Chapter 998: Stone Stele

When Old Man Fu and Bai Yaoyi flew out from the long passageway, Han Li was already floating high in the air and was looking at the top of the valley wall, the source of the noise.

Just then, the two discovered that the rumbling sounds were growing weaker. If it weren’t for their high cultivation, they hardly would’ve heard it.

Soon, Old Man Fu frowned, “The sounds seem to be coming from over there, and its source is growing further away. If it weren’t for the restrictions sealing the space around here, the echoes wouldn’t be loud enough to hear.”

Han Li turned to the two and proposed, “In that case, how about we go and take a look since we aren’t familiar with the area. It will be better than running into something unprepared. Of course, we’d best conceal ourselves, rather than letting someone else discover us first.”

Naturally, they both raised no objections.

The old man formed an incantation gesture and his body shined with green light. Afterwards, it turned dim as the he gradually faded into a faint green shadow.

Bai Yaoyi raised her hand and a cold light shined from her finger, summoning a sparkling crystalline medallion. With it in hand, she began to utter a spell, and the medallion soon released a silver mist that gradually covered her before disappearing in a flash.

Because the restrictions on the mountain greatly reduced their use of spiritual sense, stealth was their ideal choice. But using concealment techniques outside of these circumstances would prove far less effective against cultivators of similar grade.

Having seen the two conceal themselves, Han Li smiled and followed suit. Without performing any visible actions, his body pulsed with light before completely erasing his aura.

The two stood in front of Han Li but weren’t able to detect him in the slightest, much to their alarm.

He then slapped a concealment talisman on his body with indifference, turning it completely translucent.

“Let’s go!” Han Li let out a soft command and the three took to the air.

In this mysterious foreign land, the three didn’t fly quickly in their search for the source of the rumbling, only at a speed similar to body lightening techniques.

The three travelled together past the verdant landscape filled with that dense spiritual Qi. Each place they crossed seemed to be an ideal place for cultivation. If this mountain were to be exposed to the outside, countless clans would scramble to seize it.

An hour later, though they hadn’t encountered anything, none of them wore joy on their faces.

The journey had been completely lifeless. They hadn’t encountered any signs of life, which was only further cause for stifling trepidation.

Bai Yaoyi hesitantly said, “Brother Han, do you feel it? The spiritual Qi here is amazing, but we’ve yet to see any spiritual plants. It’s all ordinary vegetation.” 

Han Li calmly replied, “I’ve also noticed it. As we head deeper, the spiritual Qi becomes even more abundant. It is the same as the spiritual mountains on the outside. I figured the original cultivators of this mountain grew their plants higher up to take advantage of that.”

“The spiritual Qi can become even denser?” Bai Yaoyi spoke with amazement. She already considered the current spiritual Qi in the air to be ideal for cultivation.

When Old Man Fu heard him, his heart stirred. “Brother Han, if the peak of the mountain is truly a holy ground for cultivation, we might not have to be in such a hurry to leave. Wouldn’t it be better to cultivate there for a time?”

Han Li wryly chuckled, “Brother Fu can’t consider this place to be an ordinary spiritual mountain. Why else would the ancient cultivators abandon this place if they could safely cultivate in such abundant spiritual Qi? The restriction covering this entire mountain is also very odd. If I figure a way out, I won’t be staying.”

Old Man Fu’s expression wavered for a moment before settling with a wry smile, “Brother Han’s words are quite reasonable. This truly is an improper place to cultivate. My excitement had clouded my judgement.”

With a regretful tone, Bai Yaoyi said, “I don’t blame you, Brother Fu. I also possessed similar thoughts. After all, cultivating here could save us quite a bit of time.”

Han Li smiled and thought to say something else when his expression suddenly dropped and he came to a sudden halt.

His eyes flashed with blue light as he turned to the side.

The other two were baffled by this sudden change of actions and followed his gaze.

At a distance far away, there was a white mist coiling in the air.  Since fog often formed throughout the mountain, the three hadn’t felt that it was strange.

Han Li blinked and said, “Let’s take a look. There could be something that we could use.” Then, he changed directions towards distant object.

The other two felt baffled, but they knew that he wouldn’t act without reason and followed after him.

When they entered the fog, they came to a sudden stop.

Within the white mist, there was a wide expanse of white stone steps stretched out to the top and bottom of the mountain without end. And at the side of these steps, there was a white stele thirty meters tall and ten meters wide.

Han Li stood in front of it with his hands behind his back as he examined it.

The old man dropped down onto the ground and curiously asked, “Has Brother Han discovered something?” 

With a grave expression, he sullenly replied, “Well, I finally know where this place is. Fellow Daoists, take a look!”

“Yes!” With roused spirits, the two took several steps forward.

Due to the two ancient golden characters elegantly inscribed at the very top, the conclusion was obvious.

“Kunwu! Could this be the legendary Kunwu Mountain!?” Old Man Fu shouted out with alarm.

As for Bai Yaoyi, she covered her mouth as she gasped with surprise.

“That’s right. During ancient times, Kunwu Mountain was known as the Immortal Mountain, a holy land where ancient cultivators gathered together. The mountain’s size and spiritual Qi are deserving of its reputation. However, legends had it that those same cultivators had brought the mountain to the spirit world or sank it to the underworld! How could it be here?” Bai Yaoyi stared at the stone stele with complete disbelief.

“Fellow Daoist Bai, legend and history are often far different. It seems the truth was that the mountain was sealed for some unknown reason. By a stroke of fate, we activated an ancient teleportation formation and arrived here.” With recovered vigor, Old Man Fu spiritedly said, “Given the mountain’s reputation, there are certain to be countless ancient cultivator dwellings here. If we look through a few of them, the rewards will surely be great.”

Han Li shook his head and took a step forward before lightly stroking the stele. “Perhaps, but since the mountain was sealed, they should’ve been prepared to leave. I don’t believe there will be much to find. On that thought, this stele must be a grand treasure. After countless years, it stayed erect and absorbed unfathomable amounts of spiritual Qi, despite being crudely refined.”

“What? Is the stele a treasure?” the other two were startled and began to silently reexamine it.

At a glance, it only appeared to be made from common stone. Although it did carry some spiritual Qi, it wasn’t suitable to create even the lowest grade magic tools.

They couldn't help but look at Han Li with an odd expression.

He faintly smiled. “It seems you two aren’t convinced, but I am completely certain.” Although his demeanor was calm, in truth, he was actually greatly puzzled as well.

Even he wasn’t able to tell what was different about it. The only reason he said this was because the Armored Earth Dragon that was peacefully resting in his spirit beast pouch had violently stirred when he approached it.

It cried out without end, indicating that the item was unordinary.

Even with his Brightsight Spirit Eyes, Han Li wasn’t able to see anything peculiar and grew quite skeptical.

But due to his attitude of letting nothing slip him by, he was forced to speak a few profound words as a pretense. Then, his hand against the stele and covered it in azure radiance.

The stone stele trembled and the light began to quickly shrink.

When it shrunk to half its size, Han Li raised his brow and swept his hand, intending on raising the stele and putting it away into his storage pouch.

When the stele rose a foot off the ground, it underwent a strange change.

It suddenly began to hum and shine with rays of white light.

Meanwhile, Han Li felt it sink as his control had completely disappeared. With a heavy boom, it fell back to its original spot and violently shook the nearby ground.

The tremors left ringing in the trio’s ears and the stele’s surface began to slowly fracture from the bottom up.

“This is...” Han Li’s expression stirred and he narrowed his eyes.