When they saw Old Devil Qian take off, the four vagrant cultivators betrayed shock from their faces and began to apprehensively whisper amongst themselves.
Meanwhile, Han Li heard Old Man Fu’s voice transmission, “It seems our alliance is now broken. What does Brother Han plan on doing?”
Han Li glanced at the old man and muttered to himself for a moment before sending back a reply, “There are many paths ahead, and I plan on going alone. So long as you don’t take any of the locations with particularly impressive names, there shouldn’t be any danger of meeting the others.”
After a moment of silence, the old man wryly smiled, “I see. However, I wouldn’t dare to go alone and will be travelling with Fellow Daoist Bai. I have no hope of surviving an ambush against the Silver-winged Nightfiend or the Lion Hawk.”
Old Man Fu had no complaints. After all, with so many searching for treasure, there wouldn’t be enough for those who took the same path.
As Han Li’s abilities were far beyond theirs, it was better for him to act alone.
As they deliberated on what to do, the large man from the vagrant cultivator called out from the side and shouted, “Fellow Daoist’s! We’re going first.” The four vagrants split in two and traveled up different stairways before fading into the fog.
Soon, Old Man Fu and Bai Yaoyi finished discussions and bid Han Li a word of farewell. The two then picked a stone stairway and sped up it with body lightening techniques.
Han Li was now the sole person remaining behind.
After looking around and observing the vast emptiness, he smirked and swept his eyes towards the stone tablets.
Apart from the areas with important names such as the Devil Suppressing Pagoda and Kunwu Hall, the other paths shouldn’t have been chosen.
He stood in front of the stone tablet naming the locations each stairway led and muttered, “Bright Mind Pavilion, Fortune Cloud Hall, Jadehook Pond... and Spirit Metal Hall. Hmm, are all these locations related to tool refinement?”
Although he knew that Kunwu Hall and Spirit Treasure Pavilion wereas likely to have important treasures, he wasn’t interested in risking his life in contention with other powers.
Since he’s already acquired the Nascent Cultivating Pill, it’d be best to take the safest route.
With that in mind, he felt that the Spirit Metal Hall should most likely be left alone and blurred up the stone steps at the very back.
Not long after he disappeared, yellow light glowed from the center of the plaza to reveal the Silver-winged Nightfiend, the horned woman, and the Lion Hawk.
The Nightfiend turned to look at the stairways and slowly said, “We can only use earth movement techniques up to here. We will activate the underground restrictions otherwise.”
With her arms at her waist, the horned woman noted, “The remaining spiritual Qi fluctuations here are quite strong. It appears those cultivators had recently destroyed a spell formation.”
Then, the Lion Hawk let out two roars and unfolded its wings, taking to the air and flying around the stone tablets.
After a pause, the nightfiend smiled and said, “So these are the places where the cultivators have went! Tch tch, Brother Lion Hawk has such a keen sense of smell.”
“Good, they split apart. It will be far easier to seize our restriction medallions this way,” the horned woman frowned and worriedly said, “However, if those who approach Kunwu Hall aren’t capable enough, we will have no way of getting past.”
The nightfiend snorted, “It is no matter. If those humans are incapable, we will secretly lend a hand. So long as we don’t activate the specific restrictions aimed at us, we should be able to destroy the other ones.”
The horned woman cried out, “In that case, let’s go see which cultivators climbed that stairway. Brother Nightfiend, you possess the greatest concealment techniques among us. Can you help hide us?”
“Of course,” the nightfiend promptly replied.
With a flap of his wings, silver mist rushed out and wrapped around them. Then, the beasts disappeared in a bright flash.
As this all happened, a rainbow peacock appeared from the screen of white light next to the stone pavilion halfway up Kunwu Mountain.
Using the tip of his feet, Han Li blurred ten steps forward with each bound. After turning a few corners on the stairway, the white jade plaza soon disappeared from sight.
There were a few huge trees at the side of the steps. Since he hadn’t seen such trees before, he looked at them with interest.
They had been growing from Kunwu Mountain for countless years. Even ordinary spiritual trees would become high-quality refinement materials, given enough time.
However, he wasn’t about to slow down for something like that. After walking for a short while, his eyes lit up and he saw a large complex in the distance.
Joy rushed his face and he quickened his pace. In the blink of an eye, he arrived at the top before coming to a stop.
A screen of white mist blocked his front and when he looked past it, he found a twenty-meter-tall grey wall, concealing mostly everything from view, and had the name ‘Spirit Metal Hall’ written in argent glory. However, he was able to see a large building crest the top of the wall.
Han Li looked to his sides and saw that the screen was actually a barrier that completely enveloped the hall.
It appeared the ancient cultivators had activated all of the mountain’s restrictions before they sealed it. Perhaps they intended on protecting the mountain in hopes of one day returning.
As these thoughts flashed through his mind, he waved his sleeve and released a golden streak at the gate.
With a strange buzz, the swordlight sank a half-foot into the barrier before eventually coming to a stop. Soon after, the damage began to brightly glow and mend itself.
Han Li frowned and pointed at the light barrier, having his sword immediately return. The injury was quickly healed.
Seeing that the barrier was about three meters thick, he began to ponder if the combined might of his swords would even have an effect. After all, if he couldn't dispose of the formation in a single strike, it would recover from any damage that was inflicted.
Of course, if he had the time, he could release his Gold Devouring Beetles to slowly consume the barrier’s spiritual power. He reckoned this would take several days but the restriction could be destroyed, an unacceptable result under the circumstances.
As such, he immediately came to a decision and slapped a storage pouch, producing a fist-sized ball of light. It revolved once around him to revealing a feather fan that glowed golden, silver, and red.
As he beckoned to it, the fan released a phoenix cry and dropped into his grasp. He unfolded it, having it expand to the size of a meter in a blaze. With it now clasped, he coldly looked at the light barrier in front of him and waved.
This time, he meticulously controlled the output, preventing a flame-born phoenix from making another appearance. Instead, the fan simply released a tri-colored stream of flame towards the barrier, quickly melting it away like ice to a hot flame and creating a large opening in the blink of an eye.
As soon as he saw this, he put the fan away and quickly charged inside. With the wall now towering in front of him, he turned around and saw that the barrier soon mended the opening.
Han Li bitterly smiled. He would have to exert himself once more when leaving.
With that thought, he examined the magic power within his body. Although he had controlled the fan to use less than half its might, it still consumed a third of his magic power.
He shook his head and turned to walk around the stone wall.
The buildings he found at the front were all constructed the same: thirty-meters-tall with two floors. He casually walked into the nearest one and found that it was completely bare apart from some furniture. It appeared to be a place for rest.
Even if this room once possessed the personal items of ancient cultivators, they were all put away when they evacuated.
Although Han Li had already somewhat anticipated this, he couldn't help but sigh.
Having seen this, he didn’t hold much hope for the other buildings, and as he expected, they had nothing there.
When he moved on to look through a few stone buildings that looked like warehouses, he also found that they were completely void.
All racks, tables, and chests were completely bare. There wasn’t even the slightest sign of tool refinement, much to his gloom.
But when he left the last of these buildings, he found a stone hall.
The hall appeared only three hundred meters wide, but was colored a crimson red as if it were molten hot.
“Spirit Change Hall,” Han Li muttered the letters that hung above its gate.
Although he was only standing outside, he could feel a familiar aura radiating from within.
His heart stirred and he soon walked in with his hands behind his back.
As soon as he entered, he could hear roaring thunder and quickly turned his gaze around the hall.