Han Li traveled directly toward Heavenly Star City, passing by a few islands along the way, but he showed no intention of stopping at any of them.
However, he soon discovered that all of the cultivators that he encountered along his journey were also all in a rush.
If two groups of unfamiliar cultivators bumped into one another, both sides would immediately adopt wary expressions, and the atmosphere would become extremely tense.
This observation made Han Li's brows furrow, and he could sense the turmoil brewing within the Scattered Star Seas.
As he approached the massive island upon which the Heavenly Star City was situated, he saw more and more traveling cultivators. Aside from groups of cultivators locked in tense confrontations, there were even some who were engaged in fierce battles, and it was quite apparent that all of the participants in those battles were not holding back at all, clearly intent on killing their enemies.
In the beginning, Han Li paid them no heed. However, as the instances of such battles increased in regularity, Han Li knew that this most likely had something to do with the conflict between the Starfall Coalition and the Star Palace.
Even though it appeared that the Starfall Coalition was dominating the battle, the Star Palace had been ruling over the Scattered Star Seas for such a long time, so they had to have some trump cards up their sleeves. Furthermore, they also shared close ties with many of the large sects in the Scattered Star Seas. Those ties were not very apparent under normal circumstances, but those powers would definitely step in when the Star Palace was truly on the cusp of destruction.
The fact that there were cultivators who clearly belonged to neither the Star Palace nor the Starfall Coalition participating in the battles seemed to indicate that the Star Palace really was at the end of the road. After all, none of the other major powers would step in unless their intervention was absolutely mandatory.
Of course, Han Li wasn't just going to plunge headfirst into the conflict between the Star Palace and the Starfall Coalition without doing some research first. However, it was difficult to acquire any useful information from low-grade cultivators as they simply didn't know much themselves. As such, even though he encountered many Foundation Establishment cultivators along the way, he didn't stop to interrogate any of them.
On that day, he was hurtling through the air as a streak of azure light when all of a sudden, his expression changed slightly, and he turned toward a certain direction in the distance.
He stalled briefly in his flight before flying toward that direction.
With Han Li's current cultivation base, it only took him several flashes while flying at full speed to cover a distance of over five kilometers.
There, he cast his gaze downward, and a hint of a smile appeared on his face.
In the air at a lower altitude down below, there was a black-robed elderly man and an intimidating burly man locked in a fierce battle with one another, while manipulating a shimmering yellow flying sword and an azure ring treasure respectively.
Coincidentally, these two were both at the mid-Core Formation Stage, and their treasures seemed to be roughly comparable in power as well. As such, they were completely evenly matched.
If neither of them had any other treasures or trump cards up their sleeves to vanquish their opponent in one fell swoop, Han Li estimated that it would take them at least most of a day to reach a decisive result in their battle. Furthermore, it didn't appear as if either man would be capable of killing the other, so the battle would most likely conclude with one side fleeing following a close defeat.
Han Li's sudden arrival naturally came as quite a surprise to both the elderly man and the burly middle-aged man. They reflexively stopped what they were doing and turned their attention to Han Li with wary expressions on their faces.
Both of them swept their spiritual sense toward Han Li, upon which their expressions changed drastically.
In order to draw less attention to himself, Han Li had concealed his cultivation base to only the early-Nascent Soul Stage. However, that was already enough to intimidate two Core Formation cultivators.
The two of them waved their hands through the air almost in unison to stow away their respective treasures, immediately following which the elderly man hurriedly extended a respectful bow toward Han Li, and said, "I am Bi Xun of Fallen Spirit Island. May I have the honor of knowing your esteemed name, Senior?"
The middle-aged man also extended a respectful bow to Han Li with a fawning expression on his face as he asked, "Do you require our assistance, Senior?"
Han Li crossed his arms with an indifferent expression, and said, "You don't need to know who I am. I haven't been here for many years, so I have some things to ask the two of you."
The two men were very relieved to hear that Han Li was merely coming to them for information, and the elderly immediately said, "We'll be sure to tell you everything we know, Senior!"
Han Li nodded upon hearing this, and immediately began to inquire about the events that had taken place in the Scattered Star Seas during the past century.
The two men naturally regarded Han Li as a Nascent Soul Stage senior who had been in an extended period of seclusion, and they hurriedly offered launched into a recount of the past events.
Over 100 years ago, the demon beast of the outer seas took over many islands inhabited by humans, and delivered an ultimatum for all human cultivators to vacate themselves from the outer seas. A battle between the humans and the demon beast naturally erupted as a result.
Strangely enough, neither the Star Palace nor the Starfall Coalition deployed many cultivators to participate in this battle. Instead, many itinerant cultivators and disciples from smaller sects who were benefitting directly from those islands gathered on a large island where teleportation formations had been set up, and engaged in a fierce battle with the demon beasts.
To call it a battle would actually be inaccurate as in reality, it was just a bunch of human cultivators on a few islands, desperately trying to keep the demon beasts at bay by making use of some of the restrictions on the islands.
Cultivators who dared to participate in this battle possessed Foundation Establishment Stage cultivation bases at a minimum. It was said that tens of thousands of cultivators were gathered, and even when split up, there were still around 5,000 to 6,000 human cultivators on each island.
However, as soon as the battle began, all of the islands were completely surrounded by countless low-grade demon beasts, thereby severely denting the morale of the human cultivators, who had initially been brimming with confidence. In the end, the human cultivators only lasted about half a month before all of the islands were conquered by the demon beasts.
Apparently, not even a single high-grade metamorphosis stage demon beast had participated in the battle. All of the restrictions on the islands had been vanquished by low-grade demon beasts, of which there seemed to be an almost infinite number, and just their efforts alone were enough to conquer all of the islands.
In the outer seas, the human cultivators were no match for the demon beasts, so they had no choice but to retreat back to the Inner Seas, then destroyed all of the teleportation formations leading to the outer seas, and temporarily relinquishing everything they had established there. At that point, the Outer Star Seas had once again become the domain of the demon beasts.
Of course, the human cultivators hadn't actually completely given up on the Outer Star Seas. After a few centuries or perhaps even a few millennia of recuperation, the humans were most likely going to return to the outer seas. After all, the countless demon beast in the outer seas provided a virtually endless supply of demon cores to be harvested, and that was simply far too important of a resource for the cultivators of the Scattered Star Seas to abandon.
Another piece of information that Han Li took note of was that the Heavenly Star Sages had passed away several decades ago.
However, prior to their deaths, they had invaded the main base of the Starfall Coalition, using the might of their Divine Essencefused Light to kill several Starfall Coalition Nascent Soul cultivators. The Archsaint of the Six Paths and Wan Sangu were in a secret chamber, discussing some important matters at the time, and they were forced to emerge and face the Heavenly Star Sages in battle.
The two of them had thought that the Heavenly Star Sages were bound to Heavenly Star City as they couldn't distance themselves from the Divine Essencefused Mountains, which was why they had been caught completely off guard by this surprise attack.
After that, a series of events that stunned the entire Scattered Star Seas unfolded.
The Heavenly Star Sages had no intention of engaging the Archsaint of the Six Paths and Wan Sangu in a prolonged battle. Instead, they unleashed some type of secret technique from the get-go, detonating all of the Divine Essencefused Light that they had arduously cultivated for several centuries at once, creating a doomsday-like explosion that had razed the entire main base of the Starfall Coalition to the ground.
The Archsaint of the Six Paths and Wan Sangu were situated closest to the epicenter of the explosion, and even their Nascent Souls didn't get a chance to escape before they were instantly reduced to nothingness.
As such, the most powerful beings of the Star Palace and the Starfall Coalition had been wiped off the face of the world in the blink of an eye. In comparison, the Starfall Coalition had been reduced to a far inferior state compared to the Star Palace.
After all, the Archsaint of the Six Paths and Wan Sangu weren't the only ones who had perished during the attack. At the time, there were several elders and a high number of Core Formation cultivators present at the main base as well, and they had also been killed.
As expected, in the following two to three decades, Ling Yuling took over the Star Palace and forced the Starfall Coalition into a steady decline, making the latter lose a lot of territory in the process.
All of the sects that were a part of the Starfall Coalition had been placed on the Star Palace's hit list, so they had no choice but to grit their teeth and try to weather the storm. Otherwise, it was quite possible that the Starfall Coalition would’ve been disbanded a long time ago.
Just as it appeared as if the Starfall Coalition were about to be vanquished, an astonishing event suddenly took place, heralding the resurgence of the Starfall Coalition.
The Sect Master of the Myriad Gates of Enlightenment, Wan Tianming, progressed to the late-Nascent Soul Stage amid the crisis, becoming the newest great cultivator on the Scattered Star Seas.
As such, the Starfall Coalition was immediately able to turn the tables. As a late-Nascent Soul cultivator, Wan Tianming was able to unite the entire coalition, becoming the undisputed coalition leader. After that, he slew several Star Palace elders in battle, and forged a resounding reputation for himself.
In the following few decades, the Star Palace was no match for Wan Tianming's aggressive assaults as they had no great cultivators to stand against him. Thus, the Starfall Coalition stormed back with a vengeance, recovering all of their lost territories, then claiming some more. Soon, the Star Palace had been plunged into an even more perilous situation than when the Archsaint of the Six Paths and Wan Sangu were still alive. Not long ago, the Starfall Coalition had opened up a pathway into the Heavenly Star City, and sent out a batch of their Ghost Crests again. All sects and powers that received the crests had to confirm to whom they pledged their allegiance. If they didn't join the Starfall Coalition in their assault against the Star Palace, then they would be regarded as enemies of the Starfall Coalition, and would be eradicated as a result. The Starfall Coalition was all set to attack the Star Palace, and were taking no prisoners.
Sure enough, Wan Tianming backed up his threat by actually destroying a few sects that were allied with the Star Palace, and the entire Scattered Star Seas was completely riled up as a result.
The sects that had pledged their allegiance to the Star Palace and the Starfall Coalition, as well as the sect that simply wanted to take a neutral stance, were all forced to take action. Some of them completely shut off their sects and hid within their restrictions, some of them fled to the Heavenly Star City for refuge, and there were many that took this opportunity to expand by taking over abandon territories.
In any case, the Scattered Star Seas was in complete turmoil.
The Starfall Coalition's army of cultivators took this opportunity to gather on a few islands near the Heavenly Star City, and it appeared that they had deployed all of their most powerful cultivators in preparation for the final battle.
it appeared that Wan Tianming didn't want to prolong this battle any longer. He simply wanted to destroy the Star Palace and end this conflict once and for all.
However, when was the battle going to commence? And how many cultivators had been gathered on the islands near Heavenly Star City?
Neither the elderly man nor the middle-aged man could provide answers to those questions.
Most of the cultivators in the Scattered Star Seas wanted nothing better than to avoid this battle altogether, but many of them were simply unable to do so and were forced to take a side.
As for whether they had joined the Star Palace or the Starfall Coalition, that was only something that they themselves knew.
As such, there were spies all over the place trying to ascertain which side everyone was allied to, plunging the area around the Heavenly Star City into complete turmoil.
Furthermore, it only became more and more chaotic as one approached the Heavenly Star City.
Han Li had heard all of the information he wanted to hear, and he fell into deep thought, sparing the two Core Formation cultivators from further interrogation.Previous Chapter Next Chapter