“What would I gain by joining you? I dislike Hu Tao just as much as anyone else but that doesn’t mean I hate him and want him dead. The disgusting stench of the darkness hidden in your heart is repulsive. But at the same time, the purity and conviction of your goal interests me.” A man radiating with beauty and power spoke.
His hair reached down to the floor, past his back and buttocks. At first glance, anyone could mistake him for a young woman with how feminine his face was. Soft full lips, delicate lady-like skin, and clear blue eyes that seemed to stare directly at your heart. But once you get a better look, you wouldn’t be mistaken anymore. The lean body of his seemingly radiating with power was misleading as he was far stronger than his girlish figure suggested. This was Manchu! Hu Tao’s self-proclaimed eternal rival!
“I am not blind to the heart demon festering in my heart. It will become my greatest challenge on my path to the heavens. Even now, I find it difficult to cultivate and breakthrough. However, I do not plan to keep this heart demon for much longer. Hu Tao and Heaven’s Angels... I will annihilate every single member in that group if it’s the last thing I do! And that’s a promise I make to the heavens themselves!” The young girl’s heart was laid bare.
If anyone else could witness her right now, they would see a young girl with a dream far bigger than herself. She may have said that her goal was to destroy Heaven’s Angels but no, that wasn’t true in the slightest. They were just an obstacle on the path to her true goal. What she truly wanted was to change this unfair and despicable world into something much better and fitting to her ideals. Manchu could respect this impossible dream of hers. He himself didn’t have anything remotely close to weighing the same as her dream. This Meili was more interesting than he thought.
Manchu understood that she came to him because of his power and history with Hu Tao. When she could be spending time cultivating and practicing her martial arts for the Grand Tournament, while here she was trying to recruit him for her cause. Either she was smarter than he thought or desperately needed his power for Hu Tao. Regardless of which one it is, Manchu wouldn’t join her just because of interest. He wasn’t a slave to his pleasures and displeasures.
“What are you willing to offer me in exchange for joining your group?” He asked politely.
“How does the sealed coffin of an ancient beast sound?” Meili took out a black coffin from within her storage ring. It was wrapped in hundreds of talismans and golden chains.
With a heavy thud to the ground, a harsh and invasive presence quickly spread throughout the area. The amount of qi radiating from the coffin was enough to tell Manchu that this thing had to be on par with earth-ranked or sky-ranked spirit tools. But along with that qi was a sickening aura that would chill a normal cultivator to the bones. It was easy to see that this thing would grant great power but at the same time give some sort of curse as well.
“What is the meaning of this?” He asked. Being given a gift that was detrimental to him? Was she truly this desperate?
“I know what you’re thinking Manchu. But you have nothing to worry about. A coffin on this level is nothing for a man of your stature.” She answered him.
“Explain yourself.” His heavy qi pressed down on her.
“This coffin will give great power but just like you guessed there is also something unpleasant inhabiting the coffin that refuses to die even after hundreds of thousands of years of being sealed inside. If anyone touches the coffin, they’ll be granted power beyond their wildest dreams. Only at the cost of their sanity. I believe someone like you, capable of standing against Hu Tao, would be more than capable of resisting the influences of the mind from this spirit tool.” She explained herself.
“And why is that?”
“Because you’re a genius.”
Manchu didn’t believe her for a second. She must have some sort of alternate goal here that she wasn’t sharing with him. But that coffin was calling to him. Its power was drawing him over as if it was a beautiful woman wagging her finger at him. Something like that would give him a significant boost in power for the Grand Tournament but it wasn’t as if he was going to reveal his true strength anyway. Unless he was matched up against Hu Tao. That annoying guy would do everything it takes into forcing him to give his all. It was another reason why he refused to get close to anyone. Hu Tao would use them as a chip to give him the fight to the death he so desperately wants between them.
“I’m willing to temporarily help your group against Hu Tao and Hu Tao only. But you must find me a treasure that contains void qi within it and leave this coffin here.”
“I understand.” Meili wanted to grit her teeth but bowed with a grateful smile.
A powerful force like Manchu behind them would be more than enough for her to take on Heaven’s Angels. Especially with her Secret Weapon to deal with that annoying leader of theirs. But maybe she could still persuade him into joining her group later on. There’s no rush. With the members they have now, they are still pretty powerful. They’ll only continue to grow in strength as time goes on.
‘Hu Tao... Heaven’s Angels... You will pay for your villainy!’
“I’m alive...?” The boy questioned as he woke up in the middle of the Immortal Forest.
His body felt different... He didn’t know how to explain it but he felt far stronger than before. That villainous fiend wouldn’t have stood a chance against him now!
“Meili... Is she alright?! I have to go check!” He raced towards the sect, completely unaware of all the changes that took place during his rebirth.
“Take my axe!” Drill squeaked. He chopped at Quon with his ax.
“You’ll never hit me with that slow thing!” Quon blorped. He floated up into the air, avoiding the attack.
“What are you all doing?” Kuai, Lei Zhi’s newest tamed beast, hummed. She gently floated in the air.
“This is training.” Ni Xong roared. His gauntlets meeting Drill’s ax.
“Kuii!” SCP-999 gurgled. He tried reaching out to Kuai, the only person who wasn’t moving very quickly.
“Training?” Kuai titled her head.
“You don’t know what training is?” Drill scoffed.
“Where I come from, my people don’t do this, training. Can you explain it?” She asked.
“Training is like...” Quon racked his brain. “Making yourself better!”
“Or fixing a weakness about yourself...” Ni Xong added.
They could still see she was confused.
“That little thingy in your hand! How good can you play it?” Quon asked.
“Yea! Try this!” Quon dashed off to grab something from the pile of junk inside the Void World and handed it to Kuai.
She grabbed it with her hand and looked at it in confusion.
“Does she even know how to read?” Drill questioned.
“You can read?” Ni Xong asked.
“It's not that hard.”
“Then can you teach her how to use it?” Quon asked.
“Tch! Why would I do something so annoying? What’s in it for me, huh?”
“Don’t be a jerk dude. Just help her out.” Quon said.
“Don’t be a jerk dude. Just help her out.” Drill mocked in a girly voice. ”Help out nothing! Nothing in this world in free!”
“Come on, Drill... Please?” Ni Xong pleaded.
“Annoying! You’re all so annoying! Fine! But every single one of you owes me.” He hopped towards Kuai and began teaching her how to play the flute according to the book’s instructions.
When Kuai was fished out with Lei Zhi’s fishing rod, everyone was stunned by her appearance. She called her species, the Cursed Ones. According to Hao Gang, she was a spirit beast despite her appearance. This appearance being one crossed between a human and a fish! A human-like upper body with a fish’s tail. She had charms on par with heavenly beauties but couldn’t speak in human tongue or understand anyone besides Lei.
“Why must I use this object instead of my lyre?” Kuai questioned.
“Because your lyre is just some regular ole piece of junk. This flute on the other hand will make you useful.”
“It can turn sound into qi and qi into sound.” From the confused look on her face, Drill realized she was dumb as rocks.
So, he performed a demonstration of what he meant by playing the flute. He blew into the wind instrument and Kuai felt her body being strengthened with qi. Then Drill’s drill-shaped tail began glowing and spinning at a rapid speed. She felt the dangerous amount of qi building up within his tail before an incredibly quick invisible beam of energy shot out from the tip into the sky and pierced the clouds with a loud bang.
“Get it now?” He handed her the flute.
“I believe so... Now how do I do the training with this flute?”
“Just make it sound good or learn more ways of using it.” He shrugged her off.
“Thank you, Drill. I apologize for my lack of knowledge. Back where I came from, we never met any other intelligent species besides our own. We just lived a simple life as a cursed species, waiting for our time to die or for our sins to be forgiven.”
“Yeah, I didn’t ask.” Drill rudely walked away but that didn’t stop Kuai from feeling grateful towards him.