Chapter 378: The Gold-Banded Staff (3)
“Over a hundred years ago…” Xu Yangyi’s gaze faintly stirred. “Daomaster Floatingcloud still hadn’t reached Core Formation? The time matches up with Zhang Guangyao’s Ascension, though.”
“This Lesser Thousand Realm is under the supervision of Daomaster Clearmoon. Cultivator Freefly is attached to the famous Hou Yi Legion. Commander: Sunnihilator,” the robotic face droned.
Before Xu Yangyi even voiced his surprise, Zhao Ziqi’s cry of alarm was already ringing out in his mind. Senior Sunnihilator?! The greatest genius in a hundred years?!
The sub-brain had no obligation to answer him. It said emotionlessly, “In a three-year investigation, Fellow Daoist Sunnihilator took over for Fellow Daoist Floatingcloud’s only son. His assessment of this realm was C-rank. On October 21st, 1801, after undergoing a year of preparations, the Windbreaker Model set off from the cultivation base of the Qinling Mountain Range’s seventh district and left for Clearcloud.”
Xu Yangyi kept quiet, but was even now sighing deeply in his heart.
This was the era of the Qing dynasty’s Emperor Daoguang…
During Emperor Daoguang’s reign, the cultivation world has long since discovered Lesser Thousand Realms, and moreover seemed to have already developed and excavated them for a long time. In that time, they were already able to conduct space travel.
A rueful sigh later, Xu Yangyi then discovered that the sub-brain had quieted down. Both of its eyes were rapidly glimmering with a stream of qi. This time, after no less than a minute, the eyes emitted a beam of tangerine-yellow light.
As a member of Heavens Law, even though that was in the past, he was much more familiar with the sub-brain than outsiders. The tangerine-yellow color represented that the following words had been automatically judged to be above his privileges. This was a warning notice.
“After a month-long journey, the Fortress ‘Cosmos Sun’ crashed in November, 1801. Cultivator Freefly, the ship’s 137 crew, and ten Foundation Establishment cultivators are unaccounted for.”
What about the time in between? Zhao Ziqi was stunned. How could it fly and then crash? What happened in between? What’s the sub-brain hiding?
Even Xu Yangyi could hear that the sub-brain was skirting the topic without offering much detail.
“March 8th, 1841, the Star Anchor personally laid down by Daomaster Clearmoon vanished. 1842, the Clearcloud Realm’s Star Position was erased from the star atlas. Although sub-brain possesses function to automatically contact the outside world, spirit stones have been insufficient for an extended period. From here on, contact with the outside world was no longer capable in this land.”
At this point, the sub-brain went silent.
“What about the Inner World’s history?” Xu Yangyi waited thirty seconds, but the sub-brain remained quiet as before. He didn’t pursue further line of question on what had happened in between. He raised his next question.
“The Inner World began in the Zhou dynasty, China’s last hereditary dynasty to have a slavery system. The Zhou dynasty discovered the first Lesser Thousand Realm, name: Brightmoon Terrace. A hundred years later, the second Lesser Thousand Realm was discovered. After 500 years, seven Lesser Thousand Realms were discovered one after another. By the time of the Tang and Song dynasties, the discovery of Lesser Thousand Realms had already entered an age of great prosperity. Such discovery peaked during the late-Ming period. A total of 542 Lesser Thousands Realms have been discovered.”
“After the Qing dynasty’s arrival, the entire world entered the End of Days. Before that, Lesser Thousand Realms had never been developed. Only in the records of history’s most supreme cultivators are they orally recounted. During the reign of Emperor Jiaqing, Daomaster Skybearer, a respected half-step Nascent Soul elder having experienced three dynasties, took charge, and Earth officially conducted the excavation of Lesser Thousand Realms. Of the mortal world, a few top financial groups participated. China’s Imperial Qin Court, Japan’s Mitsui and Sanwa, and the West’s Morgan and DuPont. No more than ten from the mortal world.”
Silence came again.
Xu Yangyi memorized all of this in his heart. The cultivation world’s ultimate secret… as expected of such words!
In the past, he found the matter strange. Earth was clearly in the End of Days already, but why weren’t commodities that should’ve been lacking not in short supply? Qi was so weak, but some were still able to reach Core Formation!
But in truth, Earth was actually being provided for by over 500 Lesser Thousand Realms! No wonder, no surprise that China’s total sum of unseen Foundation Establishment cultivators approached 20,000 in number! Countless people had questioned this figure, but the cultivation world had never answered.
And that was because… a majority of Foundation Establishment cultivators had delved into Lesser Thousand Realms to make their fortunes and wield great power! If a world as gloomy as the Clearcloud Realm was visited by ten-odd Foundation Establishment cultivators or those initial excavators… then what about Lesser Thousand Realms where one could reach Foundation Establishment and were much greater than the Clearcloud Realm?
Upon thinking of this, Xu Yangyi asked his last question, “How many Earth cultivators are in the Clearcloud Realm? What’s the evaluation grade?”
“The Clearcloud Realm is a world shaped in 600 million years. Civilization developed in 2,000 years. It is far from comparing to Master-Plane Earth. Before Cultivator Freefly, four groups of Earth cultivators already came here. The technological development gap between Earth and the Clearcloud realm is not great. It possesses considerable excavation value. The four groups of cultivators inspection period was for a year, and they did not stay in the Clearcloud Realm. Presently, there should be no cultivators from a Master-Plane Greater Thousand Realm staying in the Clearcloud Realm.”
“Evaluation grade…” Silence. Five seconds later, the sub-brain’s voice rang out again.
SSS?! Super danger-level? Zhao Ziqi yelped out in fright. How’s that possible?! The cultivators here aren’t over Qi Condensation! A late-stage can be called a state-magus! On Earth, that’s just the clan elder of an extremely small clan at most! Didn’t the sub-brain say that Clearcloud far from comparing to Earth? How could it have a SSS evaluation grade?!
“There is no mistake whatsoever. This evaluation grade came from Daomaster Clearmoon herself, who monitors the Clearcloud Realm. In addition, she personally stated the evaluation.”
Xu Yangyi sucked in deeply.
Apart from Earth’s Eight Great Deadlands that numbers could no longer be used to measure, SSS was the highest among all danger levels! And this was a judgement rendered by a half-step Nascent Soul ancestor!
This ordinary and dull-looking Clearcloud Realm was actually hiding something that even a Dao Master felt to be dangerous?
Xu Yangyi mumbled to himself. He’d already thought of too many things in his mind.
The lost Yuenü Tribe.
A Realm Anchor disappearing right under a Core Formation cultivator’s eyes.
And also… the strange triangular hole in the ocean that some unknown figure “recovered” corpses to once every ten years.
The name of Zhang Guangyao…
The Final 10,000 Miles…
The strange monochrome world…
Countless points of doubt seemed to arrest something in his mind, yet with a transient flash there was nothing.
“Let’s go.” Xu Yangyi lifted his leg and made to leave.
However, Zhao Ziqi said in confusion, Big bro, you’re not gonna ask?
“Not necessary,” Xu Yangyi uttered. “It doesn’t know anything. Since the stronghold crashed, who’s still looking after it? Even before it got wrecked, my qualifications wouldn’t be enough and I wouldn’t be able to ask a thing.”
In that case… how about turning it off?
“No need. We still might uncover stuff once we look around. After all, this place seems to be an airplane and ship graveyard. If we shut it off, we won’t be able to ask about anything else we find.”
Regardless, in the wake of their departure, they didn’t discover that the sub-brain’s eyes opened again ten minutes after they left.
“Danger defense connection activated… Joining Inner World’s place of command… Heavens Law-TZ74 requests connection with Inner World’s master-brain…”
An extremely slender, yet extremely solid, qi, one that no one could discover, slowly drifted out from the Clearcloud Realm. Just as it touched the Clearcloud Realm’s atmosphere, a sudden boom rang out, and like a stone entering a lake, it sent ripples surging. Yet this beam of almost undetectable qi immediately transformed into a bright stream of fire, and raced towards a pitch-black place in the vast outer space.
Xu Yangyi was none the wiser about all of this. He was surveying the entire seabed graveyard with Zhao Ziqi. All the coffins were suspended at the three sides of the triangular tomb, calmly floating in the flowing water like so. Not a trace of outside force was present. But in the middle of the triangle, in an area of several thousand meters, was the endless wreckage of all kinds of machines.
Xu Yangyi walked to the surroundings of the airplane wreckages. They were in a jumbled mess, broken wings and hulls everywhere. These airplane designs were very old, however. They were the sort that one could only see on television, propellers on their noses and old bombers that were like grenadiers.
He quietly stroked an airplane with seaweed growing all over it. The sole thing he could confirm that these were mortal airplanes. Once something was wrapped in qi, there was no way they could age into such a state.
All the seaweed and coral where his hand brushed was taken away, revealing a green hull. Without warning, his hand paused. As he brushed the back of the airplane, a red circle with a five-pointed star inside appeared in his eyes.
“Ziqi,” he muttered as he studied the design. “Your clan studies are deep. This design looks a little familiar to me. Can you recognize its history?”
Zhao Ziqi’s soul form had drifted out earlier, fluttering all around. Upon hearing Xu Yangyi’s words, he immediately flew over. With his first glance at the design, he quickly gasped.
This is impossible… He stood in place, dumb as a wooden chicken, and abruptly yelled in excitement, Big bro, please get the gunk off all the nearby airplanes! I have a rough guess at what they are!
In the surroundings of the airplane in the best condition, there were six other crafts that resembled airplanes. Xu Yangyi didn’t waste any effort, and a total of seven old airplanes revealed their hulls a few minutes later.
Zhao Ziqi’s soul form floated around all the airplanes for a moment, and he began to shout enthusiastically, Big bro! T-These are airplanes from World War II!
Circle, a five-pointed star! This isn’t Chinese! This is from America’s air force back then! It’s on both wings and both sides of the body! That’s right! It’s a World War II airplane!
World War II?
Xu Yangyi raised a brow. A World War II airplane… how would one get here?
“Can you recognize which branch it belongs to?” he said lowly.
It’s not clear, but, big bro, there are corpses inside them! They’re mortals. They didn’t have qi protection, so the bodies are already skeletons. The seal was pretty good though, so there’s definitely some information left.
Xu Yangyi nodded, and a streak of spiritual light shot out from his finger. He easily waved and the airplanes were all cut open, revealing a total of fourteen corpses inside. The interior was preserved well since it was in a sealed environment. While all that remained of the corpses were skeletons, one could still vaguely see the original appearance of their clothes. With a glance, he knew that Zhao Ziqi’s judgement hadn’t been wrong. The corpses’ clothes really did have a rather typical American style.
And apart from clothes, US forces had another trait, and that was “dog tags”.
Each American soldier had a necklace with their name carved on it. If they died in battle, these were their remnants. Nonetheless, these objects had become their best clues now.
With a causal beckon, fourteen necklaces flew into his hand. Zhao Ziqi also flew over browsing through the tags one after another.
Andrew, Charleson… I don’t recognize a single one! Because of his youth, Zhao Ziqi was already getting a little irritated. He anxiously flipped through the tags. Charles Taylor? Don’t recognize it… Wait a second!!!
1. Qinling Mountain Range is located in the southern Shaanxi province.
2. Daoguang’s reign was 1820-1850 CE, but he was born in 1782 CE and died in 1850 CE, marking the end of his reign.
3. Zhou dynasty (1046-771 BCE). Tang dynasty (618-907 CE). Song dynasty (960-1279 CE), late Ming (first half of 17th century).