Chapter 177: Mysterious Old Man
Xiao Yan's hand trembled a little as he held the fragmented map piece that appeared as though it would turn to dust with just a touch. There was an unrestrained joy that could not be hidden within his eyes. He did not expect that he would find one of the mysterious fragmented pieces under such coincidental circumstances.
Xiao Yan could not understand the meaning behind the routes as he viewed the mysterious routes on this yellowing map piece. However, the outline of these routes were faintly familiar. This was because he had seen this type of mysterious map piece when he and the Fairy Doctor were searching for treasure in a cave within the Magic Beast Mountain Range...
This fragment of a mysterious map could lead one to find the legendary 'Purifying Demonic Lotus Flame' that was ranked third on the 'Heavenly Flame' ranking. Even Yao Lao also gave a very high evaluation to this kind of 'Heavenly Flame'. When Yao Lao talked about the 'Purifying Demonic Lotus Flame', Xiao Yan did not have difficulty in sensing the amazement in his voice.
By being able to be repeatedly praised by Yao Lao, who once stood at the top of the Dou Qi continent, it could be seen just how strong the 'Purifying Demonic Lotus Flame' was. Using the phrase 'Destroyer of everything' to describe it was no exaggeration.
"Tsk tsk, what a lucky guy. To actually be able to find a map piece randomly in such a place like this. Looks like you and the 'Purifying Demonic Lotus Flame' are fated to meet." Yao Lao said with shock and disbelief evident from Xiao Yan's heart. Clearly, he did not expect that Xiao Yan would be able to find two fragment map pieces within one short year.
Xiao Yan smiled. His smile was a little agitated. Carefully holding the mysterious fragment map piece, he forcefully suppressed the impulse to take out the other map piece in his storage ring to compare. Taking in a deep breath, he calmed the fluctuations in his heart caused by this extremely unexpected gain.
At this moment, the old man within the shop finally completed the work that had occupied his hand. However, he still did not raise his head. An old voice evenly reverberated throughout the room.
"You are here to buy a map for the Tager Desert, aren't you."
Hearing the old man's question, Xiao Yan turned around and slowly walked to the front of the counter. He smiled and nodded as he asked with a polite voice, "Old sir, can you give me the most accurate and detailed map of the desert?"
"The maps are on the counter. Pick them yourself." The old man didn't have any intention of standing up or introducing himself. He answered without any interest, making him seem not like a businessman.
Seeing the unique attitude of the old man, Xiao Yan was a little stunned. However, he currently needed the old man's help so he could only nod his head helplessly. He carelessly choose a piece of map that seemed quite detailed from the counter. After which, he carefully pulled open the old map piece in his hand and questioned softly, "Old sir, I wonder if you have anymore such map pieces here?"
Hearing Xiao Yan's question, the hand of the old man who was originally focused on creating a map paused unnoticeably. The meticulously created line appeared slightly crooked. The old man frowned and then lifted his head. After sweeping his gaze over Xiao Yan's hand, an inexplicable feeling flashed in his muddy eyes.
Seeing the old face which was lifted, Xiao Yan could not help but still slightly. From the left cheek to the corner of his eye was a frightening scar. Although the gaze of the old man was calm, this scar added a little fierceness to him.
"You... have you seen these kinds of fragment map piece in the past?" The old man's gaze swept across the badge representing his identity as an alchemist on Xiao Yan's chest. His old voice carried some astonishment.
Hearing this, Xiao Yan narrowed his eyes. He smiled, shook his head and said, "I think that I have seen this kind of fragment map piece once at an auction house. That time, I randomly bid for it but eventually gave up due to the high price the other party offered. Today, I suddenly found this map piece fragment in this place. This is somewhat similar to what I saw so I want to inquire about it."
The 'Purifying Demonic Lotus Flame' was not an ordinary thing. This kind of 'Heavenly Flame' that was ranked third in the 'Heavenly Flame' ranking would cause even a hermit who held himself aloof from the world to become greedy. Thus, Xiao Yan would not be foolish enough to say that he had one of the fragment map pieces.
Sweeping his gaze on Xiao Yan's face, the old man appeared to have believed Xiao Yan's words. He said faintly, "There isn't any other. This was something that I found by coincidence. With all my years of experience making maps, this appears to be a fragment of a map."
"Can old sir tell me where you got ahold of it?" Xiao Yan frowned as he continued to ask.
"I dug it out from the desert." The old man's calm voice did not have the slightest ripple.
When faced with this irresponsible answer, Xiao Yan could only bitterly smile. He held the fragment map piece and asked, "Old sir, can you sell this map piece to me? I'm willing to pay a high price."
"I'm not selling." The old man lowered his head slowly as he once again returned his attention to the unfinished map. His tone might have been dull but it had an irrevocable solemnity to it.
Seeing that he was rejected immediately, Xiao Yan stilled for a moment. His eyes gradually narrowed. No matter what happened, he had to get the fragment. Even if the other party wasn't an old man who appeared physically weak, and was a really strong person, he still would think of ways to obtain it. After all, the attraction of the 'Purifying Demonic Lotus Flame' to Xiao Yan was far too great. If he wanted to evolve the 'Flame Mantra' Qi Method to the Tian Rank, this 'Purifying Demonic Lotus Flame' which was ranked third on the 'Heavenly Flame' ranking would play an important role.
Just as thoughts were being rolled around in Xiao Yan's heart, Yao Lao's faint voice suddenly sounded, "Be careful. This old man is not an ordinary person."
Hearing this, Xiao Yan heart suddenly turned cold as he hurriedly said in his heart: "Teacher, is there something strange with this old man?"
"Yes, from my observation, this old man's true strength should be at the Dou Huang level. However, he seemed to have some strange energies suppressing his power. His body's current strength is merely around that of a Dou Ling. But even if it is like this, it would be easy for him to kill you." Yao Lao said with some interest.
"Dou Huang?" Xiao Yan's heart trembled as he cried out involuntarily in his heart, "How can it be? Among the ten strongest in the Jia Ma Empire, there are only three Dou Huangs. Where did this person with a Dou Huang's strength come from?"
"How would I know... but the strong people whom you mentioned are all those on the surface. The Jia Ma Empire can be considered a big empire; there would definitely be quite a number of strong people who do not like revealing themselves. Some of these strong people have strange personalities and running to this desert border to sell maps isn't an extremely strange habit." Yao Lao randomly said.
"..." Xiao Yan was speechless. A long while later, he smiled bitterly, "Why does it have to be someone like him?"
"Maybe you are lucky." Yao Lao gloated laughingly.
"Kid, stop having any intention on the map. I am not interested in money. Take your things and leave and you shouldn't have any intention of forcefully stealing it. That won't do you any good." The old man waved his hand and blandly said. He did not appear to be afraid that Xiao Yan would take the map piece and run.
Gradually letting out a sigh, Xiao Yan shook his head and said, "Indeed, in front of someone who was once a Dou Huang, I really cannot forcefully take it."
"Crack!" The ink pen in the old man's hand that was slowly moving suddenly stilled and was broken following a clear sound.
The gaze of the old man stared intently at the large black ink patch that was dripping on the map. A long while later, he raised his head. He watched Xiao Yan with turbid eyes; a faint coldness gradually hovered in them.
"Who exactly are you?"
The old man's palm gently tapped at a spot on the table and the large open door suddenly banged shut. His sharp gaze stared at Xiao Yan as an icy strong force began to spread from his body.
Just as the icy oppression headed toward Xiao Yan, Yao Lao's Spiritual Perception surrounded Xiao Yan, allowing him to eliminate the oppressive force from the other party.
"Old sir, please do not misunderstand. I do not know you. It is just that my innate Spiritual Perception is a little odd. It is very sensitive and can feel the surrounding energies. Just now, I had incidentally sensed the majestic energy in old sir's body, thus..." Seeing the intense reaction of the old man, Xiao Yan waved his hand, took two steps back and said with a smile "Old sir, I have no other intention. It's just that I really wanted to obtain that fragment map piece. It is very important to me. Can you please accomodate me. Naturally, you can ask for the things you want in exchange. As long as I can take it out, I will not reject you."
"Boy, I did not expect you to be so special." Seeing that Xiao Yan was unaffected under his imposing force, the old man could not help but speak in a surprised voice.
"Haha." Xiao Yan laughed. Naturally, he was not foolish enough to reveal Yao Lao. He merely nodded without agreeing or disagreeing. He smiled as he waved the fragment map piece in his hand, he said, "Old sir, what do you think?"
"I have already told you, I will not sell it to anyone. If you really intend to forcefully steal it, don't blame the old me for bullying the weak." After saying in a bland voice, a gush of white wind began to activate behind the old man's back. An icy Dou Qi surrounded his body.
Being directly rejected by the old man, Xiao Yan pressed his eyebrows together. He did not expect this old man to be so stubborn. From his attitude and manner, it was obvious that the old man did not know the map was leading to the 'Purifying Demonic Lotus Flame'. Yet, he still refused to sell it. This caused Xiao Yan to feel a little frustrated in his heart.
"Old sir, I must get hold of this thing today. Even if you refuse, I will forcefully take it away!" The smile on Xiao Yan's face gradually disappeared as he helplessly said.
"You? The old me may have lived in isolation for the last few decades due to some reasons, but this is not your place as a tier two alchemist to speak to me in such a manner!" Hearing Xiao Yan's words, a mocking smile appeared on the old face of the old man as he coldly said.
Skimming his lips together, Xiao Yan did not continue to exchange nonsensical words with the old man. The tip of his toe stepped out and his body swiftly retreated to the door of the room.
"You are seeking death!"
Seeing Xiao Yan's action, the old man's face was filled with anger, making the sinister looking scar look much fiercer. His feet stepped off the ground and his body shot toward Xiao Yan like lightning.
As the old man flashed passed, icy air quickly spread throughout the interior of the shop. A faint fog completely blocked Xiao Yan's sight.
With his gaze being covered by the surrounding icy fog, Xiao Yan's expression changed. He knew that this time around he was in some real trouble.