Han Li frowned and let out a long breath before asking, “Your esteemed self called this place the Umbra Realm. Does this place have any relation with the Netherworld from legend? Is there any way to restore the magic power that was restricted? Most importantly, I wish to return to the outside. I have no intention of staying here. Would your esteemed self happen to know of a way out?”
The plump old man shook his head and sighed, “A majority of the humans in this world were born here, and most of humans that are brought here by the ghost mist end up devoured by umbra beasts. Only a small minority were lucky enough to reach a village. As for my own close friends and family, they are all on the outside. If it were so easy to return, why would us survivors from the outside world remain here and continue living day after day on the verge of crisis?
“As for whether or not this place has anything to do with the Netherworld, who could possibly know? However, there is a senior that has stayed here far longer that I have, and he holds the belief that this area is a crevice between the human world and the Netherworld. As a result, there is a dense concentration of umbra Qi, but there are no excessively powerful umbra beasts that take form.
“Additionally, there is a farfetched rumor being spread around by a few cultivators that believe this world has nothing to do with the Netherworld. These cultivators believe that this world is actually the stomach of a legendary devil beast, the Rahu. Legend says that the Rahu is capable of both devouring stars and tearing through space and that it is fond of concealing itself on the seafloor, only emerging to feed itself every so often. That is supposed to explain how the strange mist emerges from the sea and can link the two worlds together.”
Han Li’s expression greatly changed when he heard this, “The Rahu? How could that be possible, it makes far less sense than the Netherworld. I don’t believe that this entire world is contained inside a devil beast.”
The old man leisurely said, “That’s right. When I first heard of this, I was shocked as well. Although it is hard to swallow, there is still a possibility it’s true. If the tears in space appeared periodically, then one might expect that they all appear at the same place. However, this isn’t the case. Whenever new arrivals are sucked into the Umbra Realm, they all come from different areas in the seas that others haven’t heard of. For example, I came from a small island in the South Bay Province of the Great Court of Jin. As for the other cultivators, they’ve arrived from places such as the Five Dragon Seas, the Heavenly Sand Continent, and the Scattered Star Seas as well. Nobody recognizes where anybody else has come from, but here we are all the same.”
“The Great Court of Jin? You’re a cultivator of the State of Jin?” A trace of astonishment flickered within Han Li’s eyes. When he was in the Heavenly South Region, he had heard much of the esteemed State of Jin.
The old man’s eyes brightened, “Could it be that you also came from the Great Court of Jin?”
Han Li shook his head and said, “No, but I have heard quite a bit about it. I know it to be an immensely large country, and I had always wanted to visit it but never had the opportunity.”
The old man revealed a trace of disappointment and said, “So its like that! That is somewhat regretful. This old man truly wishes for an opportunity to return!”
The old man then radiantly smiled and chuckled, “Fellow Daoist would’ve known what a true world of cultivation was had he visited our Great Jin. To the best of my knowledge, there is no other cultivator world that compares in scope or activity of ours. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that the Great State of Jin is a sacred site for cultivators.”
Han Li rubbed his nose but despite the bitter smile on his face, his heart stirred in response to the old man’s words.
The old man smiled and chuckled, “This old man has strayed off topic. As for your previous question about whether or not there’s a method of restoring one’s magic power, I can only tell you should abandon your hopes while you remain in the Umbra Realm. In addition to umbra Qi, there’s also Spirit Extinguishing Qi in the air as well. It is periodically released from the depths by eruptions, spreading it throughout the sky. So long as cultivators are within its range, their magic power and abilities are completely sealed. It is quite fortunate that you were brought over here during an eruption of Spirit Extinguishing Qi.”
Han Li suddenly felt gloomy upon hearing all of this. Were it not for the eruption of Spirit Extinguishing Qi, he wouldn’t have even been brought here by some trifling ghost mist.
After a moment of silence, Han Li resentfully said, “Since we were able to enter, then there must be a way of leaving. I refuse to believe that there isn’t.”
The old man twirled his beard and unhurriedly said, “Well, technically there is a way out, but it requires assistance.”
A trace of joy appeared in Han Li’s mind and he hastily asked, “What is it?”
As Mei Ning heard this her expression fluctuated with roused spirits.
“It’s...” The old man revealed a hesitant expression.
Han Li’s expression stirred and an odd emotion flickered within his eyes, “What? Could it be inconvenient for you to say?”
The old man grimaced as he looked at the two. His eyes then narrowed and he said with a deep tone, “Please don’t misunderstand. There is no point in concealing it. Although I do want two more cultivators to join the village, I’m not making it deliberately difficult for you. I am merely afraid you two Fellow Daoists will impatiently rush out and throw your lives away.”
After Han Li heard this, he immediately chuckled, but his smile soon disappeared as he solemnly said, “Be at ease. Although I appear young, I’ve cultivated for many years and am disinclined to make any rash actions. If it truly is impossible, I won’t pointlessly risk my life. However, I would still like to hear of the method.”
After some consideration, the plump old man replied, “Since that is the case, this old man won’t conceal it any longer.” He then walked to the hall’s entrance and raised his head to the sky with a pensive expression.
Mei Ning bit her red lips and asked, “Brother Han, what do we do? Could it be that you truly wish to climb Stormwind Mountain?” Her current complexion was extremely pale. After she heard the method to return, she began to despair, believing that it was impossible to achieve.
Han Li gazed at the sky and indifferently said, “I haven’t given it much thought yet, but I do know that I will be giving it a try eventually.”
When Mei Ning heard this, her expression stirred. Just as she thought to say something, someone suddenly approached them. It was a sixteen year old, dark-skinned youth with a curious expression.
The youth stared at them and elegantly said, “So you are the two new arrivals. I’ve received orders from the elders to bring you two to your residences. Since you have just arrived, three days of food will be given to you free of charge. However, later you will have to undertake assignments or else you will be ejected from the village.”
Han Li nonchalantly said, “That’s fine. Lead the way!”
The youth nodded his head and set off without another word. Shortly after, the youth brought the two of them to a neat stone building in a corner of the village.
When Mei Ning arrived in the room and saw that there was only one wide bed, her face suddenly grew scarlet.
The woman hesitantly asked the youth, “There is only one bed here?”
The youth blinked and curiously asked, “If a man and a woman are together, then wouldn’t they want to sleep in one bed?”
Having heard that, Mei Ning’s blush grew more intense. She thought to give an explanation, but she was unable to muster any words for the time being.
At that moment, Han Li had finished examining the building’s exterior and indifferently said, “We will be sleeping separately. Please bring us another bed.”
The youth curled his lips. Although he was somewhat unwilling, he agreed and walked out.
After the youth walked out, Han Li promptly said, “Go ahead and take a rest first. I’m going to take a look around the village!” When Mei Ning heard him, she wore a blank expression and silently nodded.
Without any further hesitation, Han Li walked out of the building and glanced around before heading towards the center platform. He was greatly interested in the methods to control umbra energy.
There was no one standing guard nearby the stone platform, so Han Li was able to easily approach it. With its great height, the lack of stairs made it appear even more towering than he had expected.
Han Li walked several times around the stone platform and easily climbed onto it.