Chapter 534: The Old Man and Going Out to Sea
Translated by Kollumceti of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Tian Dao had mentioned that a fishermen in River Town had contact with the Psychic Black Turtles and even visited their territory before. But no one knew who that fisherman was, so they had to find him by themselves.
There were several fishermen in the harbor, some of whom had just returned from the sea and were unloading the cargo from their ship. Within the cargo were things like fresh shrimp and fish from the sea, low-ranking demon beasts were not included. The boat owners were young and fit men. There was only a skinny old man around sixty years old currently anchoring a boat to the shore.
The two walked up to the old man.
You XiaoMo looked at the old man. The old man had obviously caught sight of them but did not pay them any attention.
You XiaoMo was deliberating on how to to start a conversation when the old man spoke.
“If you want to borrow a boat to go to sea, forget about it. The people from River Town will not lend boats to outsiders like you.” The old man indifferently stated without raising his head.
“We don’t want to borrow a boat, instead we want to charter a boat.” You XiaoMo thought that the old man were worried that they would not pay.
The old man finally looked up. With a satirical smile on his wrinkled face, he indifferently gave them a once over, “Chartering is not possible either.”
“Why is this so?” You XiaoMo asked in surprise.
The old man looked at them in clear understanding, “I’m afraid that your request to charter a boat is just an excuse. Your purpose is to inquire about the Psychic Black Turtles, isn’t it?”
You XiaoMo asked in astonishment upon seeing his self-assured demeanor, “Why do you say so?”
“You are not the first batch.” The old man impatiently replied, “Every year there are many outsiders who want to go out to the sea to look for the Psychic Black Turtles. However, many who go out to sea never come back. Once in a while, one or two would be lucky enough to return alive.”
You XiaoMo had assumed the old man had seen through their purpose of looking for the Psychic Black Turtles. He suddenly saw the light after listening to the old man and asked, “Then did they find the Psychic Black Turtles?”
“Do you think it’s so easy to find Psychic Black Turtles?” The old man answered with a rhetorical question and his tone even had a hint of ridicule towards those people who overestimated their capabilities. In their minds of these fishermen, the Psychic Black Turtle was their ancestor who blessed them and was akin to a sacred and inviolable saint.
“Then why were they looking for the Psychic Black Turtles?” Contrary to expectations, You XiaoMo did not mind the contempt in his words as he asked in interest.
“They were just greedy people!” The old man snort disdainfully.
You XiaoMo nodded his head as if he understood.
The old man saw that his attitude was not as rude and unreasonable as those people he had met before, and his features eased slightly as he warned, “This should be the first time you’re going out to sea ba. The Living Waters River Boundary is different from the other areas in the sea, and the danger in the River Boundary is incomparable to those areas. The Tortoise Clans are not the only ones living inside and you can lose your life if you are not careful.”
You XiaoMo found that his attitude softened. His eyes roved around and he immediately struck while the iron was hot, “Elder, in actual fact, our purpose for heading out to sea is a little different from those people you’ve mentioned before. It’s like this, we have a friend who was seriously injured and he cannot move about now. So he asked us to help him inform his clan members. He said his the people from his clan live in the Living Waters River Boundary.”
The old man looked at him in suspicion appearing as if he wanted to determine whether he had lied or not.
You XiaoMo smiled at him.
The old man’s gaze shifted to the expressionless Ling Xiao.
You XiaoMo hurriedly pulled on Ling Xiao’s arm, hinting for him to show some expression.
Ling Xiao touched his nose. “Elder, I’ll tell you the truth. Our friend is a member of the Mystic Tortoise Clan. He was being hunted down by others and asked us to find the Psychic Black Turtles. I’m afraid that his life would be in danger if we do not tell them of this as soon as possible.”
The old man was shocked.
You XiaoMo was also shocked too. He did not expect Ling Xiao to speak of these events.
“Is this true?” A hint of anxiety flashed across the old man’s face.
Ling Xiao glanced at You XiaoMo. The latter immediately understood the glance. He took out the card that Mo Jing gave to them and passed it to the old man, disregarding whether the old man could understand it or not, “This is something from the Mystic Tortoise Clan. I do not know if you recognize it or not.”
The old man took the card and a glint a flash through his eyes. Five seconds later, he returned it to them and hesitatingly declared, “I don’t recognize this thing. But it doesn’t seem like you’re lying, so I’ll believe in you this time.”
You XiaoMo rejoiced, “That’s great! Can you lend the boat to us now?”
The old man shook his head, “The boats from River Town are only able to sail near the harbor. It’s impossible to go out to sea in these boats and it won’t take long for the waves to overturn them.”
“So what do we do?”
“You’re in luck. There are two big merchant ships are heading towards Whale Island this evening. You can go out with them and ask someone about buying or borrowing a boat when you reach Whale Island. The boats from Whale Island are much stronger than those from River Town.” The old man finally relented.
“Thank you very much, Elder. Then we’ll come again in the evening.” You XiaoMo joyfully expressed his thanks, and with that, the two left.
The old man looked at the figures of the two leaving. It was only until he could not see them that he got up in a hurry and anxiously walked in another direction.
After leaving the harbor, You XiaoMo who could not hide his worries and immediately asked, “Ling Xiao, why did you tell that old man the truth? It might cause us trouble if he leaked it out.”
“That old man is not an ordinary person.” Ling Xiao explained.
You XiaoMo was astonished, “How did you know?”
Ling Xiao, “I guessed.”
You XiaoMo, “…” You’re making fun of me.
Ling Xiao was right. It was truly a conjecture in the beginning, but after seeing the old man’s reaction, he became sure that the old man was not just an ordinary fisherman. According to his guess, the old man was probably a scout sent by the Psychic Black Turtles.
The reason why the old man did not reveal his identity immediately after hearing their words was probably because he did not entirely believe what they said. It was possible he had offered to arrange a merchant ship on his own initiative to test them. It was better to follow his advice rather than blindly searching for it themselves regardless of whether the old man was a scout of the Psychic Black Turtle.
In the evening, two people appeared punctually at the harbor.
There were only two rows of small fishing boats in the harbor during the day. At night, there was an addition of two large merchant ships anchored to the shore and they were almost several dozen times bigger than the small fishing boats.
The harbor started becoming lively as a group of people moved the cargo from place to place.
The two men walked to the harbor. The old man they had met during the day was there too. He was directing a group of fishermen carrying cargo and it seemed that his status in River Town was quite high.
The old man didn’t notice them until two people approached, “Please wait a minute.”
You XiaoMo looked at the cargo they loaded on the boat with curiosity. They were common items seen on land, such as spices, rouge and other daily necessities. He was astonished. The client of these merchant ships were demon beasts. Did this mean that demon beasts liked these things too?
Ling Xiao saw his doubts, “Demon beasts have always been living in the water or on an island. Naturally, they rarely see these kind of things that humans use, so it’s normal that they will be interested in them.”
The fishermen in River Town do not depend on fishing to make a living although they frequently go out to sea. These two merchant ships were their true livelihood security. The ships would go out to sea once a month at a fixed time, which could sometimes be in the morning or at noon, depending on the situation at sea. That was the reason why the old man said that You XiaoMo and Ling Xiao were lucky, as they would have to wait for another month if they missed this trip today.
It was already past seven o’clock in the evening when cargo for the two merchant ships were loaded up.
The old man wiped the sweat from his forehead before walking up to You XiaoMo and Ling Xiao, “There’s one more thing I must tell you. Maritime business is not smooth sailing. Besides things like storms and inverse ocean currents, there are also pirates. They often run amuck and loot merchant ships, so I hope that you two can help to take care of one or two when they come.”
“Isn’t the Living Waters River Boundary the territory of the Psychic Black Turtles? How can there be pirates?” You XiaoMo asked incredulously.
The old man replied, “That may be that case but there are always some thieves who take chances to commit crimes. Although we are protected by the Black Turtle Clan, it’s not possible for them to protect us day and night.”
“We won’t sit idly by if we really encounter pirates.” You XiaoMo promised.
The old man nodded in satisfaction and immediately let them aboard.
Though the merchant ships were not like those gorgeous luxury ships, it was very sturdy and stable. The villagers from River Town had spent a lot of energy to build these two ships and the ships were still well-maintained six years later.
In addition to sailors who loaded the cargo, the merchant ship was also carrying several outsiders who wanted to go out to sea too. They all seemed quite strong, and the old man had arranged for all of them to stay in the hold of the ship.
You XiaoMo finally knew why the merchant ships from the River Town would go out to sea once every month even when they knew that there were pirates out there. It turned out that they would choose some outsiders who wanted to go out to sea to serve as bodyguards on the trip.
You XiaoMo and Ling Xiao were staying in one room together. The others all had a room to themselves.
The room was small, with only one bed and nothing else. There were no tables, cabinets, and it was also without cups for drinking water.
You XiaoMo climbed onto the bed and lay down but soon got up again. The bed was really hard. To think that they were so miserly that they did not even provide one quilt.
“They’re really too stingy!” You XiaoMo bitterly complained.
Ling Xiao responded to him in ridicule, “Do you think everyone needs to be covered by a quilt to sleep at night like you do? It’s not like those abroad are extremely delicate humans and this bed is not for sleeping.”
The outsiders who dared to go out to sea were usually practitioners or mages. So they did not need to sleep at night and the bed was just them to meditate on.
You XiaoMo guiltily shifted his line of sight away.
The two merchant ships began to sail out to sea once it was time. It was as if they on flat ground in the beginning, but when the merchant ships left the area where the fishermen usually fished in, the sea suddenly surged and the hull rocked slightly.
You XiaoMo could feel the ship rocking while in the hold. It was no wonder the old man did not let them go to sea by boat if they could even feel the waves in a merchant ship. The old man was afraid that the boat would disintegrate as soon as they arrived at this area of the sea.
The old man told them of a few matters to pay attention to before they boarded the boat.
The merchant ship would to provide them with a room to live in, but it would not provide any food. So they could chose not to eat, to prepare food themselves, or to pay for food. At that time, the chef would cook for them.
It usually took about ten days to get from River Town to Whale Island. They would be able to get there in less than five days if they happened to encounter favorable ocean currents. The people of River Town had clearly calculated the time it would take for the journey this time.
You XiaoMo and Ling Xiao walked out from the hold of the ship. The sea was pitch black. It was dark and extremely quiet all around except for the light shining from the merchant ship.
The sailors had not rested and were still at their posts staring solemnly at the sea. They only began to move when the captain gave orders. The hull began to move slowly to the right. Ten seconds later, the speed of the boat’s advance had evidently increased a lot.
You XiaoMo only felt the boat swaying for a moment. Immediately after, the two merchant ships rapidly shot forward as if they had been equipped with motors. He could not help crying out in surprise.
It was not that he had never traveled by ship in his last life before. During winter and summer holidays, You Bo liked to snatch You Lu and him to go sightseeing together. But the oil tankers from that time were completely different from these ships which depended entirely on manpower. He had never seen a boat that took advantage of sea currents to sail before.
“They are sailors who have been through numerous violent storms and waves and are very clear about the sea state in this area. We will soon reach Whale Island, unless there are man-made factors.” Ling Xiao explained.
“But it’ll still take several days to get there.”
You XiaoMo leaned on the railing and was overcome with boredom as he looked at the sparkling and crystal-clear sea.
If they flew there, it would take less than five days with their speed. The only regret was that they did not know where the Whale Island was and they still had to depend on the old man to help them find the Psychic Black Turtle Clan. The treacherous sea was not within their scope of consideration at all.