Under the guidance of Old Man Fu, Han Li and the others tread past the Hundred Possibilities Pavilion's grand formation and entered the sect. Unlike last time where they descended to a plaza surrounded by mountains for the Sword Trial Assembly, they instead arrived at the large platform built on the side of the mountain.
At the center of this platform was a five story stone pagoda about three hundred meters tall. The mountain behind the pagoda reached up beyond the eye could see and was densely filled with holes. Occasionally, Hundred Possibilities Pavilion disciples would dart in and out of them like bees.
Old Man Fu didn't lead them to the pagoda. Instead, he brought them to the top of the mountain.
As they flew past the mountain, Senior Martial Brother Cheng gave Han Li an introduction, "The mountain depths is a top grade reservoir of Earth Lung Fire. Not only is it far more efficient for tool refinement, but it is also incredibly beneficial for cultivators with fire-attribute techniques. As a result, many of their high-grade disciples actually construct cave residences deep inside it."
Han Li felt his heart stir when he heard this and his face revealed a pensive expression.
In the blink of an eye, they flew over three thousand meters high and eventually arrived at a huge isolated cave. It clearly wasn't somewhere a low-grade cultivator could travel. Apart from two old men, there were no other cultivators waiting to receive them.
When the three landed at the cave's entrance, a red-haired dark-skinned old man called out to them, "Brother Cheng! Fellow Daoist Lu! I've been waiting for quite a while. I hope you two haven't taken offense that I haven't personally gone out to welcome you. And this must be Fellow Daoist Han! He is as young as expected. His future prospects are boundless." After a brief look at Han Li, he shouted out with alarm, "Yi! Fellow Daoist Han has already entered mid-Nascent Soul stage?" The shriveled old man with a stern face also revealed an expression of shock.
"This seems to have come as a shock, Brother Feng." Senior Martial Brother Cheng chuckled and said, "Junior Martial Brother Han had just entered mid-Nascent Soul stage. In the future, I hope you'll be able to provide him with some guidance."
When the two Hundred Possibilities Pavilion Elders recovered from their shock, they glanced at each other and wryly smiled. Old Man Feng then replied, "Us? Give guidance? Brother Cheng must be joking."
Han Li saluted the two and spoke with a polite tone, "There is no need to be so modest. I merely cultivated quickly and my foundation is still unstable. In the future when there is something amiss with my cultivation, I hope you Fellow Daoists will be able to clear up my doubts."
When the two Hundred Possibilities Pavilion elders heard his reply, they gained a rather good impression of Han Li. The two invited the Drifting Cloud Sect Elders inside and then the Core Formation-stage guides took their leave.
The other Hundred Possibilities Pavilion elder said, "Originally, Senior Martial Brother Pyre also wished to come to welcome you, but he is making his last preparations for the master recognition ceremony. I hope you three don't mind."
"What is Brother Ding saying? Junior Martial Brother Lu and I have known you three for several hundreds of years. You don't have to be so considerate. But do you think you could tell us what is this magic treasure that requires such a grand master recognition ceremony?"
Old Man Ding betrayed a slight trace of pride on his expression and he chuckled. "It isn't an amazing treasure. It is simply something my Martial Brothers and I had spent three months refining, a Yin Yang Pagoda."
"A Yin Yang Pagoda? That's one of your sect's three signature treasures! I recall that there was no one in your sect that was able to refine it in the past thousand years." Senior Martial Brother Cheng's smile was replaced with an expression of shock.
"That is why we've invited you Fellow Daoists to witness the master recognition ceremony. Although the Yin Yang Pagoda is one of our sect's signature treasures, it can't amount to much in your eyes. Let alone the Ancient Sword Sect, but I heard that Senior Martial Brother Cheng acquired a few rare treasures himself." Old Man Feng chuckled and probingly asked, "As for Fellow Daoist Han's sudden rise to mid-Nascent Soul stage, I suspect he also found something in Devilfall Valley, right?"
Senior Martial Brother Cheng shook his head with intensity, "Acquired a few treasures? Brother Feng has been listening to the rumors. Although I did acquire two ancient treasures inside Devilfall Valley, their power is only ordinary. They can't be compared to the Yin Yang Pagoda. As for Junior Martial Brother Han's affairs, I'm not too sure on that."
"I also acquired no powerful ancient treasures, but rather, I have many of my treasures destroyed in the valley. If it weren't for the opportunity to raise my cultivation a stage, I fear my trip would've been in vain." Of course, Han Li didn't mention the Spirit Ether Garden in detail.
"Fellow Daoist Han's sudden rise in cultivation must be a result of some treasures. I'd be willing to hand over all my treasures if it meant I could increase my cultivation by another stage." Old Man Feng bitterly chuckled and spoke with a tone of admiration and self-mockery. Han Li smiled but said nothing else.
After they passed through a large garden with blooming white flowers, they were ushered into an exceptionally large hall.
The hall was over three hundred meters wide and the wall was embedded with sparkling golden crystals, each of them the size of a fist. Not only did they filled the hall with light, but they also gave it an air of luxury.
"Please sit Fellow Daoists," Old Man Feng courteously said, "Senior Martial Brother Pyre will come when he is finished. As for the Fellow Daoists from the Ancient Sword Sect, they should soon arrive as well."
As soon as Lu Luo sat down, he asked, "I heard that the Ancient Sword Sect's Elder Jin had emerged from prolonged seclusion and will be coming over. Is this true?"
"It is true. Fellow Daoist Jin had personally sent Senior Martial Brother Pyre a voice transmission talisman. He said he wished to attend, but..." After saying that, Old Man Feng paused.
"But what?" Lu Luo bafflingly asked. Senior Martial Brother Cheng also look over with interest, but Han Li simply examined the large hall as if he weren't paying attention.
"But Fellow Daoist Jin will be wanting to meet Fellow Daoist Han Li." Old Man Ding glanced at Han Li and mysteriously smiled at him. "After all, Brother Han's reputation is resounding and is now no less inferior than that of the Three Great Heavenly South Cultivators. He is also perhaps the top cultivator in our Heavenly Dao Alliance in reputation. Not to mention that he's now entered mid-Nascent Soul stage."
"What?" Senior Martial Brother Cheng frowned and unhappily said, "Does Eccentric Jin want to test Junior Martial Brother Han's abilities? Has his bold temperament remained unchanged in his many years of seclusion?"
"I'm not too sure of this." Old Man Ding honestly answered, "But with Fellow Daoist Han's abilities, there shouldn't be anyone he holds in fear. To tell the truth, we've also never witnessed his abilities."
Lu Luo's eyes flickered and he tapped the table, slowly saying, "You mean to say that this meeting is actually a new contest for ranking."
"It isn't wrong to think that," Old Man Feng said with a smile, "However, us old folks from the Hundred Possibilities Pavilion haven't changed much and we won't be contending against your two sects. But since Fellow Daoist Jin will be coming in the flesh, I imagine he will be wanting to test Fellow Daoist Han's abilities. He isn't willing to hand over the title of the strongest of the three sects over to you."
"If you knew about that, why didn't you mention this in the invitation? This isn't excusable." Senior Martial Brother Cheng said with a frown. Lu Luo's expression also turned sullen.
"Fellow Daoists, don't be mistaken," Old Man Feng shook his hand and calmly said, "This was only something we had guessed. Fellow Daoist Jin hasn't said anything about meeting Fellow Daoist Han. In our point of view, this meeting is only to decide which of the three sects will be top amongst their peers. Such a meeting only occurs once in a hundred years. And it stands to mention in addition to Fellow Daoist Han, there is also a new face in the Ancient Sword Sect, Fellow Daoist Brightscent. It will be good for everyone to meet each other."
Lu Luo's expression relaxed after he heard this. As for Han Li, his expression remained unchanged from the very start, giving the two Hundred Possibilities Pavilion Elders a mysterious impression of him.
Senior Martial Brother Cheng quickly calmed down as well and when he thought to ask more about the Ancient Sword Sect, a voice transmission talisman suddenly flew into the hall in a red streak and dropped into Old Man Feng's hand.
Right after, all the eyes in the room unconsciously focused on him. Old Man Feng quickly glanced at the talisman before quickly standing up.
"How timely," Old Man Feng said with regret, "Please wait here for the time being. The Ancient Sword Sect will soon arrive and I will be going out to welcome them. Junior Martial Brother Ding will be here to keep you company." He then hurriedly walked out.
Senior Martial Brother Cheng and Lu Luo exchanged a glance and they wore a heavy expression.
Han Li didn't appear nervous or anxious at all. But if he remembered correctly, the Drifting Cloud Sect Elders were only on good terms with the Child Fire Dragon and had a poor relationship with all the other elders of the Ancient Sword Sect.
A short moment later, footsteps could be heard in the hall and Old Man Feng entered with three other cultivators, two men and one woman.
At the very front of the three cultivators was a tall and sturdy old man with grey messy hair. He had a rosy complexion and smooth skin, but his bright eyes displayed a savage cruelty. And most notably of all was the pair of extraordinarily large hands drooped at his sides. They were nearly as large as half an ordinary person.
Behind the old man stood a middle-aged man with a common appearance and a young woman with an air of dignity.