"She might come back, I'll wait here", he spoke to himself and sat on one of the benches, waiting for Ming Yue.
As for those that saw him, they could only sigh in pity.
"Haah, Brother Xukun, don't sit here like this. If she doesn't want to help us then so be it. Let's go into the city and see if we could find some medicine for our next mission", a young girl quickly approached him, grabbing his arm and lifting him up.
She was could not be more than fifteen, wearing a uniform that seemed a bit too large for her. The sleeves were long enough to barely show the tip of her fingers. Her hair was cut short, only reaching below her chin. She wore a brooch adorned with violet pearls on the back of her head.
As for Xukun, he looked up dejectedly and followed the girl in silence.
Despite his conceited appearance, he was a good person but due to his habits, he was quite a misunderstood person. Being bad with people, he could not help but take on an arrogant personality when speaking, often insulting his partners.
With that said, he had difficulty finding comrades to go on missions as they would all find his behavior unbearable.
There was only this girl, who was kind enough to stick by and understood his problem.
As for why he wanted to talk to Ming Yue, Xukun had been healed by those bandages and wanted to see if he could get them for a cheaper price. Alas, his habit of speaking had robbed him of the chance.
As the pair left for the cit, Ming Yue strolled through the markets of Heaven's Gate. The first time she was led through, it was only a cursory introduction. However, this time she would explore to her hearts content.
The bustling streets were filled with all sorts of stalls, both sweet and savory lived together on the stone roads. Elegant carriages would sometimes come through, most of the time it was wagons, carrying slaughtered beasts or fresh vegetables. Common men mingled with cultivators, some haggled with each other, others conversed about life.
The architecture was truly well-built, sturdy wood and stone bricks formed many buildings. The style was fluid and exquisite, done with arches and curves.
As Ming Yue walked with her three pets, she stopped by a stall that sold sweet tofu. It was several copper coins for a small bowl and a single silver coin for three times the amount. She checked her wealth and found a thousand or so gold coins, leftover from the auction almost a year ago.
With a quick exchange, the stall owner uncovered the large pot and poured ladlesful of the steaming soft tofu into a porcelain bowl. Filling it to the brim, the stall owner grabbed a spoon and a jar full of sugar syrup.
"How sweet would you like it?" he asked Ming Yue with a happy tone.
"A little bit sweeter than normal", Ming Yue answered back and quickly received the warm bowl along with a wooden spoon.
She took one of the seats by the side and enjoyed her dessert. The simple combination of soft tofu and syrup melted in her mouth.
Suddenly, she looked at the stall owner and asked for three small bowls. She filed each with a fair bit of the sweet tofu and placed them on the table.
"I know you all want to have some", she looked at Bai Ying and the the others.
It didn't even take a moment of hesitation before they jumped up, taking the bowl closest to them. She watched them and continued to eat. All four finished their bowl without leaving an ounce of tofu left. They were quite satisfied and set off, returning the bowls to the stall.
Their next destination was a stall that sold grilled pork belly seasoned with a tingling spice.
The one after that were fish balls cooked in a delicate chicken broth. After that, it was marinated cow tongues, then steamed clams and finally they ended with stuffed squids, filled with a savory sticky rice.
Throughout it all, they watched some street performers and even a little puppet show. By the end of it all, the sun had begun to set and white lanterns were strung up across the roads, lighting up the streets like stars. Many of the stalls that sold meat and vegetables disappeared, replaced by food stalls that brought even more interesting and delicious foods.
Feeling particularly full, Ming Yue started looking at the shops rather than the food. They were all eye-catching, featuring all sorts of items. But, Ming Yue wasn't in need of anything and mostly spent her time browsing the items.
Still, there were definitely some things that caught her eye: throwing daggers that she could hide in her sleeves, a ring that could hold a medicinal garden, a White Lotus Root that could boost her cultivation by five years. While they were all incredibly helpful, she did not need them dearly. Furthermore, their prices were a bit too much for her. Even the daggers were six thousand gold each.
Still, she kept them in mind for another time.
As she left the store, a body flew past her down the street, crumpled on the ground.
"Hmm, what's happening here?" she thought.
She looked to the opposite side to find several members of the Institution looking at the crumpled body with disdain.
"Wu Xukun, I've long had enough of your conceited nature!" a young man that stood in front of the group spoke with indignance.
This figure seemed quite dazzling, a cultivator at the Earth Realm and a leader judging by his followers. His black hair was carefully combed and well maintained. His features were soft and gentle, he seemed more like a scholar than anything. However his actions were anything but gentle.
As for Xukun, he stood up from he landed, staggering before he glared at his enemy.
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"Jia Xiang! You shameless bastard! Bullying us with numbers, fight me yourself and we'll see who is really the conceited one", Xukun yelled out angrily.
The streets were no longer filled with people as they moved away and watched from the sidelines. Ming Yue joined, recognizing Xukun's voice as the one from before. She looked at the two sides, noticing a young girl on Jia Xiang's side, looking worried for Xukun.
The girl could not move for she was held down by two of Jia Xiang's followers.
"Why should I?... Hmph, you act so high and mighty all the time, good thing you had such a soft spot for this girl!" said Jia Xiang, who looked at the scared girl behind him.
Xukun rushed forward only to be tossed back as three of Jia Xiang's men fought him. He was beyond furious and at the same time, he knew he could do nothing. These three were weaker than him but he could not win against three. After all, all of them were at the Mind Stage of the Earth Realm.
"Poor man, he always gets bullied like this."
"Yeah, but with an attitude like that, no one would like him."
"If you knew him a bit more, you would understand that he is gentleman."
"Still, it looks like this has gone too far. Now, his partner has been targeted. He might be alone again."
Hearing the conversations around her, Ming Yue felt that she had misread Xukun's character. To think, he was the one getting bullied. Perhaps, he had wanted to ask her for some help.
She quickly made her decision and went off to help him. She took out her ivory dagger and moved quietly through the crowd.
Appearing behind Jia Xiang's group, she suppressed her aura and switched the end of her dagger so that she used the pommel instead of the blade.
This was the Veiled Death Sword Technique. At least, it was one she had been able to achieve with the technique.
Without speaking another word, she struck with swift power!
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