When she heard Master Sable’s question, Lin Yinping glanced between the Keen Spirit Peacock and Han Li with a hesitant expression.
Just then, white light flashed above the head of the peacock and Grand Immortal Xu’s face appeared in the air. As Daoist Sevenwonders and Master Sable looked on with amazement, he wryly smiled, “There is no need to look for me. Since my body has been destroyed, my Nascent Soul is currently residing in my bird.”
Alarmed, Master Sable’s complexion paled. “How can that be?! You were a late-stage cultivator! Could it be the Ancient Devil Ancestor has already escaped!?”
Grand Immortal Xu’s expression sank. “...It seems you already knew about that devil.”
Master Sable chuckled and reassured him, “Fellow Daoist Xu, don’t misunderstand. I only recently learned of this when my master sent information about what laid here. This matter was so important that I was hoping that you could give us some more insight.”
Grand Immortal Xu felt doubtful of his words, but since he was reduced to a Nascent Soul, he couldn’t question him. Instead, he sighed and said, “The devil ancestor escaped its prison, but my body was not destroyed not by the devil. We were ambushed by the Myriad Demon Valley’s Ancient Corpse Xiong.”
Master Sable blinked and said, “Myriad Demon Valley? That’s impossible. I’ve been guarding the entrance to the mountain this whole time. How could Old Corpse Xiong slip past? He had to have entered before us.”
“That’s right. Not only did he enter before us, but he also used some sort of technique to mask the corpse Qi from his body and disguised himself as a cultivator.” He felt great heartache, having suffered so much to the power of the blood blade.
Daoist Sevenwonders frowned, “Then the result isn’t surprising considering that Corpse Xiong ambushed you. It sounds like he used the strange treasure that the Myriad Demon Valley has called the Form Enchantment Pearl. It is said once the pearl is consumed, one can not only change their appearance at will, but also conceal demonic, corpse, or any other odd aura. Common cultivators wouldn’t be able to see through it. I doubt that even my Clear Sound Mirror wouldn’t be able to break their concealment.”
Something sparked in Master Sable’s mind and he said, “Now that you mention it, I heard that after one swallows the pearl, their magic power is greatly reduced for the pearl’s effects to work. When Corpse Xiong ambushed you, his true appearance must’ve been revealed.”
“Fellow Daoists, you are correct. Corpse Xiong did appear in his true form when he ambushed me.” Immortal Xu wore a resentful expression.
Sevenwonders, the middle-aged scholar, examined the Keen Spirit Peacock and smiled, saying, “It’s still fortunate that your Nascent Soul was able to escape Corpse Xiong’s attacks. Furthermore, you haven’t fully possessed another body yet. So long as you find a suitable replacement, you’ll be able to restore your cultivation with only a hundred years of seclusion.”
Immortal Xu sighed, “Brother Sevenwonders is quite wise. Although I’ve temporarily attached myself to the Keen Spirit Peacock, it will be better for me to find a suitable body as soon as I can.”
Sevenwonders said nothing more and turned his gaze to Gui Ling with an odd expression.
“This... Fellow Daoist is quite unfamiliar to me. Could you tell me your name?” Sevenwonders asked. At his side, Master Sable also began to closely examine the horned woman.
After all, Gui Ling wasn’t capable of concealing her identity as a grade ten demon beast in the face of these two similarly ranked grand cultivators.
Gui Ling remained expressionless, but Han Li smiled and said, “This Fellow Daoist is Gui Ling, and I am Han Li. We were delivered to this mountain after we had mistakenly activated a teleportation formation.”
Master Sable appeared quite surprised that Han Li was speaking on the horned woman’s behalf and began to look at him with greater importance. He smiled and replied, “That is quite unusual. Could you tell me what sect you came from, Fellow Daoist Han? I don’t believe we’ve met.”
Although this was Han Li’s first meeting with Master Sable, he could faintly guess that he was an elder of one of the ten great sects. As such, he politely replied, “I am only a vagrant cultivator. It is only natural that you wouldn’t know of me. But since you are here together with the Heavenly Devil Sect’s Daoist Sevenwonders, this matter must be of grave importance. If I may boldly ask, how did you enter the pagoda’s eighth floor? The teleportation formation wasn’t activating for some reason.”
Master Sable casually answered, “I’ve been quite careless and have forgotten to introduce myself! I am the High Zenith Sect’s Master Sable. As for how we entered, we didn’t need to use any teleportation formation. Rather, we used the High Zenith Sect’s Worldbreaker Talisman, and forcefully entered by breaking through the walls of the eighth floor.”
Han Li doubtfully said, “The Worldbreaker Talisman? Would it be possible for that to break through?”
“It wouldn’t be with the talisman itself, but it was paired together with a specific secret technique and the Heavenbound Sword. But I didn’t think that we’d be trapped in a sealed space right after we entered.” With that said, Master Sable glanced around him and clicked his tongue.
Lin Yinping sighed in admiration, “I’ve long heard of the grand reputation of both the High Zenith Sect’s Worldbreaker Talisman and the Heavenbound Sword. What we managed with great difficulty was easily accomplished by the two of you. It is no wonder why your sects are among the greatest of the Righteous and Devilish Dao in the Great Jin.”
Master Sable twirled his beard and politely answered, “Fairy Lin praises us too highly. The powers of your temple’s treasures are by no means small. It just so happens that we had more suitable methods to tear through space.”
She couldn't help but wryly smile in the face of his modest remarks.
The Endless Sky Temple had about the same number of high-grade cultivators as the two of them, but they couldn't possibly compare in terms of treasures. The two sects had legacies that stretched back to ancient times.
Sevenwonders then glanced around him and puzzlingly asked, “Where is that Old Devil Qian? Master Sable mentioned that he entered this mountain earlier.”
When Immortal Xu and Lin Yinping heard this, they couldn't help but glance at Han Li.
Lady Mu had previously mentioned that Old Devil Qian and Han Li had fought once before. They originally hadn’t believed that Han Li would be capable of slaying the old devil, but after witnessing his current abilities, they couldn't help but be suspicious.
When Master Sable and Daoist Sevenwonders saw the two’s strange actions, they exchanged a glance of surprise and focused their attention on Han Li.
Han Li inwardly sighed, but maintained a calm exterior and said, “Fellow Daoist Qian and I parted after we left Kunwu Hall. He is probably searching for treasure elsewhere. I also don’t know where the other Ying Sifting Sect Elders are.”
Immortal Xu sternly said, “Fellow Daoist Han doesn’t need to ponder much about Fellow Daoist Ge and the others. On the way, they were ambushed by the Ye Clan Grand Elder and have already perished. Their Nascent Souls are no more.”
“So it was like that!” Han Li said with realization.
Having realized something, Master Sable gave Han Li a strange glance and said, “Kunwu Mountain is truly perilous for so many to have perished here.”
Sevenwonders glanced at the ruins of the palace in the distance the solemnly said, “It is good that the Yin Sifting Sect Elders are gone. It has saved us some trouble. Fellow Daoists, please tell us about the Ancient Devil Ancestor.”
“Yes, let us hear it! I won’t hide this from you. We came here for the matter of the ancient devil ancestor. Since this matter concerns the stability of the entire cultivation world, I hope you will join us.” Master Sable gave Han Li and company a beaming smile.
Immortal Xu and Lin Yinping didn’t immediately reply, and wore odd expressions as they remained silent. Now that they were placed underneath restrictions, they didn’t dare to speak carelessly without knowing what Han Li planned.
From the very start, Gui Ling hadn’t spoken.
Han Li continued to appear calm and collected, and he glanced at the two grand cultivators with a towering gaze.
Master Sable and Daoist Sevenwonders glanced at one another with a trace of astonishment. It was clear that Immortal Xu and Lin Yinping held Han Li in fear.
“Since you wish to know about the devil ancestor, I will explain,” Han Li indifferently stated.
“Good, in that case-” As Master Sable started with a smile, a world-shaking explosion erupted from the direction of the palace, followed by the eruption of a dozen pillars of white light.
The entire space around them wildly shook and a loud and shrill cry sounded out. The ground slowly split, emitting white light into the air and distorting space itself.
“Not good! The devil ancestor has begun dissolving the seal on the ninth floor! To think that she could have recovered enough in such a short time!” Daoist Sevenwonders shouted out in terror.
‘The seal on the ninth floor?’ When Han Li heard this, he saw the space surrounding them begin to collapse. Without another thought, his body flashed with light and released the Tailstar Shield, covering him in a silver barrier.
Before he could perform anything else, the pillars of light suddenly faded and turned pitch black. Afterwards, they surged in size and curved off in every direction, rending apart space wherever it brushed past, producing clashing white and black light.
Han Li could no longer maintain a calm appearance.
Without another thought, he summoned a fire-red talisman into his hand and slapped it onto his body, summoning forth a crimson flood dragon which soon disappeared.
In the blink of an eye, Han Li turned into half-flood dragon, half-human form.
Lin Yinping shouted out as a black crevice suddenly appeared in the air before them.
When Han Li looked at this black streak, he sensed an insatiable abyss; an inexhaustible darkness that released none who entered.