As Huang Yuanming and the other cultivators attentively faced Han Li, they couldn't help but look in the direction of the pool.
After Han Li fell into the half-filled spirit spring, most of its water had been scattered away, leaving behind only a meager layer.
The three old men felt much heartache over this, but all they could do was wear a forced smile in front of this profound cultivator to avoid having all of them meet disaster.
In the instant Han Li had evaporated the water, he smelled the water's strange scent. As a result, he unconsciously took a look at it as he pondered.
Han Li's casual glance caused the three old men to feel greatly apprehensive. The three of them had been guarding the spirit spring for many years. If this cultivator were to fancy it, all they could do was offer it to him without resistance.
Han Li swept his gaze past the spring and paid it little attention. Instead, he turned to the three old men and said, "It's been a long while since I've last emerged and I am unfamiliar with the recent events of the Heavenly South. Could you Fellow Daoists tell me what has happened in the past few years?"
Feeling greatly relieved that Han Li held little interest in the spirit spring, Huang Yuanming respectfully replied, "Of course we can, Senior. If Senior doesn't mind, this Junior would like to invite you to our hall for a cup of tea while I explain. I will answer all of Senior's questions to the best of my knowledge."
The two old men at his side also breathed out with relief.
Han Li glanced at a few of young cultivators in the distance and after a moment of thought, he nodded, "That is fine. There are many things I wish to ask about. I will have to bother you three."
"A bother? No. It is our Huang Clan's honor to welcome such an esteemed expert!" Huang Yuanming was delighted and replied with a smile. Then he gave the order to a few of his disciples and they hastily flew back as to avoid offending out of insufficient preparations. Afterwards, he personally led the way to a pavilion at the center of the mountain.
As for the other two old men, they gave the commands to their clansmen and they hastily set off to the pavilion.
"Your three clans all reside here? How rare." On the way there, Han Li asked a few questions about the general circumstances of the three old men and was quite surprised.
"Senior must be joking. We are all here because there are no other places to establish ourselves; we're trapped." Huang Yuanming replied with a bitter smile.
"I see that the young disciples of your clans possess quite a bit of aptitude. Why haven't you brought them to the great sects of the cultivation world?" Han Li asked with a curious expression. "While they might not be able to become succeeding disciples, an external affairs disciple is certainly possible."
"Senior might not know this, but despite the many cultivation sects in the State of Dongyu, a majority of them regularly receive disciples from cultivator clans or simply exercise control over a few clans. As we are still only minor clans, we aren't qualified to catch their attention."
"Even if our clan has a few particularly outstanding disciples, I don't dare to have them enter a sect. They need to remain in the clan to raise our prestige." Huang Yuanming offered Han Li an explanation with a helpless expression.
These clan elders would certainly be a level above their current cultivation if they joined a large sect, but that would mean abandoning their clans and leaving them helpless.
Han Li blinked and nodded. He spoke no further of the matter as they were soon approaching a group of buildings.
Huang Yuanming led Han Li to the tallest of the buildings.
A short moment later, they arrived at the pavilion's entrance where there were two rows of young female disciples respectfully waiting upon them.
As the three clan elders led Han Li into the pavilion, Huang Yuanming said, "Senior, please enter! While our Spirit Scales Mountains don't produce any spirit medicines or fruits, we do have some decent tea. We have enough for a few cups."
Han Li followed them inside. The hall wasn't large and was only about a hundred meters wide, but it was more than enough considering that it belonged to a small clan.
Under they respectful gaze, Han Li calmly took a seat while the three old men remained standing. They didn't dare to place themselves on the same level as Han Li. Since their cultivations were so vastly inferior, Han Li didn't bother to refuse out of politeness.
At that moment, a beautiful female disciple brought over a tray with tea and placed a cup in front of Han Li before carefully withdrawing.
Han Li casually held the cup in his hand and took a sip. The tea was bitter at first but a strange fragrance soon spread through his mouth. "Not bad. It is truly rare tea." Han Li's mouth formed a strange smile and he offered a word of praise.
"Senior's cultivation is deep and immeasurable, but your face is unfamiliar. Is Senior not a cultivator of the State of Dongyu?" The plump old man said.
"No, I am not from here. There is no need for you to worry. After I ask you a few questions, I will immediately depart. I won't stay here and make things difficult."
Han Li had no intention of stating his name. He simply glanced at the plump old man and gave a mysterious smile.
With alarm, Huang Yuanming hastily spoke with a changed expression, "Senior is being too considerate. We are immensely fortunate to have met Senior, we don't dare to disrespectfully rush you away."
Han Li glanced at Huang Yuanming and waved his hand. "It's fine! I already know the fear and anticipation you low level cultivators hold towards me. So long as you answer my questions to my satisfaction, I don't mind giving you a few benefits. After all, it can be considered fate that we met."
When Huang Yuanming heard this, he was delighted and spoke with an even deeper tone of respect, "If Senior has anything on his mind, please go ahead and ask. Although our clan isn't large, we do receive news quite quickly. Our answers will be to Senior's satisfaction."
Han Li smiled. Although he reckoned they wouldn't lie even if he didn't offer any rewards, they will most certainly answer to the best of their ability if he did. They will most likely take the initiative to give more precise details.
Han Li glanced at the three and calmly said, "Since you're so close to the Chang Province, you should know a bit about the cultivators who entered Devilfall Valley the last time it opened. Can you tell me about what happened?"
"Devilfall Valley? Yes, we do know of it." When Huang Yuanming heard Han Li, he was a bit puzzled but immediately answered nonetheless.
He then recalled the appropriate information and reported, "Over twenty years ago, a large number of cultivators entered Devilfall Valley in search of treasure. Because the Ghost Spirit Sect found a safe method to enter the valley, several hundreds of Core Formation cultivators and tens of Nascent Soul cultivators entered in search for ancient cultivator treasures.
However, Devilfall Valley was truly dangerous. A majority of the cultivators that entered the valley remained on its outskirts and perished to the restrictions and spatial tears that were present. Less than half of these cultivators were able to return alive. And even more terrible was how the party of Ghost Spirit Sect cultivators had managed to release two devils from antiquity that were capable of consuming Nascent Souls, resulting in the death of the Ghost Spirit Sect Master. These two devils were incredibly formidable. According to those present, the Nascent Soul cultivators that entered the valley depths united against the devils in a huge battle. Even with Senior Wei Wuya and the Moulan Divine Sage fighting against it, they were only able to slay one of them. The other devil still managed to escape.
"There were many cultivators that died in the battle, including many famous seniors. However, Devilfall Valley is worthy of its name as an ancient cultivator cemetery. I heard that those that made it out alive came out with quite a harvest. There were even those that found medicine pills that extended their lifespan or broke through their bottlenecks, stirring up much excitement in the cultivation world at the time. Afterwards, many cultivators grew envious and used the Ghost Spirit Sect's transportation formation to enter Devilfall Valley despite the fact that the spatial tears were now unstable again. None of these cultivators have yet emerged, preventing any other cultivators from trying in fear. Now, Devilfall Valley is a forbidden area once more that none dares to enter."
"You said there was a devil that escaped Devilfall Valley. What happened to it?" Han Li's heart grew heavy and his expression turned gloomy.
"I would've told you about the devil even if you hadn't ask. The devil itself is a calamity that has plagued the Heavenly South cultivation world." Huang Yuanming's expression turned sullen.
Han Li frowned and remained silent, waiting for him to continue.
"Originally when the devil escaped, a few seniors said that the devil couldn't exist for long in our human realm and that it would return where it came from after some time. As a result, none had taken it very seriously, but none would've expected that the devil would ambush high grade cultivators without fear and consume their Nascent Souls to restore its strength. In a short few years, seven Nascent Soul cultivators have fallen to him and the devil has yet to return to its realm. It was then the cultivators knew that the devil used some unknown method to prolong its stay in this realm. When this happened, the three Great Heavenly South Cultivators and a dozen specially picked mid Nascent Soul seniors organized a party to hunt down the devil. However, the devil was extremely cunning and didn't meet the hunting party head on. Rather, he picked off the cultivators one by one.
"The devil even attacked the Moulan, provoking them to send a party of sages to join the hunt. From then on, the devil was no longer able to escape the united hunt of the cultivators and the Moulan. However, this only drove the devil to be even more frantic. Not only did it attacked several high grade cultivators at the end, but it even went after many low grade cultivators. In its final month, it went on a massacre, destroying a dozen cultivation clans and several small sects as they weren't able to resist it. But a dying devilish sect elder was able to use a secret technique that allowed the hunting party to track the devil down and surround it in the State of Fengdou. I heard that the devil's strength was completely restored, and its cultivation had nearly reached the Deity Transformation stage. Two Great Heavenly South Cultivators and one Moulan Divine Sage simultaneously took the devil on in a battle that lasted an entire day and turned Soulfall Mountain into a flat plain. No other cultivators were capable of taking part in the battle." Once that was said, Huang Yuanming paused and he couldn't help but reveal shock.