Chapter 870: The Desolate Wildlands
It wasn't as if Jiang Chen had never considered these reasons. Although certain parts of the explanation sounded reasonable, once those empyrean cultivators had entered Myriad Abyss Island, they'd turned it into their paradise, a forbidden area cut off from the rest of the world. Thereafter, they had never paid any attention to the world around them, showing no interest in matters unrelated to their island.
As a result, a problem more or less arose. As the heavyweights of Myriad Abyss Island continued to hole themselves up in the island for increasing periods of time, they gradually distanced themselves from the outside world. Unlike the heavyweights of the ancient era, they no longer felt the same sense of responsibility. If it had been those heavyweights from the ancient era who had protected their home up until their dying breaths, they would never have abandoned their homeland just because they had found a plot of pure land.
"What a pity. Most heavyweights from that time must have perished during the ancient war. What's left is only a generation of opportunists, it seems." Jiang Chen surmised.
On the battlefield, especially during the ancient war where entire races had been extinguished, the ones who had managed to survive must have either been profoundly lucky or supremely crafty opportunists. As the saying went, my brothers can die but I will not.
There were quite a number of such snakes in the martial dao world. They only followed one principle: self sacrifice was out of the question. If sacrifices needed to be made in the name of justice, take the lives of others instead. These snakes simply hid. Even if they had to play dead, they still refused to battle to the death like proper men. They could sacrifice anything except their own lives. Of course, not all of them were necessarily like this, but there were definitely plenty of snakes among those who had managed to survive the bitter war of the ancient era.
Jiang Chen continued to mull over Mang Qi's words along the way. After departing from the Boundless Catacombs, their next destination was the Jiang Han province. Back then, the spirit herbs that had been planted in the land with the spirit vein had matured overnight. Jiang Chen had a deep impression of this odd occurrence. He had sensed this was a sign of great foreboding. After so many years, he suddenly wanted to see how everything had developed.
The Jiang Han province had changed beyond recognition. Since this had once been Jiang Chen's hometown, various parties had exerted their influence over this area. Whether it was the Eternal Celestial Capital or the Ninesuns Sky Sect, they had all sent numerous heavyweights to this place, turning it upside down. Only, those close to Jiang Chen had already left the province. The people left behind were all relatives far removed from his family. Jiang Chen didn't feel any sense of attachment towards r them. However, even those far-removed Jiang family members had also completely vacated this place.
The land had already turned into a no man's land. Even the monarch of the Eastern Kingdom did not dare to dispatch people to govern this place. This was because this place had been seized by numerous wandering cultivators. It had become a paradise for the activities of wandering cultivators, a rest stop for those looking to explore the desolate wildlands. Indeed, the Jiang Han territory and Jiang Han City were not only much livelier than before, they had also grown massively in scale.
Even the duke's manor had been requisitioned. The outer appearance had stayed the same, but the ones who lived there no longer had any relations with the Jiang family. Jiang Chen didn't feel much sentiment towards the Jiang Han province, but he still felt that there was something distinctly wrong about his province being taken over by other people.
If his father returned and saw that the place of his past glory had been ransacked like this, he would definitely be unhappy. As much as Jiang Chen wanted to shoo these people away, he forcefully restrained this impulse. Right now, everything had to be considered in the greater scheme of things. Prior to obtaining the Requiem Wood, nothing else would be of importance. Much like the Skylaurel Kingdom, the place was teeming with passing cultivators. Occasionally, one could even catch a glimpse of some sects' heavyweights. It was truly uncommonly lively for so many people to come and go through the tiny Jiang Han province.
"Just what kind of event is going on?" Jiang Chen felt that there must be a reason behind this unusual buzz.
In the interior of a tavern, Jiang Chen and Huang'er sat in a corner, drinking some ale while listening to the idle chatter of the wandering cultivators around them.
"Apparently, the seal will break within a few days. The fog of mystery enshrouding the desolate wildlands will also be mostly dispersed. Finally, we human cultivators will be able to enter the desolate wildlands, that enormous treasure trove!"
"Brother, you're too optimistic. Since time immemorial, the thousands of miles comprising the desolate wildlands have been sealed off from our human domain. If this seal is currently breaking, it might be indicative of an imminent disaster."
"Quit your alarmist talk. Who knows how many heavenly treasures the desolate wildlands has carried from ancient times until today! Even if there's some danger, it's a necessary risk for the sake of honor and riches!"
"Ugh, I hope you're right."
Jiang Chen and Huang'er heard many similar conversations after sitting for fifteen minutes. The desolate wildlands, a seal, fog and haze… Such terms caused shivers to run silently down their spines.
The Darkmoon Kingdom was located beside the Eastern Kingdom. These two kingdoms were both bordered by the desolate wildlands. Many people saw the two kingdoms as places located on the periphery of the desolate wildlands. Therefore, these two kingdoms had always been rejected and marginalized by the sixteen kingdoms alliance. On the flip side, the sixteen kingdoms alliance was further marginalized and looked down upon by other powers. The root cause of it all was their proximity to the desolate wildlands.
Any place that was located near these desolate wildlands was considered to be a source of danger within the human domain. According to legend, the desolate wildlands was where demons had been sealed away in ancient times. This was the land where the demon race had staked their claim a long time ago; this was where the ancient heavyweights had defeated the demon race and sealed the area off from all other human cultivators. However, anything related to the ancient war with the demon race had been labelled as taboo within the Divine Abyss Continent. No detailed records of any kind had been passed down. It was to the extent that even some large sects didn't have much information on the ancient war.
Those who knew of the war were either dead or had already left the human domain. They had departed this vast earth to the similarly boundless Myriad Abyss Island; they had fled from the infinite continent to the endless abyss. Therefore, the entirety of the human domain, including other races from different domains, was relatively ignorant of the desolate wildlands and of the ancient war that had taken place there. Conversely, there was no shortage of rumors and suspicions.
Humanity was perversely curious about the desolate wildlands. But, at the same time, they feared it down to their very bones. The curiosity stemmed from the fact that the desolate wildlands was a place that had been left untouched since the ancient era—it was a virgin land that had never been exploited. From the distant past to present day, more than a few tens of thousands of years had passed. This untouched land undoubtedly contained endless amounts of treasure. Moreover, it might even contain valuables and precious items left over from the ancient war. This was why everyone agreed that there must be countless opportunities waiting in these desolate wildlands, and that it was surely a treasure trove untouched by human hands for more than ten thousand years.
For any hot-blooded adventurer, this point was undoubtedly an enormous attraction. In particular, for runaway fugitives who were disillusioned by years of futility and hopelessness and were willing to risk it all, this was the place with the highest chance of helping them reverse their fortunes. After all, with the current hierarchy of the human domain, it was impossibly difficult for wandering cultivators to stand out amongst their peers. Great sects carried great power, as they controlled most of the resources in the human domain. The number of wandering cultivators might be more than ten times the number of sect members, but the amount of resources allocated to them might not even reach one tenth of that allocated to sect members.
This severe disparity drove the wandering cultivators to stake their lives on much greater risks than sect disciples. Wandering cultivators possessed no boundless resources, no immovable pillars of support, and no inherent bloodlines. Their only advantage was their fearlessness of death. Therefore, upon hearing the news that there was hope of entering the desolate wildlands, countless wandering cultivators had rushed madly into the sixteen kingdoms alliance, as if ready to toss their lives to the wind. It was just that this news had not spread to the general public yet. Otherwise, the number of wandering cultivators hurrying over would perhaps be ten times greater.
The chatter around Jiang Chen and Huang'er was filled with various statements and theories. At present, they didn't know just whose information would be relatively more accurate. However, the general gist of everyone's conversations revolved around the desolate wildlands, the gap in the seal, and how everyone was planning to go about exploring the area.
Jiang Chen couldn't understand it. "He Hongshu and the others have already entered the desolate wildlands. Doesn't that mean that the desolate wildlands should have opened long ago? Why are these people saying they need to wait two more days? Was He Hongshu lying to me?"
He dismissed this possibility upon further consideration. Perhaps He Hongshu was capable of lying, but he couldn't have fabricated the information regarding the piece of Requiem Wood. Jiang Chen ran through some careful mental calculations before coming to a conjecture. "Maybe there's indeed a gap in the seal within the desolate wildlands, but this gap only appears cyclically?"
Actually, the periodical weakening of a seal was nothing uncommon. For example, some solar formations would weaken deep into the night, when the sun's energy was at its weakest. When the sun rose the next day, the seal would once again regain its normal strength. From the distant past to the present, more than ten thousand years had passed since the desolate wildlands had been sealed. Some weakening taking place in the seal was entirely possible. After all, things like formations could be affected by a gap in even the smallest component. Back on Mt. Rippling Mirage, Cao Jin and his fellow sect members had only been able to break the seal surrounding the place and subsequently enter the mountain because, after many years, the formation had slowly degraded, exposing a tiny gap.
The two of them stopped over at the Jiang Han province for half a day before leaving.
"Brother Chen, it seems that all these wandering cultivators rushed here for the desolate wildlands." Huang'er's delicate brows were colored with a trace of worry.
"Right. It's still too early to tell if this spells fortune or disaster," Jiang Chen sighed. "Let's not worry about these things at present. As long as we find the Requiem Wood, our trip will not have been in vain."
They didn't need to group together like the other wandering cultivators. With the map that He Hongshu had provided, the two of them soon arrived at the entrance indicated on the map. This entrance was at the intersection between the Jiang Han territory and the Dark Moon Kingdom. It was an extremely remote place surrounded by miles upon miles of mountainous ravines. What they had not expected was for the area around this valley to be packed with cultivators. Clearly, there were quite a number of well-informed cultivators. Jiang Chen and Huang'er's arrival at this place also did not stir up any particular response from these cultivators, who had long since occupied the place.
Do you read If not, you’re missing out on almost 800 chapters of goodness! Transmigrated into a wuxia world… I’m ready to be OP! But wait.. I’m the typical senior brother that everyone hates instead? WTF.