Chapter 181: Journey Through The Desert
Seeing Xiao Yan nod his head, Hai Bodong finally sighed in relief. The smile on his old face grew a little wider.
"Give me the medicinal formula... Oh, yes, you know the rule when hiring an alchemist to refine medicine, don't you?" Xiao Yan smiled at Hai Bodong. "Prepare the ingredients yourself!"
Hai Bodong nodded with a bitter smile. He naturally knew the rule, but all the same his dry palm grabbed threads of hair that could be counted as a beard as he said with some embarrassment, "I have gathered most of the medicinal ingredients required by the medicinal formula. However, I am still missing one of them."
"This medicinal ingredient's name is Sand's Datura, can only be found in the Tager Desert and is easiest to find in places where the temperature is higher.... You should know that I train using an ice type Qi Technique. Additionally, my body also has the seal Queen Medusa left behind. If I step into the inner regions of the Tager Desert, she will discover my presence... so..."
Seeing Hai Bodong's embarrassed expression, Xiao Yan rolled his eyes and curled his lips as he said, "You aren't asking me to search for it, are you? I am already losing out just by helping you refine the medicine, now you want me to help you look for medicinal ingredients in the vast desert... Isn't your small map fragment a little too valuable?"
Hearing this, Hai Bodong gave an awkward smile. He hesitated for a while before he helplessly said, "Alright, I might be able to give you information on something you might be interested in."
"What information?" Xiao Yan asked in surprise.
"It is related to a 'Heavenly Flame'..." Hai Bodong waved his hand and asked with a smile "Is this information enough to motivate you to help me look for the Sand's Datura?" Once he heard the two words 'Heavenly Flame', Xiao Yan's heart beat violently. His throat rolled slightly as his heated gaze stared at Hai Bodong in front of him.
"You might have heard some news about a 'Heavenly Flame' in the Tager Desert?" Seeing Xiao Yan's expression, Hai Bodong let out a relieved sigh in his heart as he said with a smile.
"Yes." Nodding his head slightly, Xiao Yan anxiously asked, "Do you know exactly where the 'Heavenly Flame' is located within the Tager Desert?"
"As a map maker, I had once roamed around the Tager Desert. By luck, I obtained some information about a 'Heavenly Flame'. I surveyed some of the locations and routes from this information. Although I still cannot be certain where exactly the 'Heavenly Flame' is located, I can roughly guess which areas have the highest chance of possessing the 'Heavenly Flame'." Hai Bodong said with an extremely pleased smile.
"If you do not have my guidance, even if you spent an entire year roaming the Tager Desert, it would be near impossible for you to find the 'Heavenly Flame'."
"What do you think? As long as you agree to help me obtain the Sand's Datura, I will give you all the information from my research on the location of the 'Heavenly Flame'." Hai Bodong said with a smile.
Xiao Yan immediately agreed without the slightest hesitation. The attraction a 'Heavenly Flame' posed to him was far too great. In order to obtain it, Xiao Yan was willing to pay a huge price.
Seeing that Xiao Yan had agreed, Hai Bodong nodded his head with a smile. His palm gently searched his breast pocket before finally taking out a thin goatskin parchment and handing it to Xiao Yan. He said, "After surveying a couple places, I have concluded that there are three places which are most likely to possess a 'Heavenly Flame' within the Tager Desert."
Receiving the goatskin parchment, Xiao Yan carefully opened it and realized that it was an extremely detailed map of the vast Tager Desert. This map was not something that the other maps on the counter could compare with. On it, not only were there clear indications of the water sources present in the desert, it even marked in great detail the locations of the Snake People tribes that were scattered in the desert.
"Can you see the three flame symbols on the map?" Hai Bodong smiled and reminded.
Hearing this, Xiao Yan's gaze swept across the map and found that in three directions: east, west, and north, there were very eye catching flame symbols.
"In the Tager Desert, these three places have the highest possibility of a 'Heavenly Flame' being present ." Pointing his finger at the three flame symbols, Hai Bodong smiled and said, "Of course these are places that I have reasoned out after surveying much of the desert. The accuracy cannot be a hundred percent, but it is much better than you randomly searching for it."
Xiao Yan nodded his head. Even though he had Yao Lao's help, it would be extremely difficult to search for the location of the 'Heavenly Flame' in the Tager Desert due to it being far too vast. This detailed map of Hai Bodong's would undoubtedly help him save a lot of time and effort.
"You should remember that it would be best to head for the eastern and northern places with the flame symbol first. As for the western one... it would be best to avoid going there if possible." Hai Bodong gravely reminded as his finger stopped at the flame symbol on the western side.
"Because that area is close to the inner regions of the Tager Desert. Queen Medusa can feel any human's breath after they enter her territory. Although you possess many different unique treasures, I don't think you have much of a chance of escaping alive if you meet that terrifying Queen Medusa." Hai Bodong sighed with lingering fear in his heart.
"Okay... I will try my best."
Xiao Yan nodded his head. However, he knew in his heart that if he could not find any trace of a 'Heavenly Flame' in the other two places, there was a good chance that he would head for the western flame symbol. Even if that place was filled with danger, he would not hesitate entering it. This was because a 'Heavenly Flame' possessed just too much of an attraction to him...
"This is all the help that I can give you. I hope that you will be able to successfully obtain the 'Heavenly Flame' and return with the Sand's Datura." Seeing Xiao Yan carefully put away the map, Hai Bodong said with a smile, "As for the medicinal formula and the map fragment, please allow me to keep it safe for this period of time. When you return, I will hand everything back over to you."
"Okay." Nodding his head, Xiao Yan faced Hai Bodong, cupped his hands together and said, "Since it is like that, then I bid you farewell. I am really sorry for creating a mess in old sir's place."
Sweeping his gaze over the messy room, Hai Bodong shook his head and smiled bitterly. "Forget it. I have used up all my patience living here in isolation. Even if you didn't smash this place, I don't think I would have continued for much longer anyway."
With a smile, Xiao Yan once again apologized. After which, he waved his hand at Hai Bodong as he turned around and walked out of the door.
Seeing Xiao Yan opening the door and slowly disappear, Hai Bodong narrowed his eyes and was quiet for a moment. After which, he began to clean up the messy place.
Outside the ancient looking shop's door, Xiao Yan raised his head and allowed the hot sunlight to spill onto his face like boiling water. A long while later, he gently sighed. The experience in these two short hours had given him a dream like feeling. He had only just arrived at Desert City and randomly entered a shop. Yet, he had already met a strong person living in isolation. This kind of plot that existed only in stories had actually occurred in reality in front of him. He could not help but sigh emotionally.
"Ugh, I am able to meet someone who was once a Dou Huang by just randomly entering somewhere... Am I lucky or unlucky?" Letting out a short, bitter laugh, Xiao Yan released a breath of air and strode down the street. Gently touching the ring, he suddenly asked casually in his heart, "Teacher, do you think that he can be trusted?"
"It is indeed true that he had received a seal. But you are asking whether there is a problem with the map he gave us right? Keke, we have to follow the route on it and if he had any ill intentions, we might really get into some trouble." Yao Lao laughed before he voiced his thoughts, "But this map will indeed provide us quite a lot of help. The three areas with the flame symbol are places that I did not visit back then. Therefore, I cannot say for certain if it is real or fake..."
"Although we cannot determine if he has any ill intentions, we should always take some precautions... Once we enter the Tager Desert, try to be a little more careful. We do not need to walk completely as the map dictates. Back then, I had roamed around this place for some time so I do have some knowledge and will help you to not lose your way." Yao Lao said a little cautiously.
"Ah..." Nodding his head, Xiao Yan said with a smile, "Since it's like this, then I will go and prepare the rest of the items first before resting in the city for the night. We will enter the Tager Desert tomorrow morning."
"Yes." Yao Lao nodded his head and then became silent.
Gently patting his clothes with his hand, Xiao Yan smiled, lifted his legs and headed for the medicinal shop a short distance away. The gains that he had obtained today had far exceeded his expectations. Not only had he found a fragmented map piece, he even managed to obtain some information on a 'Heavenly Flame'. This could not help but cause Xiao Yan's heart to be excited.
Walking along the street for a distance, Xiao Yan turned into a medicinal shop. Within it, he bought some medicinal plants that repelled snakes. When he was purchasing the medicinal plants, he took care to observe the old man selling the medicine in great detail to the point of making the old man feel a little uneasy. Only then did Xiao Yan embarrassingly pick up his things and leave the medicinal shop. It appeared that after the event just now, Xiao Yan's mind was a little over sensitive. He really thought that strong people who lived in isolation like Hai Bodong, were all over the streets...
After preparing the medicinal ingredients needed to repel snakes, Xiao Yan subsequently bought enough water to fill his storage ring at a shop selling clean water before he was satisfied with his preparations and decided to head for a high class inn that a passerby had pointed to: a place where he would stay the night.
As the dark night slowly passed by, the hot sun once again covered the desert in a great heat.
Walking out of the inn, Xiao Yan stretched his lazy waist. He then gently tapped on the storage ring on his finger. In there were fifty 'Energy Recovery Pills' that Yao Lao had spent the night rushing to refine. These things were essential for him to train in the desert.
Standing on the street near the city's entrance, Xiao Yan once again checked to see if he had all the things he needed. Only after that did he place the Black Xuan Ruler on his back - which was almost as tall him- took a deep breath and began his journey through the desert.
"This time around, I must find a 'Heavenly Flame'."
Under the gazes of the foot soldiers guarding the city that were filled with reverence, Xiao Yan walked out of the city. He eyed the endless golden colored desert that appeared in his sight while silently steeling his heart.