Stranger Danger-Chapter 514: Bei You

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Chapter 514: Bei You

Six days later[1]

“I’m leaving now, young master. Please, take care,” said Fugong while giving Ye Qing a deep bow.

“You too,” Ye Qing replied before adding, “Remember, your safety is of paramount importance. Never take risks unless I give you the order to do so.”

“As you command,” Fugong responded and bowed to Ye Qing again. It was only then he finally turned around and left.

After the middle-aged man was gone, Ye Qing said with a smile, “Good work.”

The Fong Demon appeared next to him and taunted him, “Don’t you think you’re acting a little too timid, boy?”

“Timid? No, I’m just being cautious. Fugong is a critical part of my plan. As I told him, his safety is of paramount importance,” Ye Qing replied indifferently.

Today was the sixth day since he encountered Fugong. He could have sent the old man away immediately, but instead, he ordered the Fog Demon to modify Fugong’s consciousness and deepen his loyalty toward him. Six days later, when the chance that Fugong would somehow regain his former personality and ruin everything was less than zero, Ye Qing finally allowed the middle-aged man to leave.

As he told the Fog Demon, Fugong was a critical part of his plan. In fact, one might say that his life was, at least partially, in Fugong’s hands. He had to be careful no matter what.

The Fog Demon scoffed, “Keh! You worry too much. My spell is perfect.”

Ye Qing replied, “It’s precisely because it’s you that I have to be extra careful.”

“The hell do you mean by that, boy?!” The Fog Demon growled.

“Nothing. I was just praising you,” Ye Qing replied indifferently.

“Praising me my ass! How stupid do you think I am? It’s obvious that you were insulting me!” The Fog Demon raged. “Have you fed your conscience to the dogs, boy?!”

“No really, I was praising you. Look into my eyes, and you will know the depths of my honesty.” Ye Qing smirked.

The Fog Demon harrumphed, but it didn’t complain any longer. A while later, it asked, “So, what are we going to do now, boy? Where are we going?”

“We will pass through Careless Mountain Range,” Ye Qing squinted and basked in the spotty sunlight peeking through the tree leaves, “and we will seek out Brother Yi Pin at Bei You.”

The sunlight was warm, and the wind was soothing.

......

Located at the border of Chu and Yan, Bei You nominally belonged to Chu but was really a lawless land no one cared about. It was because it was sandwiched between the Gobi Desert and countless mountains and beset by wind and sand all year long. It was a cold, harsh place where the weather conditions were terrible, the resources were scarce, and the people lived in destitution. It was neither a strategic location nor a fertile land either, which was why it received little to no attention from the imperial court.

Bei You’s unique set of circumstances made it highly attractive to fugitives and criminals. It was hardly paradise, but it was still better than being dead. Over time, countless factions were born, and their roots became deeply entrenched in the soil of Bei You.

By the time the imperial court realized they had screwed up and tried to bring order to the commandery, it was too late. The forces in Bei You had become so strong that it would take a great sacrifice to purge the place and start anew. Lawless, chaotic and neutral, the people of Bei You answered to no one but themselves. As a result, the imperial court had no choice but to ignore it barring truly dire circumstances.

Ye Qing could tell that Bei You was nothing like Tian Yong, Luo Shui, or any other commandery he had visited until now. Strong wind, yellow sand and desolation seemed to be the main theme of this place, and he couldn’t spot a single speck of green as far as the eyes could see. Everywhere he looked, there was only lifelessness and desolation.

The cold, sand-riddled wind felt uncomfortable even to him. He imagined that a weaker person would feel like their exposed skin was being cut open by a blade. Most of the houses were made from limestone, yellow earth and dead grass, so they were naturally low and simplistic. The delicate structure and refinement so loved by the people of Chu were nowhere to be found.

The people of Bei You looked very different as well. They looked tall, brawny, and intimidating, and their skin was coarse and dark due to constant exposure to the harsh sunlight. The women were one thing, but every man carried at least one blade with them. If the people of Tian Yong and Luo Shui were educated and cultivated gentlemen or ladies of a noble family, then the people of Bei You were rugged, bruttish, and unfettered wanderers or ruffians.

In fact, Bei You were filled with unfettered wanderers who followed only the voice of their own hearts, and cruel bandits who wouldn’t hesitate to kill a child to rob them of their food. Chaotic and lawless described this place perfectly.

Ye Qing knew in his head that Bei You was such a place, but as the saying went, seeing was believing. It hadn’t been long since he set foot in this place, and already he encountered not one, but several violent incidents. He saw several people pulling their weapons over a minor altercation, and that conflict somehow escalated into a full-blown brawl involving dozens of people. The blood ran like a river, and there was no one to collect their cold, dead bodies when all was said and done. Their final fate was to be eaten by vultures, hyenas and Strangers.

He also saw a sword-wielding wanderer decapitating three bandits who were trying to rob him. Once done, he grabbed their heads by the hair, drank his wine, and sang a brave song as he walked to heavens-no-where.

He also followed a crowd to a stage where a pair of famous swordsmen were about to duel to the death over a beautiful woman. The winner cut off his opponent’s head, claimed his sword as a trophy, and left happily with a beautiful woman in his arms.

Here in Bei You, every corner could be hiding a deadly blade, people settled their scores with violence as easily as they breathed, most women were as beautiful as they were deadly, and men wandered the streets with nothing but a blade and a jar of wine. In Ye Qing’s opinion, Bei You’s jianghu was more jianghu-like than either Tian Yong or Luo Shui.

“What an interesting place this is.”

After the duel had ended, and the crowd had dispersed, Ye Qing finally followed them into the city. Bei You City was the main city of Bei You, and Yi Pin’s Temple of Divination was somewhere inside the city.

To be honest, he was late for their appointment. Right after he sent Fugong away, Ye Qing immediately began his trek across Carefree Mountain Range in hopes of reaching Bei You as soon as possible. However, he soon discovered that the mountains were overflowing with Strangers, and a good number of them were powerful enough to temper his strength and improve his mastery over his enhanced body. Not only that, they provided him with a hefty number of dragon-serpent runes.

Ever since he was seriously injured by Zhou Hengshan, he had been consuming the Nature’s Water and the golden dragon-serpent runes non-stop to keep himself alive. As a result, he had nearly used up every golden dragon-serpent rune in his possession. The golden dragon-serpent runes weren’t just powerful healing items that could keep him alive at a critical time, but also useful resources that could improve his spiritual power and accelerate the creation of his Yin God. That was why he changed his mind and began his first proper grind in a long, long time.

For over a month, he explored nearly every nook and cranny of Carefree Mountain Range and slaughtered every Stranger he could find. He didn’t really try to keep count, but he reckoned that he had killed around seventy to eighty Strangers in total. A good number of them were Soulstealer-class and Phenomenon-class Strangers too.

Maybe it was because he killed too many Strangers and caused too big a commotion, but a Disaster-class Stranger called the Old Man of the Mountain actually emerged from its hidey-hole to search for him. He was lucky to escape the Stranger’s attention.

Realizing that he had overstayed his welcome, he ran away with his tail tucked between his legs and was out of Carefree Mountain Range on the same day.

Despite the unexpected interruption, his gains were something to write home about. After over a month of hard work, he had collected a total of ten golden runes, thirty plus silver runes, and countless gray runes. Finally, he could call himself a “wealthy” man.

Fighting so many Strangers of all shapes of sizes had definitely improved his control over his newfound strength. On top of that, he never stopped refining his stock of Profound Yellow Qi and growing his experience using Nanke. As a result, he was stronger in every way than who he was back at the Earthly Sovereign’s Coffin.

In terms of physical strength and toughness alone, he was now more on less on par with a body-tempering late-stage Spirit Master. However, a body-tempering warrior abandoned the mind and only focused on building up the body. They didn’t have a Yin God either as their way was to combine the essence, qi and spirit all into one perfect body.

He, on the other hand, wasn’t a pure body-tempering warrior. His demonic thought had become so powerful that he could create a Yin God right now if he wanted to. Although he was still a late-stage Spirit Purifier, he was absolutely stronger than a body-tempering late-stage Spirit Master.

In short, he was a late-stage Spirit Master wearing the skin of a late-stage Spirit Purifier. Worship me, mortals!

Anyway, he was delayed for over a month at Carefree Mountain Range, and it had taken him another month to journey to Bei You. All in all, more than two months had passed when he finally arrived at Bei You.

Yi Pin had given him an address, so it took him little to no effort to reach the Temple of Divination.

1. This wasn’t in the original raw, but I thought it was worth adding because of how jarring the transition is. ☜

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