With the brick in hand, Han Li took a closer look at it and swept his other hand past it. With fingertips glowing in azure light, they brushed past the brick’s surface and caused it to ripple in white light.
He curled his lips into a smile and nodded.
The brick was consistent with what Feng Yue told him. It was actually a storage pouch in disguise, but it needed to be opened with a specific incantation. If it were opened by force, the items it contained would be turned into ash.
Han Li acquired the incantation from Feng Yue before his death and now uttered it, spitting out a ball of azure light with talisman characters roaming across it. It struck the brick and enveloped it within.
Soon, he formed an incantation gesture with a single hand and quickly pressed against each corner of the brick with his finger. With a light bang, a pitch-black hole appeared on its surface.
He didn’t take the risk of sticking his hand into it. Instead, he slapped the bottom of the brick and it trembled with light, causing two items to fly out from the hole. There was a jade slip that was several inches large and a pile of tightly bundled documents.
He easily caught them in the air with a single hand.
After putting away the brick, Han Li paid no attention to the documents and immediately immersed his spiritual sense into the jade slip. Not long after, his expression warped and turned sullen.
Monarch Soul Divergence saw his reaction and asked, “What is it? Could it be it doesn't contain the location of the Feng Clan’s secret cave?”
“It’s there, and it even details its exact location.” After letting out a long sigh, Han Li withdrew his spiritual sense from the jade slip and frowned.
“Then why are you so gloomy? Could it be the cave is in a dangerous place?” As expected of an eccentric nearing the age of ten thousand years, Monarch Soul Divergence guessed correctly.
Han Li sighed and wore a helpless expression, saying, “It is possible I’ll run into trouble. The secret cave is located deep into the Snowmound Mountains.”
“Why did the Feng Clan establish it there? Could it be they didn’t know there was something strange about the mountains and that cultivators often disappeared?” Monarch Soul Divergence spoke with a flabbergasted tone.
“Who knows?” Han Li said with a wry smile, “Perhaps the Feng Clan Ancestor felt that the more dangerous the area, the safer it would be.”
Monarch Soul Divergence lazily said, “Since they had always used this secret cave, it shouldn’t be too dangerous. There’s no point in being too worried.”
“I hope so! Now that I’ve acquired the map, I can’t let this go by because of some unknown danger. If this goes smoothly, I’ll arrive there in a day.”
Afterwards, Han Li put away the jade slip and then picked up one of the documents, flipping through it before yelping in surprise.
He then said, “These are the deeds for the Feng Clan properties in the mortal world. They can be said to own the most land in the region.”
“Is this anything strange?” Monarch Soul Divergence asked. “The noble clans of the Great Jin and the Immortal clans of the Heavenly South have quite a few differences. Interfering with the mortal world can be considered quite ordinary and it isn’t a disgrace to interact with high ranking government officials and the wealthy. Even vagrant cultivators take the initiative to reach out to them for help. Not only does the Great Jin span across a great amount of land, but the mortals living there exist in far greater density than the Heavenly South. As a result, there are fewer desolate areas, and spirit medicines and spirit stones often found themselves in the hands of mortals. This is different in the Heavenly South where mortals occupy far less land and there is much more wilderness. As such, the Heavenly South cultivators don’t interact much with them.”
Han Li doubtfully said, “You mean to say the many sects allow the royal powers of the Great Jin to control their cultivation resources?”
Monarch Soul Divergence chuckled and said, “It isn’t that they allow it. The Great Jin isn’t like the Heavenly South where there are many different countries and clans, but rather, a single powerful imperial court has ruled over the Great Jin’s mortal world since ancient times.
No matter how powerful a cultivator may be, they won’t dare to harm mortal affairs, or else other sects and powers will use this opportunity as a pretext to move against them. As a result, the Great Jin court had reached a compromise with many of the great powers in the cultivation world. If I remember correctly, the agreement would dictate that the powers or sects wouldn’t pressure or interfere with the mortal imperial court, and would even allow the imperial court to directly hire a few vagrant cultivators in order to preserve the prestige of the court. Of course, the Great Jin imperial family can also nurture a certain number of their own cultivators, but the great sects keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t get carried away.”
Monarch Soul Divergence continued, “For all of these great powers to acquire cultivation resources and manpower, they had made agreements in secret with the royal family and imperial court. A few particularly powerful officials will likely have been backed by various sects in order to prevent other powers from holding the advantage. Under these circumstances, noble clans began to appear from sects and as a result, noble clans gradually accumulated many mortal properties and became accustomed to interacting with the mortal world. However, these lands should have cultivation resources on them since they’ve been so carefully stored away. These are crucial for the survival of any noble clan.”
When Han Li heard this, he stroked his chin in utter amazement.
“Since these documents are so important, why were they placed here?” Han Li pondered, “Did the Feng Clan Master sensed something was about to happen and put them here as a contingency measure?”
“That’s possible, but this has nothing to do with us,” Monarch Soul Divergence said. “Let’s not waste our time thinking about this and instead head straight to the secret cave. Perhaps there could be a Buddhist Technique to dissolve your baleful Qi.”
“It is as you say, Senior!”
Han Li smiled and then put the documents away in a jade box. After making certain of his direction, he flew off on a magic tool towards the Snowmound Mountains.
At that moment, in a tomb underneath the Snowmound Mountains, there were two silhouettes enveloped in green Qi. They were kneeling in front of three stone coffins and remained motionless. Suddenly, two streaks of green light flew out from one of the coffins and each entered into the silhouettes’ foreheads.
“Go! Kill him and retrieve the treasure!” A man spoke from the middle coffin with an imposing tone.
The two silhouettes blurred into streaks of green light and circled the room before flying off.
“Alright, I’ve acquired the appearance of the person who took away the vajra barrier and gave it to the incarnations. The prince’s remnant Qi should also remain in the vajra barrier for a short amount of time. So long as he doesn’t immediately leave the Guanning Province, it will be impossible for him to escape.”
“M... Many thanks... Lord Father!” A happy stutter came out from the other coffin.
The man from the center coffin snorted and said, “I will leave it be this time, but there had better not be more trouble!”
“Yes... this will not happen... again!” The stutter now had a fearful tone.
No further words were spoken from any of the coffins. But after the time it took to finish a meal, a loud bang sounded out. The lid of the middle coffin flew ten meters in the air, and a thin silhouette wearing a crown sat up from it.
“My king, why are you...?” A sweet woman’s voice sounded out from the other coffin.
With glowing red eyes, the man said, “The veins of Yin Qi in the earth will soon erupt and a temporary leave from the tomb room won’t cause me a large loss in cultivation. It is a good opportunity to lend General Ge some aid and dispose of some troublesome characters outside of the noble clans. After I head out, I’ll activate all the restrictions in the tomb to prevent any outsiders from entering.”
After a moment of hesitation, the woman replied, “Yes, your majesty! Please be careful!”
“Don’t worry, my beloved concubine. I will return to the tomb after two days. I won’t be leaving much after that.” The man nodded and then stood up from the coffin.
His body blurred several times and then became indistinct, turning into a cloud of grey mist and disappearing from sight. It was unknown where he went.
Soon, silence filled the tomb room, only to be interrupted by a woman’s deep sigh.
When Han Li caught sight of Snowmound Mountain, it was already dawn. Without another thought, he rushed into the mountains on his flying magic tool.
Fearing that he would provoke trouble, he concealed his aura and flew at a low altitude, releasing his spiritual sense to only cover a couple of kilometers, and carefully watching everything that happened nearby.
The location of the Feng Clan’s secret cave was near the heart of the mountain and in a well-concealed area.
After flying around for the day, Han Li looked down at the mountains from the air before dropping down on an unremarkable peak, discovering a huge waterfall that was a kilometer tall. The scene was completely the same as the jade slip described, much to his relief.
After looking at the surging mists of white water, he floated down and formed an incantation gesture. Then he raised his hands and released two streaks of azure light into the waterfall.
A series of muffled rumblings sounded out, followed by the appearance of a three-meter-wide hole in the waterfall. He flew in without hesitation, and soon after, the hole disappeared.
Of course, Han Li didn’t know that in the instant he entered the cave, two green silhouettes were pursuing him from five hundred kilometers away. They snarled with rage and bared their pitch-black fangs, occasionally releasing out series of low roars reminiscent of a dreadful two-headed beast.
However, these two silhouettes couldn’t have known that a few kilometers behind them, there were two hidden figures coldly watching them. They were whispering to each other with lowered heads.