Thousand Islands’ location was not strategically important to the Static Stream Country nor the Thousand Carp River. This was the estuary that connected the vast ocean with the great river.
Although there were sea demons that inhabited the ocean, both the sea tribes and sea demons were not a threat to the country, the Thousand Carp River, and the Distant Cloud Region.
In the past, Li Qiye had recommended for the Static Stream Progenitor to establish the capital at the Thousand Islands, but unfortunately, he abandoned this idea and erected his capital in a more fertile land, thus letting go of a great fortune for many generations.
Standing on the hills that overlooked the ninety-nine islands, one would find that some were big and some were small, and none of them appeared to be special from a quick glance.
However, Li Qiye knew that there was a big secret hidden in this place. The research that he did in the past had not been fruitful until he obtained the Ghost’s Origin Ancestral Key from the Eastern Hundred Cities. It was then that he understood the key’s mysteries, leading him to solve the secret of the Thousand Islands.
This was also why he wanted to go to the Sacred Nether Realm, and why the Thousand Islands was one of his goals.
He explored one island after another before stopping on the one farthest to the south. This particular island didn’t have many good points compared to the others, but if one had to name a particularly unique characteristic, then it would be that this island looked like a palm from a bird’s eye view.
Li Qiye looked down from the highest point of the island and murmured: “So it is indeed this place. One of the things that remained incalculable for eras!”
There was a withered tree at the highest point of this island. To be more exact, this withered tree had already died. Its body was burnt to a crisp black; it seemed to have incited the heavenly wrath and got struck by lightning till death. In the end, only a three-foot stump remained above the ground.
This stump was also hollowed, and the hole reached deep into the ground. It was pitch black as one looked down into this tree hole.
This stump that was killed by lightning seemed to be a black hand reaching out from the ground, inviting unsuspecting visitors.
“Thunk, thunk, thunk.” As Li Qiye tapped on the stump, it issued a clear metallic sound as if it was not made of wood, but divine iron.
“So this really is it!” After carefully observing it and comparing it to the Ghost’s Origin Ancestral Key in his hand, Li Qiye couldn’t help but mutter. He finally revealed a smile and said: “Let me see if the legend is real or not. Allow me to solve this eternal mystery!”
Since his arrival, Li Qiye conveniently built a hut and began to live his life as a mortal. During his stay on the island, he started to harvest the resin of the Ghost Locust Trees as if he had become a resin farmer.
However, he did not limit himself to the Ghost Locust Trees on this island, he wanted to harvest resin from all of the islands.
Not only did he require a large amount of resin, he also needed to leave behind a unique mark on all of the trees on the islands.
If it was something as simple as harvesting, then he could have just hired some mortals to do so to save himself the trouble. It was obvious that Li Qiye required more than just the resin alone.
Ever since his stay at the islands, day after day passed by as he performed farming duties, cutting the tree bark, then harvesting the resin! He did so over and over again from sunrise all the way until sunset.
Despite being so close to the sea, there were still hundreds of thousands of mortals that lived on the islands with cities that were no less grand than the inland ones.
It could be said that the Thousand Islands was quite a bustling place. The mortals here mainly fished for a living; there were not too many farmers because the resin of the Ghost Locust Tree essentially had no use.
The mortal inhabitants found it quite strange to see Li Qiye going around the islands to harvest the resin from the trees. Nevertheless, the islands belonged to the Static Stream Country, and the highest authority of the islands was the Region Lord, Lu Baiqiu.
Since Lu Baiqiu allowed for Li Qiye to harvest resin on the islands, other people didn’t bother to interfere with him.
Later on, Lu Baiqiu also came to see Li Qiye. It had to be said that Lu Baiqiu was indeed a good lady. As long as human cultivators who came to the islands didn’t cause any trouble, they would receive help from the islands’ authority.
Of course, Lu Baiqiu was also surprised to see Li Qiye collect so much resin: “What are you going to do after harvesting so much?”
Keep in mind that the resin of these trees had always been useless, so despite there being a lot scattered across the islands, it was not very valuable.
“I am mixing together a particular medicinal paste that requires a large amount of tree resin, so I plan to take a lot now in order to avoid running back here in the future.” Li Qiye answered with a smile.
His answer was quite reasonable, so Lu Baiqiu didn’t probe any further. She had already allowed for him to do so, so as long as he didn’t cause any trouble, he would remain in her protection.
In the beginning, some people felt that a farmer like Li Qiye was indeed a bit different, but after a while, they got used to it and no one paid attention to such a farmer.
Li Qiye spent his time on the island by following a very strict schedule. During the day, he would harvest the resin, during the night, he would cultivate. Despite doing such an important job, he was not in a rush at all. He aimed to carve gigantic runic outlines on the islands; these markings were part of the rune arrays!
But as all the residents on the islands got used to Li Qiye, someone began to notice him.
An invited guest came to his hut; it was a lady, a very beautiful lady. She wore a blue dress and had a transcendent aura. Her beauty could shame the moon and flowers and cause the birds to fall while the fishes would dive since they found themselves unworthy. Her figure was amorous and had a charming style. All of her gestures were filled with a transcendental air as if she did not belong in this mortal world.
With a spirited pair of eyes, her body seemed to be filled with worldly essence. At the same time, her breath was as refreshing as a pure bamboo forest.
After she came to the Thousand Islands, she immediately took note of Li Qiye and watched him for two to three days as if she wanted to find a clue.
Two days later, as Li Qiye was harvesting the resin, he lightly said to this lady: “Little Girl, don’t stand behind me and watch all day long. My temper is not very good, so you better watch it, lest I throw you into the sea to feed the sharks.”
It was quite strange to see someone younger than her speak as if he was an experienced old man. However, the lady did not become angry and slightly chuckled instead: “Uncle, I just wanted to warn you.”
“Uncle?” Li Qiye gave her a look and said: “If you wish to get close to me, calling me uncle won’t do. If you call me Young Master or Young Noble, then I can consider taking you in.”
The lady in blue didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This guy in front of her was a little too much. Who in the entire Distant Cloud would dare to boast about taking her in?
“Uncle, watch out or you might bite your tongue!” The lady in blue said with a wide smile. Her spirited smile was like the blooming of a hundred flowers or the singing of an oriole — warms the heart and delights the eyes.
She continued to say: “If you want to brag, then make sure you can back it up. Otherwise, it won’t do.”
Li Qiye glared at her and said: “What does a little girl like you know? Don’t interfere with my business, or I’ll really throw you into the sea no matter how great your origin may be.” Having said that, he started to ignore her and kept on harvesting the resin.
The lady in blue was astounded. She had met many arrogant people, but not one this outrageous.
However, she did not give up and continued to follow Li Qiye as he harvested and said: “Uncle, I’m giving you a warning out of kindness!”
“What warning?” Li Qiye said as he was collecting the resin.
The lady in blue also put on a demeanor similar to Li Qiye’s and nonchalantly smiled: “Do you know the origin of the Thousand Islands?”
“The Thousand Islands’ origin?” Upon hearing this, Li Qiye couldn’t help but smile, then he looked at her to say: “I actually want to hear about the origin of these islands.”
The lady in blue said: “Legends say that during a very ancient time, ninety-nine fierce ghosts once caused chaos at the Sacred Nether World and turned it into a ghastly world. The high heavens was enraged by the actions of these ninety-nine ghosts and demonstrated their supreme wrath to kill the ninety-nine ghosts. In the end, the bodies of these ghosts drifted down the Thousand Carp River and eventually reached the estuary before sinking into the ocean. In the end, their bodies turned into the islands that you see here.”