Chapter 505: Ling Yuling
Han Li felt somewhat astonished upon hearing the person's voice.
The sea beneath him rippled and flashed with white light before revealing a cultivator slowly flying out from the sea.
The new arrival wore the white attire of the Star Palace, possessed long black hair, and had an emerald-green headband embedded with jade.
Upon being able to clearly see the person's appearance, Han Li revealed slight amazement.
The person had flawless white skin, thick dark eyebrows, delicate red lips, pointed eyes, and a thin nose. The Star Palace cultivator was undoubtedly beautiful, but what shocked Han Li was that he couldn't tell whether the person was a man or a woman.
If this person was a woman, one might say that her mouth formed a natural smile and that her every movement carried a trace of confidence and ease. If one were to say the person was a man, then one might say that his beautiful appearance held an unconcealable charm, one that proved fatally attractive towards other men.
"Although I do not know your esteemed name, I am grateful for your rescue. I am the Star Palace's External Affairs Enforcer, Ling Yuling." While the person's voice was pleasant, it was neutral in pitch. This caused Han Li to frown and feel apprehension.
This person reminded him of the Harmonious Bond Sect's Young Master Tian 1 from the Heavenly South Region's Devil Dao. But after some more thought, he felt that they were completely different. While Young Master Tian may have been extremely gorgeous, his mannerisms and voice were clearly that of a man.[TL Note: Since there are no gender neutral singular pronouns in English, Ling Yuling will be addressed as 'he', despite having an indeterminate gender.]
As for this Ling Yuling fellow, although "his" actions were that of a man's, he held an indescribably effeminate aura. Moreover, with the deep magnetism in his voice, it was even more difficult to differentiate him as a man or woman.
"I am Han Li. My previous actions took but a slight effort. Had they not forced my hand, I wouldn't have attacked them." Although he still felt shocked, he didn't reveal any hint of it on his face.
"Regardless, I am still very grateful towards you." Ling Yuling smiled sweetly, casually producing a flirtatious charm.
Han Li felt his heart coldly tremble. As he still didn't know whether or not he was a man or a woman, he could only turn a blind eye toward Ling Yuling's beauty.
Ling Yuling retrieved his smile with eyes flickering in thought. He then solemnly said, "Is the reason why Fellow Daoist is in a hurry because he wishes to go to Heavenly Star City? The city should've already been locked down, and it would be quite difficult to enter. If Fellow Daoist is willing, I would be happy to take you into the city as compensation for your rescue."
When Ling Yuling said this, Han Li felt somewhat surprised. But after some thought, he realized that he had already displayed his lack of association with the Starfall Coalition when he killed two of their cultivators.
As such, Ling Yuling took the initiative to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Han Li slowly replied with a bright expression, "My cave residence was setup in Heavenly Star City, and I was in a hurry to return because of it. I must thank Fellow Daoist Ling for the trouble. Else, I may have been unable to enter the city."
Ling Yuling beamingly smiled in response with bright, seductive eyes. "You're too kind. Since Fellow Daoist was able slay those two without hesitation, you naturally won't need any identification to enter the city. Our Star Palace welcomes you! However, those two weren't the only cultivators in pursuit of me, nor were they the strongest. We had best hurry on our way."
Han Li remained silent and nodded in response. The two then flew off towards Heaven Star City as streaks of light.
Along the way, Han Li curiously examined the other cultivator.
As Ling Yuling's white clothes were slightly loose, Han Li wasn't able to make out any female or male characteristics from the outside. Upon closer inspection, he discovered that Ling Yuling didn't have a protrusion from his throat2. However, this wasn't enough to to definitely prove that he was a woman. To the best of his knowledge, there were a few peculiar cultivation arts that reversed one's Yin and Yang, altering portions of one's gender characteristics.
'This person wouldn't be cultivating such a technique, right?' Han Li strangely thought.
Having noticed Han Li's gaze, the beautiful person charmingly smiled towards Han Li, causing him to turn his head away in embarrassment.
"Fellow Daoist possesses two ancient treasures, and seems to be favored by the Heavens. Although I've had the fortune to see many magic treasures, I've never seen one with abilities such as your copper bands. I wonder what are their origins." As Ling Yuling flew in a streak of light, he casually mentioned Han Li's ancient treasures for some reason.
Han Li replied vaguely, "It's nothing. I have merely had more opportunities than ordinary cultivators." There was no way he would so easily divulge the truth.
"Hehe, but Fellow Daoist did kill two similar grade cultivators by himself and can't possibly be a common character. Would you be interested in joining our Star Palace? I can give you a recommendation." Seeing that Han Li didn't want to answer, he didn't push the issue and casually changed the subject to recruiting him instead.
When Han Li heard this, he couldn't help but frown. This Ling Yuling was quite difficult to handle. They had yet to arrive at the city and he'd already started to raise some serious questions. Any cultivators that joined the Star Palace now would become cannon fodder, but if he refused, would he still be granted access into the city? His own words would ensnare him.
After a moment of thought, Han Li sighed and spoke with deliberation, "Although I've looked up to the Star Palace for quite some time, the Exquisite Sound Sect has treated me exceptionally well. I'm afraid I cannot leave my post as the Exquisite Sound Sect's guest elder in the coming years. I am truly sorry!" Han Li shamelessly used the Exquisite Sound Sect as an excuse to refuse.
"It is no matter. I feel much admiration towards Fellow Daoist Han's exceptional loyalty. However, our Star Palace will always be willing to welcome individuals such as yourself into our ranks." Ling Yuling didn't reveal any dissatisfaction at Han Li's tactful refusal. Instead, he faintly smiled and started to chat with Han Li about a few hidden rumors and interesting stories of the Scattered Star Seas. He tactfully avoided re-mentioning any matters pertaining to the Star Palace and Starfall Coalition.
Han Li was quite happy at Lin Yuling's quick change in attitude, allowing him some time to relax.
As they idly chatted on their way, they eventually spotted Heavenly Star City and rejoiced. But before they managed to get close to the island, a squad of five cultivators appeared before them from seemingly out of nowhere.
Their leader was a sallow-faced middle-aged early Core Formation cultivator. The other four cultivators were all at Foundation Establishment.
"We pay respects to Enforcer Ling!" Upon recognizing Ling Yuling, the four Foundation Establishment cultivators flew forwards and respectfully saluted him.
It seemed this androgynous person held quite the reputation in the Star Palace.
The sallow-faced cultivator revealed pleasant surprise and asked, "Junior Martial Brother Ling, are you alright? Senior Martial Brother was quite worried upon hearing that Southclear Island had been ambushed. Hm? Who might this Fellow Daoist be?" The sallow-faced cultivator then turned his sights on Han Li and suspiciously examined him.
Ling Yuling spoke with a serene expression, "I was pursued by two Starfall Coalition cultivators along the way, but thankfully, Fellow Daoist Han came to my rescue. As Fellow Daoist Han's cave residence was established in Heavenly Star City, I've brought him back here. There should be no problem in allowing Fellow Daoist Han into the city, yes?"
Not knowing whether it was due to fatigue from the rush to the city or some internal injuries, Han Li saw that Ling Yuling's face had grown somewhat pale, causing him to appear somewhat fragile.
"Since he is someone who saved the life of Junior Martial Brother Ling, this will be no problem at all. Junior Martial Brother Ling, are you injured?"
When Han Li saw the sallow-faced cultivator's extremely concerned expression, his heart stirred.
"It is nothing. Although they struck me with a magic treasure, I had the protection of my Heavenly Fragrance Chain, and didn't suffer much damage." Ling Yuling's beautiful face faintly blushed, but his expression still remained calm.
After a moment of hesitation, the sallow-faced man took a small bottle from his body and politely passed it over to him, "I have a Heaven Spirit Pill that was refined from a secret formula. Junior Martial Brother Ling, please take it and prevent any lasting damage to your vital energies."
When Ling Yuling saw this, his expression sank as if he were about to become angry. But he soon thought of something and instead smiled with passionate eyes, saying, "Then Junior Marital Brother must thank Senior Martial Brother for the medicine. I must first head into the palace and report on Southclear Island. I'm afraid I must ask Senior Marital Brother to help Fellow Daoist Han into the city. As he is my saviour, Senior Martial Brother must treat him properly." Ling Yuling then smiled, taking the bottle with his slim, flawless hand in a very graceful manner. In that moment, it appeared he was undoubtedly a woman.
The sallow-faced cultivator revealed excitement as if he were honored to hear Ling Yuling's pleasant words. "It is not a problem. Since Elder Wang is on duty, he won't make things difficult for Junior Martial Brother," he then slapped his chest and pledged, "Please don't hesitate to leave Fellow Daoist Han with me."
When Han Li saw this, a strange expression flickered from his eyes.
Was this person a woman or not?! Why else would the sallow-faced man appear so infatuated with Ling Yuling?
Han Li's heart was in great turbulence.The 'gorgeous man' first introduced in chapter 257. http://www.wuxiaworld.com/rmji-index/rmji-chapter-257/ ↩ Commonly known as an adam's apple ↩