Dong Xuan’er’s expression remained somewhat baffled at the sight of Han Li, but she calmly replied, “That person was an old acquaintance of mine. Since I hadn’t seen him for many years, his sudden appearance had surprised me.”
“Old acquaintance? That early Nascent soul cultivator is allowed to enter today’s meeting. And going from his youthful appearance, he should be the recently famous Drifting Cloud Sect Elder.
It is said he is surnamed Han, the same as the person you had mentioned before. Are they the same person?” Old Devil Cloudpart wasn’t angered by her stiff reply. Rather, he spoke calmly as if he had an unordinary relationship with the woman.
Dong Xuan’er’s complexion turned somewhat pale at his words, but she remained silent. A cold glint flashed from Old Devil Cloudpart’s eyes. While he did drop the matter with a cold snort, a slight frown appeared on his face.
Cloudpart led her to the front of the palace hall and was promptly allowed in by the fearful Core Formation cultivators standing guard. Of course, Dong Xuan’er wasn’t allowed to enter. She was led to side room to rest for the time being.
Not long after Han Li entered the palace hall, he soon saw the entrance of the meeting room and hurried inside.
The meeting room was rather simply arranged. Apart from a few rows of huge stone pillars, there was a large empty space at its center with seventeen exquisitely crafted wooden chairs placed several a meters apart from one another.
Eight cultivators were currently sitting amongst the chairs in various places. When Han Li entered, there were a few that indifferently glanced at him, a few that ignored him as well as others that were currently meditating. They all acted without regard for any others.
However, there was one person who kindly smiled at him when he entered. He beckoned to Han Li and said, “Fellow Daoist Han, you’ve emerged from seclusion. If you don’t find it distasteful, how about you sit next to me?” This man was the leader of the Heavenly Dao Alliance, the Phoenix Cry Sect’s Long Han.
“Many thanks Brother Long!” Han Li sat down at his side and began to silently examine the other cultivators in the room.
A short moment later, Old Devil Cloudpart entered the room. He glanced at the others within and chuckled before boldly taking a seat in an empty chair. He sat down in the seat next to a blue-robed old man who was holding a white jade wine cup and a small emerald-green pot, drinking by himself.
When Old Devil Cloudpart sat near him, his fragrant scent drifted towards old man, causing the him to glare at Devil Cloudpart and curse his own luck. He paid no attention to the old man’s dissatisfaction; instead, glancing around him and examining Han Li with much interest, much to Han Li’s unease.
With a frown, he bluntly closed his eyes and remained expressionless. However, he was still pondering what relationship this old devil had with Dong Xuan’er
In the past, Dong Xuan’er had been stolen away by the Harmonious Bond Sect’s young master and joined the sect. Although this old devil’s reputation was awful, he wouldn’t prey on his own sect’s disciples. The two must have some other relationship, else he wouldn’t have brought Dong Xuan’er along to the meeting.
Just as Han Li mulled over this, a number of people entered the hall in succession. They were all mid Nascent Soul cultivators, many of which were recognized by those already sitting in the hall. With a few hateful grudges between them, there were quite a few mocking statements said in passing amongst the greetings that were uttered.
At that moment, Old Devil Cloudpart’s gaze finally left Han Li, but Han Li remained still regardless. As he recognized none of the other cultivators in the room, he didn’t need to greet them.
“Fellow Daoist Shattered Soul! I didn’t think that you would come. I heard that you had already cultivated your Nine Souls Technique to transformation stage. Congratulations.”
‘Shattered Soul!’ Han Li’s heart stirred at the mention of this name and he unconsciously opened his eyes. He saw an exceptionally shriveled grey-robed old man being called by a black-robed cultivator in the hall in a familiar manner. When the grey-robed old man heard him, he walked over to the black-robed cultivator with a smile.
Taking note of Han Li’s action, Long Han smiled and asked, “What is it? Fellow Daoist Han has seen Daoist Shattered Soul before?”
Having recalled slaughtering Shattered Soul’s disciples on his recent trip to the State of Yue, Han Li calmly replied, “No. I simply heard Senior martial brother Cheng mention him once before. I heard his abilities are quite vast.”
With another smile, Long Han said, “Hehe, this comes as no surprise. I recall that Elder Cheng had fought him once before and he had suffered quite the loss. It is natural that a deep impression had been left behind. But with Fellow Daoist Han’s current reputation, there is no need to fear him. However, there is one person amongst the mid Nascent Soul cultivators that you had best avoid offending. Even the three great cultivators have a headache dealing with him.”
Han Li frowned and revealed shock. “Someone that is able to cause a headache for even the three great cultivators? Such a person exists?”
Long Han carefully explained, “Of course there is. This person had fought Fellow Daoist Sunreach of the three great cultivators and inflicted heavy injuries onto Fellow Daoist Sunreach in order to escape. As such, he was known to be an existence on par to the three great cultivators. However, this cultivator often keeps to himself. Even with the invasion of the Moulan, it's hard to say whether or not he will come. It would be of great help if he did.”
Han Li pursed his lips and curiously asked, “A cultivator able to injure a late Nascent Soul cultivator? It is no wonder why this person seems so exceptional! Could you tell me who he is?”
Continuing his smile, Long Han said, “You should’ve heard of his name before. His name is Eccentric Heavenvenge.”
Han Li wryly smiled and said, “Eccentric Heavenvenge! It is true; I have long heard of his vast reputation.” He suddenly recalled what had happened when the sacred tree area was infiltrated. At the time, the Righteous and Devil Dao spies had been afraid to kill the low grade cultivators out of fear that one of them may have been a descendant of Eccentric Heavenvenge.
Han Li blinked and chuckled. “However, it stands to mention that Brother Long and his wife are an existence equal to the three great cultivators as well.”
When Long Han heard this, he shook his head and flatly said, “Feng Bing and I may hold some power, but we wouldn’t be able to stand against them alone. Of course, when we are together, it is a completely different matter altogether.”
Han Li smiled and thought to speak of the matter when he felt someone’s gaze on him. It was icy and filled with ill intent. Vigilance filled Han Li’s mind as his expression froze. He then turned his head to look at the source of the glare — an unfamiliar green-clothed old man with a long beard.
When the old man saw Han Li glance at him, he withdrew his gaze and expressionlessly turned his eyes elsewhere as if nothing had happened. However, this didn’t cause Han Li to relax. Instead, he continued staring at the old man for a long while.
Having seen what happened, Long Han asked with a smile, “What? Does Fellow Daoist Han not recognize this person?”
Feeling somewhat puzzled, Han Li replied, “Brother Long seems to imply that I should know who he is.”
“This person is the grand elder of the Controlling Spirit Sect, Elder Dongmen Tu. He holds the most power in the sect. Although I hadn’t spoken to this person before, I have heard his friendship with Gu Shuangpu was quite deep. While he might not say anything because of the irrefutable evidence that Gu Shuangpu was a Moulan Spy, he is certain to be resentful at you for having killed him. You have best be careful.”
Han Li stroked his nose and wryly smiled before uttering a word of thanks.
A mere quarter hour later, most of the chairs in the room had been filled. There was quite a funny sight to behold at this point. Nearly all the Devil Dao cultivators were sitting on the right side of the room with most of the Righteous Dao cultivators sitting on the left. As the Heavenly Dao Alliance and the Nine Nations Union cultivators, they casually sat on either side.
Among these cultivators, Han Li found a familiar face, the Sailing Boundaries Sect’s Cultivator Kuang. He was currently sitting on the Devil Dao’s side. When he saw Han Li look over at him, he smiled at Han Li, to which Han Li responded with a nod.
At that moment, Long Han was giving Han Li an explanation on the two other Heavenly Dao cultivators through voice transmission. One of them was a plainly-dressed woman with an ordinary appearance with the other being an old man with a miserable appearance. Han Li glanced at the two and committed their appearances to memory.
Perhaps due to the many people in the room, their expression began to turn grave and they remained silent as they coldly examined one another. These cultivators were all peak existences in the Heavenly South, each of them from opposing factions and holding various intentions and thoughts of their own.
Amongst these people, Han Li could be considered the most unusual. Han Li allowed the old eccentrics to sweep their powerful spiritual sense across Han Li’s body. When they saw his comparatively shallow cultivation, they all figured out who he was. After all, Han Li’s fame over the past half year had reached the ears of all these old eccentrics. However, they simply saw him resting in his chair with his eyes closed. He appeared entirely calm in spite of current circumstances.
Just as the room became silent and even somewhat grave, three people walked into the room one after another, instantly catching the attention of these old eccentrics.
There was a large black-robed old man, a green-haired old man, and a cultivator with a sword on his back.
Han Li’s expression remained calm, but he felt his heart began to thump. These three were the three great cultivators of the Heavenly South, the only late Nascent Soul-stage cultivators on the continent. They were all over a thousand years old. With a few exceptions, a majority of the people present managed to retain their calm like Han Li and waited for the three to begin speaking.