Jing was looking over her new slave with a faint surprised look in her eyes. She didn't expect him to be such a menace. After narrowly surviving the 3 cultivators, something inside him changed it seems. Or maybe he was just too weak to really show his strength before. But with the shield she made, his confidence rose to levels she was sure he didn't even know were possible. She originally thought she would have to step in and save him before he died with her shield but here he was taking on a group of cultivators with just a shield. At first it was basically a group fight between 2 groups but after seeing him knock out and severely injure more and more cultivators, everyone decided to team up and eliminate him. If he wasn't careful, Jing might have to step in and save him. He is proving to be useful so far so, she doesn't mind saving him this once if the situation calls for it.
She looked on as he was surrounded on all sides by the cultivators.
"Don't you bastards have any honor?! Ganging up on a 2nd level Qi Gatherer! How shameless can you get!?" Bing shouted indignantly.
They actually couldn't reply after taking a look at themselves surrounding this one boy at the 2nd level. But they knew it was too dangerous to leave competition as monstrous as this fatty alive after what they've done to him. There is no going back now. Either they kill him or get taken out by him. There are no other options.
"Fine then you cowards! If I'm going down, I'm taking you bastards with me!" He charged like a bull towards the person closest to him.
The cultivator saw what happened to those that fell victim to this fatty's charge beforehand. They were either overpowered and trampled under his feet or bashed to death with his shield. He wasn't going to turn out like them so, he ran. He ran away faster than Bing could run and left everyone behind as he secured his life. This caused the other cultivators who were scared to fight against Ai Bing to see a way out. A few others started to run away as well, leaving Ai Bing alone with 4 cultivators who were just as confused as him before quickly hightailing it out of there as well.
"I WILL REMEMBER THE FACES OF EVERYONE WHO ATTACKED ME! I WILL SEE YOU AGAIN AT THE SECT AND DEAL WITH YOU THERE!" Ai Bing roared before all his exhaustion hit him at once. He promptly fell over and fainted.
No matter how many recovery pills and qi pills he used to heal himself and refuel his qi. No person can go on with just adrenaline and qi alone. They are still human after all. Jing finally exited her watching place and began taking the items of those that were defeated by Ai Bing. Li Li flew on top of Bing's body and started taking out the items he pocketed.
"This mission wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. But maybe I got lucky that none of them were above the 4th level. Who knows if anyone else decided to team up with others? I only did it because of the mission." Jing shrugged her shoulders before hearing a familiar ding.
[Gained Storage Ring]
Jing pulled out the storage ring from her inventory and briefly thought about selling it to the system. She would be able to buy multiple storage rings in the future if she did so but, she was sure there was much to gain right now that she wouldn't be able to carry. She also didn't know what type of absurd pricing the system might set to it either. She dismissed the thought of selling it as she tied her hair in a ponytail with the ring, making it hard to take notice of. She could always sell it later. She didn't need to do it now. She then put all the items of the fallen cultivators inside it, gaining some mediocre but bountiful loot.
Jing walked over to the peacefully sleeping Ai Bing. Slob was slowly falling from the side his mouth and he had a stupid smile on his face. His creamy white skin and short figure made him look like a dumpling. His light blue hair was strange though. But then again this wasn't the first time she's seen someone with colored hair. So, she didn't think much of it as she wrapped her whip around Bing's leg and started dragging him along the jungle's floor without any issue. With her refined body, his weight wasn't anything to her.
As they journeyed through the jungle, Jing saw many different types of plants and herbs. She didn't have the slightest clue on what type of ingredients they were but since she saw beasts and spirit beasts either fighting over it or defending it, she decided to take as much as she could. Li Li also had a greedy look in his eyes whenever he spotted the herbs. She didn't think the little gourmet was interested in anything but meat.
Jing felt that if these herbs were valuable then Li Li could be her little treasure detector. Jing killed any beasts that dared attack her as she was pilfering the plants. Bing was still sleeping peacefully even though he had numerous bugs, mud, and dirt all over him. She guessed he really did give everything he had to survive back there. If he managed to not let any of them get away, Jing was even thinking of rewarding him.
She did feel that he did well enough though. While she was thinking this, Li Li pointed towards another direction with his talon. Jing went that way and soon after discovered a dark hole in the ground. There were human foot steps outside the hole, so she imagined a few cultivators already went inside to investigate as well. She had no reason to not go in herself and was about to head straight down into the mysterious tunnel but she felt Li Li shaking on her shoulder.
"Are you scared Li Li?" Jing asked a little bit surprised.
Li Li nodded and Jing took him off her shoulder and hugged him.
"Don't worry. The dark isn't as scary as it seems. There's nothing in the dark that can hurt you with me here anyway. I'll protect you." Jing whispered into his ear while holding him across her chest.
Li Li's body stopped shaking as he gave in to his mother's warm embrace and the trio headed down inside the dark tunnel. Jing's hair suddenly started to lengthen and wrap around the whip's handle. Her hair dragged along Bing as she held Li Li in her hands. Thanks to her refinement, Jing was capable of doing something like growing hair at will! There were more changes she made but, she wouldn't ever share them with anyone.
Jing and Li Li could see perfectly fine in the darkness thanks to their refinement and had no issue finding their way around. If it were anyone else, they would need a torch to light their way because it was pitch black once they made it far enough from the entrance. Inside the tunnel, it seemed like a straight path with nothing but stone walls around them. As they continued their way inside, soon they began to see something different. A dead body was slumped against the wall. He had a sword sticking out of his chest and seemed to have died not too long ago. The blood was still fresh. Jing wondered if the murderer was in a hurry because the corpse still had his belongings on him. She placed his stuff in her storage ring and Li Li decided to have a quick snack as he opened the chest of the cadaver and swallowed his heart whole.
"You were scared like a little kitten earlier but not scared enough to have a quick bite?" Jing teased.
"Hoo!" Li Li responded.
"Mhmm.. Okay mister. Whatever you say." Jing held him like she did before and continued down the path as if she was on a morning stroll.
The trio eventually reached some stairs that descended further underground. Jing really hoped this treasure down here was worth it because this is a lot of walking she'd rather not do a second time. Ooh! She could have her slave carry her back. That'll solve her problems.
Jing sadly couldn't drag Bing's body down the stairs or he'd fall all the way down and die. It would also be troublesome to try and carefully drag his body down the stairs. So, she released his leg from her whip and stood over him before kicking him in the side of the face.
He quickly rolled over and bowed towards Jing. A nice recovery. Quick and not too exaggerated.
'Good.' She thought.
"You need of me, my Empress?" He asked politely as if he wasn't just sleeping like the dead for hours.
If Jing wasn't so sure he was really sleeping from exhaustion, she would've thought of him as faking earlier. But he learned his place quite quickly. This gave Jing a satisfied look on her face.
"Do you want me to kick you down the stairs or walk down them?" She asked.
"Stairs? Why can't I see anything? Empress have you blinded me!? Everything is dark!" Bing started weeping.
"Empress how could you blind me in my sleep... you already taken my freedom... were my actions from before not enough to please you?"
Jing kicked Bing in his chin, knocking him on to his back and stunning him momentarily. Jing took out an iron sword from her storage ring and inserted it into herself. She refined it on fine and soon the sword phased through her stomach and into her hand. The sword now glowed with a white aura around it, lighting their nearby surroundings easily.
"I can see! Empress, you didn't blind me! I always knew you were so merciful and forgiving." Bing sucked up as he exaggeratedly bowed up and down towards at Jing.
"Use the light and follow me already before I truly knock you down the stairs." She ordered.
The trio descended down the stairs at a leisure pace.
"Why are we in this dark scary place Empress?" Bing asked.
She turned around and looked at him with a stare that said "Did you really just ask me such a stupid question?" Bing understood that this question was beneath his demonic empress and he should shut his mouth and just wait. No need to give her an excuse to beat him even further. The glowing sword was strange though. He wondered where she got it from. He didn't believe that his Empress had somehow acquired a spirit weapon. You have to know that only cultivators who reached the 7th level in the Qi Gathering stage can barely bring out the potential of a spirit weapon. Bing couldn't even feel the smallest of qi from his Empress so it had to be impossible for her to own a spirit weapon. Even the scary little owl has qi emanating from it.
Spirit weapons are weapons made out of spirit metals. Metals that has been bathed in qi or a certain type of qi for a number of years. Usually it takes hundreds of years before an ore can change into a spirit ore which makes them very valuable and rare. Sects will go to nearly any length to find an ore mine to turn it into a spirit mine. Even if it isn't guaranteed that they will still thrive within a hundred years, it's still an asset that can be used only for one's benefit. A spirit weapon in the hands of a skilled cultivator can cause him to face those above his own realm if they didn't have a spirit weapon of their own.
But now that he thought about it... Why couldn't he feel any qi from the demoness? It was almost as if she wasn't a cultivator at all and was still a mortal through and through. But that was impossible! She's too strong to be a mortal. Unless... She unlocked a bloodline that makes her stronger than others! That has to be it. There was no other explanation he could find that would explain her mysterious strength and lack of qi. To think he would find himself underneath someone who holds a special bloodline lineage. If her temperament was better and her skin was lighter, he would be blessed to be underneath such a cultivator.
By the time Bing was done with his silly thoughts, the trio reached the bottom of the stairs and entered a place that could only be described as a ruin. The ruins were well lit and torches were hanging on the walls. With all the light in this place, Li Li felt comfortable enough to go back onto Jing's shoulder. Jing and Li Li heard fighting up ahead and went to investigate. Bing followed behind the two with his shield at the ready. This place gave him the creeps.
As the three of them went forward, they saw more and more corpses lying around. It seems they all died from in-fighting or some sort of group battle. Jing ordered Bing to take all their stuff so she could put it inside her ring before moving on towards an open doorway. Inside, were other cultivators fighting. They stood outside the door and looked in on the situation.
"Fang! Your life will come to an end here! Give up the treasure you found and I will make your death painless!" Song Huan promised.
He was a Qi Gatherer of the 4th stage.
"It doesn't have to be this way cousin! I know you are in love with sister Li! I will not impede you in any way! We can both help raise the clan into a better one." Fang Huan said desperately.
He was a peak 3rd stage Qi Gatherer.
"Shut up trash! My life won't be as great with you trying to take away the spotlight from me! I'm the genius of Huan clan! I'm the future patriarch of the clan! You can only blame yourself for not resigning to your fate as trash and lusting after a swan as a mere toad." Song used his qi to strengthen his upper body as he and his minions attacked Fang at the same time.
Fang didn't know whether to cry or laugh. His cousin he grew up with wanted to kill him out of jealousy and fear. When all he wanted was for their clan to prosper. Is there a need for this betrayal and bloodlust between family members...? Even if they aren't blood related, their hearts are both set on making the Huan Clan more prosperous. There has to be a way to end this without killing him...
Fang took on a strange martial stance and closed his eyes. One that made him look like he became one with his surroundings. As if a simple breeze could knock him over but a large wave could never move him. As his attackers closed in, he took a deep breath and once they got close enough, his eyes shot open. He had a sharp focused look in his eyes as he calmly dodged the strike meant to behead him and palmed the branch member in the stomach. The branch member was sent flying like a kite without strings but Fang wasn't done just yet.
After countering the first attack, the second branch member sent numerous hasty slashes towards his upper body. Fang's torso was like a leaf blowing in the wind as he slipped through the slashes and struck the second branch member's chest, knocking him into the air and flat on his face. The only one left was his cousin whose eyes were set on stabbing him straight through his heart. A sad smile appeared on his face as he charged forward and slipped past his cousin's stab.
Song was shocked and couldn't believe this trash could improve this much! When they were younger, they were equals in talent with Fang a little bit higher than his. But a few years ago, all of a sudden Fang's cultivation stagnated and actually regressed! They hired many physicians and doctors to inspect Fang's body but they couldn't find out what happened. Rumors started to go around about Fang being a waste and trash and soon that was his identity inside the clan. Everyone started to forget that he used to toted as a genius and had talent similar to Song himself. But now that his body somehow was cured, he's showing strength that is even better than his!
Even if Song cannot obtain whatever heavenly-defying treasure Fang found, he has to kill him or he'll never find peace within himself! But it seems this is the end for him. Song watches as his cousin's palm heads straight for his heart.
"Ripping Black Palm!" Fang shouted as he struck towards Song's chest.
Maybe he could've reigned his ambition and greed for power and his life wouldn't have come to end. Perhaps he could've been believed Fang when he said he had no romantic feelings towards sister Li. If they were closer, maybe, Fang could've even tried to support him in his conquest for sister Li. A hollow laugh escaped from him. He never had a chance with sister Li. He saw how her eyes turned into hearts whenever she looked at Fang. Besides cultivation and the clan, the only other interests she had was in Fang.
He should've gave up from the start and got rid of this foolish love that's lasted since childhood. He should've been happy for Fang when he found a way to fix his body and cultivate again. He should've done a lot of things different now that he's about to die. But there is no pill for regret nor is there one for bringing the dead back to life. He closed his eyes in anticipation of death.
But death would not take him yet. Fang redirected his palm and merely struck his stomach, launching him into the roof of the ruins and falling harshly to the ground.
"I cannot kill you cousin... Even if you hate me so much you want me dead... I don't hate you.. And I can't kill my own family.." Fang said as turned away from Song.
"Why...?" Song moaned.
"Don't misunderstand me cousin. I am not afraid to kill. But I understand why you tried to do this. You simply wanted the best for yourself and the Huan clan. I want the best for the Huan clan as well. But your greed is simply too much. You can try another attempt on my life but I won't kill you cousin. You're like a brother to me..." Fang shared with a tear falling from his eye before walking towards the exit with a second new ring on his finger.
"Sorry about this but orders are orders." Ai Bing said as he bashed his shield over the head of Fang, knocking him unconscious.
Ai Bing began stripping the boy of all his belongings including the rings on his fingers and then gently grabbed his neck with his thick fingers and...
"Hey! What... What did you just do...!" Bing heard a voice say to him from inside the room.
"You just killed the patriarch's son! The son of the Huan clan! The Huan clan definitely won't let you off! He's a cultivator at the Core Preparation stage!" Song yelled in complete fear and deliriousness.
He can't believe that his cousin of 15 years just died right in front of him.
"I guess I better make sure they don't know it was me who killed him." Ai Bing responded in a meek voice and a small laugh.
He ignored the voice as he committed the thievery under the eyes of the Huan clan and ended the lives of everyone still alive. The demoness told him to take everything inside this room for her and to get rid of the witnesses. He was just happy she didn't order him to do it when they were still fighting. Even with the shield she gave him, he doubted he could take on a Qi Gatherer of the 4th stage and a 3rd stage that could compete with a 4th stage Qi Gatherer. So, the least he could do was rob these guys while they were weak as thanks for not sending him into that dangerous battle they were watching. He didn't mind killing them either. A cultivator has to kill if they wish to advance in this world. Even a weak person like him knows it's a kill or be killed world.