"I do indeed have no choice, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to raise any conditions!" the immortal zoysia replied in a slow voice.
"What conditions do you have? I'd be happy to hear them," Han Li said with a nonchalant smile.
The immortal zoysia seemed to have considered this matter in advance, and it immediately replied, "It's very simple; I'll tell the true purpose that my body can serve, and in return, you have to allow my soul to dissipate into heaven and earth so I can enter the cycle of reincarnation. In that case, if I do have a second life, I'll have a chance to become a being like you. However, this exchange must take place on my terms. Otherwise, I'd rather have both my body and soul perish here than be used by someone else!"
"What terms do you propose?" Han Li asked.
"I'll use a secret technique to split my soul into two, the larger portion of which will contain my autonomous will, while the remaining portion will contain some of my memories. You have to release the main portion of my soul first, and if the remaining portion sees that you've done so, it'll tell you my secret. After you get what you want, you have to release the remaining portion of my soul as well, so it can also enter the cycle of reincarnation. Thus, you won't have anything to worry about, and I can also tell you my secret without any qualms," the immortal zoysia said in an expressionless manner.
Han Li was quite tempted by this offer, but he still shook his head as he said, "I won't have anything to worry about? I'm not sure that's true! What if I were to release the main portion of your soul, only for the remaining portion to revoke your promise and refrain from telling me anything? In that case, I'd be releasing your soul for nothing?"
"Back when you captured me, I was already carrying many injuries, so even if I hadn't fallen into your hands, someone else would've captured me sooner or later. Hence, I have no vendetta against you, so I certainly wouldn't risk a portion of my soul just to spite you. After all, who knows what issues could arise if a damaged soul were to enter the cycle of reincarnation?" the immortal zoysia countered in a calm manner.
Han Li stroked his chin and appraised the immortal zoysia for a while before suddenly nodding with a smile as he said, "Alright, we'll do as you say."
"You're really willing to accept these terms so easily?" The immortal zoysia was rather taken back by how readily willing Han Li was to accept these conditions.
"Do you have a better suggestion, then?" Han Li asked with a faint smile on his face.
"No, it's just that I thought even if you were going to agree, you'd have to think about it for quite a while," the immortal zoysia explained.
"There's nothing much for me to think about. In all honesty, being able to capture you was you was a pleasant surprise in itself, so there's no need for me to be greedy and overthink things," Han Li said in a meaningful manner.
The immortal zoysia's expression changed slightly upon hearing this, but it didn't say anything in response.
"Alright, you can go ahead and unleash your soul splitting secret technique now. How much time will you require? You're not going to tell me you need several decades or even a century, are you?" Han Li asked.
"Of course it won't take that long, but it's not going to be a short time, either. I should be able to complete this secret technique within a year. However, during this time, you have to remove some of the restrictions on my body," the immortal zoysia replied in a serious manner.
"A year, eh? Alright, I can give you that much time, and I'll remove most of the restrictions on your body. However, the restrictions that remain on your body will be quite nasty, so I'd advise you not to think about running away. Of course, if you can still get away under these circumstances, then I'd have no one but myself to blame," Han Li said in a calm manner.
"Prior to being captured by you, my past injuries were already flaring up, and I'm only just barely holding myself together now; where will I get the extra energy to try and escape?" the immortal zoysia lamented with a wry smile.
Han Li chuckled upon hearing this and didn't offer a reply. He then suddenly flicked a finger, and two spirit flowers, one golden and one silver, flew out of his sleeve.
The immortal zoysia immediately focused his gaze on these two spirit flowers to find that one was a golden beetle, while the other was a miniature silver Fire Raven. Each of them was around the size of a human thumb, and they resembled intricate ornaments that had been forged from actual silver and gold.
The silver Fire Raven didn't evoke much of a reaction from the immortal zoysia, but as soon as it caught sight of the golden beetle, its expression changed drastically as it exclaimed, "Gold Devouring Beetle!"
"Oh? You recognize this spirit insect? Hehe, in that case, I'm sure you won't try to escape now," Han Li chuckled as he raised a hand and pointed a finger at the golden beetle and the silver bird.
The two creatures immediately hovered over to the immortal zoysia at his behest.
The immortal zoysia's expression changed several times in quick succession upon seeing this.
It was naturally aware of just how fearsome Gold Devouring Beetles, and this was one was a mature beetle as well. If it weren't for the fact that its body had been completely restricted, it would've most likely fled for its life already.
Han Li hadn't explained what the fiery silver bird was, but for it to have been released alongside the Gold Devouring Beetles suggested that it was clearly quite a terrifying creature as well.
The two creatures drifted over to the immortal zoysia's mouth, and it hesitated momentarily before gritting its teeth, then opening its mouth, upon which both of the creatures disappeared into its body at once. Han Li smiled upon seeing this before making a grabbing motion toward the immortal zoysia. Several tens of silver threads instantly flew out of its body before disappearing up his sleeve in a flash.
Immediately thereafter, Han Li began to chant something, and a swath of colorful light also emerged from the immortal zoysia's body, then formed a series of five-colored talismans that disappeared into thin air.
Silver light flashed through the immortal zoysia's eyes upon seeing this, and brilliant purple light suddenly began emanating from its body. Meanwhile, the green light radiating from its face dimmed significantly, and its four root-like limbs transformed into normal human limbs amid a flash of purple light.
"Tsk tsk, as expected of a spirit being of your caliber; even after sustaining such severe injuries, you were still able to recover to such an extent on your own." Han Li clicked his tongue in wonder.
"You have a medicine garden in here, right? Let me take root in your medicine garden. In doing so, I'll be able to draw upon the spiritual Qi released by the spirit medicines nearby to accelerate the completion of my soul splitting secret technique," the immortal zoysia asked.
"Of course I do. Come with me," Han Li replied with a nod.
This was what he was going to propose anyway as getting the immortal zoysia to stay in the medicine garden would mean that Doll would be able to constantly keep an eye on it. In any case, this immortal zoysia didn't possess a powerful cultivation base. On top of that, it was severely injured and the cave abode had powerful restrictions set on it, so Doll's early-Spatial Tempering Stage power should be more than enough to keep it in check.
With that in mind, Han Li rose to his feet before sweeping an arm through the air. A burst of azure light flashed past, clearing away all of the containers on the ground.
At the same time, a burst of white light flashed from the surface of the stone door, and it swung open on its own.
Han Li immediately made his way out of the secret chamber, and after a brief hesitation, the immortal zoysia followed.
As soon as he emerged from the secret chamber, he was met by a completely expressionless woman standing outside with faint glacial Qi emanating from her body. This was none other than the sentient puppet, Doll, that Han Li had summoned using his spiritual sense.
Doll extended a respectful bow toward Han Li before standing up straight in a wooden manner again.
Han Li nodded and didn't say anything as he made his way toward the medicine garden.
Seeing as how rare cave abodes were in Cloud City, Han Li medicine garden naturally wasn't very large; it was only around 2,000 to 3,000 feet in size.
However, as the immortal zoysia followed him into the medicine garden, a pleased look appeared on its face as it remarked, "Not bad. The place isn't very big, but the spiritual Qi here is very rich; you've picked a good place, Fellow Daoist."
"Hehe, it's not that I've picked a good place; the abundance of spiritual Qi is pretty much the same all over this entire spirit mountain. You can find any place you like to take root in," Han Li replied with a nonchalant chuckle.
"Is that so? Then don't mind if I do." The immortal zoysia nodded before its body swayed, and it entered the medicine garden ahead of Han Li.
A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face as he also entered the garden in an unhurried manner, followed closely by Doll.
As the immortal zoysia walked through the medicine garden, it scanned its gaze through the surrounding area, and a hint of surprise appeared on its face.
Setting aside how precious the spirit medicines in this garden were, close to half of them were over 10,000 years old, and among the remaining spirit medicines, many of them were still over 1,000 years old or even several thousand years old.
The entire medicine garden was filled with all types of rich medicinal aromas, and if a mortal were to stay in here for even a short while, it was quite possible that all of their existing ailments would be completely alleviated.
The immortal zoysia was quite stunned by this, and it was immediately tempted to examine the entire medicine garden. As such, even after crossing through the center of the garden, it still continued onward.
Han Li merely followed along behind it in an expressionless manner.
As aforementioned, the medicine garden wasn't very large, and moments later, the immortal zoysia was close to reaching its conclusion.
Right at this moment, a white shadow flashed, and a creature that was around half a foot in size suddenly jumped out of a patch of spirit medicines nearby.
It then began to skip toward another direction, and the immortal zoysia was quite intrigued to find that this was a large snowy-white rabbit.
It was none other than the Rabbit manifested by the soul of Han Li's Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng.
All of a sudden, the immortal zoysia seemed to have realized what this rabbit was, and an expression of shock and elation appeared on its face as it exclaimed, "What's this?"
"Why do you seem so surprised, Fellow Daoist? Have you not seen other spirit medicines like you that have manifested sentient forms?" Han Li was rather taken aback by its vehement reaction.
"Of course not. Spirit medicines like me have so many natural predators and we're almost completely defenseless against them. Even among tens of thousands of spirit medicines, it's hard to say if even one will reach the stage where it attains sentience," the immortal zoysia hurriedly replied before rushing off in pursuit of the white rabbit.
After walking for just over 100 feet, the immortal zoysia arrived at a secluded place within the medicine garden, and it was also the spot where the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng was situated.
The white rabbit that was manifested from its soul was currently sitting at the foot of the plant, nibbling on a large root that it had dug out somewhere from the medicine garden. At the sight of Han Li and the others, the rabbit merely cast an errant glance toward them with its ruby-like eyes, then continued to nibble on its food as if there were no one around.
Thinking back to how terrified of him it had once been, Han Li couldn't help but chuckle at the contrast in its past and current demeanors.