Chapter 1003: Hostilities

When Bai Yaoyi and Old Man Fu heard Han Li’s name mentioned with the Heavenly South, they looked back at him with bewilderment.

Han Li, however, only had his attention on the five white silhouettes as he gloomily stared at them in silence.

He had personally killed a mid-Nascent Soul Yin Sifting Sect Elder and seized their sect’s signature treasure, the Ghost Sifting Banner, from himm. Using words to dispel hostilities was no longer an option. It also stood to mention that he intended on acquiring the method to dissolve the Soul Seal Curse placed on his Dao companion from the very start, something that only the Yin Sifting Sect Master and the sect’s grand elder would know.

Originally, he planned on attacking the sect master, but now had an unexpected encounter with the sect’s grand elder, and began to consider if it was possible to stake an all-out battle. After all, the two were the most important people in the Yin Sifting Sect. There would seldom be an opportunity where he could find them alone.

This grand elder should prove to be a more brutal opponent than the Silver-winged Nightfiend. The nightfiend hadn’t possess any compatible treasures and there were restrictions present on his body, but even that was enough to nearly kill Han Li. However, Han Li hadn’t used the fullest extent of his abilities at the time, abstaining from using Monarch Soul Divergence's grand puppet. In that case, there should be a chance of victory.

And even if the Unbreakable Cinque Devils were as powerful as rumor had it, his Divine Devilbane Lightning should be quite effective in restraining it.

As these thoughts quickly flickered through his mind, the middle of the five figures suddenly raised its hand in an incantation gesture and its body glowed with grey, condensing the image of a grey-robed cultivator in front of it. This strange turn of events was entirely freakish.

A layer of faint grey Qi was obscuring the his face, but the color of his grey hair revealed him to be advanced in age.

Old Devil Qian’s true body had emerged.

In that moment, the three all grew vastly wary as they stared at him. They weren’t able to see through what he was thinking.

The old devil had remained silent during this and slapped a storage pouch at his waist, taking out a small pitch-black flag. He then waved it in their direction.

Old Man Fu’s expression vastly dropped at the sight of this, and he hurriedly summoned a treasure into his hand. Bai Yaoyi covered her body in an icy light, instantly forming a barrier. As for Han Li, he simply observed Old Devil Qian’s actions with a raised brow. His expression turned ever more gloomy as time went on.

“How odd... strange, indeed...” The flag blinked with black light and showed no other unusual signs. This caused him to speak with a surprised tone.

“Brother Qian, why have you taken out your Ghost Sifting Banner? Could it be you wish to start a war between our sects?” Although Old Man Fu was quite fearful towards the Old Devil, his party consisted of three mid-Nascent Soul cultivators with one in particular possessing profound abilities. Together, they didn’t have much to fear.

Old Devil Qian looked at the three and calmly stated, “I have no interest in starting a war. However, that Brother Han and I have some unsettled business to attend to. As you two have nothing to do with it, I will not stop you if you wish to depart.”

“It seems we have the same idea,” Han Li said with a calm smile, “I’ve long heard of the impressive reputation of your Unbreakable Cinque Devils. I wish to personally test them!”

When the two heard this, they exchanged a glance of dismay.

Old Devil Qian was also somewhat surprised and began to inspect Han Li.

Old Man Fu tensely frowned, “This... Brother Qian! Although I know there are greivances between your sect and Fellow Daoist Han, it is inappropriate to settle matters here. Doesn’t Brother Qian wish to take a deeper look at this mountain first?” 

He hadn’t said this with any real intention to protect Han Li. Kunwu Mountain was an extremely dangerous place, and Old Devil Qian was a significant member of their Devil Dao alliance. He didn’t wish for him to suffer any mishap. Also, it wasn’t as if he was about to suddenly leave Han Li alone as they were still involved together.

“Well of course I will be taking a look at this mountain. However, my sect has been looking for Fellow Daoist Han for a long while. We will be settling the matter first; it cannot wait. Does Brother Fu wish to involve himself?” Old Devil Qian then let out a cold chuckle.

Bai Yaoyi’s bright eyes wandered for a moment and she resolutely said, “Outside of this mountain, I have no involvement in your dispute. But we intend on exploring this mountain while we’re still here. I'm afraid I cannot follow your suggestion.”

She feared losing Han Li, a powerful ally, which would cause this whole journey to become far more dangerous. Most importantly, she had personally witnessed Han Li’s fearsome abilities and believed that he didn’t fear this Old Devil at all. Else, she likely wouldn’t have been able to say that.

Seeing that the two wouldn’t give in, a cold glint flashed from the grey-robed cultivator’s eyes.  When he looked at them, it felt as if his very gaze could freeze the air in their lungs.

Old Man Fu and Bai Yaoyi felt their heart drop but betrayed none of this on their face.

“Fine, it seems this is a matter that can be let go. However, my sect has a treasure that has fallen into his hands. I will leave him be if he gives me it, or I will take you three on, even at the cost of great strength.” With that said, Old Devil Qian withdrew his icy gaze.

Han Li laughed and openly said, “Oh, You mean that Ghost Sifting Banner?”

With a deep voice, Old Devil Qian said, “That’s the one. When our sect’s fourth elder perished in battle, the flag fell into your hands. Hand it over and I’ll leave you be... for now.”

After a moment of silence, Han Li glanced at the sky and sneered, “Your tone is quite arrogant. I can return the Ghost Sifting Banner to you, but I have one condition. Would you be willing to hear me out?”

“You killed our sect’s fourth elder and took from him a legacy treasure of my sect. You dare to ask for a condition? Do you think I won’t take your life!?” Old Devil Qian smiled with fury and the cinque devils behind him leaped up before drifting to his front.

The air suddenly drew thick with tension.

Old Man Fu was greatly shocked by this turn of events and a trace of amazement betrayed his face.

As fellow members of the Devil Dao alliance, the Nine Serenities Sect knew a bit about the disappearance of the Yin Sifting Sect’s fourth elder.

Old Man Fu was caught completely off-guard when he heard that Han Li had killed their famous fourth elder. And it seemed that one of the famous Ghost Sifting Banner had fallen into his hands as well. It was no wonder Old Devil Qian wasn’t about to release Han Li despite knowing it wasn’t an ideal opportunity.

As for why Han Li was concealing his origins, it wasn’t even worth mentioning.

Han Li snorted and his expression sank. “You make it sound so easy for me to return it. For some cursed reason, your sect’s fourth elder chased after me and attacked my Dao companion. How could I allow it to be returned?”

With complete resolution, the old devil said, “I have no interest nor relation to what he did in the Heavenly South. However, I am dead set on taking back our sect’s legacy treasure, or it will be a great loss of prestige.”

“So you mean to say you aren’t willing to hear me out?” Han Li narrowed his eyes.

Hehe, if you were a grand elder of one of the ten great sects, I might’ve heard you out, but you are just some trifling cultivator from the Heavenly South. How could you possibly speak of conditions with me?” Old Devil Qian raised his head to the sky in wild laughter. Then, his body suddenly exploded into a cloud of baleful Qi before merging with the white silhouettes behind him.

The five suddenly blazed grey and their originally still eyes animated with bloodthirsty madness.

Old Man Fu suddenly remembered something and regretfully said, “Damn! I nearly forgot. This old devil cultivates the Superior Apathetic Arts, resulting in a rash and surly temperament. Our threats have only served to anger him.”

Bai Yaoyi frowned when she heard this and raised her hand without another word, summoning a crystalline flying sword to the air and had it revolve around her head.

Han Li narrowed his eyes and flicked his hand from within his sleeve, summoning the Triflame Fan into his grasp. Afterwards, he stealthily slapped his storage pouch with the other and quickly focused his spiritual sense on his grand puppet.

He had already resolved himself to go all out. When the other two began their attack, he would immediately unleash the puppet and deal a grievous injury to Old Devil Qian.

Even if he couldn't take his life, it would be a satisfactory result if he could damage his cultivation. That way, he could be able to force the terms out of him the next time they battled.

Han Li had never once forgotten about the Soul Seal Curse that afflicted his Nangong Wan. So long as he could acquire the method to dissolve it, he could rest easy. Even if this would result in the endless pursuit of the Yin Sifting Sect, he wouldn’t hesitate in the slightest.

The cinque devils then all let out a strange cry and their bodies turned near transparent. They shifted into smoke before malevolently flying towards the three.

At that moment, however, the screen of light where the white silhouettes had emerged from suddenly let out an earth-shattering explosion and filled the air with a blinding radiance.

Before they could all clearly understand what was happening, the light let out unceasing explosions, followed by nearly a dozen various streaks. They flew in a circle and their light faded away to reveal a person for each one.