Chapter 362: Nangong Bing
The woman appeared as gentle as always, but her words were as cold as a blade's edge, causing Han Li's heart to tremble.
Han Li let out a long sigh, before saying something that left the woman somewhat surprised, "Did Senior change her mind in the end?"
"It seems you aren't completely useless! At the very least, you seem to have some brains." The woman calmly said.
"If Senior truly wished to kill me, I never would have had the chance to open my eyes!" Han Li chuckled.
"I am called Nangong Bing. Don't call me Senior this or Senior that! It will make me seem old." The woman expressionlessly turned her head back and spoke with an unquestionable tone.
Han Li was stunned and inwardly insulted her, 'Since you're a Core Formation cultivator, doesn't that make you the age of an ancient woman in mortal's years?'
As Han Li's true essence had been absorbed by her, he naturally held a bellyful of stifled hate towards her. But since his life was currently in her hands, he could only inwardly curse at her.
"Although I was mistaken for my elder cousin yesterday and was rescued under that presumption, in the end, you are still my savior! Furthermore, I unintentionally absorbed your true essence afterwards which did stabilize my injuries." The woman leisurely spoke with her back facing Han Li.
"Let's leave it be. Since your esteemed self is Nangong Wan's younger cousin, I was just out of luck!" Han Li wrinkled his brow and spoke with a tone of helplessness. Afterwards, he stretched his arms and stood.
Papa. Han Li saw a white silhouette flash by, carrying a fragrant wind. The woman then gave him two heavy slaps, causing him to spin in place and fall to the floor.
"You…" Han Li covered his stinging cheeks in astonishment and looked at Nangong Bing in furious surprise.
"Yesterday, you actually dared to touch my body with your hands without permission! Furthermore, you dared to lay… lay down on me while I was unconscious! Those two slaps were only to reprimand you!" Nangong Bing spoke with a cold voice. But when she mentioned that Han Li had lain down on her, her face turned slightly red for just a moment.
Han Li was at a loss for words.
To give justifications for his breach of etiquette against a female Core Formation cultivator was simply asking for trouble. If he were to dispute it, it was likely he'd be met with another two slaps! And now, with his cheeks feeling raw, there was absolutely no way he could do such a thing!
Furthermore, he faintly felt that the reason why she was treating him this way wasn't because of his actions yesterday. She was most likely venting her anger for what had happened between him and Nangong Wan.
With that in mind, Han Li strongly suppressed the fury in his heart and lightly caressed his swollen cheeks in silence.
Nangong Bing was somewhat surprised to see that Han Li had decided to tactfully let the matter go.
She had expected that Han Li would want to argue over yesterday's actions. In that event, she had planned to further embarrass Han Li without any explanation. But now that Han Li was tactfully silent, she had no excuse to further act.
As a result, she could only snort and speak bluntly, "Since that matter has been resolved with the previous slaps, I must address the repayment of your great kindness. You have two choices. One is that I give you enough spirit stones to leave you at a loss for words. This would be payment for both your kind assistance and the loss of your cultivation.
"As for the second choice, you could follow me back to my evacuated sect members. After our six sects restabilize, I can refine spirit pills and find a young female disciple from my sect for you to pair cultivate with, restoring your original cultivation at the quickest speed. As you've only lost your true essence, your recultivation will meet no bottlenecks. According to my estimates, you should be able to recover your original cultivation in less than twenty years. Naturally, I would be happy to perhaps repay you with a few of my own sect's secret techniques during that time. Our Masked Moon Sect differs from the varied and disorganized techniques of your Yellow Maple Valley. Our sect has many secret techniques that are wondrous beyond imagination which cannot be divulged to outsiders. The technique I used to unintentionally absorb your cultivation yesterday is one of such techniques." After Nangong Bing said this with pride, she calmly stared at Han Li, waiting for his decision.
Han Li was lost in amazement. These two choices had a stunningly huge disparity!
One choice was to just leave him be with spirit stones. As for the other, not only would she assist him with restoring his cultivation, she would also find him a pair cultivation partner and willingly teach him a few secret techniques. As Han Li heard this, he became more convinced that this woman deliberately wanted him to choose the second option! This was truly strange. Could it be that she had arranged a trap for him?
He hesitantly glanced at Nangong Bing and saw an indistinct but complex expression as if she was both expectant and anxious.
Han Li's mind blanked in confusion. He gave his nose a firm rub and then folded his arms. With his right hand grasping his chin, he entered deep contemplation.
Han Li remained silent for no less than the time it took for a stick of incense to burn. But Nangong Bing could no longer wait and hastily asked, "How about it? Have you come to a decision?"
Han Li lifted his head and saw that she wore an impatient expression. After taking a thoughtful glance at her, he unhurriedly said, "I've decided. I choose the first option! Senior only has to give me the spirit stones. Senior need not worry further about me. I will think about how to recover my cultivation on my own!" Han Li wore an indifferent expression.
When Nangong Bing heard Han Li's decision, she stared blankly before revealing a somewhat odd expression. She stared at Han Li's face for a moment before suddenly raising her hand, throwing over a red storage pouch.
"The spirit stones are in there. There are also a few commonly used materials inside." Nangong Bing's tone was gloomy and cold.
Han Li didn't pay her tone any mind and caught the storage pouch without formality, sweeping his spiritual sense through it. Although he had prepared himself, he was still astounded upon seeing the many tens of mid-grade spirit stones in the bag as well as an assortment of all kinds of materials.
Han Li suddenly revealed some joy and raised his head, eagerly asking, "Does Senior have any more pieces of origin jade that she can spare?
The woman's eyes flashed with surprise. After wordlessly searching her body for a moment, she handed Han Li several pieces of white jade, much to his delight.
He had now acquired the materials needed for restoring the transportation formation. He no longer had to go out and search for them.
Nangong Bing coldly stared at Han Li before expressionlessly saying, "Is there anything else? If not, then I will take my leave."
"Oh… There is nothing left to trouble Senior with!" Han Li shook his head after correcting his expression.
Nangong Bing then gave a charming snort before turning around and leaving the tree hollow.
But before she walked outside, she turned her head over and calmly said, "Han Li, I don't know whether your choice was made out of stupidity or because you think yourself to be clever!" A jade sword flew out from her sleeve. Her white silhouette blurred before appearing on the sword.
At that moment, Han Li lazily said something from behind her, "Senior, please don't forget to send my regards to Nangong Wan!"
Nangong Bing froze for a moment before wordlessly turning into a streak of white light, leaving the tree hollow far behind. It was unknown whether she had agreed or if she had completely ignored him.
Han Li bitterly laughed and rubbed his nose, simply dropping down to sit on the ground. He blankly stared outside the entrance and became lost in thought.
He still didn't understand how his cultivation was absorbed by that woman. Could it be that the techniques of the Masked Moon Sect were truly so overbearing? Was it even more strange than the Black Fiend School's blood sacrifice?
However, Han Li believed that this cultivation art that absorbed other's cultivation was certain to have many restrictions and flaws. Otherwise, the Masked Moon Sect's cultivators would have long been at war with the cultivation world.
Han Li's presumption was somewhat correct.
It was a complete coincidence that Nangong Bing was able to absorb his true essence. After having made full use of her secret technique earlier, her own true essence had been greatly damaged. Had nothing happened, her cultivation would've faced a great decline. Although it wasn't enough to make her descend back into Foundation Establishment, she was certain to face a loss of several tens of years of bitter cultivation.
In addition, she believed that she would've fallen into the hands of the Devil Dao cultivators once her secret technique lost its effect. As a result, she clenched her teeth and activated the divine ability of her cultivation art, the "True Art of Reincarnation".
Once this divine ability was used, anybody who used spiritual power to probe her body would have their true essence forcefully absorbed by the true essence whirlpool formed inside her body. Had she not awoken early and halted her technique, she would've absorbed every last shred of Han Li's cultivation.
Naturally, the restrictions of this strange divine ability were extremely demanding.
First of all, it required that her true essence was in a state of great deficiency.
Secondly, if she didn't absorb anybody's true essence during the duration of this technique, her true essence would explode, causing her to die. It could be said that this technique was partially suicidal.
But what made this technique the most undesirable was the fact that even if the user absorbed someone else's true essence, they would only be able to recover a fraction of their lost cultivation. This technique was unable to be used to increase one's magic power or cultivation.
Chapter 363: Transfer
Not long after that, Han Li walked out of the tree hollow and flew off.
Han Li was even more cautious this time around. During his entire journey, he used his spiritual sense to its greatest extent. Upon hearing even the wind rustling the grass, he would immediately go into hiding. After all, it would be extremely dangerous to negligently run into a cultivator with his current cultivation.
Thus with paranoid levels of carefulness, Han Li eventually arrived back at his underground cave after taking up nearly twice the time he had been away. Only after he entered his Five Elements Reversal Formation did he truly let out a breath of relief.
As for Crooked Soul, he was still obediently sitting at the side of the formation. When Han Li saw that Crooked Soul had remained in the exact same posture that he had left him in, he couldn't help but smile.
Han Li knew that restoring his cultivation wasn't a matter requiring merely three or four years. As such, he didn't meditate or take any pills to cultivate. Instead, he spent the following days wholeheartedly focused on restoring the ancient transportation formation.
Under his current circumstances, travelling to a country far away was much too dangerous. He could only hope that he would be able to use the ancient transportation formation after restoring it.
Although Han Li's cultivation had greatly declined, it did not obstruct his restoration work. After a sleepless week, he had completely finished its restoration.
Han Li, a normally cool-headed person, felt his heart stir as he looked at the completed ancient transportation formation.
He was at the most crucial step with regards to failure or success. He had to test whether another transportation formation was safely connected to his. If the other end of the transportation formation was damaged or if it no longer existed, then it would naturally be of no use. He could only bury his thoughts of using the transportation formation and find another path forward.
With that in mind, Han Li calmly placed down low-grade spirit stones one after another on the edge of the transportation formation.
When he finished placing the last spirit stones, Han Li hastily took several steps back and couldn't help but look on with bated breath.
This ancient formation that was created countless years ago suddenly hummed and flashed with yellow radiance before quickly fading away into darkness.
Han Li's heart dropped! Could it be that the ancient transportation formation on the other end was disabled? This would mean that everything he had done was a complete waste!
Han Li couldn't help but reveal complete disappointment. But still, he was unresigned. He began walking in circles around the transportation formation with hands behind his back while occasionally muttering to himself.
He suddenly stopped and tightly creased his brow as if he had thought of something. He then crouched down and picked up the low-grade spirit stone at the center of the formation.
Han Li took a close look at it and let out a breath of cold air. The spirit stone was spent and no longer held any trace of Spiritual Qi.
Han Li revealed a thoughtful expression before suddenly brightening up. Without the slightest hesitation, he took out several sparkling mid-grade spirit stones and exchanged them with the low-grade spirit stones he had placed down before.
If he had guessed correctly, the formation didn't activate because low-grade spirit stones provided an insufficient amount of Spiritual Qi.
After placing down the final spirit stone, the transportation formation immediately started to emit a muffled hum before erupting with huge spiritual ripples. A blinding yellow light shot out from the center of the formation spell and shot outside the cave. The Five Elements Reversal Formation was unable to block it in the slightest.
When Han Li saw this, he was stunned. But something immediately came to mind, and his face turned deathly pale.
At nearly the same time, he suddenly heard huge rumbling sounds from outside the cave. Although he was protected by the huge formation, Han Li still felt the earth-quaking vibrations.
Han Li's expression grew tense, and he hastily beckoned Crooked Soul as he walked toward the transportation formation.
He couldn't help but hesitate. He truly had no idea where the transportation formation would take him. He had originally planned to verify what kind of place was at the other end. After confirming the absence of danger, he would then decide whether or not he should remain there. But now that the ancient transportation formation was exposed, this would be a trip of no return.
While Han Li was hesitating, he heard a frightening boom from above and looked up in fright.
He saw that the cave roof had been ripped away by some unknown magic tool and blinding sunlight shot through, clearly illuminating what was occurring in the cave. A large group of Devil Dao cultivators hovered above the now-exposed cave. They all revealed astonishment once they saw Han Li and the ancient transportation formation shining with yellow light.
"You again?" A furious yell came from the crowd of Devil Dao cultivators. Three people flew out.
The one in the middle wore a silver mask, the Ghost Spirit Sect's Young Master Wang Chan. Two eccentrics stood beside him: a shriveled, white-haired old man and a young child with red lips and white teeth — the Li Brothers1 who previously appeared at Yan Ling Castle.
"Ancient Transportation Formation!" When the Li Brothers saw the origin of yellow radiance, they couldn't help but look at each other and shout out in pleasant surprise.
Wang Chan stared blankly for a moment. He then asked ecstatically, "Did you see correctly? Is it really an Ancient Transportation Formation?" Wang Chan's voice trembled slightly. He clearly understood what an intact ancient transportation formation signified for one's sect.
The shriveled Li Brother chuckled. Just as he thought of saying something, his expression suddenly grew stricken, "Not good! That brat is about to use it. Quickly, stop him!" As he said this, he shot a streak of black light straight toward Han Li.
He knew that once the transportation formation was activated, there would be a moment of delay before it could be used. That delay was more than enough for him to kill any junior several times over.
But just as his magic treasure flew into the cave, a brilliant light erupted, and a rainbow barrier blocked the streak of black light.
The old man was surprised for a moment but immediately recovered. With a sinister expression, he yelled, "Everyone, attack! This brat has laid down a formation spell. We must break through it as quickly as possible or else it will be too late!"
Upon hearing the order from their sect elder, the Devil Dao cultivators promptly released their magic tools as if they had woken up from a dream. Even Wang Chan and the childlike Li Brother struck down upon the spell formation.
Han Li's Five Elements Reversal Formation was merely a simplified version of the grand formation. Under the attacks of two Core Formation cultivators and a crowd of Foundation Establishment cultivators, the rainbow light barrier immediately distorted and appeared as if it were about to collapse.
At that moment, Han Li had already brought Crooked Soul with him to the center of the formation. With a command medallion in hand and tightly shut eyes, he muttered under his breath, completely ignoring the attacks of the Devil Dao cultivators.
"A Greater Displacement Medallion! That brat actually has such a magic tool?" The old man snarled in a fluster upon clearly seeing the command medallion in Han Li's hand. He suddenly linked his hands together and a huge amount of black light threads surged, shooting down at the light barrier below.
The formation released several cries before finally reaching its limit and the rainbow light barrier exploded!
Without the strange rainbow light to protect him, the overbearing wave of attacks was about to engulf Han Li.
But at that very moment, Han Li opened his eyes and spouted out one word with an icy tone, "Transfer!"
The yellow light suddenly surged. Within the yellow radiance, Han Li and Crooked Soul disappeared without a trace. The wave of attacks had completely missed their mark.
The Devil Dao cultivators in the sky were left dumbstruck.
The complexions of Wang Chan and the Li Brothers were ashen. Since they didn't have a Greater Displacement Medallion, they were unable to chase after Han Li.
A moment later, the transportation formation's yellow light suddenly faded away. Upon seeing this, Wang Chan and his guards grew incomparably furious.
Naturally, they knew that Han Li, the one who had just used this formation, had destroyed the other end. Even if they found a Greater Displacement Medallion, they would be unable to use the formation.
Wang Chan, with bitter resentment still fresh in his heart, was unwilling to give up. Using his status as the sect's Young Master, he sent for several cultivators to guard the formation day and night for the mere purpose of preventing Han Li from escaping should he repair the formation and return. If that time came, he would make certain to capture Han Li alive and properly repay him for the great kindness of repeatly obstructing his plans.
But shortly afterwards, the Devil Dao would begin the next step of their expansion, and the Ghost Spirit Sect's Young Master would start to oversee campaigns in other areas. As a result, this matter was quickly dropped to the back of his mind.
As for the cultivation world of the Heavenly South Region, it would remain in turmoil for a long time to come.
In the next two years, a union would be formed by the remaining countries to resist the powers of the Devil Dao and Righteous Dao Alliance, known as the "Heavenly Dao Union"; this created a third superpower within the Heavenly South Region.
The three superpowers had near equal strength and campaigned against one another. After a short amount of time, it seemed that they had reached a stalemate.
As for the Six Sects, they eventually arrived at the Nine Nations Union. They contended with the local sects for natural resources such as spirit veins and spirit stone mines, managing to establish a new foothold. Naturally, if the Moulan Tribe's Spell Soldiers were to invade the nine countries, the six sects would dispatch men to combat them. They no longer possessed the same leisure they had back at the State of Yue.
As a result, many Foundation Establishment cultivators and Core Formation experts perished in battle against the Spell Soldiers. Han Li's former master, Li Huayuan, was one such example, dying in an intense battle that took place over ten years later.
But in contrast, a new generation of Six Sect cultivators quickly matured. Many Core Formation cultivators eventually rose from the ranks of their Foundation Establishment cultivators…First introduced in . They are Core Formation cultivators and the Ghost Spirit Sect Young Master’s personal bodyguards. ↩