Book 3, Chapter 99 - Qing Cang City

Qing Cang City was located in the southeastern part of the Huaxia Dynasty. It was located on the easternmost edge of the Yan Province and the westernmost edge of the Huang Province.

Although it was remote, it was not deserted or rundown. Before even entering the city, one could see how bustling it was.

Qing Cang City couldn’t compare to the main cities of the Huang Province, but it was still ranked top among the second-rate cities. This was the junction between two provinces, so there were a few top-ranked sects here, along with countless families. Such an important place naturally had protection against evil cultivators who might do horrible things like slaughter an entire village or even city for their cultivation.

This was the junction between the Yan Province and the Huang Province, and the two sides were completely different. The Yan Province was covered in mountains, while the Huang Province was a vast plan. The magnificent Qing Cang City was the official sign that one had entered the Huang Province.

Zhao Jiuge’s group of three had rushed for half a day and passed through the deserted area between the two provinces.

After passing through a winding mountain, the three of them were not far from Qing Cang City. They looked at one of the top cities in the Huang Province with curious eyes.

Qing Cang City was so vast that when standing at the front gate, Zhao Jiuge wouldn’t see where it ended.

The Hua Xia Dynasty had the capital city and each province had its own main city. Following that would be second-rate cities, and Qing Cang City was one of these. Below that were naturally the third-rate cities and the small villages and towns.

Zhao Jiuge had seen the massive and impressive capital city and various other cities, so this was not the first time he had been through such a lively city. Although this liveliness was just a feeling, naturally it couldn’t compare to the capital city. However, standing here at the city entrance, he could hear the bustling sound of the people inside, and it was an extraordinary feeling. Zhao Jiuge couldn’t help but yearn for this. After cultivating for so many years, he had spent most of his time at the sect, and this noise made him feel like he was back at the village where he grew up. He felt more grounded than ever, like a normal person instead of the Chief Head Disciple of the Mysterious Heaven Sword Sect.

Qing Cang City was paved with large, cyan stones one or two meters wide. It wasn’t dazzling or quaint, but it gave off a pleasant feeling. Zhao Jiuge thought that perhaps due to being away from civilization for so long, he was being infected by the liveliness.

Zhao Jiuge raised his neck and looked up at the majestic city wall that was just short of 200 meters in height.

Pei Su Su’s expression was somewhat cold as she stood beside Zhao Jiuge. Although she was looking at Qing Cang City, her mind was obviously somewhere else. Normally, she would already be holding Zhao Jiuge’s arm, but the argument they had last night was still lingering in her mind. She could only bury it deep in her heart and think about it on her own.

The two of them were handsome and beautiful like a pair of immortal lovers. The scenery, city, and everything blended together to form a picturesque scene. However, behind Zhao Jiuge was San Wu in a yellow monk robe. His presence alone was enough to break this beautiful atmosphere. 

Perhaps because San Wu understood that he was a third wheel, he purposely distanced himself a bit more. While San Wu looked quite simple and harmless, he was not stupid; he more or less understood the relationship between a man and woman.

There was also the palm-sized Little Black, who was covered in black fur aside from the patch of white fur on his stomach, on Pei Su Su’s shoulder. After awakening, Little Black had reached the late stage of the Spirit Core Realm and hadn’t been able to stay idle at all. He had spent the last few days playing around while clenching Pei Su Su’s clothes. Zhao Jiuge wondered why Little Black was so strong. The higher Little Black’s cultivation became, the smaller he became, and there was no sign of any innate spells. Zhao Jiuge felt somewhat depressed. Other spirit beasts were all very powerful, but this one was not. But in the end Zhao Jiuge didn’t care too much—he was just a little jealous and didn’t know why Little Black was stuck to Pei Su Su all day!

“Let’s go in. We’ll casually walk around today and then see if we can find any clues about the Chilling Fire Flower.”

After looking around Qing Cang City for a while, Zhao Jiuge couldn’t bear it anymore and wanted to enter. He had come here hoping to find someone selling the Chilling Fire Flower. Normally, a city would have an auction, and given the size of this city, the quality of the auction wouldn’t be low. The larger the city, the more cultivators and resources it would have. That meant it was more likely for strange and precious things to appear.

There was a faint flicker of spirit force around Qing Cang City, and this shocked Zhao Jiuge. This city had to be quite important, normally. Only the biggest cities and important cities had formations protecting them from evil cultivators. There were many cultivators in the world, and it was difficult to guard against evil cultivators. Cultivation was not as simple as one plus one; if a powerful evil cultivator suddenly appeared, that person could easily crush an entire group.

Everything fit under two categories.If there was a winner, then there was a loser. Although the Hua Xia Dynasty was in peace and the seven holy lands ruled over the area, there were groups of evil cultivators gathered everywhere. They were waiting for a chance to break free. In the past, groups led by evil Mahayana Realm cultivators had taken over large parts of the land. They wantonly killed cultivators and mortals while occupying a large amount of territory for their resources.

However, since ancient times, evil had never suppressed righteousness. After all, the majority of people in the world were on the righteous side, so no matter how perilous the situation became, the righteous side always won. The evil cultivators were too many in number, and when they went into  hiding, it was impossible to get rid of them all. They were like weeds and unless you remove the root then after the rain they will spring back up to cover the field. The seven holy lands couldn’t remove the source of the problem and only prevent the worst situation from occurring.

The three of them and the monkey walked through the gate without any guards and saw the ground paved with cyan stones. Zhao Jiuge frowned slightly when he felt a burst of spirit force swoosh past him. Soon, his expression returned to normal. It was probably some Soul Formation Realm cultivator who checked everyone who entered. Everyone who entered the city received the same treatment.

This made Zhao Jiuge suppress his pride. This city was not simple, and just the gate was guarded by a Soul Formation Realm cultivator. These cultivators most likely belonged to a family in the city. Families were different from sects. The former purely gathered resources to develop themselves, while the latter dedicated themselves to improving their strength. These families would gather resources and use them to recruit cultivators to be their fighting force.

This discovery made Zhao Jiuge very happy, and his eyes burned with passion. He was not afraid of people, but of the lack of people. The more powerful cultivators there were, the better the resources, meaning the auctions here might even be at a very high level! This meant he would have a much better chance of finding the Chilling Fire Flower.

The Chilling Fire Flower was the thing he needed the most, and it was his most urgent task. As for whether he had the ability or money to get it, that was an issue for later. Zhao Jiuge noticed a serious problem after encountering the Happy Monk: he was lacking power. While he could hold his ground against ordinary Nascent Soul Realm cultivators, if he encountered one with a powerful background and foundation, he wouldn't be a match.

He felt very distressed about this as he had been stuck at the late stage of the Spirit Core Realm. If it was so difficult for him to break through, then could it be that grade-8 spirit cores had a very slim chance of reaching the Nascent Soul Realm?

Fortunately, although Zhao Jiuge was anxious, it wasn’t enough for him to walk down the wrong path like the evil cultivators. This was all thanks to the way the Mysterious Heaven Sword Sect trained their disciples. They trained the heart before anything else, and the years he had spent in the outer sect had laid a deep foundation. Although anxious, he would not take any shortcuts.

Zhao Jiuge decided to forget about this and strive to do what he could to improve his strength for now, which was to get the Chilling Fire Flower. Perhaps once his physical body became stronger, he would be able to fight against Nascent Soul Realm cultivators and not drag everyone down. He didn’t want to have to always rely on Pei Su Su. Deep in his heart, he wondered how the other inner disciples of the sect were doing. He wondered if the disciples of the other holy lands were facing the same issue of being stuck in a realm.

When he thought about how he could get information about the Chilling Fire Flower, Zhao Jiuge could not calm down. He didn’t rest and immediately went to look for information about the auction house.

Although the city was very large, it was well planned. Each area had its own reason for existing, making it clear that someone was managing all of this.

Zhao Jiuge walked along the street and immersed himself in the bustling atmosphere. This made him relaxed, but Pei Su Su was still a bit cold and was no longer as lively as she was before. This was San Wu’s first time leaving the sect, so he was very curious about everything. However, Zhao Jiuge was anxious to find an auction house and didn’t have time to pay any attention to him.

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