TL: Four Great Merchants Alliance -> Four Elements Merchant Alliance
Chapter 394: Cultivators and Demon Beasts on a Small Island
The most puzzling thing to Han Li was the silence that spread throughout the streets. There wasn't a single person outside of the stores.
After murmuring to himself for a moment, he silently smiled. How could he have forgotten! This place wasn't nearly as leisurely as the Inner Star Seas. The courageous new arrivals to these islands were at mid Foundation Establishment at the very least. They should all be out hunting demon beasts!
Han Li then lifted his head and looked around, discovering that this place was actually built with its back to a small mountain.
Han Li pondered for a moment before walking towards the general goods store built from rubble.
"Are there any new sea maps of the nearby area?" Before Han Li arrived, he had learned that the sea maps of the Demon Beast Islands were constantly being replaced and that the newest maps were the most useful.
"We do! We have general maps and detailed maps. Which type would Senior like?" The shopkeeper of the general goods store was a middle-aged Qi Condensation cultivator. He gave an enthusiastic reply after they came over and asked him a question.
"The detailed map!" Han Li answered instantly.
"The detailed map costs one hundred spirit stones!" The middle-aged man stated boldly.
"One hundred?" Han Li felt that he had misheard, but his face soon darkened and revealed fury. Although he didn't intend to provoke any problems, he wasn't going to allow himself to be swindled by a low-grade cultivator.
"Senior shouldn't misunderstand. This price wasn't decided by me, but by my superiors. I am only obeying orders. In addition, other cultivators sell us the new maps at a high price as well!" In response to Han Li's gloomy expression, he gave an explanation with his own complaints rather than expressing fear.
"Your superiors? What merchant union do you belong to?" Han Li asked with a frown after his anger had somewhat subsided. He clearly understood that small shops weren't capable of conducting business on the Demon Beast Islands. This might even be a branch of the Four Elements Merchant Union.
After a short pause, the middle-aged man replied with a smile, "Hehe, Senior sure is knowledgeable. Junior is an underling of the Lavish Cheer Merchant Union."
"The same Lavish Cheer Union that established the Lavish Cheer Auction House in Heavenly Star City, and is a member of the Four Elements Merchant Union?"
"That's right, Senior!"
Without any further bickering, Han Li bluntly threw a mid-grade spirit stone his way. The shopkeeper then let out a chuckle and handed a jade slip over to Han Li.
Han Li glanced at the other shops before taking the jade slip and moodily asking, "Are the other stores also part of your Lavish Cheer Merchant Union?"
"How could that possibly be? Apart from the purchasing depot in the west, the other businesses were all established by different merchant unions and have no relation to ours." The middle-aged man glanced at the other stores and spoke with slight hostility.
Having heard this, Han Li turned around and left with Crooked Soul without any further words.
Just as he thought to fly off on his Divine Wind Boat, a streak of green light fell from the sky and landed in front of the purchasing depot. The light faded away to reveal a tall and burly Core Formation cultivator.
"Youngster Fan, you've got business!" The large man loudly yelled towards the store after arriving. He then took out a storage pouch from his chest and threw it on the floor. With a whirl of rainbow radiance, the ten meter corpse of a monstrous fish appeared on the ground.
Although it was said to be a fish, the only fish-like thing about it were the green scales on its body. It had a python's head and huge claws on its abdomen, and there was a bloody hole on its upper back; it seemed its demon core had already been ripped out.
"Ah! Senior Hao has arrived! This Jadescale Demon Fish is quite hard to kill. Only Senior's truly remarkable skill would be able to kill it!" A Qi Condensation youth quickly ran out from the store and examined the demon corpse with quick eyes and clever mind. As he incessantly praised the large man, the large man heartily laughed. The man seemed to be a heroic figure.
He suddenly turned around to face Han Li and Crooked Soul. After examining them for a moment, he candidly yelled out to them, "Your faces are unfamiliar! You must've just arrived! Do you wish to hunt demon beasts together?"
Seeing that the large man was so cordial, Han Li silently smiled but had Crooked Soul shake his head in refusal.
The large man revealed a trace of disappointment, but enthusiastically continued, " I am Hao Yuantian and am somewhat well-known on Deep Jade Island. If you change your mind, come find me." With that said, the large man took a pouch of spirit stones from the youth and looked at it before energetically flying off in a streak of green light.
Han Li stood in his original spot while silently pondering.
Both the red-faced Core Formation cultivator as well as the large man surnamed Hao had invited him to join them. Quite a number of Core Formation cultivators had arrived on Deep Jade Island and formed their own groups; even Core Formation cultivators traveled in groups so that they may hunt demon beasts in safety. Han Li had already known about this from his research. If he didn't have his own plans in mind, it was likely he would've agreed to one of their invitations.
Han Li carefully looked through the map on the jade slip he just bought while he flew his Divine Wind Boat towards the edge of the island.
Deep Jade Island wasn't very large, and after a short moment, Han Li had already arrived at the island's edge.
Han Li swept his gaze across his surroundings while standing at the front of his Divine Wind Boat. His eyes flashed with spirit, and he chose a direction as he flew deeper into the endless seas.
Han Li didn't dare to travel too close to the water as it was home to demon beasts with deep cultivation. Although those beasts concealed themselves at the seafloor, they would occasionally feed on any lifeforms that passed by above them. If any cultivators were to alarm one, they would almost certainly be consumed as well. As such, Han Li was extremely careful.
But in contrast, one couldn't fly at too high an altitude in the Outer Star Seas as the sea beasts weren't the only occupants. There were also bird-type demon beasts that habitually patrolled the seas from up above. Allowing oneself to enter their range of vision was extremely dangerous.
Of course, this wasn't always the case. Each of the sea territories had slightly different circumstances, and one’s safety was never absolute. Every year, cultivators teleport to the Demon Beast Islands with dreams of hunting demon beasts for their cores, but a significant number of them never returned. There were even rumors of high grade demon beasts overcoming their Core Formation hunters and devouring them instead.
While there were clearly enormous profits to be had by hunting demon beasts in the Outer Star Seas, there was an equally high level of danger involved. As such, all cultivators who arrived on these islands would voluntarily form groups with their acquaintances and hunt together with the increased safety.
However, gathering together in large numbers to hunt was a taboo. Previously, all the cultivators on the Demon Beast Islands had hunted together. They were successful for a while before they had attracted the attention of a large group of demon beasts that were all grade seven and higher. Not only was the death toll terrifying, but the island was completely destroyed as well.
After these events repeated two additional times, no one else dared to gather together in groups past a certain size. Nowadays, they would gather together in groups of at most a dozen, creating many smaller groups around the island where high level cultivators were often roped in to join them.
With the previously mentioned information in mind, Han Li's expression immediately became sullen after flying from Deep Jade Island.
Not only did Han Li release his powerful spiritual sense, surrounding his body in a hundred meter radius, but he also propelled his Divine Wind Boat at its greatest speed and quickly flew through the air in a streak of white light.
Every six hours, Han Li would stop and confirm his direction as he was deeply fearful of getting lost and being unable to find his destination.
Han Li's luck was surprisingly quite good. On his way, he didn't encounter any trouble aside from an easily avoided grade five demon beast that was romping around in the distance.
After flying with periodic stops for three days, he eventually spotted a small fire-red island.
As flew closer, he saw that the island was created from an accumulation of scarlet coral. With the addition of the sparkling reflection of sunlight, it made for quite a beautiful sight!
Han Li stopped above the island and revealed a face of happiness.