to fly around and look at the place if we really wanted to search the place? I don’t see the point searching these mountains on foot. With how large it is, we’d need more than a month to look through it all, and that’s considering if we don’t come across any soulbeasts! When will we be done with this!?”
The leader of the group narrowed his eyes. “Cut it with your whining!” He growled, “Why have us if the elders have to do everything themselves?! Do you guys really think it’s that simple? If the Alchemy School really is here, don’t you think they’d have hidden themselves with all sorts of arrays and illusions? How could we find them by flying then? We can’t let the Alchemy School exist if the rumors are true. That’s why we have the entire school out here combing the mountains. And if we do find them, our school will be able to grow even stronger! Ruling the world won’t be impossible then!”
“Senior Feng is right, we shouldn’t complain so much. Let’s focus on our task, I think it’s pretty good that we even got this far without any battles. We at least don’t need to worry about anyone dying…” A short-haired male spoke.
The two who had been whining earlier went white at the mention of the possibility of ‘death’. They nodded and spoke no more.
Feng Mingxu took out a small gray pearl. Transmitting his soulforce into it, he studied the change within the pearl before speaking again.
“Master Yang is that way, let’s continue our search in that direction then.”
And so the four changed route into a new direction.
“Eh?! Senior Feng, look! There are actually people there!!”
It didn’t take long before the short-haired youth let out a whisper-shout and pointed off towards the left.
The other three followed his gaze to where several buildings could be seen poking out among the trees. There was indeed a village and the shadow of several people moving about. Some of the buildings even had smoke rising up from their chimneys.
“Is it the Alchemy School?!” The spotter asked with anxious excitement.
Feng Mingxu squinted his eyes for a better look. “It looks like a regular village. I don’t think they’re the Alchemy School, but it’s worth taking a look. They’ll be the first humans we’ve seen on these mountains in a month, maybe they’ll know something about the Alchemy School. Let’s go!”
Their paths changed once again for the village. The male who pointed out the village was clearly excited over his discovery. “Hehe, who knew there’d actually be people living in a place like this? It doesn’t even matter if they don’t have anything, I’d settle for just some food, it’s been an entire month since I had a decent meal…”
The four reached the village soon enough and caught the attention of everyone there. Soon, a large amount of the villagers were gathered at the village gates to study and stare the four outsiders with amazement.
One of the hunting dogs began to snarl at the four and attempted to bar their way in; whether it thought of them as threats or just didn’t know what to do with outsiders had yet to be seen. But Feng Mingxu simply aimed a kick at the dog and sent it flying. The villagers were immediately frightened. The women and children moved swiftly to the back while the males drew forward in anger.
The villagers had never experienced ‘outside contact’ with anyone other than Bai Yunfei, so they didn’t know how they should respond to these four new people.
“Dear guests…if I may ask, where might the four of you come from? How may our small village assist you?”
At last, an elderly person stepped forward from the others to speak and treat the four with polite kindness.
Feng Mingxu said nothing in favor of looking around the village. His soulsense was scanning the place to see if there was anything of note, but he was disappointed with his find. These people were just commoners. No soul cultivators existed here, not even someone that was close to awakening to soulforce. There didn’t seem like a point in even asking if these people knew of the Alchemy School.
But Feng Mingxu had to try. “I’ll be asking the questions,” He snarled, “Do you villagers know where the Alchemy School is?!”
As direct as their route here, Feng Mingxu asked the only question they cared to hear a response to. There wasn’t any need for pleasantries, the villagers wouldn’t be able to lie to them if they did know the school.
“Alchemy School?” The elder repeated. The words tasted foreign to him, “What is that?”
The confusion on everyone else’s face was noticeable too. They wondered what these outsiders possibly meant with their questions.
“There’s no point asking them, senior Feng. They’re clearly just a group of mountain savages.” The short-haired male with him replied before any of the other villagers could. “You lot!” He barked, “Bring out all the food you have, we’ll be taking it with us!”
Now the entire village was astounded. A few of them were already steaming with anger at the audacity of these outsiders. They had had enough of how arrogant and tyrannical these people were.
“Haaah? Thinking of disobeying, are we?!” An ominous glint appeared in the short-haired man’s eye. A bolt of violet light shot forth as he swung his right hand forward to immediately vaporize a large boulder nearby the villagers.
All the villagers immediately began to scream out in horror at the sight.
Pleased with the terror he managed to inflict onto the villagers, the short-haired man sneered. “I’ll give you half an hour to bring out all the food you have or…you’ll all die here!”