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Han Bei returned back to the nameless ravine half a day after the scavenger raid and the old monk welcomed him like a housewife welcomed her child from his first errand. " Well how did it go little corpse, how much did you earn? "

The climb from the surface down to the bottom of the ravine was a kilometer long, despite just finishing the ordeal Han Bei already wanted to leave. " Not telling, " he muttered. The old monk frowned. " Can you please repeat that I think my hearing is getting worse? "

" I said I ain't telling, " Han Bei calmy answered as he walked past the old monk. " Ohh come on, can't you tell me what sort of trinkets and treasures you found? " the old monk said. Han Bei's voice was a little bit strained as he moved the boulder away from the entrance to his cave-dwelling. " Nope, the contents of one's bag of holding is a rather personal matter. "

The old monk's curiosity soon turned to suspicion. " You didn't come back empty-handed, did you, little corpse? " A snort escaped from Han Bei's dwelling before he enclosed it again. " Of course not. " For a moment longer the old monk held a suspicious gaze on the cave-dwelling where the pale youth hid inside before he went back to his business.

 

Han Bei's mood was foul. While he didn't outright lie to the old thing he was far too ashamed of admitting that he only got 250 spirit stones. All of it from selling a damaged corpse puppet." Could have gone for more if I hadn't bashed the damn thing over the head, " he thought. Unfortunately, it wasn't even half of the price that the pompous information broker wanted for a single of the demonic fingers.

Han Bei sat crosslegged and as was appropriate he retraced his steps during the recent conflict. Honestly, he was hardpressed to decide if the result of his little raid was lucky or not. Had he not fought with the undead guard he would have come to blows with one of the scavenger gangs instead. He was confident in his own strength even against those of the 2nd realm. But was that enough to leave any of the scavenger raids with the big prize in his hands? " Probably not, " he silently answered his own question.

Purposefully or not but he had underestimated the other forces of the scavenger plains, and that was a dangerous mistake to make. Now there were several paths he could take. The 1st option was to ally himself with some other force that held sway within scavenger plains. It was a path he wished to avoid not only because of his own unwillingness to take orders but also because of his martial physique. " One or two abilities I could explain as a rare gift or a talent. But all of the combined together? " he shook his head " Eventually I'll be found out and then it won't be long before I find a dagger in my back. "

The 2nd option was one he found distasteful above all others. " Corpse control. " Han Bei spat with distaste. He still found the art, and all those that practice it, utterly abhorrent, but with his surroundings being what they are it was something he was almost forced to consider. It was also the art used by his greatest foe, the target of his hatred and source of his nightmares. Han Bei needed at least a basic understanding of the cursed arts if he hoped to defeat that hateful Fang bastard. But even if madness clouded his mind and he actually chose to cultivate the arts, it would put far too much of a strain on his resources. Especially if he wanted to find the Demonic fingers.

Then there remained the last option. The simplest, but also the hardest path, and one he favored above all others. " Power, I need more power. " With a smile, he remembered an old adage, " Strength is the answer to any of the universe's problems, and if it isn't you simply don't have enough. " Yes, this was something Han Bei could agree with.

He could have increased his cultivation before joining the scavenger raid. Thanks to the demonic chalice Grief holder and his undying physique he had the means, now he needed only the will. A will to rise. A will to surpass. A will to avenge.

" I will not be found lacking, " he vowed to himself and his dead martial siblings. Gloomy green qi poured out of Han Bei's body. The qi then transformed into 9 ghosts that surrounded the seated Corpse. " I'll sharpen my fangs. " The 9 ghosts collided together and formed into a single more distinct figure. " I'll sharpen my claws. " The ghost disappeared and instead strands of qi wound around Han Bei's arm before they formed into a spectral serpent. " And sooner or later those that are fated shall be laid to rest."

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