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Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 30

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Chapter 30: Bait

Translator: Acties-Myriea

’’Accepting a Duty Talisman is like saying you're handing your life over to the sect. Once it has

been accepted, you will have to complete the mission as per the details on the talisman, usually

requiring you to go out and slay some beasts to bring back their Beast Cores. There will always

be a couple hundred new outer court disciples that will reach the peak of tier three after the

recruitment that happens every ten years, but only a dozen or so manage to become inner court

disciples. The remainder, most of them likely died during these missions....’’

Inside the wooden cottage, Yu was extremely agitated despite telling Fang Xing everything he

knew in regard to the Duty Talismans. To put it simply, these Duty Talismans were like quest

cards from the sect, and the types of tasks would be dependent on the type of card that had been

chosen.

With the Duty Talisman of Extermination, disciples would be required to kill a specific beast

within the Qing-Yun Sect's territory.

With the Duty Talisman of Pacification, disciples would be required to help bring peace to a

designated location that had been beset by armed rebellion.

With the Duty Talisman of Retribution, disciples would be required to find and capture a

specific traitor of the sect. Unlike the other two, this particular talisman didn't require its

participants to register beforehand.

The sect would typically use these Duty Talismans to determine somebody's rewards during

times of contribution or to enact punishment for wrongdoing. Furthermore, once a disciple

entered the inner court, they had to accept and complete a set amount of Duty Talisman

missions before receiving any cultivation resources from the sect.

Fortunately, the outer court disciples weren't forced to take up Duty Talismans for their own

resources. The catch, however, was that anyone who wanted to break into tier four the

minimum tier required for the inner court would most likely end up accepting a Duty

Talisman anyway to receive the reward of some Ore Essence Powder to craft a Poji Pellet.

Fang Xing was the one who had brought such trouble on himself, simply put. If he hadn't

scammed Hou Qing with some fake Ore Essence Powder, Hou Qing would not have been left

with no other choice but to accept Duty Talismans. Without such a need, Liu would not have

introduced him to Fang Xing.

Fang Xing could sense that two people had been outside his cottage watching his every move

the entire night. He pretended to go about his usual business all while inking the faces of these

two in his memory; when he returned from the mission, he would make sure both these two

men and Hei San paid for their betrayal.

His snuff bottle, [Nine Snakes' Sword], needles, and all of his Spirit Stones had been placed

inside his storage ring. Using the ring as a hair tie, he pulled his long hair into a neat ponytail,

as sometimes the most obvious item often became the least noticeable. As for his [Mask of

Wanluo] and the sword from Hou Qing, both had been tightly tucked away in his cloth sack.

Fang Xing then sat cross-legged. Inside, he was boiling with eagerness and thirst for what he

was about to soon face, yet outside he quietly awaited the first crack of dawn.

Early the next morning, Hou Qing had arrived at the Yunyin Summit with three other outer

court disciples to take Fang Xing along with them by force. Out of the four men, Hou Qing had

the highest level of cultivation at the peak of the third tier, with two of these men also at tier

three and the remainder at the peak of tier two. In other words, even the weakest was in fact at

the same level as Fang Xing, which put him in quite the sticky situation.

Hei San had been up extra early that morning and waved all five of them goodbye with the most

brightly-lit face he could put on. Contrasting him, Yu was gloomy and couldn't help but to have

'worry' written all over his face as he watched Fang Xing being taken away, unable to do

anything to stop it.

’’I'm Yu, Shidi Fang. My name is not Zhu....’’ Yu bravely yelled loudly towards Fang Xing as he

watched him set off with the others.

’’I know, Shixiong Zhu!’’ Fang Xing's voice faded as his silhouette blurred into the distance. It

was at this moment that the plump Taoist felt his knees loosen as he stumbled to the ground,

crying uncontrollably.

’’Hey, stupid fatty. Now that the kid is gone, you'll be next. Don't worry, I'll make sure you have

a good time too,’’ a ghastly voice suddenly came up behind Yu. Yu immediately shot up, looking

back in terror to see Liu; he had just realized that his current situation was not that much better

than Fang Xing's was.

With the Duty Talisman in hand, Hou Qing and the party along with Fang Xing arrived at the

Spirit Beast Department.

By showing the talisman, they had been allowed to pick up five Dragon Horses to be used for

transport. Throughout the entire journey, all four men paid close attention to Fang Xing in

turns, worried that he might cause a scene for them, yet to their disbelief Fang Xing was

more than cooperative. He quietly followed them to the department, jumped on the horse, and

continued to follow the lead closely, all without a single word of complaint.

Each of these Dragon Horses was a mount that the sect had spent thousands of years to breed.

The blood of the legendary Jiaolong[1] ran within their veins and their body was covered in

protective dragon scales. Not only could it cross thousands of miles in a day, it could also run

directly over lakes and rivers. It was a mystical creature, and a single one of these found in the

mortal realm could cost a wealthy nobleman's entire fortune.

In the past, Fang Xing's second uncle had seen and instantly fallen in love with a Dragon Horse

being transported to the kingdom's capital. He had organized for a group of men to steal the

horse, yet the escorts were equally powerful as them. Unable to seize the Dragon Horse, the

second uncle had then poisoned the creature to send it to its death. This was how bandits were:

if they can't have it, no one can.

Because of all of this, as soon as Fang Xing mounted the Dragon Horse, he felt a great sense of

excitement.

Although these Dragon Horses were related to the Jiaolong, these creatures had been

domesticated by the sect in the past thousands of years and were extremely well trained and

obedient. As if they were able to read the minds of the rider, they knew exactly when the rider

required them to move or when to stop.

Of course, these Dragon Horses were prepared by the sect primarily for the disciples in the

outer and inner courts; for core disciples and elders, they would either take to the sky on their

own or tame their own mount. Someone that could do either had a great deal of power

compared to the outer courts, and of the sect's two most famous core disciples Xu Linyun and

Xiao Jianmin one had her white crane while the other had his steel eagle.

After a full day of nonstop galloping, the party had arrived around a thousand miles away from

the sect, coming to a stop only after the night began to set in.

’’Shixiong Hou, what... what are we doing on this trip?’’ Fang Xing asked shyly, putting on his

timid act.

Hou Qing replied with a faint smile, ’’To eliminate monsters and demons, of course. Are you

scared?’’

Fang Xing's tiny body shook, as though terrified outright. ’’What... what kind of monsters and

demons?’’

’’A tier four beast, Python Toad. You'd better be careful not to be swallowed up by it in one go;

it's very strong. You don't want to become beast stool, now do you!’’ a third-tiered man by the

name of Qian Tong mockingly replied instead.

’’Ahh....’’ Fang Xing's face paled, appearing visibly frightened by Qian's words.

’’Haha!’’ All of the men laughed at Fang Xing's reaction as though they were all just having

some casual chatter. Yet, from the depths of their pupils, Fang Xing could see a hint of tension;

no one was as relaxed as they all appeared to be.

’’Uhm... Shixiong Hou, so are you really giving me this Flying Sword and the ten Spirit Stones

after we kill the toad?’’ Fang Xing asked with caution, presenting the impression that despite

his nervousness he was still slightly greedy.

Unexpectedly, Hou Qing looked at Fang Xing's face and smiled. ’’Of course!’’ The three other

men exchanged meaningful glances and smiled as well, no one else speaking a word.

As if he had finally found the courage after being promised a large amount of treasure, Fang

Xing lifted his chest. ’’From great danger comes great wealth! I... I won't be leaving without a

good fight!’’

Such shows of bravado while being so weak left everyone else in disdain. At the same time, the

knowledge of Fang Xing's greedy motivations allowed them to lower their guards by a bit, as

this meant there would be a lower chance of him trying to escape during the night.

Before even the rise of the morning star, the party had begun yet another day of their journey.

In order to gain the trust and lower the guards of the adults, Fang Xing had painted them a

picture of a slightly greedy yet naive child, one that was excited as if out on a field trip.

At every break, Fang Xing would volunteer to refill the water, feed the horses, make fires, and

help with hunting, all while politely consulting with all of the shixiong about questions he had

on cultivation. Naturally, as the adults answered his questions, they would tell stories of their

own heroic achievements, and Fang Xing would always manage to show admiration at the exact

right moment just as the stories reached their climax.

Within the short three days of the journey, Fang Xing had become quite acquainted with the

others, and the adults had also taken quite a liking to such a sensible ’’little Shidi Fang’’. Of

particular note was one of the third-tiered disciples Lyu San; every time he looked at Fang

Xing's ignorant young face, he would let out a soft sigh.

On the third night, when Fang Xing appeared to be fast asleep beside the bonfire, Lyu quietly

walked next to Hou Qing to whisper, ’’Shixiong Hou, is there really no other option?’’

Hou Qing looked towards the sleeping boy whose breath was calm and consistent and who had

a hint of sweetness that only a child could have. Towards Lyu, he whispered back, ’’There are no

other options. It is, after all, a tier four beast; with just the four of us, we stand no chance,

especially if we were to meet it head on. The only way is if we stick to our plan. That animal

loves the taste of human flesh, and young boys with Qi in particular would be an exceptional

delicacy. We will have to use the kid to lure the animal out, then...’’

NOTES

[1]Jiaolong: An aquatic dragon in Chinese mythology that could take on many different forms.



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