As Divine Sage Zhong and Cultivator Lu were having their discussion, Han Li had already flown over fifty kilometers away. Nothing else occurred on his way and he arrived at the cave after another hour of flight.
When he arrived, he took out the Yin Yang Ring once more and entered the passageway with the treasure's protection. He quickly passed through the passage and quickened his steps when he saw the light of the cave's exit.
Soon, his surroundings brightened and he found himself back in front of a cliff leading to the outer valley.
Han Li raised his head to look at the dusky sky. Although it still gave him a feeling of unease, it was far better than the crimson light that covered the sky in the valley depths.
After sweeping his spiritual sense over the nearby area and discovering there were no cultivators or any other oddities, Han Li sighed with relief and turned his gaze to the wall around the cave entrance.
With a wave of his hand, an azure spell seal flew out and entered the stone wall without a trace. Soon after, Han Li silently formed another hand gesture as he began to slowly mutter an incantation while a strange scene followed.
The unremarkable stone wall suddenly began to glow with a layer of blue light before a swarm of Gold Devouring Beetles flocked out from the wall, each of them carrying various-sized pieces of silver crystal. A few pieces were as large as a fist while others were as small as a grain of sand. In the blink of an eye, the pieces of silver crystal delivered by the beetles had formed a pile in front of Han Li. They were the crystalized Tailstar Silver ore.
When the first pieces appeared, Han Li's expression was calm, but excitement began to show when tens of these crystals dropped down.
"Youngster Han! The Tailstar Silver ore vein is far bigger than I imagined. It seems I will be able to research using this material in creating puppets." Suddenly, the Monarch of Soul Divergence's voice appeared in Han Li's mind. He couldn't help but betray his delight from his voice.
After the Gold Devouring Beetles had deposited the last of the Tailstar Silver crystal, Han Li looked at the small pile of shimmering silver and smiled. "That's right. I also didn't think the Tailstar Silver ore vein would contain this much. We've gathered quite the harvest!"
Han Li swung his sleeve over the ground and swept up the silver crystals into his storage pouch in an instant. Afterwards, he sharply whistled and the Gold Devouring Beetles revolved around him before rushing back into their storage pouch.
Once this was done, Han Li slapped his storage pouch and a translucent ball appeared in his palm. He then blew a mist of azure light onto the pearl and a bean-sized speck of light appeared within the ball.
Han Li stared at the pearl in his hand for a long while and slightly frowned before looking around him. After getting his bearings, his body glowed with azure light and he streaked through the sky.
Han Li wasn't flying in a hurry and as he flew with the transparent ball in his hand, he would occasionally stop to look at it before adjusting his course and continuing on his way.
After flying for tens of kilometers, he arrived above a wilderness and yelped with surprise before coming to a sudden stop. His body blurred and he quickly descended. By the time he was a hundred meters above the wilderness, Han Li stopped and light flashed from his eyes.
He saw a male cultivator's corpse split in half lying in the wilderness and the surroundings had already been stained dark red with the hardened blood. As for the cultivator's magic treasure and storage pouch, they were nowhere to be seen.
Han Li glanced at the corpse for a moment and sighed, "It seems someone had attacked him." After verifying that there were no spatial tears nearby, he knew there was only one possible conclusion.
Han Li didn't linger there for long and quickly continued on his way. Although he believed that there were few things in the valley that posed a threat to him apart from the two late Nascent Soul cultivators, it would still prove dangerous if a group of cultivators were to surround and ambush him.
While this wasn't likely, Han Li traveled with heightened wariness regardless. After half a day had passed, Han Li still hadn't found any signs of an ambush. Rather, he came across two cultivators who had perished as a result of spatial tears. Han Li shook his head at the sight of their broken bodies.
Following the guidance of the transparent ball in his hand, he eventually arrived above a dense and verdant forest.
Han Li muttered to himself for a moment before gripping the transparent ball in his hand and exerting strength into it. In a flash of azure light, it shattered with a clear ring.
When the ball shattered into fragments, the speck of azure light that floated inside of it was freed. The speck of light floated in front of Han Li while waiting for further instruction. The bean-sized speck of light flickered before shooting off as soon as he pointed at it while he closely followed after it.
A moment later in the sky above the dense forest, the speck of light flickered and began to fly downwards. As Han Li descended after it, a glint shined within his eyes. When it arrived at the ground, the speck of light spun around a gigantic tree before disappearing into its trunk.
When Han Li saw this, he landed in front of the tree and the light around him faded away. He quickly sized up the tree before pressing his hand against it.
With a muffled bang, green light flashed from where he pressed his palm and an azure talisman floated from the tree. He swiftly grabbed the talisman between his finger and glanced at it with a smile before tossing it into the air.
Woosh. The talisman set itself on fire before streaking into the sky in a fiery red line.
This time, Han Li stood still for a moment and sat cross-legged on the ground before closing his eyes and restoring the magic power he had consumed on his way here.
Not long after, the streak of red light dropped down at an unremarkable corner of the forest. Then another streak of light emerged into the sky and flew towards Han Li's location.
Before the streak of light arrived, Han Li slowly opened his eyes and watched as it approached.
The streak of light soon arrived. It flew once around Han Li as if verifying his identity and then swooped down. As soon as the streak touched the ground, the light instantly disappeared to reveal a white-robed woman who possessed an otherworldly beauty.
Han Li calmly looked at her and said, "Lady Violet Spirit! You arrived quite quickly!"
"Quickly? I've already been waiting here for several days. During that time, seven groups of cultivators have searched through this forest, and I grew more nervous each time it happened. I would've left soon if Brother Han didn't arrive." Violet Spirit's pleasant voice seemed to contain a bit of annoyance as she walked towards him with graceful steps.
Han Li smiled and looked at Violet Spirit's flawless face before continuing, "Lady Violet Spirit revealing her true appearance has come as a surprise to me. I had believed that it was easy for you to conceal."
Violet Spirit pursed her lips and sweetly said, "When I entered the valley, I had used a treasure to conceal my true appearance. However, there seems to be a restriction in the valley that has rendered it ineffective. Without it to conceal my true appearance, I have no choice to but wear it. What? Could it be that my uncouth appearance is below Brother Han's notice?"
"Fairy Violet Spirit must be joking." With a wry chuckle, his expression suddenly became solemn as he said, "That's enough joking around. Was this the first place you found that was marked?"
Violet Spirit withdrew her smile and answered, "That's right. It should be genuine since the original mark was destroyed by the Ghost Spirit Sect. However, finding it should prove to be no problem."
When Han Li heard her mention the Ghost Spirit Sect, he raised his brow and coldly smiled. "Since that's the case, let's just follow the Ghost Spirit Sect disciples. It should save us quite a bit of time."
"As Brother Han commands! A month ago, I placed a tracker unique to the Exquisite Sound Sect onto the Ghost Spirit Sect disciple who gave me the information. The tracker isn't something created from magic power but by a fragrance undetectable to others. While the range of this fragrance isn't large and it disappears after two months, it should still be enough to track down the Ghost Spirit Sect disciple that I placed it on."
"I will have to trouble Fellow Daoist Violet Spirit to lead the way. First, we will track down the Ghost Spirit Sect disciple and rush past the marks they placed before. This way, the Spirit Kindle Fruit will be ours." Han Li nodded and then slowly stood up.
A silver-tailed squirrel suddenly shot out from the dense forest and flew into the sky. It then sniffed the air before flying off in a certain direction.
Soon after, two streaks of light flew in a circle before closely flying after it.