The square-faced cultivator happily said, “With Seventh Uncle and Third Brother, we will have two great powers assisting us in acquiring the treasure. And with all of our clan’s internal disciples and the external cultivators we’ve hired, we will be able to contest against the ten great sects of the Righteous and Devilish Dao. Our expedition to Nanjiang will have great hopes for success.”
The eccentric slowly said, “I’ll only be lending my strength and nothing more. Whether or not the Ye Clan will be able to escape the control of the Righteous and Devilish Dao will be up to you lot.”
The square-faced man and the old Daoist nun both rejoiced upon hearing this and uttered humble words. Afterwards, the elders of the greatest clan in the Jin Empire schemed for half a day more before departing from the hall.
In a hidden room in the chambers of the Imperial City, the huge figure of a two-headed four-armed devil was shrouded in pitch-black devilish Qi with purple-black light twinkling from his eyes.
After an unknown amount of time, the devil eventually shouted, and the Qi surrounding him coiled as it rushed into his body like streams to the ocean. His body crackled in great succession as he held his arms in an incantation gesture and his body assumed the form of an ordinary youth with a face that resembled Han Li.
This was the Elder Devil that had concealed itself inside the Ye Clan.
The devil spoke with a sneer, “Not bad, I’ve mostly recovered from my injuries. So long as I don’t encounter any of those ancient eccentrics, none will be able to cope against me in the Great Jin. Those Ye Clan members should soon take action, and with my familiarity with ancient matters, they will certainly bring me along. When I’m there, hehe...”
In the Yin Sifting Sect’s secret cave outside the Jin Capital, Ge Tianhao said to the Endless Sky Saintess, “I’ve already acquired information that the Nine Serenities Sect’s Fu Cheng has appeared in Nanjiang. Were it not for a tip we received, we wouldn’t have known that he had joined the underground trade meet with that wretch surnamed Han. It is possible that he is accompanying Fu Cheng. Since our sect’s grand elder has matters to attend to in the area, he will be making a trip in passing and will personally deal with this Han fellow if he manages to discover him. Is Fellow Daoist Lin interested in going?”
“Fu Cheng?” The Endless Sky Saintess Lin Yinping shook her head, “His appearance doesn’t mean that Han fellow is also there. I’ve also received news that a squadron led by Grand Immortal Xu has been sent into the Great Jin and will soon meet me at the Jin Capital. I will have to stay behind for a while. If we still haven’t found any concrete information, I’ll bring the group to Nanjiang.”
Ge Tianhao paused with surprise and then happily said, “Fellow Daoist Xu has also come? This is great news. The grand elder will be happy to hear this. Then how about I wait with you and meet with them together? After all, the grand elder had instructed me to accompany you at all times.”
The Endless Sky Saintess nodded with a smile. Then, something came to mind and she frowned, “Hm, hasn’t that Han fellow appeared on the coast where three small sects had taken him in as a guest elder? Have you spies acquired any information on the matter?”
“We’ve found nothing, that person is truly cunning. Apart from helping them with a single affair, he hadn’t made an appearance ever since. While I’ve heard this person has a relationship with the Heavenly Talisman Sect, it was merely a passing friendship. I’d reckon he wouldn’t bat an eye if the three sects were destroyed.”
“That’s true. How could he care about the survival of those sects given that he originated from the Heavenly South? In any case, before I arrived in the Great Jin, I’ve already sent spies to find out this person’s true identity. There should be information on him now that so much time had passed. We can ask about it when Grand Immortal Xu arrives, so we’ll be better prepared the next time we deal with him.”
With a moved voice, Ge Tianhao said, “If you can truly acquire information on him and his techniques, he will be far easier to deal with. Do you know specifically when Immortal Xu will arrive?”
Recalling the matter of the sacred beast, she resentfully said, “Around two to three months. With both Immortal Xu and your sect’s grand elder, he won’t be able to run this time.”
Ge Tianhao’s heart stirred when he heard this. Although the woman said that they were pursuing Han Li because he killed many Soaring Tribes cultivators, this person had the abilities that could match a late-Nascent Soul cultivator. The Endless Sky Saintess couldn’t possibly spend so many resources solely for the sake of revenge.
After all, people who were dead do not come back, neither was it wise to continue provoking a fearsome existence as this cultivator sunamed Han. She was certain to have another reason why she remained the Great Jin for so many years. It appeared he would have to find out what their secret was.
As Ge Tianhao schemed, he betrayed none of this on his face.
The Endless Sky Saintess wasn’t nearly as calm as her appearance had suggested as well. She didn’t know how much longer she could conceal the disappearance of the holy beast’s incarnation. During these years, she hadn’t taken the initiative to contact the higher realms even once.
Fortunately, as the holy beast’s incarnation was only restrained, its true body had remained ignorant of what had happened, but she would have to rescue it before this went on any longer. When they move to recover it, she could only hope to exploit the Yin Sifting Sect cultivators as much as she could and prevent heavier losses towards her own.
With that in mind, she resolved herself.
In an area bordering Nanjiang and another province, there was a smiling old man that was travelling using body lightening techniques. He was eloquently speaking to his younger Qi Condensation sect members that had journeyed out for the first time and was thoroughly entertaining them.
If Han Li was there and saw the sly look on the old man’s face, he would feel his heart jump. He was Xiang Zhili who he suspected of being a Deity Transformation cultivator.
After Han Li left the Heavenly Talisman Sect, the old man had made an inexplicable disappearance before the upper echelon of the sect could investigate it. This had actually startled the Heavenly Talisman Sect and caused them to suspect it was Han Li’s doing. Afterwards, the sect erased Xiang Zhili’s existence from the records and any mention of him was forbidden. It was rather mysterious that he would appear now after so many years had passed.
The Heavenly Talisman Sect weren’t the only ones on edge though. There were countless significant powers in the Great Jin that felt there were storms brewing underneath the peaceful appearance of the cultivation world. A few particularly powerful sects even looked into the Great Jin’s Imperial Ye Clan, but they weren’t able to find anything concrete. They only found that their upper echelon had started to frequently gather, yet they didn’t know what they were planning.
Several months later, a cheerful whistle was let loose from the Silver Serpent Mountains, echoing far beyond the sky. A blinding azure streak flew out from underground and blazed through the air before disappearing off into the horizon.
The cultivators who saw the astonishing scene from a distance were shocked silent.
A week later, the azure streak flew west, passing through the largest forest in the region and thousand-kilometer mountain ranges. Soon, it arrived above a huge basin and dropped down to the side of a mist of toxic yellow miasma that had reached several kilometers in the air.
Just as Han Li landed, an old man stood up from the group of nearby sitting cultivators and smiled, “Fellow Daoist Han, you’re a bit late. Fellow Daoists Bai and Yuan have already arrived several days ago.”
Han Li saluted them and said, “I was refining a magic tool and had just completed it a few days ago. I hope you won’t take offense.”
Bai Yaoyi examined Han Li and softly said, “It is no matter. The Yin winds will be weakened over a period of three months. A few days won’t matter much. Since Fellow Daoist Han has hurried over here after refining his magic tool, how about he take a couple days to rest and recover his magic power?”
Old Man Fu grunted and said, “Fellow Daoist Bai is correct. Since we’re to enter the Yin Yang Cave, we need to preserve enough magic power before entering.”
The towering man surnamed Yuan and Old Man Fu’s Junior Martial Sister Chang hadn’t spoken, but they both appeared to silently agree.
“Very well, it seems that it would be rude of me to refuse. We’ll enter the valley after a few days of rest.” Han Li nodded and glanced at the yellow miasma a few hundred meters away from them. It faintly concealed the black entrance to the valley.
With a flip of his hand, he summoned a twinkling green mid-grade wood spirit stone. Then, he sat cross-legged on the ground and closed his eyes.
Although the others were full of magic power, they rested as well, honing their spirits to an optimal state.
After two days quickly passed, Han Li stirred and Old Man Fu promptly shouted, “We set off!” The group then stood up and surrounded themselves in barriers of light.
“With my poison warding scepter, the Myriad Poison Valley will be easily traversed. However, be careful of the small venomous insects in the mists. Do not allow them to cut through your protective light. If it weren’t for the unknown restrictions that were placed on the valley during ancient times, it would’ve been safer to fly in.” With that said, Cultivator Yuan summoned a jade scepter glowing in silver light before heading into the poisonous miasma.
The others followed suit.
Cultivator Yuan pointed his scepter at the edge of the mist and uttered an incantation. Then a silver wave shot out towards the mist, pushing it away and greatly thinning it out.
The large man then used a body lightening technique before rushing in, with the others employing their own techniques to charge into the valley.