Chapter 2156: Re-emergence of the Devilish Shadow
Even though Han Li had recently returned from the Elder Devil Realm, Mo Jianli didn't even consider the possibility that Han Li had managed to enter the Spirit Cleansing Pond.
After all, countless powerful beings from many different realms had ventured into the Elder Devil Realm in pursuit of the Spirit Cleansing Pond and Clean Spirit Lotus, but barely any of them had ever succeeded. Han Li was indeed an exceptional prodigy among those of the human and demon races, but he may not be all that special when it came to the prodigies of the other realms.
However, unbeknownst to Mo Jianli, Han Li was no ordinary late-Body Integration cultivator. His physical body and spiritual sense were virtually as powerful as those of the average Sacred Ancestor, and after unleashing his Second Nirvana Transformation, he could even match a Sacred Ancestor in battle.
On top of that, all of the high-grade devilish beings had been in a state of turmoil in the face of the tribulation of the Elder Devil Realm, so none of them were able to focus on stopping Han Li and the others. Otherwise, it would've only taken several Sacred Ancestors to pay some attention to them, and there would've been no way that they could've made it to the Devilish Origin Sea.
"That is indeed fantastic news! With Fellow Daoist Han's brilliant aptitude and the effects of the Spirit Cleansing Pond and Clean Spirit Lotus, there's at least a 30% to 40% chance that he'd be able to progress to the Grand Ascension Stage with our unreserved assistance!" Mo Jianli said with glowing eyes.
"Hmph, he's a cultivator from your human race; why should I give him my unreserved assistance?" Patriarch Ao Xiao harrumphed coldly.
"Our human and demon races are one unified entity in the Spirit Realm. If Fellow Daoist Han can progress to the Grand Ascension Stage, he'll be a powerful backer for your demon race for tens of thousands of years to come, so why insist on differentiating between our two races? If someone from your demon race had hopes of progressing to the Grand Ascension Stage, I would also offer them my unreserved assistance," Mo Jianli replied.
"Is that a promise, Old Man Mo?" Patriarch Ao Xiao asked with a hint of a smile on his face.
"Of course! Hold on, are you saying there's someone from your demon race with a chance of progressing to the Grand Ascension Stage?" Mo Jianli asked with a stunned expression.
"Hehe, you've met my granddaughter a few times already, but did you know that she possesses the Seven Star Moon Physique? If she can progress to the late-Body Integration Stage, her chances of becoming a Grand Ascension Stage being would be slightly lesser than those of Fellow Daoist Han, but there definitely won't be too much of a disparity," Patriarch Ao Xiao said in a proud manner as he gestured toward Silvermoon.
"Ling Long possesses the Seven Star Moon Physique? Why didn't you tell me this before? Do you not trust me?" Mo Jianli asked with an astonished expression as he turned toward Silvermoon.
"Of course I trust you; it's just that Ling'er wasn't born with this physique, and she only awakened it not long ago, so I certainly wasn't intentionally keeping it a secret from you," Patriarch Ao Xiao explained.
"Hmph, even so, I can tell you're clearly plotting something by revealing this in conjunction with all of this good news about Fellow Daoist Han," Mo Jianli harrumphed in a displeased manner.
"You're right. Ling'er possesses the Seven Star Moon Physique, but she's encountered some trouble in her cultivation, and I'll require your assistance to resolve the issue," Patriarch Ao Xiao sighed.
"What's the problem? I'll do everything in my power to assist you," Mo Jianli immediately replied.
Patriarch Ao Xiao nodded in response before his lips began to tremor in a soundless manner as he transmitted his voice toward Mo Jianli instead of speaking directly to him.
Mo Jianli listened intently to what Ao Xiao had to say, and as time passed, a grim look began to appear on his face.
Following the conclusion of Ao Xiao's voice transmission, Mo Jianli hesitated momentarily before making a decision. "I understand; I'll give you everything you asked for. However, if Fellow Daoist Han requires anything for his future breakthrough to the Grand Ascension Stage, you have to do your best to satisfy those needs as well."
"Of course. Regardless of whether Fellow Daoist Han or Ling'er can progress to the Grand Ascension Stage, our human and demon races will have an additional powerful backer," Patriarch Ao Xiao replied with a smile.
"Thank you for your kindness, seniors, but I'm not that confident in my own ability to progress to the Grand Ascension Stage, and I don't want to disappoint you if I were to fail," Han Li suddenly interjected.
"Who can say that they're absolutely confident in their ability to successfully progress to the Grand Ascension Stage? Back when I made the breakthrough, it was mostly down to luck. At the time, I had several good friends who possessed superior aptitude to my own, but I was the only one who succeeded, so there really is no need to put any pressure on yourself, Fellow Daoist Han," Mo Jianli reassured.
"Indeed. The two of us are willing to assist you because there's no one in our two races with a greater chance of progressing to the Grand Ascension Stage, and this has always been the convention. Whenever a Grand Ascension Stage being among our two races is reaching the end of their lifespan, they are obligated to gather the resources within their race to nurture the brightest talents of the next generation. We're not the only ones doing this either, those on the holy island are also doing the same thing, and this is one of the reasons why the holy island was founded in the first place.
"However, compared to those cultivators on the holy island, we're more confident in you. If it weren't for the special nature of your situation, you would've most likely been invited to the holy island long ago. Even now, if you wish to cultivate on the holy island, we can send you there," Patriarch Ao Xiao explained.
"I wasn't aware that the holy island had such a duty. I've grown accustomed to cultivating on my own, so I won't go to the holy island for now. Perhaps I'll pay the island a visit when I get a chance to do so in the future," Han Li quickly decided.
"Alright, in that case, we naturally won't force the issue. By the way, there's something else I wanted to ask you; have the Long Family patriarch and that girl from the Ye Family both perished in the Elder Devil Realm?" Mo Jianli asked with a serious expression.
"They did indeed perish in the Elder Devil Realm," Han Li replied.
"That's quite a pity. The Long Family and Ye Family are the two most powerful true spirit families, so their deaths will most likely impact the true spirit families and our human race very severely. Having said that, once Brother Xie recovers his powers, he'll be more than enough to make up for this loss." A dejected look initially appeared in Mo Jianli's eyes, only to be replaced by one of hope and excitement as he cast his gaze toward Daoist Xie.
"The high-grade cultivators of the true spirit families are indeed more powerful than normal high-grade cultivators of the same caliber, but similarly, it's a lot more difficult for high-grade cultivators to emerge from those true spirit families, so if you ask me, there's no need to pay too much heed to them," Patriarch Ao Xiao said in a dismissive manner.
"I beg to differ! The true spirit families may have their fallacies, but the fact of the matter is that they have ties with ancient true spirit beings. Body Integration Stage beings that emerge from those families are very formidable, so I think we can still count on them to bolster our two races in the future," Mo Jianli countered with a shake of his head.
"That may be true, but if you ask me, the true spirit families are nowhere near as valuable as the premier branches of our demon race. After all, many more Body Integration Stage beings have emerged from those branches than in the true spirit families," Patriarch Ao Xiao said with a cold smile.
"The premier branches of your demon race do indeed produce far more talent than the true spirit families, but there's no point in discussing this now. I had hoped that someone would've returned from the Elder Devil Realm aside from Fellow Daoist Han, but it looks like I was being too optimistic," Mo Jianli said with furrowed brows.
"Are you lacking people? Is the united army plotting something?" Patriarch Ao Xiao asked.
"The Wood Tribe is currently preparing a plan to counterattack the devilish army, and it's received support from Fellow Daoist Sang of the Yaksha Tribe. They're hoping that this plan will allow them to recover all of their lost territory in one go," Mo Jianli replied with a grim expression.
"Have they gone insane? If the lost territory were that easy to recover, we would've done so long ago! Setting aside the Wood Tribe for now, has Old Man Sang gone senile? Did you not object to this plan?" Patriarch Ao Xiao immediately flared up with rage upon hearing this.
"There was a new development around half a year after you left the united army, and if you knew about it, perhaps you would have a different opinion right now. Three months ago, we received news that the Elder Devil Race has suddenly sent in a huge influx of troops to the territories of all of our races. Without us Grand Ascension Stage beings present, the situation has taken a turn for the worse, so we have to take care of matters in the Wood Tribe as soon as possible; we can't afford to just hold on and wait until our two realms separate," Mo Jianli said with a grim expression.
"What? The Elder Devil Realm has sent more troops into our Spirit Realm? Did you verify this news? It's not a bluff, is it?" Patriarch Ao Xiao's expression darkened significantly upon hearing this.
"I contacted the holy island to verify this, and I was told that not only is this news genuine, there have even been clones of the three devilish patriarchs sighted within the new devilish reinforcements. However, we don't know if the true bodies of any of the devilish patriarchs have descended into our Spirit Realm," Mo Jianli replied with a wry smile.
"That's impossible! Normal Sacred Ancestors may be able to enter our Spirit Realm, but there's no way that devilish patriarchs can do the same. Everything we set up over all these years was prepared precisely to prevent this from happening!" Patriarch Ao Xiao immediately said.