Volume 4: Across the Sea
Chapter 364: An Isolated Island and a Huge Ship
'My head feels heavy!' This was the first thought that came to Han Li's mind upon waking up.
After Han Li and Crooked Soul started the transfer, he felt immense pressure from the yellow light enveloping him. But fortunately, the Greater Displacement Medallion promptly released a faint azure light, causing the pressure to immediately disappear at the cost of it wildly draining the spiritual power in his body.
However, Han Li was prepared and wasn't alarmed. This change caused by the "Greater Displacement Medallion" had been described in ancient records.
In an instant, the medallion stopped absorbing Spiritual Qi and the yellow light around him faded away. He and Crooked Soul had arrived in a dark, indistinct place.
As there was very little light, Han Li was unable to clearly see his surroundings. But based on the silence, there shouldn't be anyone nearby. Han Li felt relieved and walked out of the spell formation.
But he felt a sudden burst of dizziness after just a few steps. His legs grew soft and he fell on his behind, feeling the urge to vomit from his discomfort. Han Li knew that the long distance teleportation had left him feeling unwell, and the severity of his current discomfort was caused by his low cultivation.
However, now was not the time to deal with it. He quickly commanded Crooked Soul to destroy the transportation formation.
Crook Soul expressionlessly took out the huge silver sword he was previously given and chopped the spell formation into pieces.
When Han Li saw this, he finally relaxed. He then sat on the ground and rested for a moment, eventually adapting to the darkness of the cave.
He had a vague feeling that this room seemed to have been abandoned a long time ago. Not only was it pitch-black, there was also a dense smell of decay. He touched the floor to find a thick layer of dust.
This caused Han Li to feel more at ease. At the very least, nothing dangerous would appear for the time being.
A long while later, Han Li's feeling of discomfort eventually passed, and he stood up using his hand to support him.
After that, Han Li took out a moonlight stone from his storage pouch and was able to clearly see the room. Just as he had suspected, this place was a stone room that had been uninhabited for a long time. There was nothing of note except for a stone door across from him.
Han Li turned his head to glance at the destroyed transportation formation. After a moment of hesitation, he turned his attention to the door and attempted to forcefully push it open. Much to his surprise, Han Li was able to easily open it.
"This is…" Han Li was astonished.
A huge flight of limestone stairs appeared before him. He slowly turned his gaze upward and saw that there was no end. Just like the room, the stairs also had a layer of dust on them. It was clear that no one had came here for quite some time.
After taking another look back at the room behind him, he discovered that the stone room was actually a small mountain cave.
Han Li pondered for a moment before lightly shaking his head with ridicule. He then slowly climbed up the stairs with Crooked Soul following behind him.
The flight of stairs wasn't very long. After turning a corner, Han Li was already able to see the exit. A huge mountain rock was blocking the round exit.
Han Li wrinkled his brow and commanded Crooked Soul without the slightest hesitation, "Split it open!" Han Li then took a step to the side.
Crooked Soul moved forward with a large stride and grasped the silver sword above his head. He easily chopped the rock into pieces as if it were soft tofu, allowing blinding sunlight to seep in along with a burst of fresh air.
Han Li took a deep breath in and out.
Ever since he was teleported here, he had held his breath, unwilling to breathe due to the strange scent within the cave. The fresh air was a liberation from the suffocating atmosphere.
However, he was a bit confused as to why the air was moist and had a faintly salty taste. He had never smelled such a unique scent before.
With that question in mind, Han Li walked past Crooked Soul and took a look outside with eyes squinting from the blazing sun.
Han Li was left stunned by what he saw. As far as the eye could see, he saw endless expanse of dark-blue water.
Han Li was lost in amazement for a long while before finally waking up.
'Could this be the legendary sea?' Han Li thought with pleasant surprise.
The largest bodies of water Han Li had seen previously were the huge hundred-meter-wide rivers at the Lan Province. He had heard of such a vast, limitless ocean in books, but now that he saw it with his own eyes, he felt a huge shock unlike any other.
After gazing at the scene from above, Han Li lowered his head and thought about his location, revealing some confusion a few moments later.
He was located on a relatively tall cliff and while the bottom of the cliff wasn't far, it bordered a huge ocean. Waves from the huge ocean repeatedly struck against the reef below.
Stroking his chin, Han Li pondered for a while.
The color of this ocean's water was entirely different from the description of the endless sea, as it appeared to be the color of a normal sea. It seemed that he had been transported from the Heavenly South Region to the coastline of some unknown region.
Nevertheless, there was nothing that he could recognize here. Being outside of the Heavenly South Region, he felt uncertain and wasn't able to make out any familiar features in this place.
With that in mind, Han Li didn't immediately set off on his magic tool. Instead, he closed his eyes and slowly released his spiritual sense to see whether there were any cultivators nearby.
After the time it took to make a cup of tea, Han Li withdrew his spiritual sense and revealed a strange expression.
He wordlessly released his Divine Wind Boat. With a flash of light, he soared through the sky without the slightest effort at concealment. After he was about a hundred meters in the air, Han Li stopped and stood at the front of the boat, surveying the scenery around him.
Everything he saw was tinted with deep blue light. The sparkling light of the sea's rippling waves blurred Han Li's vision.
He was above an isolated island about six kilometers wide. As for the cliff he flew out of, it was only a small protruding hill on the island.
Han Li stroked his nose and bitterly smiled.
This was truly troublesome! Although there seemed to be no danger here, he was unable to cultivate on this island. The island's Spiritual Qi was extremely thin.
If he wanted to mature spiritual herbs, he would require a place with adequate Spiritual Qi. Otherwise, the green liquid would be ineffective. In addition, due to the strong spiritual nature of precious spiritual herbs, abundant Spiritual Qi was required. This left Han Li feeling very helpless!
Han Li sailed around the island once through and found that there weren't any other islands nearby. In addition, this small island had no life aside from mountainous trees and small snakes.
As a result, he could only sigh and return to the cave.
Once he returned, Han Li first slept off his headache without any interruptions. He had previously worked on restoring the formation over many days without sleeping, leaving him completely exhausted. These problems were best tackled after he had slept his fill!
With Crooked Soul guarding him, Han Li slept soundly for an entire day.
Once he woke up, Han Li stood alone atop the mountain and stared at the sea while lost in thought.
After an unknown amount of time, Han Li expressionlessly flew down the mountain and found a suitably sized stone to block the cave.
Then, with Crooked Soul on board, he circled the vicinity on his boat and confirmed the direction of the setting sun before flying off without hesitation.
Han Li guessed that since there was nobody on the island with the transportation formation, there must be some other island or land nearby. Otherwise, who would head out to the middle of nowhere and construct such an expensive Ancient Transportation Formation.
Naturally, Han Li didn't know which direction was correct. He had already decided to fly in this direction for several days. If there were no traces of any cultivators or mortals, he would go back and fly in a different direction.
Although this method was extremely clumsy, it was Han Li's only choice in this unfamiliar sea. In any case, he had plenty of spirit stones in his storage pouch; he didn't have to worry about running out of spiritual power.
Perhaps Han Li's luck was especially good that day, he only had to fly for half a day before finding a huge seafaring ship.
Han Li was delighted. After all, dealing with mortals would be much smoother compared to negotiating with cultivators!
But Han Li felt a bit baffled upon looking at the huge ship. The hull of the ship strangely had no mast or sails. At the ship bow, there were over ten huge fish quickly pulling the ship forward.
Although these fish had huge bodies and a mouth filled with sharp teeth, he felt that they didn't possess the slightest Spiritual Qi and weren't demonic beasts by any measure. If this were not the case, Han Li wouldn't have dared to go near the ship.
Chapter 365: Wang Changqing
Han Li gazed at the huge ten-meter-long fish from a distance and flew around the ship twice before finally deciding to head towards it.
It was clear that those on the ship had seen Han Li coming. With a few loud shouts, a huge crowd of over three hundred people amassed, filling the entire bow of the ship.
Once these people saw Han Li hovering in midair, they revealed reverence and started to bow and salute Han Li.
While Han Li was amazed by the display, a luxuriously dressed middle-aged man stepped forward from the crowd and nervously said something. He helplessly stood by as if he were waiting for Han Li's command.
Han Li stroked his nose and bitterly laughed. He didn't understand or make sense of a single word of their language. The question of how to communicate with them made his head hurt.
Seeing that Han Li didn't reply, the middle-aged man grew panicked and urgently said something. Although Han Li didn't understand what he said, he was able to make out what he meant.
Han Li wrinkled his brow. After some thought, he spoke out in the common tongue of the Heavenly South Region, "If there is anyone here that can understand my words, please tell me!" Han Li then swept his gaze across the crowd.
The middle-aged man appeared at a loss. It was quite obvious that he didn't understand what Han Li had said. As for the others, they were also left baffled.
Han Li helplessly sighed and started to use the words of several different ancient languages, using them each once through. He had initially learned these ancient languages in order to cultivate tongue twisting incantations, but he hadn't mastered them in the slightest. Eventually, a gray haired old man from the crowd seemed to have reacted to one of the languages.
Han Li felt overjoyed upon seeing this and pointed toward the old man.
"Old man, do you understand my words?" Han Li slowly spoke using the ancient language. As he didn't use the language often, he was very unfamiliar with it.
When the old man heard Han Li, he hesitated for a moment before walking to the side of the middle aged man. Also using the ancient language, he respectfully replied, "This old man, Wang Changqing, had indeed learned this Immortal Clan's language when he was young. Does this Immortal Master have any commands?"
Han Li revealed a slight smile upon seeing that the old man had understood the ancient language. His figure suddenly flashed and he appeared beside the old man, startling both the old and middle-aged man.
Han Li spoke with a gentle tone, "As you well know, I am not able to speak the local tongue. I only passed by here to ask about a few matters. There is no need to panic!"
He had previously swept his spiritual sense throughout the huge boat and found that the boat only housed mortals. Because he found no cultivators, he was able to descend without worry.
Han Li didn't pay notice to the mutterings of the old and middle-aged man. Instead, be beckoned to his Divine Wind Boat in the sky, causing it to slowly descend toward the ship bow.
After Crooked Soul got off the Divine Wind Boat, the small boat quickly shrunk into a small white light and flew into Han Li's hand.
After this was done, Han Li took a sideways glance.
Although the mortals on the ship saw this, they didn't appeared shocked at all and maintained their original reverent expression. They were clearly accustomed to seeing cultivators and their tricks. Otherwise, they wouldn't have appeared nearly as calm. Also, since these people didn't seem to come from particularly exceptional backgrounds, it appeared that it wasn't taboo for the cultivators of this land to reveal themselves to mortals.
Han Li thought with a pensive expression.
Currently, the old man had translated Han Li's words for the middle-aged man. The middle-aged man was initially shocked before revealing pleasant surprise. He then said a long string of unintelligible words towards Han Li with an extremely excited expression.
Han Li felt at a loss and couldn't help but turn his gaze towards the old man.
The old man naturally understood what Han Li meant. He quickly gave Han Li an explanation, "Great Immortal, this man is Sir Gu, the master of this ship. He intends to invite you to reside as a guest at his residence on the Stalwart Stars Island. He is willing to supply the resources for your cultivation."
"Stalwart Stars Island?" Han Li rubbed his chin and gave a noncommittal response.
Seeing that Han Li wore an indifferent expression, the middle aged man became even more fervent and uttered another long string of words. This time, he revealed an apologetic smile. Han Li didn't need the old man's translation to understand why he wanted to invite Han Li to stay on the Stalwart Stars Island.
Without waiting for the old man to translate, Han Li bluntly waved his hand and said, "First, tell this ship's master that I am new to this noble land and am unfamiliar with the local conventions. Consequently, I am not able to agree to anything. I will decide whether I want to stay on his Stalwart Stars Island after I am given an explanation. Also, I currently do not understand your language. I hope he will allow me to follow this ship for a few days so that I may learn the local language and a few local conventions from you in passing."
Not daring to slight Han Li, he hurriedly gave the middle-aged man a translation.
When the middle aged man heard Han Li, he revealed obvious disappointment. But still, he respectfully saluted Han Li and loudly yelled a few words behind him. Suddenly, everyone on the bow withdrew from the deck like a swarm of bees. After giving the old man his reply, he also withdrew.
As such, only Han Li and the old man remained at the ship's bow.
The old man smiled to Han Li and said, "Immortal Master, Master Gu has agreed to your request. In addition, he has given you a room on the ship. Please follow me."
Han Li agreed, indifferently nodding his head. As such, Han Li and Crooked Soul followed the old man, Wang Changqing, into the ship.
'It’s certainly large!' That was Han Li's first thought upon entering the ship's hold. The ship's hold had paths and corridors in every direction and an unknown number of rooms.Whenever a mortal saw Han Li, they revealed reverent expressions and made way for Han Li.
After several turns, Han Li and Crooked Soul arrived at a comparatively large wooden door.
Wang Changqing pushed open the door without any hesitation and stepped to the side, inviting Han Li to enter first. Han Li didn't bother being polite and entered the room with Crooked Soul in tow, taking a look around afterwards.
The room was quite decent! Not only was it quite large, it also didn't feel stuffy at all. But what Han Li felt was most strange was a small odd tree in a flower pot in the corner of the room.
The tree was perfectly straight and was completely branchless with palm-sized triangular leaves growing all over it. In addition, the entire tree glittered with silver light as if it were made out of pure silver. Upon seeing the tree, Han Li revealed great curiosity..
When the old man saw Han Li's amazement, he respectfully gave Han Li an explanation, "It seems that Immortal Master hasn't seen a Silver Angled Tree before. It really is an uncommon rarity. Not only is it a gorgeous sight, it freshens and cleans the air when placed inside. It is a seldom seen treasure for seafarers. It is only because our ship master ig such an domineeringly rich man that he was able to acquire four of them."
Han Li faintly smiled but remained silent. How could he not make out that this Wang Changqing was trying to curry favor on the ship master's behalf?
Han Li had Crooked Soul guard the door and sat down in the room's chair. Wang Changqing reservedly stood at Han Li's side, not daring to sit down as he pleased.
Han Li smiled from seeing his restraint and amiably said, "Mister Wang, there is no need to be so formal. Please take a seat. There are a few things that I'd like to discuss with you."
Wang Changqing repeatedly stated that he didn't dare to in a manner of reverence and trepidation.
Han Li wrinkled his brow in response and didn't press him any further.
After a short moment of thought, he straightforwardly asked, "I am a cultivator that came here from another land. I was wondering if Mister Wang could give me an introduction to the nearby regions and customs. Naturally, the more that you can tell me about matters pertaining cultivators, the better. I will certainly give this elderly man my thanks!" As Han Li spoke, his expression was tranquil as can be.
Wang Changqing pondered for a moment before slowly saying, "Since Immortal Master came from a foreign land, then I must first tell you that this place is the Scattered Stars Sea. We are in the southwest quadrant of this area. The three great islands nearby are the Tail Star Island, Stalwart Star Island, and Sang Star Island. Naturally, there are also many islands of smaller sizes with both cultivators and mortals living on each.
"We share the same conventions as those of other territorial waters. Every island has an island lord, a cultivator with the greatest magic power that is responsible for protecting the island. If other cultivators wish settle on the island and are willing to hold an office, they will be given a set amount of spirit stones from the island lord every year, but they must obey the island lord's commands. Naturally, if one were to reside on an island and was unwilling to hold an office, they would be required to give the island lord a set amount of spirit stones every year if they wished to remain on the island."
With that said, Wang Changqing paused, revealing an expression of admiration as if he held great longing towards cultivators.