Hong Luo took a deep breath and thought for a moment before speaking.
“Brother Lin Mu, as you can see, we don’t have many cultivators left here. While we have many mercenaries in the Body tempering realm, there are only the three of us left here now.” Hong Luo spoke.
“Only three of you? The last time I came here there were at least ten cultivators here. Where did everyone go?” Lin Mu interrupted.
While Lin Mu had known that a few mercenaries that were also cultivators had disappeared, there were still at least ten cultivators remaining. Now that there were only three of them left here, it was a little surprising to him.
“Another elite team of mercenaries had to leave for the mission in the Northern forest about a week ago. I was appointed to keep watch on the camp and to relay any message to the teams working in the forest, but as you can see the incident happened.” Hong Luo spoke and sighed.
“Then did you inform your superiors about this?” Lin Mu questioned.
“Yes, I did. But the problem is that the elite teams are hunting spirit beasts deep in the forest. Just reaching their location would maybe take around five days, and if we were to add the time required to find them, it would be increased even more.”
“I sent one of my junior cultivators to inform them about three days ago, but I fear that by the time they know about this, something worse could have happened.” Hong Luo answered.
Lin Mu was now starting to understand more about their current predicament.
“Then what you require from me is help?” Lin Mu asked.
“Yes, we do.” Hong Luo simply answered.
“But why me?” Lin Mu curiously asked.
Hong Luo and the other two sighed in helplessness upon hearing Lin Mu’s words.
“We tried asking the other cultivators in town before. But the two hunters that are cultivators have disappeared, and the only other remaining cultivators are the captain and the two vice-captains of the town guards. Obviously the latter are not going to help us.” Hong Luo explained.
Lin Mu thought over what Hong Luo had said until now and wondered how he should approach this. He didn’t want to get involved as it would take up his time and will slow down his cultivation progress. Another reason was that with the conspiracy and machinations that were going on in the underbelly of the town, Lin Mu did not know what kind of powers he would face.
While he had been able to fight against the culprits who were at the Mid-stage of the Qi refining realm and was confident that he would be able to hold himself against one at the peak stage of the Qi refining realm; he did not know if he will be able to do the same with a cultivator that was at the Core Condensation realm.
“I think you can try helping them if they offer you proper benefits. Don’t forget that you are still lacking in resources.” Xukong spoke.
Lin Mu knew that while he was able to cultivate on his own with little problems, he still needed certain resources that could help him. Even if he were to ignore resources that could directly help him in increasing his cultivation speed such as spirit pills and spirit stones, he would still require certain life-saving items like restoration and healing pills.
Lin Mu had learned from senior Xukong that such healing and restoration pills were a big advantage that could turn the tide of a Battle in the blink of an eye. While he did have the Four vessels restoration pills, they were rather precious and it would be a huge waste to use them for anything other than life-threatening injuries.
Finally, after thinking for five minutes, Lin Mu had made up his mind. While Lin Mu was thinking about his decision, Hong Luo and the others waited patiently for him and did not disturb him. They knew that it was a big decision and one would not just straight away accept their request.
“I can help you, but I have a few conditions.” Lin Mu said with a nutria tone.
“Of course brother Lin Mu, you can speak your mind.” Hong Luo responded amicably.
“First, I want to know in what way I would be helping, and second, I want some resources in exchange.” Lin Mu stated.
“There are three things we want your help in brother Lin Mu. We want you to keep an eye on the mercenaries in the camp during the night and also watch out for any news you may hear about the incidents. While we can get some information on our end, it’s still a tad difficult to get it from the town officials and guards, as they have been told to ignore us it seems.” Hong Luo spoke and took a pause.
“As for the last thing, I don’t know if this would be completely possible, but I need you to investigate this incident if you can. We have to manage the mercenaries here thus we can’t do it ourselves and anyway we are not welcome in the town.” Hong Luo added.
“And what about the resources?” Lin Mu asked with raised brows.
“That would depend on what kind of resources brother Lin Mu requires. Though the thing is, you will only be able to get them after my superiors return, since we ourselves don’t have them.” Hong Luo replied.
Lin Mu heard Hong Lou’s words and started to think that perhaps he should reject his request. He didn’t know when Hong Lou’s companions would be returning, and if something happens to him before they returned, it would just defeat the main purpose in the first place.
Still, Lin Mu thought he should at least put forward his demand, and perhaps they could come to some kind of compromise or decision.
“I would prefer it if you can give me healing and restorative pills.” Lin Mu spoke.
Hong Luo took a breath of relief after hearing what Lin Mu spoke.
“If it’s just healing and restorative pill, then I can accept this. We do have some of those pills that I can give you, but if you want more, you will have to wait as I said.” Hong Luo replied with a calm tone.
“You can accept this, I think. Remember, you can actually take the help of the Hei Corps and make it easier for yourself.” Xukong spoke.
Lin Mu thought about it and found it to be reasonable. It would align with his goals, and using the Hei corps would be shooting two birds with one arrow.
“I accept.” Lin Mu answered after deliberating.
“Then I look forward to our cooperation.” Hong Luo said as he extended his right hand forward.
Lin Mu shook hands with Hong Luo and confirmed their cooperation.
“Now then, let’s go to my tent so that I can give you the pills that you require.” Hong Luo said.
Hong Luo then turned around and started walking towards the camp. The Ming brothers also walked along with him, while Lin Mu followed at the back.
‘He’s rather trusting, isn’t he.’ Lin Mu inwardly spoke.
“No, it’s more like he has no other option rather than to trust you. He seems to be at the end of his line.” Xukong replied.
“Hmm, perhaps.” Lin Mu muttered.
They soon reached Hong Lou’s tent. The tent was rather large and tall enough that anyone could stand and walk in without any obstruction. There were two mercenaries that were standing guard outside of the tent and kept an eye out for any person that passed by.
Lin Mu used his spirit sense to probe their strength and discovered that they were actually at the tenth stage of the Body tempering realm! This was the second time Lin Mu was seeing a warrior that was at the tenth stage of the body tempering realm other than him. All the other people he had seen, even the ones who were Qi cultivators, were only at the eighth stage of the Body tempering realm.
Lin Mu tried observing closer and found out that while there two were at the tenth stage of the body tempering realm, they were barely at the border of it. Lin Mu probed even deeper and could sense that there seemed to be some abnormalities in the vital energy that permeated their body.
“This is rather strange, why is their vital energy like this?” Lin Mu inwardly spoke.
“It seems they have forcibly raised their strength to the tenth stage of the body tempering realm by certain means.” Xukong guessed.
“They can do that? Doesn’t a person need to train and consolidate vital energy properly in order to raise their straight?” Lin Mu curiously asked.
“That is indeed true normally, but there are still certain methods by which they can raise it further. In the case of these two mercenaries, it’s likely that their Innate talent was not enough, and they stalled at the ninth stage of the body tempering realm. They probably used some unorthodox technique or a resource to raise it in this way.” Xukong answered.
“What method do you think is the most likely, Senior Xukong?” Lin Mu questioned.
“In their case, seeing how unstable their vital energy is, I can conclude that it’s a pill.”