The elders mostly lived in the center of the cemetery, where a flower garden had been placed for the elders to enjoy themselves and rest in.
When Ye Fenghan and Yanto arrived, they could see a high-tier Astral elder taking a leisurely stroll through the garden. There were also other Astrals holding books and standing underneath trees, near the flowers, or in small pavilions, quietly reading to themselves.
The atmosphere was incredibly calm and peaceful, making it seem as if no important conflict was brewing.
“They seem quite at ease,” Ye Fenghan couldn’t resist muttering.
“They are Astrals, after all,” Yanto replied. “Giving up our physical bodies is, in some sense, like dying. As we experience the cycle of life again and again, slowly growing more and more isolated, we have become indifferent and apathetic to some degree.”
“You don’t seem that apathetic when you set out to do things,” Ye Fenghan said.
Yanto replied, “Apathy is a kind of temperament. Doing battle is a decision. The two are not in contrast with one another.”
Ye Fenghan was amused. “How philosophic.”
“It’s just an inevitable outlook that you develop if you live forever.”
Ye Fenghan allowed the conversation to end there. “So what should we do now? Should we keep on asking around?”
“Let me instead,” Yanto said.
He walked towards an Astral elder floating on the pond and bowed, saying, “Greetings, Esteemed Elder Agus.”
The Astral named Agus was still spacing out..
Yanto said nothing and waited quietly.
After some time, Agus replied, “I don’t remember your name, young Astral.”
Yanto replied, “My name is Yanto. I met you once thirty-two years ago, and you gave me some instruction at the time.”
Agus replied, “Forgive me, I can’t seem to remember that.”
“I’m not surprised. You have encountered too many other living creatures throughout your whole life,” Yanto said respectfully.
Yanto was completely speechless.
This was a very typical conversation between two Astrals.
Because Astrals had given up on their physical bodies and could live a long time, three hundred years in their eyes was nothing more than a drop in the ocean. This was why they could say things like “this child is only three hundred years old” or “it’s been five hunred years since we last saw each other.”
Yanto continued, “Esteemed Elder Agus, the humans are advancing quite rapidly, but we still seem to be just waiting around. This worries me.”
Agus calmly replied, “There is no need to worry about this, Young Yanto. We are Astrals, and we have our own prestige and self-confidence. No matter how powerful our enemies are, or how amicable we are, we will definitely win.”
“Amicable?” Ye Fenghan couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Slave, do you have an issue with this?” Agus glanced at Ye Fenghan.
Ye Fenghan calmly bowed and said, “Esteemed Elder Agus, I am honored to be the slave of an Astral. But I apologize; even so, I cannot agree with your view based on the experience that I have.”
“That is quite alright. After all, this is the fundamental manifestation of your intelligence. It’s been a while since I left this place or saw a slave with their consciousness still intact. What do you want to say?”
Ye Fenghan replied, “I feel that, while the Astrals are a very majestic race, they are definitely not amicable. And in a world born in chaos, there is no point to seeking peace anyways.”
Agus thought for a moment, then replied calmly, “That is only your thought, youn human. The humans have short life spans. Even a member of the Gu Clan, who possess an Origin Beast Bloodline, will only be able to live around three thousand years or so. To the Astrals, however, three thousand years passes in the blink of an eye. Our long lifespan makes it so that we have no need to fight. You may not know, but...... virtually no Astral from the Gloom Kingdom dies of old age. They have all fallen to the hands of their opponents instead.”
Ye Fenghan was momentarily taken aback before he nodded. “Yes. From a biological perspective, there is no point for Astrals to fight.”
The longer a creature’s lifespan was, the rarer they were..
The Astrals could live for far too long. Under those circumstances, there was no point for most Astrals to fight for anything. And their loss of most senses made it so that there was very little on the continent that could move their hearts.
“But if that’s the case, then why do the Astrals still insist on attacking and capturing slaves unprovoked?” Ye Fenghan asked.
The greatest grudge between the humans and the Astrals was that they would constantly sneak into human territory and forcefully enslave them.
This was even more unbearable than flat-out killing them.
“For survival,” Agus replied. “It is possible for the Astrals to live peaceably, but even if we have few needs, we do have needs. If we have needs, then we will need to fight to make sure those needs are met. If we fight, there will be deaths. For the sake of survival, we Astrals are forced to think of ways to increase our strength constantly. This is the source of everything we do.”
So the world is responsible for turning you into this, huh? Ye Fenghan thought to himself.
But who was not fighting for survival?
The Astrals would disappear if they didn’t fight. Were the humans any exception to that rule either?
However, he did have to admit that Agus’s words were logical.
Ye Fenghan had once thought of the word “Astral” as a synonym for cold-blooded, sinister, and vicious. Only now, upon meeting with Agus and listening to his point of view, did Ye Fenghan realize that each race had their own situations in which they had no choice.
Having no choice, however, could not uphold righteousness or protect a country. The only way to reach the top was to become the strongest.
The Astrals and the humans were the same in that regard.
Ye Fenghan could only lower his head quietly.
It wasn’t that he didn’t want to argue, but his identity didn’t allow him to say any more.
Yanto redirected the conversation in a timely manner. “Elder, may I ask how we are planning on dealing with the Boundless Sect this time?”
Agus glanced at Yanto. “You seem very interested in this.”
“I cannot help but worry about the Astrals’ fate.”
“Even if it means that you must die?” Agus asked.
Yanto was taken aback when he heard this. A faint sense of discomfort surfaced in his heart when he heard this, but he steeled himself and continued to forge onwards. “Yes. For the Astrals, I am willing to sacrifice even my soul.”
Humans would sacrifice their bodies, while the Astrals would sacrifice their souls.
Agus was pleased by Yanto’s answer. “Very good. We were having a hard time trying to figure out who to send, but since you’re here, I will use you first.”
Hm? What was that supposed to mean?
Yanto and Ye Fenghan were both startled. Agus unleashed a wave of energy.
This consciousness fluctuation rippled off into the distance. Astrals began to slowly filter in this direction. Shockingly, they were all Astral elders.
The pressure from all of these high-tier Astrals gathered in one place was staggering.
“You’ve found someone fit for the job, Agus?” a high-tier Astral asked. A glowing golden halo floated above his head, proof of his status as a in-office elder.
Agus lowered his head to the person who had asked. “Esteemed Elder Ulric, this young Astral is willing to sacrifice himself for the Astrals.”
“Is that so.” Ulric nodded. “Very good. So our race is capable of producing hot-blooded warriors after all.”
The humans had all kinds of descriptors for the Astrals, including ancient, immortal, sinister, intelligent, and wise, but altruistic, hot-blooded, and brave were not among them.
The Astrals were like a wise old man amongst the five Intelligent Races - calm and unhurried, even when attacking.
But these creatures were never courageous, let alone loyal to anyone.
As such, the Astrals had no true warriors or heroes. This was not an exaggeration - it was fact.
Warriors here referred to Astrals who would continued to press onwards even if continuing meant death.
The Astrals suffered an incredible lack of such individuals.
Until that moment, when Yanto immediately volunteered himself to be a sacrificial warrior.
Of course, he was aware of what was about to happen.
He was probably going to be given a suicidal task. His instincts told him to refuse, but Ye Fenghan was able to nip those thoughts in the bud just by shooting him a surreptitious glare.
Agus’s mission was definitely going to be related to the Boundless Sect.
If the Astrals were willing to give them that mission, it would be for the best.
Ye Fenghan would be able to control the killing weapon meant for the Boundless Sect. How could he pass up an opportunity like that?
Yanto was not a hot-blooded warrior, but Ye Fenghan was.
And Ye Fenghan’s will was the same as Yanto’s will.
Since Ye Fenghan had made his decision, Yanto could only accept it.
Ulric asked, “Are you sure you are willing to take this risk for the Astrals? You should know that the mission you are going to undertake is incredibly dangerous. There is a great chance that you will die!”
A great chance of dying?
So there was still the possibility of survival?
Yanto sighed with some relief and said without Ye Fenghan’s reminder, “I am willing to sacrifice my soul for the sake of the Astrals, but I hope that I can bring my servant with me.”
Yanto pointed at Ye Fenghan.
He was not acting presumptuously. Ye Fenghan had secretly given him this direction earlier.
If his “Master” wanted to die with him, Yanto could only accept it.
Ulric glanced at Ye Fenghan, then nodded. “That is not a problem. As a reward for your loyalty, Specter’s Garden’s library will be opened to you completely. Before the Boundless Sect comes, you may enjoy it to your heart’s content.”
Yanto was delighted.
The Astrals’ libraries were the most complete on the entire continent. They were a race that loved to do research, after all.
However, the books that the Astrals had access to were restricted by tiers. Mid-tier Astrals were not allowed to read books that were only available to high-tier Astrals, for instance.
Now, however, Ulric had granted him this privilege. Perhaps this was one of the benefits of being a hero.
The Astrals had little need for material things or money, so these libraries were of tremendous value.
Ye Fenghan had wanted to ask if the Astrals had any other treasures, but he was still of quite low status. The Astrals were fine with a slave interrupting, but asking for more treasure would have been a bit too much.
Ye Fenghan wanted to remind Yanto to ask, but he was having a hard time figuring out how to express his inquiry, so Yanto remained silent in the end. This made Ye Fenghan quite disappointed.
However, he took advantage of the opportunity to ask another important question. “Esteemed Elder Ulric, may I ask what our responsibility for this mission will be”
This question was asked precisely and in a timely manner.
Ulric thought for a moment, then replied, “You’ll know when the time comes.”
Weren’t they not supposed to keep secrets?