Chapter 365: A Tentative Understanding
"Hmm? Are you in a rush, brother Bai? Is there something else you need to do?"
"That's not it." Bai Yunfei shook his head, "I'm by myself, so I can go whenever. I just wanted to ask about your plans."
Zhang Yunpeng looked apologetic, "In that case... if you'd please wait a few days, brother Bai, we're still waiting on a friend that hasn't arrived. Once he's here, we can leave straight away."
"A few days?" Bai Yunfei thought it over, "That shouldn't be a problem. I was afraid that Xiao Yi's mother's health might take a turn for the worse, so I wanted to be back with some stargrass before two months."
Zhang Yunpeng was startled; he hadn't expected Bai Yunfei to be worried about that of all things, but he just had to ask, "Brother Bai, if you don't mind me asking, are you really going to do that? For the sake of a commoner you don't even know, you'd go into the class five area and find some stargrass without a reward?"
"Haha, what problem is there?" Bai Yunfei laughed, "If I'm there, I might as well. I came here for experience, so I might as well find some."
The entire team was looking at Bai Yunfei rather strangely. Should a young late-stage Soul Sprite really be talking with such confidence? Either he was fearless because he was brave or fearless because he was ignorant...
"Sir Bai, you're going into the Soulbeast Forest just for the sake of 'experience'?" Ye Zi couldn't stop herself from asking.
Bai Yunfei nodded, "Yes. My master told me to come here and get some experience and hopefully find a suitable soulbeast partner."
A common feeling was had among the group. They started cursing this master of his. Just what kind of experience was his master looking for? One that'd harm his student or kill him? What point was there to having Bai Yunfei enter the Soulbeast Forest alone if not to feed the soulbeasts there?
Who knows what Bai Yunfei would've thought of the group if he could hear how they were cursing his master?
"That reminds me, where are you from, brother Bai?" Zhang Yunpeng asked.
"I traveled from the Great Plains Province." Bai Yunfei smiled, "it took me the better of three months and plenty of tough times."
What Zhang Yunpeng was asking for was Bai Yunfei's identity and Bai Yunfei was more than aware of that, but Zhang Yunpeng wouldn't press the issue if Bai Yunfei was only going to offer up what province he was from. "Haha, the Great Plains Province? That's a great ways away, you must have gone through a lot."
Honestly speaking, the tough times Bai Yunfei was referring to was when he had gotten lost. The majority of his time was spent trying to find his way. Since it was a journey to gain experience, he couldn't use the flying sword to save himself the trouble. Left without the option of the sword, Bai Yunfei could only rely on his sense of direction, something that for the life of him couldn't be fixed.
Bai Yunfei was a powerful soul cultivator who possessed strength and a mind better than any commoner, but his sense of direction was still something that left him in agony.
"I heard miss Ye Zi mention that you don't have any requests to go into the Soulbeast Forest. What business do you have there then? Is it for experience as well?"
"No no, we're by no means as brave as you are to go for the experience... if possible, I'd hope that I'd never even have to go into the Soulbeast Forest." Zhang Yunpeng shook his head sorrowfully, "I won't lie to you, brother Bai. I was once part of a mercenary group three years ago. We were small in numbers with only twenty or so members, but I was an early-stage Soul Ancestor back then and filled with mettle. Our captain wanted us to go into the Soulbeast Forest, but... none of us had ever expected that we'd come across the class six three-eyed bloodlion! Even our captain, a late-stage Soul Ancestor, was torn in half with just a single bite of that beast's maw! In front of that lion, all twenty of us were no better than ants to be stepped on. Only I... only I was the sole survivor. I ran away as fast as I could..."
Bai Yunfei was alarmed to hear such a frightful backstory, "But weren't you in the class five area? Why would a class six soulbeast be there?"
"That's what's terrifying about the Soulbeast Forest..." Zhang Yunpeng hung his head, "Don't put too much faith in the supposed boundaries of the forest. Those are only guidelines and estimations we humans make. Soulbeasts don't care for the rules we impose or the markings we draw. Soulbeasts of a higher level will always naturally travel where they please, even if they travel through the supposedly less dangerous zones.
"Then you're coming back to the Soulbeast Forest for..."
"For the captain's wife." Kun interjected, "Yunpeng and his wife were targeted by a nasty guy a while back. She was poisoned by one of the injuries given to her, so we need the head of the class five purple-crowned snake to cure it. We're here to hunt one of those snakes now."
"I see now." Bai Yunfei nodded, "Don't worry, brother Zhang. I'm sure that you'll succeed. Your wife will be cured without a doubt."
"Haha, I'll be sure to take the luck from your words, I can only hope that it'll end up as such..." The frown on Zhang Yunpeng's face disappeared as he attempted to cheer himself up, "The purple-crowned snake is hard to find, and a class five soulbeast is already hard enough to find. Though, we've heard of some reports recently saying that one was spotted nearby. I hope we'll be able to find it."
Killing a class five soulbeast would be a little difficult with their current team, but the strength of the person who wasn't here yet was still uncertain.
Bai Yunfei made his decision. Since they were willing to help him out, he'd be sure to help them out as well when the time came. To the group, Bai Yunfei was a 'weak' 'late-stage Soul Sprite,' but they were willing to help him get some stargrass. Acts of goodwill weren't common to soul cultivators, so Bai Yunfei was very happy to see such a nice deal offered to him.
Talking for a little while longer, Bai Yunfei finally rose from his chair. "Everyone, I'll be taking a stroll around the village first. I'll come back to the inn later tonight. When your friend arrives, we'll set out for the forest."
"That works. We'll meet again in the inn then."
"I'll be taking my leave first." Bai Yunfei bowed to everyone before leaving the guild.
Now that his conversation with Zhang Yunpeng and the others was finished, Bai Yunfei had all the time in the world to stroll around the small town. Due to its small size, there were only a few streets, and all of the stores were related to what you might find in the Soulbeast Forest, such as a store that peddled in information, a store that sold soulgems, one that sold rare herbs and minerals-albeit they were of rather low quality since the higher grade ones were much harder to get-and even a store that sold soul armaments.
After perusing the wares of the 'Treasure of the Town,' Bai Yunfei only saw mid-earth tier soul armaments, so nothing caught his interest.
The objects he saw for sale weren't too interesting compared to the information regarding the Soulbeast Forest. At least, Bai Yunfei was far more interested in information.
The people in the guild would often talk about their trades, but they kept the majority of what they knew to themselves.
They were old hands at this business and information was gold. It didn't make sense to talk about what they knew without being paid for it. Compared to the people in the guild, the ones in the streets talked loudly about anything they could, sometimes even embellishing the details of their stories.
Nonetheless, Bai Yunfei was interested in listening to them since he wasn't even knowledgeable about what was supposed to be 'common sense.' By listening, he'd be able to benefit.
Somehow, two hours passed while Bai Yunfei listened to whomever he could.
A simple glance at the sky above told him that evening was quickly approaching. It was high time for him to return to the inn where Zhang Yunpeng and the others were resting for the night.
Suddenly, out of the middle of nowhere, a frightened cry called out.
"Look out! A... a soulbeast is coming!!"