Hearing Baya’s remarks, Willard had an indifferent look to him. He could pretty much guess what Baya’s intentions were, but that had no impact on him. He already had a mission in mind for Baya, before the start of their conversation. He was going to send Baya to a nearby town to gain a certain item for his use, but now he had extra motivation for Baya.
“You are to go to Red lagoon of the Red forest and obtain a certain item for me,” Willard said with a little hint of a smile. The red forest is located to the far south of Marquis city, while the red lagoon was located at the center of this forest. It would require at least half a day’s journey to get to the outer perimeters of the forest. Willard had thoroughly studied the map he had gotten from the Yellow Hem village, and had gotten more information regarding various materials he was interested in. From the information he had gotten from a certain merchant in Blue Rose village, Within the areas surrounding the Red Lagoon, there was a plant that mysteriously grew there. This plant called Living Fire, was rare in that it could miraculously grow within such an adverse condition such as the Red Lagoon.
“Retrieve a plant called Living Fire, and bring back its roots for me.” Willard said with a serious tone.
“When you bring back this plant you can have whatever you want as a reward.”
Baya had a look of frustration, he knew the character in front of him was overbearing, but he couldn’t believe how heartless this person was. The red lagoon was famous for exactly how inhabitable it was for any living creature. Experts in the elemental essence stage went out of their way to avoid that region because of how dangerous it was. And he, who was at the 8th stage of natural energy, and he is being sent over there. He couldn’t refuse or argue with Willard’s orders now that he was in servitude under an eternal oath. He could only resign himself to his faith.
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Seeing the dejected look on Baya, Willard could pretty guess what was going through his mind. “Before you leave for the red Forest, I will pass my movement martial technique to you. I will also pass half of the soul training technique to you.” Baya immediately felt a bit better. Although he was going on a very dangerous journey, with the movement martial technique, his battle proficiency would increase to the level of an elemental essence practitioner. This drastically increased his chances of survival whilst giving him hope of improving his current natural energy level. Without any hesitation, he immediately bowed in acceptance of the mission.
Over the next two weeks, Willard spent the majority of his time teaching Baya the movement martial skill. He also relayed what he described as half of the soul training technique to Baya. While he was teaching the technique to Baya, he had made sure to stay unnoticed by the outside world. After all, he had just killed the personal guards of one of the founding families of the city. He was certain trouble would be brewing somewhere waiting for him.
After learning the movement martial skill, Baya was more confident in his chances for this mission. Baya used his free time to get the provisions he needed for his trip. Both Baya and Willard had spent a month at Marquis City and within this month, they had become wanted men of the Helden household.
The days went on peacefully, as usual, the dawn of a new day had just broken and the refreshing spectre of sunlight was illuminating the whole city. At the top most room of an inn in the eastern section of Marquis city, two individuals were sitting in a meditative position on their respective beds. The sounds of the birds combined with the warmth of the sun brought about a serene environment. If one had keen eyes, they could see the fluctuation of natural energy around those individuals as they cultivated.
Since getting to Marquis city, Willard had cultivated from the mid level 6 natural energy to the peak of level 6 natural energy, almost stepping to the beginning level 7 natural energy. This was well within his plans for advancement. The higher one went down the part of cultivation, the longer it took to advance. Willard still had some time before the start of the blood challenge, so he was naturally at peace with his rate of growth.
“I will be leaving for the Red forest today.” Baya said to break up the silence. From his observation, Baya knew Willard had stopped cultivating a while back. Willard hearing that nodded in acknowledgement. They both continued to sit in quietness almost as if they were waiting on something.
‘It is up to your efforts now. If you are unable to survive, you would have been of no use to me. Only by overcoming this will you be of any use.’ Willard thought to himself. In truth, Willard secretly hoped Baya would return safely for two reason. The first being that he would get the root of the living fire plant, and the second was that Baya would return with a tempered soul. This was what he wanted the for Baya, after all, the strength of one’s allies can be counted as one’s strength.
These two things were alluring, especially the living fire root. Ever since Willard regained his memories, the most shocking thing he had noticed about himself was his complete inability to sense the fire element. Although he could still sense the earth element, it was still at an inferior level to his original self. Willard had completely mastered the mysteries of the fire element as the chief god of destruction and was especially adept in wielding its power. The living fire plant was something that possessed an abundance of the fire element, which was why Willard wanted to acquire the roots. He believed that if he consumes that plant, he might be able to start sensing and absorbing the fire element.
Although the living fire plant was something he placed great importance on, he still wanted to use this opportunity to temper Baya’s soul. After all, if Baya fails he only has to go himself and acquire the plant. And if Baya succeeds, he would have killed two birds with one stone.
Later that morning Baya left for the red forest. He stealthily left so as to not draw much attention to himself seeing as he had become a wanted man by association. It would be tragic if his mission was cut short by the people of the Helden household before leaving marquis city. Baya succeeded in leaving the city gates without being noticed, and at this point in time, he had started his first true life and death adventure.
This kind of adventure was different from the type of missions he got when he was still at the Yellow Hew village. Those missions could not be considered life threatening, they were all relatively safe and almost always in close proximity to the Yellow Hew village.
After walking for less than a mile along the path to the Red forest, the ground trembled slightly. Baya could feel this tremors continually grow in its intensity. From a distance, he could see a trail of what seemed like a dust storm drawing closer to him. Baya instinctively hid behind a tree to the left side of the pathway. He knew the storm and tremors signified people riding mounts were coming along that direction. Although the possibility of those riding the mounts to be bandits was low, Baya still took precaution to hide away. He would rather have himself waste some time hiding than actually encountering bandits.