Doctor Mo had noticed that Han Li diligently practiced the chant and was satisfied.
However, his pace of cultivating with the obscure chant was still quite slow.
Over the past few years, Doctor Mo’s illness had gotten worse. Every day he would cough, getting worse and worse until he often experienced violent fits of coughing.
As his health worsened, he appeared to obsess over Han Li’s progress. He regularly urged Han Li to work harder, and his franticness was clear to Han Li.
Doctor Mo attached an unusual importance to Han Li. He had, without hesitation, arranged to send more and more money to Han Li’s home and usually gazed at Han Li as if he was some precious, cherished treasure.
However, after cultivating to the third level of the chant, Han Li’s perception improved and he began feeling unnerved. Sometimes he felt that within Doctor Mo’s caring and affectionate gaze was a hidden sort of terrifying and voracious greed and longing.
This feeling chilled Han Li to the bone. The way Doctor Mo was looking at him was like he was not even a person at all but rather an item.
This had made him extremely suspicious. What could Doctor Mo be thinking?
Of course, he wouldn’t be able to answer his own question.
Han Li felt sick of practicing, inwardly cursing Doctor Mo, and he was sorely tempted to give up altogether. However, he was reluctant to stop, as doing so would be like kicking his benefactor in the teeth.
Regardless, deep in his heart he couldn’t help but feel a wary towards Doctor Mo. As time went on, this feeling intensified.
At the moment, Han Li was in a bit of trouble, for he had reached a bottleneck in his training. Over the past few years, he had the help of various powerful medicines, but Doctor Mo had been giving less and less to the point of almost nothingness.
This was only natural. Han Li was not a genius, so by taking away the medicines and forcing him to rely on his own talent, his cultivation stagnated.
Thus, he would feel ashamed to confront Doctor Mo on the matter, for it would mean admitting his uselessness.
Doctor Mo dedicated all of his treasures to provide Han Li the optimal training environment, but Han Li made little progress.
Han Li thus had another reason to be nervous around Doctor Mo, especially whenever the latter checked on his progress with fervent inquiries.
It was odd, though. Even though Doctor Mo was extremely experienced in martial arts and checked Han Li’s progress often, he examined little beyond Han Li’s pulse and overall level. For all of his perceptiveness and expertise, he did not seem to notice Han Li’s predicament, that his training had stagnated.
In the end, Han Li nervously confronted Doctor Mo and confessed.
Hearing of Han Li’s situation, Doctor Mo’s face changed, from a sickly yellow to a ghostly pale. It was truly an ugly sight to behold.
It seemed that Doctor Mo managed to keep his calm, however, and didn’t reprimand Han Li. Instead, he told him to take more of the medicines and at sundown go to the top of the mountain and cultivate. He urged him not to slack in his cultivation of the chant.
After two days, Doctor Mo took a bag and some medical tools and left the Seven Mysteries Sect on a trip.
After he left, Han Li was utterly alone in the Valley of the God’s Hand.
Two years had passed. Zhang Tie had continued to diligently train together with a Senior Disciple. However, soon after he completed the third level of the Way of the Armored Elephant, he suddenly disappeared. He only left one note to Han Li saying goodbye and that he was leaving to start exploring the martial world. This note and his departure caused a huge sensation within the Seven Mysteries Sect.
After discovering the note that Zhang Tie had left, he went to go ask Doctor Mo what had happened. He discovered that Zhang Tie’s family was completely unharmed and felt a little relieved, but he still felt that his disappearance was a little too suspicious. He felt a it sad for a while and continued investigating, but he could not find anything and had no choice but to leave the matter unsettled. Han Li could only come to the conclusion that Zhang Tie gave up on cultivating the Way of the Armored Elephant to the fourth layer and ran off in the middle of the night.
Inside of the valley, Han Li felt that he wasn’t making any progress. A child by nature, instead of practicing harder, he took a break and left the Valley of the God’s Hand to took a stroll on Red Cloud Mountain.
Walking along the mountain paths, Han Li encountered an unfamiliar road and followed it. Contemplating, Han Li realized that he felt strong sorrow and regret.
For these past few years, it was like he was a prisoner. This was the first time he had left the small valley in a long time.
He supposed that, although the outside world had remained relatively the same, all of his fellow apprentices had probably completely forgotten who he was.
On the road, he encountered a patrolling disciple. Seeing that Han Li was wearing different clothes and was not a familiar face, Han Li was detained and had to give a long explanation of what his business was being there.
To avoid any more unnecessary trouble, Han Li began travelling on small mountain goat trails, avoiding any crowded areas.
As expected, on this path he didn’t encounter any of more of those annoying roadblocks and was able to freely explore.
Looking out into the valley from the outside instead of inside, the scenery was truly beautiful. The difference was like black and white. Hearing the sounds of all sorts of small birds, momentarily Han Li threw all of his worries to the back of his mind.
Suddenly a burst of noise, like the sound of weapons clashing, came up from the bottom of the cliff. The sounds of cheering and shouting could be heard as well.
It was such a remote area! How could there be so many people and such a heated conflict?
Han Li’s interest was piqued and momentarily forgot about his resolution to avoid other people. He rushed towards the sound and came to the edge of the cliff.
What a huge scene! He couldn’t help being humbled a little, even a bit frightened.
Below the cliff was densely covered with trees, and there were as many as a hundred people down there. It was packed with so many people that some were sitting in the branches of larger trees, watching from above.
Within this large encirclement of people, there were two groups brimming with hostility.
On the left side there were at most 11 or 12 people, and on the right maybe 6 or 7.
Han Li noticed that all of these people in the encirclement were all roughly the same age. They all looked to be ten or so years old.
Han Li’s face revealed a smile smile. What a coincidence!
In the middle of the circle he recognized a few familiar old faces.
Han Li sat in a branch and looked at the kids and slowly called them out one by one, “Wan Jinbao, Zhang Dalu, Ma Yun, Sun Lisong… Wah! Wang Dapang used to be fat, and now he’s even fatter! Even without the good food from home!” He clicked his tongue in amazement. “Liu Tietou used to be a shady dark haired kid, but look at him now! He has such an unexpectedly handsome face.”