Chapter 498: Distinguishing the Truth
Han Li turned towards Yuan Yao and leisurely said, "So that's why there was a spirit spring placed here. It was to nourish the tree. I do desire the Myriad Year Spirit Milk, but the Soul Nourishing Tree is also quite interesting."
Upon hearing that, Yuan Yao's expression instantly became ice-cold.
"Relax. Having so many years of rich nourishment, the tree can’t be small. And I only want a portion of its roots. I won't fight over the trunk, the most important part of the tree."
Yuan Yao's expression softened, but her eyes contained a trace of doubt, "You only want the roots?"
Han Li said with a blank expression, "Naturally, I also want the Myriad Year Spirit Milk that you offered to me earlier as well."
Yuan Yao's eyes slightly shifted as she made her own conclusions about Han Li's intentions. She sweetly chuckled, "Hehe! Brother Han is quite shrewd. The Soul Nourishing Tree's roots will certainly fetch a high price from many sects. Regardless, I will agree to those terms."
Even with this, she was still relieved.
Han Li smiled and offered no further explanation.
Yuan Yao chuckled, "Let us start on breaking through the formation. I'll give Fellow Daoist Han an explanation of what I've learned about the formation spell." It seemed as though she was in even more of a hurry than Han Li.
"Before we start, I must ask whether or not Lady Yuan plans on taking the spirit spring." Han Li pointed to the pond with a mysterious smile.
Yuan Yao coquettishly said, "Is Brother Han joking? This spirit spring has been bonded with the entire Inner Halls by the Master of Heavenvoid Hall using profound restrictions. Had I possessed the ability to take it, I would've directly aimed for the Heavenvoid Cauldron instead of hiding down here."
When Han Li heard this, he appeared slightly disappointed, but after some thought, he broke out into laughter.
It seems he had become far too greedy. Upon spotting a treasure, he thought to immediately acquire it. This was not a good omen. If this were to continue, he would likely meet his death as a result of greed.
With that thought, Han Li steadied his mind before continuing with a solemn voice, "Fellow Daoist Yuan should hand over the spirit milk first before we start talking about the formation spell. With our combined efforts, we'll be able to break through the formation in no more than two days.
When Yuan Yao heard this, her sweet smile was replaced with a ghastly expression.
Two days later about twenty kilometers away from Heavenvoid Hall, a man and woman emerged from a flash of white light above the sea.
The man appeared quite ordinary. Apart from his clear eyes, there was nothing exceptional about his appearance. As for the woman, she was as dainty as a flower, and her bright, lively eyes suggested that her grace was limitless. When the two emerged, they vigilantly examined their surroundings. Upon seeing that there were no other cultivators nearby, they both let out a sigh of relief.
The pair were Han Li and Yuan Yao, who had broken through the formation of the secret room.
Yuan Yao gazed in the the direction of Heavenvoid Hall with an odd expression, "It seems the others are still trapped in Heavenvoid Hall. They won't be coming out for some time."
"Would those Nascent Soul Eccentrics do the same as us and seize treasure to escape the halls?" Han Li hadn't relaxed his guard and frowned.
Yuan Yao casually brushed her hair and softly said, "Be at ease, after acquiring the treasure, one will be teleported to a random location, it can be anywhere from next to Heavenvoid Hall to several hundred kilometers away. It is impossible for anyone to be monitoring such an expansive area."
"Good!" Han Li nodded his head with peace of mind.
Yuan Yao blinked at him and she probingly asked, "What? Could it be that Brother Han has offended those Nascent Soul eccentrics? If that's the case, then you had best be careful."
"Fellow Daoist Yuan need not worry herself about me. As I have matters I must attend to, I will be taking my leave first." Han Li expressionlessly cupped his hands to Yuan Yao and shot across the sky as a streak of azure light. He displayed neither reluctance to leave nor any desire to hear her response.
When Yuan Yao saw Han Li abruptly fly off, she was flabbergasted. After a long while, she eventually shook her head. She then extended her hand and summoned a foot-long block of wood with a flash of black light.
The wood was rough and scorched, appearing ugly by all means. But when Yuan Yao looked at it, she revealed sadness.
"Big Sister Yan, please wait just a few more days. I will find someone to refine this wood into a Soulkeeper Box and help you escape having your soul refined." After she softly said this, she donned her hood, concealing her astonishing beauty, and transformed into a cloud of Black Qi before flying off in another direction.
In the blink of an eye, the sea became calm once more.
Meanwhile, several people solemnly stood on the platform of the fifth floor of Heavenvoid Hall with unsightly expressions. They were the six Nascent Soul cultivators who had apparently come to some sort of agreement, as Man Huzi was standing there without being attacked.
"We've already searched every corner of the third, fourth and fifth floors. Even after breaking through countless restrictions and puppets, we've yet to find any sign of them. Zenith Yin, two of the three have a deep relationship with you. Did you not instruct them to seize the treasure and escape?" Wan Tianming spoke with an ashen expression.
Zenith Yin's cheek twitched and his face grimaced. "Humph! Sect Master Wan, you've already asked that several times and my reply is still that my grandson has met his end. As I personally used a secret technique to search for him, I cannot be mistaken. Were it not for the obstruction of the Tailstar Formation, I would've felt the instant my grandson perished and would've prevented those other two youngsters from running off with the treasure."
Zenith Yin stared at Man Huzi and gloomily said, "With that said, I personally believe Man Huzi to be the most suspicious. Why did Man Huzi draw us away for enough time for the Heavenvoid Cauldron to be seized? Man Huzi is also unwilling to reveal the history behind that junior of his. Could it be that you colluded with that youngster beforehand?"
Man Huzi glared back at him and bluntly mocked him, "Ridiculous, what do I have to reveal to you? What do I have to do with that youngster running off with the Heavenvoid Cauldron? I was busy escaping from everyone, but that isn't enough evidence to say that I helped him. Rather, you claim that Wu Chou is dead; who’s to say that's true? Perhaps you are actually filled to the brim with happiness."
"You…" Zenith Yin was seething with anger. His beloved grandson had died, and now he was being made out to be a scapegoat. He wasn't about to take this silently. But when he was about to engage in a furious argument, Qing Yi interrupted him in an attempt to alleviate tensions.
"Brother Man and Brother Wu have no reason to dispute. The ones who took the treasure were amongst those three. As for who it was, what do we care? That's secondary. What is most important is that we find them, regardless of if they are alive of dead. As of now, we've already setup a formation at the entrance to the the third floor, preventing them from escaping. Breaking into any of the secret rooms above the second floor is an impossibility for them. As they are all only early Core Formation cultivators, even if the three of them joined hands, they would be incapable of progressing through a room on the third floor or higher. Unless of course, they've lost their heads and decided to commit suicide in the attempt."
"However, we've searched the entirety of floors three through five without finding even a trace." Wan Tianming coldly said with a suspicious expression.
It wasn't just him; all three of the Righteous Dao cultivators were skeptical.
They had held voice transmission conversations several times already and believed the most likely explanation to be that the three Devil Dao eccentrics were playing an elaborate ruse. They had deliberately drawn them away and allowed their juniors to seize the Heavenvoid Cauldron. Thus, while the three felt great remorse, they also vigilantly watched the actions of the Devil Dao cultivators, completely unwilling to allow the Devil Dao cultivators to leave their sights.
The Devil Dao cultivators naturally understood the intentions of Wan Tianming's party. However, they were also burning with impatience, but could nothing. All they wanted to do was quickly find Han Li and the others so they could take the Heavenvoid Cauldron.
As the Nascent Soul cultivators were bitterly feuding in the Inner Halls, the Core Formation cultivators had already taken advantage of the chaos to escape with the treasure. If this news were to spread, they would become laughingstocks! Furthermore, how could they allow the Heavenvoid Caudron to fall into the hands of Han Li and the others?
Man Huzi was also at a loss as the Bone Sage wasn't acting in accordance with their earlier agreement. Could it be that he truly had fled with the cauldron? Were it a common Core Formation cultivator, it'd be impossible for them to break through the restrictions of a third floor secret room. However, if were the renegade Ghost Dao cultivator, the Bone Sage, it would be possible.
Although suspicions began to spring into his mind, Man Huzi didn't betray any of this in the slightest. But because he felt the need to muddy the waters to distance himself from this matter, he said with a cold tone, "Do you think it could be that the Star Palace elders still haven't left and had actually remained hidden nearby? When they saw us run out, they could've taken the chance to slay the three Core Formation cultivators and acquire the Heavenvoid Cauldron."
When they heard Man Huzi, they each looked at one another in dismay and then displayed pensive expressions.