Yin Long spent the next two days quietly cultivating and wandering around the various markets within the city, seemingly buying a few random items that caught his fancy. Once evening of the third day arrived, Yin Long left the Lang clan estate and sauntered through the city on bare feet, heading for the Ten Flowers Pavilion. He pushed open the door and entered the purple-carpeted greeting room, not wasting any time and directly stating his desires.
“Bring out Lan Yun, I’m gonna take her out on a trip for a few days.”
The raven-haired proprietress simply smiled sweetly and nodded her head in response to Yin Long’s straightforward words. She wasn’t one of the associates working with him and Jiu Meiyu, but Yin Long had been such a loyal and well-paying customer over these six years that she would simply nod and smile at whatever request he made. It was the first time she had ever encountered anyone taking a prostitute out on a vacation, but she was smart enough to know when it was best to remain silent.
The proprietress slid her finger across a small emerald that was embedded into the underside of the counter standing in front of her, sending out the order for Lan Yun to show herself. No one dared to hire Lan Yun with the rumors that she was Yin Long's woman swirling around, allowing her to arrive in the greeting room in less than a minute. She grabbed at the hems of her azure dress, bowing gracefully while smiling seductively at Yin Long.
"Thank you for picking me today, Young Master. This Lan Yun will take good care of you today so please don't be shy about stating your desires."
Lan Yun didn't know what was going on but could tell that the situation was somewhat different since she had been called directly to the greeting room. Thinking about the job that Jiu Meiyu was currently on, a few guesses popped up in her mind, the corners of her lips just barely managing to refrain from curving into a chuckling grin. Yin Long rolled his eyes slightly at Lan Yun's poor attempt at hiding her excitement, taking a leather bag out of his interspatial ring and tossing it at her.
"We're heading out to Stone Heart Village for a few days to enjoy the hotsprings. That bag is filled with clothes so you don't have to bother packing anything, we're leaving right away."
Lan Yun caught the bag with glittering eyes, loosening the strap and peering into it to catch a quick peek of the clothing that had been haphazardly stuffed into the bag. She raised her eyes to look at Yin Long, putting on a slightly blushing smirk while squirming shyly.
"Oh my, if you wanted me to wear something special then you should have just told me, I would have prepared whatever you wanted."
Yin Long once again rolled his eyes at Lan Yun's antics before turning around and leaving the brothel, Lan Yun swiftly closing the bag and following after him. They received quite a few stares as they made their way through the city, Yin Long catching a few quiet whispers that were gossiping about their plans. Rumors of the trip and its purpose had already spread throughout the city, showing that there were more than a few loose lips within the Lang clan willing to spread out any news about Yin Long.
The two made their way through the streets while chatting casually, not yet discussing the details of the mission they were about to embark on. They arrived at the transmission station that was their target after almost an hour, the guards respectfully saluting Yin Long before stepping aside and allowing him to activate the spatial array that led to Stone Heart Village. He and Lan Yun stepped into the array and were swiftly surrounded by white light, the comfortable feeling of traversing through space swiftly surrounding Yin Long.
But Yin Long didn't allow himself to indulge in this feeling, his Qi billowing out from his body and assaulting the white light around them. His silvery Qi bombarded the white light for a short second before the light distorted slightly, cracking and dissipating half a second later. Yin Long and Lan Yun didn't arrive within Stone Heart Village when the light vanished, they instead found themselves standing within the upper section of Underearth Forest.
Yin Long didn't yet have the strength to teleport, doing that required far more Qi than what he could produce right now. But if it was just twisting and bending the spatial tunnel that a spatial array created then it wouldn't need a vast amount of Qi, it just needed a bit of precise control and violence. Lan Yun curiously glanced at the surroundings, finally asking about what sort of mission they were going on.
"While I'd love to spend a bit of time at the hotsprings with you, I doubt that's what you brought me out for. Has Jiu Meiyu finished his investigations and found the targets, and does it have something to do with why we're here?"
Yin Long gave a slight nod of his head and took out a small jug of wine and a large bowl from his interspatial ring. He poured the wine into the bowl and placed it on the ground, explaining the plan to Lan Yun while waiting for the one he was looking for.
"Correct. Jiu Meiyu has found clear evidence that the Deepsea Guild in Mirror Lake Village actually works for the Tao clan of Kingcloud City, they've been responsible for more than a handful of terrorist attacks and assassinations. Our target this time is the entire guild, but Jiu Meiyu can't help us in dealing with them, he has to stay in Stone Heart Village since he's being monitored by a fellow from the Deshi clan. As such, the extermination of the guild will fall onto you and me, as well as the fellow that I'm picking up here."
Lang, Deshi, and Tao, these were the three largest clans within the Bluelord territory, one of the three territories that the Sunsong province was split into. They couldn't compete for the position of territory lord, much less the position of province emperor, but competing for the position of the largest clan within the Bluelord territory was something they were more than capable of. Of course, if they were too apparent with their battling and schemes then the territory lord, Bluelord, would heavily punish them for weakening the overall strength of the territory so they made sure to be as stealthy as possible.
Lan Yun nodded her head somewhat solemnly upon hearing the details of the mission. Dealing with traitors of their own clan was one thing, they would have a certain understanding of them. But when it came to people from other clans then it became much harder to anticipate what might happen so there was very little room for error and carelessness.
At the same time, Lan Yun couldn't help but be curious about what sort of fellow Yin Long was talking about. In truth, the 'shadow' of the Lang clan was only a total of seven people, Lan Yun, Jiu Meiyu, Yin Long, and one additional member in each village. They had to keep their numbers low to reduce the risk of being discovered, even if it meant working at reduced efficiency. Lan Yun hadn't met the four other associates yet but knew that they weren't all too strong, they should be a bit weaker than her, so she doubted that it would be one of them that would be following them.
And she quickly received the answer to her question, a one-meter long cat with faded yellow fur sauntering towards them from among the trees. The cat looked curiously at Lan Yun for a second before glancing at Yin Long, stopping in front of the bowl of wine and slurping up the contents. Lan Yun also curiously looked at the cat, which seemed to be a type of Demonic beast.
"Young Master, who's this? And what race is it? Also, is this the fellow we came here to pick up?"
Yin Long gave a slight nod of his head and crouched down in front of the cat, pouring a bit more wine into the bowl that was already starting to rapidly empty. He gave a short explanation of the cat to Lan Yun and then addressed the cat itself with his request.
"Correct. This guy is Jin Wang, and while I'm not quite certain what race of beast he is, I can assure you that his strength is about the same as mine. So, little fellow, what do you say about following me out on a trip, we've got quite a few people to kill and could use another helper."
The name Jin Wang was not chosen by Yin Long, it was the cat itself that had chosen the name. The stronger a Demonic beast got, or the stronger its bloodline was, the smarter it would get, quickly becoming just as clever as a human. Jin Wang had used his paw to write the name in the earth when Yin Long was considering if he should give it a name so he was clearly quite clever, meaning that he either had a strong bloodline or that his race only needed to reach a rather low level of strength before they became as clever as humans.
Jin Wang raised his head slightly from the bowl of wine, drinking directly from the stream of wine that poured forth from the gourd. He pulled his head back after the stream of wine stopped and then opened his mouth open as wide as he could, tilting the rest of the wine in the bowl into his mouth. He licked his snout after finishing the wine, his lips curling back slightly to reveal his sharp fangs as he let out a somewhat low growling sound. Yin Long understood his words, standing up and nodding his head with a light smile, the empty bowl vanishing into his interspatial ring.
"He's in so we've at least got another layer of assurance. The other associates have to stay hidden in case the worst happens so we can't expect any help from them, it'll be just us. I don't need to tell you this, but don't get careless."
Lan Yun placed her hand against her forehead and puffed out her ample chest, giving Yin Long a stiff and overly-exaggerated salute. Yin Long rolled his eyes at her actions, an act he felt like he was performing more and more with the passage of time. He swiped his interspatial ring and took out a pineapple-sized rectangle made from earthenware, the entire surface of it covered in minuscule runes.
This was one of the items Jiu Meiyu had secretly sent over along with the letter, it was engraved with a miniature spatial array that could be activated once to send him to their destination, Mirror Lake Village. He waved over Jin Wang and wrapped his arm around Lan Yun's waist to hold her tight, shattering the rectangular plate with his free hand. The plate shattered and unleashed the array within it, surrounding Yin Long, and just barely Lan Yun and Jin Wang, with white light.
The feeling of getting transported through space once again enveloped them, only this time it felt a bit rougher than when they used a properly established spatial array. The trip also took a bit longer, the white light lasted for nearly ten whole seconds before it vanished and revealed their surroundings.
The two people and one beast were still standing in a forest, but the dry and leaf-filled earth beneath them had turned into a wet marsh. The trees had also changed, they had grown thinner and more twisted, the trunks and roots elevating slightly so that it looked like the trees were all standing on stilts. Just barely visible in the distance was a village quite a bit smaller than Yin Long's Wolfsoul city, the village was also a bit strange in that it was actually located within a large lake. A massive circular earthen disk floated on the lake, supporting the entire village, plus a little extra empty space, without any problem. This was Mirror Lake Village, the village located at the edge of Skywater Marsh.
Yin Long took off his yellow robe and switched into a green one, Lan Yun not even pretending to cover her eyes while eyeing him as he changed. Lan Yun also quickly changed into a modest pink robe and put on a veil, continuously eyeing Yin Long in hopes that the sight of her changing would steal his breath away. Sadly for her, Yin Long only spared her a few quick glances before he finished changing his robe. He then donned the large hat that covered his face with a curtain of beads and tucked his silver ponytail into the back of his robe, heading towards the village with Lan Yun and Jin Wang once the two humans finished donning their disguises.
The buildings in Mirror Lake Village were a bit different from the ones in Wolfsoul City, they were all placed on stilts that put a bit of distance between them and the disk of earth that the village stood on. They also had triangular roofs that were all covered in winding grooves that would lead all the rain down into gutters that led to pipes that extended down into the earth, all the rain ending up in the lake beneath the village.
There was however one building within the village that was different, a five-layered square pagoda made from wood that was tinted slightly blue. This building was the only one not standing on stilts, its base directly touched the earthen disk beneath it. The reason behind it was that this was the Deepsea Guild, an organization that specialized in diving into the lake beneath the village, as well as the rest of Skywater Marsh, to look for various herbs or underwater Demonic beasts.
The guild was located a few kilometers outside of the village so that the guild members had a bit more peace to do their job, coincidentally also making things a bit easier for Yin Long's party. Evening had already arrived so they simply walked straight through the village and headed for the lone pagoda, Lan Yun tilting her head slightly, the corners of her lips turning up ever so slightly as she glanced at Yin Long.
"So how do you wanna go about this?"
She had worked with him for six years already, and even though she had only gone on three missions with him before, she felt that she had a good grasp on his personality. As such, she was fairly confident in his answer, she just wanted to hear him say it, wanted to hear the unshakable confidence as he gave the order. And he didn't disappoint, swiping his interspatial ring and donning his red mask shaped like a glaring demon.
"Bloodwash the guild, none shall escape."