“Taking the two of them into account, that’s only nine. Who’s the last one?” Li Yao asked scarily.
Ling Lanyin’s face became flushed. She was obviously not a person who was familiar with adulation. Before she began her flattery, she was feeling rather embarrassed herself. “The Three Saints, the Four Rapscallions, Master Bitter Cicada, and His Majesty are the nine most extraordinary Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators in the world today. They are mostly in the high level or even the peak of the Nascent Soul Stage. The rest of the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators all have a certain gap from them.
“If I must propose a name, I think that you can be compared to them and listed as one of the top ten invincible experts, too, senior!”
“Really?” Li Yao sneered. He suddenly burst into fury and cried, “You are lying! Are you trying to fool me?”
Li Yao’s saliva burst out, and Ling Lanyin felt like she had just been crushed by a storm. She gritted her teeth so hard that they almost turned sour before she managed to reply, “I dare not. I was not saying that because I meant to cajole you, senior!
“Master Black Moon was the top expert in the Southland of Sorcerers, but he was merely at the beginning level of the Nascent Soul Stage. Let’s leave him aside.
“Han Yuantai, the Lord of Behemothic Eagle, is a famous expert from the Dark Cloud Prairies at the middle level of the Nascent Soul Stage. Last year, when the Ghost Qin cavalry trampled on the central plateaus, he was among the vanguard. In less than one month, he broke into the headquarters of quite a few northern sects, slaying one Nascent Soul Stage Cultivator and nine Cultivators at the peak of the Core Formation Stage. His dominance is known by the world!
“But such a brutal man, together with Master Black Moon, was not able to resist one attack of yours, senior. Within a breath, one of them was captured, and the other died. It’s obvious enough that your Cultivation must’ve reached the peak, too!
“Before I left for the mission, my master told me the basic criteria to determine one’s capabilities.
“The Three Saints, Four Rapscallions, His Majesty, and Master Bitter Cicada belong to the level of ‘super experts’. Han Yuantai, in the middle level of the Nascent Soul Stage, belongs to the tier of ‘first-rate experts’. There is an enormous chasm between ‘super experts’ and ‘first-rate experts’. Without rarely-seen opportunities, and without extraordinary personal aptitude, the chasm is barely crossable!
“Now that you can suppress a ‘first-rate expert’ easily, senior, you must belong to the tier of ‘super experts’, too. You are absolutely qualified as one of the top ten experts in the world!
“Haha. Hahahahahahahaha!” Li Yao burst into the craziest, most arrogant laughter. With greenish, ghostly fire beaming out of his black eyes, he stared at Ling Lanyin without blinking for a long time. Then, he nodded and said, “Well put!
“I picked up the greatest treasures that nobody could ever imagine in… that place by accident, and I trained myself in seclusion for decades, holding back the pain of being skinned and reborn as many times as I narrowly escaped the dangers of becoming mentally deranged. Finally, I have grasped the best techniques in the world, which shall not be wasted in the Southland of Sorcerers!
“Top ten experts?
“Hehe. Hehehehe. It’s fine that I’m not on the rank, but if I am, I will be the top one!
“Kid, I don’t need to hide my ambitions from anyone. I’m not interested in dealing with the messy trivia in the Southland of Sorcerers at all. Your father, Huo Wuji, and the chiefs, priests, and sorcerers from the hundred tribes here can make arrangements however you see fit!
“For me personally, I’m going to travel the world and meet the great heroes of the present day, including the ‘super experts’ in your eyes, the Three Saints and the Four Rapscallions and such!
“Let’s begin my journey from the Purple Pole Sword Sect. What do you think?”
Ling Lanyin thought quickly. The barbarian Cultivator from a desolate area who had suddenly grasped unparalleled techniques was almost like a bumpkin from countryside grew rich overnight due to a windfall. It was quite understandable that he wanted to show off in the fabulous world outside.
After all, the old monster was in need of the resources and refining facilities of the Purple Pole Sword Sect. There was certainly room for cooperation between the two parties. It was unlikely that the guy would go on a rampage the moment he arrived at the Purple Pole Sword Sect, right?
Since he had consented that Huo Wuji would be appointed as the new Chieftain of the Southland and was not stopping her father’s actions in the Southland of Sorcerers, it was obvious that he was still vaguely on the Great Qian Dynasty’s side.
If that was the case, everything was simple!
The Purple Pole Sword Sect had been in peril over the past few months. If such a tough and brutal old monster came to visit, other people who did not know that he was there to rent a place for refining would inevitably think that he had been invited by the Purple Pole Sword Sect to help the situation. They would certainly have more concerns if they wanted to start more trouble.
Thinking about that, Ling Lanyin bowed deeply. “It will be our honor to have Master Spiritual Vulture in our sect. You will certainly be welcomed most warmly, senior!”
After making a deal with Ling Lanyin, Li Yao asked her to forward the message to Ling Shoujing.
Although Ling Shoujing did not get thousands of soldiers immediately, persuading such an old monster in the middle-high level of the Nascent Soul Stage to visit the Purple Pole Sword Sect was an accomplishment even better than drafting a hundred thousand barbarian soldiers. Naturally, Ling Shoujing could not have been more satisfied.
Huo Wuji, Meng Duo, Gu Siduo, and other leaders of the barbarian tribes, after hearing the news that Li Yao was going out to ‘travel’, were not sure whether they should feel happy or worried. Of course, they were all crying as if their parents had just died and were almost clinging to Li Yao’s thighs, begging him not to leave.
Fearing that some of the barbarian Cultivators might be Master Spiritual Vulture’s old acquaintances and notice something wrong about himself, Li Yao simply dismissed all of them after a few words.
The chiefs, priests, and sorcerers of the Southland of Sorcerers then delivered him tremendous local specialties to Li Yao as farewell gifts. Snakes, rats, ants, poisons, and bugs as thick as Li Yao’s arm were offered to Li Yao in baskets. Li Yao greatly frowned at their kindness.
Later at night, Li Yao set Han Yuantai and the hundreds of knights from Ghost Qin free.
Quite a few barbarian Cultivators were still loyal to Huo Wujiu. If they were kept in the place, chances were that they would run into conflict with Huo Wuji’s supporters again. So, Li Yao asked the Ghost Qin people to take them away, too.
Although they were allowed to go, the souvenirs were forced to stay there.
Li Yao was new to the place. He could not use the currency of the federation. Therefore, as a poor boy, he was in dire need of a generous magnate such as Han Yuantai.
After all, Han Yuantai had brought many treasures and crystals on his trip south, which should have been given to Master Black Moon and other barbarian Cultivators who supported Ghost Qin as gifts. Naturally, they were all Li Yao’s property now.
After the guests from Ghost Qin were dealt with, Ling Shoujing held a ceremony to decree Huo Wuji as the new-generation Chieftain of the Southland.
Li Yao had announced that he would not be concerned with the issues in the world of mortals. The way he saw it, Huo Wuji did not look like a man blindly loyal to the Great Qian Dynasty. Instead, the guy was simply acting like such a person. If Ling Shoujing intended to mobilize his barbarians for battles, the two of them would certainly have long talks and meetings!
Ling Shoujing’s army would be stationed in the Southland of Sorcerers to demonstrate the power of the court and to maintain order.
Since Ling Lanyin had been sent by the Purple Pole Sword Sect to reinforce Ling Shoujing and was not restrained by the emperor’s order, she was free to leave.
Therefore, with Ling Lanyin leading the way, the two of them flew all the way to the central plateaus on their swords without being troubled by the terrain anymore.
With Li Yao and Ling Lanyin’s Cultivation right now, and with the intense spiritual energy of the Ancient Sages Sector, it was not entirely impractical for them to fly thousands of kilometers and directly return to the headquarters of the Purple Pole Sword Sect in a dozen days.
However, because Li Yao intended to observe the life of the Ancient Sages Sector, they put their swords away after they reached the north of the Sorcerers’ River, which was the borderline between the Southland of Sorcerers and the central plateaus. Li Yao disguised him as a low-level, unaffiliated Cultivator and bought himself a boat that was driven by spiritual energy. Asking Ling Lanyin to pretend to be his servant, he went along the river all the way north.
Ling Lanyin was rather anxious that her sect had already fallen into war with other Cultivation sects while she was away. She almost could not wait to fly back to the Purple Pole Sword Sect immediately with her back stabbed with swords.
However, she knew that the old monster near her was quite temperamental. Although he had expressed his intention to cooperate with the Purple Pole Sword Sect, he might change his attitude at any moment if he was unhappy.
Therefore, Ling Lanyin—as one of the youngest female Cultivators at the peak of the Core Formation Stage, praised as the most brilliant star in the younger generation of the Purple Pole Sword Sect, nominated as the Orchid Angel of the ‘Four Angels’ by the fellow Cultivators when Wang Xi was still in power—could only cover her face and work diligently as Li Yao’s servant, hoping that he had found enough entertainment in the outside world soon.
Although the Sorcerers’ River was not the longest river in the Great Qian Dynasty’s territory, it was definitely the most twisting, dangerous, and thrilling one.
It was especially so in the north of the river, where the cliffs were high and the forests were misty. Tigers and leopards were roaring all the time. When the boat was floating amid the surging tides, and when the noises of all kinds of demon beasts were coming over from the depths of the obscure woods, Li Yao felt that he was travelling along the Styx. The journey was quite breathtaking.
Li Yao appreciated the beautiful land of the Ancient Sages Sector, which had yet to be highly developed. After every pier he reached, he would dock the boat and observe the villages and towns next to the river.
He realized that Han Yuantai was not wrong about one thing. The Great Qian Dynasty was truly heavily controlled by the Cultivation sects, which were essentially independent kingdoms.
The towns of a reasonably large scale everywhere that he went had a Cultivation sect garrisoned, which would often occupy the best place and establish an ‘inner city’. They built up coruscating buildings and fortresses. The colorful defense rune arrays were on all day. The sunlight, after the reflections of the defense rune arrays, further accentuated the splendor of the Cultivation sects.
Such a view was a vivid contrast to the ‘outer city’, which was ragged and populated by ordinary folks. They were almost two worlds.
In some places, Li Yao even saw floating mountains, where plants, pavilions, waterfalls, rainbows, and birds were flourishing, three hundred meters above the ground. What fascinating and unworldly paradises they were!
However, on the ground three hundred meters below, the houses of the ordinary folks were just ‘burrows’ that were essentially holes in the ground mixed with fences and mud.