Hei could see that the boy was perplexed. And this was only fair. After all, the entire situation had just flipped from what he had believed it to be.
He was just pleased that the boy didn’t seem to be in a blind fit of rage. He seemed to be able to maintain his rationality even when angry.
It was now more likely that they would be able to come to an agreement.
“If I was your enemy, do you think you would still be alive?”
The boy was thrown into contemplation.
It was true. Based on what had just happened, if his enemy, or… this fellow wanted him dead, he surely wouldn’t be alive.
And beyond that, something he found strange, was that from start to finish, he never felt any killing intent coming from Hei.
Even the spirit who was guiding him commented on this.
According to it, there were two possibilities.
The first possibility was that Hei’s cultivation was so far above theirs that they would be unable to sense his killing intent.
At the time of the fight, they had ignored this possibility. It was extremely unlikely that the Zhu Clan had such a powerful expert, so they leaned more towards the second possibility.
And that was that Hei just plain didn’t consider him to be his enemy.
After having fought, and after hearing his words, it seemed it may be a mix of both.
Now the only question was, what was all of this about?
The boy was about to ask, but Hei interrupted him.
“First recover your strength.”
Hei handed the boy a Qi gathering pill.
The boy took the pill without hesitation. He really was quite exhausted right now.
After examining the pill for a moment, he popped it into his mouth and swallowed it whole.
There were two reasons why he wasn’t too suspicious of the pill. First, the spirit had taught him quite a bit about alchemy, so he was able to give the pill some preliminary evaluations. Second, if Hei wanted to do something to him, he could do it forcefully. There was no need to trick him into eating a pill.
After seeing that it was a regular, lowest grade Qi gathering pill, he was both relaxed and slightly disappointed.
Weren’t these experts supposed to have the best of the best? Why did it look like this pill was forged by an apprentice alchemist?
That was what the boy was thinking, but the spirit within his ring had a completely different reaction.
It was far more experience in alchemy than either Hei or the boy, and it was able to tell that this pill was forged using an extraordinary method.
Even though it was the lowest grade of Qi gathering pill, the way it was forged showed a deep understanding of the fundamentals of pill refining.
Even it may not be able to reproduce the same result. Though, of course, it’s pill would be no less than peerless grade. Otherwise, it would be too ashamed to show its face.
And if it wasn’t mistaken, this pill should have been forged by a young woman.
When had the lower eastern continent produced such a genius? And who was her master?
There was truly always something new to learn.
As the spirit thought about exchanging tips with this mysterious master, which it didn’t realise was standing right there, the boy circulated his cultivation technique, absorbing the efficacy of the Qi gathering pill.
After a while, the boy had sufficiently recovered his energy and stood back up, facing Hei who had been patiently waiting for him to finish and hadn’t moved from his spot.
The boy felt slightly awkward asking this. Upon reflection, he realised that he had been the one to strike first, but under such circumstances, it was understandable, right?
“Why did you pretend to be from the Zhu Clan?”
Hei wanted to ask, ‘would you have a fight to the death with any random stranger in the forest?’.
But he realised that the answer was probably yes.
That was the kind of world this was.
He chose different words.
“I wanted to see if you were truly determined.”
“Determined? Determined for what?”
“To get justice for your sister.”
Hearing this reminded the boy that Hei had mentioned his sister during the fight.
“How do you know about my sister?”
The boy became agitated. This whole time, he had been in the dark about the current status of his sister, who he was doing everything he could to find.
Now that he had found a trace of her, he didn’t want to let it slip away.
“A while back, you prevented nine young ladies from being kidnapped by the Zhu Clan. I met those young ladies and they told me about you. They mentioned your sister, who you told them about. Other than that, I don’t know anything about her situation.”
The boy let out a deep sigh, greatly disappointed. It seemed he would remain unaware of his sister’s situation for the time being.
But now he had another question.
He furrowed his brows.
“Why did you bring her up?”
The way Hei brought her up was very unpleasant.
After all his efforts, to suddenly be told that his sister had died, and with a mocking tone and that, he was still feeling angry about it.
“To see your true strength.”
That was all? To say such vicious words, just to see his strength…
“To see if it was worth it to bring you on my mission.”
“I also have reason to disrupt the Zhu Clan.”
Hearing this, the boy’s eyes opened wide. If the Zhu Clan had offended such an expert, why were they still standing?
It had to be known, that in this world, one person could defeat an army. The only thing that mattered was peak strength. Numbers meant almost nothing.
If Hei wanted to get rid of the Zhu Clan, given the prowess he just displayed, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Accounting for unknowns, he should, at the very least, be able to do major damage and get away with it quite easily.
The boy was going to ask, but Hei spoke first.
“You ask a lot of questions.”
The boy swallowed the words he was about to say.
“I’ll put it simply. If your answers to my questions are satisfactory, I’ll take you to deal with the Zhu Clan.”
The boy was happy to hear this. He was already planning to go to the Zhu Clan, and now, all of a sudden, he was about to receive the assistance of a strong expert.
But there was no such thing as a free meal in this world.
“Why would you want to help me? What’s the cost?”
Hei preferred cautious people, rather than those who jumped at opportunities, without fully understanding the situation.
“Do not misunderstand. I am not helping you do anything. You have your aims, I have mine. It just so happens that our aims align in some places.”
The boy was relieved to hear this. It would be one thing if they were just working together in a collaboration, but it would be something else entirely if he were to be receiving favour from Hei.
Favours inevitably had to be repaid.
“Okay, ask your questions.”
“First of all, what is the source of the enmity that exists between you and the Zhu Clan?”
The boy frowned slightly.
“They destroyed my clan.”
The reason for Hei’s questions was to determine how deeply rooted this boy’s negative intent toward the Zhu Clan was.
“Then why are you still alive?”
“I was away from the clan at the time.”
“Are there other survivors, or is it just you?”
Given that the boy’s clan had been destroyed, Hei wanted to determine the extent to which that was the case.
The boy clenched his fists tightly.
“Other than my sister, whose current status I’m unaware of, I am the only one.”
This was an interesting answer. Usually, there would be a few more people outside of the clan who would avoid its destruction.
Hei decided to ask for further details.
“You were the only one outside of the clan? Why is that?”
The boy sighed.
“We were celebrating my cousin’s wedding.”
He then smiled.
“She was… She was our little princess.”
His smile grew brighter.
“Even though her family was of similar status to mine, her talent let them rise greatly. Haha. No matter if it was in looks, talent or bearing, she was undoubtedly the best junior of the clan.”
Hei could see that the boy was now reminiscing about the past. This information was not necessary nor was it useful to him.
But he decided to not interrupt.
“A few days before the wedding, I went out to a secret place we found when we were small children. It had the most beautiful flowers.”
At this point, tears were welling up in the boy’s eyes.
“I picked the best ones…”
The boy choked up.
Even the cat had gotten a case of the sniffles.
“Have you heard of Moon Glow Lilies?”
He didn’t let Hei respond.
“They were her favourite.”
‘This is… rare?’
Hei didn’t recall seeing too many emotional scenes in the web novels he had read. Most of it was anger, not too much grief.
Still, he let the boy speak.
It seemed he hadn’t been able to mourn properly. He was most likely so focused on avenging his family that he was unable to take the time to fully process the tragic events.
“I was so happy for her. She had finally…”
At this point, the boy wiped his tears and his frown returned.
“When I got back, everything was gone. Only bodies and destroyed buildings remained.”
He shook his head.
“That is, except for my sister, who I was unable to find.”
Even with all of this information, there was something the boy hadn’t mentioned.
“How do you know it was the Zhu Clan?”
If he was away at the time, and when he returned, only death and destruction greeted him, then why was he so sure it was the Zhu Clan’s doing?
It would be disadvantageous for Hei if the boy’s resolve was disintegrated due to this having been some kind of misunderstanding.
“Knowing that I was away, the clan leader left me a note using a secret technique. It stated that it was the Zhu Clan who had attacked us. On top of that, a few days later, the Zhu Clan publicly declared that they had vanquished an evil clan of demonic cultivators.”
The boy clenched his fists tightly.
“That was complete and utter nonsense!”
“What is the truth?”
The Zhu Clan was supposedly a righteous clan. How could they just go around destroying other clans willy-nilly?
“Because we found out something we weren’t supposed to. The Zhu Clan isn’t what people think they are. You should also know this.”
“How did you find it out?”
The boy’s eyes sharpened.
“We were a clan of assassins. On one of our missions, an elder discovered some truths about the Zhu Clan, which triggered all of this.”
Hei felt this was truly good fortune falling out of the sky. He had been wanting to find a killer for the more unsavoury tasks.
And now that he thought about it, the boy’s attacks were quite similar to Tianlan’s. Aiming for vital areas with every move.
“And now you seek vengeance?”
“First of all, I want to know what happened to my sister. After that, I will surely have my revenge.”
“Why is your sister so special? Why did they kidnap her instead of killing her like the rest?”
“According to the information we found, the Zhu Clan is looking for yin physiques. I would assume they believed my sister had such a physique.”
The man he had interrogated didn’t mention anything about this. Maybe his status wasn’t high enough within the clan.
‘Sigh. I’ll have to gather more intelligence.’
Hei’s mission just became more troublesome, which wasn’t exactly something he was pleased to see.
“All right, I’ve heard enough. We can enter a collaboration.”
Hei held his hand out to the boy.
The boy took it and they shook hands.
After telling his own story, the boy was interested in Hei’s side of things.
“So, what do you have against the Zhu Clan?”
The boy assumed Hei was in a similar situation. That someone important to him had been kidnapped.
This may have left him unable to start a frontal attack, for fear that the person he was trying to save would suffer the consequences, explaining why, even with his level of strength, he hadn’t already dealt with the Zhu Clan.
Even the spirit in the ring had some interest in this.
The cat also perked its ears up. It was also interested in what Hei’s motivations were.
“They’re a nuisance.”
“…” The boy
“…” The spirit
“(´•ᆺ•`)” The cat