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Despite the flow of time, everything in Mirage Sea Realm maintained a sense of tranquility.
Huan Chenxue enjoyed playing the flute and she had a perfect sense of music. The music she played on the flute was not augmented by any Yuan Qi, yet it was able to calm a person's mind in an inexplicable manner.
And whenever she played, Yi Yun would have the irresistible urge to cultivate his Sword Dao amid the music. With Huan Chenxue as his mirror, his sword arts improved rapidly.
When he wasn’t in cultivation, Huan Chenxue would frequently tend to her flowers.
Yi Yun would also help her most of the time. Plowing the land, watering the ground, planting the flower saplings…
The duo would enjoy strolls on the cloud-covered Mirage Sea Sea Cliff. They would watch the endless and calm sea. Above them were blue skies and white clouds. The scenery left Yi Yun completely calm.
Although Huan Chenxue was a mortal, she seemed aware of all that had taken place from before to now. She had a mysterious disposition and she was definitely of extraordinary birth. However, Yi Yun would also feel that she was an ordinary, if beautiful, woman when he planted flowers with her. She would let out a light laughter when he said something funny or knit her brows slightly when the flowers she planted withered.
Unknowingly, several years pa.s.sed. On that tiny island in Mirage Sea Realm, Yi Yun spent most of his time cultivating in seclusion. Every day, he would take breaks to have a stroll or have a chat with Huan Chenxue. They would also plant flowers and trees, seemingly leading a life where men tilled the farm and women weaved.
The spiritual energy was abundant, allowing Yi Yun's foundations to constantly turn more robust. His cultivation level was also increasing at a stable pace. Now, he was already beginning to aim for the fifth-floor Dao Palace realm.
In the hundred years of Yi Yun's growth, he was either embroiled in battles or risking his life in mystic realms. When he wasn’t doing those things, he would be secluding himself in chambers, having walls as companions while experiencing long-lasting loneliness.
He did not know how long it had been since he could calm his heart down in such a manner, leading a calm and peaceful life. This was something Yi Yun had never experienced in the past.
At times, Yi Yun would also leave his residence and observe how the ordinary warriors of the Mirage Sea Realm lived. Here, people did not cut at each other’s throats and there was a more honest and unsophisticated air. It seemed like a paradise.
Yi Yun's mind calmed down greatly in such an environment. In fact, when most warriors were in cultivation, they only spent a tiny portion of their time going out for experiential training, opportunity-seeking, and combat. They spent most of their lives leading ordinary days in their sects.
Yi Yun lacked such experiences so now, having savored it in detail, he managed to have a new comprehension of the martial way. With Huan Chenxue pointing out the imperfections in his Sword Dao, Yi Yun unknowingly seemed to touch the ethereal Sword Soul realm.
Finally, the day for the spatial nodes to open approached. That meant it was time for Yi Yun to leave.
Yi Yun found his trip to the Mirage Sea Realm reminiscent of a dream. Huan Chenxue was a woman that would only appear in dreams. She was mysterious and bizarre.
"When I gave you Mirage Snow, it was no longer in its ancient form. You can rest a.s.sured in using it that there's no need to worry that others will recognize it. Besides, even if Mirage Snow was in its original form, the number of people that can recognize it is a bare handful."
"As for the letter I gave you, find a person known as Old Snake when you reach Boundless Mountain and hand him the letter."
During Yi Yun's departure, Huan Chenxue, accompanied by Elder Mo, had come to send him off.
Yi Yun was taken aback. The name was truly somewhat special.
"Miss Huan, I wonder, where does the map you gave me lead?"
"The final destination is…" Huan Chenxue exhaled lightly before speaking slowly, "You would call it the Sinkhole, but it's not the deepest depths of the Sinkhole. You will naturally know once you are there…"
Yi Yun's brows p.r.i.c.ked up. Although he had his suspicions, Yi Yun still felt jolted when he heard Huan Chenxue actually say it. He was finally exploring this place that he had heard of so many a time.
Yi Yun knew that many of the 12 Empyrean Heavens's experts were in the Sinkhole.
And the Sinkhole was mysterious and dangerous. There were many chaotic s.p.a.ces and ancient ruins.
"Thank you, Miss Huan. I have benefited greatly over the past few years. You have answered many of my questions."
When Yi Yun left that island, he felt a sense of longing. He felt a little reluctant to leave the calm lifestyle he had enjoyed for the past few years.
Elder Mo watched Yi Yun, who was about to embark on his journey. He had a complicated expression, for he knew that Yi Yun possessed extraordinary talent but there was always uncertainty in the world. It was unknown what lay ahead of the youth.
Yi Yun bade Huan Chenxue and Elder Mo farewell once again. Following that, he stepped out of the Mirage Sea Realm with determination and, with guidance from the map, he found the first spatial node. He opened it with his spatial dimension laws.
A black spatial rift opened and Yi Yun's figure seemed to be devoured by the chaotic void as he vanished instantly.
"Yi Yun," Huan Chenxue looked up into the sky and whispered. "I hope that everything will go smoothly for you…"
A sinkhole's original definition is the bottomless nadir of the sea. Legends said that the Sinkhole was there even before the 12 Empyrean Heavens formed. The Sinkhole existed before the Empyrean Heavens.
In the records of the earliest 12 Empyrean Heavens canons: Billions of miles away from the east of the divine sea, there lay a ravine named the Sinkhole, which was as good as bottomless. Beneath the Sinkhole were spiritual lands to which everything converged…
The Sinkhole had been determined to be the endless extension of the Universe. Perhaps no one knew where the end of the Sinkhole lay.
The place Yi Yun was heading to was the boundary of the Sinkhole. The region was named the Calm Sea.
The Calm Sea was expansive and there was a continent in its middle and countless islands. They lay amid a gray sea.
The sea's surface remained a waveless calm, like a still well, no matter what sort of storms inundated it. People marveled at its unmoving calm, and hence gave it its name.
Yi Yun took nearly half a year to go from the Mirage Sea Realm to the Sinkhole. During this period, he would traverse countless spatial nodes and experience numerous spatial storms.
If he had lacked the necessary strength, it would have been impossible for him to travel through such a vast and chaotic s.p.a.ce.
According to the map, Yi Yun had already reached the Calm Sea. He was looking for Calm Sea's Boundless Mountain. Logically speaking, it was supposed to be in the vicinity. However, Yi Yun failed to find any traces of the mountain.
In fact, the map that Huan Chenxue gave him was dated. Yi Yun was unsure if the local name of Boundless Mountain had changed after such a long period of time.
He reached South Village, an extremely ordinarily named place. This was engraved on a stone monument that was erected in a slanted manner in front of a desolate village.
The stone monument was rather old and had been eroded by the vestiges of time. The words had turned blurry.
When Yi Yun landed in this village, he was somewhat astonished.
He never expected the Sinkhole to have such a rundown place. The village only had a dozen or so mud houses scattered within it. The fields were barren and the malnourished soil did not seem like it could grow anything.
At that moment, Yi Yun saw a girl dressed in coa.r.s.e clothing walking over from the fields.
The girl was carrying a basket as though she had returned from plucking some wild fruits. Her black hair cascaded down across her shoulders and lightly patted her hips as she walked.
She looked about seventeen, young and vibrant. She held her leggings up and had nimble and agile footsteps.
Momentarily, Yi Yun fell into a daze. The scene before him reminded him of his transmigration almost a hundred years ago. Back in the Cloud Wilderness, he had seen his elder sister, Jiang Xiaorou, walking just like that in the fields.
The girl kept to herself as she walked, as though she did not notice Yi Yun.
"Excuse me, Miss." Yi Yun suddenly blurted out. "Would you happen to know of a place named Boundless Mountain?"
The girl halted and sized Yi Yun up with her clear aqueous eyes. She said crisply, "Are you a foreigner? This poor village is dilapidated, so have you gotten lost? I do not know of any Boundless Mountain."
The girl's voice was very sweet like the trickling sounds of spring water in the mountains.
"Oh?" Upon hearing this reply, Yi Yun had a strange impression of the girl. His brows moved a little as though he was deep in thought.
"Hey, Old Lad, it's getting dark soon. Why don't you rest your legs in the village? There are more than a few Fey beasts lurking around here."
Having said that, the girl smiled sweetly and ignored Yi Yun. She walked towards a dilapidated wooden house.
Yi Yun did not need to rest his feet but he was curious about the place, so he followed the girl into the house.
Inside the house, there was simple furniture which all looked to be in terrible condition.
At that moment, the girl used a coa.r.s.e porcelain bowl to scoop a bowl of well water from a water vat. She handed it to Yi Yun and said with a smile, "Have some water."
The water that had just been drawn from a well seemed to suffuse a cool fragrance.
When Yi Yun took the bowl of water, it felt like sandpaper in his hands. He examined the coa.r.s.e porcelain bowl in a way that made it impossible to guess what his thoughts were.
"Miss, it's fine if you do not know about Boundless Mountain. Are there any mountains in the area? Perhaps the mountain I'm looking for has changed its name."
"How can there be any mountain? Just go out and you will see it's an endless desolate plain with Fey beasts scattered everywhere. Even the trees will eat people. Old Lad, I urge you to not walk outside without good reason. You might not be able to return if you venture too far out."
The girl spoke as she stood up to start a fire in the fireplace. She dexterously added a few slabs of timber.
Soon, the flame burned fiercely. The bedroom in the house was filled with a heat that effused mortal vibes. Warriors had strong bodies so there was naturally no need to use fire to resist the cold.
"Well…" Yi Yun nodded. "Miss, what you say makes sense. Then, I'll bid you farewell."
Yi Yun stood up as he spoke. He placed the bowl down and turned to leave.
The girl glanced at Yi Yun oddly as her porcelain-white hand picked up a bamboo basket beside her. "Old Lad, why are you in a rush to leave? Aren't you resting your legs here? Although my place is a little rundown, it can shelter you from the elements. I have even started a fire."
"There's no need. You mentioned that there are Fey beasts everywhere here. Even the trees eat people. I think it's safer I spend the night elsewhere."
"Heh heh heh." The girl suddenly let out a sweet laughter. "You do not seem to be an ordinary old lad. What gave it away?"
It was still the same crisp spring-like voice, but the bamboo basket in the girl's hands had transformed into a coiled venomous snake.
The snake was twined around the girl's arm, sticking its tongue out at Yi Yun. As for the porcelain bowl beside Yi Yun's hand, it had also transformed. The refreshing well water had turned into poison. There was even a tiny red snake swimming within.