The Use of the Heavenly Flower Tile
Nian Bing held his three knives. Since Liu Lang stopped attacking, his life wasn’t in danger. He raised his head and looked at Liu Lang. “How do you know I’m younger than you?”
Liu Lang laughed heartily. “Your voice is obviously feigned. You could fool ordinary people, but to fool me? It won’t be that easy. Now come here; I won’t hurt you. Just take it as your robbery being successful. Just think, this is the first time that I, Gold-Plated Knife Liu Lang, have been robbed in my entire life. Ai, what loss of face!” His eyes were locked onto Nian BIng’s chest while he was talking.
Nian Bing subconsciously followed his gaze and saw that his clothes had been torn apart around his chest area, exposing the Heavenly Flower Tile hanging on his neck. The mutton-fat jade shone with the luster of gems. His heart thudded; immediately he understood. He resumed speaking but in his normal voice, “You know the owner of this tile?”
Liu Lang nodded. “It belongs to my sister-in-law; how could I not recognize it? Boy, since you possess this tile you should recognize me. Why would you try to rob me? Tell me, what is your relationship with her?”
Nian Bing snorted. “Aren’t you afraid that I stole this tile? Since I came here to steal, I couldn’t be a good person.”
Liu Lang laughed, again exposing his yellow canines. “You jest. That’s the funniest joke under the heavens. Barely anyone on the continent could steal anything from my sister-in-law, much less you. You couldn’t even beat me, forget stealing from her. Okay, since you don’t want to say anything, I won’t ask you anything. Anyways, this is just me giving face to the owner of the tile. At worst, I can get my money back from her.”
At the moment, LIu Lang’s subordinate had returned on horseback. His horsemanship was exquisite; when he arrived beside Liu Lang, he gave him a large sack. Liu Lang threw the sack at Nian Bing. “Take it; it’s yours. Don’t rob anyone else; that’s no good. If you lose your life, your family will be sad.”
Nian Bing caught the sack, his eyes flashed. This talk of family reminded him of his parents and the owner of the Heavenly Flower Tile. The person he was robbing was actually Aunt Yu’ brother-in-law. No, no way. How could he use this money? In his heart, Yu Ru Yan, who gave him the Heavenly Flower Tile, was one of his most respected people. Although Nian Bing usually didn’t get caught up on the details, he extremely treasured the people who showed kindness to him.
He threw back the sack. “Since you’re her brother-in-law, I don’t want this money. You can go.” He turned back to run over to Salamandhys.
A figure flashed. Liu Lang, who just caught the sack, was shocked as he felt a light hand. Next thing he knew, the sack disappeared. Salamandhys was weighing the sack in his hand and chuckling. “Not bad, not bad. It really is quite a good sum! Enough to eat for a while. Why wouldn’t you want something people are giving you? If you want it, then take it. If you don’t, don’t. If you don’t want it, I do.”
Nian Bing turned around, looking at Salamandhys with a complicated expression. Suddenly, it seemed like he had decided on something. Resolutely, he said, “Salamandhys, return it to them. We cannot take that money.”
Salamandhys snorted. “When it comes to you begging me, you think I’ll do as you stay? I insist.”
“Salamandhys, return the money to them. Even if I have to beg on the streets, you will definitely eat your fill.” Nian Bing’s expression was calm, but his voice was laced with a threat.
Salamandhys’ heart jumped slightly. This was the first time he had seen so serious; even when he was initially threatening his life, he didn’t show such an expression. He frowned slightly. “Beg, how much money can you get by begging?”
Nian Bing planted himself in front of Salamandhys and said quietly, “Return the money to them. I can if I sell Morning Dew.”
Salamandhys’ eyes flashed with shock and alarm. In the time that he had been with Nian Bing, he had come to know very well that Morning Dew and True Sun were Nian Bing’s most treasured items. For him to willingly sell Morning Dew because of a bit of spare change from an outsider, it was obvious that he placed extreme importance on this. Salamandhys did not protest again and disdainfully threw the sack back at Liu Lang. “Fine, if you want to play a good person than do what you want. Anyway, it’s fine as long as I eat my fill.” He walked ahead without looking back.
Liu Lang was still shook. He couldn’t see what Salamandhys’ movements. If he wanted his life, he wouldn’t stand a chance at dodging him. What sort of fearsome strength is this! Perhaps even his older brother couldn’t attain such strength. Could it be the red-haired youth was a descended god?
Nian Bing bowed deeply to Liu Lang. “I apologize. I didn’t know that you were a friend of Aunt Yu’s. Please forgive me for all my transgressions from before. I’m sure we’ll meet again someday.” He then followed after Salamandhys. Right now he felt like he had just achieved his proudest accomplishment. Even Salamandhys had been moved. Aunt Yu, please do not blame me. How are you now? Are you doing well?
The caravan moved on. Liu Lang didn’t chase after them with his questions, but he noticed one particular detail. All of the horses trembled slightly when Salamandhys and Nian Bing passed by them. They only recovered their ability to walk after they passed them. He couldn’t guess Nian Bing and Salamandhys’ history, but right now he had full confidence that the two really had the ability to steal from the people he was protecting. He was also entrusted with a very important task, so though he was curious about Nian Bing’s past, he didn’t have time to investigate it. Everything could wait until he had finished the task.
Salamandhys was actually hiding his aura, but horses were very sensitive animals. The horses smelt the faint aura of dragon surrounding him, so despite their long years of training, they were still intimidated by Salamandhys’ aura.
“Nian Bing, do you know them?” Salamandhys finally asked after an hour of walking. Nian Bing remained taciturn the entire time. Naturally, his arrogance forbade him from speaking at first, but in the end he couldn’t stand the silence.
Nian Bing shook his head. “I don’t know them. Salamandhys, remember that I told you, when I was first starting out cultivating the Ice and Fire Source, the Heavenly Flower Tile saved my life. Without that tile, I might have died back then, and I definitely would have no way of cultivating the Ice and Fire Source. The light cavalryman knew the owner of the tile, so I truly couldn’t steal from them. But there is a thing I lied to you about. The Ice and Snow Goddess’ Stone on Morning Dew is the last thing my mother left to me, so I really would not sell it. However, don’t worry; I’ll definitely make sure you have food to eat. After we get to Proud Orchid City, I will work as a chef in a restaurant so that supplying food will be no problem.”
Salamandhys suddenly grabbed Nian Bing’s shoulders and chuckled. “I knew that you weren’t willing to sell it. I’ll let it go this time. Anyways, as long as I have food to eat, it’s fine. But in the years I haven’t associated with humans, I never thought that you humans became this strong. What level of warrior was that guy we just ran into? Based on his attire, he looks like a normal warrior.”
Nian Bing gave him a look. “If he was an ordinary human warrior, perhaps that Divine Realm of yours won’t be able to stay a secret for much longer. There are probably no more than ten of that level of light attributed cavalryman on the continent. He’s very close to being a martial saint in strength. I don’t have much understanding of the warrior cultivation levels, but up to now, Gold-plated Knife Liu Lang must have been the third martial saint I’ve seen. What sort of standing did you say human warriors had?”
Salamandhys chuckled. “So you’re saying that the caravan he was leading definitely was transporting some good stuff. Otherwise, why would they dispatch a martial saint?”
Nian Bing nodded. “Perhaps that is so. Being a mercenary isn’t such a noble profession. The most skilled of martial arts normally wouldn’t become a mercenary. He called them the Knife King Mercenary Group, but I think that that’s very possibly a lie. As for what they’re transporting, I can’t quite guess, but it must be something incredibly precious.”
Salamandhys turned back to look at the retreating silhouette of the caravan. “What a pity, what a pity. This time will be regarded as giving you face. But I want to eat the Ice and Fire Eight Extremes Delicacy. You should know that I like eating fish the most.”
“Okay, no problem. When we get to Proud Orchid City I will definitely think of a way for you to eat your fill.”
As they got closer to the capital of the Proud Orchid Empire, Proud Orchid City, the number of people passing by gradually increased. There were people wearing simple yet clean clothes, but the majority were wearing tattered cloth, sallow, sunken faces. No questions were needed to be ask to know that this was a result of the war. In war, the most unlucky were the commoners.
“Nian Bing, I’m hungry.” Salamandhys plastered himself to Nian Bing’s side like a child.
He smiled bitterly. “Didn’t you say that you normally could go months without eating anything? I think you’re not really hungry, just craving.”
A chuckle. “How do you know me so well!? Anyway, it’s fine as long as you help me solve this problem. En, that’s right. I will catch some wild animals and you can roast them for me.”
Nian Bing shook his head. “Don’t do that. We should be close to Proud Orchid City. When we get there, we should settle down first and then get some food. You just need to be patient for a bit.”
“Patient? I have already waited three days. That’s fine for you; eating rations whenever you want. For me, I haven’t even had anything to put in my mouth. Proud Orchid City, huh. We will go there right now.” A familiar yet not understood chant came from next to Nian Bing. Without care for the ordinary people around him, Salamandhys’ chant brought a silver light to envelop them, and he and Nian Bing flashed away.
“This should be the right direction,” said Salamandhys into Nian Bing’s ear.
Nian BIng found that right now he was located in a strange space. His surroundings were flashing silver, and he was unable to see anything clearly. “How should I know; I don’t even understand what’s happening now.”
He chuckled. “It should be right, but I haven’t used space magic in a while, so I’m a bit out of practice. I hope I went in the right direction.”
A silver light twinkled, and the environment manifested. Nian Bing was shocked to see that there was nothing around him except for Salamandhys. He looked down subconsciously and was stunned for a moment. Then an intense sensation of weightlessness passed through him.
Thud. He fell onto the ground heavily, scattering the passersby around him. All of them looked at him in shock.
He fell down heavily, feeling like his whole body had been scattered. Nian Bing jumped up from the ground and cursed. “Salamandhys you bastard, what nasty magic is this.”
The silver light enveloped him again and to the stunned amazement of the people around him, he disappeared in thin air. When he appeared again, he was in a deserted corner without any people.
Salamandhys appeared in front of him and chuckled. “My apologies. It was my mistake; I forgot that you couldn’t fly so I teleported us in the sky. It’s good that the thirty meter fall didn’t kill you. It would be hard to say if it was three hundred meters.” Originally Nian Bing didn’t have any time to check his surroundings, floating in the air as he was. Naturally when the space magic dissolved, he would fall down. But to his surprise, except for a minor ache, he didn’t feel anything major happened from his thirty meter drop. Was this a human’s body?
“Serves you right. Who told you not to give me anything to eat for several days. This was letting you off easy. Next time around I’ll do it higher. This should be what you called Proud Orchid City, so think of a way to get me food to eat.”
Nian Bing focused on his surroundings. As expected, this was obviously a city, with buildings a completely different style than the ones in the Ice Moon Empire. Most of the Ice Moon Empire structures focused on having a pointed roof; here there were less tall buildings. The majority were flat-roofed one stories. He poked his head around the bend to take a look. There were many people passing by on the streets, but there was an astonishing amount of beggars. Almost every ten, twelve meters were one or two beggars sitting by the road side. Was this the capital of the Proud Orchid Empire? How could it have fallen to this extent?
Nian Bing somehow didn’t know that among the five empires of the Yangguang continent, the Proud Orchid Empire was surrounded by the other four. Besides the Ice Moon Empire, the bordering Lang Mu Empire, Harmonic Flower Empire, and the Qi Lu Empire were hungry tigers gazing at a prime cut of meat. But the major empires were mutually checking each other, so when added with the Ice Moon Empire’s favor for the Profound Orchid Empire, they managed to not get destroyed. However, their territories were much smaller than initially.