Chapter 103 - Towers of Bones
The Extreme Heaven Mountain Range ran tens of thousands of Li across at the center of the entire Heaven Origin Sector; it was as if an extremely precise line divided the continent into two colors, dark green and greenish yellow.
The air to the south of the Extreme Heaven Mountain Range was humid, the land was fertile, and lakes, hills, and farmlands could be found everywhere. It was the home of 90% of the Star Glory Federation’s population.
And to the north of the Extreme Heaven Mountain, it was ten thousand li of desolate desert; it was a brutal world where monstrous wind ran rampant in the sky.
Here, the climate was volatile. Sometimes, rain would be pouring; sometimes, it would burst into a hailstorm; and other times, it would be a continuous drought that might even last for 3-5 months, during which not even a single drop of water would fall.
What's more was that demon beasts ran amok here; it was a place where evil creatures wrought havoc at will. The living environment was incredibly bad. And although the size was almost the same as the inland area, it only harbored 10% of the federation’s population.
The ordinary people of Star Glory Federation both love and hate this cruel territory. For the residents that lived on the inlands, this place also went by the name of “Demon Beast Wasteland”. That name didn’t mean that this place was the kingdom of demon beasts—no, it meant that only those humans who were as tyrannical as demon beasts could survive here.
And for those “demon beast-like tyrannical humans”, this land had another name, one which they affectionately called—
The Giant Edge Pass was the center point which connected the inland with the wasteland.
Five centuries ago, this place used to be the largest defense fortress in the federation.
In this place, the federation army had shed blood and laid down their lives. Using their blood and lives, they forged a great wall of steel to block off the invading demon beasts of the wasteland.
And when the federation had destroyed the "Eastern Demon Empire", this place had become the forward base from which countless federation soldiers and cultivators would depart from together while riding crystal tanks and giant floating war fortresses. Wielding chainswords and spiritual energy boltguns, they marched on this land to expand the border, breaking mountains and toppling temples, slaying demons and purging devils, razing the Demon Clan's villages, towns, cities, and countries; they struggled in hopes to win some valuable living space for the human race.
With leisure, Li Yao walked towards the Giant Edge Pass.
He had not even arrived at the front of the fortress, yet his gaze had already been attracted by the dense groups of hundreds of white towers on both sides of the road.
With distinct edges and spikes all over, an intense bloody aura emanated from these white towers.
On closer inspection, how could these be white towers? They were clearly piles of bones of nearly a thousand demon beasts!
Each tower of bones was 70-80 meters high, with the tallest being even taller than 100 meters; they were great and splendid, shooting straight up into the sky.
Arm bones, leg bones, ribs... All kinds of bones could be found in these towers of bones.
But the most common was the skull—broken skulls.
From palm-sized skulls to skulls with a height as high as a dozen meters, all could be found among the piles. One could only imagine how huge the demon beast, the owner of the skull, must have been.
"Aren’t these clearly the war trophies on display!?"
Li Yao gasped in admiration. As a human, a prideful feeling instantaneously welled up in his heart.
This was the tradition of the federation army and the cultivation world. After hunting demon beasts in the Demon Beast Wasteland, every expert, with the exception of those who needed the skeleton to forge magical equipment, would discard it before the Giant Edge Pass. These mountains of bones were displayed in order to flaunt the martial prowess of humans as well as to deter the Demon Clan.
There were nearly a thousand mountains of bones, with the first among them having been started to be built 500 years ago. The bones had already decomposed, becoming one with the land. Only by the virtue of the enchantments from the mysterious glyph arrays were they not destroyed by the fierce winds.
The most recent one had just started to be built. At the top of the tower, one could see the remains of flesh and blood as well as the blood that continually dripped onto the ground.
Witnessing this, Li Yao was horrified. He could even vaguely hear the blood-curdling screams of the demon beasts coming from these bones.
In these five hundred years, a total of seven great expeditions had been carried out by the federations, right here, from the Giant Edge Pass.
Before the Great Expedition, the Demon Beast Wasteland was the paradise of Demon Beasts and was also known to have "36 Demon Countries, 72 Demon Cities, 108 Demon Kings".
After the seventh expedition, all the Demon Countries and all the Demon Villages had all been completely destroyed, and the 108 Demon Kings had been beheaded in succession, with not a single one having been left off. All of their head were now displayed in these "War Trophies". The Demon Beast Wasteland had been completely conquered by the federation and became the fertile ground of humans!
Even now, the Demon Beast Wasteland was still not peaceful. From time to time, a large number of demon beasts and members of the Demon Clan, both of which coming from the "Blood Demon Sector", would invade from the rifts in space and wreak havoc in the human populated towns. However, not even once had they been able to successfully gain a firm footing; every time, they would withdraw to the Blood Demon Sector after paying a heavy price.
"Mankind is the strongest battle race in the endless sea of stars!"
It was not that mankind was boasting. However, all the demon beasts who had doubted this sentence were, at this moment, buried and put on display in these mountains of bones—the proof was made at the expense of their lives!
Li Yao slowly walked in between these towers of bones. From time to time, he would stop in front of one or two particularly majestic mountain of corpses, beholding the bizarre demon beast bones and gasping in admiration.
Only after spending more than three hours did he finish walking on this road of glory and thus arriving before the Giant Edge Pass.
Because the Demon Beast Wasteland had already been incorporated into the federation territory, the front line to the north had been greatly extended and today's Giant Edge Pass didn't hold much of a military value.
Like the Distance Expanse floating above Devil Flood Dragon Island, a majority of the fortress had been transformed into a war museum which was visited by many primary and secondary students for sightseeing and learning under the guidance of their teachers.
Following a group of primary school students, Li Yao made his way into the Giant Edge Pass.
Just past the fortress entrance, the first thing that filled his vision was a huge, transparent glass box which encased a lump of fossil-like object.
Upon looking carefully, it was a pile of ancient ash accompanied with some broken bone fragments.
Beside the glass casing was a glyph array which projected a 3D-hologram, sketching out a scene from millions of years ago.
The scene inside the hologram outlined a dark and narrow cave, within the depths of which were a few hunching apeman covered in long black hair sitting next to a fire as they cooked meat.
"Students, please look. These are the remains which were unearthed from the ruins of a civilization in the depths of the wasteland. According to experts’ research, as early as 3.7 million years ago, a race of very intelligent ancient apes who knew how to use tools and survive lived in the depths of the wasteland. And the experts, upon extracting a trace of soul markers from the fossils of ancient apes, discovered that there was actually 0.000001% similarity with ours, humankind’s, soul markers. You can say that these ancient apes were our distant relatives! So—"
The female teacher leading the primary student looked weak, but she spoke in a resolute and decisive tone, with each word weighing a thousand kilograms:
"Since ancient times, the wasteland has been our, humankind’s, territory. We must use our lives to protect it! Even an inch of land can not be allowed to be snatched away by the demon beasts!"
"A true hooligan, but I like it!"
Li Yao secretly gasped in admiration. Parting with the primary students that came to tour the war museum, he walked towards the other side of the Giant Edge Pass.
The buildings to the left side of the military fortress of Giant Edge Pass had been renovated into a war museum, while the right side had been renovated into a huge crystal train station.
The Demon Beast Wasteland stretched across a vast area, and demon beasts from the other sectors would cause trouble from time to time. Not only did ordinary people like Li Yao not dare to travel alone on this road, even cultivators with ordinary cultivation could not easily ride their flying swords in the Demon Beast Wasteland—it was equal to putting themselves in the sight of countless hunters; it was a very dangerous behavior.
Even if it was Fiend Blade Peng Hai, a Foundation Building Expert who possessed the powerful support-class magical equipment known as the Mystic Bird Battle Shuttle, would not dare to venture out alone. For sure, ordinary demon beasts would be helpless against them; however, if a one in a million chance occurred where they ran out of luck and encountered a “Beast Tide”, an event where hordes of demon beasts invaded through a wormhole, then even if they were the lowest of demon beasts, thousands upon thousands of tide-like surging demon beasts could still swallow powerful cultivators.
So, in the Demon Beast Wasteland, humans lived inside heavily guarded towns.
Surrounding these towns were a large number of military fortresses, forming an impregnable defensive system, and crystal trains were used to travel between these towns.
The crystal trains in the Demon Beast Wasteland were completely different from the crystal trains in the inlands. Perhaps they might not be as luxurious, comfortable, or as fast as the “Ultra-High Speed Crystal Train”, and the condition was a little bad...
But, the crystal trains here had multiple defensive arrays installed within them and even had armored compartments installed, stationed inside which were an army of "Train Soldiers", who would safeguard the passengers.
Three days ago, Li Yao had bought a train ticket through the spirit net. But as it was the season when schools opened, many inland students had to leave for the various major universities of Demon Beast Wasteland, and then there were the new soldiers that were going to enlist in the army, who had temporarily requisitioned a part of crystal rail lines, thus the train tickets were short in supply. Li Yao was only able to buy a slow, third-class ticket.
If he as so much wishes, Li Yao could also use the identity of "Federation Disabled Servicemen" and directly take a seat in the VIP carriage, enjoying the best treatment.
But, Li Yao always had a knot in his heart. He believed that he was not really injured and felt that he did not deserve the "Class-1 Disabled Servicemen” treatment. If possible, he wanted to take advantage of it as little as possible; otherwise, he would always feel apologetic for the truly disabled veterans.
Anyway, he had spent a majority of his life in the Magical Equipment Graveyard, so how could there be a place that was even dirtier to sleep at? In comparison, the conditions of the third-class compartment were already pretty good.
Waiting for the train, he might as well close his eyes and sink his spirit into the depths of his brain so that he could assimilate the memory fragments of Ou Yezi. Whatever was happening outside had no relation to him.
Thinking like this, Li Yao walked into the waiting hall.
The season when schools opened was the time of peak passenger flow; the huge waiting hall was bustling with people, the majority of which were young students traveling to the universities in the Demon Beast Wasteland.
Many of the students had left their homes and were going so far away for the first time in their lives. They were all dancing in joy and chirping in happiness. They were all excited to travel to the thrilling and dangerous "Wasteland" from legends; the waiting room was wrapped in a cheerful atmosphere.
Li Yao took a look around, walked up to an automatic ticket machine, and from the mini crystal processor on his wrist, transferred his purchased ticket spirit code into the automatic ticket machine to scan. "Ding!" A thin train ticket was thrown out from the mouth of the ticket machine.
Just as Li Yao was about to reach out, the ticket, without any implication of wind, moved by itself and unexpectedly folded itself into a paper crane. The paper crane started circling Li Yao’s head and had even made chirping sounds akin to a bird.
"Hello passenger, I am your train ticket. Your train will leave in 1 hour 32 minutes, so you can go to the waiting room No. 8 to wait. But, our 'Old Squad Leaders' Smoked Chicken Leg' of Giant Edge Pass is very famous and is on sale in the 'Veteran Gourmet Restaurant'. As there is still time, how about you give it try? The Boss used to be the cooking squad leader in the federation army, and the chicken leg is big and far, it’s very delicious!"
"No need, I'm not hungry." Li Yao was speechless. This year, advertisements were truly everywhere!
"If you are not hungry, that's alright. In my array glyphs, there are still 15 telepathic thoughts. They can provide the information of the 1,372 products available in the vicinity of the train station. How about you take a look?" the paper crane dancing around his head said in anticipation.
"There is really no need. Can't we directly go to the waiting room?"
The paper crane said in aggrievance. Fluttering its little wings, it twisted in the front as it led Li Yao to waiting room No. 8. With a very sad “Humph!”, it unfolded itself before reverting back into a thin train ticket which fell into Li Yao’s hand.
It made Li Yao a little embarrassed. He thought that by not going to the “Old Squad Leader’s Gourmet Shop” to give it a try, it was a little unfair to it.