Sadly, his injuries were very severe. Even the spiritual Dan of the seventh rank was unable to cure him in such a short period of time. He has to take it slow this time.
Yun Yan and the other five cultivators had already been completely healed by the Dan of Life and Growth. Every single one of them was high in spirit, lively as a tiger, and even their training improved a little compared to before.
Currently, inside the quiet cave, Uncle Zhong and the other two guards were resting peacefully against the stone wall.
All the pursuers had died. Everyone here could finally drift into a deep sleep without any worries.
Yun Yan and Yun Meng stood outside the entrance of the cave and counted the stars in the sky. However, all they could think about was the commanding way Ling Xian slaughtered the six opponents and how he stepped out to help them despite his struggles with his injuries.
After a while, Yun Meng parted her lips and broke the silence.
"Elder sister, who do you think he really is?"
Yun Yan shook her head slightly in response as she remembered the conversation she had with Ling Xian the night before. She responded, "I don’t know. But one thing is for sure, he is not from the Shi Ao Island and possibly not from any of the 36 islands."
"Not from the 36 islands?" Yun Meng softly muttered, suddenly remembering the history books she has read. "You’re suggesting he is from the continents?"
"I believe so." Yun Yan nodded.
"Man, I wonder what kind of world the continents are. I sure want to go see it." Yun Meng’s eyes were full of desire to travel.
"It must be a world of magnificence. But we would not have the opportunity to see it in our lifetime. Rumor has it that even foundational cultivators would have to fly day and night tirelessly for over a decade to get there." Yun Yan smiled, hinting at Yun Meng to get rid of her irrational thought.
Yun Meng’s beautiful eyes dimmed. However, her optimistic nature allowed her to quickly reorganize her emotions. She brought the topic back to Ling Xian, as she was very curious about this young, capable, and horrifying youth.
"Elder sister, how far ahead in the cultivation journey do you think he is?"
"About that," Yun Yan softly sighed as her face revealed a complex emotion, "To have been that fragile and still kill those men by merely flicking a finger, I’m afraid he has reached the foundational level. I am guessing that he is one of the best in his generation or else there is no way he would be able to achieve what he has achieved."
Yun Meng found it hard to hide the shock she felt in her heart. Even though she had guessed that Ling Xian was a foundational powerhouse, hearing her sister confirm her thought overwhelmed her.
In the world where they were from, a cultivator with a ninth level Qi was already considered highly skillful. Foundational cultivators were even higher up, above the others, and out of this world.
In the Yun Clan, there was only one foundational cultivator, and he was already over a century years old. Since Ling Xian's age was the same as Yun Meng, how could she not feel surprised?
"Shocking right? It’s almost unthinkable. I believe he is even younger than me, and yet his cultivation level is so far ahead of mine. I could only watch his back but never surpass him." Yun Yan smiled bitterly; her heart was full of dread.
All her life she was called a genius by others, but only now did she realize what it truly means to be a genius.
The young generation on this island and even the old generation would exclaim and feel inadequate compared to Ling Xian.
"This is unbelievable, how did he get so far in his training? He’s so young in age, yet his cultivation level is so high. How can anyone compare themselves to him?" Yun Meng pouted, she was feeling a little bit depressed, but mostly she admired him.
When Yun Yan thought about the fact that she thought lowly of Ling Xian at first and categorized him a mere mortal, her cheeks flushed with color. There was a hint of embarrassment and a hint of emotion she did not have a name for nor could fully comprehend it.
"This person really is the reincarnation of a divine celestial being! He is just like an immortal who descended down to earth. I am asking for pain every time I compare myself to him," Yun Yan exclaimed.
Just then, a bright voice rang through the air.
"You have flattered me."
Ling Xian walked to her in slow steps. His complexion was still pale, but his injuries, in general, had improved a lot. At least he could move freely now.
"You have recovered?" Yun Yan’s face was slightly pink. This was the first time that she complimented a boy in front of his face. Naturally, she was a little bit embarrassed.
"No, my injuries are too severe this time. To completely recover would take me a little bit more time." Ling Xian grinned softly.
Yun Yan nodded and grabbed onto Yun Meng’s hand. They both bowed to Ling Xian and said, "Thank you for saving our lives."
"It’s not a big deal. You saved my life first. If you didn’t save my life, I wouldn’t have had the chance to save yours." Ling Xian repressed a smile. Even though his face was still very white, the way his eyes displayed confidence was very attractive.
"I originally thought I saved an injured lost traveler. I definitely did not expect that you would resolve the dangerous situation we were in and end up becoming my savior." Yun Yan brushed the bang across her forehead and giggled. However, very quickly, she suppressed her smile as she remembered the identity of the youth before her.
A foundational powerhouse!
Not a single trace of disrespect should be shown!
Realizing the careful way she was behaving, Ling Xian shook his head and beamed warmly. "There is no need to be so restrictive in front of me. I am very easy going."
Haring this, Yun Yan did not speak, her head remained low because she understood very well of the unwritten rules of the Taoism community. When faced with a stronger cultivator, one does not need to display fear, but one must treat the other with nothing but respect.
Seeing this, Ling Xian shook his head helplessly. The unwritten rules in this community had existed for tens of thousands of years. They had been deeply rooted in everyone’s mind, and it was not something he could easily change. Since Yun Yan was unable to be herself around him, he didn’t say much more. He believed that as time goes on, this graceful lady before him would understand the type of person he truly is.
"Do you mind telling me a bit about Shi Ao Island?" Ling Xian softly smiled, finally disclosing the reason he walked out of the cave.
"Of course I am willing to help you out." Yun Yan nodded and asked, "I wonder what kind of information are you looking for?"
"Uhm, you don’t need to tell me much about the way people interact. Based on the way you dress, it doesn’t seem to be very different from the way we do things on the continents. Why don’t you tell me about the different forces that control the Island?" after thinking about it for a while, Ling Xian decided that it would be best to fully comprehend the political forces of the island. This would help him figure out how he should further cultivate, as he needed to decide if he should keep a low profile or not.
"So you really are a cultivator from the continents? Inquiring about how the island is divided amongst different Houses and Clans... I am assuming you want to figure out the true capability of this island."
Yun Yan murmured in a low voice and guessed Ling Xian intention right away. She answered, "There are three super powers on Shi Ao Island. They are the Zi Yang House, Xuan Yin House, and Ying Jian House. These three houses are above all others and control Shi Ao Island."
"Oh, only three sources of power?" Ling Xian frowned as he asked, "How are these parties' true capabilities?"
"Because of my status here, I have no way of knowing." Yun Yan chuckled bitterly, "However, I heard that the Supreme Headmasters of these three forces are all of the completion level."
"Only completion?" Ling Xian softly laughed, thinking that if the strongest people here were of the completion level, he could use his capabilities and live freely.
Under a normal circumstance, to evaluate the capability of a source of power, one only needed to figure out the Supreme Headmaster’s cultivation level. Since all three leaders are of the completion stage, it was clear that the strongest people on the island were of the completion level. Even if there was a Supreme Elder in the House, his cultivation would not exceed the original level.
Hearing the care-free tone in his voice, Yun Yan’s eyes were brimming with shock. To a low-level cultivator like her, foundational leveled cultivators were considered to be unreachable. Completion cultivators on the other hand only existed to her in legends. In her entire life, she didn’t think she would have the chance to meet one of them.
However, before her eyes, this youth did not seem to care at all. More than that he seemed to be relieved. This made Yun Yan’s heart drown in astonishment.
He was relieved?
Yun Yan had a strange expression on her face. She was suspicious that she had heard him wrong. Hearing that the three leaders of the three houses were in the completion level, he signed in relief? How was that possible?
Ling Xian did not notice the strange look she had on her face and continued asking, "How about the other Houses outside of the three main forces?"
Talking about this topic made Yun Yan reveal a bitter smile. She said, "The three main forces tightly hold onto their control of Shi Ao Island. Any of the medium to small Houses or Clans must do as they say or they are wiped out."
"So that’s how it is."
Ling Xian brows tightly locked together as he realized that this was very similar to the nine continents. The power structure in both places was very much shaped like a pyramid. Very few leaders led each continent with numerous small to medium forces below them. These smaller forces are then required to pay with spiritual stones or divine treasures every year in exchange for protection.
Because the few controlling parties acquired spiritual stones year after year that allowed them to expand, they grew bigger and bigger every year.
This was a situation where two parties created a mutually beneficial relationship. At the same time, this was also considered a tragedy.
"Ay, they are just a bunch of vampires that suck low-level cultivators dry." Yun Yan exhaled deeply. There was a fraction of hatred and a fraction of helplessness in her voice.
"Why? Do the three controlling forces take a lot of spiritual stones?" Ling Xian raised his eyebrows.
"A lot of spiritual stones? The medium forces can deal with it okay, but small clans like the Yun Clan contribute 90% of their annual income to them." Yun Yan’s face turned chalky. Remembering the sacrifice her clan had to make, and how they struggle every year to combine enough spiritual stones for the ruling parties, she became enraged.
"That is a little bit overstepping the line, but it is no wonder you seem angry now that we are on this topic." Ling Xian's brows relaxed. On the nine continents, the ruling forces only took half of small clans' annual income. If the Shi Ao Island took 90%, they were basically stealing and not leaving the small clans a way to live.
"I must be making you laugh. Every time I think about these people, I become very angry." Yun Yan sighed.
"This is the Taoism community. Since we live in this world, we must follow the rules no matter how unreasonable they may seem. Only when you are capable enough, can you overlook these rules," Ling Xian said slowly. The cultivation community was cruel. Every single rule was based on the pyramid of power, and there were only two paths a lowly level cultivator could choose.
Or to die.
"Capable enough to ignore all rules…"
Yun Yan muttered to herself, a wave of overbearing power washed over her eyes as she stared at the crescent moon. "There will come a day when I break all the unreasonable rules."
"You sure are a lady with resolve."
Ling Xian looked at her praisingly and softly chuckled. "Why don’t we compete and see who becomes the first to achieve such level of capability?"