In the afternoon on the fourth day Bai Yunfei had been in this town—
After finishing a night’s worth of training, Bai Yunfei walked down to get some food when he saw Zhang Yunpeng and the others already there. Shouting out to them, Bai Yunfei moved for their table.
“Eh? Brother Zhang, this monkey is…” Only after sitting down did Bai Yunfei realize the golden monkey sitting on the stool next to Zhang Yunpeng. Its hands were holding an apple that it was trying to bite. When Zhang Yunpeng called out to Bai Yunfei before, the monkey had bared its teeth at Bai Yunfei in some sort of greeting.
“Haha, this is my soulbeast partner, Xiao Kong. It’s a mid-stage class five golden-eyed macaque.” Zhang Yunpeng affectionately scratched the monkey’s head.
This time, the monkey stopped moving when it was introduced. Standing up on the stool, it arched its back slightly at the waist as if bowing to to say, “Please treat me well.”
“Err…” Slightly astonished that the monkey would even bow, Bai Yunfei coughed once to hide his emotions, “Haha, nice to meet you, Xiao Kong…”
“A golden-eyed macaque? Is it related to the golden-eyed ape?” The eyes of the macaque were golden in color, causing Bai Yunfei to think back to the golden-eyed ape he had met back in Jadewillow City. It had originally been the soulbeast puppet of one of the Beast Taming School members, but Hong Ying ‘stole’ it later.
“Oh? You know about the golden-eyed ape, brother Bai?”
“Yes. I’ve met one before, but it was only a class five.”
“Well, the two share a bit of the same blood since they’re known to live with one another, but there’s a stark difference between the two if you disregard their affinity for metal. The golden-eyed ape is powerful but slow while the golden-eyed macaque is quick and nimble.”
“Why haven’t I seen this macaque before?”
“Haha, that’s because I let it play around in the Soulbeast Forest. This place is its home, so it was excited to go back when we got here. Xiao Kong only came back to me this morning.”
“I see…” Bai Yunfei nodded, but something was still bugging him, “It went into the forest by itself? Aren’t you afraid that someone else might capture it?”
“That’s not too much of a concern,” Zhang Yunpeng pointed at the golden band around Xiao Kong’s left arm. “It’s normal for most soul cultivators to give their soulbeasts something to mark them as contracted. Furthermore, it’s customary to not make contracts with already contracted soulbeasts. Should anything happen to Xiao Kong, the bond I share with it would let me know right away.”
It was all making sense now. Bai Yunfei had already noticed several soul cultivators’ soulbeasts. Each one of them had at least one piece of article on their being. Prior to this, Bai Yunfei had only thought it to be some sort of fashion statement.
“Ah, has there been any news of your friend? Haven’t you heard anything about him in the past two days? Or has something come up?”
An apologetic look appeared on Zhang Yunpeng’s face, “I… I’m not sure. My friend has a habit of doing as he pleases, I’m sorry to say…”
“I bet you that guy is lost somewhere!” Suddenly, Kun spoke from his seat, “I told you all that we should’ve had him travel with me or let him go first! He wasn’t here when I was, and I didn’t meet him on the road, who knows where he could be…
“But still, his sense of direction has always been crappy. If he missed his turn, he’ll just go all the way around again. He should be here within the next day or two.”
Noticing the confusion on Bai Yunfei’s face, Zhang Yunpeng smiled, “Our last companion is Kun’s good friend. They grew up together and are basically family. Kun’s right, however, it should only take one or two days more before he arrives.
Clarity struck Bai Yunfei when Kun made mention that this person’s sense of direction was quite off. Feeling nothing but sympathetic camaraderie, Bai Yunfei replied, “That’s no problem. I’m fine with waiting…”
The conversation after that was quite light as they ate their meal, but just as Bai Yunfei was about to drink the rest of his congee…
“Eh?” In the midst of Zhang Yunpeng’s explanation of the terrain in the Soulbeast Forest, Bai Yunfei’s eyebrows perked up. The congee in his bowl was rippling in an increasing staccato. Unsure of what this meant, Bai Yunfei thought for a moment.
Then, he felt it!
The ground underneath him was shaking!
“What’s going on?”
The question had only just been asked when a loud roar followed almost immediately afterwards.
Then his soulsense warned him of the incoming danger, “This… this isn’t right! We should take a look outside!!”
Zhang Yunpeng was the next to notice the situation. Blanching in the face as he felt the tremors, he rose to his feet, but Bai Yunfei was already running out of the inn.
“Hey…” Ye Zi looked first at the running Bai Yunfei and then back to Zhang Yunpeng. From what she could see, Zhang Yunpeng had indeed noticed something was amiss as well, but…
“Yunpeng, is Yunfei’s soulsense stronger than yours!?” Kun exploded with a question.
“Now’s not the time for that. Hurry up and get outside!” Zhang Yunpeng rushed out of the inn.
When Bai Yunfei leaped onto the roof of the inn, the figures of several others were just starting to climb up as well. They all looked off in the direction of the source of the tremors.
What caught everyone’s eyes were two small blurs of blue and purple running toward the town with all their mights. Aura blazed around their bodies as they ran, and they looked… extremely beaten up!!
“Isn’t that… isn’t that the captain of the Violet Bolt Mercenaries!?”
“It is! That’s ‘Thunderlord’ Xing Lei!! An early-stage Soul Exalt! He looks… beaten up?!”
“And him, to the side! That’s ‘Frostblade’ Zhao Lengya, captain of the Frozen Heaven Mercenaries! He’s a late-stage Soul Exalt! So why… so why does he look like he’s about to fall over!?”
Cries of shock followed the confirmation of the two people running toward the village. Meanwhile, the one named Xing Lei managed to let loose a loud warning:
“Code black! Code black! A… a wave is here!!”
His warning was amplified due to the energy put into it, making it loud enough for everyone in the town to hear loud and clear.
Several of the townspeople instantly went white in the face while others, like Bai Yunfei, looked clueless to what was going on. Several people nearby quickly explained the situation since they realized the severity of the situation.
A wave… was when soulbeasts gathered together to strike like a tidal wave!!
Farther away in the deep thickets of the Soulbeast Forest, two giant blobs of black could be seen. The tremors were originating from these blobs and were quickly increasing in magnitude.
When the blobs drew closer and closer to the town, everyone could see that they were filled with soulbeasts!!
Soulbeasts of every form and color charged in one after another with nothing but loud and terrifying roars coming from them. Not only were they coming in large droves, they were coming in fast as well! Not even a minute had passed since Bai Yunfei first saw them, yet the wave was already halfway to the town!
“God dammit! Dammit all! How could this happen!? Why did a wave of soulbeasts decide to attack now of all times!?”
A stream of curses erupted from the mouth of a nearby soul cultivator, drawing the attention of everyone and starting a chain reaction of flustered cries.
“What’s going on!? What’s happening here!?”
“A soulbeast wave! They only happen once every hundred years!”
“Class three, class four… and even class five! Why are there so many of them!?”
“Good heavens! What’s that in the middle?! It… it looks like a class six three-eyed devil!! A class six soulbeast!”
One after another, each soul cultivator started to pale as the situation sunk in. Not even saying a single word, some of them were already starting to run away as fast as possible…
All of a sudden, a powerful burst of soulforce came from the sky above the town. Looking up, everyone saw two streaks of green and red flying across the sky!
With everyone’s attention on him, the elderly man flying in the red light looked down at everyone. “If you don’t wish to die, prepare to fight!”