Zhang’s group had set up camp within the forest. Tomorrow would be the fourth day of the tournament so Zhang was sitting in his tent looking at list that was compiled by his men. He had to pick out a target to take a flag from. On the list there were nine names and locations. These were the names of the people who had the nine flags that were found.
The soldiers Zhang had brought with him had spent most of the day gathering information from the other participants. From this they were able to learn many things. Of the nine flags found two of them were found on the first day sticking out of the middle of a river that ran through the forest. Then next two were found sticking out the side of the mountain that was in the center of the forest. The other five flags were found at random locations within the forest.
“Perhaps I should wait until the last day before making my move.” Zhang thought. Making his move too early would do more harm than good. Once he took their flag the previous owner of the flag would definitely go after him. Once a flag was stolen then everyone who did not have a flag would also try to steal one for themselves which would cause lots of chaos.
“Although a little bit of chaos isn’t too bad.” Zhang thought as an evil grin appeared on his face. However, he quickly erased the thought from his mind. He could probably get all nine flags if he confronted the other groups however ending the tournament early was not his goal. What’s the fun in doing that?
Although the Demonic forest was not very big it still encompassed a large area of land and was complete with a large river and mountain within it.
These nine flags were currently in the possession of nine different people. Of the nine people eight of them were the dignitaries that were invited by the king and the final person being the leader of some clan that lived in the capital city.
The dignitaries had hired many of the participants to join their group using gold. With large amounts of manpower, they were able to locate flags.
Now since there was only one flag left everyone was frantically searching for it. For the commoners this would be their last shot at a once in a lifetime opportunity. People combed the mountains and others swam the rivers. However, the last flag was not found.
“Odd the spiderlings combed the entire forest today but have yet to locate the final flag.” Yuying said while facing Zhang inside their tent.
“It’s ok no need to keep thinking about that we will just snatch a flag from someone on the last day of the first part of the tournament.” Zhang said as he laid down on his bed.
“Guess so.” Ai said as she hopped onto her own bed.
“Silky you be careful tonight when looking for food okay? Also make sure not to attack people.” Yuying said as she took Silky off from the top of her head and put it onto the ground. She was going to let Silky go roam the forest with the rest of the spiderlings. It was best to let it gain some experience hunting other demonic beasts.
Thanks to being fed essence water since hatching Silky’s power was many times stronger than a regular spider queen hatchling. It also seemed that by being near the Underworld Heart affected it also. And since this is was the first time the Underworld Heart appeared in the mortal plane who knows what affect it would have the things around it.
Yuying, Ai, and Zhang had been able to grow their cultivation at extremely fast speeds thanks to it. The hear did not have very high battle capabilities but it had a wide range of uses which have been very beneficial.
The group’s small horde of spiderling roamed the forest hunting prey at an astonishingly fast pace. Individually there were too weak however thanks to their numbers despite their small size the spiderlings were able to hunt pretty much any demonic beast or animal in this forest without suffer any casualties.
Once a target was spotted the spiderlings would start deploying their threads of silk. The thread would be used to seal off all routes of escape and then they would move in on the prey. Yuying had used her magic to increase the intelligence on these spiderlings making them able of cooperating with each other unlike the spiders at the ruins.
Thinks to the fact that they had just hatched it was easy for her to use her magic to manipulate them. It is easier to break and rebuild something undeveloped compared to something that was. Unlike Silky she did not cast magic on them individually. Yuying had casted her magic on the small horde of spiderlings all at the same time.
This would save lots of time compared to casting the spell on them individually. Although it meant she would have to cast the same spell over and over a few times before it had the full affect it did like on Silky.
Tonight the moon was out and throughout the forest countless animals were being hunted down. However, in the morning when the people wake up there wouldn’t be a trace of these animals.
This was because the Titanic Golden spiders unlike many spiders actually consumed every part of their prey. Leaving almost nothing behind after they were done. And when they ate their prey was sedated by venom so there was no struggle.
In the morning when everyone woke up there was an eerie silence looming over the forest. At night all of the animals had been driven very deep into the forest by the spiderlings.
When Zhang woke up he found that his tent was empty and not a single soul was around.
“Wonder where they are.” He murmured as he got up from bed and began getting dressed. Once he was fully clothed Zhang walked outside of his tent to find that it was almost empty. Besides for a few people the rest were gone.
“Where do everyone go?” Zhang asked one of his men.
“My lord a hot spring was discovered in the mountians and the madams wanted to go there to bathe. They did not wish to wake you my lord so they headed off by themselves. However, how could we let the three madams go into the mountains alone? So we large number of our men went to guard them.” The soldier replied.
“Could you show me which way they went. Also once the other men come back split this with them. Thank you for your hard work.” Zhang said as he made a bag leather bag appear and handed it to the soldier. Inside of it was a few hundred gold coins.
“My thanks my lord. The madams and the other men headed in that direction.” The soldier said as he pointed Zhang to where everyone went.
“My lord would you like for the rest of us to escort you?” The soldier asked.
“No need I will be fine by myself. You guys may rest for the remainder of the day.” Zhang replied as he began walking in the direction the soldier had pointed to.
After walking for a while Zhang found himself on the small mountain in the forest along the way he had spots quite a few people combing the forest. About half way up the mountain Zhang spots his soldiers dressed in black armor. They were currently sitting in front of camp fires and eating breakfast.
“My Lord!” One soldier said the moment he saw Zhang and got up to salute.
“No need you guys continue eating.” Zhang said to the soldiers.
“Where are they?” Zhang asked.
“My lord we did not want to intrude so we created a perimeter around the hot spring. The madams are currently a short distance behind the underbrush.” A soldier replied.
“Ok once you finish eating you can all return to the camp and rest for the reminder of the day.” Zhang said.
“Many thanks my lord.” The soldiers said in unison.
After talking to the soldiers Zhang slowly began walking in to underbrush. He stealthily maneuvered himself through until the hot springs was in sight. Puffs of steam can be seen rising from the water and into the air.
As he got closer Zhang can hear the sounds of frolicking reverberate in the air. Splashing of water could be heard and cheerful laughter also. Once Zhang got close enough he saw a scene from heaven. Three fairylike beauties were stark naked and splashing each other with water in a hot spring.
With his attention elsewhere Zhang kept walking and eventually stumbled on a rock and fell into the hot spring fully clothed.
“Kyaaaaa! Someone was peeping!” A voice rang out.
“Wait wait! It’s me!” Zhang yelled as his head popped out of the water.
“Oh it’s you brother.” Yuying said. However, once she noticed Zhang’s gazed she quickly used her hands to cover herself and once Ai and Ling saw her they too used their hands to cover themselves.
“Yo-you look away!” Yuying, Ai and Ling yelled in unison.
Zhang not wanting to be attacked looked the other way and began walking out of the water.
“It’s not like there’s nothing I haven’t seen before.” Zhang murmur.
“What did you say?” Ling yelled.
“No-nothing.” Zhang replied as he began taking off his wet clothes.
“Wha-what are you doing!?” Yuying yelled.
“Changing out of these wet clothes of course.” Zhang replied while in his hand a pair of dry clothes appeared.
The three beauties seeing that he was stripping looked away. Moments later Zhang had already stored away his wet clothes into his interspatial ring and worn new dry clothes.
After putting on his clothes Zhang found a nice looking tree and sat down under it facing the opposite direction of the hot spring.
“You guys continued I’ll keep watch over here.” Zhang said.
However, sounds of people getting out of water could be heard. A short while later Yuying, Ai, and Ling came to the tree Zhang was sitting under and sat beside him.
“Next time no peeking mister.” Ling said as she sat down and leaned on his right arm.
“Yea there better be no next time brother!” Ai said as she sat down in his lap.
“If there is a next time we won’t pay attention to you anymore.” Yuying said as she sat down and leaned on his left arm.
Anyone who happened to pass by and see this scene would most likely turn green from envy. Perhaps if an artist was able to capture this scene he might even be able to sell it for a lot of gold. Many men would want to buy the painting and imagine that the young man in the painting was them.
The group of four soon fell into their own little world and sat together enjoying the atmosphere. Being in a peace forest with each other was more than they could ask for.
Soon a hissing sound could be heard from the top of the tree and when they looked up they could see Silky dropping down from above. It was dropping down as it hung from a single strand of thread. Its target was the top of Yuying’s head.
Seeing this Zhang couldn’t help but somewhat chuckle. Silky being a queen spider looked more adorable then creepy so as it tried to crawl onto Yuying’s head it looked very silly.
The group proceeded to hang out by the hot springs for the next few hours. Ling enjoyed this very much being the first time she was able to have quality time with Zhang after three years since his disappearance.
Life was full of unpredictable things so she wanted to create as many good lasting memories as possible. Having lost him and missed out on being with him for three years Ling felt she had to make up for all the lost time.
After a while the group headed back to camp to find something to eat. They were in no rush to get a golden flag so as everyone else frantically searched they would leisurely do nothing at camp. Tomorrow would be the last day of the tournament and the king will arrive to initiate the second part of the tournament.
As the group rested at camp the received news that elsewhere someone had found the tenth flag. It was well hidden at the bottom of the river. Someone was fishing for food and luckily hooked and pulled it up from the water. Once news of this got out hordes of people came looking for this individual.
Some asked to be picked by him to enter the seconds stage while others asked to buy the flag off of him. This particular person was only a simple farmer who had joined the tournament to get a shot at possibly being selected for the second stage and getting some gold.
Who would have thought that he would find one of the ten flag? One should know that despite having close to a hundred participants there were only ten flags. It meant that whoever possessed a flag was incredibly powerful or extremely lucky.
So far only people with a lot of influence and man power have been able to obtain a flag which meant that this mean was very lucky.
“I will give you one hundred gold coins for that flag!” A man yelled.
“One hundred? I’ll give you one thousand!” Another man yelled.
“All of you piss off Prince Ming Jiang wishes to obtain this flag.” Yet another man yelled. Behind him a youth in golden robes could be seen walking toward the man that found the flag. He was being escorted by many people and gave off an air of nobility.
“I will give you thirty thousand gold coins. I think that will be enough to live out the rest of your life and have enough for the next few generations of your family.” Ming Jiang said.
Hearing the words thirty thousand gold coins made the man awestruck. This amount of money to him was a huge sum that would allow him to stop being a farmer and become a rich man with many beautiful wives.
“Deal!” The man who found the flag yelled.
“Alright I will have someone deliver the gold to you.” Ming Jiang said as he gestured to his men. Normally he would simply overpower this man and snatch the flag however if he did that hear then with so many other people around they would try to snatch the flag from him.
“This means that bastard won’t make it to the second stage.” Ming Jiang sneered in his mind. He knew who had the previous flags and since he had the last one it meant that Zhang would be left without a flag.
“Watch how I shame you in front of everyone tomorrow.” He thought as one of his men handed the man a huge sack of gold and took the flag from the man’s hands.
Many people looked at the man’s sack of gold with greed but before they could do anything a voice rang out from behind him.
“Escort that man out of the forest and back to the city.”
Once they looked back they could see Zhang standing there and alongside him were three very beautiful women.
When Zhang had saw the looks on the people’s eyes he felt pity for the man who found the flag. From the looks of it the man was very poor having what was close to rags as clothes. One can tell from the callouses on his hands that he did lots of manual labor and this money would change his life.
Although he was not the only poor person present Zhang felt that if he did nothing this man would be killed for no reason and he could not just ignore that. In war everything was fair game. But outside of it he could not just sit by and watch a huge mob gang up on one poor man for his wealth.
After Zhang’s words a few of his soldiers came and helped escort the man out of the forest. The man had noticed the gazes of those around him and was very thankful for this.
“Ah if it isn’t the next lord of Aurora.” Prince Ming Jiang said with a sneer.
“Prince Ming Jiang it’s been a few days since we last met. How’s your leg feeling? My wives keep telling me to not attack weaklings but I can’t help but do so when some weaklings think they are strong.” Zhang said with a smile on his face.
“Ha say what you will but I have the last flag now meaning that you won’t have a chance to move forward. How does it feel be to lose?” Ming Jiang replied with a sneer.
Without saying a word Zhang, the three beauties, and their men left.
Seeing this a huge smile appeared on Ming Jiang’s face. From the looks of it Zhang was shamed by his words and left.