"I see. No wonder you changed your mind then, Mistress. However, Master Di Xue singled out that man to be killed, so we'll have to give him a proper explanation. After all, he's certainly not the kind to forgive and forget," Xue Du chuckled.
"I'm well aware of that. However, make sure to keep a close eye on that Han brat before I reveal everything to him. Otherwise, it'll be quite troublesome if he were to get away again," Mu Qing instructed.
"Yes, Mistress. I'll be sure to keep a constant eye on him," Xue Du replied in a respectful manner.
Mu Qing nodded with a pleased expression before waving a dismissive hand, and Xue Du immediately recognized that as a cue for him to leave.
Meanwhile, Mu Qing sat still in contemplation for a while before suddenly laying a hand on the giant golden flower before her.
The massive flower tremored slightly, and a shimmering golden mirror of an antiquated design emerged from the flower’s core.
There were runes flashing indistinctly over the mirror, and Mu Qing opened her mouth to expel a ball of green Qi onto the mirror's surface.
Golden light flashed, and the green Qi disappeared into the mirror, following which a layer of golden light appeared over the surface.
Moments later, an indifferent male voice sounded from within the golden light.
"Why have you contacted me, Fellow Daoist Mu?"
Mu Qing smiled upon hearing this voice, and she replied, "Brother Liu Zu, I was wondering how your Yin Qi collection was going. Will you be able to supply sufficient Yin Qi for that ghost hag to refine a sufficient number of Yin Armor Profound Ghosts by the designated date?"
After a brief silence, Liu Zu replied in a completely emotionless voice, "I've collected all of the Yin Qi there is on the lower levels. The Yin Qi on the first level is the most sparse, but I can gather quite a bit given sufficient time. There will definitely be enough for 8,000 of those profound ghost. Why are you suddenly asking me this, Fellow Daoist Mu?"
Instead of answering the question, Mu Qing changed the subject. "According to our plan, the 8,000 profound ghosts and all of Di Xue's puppets are mere cannon fodder to pave the way for the Infernal River Ghosts. However, we have to employ another method to remove the restriction on the infernal river. The resources that we currently have at our disposal may not be all that reliable for that task."
Liu Zu immediately caught on to something, and his voice changed slightly as he asked, "Have you found a good way to dispel this restriction, Fellow Daoist Mu?"
"Hehe, you sure know me well, Brother Liu Zu. I have indeed just discovered something of value, and I wanted to share the good news with you," Mu Qing chuckled.
"So what's the good news?" Liu Zu's voice turned flat and emotionless again.
"I found a being that can use Divine Devilbane Lightning. The infernal river restriction is predominantly comprised of Yin Qi, but the most troublesome element about the restriction is actually the infernal devilish Qi contained within it. The devilish Qi is extremely pure, and if we were to go ahead with our original plan, there's a good chance that it might fail. However, with Divine Devilbane Lightning on our side, that devilish Qi won't be an issue for us," Mu Qing said as a serious expression appeared on her face.
"Divine Devilbane Lightning is indeed the bane of all devilish Qi, but in ancient times when the Evil Dragon Race ruled over the Spirit Realm, almost all of the Golden Lightning Bamboo in the Spirit Realm was harvested into extinction by them. At the time, all cultivators with Divine Devilbane Lightning or possessed this bamboo were also slain; how did you manage to find someone capable of using such divine lightning? Are you sure you're not mistaken?" Liu Zu seemed to be rather skeptical of her claim.
"Rest assured, Brother Liu Zu, the lightning unleashed by that man was most definitely Divine Devilbane Lightning. The only problem is that he doesn't seem to be aware of the true method to use this lightning. He's merely unleashing it as part of his attacks as if it were merely normal lightning, and he's only able to make use of a tiny portion of its power as a result," Mu Qing chuckled coldly.
"Oh, in that case, then that makes sense. That being must've unintentionally come across some Golden Lightning Jade and attained this lightning by chance," Liu Zu analyzed calmly.
"Hehe, I also believe that to be the case. Otherwise, if he were capable of unleashing the true power of his Divine Devilbane Lightning, even you and I would have to be wary of him. However, for us to encounter a being like at this time and in this place is a massive stroke of fortune for us. It appears that even the heavens is lending us its assistance," Mu Qing said with a smile.
"If he really does possess Divine Devilbane Lightning, then he'll naturally be a great help to us. However, why have you suddenly decided to tell me about this? Are there some troublesome circumstances involved?" Liu Zu asked.
"Your wisdom is truly unmatched, Brother Liu Zu! Truth be told, Di Xue asked me to kill this man and hand over his Yin soul to him. I'm guessing that this most likely has something to do with the ghost hag," Mu Qing replied with a faint smile.
"I see. So you want to keep this man for yourself and ask me to mediate." Liu Zu immediately understood Mu Qing's intentions.
"Exactly. You should be aware that I possess a wood spirit body, so my understanding of Golden Lightning Jade is unmatched among the four of us. If I can provide guidance to that man in person, he should be able to quickly master the true power of his Divine Devilbane Lightning before the initiation of our plan," Mu Qing chuckled in response, showing no intention of hiding anything.
"Hmm, you're right, but this matter is quite important, so I'll have to discuss it with the others. The three of us will also have to see this man in person for verification purposes," Liu Zu finally replied after a lengthy period of contemplation.
"That can definitely be arranged. All of you can gather at my abode in half a month. I'll leave it to you to inform the others, Brother Liu Zu. I'll make sure to prepare a splendid welcome for all of you,"Mu Qing said with a smile.
"Alright, we'll do as you say," Liu Zu agreed without any hesitation.
The golden light on the mirror then faded, and the voice transmission was cut off.
"Hmph, it's just as I expected; Liu Zu doesn't care whose hands this man falls into. But then again, he's the only one among us who doesn't fear divine lightning, so of course it doesn't matter to him. The other two most likely won't be able to accept this arrangement, though. It's too bad for them that I'm the one who captured him, and there's no way I'm handing over to them." Mu Qing's cold voice reverberated throughout the spacious hall.
Han Li sat beside a round table, looking at the man who was pouring wine for him with a wide smile on his face in a speechless manner.
This was a scholar with a set of graceful features, and he appeared to be in his thirties. He was currently holding a green jade cup of wine and trying to propose a toast.
There were all types of delicious dishes, as well as a black urn on the round table. The urn was filled with delectable wine that was giving off a mesmerizing aroma.
The green-robed servant by the name of Bi'er was standing off to the side.
"Come on, Brother Han, have a taste of our Wood Essence Wine. It was brewed using the essence of Myriad Year Spirit Wood, and even though it may not be as effective as the tea you had earlier, it can still bolster your spiritual sense. Once you have a few more cups of this wine, you'll know how amazing it is," the middle-aged scholar urged in an enthusiastic manner.
"Senior Xue Du, I'm a complete lightweight when it comes to drinking. After the few cups I've had, I'm already at my limit. If I keep going, I'm going to make an embarrassment out of myself," Han Li said in a resigned manner.
This middle-aged scholar was none other than the human form of that blood wyrm. As soon as Han Li had been led into the guest pavilion, he had immediately turned up and organized this massive feast for himself and Han Li.
Han Li was essentially being held as prisoner by them, so he naturally couldn't refuse. As such, he could only sit down by the table and dine with the blood wyrm.
"Haha, at our cultivation bases, a few cups of spirit wine will barely have any effect. Could it be that you still hold a grudge against me from our earlier battle?" Xue Du suddenly asked as he cocked his head to the side.
"Hehe, if you hadn't mentioned it, I would've forgotten such a trivial event already, so I certainly wouldn't be holding any grudges. Alright, then, I'll have one more cup of wine." Han Li could only make a concession in the face of Xue Du's insistence.
He then poured himself a cup of wine before downing it in a single mouthful.
Bi'er immediately stepped forward to fill Han Li's cup with wine from the urn again, and Han Li furrowed his brows in response, but refrained from saying anything in the end.
Meanwhile, Xue Du smile as he said, "Enjoy your time here in our Wood Immortal Valley. My Mistress clearly holds you in high regard, so she must have an important task for you to complete. Regardless of what that task is, you'll definitely receive a rich reward for your efforts. Isn't that much better than going back to the Flying Spirit Race to be a so-called holy disciple? I'm going to go as far as to say that our earth abyss can provide you with everything that the Flying Spirit Race can, and we can even give you things that the Flying Spirit Race can't. This is a brilliant opportunity for you, Fellow Daoist!" Xue Du was trying to convince Han Li to switch his allegiance.
Han Li's lips twitched, and he didn't give a direct reply. Instead, he smiled, and asked, "What level of the earth abyss is this? Would you be able to disclose that to me, Senior? And would you be able to tell me what Senior Mu Qing intends to do with me?"
"Unfortunately, that's something that I won't be able to tell you for now. However, everything will be revealed to you in half a month or a month at most by my mistress. As for what level of the earth abyss we're currently situated in, that's something I can certainly disclose to you. This is the Black Mist Forest of the third level," Xue Du replied.
"The Black Mist Forest! Is the forest enshrouded under Yin mist that traps all beings who enter it?" Han Li's expression changed slightly upon hearing this.
"Haha, that's the one. I didn't think that our forest would be so renowned in the Flying Spirit Race. Truth be told, my mistress set up a restriction in the forest, which is why no beings are able to escape from it," Xue Du replied with an amused chuckle.
"I see." A wry smile appeared on Han Li's face, and he didn't say anything further.
After convincing Han Li to down a few more cups of Wood Essence Wine, Xue Du suddenly asked, "By the way, there's something that I'm quite curious about; would you be able to enlighten me, Brother Han?"
"Of course. I'll tell you everything I know." Han Li's heart stirred, and he immediately activated his Great Development Technique to completely dispel the hint of inebriation that was numbing his mind.