Han Li’s thoughts were in chaos, jumbled with fear, regret, and confusion. Even though he had unexpectedly uncovered many secrets, he had no idea what he could do and panicked.
He was after all quite young, and he couldn’t compare to Doctor Mo’s experience in the martial world. At long last, his iconic strong, calm and unyielding facial expression collapsed at Doctor Mo’s words. On his forehead, sweat trickled; he had been revealed as only a paper tiger.
Doctor Mo noticed Han Li’s sudden loss of composure and was pleased, causing him to exude yet more pressure. He felt a twisted satisfaction at breaking Han Li apart as he tore the truth out of him.
“Don’t tell me, do you think that I had not been earnest in my training?” Han Li asked, in a dazed manner.
“Of course. You expect me to believe that you practiced diligently yet somehow failed to break through to the fourth layer? Do you really think that I can’t see through your little tricks? It took you three years to get to the third layer. No matter how hard it is to get to the fourth layer, even taking into account that you have no medicine to rely on, it is absurd to think that you haven’t even made the slightest progress,” Doctor Mo stated as his eyebrows rose. He looked at Han Li venomously, as if all of his hatred just flared out at this moment.
“It seems that, no matter what I say to Elder Mo, you will never be convinced.” Han Li laughed bitterly. He didn’t expect that attempting to hide things from Doctor Mo would backfire so horribly. He had thought like a stone and ended up smashing his foot, unexpectedly drawing out Doctor Mo’s fury. Doctor Mo had all but figured out Han Li’s secrets, but it seemed that he had made one fatal misconception .
“Don’t bother with any excuses. I don’t care what you have to say about your past. Listen well, for I have only one thing to say to you: I will give you one year. Are you capable of breaking through to the fourth layer of the Eternal Spring Art in this time?” Doctor Mo spat, speaking slowly with a sneer on his face. He didn’t even blink as he intently stared at Han Li and carefully awaited his reply.
Han Li was very aware that this one question would not only determine the course of the next year of his life, but also his very survival.
“You have made yourself clear, but unfortunately I am not capable of giving you what you want. Come, confirm this yourself through my acupuncture point,” Han Li said lightly, more relaxed now.
Doctor Mo’s dead eyes suddenly lit up, even showing a bit of admiration. However, he did not do as Han Li said, instead taking out a sandalwood box case.
“I hope you don’t expect me to believe the words that come out of your mouth. It’s obvious that you are trying to cheat me, so I will not leave you to cultivate unchecked. If you value your life, you will cooperate in this extra layer of insurance,” he said sinisterly.
He carefully opened up the box, revealing a small white pill, then quietly closed it again.
Doctor Mo stepped forward, finally freeing Han Li’s acupuncture point. Without waiting for a response, he handed over the case.
“You’re a smart person. There’s no need to talk nonsense, as you should know what you need to do.” Doctor Mo narrowed his eyes evilly.
Han Li trembled as his hands and feet turned numb. He said nothing and accepted the sandalwood box. He used two fingers to open the box and pull out the pill. After a glance at Doctor Mo, he swallowed the pill.
Pa! Pa! Doctor Mo applauded. “Excellent! A wise man knows when he must submit to his circumstances. Help me take back what I lost and you will have my eternal gratitude. Our fates are now tied together. Though I still cannot accept you as an official disciple, I promise you high status and fortune.” Doctor Mo slapped his palm on the table as he spoke with sincerity.
“Please tell me about this pill’s function so that I do not foolishly make a fatal mistake and lose my life,” Han Li said emotionlessly, as blank as ever.
“Ha ha, that was the Insect Corpse Pill. However, it is not a medicine but rather an insect’s larvae. After you eat it, it will hide within you for a year. However, be at ease, for it will be dormant and will not harm you within this timespan. Once time is up, if you take a special antidote, the egg will melt and die, and it will be as if nothing had ever happened. If you don’t take this antidote, it will hatch inside of your body. It will begin to breed and devour you alive from the inside out. You will feel indescribable agony, screaming out for three days and three nights as you slowly die,” Doctor Mo casually described this “pill’s” bloodcurdling effect, as his words contained a clear warning to Han Li.
Han Li shuddered. His face became ugly and he was filled to the core with anger. To him, Doctor Mo was nothing but a murderer, who finally brought out his killing weapon.
“Oh right! I recall you have a large family back home. Is the money you send back every month enough for all of them? It would be a shame if it was inadequate, for I am truly concerned about your relatives’ well-being.” Doctor Mo shamelessly attacked what Han Li treasured the most.
Han Li’s face became ashen. His mind froze, and the shock blew all thoughts out of his mind.
He bit his lip with desperate force to refrain from protesting. Doctor Mo obviously felt no remorse about such a low blow, so Han Li dared not worsen the situation.
“Rest assured. In one year, I will certainly reach the fourth layer,” Han Li spat out, then grit his teeth, no longer bothering to conceal his hatred.
After hearing this blatant threat, he had no choice but to yield. He could not be selfish and sacrifice his family for himself, for nobody else would be able to look after his parents.
Right now, Doctor Mo had grabbed hold of Han Li’s Achilles’ heel. He knew exactly how he was making Han Li feel; either the fish is caught or the net breaks. Any thought of trying to bring Doctor Mo down with him faded from Han Li’s mind. In his first confrontation with Doctor Mo, he had been utterly defeated.
Doctor Mo, hearing Han Li’s words, was suddenly irritated. He wasn’t afraid at all of Han Li, but he found it strange that Han Li could appear so calm at such a time.
“The effect of the Eternal Spring Art is truly fearsome. The boy is so young but he is already so hard to deal with.” Doctor Mo didn’t know whether to praise the boy or to curse him.
The Eternal Spring Art cleansed one’s mind and opened them up to enlightenment, but its usefulness depended on the practitioner. Han Li was already naturally much sharper than his peers; practicing the Eternal Spring Art on top of this only served to vastly expand the gap.
 For clarification, when Doctor Mo talks about Han Li trying to fool him, he’s most likely referring to slacking off in his training and never reaching the fourth layer. Han Li probably actually succeeded in making him think that he wasn’t at the fourth layer yet.