Chapter 366: Master Gu's Business
Wang Changqing continued, "Mortals that live on these islands must perform labor or pay spirit stones; otherwise, they aren't allowed to reside on the island. Because of the Immortal Techniques that were placed on these islands, there is no need to fear assault from heavenly winds or demonic beasts. As such, us mortals may live without fear. In addition, the Immortal Masters' powers are remarkable. Whenever us mortals travel afar, we spare no effort to hire one or two Immortal Masters to accompany us. That way if we come across any demonic beasts while at sea, we will have a chance at living. Naturally, the Immortal Masters that agree to be hired would be comparatively free when compared to those previously mentioned."
"Heavenly wind?" Han Li was puzzled upon hearing those words.
He knew about demonic beasts, but hadn't heard of this "Heavenly Wind" before.
"The previous land that Immortal Master resided in didn't have attacks by heavenly wind?" The old man appeared to be marveled.
"I saw no heavenly winds where I previously cultivated. What are they? Something comparable to demonic beasts?" Han Li calmly asked without care.
Although Wang Changqing felt doubtful, he still gave Han Li a sincere explanation, "Heavenly winds, demonic beasts, and ghost mists are known as the three great natural disasters in the Scattered Star Seas. There is no need to speak of demonic beasts. Immortal Master surely knows about them more than I, but it should be known that most of the demonic beasts of the sea are beyond huge and are proficient in water attribute demonic techniques. Us mortals have no way of dealing with them. Only Immortals are able to strike them down."
"As for heavenly winds, they are hurricanes that occur twice a year that sweep through the entirety of the Scattered Star Seas. The areas it passes suffer from monstrous sea waves, destroying lives and shelters. If we were not on an island protected by immortal techniques, us mortals would face certain doom. It is also said that if an Immortal were to be dragged into a heavenly wind, it would be extremely difficult to escape, and they would likely die within." Wang Changqing appeared fearful as he said this.
"And the ghost mist? What kind of natural disaster is that?" Han Li expressionlessly continued his questions. He wanted to understand these three natural disasters clearly, so that he would be better prepared if he happened to come across them.
The old man paused for a moment before continuing. He was truly shocked that the cultivator before him truly knew nothing about the circumstances of the sea or the most mysterious of the three greatest natural disasters, the ghost mist. Where was this cultivator from? Could it be that he came from a place of dry land? But this place was the Scattered Star Seas. Apart from the nearby sea territories, there were no large territories of land to speak of.
Restraining his bafflement, Wang Changqing continued to give Han Li an explanation, not daring to neglect him, "The Ghost Mist is the most fearful and mysterious of the natural disasters of the Scattered Star Seas. It is a black mist that often drifts erratically across the sea. Any life trapped within that black mist will not escape from it. If mortals see it, their death is already decided. As for cultivators, they are no exception either; if cultivators see it, it will be far too late for them to escape as well. Although this mist is terrible, it only appears at certain locations. It never approaches the larger islands. So long as one takes precaution, it is possible to preserve one's life. As a result, this particular natural disaster has killed the fewest people despite being the most fearsome." The old man revealed some joy as he spoke.
Han Li sunk into thought after he heard this, 'What kind of cursed place is this? According to what was said, my plan of finding a small island with Spiritual Qi to cultivate in seclusion is worthless. Otherwise, I might run into the heavenly wind or ghost mist and meet a miserable end."
Having seen that Han Li appeared displeased, the old man became apprehensive.
'Could it be that I've said something to offend the Great Immortal?'
While the old man was anxious, Han Li muttered to himself before asking, "That Master Gu from before, why does he want me to go to his residence on Stalwart Star Island? Also, where is this boat currently heading?"
Han Li stared at the old man with a face revealing neither joy nor anger.
The old man's heart thumped when he saw Han Li's indifferent expression and he couldn't help but hesitate.
How could Han Li not see that there was something wrong? He eased up his expression, saying, "Mister Wang, be at ease. I am only asking this to clearly understand the present circumstances. After all, I can't just casually agree to Master Gu's request without knowing anything. If I only have to help with a few minor errands, I wouldn't mind taking a trip to Stalwart Star Island."
Wang Chanqing knew that he could no longer stay silent; else, he would greatly offend this Immortal and be certain to face a bitter outcome. Thus, after a dry cough, he smiled and spoke while trembling, "This old man begs Immortal Master to not blame him. In truth, this matter wasn't meant to be concealed. It was just that Immortal Master hadn't asked."
Han Li sardonically rolled his eyes in his mind when he was given these evasive words. Still, the old man tactfully gave an immediate explanation of the situation.
Originally, this ship had just finished making a trip for business and was en route to return to Stalwart Star Island.
As for Master Gu, he was not born and raised on Stalwart Star Island, but from one of Stalwart Star Island's subsidiary islands instead. But after he became prosperous from business, he had recently decided to move to Stalwart Star Island.
The truly lucrative business involved traveling to large, far away islands, which only mortals of Stalwart Star Island were capable of doing. Mortals that were born on the main island and those born on subsidiary islands held differing statuses.
Master Gu's business was originally reselling goods among the subsidiary islands. Only after moving to the main island did he take his business a step further.
But after they arrived on the main island, Master Gu made an astonishing discovery. The business of long distance trading between the great islands wasn't something one could casually participate in. This business had been previously allocated to a set number of parties. Only ten clans on the island were able to participate in this extremely lucrative business.
In addition, these ten clans were not fixed and unchanging. They were decided in a magic battle that was held every three years.
If a clan wishes to step into this business, they must request an Immortal to undergo this competition. Only with their Immortal's victory in the challenge would they be able to acquire the permit to conduct trade between the great islands.
When Master Gu learned of this, he lost his head from panic.
Because he had previously only performed short distance trade, he had never hired any cultivators as there was no threat from demonic beasts. As a result, he knew pathetically few cultivators! He originally intended to wait until he had acquired a business and slowly amassed the large sum required to hire one. But now, it was far too late.
He had received this information close to the date of the next three year magic battle. He couldn't possibly have the time to look for a cultivator to hire!
Although there were many cultivators at Stalwart Star Island, a majority of them were proud and arrogant. Only a pitiful few were willing to enter employment under a mortal and most of them would only lend their assistance if they had some relation beforehand.
As for the ten cultivators he was somewhat acquainted with, they found it embarrassing to participate in the challenge. Running short on time, Master Gu was unable to find any willing cultivators on Stalwart Star Island.
Without any better option, he took a trip to deliver goods back to the island he was born on, and he took advantage of that opportunity to ask for the assistance of a distant relative who had some relation to a cultivator. But he truly didn't expect that this particular cultivator had left on a distant journey.
Master Gu had been truly left dumbstruck.
But now, Han Li, a foreign cultivator, had entered his boat. Having finally found a cultivator despite his previous disconcerting failures had left Master Gu overjoyed. Although he didn't know the level of Han Li's cultivation, it was better than being forced to give up and wait for another three years! Therefore, he had previously attempted to rope Han Li in at all costs and have Han Li fight on his behalf.
Having heard this, Han Li was left completely speechless.
When he heard that cultivators were hired by mortals to go to sea, he found this unbelievable. But now having heard that cultivators fought magic battles on behalf of mortals for the qualifications to do trade between large islands, Han Li was temporarily at a loss for words.
It seemed that although cultivators in this area were an aloof and remote crowd, they did not feel that it was beneath their dignity to work under mortals. Instead, it seemed that mortals and cultivators shared some sort of tangled relationship here.
However, he'd rather avoid participating in a magic battle for Master Gu's long distance trade qualifications. He was not so desperate for pay.
But he still felt somewhat uncertain. With a faint smile, he slowly asked, "Mister Wang, I am truly inexperienced. I still have something I must consult with you about."
"If there is anything Immortal Master does not understand, please ask! This old man will do his best to answer!" The old man respectfully replied with haste.
"I find myself at a loss. If one wanted to carry goods between islands, why would they have ordinary mortals ferry them across the sea? Are Immortals unwilling to use their storage pouch and other such magic tools? Isn't flying both faster and safer?"