“I was just passing by, it’s no big deal . ” Li Qiye said insipidly .
Nevertheless, the old man still thought of Li Qiye as his savior and bowed again: “My name is Wu Youzheng . Though you do not wish for repayment, just say the words in the future and I will come running and do everything I…”
He couldn’t finish because Li Qiye has already disappeared into the horizon . He didn’t care nor want to care about the old man’s gratitude .
The old man gently sighed while looking at the sky, aware that he has met a master . The guy was capable of destroying those tree demons so easily . Such masters were hard to get close to .
Li Qiye continued on with smooth footsteps . The pacing looked slow but he was actually traveling through Stone Harmony at an incredible speed .
Stone Harmony used to reign over Imperial so its territory was massive . Alas, one could see the clear illness plaguing the system .
It had no inhabitants and very few cities . The natural sceneries had a bleak feeling to it . All in all, it resembled a dying old man or a candle flickering to the wind . Even the birds and fish had no vitality to them . In fact, the place used to be the complete opposite, bustling and full of people and animals .
As time passed, the capable sects and powerful cultivators moved away from the declining system . The ones that couldn’t do the same thing suffered destruction .
As for the animals, the ones strong enough also left this system for other places . As the saying goes, the wise birds pick the right branch .
Furthermore, the spirit medicines and natural resources also gradually disappeared . This resulted in a compounded effect, accelerating the decline of the system .
Li Qiye traveled through half of the system . It was a quiet trip since he rarely saw other cultivators .
The most common sights were villages in the remote mountains with thirty to fifty families or so . That’s already considered lively for this area . Moreover, they were far and away from each other .
No one would believe that this was a system of the imperial level . Its dao land shouldn’t last long at this rate .
However, being part of this system was a blessing and a curse . The land might have been withering but the dao source remained, adding stability to the system .
A collapsing system was a calamity for the inhabitants, almost like a world-ending event . The strong cultivators would have ran far away or prepared enough to survive .
The weak could only watch the scene of destruction, only to be buried along with the rubble in the end .
Of course, this trend of stagnation couldn’t last forever . No matter how strong a progenitor might be, they couldn’t create an everlasting dao source .
A system’s prosperity relied on the effort of the sages for many generations . They continuously fed the system with their own strength .
But now, due to a lack of population, there were fewer and fewer cultivators, let alone existences at the imperial or eternal level . The lack of generational nourishment would result in an inevitable collapse .
Li Qiye wasn’t emotional during his journey . He has seen the rise and fall of numerous sects in his life and has grown numb to this cycle .
“It’s not just trying to fill its belly . ” Li Qiye had a good overview of the situation during this pursue . His mighty divine intent has locked on to this land so nothing could escape his eyes .
He knew that the disappearance of White Orchid was only the beginning . This tragedy could repeat and spread all over Imperial .
He finally stopped as an ancient city emerged on the horizon .
It must be wider than ten thousand miles, just like a monster resting on the land . However, it was naturally in a disorderly state . Many parts were abandoned so the real thing became less than one-tenth of its former glory . Nevertheless, it was still the largest city in Stone Harmony at the present .
The towering walls and buildings remained, though abandoned . One could catch a glimpse of their old golden days . This must have been the center of the entire world where powerful beings ruled and accepted tributes .
Now, the only visitors were the wild grass and weeds .
He stopped and perused the area, noticing steam and smoke from cooking in the distance: “The next target is here . ”
Without a doubt, this city would be just like White Orchid City, disappearing completely with only a great abyss left behind .
“Death is coming soon . ” Li Qiye chuckled before entering the city .
The name was Mingluo, the strongest and biggest city in Stone Harmony . It had the highest population of cultivators as well, around two to three hundred thousand people .
It managed to survive to the present due to its riches and strong foundation in the past, unlike other fallen cities .
The streets were still the same scale as before, extremely wide and long . People were coming and going . Shouts could be heard from the street merchants to the workers in the wine pavilions .
After traveling through the wilderness for so long, people would be infected by the lively atmosphere found here .
During the night, the city was brightly lit by lamps and lights . It had an intoxicating feeling, allowing people to see the temptation of the mundane world and life, in general . This was different from the unreachable temples and mountains meant for the lonely cultivators .
The place resembled the mortal world since there weren’t that many cultivators and sects around .
Mortals had a short lifespan, no different from ants . They couldn’t see the entire world so some weren’t even aware of their system’s gradual destruction . They were more than happy to live day-by-day with enough food and material possessions .
Lifespan was the biggest difference between a mortal and a cultivator . The former was akin to the night-blooming cactus - short-lived yet beautiful .
Li Qiye was unaffected by the atmosphere here . He has seen the flourishing world of the mortals many times before and was just a passerby . This world wasn’t suitable for him .
“It’s nice being a mortal, happy and unaware of the incoming destruction . I suppose even ants have their own happiness . ” He looked at the carriages zooming through the streets and smiled .
His dao heart has been polished by tribulations and pain so nothing could move him .
There was no doubt that Mingluo City has been chosen as the second target . The entire place was going to disappear .
He didn’t come here to save the city and its inhabitants, only to carry out his own business . Its survival was none of his concern because he wasn’t a savior and had no reason to do so .
In fact, in his mind, destruction and survival were the same things for Mingluo . Even if it was lucky enough to make it through this disaster, it would still crumble in the future . It was only a matter of time .
This was the cycle of time . Everlasting prosperity didn’t exist; destruction was inevitable .
His destination was an abandoned location inside the city . Overgrown weeds were everywhere along with insects and snakes .
This place was different from the wasteland outside . There were still structural remnants and outlines of temples .
This wasn’t the case here . It was flat since all the existing structures have collapsed .