Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 30

30 No Longer So Soft..
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Lineir's ears were perked up like a cat's, finally an opportunity.

"Hrmph, you'd better hope you don't draw me as your opponent, I won't hold back!" The men both went back upstairs early, leaving half their tankards of ale untouched. Clearly, they actually wanted to have an early night. Lineir sighed. To think, after all night, that was the end of his free information.

"Cities really are money sinks!" He walked up to the counter and addressed the bartender,

"So about those two fellows who just left." The bartender smirked as he glanced over at the table Lineir was indicating and the unfinished ale and scraps. He had a patchy mottled face, and was the owner of the inn who had taken Lineir's coin earlier.

"Leftovers go to my hogs kid. Don't care if you're starving, you gotta buy your own food."

Lineir quickly realized that the man thought he was begging for scraps. Insulted he made his actual purpose known,

"I'm not interested in your pig's food. Look, I want to know more about what they were talking about, a tournament? It sounds like something worth watching." The innkeeper smiled. He knew an opportunity when he saw one, and this kind of thing happened on a frequent basis. He pursed his lips and tapped on the counter. Lineir, expecting this by now, he had quickly learned that nothing was free in the city, slid over a copper. The innskeeper smiled wider and tapped three more times.

"Damnit I gave in too quick, he knows I'm interested." He slid over three more and said,

"Alright, I'm sure anyone could tell me about this. Tell me what you know already or I'll ask someone else." The bartender swept the coppers under the counter into a pocket somewhere and began to speak,

"Yea kid, it's kind of obvious your new. Anyone on the street could tell you about the royal tournament, its been posted for months now. Word to the wise, best to ask around first before you come to an information dealer. Regular people don't charge for gossip. But hey, more for me." Lineir signaled to get on with it.

"All right, the king of Dracherus has proclaimed a great tournament which just so happens to begin tomorrow. The winner will receive a nice sack of gold, recognition, and a fourth tier magical beast's core. In fact, anyone who shows themselves well may be eligible for knighthood from the king himself, or various other nobles attending, and may join the private forces of said sponser. Anyone on the street could tell you this. But kid, since you paid me, and I wouldn't want you to feel cheated, let me tell you a little something else. Between us information brokers, that fourth tier magical beast core, while any fourth tier magical beast core is an item most of us ordinary people couldn't touch, this particular one ain't normal. Word is, it actually is a core from a Three Headed Hydra! The Three Headed Hydra is a mythical class beast, and thus the core's value is actually equal to a low fifth tier core. The value of such an item is priceless. Its rarity is such that only a fool would accept gold for it. But there's more...which I could tell you for a price." The bartender rapped on the counter once more. Lineir, questioningly took out a single copper. The bartender smiled and shook his head. He rapped again. Mei quickly told Lineir to pay up,

"This man clearly knows something good, whatever the price is, pay it, it's only money, information on a mythical class beast core is far more important at your level. This could be a huge opportunity for you!" Sighing endlessly Lineir slid one of his last few silver coins to the man. Instantly it too was under the table and the bartender was clearing his throat.

"Thank you, glad to see someone who appreciates good information. The tournament kiddo, if you were thinking of entering, don't deny it I can see it in your eyes, is rigged. A little kid like you wouldn't have been able to get past the prelims initially, but, even if by some miracle, your opponents got diarrhea and all left, you might as well give up now. This tournament is in fact a hand-off! The king of Dracherus has been harassed of late by various powers, don't ask me why I don't know what they'd want with this city. In order to deal with this, the king has agreed to align himself with the Nero Sect. As such, the winner of the tournament will receive this core, and in fact, the king will present his daughter for marriage to seal the alliance. This tournament is really a public display so that the inner disciples of the Nero Sect can compete to see who will gain the core and marry into royalty. Each inner disciple has assess to martial arts and cultivation methods which a commoner like you can't even dream of. Save yourself the time and buy a seat in the stands instead of entering, at least you'll get to see something good instead of spending the day knocked out by some cultivator's spiritual pressure."

Lineir thanked the bartender for the information and walked away.

"If you ever need any more information, just come back here, I'm the best dealer around kid. Your silver is safe with me hehehe." Lineir simply shrugged, while he had felt great pain inside, the urge to cough up blood at the loss of his precious silver had passed. The information he had gotten was truly more valuable. Mei was ecstatic,

"Kiddo, this is excellent. You absolutely must enter this tournament, even if you lose you will only have gained valuable experience in fighting cultivators. These inner disciples may seem intimidating to ordinary men like that bartender, but I would estimate that this Nero Sect's disciples absolutely cannot compare to you who has the great me to teach you. While you should not underestimate them, they have had a lifetime of training, your methods aren't ordinary like theirs and you can make up for talent and time with unorthodox techniques. It would be good to shake up this place a little, you've spent too much time away from civilization. And if you were to win this mythical beast core, I'll teach you something good as well. Work hard and try not to embarrass me as your teacher."

Lineir quickly headed out to find the tournament registration. Fortunately, it was quite easy, everyone knew that the tournament was to be held at the city training grounds, and in fact, Lineir saw several posters leading the way. Had he been paying attention, rather than rushing to find lodging and change his clothes, he probably would have noticed them earlier.

"Register here, pay the entrance fee and receive your number and you're good to go kid, enjoy the tournament!" The pale faced soldier took one look at Lineir and snickered, he was clearly expecting Lineir to get beat up. Lineir, paled terribly, and the soldier taking this as fear, actually burst out laughing,

"Relax, killing in this tournament is forbidden, and unless some sect cultivator accidentally doesn't control his force, you won't die, though you may not be able to walk for some time hahaha!" Little did he know that Lineir, after his time in the wilderness didn't fear these spoiled inner sect cultivators at all. Rather,

"God**** an entrance fee? Do I need to sell myself on the streets to some old man just to enter this tournament. At this rate, I'm so hungry I probably wouldn't even care, the pain in my stomach is all I can think about!" In the end, Lineir handed in his last silver to the soldier as his stomach grumbled and registered.

"Now I have to win...that sack of gold is ****** mine!"

After spending the night cultivating, Lineir got up incredibly irritated. He hadn't had enough money for a meal after all these expenses, and elemental energy might keep him from starving to death, but his stomach didn't really care. It kept groaning all the same. He quickly headed down, and while the bartender wasn't looking snagged a plate of leftovers at an empty table on the way out.

"He took me for all I's only reasonable that I can at least get something in return. **** his pigs." Quickly snarfing down the disgusting half eaten loaf of bread, Lineir made his way to the tournament, as he went though, he was shoved aside to the ground. If he wasn't so distracted by hunger at the moment, he never would have taken the hit, but as it was, he had been intensely avoiding some mysterious liquid on the bread and had lost track of his surroundings.

"Clear the way peasant! The Nero Sect is coming." Unbelievably, some random guy on the street had shoved him down into the muddy sewage stained street. He wasn't even a retainer of the Nero Sect, he clearly was just looking to curry favor! Pasting on a sickly sweet grin, the man turned to the grand carriage passing by,

"My lords of the Nero Sect, I've helped clear the way of the regular scum so that you might go unimpeded!" A couple of coppers shot out of the driver's gloved hands, and the man quickly bowed and ran in front to knock aside more people, forgetting all about Lineir in the dirt.

"That **** I just bought these clothes yesterday, they're my only pair!" The old Lineir, the rat of the deadzone wouldn't have dared do anything. He was too small, and too weak and malnourished to do so. But this Lineir was a cultivator, and he wasn't so weak anymore. Also...he wasn't nice. Up ahead, there was an elderly couple in the road. The carriage showed no signs of stopping, and the man was running up clearly intending to shove them out of the way. Disgusted, Lineir instantly arrived behind the man. To any regular person watching it would appear that a great splash of mud came and Lineir suddenly went from behind thirty feet, to at the man's back in the blink of an eye. With a finger, he prodded the unsuspecting man in the back. Instantly, he tensed up and froze with a face full of pain as a shocking current ran through his body. Lineir put a hand on his back and whispered,

"Here, you want to be an underling for those Nero Sect disciples, then let me help you get underneath them!" With a swift push, Lineir was already walking away as the elderly couple, dumbfounded, stared at the man who was shoved under the carriage about to run them over.


"What the hell was that? I thought we had men to help us clear the road!" The driver stepped down and saw that the wagon's two front wheels had cracked after rolling on top of the legs of the man in question. He was lying in the mud with a purple face, unable to scream as all his muscles were locked up for some reason. The elderly couple quickly ran away, and Lineir, looking over his shoulder, blended into the crowd which had stopped to watch the spectacle. Mei laughed,

"Disciple, you've grown." Lineir simply smiled.

"If someone shoves me down...I'll make it so they can't ever get up again." Together the laughing master and smiling Lineir went to the tournament, a chill passing through every person they passed by.

Inside the waiting grounds, Lineir, who was sitting with his hood up to disguise himself, quickly found himself surrounded by a number of mercenaries and soldiers hoping to make their fortune. Lineir paid them no mind, the strongest were barely classifiable as cultivators, and most were just weaklings. Most sensible mercenaries knew that the tourney was rigged and that only cultivators of strong sects would have any chance of winning. They would rather sit in the stands and watch than risk injury and their livelihoods. Lineir had his eyes almost slit shut, but Mei was analyzing the situation in his head.

"The auras of those cultivators over there aren't bad. But they won't win, those purple robed cultivators are at a far higher level. Over there, those yellow robed guys are strange. While their overall power is a bit lower, I wouldn't put it past them to have some strange methods. They may actually be more threatening than the rest... Oh, the main characters have arrived. Be sure to take a good look at them disciple, as the villain in this pageant it's your job to steal the princess and the treasure from under them! I expect nothing less from my only disciple!" Lineir was pressed into the wall by bodies as all the gruff and scarred men backed away from the entering black robed Nero Sect members. They were late, and clearly not happy about it, and Lineir secretly smirked at the ground as he observed the results of his work. The administrator began to explain the rules.

"Alright, now that all competitors have arrived, I will explain how matches will be chosen and decided, as well as the rules. First of all, no killing! Anyone who kills their opponent intentionally will have to answer to the king of Dracherus and the royal court will be in attendance to prosecute you immediately!" Lineir chuckled,

"What a joke, this whole tournament is just a sham so the king can ally with the Nero Sect, of course he won't take any action even if the Nero sect 'accidentally' does away with anyone. They will be able to fight with killing moves, but everyone else will have to hold back for fear of killing someone with too strong a blow." Mei quickly replied,

"Of course the rules are favoring the strong and empowered, the weak don't get to decide such things. Quiet, there's more."

The announcer continued,

"All matches will be randomly selected by ballot, but the initial preliminaries will be held in block matches so as to expedite the tournament. To ensure that nobody is forced to fight their brother, no two sect members form the same sect can be in the same block in the preliminaries. You were given a number before the tournament began, report to block A if you are from 1-100, B if you are from 101-200, C if you are from 201-300 and so on. Only ten members from each block may progress if they are left standing after 10 minutes. Anyone who leaves the arena circle is disqualified. If there is less than 10 members left standing after ten minutes, then only those left will advance. Find your block!"

Lineir quickly hurried to his block. He had the number 231, and thus was reporting to block B. In this block, there was a cultivator from the purple, yellow, and the black robed Nero Sect! In addition, there were other robed figures who could only be cultivators from lesser sects. This block was full of threats. Quietly, Lineir backed away as people formed around and went to the C block, where there was almost exclusively ordinary soldiers. In fact, there was nobody wearing a robe in this sect, to an outsider, since Lineir was wearing muddy street clothes, this block was full of chump change. Mei was yelling in Lineir's ear,

"What are you doing, are you scared of those inner sect cultivators? Sure you might get your *** kicked but they probably won't kill you, why did you come to this C block, your number is 231, you'll get disqualified for being in the wrong block." Lineir raised a glowing finger and pointed at one of the unsuspecting soldiers with their backs to him. Mei gave a little gasp as she realized his intent.

"Oh... you have matured soft disciple, you've truly understood that the strong eat the weak."

Lineir prodded the soldier in the back and unbeknownst to everyone who was staring at the commentator, quickly snagged the numbered badge from his hand and replaced it with the 231. The man, clearly not a cultivator was knocked unconscious almost instantly and laid on the ground without complaint.

"Now I'm 352... he won't mind, I would have knocked him out of the prelims anyway. I'm saving him the trouble of a trip to the hospital." The commentator shouted out at that moment,

"BEGIN!" Instantly fighting broke out as soldiers turned on each other and began to brawl for a spot in the top ten.

Lineir didn't overly exert himself in this block match. There were only some regular soldiers and mercenaries who couldn't even have been introduced to real cultivation. In fact, if Lineir wanted to, with his ability to sense killing intent, he could probably have closed his eyes and simply swayed and evaded his way into the top ten. But he wanted to speed up the process. As men came towards him, he would slap his palms into their chests after dodging their shots, and as they took the hits while off balance, they would be blasted backwards several meters outside of the arena. In this manner, Lineir made his way to the center of the arena, where the fighting was thickest, without even using a weapon. Once he reached there, he would use the enemies to his advantage, something which Mei had drilled into him in the wilderness.

"Use everything to your advantage, enemy hands and feet can become your hands and feet, as well as their weapons if you pay attention." Soon, surrounding Lineir was a good two meters of empty space as soldiers realized that anyone who went near was swiftly dispatched and put on the ground. However, with one minute left, something strange happened. Every man fighting around Lineir was swept out of the arena by a ferocious gust of wind and in front of him was a cowled figure of average height. In a moment, that cowled figure was going to rush him, but the commentator shouted out!

"Time's up, top ten or those still standing advance from the prelims!" The robed figure stopped attacking him and backed off with a whisper,

"I know what you did, I know who you are, don't even think that I will let you go!"
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