Book 31, Starflow River, Chapter 6 – A Three Hundred Millenia Journey
After emerging from Dreamdust Way, it took them two more months of travel before they reached the most important phase of their journey through the Terror Starsea; the Starflow River.
“What an impressive sight.” Ji Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord stood at the prow of the black vessel, staring off into the vast and nigh-endless Starflow River. The place was filled with countless stars and planets of varying sizes, with some being negligible and others being even larger than the Solar Star of the Three Realms. All of the stars emitted absolutely identical auras of golden light, making the entire Starflow River look like an enormous world of flowing golden sand.
It was so vast that they couldn’t see any end to it. Supposedly, there had once been a major power who had been able to just barely make out the overall shape of the Starflow River, and it looked like the flows of a river. This was why it had been named the Starflow River.
“Starflow River is far larger than Dreamdust Way. In comparison, Dreamdust Way was nothing more than a short hallway.” The Ninedust Sectlord sighed. “We’ll be in there for three hundred millennia.”
“But it’ll be three hundred fairly safe millennia,” Ning said.
“If we’re lucky. Who knows, we might be able to ford the entire Starflow River with ease.” The Ninedust Sectlord was filled with hope as well.
Dreamdust Way was filled with danger at every turn, whereas Starflow River was comparatively much safer. The reason why the two viewed it as the primary source of danger on this trip was because they’d spend three hundred thousand years here. Even though it was ‘fairly safe’, all sorts of bad things could happen over the course of three hundred thousand years. If they were unlucky, they might stumble upon some truly dangerous creatures or places, and there were some places in Starflow River which was even more dangerous than Dreamdust Way.
However, if they were lucky it was also possible that they would avoid all danger and be able to sail through the river with ease.
It was guaranteed that Dreamdust Way would have an element of danger to it. Starflow River, however, was up to luck.
“Let’s go.” The black vessel flew straight into the awesome Starflow River.
Starflow River was filled with countless stars that emanated golden light. These countless stars were all linked together and resonated with each other, and their invisible power stretched out to cover all of Starflow River. This power was far superior to the power that filled Dreamdust Way. So long as this power was present, not even Ning’s sword-arts would allow him to tear through dimensions and teleport through it.
Things proceeded more smoothly than they anticipated. Although the two encountered a few traces of ancient battle sites as they progressed through Starflow River and ran into a bit of trouble, they didn’t face any true danger at all. They didn’t even encounter anything capable of forcing the Ninedust Sectlord to use the formation-diagram in his palm. Just like that, nearly three hundred thousand years went past.
“Things have gone very smoothly. I estimate that in just a few dozen millennia, we’ll have traversed all of Starflow River.” The Ninedust Sectlord’s face was covered with excitement.
“Right.” Ning felt rather eager as well. He hadn’t exactly been wasting his time during the past three hundred thousand years. He had spent a good period of his time analyzing the mysteries held within the Dreamdust character and then used those insights into creating illusory arts for himself. The rest of the time, he spent on his Sword Dao!
By now, he had reached the third stage in three of his five sword-intents: the Blood Drop sword-intent, the Shadowless sword-intent, and the Yin-Yang sword-intent. As for the Soleheart sword-intent and the Heavenbreaker sword-intent, both of them were still lacking a bit. Clearly, to break through to become a Daolord of the Third Step would be rather difficult.
As for illusions? The Dreamdust character was simply too profound. The Nine Chaos Seals had guided Ning into understanding and training in the azureflower seal, but the Dreamdust character was simply something of incredible power which had been left behind from the Dawn War. It wasn’t an actual legacy! Ning was only able to learn as much as he could from it, and the power of his illusions increased several times over. Still, amongst other Heartforce Cultivators at his level he was still rather weak in this area! The difference, however, had been lessened.
“Eh? Darknorth, take a look.” The Ninedust Sectlord pointed off into the distance.
Ning followed the Ninedust Sectlord’s gaze, only to see signs of ruined buildings on a distant planet. “Looks like traces from the Dawn War.”
“Let’s go take a look,” the Ninedust Sectlord said.
“Let’s go.” By now, the two were quite familiar with Starflow River. Ever since Ning had learned that the Terror Starsea had been the battlefield of the Dawn War, he had been able to divine how many of the ruins they encountered had been created. For example, Dreamdust Way. Their prediction was that it had been some sort of formation which had been left behind from the Dawn War, meant to trap enemies and make them fight at a severe disadvantage.
It must be remembered that Dreamdust Way had no one in control of it. The beast leader, acting independently, was already able to summon a terrifying amount of power from Dreamdust Way. If the person who had originally set it up was still alive and in control of it… what a horrifying thought! These two would probably have been almost instantly slain.
In truth, as soon as the two of them saw the humanoid creature and the two Hegemon corpses, they had realized that the Dawn War had been on a far greater scale than the two of them could even imagine.
Whoosh. The vessel flew towards the planet in question. As they moved closer, they were able to clearly see that there were indeed many shattered ruins on this planet. Everything here was in terrible shape, with nothing more than a few stone pillars and battered walls remaining.
“My guess is that a major power must have hidden within his estate here, relying on its layers of barriers to stay alive. However, in the end even the estate was smashed into smithereens,” the Ninedust Sectlord said. The flying vessel landed on the planet, allowing Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord to fly out and inspect the stone pillars.
“There’s still a bit of power left in this estate.” Ning looked at the pillar in front of him. The towering pillar was thirty thousand meters tall, and its top was covered with layers of blurry white light. Even though countless years had gone by, the power of the pillar remained.
“It doesn’t seem as though there are any treasures here.” The Ninedust Sectlord walked around as he inspected the place. “Over the course of three hundred thousand years, we’ve run into quite a few ruins here in Starflow River but haven’t found so much as a single treasure.”
“These ruins don’t have much danger either. They probably were discovered and scoured long ago,” Ning said.
“Eh?” Both Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord simultaneously turned to stare off into the distance. A single figure suddenly emerged from a distant, half-shattered wall. The man had tousled hair, bare feet, and was garbed in tattered yellow robes.
“Gentlemen.” The barefoot yellow-robed man smiled as he walked towards them.
“Are you a cultivator, or…?” Ning was puzzled.
“I belong to the Starflow race. My name is Daolord Laya.” The yellow-robed man smiled.
“The Starflow race?” The Ninedust Sectlord smiled. “I heard long ago that Starflow River has a ‘Starflow’ race within it, but this is our first time actually encountering a Starflow cultivator despite having spent three hundred thousand years here.”
The yellow-robed man laughed. “The Starflow race has many branches that are located deep within Starflow River. Every branch is protected and hidden by formations, making it difficult for outsiders to discover them. Only when we go out adventuring do we interact with the outside world.”
Both Ning and the Ninedust Sectlord knew a good amount regarding the Starflow race. Both Solesky’s map from the Dao Alliance as well as the map bestowed by Patriarch Vulturas had detailed, thorough notes regarding the Starflow race in the Starflow River. The Starflow race was a branch of cultivators that had drifted to this place from the Great Dark. They were scorned by the other six major powers, and so they elected to make Starflow River their homeland. They found survival difficult despite having been here for countless years, and they usually referred to themselves as members of the Starflow Race due to how long they had lived here.
It must be understood that quite a few cultivator groups had drifted in from the Great Dark. Most were very weak and unable to compete against the local powers. Only the Dark Kingdom possessed significant power, resulting in them becoming one of six major powers. This was also the reason why the Dao Alliance and the others were highly biased and negative towards the Dark Kingdom, resulting in many battles. Weaker races like the Starflow race were still discriminated against, but so long as they played nice and didn’t try to infiltrate the Endless Territories, the various local powers there were all fairly kind towards them.
The Starflow race treated the Endless Territories in a very friendly manner. They lived at the suffrage of the Dao Alliance; how would they dare to not be friendly? Thus, encountering a member of the Starflow race in Starflow River was a good thing, not a bad thing, as the Starflow race member would often provide assistance or guidance.
“Yes. This is our very first time encountering a member of your race, and we’re about to leave Starflow River.” Ning smiled. “If we ran into you earlier, we might’ve had a smoother journey.”
“The two of you are planning to leave Starflow River?” Daolord Laya was curious.
“Yes, we are leaving soon.” The Ninedust Sectlord nodded.
“Starflow River holds many treasure sites within it. Have either of you entered one of them?” Daolord Laya asked.
“Treasure sites?” The Ninedust Sectlord shook his head. “Although we found a few ruins, we didn’t find any treasures.”
“Starflow River is too vast. You’ve spent three hundred millennia here, but you’ve only seen a tiny portion of Starflow River,” Daolord Laya said. “Members of the Starflow race have been in this place for countless eons, and our Daolords and even Eternal Emperors have continuously explored and adventured through it. I’m certain that I know far more about this place than the two of you.”