"That's not necessarily the case. Perhaps that infiltrator is very proficient in disguise techniques, and you may have unwittingly set them free already," a figure enshrouded in grey light remarked in an indifferent manner.
"Hmph, our Water Wraith Race may be lacking in combat prowess and power compared to other races, but our expertise in disguise techniques is definitely among the best in all of the 13 races. If you think your Yin Demon Race can do better, then I'll naturally be happy to hand over this duty to you, Brother Cang Ying," the white-haired being replied in an abrasive manner.
"I'm only saying this as a mere suggestion; there's no way that our Yin Demon Race would be more suited to this task than your Water Wraith Race," the grey figure chuckled in a nonchalant manner.
A cold light flashed through the white-haired man's eyes, and he was just about to say something else when the white-robed young man interjected, "Alright, that's enough bickering from you two. There's no way that Jiao Chi Race infiltrator could've managed to escape. After I discovered that that thing had been stolen, I immediately issued a command to seal off all of the exits of the city. During the past few days, no one has been allowed to leave, so not even a single mosquito could've flown out of Cloud City. On top of that, according to one of the guards who had been injured by the infiltrator, that being was only at the Spatial Tempering Stage, so it's very unlikely that they could've fooled Fellow Daoist Bai and his subordinates. In that case, this indicates that the infiltrator has most likely been in our Cloud City for a long time. As such, we have to investigate suspicious targets that have entered the city even longer than six months ago."
Both the white-haired man and the grey figure immediately fell silent in an obedient manner upon hearing this.
"If that really is the case, then things are going to get quite troublesome. If we begin investigating all suspicious beings who were allowed into the city from even further back than half a year ago, there are simply way too many beings to investigate. If all of the outsiders begin to panic upon realizing what we're doing, then that would spell even more trouble for us," Qian Jizi suddenly said after clearing his throat.
"That's indeed a possibility, and it's also what I'm most worried about. However, this infiltrator has stolen the blueprints of the restriction formation that we'd just set up in the entire Cloud City, so we can't let them escape without paying a price. Otherwise, if the army of the Jiao Chi Race were to reach our city, that restriction would be virtually useless against them," the white-robed young man replied.
"That's a very valid concern, Senior Weng. As long as the Jiao Chi Race infiltrator remains in the city, we naturally can't allow them to leave. However, if we were to really conduct an exhaustive investigation, we could perhaps keep it up for a month or two with no issues, but if that infiltrator decides to play the waiting game and hides somewhere in the city for years on end, we can't afford to keep this up forever," an elderly man with a long black beard said in a grim voice.
"Oh? Does that mean you have a good idea you'd like to propose, Fellow Daoist Ning?" the white-robed man asked.
"I don't have any valuable insights to offer, but we have Fairy Cai here, don't we? With Fairy Cai's intellect and talents, I'm sure she'll be able to find a solution with ease." The elderly man hurriedly waved his hands in response before suddenly thrusting Cai Liuying under the limelight.
Cai Liuying's eyes flashed upon hearing this, and she smiled as she said, "Sure you jest, Brother Ning. With Senior Weng and Mounta Master Sha here, there's no place for my little tricks. I can only do my best to fulfill the duty that I'm assigned."
"Fellow Daoist Cai, now's not the time for modesty. I want to hear what insights you have to offer as an elder of the Crystal Race," the white-robed man insisted in a serious manner.
Cai Liuying's brows furrowed slightly, but she then quickly reverted back to her normal expression as she rose to her feet, then extended a bow toward each of the two beings seated at the center of the hall. "In that case, I'll do my best to propose a solution."
"Alright, please go ahead, Fairy Cai."
"I'm sure you won't disappoint us, Fellow Daoist Cai."
Everyone present smiled and offered words of encouragement.
It appeared that even though Cai Liuying possessed one of the lowest cultivation bases among all of the beings present, she seemed to be quite a popular and influential figure.
Even the elderly woman that had her eyes virtually half-closed opened her eyes slightly wider as she appraised Cai Liuying.
The white-robed man beside her was also looking at Cai Liuying with an expectant gaze.
After looking at everyone gathered in the hall, Cai Liuying said, "In my opinion, it's not a good idea to pour all of our resources into conducting an exhaustive and lengthy investigation. Instead, we should lay a trap to lure out the infiltrator."
"What kind of trap do you propose?" the white-robed man asked.
Cai Liuying replied, "Regardless of what kind of method the infiltrator will adopt to try and escape, it looks like it'll be quite difficult to capture them in a short time. As such, I suggest conducting an exhaustive investigation for a month, doing everything we can within reason to search for the infiltrator. If we catch them during this time, then that would be ideal. However, if we fail to do so, we can slowly withdraw resources from the search, thereby making it appear as if we're giving up and conceded that we won't be catching the infiltrator, but in reality, we'll be deploying more people to the four city gates, where they'll be conducting investigations from the shadows. On top of that, I suggest organizing a group of elite individuals who continue to investigate suspicious beings leaving Cloud City during the upcoming period in secret. In that case, if the infiltrator is in a hurry to deliver the blueprints back to the Jiao Chi Race, they'll be sure to fall into our trap. On the contrary, if they plan to continue hiding in the city, I'm sure that once it becomes seemingly apparent that we're calling off the search, they'll gradually grow complacent, and that'll be their downfall."
"That is indeed a good idea, but what if that infiltrator is extremely proficient in disguise techniques, and they manage to bypass our investigation after we open the four city gates? Won't we be shooting ourselves in the foot and allowing them to escape instead?" The white-robed man initially nodded in response, but then shook his head quickly thereafter.
Everyone else thought that Cai Liuying's plan was quite good, but now that the white-robed man was stating a different opinion, everyone was rather hesitant again.
"Hehe, I've actually only disclosed half the plan, Senior Weng. I think you'll be interested to hear the second half of my plan," Cai Liuying said with a smile.
Her lips then began to move slightly, but she uttered no sounds, and it was quite apparent that she was transmitting her voice directly to the white-robed man.
The man was initially rather taken aback by this, but after listening for a while, a hint of surprise appeared on his face, which then quickly turned into elation.
Only after close to 10 minutes did Cai Liuying finally cease her voice transmission.
"Is that true?" The white-robed man took a deep breath before suddenly casting his gaze toward Qian Jizi.
"I wouldn't dare joke about such an important matter," Cai Liuying replied with a serious look on her face.
All of the other holy race beings present wore different expressions as they glanced at one another in the aftermath of that mysterious exchange between Cai Liuying and the white-robed man.
However, all of them were naturally smart enough not to inquire about the contents of the voice transmission.
"In that case, I'm certainly convinced. Mistress Sha, I'm sure you just heard Fellow Daoist Cai's voice transmission as well; what do you think?" The white-robed man suddenly turned to the elderly woman beside him in a polite manner.
"I have no objections. I'm just an old woman who doesn't want to think anymore. All I'm responsible for is helping out when we encounter enemies that are too powerful for these little guys to deal with. I'm not going to pay any heed to anything else, and nor do I have the energy to do so. Seeing as you've formulated a plan, I'm going back to rest now. Fellow Daoist Weng, you can make all of the decisions that arise from here onward," the old woman said in a feeble voice as she rose to her feet in a wobbly manner.
A wry smile appeared on the white-robed man's face upon hearing this. However, before he had a chance to say anything else, the woman had already departed, and she really did leave just as she said she would.
All of the other beings present were naturally slightly bemused to see this.
This elderly woman had always been extremely mysterious. All of them knew that she was a Grand Ascension Stage being, but no one knew which of the 13 races she hailed from, nor what kind of ability she'd cultivated to progress to the Grand Ascension Stage.
According to some rumors, she was the oldest of all of the current Grand Ascension Stage beings in the 13 races, and it was said that she'd lived for an unimaginably long time.
At the very least, all of the cultivators had known of her existence for many years.
As such, even though she appeared to be a frail old woman who could be blown over by a stiff breeze, even the white-robed man regarded her as a senior, so all of the other beings present naturally treated her with the utmost respect.
After the old woman finally hobbled out of the hall, the white-robed man could only heave a resigned sigh before withdrawing his gaze.
After a brief pause, the white-robed man announced in a decisive manner. "Seeing as Mistress Sha has already left and there's not really anything left to discuss this matter, we'll all do as Fellow Daoist Cai says. Fairy Cai, Fellow Daoist Bai, I'll leave this to the two of you. Everyone else, you must cooperate with the two of them to the best of your abilities."
Everyone in the hall naturally agreed to this arrangement.
"Alright, let's discuss the matters surrounding the Vast Glacial Realm next. Qian Jizi, you can tell everyone about this." The white-robed man suddenly changed the subject.
Everyone's expressions changed slightly upon hearing the words "Vast Glacial Realm".
Some of the more impatient beings present couldn't help but ask, "What's going on, Fellow Daoist Qian? Is the Vast Glacial Realm about to open soon?"
Meanwhile, Cail Liuying and Duan Tianren exchanged a glance in a reflexive manner before immediately averting their eyes.
"The Vast Glacial Apparatus in the Sentient Hall of our Myriad Ancient Race has displayed a reaction two days ago, and according to past experience, this means that the Vast Glacial Realm will open in a few months to three or four years," Qian Jizi explained in an unhurried manner.