When the several Ghost Spirit Sect cultivators met their end, an isolated room in the old base of the Masked Moon Sect opened to reveal a black-robed cultivator leaving seclusion.
When his many capable disciples simultaneously met a bitter end, the Nascent Soul eccentric was unable to continue seclusion in feigned ignorance. He wordlessly released several message talismans, delivering the news of his disciple's tragic end to several Ghost Spirit Sect branches across the State of Yue. He was about to personally set off and discover who it was that was so bold as to have killed Splintered Soul's disciples.
However, his actions were too little too late. Before the Ghost Spirit Sect and Devil Dao cultivators even started their large scale search, Han Li had already left the State of Yue and began to head north in the direction of the State of Yuan Wu.
Daoist Splintered Soul ultimately gained nothing. He merely had a rough impression that his disciples had been killed by an unknown Nascent Soul cultivator that had already left the country. As a result, he could do nothing despite his raging fury.
Ten days later, Han Yunzhi returned to the Grand Spirit Mountains in the State of Tian Luo where she kowtowed in front of a pitch-black stone room. She had personally delivered a rough explanation of what had happened and had presented herself before the old man, begging for forgiveness.
"You were detected over a hundred kilometers away? And you were the only survivor amongst our sect and the Ghost Spirit Sect cultivators as well?" The old man's words were asked with an odd tone.
"That is right Martial Senior. I and Junior Martial Sister Liu each fled for our lives, but I was the only one who managed to escape. The other's whereabouts are unclear but it is likely that they were also killed." For some unknown reason, Han Yunzhi decided to conceal the fact that this unknown Nascent Soul cultivator had recognized her. She merely mentioned her escape vaguely.
"Since this person was able to confine the Spirit Nascent, this person is most likely a Nascent Soul cultivator. But to be able to sense your movements past fifty kilometers is a fearsome feat indeed. According to what I know, there are but a few late Nascent Soul cultivators in the entirety of the Heavenly South. Could it be this person is one of those undying bastards?" The old man's voice grew sullen and contained a trace of deep dread.
"This is something that is unknown to Martial Niece. Because of this person's immensely powerful spiritual sense, I didn't dare to closely pursue him. I merely felt him leave the State of Yue from far away. He headed north through the State of Yuan Wu, towards the direction of the Righteous Dao and the Heavenly Dao Alliance. As such, Martial Niece didn't dare to follow him. In the end I was unable to identify who it was and could only return to the sect. Please forgive me, Martial Senior."
"You aren't at fault, what is there to forgive? If this person was truly a late Nascent Soul cultivator, the result would be the same even if I personally went. It must've been hard to survive. Because I didn't give it enough thought, I sent you and Liu Yu to track down the other party because of your secret sensing techniques. I didn't think of the possibility that you'd encounter a late Nascent Soul cultivator. As of current, we are incapable of detecting the Spirit Nascent's location, as wondrous as your secret technique may be. For the time being, just take some rest. Additionally, it seems Junior Martial Brother Han has left seclusion. Why don't you pay him a visit?"
"Many thanks for Martial Senior's understanding. Martial Niece will be taking her leave." With a curtsy and an inward sigh of relief, she respectfully departed.
When Han Yunzhi was no longer in sight, silence filled the room. A moment later, the old man turned to an empty corner of the room, "Do you believe your Junior Martial Sister to be telling the truth? If a late Nascent Soul stage cultivator truly appeared, there was no way that girl would've been able to escape by a fluke." The old man's voice became void of emotion as if he were someone entirely different.
A flash of light appeared from the corner as soon as the old man finished talking. A middle-aged man with thick eyebrows and large eyes respectfully answered, "Martial Senior, I used a secret technique to sense Junior Martial Sister Han's mood. It was calm for the most part. It was merely when she mentioned her escape that her heart was in turmoil. I reckon she was concealing something that had to do with her escape."
The old man released a long sigh and snorted. He gloomily said, "I thought the same. Were she not a descendant of Junior Martial Brother Han, I might've used a soul search technique on her to see what she is concealing. But out of consideration for her relationship with Junior Martial Brother Han, this vicious soul damaging technique cannot be used on her. After all, Junior Martial Brother Han is exceptionally fond of this particular descendant. He even exhausted much of his vitality to employ heaven-defying arts to cleanse her essence for the sake of allowing this girl to reach Core Formation.
"But since she didn't conceal anything particularly crucial, I am disinclined to pursue the matter. However, it is quite troublesome for the Wood Spirit Nascent to fall into this old fellow's hands. It is but a silver lining that it was the Wood Spirit Nascent that was captured, and not the other two Spirit Nascents. I recalled the Wood Spirit Nascent to only be a spare. Although it was slightly inferior, it was nurtured at the time for observation. I truly don't know whether or not there will come a day where a Five Element Spirit Nascent will come into existence."
The middle-aged man earnestly said, "The secret art of the Five Element Spirit Nascents is a magnificent technique that was originally lost by the sect. Were it not for the Earth Spirit Nascent that Martial Senior unintentionally refined a few years ago, I fear that the sect would still be unable to gather together the Five Element Spirit Nascents. So long as the Spirit Nascents are properly prepared, they are able to merge into a single disciple's body through the use of a secret technique.
"Not long from now, our Controlling Spirit Sect will come to suddenly possess five Nascent Soul cultivators, allowing us to contend with the Harmonious Bond Sect for the chief position in the Devil Dao. However, it is a pity that while they will possess a Nascent Soul cultivator's abilities, they will lack the lifespan of one. As for the Wood Spirit Nascent, it turned out that the Spirit Nascent was truly refined too early. It was the most violent amongst them and was tremendously brutal and difficult to tame. It was reported to have devoured the Nascent Soul of one of our sect's Nascent Soul cultivators long ago. It would've been extremely difficult to fuse it with a body, so it's actually rather fortunate that it was the one that was lost."
"Hehe! I am well aware. That Wood Spirit Nascent had somewhat managed to gain a consciousness over a thousand years ago. Moreover, it had snuck into the Hidden Scriptures Pavilion and snuck a glance at many secret techniques, allowing it to acquire vast and powerful abilities and escape its restrictions. If there hadn't been a late Nascent Soul cultivator elder that was standing guard at the time and had he not suppressed it in one fell swoop, a calamity would've been unleashed upon this world.
"However, I reckon that if this Spirit Nascent were to fuse with a disciple, they would possess the abilities of a mid Nascent Soul cultivator. Although it isn't very likely to occur, it still isn't something that can easily be given up. It's rather funny. Not only is it impossible to strengthen the Five Elements Spirit Nascent's Spiritual Power, but it is actually required to constantly weaken the Spirit Nascent's cultivation to prevent backlash to the disciple's soul when they merge with it. For that very reason, we sent a party to bring the Wood Spirit Nascent to cleanse its body of gold and wind in Gold Scarce Valley in the State of Yuan Wu."
When the middle-aged man heard this, he thought to say something as consolation, but he thought better of it and remained silent with a bitter smile on his face.
A month later, Han Li had finally arrived in the State of Xi and returned to his own cave residence. Han Li sighed and placed the woman surnamed Liu inside a meditation room before paying a visit to Mu Peiling.
Greatly satisfied to see that she was still in secluded cultivation, Han Li decided to pay a visit to the two elders of Drifting Cloud Mountain instead and let them know that he had returned.
The two Nascent Soul cultivators were happy to see Han Li and asked him what he was doing on his travels. Han Li skirted around the question and merely mentioned that he had killed a few Ghost Spirit Sect and Devilflame Sect Core Formation disciples on his travels. Rather than display any sign of worry, the two Nascent Soul cultivators praised him instead.
It appeared the two held deep grudges against the Righteous and Devil Dao. The silver-haired old man in particular had been forced to use a secret technique to preserve his life in a previous battle. This had caused great harm to his vitality that still hadn't recovered, so Han Li's actions had allowed them to vent their resentments vicariously.
Han Li felt even more at ease about the matter and had a chat with them for a long while before he returned to his cave residence. On his way back, he began to ponder over how he should deal with the white-clothed beauty.
When Cultivator Liu slowly awakened, she was absent-minded and her eyes were half opened. When she saw that there was a face so close to her own, she couldn't help but jump up and walk back until her back hit a wall.
At that moment, she discovered the owner of the face belonged to a beautiful young woman that was sweetly smiling at her. She glanced around to find herself in a sealed room. There was nothing in the room apart from a circular praying mat.
The woman happily said, "Fellow Daoist has awakened. If there is nothing wrong, I will be taking you to see Master."
Liu Yu's mind was still fuzzy and she still hadn't realized what was happening. She hesitantly asked, "Master? Who is he? Where is this place?"
Silvermoon examined the woman's startled figure and slowly said, "If you follow me, you'll have your answers. As for this place, it is the Dreamcloud Mountains in the State of Xi. You should know where that is!"
After a moment of thought, she immediately realized something and couldn't help but shout, "Dreamcloud Mountains in the State of Xi? You're a Heavenly Dao Alliance member!"