Without much effort, Han Li spotted the owner of the voice. About forty meters in front of him, there was a young, black-clothed woman sitting cross-legged on a stone platform.
The woman had a graceful appearance, but her complexion was deathly pale and her luminous eyes seemed to glow with sparkling light. Han Li was shocked to see that one of her sleeves was empty. She was missing an arm.
Before Han Li said anything, the young woman revealed shock upon seeing Han Li release his magic treasures.
The young woman chuckled and her bright eyes stirred. "So it turned out that your esteemed self wasn't a Qi Condensation Junior, but a Core Formation cultivator. Your Qi Restraint Technique is truly impressive. It even tricked me for a moment."
As she sat, the Snowcloud Fox was comfortably sitting in her lap and was curiously examining Han Li with an intelligent gaze.
After sweeping his spiritual sense past her, Han Li's heart trembled. "So it turned out that this was Senior's hidden cultivation area. I am truly lacking in manners."
She appeared to be rather open and allowed his spiritual sense to easily sweep past her. He wasn't able to discover the slightest spiritual Qi fluctuations. From what he had gathered based on her abilities and tone, this indicated that her cultivation was truly too great, not that she had some sort of cultivation concealing treasure.
Han Li grew greatly vigilant.
As Han Li pondered over how to deal with the situation, the young woman raised her flawless pale hand and caressed the Snowcloud Fox. She leisurely said, "It appears that your age is quite young yet you've already reached late Core Formation stage. That is quite exceptional."
Han Li took a deep breath and calmly said, "Senior flatters me. Junior was only able to reach this stage through sheer luck. Might I know Senior's esteemed name?"
The young woman sighed and said, "My name isn't anything special. If I said it, you wouldn't know of it. Let alone you, even this generation's Nascent Soul cultivators wouldn't know of it."
When Han Li heard this, he felt a bitter taste in his mouth. Could it be that this young woman was an old eccentric that had remained isolated in her cultivation?
Although Han Li's heart grew cold, he didn't reveal the slightest trace of panic. After all, he now possessed a great number of secret techniques, especially the recently learned Bloodshadow Evasion Technique. With this, Han Li no longer held much fear towards Nascent Soul cultivators. Of course, Han Li knew he'd be no match for one in a fight, but he was confident he could escape. However, the aftermath of igniting a large quantity of blood essence would force him to remain in secluded cultivation for many years.
That being said, Han Li had no idea why this mysterious character had hidden herself beneath the three sects. Was it because she had some sort of plot in mind, or was she like himself, only wishing to cultivate in a place with dense spiritual Qi?
Han Li swept his gaze around the stone room and astonishedly discovered that this room inside the mountain was sealed, and lacked any doors or passageways. Additionally, apart from the stone platform that the young woman was sitting on, there wasn't any other furniture. The room's emptiness gave an extremely icy impression.
Han Li also discovered that the room's walls were extremely crude, unlike the common clean cuts of a blade. Rather, these uneven surfaces seemed to come from the wanton swings of a huge axe.
As soon as he saw this, a strange expression flickered in his eyes. As if having seen through Han Li's confusion, the young woman suddenly smiled and said, "Since Fellow Daoist is puzzled, why not touch the stone walls and dispel your doubts?"
When Han Li heard this, his heart stirred. He was truly curious. His recent scan with his spiritual sense discovered nothing strange. The room's walls appeared no different than ordinary stone. "Since Senior has raised the topic, I won't be restraining myself."
He slowly reached his left hand towards the stone wall. But to be careful, Han Li continued to observe the young woman with his spiritual sense, fearing she would launch an attack out of greed. Although she hadn't shown any malice, Han Li had lived through many years of hardship and had grown to become extremely careful.
When Han Li felt the stone wall, he noticed nothing strange. Then after some thought, he extended his finger and had a streak of azure swordlight emerge from the tip of his finger.
Han Li stabbed his finger into the wall and shockingly discovered that the stone wall had completely blocked the attack. All that had resulted was a crackle when the light touched the wall.
Han Li was dumbstruck, but at the same time, a trace of disbelief arose in his mind. His spiritual power surged as he suddenly struck the stone wall with a foot long swordstreak.
As a result, the wall remained completely unharmed without even the slightest scratch.
Han Li remained silent as an odd expression flickered across his face. He then pointed to one of his flying swords and had it strike the wall as an azure streak. Afterwards, it flew back with a clear ring.
The strike had left an inch deep cut but the wall started to slowly smooth itself. After a short moment, the cut had disappeared without a trace.
Han Li gasped in shock and couldn't help but turn his head towards her, asking, "What is this? How can it restore itself? Could it be that Senior placed it under the influence of a restriction or spell?"
The young woman indifferently said, "Spells? Restrictions? You think too highly of me; this is merely Lapis Stone. Also known as Spirit Absorbing Stone, it is an incredibly rare tool refinement material. It is impervious to the spiritual power of magic techniques and treasures, and only great strength can harm it."
Han Li faintly frowned and turned back towards the stone wall. He slowly said, "Lapis Stone? This Junior is quite inexperienced and ignorant. I haven't heard of such a material before."
The young woman casually explained, "Hehe, it is natural for Fellow Daoist to not hear of this material. This material was incredibly rare even during the era of antiquity, and there aren't many that presently know of it."
When Han Li heard this, he was flabbergasted. Just as he thought to say something else, the young woman sweetly smiled and interrupted him, "Although Fellow Daoist's cultivation is nearing the false Nascent stage, your aptitude seems inferior. No, it would be better to say that it is terrible. It seems you've come across fateful encounters to be able to reach this stage of cultivation. Otherwise, your greatest efforts would've only taken you to the Foundation Establishment stage. Meeting me could also be considered an act of fate. If you don't find the idea undesirable, this elder has a treasure that I can lend to you."
As soon as Han Li heard her, he revealed a odd expression, "Lend this Junior a treasure?"
As if seeing through Han Li's suspicions, her expression sunk and she coldly said, "Of course, there will be conditions. First, this item will only be lent. You will have to return it. Secondly, after taking the treasure, there is something you must carry out on my behalf as payment for it."
She rummaged through her robes for a moment before taking out a jade box in her hand.
The jade box was pitch-black and only the size of a fist. Its exterior was incredibly rough and crude, but there was a trace of yellow within the black. It seemed to be incredibly old.
Han Li glanced at the young woman's face before turning his gaze back to the black case. Still silent, his expression fluctuated for a moment as he pondered for a moment. He then gravely asked, "Could Senior first tell this Junior what is inside the box before he decides?"
Upon seeing Han Li's hesitation, the black-clothed woman revealed a trace of impatience. With her brow raised, she pointed at the black box and said, "Surely you must know what a spirit well is. This box happens to hold a spirit well stone of the highest rank, known as a jade spirit well. At the very least, its spiritual Qi should allow you to further stabilize your cultivation at the false Nascent stage. It will allow you to condense a Nascent Soul with greater ease. This treasure has been with me for many years. If not for my current cultivation and my current inability to further use it, I wouldn't be lending it to you."
With that said, she stroked the black jade box with a reluctant expression.
"Jade spirit well!" Han Li's expression changed several times. This would cut down the time it would take for him to reach false Nascent stage by two-thirds! He completely swallowed his original words to reject her.
After some hesitation, Han Li sighed and said, "Might I ask what Senior would like Junior to do? If you can't do something with your current cultivation, how could I possibly help you?!"
The young woman revealed an expression of joy seeing that Han Li was willing to agree. "Be at ease! I'm not asking you to kill someone. I'm only asking you to run errands. Although my cultivation is great, I cannot depart from this room for a certain reason. I only want you to deliver a letter for me."
"You only wish for me to deliver a letter?" This was completely beyond his expectations.
"Of course. Did you really believe that I'd have you kill someone?" The black-clothed woman covered her smile, revealing an overwhelming allure.