Han Li rejoiced at seeing the bronze lantern seized, much to the green-robed woman's despair. In an instant, her face paled with an expression of furious alarm. Soon after, she raised her arms, sweeping a white mist around her. The white lotus below her began to wildly revolve, producing a lotus mirage that appeared as large as a mountain.
Once the white light holding the lantern returned to the cloud, the huge lotus mirage had already launched after it in pursuit. The purple cloud then transformed into a large purple net and dropped down. In the next instant, the lotus struck the net, releasing a glow of purple and white light. Silvermoon's sweet chuckle soon followed.
After the purple net was released, the white light faded away to reveal Silvermoon. She laughed as she held onto the ancient flower basket. Its interior shined with white light as it rigidly trapped the bronze lantern. Once the green-robed woman's spiritual sense was wiped from it, it would be capable of being used by anyone.
But before Han Li could bask in his excitement, a silhouette staggered towards them and spotted both Han Li and the green-robed woman engaged in battle. The silhouette shouted to Han Li in panic, "Fellow Daoist Han, quickly run! A Moulan Divine Sage has arrived. He's already killed Fellow Daoist Lu. Hurry and run!" This silhouetted turned out to be Old Man Ma, but his hair was disheveled and one of his arms was missing.
"A Moulan Divine Sage?" Han Li felt his heart drop upon hearing this. Just as he thought to ask further of the matter, Old Man Ma flew away in a flash of white light, not daring to stay a moment longer. But at that moment, an indifferent man's voice soon arrived.
"You're too late! I've already found you. You had abandoned your arm to escape calamity, but let's see what other secret techniques you have. Surely you didn't refine a substitution puppet out of your other arm as well? If that's the case, I will truly hold you in admir— Yi!? Is this not the bright essence lantern? You cunning scoundrel, your courage is quite great. A little fox such as yourself dares to take a lineage treasure of the Moulan?" The words were spoken in quick succession and the speaker of the voice soon arrived before them.
A silver streak of light shot out from the sea of mist in a seemingly slow manner, but it instantly arrived before Silvermoon.
Silvermoon's complexion grew deathly pale and she hastily waved her arm, summoning a purple net in front of her. At that same moment, she instantly took off without a further thought.
The silver streak paused for just a moment before immediately transforming into a large silver hand. It forcibly took the Purple Cloudlace in its grasp and formed a fist before striking at the air in the direction that Silvermoon had fled.
As Silvermoon flew off in a streak of yellow light, she was suddenly struck by a silver ball of light out of seemingly nowhere. With a miserable wail, her yellow light disappeared and she felt from the sky. But in her cunning, she gritted her teeth and bore through the pain, throwing the ancient flower basket towards Han Li in a streak of white light.
"You're courting death!" The man's voice grew furious and in a flicker of light, the silver hand split into two with one chasing the flower basket, and the other chasing after the falling Silvermoon in an attempt to crush her. The action was conducted as swiftly as a flash of lightning.
Silvermoon turned pale with fright and she hastily attempted to draw on her magic power to escape. However, silver light flashed from her body and she found herself incapable of drawing any of her magic power. That surprise strike from before had not only heavily injured her, but it had placed a simple restriction on her body. Although it could be easily broken, she was caught by surprise and didn't have the time to dispel it.
The huge silver hand approached her with the momentum of a falling mountain, and she felt her heart tremble. She could only shut her eyes as she waited for death, but at that moment, she heard thunder roar behind her. With an arm holding her by the waist, she had somehow escaped from the silver hand's grasp.
"We're going!" Han Li made a clear appearance before disappearing from sight with Silvermoon in tow. The huge silver hand had missed its mark by just a sliver.
In the next moment, Han Li appeared a hundred meters away at the edge of the mist with a sullen expression. He carried Silvermoon in one hand, and the huge sword blazing with azure and purple flames in the other.
"Yi! Lightning movement!" An astonished voice came from the huge silver hand. As for the other hand, it returned with the flower basket in its grasp. The two silver hands then combined together in a brilliant glow of light, disappearing to reveal a middle-aged spell warrior in scholar robes. He held onto the Purple Cloudlace with one hand, and he grabbed the ancient flower basket with the other. He was examining Han Li in the distance with a calm expression.
When Old Man Ma had seen this person appear, his face became deathly pale, and despite the light that continuously pulsed from his body, he didn't dare to flee.
Han Li's gaze flickered as he carefully examined the very first late Nascent Soul-stage cultivator he had seen for the first time. Apart from the few sparse cultivators that manage to reach Deity Transformation stage, late Nascent Soul stage cultivators were peak existances in the cultivation world.
At that moment, the middle-aged spell warrior glanced around and spotted the green-robed woman surnamed Le. With a wave of his hand, he tossed the ancient flower basket containing the bronze lantern towards her.
"Many thanks for Divine Sage Zhong's assistance. Had Brother Zhong not come..." The green-robed woman was delighted that she managed to regain possession of the bronze lamp and felt immense relief. Even as arrogant and cold as she may be, she was facing one of the three Moulan Divine Sages, and she didn't dare to offend him in the slightest.
The scholarly middle-aged man calmly said, "It's nothing. I've simply heard that the Heavenly South cultivators were sending reinforcements towards this grand formation. After hearing about Heavenweep's death, I grew somewhat worried and came over to take a look. It'd be best to give those from the State of Great Jin a reasonable explanation as we are currently intertwined with them. But since our enemy is capable of using lightning movement, it is no wonder even Sage Le has a problem dealing with him."
Afterwards, he turned to look at Han Li and asked, "That small fox is yours? It is quite courageous to dare to act against our Moulan's lineage treasure. Since you're her master, then I'd best deal with the both of you."
Han Li narrowed his eyes and took a deep breath. He snorted and icily replied, "Your tone is quite arrogant, but even if we didn't touch that lantern, would you still let us go free? I don't know if you have the skill to take my life."
When the scholarly man heard this, his gaze swept past the huge sword in Han Li's hand. His face revealed astonishment upon seeing the azure and purple flames tangle against one another, but soon, he chuckled as if he hadn't seen it. "It has been many years since a cultivator dared to say that in front of me. Sage Le, I'll hand that one-armed cultivator over there to you. As for our young friend capable of lightning movement, I'll be personally dealing with him. Let's see just how long he can last."
Ruthless intent revealed from the man's face as his body suddenly blurred and silver light flashed from both his sides. Suddenly, two exact replicas of the scholarly man appeared at his side with the exact same clothes and face. They both stared at Han Li as if he were already dead.
Han Li felt his breath run cold. He quickly swept his spiritual sense and couldn't find any difference between the two incarnations and the original. Be it their aura of cultivation or appearance, they were completely the same. Despite the dread he felt in his heart, Han Li patted Silvermoon's shoulder and quickly whispered something to her.
Silvermoon obediently nodded. Having already dispelled the restriction on her body, she returned to the form of a small fox in a flash of white light and swiftly entered Han Li's sleeve.
At that moment, the three scholarly men swept their sleeves and slowly made their way towards Han Li. Their movements clearly appeared relaxed, but in a matter of only three steps, they had already arrived only thirty meters away from Han Li.
With a vastly changed expression, Han Li flapped his wings without another moment of thought and disappeared from sight.
"You want to leave, but where can you run?" The middle of the three scholarly men said with a chuckle. Afterwards, the three of them flickered with silver light, and pursued him with a relaxed stride. With two steps taken in the air, the three of them also disappeared.
When the pale Old Man Ma saw this, he suddenly lept away at great speed, wordlessly transforming into a streak of white light as he tore through the skies.
The green-robed woman sneered at the sight of this and formed an incantation gesture with her hands before chasing after him in a breeze of wind. She no longer had any worry of Han Li, knowing that a Divine Sage was chasing after him. Additionally, this old cultivator wasn't capable of lightning movement, so he definitely wouldn't be able to escape her. As for the grand formation in the area, it was hardly effective against a Nascent Soul cultivator. Its restrictions were easily swept away.
In a empty wilderness with a darkened sky, claps of thunder echoed through the air with flashes of silver light, each flash revealing the figure of a distraught Han Li. He was hurriedly glancing behind him with an expression of resentment.
"Silvermoon, how many days have we fled?"
Silvermoon's voice worriedly spoke in Han Li's mind, "It should be about four days already. If master rests for more than a few minutes, this late Nascent Soul-stage cultivator will immediately catch up. Is there truly no way to escape his spiritual sense mark? This is far too dangerous. Although you have the Myriad Year Spirit Milk to restore your magic power, you've almost exhausted your Divine Devilbane Lightning. Without the lightning movement, you won't be able to escape his pursuit and movements. Such profound abilities are on par with instantaneous movement itself; there are hardly any differences to be said. Were it not for Master's shrewdness to completely avoid fighting and continuously flee, we would've been tangled down without a method of escape."
Han Li wryly smiled and resentfully said, "The trace of a late Nascent Soul-stage spiritual sense can be tracked down by a couple hundred of kilometers. Although my own spiritual sense is beyond that of a mid Nascent Soul-stage cultivator, it is still quite lacking to a true late Nascent Soul-stage cultivator. After all, I didn't learn the Great Development Technique to completion. I haven't been able to get my hands on the last layers of the technique. Once this chase ends, I'll immediately head to the far west and find the final layers of that chant with certainty. In the past, I've never had this problem because my spiritual sense was always superior to my opponents. But now, my hands are tied and I find myself helpless in spite of whatever methods I use."