Dungeon Chef [Pilot]

The world is a Dungeon. The Dungeon Core shattered long years ago in an event called the Splintering. The shards of the Core scattered across the world. The large ones formed mini Dungeons of their own. The smaller ones turned into Skill Shards.

The inhabitants of the world can fuse with Skill Shards to get skills. Duh. But there is a catch: each skill shard when fused with its owner requires the owner to eat certain magic rich foods in order to grow and improve.

That’s where the Dungeon Chefs come in.

Our MC travels back in time from the future and uses his knowledge to become OP.


A whip lashed out and hit on the back of a child aged no more than ten, the force of the blow sending the kid sprawling onto the sandy ground. Blood oozed out of where the whip had broken skin on his shirtless back. Much to the supervisor’s surprise, the boy didn’t even cry out in pain. He simply struggled to his feet and continued walking.

Gura narrowed his eyes. He didn’t like that. He didn’t like that one bit.

He was the supervisor of this slave train. Twenty slaves in total. There were men, women and children among them – all of them with their hands tied in front of them with sturdy ropes and wearing little more than rags. Their feet were bound together as well, with just enough slack to let them shuffle forward without tripping.

Without exception, the slaves were all human.

Gura most certainly was not.

The beady eyed boar-man, commonly known as an orc, was nearly two and a half metres tall and a metre wide. His ugly mug was a misshapen lump of fat and his nostrils were clearly visible on his upturned piggy nose.

And like most slavers, he was a sadist. He loved to hear his slaves scream. To call him a bit free with his beloved whip would be an understatement.

But now, he had used his whip but no one had screamed.

He studied the child carefully. There was nothing extraordinary about his emaciated back or small stature. That was how all children born in captivity looked. The enforced march as the slaver caravan travelled across the desert to peddle their wares coupled with the infrequent meals robbed most slave children of their chance to grow.

Yet, Gura couldn’t help but feel that there was a dignity to the boy’s gait that hadn’t been there a moment ago. A mental oppression that made his spine tingle and his hand, that had been raised to lash him again, loosen its grip on the ebony handle of his leather whip.

He nearly took a step back before he realized what he was doing and grew furious.

His hand tightened on the whip and he brought it arcing down with all his strength. The whip whistled through the air and with a sharp crack that sent flesh and blood flying, it sent the child sprawling yet again.

This time, the child’s heart-rending scream echoed through the dry desert air.

Gura didn’t stop. Once, twice, three times he lashed the helpless kid with all his might leaving his back with gaping wounds. He revelled in the boy’s screams; using them to assuage his injured courage. How could he – Gura, the slave master; the man with the power to decide the life and death of each and every one of these human slaves be scared of a mere slave-child. Absurd!

Gura stopped just before the wounds grew dire enough to threaten the boy’s life. After all, he was merchandise and if he croaked, Garo, the leader of the caravan would cut the cost out of his pay.

Pointng his whip at the healthiest looking slave in the train, he grunted out, “Carry the whelp. And if he croaks, or ye slow down, I’ll lash ye to an inch of yer life.”

The slave immediately scrambled to shoulder the unconscious boy, stripping off the boys clothes to make a makeshift bandage to stanch his wounds. That’d last the couple of hours needed to reach Gehenna and then he could sell the boy.

After that, whether he lived or died was no concern of his.

As Gura turned around to get back on his sand-surfer, he couldn’t help but lick his one protruding tusk – the other snapped off in a bar-fight long ago – as he recalled the taste of all the meat dishes one could only find in The City of Sinners.

He knew where he was spending his coin that night. His belly-fat jiggled in agreement.





That was his name.

It was the name the slavers gave to every child born to the humans under their thrall. Sand supposed that the name was supposed to remind them, frequently, that they were as insignificant as the endless grains that composed the Tyhr Desert. Remind them that they didn’t even have the freedom to name their own children.

Even after he became a full-blown Dungeon mage.

Even after he gained the inheritance that would allow him to tread the path of a Dungeon chef and his name was whispered from one corner of the Tyhr Desert to the other.

Even after his ominous reputation for using the blood of his foes as kitchen ingredients spread to the ears of the Orc Chiefs and they bayed for his blood in return.

After all that was left of his pursuers was a desert strewn with mummified corpses and all twelve Orc chieftains gathered together to hunt him down. When they found him. When they fought him. When their wounds refused to heal and dyed the sands red with their blood.

Specially then.

He called himself Sand. To remind them of the name they had given him. To remind them that children like him were as numerous as grains of sand. All waiting for a chance to spill their blood.

In their fear, they had called him the Devil – Blood Devil, Sand.

He should have died that day. In that hopeless situation, he had used a skill. A skill he had obtained from a Time Dungeon. A single use skill that needed to be fed everything he had for it to work. His mana. His skill shards. His life. Everything.

Whether it would work or not wasn’t something he could know in advance. After all, it wasn’t like he could test it.

It was a gamble.

And it succeeded.




Sand awoke with a jolt of pain as he was unceremoniously dumped on his back into a wooden cart. Instincts ingrained over years of battle demanded that he sober quickly, that he get into a position ready for fight or flight based on the circumstances.

His young body, though, wasn’t so cooperative, flopping about weakly on the bed of the cart as his muscles weakened by blood loss and malnutrition gave out. All his flailing managed to achieve was aggravate the wounds on his flayed back, causing blood to seep out of them and dye his already bloodied loincloth, that had been used as a makeshift bandage, a darker shade of red.

The grotesque mug of an orc intruded into his field of view. A scar ran across the orc’s forehead, drawing a jagged line of white in his pale pink skin. Exactly three strands of hair were lovingly combed back over his otherwise bald head in a pretension of coverage.

“Oi lookie ‘ere. The freebie’s awake. Who’s putting some cash down on ‘im croakin’ by tonight, eh?”

The orc’s intonation was guttural, just like every other member of his race. Their voices didn’t handle anything outside their grunting and squealing language very well. Definitely not the common tongue he was using now.

Sand’s mind groaned and clanked as all its cogs began to fall into place as he rapidly took stock of his situation through the obscuring haze of pain and exhaustion. He had used the skill he had obtained from the Time Dungeon. Without an Appraiser’s help, all he had been able to make out was the skill shard was a consumable one and that to start, it required one to feed it everything one had.

As to its effect, he knew nothing. At the end of his rope, he had decided to take a gamble and activate the skill. After that, he had blanked out, unaware of what was happening to him.

When he came to, he found that he had returned to the body of his younger self. No mana. No skill shards. Not even the honed body he had built up over the hundred years of his freedom. Just an emaciated boy in a slave train.

As he stood frozen on his spot, trying to come to terms with his situation, the orc supervisor’s whip had fallen on his back. Just a ‘gentle reminder’ to move his legs.

What kind of existence was Sand? The Crimson Chef… The Blood Devil… The Terror of the Tyhr… Could mere physical pain cow him into submission. The Supervisor was a mere Red mage. He had been a Dungeon mage. He had killed Dungeon mages. The blood of three Orc chiefs dyed his hands. Even in his emaciated younger body, the Supervisor’s whip couldn’t even elicit a grunt out of him.

That was his mistake.

The sheer variance in status between one moment and the next had given him no time to adjust his mentality. A mere slave-child silently bearing a whiplash and getting up and walking without a single cry of pain was an anomaly. A clear sign of rebellion.

And slavers, the craven control freaks that they were, detested any sort of uncertainty. They baulked at the mere whiff of rebellion. His ‘insolence’ had earned him a lashing unto unconsciousness. If the survival instincts ingrained into his younger body over the ten years of its life as a slave hadn’t taken over and made him wail miserably – the whipping wouldn’t have stopped till he joined the innumerable human corpses under the sands of Tyhr.

Another grain of Sand to join the many.

The orc reached over and roughly slapped his face a few times. “Oi oi oi. Did that Gura whip ye silly? Eh?” Pinching Sand’s face so that his lips puckered up like a fish, the orc roughly raised Sand by his face, causing his neck to creak ominously as his entire body weight hung by it. “I knew somethin’ was wrong with ye when that miserly bastard gave ye away as a freebie with ‘is other miners but he never said ye couldn’t talk. Now be a nice little birdie and call me ‘Master’. Sing sweet enough and I might jest get the medic to give yer wound a little look-see? Hmm?”

He shook Sand’s face a little causing his neck to creak further as his entire body swung in the air.



The orc put his little finger in his floppy pig ear and jiggled it about. Taking it out and flicking the wax away, he leaned in and said, “Didn’t quite catch that.”


“The name’s Kreg. And to ye, it’s?”

Sand’s eyes were like two portals to the abyss.

“Master Kreg.”

“Ahaha. Clever little bugger, ain’t ‘e?” Kreg laughed as he rhetorically asked the other slaves arrayed behind him, eliciting murmurs of flattery and assent. “I quite like ‘im. Pity if he croaks so soon, eh? Get ‘im the medic…” Looking down, he chuckled and flicked Sand’s balls with his finger, making him go cross-eyed in pain and clamp his legs even as he hung helplessly in Kreg’s grasp. “And get ‘im some clothes to hide that little wiener… maybe he’ll live long enough to use it. Ahahaha.”

Tossing Sand back onto the wooden cart, Kreg walked away laughing raucously at his own joke as Sand lay curled up, enduring the dual waves of agony radiating off his flayed back and injured balls.

That and the ache of his shattered pride.

A hundred years, he had been a slave in his last life. A hundred years of humiliation before he had the chance to break free of his shackles. Then for the next hundred years, he had wrought bloody vengeance on those who would clap him in chains once more. An entire two centuries of effort lost to the backwash of time.

He had been sent back to the past.

He was weak and a slave. Again.

This time though, he would free himself faster. Two hundred years of experience and fore-knowledge was the wind in his sails. Although things had changed already with his assignment to the mines instead of as a scullery boy in a restaurant in Gehenna, the major events should still occur when they were supposed to.

Since life had given him a second chance, he would erase every regret he had in his past one. And the regrets had names:



And now, Master Kreg.




The medic was human. An old man with thinning grey hair and a skinny frame. His wrinkled skin was leathery and burnt a dark brown from his years exposed to the abrasive winds and harsh sun of the Tyhr Desert.

His most distinctive feature was that he was blind.

Some sort of corrosive substance had splashed upon his face and burnt his sight away. Milky white sightless eyes remained fixed in a motionless stare from under lids that had been melted into a half open state forever. The skin around his eyes had been bleached a bone white, drawing even more attention to his disfiguration. Eyebrows and eyelashes had been burnt away.

Yet, when Sand somehow managed to drag his weary and aching body through the wooden door of the ramshackle clinic, the old man looked up from where he was fiddling with a few bottled ingredients on his table with his slender, spidery fingers.

Despite the obvious disability, Sand had a clear feeling that the man could see him and see him much better than many with perfectly functional eyes.

‘Some sort of ability.’ He concluded. He had long since come to trust this intuition of his. It had saved his life several times.

“Another unfortunate one joins the ranks of the walking dead. One so young too. A pity. Such a pity.”

“H-heal me, old man.” Sand rasped out, his parched throat roughening his tone. Letting go of the frame of the doorway that he had been clutching for support, he staggered into the room.

Utterly exhausted, hungry, thirsty and in pain, his young body had been teetering on the verge of collapse. Only his strong will had been holding him upright, and even that had been worn down by the combined protest of his body and the humiliation dished out by Kreg so recently.

As to why the other slaves, the healthiest adult males in Gura’s train, had simply watched on without bothering to lend a hand to a mere child. It was simple. They didn’t want to become a source of amusement for their new orc master.

It was a common tactic employed by each slaver whenever they took in a new batch. They even had a name for it – the Favour and the Fool. They would choose the strongest or most skilled amongst the slaves and lavish them with conditions much better than their brethren. He, or she would become the Favour, the lackey of the slave-master. Of course, such disproportionate treatment would breed discontent among the other slaves and estrange the Favour from their ranks. But that didn’t matter to the Favour. As long as the master was in charge, the Favour would continue to prosper and to maintain their advantage, they would often try their best to ingratiate themselves to their master by snitching on the other slaves.

The Fool on the other hand was in a diametrically opposite position. Having only the Favour could cause the other slaves to unite against a common enemy. To alleviate their sense of dissatisfaction, a random slave, mostly the one who was the smallest and weakest or the least skilled, would be chosen by the Master and utterly humiliated for the master’s amusement.

It is true that we judge our happiness in comparison to other’s. So too do we judge our misery.

The presence of the Fool would create a clear feeling of ‘at least I don’t have to suffer that’ within the slaves. ‘If I go against the master, I might degenerate into the Fool,’ they would think. ‘But if I flatter him, follow his will, I might someday receive equal treatment to the Favour.’ Obedience born of a system of rewards and punishment. The oldest trick in the book.

And in this batch, Sand had been clearly chosen as the Fool. Association with him was taboo.

A sorrowful feeling welled up in Sand’s heart. An entire sentient race treated with little more dignity than domestic animals, sometimes even less. It was what he had been fighting against for the entirety of his last life. Now, all his achievements, the flower of freedom that had budded on the sands moistened by the blood of martyrs, all of it… gone. Washed away by the river of time’s sudden reversal of course. The waters of the errant river had flooded its banks washing away the dark red marks left by human heroes on its banks. History had been washed away and a fresh slate prepared to record facts anew. And the cause of it all – Sand. The Bloody Devil who had been one of the leaders of the human emancipation movement.

Did he feel guilty for invalidating all that his fellow heroes had achieved? Yes. Did he feel guilty for erasing the fact of their conversion from heroes to martyrs? No. Not at all. This time, they would live. They all would.

As Sand somehow managed to make his way to the bed in one side of the room, he felt the sightless gaze of the medic following him all the way. Collapsing onto the bed, he lay face down on what amounted to little more than a sheet laid on several wooden planks nailed together.

The medic cocked his head to the side, “Really, the vigour of youth. You burn so bright, it hurts even these eyes of mine.”

Sand snorted impatiently, “Hurry up.”

Slowly, languorously, the man stood from his seat behind his desk and shuffled towards Sand, reaching him just as he finally lost his fight against the darkness pressing against the edges of his vision.

The last he heard before he lost himself to the comforting embrace of darkness was the rustling and ripping of cloth as the medic’s deft fingers gently pulled away the makeshift cloth bandage that had become stuck to his wounds by the clotting blood.

“A pity you burnt too bright.”

If you have any questions about this, anything at all, then ask in the comments below. I am planning for the guy to be enslaved to a Succubus as her ‘meal’. Anyway, I’ll judge the interest level in this story by the number of comments. I even accept binary answers. This entire text contains ~18000 characters, you need to type just one. So, move those lazy fingers and type a ‘0’ for no or a ‘1’ for yes.

Kama-sutra Chapter 13

Kara brought me past Lin’s dwelling to the backside of the mountain where she lived, with Lin following us. As inner disciples of the Yin Demon Sect, they were quite high up in the mountain, a bit above the half-way mark. The outer disciples resided in accommodations that were located at the broad base of the mountain while the top was occupied by the sect elders and the core disciples.

The sect master lived in the dwelling at the mountain peak.

The different heights weren’t just a symbol of their status, it was also a measure of the cultivation resources available to them.

The mountain was special. No, I don’t mean its location in the middle of a forest with no other raised landforms in sight.

While there was that, what I mean is that it had magical properties. A Corpse mountain to be specific.

It was just as it sounds. the entire mountain was actually the dead body of a humongous beast. When Kara pointed that out to me, it took me a long time to actually wrap my head around it. I was so stunned that I stood about gawking at the soil beneath my foot for a solid minute like the hick I was, much to Lin’s amusement.

So, that was one mystery solved. Hmm hmm. Quite reasonable. If you see a mountain in the middle of a plain, it has to be a giant beast’s corpse. NOT.

What the hell. Even the dinosaurs never got that big. How would the things even support their body weight without their bones snapping under the pressure? It’s unscientific!

Maybe that’s the point. I wasn’t in a scientific world anymore. Magic existed. Why not giant beasts? Just, I hoped that such terrifying things weren’t a common sight.

When I asked them, the girls informed me that these beasts had become extinct in an Era known as the Desolate Period. At that time, these beasts shared the position of the overlords of the world with a race of giants known as the Titans. In that period, magic was much more prevalent, able to support the survival of such gigantic creatures.

Unlike now, when magic has to be extracted as Essence from various substances, in that period, magic could be easily extracted from a formless substance that was present everywhere called the Aether.

Prosperity and decline go hand in hand.

The very Aether that brought about the magnificence of the Desolate Era became its downfall when it disappeared. The meagre amount of Essence that could be extracted from physical substances wasn’t enough to support the magnanimous demands of the giant beasts or the Titans and a war that spanned the world broke out over the scraps of Aether permeated land that remained.

In the end, all of it was futile and the gigantic races began to die out one after the other. Some tried to seek for a way to escape their inevitable demise.

Their means were many and varied. Some special insects used their unique skill to wrap themselves up in a cocoon and fall into a state of stasis – waiting for the Aether to return while frozen in time.

Some others tried to reduce their builds in order to curtail their demand for resources. Many were successful. That is the origin of the current Beast races. The humans and other humanoid races (yes, there are other races) are apparently the descendants of the Titans.

The mountain we were currently on was actually the cocoon of a Giant insect named the Silver Yin Mantis. Over the thousands of years of its dormancy, the cocoon had developed a leak and its life had steadily passed and now, all that was left in the interior of the mountain was a corpse. That’s why it was called a Corpse mountain.

As to why it was advantageous to live near the top of the mountain, it was because the position of the leak corresponded to the peak of the mountain and as a Giant insect, even a corpse, the amount of Yin Essence it contained was enormous.

After its death, the Essence was slowly being released into the world. Actually, the Yin Demon Sect’s grand formation’s main purpose was to lock the yin Essence from leaking out, thereby causing the Essence to become particularly rich within it. The gathering of Moonlight Essence was just an auxiliary function.

Even if one didn’t cultivate, their Spirit would slowly grow by just living here. But the actual spring of Essence was at the peak. Thus, the closer one lived to the mountain peak, the faster they could cultivate.

So, the sect mistress had the most abundant amount of resources with which to cultivate. It was to the point that actually using men to cultivate would pollute her Spirit – doing more harm than good. It was ironical that the head of the Yin Demon Sect would be the least Demonic in her actions. Of course, she must have done her fair share of evil to crawl up to that position in the first place.

Was this what the Buddhists meant by the phrase putting down the butcher’s knife and reaching Buddhahood?

Judging by the drastic fluctuations of both Kara and Lin’s emotions at the mention of the sect mistress, I hazarded a guess that there was some hidden history there. But, now wasn’t the time to dwell on that.

We had reached Kara’s courtyard.

It was much larger than Lin’s courtyard. Actually, it was much larger than a lot of the other inner disciple’s courtyards. What was going on? Was I mistaken and was Lin secretly the illegitimate child of the sect Mistress? Come to think of it, could the Demonesses even get pregnant? The way they sucked the Essence out of the semen, I didn’t think normal intercourse would work. But, what if…

Oh shit, I hadn’t used protection. Was it her safe day? Was I going to become a father?

Even when Kara pushed open her gate and let us in, I was still worrying about this issue, so I didn’t notice where I was walking till I was half-way through the garden. But when I did notice, my jaw dropped.

Due to my activities as a public figure, I had to travel quite frequently. Wherever I went, I would be sure to put some time aside for sightseeing in my agenda. As a result, I had seen quite a few magnificent sceneries back on earth but all that had been trumped by my one-day stay in this world.

First the beauty of the enlarged moon illuminating us through the grand formation. Then the sight of the Viridian forest at night. And now, Kara’s garden.

It was… beautiful.

Now I knew why her courtyard was so much larger than the others. Most of the area was taken up by the garden, with the small wooden cottage taking up one corner of the yard. It was a sea of flowers, glittering silver and gold under the curtain of moonlight. Their stems and leaves glowed with a blue iridescence, increasing their mystical nature.

Noticing my stunned expression, “These are moon lilies,” announced Lin proudly. “Senior sister is the best Cultivator of moon lilies within the inner disciples.”

The way she puffed up in pride almost made me think that it was her accomplishments she was talking about, not Kara’s.

Running up to a blooming flower, she called me over. “Come here. See this.” Noticing the bemused expression on Kara’s face and the happy undertones in her signal, I concluded that she was enjoying the chance to show off. As for Lin, her enthusiasm was clear for all to see.

I was curious too. Walking up to her, carefully avoiding stepping on the flowers, I crouched down beside her.

“See this?” she said, indicating a flower whose petals were in the process of transitioning from silver to gold. “These flowers are really special. They absorb moonlight and convert it into yin and yang essence. Usually a single material can usually produce a single essence but yin-yang is special. These flowers are born both stamens and pistils but either their stamens or their pistils are immature while the other one is mature. If the stamen is mature, the flower petals are golden. If the pistil is mature, the petals are silver. But over the course of the flower blooming, their mature part withers while the immature organ becomes mature. The colour of their petals changes as well. So, a flower that buds as male will fall off as female and a flower that buds as female will fall off as male. Due to our grand formation, there is abundant moonlight and these flowers grow really well. The nectar produced by the pistil contains abundant yin Essence while the pollen has yang Essence. Usually, we would have to sell off the pollen at very low prices as cheap alchemy ingredients as nobody in this area cultivates with yang essence but now that you are here…”

Without warning, she suddenly smeared something on my nose with her finger. Before I could check what it was, I was overcome with a violent urge to sneeze.


In my crouching position, the force of my sneeze made me lose my balance and topple backwards. But if I fell, I’d crush the flowers. With a superhuman body and the youth title of Twister King, I managed to somehow hold myself off the flowers by throwing out my hands, contorting myself into an impossible position in the process.

Looking up, I glared at Lin who was covering her mouth and giggling as she watched me struggling up from my pose. Getting to my feet, I rubbed my nose which was still tingling from whatever she had smeared on it. My fingers came away with a golden sheen. Then the skin on my fingers began tingling as well but when I made to wipe them on my shirt, Lin stopped me.

“What is this?” I asked.

“It’s the pollen of the Moon lily. Use your Inner Vision.” She replied.

Following her instruction, I looked within myself.

Thin strands of golden Qi were penetrating my skin on my nose and fingertips that had come in contact with the pollen.

Some of the golden strands merged with my body while the rest joined my Spirit. When I looked very carefully, I noticed that this Qi was a different shade of gold from my Spirit. Now I knew why Lin and Kara talked about the Spirit becoming impure along with the cultivation with different resources.

Kara’s voice woke me from my contemplation. “Come on, you’ll be seeing a lot more of that stuff soon. For now, you should worry about other things.”

As I followed Kara into her house, I finally couldn’t hold in my curiosity and asked Lin. “Hey, aren’t you worried about getting pregnant?”

She just looked at me blankly. “Like… bearing a child? We had sex, you know? We didn’t use protection. You might get pregnant…” I explained further.

But noticing the blank look on her face, I had a premonition that she would say something really ridiculous.

“What does sex have to do with babies?”

Sure enough. Well, at least, I had my answer. What had the Demonesses turned sex into?

Ah well, Lin’s re-education would have to wait.

For now, I had a Kara to impress.

Table of Contents

Kama-sutra chapter 12

Sorry for the delay, had a fever. Fine now.

Lin, her senior sister and I. The three of us stared at each other in silence as we let our thoughts wander.

Lin had already brought her senior sister up to speed on the current state of affairs. Now we were waiting for her to make her decision.

In the silence, the music of their emotions was that much clearer. Lin’s melody was the muted trill of anxiety modulated with hope. Her senior sister’s on the other hand, despite her poker face, was a chaotic ensemble of instruments indicative of her current confusion.

All of a sudden, the ebony woman sighed and turned her amber eyes to meet mine. “Call me Kara.”

“Thomas Yang.” I decided to keep the poor bloke’s surname since I was in his body while getting rid of his first name. Once I said it out aloud, I somehow felt much better about my situation. I was still the individual from earth but now, I resided in a magical body in a magical world.

Thomas Thornton was no more. Neither was Liu Yang.

I was Thomas Yang.

My Soul glowed brighter momentarily before becoming much clearer than before. I could feel its conjunction with my body increase. Even the clarity with which I could sense Lin and Kara’s emotions shot up. I took it to mean that the name change was a step in the right direction.

“Thomas?” Kara’s eyes narrowed. “Didn’t you say that you were a local? What kind of name is Thomas?”

“What kind of name is Kara?” I shot back.

“I’m not local.” She replied.

“Thought so.” I nodded.

“What’s your excuse?”

“Since I escaped death, I decided on a new name for a new me.” I bullshitted with a straight face.

“Ookaay. Then what do you want of us?”

“Food, shelter, cultivation resources…”

“And sex.”

“Now that’s something you two will be wanting from me. It’s a give and take. You get full use out of your resources and a boost in cultivation speed. I get safety and a promise of safe egress from this man-trap of a Sect at some point in the future.”

“But you do know that I’m the biggest loser in this arrangement, right? Lin was at stage 3, you were a mortal and I was at stage 6 of the Qi condensing stage. Now, all three of us are at stage 3… You owe me three realms.”

You owe me a life. No, two.”

“…Fair enough. I guess. Though if I hadn’t brought you away secretly, you wouldn’t be here to double down on deals with me. Instead, you’d be strung up on a pole and treated like a living artifact. So, don’t try to use that as leverage again.”

“A business arrangement, huh? So that’s how you want it?”

“How else would I want it?”

“No… that’s fine. It works out for all of us. So, what next?”

Kara turned to Lin. “Well, since most of the sect will be up all night welcoming the newcomers and celebrating, there won’t be much happening till tomorrow noon. Then, there will be a tournament for the inner sect disciples. More of a demonstration of our strength to the newcomers, really. But it still has some lucrative prizes. Lin will be participating in the junior bracket. With her Spirit purity – she has a good chance of snagging a position.”

She turned to me, “As for me… I’m screwed. I will have to sit this one out. Instead, I’ll be testing how much you’re really worth. Lin and I have some resources stockpiled. You better deliver what you promise, or else…” She bared her teeth in a lopsided grin, her white teeth in sharp contrast with her skin. Her form blurred as she closed the distance between us in an instant. Though I could follow her speed with my eyes, reacting to her was a whole different story and before I could even twitch, she was pressing her elbow into my throat, her amber eyes inches from mine.

I felt her warm breath against my face as she spoke, “I could have crushed your throat right now. You can have all the power in the world but without the knowledge of how to use it… you are just as weak as you were as a mortal. Don’t let your cultivation get to your head.”

I swallowed nervously, my Adam’s apple bobbing up and down and grazing against her elbow. She had one thing right. Even with similar cultivation level, I couldn’t put a scratch on her. It was like a gym-rat facing off against a martial arts master. They both had the muscles but the martial artist would easily run circles around the gym-rat using his technique.

But she had one thing wrong too. Judging by the quiver in her emotional tone, I could tell that she knew the loophole in her words. Out of the bed, she could easily overcome me, but once we were under the sheets, she would be totally in my power.

Agreeing to cultivate with me meant that she had to be mentally prepared to put herself under my power. Once we started intercourse, she wouldn’t be able to hold on to her sanity. Even if I couldn’t suck her dry as she had first feared, it wouldn’t take much effort for me to take her life.

Even based as it was on the fact that killing her had absolutely no advantages for me, only disadvantages, it was still a huge leap of faith. One she must have struggled to take.

From the uncertain wavering tone of her emotions, it was a decision she still hadn’t fully committed to.

The only foreseeable result of her deciding that the cooperation was too risky was my corpse lying on the ground. And this time, I might not be lucky enough to reincarnate.

Taking a deep breath, I locked eyes with her. “If you are scared, you can tie me to a chair before we try this out. In return, I get to tie you up the next time.”

From the spike in the intensity of her signal and the total disappearance of the fearful undertones I guessed that she liked the idea a lot. The feral grin that spread across her face told me that maybe, she liked the idea a bit too much.

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