Generally speaking, the Flying Star Sector was more chaotic than the Heaven's Origin Sector, but it was freer. The Cultivation sects here had more power, too. They were in effect the miniature governments in this world.
Li Yao thought of something and asked, "Then, which sect does Black Iron Town belong to?"
Mu Ping smiled, somewhat embarrassedly, and said, "Black Iron Town does not belong to any sect."
As it turned out, Black Iron Domain, the world fragment that Black Iron Town was located in, was at the edge of the Flying Star Sector, surrounded by dangerous stone belts and cosmic storms and haunted by spiritual tides. Sailing in this area would consume a lot of resources.
Although there was an ancient battleground here, it was one of the relics that had been developed in the earliest years. After thousands of years of exploitation, the key components and precious Heavenly Materials and Earthly Treasures had been drained a long time ago. What was left were nothing but broken remnants riddled with holes or empty starship shells. For high-level Cultivators, they were not of much value.
This was a typical backward village. None of the big sects thought highly of the place. Even sending a large starship to establish a 'branch' here was a waste of time and resources in their eyes.
Previously, a small sect named 'Trinity Sect' had been stationed in this place. But it was quite unlucky that a cosmic storm struck them when their leader was advancing to a higher level in seclusion. Two of the three starships of the sect had been blown into smithereens. The leader of the sect had been so irked that his breakthrough was disturbed, leading to his mental derangement and eventually his death.
The survivors of the disaster were far from enough to run a sect. They decided to join other big sects in the center of the constellation flying their last starship.
As a result, the dozens of world fragments and starship towns became unprotected by the sects.
Thankfully, this place was too remote and infertile. Not just the Cultivators, even the space pirates barely had any interest in it. Also, since the residents living in such harsh environments, be they low-level Cultivators or ordinary people, were all equipped with crystal suits, they were capable of protecting themselves during the assaults of small demon beasts. As long as large batches of space pirates did not invade, they would be relatively safe.
The benefit of having zero protection from Cultivation sects was that the residents did not have to pay taxes and fulfil the labor duties. The dozens of towns here traded with each other and supplied themselves with whatever they needed. Their life had been peaceful and comfortable.
The enormous crab that Li Yao had slayed had drifted to this place on a meteor. It was not a local demon beast. That was why they'd found it so tricky to deal with it.
Li Yao nodded and realized that it was very fortunate of him to land in this place.
Since there were no Cultivation sects, nobody would investigate his identity. Later, he would be able to travel in the Flying Star Sector as a resident of Black Iron Town. Unless somebody was suspicious and decided to pursue it further, his faked identity would be seamless.
However, the fact that there were no Cultivation sects meant the general knowledge of Cultivation remained insufficient in this area, which could be inferred from how everyone was addressing him.
He was merely in the middle level of the Building Foundation Stage, and yet everyone was calling him 'Master', as if he were one of the top Cultivators in the universe.
Although it was not unusual for Cultivators in the middle level of the Building Foundation Stage, who were considered to be the most promising persons among all Cultivators, to work as the key personnel of Cultivation sects or university professors, the gap between them and the real 'masters' was not negligible.
He had to get out of here as soon as possible and find the real Cultivation sects in the center of the Flying Star Sector which were more prosperous.
If he could join one of the Cultivation sects and learn the advanced Cultivation arts of the Flying Star Sector, it would be best.
Thinking about this part, Li Yao continued posing questions. "Mayor Mu, which sect is the most influential one in the Flying Star Sector?"
Hopeful brilliance beamed out of Mu Ping's eyes as he replied with a smile, "There are almost a hundred well-known sects in the Flying Star Sector. But the biggest one of all is unquestionably the 'Heavenly Saints Alliance'!
"The Heavenly Saints Alliance is not one sect, but the coalition of the six strongest sects of the Flying Star Sector.
"A thousand years ago, they bridged their main starships and star fortresses and built a grand, magnificent super metropolis in space named 'Heavenly Saints City'! After a thousand years of development, Heavenly Saints City has grown larger and larger like an enormous animal devouring new starships and star fortresses.
"I'm told that Heavenly Saints City is the biggest man-made structure in the Flying Star Sector; it can accommodate tens of millions of people!
"Heavenly Saints City is not only the place where the six strongest sects of the Flying Star Sector are headquartered, but also boasts the best universities, the most advanced crystal suit refining centers, the biggest and most extravagant arenas, and the most Exo associations
"Anyways, although the Flying Star Sector does not have a capital, Heavenly Saints City is the well-deserved center of the Flying Star Sector!
"What's more, it is said that the high-level Cultivators have modified the interior of Heavenly Saints City tremendously, to the extent that the residents inside the city do not feel that they are floating in space at all.
"What they see are white clouds and blue sky. What they smell is fresh air. They can enjoy the beautiful landscapes such as man-made lakes, rivers, mountains, and even oceans. It is truly heaven on earth. Everyone in the Flying Star Sector yearns to live in Heavenly Saints City, even for just a month!"
Mu Ping's face was gleaming. The interconnecting scars on his face started twitching, suggesting his intense desire.
Li Yao was quite shocked, too.
A city in space that boasted man-made oceans?
What a marvelous splendor it must be!
Heavenly Saints City! It would appear that he had his goal now.
When he arrived in Heavenly Saints City, he would be able to join the strongest Cultivation sects where he could learn the most sophisticated skills and the most advanced technologies!
Even if these Cultivation sects rejected him, according to Mu Ping, there were still universities, arenas, crystal suit refining centers, and Exo associations in Heavenly Saints City. It seemed that information regarding the magical equipment and technology of this Sector was not too confidential, and there were public forums where people could study and communicate.
If so, he could learn many things as long as he could reach Heavenly Saints City!
Li Yao swallowed so as to suppress the desire in his heart. Then he asked casually, "How far is it from here to Heavenly Saints City? What kind of procedures are there to live and study in Heavenly Saints City and even join a Cultivation sect?"
Mu Ping coughed and said, somewhat embarrassedly, "Nobody can say for sure the distance between us and Heavenly Saints City. The Flying Star Sector is a fairly large place and a very chaotic one. Many routes are often cut off by stone belts and cosmic storms. Dangerous space turbulence and swirls are not uncommon either. If a starship sails into the seemingly peaceful area, they'll fall into the four-dimensional universe and be teleported to god knows where. In the worst cases, they might be torn apart directly.
"The point is, our starships may not be able to reach Heavenly Saints City in several years.
"Besides, Heavenly Saints City is not fixed in one place but a moving metropolis floating in the sea of stars, searching for the areas with the most abundant spiritual energy; it will fly to any place that has more resources.
"Sure, there are star beacons. But they are not prepared for country folks such as us.
"Heavenly Saints City is the holy land for all the people in the Flying Star Sector. Everyone craves to be a resident of Heavenly Saints City and will head there at whatever cost.
"Even though Heavenly Saints City is being enlarged every year, there are still too many people crowding into it.
"Five hundred years ago, orbital rings started to be built on the periphery of Heavenly Saints City to accommodate more residents. They are known as 'star rings'.
"At first, there was one ring. Then, two rings. Currently, even the ninth ring has been filled. The tenth ring is under construction!
"Therefore, since three hundred years ago, Heavenly Saints City stopped opening to the general outsiders.
"Every year, Heavenly Saints City will propose a certain quota of population and issue corresponding residential certificates to the outsiders. To apply for a residential certificate, one must first prove that one is a qualified talent for Heavenly Saints City."
Li Yao frowned. "And how can one prove oneself?"
Mu Ping extended two of his fingers and said, "There are two ways. The first one is to participate in the various matches hosted by Heavenly Saints City, such as Exo championships and refining competitions. The winners of the games will be entitled to enter Heavenly Saints City.
"The matches are not necessarily for Cultivators. Many of them are for ordinary people, too. For example, last year, the management of Heavenly Saints City discovered after prolonged calculations that the city was short of three hundred chefs. Therefore, a match of cooking skills was held, and the top three hundred winners were authorized to live in Heavenly Saints City even though they were just cooks.
"The second way is to accomplish certain special tasks.
"For example, a space pirate has fled to the depths of the sea of stars after committing felonies in Heavenly Saints City. The guardians of Heavenly Saints City are not able to catch him for the time being. Therefore, they may propose a bounty with additional rewards, say, the permission to live in Heavenly Saints City, besides the monetary benefits.
"However, either the matches hosted by Heavenly Saints City or the bounty tasks are usually only open to other major sects and the ordinary people under their protection. Small places like ours do not have the ticket to take part in such matches at all. On the other hand, we often miss the latest news, because we are not covered in the Spiritual Nexus. We can only learn what is going on in the outside world when we are attending kermises. It is hard for us to hear of the bounties in time.
"Therefore, although Heavenly Saints City is heaven on earth, it is but a daydream for us. Haha."
Mu Ping smiled, bitterly and regretfully.
Li Yao scratched his hair. Kermises?
In a place filled with remnants of starships where giant light beams were hanging on the walls, kermis sounded like a pretty odd word.
But he didn't pursue it further. Pondering for a moment, he reflected on what Mu Ping had just said.
It seemed that entering Heavenly Saints City would not be an easy job. But first of all, he had to move to the center of the Flying Star Sector where the news was more frequently updated. Or, he could join a random sect first in order to be qualified to participate in the matches of Heavenly Saints City.
As for what kind of matches to take part in
In either the competitions of crystal suits or those of refining, Li Yao was confident that, even though he might not be the best in the Flying Star Sector, his skills were more than enough to earn him a place in Heavenly Saints City.
Ten of millions of people lived in Heavenly Saints City. A vast majority of them must be ordinary people. Li Yao didn't believe that he would be worse than them.
Suddenly, Li Yao thought of something that Mu Ping just mentioned. Confusion clear on his face, he asked, "Mayor Mu, you just said that every household in this area has crystal suits But from what I've seen, there are not many Cultivators in the town. Then, who are the people wearing the crystal suits?"