This chapter is sponsored by: edward schave and Adrien CHEVALLIER
Chapter 144 – Are there really dragons?
Translated by: Yunichan
Edited by: Rango
TLCed by: Shiroyukineko
If there was only one Teleportation Scroll, perhaps the Mercenary Troop Leader wouldn’t have made a decision, since he couldn’t possibly abandon his comrades who followed him through life and death.
But there were over a dozen Teleportation Scrolls in Yue Yang’s hands.
These scrolls were enough for him to bring along his most trusted and loyal brothers to safely leave this dangerous place where death was almost certain.
“I understand. One should only obtain things that match their abilities. If you are powerful, you will obtain even more… I decide to choose the second proposal, and I accept your offer. However, I have another proposition. Being the leader, I hope to bring all my comrades out. Perhaps you might not be satisfied with getting only one Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit. If you need me, I can stay back and be your guide… My request is for you to open a path for my brothers to leave this Ant Hole, so that they can at least safely leave in front of me. I hope that you will allow me to carry out my last duties as a Mercenary Troop Leader. Will you grant me my wish?” The Mercenary Troop Leader put forward a request that slightly astonished Yue Yang.
He was actually willing to stay back as a hostage and a guide in exchange for a chance for all his comrades to escape.
This point alone showed that he was a qualified leader.
A dark skinned oaf with a tall and sturdy figure immediately voiced his opposition. “Leader, whoever it is that is going to be left behind, it should not be you. I’ll stay here, you bring the others out.”
“Shut your mouth. Right now, what you need to do is to just listen to your Assistant Troop Leader. You must be especially careful when you go out so that you can prevent disasters that might lead to death.” The Mercenary Troop Leader nodded towards another middle-aged man with a lanky figure. The middle-aged man had two eyes shimmering with the radiance of wisdom and farsightedness. The Mercenary Troop Leader then exchanged his backpack with the middle-aged man, and shouted at Yue Yang. “As long as my brothers can safely reach the Ant Tunnel, I will bring you to a place two levels down. We found this Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit there. Perhaps with your capabilities, you can find even more hidden secrets and treasures there.”
“Aren’t you afraid of me cheating you?” Yue Yang asked, smiling slightly.
“Those who are truly powerful have lofty and unyielding characters. They will not be so mindful of us commoners, and of course they will not be as excessively greedy as bandits and robbers. If you wanted to cheat us, you could have killed us all off just now, why would you wait until now?” The Mercenary Troop Leader shook his head.
“Open your backpacks, first let me see the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit.” The reason that Yue Yang did not kill them, was not because of a Ranker’s pride. He wanted to further explore and learn the location of the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit, and hopefully to find more secrets. This type of Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit was different from normal Dragon Fruits, it only grew at the side of the hot springs around volcanic craters. According to legends, it was created out of the poisonous saliva of giant dragons. If it was used as an ingredient for making a [Martial Spirit Pill], it could be used to stimulate the martial arts potential in practitioners.
One [Spirit Beast Awakening Knowledge Pill] might cost a thousand gold, but the price of a [Martial Spirit Pill] was priceless.
After all, contracting a grimoire was a privilege that was limited to an extremely small number of people.
But to simulate one’s martial art potential in one’s body, this pill was necessary for any martial arts practitioner.
For some people, when they face a bottleneck that they could never overcome in their entire life, their potentials could be immediately stimulated if they simply consume one [Martial Spirit Pill]. They could the break through the bottleneck and level up with one leap. They could even break through more levels.
Three hundred years ago, there was a martial arts practitioner who had trained hard until he was forty plus years old, but his ability remained on par with that of an [Apprentice]. He was unable to rise into the ranks of a warrior, and he was mocked by people as being a ‘dumb old man’.
However, after taking one [Martial Spirit Pill], his body’s potential was immediately stimulated, and he broke through the level of an [Apprentice]… Ultimately, this ‘dumb old man’ who was continuously mocked and ridiculed by others, achieved a state that common people found difficult to even believe and admire, a Level Nine [Sage]. This martial arts practitioner who was previously ridiculed and named ‘dumb old man’ became one of the Two Heavenly Imperial Guardians of Da Xia Empire, the ‘Ascetic Practice Sage’. Although not everybody who takes a [Martial Spirit Pill] would be able to become a [Sage], this Ascetic Practice Sage’s potential was indeed stimulated by the [Martial Spirit Pill], that he was able to change wholly and became what he is today.
If he did not take that [Martial Spirit Pill], he would perhaps truly be a dumb old man his whole life.
Making a [Martial Spirit Pill] was a hundred times harder than making a [Spirit Beast Awakening Knowledge Pill]. Just the main ingredient, Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit, was enough to cause major headaches for common people.
The high difficulty level was not because the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit grew at the side of the hot springs around volcanic craters, nor was it because of the fact that a giant dragon’s nest was most likely beside it, but it was because the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit only ripen once every one thousand years.
If it was not ripe, it couldn’t be picked, and it would also not be effective.
One needed to wait for at least a thousand years for it to ripen, and by that time, human beings’ bones would have already become a pile of mud in their graves… Moreover, once it ripened, there would usually be strong beasts fighting over it.
With so many challenging conditions and obstacles, the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit was what common people considered as one of the “World’s Top Ten” hardest Supernatural Fruits and Flowers to pick.
“I can’t open it now, because once I open it, its fragrance will seep out, and all the Fire Red Ants in the entire Ant Nest will go crazy. My most respected powerful warrior, I swear, please believe me. I can guarantee with my life, this is the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit, and its meat is definitely ripe.” The leader shook his head. He tossed up his backpack high in the air, and it landed right in front of Yue Yang.
Yue Yang definitely would not believe a stranger easily. Although he couldn’t open it, he had his [Divine Vision] and Innate Qi senses.
As for determining whether it was truly the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit, he did not need to open the backpack at all, he just needed to touch the backpack.
When the backpack touched his hand, Yue Yang felt an immense amount of energy stored in it… It was so strong that he did not need to try sensing for the energy to feel it clearly.
Yue Yang stored it into his Lich Ring with no trace of courtesy at all. He then raised his Hui Jin Magic Blade and said indifferently. “If you guys are able to keep up, I can send you into one Ant Tunnel, but don’t even think of counting on me to send you out of the Ant Hole, I am not your nanny.”
Even if Yue Yang did not have the heart to save others, the mercenaries on the platform were still extremely touched.
In these days, people who do not hit others when they are down were already very hard to come by.
All the mercenaries on the platform took out Insect Baits in succession and tossed it far away, hoping to lure more Fire Red Ants away from them and open up a temporary escape path for them. Most people started to apply even more Ant Water and Insect Repellant onto their bodies. There were also some who smeared mud on their bodies, hoping that the Insect Repellant effectiveness could last a little longer. The three men carrying the Golden Ant Eggs hugged their leader tightly. Numerous devoted and loyal team members also took out things like their throwing knifes, poisonous powders, daggers etc. and handed them over to their leader, hoping that this would somehow help their leader increase his battle capabilities a little, and increase his chance of surviving…
Journeying deeper into the Ant Hole, they did not need to think to know how treacherous this journey would be.
It was definitely an action that meant a huge risk of death.
But in order to save everybody, the leader himself had volunteered to stay back as both hostage and guide. This was already their best choice.
Similarly, Yue Yang also tossed the Insect Baits he bought at Hope Town into the distance, creating a disturbance in the ant crowd. The Fire Red Ants started throwing themselves frenziedly at the place where the Insect Baits was thrown, not caring one bit about killing all living things that were in contact with the Insect Baits, even if they were their own comrades.
A different smell meant an enemy to them.
The purple flames from Yue Yang’s Hui Jin Magic Blade soared into the sky. Yue Yang emulated Yue Qiu’s Earth Splitting Slash, creating an explosion.
As compared to when he was at the Yue Clan Castle, Yue Yang’s sword technique had vastly improved yet again.
Yue Yang’s previous Earth Splitting Slash was only similar to Yue Qiu’s in sword technique; it was entirely different in its power and style. Now, however, even Jun Wu You and Elder Yue Hai who were extremely familiar with Yue Qiu’s battle tactics may not recognise this as the same technique… The power of this slash, as compared to before, had improved by two times at least.
This was still not its full power, as Yue Yang intentionally held back on his attack.
“All of you, scram!”
Yue Yang realised that there was a giant Ant Guard together with over ten other Fire Red Ants crawling over. The Ant Guard seemed to have detected that there was an odd smell here. A few of the mercenaries on the platform who had jumped down successively were injured. The smell of fresh blood had spread out through the gentle breezes in the cave, causing some Fire Red Ants to turn their heads and return, feeling around the area with their antennas. Yue Yang knew that if these close to ten thousand Fire Red Ants rushed forth at once, he could only try to run away, let alone save others.
The purple flames from his Hui Jin Magic Blade grew bigger, and exploded with a loud ‘boom’, it scorched the entire space at once as it swept across it.
The mercenaries felt the hot surging waves assaulting their senses. All of them were extremely frightened.
In the end, luckily, only their hairs turned into afro. Their hairs did not catch fire as they thought initially. At this moment, they prostrated themselves in admiration of Yue Yang’s ability to control the fire… because all of them saw that for the same explosion, the Fire Red Ants at their front and on both of their sides had been charred alive by the purple flames. Countless Fire Red Ants were rolling about in the flames, looking as if they could not bear the pain.
This move was practically as cool as the legendary Fire God who could manipulate and control all flames in the entire world.
“What are you still waiting for?” When Yue Yang saw that these fellows were frozen in terror as they stared at him foolishly, he was immediately angered.
“Yes!” The wise Assistant Troop Leader responded the fastest.
He immediately stuffed something into the Mercenary Troop Leader’s hand, then followed the path that Yue Yang had opened, sparing no effort in rushing out of the hole.
Behind him, a whole group of mercenaries followed desperately, outrunning each other. In front, Yue Yang continuously slashed with his sword. Using his purple flames to force the Fire Red Ants back, he opened a road with only a few Fire Red Ants present, spread thinly apart. This allowed the mercenaries to run towards the nearest Ant Tunnel. The ones who took the lead in rushing into it were the Assistant Troop Leader and the black oaf, and they had already started fighting the Fire Red Ants in the Tunnel. The other mercenaries immediately rushed forward to help in order to survive.
The one who was the last to go was an elderly person who carried the Golden Ant Eggs. He had stayed behind for a while to receive the ten Teleportation Scrolls from Yue Yang.
“Ah Hao, you must come back, you must. If our family loses you, it would definitely fall apart. You must remember that.” The elderly person looked like he was the leader’s uncle or older relative. He didn’t forget to force a Teleportation Scroll into the leader’s hand before he left.
“I’m fine. You guys go, quickly go now!”
The Mercenary Troop Leader named Ah Hao did not reject the Teleportation Scroll. He received it and stuffed it into his robe, then he quickly ran back to Yue Yang’s side.
If he did not have Yue Yang’s protection, the chances of him surviving in the sea of ants was practically zero.
Yue Yang watched as the mercenaries rushed into the Ant Tunnel like a hive of bees. The ones who were slightly slower were crying out for help in desperation, begging their comrades to pull them along. However, most of them only cared about fleeing themselves, very few people turned back to lend a helping hand. In any case, it was simply a huge mess. Yue Yang slashed his blade and created a trailing blaze, setting the antennas of the few Fire Red Ants which had followed them on fire. The blade slashed the Fire Red Ants which were about to reach the mouth of the Ant Tunnel open. This was his final parting gift to them, Yue Yang could not be bothered about whether they lived or died beyond this… When he turned his head back and looked towards the Mercenary Troop Leader Ah Hao, he pointed at an underground cave where numerous Fire Red Ants were crawling out of with his shaking fingers. His lips trembled with fear but he said with certainty, “That, that, that’s where you should go in.”
By no means would Yue Yang bring a nuisance into the cave, he grabbed the Mercenary Troop Leader and jumped back onto the platform, then handed a map to him. “Mark the location clearly on the map, and you can go.”
Hearing this, the Mercenary Troop Leader Ah Hao was startled. He could live?
He was instantly so moved that he kept thanking Yue Yang continuously. He hurriedly marked the path he previously walked on the map.
Finally, as he took out the Teleportation Scroll and prepared to leave, he suddenly raised his head and looked towards Yue Yang, asking emotionally, “Can you at least tell me what your respected name is?”
Yue Yang could not be bothered to pay attention to this fellow. Could it be that he still wanted to take revenge on him?
As for repaying his kindness, just forget about it…
The Mercenary Troop Leader Ah Hao offered the little object that the Assistant Troop Leader had stuffed into his hands with both hands to Yue Yang. “We relied on this to find the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit. Previously we kept this from you because we were afraid that you would go back on your promise, and refuse to save us after getting the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit. We acted as vile characters, and we’re really ashamed for that. We hope that you could be magnanimous and forgive us. Farewell. If I, Zhong Hao can return alive, and if we can see each other again, we, the Wild Sand Mercenary Troop, will await your orders if you have any mission for us, any time. ”
“Double Dragon Shears? I had been suspicious about how you could actually pick the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit. Turns out that you guys had this with you. Not bad, with this, I do not need to use the Dragon Slaying Dagger which requires so much effort… How many Hard-shelled Dragon Fruits are left down there? ” Yue Yang played with the little shining golden item in his hands, tossing it into the air and catching it again, before keeping it in his robe.
“We don’t know. As there are dragons down there, we didn’t dare go too close to them. We had only picked one when we heard the dragons roaring suddenly. We were so scared that we immediately ran out.” When the Mercenary Troop Leader thought of what happened when they stole the fruit, he shuddered hard. He then immediately opened the Teleportation Scroll and left.
“Are there really dragons down there? Is it a giant dragon, or is it a flying dragon?” Yue Yang’s heart twitched with excitement. If he could kill a dragon, then the profits of his journey would definitely be even larger.
No matter whether there were dragons down there, he must find out and see for himself.