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Puzzled, Jian Chen looked to Bi Lian, “Bi Lian, the road I walk is very terrifying and fraught with dangerous and gruesome deaths. A young woman like you shouldn’t involve yourself with such a lifestyle.” After these few days, Jian Chen had slowly warmed up to her and had even started to consider her a sister.
“Lian’er, the continent is very dangerous with very few safe sanctuaries. You shouldn’t travel outside, stay here in Changyang Manor; no one will mistreat you here.” Bi Yuntian explained.
Bi Lian shook her head as she pleaded, “Aunty, I don’t wish to stay here forever. I was unable to venture out by myself in the past. I wish to experience what the continent is like for myself. Cousin, please take me along with you.”
Jian Chen hesitated for a moment before finally agreeing to her request, “Fine then. If you want to come with us, then you can. Seeing how dangerous the continent is would be a boon for you in any case. Since you haven’t materialized your Saint Weapon, I could also give you some cultivation advice to help accelerate your growth.”
Hearing Jian Chen speak, Bi Yuntian knew that she couldn’t hold back her niece anymore. With a warning to Jian Chen, she said, “Xiang’er, you must protect your cousin well. She is still weak. Do not let anything happen to her at all costs.”
“Mother, please rest assured. I will definitely protect Bi Lian.” Jian Chen pledged. Now that he had gained a cousin, Jian Chen felt like he was finally an older brother. At the same time, he felt as if another weight had been placed onto his shoulders now that he had to protect his younger cousin as well.
Jian Chen and Bi Lian bid farewell to the entire clan before leaving together. They were headed back to the Blue Wind Kingdom.
Two days later, Jian Chen and the others entered the borders of the Blue Wind Kingdom. Then with another half day of travel, they entered the First Class City that was known as the “Cloud Capital.”
If Jian Chen and the others were to ride their Class 3 Magical Beasts into a city like Wake City, it would have caused quite a stir. However, the sight of such mounts were common within the Cloud Capital.
Compared to a Second Class City, a First Class City was far more prosperous. There were plenty of people riding on Class 3 Magical Beasts in the First Class City, Cloud Capital. There had even been a single Class 4 Magical Beast on the streets. Plenty of mercenaries crowded the streets, and the majority of them were Saint Masters or Great Saint Masters at the very least. Compared to Fengyang City, this city was completely different.
Jian Chen’s group found a nearby inn to rest for the night before Ming Dong and Dugu Feng scouted the city for information. Tie Ta went with the two to walk around the city in hopes that he could learn a few things about the rules of society and how to survive.
After the three of them left, only Jian Chen, You Yue, and Bi Lian were left within the inn. At this moment, the three of them were seated in the higher levels of the inn, and were slowly eating the local delicacies. While sampling the delicious food, they listened to the bored chatter of the other mercenaries in hopes that they could glean some information from their gossip.
Jian Chen heard nothing of interest even after listening to them for a long time. These mercenaries talked about nothing other than what happened during their daily lives and would sometimes talk about how many magical beasts and monster cores they had gained that day. One of the mercenaries had even begun to drone about some of the prostitutes on the level above them.
Ming Dong and the other two had made a quick retreat after learning all that they could. Taking a seat at the table, Ming Dong whispered to Jian Chen, “Brother, I’ve researched all that I could, but the power structure in this city is far more complicated than the clear one in Fengyang City.”
Ming Dong paused for a moment before taking a sip of wine from his cup. After finishing off the cup, he continued to say, “On the upside, there are six major powers to the Cloud Capital; four clans and two sects. These six powers appear to be the strongest that the Cloud Capital has to offer. Each one of these associations is very close and interconnected with the others. After several hundred years of development, I think that they’re on the verge of becoming a single huge family with blood lines connected to and from each power.
“Aside from those six powers, there’s a few other clans and mercenary groups that aren’t too low in power compared to them. Each one of has an Earth Saint Master as their leader, but their names aren’t as influential as the six leading powers. From what I can tell, there are several clans that have multiple Earth Saint Masters.”
“Aside from the clans, which mercenary groups are strong in this city?” Jian Chen asked.
“There’s a total of four that I found. There’s the Bloodthorn Mercenaries, the Bloodrose Mercenaries, the Feral Mercenaries, and the Carnage Mercenaries. Now, the relationship between the Bloodthorn Mercenaries and the Bloodrose Mercenaries is very interesting. I’ve heard that the captain of the Bloodrose Mercenaries is very beautiful but feisty. The captain of the Bloodthorn Mercenaries deeply loves her and has sought her attention for many years. They aren’t a couple yet, but it is rather complicated between them I heard. Whatever the details are, I don’t know, but I do know that the two of them could be considered a single faction.”
“The Feral Mercenaries shouldn’t be belittled either. They are the most well known mercenary group in the Cloud Capital, and their captain is the sworn brother of the ruler of the city. Every single faction within Cloud Capital has to give that group some face.”
“As for the Carnage Mercenaries, they aren’t a stable power within the city. Rather, they were once free-roamers that eventually settled in the Cloud Capital five years ago and never left. Still, they are quite strong, but their numbers are lacking with roughly three hundred people. Each one of them are elite warriors, and I heard that their weakest member is a Saint Master in strength. Fifty of them are Great Saint Masters at the very least, and I heard that the captain and his two vice-captains are Earth Saint Masters, making them the sole power within the city to have three Earth Saint Masters. Combined with the Bloodrose and the Bloodthorn Mercenaries, the Carnage Mercenaries make even the lord of the city fearful.”
“But the Carnage Mercenaries are still relatively low-profile within the city. It took plenty of time and energy for the three of us to make the inquiries, but we managed to find out that there has been very little movement from them in their five years of residency here. Every single member seems to hide away in their compound without ever coming out. With no way of income and no other property, it is a very mysterious situation.”
“Carnage Mercenaries!” Jian Chen muttered with a pensive look on his face. When Ming Dong had mentioned their name, Jian Chen had found that mercenary group to be strange as well.
“Cousin, the Carnage Mercenaries have to be hiding something if they never come out from their spot. Could they all be cultivating? Or perhaps they have some sort of enemy and are afraid of being discovered?” Bi Lian guessed with glimmering eyes. She looked to the handsome face of Jian Chen with eyes of worship.
Thinking for a moment, Jian Chen replied, “It’s hard to say. Ming Dong, where are the Carnage Mercenaries?”
“They’re not too far away from here. Just head ten kilometers that way and you’ll arrive at a large courtyard. All three hundred of the mercenaries live there.” Ming Dong replied.
Jian Chen closed his eyes and began to spread his presence in the direction Ming Dong had said. In a flash, he located the courtyard where the Carnage Mercenaries were located with absolute clarity.
Bi Lian had guessed correctly. All three hundred of the mercenaries were hidden away within the building cultivating. Each one of them held a Class 3 or Class 4 Monster Core, meaning that they were all exceptionally wealthy while several others were stationed around the courtyard as sentries. In the middle of the courtyard, three Earth Saint Masters were trying their best to cultivate as well.
Reopening his eyes, Jian Chen muttered, “The Carnage Mercenaries have much more to them as we inferred.”
“If they were just a simple power, then the Carnage Mercenaries wouldn’t have been known as the strongest group in the city. Jian Chen, do you think we should subjugate them first?” Ming Dong asked.
“The Carnage Mercenaries are still quite mysterious. I think we should first investigate their background to see if they have any support behind them, and if they do, we should see how large it is.” Dugu Feng proposed.
Ming Dong’s eyebrows narrowed together, “The Carnage Mercenaries remain far too low-profile. Although they’ve been here for five years, the amount of information on them is ridiculously small. I had to expend an absurd amount of time and energy to find what I did. That's not even probing about their background. I think that only the major powers of the Cloud Capital know about them, but I don’t know much about those powers. If we want to learn more, it won’t be easy.”
“Fine then, that’s enough discussion. The Carnage Mercenaries are extremely strange. Nothing more needs to be said about that. We should pay them a visit and see if there’s a chance we learn anything about them.” Jian Chen spoke.
After that, the group left the inn. They rode away on their Class 3 Magical Beasts, headed toward the courtyards where the Carnage Mercenaries stayed.