Lu An flew off with the dragons, but he left a sorrowful scene behind.
The sea calmed down, but the black tortoises mourned.
“Elder Miao, my father died a miserable death!”
“When the dragons came, the oceanic animal spirits who used to flatter and fawn over us all ran!”
“Elder Miao, this time, they ate two hundred black tortoises and injured three hundred of us!”
The crying and lamenting never ended. Many corpses remained in the surroundings. Miao Chen showed a very unsightly expression, but he still tried to console the others.
Gu Hai’s group waited in the sky.
Miao Chen only returned when evening fell.
“Your Majesty, that was dangerous. Good thing I returned. Otherwise, our tribe would have been wiped out,” Miao Chen said with an unsightly expression.
Gu Hai nodded and said, “Just console them first. After that, pack up and head to Nine-Five Island. I already left instructions with Gu Qin. The sea region nearby is reserved for you.”
Miao Chen nodded and said, “Yes. Many thanks, Your Majesty. However, Your Majesty is going to Ying Province. Do be careful of them. That Gui Mian looked like he would break into the Heavenly Palace Realm soon.”
“Don’t worry.” Gu Hai nodded.
“Mister Shangguan, are you coming with us?” Miao Chen looked at Shangguan Hen.
Shangguan Hen needed to keep his identity secret. Hence, Miao Chen addressed him as Mister Shangguan.
“No, I’ll head to Ying Province with His Majesty. Do take care on your journey,” Shangguan Hen said seriously.
“Alright!” Miao Chen nodded.
After receiving some instructions, Miao Chen returned to the sea.
At the side, Venerable Liu Nian appeared amazed. Gu Hai really subdued Miao Chen? You must be joking!
“Hall Master, many thanks for earlier!” Gu Hai looked at Long Wanqing.
“There’s no need to thank me. Actually, even if I did not do anything, Miao Chen could have dealt with Gui Mian. That Gui Mian is close to the Heavenly Palace Realm. However, he is not there yet, just at peak Nascent Soul Realm,” Long Wanqing said with a smile.
“No! Even if Miao Chen could deal with him, they seemed about equal. If the other dragons had attacked the black tortoises during this time, the black tortoises would have suffered even heavier losses. Now, every single black tortoise is extremely important!” Gu Hai shook his head.
On the other side, Venerable Liu Nian waved his hand, and a group of servants quickly operated the flying ship.
“If you want to thank me, how about teaching me Go? This time, you are not permitted to say that you have not played Go with others for a long time,” Long Wanqing teased with a stern face.
“Since Hall Master wants to learn, Gu Hai naturally will teach all I know!” Gu Hai said with a smile.
There was still some time to the Divine Continent. During this time, Gu Hai asked Long Wanqing about the Divine Continent’s situation. Long Wanqing explained everything she knew. The two took joy in their chats.
Several days later, in a large palace hall on the White Cloud flying ship:
Gu Hai entered closed-door cultivation.
He placed the True Dragon Golden Core Cultivation Technique’s manual in front of him and carefully studied it.
“The cultivation of the Golden Core Realm is to use Veritable Essence to batter the heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidney to open the five apertures—the heart aperture, the liver aperture, the spleen aperture, the lung aperture, and the kidney aperture? The dantian is the primary node for gathering Veritable Essence, and the five apertures are supplementary. Aren’t the five apertures something like a dantian? That means one opens another five more dantian in the Golden Core Realm?” Doubt flashed in Gu Hai’s eyes.
Gu Hai’s consciousness entered his dantian, and he saw the ball-shaped Veritable Essence spinning slowly in his dantian. A whirlpool above it absorbed spiritual energy to form Veritable Essence.
A tiny purple dragon swam in the Veritable Essence ball.
This tiny purple dragon seemed both illusory and material. It was the true dragon that the True Dragon Innate Cultivation Technique manifested. However, when Gu Hai infused a portion of his consciousness into it, he could move this tiny dragon as he pleased.
Controlled by Gu Hai’s consciousness, the tiny dragon swam out of the Veritable Essence ball and the dantian. Then, it followed the Veritable Essence and swam in the meridians.
After swimming around for a while, it slowly made its way to the heart.
A dusky energy seemed to hide at a certain meridian node in the heart.
The tiny dragon directed large amounts of Veritable Essence to crash into that node.
Gu Hai’s heart shuddered. Upon feeling intense pain, he stopped. The dusky energy shook slightly but remained firmly in place.
“The heart aperture? That is the entrance to the heart aperture? Do I need to break open the heart aperture first? However, the power of my Veritable Essence seems to be a touch too weak. No, perhaps I lack some sort of opportunity?” Some confusion flashed in Gu Hai’s eyes.
The tiny dragon continued swimming along the meridians. When it reached the lungs, there was indeed a dusky entrance as well.
Gu Hai failed to open the lung aperture.
Spleen aperture, liver aperture, kidney aperture…
Gu Hai made a loop. He wanted to open the apertures, but he could not do it in one go. He needed to accumulate Veritable Essence and also required an opportunity.
After cultivating for two days, Gu Hai walked out of the palace hall.
Long Wanqing stood at the bow of the flying ship by herself, looking into the distance. As the sun set, glistening golden sunlight shone on Long Wanqing’s fair face and neck, making them look beautiful and dazzling, like the most beautiful gem in the world.
Gu Hai watched in a slight daze from not far away.
Suddenly, Long Wanqing turned her head to look, seeming to have sensed Gu Hai. Her gaze happened to meet his.
Long Wanqing smiled faintly. That smile was like a hundred flowers blooming. At that instant, Gu Hai thought he heard cracking in his long-frozen heart.
Gu Hai’s expression changed as he instantly suppressed the warmth that stirred in his heart.
“You came out of closed-door cultivation?” Long Wanqing said with a gentle voice.
“Indeed. I was just studying the True Dragon Golden Core Cultivation Technique. The flow of Veritable Essence there is much more incredible than in the Golden Core Realm cultivation techniques I found previously. It is much bolder and grander, directly breaking into the five apertures,” Gu Hai said, smiling.
“Opening the five apertures is extremely crucial. The heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys correlate to the fire aperture, wood aperture, earth aperture, metal aperture, and water aperture,” Long Wanqing explained.
“The nascent soul forms in the dantian. In the future, nascent souls will also form in the five apertures,” Long Wanqing added.
“The five apertures will have nascent souls? Then, won’t there be six nascent souls?” Gu Hai asked, somewhat confused.
Long Wanqing nodded and said, “Indeed. These are your physical souls. The rudimentary form of the physical souls is the nascent souls, the source of your energy!”
“Oh? A person has three spiritual souls and seven physical souls. Why only six nascent souls?” Gu Hai asked in bewilderment.
Long Wanqing frowned and shook her head. “I’m not sure. However, this is how cultivation is in the world. After forming six nascent souls, one can start opening the heavenly palaces and cultivate the three spiritual souls.”
Some confusion flashed in Gu Hai’s eyes, but he nodded.
“By the way, we are about to arrive in Silver Moon City, a large city of the Ying Province by the seaside. The other people of Elite Hall are already there waiting for us at a secondary residence that my mother set up in the past. It can be considered my Elite Hall’s base,” Long Wanqing said as she looked into the distance.
“Oh? Your mother’s secondary residence? Did your mother set up many secondary residences?” Gu Hai asked out of curiosity.
“Not really, there aren’t that many. There are just two in Ying Province,” Long Wanqing replied, shaking her head.
“Oh? Then, why Silver Moon City?” Gu Hai asked.
“My mother loved the zither. The zithers in Silver Moon City are very good. Nearly all types of zithers in the world can be found in Silver Moon City. There are many master zither luthiers there!” Long Wanqing explained.
“Is that so?” Gu Hai nodded with a trace of misgiving on his face.
The flying ship moved rapidly. Gu Hai could already see a large city in the distance where Long Wanqing pointed.
It was an extremely large city by the sea, about half the size of Nine-Five Island.
Nine-Five Island was already about the size of all of Earth’s continents added together. To Gu Hai, Nine-Five Island was like a small planet, yet this city was half the size of Earth’s combined continents?
Who knew how Gu Hai figured that out, as this city had city walls about one thousand six hundred meters tall—about as tall as a five-hundred-story building. Clouds and fog lingered in the sky above the city, preventing people from looking in. Light flashed from countless ritual arrays above the city walls.
“That is Silver Moon City. The entire city is a large ritual array that can block the attacks of Heavenly Palace Realm cultivators. It is extremely sturdy,” Long Wanqing explained.
“It is also very vast.” Gu Hai smiled bitterly.
Indeed. Fortunately, I came out to take a look. No wonder the people of the Divine Continent consider the Thousand Islands Sea a desolate and barren land.
Even my Han Royal Dynasty’s imperial palace looks far inferior to this.
Just this one ordinary city can contain my entire Han Royal Dynasty?
Gu Hai stared at the city while taking deep breaths.
The officials that Gu Hai brought over also inhaled sharply.
“This is a city of immortals? It is so vast?”
“This is just a city? Just a city?”
“No wonder His Majesty turned the entire Hulao Pass into the imperial palace. Indeed, our ken was too low!”
All the Han Royal Dynasty officials felt that their eyes were not sufficient to see everything. There were all sorts of rare beasts flying outside Silver Moon City, presenting a wondrous scene.
The flying ship landed slowly outside Silver Moon City, at a field reserved for landing flying ships.
After they put away the flying ship, a group of people came over to receive them.
“This is the immortal crane carriage. We are not permitted to use flying ships in the city. We also should not fly casually in public areas. This immortal crane can quickly carry us through the city. Um…think of it as a horse carriage, just that you need to pay to use them,” Long Wanqing explained.
Gu Hai nodded. Paying was fine; he had some spirit stones.
Their group of nearly one hundred people rented an immortal crane carriage and quickly flew towards the city.
The city gates were about three hundred meters tall with the characters for “Silver Moon” above them.
The city guards wanted to inspect the immortal crane carriage, but Long Wanqing took out the Elite Hall Token, which allowed the group to enter quickly without any fuss.
After entering and looking into the distance, the group saw many floating islands in various areas of the sky, with countless buildings and pavilions, looking exceptionally beautiful. Of course, fog covered many of them, clearly to maintain privacy. Immortal beasts flew around the floating islands, looking very dreamy.
The Han Royal Dynasty officials could not get enough of the sights, not even blinking as they looked around.
There were also many streets in the distance with countless cultivators rushing about on them.
Long Wanqing had been paying attention to Gu Hai. When Gu Hai showed only slight surprise before recovering his calm, she felt curious. Normally, one would be shocked for a long time on first seeing such a sight.
“Is everyone in this city a cultivator?” Gu Hai asked out of curiosity.
“Only a few are ordinary people. Most people are cultivators. The weakest is at the Acquired Realm, but they are only bottom feeders. Most are Innate Realm cultivators and Golden Core Realm cultivators. After those two would be Nascent Soul Realm cultivators.” Long Wanqing nodded.
“How many people are there in this city?” Gu Hai asked, his interest piqued.
“Probably about one hundred million,” Long Wanqing said as she looked in the distance.
Gu Hai: “…”
The eyes of the Han Royal Dynasty officials nearly popped out. One hundred million? Just one city alone has one hundred million? In Nine-Five Island, a city with a population of one million is already a megacity!
“In the end, Silver Moon City is somewhat remote; there aren’t many people.” Long Wanqing shook her head.
The Han Royal Dynasty officials: “…”
Gu Hai did not feel overly shocked. After all, this number was just quadruple the population of Earth’s Shanghai, where Gu Hai originally came from. Furthermore, this one city alone was already larger than Earth’s China. One hundred million was not much.
Inside an extremely magnificent palace hall in Silver Moon City:
Lu An was gently wiping a zither when one of his subordinates suddenly rushed in.
“Young Master An, someone sent word earlier that Long Wanqing and the others are here!” that subordinate said respectfully.
“Oh? Long Wanqing and the others are in Silver Moon City?” Lu An stopped what he was doing as he raised his eyebrows.
“Yes! Aside from that Miao Chen, everyone on the White Cloud flying ship that time is all here!” that subordinate said respectfully.
Lu An revealed a faint cold smile. “Enemies frequently cross paths, indeed. How long has it been, and they are already here? Humph!”
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