Chapter 2202: Reunion
Han Li merely waved a nonchalant hand, and said, "I haven't informed anyone of my breakthrough, so none of you are to blame."
Elder Gu and the others were very relieved to hear this, and only then did they dare to stand up straight again. "Thank you for your kindness, Senior Han."
In contrast, the yellow-haired man and hideous woman's faces were completely devoid of color, and they looked as if they had just seen a ghost.
It was no wonder that they were displaying such a reaction. After all, they had just offended a new Grand Ascension cultivator, and one who was likely to be the only guiding force for the human and demon races for tens of thousands of years to come.
At this moment, the purplish-golden hand within the light barrier silently dissipated, and Du Yu collapsed onto the platform, lacking the energy to muster up even a single word.
Han Li took a glance at Du Yu, then turned to the yellow-haired man, and said, "Take Fellow Daoist Du away, and tell the elders of the holy island that my disciples are not to be used as cannon fodder. However, if they require my services for anything, I would be happy to help."
"We'll be sure to relay the message, Senior Han. Well be taking our leave now," the yellow-haired man hurriedly said as he extended another deep bow.
The hideous woman also quickly chimed in in agreement.
Han Li nodded in response before waving a dismissive hand, and only then did the two of them dare to fly onto the platform.
They then helped Du Yu to his feet before hurriedly departing from the sparring hall.
As for the two treasures of Du Yu's that Han Li had taken, they didn't even dare to mention it.
Following the departure of the holy island envoys, Han Li turned to the elders with a smile, and said, "Please excuse me, fellow daoists; I've been away for quite some time and must go back to check on my disciples. If there's anything you'd like to discuss with me, please visit me tomorrow."
“Of course. It must've been a long journey for you to return to the city, so it's only right that we give you some time to rest and visit you later, Senior Han.”
"Indeed, I hope you won't refuse an audience with us when the time comes."
A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face at the sight of Elder Gu and Buddhist Monk Jin Yue's respectful displays, and he merely extended a parting salute before departing with Silvermoon and the others.
Fairy Silver Light looked on with a blank expression for a long while before murmuring to herself in a barely audible voice, "So he really did manage to progress to the Grand Ascension Stage; looks like Sister Silvermoon really has chosen the right person this time."
Her voice was filled with elation, but also a hint of wistfulness.
As for all of the elders who had supported handing over Hai Yuetian to the holy island, all of them were feeling very fearful now that it had been determined that Han Li was a Grand Ascension cultivator. If Han Li were to hear about the stance they had taken and decided to take revenge on them for it, then they would definitely be in a world of trouble.
Meanwhile, as Han Li's group emerged outside the hall, Silvermoon suddenly smiled, and asked, "Are you going to let the holy island envoys go this easily, Brother Han? Aren't you worried that they'll harbor resentment and plot against you?"
"With my current status, they'll be thanking their lucky stars if I don't harbor any resentment toward them; there's no way they'd dare to plot against me," Han Li replied in a nonchalant manner.
"That Du Yu was able to manifest a holy projection, so he's clearly no ordinary late-Body Integration cultivator; aren't you afraid that he'll also progress to the Grand Ascension Stage in the future?" Silvermoon chuckled.
"Setting aside whether he'll be able to advance to the Grand Ascension Stage, even if he does succeed, it'll only be a minor inconvenience for me at most," Han Li replied with a confident smile.
Even back at the late-Body Integration Stage, he could ensure self-preservation against Grand Ascension Stage beings; now that he had progressed to the Grand Ascension Stage himself, he naturally wasn't going to fear other beings of the same caliber.
"That's true. Most importantly, with your current status, it would be unbefitting of you to stoop to plotting against a group of Body Integration cultivators," Silvermoon chuckled.
"Hehe, that's true as well," Han Li replied, but he knew that if those holy island envoys actually posed a threat to him, he would kill them without any hesitation, even if doing so would be unbefitting of someone of his status.
Several hours later, Han Li sat down on the main seat of the hall situated on the top floor of the pagoda he was residing in.
Hai Yuetian and Qi Lingzi were knelt before him alongside around a dozen of their disciples, and all of them were extremely excited.
"No need for formalities. I can see that you two haven't slacked off; both of you have made good progress in your cultivation," Han Li said as he swept a sleeve through the air to help everyone to their feet.
"Congratulations on progressing to the Grand Ascension Stage, Master. Not only is this a massive blessing to all of us disciples, it's also a huge stroke of fortune for the entire human race," Qi Lingzi said in a respectful manner.
They had been living in constant apprehension due to the imminent arrival of the holy island envoys, but not only did the dreaded envoys not arrive, their master returned instead, and immediately told them that he had already progressed to the Grand Ascension Stage.
Such a massive contrast naturally filled the hearts of Qi Lingzi and Hai Yuetian with elation.
During Han Li's absence, Qi Lingzi had already progressed to the late-Deity Transformation Stage, while Hai Yuetian had also recently advanced to the Deity Transformation Stage.
The two of them were able to make such fast progress partly due to their exceptional cultivation aptitude, but also thanks to the huge amount of pills left to them by Han Li prior to his departure.
With Han Li's enormous wealth, he was able to easily leave his two disciples sufficient pills both for their cultivation, as well as for their breakthroughs. Otherwise, they wouldn't have been able to progress to this point so easily.
A faint smile appeared on Han Li's face, and he said, "I was quite fortunate to have managed to break through to the Grand Ascension Stage. If it isn't for the customary celebratory ceremonies held by each race whenever a new Grand Ascension Stage being emerges among their ranks, I'd be inclined to keep this a secret. There's no need for you two to do anything prior to the official announcement; just send some people to deliver messages to the important figures in our human race so that all fellow daoists will have enough time to ensure their attendance. The ceremony will be held a year from now in Deep Heaven City."
"Yes, Master," Qi Lingzi and Hai Yuetian answered in unison.
"By the way, where are Fellow Daoist Ice Phoenix and Bai Guo'er? Why aren't they here?" Han Li suddenly asked.
"Bai Guo'er returned following the conclusion of the devilish tribulation, but she went on a journey with some friends several years ago, and she occasionally sends some letters back to us. As for Senior Ice Phoenix, she ventured into the primordial world on her own several decades ago, and we haven't received any news from her yet. However, she left us with a soul lamp prior to her departure, and it shows that she's still alive and well," Qi Lingzi replied.
"The primordial world is a massive place, so it's not uncommon even for someone to remain there for several centuries. Fellow Daoist Ice Phoenix must have her own reasons for embarking on this journey, so there's no need for any concern. In contrast, Bai Guo'er is being a little reckless here; her Ice Essence Body's true essence will be extremely beneficial to those who are also using glacial cultivation arts, so she could easily find herself being targeted by sinister individuals. Send her a message right away to get her to return," Han Li instructed as his brows furrowed slightly.
"Forgive me for not considering this myself, Master; I'll get that done right away," Qi Lingzi hurriedly replied.
Immediately thereafter, he issued an instruction to one of his own disciples. The disciple extended a respectful bow toward Han Li, then immediately departed from the hall.
All of a sudden, a hint of a smile appeared on Han Li's face as he cast his gaze toward Hai Yuetian. "Tell me about what's been happening with you recently, Yuetian. In particular, tell me about how you disclosed the existence of your recessive lightning spiritual root."
An awkward look appeared on Hai Yuetian's face upon hearing this, and he replied, "Let's not go into detail about that; I know what I did wrong, Master."
"Hmph, what did I tell you before I left? Your recessive lightning spiritual root could get you killed, so you have to be careful not to reveal its existence to anyone. What did you do? You go and tell everyone in a drunken rant! If I hadn't returned in time, you would've brought disaster upon yourself and perhaps even your senior martial brother as well," Han Li said as a cold look appeared on his face.
"I won't do it again, Master," Hai Yuetian hurriedly replied as he fell to his knees again.
"Now that I'm at the Grand Ascension Stage, I was able to easily turn down the holy island envoys, but your recessive lightning spiritual root is one of very few things that can weaken lightning tribulations; if a powerful Grand Ascension Stage being from a foreign race comes to me asking for you, what am I supposed to do?" Han Li continued in a cold voice.
Hai Yuetian's face paled slightly upon hearing this, and he didn't even dare to raise his head as he replied, "This is all my fault, Master. If that day comes, then just hand me over; I deserve to reap what I sow."
"Hand you over? Don't even think about it! My reputation would be swept to the ground if I were to do that! After this celebratory ceremony, adopt a different name and leave this place for now; only return to me after everything subsides and you're no longer under any scrutiny," Han Li said after a brief moment of contemplation.