Book Nine: Races of the Spirit Realm
In an endless crimson forest of twisted trees, there were five young men and women. They were in a hidden part of the forest and were ten meters apart from one another.
One of them was a man about thirty years old. He wore embroidered robes and had snow-white robes with eyes like lightning.
There was a black-robed woman with a slender body, black brows and draped hair. Her face appeared hostile.
The other youth appeared in his late twenties with a blood-red birthmark on his mouth and a handsome appearance. His face wore a faint smile.
The second woman wore white robes and appeared to be eighteen. Her dainty face gave her an innocent appearance.
The last of them was an azure-robed youth in his early twenties with an expressionless face. He was Han Li, who had recently left Deep Heaven City.
The five appeared young, but their cultivation was at Deity Transformation stage and above. Apart from Han Li and the white-robed woman who had mid-stage cultivation, the other three possessed late Deity Transformation-stage cultivation.
However, the black-robed woman happened to be the woman surnamed Xiao from the Black Phoenix Clan, who Han Li first met at the beast wave when his cultivation was lost.
The woman coldly glared at Han Li. Although she said nothing, her eyes were filled with bewilderment.
“I truly didn’t think that you humans would send out three cultivators with two of them at mid-stage. Could it be that your race plans on having this operation fail?” The white-browed man coldly asked. Although his voice wasn’t very loud, everyone could clearly hear it.
When they heard the youth, the blood-marked youth’s brow faintly stirred and his smile faded. Han Li simply blinked and fiddled with a white jade slip in his hand.
As for the young white-robed woman, her black eyes were wandering, but a smile still stuck on her face.
The three didn’t reply.
When the white-browed man saw the three’s reaction, he was enraged and thought to say something when the woman surnamed Xiao suddenly said, “This mission is related to Deep Heaven City and the safety of both our kind. If we do not sincerely cooperate, let alone the mission, we may even fail to reach the mission’s destination. Don’t forget, we’ll have to spend a year travelling. Since your kind sent three Fellow Daoists, you must be unordinary. Since we’ll be spending some time with each other, let’s exchange names. I am Xiao Hong and come from the Black Phoenix Clan. This is Fellow Daoist Li from the Profound Hawk Clan.”
Xiao Hong spoke with a neutral tone.
When the blood-marked youth heard this, he raised his brow and smiled, “I am Long Dong. It seems your extreme flames come from refining your life flames to an astonishing realm.”
“You’re a member of the Long Clan!” Xiao Hong’s expression changed upon hearing him.
“I didn’t think that Fairy would know of my clan.” The blood-marked youth grinned and flashed his teeth.
“I am called Xie Ying.” The white-robed woman said with a chuckle. Her voice sounded like birdsong.
“Han Li!” Han Li shortly uttered his name and said nothing else.”
Xiao Hong looked at Han Li and her voice turned cold, “So it was you. It is no wonder you had those Immortal Vanquishing Beads. You were originally a high-grade cultivator. So you’re cultivating a dual body magic art.”
When they heard this, the other three appeared alarm.
“I do cultivate such a technique. It has been many years since I’ve seen you. How is Dai’er doing?” Han Li indifferently asked.
Xiao Hong paused for a moment and indifferently replied, “It was sensible for Dai’er to follow me at the time. She has cultivated at an immense speed and already possesses a golden core. It is only a matter of time before she overtakes both of us.”
“Is that so. I am glad she’s fine.” Han Li let out a faint sigh.
The white-robed young woman, Xie Ying, glanced at the two and asked with a giggle, “What? Does Sister Xiao recognize Brother Han?”
“Know him? Hehe, we can be considered old acquaintances.” Xiao Hong coldly laughed.
At that moment, the blood-marked youth glanced at the two and his sights briefly paused on Xiao Hong. He then immediately looked away.
His eyes deeply revealed a trace of greed and no one seemed to notice.
After some thought Xiao Hong warned, “Although this isn’t deep in the wilderness, it is already a sign of your strength that you were able to make it here. Our next step won’t be as easy as the way here. If we do not unit together, I fear that it will be difficult to safely pass through the Black Leaves Forest. This path contains an immense amount of danger.”
When they heard the name of the rest, the other four wore changed expressions.
The white-robed woman asked, “This mission is to scout the movements of the tree spirit clan? Will this mission be concluded once we recover the spies that are placed there and gather their information? That doesn’t seem too difficult.”
The blood-marked youth sighed and muttered, “That’s hard to say. It’ll depend a lot on luck. If it goes smoothly, the mission will be simple, but if we encounter trouble and the tree spirits discover us, we’ll all likely die. However, this mission is greatly related to our two races. There is certain to be some danger.”
The white-browed youth frowned and puzzlingly asked, “Since it is so important, why did they send Deity Transformation-grade cultivators? Wouldn’t it be safer to send out Spatial Tempering cultivators?”
The blood-marked youth didn’t immediately reply. Instead, he looked at Xiao Hong with a mysterious smile. “Since he’s asking questions, it seems your esteemed self should be in charge of him.”
The white-robed young woman calmly said, “Since Brother Long is aware of this, it seems you must be in charge of the human side.”
The blood mark on the Long Dong’s mouth stirred and he vaguely answered, “That’s right, I do know a few things.”
When the white-robed woman heard this, she curled her lips and turned to look at Han Li.
Han Li remained expressionless as if he hadn’t heard their conversation. This caused her to look at him with surprise.
Xiao Hong turned to the white-browed youth and explained, “They’ve sent Deity Transformation cultivators like us because the Black Leaves Forest is already covered in the Heavenly Wood Dreamnet. If anybody above Deity Transformation-stage were to enter, it will immediately cause alarm.”
The white-brow youth nodded and suddenly looked at Han Li and Xie Yin with narrow eyes. “So it was like that, but even if Fellow Daoist Long might do, the other two are mid-Deity Transformation cultivators. Aren’t they lacking?”
“Brother Li, please feel at ease, the panel of elders sent both Young Lady Xie and Fellow Daoist Han. They naturally hold you in high esteem as well. They definitely won’t disappoint.” Long Dong chuckled.
The white-brow youth then sinister said, “Since you’re vouching for them, let’s leave that alone then. But if they become a burden, I will not save them.”
The white-browed man’s open disdain, finally caused the white-robed woman’s face to sink. “Your cultivation only exceeds mine by a single grade, yet you speak like you’re a Spatial Tempering cultivator.”
The white-browed youth replied with a cold laugh, “Once you’ve reached our stage, the difference is negligible.”
The white-robed woman felt anger. Just as she was thinking of a reply, Han Li interjected,
“Since Fellow Daoist Long and Fairy Xiao know more about this mission, why not have them give us the details first. When I received this mission, I was only given general details. I didn’t think I’d need to cooperate with others. If I had known that, I would’ve most likely not taken this mission,” Han Li said with an indifferent expression. He truly felt somewhat unhappy.
When he found there would be multiple people on this assignment, he knew it wouldn’t be simple and he doubts about it. But since the mission was important and he was given vague details about, it would forfeit the privilege of accepting a different mission if he backed out and would need to stay in Deep Heaven City for ten years.
As such, with nothing else keeping him, he had no choice but to take the mission as he needed to leave the city within several years.
As a result, he needed to gather at this location in a month’s time. When he saw there were only spirit realm natives instead of other ascended cultivators, he could only wryly laugh.
It appears this assignment’s complexity and danger was far beyond what he anticipated.
Didn’t Zhao Wugui mention that this mission would only be chosen by ascended cultivators. Could it be he took the wrong mission?
But before he set out, he was already given enough Earth Cleansing Pills and promised to finish his mission. This was the same as what Zhao Wugui had told him.
Han Li felt bewildered when he thought of this.
Long Dong smiled and said, “I’ll tell Brother Han and Lady Xie about the mission details on the way. The mission is time sensitive, so we should best set off.”
“Brother Long’s words are reasonable. We are short on time. Let’s head out and then give relevant information on the way.” Xiao Hong agreed.
The other two raised no objections.
Han Li paused and slowly nodded.
“Alright, there will be time to talk as we travel.”
The blood-marked youth amiably proposed, “In that case, for the sake of carefulness, everyone should take my spirit cloud boat. We won’t need to waste any magic power, only use a few spirit stones. The boat is also well hidden. We’ll encounter less troubles on the way.”