Chapter 632: The Milky Way Sea
The Milky Way Sea was located in the middle of the lands of South Heaven, splitting everything into two continents, one comprised of the Eastern Lands and the Northern Reaches, the other of the Southern Domain and the Western Desert.
The area taken up by the Milky Way Sea is huge, far greater than either of the two continents. If you compared it in size with the Southern Domain, the Milky Way Sea would be approximately five times as large.
Therefore, it was divided up into four sections called Rings. The part outside of the Four Rings was called the Outer Sea.
The boundless sea was constantly plagued with hurricanes that swept about, causing huge waves to spring up. Still, there were many islands to be found, some large, some small, which meant that there were Cultivators too.
Of course, sea beasts swam to and fro within the sea waters. Their flesh and blood were often prized by Cultivators, especially the sea beasts that were similar to Cultivators, and were called Sea Demons. Their Demon hearts were highly valuable. Even one Demon heart could emit spiritual energy similar to a mid-grade Spirit Stone.
For these and a variety of other reasons, the Milky Way Sea had been a destination for Cultivators for many years. People settled down, multiplied, expanded, and soon power structures emerged.
There were both strong and weak powers in the Milky Way Sea, and they were distributed amongst the various islands that dotted the surface of the waters. Most of the powers existed in the Fourth Ring. Only some very powerful Sects or Clans qualified to reside in the Third Ring.
Of course, there were many legends that passed from ear to ear in the Milky Way Sea. Many seemed unlikely, but at the same time, many people believed them to be true. It seemed that when anything changed in the Milky Way Sea, there were always people who would attribute it to something strange.
It was a vast sea that would never be peaceful and calm, but would always be brushed over by hurricanes. This… was the Milky Way Sea.
In the Outer Sea region of the Milky Way Sea, a ship approximately three hundred meters long was moving along at high speed.
At the prow of the ship, a middle-aged man was casually recounting some Milky Way Sea legends to some youngsters who were gathered around him.
“According to the legend, there is an ancient ship which can be seen in the Milky Way Sea. Anyone who sees that ship will receive great blessings…. They say that an old man sits cross-legged at its prow.
“He wears a dilapidated suit of armor, and his eyes are closed. He never moves….”
The youngsters looked very excited. Apparently, this was a story they could hear a hundred times, but never get tired of.
Water sprayed up from the surface of the sea, and high up above the ship, a silk flag snapped in the salty breeze. Embroidered on the flag was the character “Zhang 张,” along with the representation of a flying sword. That indicated that this ship belonged to the Zhang Clan, a Cultivator Clan of the Milky Way Sea.
There were approximately fifty people on the ship, most of whom were fit and strong, but mortal. There were only a handful of Cultivators, all of whom sat cross-legged in meditation. The only one who didn’t was the middle-aged man at the prow of the ship, who was in the late Foundation Establishment stage. He was the one telling stories to the younger generation Clan members.
“Our Zhang Clan’s Patriarch saw that ship a few hundred years ago,” he continued in a low voice, taking advantage of the situation to subtly influence the younger generation of the clan. “He received a blessing just as the legends say; he had a Cultivation base breakthrough, and became a Core Formation expert.
“It was for that reason that he was able to occupy an island in the Outer Sea, and establish our Zhang Clan as a local power. All of you need to remember this!”
Among the group of youngsters was a strapping young boy who instantly spoke up. “We know that story, Uncle Hai Xin!” he said. His tone pleading, he said, “Tell us about Saint’s Island!”
As soon as the words left his mouth, some of the other children began to beg for the same thing.
The middle-aged man laughed silently, not quite sure of what to say. He was about to begin speaking, when suddenly he sensed something. He turned his head to look at the ship’s quarterdeck, and saw a beautiful young woman emerging 1. She wore a nautical silk jacket and skirt, and was naturally beautiful, radiant, and enchanting. A slight smile could be seen on her face as she stepped out of the quarterdeck. However, despite the smile, it was impossible to cover up the anxiety and unease in her eyes.
Holding her hand was a child of six or seven years old, a boy. He had plump cheeks, and looked quite adorable. As for the young woman, her Cultivation base was at the great circle of Foundation Establishment.
“Greetings, Clan Leader!” said the middle-aged man respectfully. He clasped hands and bowed deeply.
The other youngsters around him also bowed to her.
“We’re all fellow Clan members, there’s no need for such politeness,” said the young woman, laughing. “Nan’er wanted to see the sun setting over the ocean, so I brought him out to have a look.”
The boy next to the young woman looked at the middle-aged man with wide eyes and piped: “Uncle Hai Xin, did I just hear someone mention Saint’s Island?”
The middle-aged man laughed, and a doting gleam appeared in his eyes. To him, all the hope of the Clan rested on the future of this boy.
“Ah, Saint’s Island,” said the man, smiling. “It’s the number one island in the Fourth Ring, and its Footloose Sect is the number one Sect in the whole Fourth Ring!
“Saint’s Island is very large, almost like a continent! It’s far, far larger than our island. There is even a nation of mortals that exists there, called the State of Xiao.
“Because the Footloose Sect has a Spirit Severing Cultivator, it can strike awe into the hearts of all the other forces in the Fourth Ring. It has many Cultivators; Qi Condensation and Foundation Establishment Cultivators are everywhere. There are even dozens of Core Formation Cultivators! And when it comes to Nascent Soul experts… they have seven!
“In the entire Fourth Ring, there isn’t a single Sect or Clan who could possibly fight back against their power. The Footloose Sect is fully deserving to be regarded as the overlord of the Fourth Ring.
“You all know the reason we’re going there. Therefore, when we arrive, all of you need to be very respectful. Young Master Nan’er has the best latent talent of anyone born in recent years.
“The Footloose Sect is accepting disciples, which means that our Clan has an incredible opportunity!” As of this point, the man’s eyes shone with anticipation.
“If Young Master Nan’er can join the Footloose Sect, then with his latent talent, he’ll definitely be able to reach Foundation Establishment. There would even be the possibility that in the future, he could reach Core Formation! Then, he could be just as heroic as our Clan Patriarch, all those years ago!
“When that happens, our Zhang Clan will once again be able to rise to prominence in the Outer Sea!” The middle-aged man’s voice was filled with passion. The youngsters around him looked over with admiration and envy at the boy standing next to the young woman.
The young woman tousled his hair, and was about to say something when, suddenly, her expression flickered. In the same moment that she looked up, so did the middle-aged man.
From the middle of the ship, a man and a woman suddenly flew up into the air. Both of them looked to be about fifty years old, and had Cultivation bases in the late Foundation Establishment stage. They stood on flying swords, expressions of shock on their face as they looked up into the air.
Everything was quiet, and everyone on the boat looked on, stunned.
What they saw was a huge rift soundlessly open in mid-air. It rapidly turned into a pitch-black vortex, which rotated rapidly as it turned into a black hole.
A man staggered out, blood spraying from his mouth.
He had long gray hair, and wore a white, blood-stained robe. His aura was unstable, and his face was pale white. Of course, it was Meng Hao.
The parrot perched on his shoulder, and its disdainful gaze swept around the area.
As soon as Meng Hao appeared, his internal injuries once again exploded out, which was something he hadn’t anticipated. The second teleportation had actually ripped open the old wounds, causing the injuries to become even worse.
He hovered in mid-air, looking down at the people on the ship and the various expressions on their faces. It didn’t matter that he was currently injured, as soon as his gaze swept across them, their hearts began to tremble and pound. They felt as if they were being stared at by an ancient, wild beast.
“My injuries are too severe,” he thought, looking away. “I need to quickly find somewhere to begin healing.” Ignoring the people on the ship below, he took a deep breath, and was just about to force his Cultivation base to rotate so that he could move off into the distance.
On the ship, everyone stood around as mute as cicadas in winter. Except for the young woman.
“Senior, there’s no need to leave!” As soon as the words left her mouth, she felt regret. When Meng Hao looked back at her, she trembled, but then forced herself to clasp hands and bow deeply.
“Senior,” she went on, trembling, “you’re seriously injured. If you’re searching for a place to rest and heal, our ship has first-class cabins as well as some medicinal pills. If you’d like, you can always treat yourself here.” She clenched her teeth, and her heart pounded with nervousness.
When they heard her words, the faces of the surrounding Foundation Establishment Cultivators, including the middle-aged man, all fell. They couldn’t understand why the Clan Leader would do something like this. They wanted to do something to stop it, but didn’t dare to open their mouths.
Meng Hao’s expression was the same as ever as he paused in mid-air to look at the young woman.
When he looked in her eyes, the young woman felt as if all Heaven and Earth were roaring, and she began to tremble even harder.
“What place are you going to?” he said, retracting his gaze.
“Our humble Clan is going to Saint’s Island in the Fourth Ring, so that my son can join the Footloose Sect.” The young woman didn’t dare to hide anything, and also spoke very respectfully. As of this point, the other three Foundation Establishment Cultivators had guessed what her purpose was. Although they continued to tremble inwardly, they also felt a bit of anticipation.
Meng Hao didn’t know where exactly this Saint’s Island was, nor did he understand the power structures and various regions of the Milky Way Sea. After a moment of thought, he nodded and then floated down onto the ship. The young woman respectfully guided him to a private cabin protected by a spell formation.
Meng Hao nodded, then sat down cross-legged. As he closed his eyes, the young woman respectfully made her exit.
As soon as she left, the parrot disapprovingly said, “Why did you pick this place? Don’t tell me you’ve taken a liking to that young lady? She doesn’t have much fur. I actually checked her out a few times earlier….”
“It doesn’t matter where I hide in the Milky Way Sea, it’s all the same,” replied Meng Hao coolly. “Even if I’m at the bottom of the sea, once the 10th Wang Clan Patriarch detects my aura, he’ll be able to find me. Since that’s the case, I might as well hide here. Who knows, I might even gain some unexpected benefits.” With that, he began to rotate his Cultivation base. Violet light gleamed underneath his eyelids as he began to treat his injuries.
Time passed by. On the morning of the second day, the young woman brought some local Milky Way Sea food products. She also gave him a jade slip that had information about Saint’s Island, as well as a sea map of the surrounding areas.
The map was the most valuable thing to Meng Hao. Although it seemed simple, it had actually been produced by information gathered by successive generations of the Zhang Clan.
The young woman wasn’t sure of Meng Hao’s origins, but just to be safe, she gave him the map as a show of good faith.
Meng Hao took the jade slip, looked it over, and then smiled. The young woman instantly felt a bit more at ease. She reached up to pull a strand of hair back over her ear. Her features were naturally beautiful, but the mixture of anxiety and relief caused her to look even more entrancing. Suppressing her own excitement, she respectfully left.
Meng Hao watched her leave. Based on his experiences, the reason she had asked him to stay was because she had experienced grave danger in the past. Thus, she had taken the risk to call out to him.
He then focused his attention on the jade slip. “So the Milky Way Sea is divided into four Rings…. The area outside the Fourth Ring is called the Outer Sea.
“Saint’s Island. State of Xiao. Footloose Sect.” After a bit of time, he put the jade slip away and then continued to treat his injuries.
Time passed by slowly….
- In Chinese, the word used to describe the young woman indicates that she either is or was married ↩