These were the islands known to be occupied by cultivators. There were also countless islands that were not mapped.
These 36 islands were dispersed throughout the borderless ocean and were not at all connected to the nine continents. Though they were still a part of the Taoism community, they were not involved with any political forces on land.
The nine continents have also never sent their army to these islands. This was for two reasons. One was that it was difficult to battle on water. Two was that there was not a lot of resources on these islands worth fighting for anyway. Due to these reasons, the nine continents and the 36 islands never bothered each other. Everyone on the island lived as if nobody lived on land, and those on the continents lived as if nobody lived on the ocean
Shi Ao Island was one of these 36 islands.
When looked at from above, the shape of the island was a giant turtle, hence the name Shi Ao. Like all other places in the cultivation community, no piece of land could escape being the target of legends and tales. Shi Ao Island was the same.
According to legends, this island was formed from a live turtle. The gigantic turtle angered a powerhouse due to its devious ways, so the cultivator turned it into an island as a punishment.
As to whether or not this story is true, there was no way to know, and no cultivator has been bored enough to verify this rumor.
On the island now, the Sun was shedding soft and bright light and brought a group of pedestrians a trace of warmth. The Sun seeped through the leafy trees and shone on this group of people, who were walking quickly through the jungle.
These people, however, did not feel any warmth. Or rather, they had no time to enjoy this warmth.
Each one of these five people had an anxious expression on their faces as they marched forward. Their steps were hasty, and their clothes were all splattered with blood.
The leader of the group was a sixteen-year-old woman. Indifferent from girls from the continents, she wore a light blue long gown that perfectly wrapped around her curvy body, accenting her alluring figure.
Her features were delicate as well. Her skin was smooth as if powdered, eyes watery like spring dews, brows small like moths, and lips full like sausages. Her blue gown was made out of an expensive silky material that appeared soft and comfortable.
She was the eldest daughter of the Yun Clan. Her name was Yun Yan.
Behind her were three men and another girl. The girl appeared a little younger than her, and they looked very similar, with the same type of beauty. The only difference was that the younger girl lacked a certain maturity but possessed a bit more innocence.
She was the second daughter of the Yun Clan. Her name was Yun Meng.
The three men were wearing all black. Each one of them was holding a knife in their right hand, looking like guards.
Originally, the five of them were here for vacation. What they didn’t expect was that they ran into a team of rivals. After a bloody battle, this group of five realized they were at a disadvantage and ended up escaping.
Right now, they were being pursued by their rivals.
"Sister… I can’t… I can’t run anymore." the second daughter huffed and puffed, and her face was bright red.
"You have to run even if your legs don’t work anymore. Think about the way those bastards looked at you. If we get captured by them, you know what will happen to you," the eldest daughter shouted.
"I rather kill myself than let those bastards stain my innocent body." The second daughter’s heart quivered. Remembering the way those bastards looked at her, she shuddered.
"Then run faster. Even though I don’t know if we can successfully escape, as long as there is road before us we cannot give up. If there are no more roads, I will die with you." Yun Yan’s expression was calm and without any trace of panic. However, a wave of grievance flashed across her eyes.
"That won’t happen. None of us will die," Yun Meng shook her head despite the lack of confidence in her tone. In her mind, she didn’t really think they’d be able to escape.
"Sister, look! There’s someone there."
Just then, Yun Meng saw a youth dressed in all black lying on the road before them.
The youth had a very attractive face, and his black robe was dyed with blood. He laid there unmoving, with his eyes tightly shut. It was obvious that he was badly wounded and that if he doesn’t get treated soon for his injuries, then he may not be able to keep his life.
It was Ling Xian who suffered from space turbulence.
Yun Yan raised her eyebrow and walked before the youth. She put her finger underneath his nostrils. Feeling the weak, but warm breathing, her brows tightened.
Looking at the youth soaked in blood, Yun Meng’s face flashed with fear. She asked, "Sister, is he still alive?"
"Yes, he’s still breathing. But his injuries are very serious." Yun Yan hesitated, unsure if she should take this person with her. Though she appeared aloof, her heart was actually very kind and warm. She didn’t want to leave someone who was on the verge of dying.
Like Yun Yan, Yun Meng also had a kind personality. Seeing that the youth has been bleeding, her heart softened, and she whispered, "Sister, let’s take him with us. If a beast finds him, he will without a doubt be killed."
"Yeah, why not. It’s a life after all."
Yun Yan decided to take Ling Xian with her. This was the jungle. If they left him here, he would be eaten by beasts soon enough.
Upon realizing Yun Yan’s plan, one of the three buff men quickly stopped her, "Miss Yun, you can’t do this!"
"Yeah, Miss Yun, we don’t even know where this person came from, we cannot take him," the other two men chimed in.
"Why not?" The second daughter argued.
"Isn’t it obvious…?" The buffest and the oldest men smiled bitterly. "First of all, we don’t know where this person came from. Second of all, we are currently running away from very strong opponents. If he is awake right now, then whatever, we can take him. But he is passed out right now. If we add a deadweight to our crew, how can we run away?"
"I…" Yun Meng paused. He was right, and she had no reason to object.
"Uncle Zhong, I understand what you are saying. But to ditch someone who’s life is on the line is not something I can do." Yun Yan shook her head a little. Though she knew all the logic behind his every sentence, she could not let herself do what he was suggesting.
"Uncle Zhong, bringing him is not a big deal. We aren’t strong enough to fend off our opponents anyways. We might as well bring him. Don’t worry, I will piggyback him. It won’t affect our speed," Yun Yan’s expression was stern.
Seeing her determined face, Uncle Zhong sighed. He watched Yun Yan grow up and understood her personality well. This girl appeared harsh on the outside but was warm on the inside. Every time she has decided to do something, her mind cannot be changed. Therefore, he nodded in agreement, "Ay… if that’s the case, then do as you will."
"Thank you for understanding, Uncle Zhong."
Yun Yan smiled brightly. She knew the situation well and understood that these five people’s lives were important and she should not make decisions that might drag them down. It was just that for some reason, the moment she saw the fainted youth, she felt a connection with him and wanted to help him.
Her emotions plus her naturally kind heart made her decide to continue their travel with this person.
"Since you have made up your mind, then I can’t do anything to stop you. While the Incense of the Lost Soul is still in effect, let us hurry. It’s harder for them to get to us right now." Uncle Zhong sighed again before picking the unmoving Ling Xian off the ground and continued running forward.
"I knew it. Uncle Zhong is the best."
Seeing that he voluntarily carried Ling Xian, Yun Yan smiled, showing off her dimples. She then fastened her pace and followed Uncle Zhong.
The five of them began their journey again. There was nothing different other than the addition of one person.
An unrivaled Heaven’s Favorite who’s name alone shook Yunzhou three times.
In Shi Ao Island, a place that was completely segregated from the nine continents, even if people knew his name, nobody would recognize him.
Just like that, the six of them continued their journey and marched further into the jungle. After walking for the whole day, the Sun was starting to set. Only when the night began, and the sky darkened did Yun Yan stop her steps. She found a hidden cave and decided to rest there for the night before starting their run again tomorrow.
Though cultivators could survive without sleep and merely absorb spiritual energy to nourish themselves, only those above the foundational level could do so. The people here were incapable of not resting their physical bodies.
Out of everyone here, the highest level cultivator was Uncle Zhong with an eighth ranked Qi. Yun Yan and Yun Meng had Qi level of seven, and the other two youths were the lowest, with only level six Qi.
This was why they had to rest now. Or else they cannot sustain themselves.
"Uncle Zhong, put him down."
Yun Yan rolled up her sleeves and blew away all the dust in the cave. She then took out two fist-sized Pearls of Light From her storage pouch and placed them down. Instantly, a soft and bright light began to shine, illuminating the entire cave.
Uncle Zhong nodded. He put Ling Xian on the ground and smiled. "I will go hunt down some animals with Yun Qi and and Yun Ba. You two rest. We will come back soon."
"Go ahead, but be careful," Yun Yan reminded.
"Don’t worry. On our way here we didn’t run into any powerful beasts. I can fend off anything around here with the little training I have." Uncle Zhong grinned. He gestured for the other two youths to follow, then left the cave with them.
"Sister, his injuries seem to be really serious."
Looking at Ling Xian, whose body was covered with blood, Yun Meng frowned.
"It really is serious. If we don’t treat it in a timely manner, he can’t hold on much longer." Yun Yan exhaled deeply. Waving one hand, a medicinal Dan appeared before her. She parted Ling Xian’s lips with her hand and pushed the Dan into his mouth. Then, she summoned her spiritual energy and massaged his chest with her hands to help him digest the medicine.
After a short while, the medicinal Dan had completely diffused throughout his body and started to heal his internal wounds.
"I have done everything I could. Whether he lives or dies is up to the Gods and his will to live." Yun Yan wiped off the sweat from her forehead. Watching the youth, she sighed.
Then, she closed her two eyes and sat in a lotus position to replenish the energy she just used up.
Yun Meng curiously peeked at Ling Xian before she started to gather spiritual energy for herself as well.
This went on for a while until Uncle Zhong, and the other two men made it back to the cave. They started a fire and gathered a few tree branches to use as skewers. Then, they cut up the giant wolf they hunted and began roasting it on the fire.
Very quickly, the smell of meat filled the cave. Realizing their hunger, everyone started enjoying the cooked wolf meat.
Just as these people were about to finish their meal. A weak voice slowly rose, carrying a trace of ignorance and a hint of strain.
"What… What is this place?"