On a wide and long road, there was a heavily guarded caravan of merchants heading toward HuoShen City. On one of the carriages sat several merchants, who were chatting merrily with a young man.
The young man, of course, was Jia Yuan. As for why the merchants were so friendly with him was because Jia Yuan had saved them from a group of bandits a few days ago.
The caravan only had about 50 guards, but the bandit group had almost 100 bandits! However, Jia Yuan had seen this battle break out by chance, and had quickly come to the caravan’s aid.
Truthfully, the merchants had invited Jia Yuan to stay with the caravan for a few reasons. The first was as payment for Jia Yuan saving them. The second reason was that Jia Yuan looked like and acted like a nobleman. This, coupled with the strength they had witnessed earlier, made them want to form good relations with this young man.
“Young sire, we’ll be arriving at HuoShen City in a few hours. Ah, that’s right! What are heading to HuoShen City for? Do you have family there?” The merchant asked this, hoping for some information on Jia Yuan’s family. After all, it must be a wealthy family to have such a prodigal son. If he used his newfound “friendship” with Jia Yuan to secure some trade agreements, then he could quickly acquire wealth so that he wouldn’t even have to risk his own life traveling on these caravans!
“Oh, no family. I’m just attending the tournament to join the Burning Legion. My brother should be there as well.”
“Ahh, I see. Helping defend the country eh? A noble cause!”
After reaching the city, Jia Yuan bid farewell to the merchants and headed toward the center of the city, asking for information about the Burning Legion Tournament on the way.
After asking around a bit, he found an Army recruitment center, from where he learned that the Burning Legion tournament would actually be happening outside the city, and that the tournaments were open to the public. After all, it was a good way to boost the citizen's morale and a good way to keep the current soldiers motivated towards their training.
Upon finding the tournament grounds, Jia Yuan prepared to register for tournament. However, he quickly found himself at the end of a line more than a thousand feet long. It seemed that there were truly many people who wished to join the Burning Legion. Unfortunately, most of them would never be able to obtain this goal.
After waiting for a few hours, Jia Yuan was finally at the front of the line and was able to sign up.
An obviously bored soldier was in charge of registering Jia Yuan for the tournament.
"Name, age, and family?"
"Jia Yuan, age 12, no family."
The soldier rolled his eyes upon hearing that Jia Yuan had no family. After all, these independent cultivators were not likely to have any chance of becoming a soldier of the Burning Legion. They lacked powerful Songs, lacked resources, and overall just could not compare to the sons of noble families.
"Alright, here's your badge. Don't lose it or you'll be automatically disqualified. You'll be given your own living quarters until the tournament ends. If you have money, you can purchase better living quarters. Don't cause any trouble or you'll be disqualified."
Jia Yuan nodded and walked off.
The tournament grounds were truly huge. There was a gigantic stadium with hundreds of thousands of seats, and it seemed that there were thousands upon thousands of competitors. Jia Yuan took all of this in with a casual survey of his surroundings.
It was all very interesting, but he was more interested in finding Dou Di.
However, even after hours of searching, Jia Yuan was unable to find his older brother. Given that the day was getting late, Jia Yuan decided to find some food and see if he could upgrade his living quarters. After all, he'd gotten used to a life of luxury at BlueFire City, and if he could avoid sleeping while cramped among other smelly people, he gladly would.
He made his way to the "rich" part of the tournament grounds. Some makeshift restaurants and inns could be found here. While they weren't nearly as luxurious as standing buildings in a city, they were a far cry from the destitute food lines and packed tents that served the common applicants.
Jia Yuan ordered some meat skewers from one of the restaurants along with some rice and vegetables, and ate them grumbling about the price. "This measly bit of food cost me an entire large fire shard! Those bastards are committing robbery in broad daylight...but it does taste pretty good."
After eating, he headed towards one of the makeshift inns to rent a room, when he walked past a group of patrolling guards. There was a lot of testosterone at the tournament grounds, and fights frequently broke out. As such, the Army had many guards patrolling throughout.
Jia Yuan paused, then turned back toward the patrolling guards. "Dou Di!"
"Eh?" The last guard in the patrolling line turned around.
"Dou Di! It's me, Jia Yuan!"
Dou Di actually almost didn't recognize Jia Yuan! After all, the two had only known each other as slaves, and now, Jia Yuan was dressed akin to a nobleman. How could Dou Di equate the little slave boy to the figure in front of him?
But who else would know his name and know his little brothers name?
"Little bro!" Dou Di finally responded joyfully.
"Hey, you. No socializing during patrol." The leading patrol guard glared at the two brothers.
Jia Yuan already knew how to deal with the situation. "Here, sir. Please let us brothers celebrate our reunion. Surely it'll be fine, right? How many fire shards will it take."
The patrol guard licked his lips. It didn't really matter to him too much if Dou Di was let off of patrol for a bit. He was already strong enough to deal with most fights that broke out. The rest of the patrol was just there for visual intimidation.
"A large fire shard, and I'll let you two reunite for the day."
Jia Yuan drew three large fire shards out of his currency card and flicked them at the guard. "Make it three, and you excuse Dou Di from his guard duties until the tournament ends."
"Ha. Make it five and I'll do it."
Jia Yuan withdrew two more large fire shards out of his card. After all, he had thousands upon thousands of large fire shards. Not only had he sold pills to the Black Wing Merchant Guild, but he had also garnered a large amount of money from his winning at the Arena in BlueFire City.
Turning back towards the restaurant, Jia Yuan gleefully walked over with Dou Di trailing closely behind. "Alright, big brother, let me know how you've been doing!"