Dong Xin found himself talking with the leader of the caravan. “The reason I have come to Ustil is to try to talk with some of your leaders. I was hoping you could take me into the capital…” Upon seeing the look on the other’s face, Dong Xin continued, “or at least deliver an important message.”
The caravan leader scratched the back of his head. “It’s is not that we are not grateful for your assistance. No, it is precisely because we are grateful that we cannot take you into the capital. Outsiders are forbidden except in very special circumstances. You would almost certainly be sentenced to death. As for delivering a message… Well, I am certain that it won’t be considered important. If it were, you would have already been invited into the capital.”
“How can it be known whether it is important if I have not even said it?”
“Ah, that is because of the…” the caravan leader used a word which Dong Xin wasn’t familiar with.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know that word. What is it?”
“They are… seers of the future. Prophets. However, they are not looking for you.”
“So they are looking for someone then?”
The caravan leader sighed. “I have already said too much.”
“Sorry. Can you still at least deliver my information, even if none of the prophets or leaders will meet with me, or perhaps even listen to it?”
The caravan leader nodded. Dong Xin gave him a prepared scroll with information on the Demon King. It was mostly a general outline, since they didn’t have the records from the Ostana Wizard’s guild, and thus were lacking some details, but they had the important points, even if they didn’t know specific times when he had appeared and been defeated. It had taken some time to properly outline everything in the language of Ustil, since it hadn’t been extremely familiar to anybody in Ostana, even though there were decent learning materials. Dong Xin knew he was probably not talking as eloquently as he imagined either, but his points seemed to be getting across. However, he had carefully gone over the scroll to make sure it was accurate.
The caravan leader nodded. “I will deliver this. Thank you for helping us.”
As Dong Xin travelled through the sands, he wondered if William would have acted differently. At least, he seemed to have better results when rescuing people. He might have even asked to go to the capital even at the near certainty of death. Or he might not have, since there were other things to do. Dong Xin was in the second group. He wasn’t done with everything else he needed to do yet, so it wouldn’t do any good to sacrifice his life for a chance. In addition, it didn’t seem this country was entirely unprepared, though maybe not for the Demon King. Regardless, even the villages had a decent number of combatants, so he imagined the capital would as well. They certainly wouldn’t be caught completely unprepared, and in the worst case they were the furthest country from the demon lands. Thus, they would have some chance to prepare after the war started… though that wouldn’t be good for any of the other countries. It would be best if Liaoyang, Ostana, Ustil, and Eclea were all working together from the start.
However, there was still time. Dong Xin wasn’t actually giving up here, but rather knew that it wasn’t a good use of time right now. He needed to know everything was getting ready everywhere else before risking himself on this country. Perhaps things would change in a dozen years or half dozen. Though there wouldn’t be as much time to prepare… it was still something.
Currently, Dong Xin was heading back toward Liaoyang. He wanted to check up with allies and friends, as well as personally delivering information that couldn’t securely be sent by letter. Plus, he liked his home country, and was certainly looking forward to it after all of the desert he’d been in.
However, Dong Xin didn’t travel at his highest speed. He took the time to train some along the way. Especially in Shattering the Soul, which was apparently going to be important in the future. He always took time to look over the notes William had left him, as he found them very helpful. It was strange to think that this was written by someone who had been a wizard in his former life, and only been training in ki for 6 years. In fact, he hadn’t even been a wizard, exactly, since he couldn’t use magic. However, Dong Xin supposed that having a former life might give him some interesting insights into things.
Dong Xin struck out. His fist hit a scorpion. Just a regular, small sized one. He’d already cut off its tail, with a small blade made out of ki. Although blades weren’t his forte, he could still create something sharp if he needed to. *Crunch*. The sound of a scorpion being hit was unpleasant. Dong Xin frowned. His technique wasn’t any good. He might be able to still destroy it if he used more ki, but it would be messy… and it would take a lot more. He had heard William’s story of destroying a bee, and he knew he needed to keep his defenses strong. He had much more ki and training available than William, but he supposed a scorpion would also have a larger soul than a bee. Probably.
In terms of actually cultivating ki, Dong Xin only put a small effort toward his method. At his age, he wasn’t going to make much progress. Though he might reach a small breakthrough or two, he wasn’t likely to reach or pass the fifth major breakthrough, which would be the most significant increase in power. That said, small increases weren’t bad either.
Dong Xin also trained in magic, though sometimes just out of necessity. He still needed water, after all. He could tell he would never be very good at magic… but it was a nice extra tool. For one thing, it didn’t draw on his own energy, which meant he could use it for small things almost as much as he wanted. He doubted it would be of much use in combat, in most cases. He was much better at ki training, and had also trained it for much longer.
As for how he found time to train… during the middle of the day the sun was too hot to travel safely anyway, so he had to stay in his tent for an hour or two. At night, he also took some time to train, since he didn’t need to sleep the entirety of when it was dark.
Dong Xin moved ever closer to the border. He didn’t know where in Liaoyang he would reach… but he would be able to navigate better once there. For now, he could just barely see the desert fading. Soon, perhaps, he might see some of the Endless Forest, though it was debatable whether the southern, mostly disconnected parts he would be going through were actually part of the other forest, since there were some gaps along the way. Still, it shared in the name.