"This is the basic situation of the Flying Star Sector. The planets relatively larger all have extremely harsh environments. Either boundless deserts, surging oceans, or highlands with ragged mountains more than five thousand meters tall.
"The air of such planets often contains all kinds of impurities, if they have air at all. Ordinary people and low-level Cultivators find it barely possible to survive. Some ordinary people decided to live and procreate in such planets, only to experience various mutations and end up nothing like humans. We space residents call them the barbarians.
"Only the high-level Cultivators land on the planets occasionally to obtain rare materials or hunt demon beasts.
"Most people prefer to live in the sea of stars.
"Take us for example. Our town is in the periphery of the Flying Star Sector and based in this small fragment. Although I wouldn't say it is prosperous, there are quite a lot of ancient battlegrounds nearby where we can excavate valuable items to trade for food and other daily necessities with other towns. Life here is not the most comfortable, but we can make do with it.
"Cultivation sects, on the other hand, prefer to live in starships. The headquarters of a sect are often located in a giant starship carrier. A large batch of cruisers and destroyers that are less aggressive will be their branches. When all the starships go out together, it can be quite a splendid scene.
"What I was talking about is the sects that are relatively smaller in size. For the top ten sects of the Flying Star Sector, their headquarters are often a super-large star fortress!
"Such star fortresses were originally the ultimate weapons of the Star Ocean Imperium. After the sects retrieved them, they spent thousands of years gathering new usable debris and materials which they affixed to their star fortresses to enlarge them. Eventually, the star fortresses have become colossal cities in space that can accommodate millions of people and even more!
"Several ultra-strong super sects simply emptied some smaller planets and their satellites before carving extraordinarily large power rune arrays that can be hundreds of square kilometers on their surfaces. Then, such sects built the planets and satellites into their headquarters and all their disciples have been living inside!"
Mu Ping said with a smile, "Master Li Yao, I don't think that your remarkable combat skills are self-taught. You must be a disciple from one of the major sects. Something went wrong, perchance an assault of the space pirates. You escaped the disaster and somehow ended up here.
"You might as well settle yourself in Black Iron Town first. Then, you can try to recover your memories while you train yourself. When there is a chance, we will ask around to see if any Cultivation sects' transportation teams have passed by us recently. It's very likely that you belong to the sect."
Li Yao nodded his head, showing neither approval nor disapproval. However, something Mu Ping said aroused his interest and he pursued further, "What are space pirates? Thieves in the sea of stars?"
Mu Ping did not doubt Li Yao's authenticity. In his eyes, Li Yao was way above himself and had absolutely no need to cheat country folks such as them. He replied frankly, "Space pirates are one of the three hazards of the Flying Star Sector.
"Our Flying Star Sector was a crucial battleground ten thousand years ago. Therefore, the entire constellation is brimming with war wreckages.
"Those wreckages are inexhaustible treasuries for us.
"What's more, most people live in world fragments, starships, and star fortresses which are, in effect, lone islands in a vast ocean.
"All factors considered, free trade in space is of paramount importance for us.
"Some star fortresses can't produce food, some world fragments are in lack of certain Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures, and some starships need to change their air circulation system regularly The demands have encouraged very prosperous space trade. There are countless trade routes.
"Take Black Iron Town for example. Although we are far from the center of the sector, we still have to go out and participate in several fairs to exchange for things we need every year.
"As the scale of the trade grew, naturally, some bad, strong guys decided that killing and stealing were more suitable for them.
"At first, they might have had good reasons. For example, a starship of a certain sect encountered a meteorite cascade and cosmic storm and was almost blown to pieces. Perhaps it was in desperate need of certain goods, but it had lost all its resources to trade for them. In the emergency, they might have been grabbed by devastation and decided to rob someone else of what they needed.
"But later, those people tasted the fun in it. They turned from amateurs into professional space pirates. After all, the conditions of the Flying Star Sector couldn't be more suitable for them. They could simply hide in a random stone belt after each job and nobody would ever be able to find them!
"And now, the influence of the space pirates is growing stronger and stronger. The several kitties in the beginning have now evolved into more than ten infamous gangs.
"As for the smaller space pirate gangs and the space pirates who prefer to run solo, there are simply too many of them to count!
"Even some business caravans which are made of conspicuously legal merchants and behave obediently in the trade spots garrisoned by strong Cultivators will often cut off the communication of a starship much weaker than theirs when they run into one in the desolate sea of stars and loot whatever is on the captured starship secretly. It is not unusual at all."
Li Yao's face turned extremely weird as he listened to Mu Ping's words.
Cultivation sects could disgrace themselves so much as to live on robbery?
It was something inconceivable in the Heaven's Origin Sector.
The most scandalous Cultivators might play dirty moves on other Cultivators for their own interest. But would they ever rob ordinary people?
They would kill themselves before they did that because it was considered a public humiliation.
The Flying Star Sector was indeed a world of chaos!
"You just mentioned 'one of the three hazards'. What are the other two hazards other than space pirates?" Asked Li Yao calmly.
Although the spiritual energy in the Flying Star Sector was much more abundant than that in the Heaven's Origin Sector, the situation here was much more messed-up. It was best to get a big picture of everything so that he could be prepared for whatever was to come.
Mu Ping counted his fingers and said, "The second hazard is the demon beasts.
"There are no powerful demon forces in the Flying Star Sector except for the occasionally-seen demon beasts. However, those demon beasts are all offspring of the alliance of the demon race and the demonic Cultivators. They have inherited some secret arts of their ancestors which allow them to meld their bodies with the magical equipment left by the demonic Cultivators!
"The big crab that you killed is precisely one such demon beast.
"As to how they are melded with the magical equipment, we don't have the slightest clue. We only know that the beasts will lurk in meteorites and drift in the sea of stars looking for the scent of human beings.
"Black Iron Town was unfortunate to have been detected by the beast when we were collecting the remnants of the starships. It then followed our scent and made its way here. Thankfully, Master Li Yao came in time. Otherwise, the entire town would've been slaughtered."
Li Yao was dazed for a moment. He didn't know that the eccentric double-headed crystal cannon was made by the demonic Cultivators. No wonder the way that its spiritual energy took shape was completely different to the appearance of spiritual energy from Cultivators' magical equipment; it was much more brutal, ferocious, and malevolent.
He would definitely spend some time studying it when he had a spare minute!
Mu Ping paused briefly and then continued.
"The third hazard is, obviously, the demonic Cultivators!
"The Flying Star Sector was one of the main battlegrounds of the 'Armageddon Rebellion'. Countless corpses of the demonic Cultivators were left in this place. Perhaps that's the reason demonic Cultivators have a special interest in our sector.
"Also, because of the disordered environment, many wavering Cultivators are often tempted by the extraterrestrial devils and transformed into demonic Cultivators.
"There are even cases where the Cultivators of an entire starship were turned into demonic Cultivators and the vehicle they were taking became a 'satanic warship'.
"For ordinary people and low-level Cultivators such as myself, if we are caught by the 'befallen fiends', there would be absolutely nothing we can do except to close our eyes and wait for our death.
"But thankfully, the appearance of demon beasts or demonic Cultivators is highly unlikely. It is extremely improbable for us to run into one. In comparison, the likelihood of the space pirates' visits is much higher. That's why space pirates are listed first and foremost on the list of hazards in the Flying Star Sector!"
Deep in thought, Li Yao nodded his head. But excitement was beaming out of his eyes.
They were brand new enemies for him.
The biggest threat to the Heaven's Origin Sector was the Blood Demon Sector. News about demonic Cultivators was rare. Li Yao had once run into a mediocre demonic Cultivator named Zheng Dongming. However, the guy had to wag his tail and did not dare to reveal his true identity.
But as it turned out, demonic Cultivators were one of the major hazards in the Flying Star Sector. How interesting!
Pondering for a moment, Li Yao asked, "If the three hazards are causing so much damage, how has the government been handling them?"
Mu Ping was startled. He blurted out, "Government? What government?"
Li Yao was startled, too. He scratched his head and frowned.
"The national government. The army. Are they taking any measures against the three hazards?"
Mu Ping stared at him for a long time, as if he had said the most hilarious thing in the world. After a long while, he shook his head and said, "There hasn't been a nation in the Flying Star Sector for thousands of years! A starship represents a Cultivation sect. The Cultivation sects are scattered everywhere in the constellation and rely on the debris of ancient battlegrounds and the world fragments to provide supplies. The concept of a nation is highly redundant."
Li Yao raised his eyebrows.
He had read in the text books that, before the Star Glory Federation was established, the Heaven's Origin Sector was in an anarchistic state where all the sects minded their own business in a disorganized manner.
He didn't expect for the Flying Star Sector to be still in such a state right now.
However, it seemed to be pretty plausible on second thought.
After all, most of the spiritual energy and Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures in the Heaven's Origin Sector congregated in one planet which only had one main continent.
In such a case, the Cultivation sects tended to bond and form a nation when they were faced with the threat of a common foe.
In comparison, the Cultivation sects of the Flying Star Sector were scattered in the sea of stars. Each of them could get their own supplies from the ancient debris. It was pretty understandable that a unified nation and a central government did not exist.
After Mu Ping's explanations, Li Yao finally learnt that most people living in the Flying Star Sector paid taxes to and did business with selected Cultivation sects in exchange for their protection. When they were threatened by the three hazards such as a space pirate assault, they could send distress calls to the Cultivation sect they had chosen and ask for their help.
In order to suppress the space pirates and ensure the safety of the trade routes between different sects, a lot of high bounties had been declared, resulting in the ever-appearing unaffiliated Cultivators and hunters who chased and preyed on space pirates, demon beasts, and demonic Cultivators in the sea of stars for the generous rewards.
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