"What other Ning is there? It is the Guan Ning Prefecture's Feng Clan of course. It can be considered a significant faction." Feng Yue answered.
"The Guan Ning Prefecture? The province capital?" Han Li narrowed his eyes.
"There are many prefectures with the name Guan Ning, but the Feng Clan of Ning resides only in the Liao Province." Feng Yue replied with an odd expression. He appeared somewhat baffled by Han Li's questions.
Han Li carelessly nodded and didn't further ask about the Feng Clan. He instead pointed to the jade pendant and asked, "How did you acquire that item? What are its origins?"
"This pendant was passed down from my father. It is a token of the Feng Clan. Why do you ask?" Feng Yue said with surprise.
Han Li glanced at the youth and doubtfully asked, "A token? Could it be all disciples of the Feng Clan possess a top grade magic tool as a token?"
"Of course not," Feng Yue shook his head, "There are only four such tokens in the entire Feng Clan."
"From that, it seems your standing in the Feng Clan is quite high."
"I am the eldest son of the Feng Clan. If nothing unexpected happened, I should've become the head of the Feng Clan in several tens of years." Feng Yue curled his lips and a trace of pain appeared on his face.
When Han Li heard this, he wasn't surprised. For such great problems to happen to him, it seems that something happened to the Feng Clan. However, this had nothing to do with Han Li. Instead, he stared at Feng Yue and uttered the most pressing question on his mind, "What relationship does your Feng Clan have with the Buddhist sects of the Great Jin? Don't say you don't know anything about it. That token of yours possesses a deep Buddhist spiritual light."
Feng Yue blankly stared for a moment and openly answered, "The Buddhist sects do have a relationship with our Feng Clan. One of our ancestor was a layman disciple of the Guan Ning's Thousand Light Temple, a branch of the grand Gold Sifting Sect. Our Feng Clan originally cultivated a Buddhist technique, but ever since the Thousand Light Temple moved away from the Liao Province several hundred years ago, we changed our cultivation art to a Confucian one."
When Han Li heard this, he rejoiced. Although he didn't know about the Thousand Light Temple, he had heard of the Gold Sifting Sect. It was one of the four great sects of the Great Jin. It seems the Feng Clan had genuinely cultivated Buddhist techniques in the past.
"Do you know any of these Buddhist techniques?" Han Li asked.
After a moment of hesitation, Feng Yue replied, "I didn't wish to cultivate Buddhist techniques, so I don't know any of the incantations. However, our Feng Clan have preserved some of these techniques." He was astonished that this mysterious character had his eyes set on these Buddhist techniques.
While Buddhist techniques were extremely powerful when cultivated to their late stages, their cultivation speed was pathetically slow. Even in the Great Jin cultivation world, there were few truly willing to take the initiative to cultivate Buddhist techniques.
Monarch Soul Divergence then said, "Youngster Han, ask if his ancestor cultivated a Crystal Relic within his body. Only Buddhist cultivators with a Crystal Relic are able to cultivate methods to dissolve baleful Qi."
In preparation for his trip to the Great Jin, Han Li had read through a few records that happened to touch upon the subject of Crystal Relics.
Crystal Relics are a characteristic of Buddhist cultivators. There is no set pattern for their appearance. There are those that appear during Core Formation stage and those that are refined during Nascent Soul stage. To external cultivators, they were a rather mysterious existence.
However, a Crystal Relic was something required to cultivate many profound Buddhist techniques and abilities. As such, cultivators from other sects, despite how superior their cultivation may be, are rather fearful of Buddhist cultivators who possess a Crystal Relic.
Han Li agreed with Monarch Soul Divergence's suggestion and asked Feng Yue about it.
"A Crystal Relic?" Feng Yue frowned, "My ancestor had cultivated one in the past, but due to his poor aptitude, he wasn't able to break through the barrier to Nascent Soul stage. As such, he was disheartened and established the Feng Clan of Ning instead."
Han Li's spirits were roused. It appeared his luck was quite good. He may be able to find a technique to dissolve the baleful Qi without searching deeply into the Great Jin.
With that thought, Han Li smiled and said, "I now have one last question for you."
Feng Yue forced a smile and said, "If there is anything you wish to know, please ask."
"Why did they use Agony Poison to deal with a Foundation Establishment cultivator such as yourself? The Ten Absolute Poisons are more precious than rare medicine pills. They wouldn't have used it if they wished to capture you alive. There should've been no reason for that Core Formation cultivator to use something as excessive as the Agony Poison, given the differences in your cultivation."
When Feng Yue heard him, his face turned gloomy. "That traitor Feng Zhen was a rogue Devil Dao cultivator that our Feng Clan had adopted in the past. Because he had offended an expert and was being hunted, he prostrated to our Feng Clan to take him in, even offering to take our name as well. My grandfather had given that traitor shelter as our clan was prosperous at the time. As he was sent to handle our relations with a few of the Soaring Tribes in the past, I had originally come here to find him, but I didn't expect that he had been compromised by the Kong Clan. He then lured me out and used the Kong Clan's Agony Poison because of the restriction placed on his body; direct descendants of the Feng Clan are able to restrain his cultivation once they're at Foundation Establishment stage. If he hadn't used poison to launch a sneak attack on me, I wouldn't have been so helpless."
Han Li tilted his head and mused, "So it was like that. It is said Agony Poison has no scent or color. In the instant a lesser cultivator touches it, they would immediately slip into a coma. The Kong Clan seems to be great enemies with your clan."
"That's right," Feng Yue scowled, "The Kong, Zhang, Jin, and the Feng Clan are the four great noble cultivation clans in the Guan Ning Prefecture. Originally, we were all neutral parties, but when our Feng Clan weakened in power, the Kong Clan suddenly created an alliance with the two other clans and struck the Feng Clan off guard."
Feng Yue was reduced to wandering through various tribes in the plains after his clan had lost his standing and was now on the death's door. It was only natural for him to bear hatred towards these three clans.
"I have no interest in knowing about the quarrel between noble clans, but your reply is to my satisfaction. Now, let's mention the matter of the Vast Essence Pill. I only have about ten of these medicine pills, enough to extend your life for about ten days. However, each of these medicine pills cost several thousands of spirit stones. Are you truly able to purchase them?"
"Several thousands of spirit stones?!" Although Feng Yue had guessed as much, he was alarmed. It was the cost of a top grade magic tool.
"Fine, I'll buy it." Feng Yue agreed with gritted teeth.
"You're carrying that many spirit stones on you?" Han Li raised his brow and examined Feng Yue with a mysterious smile.
"I don't have them on hand, but I can put up the key to the Feng Clan's secret cave for collateral." Feng Yue lifted the silver key around his neck and handed it over without any hesitation. It seemed he had already come to a decision.
"The Feng Clan's secret cave?" Han Li stared at the silver key and didn't immediately move to take it.
"That's right," Feng Yue answered, "This is the sole magic tool that can open the secret collection of the Feng Clan for over a thousand years. As a direct descendant of the Feng Clan, the Feng Clan Elders had me escape with the key as calamity befell the clan. Although I had never been there myself, the collection should have several tens of thousands of spirit stones."
"You're putting that key up for collateral?" Han Li expressionlessly asked, "How can I tell whether or not it is genuine? And even if it is, don't tell me you have no intention of returning to the Feng Clan."
"What is there to return to?" Feng Yue gloomily said, "To the best of my knowledge, only a few servants and branch disciples managed to escape. I am now the only direct descendant remaining. I would've reunited with my other clan members instead of roaming these plains alone otherwise. If I die, the bloodline of the Feng Clan will cease and the secret collection will eventually be tracked down by the Kong Clan, only to their benefit. As such, it would be better spent to save my own life. If I cannot find a way to dissolve this poison in ten days, I will leave the secret collection to you, a better fate than having it found by the Kong Clan. Besides, the Buddhist techniques Fellow Daoist Han so desires will be found in the secret cave as well."
Han Li silently pondered for a long while before saying, "Fine. You can use the key as collateral for the medicine pills. But first, you must allow me to search your soul to find out whether or not the matter of the secret collection and the Buddhist techniques are true. I don't wish to make a trip to a cave that doesn't exist."
"Soul search? Isn't that something only capable by Nascent Soul cultivators? How will that be possible?" Feng Yue's face paled and his expression revealed fear.
"A forceful soul search requires a Nascent Soul cultivation. But if it is coordinated with another person through a technique, it won't be very difficult. Furthermore, this secret technique is different from common soul search techniques. Although Foundation Establishment cultivators aren't able to search through complicated topics, it can easily verify if something is true or false." Han Li pursed his lips and soon revealed his white teeth in a smile, revealing a cold glint.
When Feng Yue saw this, he felt his heart tremble. As the disciple of a noble clan, he was very fearful of soul searching and wouldn't agree to such a dangerous affair under normal circumstances. But when he lowered his head and saw his poisoned skin, he found himself helpless.
Feng Yue tightly gripped his fists and took a deep breath before coming to a decision. "Fine, I will coordinate the technique with you. However, you may only search for matters relating to the Buddhist techniques and the secret storage. I will not let you look through anything else."