Chapter 349: Fleeing to Yuanwu
Immediately after Han Li and company heard Martial Uncle Huang's voice, the Cloud-Wind Banner suddenly flashed with blinding yellow light. The burst of radiance contracted and then swelled before exploding.
A white mist even thicker than before madly rushed forth from the banner and enveloped both enemies and allies in the blink of an eye.
"You're courting death!"
A roar from the human skeleton traveled through the fog along with the furious, charming voice of the seductive woman. Afterwards, the sound of huge explosions started echoing through the mist. It was obvious that Martial Uncle Huang was currently fighting with the two Devil Dao Core Formation cultivators.
Han Li and company didn't allow this opportunity provided by their Martial Uncle to slip by. At nearly the same moment that the mist appeared, the Yellow Maple Valley cultivators scattered in all directions, flying off on their magic tools.
Relying on the Divine Wind Boat's great speed, Han Li shot through the fog.
Han Li chose to flee in the direction that held the most enemy cultivators. Although the enemies there were numerous, Han Li felt that their magic power and cultivation was weaker, thereby being the best direction to break through.
However, many of his fellow sect members didn't understand this, and the majority of them chose the directions that held fewer enemies. Han Li could only look on with disapproval.
In an instant, Han Li had taken advantage of the chaotic situation to arrive at the edge of the encirclement.
The mist at the edge of the enclosure was much weaker, allowing the Devil Dao cultivators to notice Han Li's rushing figure. But because Han Li was using the Azurefire Miasma, they were only able to see a large cloud of azure-red smoke, leaving them stunned.
However, three nearby Devil Dao cultivators immediately came to their senses and simultaneously launched their attacks. A streak of golden light, three streaks of yellow light, and a large ball of black Qi shot toward Han Li's direction.
Han Li snorted and pointed to the tortoise shell, causing it to immediately swell to several times its original size. At that same moment, he madly poured more spiritual power into the Divine Wind Boat in an attempt to fly as fast as possible.
Han Li had already come to the conclusion that now was not the time to be tangled up in a battle. If other enemies were allowed to ensnare him, he would no longer be able to run. Therefore, he poured most of his magic power into his flying magic tool as it was a race against time to escape. This was only possible due to the great confidence Han Li had in his tortoise shell as it was even harder than his white scale shield.
While Han Li was still thinking, the golden and yellow streaks of light collided with the tortoise shell. Just as Han Li had expected, they were forcibly blocked. However, the ball of black Qi was unexpectedly tricky, and it suddenly split in two when it smashed against the tortoise shell. The halves slipped around the sides of the tortoise shell before reforming. Although it had been delayed for a moment, it still arrived at Han Li's side. The ball of black Qi turned into a ten-meter-large ghost head, attempting to swallow Han Li along with his Divine Wind Boat.
Han Li sneered in response. With a single wave of his arm, over a hundred fireballs appeared, tearing the ghost head apart in an instant. Over the course of the war, Han Li had grown quite familiar with such elementary Devil Dao arts.
Taking advantage of the opening, Han Li exhaled and sped past the evaporated ghost head. In an instant, he had broken through the enclosure, leaving the Devil Dao cultivators behind him.
Although their attacks were not successful, the Devil Dao cultivators were naturally unwilling to just let him go. They cursed before hastily chasing after Han Li on their own flying magic tools. However, Han Li didn't pay any attention to his pursuers, only focusing on flying at the greatest speed possible.
As Han Li expected, the curses of the Devil Dao cultivators sounded further away and rarer as time passed. Flight magic tools capable of such speed as the Divine Wind Boat were seldom seen after all. Finally, after a mad rush lasting a few hours, not a single person could be seen behind him.
Even with this, Han Li still didn't dare to grow complacent and continued speeding along for a moment before slowing down and carefully examining his surroundings. He then stamped his foot on his Divine Wind boat, shooting away once more.
Han Li's current condition wasn't very good. Almost half of his magic power had been consumed in the creation of the united defensive barrier. With the additional magic power consumed during his mad rush, he was in dire need to replenish his magic power! Otherwise, he would be in dire straits if he were to encounter an enemy.
With that in mind, Han Li descended onto a desolate mountain and put away his Azurefire Miasma. He then found a concealed location behind a huge rock and sat down cross-legged behind it.
Afterwards, he took out a blue mid-grade spirit stone from his storage pouch and started to replenish his magic power.
Crooked Soul stood by his side and kept watch.
Not long after Han Li sat down, a streak of red light flew across the sky in a panic. Soon after, six streaks of black and green light chased after it.
It was obvious that an unlucky person had managed to get snared a second time.
Han Li didn't pay further attention to them and slowly closed his eyes, his mind sinking into a state of emptiness to recover magic power at even greater speed.
After an indeterminate length of time had passed, Han Li opened his eyes. Having nearly recovered the entirety of his magic power, he was unwilling to stay here for even a second longer.
He looked up at the sky and saw that it was now dusk; he was just in time to make his escape under the cover of night.
However, Han Li didn't make any haphazard movements. Instead, he took a moment to carefully observe his surroundings with his spiritual sense and confirmed that there were no Devil Dao cultivators nearby.
It seemed that they were now pursuing the main Yellow Maple Valley group, after having dealt with the failed ambush.
With the enemy's strength in mind, Han Li shook his head. Everything pointed to disaster for the main group.
Han Li gave it no more thought and released his Divine Wind Boat. After making sure of the direction to the State of Yuanwu, Han Li and Crooked Soul took off.
Although a majority of the cultivators from the State of Yuanwu had met their end in the State of Yue, it would still take several months for the Six Devil Dao sects to fully conquer the State of Yue. For the time being, the State of Yuanwu could still be considered safe.
Han Li didn't plan to go to the meeting location and assemble with the main group. The main group may have already been pursued by the Devil Dao; to go there now would just be looking for more trouble.
Furthermore, Han Li could take advantage of this opportunity to search for a new place to cultivate. If he were to follow Yellow Maple Valley to another country, he would only be a high-level steward at best. Han Li was unwilling to live such a life.
If Han Li's thoughts were correct, after the Devil Dao annexed these countries, they would eventually gather their strength and resume fighting against the Righteous Dao Alliance.
When that time came, the whole Heavenly South Region would no longer be safe!
This was in opposition to Han Li's intention to peacefully cultivate!
If he were to go the State of Yuanwu now and see how the situation developed, couldn't he both find out whether or not the transportation formation could be restored and still see how the situation unfolded?
If the circumstances were truly terrible, he planned to use the transportation formation to travel to a different land and avoid the upcoming war.
As Han Li silently sunk into contemplation, his Divine Wind Boat turned into a streak of white light, and he disappeared into the horizon.
Two days later, Han Li arrived at the border between the State of Yue and Yuanwu after taking a meandering route.
He turned his head to look at the mountains of the State of Yue and lightly sighed before flying into Yuanwu along with Crooked Soul.
Han Li couldn't have known that half a day later, a squad of several tens of Devil Dao cultivators would be stationed at this location. They were responsible for guarding fifty kilometers along the border to intercept any State of Yue cultivators that intended to enter the State of Yuanwu.
Once Han Li entered the State of Yuanwu, he first headed toward Golden Horse City.
After four days, he eventually arrived at the west hills of Golden Horse City.
Observing carefully from the sky, Han Li eventually found Qi Yunxiao's residence and slowly descended.
Han Li jumped off the boat, sweeping his gaze in every direction. What he saw left him stunned.
The stone rooms leaned at an unsteady angle, and all the rocks and azure bamboo were broken and scattered. They were most likely destroyed.
In addition, the defensive formations Qi Yunxiao had laid out were broken through by force.
Han Li's face darkened, and he flipped his hand, taking out a magic tool. He then walked over to the mostly toppled rooms.
Although it seemed like this had occurred long ago, it was still prudent to be cautious!
Han Li searched the rooms, and among the destroyed interiors, he found a thoroughly rotted corpse.
Han Li pinched his nose and took a long, careful look at the corpse's face.
He wrinkled his brow. The corpse wasn't Qi Yunxiao but rather the loyal shopkeeper in charge of his store.
Much to his relief, Han Li found no other corpses in the other rooms.
After Han Li finished searching, his expression suddenly grew cold. His body turned into a blur, instantly reappearing on the Divine Wind Boat. He then turned his gaze toward the southern sky.
Above the southern hills, two streaks of deep blue light shot straight toward his location.
A moment later, they landed not far in front of Han Li. Once the light faded away, an old man and a youth were revealed.
The old man had a common appearance, aside from his thin, slender eyes and goatee. He was a Foundation Establishment cultivator and wore an expression of bewilderment.
The other person was a handsome youth that appeared to be about twenty years old. He was fiercely staring at Han Li with a baleful gaze, despite being only a Qi Condensation cultivator.
Chapter 350: Instant Kill
Han Li calmly looked at the two without speaking a word. However, he clearly understood that these two most likely had something to do with Qi Yunxiao's residence being destroyed.
In response to Han Li's silence, the youth couldn't help but ask, "Who is your esteemed self, and what is your relationship with that fellow named Qi?"
Upon hearing this, Han Li merely gave the youth a cold glance before ignoring him and turning his gaze back to the old man. It was obvious that with regard to cultivation, the old man was the one who was truly in charge.
When the youth saw Han Li disregard him, he was furious. Although he knew that Han Li was a Foundation Establishment cultivator, his clan was one of the most prestigious clans in the State of Yuanwu. He had never been treated like this before.
Furthermore, due to the matter regarding Qi Yunxiao, he was already filled with anger. Thus, he clenched his teeth and wanted to release his magic tools. But just as he was about to move his arm, the old man grabbed onto it, stopping him.
"Not yet! We still don't know who this person is. We must find that out first before we take further action!" The old man stated with a calm expression.
The youth then glanced somewhat suspiciously at Crooked Soul, who stood behind Han Li. Crooked Soul didn't have the aura of a living person, yet he could feel magic power fluctuations from his body. He felt that it was inconceivable.
When Han Li heard this, his eyes narrowed. The old man was a mid Foundation Establishment cultivator yet he spoke as if he were not to be trifled with, causing Han Li to grow slightly apprehensive.
"Were you the ones who destroyed this place?" Han Li asked with poise.
"What relation does Fellow Daoist have with Qi Yunxiao? Are you from the Qi Clan?" The old man responded to Han Li's question with his own.
Han Li slightly wrinkled his brow. It seemed the other party wouldn't honestly answer him as he only exchanged one question for another.
"Seems like we both don't wish to answer one another. Wouldn't it be better to exchange answers with each other? That way we can waste less of each other's time." Han Li asked with raised eyebrows.
The old man was surprised for a moment. But after pondering for a moment, he agreed.
"Since I was the one who proposed this, how about you ask first?" Han Li said insipidly.
"Is your esteemed self a member of the Qi Clan?" The old man immediately asked without a trace of politeness.
In turn, Han Li responded without the slightest of hesitation: "I am not!"
Having heard Han Li's resolute reply, both the old man and the youth were surprised and revealed an expression of doubt.
"Is Qi Yunxiao currently dead or alive?" Han Li unhurriedly asked.
"He's still alive!" The old man hesitated for a moment before answering.
The words "still alive", immediately put Han Li's heart at ease.
"What relationship does your esteemed self have with Qi Yunxiao?" The old man cautiously asked.
"I have a business deal with him," Han Li coldly responded.
"A business deal?" Surprise flashed through the old man's eyes.
"Where is Qi Yunxiao currently?" Although Han Li asked this casually, he was feeling quite worried.
"I cannot tell you this!" The old man instantly rejected.
"Then I will change the question. Why did you attack Qi Yunxiao?" Han Li immediately asked another question without batting an eye at his refusal.
"He killed members of our Fu Clan. Why shouldn't we kill him?" The youth to the side quickly answered with a sneer.
The old man wrinkled his brow, revealing a trace of annoyance, but he didn't say anything more.
"Fu Clan!" When Han Li heard this, he was instantly reminded of those Qi Condensation cultivators he had killed while saving Xin Ruyin; he now felt a great desire to kill.
"So it was like that! However, there are only two of you here. If the Qi Clan were to come here with a formidable character, how would you be able to match them?" Han Li casually asked this while appearing indifferent.
"How could any foreign cultivator sent by the Qi Clan oppose the two of us from the Fu Clan? Could it be that we are not enough?" The youth proudly answered Han Li's inquiry.
"So, you two are here alone?" Han Li suddenly asked with a deep voice.
"Why are you asking this?" The youth was thinking of how to respond with an angry expression, but the old man at his side suddenly asked this with suspicion.
However, it was already too late. Han Li suddenly raised his arms and shot two streaks of black light toward the youth. Afterwards, he patted his storage pouch, releasing over ten streaks of white light. In the blink of an eye, those lights transformed into puppet beasts and puppet soldiers.
Once those puppets appeared, they immediately released a mad barrage of light beams and light arrows.
When the old man saw this, he felt aghast. His body instantly blurred and appeared beside the youth, summoning a copper coin magic tool in front of him. In an instant, it grew to the size of a table and blocked the incoming attacks.
A series of explosions could be heard as numerous beams of light struck the copper coin. Each strike pushed the old man further and further back, much to his dismay.
But in the next moment, the youth next to him let out a miserable shriek, causing the old man to hastily turn his head in dread. But as he turned his head, his neck suddenly felt cold and everything went dark.
After the old man's headless body fell to the ground, Han Li was the only one remaining in the air with a faintly shining thread tied to the ring finger of his right hand.
Just a moment ago, Han Li took advantage of the massive, eye-catching assault to conceal his movements. By using the Smoke Shifting Steps, he was able to travel over sixty meters away from his Divine Wind Boat in a few breaths, arriving behind the two. Then, with a wave of his string, he was able to easily behead them.
Han Li had found this battle to be as easy as dusting off his clothes!
Han Li found it quite humorous. In a battle between Foundation Establishment cultivators, elemental defensive barriers basically weren't used because they were unable to block the attacks of top grade magic techniques. They required too much time to activate, and they were far too expensive. Thus, most people used defensive magic tools to protect themselves instead of defensive light barriers that they felt were useless.
That kind of thinking had given Han Li many openings to take advantage of. This was especially apparent when Han Li originally fought the Devil Dao cultivators at the border as a majority of his kills had died in this manner.
Now that he thought about it, this particular killing technique was quite similar to that of the Black Fiend School's Blood Servant, Ice Demon. It was as fast as lightning; by the time they hear the thunder, it was already too late. Unfortunately, this technique could only be used on the ground. Otherwise, Han Li would have no one to fear among Foundation Establishment cultivators.
Han Li lightly shook his head, feeling a great sense of lamentation in his heart!
He walked in front of the headless corpses and collected their storage pouches. After he inspected them with his spiritual sense, he felt some disappointment.
Although they possessed three top grade magic tools, they were of common quality. Han Li did not have much use for them. On the other hand, that copper coin was a rarely seen defensive magic tool.
With that in mind, Han Li restored it to its original size and had it fly into his hand. After happily admiring it for a moment, he flung two small fireballs toward the headless corpses and turned them into ashes. Back in the boat with Crooked Soul, Han Li circled through the vicinity once before taking to the skies.
This time, he would go to that small mountain with Xin Ruyin's residence. He hoped her home was well hidden enough that it hadn't encountered any mishaps.
Six hours later, Han Li arrived at the nameless mountain of Xin Ruyin's residence.
When Han Li saw that the fog above the mountain was intact and the same as before, he felt overjoyed.
After musing for short while, Han Li didn't dare to fly down. Instead, he flew halfway up the mountain before taking out a sound transmission talisman. He then softly whispered a few words into it before throwing it out.
The sound transmission talisman turned into a fiery streak of light and flew towards the mountain, suddenly disappearing from sight. Soon after, a large portion of the fog rose and completely enveloped him.
Han Li stood still as he saw a scene bloom before him, leaving him surrounded by gargantuan trees over three hundred meters tall. He couldn't help but feel shocked, feeling like an ant among the huge trees.
Still, he knew that once Xin Ruyin received the sound transmission talisman, she should be quick to come meet him.
As expected, the huge tree illusions turned into thick fog a short moment later. Then the fog parted and revealed a three meter wide passageway.
The passage was remarkably long. After traveling for over two hundred meters, he was finally able to faintly see its opening and couldn't help but grow excited.
But when he was about twenty meters away from the exit, he suddenly heard a hoarse woman's voice: "Senior Han, who is that person behind you? You shouldn't be bringing strangers to this place."