Only then did the brawny man turn around. He looked at the body of the elderly man with a complex expression before heaving a faint sigh.
"Fellow Daoist Meng, are you still feeling attached to the Ghost Spirit Sect."
Among the Qi Condensation cultivators, a mundane looking middle-aged cultivator suddenly spoke. He then raised a hand and waved it toward the silvery-white flying sword in the air. The sword flashed before transforming into a silver streak of light and returning to his hand.
The elderly man had been slain by none other than that flying sword, which had attacked him from behind. The Qi Condensation cultivator had actually been concealing his cultivation base this entire time, and only now did he reveal his late-Foundation Establishment cultivation base.
"I've already decided to switch my allegiance to your Devil Flame Sect, so I naturally won't hold any attachments to this sect. However, this man may not be a friend of mine, yet we've met on numerous occasions in the past, so it's only normal for me to feel bad in a situation like this," the brawny man replied.
"I'm glad you think that way, Fellow Daoist Meng. Ever since the Ghost Spirit Sect lost two Nascent Soul cultivators and a large number of Core Formation cultivators over 100 years ago, they've been weakened significantly, and no longer deserve to rule over an entire empire. This time, our Controlling Spirit Sect, Devil Flame Sect, and the newly-arisen Blood Slaughter Sect have joined forces to bring down the Ghost Spirit Sect, and there's absolutely no way that it can survive. In the future, the Blood Slaughter Sect will take the place of the Ghost Spirit Sect in our Devil Dao. You've made a really wise decision to jump ship at this juncture," the middle-aged cultivator chuckled.
The auras of the other black-robed cultivators also abruptly changed as they revealed their Foundation Establishment cultivation bases. All of them were also Devil Flame Sect cultivators.
"As long as your sect upholds their promise, I'll naturally do everything in my power to assist you," the brawny man replied with a fake smile.
"Haha, don't worry about that. You have decent aptitude, Brother Meng. After we secure victory here, my master will welcome you into our sect in person. You'll have a much better future there than in this Ghost Spirit Sect, where you have to cultivate on your own with no one to turn to for guidance. Speaking of which, this place really is very secluded. This is the perfect place to hide our troops without drawing attention from the Ghost Spirit Sect. Thankfully, Master provided me with these aura concealment talismans. Otherwise, it would've been difficult to fool this man's spiritual sense." The middle-aged cultivator looked at the body on the ground with a smug look on his face.
"It's also a good thing that this ancient teleportation formation was here as well. It's given me an excuse to lure him into this secluded place. Otherwise, even if we succeed in killing him, there are over 100,000 Qi Condensation disciples here, and if any one of them were to raise the alarm, we'd be in a lot of trouble. Now that this man's dead, we can forcibly gather all of the other disciples and kill them at once." A cold expression appeared on the brawny man's face as a hint of killing intent flashed through his eyes.
"That's a good idea, Brother Meng, we'll do as you say." A hint of approval appeared in the middle-aged cultivator's eyes upon hearing that.
At this moment, one of the other cultivators had already taken the elderly man's storage pouch before blasting forth a fireball to incinerate his body in the blink of an eye.
Everyone then prepared to leave this limestone cave.
However, right at this moment, a buzzing sound suddenly rang out from the ancient teleportation formation that no one was paying any attention to. It had somehow been activated, and it appeared as if someone were teleporting over from the other side.
This sudden turn of events had everyone completely dumbstruck.
Hadn't the elderly man just told them that the formation was dysfunctional? Why had it suddenly resumed function? And why now of all times?
The middle-aged cultivator reacted very quickly as he yelled, "Destroy the formation! No matter who's teleporting over from the other side, we can't allow them to foil our plans!"
All of a sudden, the flying sword that he had just stowed away flew toward the formation again as a cold streak of light.
The other cultivators also came to their senses and summoned their treasures in quick succession, attempting to destroy the teleportation formation before them.
Several loud rumbling booms erupted and the piercing white light erupting from the teleportation formation repelled all of the treasures being hurled at it.
A jolt of shock ran through everyone's hearts upon seeing this.
Unbeknownst to them, an ancient teleportation formation could be easily destroyed by any low-grade cultivator as long as it hadn't been activated. However, once a teleportation trip had been set into motion, a vast amount of spiritual power would be injected into the teleportation formation, and no one would be able to destroy it unless they were at least at the Core Formation Stage.
Otherwise, ancient cultivators would've been in deep trouble had other people attempted to sabotage their teleportation from the other side.
Thus, a man and a woman appeared within the teleportation formation right before everyone's astonished eyes. Their bodies were swaying slightly, indicating that they were still recovering from the dizziness of teleportation.
The middle-aged man could see that the man appeared to be over 20 years of age, while the woman seemed to be only in her teens. He swept his spiritual sense toward the woman first and was immediately greatly relieved to find that she was only at the Qi Condensation Stage.
In the cultivation world, the life lesson of not judging a book by its cover was particularly important. It was not uncommon for a young girl who appeared to be in her teens to be a high-grade cultivator who had lived for centuries. As for the man, he only appeared to be in his twenties, so his cultivation base most likely wasn't very advanced. After all, very few male cultivators would go to the trouble of altering their appearance to make themselves seem younger.
He was just about to sweep his spiritual sense toward the young man, but he suddenly shook his head from side to side and appeared to be close to recovering from his bout of dizziness. In his urgency, he could only relinquish his attempt to ascertain the man's cultivation base as he yelled, "Kill them!"
In his mind, this woman's cultivation base was very pitiful and this man seemed to be very young, so he was a Foundation Establishment cultivator at most. As such, the best course of action was to take them by surprise and kill them during their bouts of dizziness.
However, an expression of horror suddenly appeared on the brawny man's face at the sight of the young man, and he hurriedly urged, "Wait! Don't do it!"
However, the other Devil Flame Sect cultivators answered only to the middle-aged cultivator. Even though they could hear the abnormally high level of fear and panic in the brawny man's voice, they still attacked the duo in the teleportation formation without any hesitation.
As for the middle-aged cultivator, he was simply under the impression that this duo may have been the brawny man's acquaintances, so he intentionally ignored him.
Just as their treasures were about to strike the duo within the teleportation formation, a frosty voice suddenly sounded, "Looks like all of you want to die!"
Right as his voice fell, an earthshattering boom erupted as a ball of piercing azure light exploded within the teleportation formation. It was so bright that it appeared as if an azure sun had emerged in the cave. All of the treasures were immediately shattered as soon as they came into contact with this azure light.
Several streaks of golden sword Qi then shot forth from within the azure light, and all of the Devil Flame Sect cultivators, including the middle-aged cultivator, were instantly killed before they could even utter a single sound.
The brawny man with the Meng surname remained completely unscathed, but he was too petrified to even move, and his face was deathly pale with horror.
"You recognize me?" The young man slowly walked out of the formation and turned to the brawny man with a frosty expression. The young girl who was in her teens followed behind him respectfully, putting on a very obedient display. It was quite clear that she was this man's junior.
The young man was naturally none other than Han Li, who had repaired the teleportation formation on the other side in the Scattered Star Seas, and finally returned to the Heavenly South Region after over a month.
As for the young girl behind him, she was naturally Tian Qin'er, whose formation spell aptitude was very much satisfactory to him.
The brawny man immediately fell to his knees in front of Han Li and hurriedly replied, "When I was younger, I was with a senior from my family and witnessed you in action during the invasion of the Moulan people. I've committed your appearance to memory ever since then, Senior!"
"The Moulan invasion? Hehe, that was an event of the distant past; I'm surprised you still remember what I look like. You're a Ghost Spirit Sect disciple, right? Were these people fellow martial brothers of yours?" Han Li asked nonchalantly.
The brawny man hesitated momentarily, but the cold look in Han Li's eyes sent a shiver running down his spine, and he was intimidated into telling the truth. "I am indeed a disciple of the Ghost Spirit Sect, yet these cultivators were from the Devil Flame Sect."
"The Devil Flame Sect? It's a good thing that you're honest; if you'd told me that they were your fellow martial brothers, I would’ve killed you on the spot! The cultivation art fluctuations from their bodies clearly indicate that they're not from the Ghost Spirit Sect." Han Li's cold words made the brawny man feel as if he had been plunged into a glacial pit, and any inclination he had of lying his way out of this situation immediately disappeared.
Tian Qin'er stood behind Han Li and surveyed her surroundings with a curious light in her eyes.
"I have no interest in knowing why a Ghost Spirit Sect disciple like you would appear here with cultivators from the Devil Flame Sect, but I do have some questions for you, and you'd better answer them truthfully," Han Li continued.
"I'll be sure to tell you everything I know, Senior," the brawny man hurriedly replied.
"It's been some years since I was last in the Heavenly South Region. Give me a recount of what happened in the cultivation world of the Heavenly South Region in the past century," Han Li commanded.
"Yes. In terms of significant events, there's none more significant than an incident from 80 years ago, where the Mystical Sect of the Tian Lu Nation destroyed the entire Fire Spirit Sect in one night. What happened there was..." The brawny man immediately launched into a tale at Han Li's behest. The vast disparity in their cultivation bases had the brawny man in constant horror, and he didn't dare to fabricate any false tales.
Han Li's expression remained completely unchanged as he listened to the brawny man's story, and he would only interject with a question from time to time when something caught his interest. The brawny man naturally provided the best answers he could, trying his best to satisfy Han Li.
After around two hours, the brawny man had delivered a recount of all of the significant events that had taken place in the Heavenly South Region for the past century, and his mouth fell closed as he wore a nervous look on his face.
"How's Drifting Cloud Sect going at the moment? Has anything significant happened to it? Is Elder Cheng still the one in charge at the moment?" Han Li suddenly asked after a brief silence.
The brawny man hesitated momentarily before giving a shaky response, "The Drifting Cloud Sect? That sect is quite far away, so I don't know much about it. However, I do recall that the one in charge of the sect is now a senior with the Lü surname."