Chapter 449: Ruse
The Bone Sage shifted his frightening red eyes several times before their radiance gradually disappeared.
After the Bone Sage's eyes returned to normal, he calmly said, "Correct, the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng really is here. Traces of its pure spiritual Qi can be faintly seen from the surface of the mountain."
Han Li's heart stirred. He poured spiritual power into his eyes and examined the small mountain with great attention. However, he was greatly disappointed to have found nothing unusual.
When the Bone Sage saw Han Li's eye shine with azure radiance, he obviously knew what he was doing. He disdainfully smiled and said, "Don't delude yourself into thinking you can see the pure spiritual Qi of the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng. Only Nascent Soul cultivators possess a sufficiently powerful spiritual sense to be able to do this. Although my cultivation has shifted to the Ghost Dao, the power of my original spiritual sense hadn't suffered in the slightest." The Bone Sage's words faintly carried a tone of mockery.
Han Li's face didn't reveal any change, but under the Bone Sage's unintentional advice, he started to circulate the Great Development Technique in his body.
After a short moment, Han Li rejoiced. He eventually caught sight extremely faint traces of azure light scattered throughout the mountain.
Not aware that Han Li could clearly see the pure spiritual Qi, the Bone Sage looked down at the mountain and indifferently said, "As I had arrived here before, I fortunately have a method of acquiring the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng. As a result, I had acquired a few particular items from a small island along the way. We will first arrange a trap. Then, we'll have the Ninecurl Spirit run into it, allowing it to be easily captured." He then extended his hand towards his storage pouch and took out a dazzling gold item.
"This is?" Han Li looked on with amazement.
The egg-sized golden ball of thread released a faint radiance as if it had been specially refined.
The Bone Sage scoffed at Han Li's bewildered expression and clutched the ball. With a flash of black light, long golden threads shot out from the ball and quickly weaved itself into a small exquisite gold net. It was only the size of his palm, but its sparkling shine gave off an unusual impression.
The Bone Sage stared at Han Li and solemnly said, "The Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng is something that can only be caught with an object of pure gold. Other magic treasure and tools will be completely ineffective. Take proper care of this. It will be used to catch the spirit ginseng when it tries to flee."
Han Li raised his brow and pondered for a moment before silently beckoning to the gold net. Woosh. The net flew into his hand, and he placed it into his storage pouch without a further glance.
When the Bone Sage saw this, his eyes smiled. With a flip of his hand, he took out four earth-yellow flags. The small flags were layered with talisman markings that concealed its flickering brilliance.
"Yi!" With Han Li's current mastery of formation flags, he was startled by the site of the small flag. After taking a cold breath, he revealed a trace of disbelief.
"What? My boy Han Li, you recognize this flag?" When the Bone Sage saw Han Li's astonishment, he couldn't help feel surprised.
Han Li didn't immediately reply and rigidly stared at the small formation flag for a moment more. He then raised his head and solemnly said, "Is that the Celestial Black Tortoise formation flag setup set? Apart from this ancient formation spell, no other formations are able to form a great earth-attribute formation from four small flags."
Celestial Black Tortoise1
Surprise flashed from the Bone Sage's face, but he soon regained his calm. "I hadn't expected you to be proficient in the Dao of Formation Spells. It seems that I've found the right person to be my assistant. You're correct, these Celestial Black Tortoise formation flags were something I had refined on the way here. With this formation, we will be able to restrict an area of a hundred meters of mountain stone, hardening it to metal and trapping the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng. Since you posses knowledge of formation spells, I'll let you place down the formation. While you do that, I will be looking around for any solid traces of the Spirit Ginseng."
Soon after, he calmly handed over the four yellow flags and turned into a black cloud as he silently flew down towards the mountain.
Han Li looked at the flags in his hand and then turned to look at the back of the old devil with an odd expression in his eyes. He then licked his lips and flew downwards with a sneer.
At the moment, a man's resounding voice was heard from deep within the Bone Sage's body.
'Bone Sage, why did you give the formation flags to him? I can't see your relationship being that deep with him. Could it be that you're plotting something else?' This person spoke as if he had great understanding of the Bone Sage.
'What do you mean? I only had Youngster Han set down the formation flags so that I can capture the spirit ginseng with certainty. After taking advantage of that opportunity, I will kill him.' The Bone Sage sinisterly spoke with a chilling voice.
'You're going to kill him now? Did I hear wrongly? I thought you'd at least wait until Zenith Yin was killed before you acted against him!' The deep man's voice displayed astonishment.
The Bone Sage grimly said, 'That won't do. This Youngster Han is far too cunning. I fear any more delay will bring more troubles. In addition, this person understands my methods and will not allow himself to be controlled by me. If he were to by chance betray me to my traitorous disciple Zenith Yin, it would be beyond terrible. Although the possibility of this is low, this Bone Sage will refuse to take this risk! After all, I've already suffered betrayal once and will never easily trust others ever again. Also…'
The man's voice lazily continued, 'Also, you never intended to give the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng to him from the start!'
'That's right! After spending so much thought into acquiring this spiritual item, how could I be willing to give it to another? Even if the Spirit Ginseng had no effect on my cultivation, it would prove equally useful for trade. And with the Gold Lightning Bamboo magic treasure in his possession, he will eventually become a great enemy of us demon ghosts. The sooner we exterminate him, the better. Besides, what do you think about his body?' The Bone Sage revealed a sinister expression as he spoke.
The question at the end had startled the male ghost. He grew immensely excited. 'It will be great! You must help me seize his body! But, how do you plan to deal with Zenith Yin?' His question was slightly hesitant.
'When I passed down Zenith Yin's Profound Yin Art to him, I left behind a flaw that I could use to kill and refine him. So long as he is alone, with your newly acquired body, we will be able to exterminate him.' The Bone Sage spoke with great confidence.
'So that's how it is! But weren't you thinking of exterminating the Youngster Han from the start? You still deliberately sought to ally with him despite this? You really are a cunning fox!' The man seemed to hold the Bone Sage's cunning in high regard.
'You overestimate me. Before I came across you, I truly wished for him the join hands with him to kill Zenith Yin. After all, even if I know the flaw in my traitorous disciple's cultivation, having an assistant will be far more reliable. But now that I came across an old friend like you, I no longer have need of him. It would be better to kill him sooner and prevent any mishap from later occurring.' The Bone Sage nonchalantly said.
'You've put on quite the display! I had truly believed your apprehensive appearance at the jade pavilions. I didn't expect you were earlier planning to kill this required helper of yours.' The man sighed and spoke with a complicated tone.
'Humph! My worry at the time was genuine. However, I didn't fear the loss of assistance for my revenge but that his Gold Lightning Bamboo flying swords had fallen into someone else's hands. If that time were to come, it will be greatly harmful to those of the Ghost Dao.'
After a moment of silence, the man asked with concern, 'You dare to so recklessly act against him even though he possess a Gold Lightning Bamboo magic treasure? Are you truly certain of victory?' As this matter pertained to himself, he naturally wanted to know the finer details.
At that moment, the Bone Sage was flying circles around the mountain at a low altitude.
'What I originally imagined was that we'd use both the golden net and the Celestial Black Tortoise Formation to seize both the spirit ginseng and that Youngster Han at once. I hadn't expected that he'd be proficient in spell formations. It was then that I was struck with a clever idea. I would hand the formation flags to him and have my plan become even more perfect.' The Bone Sage revealed a strange smile and spoke with a mysterious tone.
'Could it be that you've done something to the flags?' The man spoke with sudden realization.
'Hehe! You'll know when the time comes. For now, we'll find the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng. Otherwise, that youngster definitely won't be fooled.' The Bone Sage deliberately omitted the main details, much to the man's dissatisfaction.
'Nevertheless, my ghost demon cultivation art was something that you had imparted to me. I had originally thought to use it to search for the spirit ginseng, but I hadn't expected that my traitorous disciple would betray me. It had become my last hope!' The Bone Sage's eyes flashed with cold light.
'I wasn't really imparting anything. We were just taking what we needed.' The man spoke with a deep sigh.Specifically references to the constellation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Tortoise. ↩
Chapter 450: Revealing One's True Nature
'Enough, don't speak of any more nonsense. First, you'll help me find the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng. Then, we'll kill the youngster and give his body to you.' The Bone Sage coldly interrupted him.
'That will be no problem! With our great spirit searching arts, finding that lone spirit ginseng will be a trivial matter.' The man disdainfully said.
'Then let us go!' With that said, the Bone Sage's expression grew heavy and flung his sleeve downwards.
Two threads of black Qi shot out from his sleeve. In an instant, they had already bore into the earth and disappeared from sight. At that same moment, a strange dim green light streaked down from the Bone Sage before quickly fading away. Motionlessly floating in place, the Bone Sage closed his eyes.
Down on the ground, Han Li was playing around with the yellow formation flags with a calm expression. However, his gaze continuously flickered as if he were pondering about a problem. Hesitation could be seen from his brow.
With a flick of his hand, the flag flew off as streak of yellow light, firmly inserting itself into the ground.
"Although I couldn't find anything wrong with the formation flags, did you truly believe I wouldn't suspect anything?" Han Li muttered to himself with a smirk.
Soon after, he reached towards his treasure pouch, and took out over ten yellow flags that bore a similar appearance and emitted dense earth Qi.
A strange expression flashed from Han Li's eyes as he glanced at the small flags flickering with light.
The Bone Sage's expression stirred, and he suddenly opened his eyes.
The two threads of black Qi and the green light shot up from the ground and quickly entered the Bone Sage's body.
'Found it. The Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng sure knows how to hide. It concealed its true body in the groove of a huge stone. Were I not careful, it would've been difficult to spot.' The man proudly said.
'Good! I will go and see whether that youngster finished setting down the formation. Conceal yourself and be careful. Do not appear as you wish and allow him to discover you.' The Bone Sage solemnly exhorted.
'Be at ease. My disguise technique can only be detected with the spiritual sense of a Nascent Soul cultivator. In the coming moments, if you are unable to retrain him, don't rely on me for help. His Gold Lightning Bamboo's Divine Devilbane Lightning is particularly lethal to bodiless souls such as I.' The man spoke of the ugly matters upfront.
'Humph! I don't need your help to deal with an early Core Formation junior. I naturally hold complete certainty in dealing with him. Also, you need not fear his Divine Devilbane Lightning. A few days ago, he had discharged his flying swords in battle. Any remaining lightning in his magic treasures should've been exhausted in dealing with the ghost mist. As for when we had originally fought, he had released a swarm of gold-silver beetles, much to my dismay. Despite my great experience, I am unable to recognize them, strangely enough. Although I don't know what these spiritual insects specifically are, they should be fiercer than common insects!' The Bone Sage spoke with an indifferent expression.
'Oh! Without the Divine Devilbane Lightning, he will pose no threat to me. I will act in accordance to how things play out.' The man let out a breath of relief.
The Bone Sage smirked and didn't say anything else. Although the Bone Sage held onto a sliver of his life essence, he knew that was incapable of completely controlling him. As this ghost had immersed himself in the Ghost Dao for so many years, he was sure to be more experienced with the matters of soul restrictions than he was, and he was both willing and able to break free of his restrictions by risking severe damage from Origin Qi. As such, the Bone Sage was unwilling to threaten him.
After looking around, he turned into a black cloud and flew off in Han Li's direction.
A short moment later, he found Han Li and dropped down.
Although the land here could be considered to be level, it was overgrown with weeds. There was even a small forest of sparse large trees nearby.
The Bone Sage appeared before him and calmly asked, "Have you finished setting up the formation?"
"Of course I have! It's over there." Han Li leaned against a large tree and pointed behind him.
With an attentive glance, he saw a large quantity of earth spirit Qi fluctuations behind Han Li as expected.
The Bone Sage inwardly rejoiced and took out a jade box from his storage pouch. He then opened its lid in front of Han Li.
Han Li's nose was assailed with a strong fishy scent as soon as it was opened. He immediately stood straight and held his breath. With an alert expression, he took a few steps back and suspiciously gazed at the Bone Sage. "What's that?"
The Bone Sage spoke with an indifferent expression, "There is no need to overly suspicious. This is the feces of an Orchid Musk Beast. Although it is rather unpleasant to us, the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng is immensely attracted to its scent. So long as we place it into the formation, the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng's avatar will be sure to search for it. After restraining its avatar, we'll be able to easily excavate the main body of the Spirit Ginseng. There will be no fear of it transforming and escaping."
"Orchid Musk Beast feces?" Han Li glanced at the jade box in the Bone Sage's hand.
He now saw it clearly. It was a thumb-sized faint yellow lump. The intense smell it released greatly surprised Han Li.
He had heard of the Orchid Musk Beast before. It was a strange spirit beast raised by cultivators. It had an odd, fire-red horn that released a peculiar fragrance that placated souls, receiving much favor from cultivators as a result. He had expected that its feces would prove to be so unpleasant. He was also completely dumbfounded that a spiritual object such as the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng would be fond of it.
But after Han Li looked at the Bone Sage's indifferent expression, he widely smiled and said, "Senior, please place the item in the formation spell. I will go and examine the formation flags to ensure everything is properly in place. Afterwards, I will guard this place and seize its avatar. As for the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng's true body, I will have to trouble Senior to fetch it." With that said, Han Li cupped his fist and walked into the forest behind him. With some unknown method, he disappeared without trace.
The Bone Sage was startled. He inwardly frowned as he looked at the earth spiritual Qi in the forest. After his mouth twitched, he raised his hand. A strange serpent of black Qi flew out and flew straight into the heart of the forest with the jade box in its mouth. After placing down the jade box, it flew back towards him.
With that done, there was still no trace of Han Li, causing a grim expression to momentarily appear on his face. He immediately flew to the sky in silence.
'What? Are you actually scared of your own trick, the formation flags that you gave him?' The man's mocking voice suddenly appeared in the Bone Sage's mind.
'Carefulness leads to no mistakes! I will first test the formation and see whether or not it is properly set up. Although the chance that he happened to possess earth attribute formation flags is miniscule, I cannot take the risk!' The Bone Sage spoke without caring.
The man clicked his tongue, 'If you were originally this careful, you wouldn't have fallen to this degree. It seems you've learned your lesson about that great flaw of yours, old pal Bone Sage!'
The Bone Sage couldn't make out whether he was sarcastic or truly praising him. With an inward snort, he didn't pay any further attention to the man's words.
The Bone Sage floated in the air and opened his hand. A yellow formation flag appeared in his grasp. This flag appeared similar to the four that he had given to Han Li but it was a bit shorter and appeared quite exquisite.
The Bone Sage glanced at the small flag and lightly shook it. The flag immediately released a faint yellow light. After it twirled in the Bone Sage's hand, it pointed downwards towards the forest.
The Bone Sage let out quiet breath, and his face revealed an evil smile. After putting away the small flag, he turned his gaze to the small mountain and flew off.
At that moment, Han Li had finally appeared from the forest.
Han Li's eyes coldly glinted as he watched the Bone Sage fly farther away. After his expression stirred, his body became blurred, leaving behind only a breeze. The fishy smell from the jade box was becoming increasingly potent, causing Han Li to tightly frown. All he could do was hold his breath.
As time passed, doubts began to spring into his heart. He couldn't stay there for long. If the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng wasn't duped into appearing, he could only return in vain.
As Han Li was thinking this, his expression stirred. His spiritual sense detected a small object burst into the trees. Han Li was pleasantly surprised by this and immediately concealed his body's aura. He then stared at the jade box with complete attention.
A yellow light flashed. A sneaking rabbit was floating outside the formation spell. This rabbit's body was snow white and its blood-red eyes were swivelling incessantly, occasionally glancing around. It appeared extremely timid.
Despite this,the rabbit's pink nose was continuously sniffing in the direction of the jade box and would occasionally reveal a human-like expression of infatuation.
This extremely unpleasant odor to Han Li proved to be an extremely pleasurable to this small creature.