Ailu Empire, supply town...
After building a forward operating base in the Giant Beast Forest, rather, after the demonic beast rampage the other day. The supply town lost its luster.
It's only natural things developed this way. The Giant Beast Forest is a place of boundless treasures and resources. One can get their hands on demonic beast materials and other natural resources here.
Any warrior or magician worth his money in gold came to the Giant Beast Forest for multiple reasons. They can train here by hunting demonic beasts. This also has the bonus of getting to sell the loot obtained from defeated monsters.
If the cultivators are lucky, they can get their hands on precious treasures that will make them rich beyond their imaginations.
Cultivators hold a high status in the eyes of the average human. They are powerful people and they are respected for that. Even so, cultivators need to make a living, they need a house and they need to put bread on the table.
Not every cultivator is born with the support of a clan or large faction. There's a weird characteristic in the population of cultivators.
Commoners composed about 66% of the total warrior cultivator population while magicians from noble families form about 66% of the total mage population. Warriors form the majority of the cultivator population.
From this, it can be surmised that most cultivators are from a commoner background.
As a result, most of them have to sustain themselves through their own means. They can't rely on clans or factions to survive.
Thus, there are cultivators who chose to hunt in the Giant Beast Forest to train and earn money. Indeed, this is the best route for most cultivators.
This is the reason why the supply town is always bustling with activity. Its proximity to the Giant Beast Forest makes it a perfect place to set up operations. A hunter can sell his loot here and find all the facilities for survival like food and lodging in this town.
Wu Yan recalls the first time he came here. There were people on the streets 24-7. It's like a festival every day.
Now, the Forest is dangerous, monster floods might occur and there is a forward operating base in the Giant Beast Forest too. In the interest of public safety, the empire also forbade entry into the forest by anyone not affiliated with the base. This basically cut off the cultivators' main stream of income.
Even so, these commoners are cultivators so they will earn their keep elsewhere. The decline of patrons in the supply town also meant less economic activity in the supply town.
The bustling street is now vacant. There are only a few pedestrians here and there. One can even see the entrance all the way from the plaza without the cultivators and vendors blocking the way.
The supply town is no longer the supply town. It's now a small town that mostly deals with soldiers who are procuring supplies for the forward operating base.
Fortunately, the commercial district is still hanging in there. People can still buy or sell stuff here. Otherwise, the town would truly be only a town in name.
"Thanks for your patronage!"
The storekeeper sent the prized customer out the door with a happy face. Meanwhile, Wu Yan is stuck with bags of products.
"Let's see... the clothes Hinagiku wants... Inori-chan's bag... Kurumi's hairpin... Yoshino's book... what am I missing?"
"Right, Mikoto's Gekota and Kotori's candy..."
He started going through his items.
"Hold up, do they sell Gekota and Chupa Chups in Silvaria?"
Wu Yan is buying items for the girls.
He promised he would buy it for them. He was busy with various tasks so he can only come here after freeing up his schedule.
Wu Yan is already visibly tired from shopping.
He looked around and sighed when he saw the almost empty main street.
"I should go search again, I don't have anything better to do anyway..."
Wu Yan slapped his cheeks and he turned towards another commercial district.
He continued browsing the stores one by one to locate Gekota and Chupa Chups. Gekota is a hard challenge in itself, he spent 3 hours with nothing to show for it.
Wu Yan suddenly had a thought.
"Do the stores here sell Gekota and Chupa Chups?"
The stores here have some history behind them. Why would anyone source and sell childish items like Gekota and Chupa Chups.
He should be browsing smaller stalls and retail stores for those items.
"I am such a fool!"
He knocked his own head with a sigh. He can feel his stamina slowly sapping away...
Wu Yan wasn't aware a certain figure leered at him from a hidden corner nearby.
"Found you... Wu Yan..."
Wu Yan stopped his petty complaints. He turned around to see an empty corner.
He scratched his cheek with a frown.
"Was that a hallucination?"
Suddenly, he can hear the sound of something cutting through the wind. The force was accompanied by magical signatures.
The ambush attack isn't particularly strong. Wu Yan showed his quick reflex by addressing the source immediately. He saw a tiny storm heading his way.
Wu Yan didn't dodge. He stomped once and a magic storm several times greater than the puny storm surged outwards.
Wu Yan used pure magic power to stop the magic spell.
The ground cracked as the two opposing forces collided. The glass windows of the nearby stores also shattered.
A few pedestrians unlucky to be in the vicinity got staggered backward. Some got thrown away by the ensuing force. They were rolling in pain and grumbling on the ground.
Fortunately, the storm is aimed at Wu Yan. He also stopped it in time so the damage isn't particularly extensive. A few pedestrians got sent flying but nobody's seriously harmed. The commercial district was thrown into chaos, objects were falling to the ground, people were wailing in pain.
The magic storm wasn't particularly strong. The caster must have been tier 5 or tier 6 at best. Otherwise, Wu Yan can't reliably block the spell with pure magic power.
Wu Yan understands this so he leered at the source of the spell, the caster.
He saw the caster...
She's wearing a muslin mask so one couldn't see her face. She appears to be around 17-18 based on height and other physical features. She had raven-black hair that almost touched her waist. The caster girl is looking at Wu Yan with a pair of hateful eyes...