As soon as the party arrived before the stone gate, the yellow-clothed cultivator's command medallion dimmed and the passageway completely disappeared.
Facing the group, he indifferently commanded, "Follow." He turned around and began to form various hand incantations with his fingers. He then raised his arms and shot out a scarlet and a yellow radiance from his hands towards the huge stone gate.
Suddenly, talisman characters on the tightly-shut stone gate began to stir and the stone gate began to release a series of low-hums. The gate slowly opened to reveal a long passageway.
The yellow-clothed cultivator wordlessly stepped through and the others glanced at each other before closely following after him.
Han Li stood at the center of the disciples and was staring forward with great intensity. But in actuality, he was sweeping his spiritual sense across everything nearby.
This rectangular passageway was a man-made tunnel into the heart of the mountain. Not only were the walls smooth, but there would always be a few profound talisman characters every couple of steps. Although Han Li couldn't study them for the time being, he was certain they weren't there only for decoration.
The passageway couldn't have been considered long. After walking for only about three hundred meters, their surroundings brightened and they soon arrived at a tidy stone hall that was about two hundred meters wide and eighty meters tall.
The center of the stone hall had a meter tall limestone platform. There were ten lines perpendicularly crossing from each side. From the sets of black and white pieces arranged on the platform, it appeared to be a chess game during a most crucial moment.
There was an old man and a young boy that were sitting cross legged from each other on the platform. The old man appeared in his late fifties while the young boy appeared to be less than ten years old. From his flawless appearance, it appeared as if this were a perfect child that had reincarnated.
"Martial Uncle Lan! What is Senior doing here?" When Cultivator Bai saw the child, he suddenly shouted out in surprise. He then hastily saluted him.
"Martial Uncle Lan?"
The grey-robed old man and the Hundred Possibilities Pavilion cultivator were initially surprised to see the child there. But after hearing Cultivator Bai address him by name, their expressions greatly changed. Once they saw the boy's ponytail, bare feet, and golden band on his arm, they suddenly recalled the name of a legendary Senior.
"Juniors Du Bei and Yu Shan'an pays their respects to Senior Lan!" In their alarm, the two rushed to salute him.
"Stand. Didn't you notice that I am at a crucial point in the game with Martial Nephew Hu? Let's talk after I've finished my game." The boy's voice was as young as his appearance, but each of his words carried an aged tone filled with poise.
"As you bid!" Cultivator Bai and the other two Core Formation cultivators instantly acknowledged him and silently loitered nearby, not daring to appear sullen in the slightest.
As for the old man playing chess with the boy, he wryly smiled at the three but remained silent. As for the yellow-robed cultivator, he respectfully stood behind the boy as if he were differentially waiting upon him.
When the young cultivators heard their three martial ancestors suddenly call out to the boy as Martial Uncle, they became restless. They instantly realized what this had meant and they all stared at the boy with anxious hearts.
In the instant Han Li saw the boy, he felt his heart drop. This was a genuine early Nascent Soul cultivator. Why did he appear here?
However, he soon recovered his calm. While he wasn't currently an opponent for an early Nascent Soul cultivator, it wouldn't be any problem for him to escape from him. Additionally, he was confident that the Nascent Soul cultivator wasn't here for him.
With that in mind, Han Li began to plan for any contingencies that may occur.
In the end, the boy and the Old Man played for a quarter hour more before the old man stepped back from the chessboard and respectfully said, "Senior Lan's chess skills are excellent. This disciple concedes defeat!"
A trace of happiness appeared on the boy's face, but his gaze soon turned and he doubtfully said, "Martial Nephew Hu, you didn't deliberately lose to me, right? We agreed that you wouldn't hold back against me."
When the old man heard this, his face appeared to have grown longer and he hurriedly said, "Junior wouldn't dare to deceive Senior. It is just that Senior's chess skills have made massive improvements."
The boy smiled and said, "Hehe, I also feel that my chess skills have made quite the improvement from before. It seems that it was quite worth it to practice against those mortal chess masters."
The boy's smile then faded away as he changed the topic, "Alright, let's put the chess pieces away. There is business to attend to."
He turned turned around to face the cultivators that were waiting on him. After sweeping his gaze past the Core Formation cultivators, his gaze dropped onto the scholarly man's face.
The boy leisurely asked, "Martial Nephew Bai, how many years has it been since you've entered the Ancient Sword Sect?"
Cultivator Bai's face revealed slight puzzlement, but he sincerely answered, "This Junior entered the sect over a hundred years ago."
A strange expression flickered from the boy's eyes and he sighed, "A hundred years! It must've been quite tough for you."
The scholarly man's expression changed and he forced a smile, "Martial Uncle, what do you mean?"
The boy stared at the scholarly man and he said with an icy tone, "What do I mean? As the succeeding disciple of the Righteous Dao's Overwhelming Pavilion Sect Master, your esteemed self has maintained you cover in the Ancient Sword Sect for quite the while. Haven't you had any thoughts of visiting your master?"
When Cultivator Bai heard the boy, his complexion instantly paled.
The other two Core Formation cultivators revealed shock from their eyes and unconsciously took several steps back from Cultivator Bai.
"Fellow Daoist Bai, is Senior Lan speaking the truth?" The middle-aged cultivator asked with disbelief.
Cultivator Bai's face fluctuated between red and white, unable to give an excuse. After wearing an unsightly expression, the scholarly man said, "Since Martial Uncle has already fully investigated me, there is no use in denying this. However, I will not wait by and idly allow myself to be captured!"
As soon as he said that last word, his body flashed with white light and he shot towards the disciples behind him. His glowing white hand was reaching out towards the black-clothed youth Meng Di who possessed the Ninesword Spirit Constitution!
"What are you doing?!" The two Core Formation cultivators furiously shouted. Their bodies flickered with radiance and they moved to rescue Meng Di, but they were clearly too late.
However, Meng Di managed to react in his alarm, and he raised his hand to fiercely release a dense strike of sword Qi.
Unfortunately, there was too great a difference in their cultivations. The sword Qi wasn't able to injure Cultivator Bai in the slightest and dissipated in an instant. But before Meng Di was captured by the him, Cultivator Bai's body suddenly trembled and he fell flat on the ground. The light shining from his hand had disappeared without a trace.
Meng Di couldn't help but blankly stand in place. He was at a completely loss.
The boy expressionlessly rubbed his small hands and snorted, "Your sect's Grand Qi Hand has been well refined. But still you forget that I didn't come here only to play chess."
Apart from Han Li, no one else in the room had noticed how the boy had restrained the scholarly man.
Han Li narrowed his eyes as he watched the scholarly man fall to the floor and then looked at the boy with an odd gaze in his eyes.
In the same moment Cultivator Bai took action, Han Li made an astonishing discovery that a red string had suddenly shot out from the boy. As a result, the string shot into the scholarly man's body and he promptly collapsed.
He had initially believed this to be a flying needle magic treasure, but under his spiritual sense, he astonishedly noticed that the red string was made of a dense, icy Qi. Much to Han Li's amazement, this string was actually refined from sword Qi!
He had previously heard that once talented sword cultivators reached a certain stage of cultivation, they were able to transform sword Qi into string as they desired, turning it into a battle-deciding attack! This was the first time he had witnessed this. It was unfathomable just how sword Qi was able to reach this stage.
The boy turned to the old man he was playing chess with and said, "Martial Nephew Hu, lock him up in the dragon cave. Keep him alive. Your Seniors still have a use for him!"
The long-faced old man felt his heart tremble and he acknowledged his words. He stepped over to the fallen cultivator Bai and carried him over to the side of the room, disappearing without a trace.
Han Li's gaze then turned to look at Du Dong. He did notice that his expression was calm, but under closer scrutiny, Han Li discovered that he was holding his hands in a fist.
When Han Li saw this, he faintly smiled and paid him no more attention.