Xiao Wu and Fan Lai dashed through the corridors, the hundreds of people surrounding them soon got left in the dust.
The two youths turned left and right, climbed a few sets of stairs and finally found themselves in a wide room.
There were a few tables as well as a dozen or so chairs. Most of them already had a few people sitting in them: inside the room there were eight other people beside Xiao Wu and Fan Lai.
At first, the group of people inside had been startled. Still, they immediately relaxed when they saw it was just Fan Lai. One of them stood up and walked towards Fan Lai and Xiao Wu.
He was taller than Fan Lai was but wasn’t that beautiful. He was a lot manlier though: his ripped muscles could be seen from beneath the sect robes and a large katana, two meters long and thirty centimetres wide, hanged from his back.
Below the robes he wore a crimson leather shirt and black pants, a black scarf fluttered behind him although there was no wind. His frame and blood-red clothes made him look quite domineering.
His red hair, fierce expression and grey eyes together with the massive weapon, his fierce attitude that made him look like some kind of Demon God… This all led to the people secretly dubbing him the Fiery Hound. Whose Hound? Fan Lai’s of course. The man had been Fan Lai’s servant ever since he had been able to walk and speak.
“Young master, you have arrived!” The man knelt on the ground.
Fan Lai frowned deeply when he heard that. He hurriedly helped him up and affectionately sighed “Get up Salomon. Here we are neither master nor Servant. Here, we are brothers”
Fan Lai lifted his head and pointed to Xiao Wu “Everybody, this is our new brother! He is called Xiao Li and although he looks pretty young, he has the cultivation base of the Basic stage! This time I was lucky, and now such a genius is our junior brother! Xiao Li, please, go ahead and greet your new family!”
Xiao Wu stepped forward and bowed “Name is Xiao Li, nice to meet all of you!” One by one, the seven people who were still sitting walked up to her and also greeted her.
“Hello handsome, I am Yan Rui! I won’t mind if you want to… ‘Meet up’ later at my hut!” A beautiful woman with the cultivation of low level Basic stage stepped forward and hugged Xiao Wu, pressing the child close to her prominent chest.
“Of course, it will be fine even if you would like to get to know each other right now…” She hugged the girl even tighter as she pushed her already bountiful chest out.
She was nowhere as beautiful as Xiao Wu, but she was a beauty nevertheless. She wore slight makeup around her phoenix eyes and had soft, red lips. Her long, black hair was tied into long braids and she had snow-white skin.
Xiao Wu was about to suffocate as the woman held her in between her ‘pillows’.
Just as she was about to run out of breath, a strong hand picked her up and dragged her in front of a tall and muscular man. He was even more buffed than the peak level Basic stage Solomon, however his cultivation was a lot lower, being in the low level Basic stage
“Don’t just hog all of him for you, you damn woman” The voice wasn’t deep as his body would suggest, instead it was really soft. However, it still held some kind of masculine tone that couldn’t be removed.
He spat out the word ‘woman’ as if it was the worse insult he could make at that moment “You nymphomaniac will suck him dry!”
He then turned towards the ‘boy’ in his arms. The man’s face was not that bad to look at: his big nose, eyes and mouth strangely weren’t at all ugly when put together. His green hair wasn’t tied and instead fell down his shoulders freely.
He would have been pretty beautiful… Had it not been for the fact he was wearing heavy makeup and a lot of red lipstick.
He was also wearing girly clothes and trying his best to look like a woman in the way he moved as well… As much as he could with that big body of his of course.
“Are you alright, dear?” His face was now really close to her own and Xiao Wu could feel a faint fragrance of roses coming from him. Once again, someone grabbed her.
This time it was a woman in her thirties, wearing the long Sect Robes that covered everything, from her neck to her calves.
At the moment, her face was completely red as she stuttered “Y-y-you guys! H-h-how could you even try to do these kinds of t-things in broad daylight! Do you feel no shame?” The girl was blushing and it could be seen by her embarrassment that she was a very pure woman.
She looked at the young child she was holding and pointed at the burly man “Watch out for that guy! He is called Tai Long-”
She was interrupted by Tai Long’s remark “I do NOT have a masculine name like that!” He spat out “Call me Rou Rou or Mei Mei!” The man jumped up and down just like a child begging for a new toy
The woman nodded, evidently used to this. She smiled kindly. “Uuuu, sure!”
She then immediately turned to whisper in Xiao Wu’s ear “Watch out, she is a nympho and he is gay. Be careful of both of those two, they are just like two wolves drooling over a piece of succulent meat… You never know when they will attack and take a bite!” the woman told her.
Her talent wasn’t pretty high as she was actually only a mid level Basic stage cultivator. However, it wasn’t all that weak either as that cultivation in the outside world would be more than enough to live comfortably.
“They are not the only ones they should watch out for” a thin guy walks up to them and interrupted her “Su Tan, have you forgotten to tell her about the evil spirits? They are everywhere!”
Up to that point, the small person had been sitting in a chair, hugging his legs the whole time. At times, he would gaze at seemingly random spots into the room and hiss, as if to scare away something.
He was incredibly thin and was only a meter and forty centimeters tall. He wore green clothes plus a green hat and had the cultivation base of the mid level Basic stage.
The girl, whom was apparently called Su Tan, turned towards Xiao Wu and told her “Nobody in here is normal, just like that guy. He is called Da Bing and he claims he can see evil spirits. Everybody is either crazy or plain weird. Everybody except for me of course! I have only one thing to ask you…” She threw herself on the ground “Step on me please! Step on me! Now! I can’t hold it!”
The woman’s expression was one of pain and lust as she layed on the ground, grabbing Xiao Wu’s ankles. The image of a pure, rightful woman was instantly shattered as the small and innocent Xiao Wu almost broke that one connection keeping her from turning insane.
Xiao Wu took a step back and almost fell, when a child in his early teens appeared and caught her just in time.
“Watch out, princess” a teen’s voice reached her.
Xiao Wu blushed and propped herself up. She immediately turned and bowed “Thank you… Agh!”
However, when she looked up she almost screamed: her savior’s skin was a pale blue, he had sky-blue, lifeless eyes, and countless stitches on his face and even his mouth had scars on the corners.
Still, even though he looked like that, his face was still handsome! It was weird: his appearance was a bit scary, but he was still really beautiful even though he was scarred and wounded. Truly strange…
He had shoulder-length, messy, white hair and two metallic nails were embedded in both of his temples. His white robe was dirtied with blood and dirt and, as the two sides weren’t tied, it showed an abdomen that was also covered in stitches. He wasn’t that muscular, however he also wasn’t out of shape, the six packs and healthy chest sticking out made him look both firm and flexible.
He looked at her and the previous cold and lifeless blue eyes turned warm “My name is Fu Yin. Nice to meet you!” He helped her on her feet as she looked at the woman laying on the ground, begging to be stepped on.
He noticed Xiao Wu’s strange gaze and he smiled bitterly as he explained “Oh, Su Tan? She is a masochist. Don’t worry, you will get used to it, even though she should worry. No matter who she ends up fighting, she always toys around with her opponent, trying to make him hit her in non vital spots so she can satiate her lust… And she isn’t pretty good at that, you know? Almost half of our funds are spent on healing her after each fight!”
“Ph-Pahaha” Xiao Wu broke out in laughter and Fu Yin also smiled.
He patted her back and added “Yeah. Even then, I can’t say I am normal. However, what I can say is that I am not as weird as them. At least my weirdness mostly resides in my physical appearance… I think.”
As Fu Yin acted as if he were pondering, Xiao Wu kept chuckling and the boy soon joined her.
The young girl nodded in approval in her mind ‘This boy, he doesn’t seem that bad!’
This ‘weird’ teen seemed to be the one that she could trust the most out of the whole group, except for maybe Fan Lai. This was why Xiao Wu decided to listen to him as he told her about the two remaining members.
“Liang Ran comes from a tribe that resides in the western plains. He is pretty normal, without taking into account the fact he is addicted to eating snakes. Also, he doesn’t know our language, so we have to communicate through gestures and drawings” Fu Yin pointed at a man in his late teens: he had dark skin and long black hair reaching down his back.
His body was covered in what looked like tribal tattoos. When Fu Yin pointed at him, the dark-skinned youth bowed slightly before munching off the head of the snake he was holding.
Xiao Wu looked at the man with interest and was amused when Liang Ran began eating more furiously, as if to show that the snake was his and he wouldn’t share that kind of delicacy with Xiao Wu. He had the cultivation at the peak of the Inferior stage and carried a spear made of bone.
‘A snake bone, perhaps? Guess it was too hard for his teeth so he kept it…’ She mused and smiled.
“And finally, Ba Bai, or just ‘Baba’, for friends! He has a special condition and if he speaks too much, his tongue will fall off. He also cannot eat, and can only drink energetic drinks. We still have no idea how he got this fat on energetic drinks…” The boy smiled at Xiao Wu and pointed at a fat man in his middle twenties. He was half as wide as he was tall and seemed like he would have a few difficulties walking.
“Fortunately, he has a cultivation of the low level Advanced stage, so whenever he needs to move he can simply fly to his destination. Although he isn’t as experienced in battles as Solomon and isn’t as agile, he can still hold his own in a fight against him thanks to his superior cultivation and above-the-norm flight ability” Fu Yin nodded in appreciation.
That was right: this fat man was the third strongest out of the group of nine, followed by Solomon… And the first being the young white-haired boy himself! Fu Yin, with the cultivation of mid level Advanced stage, he was actually the strongest member of the small Alliance! The boy was actually a genius!
“As I said before, anyone in this Alliance has circumstances he can’t speak of or…” He winked at Xiao Wu “Secrets they can’t reveal easily, right… b-r-o-t-h-e-r?”
Xiao Wu paled and, seeing that, Fu Yin chuckled knowingly, a sharp glint flashing by his eyes.
Seeing that, how couldn’t Xiao Wu guess that the young man had seen through her facade: he most probably was a hundred percent sure she was not a man!
Her mind trembled: this young man gave her the same feeling that Cheng Hao gave her, a feeling of total helplessness, as if he could see through her with a single glance.
“Now that everyone knows everybody” Fan Lai clapped his hands “Let us hurry towards the exit! We have given up four years for this one chance for today’s reward, we won’t let anyone get it before us, right?”
Everybody nodded and Xiao Wu understood: this group was just too powerful to stay in the sixth ring, it would be a force to recognized with even in the Inner Sect. It turns out they had actually only stayed there because of the special reward that the Sect offered every five years… But why? Was this reward truly worth so much?
Seeing her confused expression, Fu Yin smiled and explained “Oh? No, it’s not about the reward actually… It’s just that if we were to pass this trial with record time, we would most probably be scouted as potential disciples by some powerful Inner Elders! We might even get the chance to skip the Inner Sect Exam and become Inner Sect Disciples just like that!”
Xiao Wu sweat-dropped as she nodded: this group of people was actually quite crafty!
Suddenly Xiao Wu noticed something was wrong… When they were talking, Fan Lai had told her that, counting her, there were actually a total of eleven people in the All But In Blood alliance. However, just now, there were only ten!
Once again, Fu Yin smiled and seemed to read her mind as he answered her question “Our eleventh brother is actually quite the mysterious person… He has only joined a little while ago and showed up in the meetings only a few times. We were supposed to meet here, but since he is very powerful I am not all that worried about him… He is pretty well known in the Sixth Ring nowadays, so you might have also heard about him. He will probably join us later on, now we have no time that we can waste, do we?”
Xiao Wu was once again bewildered at how Fu Yin could apparently know what her line of thinking was and couldn’t help but allow a surprised expression to surface on her face.
“Now again, this time for real though, my name is Fu Yin, it is a pleasure to meet you, little sis!”
Xiao Wu nodded “Name’s Xiao Wu. That is my true name, I assure you! Nice to meet you!”
“Great! Now we truly know each other! So…” Fu Yin’s eyes glittered “Would you like to know a secret?” The young man asked. Seeing Xiao Wu’s nod, the youth smiled “Would you believe me if I told you that, up until two weeks ago, I was actually still in the high level Basic stage?”
Xiao Wu opened her mouth wide: it was pretty hard to believe. But she did not doubt his words, she just asked one simple question… “How?”
Fu Yin smiled and told her “It is all thanks to our eleventh comrade! You are pretty talented so I am sure he will also happily teach you! After all, he has helped all of us brothers. I simply was faster than the others. Either way, almost everyone climbed at least a level if not two!”
Xiao Wu was once again shocked, and in her mind, she couldn’t help but wonder…
‘If this mysterious eleventh member and Cheng Hao could meet and their resources and knowledge pooled together, what sort of miracles would they be able to bring out?’