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File: second_patriarch-alt.png (898 KB, 1920x1011)
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You're Liu Zhu, a 14 year-old cultivator who's struggling to become the next patriarch of your family. Recently you went to train with the Yu family, and after your return found out that your older brother had gotten engaged and was winning the succession race. Shortly after this an assassin targeted you, forcing you to go into hiding before you left for the Northern Wastes in disguise to undergo training.
Right now you're in the Northern Wastes and you've fought a beast horde; found an artifact which gave you the bloodline of a "The Horned God", a sentient beast from long ago; and succeeded in becoming the disciple of Long Shi, a master refiner. Now you're heading towards the center of the Northern Wastes in order to search for lucky chances and broaden your horizons.
Cultivation Levels: https://pastebin.com/Dnc66S6L (embed)
Twitter:: https://twitter.com/QmWalrus
Archived Threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Second%20Patriarch
>>
"Are you sure the beast is nearby? We haven't seen head nor tail of it, but you've claimed we've been 'close enough to touch it' for the whole day." The Meridian Opening cultivator in charge of your group, Yan Da, shakes his head as he says this to a mortal tracker. "I'm sure sir, the beast must be nearby. I've been following the trail good, I know I have. I don't know why we can't find it." You stand by as your leader argues with the tracker, looking at the forest scenery. You left Border City two weeks ago, heading towards the center of the Northern Wastes with Feng Jun and the his other friends. They're a rowdy bunch, but you've done enough work with them to get to know them. They don't get in over their heads, and they do careful, honest work. None of them are particuarly talented, but they're a reliable bunch that you can travel with.
As you watch the exchange between Yan Da and the tracker, you suddenly see the branches of the tree you're looking at rustle. Before you can say anything, a slim, green-furred panther shoots out of the trees. It's the beast you were tracking! A nearby tribe had a bounty out on its head since it was killing the local warriors, so your group hired a tracker in the village and took on the mission. Its strength is supposed to be between Late Blood and Viscera Tempering and Early Meridian Opening, so Yan Da figured he could safely take it. Still, it's a different matter when it has the element of surprise! Yan Da turns to face the creature, but it's too late- the panther bites onto his arm, sinking its claws into his body in the process. He should be able to shake it off, but being wounded at the start of the fight doesn't bode well. As the one closest to Yan Da, you'll have the first opportunity to do something. You...
>dash forward and save the tracker, there's a good chance he'll die while Yan Da and that beast are fighting.
>grab your guandao and slash out at the panther-like beast, you should help minimize the chance it has to inflict wounds to Yan Da.
>Other
>>
>>3648291
>grab your guandao and slash out at the panther-like beast, you should help minimize the chance it has to inflict wounds to Yan Da.
>yell at the tracker to alert the others while we buy him time.
>>
>>3648291
>>grab your guandao and slash out at the panther-like beast, you should help minimize the chance it has to inflict wounds to Yan Da.
A mortal dieing is less of a concern then that fucking panther
>>
>>3648291
>>dash forward and save the tracker, there's a good chance he'll die while Yan Da and that beast are fighting.
>>
>>3648291
>Use four desires on the panther as we run past it
>Attempt to save the tracker
>>
>>3648358
This.
>>
You're not just going to let that tracker die, but waiting to attack the panther until you've made sure he's safe will be useless- Yan Da will probably already be fighting it for real by then. Well, you'll have to compromise then. You dash towards the two as fast as you can, pulling out your guandao as you do so. You kick the tracker into a nearby set of bushes as you prepare to strike the panther with you guandao. He might break a bone or two if he's unlucky, but it'll get him far away from the fighting and make sure he doesn't die.
"4 Desires!" You cut down with your guandao at the panther, cutting into its fur in four spots as your guandao flashes throughout the air. Your attack doesn't heavily wound it, but the creature growls and loosens its grip, giving Yan Da a chance to grab it and pull it off of him. The panther flies through the air for several feet before re-orienting itself and pushing off against the tree, using the rebound force to return to the ground.
The rest of the group manages to reach the site of the battle during the exchange, surrounding the area.One person won't be enough to defeat it, but hopefully they can delay it until the rest of the ground catches up and attacks it. Yan Da approaches the beast, slipping on a pair of Etrium knuckles. The beast angrily growls in response and pounces towards his leg. The rest of you group run towards it while Yan Da strikes a fighting pose, blood dripping down from his right arm as he does so.
"Red Boulder Fist!" Yan Da yells as his fist crashes into the creature's face, breaking its snout and causing it fly backwards once again as blood spills everywhere. The panther quickly recovers, but not quickly enough to counter a combined attack between you, Feng Jun, and another members of your group, 'Punch'. "Sunlight Strike!" "5 Desires!" "PUNCH!" The three of you unleash your strongest attacks at the panther, creating a gaping wound in its side and quickly retreating. One of you alone might not be able to wound the beast much, but the full force of three of you was able to maim the defenseless beast.
Now that the beast is already wounded you watch as Yan Da quickly finishes it off, brutally breaking bones and tearing through its hide with his fists. Within a minute the creature is clearly devoid of life, while Yan Da stands over it, bloody and breathing heavily. Most of the blood isn't his, but it still looks like a somber scene. As your group is admiring Yan Da's handiwork, the tracker stumbles out of the bushes. "Y-You did it! You slayed the beast! My tribe is safe!" Yan Da laughs in response. "Of course we did! My cultivation isn't just for show! Anyways, everyone spread out, we're going to set up camp here for today." Looks like it's time to get to work. You...
>help Yan Da clean and bandage his wounds.
>start cooking dinner with Feng Jun.
>collect wood with 'Punch'. He's a dull man, but he's entertaining. Sometimes.
>Other
>>
>>3648513
>>start cooking dinner with Feng Jun.
We've got to get better somehow..
>>
>>3648513
>>help Yan Da clean and bandage his wounds.
>>
>>3648513
>help Yan Da clean and bandage his wounds.
>>
>>3648513
>help Yan Da clean and bandage his wounds.
>>
>>3648513
>>help Yan Da clean and bandage his wounds.
>>
You grab the pack full of bandages, herbs, and medical supplies. Next you go to Yan Da, who's currently washing in a nearby river. "Wait a sec, I'll be out after the blood is gone. It'll be a pain in the ass if it dries in my hair." You take the chance to clean your arms of beast's blood as well. A few minutes later Yan Da is done cleaning and asks for your help.
"Three things of Bloodberries. Right, crush them fo- oh, you've already got it." You take out a canteen full of water, some bandages, and a few herbs and begin your task. You've taken care of wounds and watched people do so since you left Border City, so now it doesn't require much thought on your part to do so. Using plants like this is a waste of medicinal essence, but anyone who could forge a pill wouldn't bother using these herbs- they're useless for an apothecary at Qi Emission.
You wash the wounds, drizzle crushed bloodberries over them, and then apply a mixture of Sunroot, Grey Root, and alcohol to the bandages. This mixture is commonly used to help prevent infections. Cultivators generally don't die from disease though, so it's more a precaution than a necessity. There are unique diseases that only strike cultivators, but they're rare in nature and not worth worrying about. You apply the bandages to Yan Da's wounds and are done after you make sure on tight.
"Mm, thanks. Hopefully this doesn't leave another scar. 30 years in the wastes and I've gotten too many." Now that he mentions it, he does have a lot of scars. That seems to be a common feature among the older figures here. "I suppose that means 30 years of fighting then?" "Yep. I got here as a young lad in my 20s, lagging behind in my cultivation and struggling to earn money. I managed to improve here, but it came at a cost. I spent my time wandering these forests and killing beasts while they tried to kill me. Hell, I even served in a few tribal wars as a mercenary. Each scar I have tells a story of those times, and today might join them. Anyways, I digress. Just don't stay in the wastes for too long- you've got a good cultivation for your age, so you can do something better than wander these wastes doing odd jobs." Yan Da goes silent after that and awkwardly begins sorting the items from the medical pack. It's clear he's giving you advice in good faith even if you don't need it, so you'll thank him. "Thank you. I'll be sure not to." Yan Da simply grunts in response, continuing to sort the already sorted items.
That night you eat well, celebrating over killing the beast. You spend the next day travelling to a nearby tribe and get your cut of the bounty for killing the beast- 150 gold coins. Upon arriving you...
>go spar with Feng Jun, besides cultivating this has been what you've been doing in your downtime.
>people watch. It gives you a good look at the people here and lets you know how they live.
>go to the bar with most of the group. You don't drink much, but it's entertaining to watch what they get up to and chat.
>Other
>>
>>3649510
>>go spar with Feng Jun, besides cultivating this has been what you've been doing in your downtime.
Gotta blow everyone's mind when we get home.
>>
>>3649510
>>go spar with Feng Jun, besides cultivating this has been what you've been doing in your downtime.
>>
>>3649510
>go spar with Feng Jun, besides cultivating this has been what you've been doing in your downtime.
By the time we go back home we should already be at late Bone and Marrow,maybe early Blood and Viscera tempering. We should also try to make something with the steelwater we got.
>>
>>3649510
>>go spar with Feng Jun, besides cultivating this has been what you've been doing in your downtime.
>>
Jeesh we're already at page 3.
>>
>>3651586
Yeah, OP has a great story. Hut not consistant enough..
>>
You leave the tribe's grounds and head into a nearby field to spar with Feng Jun. For the past two weeks you've done this a lot in your spare time, so you're both familiar with each other's fighting styles. Well, to be more exact you're more familiar with Feng Jun's fist techniques and movement- he never uses his sword against you.
The two of you take positions at opposite ends of a field before you dash towards Feng Jun, guandao in hand. You minimize force, focusing mainly on hitting him, but he easily dodges. You string together hit after hit, building up momentum, but they all swipe through the air. Feng Jun doesn't run away though- he dodges every single strike of your blade by inches, bending his body and contorting himself to make sure you don't even touch a hair on his head. His movement is actually pretty similar to the technique Zhu Chao gave to you now that you think about it, but it's probably not a formal technique- it's simply the fruit of over a decade of experience fighting in the Northern Wastes.
You keep missing and missing before Feng Jun smiles and says "I'll go on the offense." After another one of your slashes strikes air he punches forward faster than you can pull your guandao back. Several attacks strike the blade, nearly knocking it out of your hand. As you try to get a grip on your weapon he sneaks under it, dealing a heavy blow to your chest. You slide backwards from the blow but keep your stance, abandoning the weapon to put up your guard against his next blow. Feng Jun's fist strikes against your guard again and again, slowly pushing you back but not forcing you down. Rhythmic thudding sounds fill the area as the two of you exchange blow after blow, dozens of them. You focus mainly on dodging, blocking, and countering his blows and suffer quite a bit of damage. Still, since Feng Jun has been holding back both in terms of speed and power, you're able to barely hold on. This continues for nearly a quarter of an hour before you take a break, covered in bruises and sweaty. Still, you could continue- taking hits and keeping on are your strongpoints.
>>
After a short break the two of you resume sparring. This cycle continues several times before you return to the tribe with Feng Jun, bruised all over and completely out of breath. Feng Jun shakes his head as he wipes off his sweat. "God, you can train for so long- I'm not sure if I'll be able to help you with training that much if you make a couple more breakthroughs. You'd be able to go through three or four of me in the time it takes for you to get worn out." Feng Jun breathes in as he says this and glances at the sky. "Still, that's a good thing. To cultivate you have to put forth all the effort you can, but sometimes people just can't. Luckily for you it seems like you can put forth as much effort as you want- even after training like this almost every day you're still ready to go." You're not sure if Feng Jun is referring to himself when he says 'people', but either way you just take the remark to heart and return to making smalltalk.
The next morning you wake up from your lodgings in the inn your group is at, wash yourself, and then find everyone else. Most of them are suffering from a hangover, and you can only imagine how strong the alcohol they drank was to do so. It's not like cultivators can get drunk off of beer after all. A few hours later everyone is in their peak state again and Yan Da is going over the next part of your route. "Alright, now that we're done here we're done with the forest for now. I'm not sure if any of you have been through there there before, but next we'll be heading through..."
>the edge of Head's Canyon. The center is a danger zone you don't want to risk entering without someone at Qi Refinement or Qi Emission, but the edge will cut down on your route by several days.
>the Black Swamp. A nearby river overflows in the area, and there are all sorts of creatures hiding under the water. Still, their skins are valuable and going around it will take too long.
>the burial grounds. You might get into trouble with some of the nearby tribes going through it, but the borders of the area are vague and so it'd take at least half a week to go around.
>Other

>>3651614
Sorry mate, I write slowly. It'd be faster if I learned to just not be so long-winded, but shrug. I like this style.
>>
>>3651670
>>the Black Swamp. A nearby river overflows in the area, and there are all sorts of creatures hiding under the water. Still, their skins are valuable and going around it will take too long.
There are probly alot of herbs around here. And animal skins are nice.
>>
"We'll be heading into the Black Swamp. It's safe for the most part, but there is some risk due to the terrain and vicious beasts lurking under the water. Wherever you are, make sure there's someone with you- we're operating on a buddy system at all times. Got it?" Everyone in the group says yes and Yan Da goes on. "Alright then, on the bright side there are some valuable herbs and skins. Exotic alligators, weird fish, "Swamp Birds", stuff like that. Underneath the bogs there are sometimes more valuable items, but I need to warn you first. There are spots of quicksand in the swamp, and while some of them are too weak to drag us down, others could easily drag one of you in and suffocate you. If you see anything man made down there, ignore it! If someone died under the swamp then it's likely there are beasts nearby, quicksand, or some other danger." After Yan Da makes sure everyone understands the dangers of the area he explains the route in more detail and you set out.
You leave around 10 AM and six hours later reach the edge of the Black Swamp. "All of you know our route, right? You're free to split off in groups and look for good fortune, but make sure to carry lots of food in case you get lost- there's not much to forage here. And I can't repeat this enough, but bring a partner. Buddy system. We'll be camping at the first site I outlined, following this rough route. None of you are to wander off for more than an hour at a time or I'm declaring you 'lost' and we'll be stopping and searching for you. You know what that does to your wages if it's not an emergency. Anyways, since you all seem to get it, we'll be heading out."
Your group enters the swamp and you take a look at the scenery. There trees thin out, and are completely gone in places. The ground makes a squishing noise under your boots and water puddles on the surface in some areas. The grass thins out, instead being replaced by a thick, sticky mud. You aren't that far into the swamp yet, but if it gets worse further in then you can see why no one lives here. As your group advances forward you...
>stick with them, you don't want to risk anything.
>pair off with Feng Jun and look for an area with more water, you've never fought an alligator before.
>get Feng Jun and start combing the area for any herbs of value. You haven't been taught much about this area in particular, but the knowledge you do have should give you a base to work off of.
>Other
>>
>>3651660
No no I really like your style. That's not up for debate. What I do mind is not knowing if you're not going to update for the next 8 hours cause you went to sleep.
Emergencies happen and just not in the mood. But in sure we've all voted with in like 30 minutes and do t get something back till 13 hours later.
But I will say you cant rush creativity. And I really like how the story is developing and all its intricacies.

>get Feng Jun and start combing the area for any herbs of value. You haven't been taught much about this area in particular, but the knowledge you do have should give you a base to work off of.
>>
>>3652511
Oh, alright, I got it. I usually update around the same general time of day but it has been shifting around with my sleep schedule, do you guys want more heads-up when I'm going to sleep/won't be updating for a long period of time? It should be more consistent once uni starts because my classes are almost all in the same time every day.
>>
>>3652291
>>get Feng Jun and start combing the area for any herbs of value. You haven't been taught much about this area in particular, but the knowledge you do have should give you a base to work off of.
>>
>>3652528
I know I would appreciate it. Lol some days you do update at some times and then you dont. And I stay up an extra hour lol cause I think you might.
So yeah, only if like it's your last post for the next 8+ hours.
>>
This area of the swamp shouldn't be particuarly dangerous, so you should take the chance to look for herbs. "Brother Feng, do you want to look for herbs for a bit?" "Eh, I'm not sure if I'll be able to find much here, but sure." The two of you split from the group and head towards a patch of trees. You both examine the trees closely until you find a tree that's especially vibrant. Flowers have bud from its branches as it's strong and tall. "I'll dig around the base, you check the branches." Feng Jun nods and jumps up to look through the tree's branches for any useful plants or vines that may have grown up there.
While Feng Jun does that, you begin digging around the tree's base. The ground is sticky and thick, and a wet feeling covers your hands. It seems even the soil that's normal on the surface is annoying to deal with around here. In exchange for your effort you get your arms covered in bits of sticky mud, and a few Mud Orchids. They're all young specimins, but if you age them with your blood you should be able to make some good money off of them. You wipe them off and put them in your pack, making sure they don't ruin or stain anything.
This process continues for the next 40 minutes as you look for trees that are doing well, patches of flowers or tall grass, and at a couple of points sets of animal bones that might indicate that their nutrients helped fertilize the ground. You get a decent harvest, but both of you look like monsters that live in the swamp by the time you're done. You're not looking forward to cleaning up given that it will be quite the walk to a clean water source.
You return to the group and check in before departing once again. This repeats several times throughout the day. You don't find anything rare, but you're learning.
By the time night falls everyone has reunited your group makes their way to a nice, dry spot of ground. By this point the puddles have evolved into tiny ponds and your boots regularly sink inches into the ground, so it's clear you're getting into the swamp proper. Looking for a resting spot is a task in and of itself.
Everyone eats, spends an inordinate amount of time cleaning themselves, and dries their clothes by the fire, it's time to sleep. You all lay your bedrolls down in a circle and have someone keep watch. It's not your turn tonight, but you'll probably have one before you're out the swamp.
The next day you resume your journey through the swamp and the ground becomes increasingly tough to deal with. Today you...
>continue searching for herbs, the deeper in you are the better chance you have of finding something good.
>look for something to hunt, you're getting deep enough into the swamp to find an alligator or something lurking around.
>go and practice your movement technique, the ground is hard to traverse and it'll be beneficial to train here.
>stick with the group, as you get further into the swamp the level of danger should go up slightly.
>Other
>>
>>3652621
>>look for something to hunt, you're getting deep enough into the swamp to find an alligator or something lurking around.
Get some alligator skin for a pair of nice boots
>>
>>3652621
>>go and practice your movement technique, the ground is hard to traverse and it'll be beneficial to train here.
>>
>>3652621
>look for something to hunt, you're getting deep enough into the swamp to find an alligator or something lurking around.
>look for something to hunt, you're getting deep enough into the swamp to find an alligator or something lurking around.
>>go and practice your movement technique, the ground is hard to traverse and it'll be beneficial to train here.
>>
You want to go out and hunt some beasts while you're here, maybe skin something to practice making boots or the like. Still, it'd be a shame if you gave up this chance to practice your movement technique. After some thinking you settle on a compromise between the two. You'll be more tired whenever you enter combat, but you'll get the advantages of training while looking around for a beast to slay.
You and Feng Jun leave the group again and begin looking around for a larger body of water. Most of the beasts that live here are amphibious, so that'd be the best bet if you were looking for them. After nearly an hour of searching, a short break, and another half an hour you find nothing. You do benefit from constantly dashing across the wet, sinking ground while searching, but you are disappointed. Luckily you do eventually spot the mud-caked back of some sort of amphibian among some reeds, and you and Feng Jun take positions and attack it.
Both of you run towards it from behind nearby trees at the same time. Feng Jun stabs into it with his sword, while you cut at its legs with your guandao. The creature lets out a deep, nasally snort as you attack it before trying to bite at you. It's ridiculously fast in its home territory, and it does manage to bodycheck you as Feng Jun stabs into it. Luckily it misses its bite as you force it away, and then tries to attack Feng Jun since he's currently stabbing it. Feng Jun manages to dodge, and you slash at it in the meantime. Blood spills from two of its legs as you do, and the two of you manage to kill it in a couple more rounds of combat.
As you kill the beast its blood spreads through the nearby water, and you hear splashing sounds. Both of you stop skinning the beast and look around. You can faintly see two mud-covered objects inching towards you through the water, and it's possible there may be more. They probably won't be too dangerous to engage in combat, but there is a risk of a stronger one coming. If a lot of them live here it'd be normal for them to have an alpha, right? You...
>begin to retreat, you don't want to take the risk.
>go to kill the two creatures, even if there's danger if you retreat into the trees they probably won't be able to follow. Feng Jun is with you, so it'd be a shame to let the extra skins go.
>Other
>>
That should be the last update for the day.
>>
>>3653019
>>go to kill the two creatures, even if there's danger if you retreat into the trees they probably won't be able to follow. Feng Jun is with you, so it'd be a shame to let the extra skins go.
Risks are how we get nice boots
>>
>>3653019
>>go to kill the two creatures, even if there's danger if you retreat into the trees they probably won't be able to follow. Feng Jun is with you, so it'd be a shame to let the extra skins go.
>>
>>3653019
>go to kill the two creatures, even if there's danger if you retreat into the trees they probably won't be able to follow. Feng Jun is with you, so it'd be a shame to let the extra skins go.
We'll be swag when we get back home.
>>
There is danger involved in engaging an unknown number of alligator-like creatures in their home territory, but you believe you'll be able to run away with Feng Jun if things go to shit. You doubt they can jump high enough to chase after you if you run into the trees. You organize a plan with Feng Jun and then pretend to wander off. As the alligators go to slowly follow you both charge behind them, taking one at a time.
You deal a major wound to the creature you're fighting due to the element of surprise, but it's still able to fight. It will probably die from blood loss eventually, but that's not affecting its immediate combat strength. Its tail clashes against your guandao, pushing you back, and then it jumps at you. You fall to the ground to avoid it, rolling away in the mud, before pushing yourself back up and countering its claws. As you engage in combat with the alligator you get scratched and take a heavy blow to the chest, but you aren't heavily injured. At this point Feng Jun has thoroughly murdered his and goes to help you. Within a couple blows yours is subdued, and you gather the three you've killed into a pile.
Satisfied, the two of you start skinning the three. Before you can finish though, you notice more alligators. Probably a dozen of them. Maybe more. They all begin making that deep, nasally rumble and inch towards you. Feng Jun just says "I'll take two, you take one." and grabs two dead alligators before jumping into the trees. You grab the last corpse and follow after him as the alligators charge at you. One of them scratches your leg but you escape, managing to get into the trees before they can majorly wound you.
The running continues for at least five minutes before you and Feng Jun come to a stop. As you're coming to a stop you accidentally fall out of the tree, the mud on your boots slipping you up. You regain your balance and land on your feet only a couple feet away from what appears to be a very deep pool of mud and water. You're about to head to where Feng Jun is standing, but as you're about to leave you see something odd in the muddy water. There's some sort of metal item connected to a piece of glass at the bottom. You can't tell what exactly it is since it's so muddy. You...
>ignore the item, Yan Da already told you about the dangers of fishing for manmade items in these swamps. You'll probably get attacked or sucked into quicksand.
>grab for the item, it doesn't look like a weapon or armor so maybe it just washed up here by chance.
>get a stick and begin poking at the item. You might break it, but it can help you check for beasts or quicksand.
>Other
>>
>>3655135
>get a stick and begin poking at the item. You might break it, but it can help you check for beasts or quicksand.
Hopefully we don't break it like an idiot.
>>
>>3655135
>get a stick and begin poking at the item. You might break it, but it can help you check for beasts or quicksand.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d3)

>>3655165
>>3655170
Rolling to see if you break it because this is one of the few things fate controls
>>
You want to get whatever that is, but it's simply too dangerous to do so. Whether you have a hunch of not you need to check for danger. You tell Feng Jun to wait for a minute and grab the longest stick you can find. You begin shoving it into the muddy water, checking to see if it's sucked in by quicksand or if it attracts any beasts nearby. It takes more strength than you expect given the mud, so you're stuck carefully managing it so you don't lose the stick.
The stick reaches the bottom of the mud and water and it's not getting sucked in, so there's definitely no quicksand. You shake it around a bit to see if it attracts anything, but as you're doing so you feel it pierce through something. You... you hope that wasn't the glass. Fuck. After making sure nothing comes you pull the muddy stick out of the water and wade into the mud and water to grab the object. Your vision is clouded and it's hard to move, but Feng Jun is watching you so you don't need to be afraid of anything approaching you while you're like this. Eventually you feel your foot hit something, and then you pull the object up with your feet. After handing it off to Feng Jun you feel another glass object with your foot and pull it out as well.
Several minutes of extremely uncomfortable searching later, and you've pulled four objects out of the mud. You leave the pool, wet, sticky, and easily mistakable for some sort of terrifying swamp monster. You wipe your face clean and then glance back at Feng Jun, who's examining four muddy jars, one of them broken. You guess that's what you pulled out of the swamp. You never really got a chance to see. Feng Jun turns to you and spends a moment laughing at your appearance before speaking. "Well, it's not treasure or anything, but it's usable. I wiped off the jars and saw some pickled vegetables in one, yogurt in another, and alcohol in the third. I think the last one had alcohol as well, but the glass is broken and a bunch of mud and water got in.
Oh, so somebody was fermenting food here? You're surprised someone lives here, but if they're a cultivator then it's not too odd. Still, if they still live here you do feel a bit bad about stealing their food. They probably don't need it to survive, but it's not yours. On the other hand, for all you know this could have been sitting here for ages. This would keep for a long time in these jars, so maybe they fell out of someone's pack long ago and washed up here. You...
>take the jars, the rest of the group will enjoy the food and drink.
>reluctantly return into the swamp and put them back. You can't fix the jar of alcohol you ruined, but you can put back the rest.
>Other
>>
>>3655217
>take the jars, the rest of the group will enjoy the food and drink.
Also we'll need some clarifications with Yan Da about the dangers of man made items in the swamp.
>>
>>3655230
The gist is basically "swamp water is usually stagnant so if something manmade is there either an animal brought it there or somebody died, fell into the swamp, and left it there". If somebody died there it's likely something dangerous lives there or there's quicksand there. The only major exceptions are if someone died from something unrelated like starvation or disease, whatever beast used to be there left, or someone put the items there on purpose. Not much else to it, but you can ask him if you want.
>>
>>3655248
Oh ok,thought this place was haunted and cursed items just laid around for travellers,stick to my vote tho.
>>
>>3655217
>>take the jars, the rest of the group will enjoy the food and drink.
>>
Well, you found the food, you may as well keep it. Even if someone did leave it here on purpose they won't suffer much from losing it. On the other hand you just had to have a mud bath and you'd like something out of it, even if it's just food.
You return to the camp with Feng Jun, let whoever wants to have some of the food you found, and begin washing yourself. This process takes a ridiculously long amount of time without a clean source of water. After several hours you do succeed though, and no longer feel horribly, horribly uncomfortable after switching into a new pair of clothes. By this time Feng Jun has finished skinning the three alligators, and you take one and give him the other two. He had to do most of the work skinning and is stronger, so it's only fair to give him a bigger share.
The day continues and you go out hunting again, come across one more alligator, and immediately return after killing it. You take this skin, and not much else happens until nightfall. As your group is about to stop for the night, you notice something in the distance. It's very well hidden, but it's some sort of mud hut. You go nearer out of curiosity, keeping yourself hidden, and see a bunch of footsteps outside the hut. It's clear that someone is living here. You...
>bring Feng Jun and approach the hut, you're curious what someone living here is like.
>stay away from the hut. Given that there's almost no one living here there's a decent chance you stole their food earlier and would rather not have them get pissed at you if they see anyone else in the group eating it.
>Other
>>
>>3655443
>>bring Feng Jun and approach the hut, you're curious what someone living here is like.
>>
There shouldn't be any harm in visiting, you haven't seen anyone living here before and you're curious what it's like. Hell, maybe he can even give you some tips about this place. You tip off Feng Jun about the hut and he agrees to go with you. The two of you near the mud hut through the trees and then drop to ground level once it's close. As you drop to the ground you look around nearby and see that absolutely nothing is left outside- no wood, no campfire, nothing. Based off of this it seems like whoever lives here probably doesn't want to be bothered since he's trying to stay hidden, but the worst case scenario is they get angry and tell you to leave, so you continue onwards.
The two of you get within 10 feet of the hut and get a better look. The piece of wood you assume normally covers the entrance is broken into several pieces and is lying on the ground at the entrance. Glancing through the entryway you see that there's a large pile of mud, several broken pieces of furniture, and glass littering the floor. Did something happen? The two of you pause for a moment, but decide to enter anyways. These could all be signs of disuse and the wood rotting. If whoever lived here left along ago, that's normal.
As the two of you enter the house you're greeted by the sight of more destroyed furniture, glass and food scattered over the door from shattered jars, and two men digging a hole. You spot a flow splotches of blood on the wall. The two men stop digging a hole and stare at you and Feng Jun. Their cultivation is the same as yours. After some awkward staring one of the men break the silence. "Who are you and why are you in our house?" They live here? Then why is the house destroyed. Before you say anything Feng Jun replies. "We were passing through with a few others and spotted this hut so we decided to check it out. There aren't many people who live in the Black Swamp, so we were wondering if you could give us some help navigating the area. We aren't locals after all."
The two stare back at you before the same one who spoke before vehemently shakes his head. "Sorry, we can't help you. There's a reason we live here, we don't want to bother with you guys. Now if you excuse me, we have stuff to do." The two return to digging and you...
>leave, they don't want to be bothered.
>ask why everything in here is destroyed.
>ask why there's blood on the wall and what left it.
>ask why they're digging a hole in their house and not attending to the broken furniture and shards of glass.
>apologize for taking their food, the jars they have look similar to the ones you found.
>Other
>>
>>3655773
>>ask why there's blood on the wall and what left it.
>>
>>3655775
Oh fuck wait are these guys trying to die up some cultivators hidden treasure? Because this place is old and rotten, I dont think anyone loves here anynore
>>
Something's off here. You assumed everything was broke because the wood rotted, but now that you're getting a closer look at it, it's old but not that old. On top of that, some of the food on the ground is fine and the splotches of blood don't look completely dried. That means something happened here within the past couple of hours. "Alright, we'll leave, but I do have a question. Why's there blood on the wall over there? What left it?"
The two only glance back at you before returning to their digging while answering. "A beast charged into here last night and broke our stuff. Maybe the blood left is from it. We only saw it leave a couple hours ago, so it could've cut itself on the furniture on the way out." That... is a pretty weak explanation. The furniture here is clearly made out of normal wood. How would a beast strong enough to make these two run away injure themselves on the broken furniture?
As you think about this, the one who has mainly been talking grunts at you. "We said to get out. We're not gonna do anything, but we do value our privacy- we'd rather not have two travelers looking over our shoulders while we fix up the place. Not in a good mood after all of my shit got wrecked. Just leave, alright?" You...
>know there's something odd going on here but it's not going to help to get involved. You may as well just leave and let these two continue whatever they're doing.
>ask why there aren't any beast tracks outside. There were a lot of footsteps, but nothing that would indicate a beast or something of the like breaking in.
>pull your guandao off your back and ask what happened here. Given this situation you have a hunch that something odd and possibly illegal is going on here.
>Other
>>
>>3655869
>How is digging a hole fixing you're house?
>>
>>3656506
+1.
>>
>>3655869
>>pull your guandao off your back and ask what happened here. Given this situation you have a hunch that something odd and possibly illegal is going on here.
>>
>>3656506
This,let's not start beating up people just yet.
>>
>>3655869
>ask why there aren't any beast tracks outside. There were a lot of footsteps, but nothing that would indicate a beast or something of the like breaking in.

Time to be a wise-ass detective.
>>
>>3657270
>>3657050
>>3656506
If we're commiting to snooping around. Asking questions we've no real business asking we may as well be prepared for a fight
>>
>>3655869
>>pull your guandao off your back and ask what happened here. Given this situation you have a hunch that something odd and possibly illegal is going on here.
>>
"So... how is digging a hole fixing your house?" The two pause their digging and turn towards you again, looking slightly angry. "That... since everything in here is broken we figured we'd add a basement in. We have to make furniture and even out the floor in here again anyways, so it's a good chance." You would almost believe that if it weren't for the fact that this is all ridiculously fishy and they're throwing all the mud they dig onto the house's floor. If they're making a basement this method is rather counterproductive.
"...and why aren't their any beast tracks outside?" One of them looks back at you, getting visibly angry at this point, and after a few seconds nearly screams the answer. "It had wings! It flew in! Is that enough for you?! Just leave us alone for the love of god. If we wanted to talk to people we wouldn't be living in this swamp. We'd find a tribe, settle down, and run a farm." As the two say this they throw several glances at Feng Jun. They seem... wary of him? You guess that makes sense, both of them have a cultivation at Middle Bone and Marrow Tempering while he's at Late Blood and Viscera Tempering. If he makes a move there's nothing they can do. Hell, if you fight them there's very little they can do, but they don't know that.
You try to ask more questions about the beast and such but the two just start ignoring you and keep digging. Well, it looks like you're not going to get anywhere for the time being. You...
>leave, clearly something weird is happening here but you're not going to figure out anything by continuing to talk to them.
>pull your guandao off your back and ask what happened here. Given this situation you have a hunch that something odd and possibly illegal is going on here.
>note that it looks like they're digging for something.
>Other
>>
>>3657831
>>pull your guandao off your back and ask what happened here. Given this situation you have a hunch that something odd and possibly illegal is going on here.
>>note that it looks like they're digging for something.
And ny murder hobo skills tell me it could be good.
>inb4 there here to steal ancient pickled food
>>
>>3658069
Agreed
>>
It's clear you're not going to get anything else out of these guys unless you resort to force, and something illegal or immoral might be going on here. You grab your guandao and point it towards the two. "This is the last time I'm going to ask. What happened here." Feng Jun watches on, but he does reach for his sword.
One of the men glances back at you and freezes upon seeing you hold your weapon. "We told you what happened." He puts down his shovel, knocking into his friend as he does so. You near the men and the one talking says "Don't do anything hasty. I can tell you in more detail what happened, but it's exactly as I told you." You shrug and glance at the other man. "Alright, but I probably won't believe you. I want what really happened. Now get over here." A couple moments later you see a flash of light come from the other man who was facing away from you. Dammit, what would cause a flash of light... a sound transmitting talisman? He must've whispered a message.
You don't know who they contacted, but this can't be good. You rush forward with your guandao and attack the man you were talking to. He leans back and grabs the shovel he was using, but it's immediately cut into two when he tries to block with it. After that you leave a slash running up one of his legs, removing his ability to run away. As you pull back from the attack the second man approaches and tries to stab you with a dagger, but you immediately dodge and counterattack by taking the dagger and shoving it into one of his legs.
The two lay on the ground, swearing and glaring at you. "...It looks like you were digging for something. What is it." The two grit their teeth before one of them yells. "We weren't digging for shit! Let us go!" Looks like they're committed to their act. This means they're either stubborn or confident. If it's the latter, that means they probably contacted someone stronger than Feng Jun with their sound-transmitting talisman. You should wrap this up quickly. "Tell me or you're dying now. I know you're probably waiting for your precious boss to save you, but if you die first then it'll be for naught." There's silence for a few moments before one of them replies. "Some rich old man was living here. The gist of the story was that he robbed our fathers and grandfathers, sold off everything and hid the money, and then fled into this swamp to hide. We finally tracked him down and now we're getting our money back. Now scram if you don't want the boss to kill you, we're just retrieving what's ours." You...
>grab the two and return to the group, Yan Da should be able to get further involved into this. As it stands you and Feng Jun aren't strong enough to take the money or investigate further.
>leave the two and return to the group, if things are as they say then they have the right to the money.
>take them somewhere hidden and interrogate them on their story further. You're not sure if you believe them and you don't want anyone else getting involved yet.
>Other
>>
>>3658206
>>grab the two and return to the group, Yan Da should be able to get further involved into this. As it stands you and Feng Jun aren't strong enough to take the money or investigate further.
We have enough money we could share with the group. If anything our share will still be reasonable if there is any merit to this.
>>
>>3658270
>>3658206
We're more to law-fag than to take the money anyway, aren't we? Otherwise we would have just finished them off.
>>
>>3658206
>take them somewhere hidden and interrogate them on their story further. You're not sure if you believe them and you don't want anyone else getting involved yet
Going to Yan Da might be safer,but I just want to improve our...interrogation skills.
>>
You'd prefer to look into this yourself, but taking these two to Yan Da will be safer. Feng Jun takes one and you take the other before dashing back towards where Yan Da was going to set down camp for the night. After 10 minutes you're there, and you find Yan Da, who's currently setting up the fire. As you approach him, he stares at the two of you oddly. You're both holding injured, angry men after all. "Uh... who are they?" You explain the situation as quickly as you can to Yan Da and let him take over. "Ah, alright, alright, I gotcha. Well, I'll take care of this."
Yan Da takes the two men, walks away, and leaves you and Feng Jun to your own devices. Confused, you sit down, while Feng Jun makes a point of walking away. While you're wondering why he's going so far away when you're waiting, you here loud screaming come from maybe 50 feet away. You suppose that's why Feng Jun walked away. Finding the screaming both grating and creepy, you walk towards Feng Jun while feeling rather bad for those two. Sure, they were lying, and sure, they may have committed some violent act, but you have no idea if they're morally in the right. You can only hope they've done something terrible based on what you're hearing.
20 minutes pass before Yan Da returns with the two. They are now unconscious, bloody, bruised, and are missing most of their fingernails and toenails. One of them is even missing a finger and some teeth. As you approach Yan Da he yells for everyone to gather up before taking out a pipe. A few minutes later everyone is around the fire and Yan Da stops smoking. "Alright, so Zuo Shi and Feng Jun found these two in some shack. They're part of a large group of bandits who live nearby, and their leader is at Middle Meridian Opening. There are at least 20 or 30 cultivators with them. Most of them have a lower cultivation, but if it comes to a group fight we'll probably be roughly even. They came here to find an old man who stole a cache of money hidden by the 'Great Bandit' of the Northern Wastes nearly 50 years ago, figure out where he was hiding the money, and then kill him. The reason they have information about all of this is because their leader is that bandit's grandson. They found him and are now forcing him to lead them to the money. Our objective is to now either force the old man to give us the money or take the money from the bandits after they force him to get it. The value of the stash is probably several hundred thousand gold, so keep your greed in check and you'll all get a cut of it. Mine is half, and you all get ten percent each. Any questions?"
You...
>ask whether you should really be robbing this old man. He stole from bandits, so he never did anything wrong. Maybe if you save him he'll give you guys a reward anyways.
>say nothing and wait for further orders.
>ask what's going to happen to the two bandits you brought back.
>Other
>>
>>3658569
>>say nothing and wait for further orders.
Morals and large amounts of cash dont mix. We could get upwards of 50 to 60 thousand gold and that would allow us to by more wasteland scrolls and pills
>>
>>3658569
>>say nothing and wait for further orders.
>>
You have some moral qualms about this, but the sheer amount of money is making you care less about that. Plus, if you object then you're not sure what's going to happen. Feng Jun and Yan Da wouldn't do anything violent to you from what you can tell, but if you were forced to wait somewhere and cultivate while they took the money somewhere safe, you'd understand. You just can't deal with that sort of delay when the point of being in the wastes is training.
"Alright, seeing as there aren't any questions you'll be following me. Those two said their second-in-command was heading over to that shack to help them and kill Feng Jun and Zuo Shi. We're going to find him, kill or capture him and anyone he brought along, and then catch up to the main group." After announcing this everyone quickly begins to gather their things and prepare to head out. As they do Yan Da tells you and Feng Jun to come with him. You follow him and he grabs the two men you captured.
The five of you stop a few hundred feet away from where you set up camp, and Yan Da leaves the two you captured on the ground. "You found them, so it's up to you to deal with them. Here's some rope, and you have your weapons. Kill them or not, it's up to you. Just make sure they can't interfere and tip off their superiors, or it's your cut on the line." You look at the two bandits, and after a quick examination find out they're unconscious. They look pitiable injured like this, but you know that leaving them alive could mean innocents are killed or robbed in the future. You don't know if they've ever committed murder, but it's likely. You...
>ask Feng Jun what he wants to do with them.
>tie the two up against a tree. That should keep them.
>break their limbs, they won't be able to do much for at least a month. You can bring them to a tribe later and hopefully they'll retire and become normal members of society.
>leave and let Feng Jun do what he wants with them.
>kill them. It disgusts you slightly and you really don't want to do it, but it'll be better for society. They're criminals and likely murderers.
>Other
>>
>>3658947
>>ask Feng Jun what he wants to do with them.
And lets him do what he wants. If he believes there could be a bounty we could hold them up for that. Break their legs and tie them up so they will be waiting patiently for us. and hopefully, a beast doesn't get to them before we get back.
>>
>>3659157
Yeah I agree
>>
You'd rather not kill these bandits, but you'll leave the decision up to Feng Jun. "Brother Feng, what do you want to do with them?" After you ask him he immediately replies. "Tying them up should be enough. We were the first to attack so I'd prefer not to kill them. Maybe they have a bounty on their head, but it's nothing much compared to what we're looking at, so I'll just call it a favor for telling us about the treasure."
The two of you tie them to the tree high enough so that beasts can't get at them and then Feng Jun writes something on a sheet of paper before weighing it down to a nearby branch. You check the sheet out of curiosity, and it just says "If you leave we'll kill you. Stay tied up if you want to live. Our boss said he'd give you a cut, so there's something in it for you." Well, the last part is a lie, but it'll probably get them to stay still.
You catch up with the rest of the group just before they approach the mud hut. Yan Da stops everyone in a nearby stretch of trees, forcing you to lie prone in the wet, sticky mud. After several minutes of sitting there you see a thin, tall man step out of the hut. Yan Da grunts to himself in satisfaction. "That's him. I'll get him. Two of you help, the rest of you make sure no one jumps me." After saying this Yan Da immediately jumps from the ground and runs towards the thin man.
The thin man turns around and parries Yan Da's first punch, having heard him, and they exchange several rounds of blows as the rest of the group approaches. Yan Da has the upper hand, but it would probably take a few minutes for him to clench victory. Around the time you reach the battle you see several figures coming out of the darkness, but you don't have time to see how powerful they are. You...
>help Yan Da fight his opponent, it'll be safer than dealing with an unknown variable.
>hold off the dark figures, for all you know they could be as weak as those two back there.
>Other
>>
>>3659358
>>help Yan Da fight his opponent, it'll be safer than dealing with an unknown variable.
listen to instructions. Help him get the thin guy subdued/killed quickly. bounties all around!
>>
>>3659358
>>help Yan Da fight his opponent, it'll be safer than dealing with an unknown variable
>>
Was going to update but something came up, I'll have to put it off until tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
>>
>>3659358
>help Yan Da fight his opponent, it'll be safer than dealing with an unknown variable.
We'll we're pretty powerfull even at our level,so opening the fight with a 4 desire should fuck up the thin man quickly.
>>
You'll help Yan Da fight his opponent and leave fighting the others to whoever wants to. You don't know the strength of those figures in the darkness, but Yan Da has his opponent under control. You shouldn't be injured trying to help him.
You approach Yan Da's fight with the thin man, intimidated by their furious exchange of blows. You wait a few moments for an opening and then launch an all-out attack at the thin man's legs, aiming to injure him and force him to take a finishing blow from Yan Da. "4 Desires!" You thrust out with your guandao as another member of your group stabs towards his back. The thin man glances around before suddenly tilting backwards, forcing your strike to land against the sword sheathed on his back and dodging the stab aimed at him.
Your attack is mostly absorbed by the sword, barely leaving a few scratches on his back. Still, the combined attack of two of you gives Yan Da an opening. Yan Da's fist soars towards the thin man's face and smashes into his nose, drawing blood. The two of you are forced away as the two fighting fall to the ground, grappling against each other. Within 15 or 20 seconds it's over, the thin man's face beaten beyond recognition through punches and headbutts.
You turn your attention to the dark figures from before and see that they're mostly subdued. Yan Da finishes off the couple still fighting and then throws them all into a pile. There are five bandits dressed in black, most of them in Early Blood and Viscera Tempering or Late Bone and Marrow Tempering. Besides them is the thin man from before, the bandit's second-in-command. Yan Da looks over the group before addressing everyone. "I'll get some info out of their second-in-command, you take care of the rest. While you're at it, get someone to dig further in that house. Maybe you'll find something." Yan Da wanders off and you...
>go to dig, you don't want to 'take care of' these bandits.
>wait near the bandits and see what the rest want to do.
>keep watch, you should make sure no one else is coming.
>Other
>>
>>3661302
>go to dig, you don't want to 'take care of' these bandits.
They can take care of themselves.
>>
>>3661302
>>keep watch, you should make sure no one else is coming.
>>
Going with the first vote instead of RNG for a tiebreaker because I was writing it when the second came in.
You don't want to have to keep dealing with bandits, so you volunteer to do the digging in the hut and leave the rest of the group. You enter the hut and it's the same as before besides the blood now seeming dry. You grab the shovel that you didn't break while fighting and begin digging. This continues for quite some time, but you don't find anything. Only all sorts of mud, rocks, and clay. As you're digging you hear someone enter and turn towards the sound. It's one of the men from the group that were watching the bandits. He just waves at you and then throws something towards you. "Here's your share."
You catch the object before you can see it since it's dark in here. It's oddly soft and warm. What is this? You examine the object and see that it's.. an ear?! You look towards the man, confused, and he snaps his fingers in response. "Oh, right, you wouldn't know about that yet. For the minor bandits you need the ear for the bounty once they're dead. Nobody recognizes them so the bounty is just based off of their cultivation. It's easier than carrying a head, cleaner than a heart, and despite several tribes trying to instate it nobody wants to carry a dick." The man leaves the hut without saying anything else, but you get the message pretty clearly- they're going to kill the bandits and you're a part of it. This ear is gross, but you get over it quickly. They're just bandits after all, killing them is fine. You just don't want to do it yourself.
A few minutes later Feng Jun calls you back to the rest of the group where Yan Da is standing next to the thin man. He is still badly injured, but smiling. "This is Dai Zexi, second-in-command of the bandit crew we're following. He'll be following my orders in exchange for not crippling him and turning him in for the bounty as well as 5% of the money. He'll lead us to where the bandits were when he left, you guys follow behind."
You group leaves the hut without incident and Dai Zexi leads everyone further into the swamp, a dopey grin on his face. You're surprised he gave in that easily, but you don't think too hard about it. Maybe the share he got was even worse than 5%, there were a lot of bandits after all. As your group advances you see faint footsteps, broken sticks, and other signs of human activities. You guess Dai Zexi isn't lying about leading you to the bandits. Eventually you reach a thicket of trees and Dai Zexi stops everyone. "Boss told me that he'd send someone back here once they knew where they needed to start digging. I was supposed to come back with one of the culprits, so who wants to volunteer?" You...
>wait for someone else to speak up, this is too risky for you.
>volunteer yourself, if Dai Zexi is truly on your side then this is fine.
>Other
>>
>>3661619
>>wait for someone else to speak up, this is too risky for you.
Yeah fuck that. Not worth the risk.just some more money. We dont need it.
>>
>>3661619
>>wait for someone else to speak up, this is too risky for you.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d5)

You're letting someone else volunteer for this, you're not going along with this. You wait for someone to, but unsurprisingly no one wants to go along with Dai Zexi. Eventually Yan Da sighs and begins picking up sticks. After he gathers a few he leaves and returns with five shortened sticks held in his hand. "Since no one wants to volunteer we're drawing sticks. Whoever gets the shortest one has to go." Well, you suppose this is nothing if fair. You line up with the rest and draw a stick. After comparing them you...
>>
...have a short stick, but not the shortest. Someone else is forced to go, given a couple bruises by Dai Zexi for 'makeup', and then slung over his shoulder. Everyone watches from the shadows as Dai Zexi walks onto a hill and waits for a moment. After a few seconds a dark figure approaches him and the two leave together. Yan Da motions for everyone to follow and begins quietly moving forward.
The five of you sneak through the swamp for some time until Dai Zexi and the figure come to a stop. Dai Zexi sets the man he was carrying on the ground, waves to someone, and then walks into the distance. A few moments, Yan Da begins whispering. "He should be heading over to the rest of the bandits. I told him to get in position to launch a sneak attack on his boss. We'll wait a minute for him to do so, and then charge in."
A couple minutes pass, the silence only broken by some indiscernible yelling. After the uneasy wait Yan Da tells everyone to charge forward before you rush over a hill and towards the direction Dai Zexi left in.
Once you're over the hill and run a short distance you see somewhere between 15 and 20 people surrounding a hole in the ground. Next to the hole is a wrinkled old man with a bruise on his face having a laughing fit. Dai Zexi is standing next to a tall, sturdy man who you suppose is their boss. Upon your arrival the group of bandits looks in your direction and their boss looks furious. "Good! Good! Of course we have someone else getting the jump on us after this shit! Just you wait you old man, I'll get you back for your bullshit!"
The boss prepares to move towards your group as the bandit charges, but before he can Dai Zexi pulls out a knife and stabs towards his back. The boss reacts quickly, trying to grab the knife, but you see blood shoot fly through the air as the two clash. The boss swears and the two begin fighting as the bandits falter, confused.
Your group takes this opening and charges in. You...
>charge in and disable as many of the bandits as you can while they're confused.
>approach the fight between Dai Zexi and his boss, you might just be getting in the way in a fight between three Meridian Opening cultivators, but maybe you could prevent an injury by taking some pressure off of them.
>move to protect the old man, if he dies then no one can get to the money.
>Other
>>
>>3661882
>>charge in and disable as many of the bandits as you can while they're confused.
>>
>>3661882
>>charge in and disable as many of the bandits as you can while they're confused.
>>
>>3661882
>>move to protect the old man, if he dies then no one can get to the money
Disable as many as we can on our way to the old man.
>>
You're a bit afraid for the old man, but you don't think anyone would kill him unless it was a last-ditch effort to save themselves. Anyways, he could rob some great bandit 50 years ago so he should be able to take care of himselves. You charge into the group of bandits, guandao in hand, and try to take advantage of their confusion to disable them.
Yan Da rushes over to the fight between Dai Zexi and his boss, while the man you sent with him earlier picks himself off of the ground and joins you. The fight is 3:1, but the enemy is confused and many of the bandits are only at Bone and Marrow Tempering or even lower. You should be able to win.
A slash heavily wounds someone at Early Bone and Marrow Tempering, and next you launch 3 Desires at someone at Early Blood and Viscera Tempering. He snaps to attention and blocks most of the impact with his saber, but is still left with a nasty cut. You engage in pretty even combat for five rounds before he gets into the swing of things, pushing you back slightly. Still, you hold on and look for an opening. Eventually he attacks too wide in a bid to deal a major wound to you, and you steady your guandao, pushing forward. "5 Desires!" Your guandao flashes in multiple directions before your opponent cries out in pain. He hurried to block, but three deep slashes appear on his side. He tries to fight but you quickly deal another major wound, putting him out of the fight.
After that fight you help the others defeat a couple of stragglers. Those bandits end up meeting a rather unfortunate death unlike you opponents, and after 10 minutes of combat all the fighting is over. The bandit's boss is missing an arm and tied up on the ground, Dai Zexi and Yan Da are lightly injured but will be fine, and all of the bandits are defeated.
As you look over the scene you see that one of the men from your group is maimed. A massive wound goes through his right side, ending in a massive cut along his wrist. His right hand is hanging from a bit of flesh, almost like it's going to fall of at any moment. Someone quickly goes over to help him, pulling medicinal supplies out of their pack. As they do so you hear laughter break the somber mood.
>>
The laughter comes from the old man. He's drinking some alcohol while searching through a dead bandit's things. "Ahahahaha, thanks for the help! Well, if you excuse me I'll be leaving after my drink, have a good one..." As the old man goes to walk away, Yan Da loudly replies. "Stop. We know what's going on here and we're taking your money." The old man glances back at Yan Da before laughing again. "My money? Alright then, you can try it. If you have the balls. I was leading those bandits around and three of them died digging that hole. I don't think you guys have enough bodies to go around if that happens to you, right?"
Yan Da turns silent before glaring at the old man. "What do you want then." "What do I want? Well, for starters I'd like you to all fuck off and leave and old man to his rest. You can dig around and look for my 'treasure' if you want, but you'll have to do it alone. If you're willing to spend a few years looking for it I don't mind giving it to you- this old man doesn't have long left to live anyways. So, how's that sound?" Yan Da remains silent and just sighs. "I need to discuss something with Dai Zexi. One of you guard the old men, the rest clean up the battlefield and finish off the stragglers. The boss is all we need." Yan Da and Dai Zexi walk away as...
>you go to watch the old man, you'll make sure he doesn't leave.
>help the others de-ear and loot the dead bandits.
>help treat the maimed man.
>Other
>>
>>3662061
>>you go to watch the old man, you'll make sure he doesn't leave.
Chat him up. Why is he living in the middle of the Wastes?
>>
>>3662061
>>help the others de-ear and loot the dead bandits.
>>
I'll wait half an hour to an hour for a tiebreaker.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>3662407
>>
Well, you guess you'll watch the old man and make sure he doesn't run away. You walk up to him and he waves at you, still laughing. "Hey runt, want some booze?" He shakes the half-drunk canteen of alcohol in his hand and you shake your head in response. "Ahahaha, all the more for me then! Paaaah, that's the stuff!" As he finishes he gulps down the rest of the alcohol in a single gulp.
The old man just sits around and loots the bandits for booze, books, something to do while you chat with him. "So, how'd you steal from that 'Great Bandit'? You aren't a cultivator, are you?" The old man takes another drink before responding. "Mm, maybe I'm not now. 50 years ago was a different story though- I could kill everyone here without much trouble." You wait for the old man to say more, but he doesn't go on, simply sipping at another canteen full of booze he found. You'd write this off as drunken ramblings, but he seems to have good alcohol tolerance and looks serious. Was he really that strong?
"Ok then, how'd you wind up in this swamp?" The old man looks at you like you're an idiot and then dryly chuckles. "How'd I end up here? You try to steal the better part of a million gold coins from someone and find somewhere where they won't find you. I was planning on leaving eventually now that he's dead, but it looks like one of his descendants found me first, and now you thieves. I stole from a bandit, but now you're just robbing some poor old man. Don't you feel bad?" "Slightly, but not enough to do anything about it. That's a lot of money after all."
The conversation between you two fades into silence after a while before he turns to you, smiling. "Y'know what kid, I have a proposition for you. I'll lead you, and you alone to the money, and then we split it 50/50. Has to be more than what they're offering you, right? We have to do it now though, before your boss gets back." That's a tempting offer, but this is risky. The old man could be tricking you, and you'd rather not fuck over Yan Da and Feng Jun- you haven't known them for too long, but they've helped you out. Well, more Feng Jun than Yan Da, but he's a good guy nonetheless. You...
>decline, you're not interested.
>accept, that much money is just too much of a draw. You can cut in Feng Jun later.
>find Feng Jun and see if he wants in on the deal. A third each, and you'd have an extra helper. If he says no you might have a lot of trouble on your hands though.
>ask him what happens if everyone catches up with him. Does he have a way to stop the two of you from dying?
>ask what guarantee you have that he won't try to get you caught in some trap and leave you.
>Other
>>
>>3662689
>>decline, you're not interested
Trust that fang and his people wont screw us. And we wont screw them.
We are not in dire need of money. We will get a nice chunk of that anyway.
>>
>>3662689
>>decline, you're not interested.
Nah were mostly here for life experiences, not gold. And we'd have to flee the north if we did this
>>
>>3662689
We've got a decent weapon.
OP how much would you say our weapon costs? Also about how much would an upgrade be?
>>3662801
Yeah the way things are working we could likely make that much if we work hard with in 2-3 years.
>>
>>3662840
You're not sure about the exact cost, but it's probably somewhere from 80,000 to 100,000 gold coins. You wouldn't have gotten a weapon this expensive, but there weren't many guandaos in the Dozen Treasure Pavilion. Luckily for you no one will recognize how expensive the weapon is unless they're a refiner or examine it closely. It's a low-key weapon.
>>
The money is obviously tempting, but it's not enough to make you betray everyone else here. You're not here for gold anyways, you'll earn enough of that eventually. You immediately decline, surprising the old man, but he just laughs after you say that. "Of course no one would trust a shady old man like me. Oh well, I tried. I'll just have to strike a deal with your leader or die in the process. I was saving that money for when I left here. Figured I'd buy some businesses, spend my last 10 or 20 years as a leading figure in some small tribe. It's a shame you guys had to steal that from me."
The two of you sit in silence for a minute before the old man starts talking again, as if he can't stand the silence. "I've spent most of my life in this swamp. That does things to a man. The only person I've spoken for the past 20 years is a village merchant who I get my food from. I visit once or twice a year, bring everything here, and then I start storing or aging them." After a short pause he continues. "Fuck, I knew I should've gotten a woman before I came here. A woman makes everything more bearable."
After saying that he doesn't say anything else, and after a short wait Yan Da returns. He's splattered in blood, and he has their boss over his shoulder. In one hand he's holding a bloody burlap sack. You wait a moment for Dai Zexi to appear, but he's nowhere to be found.
Yan Da claps his hands together to get everyone's attention, ignoring the fact that Dai Zexi is gone. "Alright then, split your loot and let's get going! The old man is going to lead the front." Everyone begins gathering together, but the old man stays where he is. "Really? I don't remember agreeing to lead you." Yan Da frowns. "You don't have a choice." "Oh, really? What if I told you I could burst out with my full power and kill all of you, and the only cost for me was being even more crippled for the rest of my life. You should know how strong I was in my prime, right? You interrogated that brat after all."
There's a short pause before Yan Da says anything. "10% from my cut. You'll get paid the same as one of these guys." The old man smiles as he gets up and dusts himself off. "Well, that's not much but if you say so. Follow me..." As everyone begins following the old man you...
>chat with Feng Jun, you should be able to relax from here-on out.
>watch the swamp around you, you don't trust that this old man doesn't have traps set up.
>Other
>>
That was the last update for the night
>>
>>3663053
Thanks
>>3663047
>>watch the swamp around you, you don't trust that this old man doesn't have traps set up.
>>
>>3663047
>>watch the swamp around you, you don't trust that this old man doesn't have traps set up.
>>
>>3663047
>watch the swamp around you, you don't trust that this old man doesn't have traps set up.
>>
You would let your guard down, but you don't trust that this old man doesn't have traps set up. You walk through the swamp, warily glancing at everything that grabs your attention. Still, you don't see anything, and this march continues for several hours. Eventually, in the middle of the night, the old man tells everyone to stop. As you look around, you feel like this place is oddly familiar. You can't tell why though.
The old man gestures for everyone to come over and points towards a small patch of mud and water. "I hid it somewhere over there. Give me a moment." Every gathers around the old man as he walks around, examining the ground. It doesn't take him long, and eventually he says. "Here it is! It's under here, there's a problem though..." Yan Da freezes up before hesitantly asking what the problem is. "Well, there's signs of digging here. Recent digging. Someone was here. I can look for what's here, but it might be gone..."
After the old man says this you take a closer look at where he's finding and determine that he is correct- someone must have been digging around here. Then, a few seconds later, it hits you. You were the one who left those signs. You weren't formally digging, but you were disturbing the soil and picking through the mud to get those jars of food. Does that mean the money was hiding under it? You glance at Feng Jun, and he seems both amused and nervous. He must have realized it too.
Yan Da scratches his head and swears. "Just dig then old man, but if you hide the money from us we aren't going easy on you. If it is stolen then we'll look for whoever took it." As the old man is handed a shovel and begins stepping into the water and slowly digging, you...
>stay silent, you could clear up this misunderstanding but it just brings risk to you.
>tell Yan Da that this is where you found the food from earlier, this way the old man won't have any way to hide the money under the excuse of someone getting to it already.
>Other
>>
>>3664946
>>tell Yan Da that this is where you found the food from earlier, this way the old man won't have any way to hide the money under the excuse of someone getting to it already.
>>
>>3664946
>tell Yan Da that this is where you found the food from earlier, this way the old man won't have any way to hide the money under the excuse of someone getting to it already.
I knew we shouldn't have taken the food.
>>
As the old man digs you approach Yan Da and quietly tell him why the ground is disturbed. "No one should have gotten the money here, this is where Feng Jun and I found that food." "...Alright then, I'll keep it in mind." Yan Da then gestures for you to leave before calling Feng Jun over, likely to confirm your story. The two only talk for a minute or so before Feng Jun is left to his own devices.
Everyone quietly waits for the old man to finish digging, the nervousness of whether there's money or not stopping them from chatting. You do get your share from the bandits though- three more ears and a small coinpurse. After nearly half an hour like this the old man loudly coughs. "Alright, here it is. The money."
Everyone excitedly closes in on the old man, Yan Da taking the lead. He looks into the hole and his face lights up, grabbing something in the hole. Seconds later he pulls up an old, wooden chest. It's wet, but the wood is clearly rather expensive. Anything in there should have held up over 50 years. Yan Da sets the chest down and the old man hands him a key. Yan Da uses it to open a small, rusty lock hanging off the front of the chest. He excitedly opens the chest up, everyone leaning in to see.
Inside the chest you see a small layer of bills, but you can't make out the denonination. Yan Da examines one of them closely before he stops moving. "You... what is this. There are more chests, right?" The old man laughs in response. "More chests? Why would I buy more chests when I can fit all the money in one? That's everything that's left- 30,000 gold coins in 100 coin bills!" Upon hearing this everyone's excitement fades, confused and annoyed about the situation.
Yan Da puts the bill back into the chest and approaches the old man, angry. "It was supposed to hundreds of thousands. Why's there only 30,000." The old man smiles at Yan Da, seemingly not intimidated. "Well, what do you do with money?" A few seconds pass, and realizing he won't get an answer from Yan Da, the old man continues. "You spend it. I already spent most of it before I went into hiding. I donated a large portion of it to my home tribe, and the rest to other people I knew. I figured 30,000 gold coins would be enough to buy a few businesses and enjoy the rest of my life once I came out of hiding."
Yan Da stares at the old man before loudly swearing. "You... you bastard. Dammit!" The old man stares back, the smile disappearing from his face. "Any complaints? Or do you really want to die in exchange for crippling an old man. If you insist on dragging me on your little treasure hunt any further, then that's what's going to happen." This... isn't good. Yan Da is angrier than you would expect given the situation, and the old man has torn down his amused facade. You...
>keep quiet, you aren't getting involved in this.
>tell Yan Da that fighting won't help and that's risky.
>back away in case he pisses off the old man and he's telling the truth about being able to kill all of you.
>Other
>>
>>3665110
>tell Yan Da that fighting won't help and that's risky.
I mean we where out to steal the old guy's money,beating him up on top of that would be an ass move.
>>
You doubt Yan Da will escalate this, but it's not looking good. You guess you need to say something. "Yan Da, I don't think fighting that old man is a good idea." By the time you finish he's turned to face you, still angry. "I already know that! I'm not that dumb. Anyways, let's take our cut and leave." Your group takes 90% of the stash as the old man stands by the side with his 10%. As you all get ready to leave he waves at all of you, but his last words... surprise you to say the last. "Nice seeing you all. I'll be leaving the Black Swamp after this, so maybe we'll run into each other again. And if I've recovered from my wounds, I'll kill you!"
Yan Da turns back to face the old man, but after a few seconds ignores him and starts walking away again. "Are you all surprised? You didn't think I'd hold a grudge? Too bad! This is what happens when you rob innocents you greedy bastards! The 'Great Bandit' was on my shitlist originally, but now that he's dead a new group of bandits have replaced them." One member of the group turns to face the old man, angry, and the old man simply waves back at him and takes a fighting pose. Before he can do anything, Yan Da grabs him by the shoulder and stops him. "If you fight him we're going to die and he's going to be crippled. I'm 90% sure that's true based on what the bandits' boss told me and his attitude. Just let it go."
You group leaves, the old man leaving behind cheerful death threats as you do so. In exchange for this, you've earned 3,000 gold coins from the 'treasure' and at least half that in bounties and coin purses. Eventually everyone gets back to camp and sleeps. The watch is doubled for the night.
Everyone starts late the next day, and there's no much conversation before everyone starts walking. You should be able to exit the swamp tomorrow morning at this rate. After walking with the group you decide to...
>stick with the group, after the events of yesterday you feel it's safer here.
>hunt some beasts, you could use some more skins.
>search for more herbs native to the swamp.
>practice your movement technique across the water and mud of the swamp.
>Other
>>
>>3665302
>practice your movement technique across the water and mud of the swamp.

OP, what's even the name of the technique? I feel like we have techniques, but most of them are throwaways.
>>
>>3665431
Fair enough, here you go.
Guandao Techniques :
72 Desires [Currently at 5 Desires, got from the Yu family. You only have the first half in your possession.]
Polearm Techniques :
Extended Blow [Mastered, purchased at Border City. Mostly useless outside of 1v1 fights. Gives you extra reach/force in exchange for dislocating your shoulder for a moment.]
Movement Techniques :
Minute Deftness [Useful, but not mastered. Given to you by Zhu Chao. Helps you dodge blows by using as small a movement as possible.]
Spinning Leaf, Crawling Rat [Useful, will likely be mastered within a few months. Allows you to increase your base speed through your form and how you utilize your leg and back muscles. Bought at Border City recently.]
>>
Today you'll just try to practice that movement technique you bought in Border City as best as you can. The faster you become adept at it, the faster you'll be able to leverage your speed when fighting opponents with a higher cultivation than you. You approach Feng Jun and ask him to head out with you, but he unexpectedly declines. "Yan Da knows we dug near where the money was yesterday and we ended up getting less than expected. Given what happened afterwards I doubt he'd suspect anything, but either way it'd be better for us not to leave together. He has seemed a little off since last night, and if he jumped to conclusions it'd be unfortunate." You didn't consider it, but if Feng Jun thinks that it's something to worry about then you'll take it into consideration. You approach someone else from the group and they reluctantly agree to buddy up with you while you practice your movement in the swamp.
You leave the group for the next few hours, carefully controlling your movement across patches of deep, sticky mud, pools of grimy water, and deep reeds growing in the swamp. Eventually the person you came with gets tired of travelling with you and insists you return to the group. Later you switch out with a couple of other people, managing to get nearly a full day's worth of practice in. That night everyone is eerily silent, and Yan Da remains in a bad mood.
As everyone is sitting around the fire, quietly eating, Yan Da breaks the silence. "We'll head to the center of the wastes immediately and turn in these bounties. The smaller villages won't have the cash and I want to get rid of this annoyance as soon as possible." As he says this he points towards the bandits' boss, who your group has been dragging around since yesterday. At this point he seems to have given up struggling. "Plus, Ding Mu got injured yesterday in that fight. We shouldn't wander around while his hand is that badly injured. Without proper medical treatment he won't be able to use it."
With Yan Da's words the decision is made, and everyone prepares to head towards the center of the Northern Wastes at full speed. Your route goes through a set of forests, and then towards a main road that connects the five major tribes at the center of the wastes. All in all it takes five days, and with the protection of Yan Da it isn't too dangerous. You do spot bandits and animals that would be able to kill or injure you if you fought them, but luckily you're with a group. After you get on the main road this problem disappears, and it's smooth sailing up until you reach Green City, home of the Green Tribe.
>>
Besides Green City, there's also Red City, Blue City, White City, and Palette City in this area. They're all gathered around a large lake in the center of the wastes, although no one knows what lies within- apparently figures as powerful as elders of your family ventured in, but they never came back after going too far in. No one knows why they died, but due to this the natives have a healthy respect for the lake and there's heavy regulation on the amount of fishing done from it.
Your group is standing at the city gate of Green City, which is bustling with people. Something strikes you as odd though. There are a lot of guards near the gate, and everyone is moving slower than you expected. Maybe the inspections here are especially tight? You ask the others about this, the mood in your group having returned to normal by now, and Yan Da answers. "I've come here before but it wasn't like this. Whatever it is, it was implemented within the past few years."
You wait to reach the gate, confused, and eventually a guard approaches your group. "None of you have passes, correct?" Yan Da looks confused, but answers. "Passes? No, we don't have anything like that." "I figured. Alright then, I'll need a drop of blood from each of you." As the guard says this, he pulls out a clear, ordinary looking crystal. Feng Jun cuts his finger without much hesitation, but the rest of the group warily asks why the guard needs their blood. In response he shrugs. "All of the tribes around the Holy Lake are being required to do this. Don't worry, this is just for your first time entering the city, after that you can enter and leave freely with a pass. I'm not sure exactly what it was about, but I heard rumors that it was being done to find suitable members to join the tribes around here. They don't often do recruitment, but this isn't unheard of. One of my superiors mentioned something like this happening about 100 years ago. Anyways, give me some blood so I can put it against this crystal. Hurry up, I don't have all day."
As the rest of the group reluctantly goes to cut themselves, you pull out your dagger. You wouldn't worry about this, but your blood is special. You absorbed that object related to 'The Horned God', and due to the seed near your heart it can raise plants. Who knows what's going to happen if you let him check it. You...
>reluctantly cut yourself and let the drop of blood press against the crystal. He said it's for recruitment, so in the worst case some tribe will try to convince you to join.
>tell Feng Jun you'll meet him later and slip out of the crowd entering the city. You need to buy a pass off of someone.
>leave, the cities near the Holy Lake are too dangerous. If they're inspecting your blood at the gates then who knows what else is inside.
>Other
>>
>>3665642
>>tell Feng Jun you'll meet him later and slip out of the crowd entering the city. You need to buy a pass off of someone.
They are looking for our bloodline
>>
>>3665642
>>tell Feng Jun you'll meet him later and slip out of the crowd entering the city. You need to buy a pass off of someone.
>>
Whatever they're doing, you can't risk being a part of what's going on here. You tell Feng Jun that you'll meet him in the city after you buy a pass and begin making your way out of the crowd. As you leave you notice that there are quite a few others leaving too. You doubt they have as many secrets as you, but it's natural that cultivators would be hesitant about providing blood.
As you exit the crowd a woman in a dirty robe approaches you. "I see you're turning around, I can help you. Do you need a pass? 500 gold coins only, it's a special price for you!" ...That was fast. You didn't expect so many people to turn back, they even made a business out of it? You ask the woman if you can see a pass, and he hands one to you. It's a sturdy piece of paper with some sort of watermark on it. You guess that's to prevent counterfits. There's a name, age, sex, and cultivation printed on the front. On the back there's a short description including hair color, height, and other such things. This... this is way more information than you thought they'd keep. It might be harder to find a pass you can use than you thought.
Well, you may as well check with this woman. "Do you have a pass for someone with a cultivation at Middle Bone and Marrow Tempering? They need to be male, 13 to 16 years old, and have a description I can match." The woman scratches her head and hesitantly says. "No, no, not on me... I can check though! If you wait until I'm off duty then I can head back to our base. We have a few boxes of passes we've bought off of people there. Maybe there's one there." That sounds promising, but anything they have is only going to be a near match. You're going to need to change your name again while you're here too. Maybe it would be better to just look for a counterfeiter and get one made specifically for you? These look hard to counterfeit, but it's clearly not impossible- they're only slips of paper made by the tribes after all, not the bills produced by Hi Empire.
After considering your options you...
>wait for the woman to get off work, you may as well see what they have to offer.
>offer the woman some money to finish early and go look for a suitable pass with him. You want to get into Green City as soon as possible.
>decline his offer and go into one of the nearby villages. If you look around you're sure you can track down a counterfeiter and find something less suspicious.
>Other
>>
>>3666040
>>wait for the woman to get off work, you may as well see what they have to offer.
It just has to be close enough. I am sure the guards don't care that much. get the age and cultivation about right. And height and hair and we're good.



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