Chapter 428: Xiao Cha
The youth swiped his ghost claw again but this time with a flash of green radiance, shooting a green streak of light towards the incoming sword streak. It immediately resulted in a huge clap of thunder.
Black and golden arcs of lightning bursted out, intertwining to eventually form a huge sphere of lightning. With neither attack giving way, their cries of thunder reverberated through the hall with astonishing pressure.
Han Li suddenly narrowed his gaze.
"Heaven Lightning Bamboo!" He was alarmed to find the opponent also possessed a magic treasure refined from Heaven Lightning Bamboo!
Could it be…?
Han Li thought of something and attentively examined the green streak that the youth released.
At the brilliant center of the arcs of lightning, he saw a foot-long emerald arrow struggling fiercely against his huge sword made from combining nine Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords.
The lightning it shot out was much different than that of his sword. Instead of a golden color, it was instead mixed with a deep black as if it had been refined by an evil technique.
Although this was the case, the black lightning was exceedingly powerful and even took the upper hand in its clash against the gold lightning.
Han Li couldn't help but let out a gloomy sigh. He didn't expect that his original doubts were accurate.
He had felt a familiar aura upon seeing the arrow embedded in the skeleton's skull. It was quite similar to his own Gold Lightning Bamboo, but it occasionally released a faint, black evil Qi, arousing his doubts.
After all, according to what he knew, the Gold Lightning Bamboo had only appeared once in the Scattered Star Seas, but it soon disappeared after an unknown number of years. How would chance have it that he would end up encountering it? He had found it incredulous. But now, not only was this misleading arrow refined from Gold Lightning Bamboo, but it was also a magic treasure that was refined by the old ghost. What an amazing farce!
Han Li couldn't help but reveal a faint, sarcastic smile.
But he suddenly recalled something. Had the old ghost taken advantage of when he was examining the skeleton and controlled the arrow, he would've certainly died.
With that in mind, he couldn't help but feel increasingly fearful. His back was covered in cold sweat from that lingering fear.
It wasn't exactly a surprise that his Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords couldn't beat the arrow. He had tempered his flying swords for far too little time, and he was only capable of relying on the innate ability of the Gold Lightning Bamboo in a fight. It was only natural for it to be inferior to the enemy's magic treasure. Had his nine flying swords been tempered for a slightly longer time, the enemy's trifling single magic treasure wouldn't be able to contend with it, regardless of whether or not it had also been refined from Gold Lightning Bamboo.
But now that he found out that the opponent had a method of restraining the Divine Devilbane Lightning of his flying swords, Han Li was unwilling to launch a full scale attack. After all, the green shadow's true cultivation had not been clearly shown from the very start, even after he had transformed into a youth.
In addition, given his adversary's cunning and resourcefulness, his opponent's evil magics and devilish arts would surely be even more weird and troublesome. He doubted if he could do much to stop them. If he were to put his all into the fight, even by giving his hundred thousand Gold Devouring Swarm the kill command, his victory still wouldn't be certain.
It could be assumed that since the enemy had suddenly put forward a proposal a moment ago that he was also somewhat fearful of Han Li's own magic treasure and strange techniques.
With that thought in mind, Han Li wordlessly beckoned toward his huge sword. With a huge explosion, the huge sword dissolved into the original nine swords and shot back towards Han Li.
When the youth saw this, a cold glint flashed through his eyes. Then after some hesitation, he decided to not continue his attack and recalled his magic treasures.
After Han Li recalled his flying swords, he indifferently asked as if uncertain, "If your esteemed self truly is Grandmaster Zenith Yin's master, then you must be over a thousand years old."
The youth lowered his head to look at his restored hands and indifferently said, "Before I cultivated the Profound Soul Demonification Technique, I was over six hundred years old. Although I don't know exactly how much time has passed after I transformed my body into a profound soul, it should be no less than four hundred years! Fortunately, I cultivated this profound soul body after scattering my Nascent Soul. Had I remained in my flesh body, I fear I would have long died in meditation."
Han Li remained silent. If what he said was true, this person was a "Thousand Year Ghost"!
Han Li couldn't help but be interested in this Profound Soul Demonification Technique, which allowed one to break through the limitations of one's lifespan. As such, Han Li slowly said, "Since you say this, then I must truly address you as Senior!"
When the youth heard this, he glimpsed at Han Li and found that Han Li's words were not to his liking. He sneered and said, "Senior? After so many years of being cursed and lauded in the cultivation world, I didn't expect to remain as a bodiless ghost and renounce my opportunity to enter the cycle of reincarnation, all in order to take revenge on my two traitorous disciples. If you do not clearly explain your origins, then I will greatly damage my own Origin Qi to ensure you do not leave here alive." Although his voice was exceptionally calm, his words were heavy and chilling, leaving no room for doubt.
Han Li bitterly smiled. After some doubt, he said, "Wouldn't it be too much of a loss for this Junior if only Senior got to ask the questions? Could Senior also clear up a few of this one's doubts?"
The youth was stunned for a moment before roaring with laughter.
"Good, very good! I can agree to these conditions. But if you know too much, your life will be difficult to preserve." The youth made a grand display of arrogance!
"Hehe, Senior doesn't need to worry about that. If this one hasn't guessed incorrectly, then Senior's cultivation should be at late Core Formation at most. I'm honestly curious about whether or not I could endure." Han Li asked a probing question while carefully examining the youth's expression.
The youth coldly laughed several times, but he didn't reveal the slightest peculiarity, causing Han Li to inwardly curse, 'Sly old bastard'.
"Let's cut the rubbish. You said that you learned everything from a jade slip, but not my two traitorous disciples. Give it to me." The youth's voice was harsh and cold, carrying an overbearing tone.
Han Li frowned. After some hesitation, he patted his storage pouch and flung a jade slip emitting grey Qi towards the youth.
The youth didn't directly catch the jade slip. Instead, he raised his hand, summoning a black python of black Qi to catch it in its mouth and bring it before him.
Without moving his limbs, his eyes flashed with blood-red radiance, and he emotionlessly gazed into the jade slip.
A short moment later, he withdrew his peculiar gaze and lightly flicked his finger, shooting the jade slip back to Han Li with a woosh. He then slowly said to Han Li, "Tell me where you received this object. The jade slip doesn't contain enough to disprove a relationship between you and my two traitorous disciples.
Han Li faintly smiled and didn't answer, asking his own question instead, "Since Senior's divine abilities are so great, then surely his reputation must've been equally great. Could Senior bestow his grand name to me?"
When Han Li avoided answering his question and asked his own, the youth was initially furious, and his appearance grew fierce. But soon after, he thought of something and coldly replied, "You should've heard of me before. The Profound Master of Bones, Xiao Cha."
'Profound Master of Bones?' Han Li couldn't recall having heard that name.
However, he didn't pay this any mind and calmly said, "Since Senior believes this jade slip is insufficient to prove my identity, then my cultivation art should be enough. Senior should've seen that my cultivation art is completely different than what he passed down. Please take another look." Having said that, Han Li flourished his Azure Essence Sword Arts to its greatest extent and emitted a blinding azure light from his body.
Soon after, Han Li flicked his fingers and shot out eight azure essence sword streaks towards the walls, resulting in several bowl-thick holes.
"As for the origin of the jade slip, it is quite simple! Junior exterminated an evil cultivator and unexpectedly acquired it from his body. If Senior doesn't believe this, then there is nothing else to say. We can only fight." Han Li lightly patted his hands and spoke mildly.
Xiao Cha stared at Han Li's azure light with an extremely gloomy expression. A long while later, his expression relaxed and he said, "Your cultivation art truly differs from my own Profound Yin Arts; it isn't even a Devil Dao cultivation art. It is only natural for a Divine Ancestor such as I to see this. However, you have a Fiend Core Avatar and happened to come across this place. It is proper for this old man to be careful. Still, this old man has another question for you. Apart from the jade slip, what else did you acquire from that corpse?
Han Li's expression stirred upon hearing this, and he faintly felt as if this long period of intimidation was all for this final moment. With that thought, Han Li didn't answer and instead calmly asked, "Since Senior has cultivated a profound soul body but was trapped here for so many years, there must be many restrictions and flaws to the Profound Soul Demonification Technique. For example, there is no way to travel underneath sunlight, and you find yourself vulnerable to a particular type of magic tool…"
"Humph! Do you believe I will actually tell you this?" The youth couldn't help but grow furious and abruptly interrupt him.
Han Li calmly spoke with an indifferent expression, "Of course not! So does Senior really believe that Junior is going to tell him about something that Junior shouldn't know about?"
When Xiao Cha heard those cold, mocking words, he was shocked, and his furious expression gradually faded away.
Chapter 429: Ruined Map Reconstruction
"Since you are unwilling to answer, then how about…"
The Master of Bones changed the topic as if wanting to change his question, but at that moment, clear ringing suddenly came from the old devil's body. The beautiful sounds left Han Li stunned.
When the Master of Bones heard this, he was startled but revealed an expression of joyful disbelief.
He no longer paid attention to Han Li and struck his own abdomen. With a tear, a white rib bone shot out from his body and flew once around him before landing in his palm.
The clear rings were coming from this rib bone.
Han Li blinked and revealed puzzlement. He was at a complete loss.
With the rib bone in his hand, the old devil's smile grew even stronger.
Crush. The old devil exerted force into his grip and turned the bone to dust. A white sphere of light floated from the dust, revealing a black cricket. It croaked without end inside the light sphere, but once it saw the Master of Bones, it stopped chirping and left the light sphere before entering his body.
Xiao Cha broke into laughter and clutched the light sphere in his hand. The white light soon disappeared to reveal an embroidered cloth stained yellow from age.
When Han Li saw this item, he was shocked.
That embroidered cloth appeared rather familiar. Didn't it strongly resemble the same map fragment he acquired from the Black Fiend Sect Master1? Could it be they had some relation to one another?
Han Li's mind stirred. He knew that this could be a clue to possibly unravel the mystery behind the map fragment. He couldn't help but observe his every movement with wide eyes.
Unfortunately, after taking a quick look at it, Xiao Cha quickly stuffed the embroidered cloth into his robe. He then calmly gazed at Han Li and said, "Since you have no relation to my two traitorous disciples, I don't have any time to waste on you. I have an important matter to attend to, so let us part ways. I will give you a word of advice before I leave. If you stay here for too long, my sinful disciple might take notice and will rush over here." With that said, Xiao Cha ignored any response Han Li might have had and turned into a streak of blood light with a sneer, hastily flying past Han Li towards the entrance.
Han Li was initially stunned but soon frowned. His body immediately turned into a blur of flourishing azure light, making a full circle around the main hall. After collecting his former comrade's storage pouches and magic treasures along with turning their corpses to ash, he hurriedly flew out of this place. It seemed the old devil held no interest in the storage pouches of Core Formation cultivators. Although he didn't know whether he looked upon the belongings of Core Formation cultivators with disdain or was merely being negligent due to a pressing matter, it proved to be a very convenient situation for Han Li.
However, he couldn't help but think of the embroidered cloth. He was also afraid that if he was too slow in leaving, Xiao Cha might lay a trap at the exit which would prove greatly troublesome.
But when Han Li thought of how Xiao Cha had seized control of his avatar, Crooked Soul, Han Li felt a painful fire burning in his heart. However, from his opponent's attack, Han Li felt that his odds of success weren't high, causing him to feel helpless.
With that thought, Han Li flew to the surface.
That old devil had long disappeared without a trace, leaving Han Li in awe of his amazing movement technique.
But when Han Li saw that it was so peaceful and quiet all around him, he recalled how so many people had entered and only he managed to leave. He couldn't help but feel an indescribable sense of cold loneliness in his heart.
But as soon as those negative emotions appeared, they were thrown to the back of his mind. After all, the path of cultivation was long and arduous. Now was not the time to mourn.
Han Li didn't dare to stay for much longer. After getting his bearings, he immediately fled from the island and reached for his storage pouch.
After a short moment, an embroidered cloth appeared in his hand with a flash of white light.
As he looked at it, he felt his heart thump.
He didn't need to carefully inspect it to know that this was undeniably related to Xiao Cha's own. Although Han Li didn't know what secrets it concealed, it had caused that deep old schemer to lose his self control.
With that in mind, Han Li couldn't help but examine the embroidered cloth.
The originally indistinct map had completely disappeared. However, the map had been replaced with a pattern of a small golden sword of light. Regardless of how Han Li turned the embroidered cloth, the sword of light always pointed towards the northwest. The sword point shot a red line straight towards the edge of the embroidered cloth, releasing a faint fluorescence.
Han Li frowned. Although he didn't know the item's specific purpose, if he didn't understand such a simple map as this, then he must be an idiot.
This clearly illustrated that the object's holder would meet an opportunity should they follow the small sword to some location.
While grasping the map, Han Li became lost in contemplation.
It seemed Xiao Cha had been so hurried because the matter regarding the map was time sensitive. In addition to his happy expression, it was obvious that the prize was certain to be great.
Once Han Li came to this conclusion, he immediately turned his body in the direction indicated by the sword on the map. If he didn't rush, the prize would be seized by others as long as the map didn't expire first.
After some slight consideration and a long while of hesitation, he finally decided to follow this direction and left the desolate island in the blink of an eye.
About a quarter hour later, a vast, eerie black fog rushed towards the island from a distance. After circling around the cave's entrance, the fog scattered to reveal a pale skinned middle-aged man that appeared to lack even a single drop of blood.
When he saw that the restrictions and formation spells were destroyed and the spirit seal pillar had been pushed to the side, he immediately entered the underground cave with furrowed brows.
After a short moment, a long, resentful roar came from down below, causing the nearby land to tremble.
The middle-aged man then flew out of the cave and towards the sky as a black streak of radiance.
He apprehensively looked all around and shot out several tens of streaks of black radiance with a sudden twirl. Those streaks of black radiance turned into huge black birds that searched the nearby fifty kilometers.
But when the huge birds returned from their search with nothing to show, the middle-aged man's expression became extremely unsightly. He turned his head towards the sky and didn't make any other movements for a long while.
After a unknown amount of time, he suddenly broke out into cold laughter.
"Old monster, so what if you are able to escape? You are no longer the Devilish Ancestor of Profound Bones from before, and I am no longer one of your trifling Core Formation disciples. Once I am finished with the matters of Heavenvoid Hall, I will ferret you out from the Scattered Star Seas." With no further hesitation, he soared through the skies and transformed back into a huge black fog.
Then, as if wanting to vent his anger, a black beam of light as thick as a bucket shot out of the black fog, causing the entrance of the cave to cave in and turn into ruins.
Afterwards, the black fog flew into the distant sky like a meteor streak.
Naturally, Han Li was unaware of what had just taken place. He was flying in the direction of the map, pushing his magic treasure at his greatest speed.
As he was fearful of coming across the Master of Bones, Han Li was extremely vigilant and would occasionally release the entirety of his spiritual sense to check for an ambush.
After several days of flight, nothing unexpected had occurred, much to Han Li's relief.
But one day, just as Han Li was hastening on his journey, he suddenly heard the sound of conflict coming from ahead of him. From the faint explosions and dazzling flashes of light, it seemed that there were cultivators in the midst of fighting.
Han Li frowned and used his powerful spiritual sense to carefully gaze into the distance.
A man and a woman were currently fighting against three embroidered-clothed cultivators surrounded in an evil Qi.
However, their strength was pathetically low, and they were only at early Foundation Establishment. It seemed that the man and the woman were at a disadvantage.
Han Li rubbed his nose. Since he knew they weren't a threat, he felt disinclined to taking a detour and prepared to fly past them. As for the cultivators fighting, he wouldn't bother asking them anything. He had something important to attend to.
With that thought, Han Li increased his speed and rushed forth as a streak of green light, appearing before them in the blink of an eye.
The combatants were greatly shocked and happened to all recoil away from him and retrieve their magic tools.
As Han Li flew past them, he paused for a moment and casually swept his gaze over them.
"Yi!" The female cultivator from the male-female pair seemed to recognize Han Li. She shouted with joy, "Elder Han, I am the main disciple of the Exquisite Sound Sect's Envoy of the Right. Those three cultivators are from our sect's great enemy, the Poisonous Dragon Union."
Sometimes, I wonder if I should leave these in.Chapter 331 ↩