In the State of Yue, located in the center of the Heavenly South Region, there had been wars raging almost constantly among in the cultivation world, and rarely were there any prolonged periods of peace.
The six sects in the State of Yue were first vanquished by the Devil Dao, and following that was a war among the sects of the Devil Dao for supremacy and control over the State of Yue, a war that was won by the Ghost Spirit Sect in the end. However, around a century ago, the Ghost Spirit Sect had lost many of its high-grade cultivators during the battle in the Devilfall Valley, and the Controlling Spirit Sect took advantage of this opportunity, allying with the other sects to force the Ghost Spirit Sect out of the State of Yue.
As such, the State of Yue had since been split among the Devil Dao sects with the Controlling Spirit Sect as their new leader. The current might and influence of the Controlling Spirit Sect allowed them to take over close to half of the spirit veins and spirit mines in the State of Yue, and one of those spirit mines was situated underground beneath a certain large valley.
The spirit stone reserves here were initially quite abundant, but following relentless excavation for the past several centuries by the six sects of the State of Yue, then by the Ghost Spirit Sect and the Controlling Spirit Sect, the supply of spirit stones had finally begun to run dry, and the mine itself was in a semi-abandoned state.
Aside from two Qi Condensation disciples from the Controlling Spirit Sect, there were no other cultivators present to guard the spirit mine.
On that day, the two Controlling Spirit Sect disciples were standing at the underground entrance of the mine, chatting about some recent events that had taken place within the sect. Meanwhile, on the surface of the ground above their heads, an azure humanoid figure burrowed soundlessly into the earth using an earth movement technique, then appeared within a certain nondescript cave in the deepest part of the mine.
Throughout this entire process, the two Controlling Spirit Sect disciples were completely oblivious to his arrival.
Yellow light flashed, and the humanoid figure revealed himself to be a young man with a set of mundane features. He took a glance at an empty corner of the cave, and a faint smile appeared on his face.
This man was naturally none other than Han Li, who had traveled all the way from the State of Xi.
A month ago, after coming out of seclusion in the State of Xi, he hadn't encountered Nangong Wan.
Nangong Wan cultivated in a manner that was different from Han Li. During the past century, she had come out of seclusion on several occasions and traveled to all parts of the Heavenly South Region for extended periods of time in order to train her mind.
When Han Li had finally emerged from seclusion, Nangong Wan had re-entered her secret chamber several years prior to that, and was in the midst of her next spell of seclusion and cultivation.
Han Li was rather disappointed, but nor was he going to disrupt Nangong Wan's cultivation just to see her again. Instead, he merely sent her a voice transmission talisman, informing her of the fact that he was going to be embarking on a long journey, then visited LÃ¼ Luo and Liu Yu in the Drifting Cloud Sect.
The two of them were naturally ecstatic to see Han Li.
During the past century or so, the two had worked tirelessly to expand the Drifting Cloud Sect, and it had now become one of the handful of most renowned sects in the Heavenly South Region. During this time, Song Yu had already reached the Nascent Soul Stage, becoming the fourth Nascent Soul cultivator of the Drifting Cloud Sect.
Han Li was naturally quite pleased to hear this. What was surprising to him was that after many years of searching, Song Yu finally found a disciple who possessed an inherently powerful spiritual sense from birth over 10 years ago. However, due to the fact that Han Li was still in seclusion at the time, this disciple was left to cultivate in the sect on their own. Apparently, the disciple also possessed quite an exceptional spiritual root aptitude with a dual-attribute spiritual root.
Han Li's heart stirred upon hearing this, and he immediately requested to meet this disciple. He discovered that this disciple was a slightly thin and frail-looking 16 to 17-year-old young man with a set of delicate features.
Han Li examined the young man in person to find that he did indeed possess an inherently powerful spiritual sense from birth, one that was several times more powerful than cultivators of the same cultivation base. Most importantly, the young man had a very honest and steady personality, which Han Li was very pleased with.
Thus, he cut straight to the point and asked the young man if he were willing to become his disciple.
The young man's name was Shi Jian, and he was already aware of who Han Li was. As such, he was naturally overjoyed that the number one cultivator in the Heavenly South Region was willing to take him as his disciple. As such, he immediately fell to his knees and kowtowed to Han Li, officially becoming his disciple.
Han Li chortled heartily before taking the young man back to the interconnected peaks. He erected a new cave abode for the young man on one of the peaks, and also gave him a copy of the Great Development Treasure Scriptures.
He reinforced to the young man the importance of cultivating the Great Development Technique, but allowed him to choose any other cultivation art in the treasured scriptures that he wished to cultivate alongside the Great Development Technique. The Monarch of Soul Divergence was an extremely talented cultivator, so there were many cultivation arts enclosed in his treasured scriptures.
Shi Jian was still only a Qi Condensation Stage disciple, and Han Li left him a sufficient number of pills to support his cultivation. He also summoned his other disciple, Tian Qin'er, to instruct Shi Jian in his cultivation while he was away.
Even though Tian Qin'er possessed the Dragon Cry Physique, she was also able to cultivate her way to the mid-Foundation Establishment Stage during the past century with the assistance of the large number of pills given to her by the humanoid puppet. Just as Han Li had expected, it appeared that it wouldn't be impossible for her to reach the Core Formation Stage.
After accepting the young man as his disciple, Han Li felt as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
Before the Monarch of Soul Divergence had passed away, he had asked Han Li to find a disciple in his stead to pass the Great Development Treasured Scriptures onto. As soon as the young man reached the Core Formation Stage or above, Han Li was planning to bestow upon him several powerful treasures, then send him to the Far West so he could take over as the Thousand Bamboo Sect Master and receive the inheritance left behind by the Monarch of Soul Divergence.
As for Mu Peiling, who was also residing in a cave abode on one of the interconnected peaks, Nangong Wan had bestowed upon her a secret technique from the Masked Moon Sect, and she had been able to cultivate it to make great strides in her cultivation, reaching the late-Core Formation Stage. She was in seclusion day and night, arduously cultivating her magic power so she could attempt to break through to the Nascent Soul Stage.
However, Han Li wasn't very optimistic about her future prospects. Mu Peiling's aptitude was far from mediocre, but almost every Nascent Soul cultivator had to encounter a miraculous opportunity that was unique to them before reaching the Nascent Soul Stage. Mu Peiling was working extremely hard in her cultivation, but if she didn't encounter such an opportunity, her chances of reaching the Nascent Soul Stage were quite abysmal.
After taking care of everything that required his attention in the sect as well as within his own cave abode, Han Li immediately departed from the Dreamcloud Mountains and headed straight for the State of Yue.
After all, from the message that Ling Yuling had sent him, the Star Palace was in a very perilous situation and was being completely dominated by the Starfall Coalition. Otherwise, she wouldn't have resorted to sending out a request for help using her Myriad Distance Talisman.
Han Li didn't want to delay for too long before getting to the Scattered Star Seas, only to find that Lin Yuling had already perished in battle.
Now, he was back in the underground cave that the ancient teleportation formation had been situated in.
Even though he had intentionally destroyed the teleportation formation on the previous occasion he had been here, he simply had to repair it before he could teleport to the Scattered Star Seas.
What came as quite a relief to Han Li was that there were only two Qi Condensation cultivators guarding this place. Even the most basic of concealment techniques could ensure that the two of them didn't notice that anything was amiss.
With that in mind, Han Li grabbed the storage pouch hanging from his waist before tossing it into the air.
The storage pouch spun in the air before the opening of the pouch turned upside-down, and a burst of white light erupted from within, heading directly toward the ground.
The white light receded, and a large pile of materials about half as tall as a grown man was revealed. The majority of the pile consisted of various types of strange rocks and stones.
Han Li waved a hand upward expressionlessly, and white light began to flash within the storage pouch again.
On this occasion, a dozen or so formation flags and several formation plates shot forth from within. All of the hovered in mid-air following their emergence, shimmering with spiritual light of all types of colors.
Han Li chanted something before gently sweeping his sleeve toward their formation tools.
All of a sudden, these treasures transformed into streaks of light of various different colors, flying in all directions before disappearing into the walls of the cave in a flash.
Large swathes of white mist then began to billow out from within the walls of the cave, concealing Han Li within in the blink of an eye.
If a cultivator were to walk past the cave at this moment, they would simply be greeted by the sight of an empty cave within which nothing was amiss.
The restriction created by the formation had completely concealed Han Li as well as that large pile of formation materials.
Meanwhile, Han Li was already busy at work.
With his current wealth of knowledge and experience, it was an extremely simple matter for Han Li to set up a small teleportation formation, provided that there were enough materials available.
As such, a brand new teleportation formation had been erected in the corner of the cave in just two days.
After examining the formation one last time, Han Li cast an incantation seal toward it.
White light flashed from the center of the formation, following which a burst of buzzing rang out. Immediately thereafter, spiritual light flashed over various spots on the teleportation formation before fading of their own accord.
It appeared that there were no issues with the teleportation formation, so Han Li could use it immediately.
Han Li was elated to see this, and his body swayed before appearing within the teleportation formation in the blink of an eye.
However, just as he was about to activate the formation, he cast his gaze around the cave, and a hesitant look appeared on his face. After a brief period of contemplation, he suddenly patted one of the spirit beast pouches hanging from his waist.
A hissing sound rang out, following which the pouch's opening widened, and a burst of white wind and snow erupted from within.
Immediately thereafter, 12 snowy white centipedes were revealed. Each of them had two pairs of wings on their backs, and they were all very menacing in appearance.
After releasing these Six-Winged Frost Centipede, Han Li chanted something before casting an incantation seal toward them.
All of these centipedes immediately shrank to around the size of a palm each at Han Li's behest. They then opened their mouths to blast out bursts of glacial Qi which enshrouded their bodies, sealing themselves in a block of ice.
Moments later, a series of remarkably translucent balls of ice appeared before Han Li.
Han Li flicked his 10 fingers toward the balls of ice in quick succession, and 12 azure threads shot forth, instantly disappearing into the balls of ice. The 12 ice balls then plummeted downward in unison, disappearing into the ground amid a flash of yellow light.
Only then did Han Li nod his head with a satisfied expression.
With 12 seventh grade demon beasts guarding this place, even a Nascent Soul cultivator wouldn't be able to easily destroy the teleportation formation here. As such, he was feeling a lot more reassured.
Han Li then immediately activated the teleportation formation beneath his feet, and disappeared amid a flash of white light.
Following a rush of dizziness, Han Li appeared on an island tens of millions of kilometers away.
He swept his gaze around him to find that everything remained the same as they had been during his last visit. It appeared that this place was quite obscure and hadn't been discovered by any other cultivators.
Han Li strode out of the teleportation formation, and slashed his hand through the air behind him without even turning his head.
A streak of golden flashed past, and the teleportation formation behind him was sliced in half amid a resounding boom.
Han Li then emerged expressionlessly from within the stone chamber.
Moments later, a streak of azure light rose up into the air from the island, then shot forth toward a certain direction and disappearing into the distance in the blink of an eye.