The atmosphere suddenly became very tense.
In a place like the Black Demon Pool, cases of a single disagreeable sentence causing swords to be drawn and blood to be spilled were all too common.
When several experts from various factions saw what was happening, they paused their footsteps and kept their distances so as to observe the situation without getting involved.
The elders carefully sized Ye Qingyu up.
"Your Honour, your attire... surely you aren't the [Ice Sword Killing God]?" asked a First Step Immortal Stage expert, a hint of fear in his eyes. With a red beard hanging down to his waist like a waterfall, and a mane on the top of his head glowing in red, he appeared to be a venerable demon elder.
"[Ice Sword Killing God]?" Ye Qingyu was taken slightly aback.
Have these elders mistaken me for someone else?
"On the way here, we've heard that a young human expert has suddenly appeared in the Black Demon Pool. Thirsty for blood and kills, not a blade of grass is left where he passes. Many acclaimed aces of various assassination groups and the Demon Race, including [Cold Light Sword] Zheng Ji and [Bloodthorn Hall] elder Xing Xiejun, have died to his Ice Sword." Staring grimly at Ye Qingyu and observing his expressions was an elder whose skin was strewn with black ravine-like vessels and whose red mane emitted a faint black-red halo.
"The nickname [Ice Sword Killing God] has long begun to spread throughout the Black Demon Pool..."
"What? This fella's the killing god?"
Upon being reminded by their elder, the other demon experts realized that the human expert in front of them was not to be taken lightly. In particular, the one who scolded Ye Qingyu lost his ferocity and subconsciously moved behind one of his companions.
It was also at this time that Ye Qingyu understood.
It turned out that he had killed his way to a sizable reputation and the nickname [Ice Sword Killing God] on this road of being hunted and counter-killing. This was clearly a case of an unintended positive outcome.
[Ice Sword Killing God]?
Sounds pretty good.
The corners of his mouth subtly arched upward, revealing his satisfaction with the nickname.
And so he nodded.
Seeing him nodding in admission, the [Savage Army Demon Race] elders were slightly astounded.
They could no longer look at him disparagingly.
After all, strength was the only basis for establishing status in a place completely devoid of laws and centralized authority like the Black Demon Pool.
To be able to gain fame and acquire such a bloodthirsty nickname in the Black Demon Pool within a couple of hours was telling of how the person must be extremely dangerous. It must be known that the people he counter-killed were all well-known characters in the Black Demon Pool who were infamous for assassinations. A feat like that was not something just anyone could achieve.
The red-bearded elder pondered for a while before saying, "So, Your Honor is indeed the [Ice Sword Killing God]. My clansmen and I have been terribly disrespectful, for we didn't know about your status and were mistaken. My people came to the Black Demon Pool for an important matter and aren't looking to cause unnecessary problems. What's more, there aren't any grudges between us. How about we drop this dispute?"
This was as good as admitting defeat.
The [Savage Army Demon Race] had indeed come for an important matter and were not looking to cause avoidable troubles. It would be a lie to say that they were actually afraid of the [Ice Sword Killing God], and, therefore, the elder's tone could be considered mild.
Upon hearing those words, Ye Qingyu nodded.
He did not want to cause unnecessary complications either.
He did not simply walk away.
His eyes turned and fell on the long-faced, wide-nosed demon expert who insolently provoked him. The latter winced as fear grew in his heart, and before he snapped out of it, he saw Ye Qingyu waving at him. A water jug made of beast hide which was latched at his waist suddenly dislodged on its own and flew toward Ye Qingyu's palm.
"You..." The demon expert was both shocked and angered.
The other [Savage Army Demon Race] experts, too, changed dramatically in countenance.
However, as if he completely did not perceive the angry gazes of the other demon experts, Ye Qingyu turned and walked, with the water jug in hand, toward the beast bone cage which held the little girl.
The [Savage Army Demon Race] experts unsheathed their weapons as their countenances changed even more.
The red-bearded elder's face also turned grimmer, but all he did was to shake his head.
Walking up beside the cage, Ye Qingyu raised his hand and passed the jug through the screen to the little girl.
"Drink some," he said softly.
In the cage.
The girl was clearly dying of thirst.
Licking her lips which had dried so badly that they bled, she looked in shock at Ye Qingyu, before revealing a hint of gratitude and frantically receiving the jug. She timidly removed the stopper and cautiously took a sip. A satisfied look appeared on her tiny face as she looked at Ye Qingyu and then at the jug. After a moment's hesitation, with her big eyes staring at Ye Qingyu, she asked sheepishly, "Brother... can I... take another sip?"
For some reason, Ye Qingyu felt a pang in his heart.
"Go ahead and drink as much as you want. If one jug isn't enough, Brother will grab you another one," he responded softly.
Having gotten permission, the little girl thanked him in a sweet voice and only then assuredly raised the jug and gulped down mouthfuls of water. A glugging noise persisted until the jug was completely emptied, at which time she let out a long burp...
That her tiny body was able to take in so much water showed that she could not have been more thirsty.
Like a withered sprout that was moistened by rain and dew, the girl was reinvigorated and glowed with vitality when she finished drinking. Her skinny yet pretty face meekly revealed a satisfied smile and her sparkling eyes looked at Ye Qingyu as she said with some apprehension, "Brother, I accidentally finished it... Thank you..."
Looking at the bruise-covered, emaciated figure, the latter did not know what to say.
He raised his hand and passed it through the white bone cage to gently caress the little girl's head.
A tinge of [Supreme Ice Flame] was silently injected into her body.
The [Savage Army Demon Race] is evidently a very powerful branch of the Demon Race. But, in that case, why do they want to lock up this seemingly-unthreatening girl, and expend so much trouble to bring her to the depths of the Black Demon Pool?
There must be some devils in the details.
But, at this moment, he was unable to figure out what was going on.
"Your Honor, don't overdo things," the red-bearded elder murmured.
They had acquiesced to Ye Qingyu's actions because they did not want unnecessary trouble. However, if he continued to be insensible, the [Savage Army Demon Race] might not continue to put up with it.
The atmosphere became tense once more.
"Brother, go, go quickly... I... I'm not thirsty anymore... you're a good man, don't let these bad guys get you... they're really bad." Curling her body up, the girl hurriedly said in a concerned voice when she saw that his injuries were even worse than hers.
Despite being trapped in a cage, she showed consideration for others instead of crying for help for herself.
Such a sensible girl all the more elicited compassion from Ye Qingyu.
However, he knew that he could not save her at this time.
The bone cage she was locked in was filled with mechanisms and formations which would probably kill him as soon as the slightest movement was detected. On top of that, beside him were many menaces who would harm him if he brought the girl away.
After hesitating for a while, he gently patted the girl's shoulders, then turned to leave.
The girl lowered her head as she shuddered in the cage.
"No matter why you all have her locked up, it's clear that she's valuable to you all,. at least. Why not treat her well instead of scolding her?" Standing on the spot, Ye Qingyu looked at the [Savage Army Demon Race] with ice-cold eyes.
With a somber face, the red-bearded elder did not say a word.
Ye Qingyu took another look at the girl and only then left.
The [Savage Army Demon Race] elders could only heave a sigh of relief when his figure had disappeared into the distance amid the thick ink-like Black Demon qi.
The [Ice Sword Killing God] certainly lived up to his name. Despite seeming injured, a frightening power continued to surge in his body and his blood qi remained as vigorous as ever. Perhaps because he had slain too many people along the way, the killing intent which wreathed his body was so frightening that even these elders, who were the strongest among the [Savage Army Demon Race], began to feel palpitations.
At that moment, they were even afraid that this bloodthirsty killing god would suddenly turn hostile and strike at them.
"Let's proceed," the red-bearded elder said in a deep voice as he looked at the demon experts guarding the white bone cage. "And don't hit her anymore. She'll be of importance to us if we keep her alive. I'll make war drums of your skins if you all beat her to death before this matter's done."
Those demon experts were terror-stricken at once.
The red-bearded elder was famous within the race for making war drums from the skins of experts.
As they visualized a mental picture of that cruel act, the experts no longer dared to berate the little girl.
After a brief reorganization, the [Savage Army Demon Race] resumed their advance.
After the time it took for an incense stick to burn off.
The contingent of men and horses finally arrived in the city of the 15th zone.
Upon reaching the entrance, every one of their faces revealed an ever more vigilant expression.
With great caution, they traversed several streets and alleys in a designated direction toward a very precise location.
After another incense stick's worth of time, they arrived in front of a strange building.
It was a bamboo shoot-shaped black tower with a relatively wide base that became narrower the higher it went. It stood upright within the Black Demon qi at more than a hundred meters, resembling a black-colored demon knife. Its entire body emitted a halo which was not formed from Black Demon qi or the power of another Demon Race, but instead a fine, near-transparent, and mist-like layer of luster.
Strangely, the layer completely blended and seemed to become one with the Black Demon qi that surged boundlessly.
No patterns were engraved on the tower walls, which surfaces were glossy and exquisite as if they had been painstakingly polished.
The most surprising thing was that this strange building did not have a door!
There was only a tightly-shut, half-meter-wide round window placed on the east-facing side at the very top of the black tower.
One of the young [Savage Army Demon Race] experts placed his hands deep into the cage and grabbed hold of the little girl's arm. After observing it for a while, he nodded toward the other demon experts.
With that, the elder issued an order.
Dozens of demon experts began to surround the tower.
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