Beyond the Timescape

Chapter 30: An Unexpected Gift



Chapter 30: An Unexpected Gift

It was a dark night with no stars, only a moon faintly visible through the drifting clouds. It was very windy. However, the wind didn’t interfere with the flowing moonlight. The pure white light was like a river flowing into the human world. It fell onto the scavengers, and onto Xu Qing’s courtyard, where two people stood outside his door.

One was Master Seventh, clad in his violet robe, his hands clasped behind his back. The moonlight illuminated his wrinkled face as he muttered to himself, apparently trying to make a decision about something.

To the side, his servant waited patiently.

As far as the dogs were concerned, these two didn’t even exist. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to them. Things were quiet, except for the faint sound of laughter and shouting coming from the outer ring of the camp.

There was no more speaking from inside the room, only the sound of breathing exercises. Some time passed, enough for an incense stick to burn.

Then Master Seventh sighed. Instead of opening the door, he turned to leave. Reaching the gate, he stopped and said, “Give him the identity medallion.”

“What color?” the servant asked.

“The most common one. Explain the basics, but no more than that.”

Master Seventh walked out of the courtyard.

The servant’s eyes narrowed, and his heart pounded. He had been with Master Seventh during the entire time in the scavenger basecamp, and had been there on numerous occasions to observe the one called the Kid.

When Master Seventh talked to Grandmaster Bai about him, the servant knew the boy had an amazing opportunity coming. That was why he had asked earlier about giving him an identity medallion. Specifically, that medallion qualified someone to enter Seven Blood Eyes. Anyone who possessed such a medallion could take a qualification assessment, and if successful, could join the sect.

There were different colors of medallions. The violet medallions were the highest, and were given to conclave disciples. Yellow were the middle rank, and were given to disciples of the inner sect. Last were the white medallions, which were the most common, and were given to ordinary disciples.

The servant had guessed that Master Seventh would bestow a yellow medallion, only to be told to give a white one. Furthermore… he had been instructed not to go into any details. This unusual turn of events not only got him thinking, but also, caused his heart to pound.

There’s only one explanation. Master Seventh has taken a liking to the Kid. He doesn’t just want to bring him into the sect. He wants… to take him as an apprentice? And so, he wants to test him? The first three highnesses all started out that way. Don’t tell me the Seventh Peak is going to have a fourth successor apprentice?

The servant knew exactly how powerful the word ‘successor’ was. Whoever became a successor apprentice to Master Seventh would become the center of attention of all the powerful groups in the entire continent of South Phoenix.

Then again, that seemed somewhat far-fetched to the servant. After all, Master Seventh hadn’t accepted any new apprentices for quite a long time.

Regardless, the servant knew he needed to pay close attention to this child. With such thoughts on his mind, he took a deep breath, gathered his thoughts, and then knocked on Xu Qing’s door. When the thudding sound rang out in the room, the sound of breathing exercises ceased. A smile appeared at the corner of the servant’s mouth, and then he faded from view. Astonishingly, when he reappeared, he was on the back side of the structure!

In the back wall of the room was a hole, dug out over the course of time and covered over with removable bricks.

***

Xu Qing had just crawled out through the hole in the back wall, and had been planning to go around the side of the house and see who was knocking. However, before he could do anything, the servant appeared.

Xu Qing stopped moving and looked at the figure. His heart sank. In front of him was a middle-aged man in a long gray robe. He had ordinary facial features but an eye-catching pentagram tattoo on his forehead. The tattoo glittered with peaceful light that caused the glow of the moon to ripple and distort.

The man emanated such pressure that Xu Qing found himself gasping for breath. However, he still grabbed his iron skewer with his right hand and pulled out some poison powder with his left.

The man’s sudden arrival was bizarre, to say the least, and from what Xu Qing could tell, the man was far, far stronger than the scarred girl’s brother from a few days before. That was especially true of his gaze, which caused Xu Qing’s flesh and blood to tremble. It was as if his body was screaming at him that this person standing in front of him was an extremely dangerous threat!

Xu Qing realized exactly what his body was telling him, and was completely on guard. At the same time, he prepared himself to take action.

He had long since thought through numerous scenarios in which he suddenly faced dangerous circumstances. And most dangerous of them all was a person who could slip past the dogs without them being alerted. Narrowing his eyes, he slowly backed away.

***

“I have no evil intentions,” the servant said, smiling as he eyed the violent, wolf-pup-like Kid. He also realized that the hole in the wall was a backup plan the Kid had in place for emergencies.

He’s prepared for situations like this, and doesn’t get flustered when unexpected things happen. Also, he’s ready for a fight. No wonder Master Seventh has taken a liking to him.

The servant thought back to Xu Qing slitting Horsefour’s throat, and killing Fatmountain. Eyes shining with admiration, he pulled out a white identity medallion and tossed it to Xu Qing.

***

Xu Qing didn’t attempt to catch it. Instead, he jumped backward while simultaneously tossing out a handful of poison powder and then chucking two daggers out in front of him. His eyes went wide when both daggers flew harmlessly through the gray-robed man and hit the wall behind him. As for the poison powder, it also went through the man, and slowly drifted to the ground.

Xu Qing’s nerves grew even more taut, and he prepared to flee.

However, the gray-robed man just smiled and began to fade from existence.

It started with his legs, then his torso. As his head disappeared, he said, “Kid, someone wanted me to give you that identity medallion. It qualifies you to enter Seven Blood Eyes. There’s a map on the back. You can go to any of the cities owned by the sect. Just show the medallion and you’ll be given a one-time free teleportation to the sect headquarters.”

Then the man vanished as if he’d never been there to begin with. Xu Qing, meanwhile, just stood there quietly for a long time. He could sense how powerful the man had been, and how weak he himself was.

Finally, he walked forward, retrieved his daggers, and then looked down at the identity medallion.

It was the color white, and the front side was carved with complicated decorative designs. As it reflected the moonlight, it seemed both profound and simplistic at the same time.

Xu Qing put on one of his fighting gauntlets to flip the medallion over. On the back was a map filled with hundreds of raised dots that represented cities.

Seven Blood Eyes….

Sergeant Thunder had mentioned Seven Blood Eyes to him, and he knew they were one of the largest and most ruthless organizations in South Phoenix. Countless people attempted to join their numbers every year. However, the Seven Blood Eyes was very strict about who they let in. And they most certainly did not let just anyone through the doors. First, you needed an identity medallion, which of course, was not something commonly handed out.

Xu Qing had no idea why he’d been given one. He didn’t know that man in gray, and also didn’t know if the medallion was legitimate. After mulling the matter over, he decided that, given how terrifyingly powerful the man in gray was, it seemed unlikely he had been playing some prank. In all likelihood, the medallion was real.

But why did he give it to me?

Xu Qing had no idea, but it wasn’t lost on him what the man had called him. The term ‘Kid’ had different layers of meaning. Though it was a common noun that could be used on any young person, it had a more specific usage in this scavenger basecamp. Here, only Xu Qing was called the Kid. The fact that the man used his scavenger nickname indicated he knew something about Xu Qing. Also, he’d mentioned that ‘someone’ wanted Xu Qing to have the identity medallion. That meant the gray-robed man was working with someone else, and that person was probably of a higher rank.

Don’t tell me it was Grandmaster Bai?

Xu Qing looked down at the medallion for a long moment, then finally picked it up.

The first glimmers of dawn were now visible. Xu Qing covered up the hole in the back wall, then went to feed the dogs. So far the dogs hadn’t been any help to him, but feeding them had become something of a habit over time.

As he saw them jostling for food, he was about to leave to listen to Grandmaster Bai’s lecture when he suddenly stopped in place, then sat down.

Yet another habit….

So he sat there until the sun was high and bright in the sky. Only then did he walk out of the courtyard to stroll through the camp.

Though he knew the camp well, right now it seemed somewhat unfamiliar. Neither Crucifix nor Graceful Raptor had been back in a while. After walking around a bit, he decided to go visit his laboratory in the canyon. Though the forbidden region was a dangerous place, it also held a lot of memories. Besides, he figured he might as well take a shot at concocting a white bolus, and so, he made his way out of the camp. Before he stepped out of it, though, he heard someone calling out to him.

“Kid. Kid!”

He recognized the voice. Turning, he saw an old man with a full head of white hair running toward him.

He was one of the scavengers Xu Qing knew. No one knew his real name, and everyone called him Ol’ Stony. He was one of the handful of people Xu Qing had saved when carrying Sergeant Thunder back to the camp on his back. Later on, the man had come to buy insurance from Xu Qing, just like Boneblade did.

“Hey, Kid!” the old man said excitedly. “I got a big job!”

He then launched into an explanation. Somehow, Ol’ Stony had convinced the newly arrived group of young men and women to hire him as a guide. They wanted to go to the temple complex in the forbidden region. Before going on the trip, he wanted to buy insurance.

“Same deal as before, okay?” he said with a smile. “Five white boluses, and if I don’t get back in a week, then you come rescue me. Alright, Kid?”

“A week?” Xu Qing said, surprised.

Ol’ Stony sighed. “Yeah. Those spoiled brats from the Violet Lands are dead set on staying in there a week. They’re paying me really well, so I’m going to risk it. After this mission, I’m going to retire.”

As a longtime scavenger, Ol’ Stony knew that staying in the forbidden region that long was tremendously risky. And the difficulties with mutagen would be even more problematic. But the payment was high enough that he could finally buy a residency permit for a city. Thus, he had come to Xu Qing with enough white boluses to buy insurance.

Xu Qing frowned. He had no interest in continuing with the ‘insurance’ arrangement, and right now, he wanted to focus on researching white boluses. However, that was when he noticed Ol’ Stony’s look of anticipation, and his white hair. It reminded Xu Qing of Sergeant Thunder. A moment later, he nodded.

“This’ll be the last time,” he said.

After Ol’ Stony gratefully handed over the white boluses, Xu Qing ran out of the camp toward the forbidden region.

***

As it turned out, the Fog of Confusion had indeed risen up in one large section of the forbidden region. And it was spreading….

Outside of the fog, near the Poisonous Dragon Pond area, a terrified scavenger hid inside a tree crevice, shaking from fear.Discover 𝒏ew chapters at novelbi𝒏(.)co𝒎

In the area were four figures, their eyes icy cold as they searched for someone.

The fog’s coming!! All I have to do is hold on long enough for the Kid to come save me!

The person hiding in the tree crevice was none other than Boneblade, the very first scavenger to buy insurance from Xu Qing.

***

Xu Qing, who had just entered the jungle, stopped in place.

The fog’s coming.

He could sense his shadow twisting and rippling as the wisps of fog became clearer and clearer up ahead.

He hesitated briefly, then hurried forward through the jungle. He still wanted to get to his laboratory in the canyon, and knew that with the help of his shadow, he would have plenty of time to reach it.

The truth was that though the Fog of Confusion was dangerous, that applied to mutant beasts as well. Therefore, traveling through it was quite safe for him. Of course, that was all assuming he didn’t get lost, and the mutagen didn’t get too intense.

Xu Qing sped up as he moved through the jungle.

Two hours later, the fog seemed to be getting closer, and Xu Qing reached the marsh with the nightlizard skin.

Standing next to a big tree, he looked north.

That’s where the Poisonous Dragon Pond is…

He had heard a bit about that area, mostly from Boneblade. And that was because every time the man bought insurance, he designated the rescue location as the Poisonous Dragon Pond.

After thinking about the matter, Xu Qing remembered that Boneblade had actually bought insurance from him only two days ago.

Although the insurance time limit hadn’t been reached, since the fog had arisen, he decided he might as well go in and check. With those thoughts on his mind, he sped into motion, leaping through the treetops toward the Poisonous Dragon Pond.

As he neared, his eyes narrowed, and his expression turned into one of vigilance. He also started moving more stealthily.

He saw someone up ahead.

It was a man in a black leather jerkin, with a vicious mask on his face. In his hand he held a long sword that glittered brightly as he searched the area for something. He pulsed with extraordinary spirit power fluctuations, reminding Xu Qing of the Squad Bloodshadow member he had fought some time ago, Flamecrow.

Xu Qing watched him for a moment, then went around him. However, not long after that, he saw a second person dressed the same, and with a similar cultivation base.

They’re not scavengers.

Maintaining full caution, he continued to circle the area until… he saw Boneblade!


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