A grey-robed young man slowly walked out from the western city gate of the ‘Zhen Gui Pass’. He stood outside the moat and lifted his eyes to gaze at the mountain ranges in the distance. After which, he turned his head and took a final look at this border city of the Jia Ma Empire. Once he walked away from here, he would truly be able to roam freely throughout the high skies and vast seas. The world outside would definitely be even more interesting than this empire.
Xiao Yan inhaled a deep breath of air. Finally, he ceased feeling nostalgic and strode into the distance. His skinny back slowly faded away at the edge of the main road.
Around half an hour after the grey-robed young man disappeared, some black air strangely and suddenly appeared in the sky above the ‘Zhen Gui Pass’. The black air lingered in the sky as if it was possessed by a spirit, much like a ghost.
For some time, the black air moved back and forth in the sky above the ‘Zhen Gui Pass’ where Xiao Yan had fought earlier. Suddenly, it was swept up by the wind as it headed in the same direction that Xiao Yan had walked. Along the way, it left a black trace that was partially visible.
It was completely silent on the main road which was situated between lush green woods. There was only the soft chirping of the birds sitting on the tree branches, adding some life to this empty road.
“Teacher, earlier you…?” After quietly walking for a long time, Xiao Yan finally could not resist the doubt within his heart as he asked softly.
Two minutes after Xiao Yan spoke a soft sigh could be heard. Yao Lao bitterly laughed as he muttered, “Ah, it is really unexpected that these fellows are present near the Jia Ma Empire. They seldom come here. Why is it that this time…”
Yao Lao softly muttering to himself resulted in Xiao Yan becoming totally confused. He immediately asked carefully, “Teacher, who are those people that you are referring to as ‘those fellows’?”
Upon hearing Xiao Yan’s question, Yao Lao fell into silence. Xiao Yan was startled when he saw the manner in which Yao Lao behaved and did not continue pursuing the matter. His brows furrowed slightly as he continued to follow the direction of the map, walking along this road that led to the ‘Black-Corner Region’. However, he began to feel somewhat uneasy in his heart.
“Little fellow, I had originally planned to tell you about these things once you had become stronger. Now, however, my trace has unexpectedly been discovered by them. My original plan is also ruined. If you want to know about this matter, I can only tell you now earlier than I anticipated.” Yao Lao, who had been silent for a long time suddenly opened his mouth and said, “However, I have to warn you beforehand that the faction involved in this matter is really too strong. It is far from what a sect like the Misty Cloud Sect can compare with. Even I feel that the matter is very difficult. Are you currently certain that you want to know?”
Xiao Yan’s hand trembled involuntarily. His throat rolled slowly as he swallowed a mouthful of saliva. His moving footsteps also paused as he quietly stood in the same spot. He had a premonition that the matter which Yao Lao would soon mention would likely cause the steady and peaceful days that he had experienced in the past to instantly disappear.
Following Xiao Yan’s silence, Yao Lao also ceased to speak. However, Xiao Yan faintly sensed a disappointment being emitted from the ring on his finger.
After being silent for nearly five to six minutes, Xiao Yan suddenly exhaled a long breath of air. He lifted his head and he gazed past the gaps between the tree leaves and eyed the deep blue sky. His finger rubbed the black colored ring as he said in a soft gentle voice, “Tell me, teacher. Although I do not know just how strong the faction involved in this matter is, I just want to say one thing. I am your disciple. All these abilities of mine were given to me by you.”
“Ha ha, good, good! These eyes of mine, Yao Chen, have not been blinded for the second time! Ha ha!”
After Xiao Yan’s voice fell, Yao Lao descended into silence. A while later, he repeatedly said the word ‘good’ twice. A voice which was trembling intensely sounded in his heart. As his mood was agitated, he had spoken the name which had once shaken the entire Dou Qi continent in front of Xiao Yan for the first time!
Xiao Yan’s words were calm and unexcited, the same words that had come from his heart had caused the usually calm and indifferent Yao Lao to become so emotional that his old tears were allowed to roam. He had experienced being betrayed by the person whom he had trusted the most. That kind of pain was basically a kind that seeped into one’s bones. However, it was fortunate that this time around, his eyes, which had miscalculated once, did not repeat the same mistake!
“Yao Chen. Was this once teacher’s name?” Xiao Yan repeated the foreign name within his mind. His focus, however, was paused on another sentence. “Has not been blind for a second time. In other words, he was blind once. Ah, looks like teacher’s past was quite rough.”
“Little fellow, I have told you in the past that the Dou Qi continent was very big. Within it, strong people are as numerous as the clouds. Even the the person who is considered the strongest within the Jia Ma Empire, Yun Shan, would have no choice but to rid himself of his haughtiness when he enters the continent. This is because, there are many people within it who are many times stronger than him.” Yao Lao’s slow tone contained some desolation, attracting Xiao Yan’s attention until the latter did not dare to be the slightest bit distracted.
“Due to this enormous area, there were many strange factions that had been formed. Among them, there was a mysterious faction named the ‘Hall of Souls’. Although this faction nearly covers half of the continent, they seldom appear in countries that are far from the center of the continent like the Jia Ma Empire. There are not many people on this continent who know of their existence.”
“Hall of Souls?” Xiao Yan muttered this name before he spoke softly, “Earlier, teacher must have sensed traces of them at the ‘Zhen Gui Pass’ right?”
“Ah.” Yao Lao smiled bitterly and nodded as he said, “This ‘Hall of Souls’ is extremely powerful and mysterious. Moreover, the methods they employ in their operations are extremely strange. Even I do not have a deep understanding of them. However, they usually do not attack ordinary people. Their targets are the ‘Living Spirits’, whose bodies have died, but whose spirits are unusually strong. As an alchemist, you should also know that when the spirit’s strength has reached a certain limit, the spirit will still be able to survive even if the body is destroyed in order to find any opportunity to be revived. For these kind of spirits, we call them: ‘Living Spirits’!”
“That is something like what Teacher is in, right?” Xiao Yan pursed his lips and asked softly.
“Yes.” Yao Lao gave a positive response. His voice immediately and suddenly had some additional fury and gloominess within it, “They are like this continent’s spirit scavengers. Any strong spirit which has left their bodies will be sensed by them. After which, they will send someone to mysteriously finish it off. I don’t know why they specialize in attacking spiritual bodies but they appear to have some special restraining tactics toward spirit. Back then, not long after my physical body was destroyed, I was surrounded and attacked by them. Although I did finally successfully kill my way out, I was also seriously wounded because of it. It was fortunate, however, that I had luckily obtained an extremely rare ‘Warm Soul Spirit Ring’ when I was helping other people refine medicinal pills back then. In the end, I got someone to help me create the black-colored ring on your finger. It was because of this that I managed to escape being killed by them. Finally, the ring went in circles and landed in your mother’s hands before finally being passed on to you.”
Xiao Yan inhaled a deep breath of cool air. Even with Yao Lao’s strength, he was chased until he had to flee in all directions. Just how strong was that mysterious ‘Hall of Souls’?
“The ‘Hall of Souls’ has a special tactic to deal with spirits. Therefore, even I had difficulty just relying on my spirit to fight with them.” Yao Lao said in a soft deep voice, “The reason why I want to quickly revive is actually because I am afraid of them. Moreover, I also have some matters and grudges that I must investigate fully and settle!”
Xiao Yan quietly nodded his head.
“Little fellow, you need not think of how to help me. The current you is far too weak. What I am optimistic about is your potential. As long as you are given enough time, you will definitely become a true strong person at the peak. It is just that you must become stronger now! Otherwise, once those fellows come searching, I’m afraid that even your life will be in danger!” Yao Lao slowly said.
Xiao Yan’s face gradually became serious. He tightened his fist and replied in a deep voice, “Teacher, I will obtain the ‘Fallen Heart Flame’ as soon as possible. After which, I will help you refine a body so that you are no longer threatened by the ‘Hall of Souls’.”
“Ah, I can only rely on you.” Yao Lao sighed and immediately voiced his thoughts, “It is fortunate that I had withdrawn into the ring very quickly earlier. Otherwise, I’m afraid that they would have locked onto our position. However, now that they have sensed something, I think that this place will gradually have an increase in members from the ‘Hall of Souls’. Therefore, there may be many problems in the future in which you will have to rely on yourself. Otherwise, once I appear once and they lock onto me, our lives will both be in danger.”
“Ah.” Xiao Yan nodded his head heavily. His relaxed heart from having left the Jia Ma Empire earlier had abruptly tightened. Although there was currently no threat from the Misty Cloud Sect, an even more terrifying large being had appeared. He had no choice but to handle it with caution. Moreover, it was just as Yao Lao had said. The current him was really too weak. With his little bit of strength, forget about protecting Yao Lao from being captured by the ‘Hall of Souls’, even the Misty Cloud Sect was able to expel him like a dog which had lost its home.
“Without strength, one will end up being powerless and unable to do anything.” Xiao Yan sighed gently as he tightened his fist. At this moment, he once again felt the same powerlessness and yearning for strength, like he had when facing Nalan Yanran in the hall of the Xiao clan’s home three years ago!
“Strength! I need strength!”
Xiao Yan roared violently in his heart. Under the pressure of the mysterious ‘Hall of Souls’, Xiao Yan told himself that his current most pressing need was strength.
“Since it is like this, let’s directly fly to the Jia Nan Academy. We cannot continue to make short stops along the way.” A map was pulled out from within the storage ring. Xiao Yan carefully observed it for a moment as his finger traced the red line on it. Finally, it stopped at a large, dark patch on the map. Finally, his finger passed through the black region and stopped at a blue-colored star in the center of it.
Xiao Yan’s shoulders trembled slightly and the Purple Cloud Wings rose slowly from his back. He flapped the wings, and his body rose into the air. After he found his bearings, he finally turned into a ray of light and disappeared into the western horizon.
Following Xiao Yan’s disappearance, the region once again descended into silence. Around two to three hours later, a wisp of black-colored fog suddenly flew over from the distant sky. Finally, it lingered over the region where Xiao Yan had stopped. A low, doubtful sound was emitted from the black fog. It hesitated for a moment before finally flying in the direction Xiao Yan had headed in.