Chapter 176: The Mysterious Map Fragment?
Upon reaching a place around a few hundred meters from the city, Xiao Yan’s flying speed gradually decreased. His body trembled slightly and the Purple Cloud Wings on his back released waves of pale purple colored light before gradually shrinking. After which, they transformed into a tattoo and stuck to Xiao Yan’s back.
Xiao Yan rolled his body in midair before his feet steadily landed on the ground. After gently patting off some of the dust from his clothes, he lifted his head and looked at the huge yellow colored city that was in the distance. He let out a relieved sigh as he smiled.
Perhaps because the place was located close to the desert, but the air was extremely dry and hot. Blazing sunlight shined down from the sky and grilled the vast ground, causing it to emit hot air that cooked people. That wave of hot air slowly rose, causing some distortions in the surrounding areas.
According to common sense, this could not be considered to be a good environment and there should not be people who could have a carefree feeling in this environment. However, Xiao Yan was a little stunned to discover that ever since his feet stepped on this plot of land, the flowing Purple Flame Dou Qi in his body actually became a lot more joyous.
After being slightly amazed for a moment, Xiao Yan extended his hand and caught some air from the space in front of him. He pursed his lips together. A long while later, he suddenly whispered, “No wonder. Around eighty percent of the air here belongs to the Ground and Fire type Dou Qi energy…”
“Ah. Due to this reason, the Tager Desert is most suited for those practicing Fire and Ground type Qi Methods. Additionally, the Purple Flame in your body belongs to a special flame that has a close relationship to the sun. Naturally, you are a little more sensitive compared to others.” Yao Lao’s faint laughter emitted from within the ring.
“And this is also the reason for me to ask you to come to this desert to train. The conditions here are very tough. If one wanted to train, there would be no better place.”
Xiao Yan nodded his head and let out a breath of air. He patted the exquisite alchemist long robe that was almost like a piece of art before opening his stride and slowly headed toward Yellow Soil City.
As he gradually walked closer to the city, the number of surrounding pedestrians also increased. Among these pedestrians, the men largely revealed their upper body to show that their skin was dark and strong. When one looked at it, they appeared forthright. As for the occasional women that passed by, their skin was also slightly dark but it was more of a bronze color. The women here were not as shy and reserved as those in the interior of the empire. The tight skin blouse they wore only covered their chest area and some areas a little lower. Their narrow waists were boldly exposed. A short skirt or shorts covered their long and tight thighs. When they walked, their snake like waists shook, showing unique, seductive charm and loveliness.
During his walk, Xiao Yan feasted with his eyes. He smacked his lips together and lifted his head to see the specific size of the yellow colored city. At the area where the city gate was, two huge pale red words were carved onto the city wall. Looking from a distance, it had a faint bloody feeling.
“Desert City…” Xiao Yan read softly as he smiled and slowly walked toward the city’s entrance.
At the city’s entrance, over ten soldiers wearing armor were carrying long spears as they shouted to those people entering the city to pay the entrance tax. Seeing that these soldiers ignored the heat and wore full armor, Xiao Yan felt a little shocked in his heart. Why was the defence here even tighter than that of big cities like the Black Rock City?
Perhaps it was because the weather was very hot but the soldiers who were standing guard at this place had become a little irritated. Numerous rude, loud abuses continued to hasten the pedestrians entering the city.
Walking toward the city’s entrance and hearing the loud abuses that escaped the soldiers mouth, Xiao Yan frowned slightly. He shook his head and walked directly into the city. Within the Jia Ma Empire, an alchemist was an occupation that enjoyed a treatment that was almost like royalty. These entrance taxes collected at the city’s’ entrances were also waived by the empire. Although an alchemist would not be bothered about this little bit of money, this status that they were given was something that all the alchemists enjoyed.
“Hey, brat. Didn’t you see what’s written here…” Seeing Xiao Yan directly walked into the city as though there was no one, a soldier’s eyes stared at him for a moment. Before his abuses could be completely said, his gaze drifted to the exquisite alchemist long robe on Xiao Yan’s body. Instantly, the scolding from his lips was swallowed. The angry face had also transformed into a fawning smile, “Sir, are you planning to enter the city?”
“Yes.” Without pausing his footsteps, Xiao Yan slowly walked towards the soldier. He glanced indifferently at the soldier. After which, his heels trembled a little as his shoulder brushed passed the guard and headed into the interior of the city as he pleased.
“Cluck…” Seeing that Xiao Yan had ignored the offense from earlier, joy surfaced on the soldier’s face. He swallowed his saliva and hurriedly turned around and called out respectfully, “Sir, recently there have been some snake people in the Tager Desert who are finding trouble. If you intend to leave the city, you need to be more careful.”
Slowing his footsteps, Xiao Yan nodded his head as he obtained this unexpected news. Then his back figure slowly disappeared into the darkness of the city wall’s tunnel.
“Dammit, I was almost done for. If my supervisor were to learn that I had offended a tier two alchemist, it would be strange if he didn’t serve me to the dogs.” Watching Xiao Yan’s figure disappear, the soldier finally and completely let out a sigh of relief. He wiped away his cold sweat and once again returned to his station. It might have been because of the scare from earlier, but the current him had reeled in on his temper, not daring to randomly scold those entering the city.
After slowly exiting the somewhat dark city wall’s tunnel, Xiao Yan’s vision brightened. Buildings that had the desert characteristics appeared in his sight. These numerous strange looking houses and buildings were an eye opener for Xiao Yan.
Walking on the street, Xiao Yan’s gaze swept across the people walking on the street. A moment later, a dazed Xiao Yan asked in his heart, “Teacher. Where do we go now? Do we go directly into the Tager Desert?”
“If you randomly bash about in the desert like you intend to, even if you don’t get lost in the desert, you would sooner or later die from a lack of water source.” Yao Lao’s helpless voice was emitted from the ring.
Giving an embarrassed smile, Xiao Yan dryly laughed, “This is my first time encountering a desert… then what should we do next?”
“Go and purchase the most detailed map of the Tager Desert. In this city, there should be shops that specialize in selling maps. This is very important! Additionally, prepare sufficient water. And one more thing. Go to the medicinal shop here and buy some medicine to repel snakes. The Snake People in the Tager Desert are most proficient in ordering poisonous snakes to attack. It is correct to be a little more careful.” Yao Lao mused out loud.
“After preparing all these things, we should not have any time left today to enter the Tager Desert. Therefore, we will rest the night in the city. Oh, right, your ‘Energy Recovery Pills’ have been exhausted. This is something that is essential to prepare for training. Luckily, you have gathered sufficient medicinal ingredients from the small valley in the Magic Beast Mountain Range. Tonight, I will find the time to help you refine a batch. Once we have completed all of these tasks, we will enter the Tager Desert tomorrow morning.”
Hearing the numerous instructions from Yao Lao’s mouth, Xiao Yan could only helplessly nod his head. He sighed and offhandedly stopped a passerby to inquire about the shops that sold maps of the Tager Desert.
The passerby that Xiao Yan had stopped had an impatient expression initially. However, when he noticed the alchemist badge on Xiao Yan’s chest, he hurriedly withdrew his expression and was extremely polite in pointing the direction of the shop. Even after Xiao Yan voiced his thanks, this person still passionately told him about the approximate prices of the maps.
After saying his thanks to the passerby, Xiao Yan rubbed the alchemist badge on his chest with his palm. He sighed and shook his head. It must be said that this identity was just too convenient to use.
Sighing again in his heart, Xiao Yan swiftly passed through the corner of the street and headed in the direction of the best map shop in the Desert City that the passerby had pointed out.
Walking for a while at a neither fast nor slow pace, the map’s shop that was named ‘Ancient Map’ appeared in Xiao Yan’s sight. His gaze swept across this shop and was slightly surprised. This shop was not as magnificent or publicized as the others. Looking at it, there was a faint rustic atmosphere.
With some surprise in his heart, Xiao Yan gradually walked into the shop. The interior of the shop was not very spacious. Two Moonlight Stones were emitting a faint light that lit the entire shop so much that it was quite bright. Xiao Yan’s gaze swept across the interior of the shop; there were not many people here buying maps. The desolated manner caused Xiao Yan to suspect if he had come to the right place.
Slowly walking into the shop, Xiao Yan’s gaze drifted and finally stopped on an old man behind a counter who had lowered his head and was creating a map. The old man was obviously quite old. Despite his head being filled with white hair, the dry hand that he used to hold the black pen used for drawing the map was still strong.
Without making any noise to disturb the old man, Xiao Yan’s gaze swept across the large number of maps on the counter. He curiously lifted it in his hand and flipped it over and over to take a look. The clear routes on the map caused him to nod his head in satisfaction.
After observing the map for awhile, Xiao Yan saw that the old man still had no intention of stopping. He pressed his lips closely together and with slow footsteps, arrived at a corner of the shop beside an ancient looking wooden shelf.
This shelf was obviously very old and was filled with rotten holes. Some yellowing maps were carelessly piled on top of it. From the looks of the broken traces on the maps’ surfaces, it appeared that they were failed products when producing maps.
Xiao Yan’s hand randomly flipped through the yellowing maps and a whiff of musty smell came at him. Frowning slightly, Xiao Yan lifted one pile of failed product. His hand trembled slightly and a fragment map piece the size of a palm suddenly fell from this pile of failed product.
Without being too concerned about the fallen fragmented map piece, Xiao Yan flipped through the failed products in his hand. He then boringly placed it back. When he did, his gaze drifted toward that small fragment map piece. He blinked his eyes first… then the hand which was moving suddenly froze.
“This…” Xiao Yan’s palm trembled slightly as he carefully picked up the fragmented map piece with two fingers. He could feel that his heart was violently beating. Forcefully swallowing his saliva, he placed the fragmented ancient map piece on his hand. His gaze was filled with uncontrolled joy as he meticulously scanned the somewhat familiar mysterious lines on the map.
A long while later, Xiao Yan slowly squinted. He took in a deep breath and quivered as he mumbled, “It really is that…”