When Han Li quietly returned to the safe room, he discovered that the young disciples were still unconscious, lying disorderly around the floor.
Although their aptitudes were exceptional, they were still only low grade disciples. It was no surprise as to why they were overlooked during the moment of the climax of the battle.
Silvermoon had already transformed into Han Li, lying on the floor in an unconscious state. When she saw that he arrived, she immediately turned back into a fox and leaped into Han Li's sleeve.
Silvermoon chuckled and asked, "How was it? Did you acquire it? By the way, nobody came. It seems Fellow Daoist was being overly careful!"
Han Li insipidly said, "It went smoothly! However, it was still better to be careful than to allow myself to be revealed."
Silvermoon easily changed the topic and worriedly asked, "However, how will Brother Han explain his survival? This seems to be quite troublesome."
"How I will explain it? Just say the truth!" Han Li appeared to not take this matter very seriously and spoke carelessly.
"The truth?" Silvermoon spoke with bewilderment.
As if having already thought of this, Han Li calmly explained, "I'll just say that I previously bought a high grade illusion talisman and used it to save my life. Those who aren't skilled in the Dao of Illusions should be none the wiser and will take the excuse at face value."
Silvermoon soon chuckled, "Not bad. That is a rather good excuse."
The following moments were rather simple. After half a day, a yellow-clothed cultivator walked into the safe room with a solemn expression.
Seeing that all the disciples were unconscious, he sighed and formed an incantation gesture with his hands. With a flick of his finger, a streak of white light flew into each of the cultivator's bodies.
It was clear that the technique used to knock them out wasn't profound in the slightest. After a short moment, each of them regained consciousness and saw that the yellow-clothed cultivators had taken the place of Du Dong and Cultivator Bai. They grew relaxed in an instant.
Of course, when they saw that Han Li was intact and unharmed, they were greatly frightened. But Han Li soon took out an illusion talisman and gave an explanation that he had prepared in advance.
As expected, considering that few delved deeply into the Dao of Illusions, mostly no one raised any suspicions. As for the yellow-clothed cultivator, he merely glanced at Han Li in surprise and didn't further ask about it.
But for Sun Huo and Mu Peiling, they both wore a trace of doubt. After all, Du Dong had spoken to Han Li from the very start and even attacked Han Li immediately after revealing himself. It had left quite the impression on them.
Han Li wasn't particularly worried about their doubts. Since the two didn't have any proof, what could they possibly say? Besides, Du Dong's sudden attack was by no means a sign of friendliness!
With the absence of the Wine Nectar and the unknown fate of the dishevel-haired cultivator to refine the Brightsight Water, the matter of the Brightsight Water had dissolved.
As a result, the upper echelon of the three sects hurriedly announced the conclusion of the Sword Trial Assembly, only giving a magic tool to each of the final ten as compensation. The three sects then returned back to their owns sects without any intention of travelling together with each other's groups.
Seeing that their Core Formation Seniors wore such solemn and anxious faces, even an idiot would know that something drastic had happened while the ten finalists were left unconscious.
Although the low grade disciples were unsatisfied and gloomy, they could only obediently return to their sects.
Once Han Li and the others returned to the Drifting Cloud Sect, they were hastily summoned by the sect's higher echelon and were closely questioned on what had happened in the restricted area. After that, they were sent away with unsightly expressions and were ordered to keep silent.
Afterwards, Han Li came to realize that the three sects' plan to oust their spies had ended up an utter failure.
Not only did Dong Du and company manage to bring back the Wine Nectar to the Righteous and Devilish Dao with the assistance of the Heavenly Fiend Sect Master's incarnation, but they mostly managed to leave the State of Xi without any harm. However, Cultivator Bai had made a mistake and was promptly killed by Old Man Fu and the others.
As for when the Heavenly Fiend Sect Master's possession expired, the dishevel-haired cultivator was captured by the boy, and no one had heard of him since. It was unknown whether he was executed or spared.
The two Nascent Soul elders of the Drifting Cloud Sect and the three sect's various Core Formation cultivators had been ruthlessly attacked by the Devil Dao's Thousand Illusions Sect and the Heavenly Fiend Sect in an ambush. Not only were several Core Formation cultivators killed, but the Nascent Soul cultivator suramed Cheng was heavily injured. Although there is no worry for his life, his origin Qi was greatly damaged.
This matter had greatly shaken the three sects. They began to ferociously pressure the Righteous and Devil Dao sects through the Heavenly Dao Union, but they continued to deny this matter had ever occurred. As a result, nothing came to be, leaving the three sects' upper echelon with their hands tied.
But fortunately for them, through the Heavenly Dao Union's own spies in the Righteous and Devil Dao, they were able to discover that the Wine Nectar was ineffective. After using it to water the Profound Goddess' Palm, the tree remained in its withered state without change.
This information had brought a breath of relief to the Heavenly Dao Union.
Following these events, the three factions each became more vigilant and their peaceful attitude from the last hundred years began to grow tense. Conflict became a more likely possibility as time passed by.
As soon as Han Li finished reporting to the sect elders, he immediately returned to his cave residence. He headed straight to the room with the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng and planted the root of the Spirit Well Tree right next it. Since the two items were both spiritual objects born of heaven and earth, they might mutually nourish one another if they were placed close together.
In the following days after Han Li finished answering his fellow sect members about the Sword Trial Assembly, Han Li began to wholeheartedly cultivate. Perhaps due to the influence of the Sword Trial Assembly, he was finally able to breakthrough his bottleneck for the Great Development Technique. Han Li's cultivation then proceeded to advance as he simultaneously cultivated the Great Development Technique and the Azure Essence Sword Arts, much to his delight.
He clearly understood that the reason he was able to cultivate the Great Development Technique in such a smooth manner was most likely due to the Soul Nurturing Wood beads that he wore around his neck.
Ever since he wore the beads around his neck, his spiritual sense had been gradually growing larger regardless of any effort he made to temper it. This had allowed him to rapidly progress in the Great Development Technique in an unobstructed manner, as if he were refilling a pond that had already formed.
Additionally, every time he cultivated the Great Development Technique, the Soul Nurturing Wood beads would cause his spirit to feel refreshed, allowing him to achieve greater results with less strain and effort.
During this time, Han Li began to use the green liquid to mature the root of the Spirit Well Tree every few days. As a result of a few short months, a sapling began to shoot out from the root. It appeared it was only a matter of time before it grew as large as the Spirit Well Tree in the restricted area. Han Li reckoned that it would take twenty years of meticulous care.
However, he wasn't in a hurry. He would need many years before he could reach false Nascent stage. Furthermore, he already had a Spirit Tempering Pill on hand. It didn't matter if it would take any longer.
With that thought, Han Li imagined the moment when the black-robed youth looked through his storage pouch only to astonishingly discover that the Spirit Tempering Pill had disappeared. Han Li couldn't help but find it funny.
The most important reason why he had tried so hard to acquire the Spirit Well Tree was for the Brightsight Water. With his eyes cleansed from the Brightsight Water, he would gain an immense benefit in battle. Combined with his superior spiritual sense, he would be able to repeatedly decisively strike against his foes' weaknesses.
At the same time, it wasn't as if Han Li had given up on practicing pill refinement. He was still making his own preparations to eventually refine the Ninecurl Spirit Ginseng.
With this, time slowly passed by between bitter cultivation and pill refinement.
During this time, apart from some required social interaction, Han Li didn't take a single step from his cave residence. Amidst crucial moments for his cultivation that required focused seclusion, Han Li sent Silvermoon in his place to deal with the fellow sect members that occasionally paid him a visit.
Fortunately, Silvermoon's fox body had made rapid improvements in the wake of large consumptions of medicine pills. Her illusion techniques have become increasingly intricate, revealing not the slightest flaw.
As for Mu Peiling, she still held her doubts, but after Han Li returned to the Drifting Cloud Sect, only to maintain a low profile, her suspicions eventually faded away. She came to merely view Han Li as a completely ordinary Qi Condensation cultivator.
Consequently, Han Li became more at ease for staying at the Drifting Cloud Sect.
In the blink of an eye, Han Li had spent twenty years at the Drifting Cloud Sect as a Qi Condensation disciple.
The day that he was about to condense his Nascent Soul was just around the corner.