Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 29


29 A Way In
Darkness had truly fallen. The twinges of red sunlight in the sky had slipped below the event horizon leaving only the night. From this point out, Lineir trekked carefully, though he was actually cultivating. Mei was subconsciously guiding his body, he simply followed as he gleaned ever deeper insights into his inner self and searched to settle his cultivation base. It quickly became apparent that inside of him, compared to how he had been before undergoing a journey through the False Water God's stomach, his Second Heart had grown. The darkness and lightning aspects were deeper and richer in color, a flash of thick midnight black darkness and a delicate strand of devilish lightning. Additionally the spinning tug which spindled his Qi into his core was growing ever stronger. Lineir had grown far more attuned to himself as well. He could almost feel the base energy particles which permeated the air being drawn to him.

His six sense was even sharper than before. Twice, he suddenly felt rather than saw some threat just beyond the trees, and quickly turned the other way. The world left an imprint on his senses which he could feel more intimately and as instinctively as the strongest touch. Even Mei was astounded,

"How did you know to avoid the Three Tailed Howling Wolf Pack? Their killing intent was well disguised, and their physical camouflage was without flaw." Lineir simply chuckled under his breath as he passed by the hidden beasts.

"I'm not sure, but I can feel their killing intent as easily as I hear your voice, I was hoping you could explain it to me master." Mei was speechless, it was unheard of even in her lands for someone so young and weak in cultivation to be so attuned to killing intent. She could only speculate,

"I haven't heard of this before, I think... it may have something to do with the Nine Paths of Asura. I suspect that this may be one of the hidden benefits of this technique. Be happy, if this really is something to do with this, that means that you fit the requirements to gain some benefits. Perhaps the labors of my cultivation wasn't wasted on you after all!" Clearly, Mei was still sore about losing out on all her accumulated energy that time, and she really hoped that Lineir could fulfill her expectations.

In time, Lineir stealthily managed to follow several minor tributaries to the major rivers. He quickly found himself at the same river shores which he had been plucked from earlier. From here, he gained his bearings. He set out on a new course.

"It's time to go to Dracherus. I have some debts to settle."

A few days passed by without incident. During which, Lineir hunted a few weak first tier beasts for their cores and materials, but mostly continued in as straight a line as possible out of the wilderness. By now, his reputation ought to have faded, and he shouldn't have to worry about pursuers from Brackenrock City or those bandits. As he neared the city, he more frequently began to encounter other travelers. He gave them a wild berth as with his sharp senses and Mei's vigilant watch over him he could easily choose whether or not to meet another traveler before they actually came into sight. For now, until he knew more, he deemed it prudent to avoid all contact.


A middle sized city appeared with high walls that would take a giant to step over or a dragon to fly over. There were many travelers entering and exiting the city and the architecture was very solid. For Lineir, it felt about the same as Brackenrock City had been, though much larger. He immediately felt both at home and at ease entering an urban area once again.

"Ahhh, it's been a while..."

At the gates, Lineir tensed, ready to be called out if someone recognized him, but Dracherus was a far larger city than Brackenrock, and the traffic flow was far too wide for individuals to be casually monitored one by one. He easily entered the city with the rest of the travelers, and even didn't have to pay a fee. This city had a special system unlike most where merchants would have to pay taxes to the treasury based on how much they sold. This was in contrast to most cities which simply charged a flat tariff for entering. While the city missed out on travelers who were only passing through and did not buy anything, it gained more taxes from the merchant's side as when they sold more, the city gained more. Thus more customers would enter the city since there was no fee, and more sales were potentially made leading to more revenue. Of course, this was just the reasoning of this particular city. Most adhered to a standard entrance fee, and it could be said that this was a bit unusual. For Lineir though, entering the city without anyone getting a good look at his face was quite nice.

Having entered from the side of the city which bordered the wilderness entrance, markets were the first thing to catch the eye. Merchants and vendors of all sorts lined the streets and shouted out orders or tried to sell survival goods. The first wanted to purchase raw materials that mercenaries and adventurers brought in at cheap prices for export, and the latter was generally hoping to resupply those leaving the city to go and hunt.

In ragged half burned clothes he quickly searched for somewhere to sell his loot. At the moment, he was penniless and could only hope to sell some magical beast materials so he might be able to buy some new cloths.

"Buying the hides and claws of Two Tailed Marsh Foxes, sixty coppers a hide!"

"Selling red elixirs of life and black elixirs of death, don't leave the city without restocking, prices negotiable!"

And so on the orders went, it was clear that this market was incredibly varied, and was the largest for general goods as it was closest to the wilderness. Lineir walked around and quickly found people who were looking for what he had, which was at this point mostly smaller internal parts of magical beasts, similar to the handy canteen he had made from the goat he had killed.

Unfortunately, his violent affair with the False Water Serpent had destroyed his clothing and most of his loot had been lost. Luckily, the most valuable loot was small rather than large. For instance some of the teeth from the worm he had slain actually managed to gain him a silver a piece! This was equal to many hides that were much larger, and it became apparent that tiered magical beast materials sold for much higher amounts than more mundane goods.

Immediately, Lineir used a silver to purchase a new set of clothes to replace his rags, several merchants had been yelling at him to try out their outfits this whole time, and he was glad to finally get a change. Having sold what little he had, he quickly left the market and tried to find a place to stay for the night.

"SIX SILVERS!" Lineir's cry in his mind made Mei laugh,

"I told you, cities are places for those with money. For someone like you, they are simply a good way to empty your wallet. You better pay though, this is the sixth inn you've tried, and you're not likely to get any cheaper than this. The food looks like a child prepared it. Tut tut" At that moment, a child ran out from the kitchen, balancing three plates and Mei stopped speaking. This place was so cheap they were employing child labor! The inn owner simply stared at Lineir as if to say,

"What?" Letting younger children work in this service industry could be considered a good thing. Lineir himself knew this, as his sister had been working to support him and herself for a long time, but still... the child in front couldn't have been more than five years old, this was pushing it. Lineir quickly shook his head and handed him the coins, leaving him with precious little to show for his life and death experience in the wilderness.

"Sigh, I guess the true value of spending time in the wilderness is the experience and gains in cultivation. I'm certainly not going to become rich like this..."

After a bath Lineir could finally say he felt human again. He went down and hung out by himself in a corner of the tavern room. His goal was to find out more about this city and its officials. He still owed a debt to the kind middle aged man who had shielded him with his own body. Lineir was determined to repay his kindness this time around. He needed to find a way to talk to the royal family. After he had spent half the night though, he was frustrated and could only shrug.

"All night, I've been listening but I can't think of a way to meet the royal family! I don't even have more than ten silvers on me so I couldn't even bribe my way into the royal court." However, at that moment, one of the tables near the door caught his attention. The speakers were two gruff men, with weathered faces beaten by the elements into old age,

"Ahhhhh the ale in this place hits the spot. Taste's worse than your wife's cooking! But it's three times as cheap!" A loud smack resounded as the other man landed one in the speaker's gut.

"AKKKHHH That hurt mate, you better be saving that for the tournament, I hear the king himself will be attending, he'll make you a knight with that kind of strength."
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