"Hmm, this ship... Where have I seen it before?"
Ming Yue placed her hand on Hua Xiong's shoulder, stopping her from moving.
"That ship just arrived, maybe we can ask them", she said, pointing at the Blue Skies Ship.
Hua Xiong looked at the ship, giving it a doubtful look.
"This is more luxurious than any of the ships here. Do you really want to ask them?"
"Might as well, though I feel like I might have been here before."
She couldn't quite put her finger on it but she had definitely seen this ship before. Not to mention, both Hei Yue and Xiao Yin found this ship familiar as they looked at it, furrowing their brows and trying to remember where they had seen it before. It certainly wasn't something they gave a quick glance at, there was a connectin but what was it.
As they approached the ship, the doors opened, releasing hundreds of passengers ranging from merchants to noble clans. What followed after were the crew, whose uniforms she recognized.
"Oh that's it! This is the ship I took to go to Rong Lu City and I think I have that coin as well."
Ming Yue looked into her spatial ring, fishing out a coin marked with the words "Blue Skies" on each side. It was given to her by the captain for helping them against a pirate attack.
"I wonder if I can use it and ask for our request."
Hua Xiong saw the coin but stood behind Ming Yue, letting her do the talking. The crew of the ship saw them approach and stood up straight to meet the two. As members of a famed caravan, they understood that no one should be underestimated or treated with disrespect. After all, you may never know who might be standing in front of you.
"Hello there, I was wondering if I can meet with your captain."
Ming Yue was returned the respect and showed them the coin.
"Oh, an honored guest of the Blue Skies Caravan! While we can certainly help accommodate you, our captain is currently busy. I cannot say for sure when he will be available but perhaps I can help you. Are you looking to purchase a ticket?" the crewman asked.
Ming Yue shook her head.
"I'm afraid that my request is more complicated than that. The truth is, I'm looking for a ship willing to go to the Black Peak Mountains, specifically the Merciless Storm Peak. However as long as you can get close, that is also good enough."
The crewmen stepped back in shock of this request.
"The Merciless Storm Peak?!"
"Going there means risking our lives!"
"Just the Black Peak Mountains themselves are dangerous, let alone that very peak."
They all shook their heads and looked at Ming Yue. The one that spoke was very apologetic.
"I apologize but this request, it is too much for us. In fact, even getting close is a major risk for us as this ship caters to thousands.", he replied.
A loud voice shouted from the doors as a scruffy man in a white captain's uniform stepped out. He was short but stout, sporting a heavy build fit for a experienced ship captain. His beard was gray and short though it was shaped into pointed beard. Looking forward, he spotted Ming Yue and smiled at her.
"To think it was you, young girl! I haven't seen you in several years! You've grown much bigger! Gahahaha!"
He gave out a hearty laugh before looking at the crewmen beside him, all of them saulted in respect.
"Ah right, a fair number of you are new, this girl here helped fend off a pirate attacks some years ago."
The captain pointed at Ming Yue as he explained how she obtained the coin.
"In any case, we can accept this request and set off immediately. Come girl, bring your friend up so we can depart immediately!"
He gestured for the two young women to enter the ship before the crewmen began to speak up.
"But Captain Hai! They are only two people but our ship has hundreds of rooms. Won't this end up being a huge loss."
"Yes, Captain! Not to mention, this is the Black Peak Mountains and they want to go to the Merciless Sto-"
"I know where they're headed and I know the risks! You do not have to tell me. We are still accepting it", the captain barked back and then sighed.
"You should know to never judge people from their appearance. These two are heading to an exceptionally dangerous place and so they themselves are just as exceptional. Do you know who these two are?" he asked, pointing at Ming Yue and Hua Xiong.
His men were silent and after a moment, shook their heads.
"She is a member of Heaven's Gate and she is the Second Fury of the Violet Sun Sect. Surely you know just how unique these two are. Forget the risks and think about the rewards, just a favor from these two is a value equal to the ship."
The crewmen were surprised as they looked back to the young women. Though it was easy to tell that they were of a unique background, they didn't think that it would be like this.
"Let this be a lesson to you. As one of the best caravans in this land, information is everything, know who is in front of you."
"Alright, let's head out! Cancel the rest of the requests, this is a big job!"
The crewmen headed back into the ship as Captain Hai looked at the two women.
"Ah, I hope my words were not too disrespectful. My men and I are blunt fellows so straightforwardness is the only way to really speak to them."
He apologized with a grin. After all, he did just say that he would accept their request under the pretense of getting a favor out of them. However, they shook their heads and paid no mind to it.
"If that's the price to take this trip, I'll gladly pay it!" said Hua Xiong.
"We should be the ones thanking you. It was hard finding a ship willing to make this trip."
Neither of them really cared for his words. After all, they knew the consequences of heading to such a place.
"Alright then, as for your destination, the closest I can get to that wretched place would be the base of the Merciless Storm Peak, any further and we may not come out alive. Is that fine?"
"Yes! That's more than perfect!"
"Good, good, let's head in! We'll get there in a week at our highest speed."
The trio then made their way into the Blue Skies Ship and within minutes, it headed off towards the Black Peak Mountains. As for their destination, a real storm was brewing.
Lightning and thunder roared, the wind howled and the rain battered the stone.
It was as if the chaos within the dark clouds had grown restless, a sign of something to come.
At the peak, where the fortress of the Tao Feng stood, people entered the castle in droves. Their minds taken away by the Valerian Snake Incense. They gathered within the large halls, standing there like puppets. Among them were a group dressed in violet colored uniforms, staring blankly towards the Sect Leader of the Tao Feng, Dai Mian.
His face was hidden away under the shadows of his cloaked figure as he looked that this batch.
"Almost enough", he spoke.
By his side was Zuo Er, whose face now had five lines on them, his eyes were just as empty as the ones he kidnapped. Dai Mian looked at him coldly.
"It is a shame that you've failed once again. Go and join the others."
Under his orders, Zuo Er slowly walked away, disappearing into one of the floors.
"Hmph, failure, Why did I ever decide to take on a disciple like you?"
Dai Mian turned and entered one of the other dark halls where that massive pit of dead bodies were. Strangely enough, these rotting bodies did not stink or give out the heavy scent of blood.
Rather than dive into the pit as he does, Dai Mian went to work, grabbing chalk and red formation flags to create a strange formation. As he began his work, those within the cave under the fortress were nearly done.
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