I can't believe we got robbed less than half a day from leaving the Sect.
Yeah, it's true I could probably just kill them where they stood, but I remembered that Lian Li had the possibility of destroying this entire Plane in the future.
I should try to minimize the amount of human deaths she witnesses while learning under me just in case something like that triggers her desire to rid the world of humans.
Yes I should teach her the path of compassion and kindness so she wouldn't possess any thoughts of destroying the world.
Of course if those bandits had wanted to get violent, I won't hesitate to retaliate as well. Lian Li's and my own safety comes first before anything else.
Good thing they left right after taking my money or I'll need to spend a lot of time teaching her about the difference between self-preservation and genocidal tendencies.
But even after saying all that, we're now flat broke.
I still have a lot more money stored back in my house within the Sect, but going back now with the reason that 'I got robbed' will make me lose too much face.
At least we're still camping out in the forest for now, so money is not really needed.
"Master, I found this by the river," Lian Li's melodious voice woke me from my thoughts.
I looked towards her to find her holding a large sack in her hands.
Curious, I gestured for her to pass me the sack to open it, only to find the bag filled to the brim with gold coins.
"What is this?" I asked, utterly shocked.
Lian Li's face brightened, "The heavens must have been moved by your kindness to those bandits Master! This gold must be your reward for having such a compassionate soul!"
That sounds unbelievable no matter who heard it.
But Lian Li was looking at me with her fists clenched to her chest and eyes full of sparkles that it was hard to retort against her.
This gold probably belonged to some wealthy merchant who hid his stash of emergency gold here for some reason. Not that I would know anyway. At least this will solve our current money shortage.
I swore to myself that I will surely return this gold should we find a merchant looking for this sack of gold.
Nodding to myself, I began training my cute disciple in utilising her quarks.
Cue the training montage!
Eh? Too early? Who cares? I'm the Master here you know?
A few weeks passed uneventfully as we cultivated our quarks, both of us managed to reduce the number of monsters within the forest to a low enough number, ensuring the safety of this forest for a long while.
Lian Li being the genius that she was already managed to get her Divine Lightning to Journeyman tier while the four common Elements were already at Basic Tier.
I made similar advancements with my Darkness Element while managing to practice some techniques I was unable to do back when I was crippled.
Who knew there was so much more to Pure Element's utility rather than being a catalyst for other elements?
I had planned for us to remain here for a few more months but a messenger spirit from my Sect arrived with a message for me.
Apparently some fox youkai in the nearby mountains had requested our Sect for aid in fighting off a powerful monster. They had stressed that the monster was an extremely powerful one and requested for the strongest Practitioner my Sect could provide.
Monsters are born when animals become corrupted after absorbing Elemental Quarks whereas animals who gained intelligence without corruption become youkais. It does not mean all youkai are harmless to humans though as some still retain their bestial nature even as youkais.
The fox youkai are one of the few who have friendly relations with humans, more because their entire population is female which meant they look towards human males as potential mates than anything else.
Still, since there's a lot of perverts in the human's community, I don't think the males chosen as mates mind being picked. The fact that most, if not all, fox youkai are usually exceedingly beautiful probably helps too.
Although I've heard of how some males who reject a fox youkai's advances go missing without a trace before, but nothing ever pointed the cause to the fox youkais.
Seeing as how I was already out in the field, I see no reason not to accept this request. This would also serve as another possible 'fortunate encounter' for us anyway. It's definitely not because I was interested in seeing how beautiful they were for myself, not at all.
Packing our bags, we hit the road once more towards the snowy mountains of the fox youkai village.
It took three days to reach our destination, a tall imposing torii gate standing proudly at the top of the mountain. All around us was endless piles of snow, if a Practitioner was unable to circulate Fire quark in his body here, they would have frozen to death long ago.
In front of the torii gate stood a young woman wearing their traditional kimono, the nine fox tails behind her and her lupine ears a dead giveaway of her being a nine-tailed fox youkai.
The greater number of tails, the more proficient the fox is in utilizing their Elemental Quarks. A nine tail is similar in proficiency to an Elite Practitioner in Earthen Plane Sects, though individuals might differ. The most I've heard is the Thousand Tailed Fox Spirit that lives beyond the Cloud Plane, whether it really has a thousand tails is anyone's guess.
I glanced at the fox youkai, her waist-length hair was dark orange bordering on brown, matching her tails and fox ears in colour while her kimono was a contrasting aqua blue with white flower petals imprinted on it. There was a faint trace of red lipstick adorning her lips while her eyes were hidden behind attractively long lashes, making it seem as though her eyes were perpetually closed.
What really stood out were her firm bosoms that seemed to be a cup size larger than Lian Li's. How she managed to maintain that straight posture without back pains is a wonder.
As soon as we reached the gate, the fox youkai gave a bow.
"Greetings, I am Manami, a resident of the Snow Fox village. Are you perhaps Master Lin from the Heaven Sect here to fulfill our request?"
I nodded, partially wondering why Lian Li was gripping my arm so tightly. Was she not good with Youkais?
How thoughtless of me, I have to make sure to pamper her a little later to make up for it.
"Yes, I've come to assist in the subjugation of the monster," I confirmed.
Manami nodded, stepping aside to gesture towards the gate, "Please, this way. The situation has become quite dire."
I stepped through the gate with Lian Li still clutching my arm lightly.
The hiss I thought I heard coming from her as we passed Manami must have been my imagination.
The moment our feet passed the boundaries of the gate, our vision shifted and the empty area behind the torii gate was empty no more.
A small village filled with Minka houses were spread out among the snow.
Many fox youkai were going about their businesses, a few welcomed us with curt bows which I returned with one of my own.
I noticed that none spared Manami a glance though.
"Am I going to meet the village leader?" I asked, ignoring the hissing noises coming from Lian Li.
"Unfortunately, that's the problem. The monster has taken her hostage, demanding we vacate this area so that it can live here."
"Oh? An intelligent one then?"
No wonder they wanted me here, monsters that have gained intelligence are in a league of their own.
"Yes. The reason it hasn't taken this place by force is because it believes there's a nine tailed fox protecting this village. It could still overwhelm us with its pack but it would rather not take the losses it would incur."
I raised an eyebrow at her, "There isn't?"
A hint of sadness crossed her features as her tails shifted like mist, most of them disappearing into short stumps, leaving her with only one complete tail.
"Ah… Damaged Quark Veins," I sighed, familiar with her condition.
She nodded, hugging her last tail with her arms, "It was a mistake I made fifty years ago, now I'm only able to use a little of my Space quark to make the illusion that my tails are still fine to trick monsters into leaving us alone. I have tried various ways to repair them, but I have never succeeded."
"That's why you made the Sect Request."
"Yes, we had wanted to approach the Adventurer's Guild but we had heard the Heaven Sect's Master Lin was training his disciple nearby, so we made the request to Heaven Sect instead."
I looked towards Lian Li, just in time to see her stop hissing at Manami to look at me with beady eyes.
Does she really hate youkais that much?
I made a mental note to soothe her properly later while I turned back to Manami.
"Since I'm already here, just show me to where your leader is being kept. Oh, I'll also heal your damaged Quark Veins as well," I told her offhandedly.