Han Li's heart jolted upon hearing this. Even though he'd already suspected this to be the case, the man's question clearly indicated that they were still situated in the infernal river.
Han Li paused for a moment to prepare a response before replying, "The two of us were forced to enter the infernal river with those intruders. Thankfully, we were able to escape from them, and it would be nothing short of disastrous for us if we were to encounter them again."
Han Li's reply was a little ambiguous, but the elderly man merely nodded in a nonchalant manner as he said, "You don't have to worry about offending me. I'm only residing here as I made a deal with the elders of the Mayfly Race, so as long as this space isn't under threat, I won't do anything to intervene. However, I'm rather interested in those intruders, seeing as they were able to enter the infernal river through another space and defeat all of the puppets stationed here by the Mayfly Race. They must be quite powerful in their own respects, right? "
"Your wisdom is unmatched, Senior! All of them are demon monarchs at the mid-Body Integration Stage or late-Body Integration Stage, so they're certainly all immensely powerful," Han Li replied with a wry smile.
"Those people must've forced you here because they want to make use of your Divine Devilbane Lightning. Seeing as they've already secured the Divine Infernal River Elixir yet still aren't willing to release you, then they must also intend to raid the devilish tomb. Hmph, their greed will spell their deaths!" the elderly man chuckled coldly with a derisive sneer on his face.
"Is there something wrong with the devilish tomb, Senior?" Han Li asked carefully.
"Very much so! Those intruders are in for a nasty surprise once they enter the area where the devilish artifacts are being stored. Not long ago, one of the devilish artifacts there managed to cultivate a human form and devoured all of the other devilish artifacts, thereby attaining a paramount devilish body. Even I wouldn't be able to defeat that thing; let alone those intruders. In fact, they may not even be able to escape alive," the elderly man explained with a hint of a smile on his face.
"Paramount devilish body!" Han Li's lips twitched upon hearing this.
If he recalled correctly, that was the peak of cultivation that all devilish cultivators strove toward.
"That thing is hidden in the deepest part of the devilish Qi within the devilish tomb and is focused wholeheartedly on cultivation, so without your Divine Devilbane Lightning, those demon monarchs may not even be able to get to it. Of course, if they're too stubborn and insist on infuriating that thing, then that would be a whole different story. By the way, the two you have another companion, right?" the elderly man suddenly asked.
"I have a junior martial sister who was separated from us. How do you know of this, Senior?" Yan Li hurriedly replied.
"Aside from the two of you, there was someone else who was also swept here by my Seven Gates Yin Locking Formation. However, she's elsewhere at the moment, but I'm guiding her over to this place, so you'll be able to reunite with her soon," the elderly man replied.
"Thank you, Senior! I've been so worried about her this entire time!" Yan Li was overjoyed.
Han Li hesitated momentarily before asking, "Senior Jiang, why did your Seven Gates Yin Locking Formation draw us to this place?"
"I used the power of the formation to set up a few measures in the places within the infernal river where Yin Qi most frequently erupts, and that allows me to easily gauge the level of Yin Qi in the entire infernal river. In doing so, I can prevent extreme imbalances or excessive Yin Qi from erupting in this infernal, thereby causing this entire space to collapse. The three of you were drawn here as you just so happened to be situated close to the Spirit Devouring Mist right as I was activating the formation," the elderly man explained with a smile.
"I see." Han Li was enlightened upon hearing this.
He actually wanted to ask about the relationship between the black mist, this space, and the Rahu Beast, but he decided against it in the end.
He didn't stand to gain anything from this knowledge, and asking too many questions about this space could irk the elderly man, so it simply wasn't worth it.
Just as they were conversing with one another, azure light suddenly flashed from the stone face on one side of the hall, and another passageway appeared there.
A lithe and graceful beauty then emerged from within amid a cloud of Yin Qi.
It was none other than Yuan Yao.
In the instant that she appeared in this space, she wore an alert and wary expression, but that quickly gave way to surprise and elation as she caught sight of Han Li and Yan Li.
"Brother Han, Senior Martial Sister Yan, I'm so glad to see you two!" Yuan Yao immediately flew over to the two of them with a wide smile on her face.
"Another cultivator using a ghost Dao cultivation art, I see. Hmm, actually, it's a little strange..." A bewildered look suddenly appeared in the elderly man's eyes as he appraised Yuan Yao.
Yuan Yao glanced at the elderly man with a perplexed look. She was unable to ascertain his cultivation base, but she knew that he was an unfathomably powerful being. However, the words that were coming out of his mouth were quite puzzling to her.
Han Li and Yan Li also exchanged a confused glance.
With this elderly man's fearsome cultivation base, what about Yuan Yao could draw such a strong reaction from him?
Right at this moment, a thought seemed to have occurred to the elderly man, and he pointed a finger toward Yuan Yao with an elated look on his face.
A beam of azure light flashed through the air from his fingertip, disappearing into Yuan Yao's body before Han Li and the others could even react.
Yuan Yao was given a massive fright and hurriedly adopted a defensive stance while assessing her own internal condition at the same time.
Yuan Yao immediately hurried over to stand beside Yuan Yao as the two of them stared at the elderly man with wary expressions on their faces. If it weren't for the fact that they'd stand no chance in a battle against this man, perhaps they would've attacked in a fit of rage already.
Meanwhile, Han Li merely narrowed his eyes as he remained standing on the spot.
If the elderly man truly bore ill will toward them, then they'd already be dead. At the very least, he couldn't sense any animosity coming from him at the moment. However, as a safety precaution, Han Li still reflexively tightened his grip around the lightning beads and spirit beast bracelet that were hidden up his sleeve.
Sure enough, the elderly man soon said, "There's no need to be alarmed, Fellow Daoists, I was merely casting an experimental incantation seal to verify my suspicions. The incantation seal won't harm this fellow Daoist in any way."
"An experiment? What could you be experimenting with me, Senior? This is the first time I've ever met you!" Yuan Yao was still feeling extremely uneasy.
However, the elderly man simply ignored her before making a hand seal, and Yuan Yao was alarmed to find that her dantian had suddenly heated up slightly.
Before she had a chance to say anything, a layer of dark green light suddenly appeared over her face, following which leaf-like patterns surfaced over her glabella cheeks.
"What is that?" Yan Li exclaimed as she caught sight of the patterns that had appeared on Yuan Yao's face.
However, Yuan Yao was completely oblivious to the patterns that had surfaced over her glabella, so she was rather perplexed by Yan Li's alarmed reaction.
"As expected, you really do possess the Heavenly Yin Physique. I've yet to find one after all my years of searching, yet just as I'm about to give up, one is delivered right to my doorstep! Thankfully, it's not too late; there's still just enough time!" The elderly man suddenly burst into ecstatic laughter.
Yan Li and Yuan Yao were both slightly fearful of the elderly man's seemingly deranged reaction, and they reflexively took a few steps backward as they turned to Han Li for help.
Han Li's brows furrowed as he asked, "I daresay that I'm fairly knowledgeable, but I've never heard of this Heavenly Yin Physique; would you be able to elaborate on it, Senior Jiang?"
"My apologies, I've been looking for someone with a Heavenly Yin Physique for countless years, so my emotions got the better of me there. The Heavenly Yin Physique isn't a concept from our human race. Instead, it's a special constitution renowned in the Chang Yuan Race, so it's no surprise that you haven't heard of it. This constitution doesn't provide any benefits when using human cultivation arts, but some immensely powerful cultivation arts of the Chang Yuan Race can only be used by someone with such a physique. However, beings who fit this criterion are extremely rare, even in the Chang Yuan Race, and it's even rare among other races. At the very least, I've spent close to 10,000 years searching for one, all to no avail. Fellow Daoist Yuan, right? Would you be willing to become my disciple?" the elderly man suddenly asked with a smile.
Yuan Yao stunned upon hearing this.
"You want to take Junior Martial Sister Yuan as your disciple, Senior?" Yan Li was also completely flabbergasted.
"Indeed, but rest assured, I bear no ill will. Truth be told, I'd like to take Fellow Daoist Yuan as my disciple so she can cultivate an ability that can only be used by those with her constitution, and with the assistance of that ability, I'll have at least a 70% chance of transcending my next heavenly tribulation. In fact, if I'm fortunate, I could perhaps even transcend the tribulation after that. With two heavenly tribulations' worth of time, I can make further advancements in my cultivation, and it won't be impossible for me to progress to the Tribulation Transcendence Stage," the elderly man said in an earnest voice as his smile faded.
"Tribulation Transcendence Stage? Could it be that you're a Grand Ascension Stage cultivator?" Yuan Yao drew a sharp breath in astonishment.
"Hehe, I've been an early-Grand Ascension cultivator ever since over 10,000 years ago. How about it? If I wanted to accept a disciple, countless high-grade cultivators would flock to my cave abode just for a chance to be considered by me," the elderly man said in a proud manner.
Yan Li was truly dumbstruck by this point.
Han Li had already suspected this to be the case, but hearing the elderly man admit this himself still made his throat run dry.
This was the first every Grand Ascension cultivator Han Li had encountered since ascending to the Spirit Realm.
Yuan Yao forced herself to calm down before asking in a hesitant voice, "It would of course be a great honor for me to become your disciple, Senior, but this is all a bit too sudden. May I please have some time to discuss this matter with Fellow Daoist Han and Senior Martial Sister Yao?"
"Hehe, looks like I was in too much of a hurry. Of course you can discuss this matter with your companions. How about this? You can stay in my cave abode and rest for a while, then give me an answer within three days," the elderly man said with a confident stroke of his beard.