Long Han erected a soundproofing barrier and took out several small flags, forming a barrier of mist around them. Han Li couldn't help but ponder in silence at the sight of this.
There weren't many cultivators present. Leaving out the several eccentrics still stuck inside the blood barriers, there were a little over twenty people. These people represented many of the factions fighting in the battle.
Master Sunreach asked, "Fellow Daoist Long, what has happened? Why do the Moulan no longer wish to fight?"
Wei Wuya said in a doubtful tone, "It is strange. Matters have already reached past that point. Do they have some vain illusion of making peace?"
Long Han bitterly smiled and said, "It isn't some vain illusion. I fear we may not have the option to choose."
Devil Concord frowned and asked with an astonished tone, "How can that be? Has another party interfered with the war?"
Long Han sullenly said, "That's right. The Soaring Tribes have attacked. It is also said that they've joined forces with several sects from the Jin Empire, jointly attacking the Moulan. The greatest of the Moulan Tribes was stationed behind as a rear guard, watching over their homeland, but they were completely annihilated in only a month. News of this had been obstructed so well that the other tribes had no idea of this. It seems the Soaring Tribes wishes to sweep us both away and take our Heavenly South continent for themselves."
When the other cultivators heard this, their hearts grew sullen and silence filled the air. Han Li frowned as well, feeling that matters have taken a turn for the worse. A tiger may have approached them from the front, but there were wolves lying in wait the entire time.
Daoist Shattered Soul snorted. "Is this information true? It is quite far between the Soaring Tribes and our Heavenly South Continent. Are they not simply bluffing?"
"It can't be. Eccentric Heavenvenge and the other cultivators to infiltrate Soaring Heavens City were defeated. It is said that the Soaring Tribes spies had the same intentions as our own; they sent a group of cultivators to infiltrate Soaring Heavens City and pillage the Moulan's storehouse. As a result, Eccentric Heavenvenge came across them, leading to an unexpected discovery." Then with a helpless tone, Long Han continued, "With regards to the battle, I'm sure everyone understood that the fully deployed forces of the Moulan were slightly inferior to our own, but they carried a dying resolve. Were it not for Fellow Daoist Han's vast display of might in dealing with the Copper-armored Corpses and the Moulan's Sacred Bird, I fear we would've suffered a huge loss. Although the powers of the Heavenly South had done their utmost, the various sects have all left behind nearly half of their disciples to guard their bases. Had they joined the war, we would've been able to completely wipe away the Moulan spell warriors, but that would've resulted in a huge loss in strength. With the Soaring Tribes soon to come, we would've been completely powerless to resist them."
Many of the cultivators who hadn't known Han Li had both dealt with the refined corpses and the azure Sacred Bird couldn't help but glance at him in astonishment. Han Li calmly turned a blind eye to their gazes.
Wei Wuya gloomily snorted and coldly said, "The Moulan wanted to seize our domain. How can there be talks for peace? Don't tell me we're truly giving them half of our land?"
Long Han said, "That is absolutely out of the question! However, we can hand over two countries that border the Moulan Plains over to them. As such, the Moulan will bear the brunt of the assault from the Soaring Tribes. Since they are mortal enemies, there is no chance of betrayal from the Moulan. Of course, given how powerful the Soaring Tribes are, we will have to cooperate with the Moulan in fighting with them."
In the blink of an eye, these two irreconcilable enemies turned into allies. However, there were no objections raised amongst these ancient, well-experienced eccentrics.
"That territory belongs to our Nine Nations Union? Are we to hand it over?" Wei Wuya's expression grew unsightly.
Long Han explained, "There is nothing that can be done about it. Those areas are the closest to the Moulan Plains. Of course, we won't allow you to accept this loss alone. After some talks, we'll be sure to compensate your union."
"Then let's leave that matter for later. We'll have to see what the Moulan think first." Wu Wuya was clearly satisfied with the matter, but he pushed the matter behind regardless.
Han Li then turned his gaze to Master Sunreach and Devil Concord. They appeared to be pondering about the matter, but it seemed they've already decided. It was only on behalf of Wei Wuya's face that they didn't immediately agree. Han Li sighed. It seemed each power has returned to plotting against each other for their own advantage.
When Long Han heard Wei Wuya, he didn't reveal the slightest surprise. Rather, he smiled and said, "This was something I had said without consideration. Of course, we will have a proper discussion on how we specifically deal with them, but before we start negotiations, we must immediately send men to the Moulan Plains and investigate whether the Soaring Tribes invasion is true. If it is, the Moulan will not be able to continue fighting us and we will both have to make concessions. Otherwise, the Soaring Tribes will sweep us both away."
The cultivators felt much more at ease with this explanation. Even Wei Wuya's expression relaxed as the discussion was carried out.
During this time, Han Li kept silent. Since he had nothing to contribute, he saved his breath. If matters didn't involve the Drifting Cloud Sect or himself, he was felt disinclined to put in any effort. And with Long Han there, he reckoned the Heavenly Dao Union won't suffer a great loss.
Not long after, the eccentrics had finished discussion their plans and contingencies. Afterwards, they dispelled the restrictions surrounding them and the Three Great Cultivators began to have a quick word about something else. Eventually, the Moulan and the Heavenly South cultivators both sent a few men to discuss the terms of the temporary ceasefire. As for the other matters, that would only be discussed in the coming days.
The Moulan Sages all wore a gloomy expression. With their way back blocked off and their home gone, the spell warriors felt at a complete loss. Their morale had dropped to complete low.
Han Li and the other cultivators watched the Moulan armies withdraw and slowly evacuate towards Skyfirst City. The battle at the border between hundreds of thousands of Immortal cultivators have come to an end.
Several months later, in a seemingly endless barren mountain range, a streak of azure light quickly flashed through it at the speed of lightning. A silhouette could be faintly seen from within the light. He wore scholarly robes and had a common appearance. He was Han Li who was returning to the Drifting Cloud Sect.
In the time since the border battle had ended, startling information that the Soaring Tribes were intending to take advantage of their weakened state had spread, forcing the Moulan and the Heavenly South to come to a reluctant ceasefire.
By the time Eccentric Heavenvenge returned to Skyfirst City and confirmed that there was another power attacking the Moulan, the many factions send several waves of their own cultivators to sweep the Moulan Plains, discovering that the Moulan mortals had been pushed to the border of the plains. As for the original residence of the Moulan Tribes, they have begun showing traces of the Soaring Tribes.
As a result, the Heavenly South could no longer delay and began to negotiate with the Moulan with great intensity.
At the start, the Moulan wished for a third of the Heavenly South continent, or they would risk extermination for the Heavenly South and restart the war. For a time, neither side could move the discussion. But soon after, the Moulan mortals began to gather at the edge of the plains and the Soaring Tribes began to openly pursue Moulan spell warriors. As a result, the Divine Sages could only gradually concede.
After all, the Moulan were now on the verge of extinction and they were able to have discussions with the Heavenly South cultivators, unlike the Soaring Tribes who they held several tens of thousands of years of mutual hatred with.
With several rounds of discussion, they eventually reached an agreement to give two countries to the Moulan and move the native mortals to other countries. Then, each of the three powers carved out a portion of their own territories to compensate the Nine Nations Union, housing the clans and sects that were displaced.
In return, the Moulan had to resist the Soaring Tribes invasion with all their might, in accordance to what the Heavenly South powers had planned. Of course, the Heavenly South powers did provide assistance to resist the Soaring Tribes together.
As a result, although the Moulan acquired their own land to live on, they bore the same responsibility at the Nine Nations once did, they were required to stand on guard for any attacks by the Soaring Tribes. And because they were only given two countries, the Heavenly South powers didn't need to worry about the Moulan expanding and becoming a thread later on. After all, one's potential power is limited to the number of cultivation resources one possesses.
While the Moulan were confined to two countries, they managed to avoid extermination, and they wouldn't have to fight the Soaring Tribes alone. They would have the assistance of the Heavenly South factions. Under the current circumstances, both parties were satisfied with this agreement.
But among this, there was something that occurred to Han Li. Since he had killed the Dao Companion of the Yin Sifting Sect Master, the sect master was unwilling to leave it be and sent him many challenges to fight him alone. However, whenever Han Li received these messages, he immediately extinguished them without any intention of replying to them.
It wasn't reasonable to expect that an early Nascent Soul-stage cultivator to fight a late Nascent Soul-stage cultivator, and Han Li wasn't the reckless hot-blooded sort either. He wouldn't do something so stupid without reason.
Once discussions were finished between the Moulan and the Heavenly South, the Yin Sifting Sect Master seemed to have come to an agreement with the Moulan Divine Sages and he immediately departed with his subordinates. It was reportedly said that he returned to the Jin Empire, much to the relief of Han Li.
As for the ancient lantern that Han Li captured, it was the legacy treasure of the Moulan Tribes, the Bright Origin Lantern. The Moulan Divine Sages have all expressed that the Bright Origin Lantern was something passed down to the Moulan through successive generations. As it wasn't something that should fall into the hands of outsiders, they immediately called for its return.
Of course, Han Li wasn't about to refuse them or let this opportunity pass. He immediately demanded several chunks of Auric Essence in exchange, but it was a pity that the Moulan didn't possess much of it. They were only able to come up with what amounted to a small piece. As a result, Han Li reluctantly accepted other rare materials to compensate and returned the ancient lantern.
Han Li didn't truly wish to hold onto the lantern. While its abilities were truly profound, it would one day come to haunt him. If decided to keep it, there would come a day where the Moulan would conspire to acquire it back. As such, it was better to be rid of it.