Han Li's heart eased slightly upon hearing this.
It appeared that the situation was just as he had anticipated; even without lifting the seal on Nangong Wan's body, she would still be fine. However, seeing as he had already obtained the method to lift the seal, he was naturally not going to waste it. It would be best to alleviate Nangong Wan's condition in case she was to be afflicted by any unforeseen troubles in the future.
Thus, Han Li quickly made his decision.
While chatting with one another, the three of them had already reached the restriction formation around the Drifting Cloud Sect.
On the way there, Lü Luo had already released a voice transmission talisman, so as soon as the two of them reached the formation, the mist permeating throughout the entire restriction tumbled before slowly dissipating.
The entire formation around the sect was being deactivated.
Han Li stirred slightly upon seeing this, but before he had a chance to say anything, hundreds of Foundation Establishment cultivators had been led out of the mountain by a dozen or so Core Formation cultivators, and they arranged themselves into orderly rows as they yelled in unison, "The disciples of the Drifting Cloud Sect pay our respects to Elder Han, and extend our heartfelt congratulations to your progression to the late-Nascent Soul Stage."
All of the cultivators then bowed toward Han Li with excited expressions on their faces. It was quite clear that Lü Luo had already disclosed the news of Han Li's progression to the late-Nascent Soul Stage in the voice transmission talisman that he had just release.
That was why these disciples had gathered together to present such a grand welcome to this "Elder Han".
After all, all of the Drifting Cloud Sect disciples were well aware of what it meant for a great cultivator to emerge in their sect. Their sect would immediately become one of the few super sects in the Heavenly South Region and as a result, the cultivation resources they would be entitled to would be far superior to what they had received in the past. As such, how could they not be ecstatic?
Han Li turned to Lü Luo with a wry smile, and said, "Senior Martial Brother Lü, was there really a need to kick up such a big fuss?"
"Haha, of course, Junior Martial Brother Han. You've become a great cultivator, so the sect disciples naturally have to gather here to present a warm welcome. We're also planning to hold a grand ceremony to celebrate this event, and we're going to invite all of the elders from the other sects to attend. Otherwise, it would be an insult to your lofty status, Junior Martial Brother," Lü Luo chortled.
"Do whatever you want, then. Don't expect to me participate in preparing these events, though; the most I'm willing to do is to be in attendance on the day," Han Li sighed in a resigned manner.
As per convention in the Heavenly South Region, if a cultivator were to reach the late-Nascent Soul Stage, a grand celebration was mandatory in order to inform the entire region of this news. In doing so, all of the other sects would be alerted to this news, and the Drifting Cloud Sect would establish itself as a super sect.
Han Li wasn't opposed to bolstering the reputation of the sect, so he didn't state any objections.
Thus, Han Li descended upon the Drifting Cloud Sect right before the admiring eyes of countless disciples, and entered a spacious hall within the sect.
Han Li sat in the main seat within the hall and Lü Luo sat next to him, but his seat was positioned slightly off-center, thereby indicating that Han Li was the star of the show.
Han Li didn't make any remark upon seeing this.
He was the only late-Nascent Soul great cultivator in the sect and if he weren't willing to take up the mantle, then major problems would arise. Not only would the disciples of the sect be concerned about whether Han Li was abandoning the sect, the other sects would also become suspicious about the situation in their sect. Sooner or later, trouble was going to be brewed.
As such, Han Li willingly sat down in the main seat within the hall, but he refrained from saying anything.
After all, it had been many years since he had returned to the sect and he was completely unfamiliar with the situation within the sect, so it was best to leave the logistics to Senior Martial Brother Lü.
As it turned out, Lü Luo was nowhere near a standout among Nascent Soul cultivators, yet he was very good at managing the sect's internal affairs. He organized all of the new Core Formation disciples in the sect to pay their respects to Han Li one after the other, then officially announced the news of Han Li's progression to the late-Nascent Soul Stage again. Then, he began to hand down some missions to all of the ecstatic disciples in preparation for the upcoming celebration.
Han Li said in his seat with an indifferent expression as he swept his gaze nonchalantly over the disciples before him.
Most of the disciples who had the right to be here were Core Formation disciples, and the rare Foundation Establishment disciples among them were all responsible for important duties within the sect.
No matter which disciple he turned his attention to, the disciple would always lower their head in order to avoid Han Li's gaze as a sign of respect.
After a while, Han Li discovered that his in-name disciple, Liu Yu, and that woman with the Song surname weren't present.
Han Li stirred slightly with a peculiar look on his face upon arriving at this realization.
After Lü Luo had finally finished delivering a long list of instructions to everyone, all of the disciples exited the hall in a respectful manner to make preparations for the upcoming celebration.
"Senior Martial Brother Lü, I don't think I saw Martial Niece Song, there; has she gone out on a mission?" Han Li asked.
Lü Luo chuckled in reply, "Hehe, Martial Niece Song has gone to the Devilfall Valley. She's trying to refine a type of pill, but she's missing a rare herb. This herb is already extinct, yet someone has recently discovered some in the Devilfall Valley."
"She went to the Devilfall Valley?" Han Li's expression changed upon hearing this.
"Don't worry, Junior Martial Brother, this type of herb can be found in the outskirts of the Devilfall Valley. Also, due to some unknown reason, ever since you last visited the Devilfall Valley, the inner valley is still fraught with peril, yet the restrictions in the outer valley are growing weaker year by year, and almost all of the spatial rifts there have also disappeared. On the outskirts of the valley, there are only a few areas where demon beasts may be lurking, but overall, it's not very dangerous. Many cultivators have traveled there in the past several decades and emerged from within with bountiful hauls. By the way, Martial Niece Liu and that servant also went together with her. The three of them are all Core Formation cultivators, and they brought several powerful treasures with them, so they should be fine," Lü Luo hurriedly explained.
"Is that so? Liu Yu and Mu Peiling also went to the Devilfall Valley?" Han Li was rather surprised to hear this.
"Indeed. I don't know what kind of miracle pill you left behind, but your servant was able to reach the mid-Core Formation Stage in just a century. The rate of her cultivation was quite shocking, even to me. Perhaps she'll also have a chance to reach the Nascent Soul Stage." Lü Luo clicked his tongue in wonder.
"The pills I left behind was only a secondary factor; Peiling's attitude has always been exceptional," Han Li replied as he stroked his chin.
Back when he first left, he had thought that he would be able to return from the Great Jin in around a decade or so and as a result, he hadn't left behind all that many pills for her that would advance her cultivation base. Otherwise, if she had been given a larger supply of those pills, it was very much possible that she could've been able to reach the late-Core Formation Stage within a century.
However, he had now reached the late-Nascent Soul Stage and the Copulation Essence Arts were only effective for Nascent Soul cultivators, so he would have to think about what to do with this woman.
After all, everyone knew that this woman was his servant, so even if he were to release her right away, there would be very few male cultivators who would dare to risk irking a great cultivator just to take her for themselves.
After chatting with Lü Luo for a while longer, Han Li suddenly got up and took his leave so he could visit Nangong Wan.
Lü Luo naturally wasn't going to try and stop him.
Thus, Han Li left Tian Qin'er in the hall for now while he headed to the forbidden area within the sect.
A short while later, Han Li appeared in front of the stone chamber within the forbidden area. His emotions were feeling slightly unstable as he lifted the restriction and slowly pushed the stone door open.
The stone chamber had been maintained in a pristine condition, and looked completely identical to when he had last left it. The shimmering wall of ice was still situated directly across from the stone door.
The only thing that was different was that Nangong Wan had turned from a little girl into an exquisite beauty again. However, her eyes were shut, and she appeared to still be in a deep slumber.
Han Li's body swayed and he instantly appeared in front of the ice wall.
He stared intently at the woman within the ice with a complex expression on his face.
Right at this moment, Nangong Wan's eyelashes tremored and she slowly opened her eyes, meeting Han Li's gaze with her own.
The two of them stared at each other in silence.
A short while later, a faint smile appeared on the woman's face as she said in a gentle voice, "I'm glad to see that you're back."
Within the depths of the Devilfall Valley's inner valley, an earthshattering boom suddenly erupted halfway up an unidentifiable mountain.
A burst of dense black Qi emerged from a cave before tumbling erratically, and proliferating over an area of several thousand feet in the blink of an eye. Almost half of the entire sky had been obscured by this black Qi, and it was as if an almighty fiendcelestial were descending into this world.
"Hehe, through the use of the devil Qi left behind by that ancient devil, I was able to reach the mid-Nascent Soul Stage in just over a century. I've even mastered the last two layers of Profound Yin Devil Qi. It looks like it really was the correct decision to take such a big risk in coming to this Devilfall Valley. Next, I just have to find a few powerful treasures within the valley and I'll have nothing to fear, even if that man comes again. After that, I'll find a way to enter the Myriad Depth Devilish Abyss, then draw upon the devilish Qi there to nurture this devilish corpse body. In that case, it won't be impossible for me to reach the late-Nascent Soul Stage. Haha, other devil cultivators are afraid of self-detonation from absorbing too much devilish Qi, but I have the body of a devilish corpse, so I have nothing to fear! When the time comes, I'll reach the late-Nascent Soul Stage and kill that man, then engulf his soul. I'll be only Han Li in this world, then, and that's how it should be..."
A coarse voice rang out from within the black Qi, followed by a burst of deranged laughter. All of a sudden, the black Qi surged violently toward a certain direction, disappearing in the blink of an eye.
Within a bamboo forest on the outskirts of the Devilfall Valley, a ball of red light suddenly shot forth before fleeing rapidly into the distance.
However, a delicate cry erupted and three streaks of lights of different colors hurtled through the bamboo forest at an even more incredible speed, catching up to the red light after just a few flashes.
The three streaks of light flashed toward the ball of red light, and a peculiar cry erupted from within as a strange bird over 10 feet in size plummeted to the ground.
A white streak of light then flew through the bamboo forest, reaching the fallen bird in a flash before revealing a beautiful woman in a white dress.
The woman feigned a grabbing motion, and a purple herb rose up from the bird's carcass before landing in her hand.