Xue Wei understood this idea. Talented people would not have a lack of friends, but that did not mean he did not have his misgivings about it.
He had experienced such shallow friendship before. He had seen how those who sought to befriend him would sacrifice him the moment it could benefit themselves.
He had seen it when he was with Tie Haolong. Tie Haolong had eventually been cheated by his own group of friends, selling him out and causing him to ultimately lose his life.
Xue Wei was not interested in finding friends for mutual benefits. He believed that such friends would end up causing problems rather than helping him out, since in those moments he might need their help the most, they were unlikely to be there for him.
Seeing that Xue Wei did not fawn over Xiong Bing as the other women had expected him to do, their faces underneath the veils turned slightly surprised.
Although their faces were hidden, no one doubted that these women from the Argent Moon Sect were incredible beauties and that every man wished to gain the favor of such a woman, especially one as esteemed as Xiong Bing.
"Is he gay?" one of the girls muttered to her friend at the side. Although she spoke with a low voice, Xue Wei heard it.
Both his and Hei Gou's faces twitched. The girl who had been asked this glanced at Hei Gou and whispered back, "He might be, look how handsome his friend is."
"Then it makes sense why he is wary of Senior Sister Xiong Bing. He might even feel hostility towards women since they always gather around good-looking men. He must feel inferior."
The two were deeply engaged in their discussion, but their words made Xue Wei's face turn dark. If Hei Gou had made such a joke, Xue Wei would have hit him jokingly and teased him back, but that was because their friendship was genuine, a feeling of brotherhood connecting them.
These girls were actually making fun of their relationship, and this was something he could not accept.
"So you think that any man should behave like a brainless chicken the moment he is spoken to by a beautiful girl?" Xue Wei snorted, clearly aiming his words at the two women who were speaking together. His voice was cold.
"Well, is it not natural to want to make a positive first impression on a beautiful girl?" the woman retorted. This, however, made Xue Wei laugh.
"Why should I be grateful
for some attention from a person who does not even deign me important enough to see her real face? Hiding behind a veil, making it so that no one will ever be able to recognize the person in question. Is this your kind of goodwill?"
"I am supposed to be a gentleman? I know nothing of you women, but I know that women are not always righteous creatures. Some women are much more cunning than men; some will never hesitate to achieve their goals."
As he was saying this, Xue Wei thought of the Ice Harpy, which made him seethe with anger. She was an unrivaled beauty, but she was also the vilest and most evil creature he had ever encountered.
Meeting her had indeed given him a phobia towards people approaching him with a chummy attitude for no reason.
Xue Wei’s biting words rendered the girls a little stumped for words. They had never expected that someone saw women like that.
Then Hei Gou started laughing. "I think your sweetheart will be very jealous if she heard that you have fallen in love with me," he grinned.
"But what can I do, my appearance can entrance both men and women. Traveling with me for so long, how can you be unaffected?" Hei Gou continued to act as if what the women had said were the truth. Xue Wei shook his head.
"Your narcissism really knows no bounds," Xue Wei grinned, before turning his head to look at Xiong Bing. "Well, pretty lady, if you want to become friends with me, then you should get down from your high horse."
"I don't mind you being arrogant because of your strength, but don't think that all men will flock to be beneath your skirt just because you are a beautiful woman."
Xiong Bing was silent as she looked at Xue Wei, but seeing that she had no intention of answering, Xue Wei and Hei Gou turned around and left.
"I still think that they are a couple," the first girl said. Xiong Bing glared at her. Her reply was cold and clear, "Clearly they are not a couple, their relationship is real brotherhood! That is the deep kind of relationship that you ought to fear! They will not hesitate to die for one another. Such a brother or sister will make life worth living."
"But he is even more resolute than I expected. I fear that he is the darkest horse at the tournament. He will become a serious thorn in our side,
side, and we cannot just let him be. He shows no mercy to women, so winning against him solely relies on our individual strength. It is already very good if he lets us live when we encounter him in the arena."
"I should not have told him that the winner can take the loser's items if they kill their opponent. I fear that he will cause a massacre now."
While the disciples of the Argent Moon Sect were discussing Xue Wei, Xue Wei and Hei Gou were also discussing the incident that had just occurred.
"We have insulted two out of three great sects now," Hei Gou pointed out. But Xue Wei just shrugged his shoulders. "I assume that we can kill them in the tournament. That Wan Qiang guy is going to make some sort of contract stating that no one can take vengeance for the results of a match."
"If he does not do that, then I fear that no one will be willing to kill the experts from the three great sects, while the independent experts will die one after another."
"This will cause a severe uproar, so if he sticks to the idea of killing one another, then he has to take some precaution."
"It sounded like the experts from the Argent Moon Sect were very aware that the battle will consist of life-and-death battles, but they are not worried about it."
"This means that they have either transcended the fear of death – or more likely that they have complete and utter faith in their strength. They do not think that anyone will be able to kill them since the members of the three great sects will not kill each other."
"The experts from the three great sects do not need the resources of independent cultivators," Xue Wei continued, analyzing their situation.
"So they will use the opportunity to look benevolent instead, not killing their opponents, unless they behave rudely or in some way are displeasing to their eyes."
"That is quite a messed up way of thinking," Hei Gou said, sighing. "Do they think that anyone unrelated to them is a chicken on the chopping board waiting to be slaughtered at their every whim?"
"Unfortunately, that is exactly what they think," Xue Wei nodded his head to Hei Gou, "but I think that they are truly so stuck up that they look down on anyone who is not a member of the three great sects."
Xue Wei was also biased against the so-called geniuses of the sects. The
sects. The ones he had met so far had not given him a good impression. Instead, they had been overbearing and arrogant.
Even Xiong Bing who had come with the purpose of befriending them had been overbearing and acted as if it was Xue Wei's good fortune that she had deemed him worthy.
This kind of attitude was rubbing Xue Wei the wrong way, and he did not believe that a real friendship could be established this way.
Xue Wei remembered how he had once been an average child that used to play together with the other kids from Lingyun Town, only to lose his memories and become a loner who shut himself away from the rest of the world.
At the current point in time, he only had six people he considered friends. One of them was dead, another was a person who could not cultivate and was living as a priestess in a backwater kingdom while the other two besides Hei Gou were on unclear terms with him.
Tie Haolong had died for his sake. This was something that he would never forget. Shen Mu and Luo Zhirou were his other two friends, but he had no chance of safely meeting them after having been accused of being a Primordial Beast, and furthermore he had a feeling he could not trust them anymore.
Then there were Wang Xiaoyun. He did not even know her current fate, but he cared about her deeply. He himself was not even aware of why he cared so much about her, he just knew that it had taken root in him when he first saw her, and even now she was important to him.
Jiang Fengmian was a friend but he was worried of dragging her into his life as she was weak and never would become a cultivator.
Her future was in the capital of the Vermilion Forest Kingdom, attending the temple and helping with their charity, while Xue Wei was going to travel to the center of the continent, and hopefully even explore the other, distant continents as well.
And finally there was Hei Gou. The deepest bond was without a doubt between Xue Wei and Hei Gou.
Having left the disciples of the Argent Moon Sect, Xue Wei and Hei Gou strolled through the town center. They found that many of the independent cultivators were selling martial art scrolls in an attempt to earn money to buy other resources.
Xue Wei only had the Windwolf Sword Slash, but he was not willing to trade
He had been practicing the Windwolf Sword Slash on their journey before they came to the Skyward Empire, and now he was rather proficient in using it. Especially when coupled with Tianyi's power.
"This is torture," Hei Gou moaned. "To show us all these materials and all these things but tell us that we can't have it. Is it not unfair?"
Hearing this, Xue Wei chuckled. "We will get our share when the tournament ends," he said with certainty. "And then we won't even have to pay for it!" he continued. The last part caused Hei Gou to snicker.
"But even if we get some wealth this time, it won't last us long," Hei Gou said seriously. Xue Wei nodded his head. "I know," he said, frowning.
"The world of cultivators is one where you endlessly continue spending money on cultivation resources. This is why most youths join sects, but we can't do that."
Hei Gou nodded his head. Although the naked eye could not see his real form, these sects had methods to test the heritage of an applicant. There had been too many situations in the past where Primordial Beasts had infiltrated the sects and caused tremendous damage to their foundations.
"It seems that we ought to find a way to earn a steady income," Xue Wei sighed. "We have the problem of all Fierce Beasts avoiding us, so killing them for items is quite rare. We can kill humans for their money, but then we might have to deal with others trying to take revenge."
"The best would be if we somehow learned a skill that is sought after and earn money like that - look at Prophet Lan. He is a charlatan, but he manages to earn an outstanding amount of money just saying a few words that can mean a world of different things."
Hei Gou was quiet for some time and nodded his head. "We should learn some skills, but first we have to enter the center of the continent. We have to meet up with this Lan you keep talking about, and when we've met him and gotten an answer as to whether or not Wang Xiaoyun is alive, we can change our plans accordingly."