In the Liao Province’s Wuyuan Prefecture, there was a small town in the west known as Xinan. Nearby, there were two slender women dressed in azure Daoist robes that were heading towards a small remote mountain.
As their feet shined with white light, they stood on their toes before effortlessly floating a foot off the ground. Then, their gowns lengthened and they gracefully flew through the air at a low altitude.
The younger woman of the two appeared to be eighteen years old and gloomily spoke to the somewhat older woman at her side, “Senior Martial Sister Lu, will Master truly not assist us? Even if we were to add on Junior Martial Sister Cao, I fear we won’t be able to deal with the Sharp Spirit Sect’s Wu Xiaoyu. He is at the eighth layer of Qi Condensation, and it is said that the Sharp Spirit Sect Master holds him in high esteem. We are only a pair of sixth and seventh layer cultivators. With our combined strength, we won’t stand a chance even if we had help. And if we lose, Junior Martial Sister Cao will have no choice but to allow Wu Xiaoyu to rescue that heavy criminal which I fear will bring disaster to her father.”
“There is nothing we can do about it,” the older of the two martial sisters sighed, “Cultivator sects have always left matters of the mortal government alone. And Junior Martial Sister Cao is only an in-name disciple of our Profound Jade Sect and was only imparted a few shallow magic techniques by the Master. That’s why nothing had been said to her. After all, the government holds a few low-grade loose cultivators in order to have them deal with a few matters of the cultivation world. However, Wu Xiaoyu has a deep relationship with the person he wishes to save and knows that Junior Martial Sister Cao has a relationship with our sect. When he personally came to knock on our door, we couldn’t continue to turn a blind eye to this affair.
“Nevertheless, Master had used her status as an in-name disciple to avoid having to punish her, instead sending off that person to handle it instead. After he left, Master immediately called us over to inform us that this person most likely will be challenging Junior Martial Sister Cao in order to force her to retreat. Master knows that our relationship with her is quite deep and sent us to warn her; it’s clear that she wants us to lend her some strength. Otherwise, she would’ve simply used a spirit bird to deliver the message instead of us. Although Senior Martial Sister Yu has a deep cultivation, she doesn’t have a strong relationship with Junior Martial Sister Cao and will not risk offending the Sharp Spirit Sect over the matter. And Master has her hands tied since the Sharp Spirit Sect has friendly relations with our own sect. As a member of the senior generation, she finds it awkward to interfere.”
The younger of the two couldn’t help but say, “I recall that when Junior Martial Sister Cao’s father, Country Officer Cao, was stationed near our temple, he appeared quite strong and was very respectful towards the Master. If he is truly implicated because of this matter, it would be a disaster!”
“If that is true, there is nothing that can be done over it. But even if he were to lose a criminal, he would only lose his position as a country officer at most. He won’t die. But since Junior Martial Sister Cao appeared so calm, could it be that she already has a plan?”
The younger woman smiled and said, “There is no need for Senior Martial Sister to trouble herself over the matter. Everything will be clear once we get to the mountaintop.”
“Junior Martial Sister is right!” The older woman nodded.
The two quickly hurried on their way and after the time it took to finish a meal, they arrived at the mountaintop and yelped with surprise when saw an unexpected straw cottage three hundred meters away.
In front of the straw cottage, there was a simple stone pavilion with a young man and a girl sitting at a stone table and chatting. The man’s appearance was rather ordinary, but he had a pale complexion. The girl had a dainty appearance and was attentively listening to him.
When the two women arrived on the mountaintop, the man immediately sensed them and stopped talking. He turned to the girl he was talking to and said, “Fellow Daoist Cao, your guests have arrived.” The man then smiled and stood up.
The girl glanced over and stood up with a smile, saying, “Senior Martial Sisters have arrived! It’s good to see you!”
The older of the two senior martial sisters beamed when she saw Cao Mengrong and said, “Junior Martial Sister, you appear to be doing well! Yi! Your cultivation has risen by an entire level. Congratulations!”
“I’ve only managed to make a breakthrough in the past few days. I am still quite lacking compared to you two!” Cao Mengrong smiled and spoke with an excited tone.
The younger senior martial sister curiously examined the Confucian-robed man and asked, “Junior Martial Sister Cao, which sect is this Fellow Daoist from? His cultivation is quite high, at what seems to be the tenth layer.”
The man calmly answered, “I am Han Li, a loose cultivator. I am Lady Cao’s guest.”
The older senior martial sister smiled and said, “So it was like that. I was wondering why Junior Martial Sister was so calm. It appears that an expert like Fellow Daoist Han was her guest. When Wu Xiaoyu gives the challenge, he will only make a fool of himself.”
“Senior Martial Sisters, please sit and let us talk,” Cao Mengrong happily said, “Although Brother Han is a loose cultivator, he is very experienced in the path of cultivation. I was able to break through in such a short time only because of the guidance that Brother Han had provided me.”
“Oh, then we’ll want to talk with Fellow Daoist Han...” Just as the older of the two was about to sit down, she suddenly heard a series of deep shrieks from below the mountain.
“How did he know of this place? He’s arrived so quickly!” The two senior martial sisters stood up in alarm and turned to look.
“Senior Martial Sisters, please don’t be alarmed,” Cao Mengrong explained with a calm tone, “I was the one who invited Wu Xiaoyu over. Fellow Daoist Wu had sought me out several days ago and with Brother Han’s agreement, I invited him over for this meeting.”
“So it was like that. Although we were making haste, it seems we were still too slow.” The younger senior martial sister quickly calmed down. After all, they had a tenth layer cultivator to deal with the eight layer Wu Xiaoyu.
At that moment, a ball of white light arrived on the top of the mountain, revealing the silhouette of two people within it.
“A flying magic tool! And he has another person escorting him!” The younger senior martial sister cried out in alarm. Cao Mengrong and the other woman exchanged a glance before revealing a trace of worry.
After all, flying magic tools were rarely ever seen. Even the low-grade ones were far beyond the price of other mid-grade magic tools. Low-grade cultivators such as themselves couldn’t afford to buy them, let alone mid-grade magic tools. Any magic tools they had were gifted to them by the sect. If they didn’t advance in their cultivation, it was likely they would only possess one magic tool throughout their lifetime.
Additionally, the cultivators that were bestowed flying magic tools most likely had backers behind them. This is particularly true for small sects such as theirs.
When the new arrivals appeared at the mountaintop, Han Li glanced at them and revealed no change of expression.
As of current, it had already been nine months since Cao Mengrong had rescued him. Perhaps because his injuries weren’t as severe as he thought or his pills were more effective than anticipated, he was able to recover a portion of his strength during his time as Cao Mengrong’s guest, allowing him to recover his Foundation Establishment cultivation. Although his vitality was still injured and he still had yet to recover most of his blood essence, he now had the power to defend himself in the cultivation world.
Of course, Cao Mengrong didn’t have the cultivation to see through this astonishing change and she would often ask him a few questions about problems she had on own her cultivation.
As a mid-Nascent Soul cultivator, Han Li was overqualified to give this Qi Condensation cultivator some guidance and managed to clear the girl’s doubts with just a few words. With much joy, Cao Mengrong began to treat Han Li with greater respect. Han Li’s pointers had allowed her to ascend to the fourth layer of Qi Condensation, bringing her closer to becoming an official disciple.
While this happened, he was already preparing himself to depart in a month. After all, the girl had already given him an explanation of the general circumstances of the Great Jin cultivation world.
And while he did have some medicine pills for Qi Condensation cultivators, they weren’t so trivial that he could give them to others. After all, there were countless opportunists and robbers in the cultivation world, even more in the Great Jin than the Heavenly South.
But unexpectedly, Cao Mengrong received a letter of warning from her master and in the girl’s alarm, she sought out Han Li. When Han Li heard that there was an eighth layer Qi Condensation cultivator looking to fight her, Han Li indifferently agreed to duel the opponent on her behalf. Afterwards, he would make use of this opportunity to leave.
Although the two new arrivals were surrounded by the brilliant glow of their magic tools, he was able to clearly see them. They were cultivators at the eighth and eleventh layer of Qi Condensation. They were below his notice.
As the three women were all lost in shock, Han Li slowly walked out from the stone pavilion and raised his head to look at them, saying, “I will be fighting on Fellow Daoist Cao’s behalf. Do you plan on having a match or do you wish for this to be an all out battle?”
The ball of white light descended on the ground and in a flash of white light, two people were revealed. A middle-aged man with slender eyes and a wood board magic tool in hand snorted and said, “It was fortunate that I’ve come or Junior Martial Brother Wu would’ve suffered a loss. Your face is quite unfamiliar but your cultivation is high. I will be your opponent. Let us fight now and save the words for later.”
The other man was tall and appeared over thirty years of age. From the way he coldly stared at Han Li and the others, he appeared to be Wu Xiaoyu.
The older senior martial sister wore an expression of shock and asked, “Ma Yulin! How could it be you? You are an enforcer of the Sharp Spirit Sect. How are you able to easily take part in the affairs of others?”
The middle-aged man spoke with a harsh tone, “It seems that Fairy Lu doesn’t know that I am not an outsider. Junior Martial Brother Wu and I have mutual family. Assisting him is no problem.”
The younger senior martial sister revealed an expression of apprehension when she heard this. Cao Mengrong’s expression wavered and she found herself at a loss of what to say.
Han Li then took another glance at the middle-aged man and mysteriously smiled, saying, “Then let us quickly start. When we are done, I have some urgent business to attend to.”
When the middle-aged man heard him, he coldly smiled and put away the wood board magic tool in his hand before taking out a small yellow pitchfork from his storage pouch.