Chapter 118: Han Mountain City
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
"What Fang Mu said is right... Puqiang Tribe is indeed the same as Wu Sen, they need the miasma from the dead to practice their Ways of the Berserker. However, from the looks of it, Wu Sen can't hope to compare to them," Su Ming mumbled under his breath and averted his gaze from that mountain after a long while.
He looked at Han Mountain City instead and got up. He went down the mountain path, moving towards Han Mountain City, which basked under the evening sun.
'If I manage to create Spirit Plunder, then I'll really fit their descriptions of a Fallen Berserker...'
Su Ming's shadow was drawn out in the dusk. There was a lonely air around his person, but there was also a resolute and determined one too.
The sun at dusk was slightly warm when shining on the land surrounded by mountain ranges. Su Ming welcomed that light of the setting sun on his skin as he walked towards the unfamiliar Han Mountain City.
The city looked prosperous. As Su Ming got closer, it grew so large it was shocking. It was a city built on a mountain, hence the height of the mountain itself turned into a strong, oppressive might obvious to all those who stood at the foot of it. The three bundles of mist surrounding the city also created a daunting effect. Due to this, even the people who had extraordinary powers would take care of their actions if they came to this place.
Su Ming looked at Han Mountain City and took a deep breath. His expression was placid as he walked up the mountain trail.
There were eight wide flights of stairs under Han Mountain City. They were like cyclones connected to the eight gates located halfway up the mountain.
If anyone wanted to go into the city, they would have to walk up the stairs.
Only four of the eight gates were open to public. Three of the four gates were for exclusive use for the three tribes controlling the city. The remaining gate was known as the guests' gate. Only the guests of the three tribes could use that stairway, and the gate connecting to it.
The stairways looked solemn, which served the purpose of making the strength of the three tribes stand out. It would then attract powerful Berserkers to become the guests of these three tribes.
It was the first time Su Ming came to such a place. He walked up one of the stairways leading to the gates unhurriedly. No one was keeping watch around here. It was not until Su Ming was halfway up the mountain did he see one of the eight gates of Han Mountain City.
The gate was shaped like an arc. There were two huge stone statues about hundreds of feet tall set on each side of the stairs. These two stone statues were built in the image of those in the Berserker Tribe; they looked as if they were out for blood. Although they stood there unmoving, there was a cold and stern air coming off them.
The gate used the arms of the two stone statues as its frame, creating the shape of the gate. Lying high on top of the frames formed by the arms was a man wearing a grey robe. He lay on the frame with one leg dangling by the side.
There was a plate hanging off the man's waist. It was blue, but there was also a hint of red on it. He had his eyes closed, as if he was taking a nap. There was a green gourd by his hand, and the fragrance of wine spread out in the air so strongly it seemed as if it would stay even if wind came by.
As Su Ming looked at the gate, a bright glint flashed briefly in his eyes. This was the most majestic city he had ever seen with his eyes. He engraved this gate into his memories, and once he did so, Su Ming stepped through. The moment he entered Han Mountain City, a sluggish voice traveled into his ears.
"Sir, don't you know the rules?"
The person who spoke was a man. He had already opened his eyes and brought the green gourd by his side to his lips. He cast a glance at Su Ming with seemingly drunken eyes. When he saw the robes Su Ming wore, his eyes became slightly more sober.
Su Ming's expression remained calm. As the man spoke, he flung his right hand outward and threw a white stone coin towards the man, who caught it cleanly.
Su Ming had already understood a long time ago from Fang Mu that Han Mountain City was open to everyone, as long as they paid a sufficient amount of stone coins. The amount of stone coins they paid would increase the duration of time they could stay within the city.
Once the man took the stone coin, he threw a grey plate to Su Ming before lying back down on the frame, dozing off once again while occasionally drinking the wine from the gourd.
Su Ming hung the plate from his waist. The colors of the plates were categorized. Besides the tribe members of the three tribes, no one else could use the plates colored black, red, and white. The guests had blue plating under their plates, and an additional color would be added according to the tribe they joined.
The people who entered the city without any social standing would be given grey plates. If the plate became dull, then it would mean that they could no longer stay within the city. Then if they didn't pay more stone coins to increase the duration of their stay and were discovered by the guards of the city, they would be severely punished.
Those who entered the city had to wear the plates on their waists or at other obvious places.
Su Ming remained silent. He hung the grey plate on his waist and walked through the gate into Han Mountain City. Sounds of bustling traveled into his ears almost immediately, as if the city itself was a completely different world compared to the quiet outside the gates. Su Ming was slightly amazed by this.
There were a lot of people inside. In this city surrounded by mountains there were a lot of stalls. It was a sight that spoke of flourishing activities. The houses within the city were also built using stones from the mountain. The mudstone city could not hope to compare to this.
Su Ming looked at his surroundings as he walked within Han Mountain City. Almost everything in this place was strange and unfamiliar to him. The prosperous and lively atmosphere in this place made him feel like an outsider.
There were houses, shops, and even gigantic buildings that spanned hundreds of feet tall. Su Ming practically didn't see anyone wearing beast skin shirts within the city. The lowest quality he saw was sackcloth, and even then, there was still a variety of colors for the sackcloths these people wore. Where were also some who were like him. They too, were donned in robes that seemed to be much more expensive and prestigious.
'It's about the size of ten mudstone cities.'
Su Ming walked calmly along the mountain trails in Han Mountain City and swept his gaze across the pedestrians walking past him.
'There aren't a lot of normal people here. Most of them are Berserkers... and they aren't weak.'
As Su Ming walked, he continued observing the things around him. Very soon, the sky grew dark, but the lively atmosphere within the place did not diminish.
From his experiences in Wind Stream City and his understanding based on Fang Mu's words, Su Ming did not feel disoriented even though this was his first time in Han Mountain City. As he continued surveying his surroundings, he found a place that Fang Mu mentioned was specifically prepared for outsiders.
The place bustled with activity at this hour. Su Ming's expression remained aloof when he entered and swept his gaze across the room. There were a lot of tables and chairs in the place. He went to an empty table calmly, and once he sat down, someone immediately came over with a smile on his face.
With just a few words, Su Ming understood the purpose of this place. He reserved a room for himself to rest. Once he ordered his food, he also chose the wine that was mostly served on the other tables. Then he sat at his table and looked out the window, appearing to be thinking about something.
However, he was listening to the people's chatter. Most of their discussions were useless to him, but there were still quite a lot of those discussions that provided some details of the city.
"For the next few months, Han Mountain City should be even more crowded. For some reason, Puqiang, Lake of Colors, and Tranquil East are taking in a lot of guests into their tribes."
"You haven't been here for long, so you don't know the details. These three tribes have been fighting and scheming against each other. Once in a while, they will invite guests to their tribes to become stronger, like the Great Tribe of Freezing Sky. They're doing so to increase their fighting power.
"But this is also a chance for us. I heard that Lake of Colors Tribe is marrying off ten of their women to the guests that enter their tribe. The women from Lake of Colors Tribe are useful to our training. This time, Lake of Colors Tribe has placed a lot of effort in this."
"It's a pity that we're not in the Transcendence Realm, or else we'd be able to obtain even more benefits. I heard that when Sir Xuan Lun joined Puqiang Tribe, they gave him a statue of a God of Berserkers!"
Time trickled by slowly. Su Ming sat at his place and frowned as he drank his wine. This thing was spicy, and he was unused to the taste. Yet as he continued drinking, a strange feeling rose in him, and he gradually got used to it.
He knew that everything here was unfamiliar to him, that was why he had been continuously observing and listening the moment he entered the city. It had almost been four hours; the sky was completely dark now. Yet there were still lights lit around Han Mountain City. Even a building was brightly lit with multiple candles set on candlesticks placed high on the walls.
As he drank and listened to the people talking around him, Su Ming grew to understand Han Mountain City better.
'Fang Mu hinted many times that if I join Tranquil East Tribe and become a guest there, they will give me a lot of gifts and grant a lot of my requests. There must be a reason why they're taking in so many guests.'
Su Ming took a sip of his wine and listened to the discussions around him. When the crowd started leaving around midnight, and he was just about to go to his room to rest, his expression changed suddenly. He did not get up, but chose to take a sip of his wine once again.
At that moment, someone walked in through the door. That man was in his thirties, and he was different from the others. That difference was also why Su Ming did not leave - that man wore beast skins.
This was the first time Su Ming saw clothes that he was familiar with since he came to Han Mountain City. That man's face was pale, and he was frowning. Once he came into the building, he sat himself at a table that was rather far away from Su Ming and ordered some wine before starting to drink quietly.
There was uncertainty, hesitation, and a hint of panic on his face.
'At the very least, this man is at the tenth level of the Blood Solidification Realm. There's a possibility that he has already reached the peak of the Blood Solidification Realm. He's just a step away from transcendence.'
Su Ming did not show any of his emotions on his face. The man might not have released his Qi, but Su Ming could still clearly feel the pressure that was faintly coming off him.
Another hour passed by. The man continued gulping down his wine without a word, but the struggle in his eyes became clearer and stronger. He would occasionally raise his head towards the door, as if he was waiting for someone.
Yet as time passed by, when there was eventually only him and Su Ming left in the building besides the servers dozing off with their heads on the tables, disappointment colored the man's face. Once, he cast Su Ming a casual glance. After that he continued drinking his wine without a word, but the hesitance in his eyes gradually turned into resolution and ruthlessness.
Su Ming did not want to attract trouble. He got up and went to the backyard. From his observations during the hours here, he was already very certain that the backyard of this building was a place specifically prepared for outsiders to stay and rest. He had already reserved a room earlier. When he walked out, a gust of wind suddenly traveled from the entrance, causing the fire on the candles to flicker in the candlesticks.
At that moment, a woman in a white shirt walked in slowly. That woman did not look old. There was a white veil covering her face, hence her countenance could not be seen clearly. The only thing visible was her eyes, which had a strange attractiveness like the stars in the sky.